Boston Celtics: 2010Game50
Rapid Reaction | Game Recap | Box Score
--FORSBERG: RONDO RETURNS TO ATTACKING WAYS--
Rajon Rondo is likely to wake up Monday morning in Charlotte feeling like he played in Super Bowl XLV. In attacking the basket with renewed vigor during a Super Sunday appetizer against the Orlando Magic, Rondo spent much of his night bouncing off the unforgiving parquet floor, Dwight Howard serving as the oft-unblocked linebacker to Rondo's stand-in-the-pocket quarterback. Rondo's reward for those bumps and bruises? A season-high 26 points that sparked the Boston Celtics to a 91-80 triumph at the TD Garden in the third and final regular-season battle of last season's Eastern Conference finalists.
--MAY: CELTICS GET UNDER THE MAGIC'S SKIN--
Quentin Richardson got a lot of feedback last spring, most of it positive, he said, when he called out Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for being good "actresses" during the Boston Celtics' first-round series with the Miami Heat during last season's playoffs. Richardson has moved upstate to Orlando, but while he has changed addresses, he hasn't changed his view on the two Celtics. On Sunday, after the Magic fell 91-80 in a game that qualified as eye pollution most of the time, Richardson revisited his comments from last spring. Well, sort of. "I'm not going there again," he said,
--PAYNE: C'S RALLY AROUND INJURED DANIELS--
For a team as close-knit as the Celtics, an injury to any player on the roster is enough to weigh heavily on the minds of teammates and take their focus away from the game at hand. But when Marquis Daniels suffered a bruised spinal cord during the second quarter of Sunday's 91-80 triumph over the Orlando Magic at the TD Garden, players rallied around each other and soldiered on.
More links from ESPNBoston.com's coverage:
* Postgame notes: 'Dwight couldn't beat us by himself'
* Pregame notes: Shaq out through All-Star break?
* Daniels suffers bruised spinal cord; out indefinitely
* Snapshot: Bradley recalled to Boston after Daniels' injury
The Celtics had already endured an ugly first quarter (4-of-14 shooting) and were staring at a seven-point deficit when Daniels suffered the injury with 11:01 to play in the second quarter. The game was stopped for nearly five minutes as team doctors and arena paramedics tended to Daniels, eventually taking him from the floor on a stretcher.
Rather than fade into the evening, the Celtics regrouped and forged ahead, outscoring Orlando 29-19 for the remainder of the second quarter to assume a three-point halftime lead. Encouraging reports on Daniels' health at halftime helped Boston motor away in the second half.
"That's where it was tough," Ray Allen said of the Celtics' refocusing after Daniels' injury. "If I was on the other team, I'm thinking, you know, it's a good time to take advantage and prey on the momentum that we have. But I think we started off slow, I think we had some shots we missed early. But, for the most part, we kind of gathered around each other and played."
The Celtics operated with an 11-man roster (Shaquille O'Neal was active, but not dressed) during Sunday's win over the Orlando Magic, but reserve swingman Marquis Daniels suffered a bruised spine and is expected to miss at least a month. Glen Davis also was hurt Sunday, bruising his head taking a charge in the first quarter, but played the final three frames.
Bradley is expected to join the Celtics in Charlotte in time for Monday's game against the Charlotte Bobcats. In nine games with Maine, Bradley averaged 17.1 points, 5.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds over 32.2 minutes per contest.
The Celtics weren't bashful about their game plan for Sunday's tilt and coach Doc Rivers playfully admitted that the team was willing to sacrifice Dwight Howard buckets if it meant less damage from Orlando's vaunted 3-point shooters.
"Even my Marquette math tells me that two is better than three," Rivers joked before Sunday's game.
After the Magic erupted for 11 trifectas in each of the first two meetings this season, Boston responded by limiting them to 3-of-24 shooting beyond the arc, Orlando's worst showing beyond the arc this season (previous worst: 4-of-24, 16.7 percent vs. Miami on Oct. 29) and matching Orlando's lowest total 3-point output of the year (3 vs. Philadelphia on Dec. 18).
So even with a game-high 28 points from Howard -- 22 of which came in the first half -- the Magic labored through 34.4 percent shooting (32-of-93) and could only watch Boston blaze away in the second half.
