Celtics Will Play the Knicks in the 1st Round

Now that the playoff seeding is set, who do you think will win in the Celtics vs Knicks series?

Last Time these two teams met, it was a blood bath. Are we going to see the same thing in this series?

In my opinion this is a nightmare matchup. The Knicks have some good players, and this series could go 6 or 7 games. It will definitely be a good series, that’s for sure. This will also add another legacy to the Boston vs New York rivalry. Lets hope the Celtics can make Boston proud.

The first game of the series could be on Sunday. The Bruins who are also in the playoffs and at home, will be playing on Saturday. I don’t the TD Garden can support 2 playoff games in one day. We should know the schedule soon after tomorrow’s game versus the Knicks.

I’m not going to give any predictions, the last thing I want to do is jinx my favorite team. Shaq will be back, and the way Jermaine O’Neal played against Washington, I’m feeling optimistic.

Shaq Out Till Playoffs

Last night on Celtics Pre-game, Gary Tanguay of Comcast Sports Net New England reported that Shaq will be out till the playoffs. The Celtics feel that rest is more important than putting Shaq out there for the last 3 games of the season.

I think this is a good move on the Celtics part. Yes, we play Miami tomorrow, but it’s not worth risking any further injury to Shaq.

Jermaine O’Neal didn’t play last night against the Wizards either. Jermaine did not get injured again, the Celtics don’t want him playing on the 2nd night of a back-to-back.

The Celtics will need both O’Neal’s if they want to get back to the Finals.

Jermaine O’Neal is expected to play tomorrow against the Heat.

Celtics Beat 76ers in Possible 1st Round Matchup

With 5 games to go in the Celtics regular season, I’m going to do my game recaps differently. Since playoff time is right around the corner, and we don’t know what seed the Celtics will get. I’ll discuss where the Celtics stand after every game. After tonight, the Celtics look in very good shape heading into the playoffs.

Before tonight’s game, the Celtics were in 3rd place, and looked like the Knicks could be a first round matchup. But 3 hours later, things have changed completely.

The Celtics are now tied for 2nd in the East after a solid win over Philadelphia, 99-82. The 76ers now only hold a 1 game lead over the Knicks. Philadelphia and New York will duke it out tomorrow night for the 6 seed in the East. The winner of the game could possibly get the 6th seed heading into the playoffs.

The 76ers would be a better matchup for the Celtics. But for these 2 teams to meet in the playoffs, the Celtics will have to win most if not all of their remaining games, and 76ers to lose a few games.

From what I saw tonight, the Celtics look very good against the 76ers. They matchup well at the Power Forward and Center positions, and Rondo can easily break down the Philadelphia defense. The 76ers like to play an up tempo game, but tonight, the Celtics were the ones playing the up tempo game.

The TD Garden and Celtics were in playoff form tonight. It was a great game to watch, and a confidence boost for the Celtics. The Bench played well, and the starters finally played like a cohesive unit, thanks to Rajon Rondo. Rondo had 16 points and 13 assists. When he has a stat line like tonight, the Celtics usually win. Jermaine O’Neal had a good game, and showed why he is so important to the team. If the Celtics want to make it back to the Finals, they will need both O’Neal’s healthy.

After tonight’s win, the Celtics are still behind Chicago by 3 games for the top seed in the East, and tied for 2nd with the Miami Heat. The Celtics will be playing both teams this week. They take on the Bulls Thursday night in Chicago, and play the Heat in Miami on Sunday. 3 out of the next 5 games will be big playoff type games. If the Celtics can win against the Bulls, Heat, and Knicks, that would be a huge message being sent to the rest of the league. One thing to remember, the Celtics have the experience and the talent. With those two things, they have the edge in returning to the NBA Finals.

Jermaine O’Neal Says Shaq is OK and in Good Spirits

Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com, wrote an article on Jermaine O’Neal’s reaction to Shaq’s injury. According to Jermaine O’Neal, Shaq was in good spirits and he told Jermaine O’Neal that he was ok. According to the article, it seems that Shaq had some time to talk with the other players at halftime. Jermaine O’Neal had said that Shaq was laughing and joking with the team.

