Boston Celtics: 2013Game42

Simmons: C's-Knicks photo diary

January, 25, 2013
From Grantland's Bill Simmons:
I have very few rules in life, but here's one of them: Anytime a Knicks-Celtics grudge match causes Carmelo Anthony to hire a bodyguard, Boston fans to wave Honey Nut Cheerios boxes, the NBA to assign Dick Bavetta AND Joey Crawford, and my dad to say the words, "I feel like the entire season is on the line tonight," I have to create a totally new gimmick for a column. Introducing the Retro-Photo Diary!

Live by the jumper ...

January, 25, 2013
AM ET's shooting chart vs. the Knicks.
These Celtics live and die with perimeter jumpers and, well, on Thursday night nothing was falling for Boston. From our friends at ESPN Stats and Info:
The Celtics shot a season worst 7 of 32 (21.9 percent) for 17 points on shots at least 15 feet from the basket on Thursday. When the Celtics have won this season, they have averaged more than 40 points per game from such distance.

Exactly how bad was it? Boston shot 21.9 percent overall from 15+ feet -- its worst percentage this season and it's 3-point percentage was 16.7 percent, second worst this year.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers chalked some of it up to playoff-level intensity on defense.

"Our offense hasn’t been great, but no one’s offense was good [on Thursday]," said Rivers. "This was a hard-played game, this was a playoff-type game. Baskets were hard to come by, guys were flying out at each other. This is the way the playoffs look.

"All you hope is that you make your open shots. And we just didn’t. [Jason Terry is] struggling right now, I thought he had -- 1-for-6 [shooting] and four of them were point-blank, wide-open looks. Paul had a couple. I think Kevin missed a couple right at the basket. That's just the way it goes. It’s a make/miss league; With effort, it’s a make/miss league. If you play with great effort every night, then the game will come down to if you make your open shots."

Point guard Rajon Rondo admitted the Celtics have to be more aggressive going at the basket as this offense struggles to put up consistent points.

"We have to get some easier looks, convert in transition, and convert on turnovers as well. Somebody else besides Paul has to get to the free throw line. We've got to still stay aggressive and attack. We're a jump-shooting team, but we can all draw fouls."

Added Kevin Garnett: "I think as of late, we're just not hitting our shots and shots we're usually taking, shots we're comfortable with, are not going in, they're not falling for us. But it's like one thing after another. We were having problems with our defense, kind of fixed that a little bit and really got that under control a little bit. Now it's the offense. We've got to find a way to get some easy buckets. But we've just got to keep going at this thing. It's not time to panic. Definitely don't point fingers around here. We're a working group and we're going to continue to be."

Captain can't get wayward C's on course

January, 25, 2013
A look at headlines from the Boston Celtics' 89-86 loss to the New York Knicks last night at TD Garden, including Paul Pierce still fighting a slump; Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony play nice this time; and Rajon Rondo's triple-double spoiled:

And a look at how things are playing with our friends at ESPN New York:

Rapid Reaction: Knicks 89, Celtics 86

January, 24, 2013
AP Photo/Charles KrupaRajon Rondo posted his fourth triple-double of the season on Thursday at TD Garden.
BOSTON -- Rapid reaction after the New York Knicks defeated the Boston Celtics 89-86 on Thursday night at TD Garden:

Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 28 points on 11-of-28 shooting to go along with 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals over 41 minutes. Amar'e Stoudemire added 15 points and nine rebounds off the bench, while J.R. Smith -- ice-cold for much of the night -- hit a monster 3-pointer with 1:11 to go as New York secured its first win in Boston since 2006 (snapping an 11-game losing streak). Rajon Rondo produced the 27th career triple-double of his career, registering 23 points (on 10-of-19 shooting) with 11 assists and 10 rebounds over 40:24. It was Rondo's fourth triple-double of the season and his 20th in a nationally televised game. Paul Pierce scored a season-high 19 points in the first half, but finished with 22 overall. The Celtics had no other scorer in double figures as Kevin Garnett finished with eight points and 12 rebounds in 36 minutes.

The Celtics trailed by as many as 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but leaned on their defense to chip away at the lead. Rondo took over and -- after feeding Avery Bradley and Garnett for layups -- produced consecutive buckets to make it 84-82 with less than four minutes to play. Bradley missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer and Garnett missed a short jumper with a chance to tie it soon after. Smith, who had missed 13 of his previous 15 shots, made it sting when he drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing to put the Knicks out front 89-84 with 71 seconds to play. Boston got back within three, only to turn the ball over with a final chance to tie the game.