"Our game plan was to stay home on the shooters and kind of let Kevin [Garnett], [Kendrick Perkins] and [Glen Davis] play [Howard] 1-on-1," said Paul Pierce. "The good thing was we took away the 3-point line. We can live with that. There are nights where [Howard will] play big, but if the 3-point game is going, then they are a tough team to beat.
"We had a number of how many 3's we wanted to limit them to, and we did more than reach our number tonight. We felt that there's a certain number of 3's where they usually win. But we felt like Dwight couldn't beat us by himself."
The Celtics were adamant they didn't make any changes in the way they defended Howard in the second half, but one thing was clear: They did a much better job of forcing him outside. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Howard scored 14 of his 22 first-half points from inside of 5 feet. In the second half, he only registered two attempts that close to the rim (missing once). Overall in the second half, Howard was 1-of-6 for six points.
"No changes -- we didn't do anything," Rivers said. "We just told them to hang in there. Listen, if he's going to go off and keep making shots, it might be a tough night. But if he misses a couple, like I said before the game, I know my math and three points is more than two."
BOSTON -- Boston Celtics reserve swingman Marquis Daniels suffered a bruised spinal cord as a result of a second-quarter collision during Sunday's win over the Orlando Magic at the TD Garden.
Daniels fell face-first to the parquet after the initial injury. After being attended to by team doctors and arena paramedics, Daniels needed to be taken from the court on a stretcher in a scary scene that marred a nationally televised battle of rivals.
“Marquis is doing well,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said at a joint news conference with team physician Brian McKeon. “I was just with him at New England Baptist Hospital. He’s moving; he’s fine. His arms and his legs, everything is fine.”
Ainge indicated that Daniels will be sidelined at least one month, possibly longer. While he has regained motor functions, the team plans to run a battery of tests, including CT scans, MRIs and serial examinations, in order to determine the severity of the injury.
Both Ainge and McKeon noted that Daniels has experienced spine issues in the past and he endured a similar scare last year in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals in Orlando. He was diagnosed with a concussion after that game, but did not suffer one Sunday.
Ainge visited Daniels at the hospital during Sunday’s game.
“He just wanted to know the score of the game,” said Ainge. “He had talked with his wife and his mother. He was fine.”
Click HERE to read more.
HOW THE GAME WAS WON
Rajon Rondo continues to show an aggressiveness he's lacked at times this season, attacking the basket at every opportunity Sunday while scoring a team-high 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Rondo spent a lot of time lying on the floor, the victim of some hard bumps, but that meant a lot of time at the line, where he hit 7 of 9 free throws. Paul Pierce overcame some shooting woes (4-of-11) to add 18 points and post a whopping plus-24 in the plus/minus category. Dwight Howard added game highs with 28 points and 13 rebounds over 44 minutes.
The Celtics carried a three-point lead out of halftime, but scored the first seven points of the third quarter in a mere 91 seconds and a Ray Allen 3-pointer from in front of the Orlando bench led Magic coach Stan Van Gundy to call an early timeout, with his team down 53-43 with 10:31 to go in the frame. Boston went on to hit nine of its first 10 shots in the quarter (a Pierce 17-foot jumper the only miss) while opening a 70-55 cushion.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Magic hoist a league-leading 25.8 3-pointers per game and had made 11 triples in each of the first two meetings between the teams this season. On Sunday, Orlando connected on a mere 3 of 24 triples (12.5 percent).
Glen Davis overcame a gruesome head bump while absorbing his league-leading 39th charge in the first quarter to register 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting over 24 quality minutes. Not only did Davis grab six rebounds, but he played inspired defense on Howard.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics bounced back from Friday's loss to the Mavericks in strong fashion, dominating the Magic in the third quarter to win the rubber match of the regular-season series. What's more, they found a way to rally after an emotional moment when reserve swingman Marquis Daniels was taken off on a stretcher after injuring his neck early in the second quarter.
With 11:01 to play in the second frame, Daniels posted up on Magic guard Gilbert Arenas, but appeared to snag his neck on Arenas' left arm as he attempted to drive towards the basket. Daniels collapsed forward, landing face-first on the Garden floor. Team doctors and arena paramedics attended to Daniels during a long stoppage in play.
The team termed it a neck injury and said Daniels would be evaluated at New England Baptiste Hosptial.
