Friday, November 30, 2012

Previewing the Blazers

The Portland Trailblazers come to town tonight to face the Celts, a team that Boston has had control over in recent history. The Celtics have won five straight against the Blazers, and have taken the last eight games in Boston against Portland. In order to keep that streak alive, Doc Rivers will have to rely more on veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to step up in the absence of the suspended Rajon Rondo. A tough task with the way that Rivers has been managing both of his aging stars minutes thus far in the season.

Leandro Barbosa is expected to make the start at point guard in Rondos place, robbing fans of the expected showdown at the position between Rondo and Portland's top rookie Damian Lillard. Lillard was taken sixth overall in the NBA draft by the Blazers out of little known Weber State, and has displayed the ability to be a heavy contributor right away. Barbosa will now draw the matchup with Lillard, who is averaging 19.1 PPG and 6.1 APG so far in his campaign for Rookie of the Year. Portland has a 6-9 record on the young season, but have displayed the ability to pick up big wins. To make matters worse for Boston, forwards Jeff Green (knee) and Chris Wilcox (illness) are both questionable for tonights contest. If the Celtics are going to continue their recent trend against the Blazers, they are going to need their Veterans to step up and play well tonight.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Aftermath: Brawling in Beantown

It has just been announced that Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo will serve a two game suspension for his actions Wednesday night against the Brooklyn Nets. No word yet on suspensions for any of the other players involved. Immediate reaction certainty suggests that Doc Rivers' squad dodged a bullet on this one, as most estimates had Rondo's suspension as high as five games for his role in the scuffle that spilled into the crowd at the TD Garden.

Kris Humphries tweeted the above after the Brooklyn Nets collected the win. As most fans have taken a stance behind Rondo, and defended his toughness, this is a struggling team with a frustrated point guard. Rondo losing his cool against the Nets is nothing for fans to cheer about. They will be without their leader now Friday against Portland and Saturday against Milwaukee, and will threaten to drop below .500... indefensible actions if you ask me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Suspension coming for Rondo

Games don't get much uglier than they did Wednesday night at the Garden if your'e a Celtics fan. Doc Rivers has had the team focusing strictly on defense the last three days of practicing, and it showed. The Nets shot a mere 40% from the field, and a brutal 65% from the free throw line. The problem is the Celtic forgot to show up on the offensive end, scoring only 83 points on 43% shooting of their own. All of this was overshadowed by an altercation during the last minute of the first half during a Kris Humphries hard foul on Kevin Garnett. After Garnett went to the floor, Rajon Rondo got in the face of Humphries and shoved him. Humphries retaliated and things escalated. Rondo and Humphries were ejected from the game (ending Rondo's double digit assist streak at 37), Gerald Wallace and Kevin Garnett also received technical fouls for the scuffle (Wallace was ejected as well because it was his second technical of the game). Suspensions are in the near future for most of the players involved. Rather than using this as inspiration for the second half, the Celtics came in flat out of the locker room and Brooklyn ran away with it. So once again we did not get to see the point guard matchup we all wanted to see between Rondo and Deron Williams, but tonight proved that the Nets are for real. They played hard on defense, and showed that they have the depth to compete in what may now be the deepest division in the NBA. Andre Blatche, Jerry Stackhouse, and C.J. Watson combine for 47 points off the bench, and easily picked up the slack after the departures of Humphries and Wallace. The Celtics on the other handle struggled to get the offense on track with Rondo missing, and a horrible night from Paul Pierce did not help. Pierce was 4-13 from the field and only 6-11 from the free throw line. Needless to say the Christmas day game in Brooklyn between the two just got a lot more interesting after the brawl tonight. But with the Nets 2-0 this season against the Celtics, this time it will be the Celtics trying to prove that they are still in the mix to compete in the East.
Not many predicted the Brooklyn Nets would be arriving in Boston on November 28th looking down at the Celtics in the standings, but that is exactly where they find themselves. Tonight Boston will look to avenge their November 15th loss at the hands of the Nets (at the new astounding Barclays Center in Brooklyn), a loss many Celtics fans shook off after Rajon Rondo was unable to play in the meeting due to an ankle injury. But these are no longer the lowly New Jersey Nets, this Brooklyn team is here to stay. The Nets find themselves arriving against a hot Celtics team that was able to get an impressive victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the TD Garden on Friday night. Truth be told tonight will be a very telling matchup between two Atlantic Division powers, and with Rondo now at full strength, we will get a full indication of where the teams stand in the Eastern Conference.