If everything Jermaine O’Neal said is true, then Shaq should be fine. Jermaine thinks that Shaq could play tomorrow against the 76ers, but knowing the Celtics they’ll probably keep him out.

Shaq is supposed to have an MRI today, and we probably won’t find out the results till tomorrow.

Here is the link to the article.

http://www.weei.com/sports/boston/this-just-in/2190916/jo-shaq-told-me-hes-ok

Celtics Give Spurs 5th Straight Loss

Before I get into last night’s game, I’d like to apologize to my viewers. Due to a family matter, I haven’t been able to post the Celtics recaps and news. This recap will be short since I couldn’t see the whole game, but I at least got to see them win. By next week I will be able to post more often.

The way the Celtics have been playing lately, many people have asked the question. Has the trade killed the Celtics chances of winning the title this year? After the last few weeks, I almost joined the doubters. But the Celtics played like this last year.

Last night the Celtics took on a battle tested San Antonio Spurs, and proved to all the doubters that the Celtics can still play at a championship level. Rajon Rondo who has not been himself, had a big game in the Celtics win. If there is one thing to take from this game, the Celtics are fine and there is no reason for concern.

In the first half the Celtics and Spurs went back and forth, exchanging leads. Everytime the Spurs would get out to a lead, the Celtics came back to tie or retake the lead. The game remained close through out the first half and both teams went into half tied at 49.

The 2nd half was just an enjoyment to watch if you’re a Celtics fan. The ball movement was fantastic, and most of the time there was a wide open shot. The Celtics offense and defense was at a really high level, and the Spurs couldn’t do anything to stop it. The Celtics took an 7 point lead into the 4th quarter 77-70.

In the last few weeks, the 4th quarter has been when the Celtics just completely fall apart. Most of their losses this year have come in the 4th quarter. Last night was a bit different. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Glen Davis took over the 4th quarter. The Spurs were simply overwhelmed by the Celtics offensive fire power. KG knocked down almost every 18 foot jump shot he attempted in the 4th. Rajon Rondo played huge in the 2nd half, and had a total of 22 points and 14 assists. Paul Pierce was being Mr.Clutch like always, and Glen Davis had a solid game off the bench.

Unlike in the last few games, the Celtics maintained the lead in the 4th. Everytime the Spurs tried to cut the lead, the Celtics would just bring the lead back up to 10.

The Celtics defense down the stretch was just encouraging to watch. The Spurs had no answers in the 2nd half. The Celtics won the game 107-97.

If the Celtics can play like that for the rest of the season, they could possibly catch the Bulls for the 1st seed in the East.

The Celtics play tonight at Atlanta vs the Hawks. The game can be seen on Comcast Sports Net New England and ESPN at 8:00pm.

Celtics Players Stats.

Kevin Garnett – 20 points 9 rebounds

Paul Pierce – 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists

Ray Allen – 13 points and 3 assists

Rajon Rondo – 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 14 assists

Jermaine O’Neal – 5 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist

Glen Davis – 16 points 8 rebounds and 1 assist

Why Celtics Fans Shouldn’t be Worried With the Team’s Recent Struggles

Lately, I’ve either read or heard Celtics fans overreact with the recent losses. I will say it right now, there is no reason to be concerned. There are 4 keys as to why the Celtics have been struggling the last few weeks.

1) With the Celtics trading 5 players away and bringing 5 new players in, there is always going to be chemistry issues. The new guys don’t know the plays on offense and defense, so not all the players are on the same page. Many people would say that the Celtics have had 4 weeks to get it right in practice. But the Celtics don’t practice often like most teams. Which brings me to key number 2.

2) The Celtics practiced for the first time as a team yesterday at their practice facility. When a team doesn’t practice, they will not perform at their highest capabilities. The last few weeks, the new guys have been practicing a lot more than the starters. As the bench is practicing together, they get used to playing with each other. When you have Paul Pierce or any other starter out there with the bench, there might be a lot of miscommunication. Also, when you have injured players returning you have to work them into the system. This leads me to the 3rd key.