After Garnett spilled to the floor trying to complete a third-quarter alley-oop, it was Anthony -- of all people -- who offered a hand to help pick him up. After all the hoopla in New York, the two played nice on Thursday and Garnett actually got under the skin of Tyson Chandler more than Anthony on this night.

On the heels of the KG-Melo circus in New York, TD Garden did its best to limit the Honey Nut Cheerios references in the crowd, removing posters and T-shirts depicting the breakfast cereal. One fan held up a "Honey Nut Carmelos" T-shirt on the JumboTron and was promptly told to keep it out of sight or be removed from the game. Anytime a reference to the cereal appeared on the JumboTron, the camera quickly panned away. Clearly the arena staff was trying its best to prevent any carryover this time around.

And if the Cheerios crackdown wasn't enough, the Celtics bizarrely responded to a comment made on TNT's national broadcast suggesting the arena piped in fake noise. The Celtics tweeted: "Regarding comments on tonight's @NBAonTNT broadcast, the @Celtics have never used artificial crowd noise."

The Celtics (20-22) have now dropped a season-high five straight games to fall two games under .500 and seven games back of the Knicks in the Atlantic Division. Boston yet again endured some maddening offensive lulls, essentially spoiling the solid defensive effort (the Knicks shot 38.6 percent overall and a mere 28.6 percent beyond the 3-point arc). Alas, Boston shot only 40.8 percent and really struggled to consistently put points on the board. The Celtics fly to Atlanta after the game for the second night of a back-to-back on Friday against the Hawks. Boston is back at TD Garden on a Sunday for a matinee against the rival Miami Heat in Ray Allen's first game back in Boston.

W2W4: Celtics vs. Knicks (Game 42 of 82)

January, 24, 2013
Elsa/Getty ImagesRajon Rondo and the Celtics will look to contain Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks on Thursday.
The Boston Celtics (20-21, 13-8 home) host the New York Knicks (25-14, 11-8 away) on Thursday night at TD Garden (8 p.m., TNT). Here's what to watch for:

* EYES ON MELO-KG II: Given the extracurriculars between Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony in the first meeting in New York earlier this month, the two will be in the spotlight on Thursday. Both have downplayed any lingering animosity, particularly given that they will be teammates in the Eastern Conference frontcourt next month at the All-Star game in Houston and -- with their teams struggling -- neither can afford to get caught up in any individual drama. Expect the usual New York-Boston physicality, but it likely stays between the lines this time.

* SYNERGY SNAPSHOT: The Knicks are one of the league's most efficient offenses -- aided by their 3-point shooting -- as New York averages 0.976 points per play, which ranks fourth in the league, according to Synergy Sports data. In fact, the Knicks rank among the top 10 in 10 of the 11 play types logged by Synergy, including second in spot-up shooting (1.065 points per play) and sixth in both isolation and transition. Anthony has been nothing short of spectacular averaging 1.049 points per play and ranking in the 93rd percentile overall. Both Tyson Chandler (1.214 ppp) and Steve Novak (1.205 ppp) rank in the 99th percentile, offensively. At the other end of the floor, the Knicks sit 21st on defense while allowing 0.937 points per play and -- outside of Chandler (0.763 ppp, 86th percentile) -- don't have a strong individual defenders among their top rotation players.

* BOSTON NEEDS TO BE OFFENSIVE: The Celtics' offense the last four games has been downright anemic. We detailed it our game preview, but here's an excerpt highlighting the team's offensive woes: Boston is averaging a mere 0.816 points per play over the last four games and that number plunges to 0.753 points per play in halfcourt sets, according to Synergy data. By means of comparison, the Washington Wizards are 30th in the NBA averaging 0.859 points per play for the season, including a league-worst 0.829 points per play in halfcourt sets.

* GOTTA HAVE IT: The Celtics are navigating a season-worst four-game losing streak that's dropped them a game below .500 as they make the turn to the back nine of the 2012-13 season. Coach Doc Rivers has already threatened a roster shakeup if Boston doesn't play with more consistency and this is a key three-game stretch with games looming against a trio of East playoff foes (including a tough back-to-back on Friday in Atlanta before Ray Allen returns to Boston with the Heat on Sunday). How will the Celtics respond to a high level of competition while desperate to turn around their season?

* BUILDING OFF FIRST MEETING: Lingering questions from the first meeting: Can Jeff Green be as aggressive, especially when Steve Novak is on the floor? Will Boston withstand New York's 3-point barrages? Can a visit from the Knicks help Paul Pierce emerge from his shooting funk? After missing the first meeting while suspended, how does Rajon Rondo respond in the rematch?



Jared Sullinger
14.1 2.2 0.7 28.8
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsE. Turner 4.4
StealsM. Smart 1.1
BlocksK. Olynyk 0.7