Daniels gave a thumbs up to the crowd as he was being taken from the court on a stretcher.
During last year's Eastern Conference finals, Daniels suffered a concussion after being hit in the face in the fourth quarter of Game 5 in Orlando. Daniels returned to appear in two games during the NBA Finals.
The oft-injured Daniels had appeared in all but one game this season, missing a contest last month while home tending to a family matter.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said reserve center Shaquille O'Neal will miss the next two games because of an inflamed Achilles and could be sidelined through the All-Star break as the team hopes to cure all the bumps and bruises that have limited O'Neal this season.
In sitting out Sunday's tilt, O'Neal will have missed 14 games this season due to a variety of injuries, including a bruised right knee, sore right calf and sore right hip.
"I don’t think he’s going to be back any time -- he’s not going to be out a long time, but I don’t think he’ll be back today, tomorrow, maybe not even until we go on break, but we’ll see," Rivers said.
Pressed on what the team needs to see in order to put O'Neal back on the floor, Rivers said he'll let the medical staff decide that. Rivers stressed that he won't rush to get O'Neal back on the floor.
"If this was a playoff game, Shaq would play, let’s just be honest," Rivers said. "But it’s not, and we’re going to need him in the playoffs and we want him to be right and healthy. This gives him a chance to get all the other things that were ailing him right, too. Look, he’s 38 years old, I’m sure you guys who have been to that age understand, you wake up and your body aches, it’s just tough. He’ll get right, we know that, we just want him to be right, and have the strength to play a number of games in a row where he can help, instead of just four or five games and then out."
The return of Kendrick Perkins has made the absence of Shaq a bit easier to endure. Even still, Rivers remains slightly concerned about escalating Perkins' minutes so quickly and said he'll continue to limit Perkins' floor time (preferring to keep his stints to no more than seven-minute chunks).
Which means reserves Glen Davis and Semih Erden will be pressed into 1-on-1 duty against Orlando All-Star center Dwight Howard Sunday. Joked Rivers: ""Just pray for Semih and Baby tonight, if you can, because they’re going to have to guard him."
|(37-12, 22-4 home)||-- vs. --||(32-19, 14-12 away)|
FORSBERG'S THREE THINGS TO WATCH (via ESPN Boston preview)
- Perkins vs. Howard: Get your double technicals ready, one of the league's most intriguing (and feisty) frontcourt matchups is back in place as Kendrick Perkins, six games under his belt after returning from offseason ACL surgery, gets reunited with a player he's often lauded for being able to defend 1-on-1: Dwight Howard
- Both teams need a big-game win: A loss Sunday won't send the team into panic mode (no, let Lakers fans have that), and the Celtics boast a glossy 17-6 mark against teams above. 500. But with the tail end of a back-to-back looming Monday in Charlotte, and the Lakers and Heat prepping for visits next week, Boston wouldn't mind a win that prevents only the fourth losing streak of the season (though the Celtics haven't lost more than two games in a row).
- Defend the 3-point line: Overall, the Celtics are a fairly solid at defending the 3-point line, something coach Doc Rivers often emphasizes. Opponents are shooting a mere 34.9 percent beyond the arc against Boston, good for the ninth-best 3-point defense in the league. But teams have had success in recent games, and that has to be a concern for the Green.
Click HERE to read the full game preview.
GAME PREVIEW (via Stats Inc.)
Six games may separate the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference standings, but their rivalry continues to be closely-contested. The conference-leading Celtics conclude their regular-season series with the visiting Magic on Saturday afternoon.
After facing each other in each of the last two postseasons, with Orlando knocking Boston out in 2009 and the Celtics returning the favor last year, the teams have split their first two meetings in 2010-11.
The Magic (32-19) won 86-78 at home Christmas Day while the Celtics (37-12) escaped with a 109-106 victory in Boston on Jan. 17 despite 33 points and 13 rebounds from Dwight Howard.
While Orlando is chasing Miami in the Southeast Division, the Magic consider the Celtics their biggest rival.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL reporter Field Yates covers expectations for Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots' outlook, LeSean McCoy's injury and Alex Smith's contract negotiations with the Chiefs.
Play Podcast Buster Olney and Justin Havens discuss how teams that made major deals have fared since the deadline. Plus, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer on the strange circumstances caused by weather.