3) Since the O’Neal brothers, Delonte West, Von Wafer, and Glen Davis have all missed time due to injuries, the team certainly won’t be on the same page. Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal both are coming back around the same time, which they are almost like recently signed free agents. Fortunatly for the Celtics, both O’Neal’s know the system. So when they return, they’ll fit right in.

4) The last point to why the Celtics have been struggling is, the Celtics have not played a game as a complete team. Even though there are only 11 games left in the season, the Celtics still have time to get everyone on board. And when the playoffs come around, there will be a lot more time for practices. One thing to remember, this team has a full roster of veterans, and most of them have playoff or championship experience. This team knows how to win, and has players who can come up big at crunch time.

I understand where most of the Celtics fans concern is coming from. But if you take a moment and think about last year, the Celtics played horrible in the last few months and somehow made it to the finals. That wasn’t from luck, but from experience. After last year, I refuse to doubt what this team can and can’t do. What we have been witnessing the last few years is simply amazing. So lets enjoy another run into the playoffs and for banner 18.

Danny Ainge Says Jermaine O’Neal Could be Back Next Week

According to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. Jermaine O’Neal could possibly return next week, after missing the last few months with knee surgery. According to Murphy, Jermaine O’Neal has lost 12 pounds in rehab.

Danny Ainge said that he’s been working out really hard to get back before the playoffs. Looks like all that hard work is paying off.

Quotes from Danny Ainge -

“It could be next week, which is about what we hoped for – the end of the month,” said Ainge. “He looks good. I watched him go through his workouts.”

“Jermaine just looks good,” said Ainge. “We thought he would be back at the end of this month, and that’s the way it looks right now.”

According to Danny Ainge, Jermaine O’Neal has been working out the last 3 weeks without swelling. O’Neal has also been playing 1-on-1 games with a trainer.

“That’s always the challenge,” said Ainge. “He’s been working out for that long without swelling, which is a big consideration.”

If Jermaine O’Neal can come back healthy, it will be huge for the Celtics front line. Seeing that Shaq could be back by the end of this week or later next week, my confidence in our chances of winning the championship this year is getting higher. The Celtics will need both O’Neals to fortify the interior defense against teams like the Magic or Lakers.

Are the Celtics Better Now Than They Were 2 Weeks Ago?

It has been almost 2 weeks since the Celtics traded for Green and Krstic. Are they better now than they were 2 weeks ago? The argument could be made that Kendrick Perkins hasn’t played since the trade deadline, so it would be hard to tell if the Celtics have made an improvement by trading him.

One statistic that stood out to me was that the Celtics were 4 and 3 with Perkins as a starter. That means the Celtics were 37 and 11 with Shaq or Jermaine O’Neal, and had gone on an 18 game winning streak while they were at center. Another question could be asked. Are the Celtics a better team when Shaq is the starting center? From the statistics it is a definite yes. Another key factor could be the Big 3 are healthy, and that could have contributed to their great start.

The other side of the question would be. What has Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic done to help this basketball team? For one thing, the Celtics have now become an up tempo team. Krstic runs the floor and Rondo has another option on the fast break. Krstic also doesn’t hesitate when going up for a lay up and can hit the 18 foot jump shot. Jeff Green has played very well this past week, scoring double digits in his last 2 games. Green helps out in 2 ways. He runs the floor like Krstic, which leads to easy lay ups, and most teams don’t matchup well when he is on the floor with the Big 3 and Rondo. Jeff Green has also assumed the same role as James Posey, which now the Celtics have both length and offense down the stretch in the 4th quarter.

With Perkins, the Celtics were becoming a walk the ball up the court, get into the half court offense type team. The Celtics with Perkins reminded me much like the San Antonio Spurs or Detroit Pistons of 2008. The Celtics defense was good, but they went on scoring droughts from time to time. With the new and improved Celtics team, I haven’t seen that problem many times on this 5 game winning streak. The Celtics defensive intensity hasn’t changed either. They still play good defense, and considering all the injuries they have, the defense could be a lot worse.

The last thing to point out is, Perkins hasn’t played since he got injured against Golden State. What would the Celtics record be if we didn’t make the trade? A forgotten piece in the trade was Nate Robinson, but to be honest, the way he was playing this year, I had no idea he was even on the roster.

The Celtics are 5 and 0 since Green and Krstic have become members of the team. They haven’t played anyone real good during this win streak, but the Celtics definitely look more solid than they did 2 weeks ago. The playoffs will be when we find out if the trade paid off, but looking at the teams they’ll have to go through, the Celtics match up much better.

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Shaq’s Return Soon? Or Maybe Not

About a week or 2 ago, Greg Dickerson of Comcast Sports Net New England said, that Shaq was “busting it” and had lost 15 pounds. From reports he looks great, and he would probably be playing if this was the playoffs.

Earlier this week, Shaq was supposed to return to the court. He practiced with the team, and there was no real reports of an injury setback. The Celtics had said 2 days ago that Shaq would be out indefinitely with “foot pain” or an “inflamed Achilles”. Yesterday, at Shaq’s birthday at the Science Museum, he said that he was 85 percent healthy and could return in a week. Who do you believe?

I have never heard of a player sit out because of foot pain. If Shaq was really injured, then how did he lose 15 pounds. Did he go on Nutrisystem or Weight Watchers? And if Greg Dickerson said he was busting it, then he really can’t be that injured.

Also, Glen Davis and Delonte West could be out for the next 2 games. Glen Davis did say that if it was a playoff game he would be playing. So then how injured is Davis really? Delonte West, out for the past 2 weeks with a sprained ankle?

The Celtics could very well be lying about the injury situation. Most of these injuries, especially Shaq and West, could be excuses for rest before the playoffs.

The Celtics have won 5 straight since Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic came to the team. The fact that the Celtics are 46-15 is amazing, considering the number of injuries they have. With the Celtics not playing many playoff teams this month, this would be the time for resting the injuries. In the meantime, Paul Pierce is looking like he did 10 years ago. KG looks healthier than last year, and Ray Allen looks as young as ever.

With all these injuries, Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic have been playing a lot of minutes. It’s the perfect opportunity to work them into the system, and in the last few games they looked very comfortable.

One thing is for sure. If the Celtics are playing this good without Shaq, Jermaine, and Delonte, then they will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.

Shaq’s Return Soon? Or Maybe Not

About a week or 2 ago, Greg Dickerson of Comcast Sports Net New England said, that Shaq was “busting it” and had lost 15 pounds. From reports he looks great, and he would probably be playing if this was the playoffs.

Earlier this week, Shaq was supposed to return to the court. He practiced with the team, and there was no real reports of an injury setback. The Celtics had said 2 days ago that Shaq would be out indefinitely with “foot pain” or an “inflamed Achilles”. Yesterday, at Shaq’s birthday at the Science Museum, he said that he was 85 percent healthy and could return in a week. Who do you believe?

I have never heard of a player sit out because of foot pain. If Shaq was really injured, then how did he lose 15 pounds. Did he go on Nutrisystem or Weight Watchers? And if Greg Dickerson said he was busting it, then he really can’t be that injured.

Also, Glen Davis and Delonte West could be out for the next 2 games. Glen Davis did say that if it was a playoff game he would be playing. So then how injured is Davis really? Delonte West, out for the past 2 weeks with a sprained ankle?

The Celtics could very well be lying about the injury situation. Most of these injuries, especially Shaq and West, could be excuses for rest before the playoffs.

The Celtics have won 5 straight since Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic came to the team. The fact that the Celtics are 46-15 is amazing, considering the number of injuries they have. With the Celtics not playing many playoff teams this month, this would be the time for resting the injuries. In the meantime, Paul Pierce is looking like he did 10 years ago. KG looks healthier than last year, and Ray Allen looks as young as ever.

With all these injuries, Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic have been playing a lot of minutes. It’s the perfect opportunity to work them into the system, and in the last few games they looked very comfortable.

One thing is for sure. If the Celtics are playing this good without Shaq, Jermaine, and Delonte, then they will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.