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Game Night: Mavs Face Former Teammate, Now Head Coach

by Terence Huie on January 24, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

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The Mavs finish a mini two-game road trip tonight as they look to walk in Barclays Center to get a win against the Brooklyn Nets.

The Game At Hand

JkiddWednesday night, the Mavs suffered an embarrassing defeat to the Raptors. The Mavs blew a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter thanks to an 40-point outstanding performance from Raptors’ guard DeMar DeRozan. Dallas looks to rebound with a win tonight against Coach Jason Kidd and the Nets.

The Nets led by former Mavs floor general Jason Kidd has been on a tear in mid-January. Brooklyn is currently on a 4-game winning streak, including an overtime win against the Miami Heat.

Keys To The Game

1. Advantage in the Transition Game

Brooklyn is one of the oldest teams in the league this season. The Mavs should take advantage in the transition game and run fastbreaks when granted the opportunity. The Nets are ranked 28th in transition defense this season.

2. Maintain The Momentum

Part of the reason for the Mavs losing games is losing momentum after a huge run. Just like the blown 21-point lead against the Raptors, the team made too many careless turnovers and not executing the offense. Dallas has to be more careful on offense and avoid taking contested shots.

Matchup of the Night: Kevin Garnett vs. Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk and KG are two of the greatest NBA power forwards of this era. These two big men may be past their prime, but can still get it done with their phenomenal mid-range game. It’ll be fun to see these two guys matchup against each other in the post. Dirk also returns tonight from a 1-game rest, so it’s good to know that he has fresh legs.

Quotes:

“You know, we’ve been watching [Kidd] all year and he’s doing a great job. They’ve been the best team in the league since Jan. 1, so everyone has their hands full with them right now.” - Rick Carlisle

 

“Hopefully my legs feel a little fresher tonight and I’ll be able to help the guys. It was tough watching that game. They started off so well, Toronto was sharing the ball, and then unfortunately we fell a little short down the stretch. That was definitely a tough one to watch.” - Dirk Nowitzki

When and Where:

The game starts at 6:30 CST and airs on Fox Sports Southwest.

GO MAVS!

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Mavs Shed Salary, Get Their Guys

by Ryan Wilson on June 28, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments

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Had I written this last night, it would’ve taken me quite some time to catch my breath. On a night that featured Anthony Bennett becoming the first Canadian born player to be drafted #1, that was only the beginning. Nerlens Noel, the highly regarded #1 pick going into last night dropped all the way to the New Orleans Pelicans, only to be traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for Jrue Holiday and the 2014 1st round draft pick.

Think that’s a stunner? Try this one on for size. It was reported all throughout yesterday that a deal sending Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets was just waiting on Garnett’s approval. Consider that a done deal now.

Then there were the Mavericks, flying under the radar after last night. Their main goal going into last night was finding a way to move down in the draft to shed salary. However, due to certain players drastically falling on the board, it started to look as if the Mavericks could land Trey Burke or Michael Carter-Williams. That was until the 76ers pulled the trade sending Holiday to the Pelicans. In less than 10 minutes, Burke and MCW were off the board, and the Mavericks went into “sell mode”.

The Mavericks ended up trading their 13th pick to the Celtics for their 16th pick, only to eventually trade that pick and Jared Cunningham to the Hawks for their 18th pick. Essentially, with dropping to the 18th pick, and getting Cunningham off the books, the Mavericks saved $1,092,720 in the process.

With the 18th pick of the 2013 NBA Draft the Atlanta Hawks(Picking for Mavericks) select Shane Larkin, from the University of Miami. 

Don’t think this pick will be moved ladies and gentlemen. All signs point to the Mavericks being very happy with Larkin, and have no intention on moving him.

Shane Larkin is a fierce competitor, and at only 6 feet and 170 pounds, is not one you should underestimate. He was named the ACC Player of the Year and lead the Miami Hurricanes to a 27-6 regular season record, the ACC Championship, and a Sweet 16 birth. He averaged 14.5 points, 4.6 assists and 2.0 steals in his sophomore season and even shot above 40 % from behind the arc.

He excels in the pick-and-roll game, which should fit nicely with Dirk Nowitzki and possibly Dwight Howard, if things go according to plan. He is a true gamer, and is also son of MLB legend, Barry Larkin. Rick Carlisle was a huge fan of his going into the draft night, so it seems as though he got his guy.

“Our pick-and-roll game this past year was not at the level we’re used to, so we wanted to get better in that area,” Carlisle said. “Shane’s one of the best in college basketball at doing that. A lot of people try to go under screens because of his quickness and he shot behind screens very effectively. He’ll see a lot of different coverages in this league, and what we’ve seen is that he does a good job reading situations.”

Not only did Larkin turn heads during his sophomore season, he also impressed scouts at the NBA Draft Combine last month. He had a 44-inch vertical leap, which was 1st among all players, and was also one of the fastest players as well.

It seems as though Larkin will fit in quite well with the NBA system. His consistent outside jumpshot, pick-and-roll ability, and his determination and winner mentality should help the Mavericks immediately.

“This league now is a lot about playmakers and being able to make plays off the dribble, having a feel for the game,” Carlisle said. “Speed is important. He brings some of those dynamics and characteristics. We think he’s going to help us.”

Larkin figures to come off the bench, which is no surprise to anyone that knows Rick Carlisle.

(On if Larkin is a starter in this league) “I don’t know that. I think what I said was, is I think that he’s good enough to earn playing time. We’ll see what form that takes and what form the roster ultimately takes. We like him. If we hadn’t taken at 18, he would have been gone at 19. We do know that.”

With the 43rd pick, the Milwaukee Bucks(Traded to Philadelphia to Brooklyn to Atlanta to Dallas) select Ricky Ledo, from Providence. 

R-A-W. The one word that comes to mind when you take a look at Ledo. He actually never played a minute for Providence, due to academic probation, but did practice throughout the year. This is a guy who has Lottery potential, but has some character issues to work on. If he turns into anything near the player he’s supposed to be, this will be a STEAL for the Mavericks.

At 6’6 and 200 pounds, he is your prototypical shooting guard, and boy can he shoot. His senior year of High School, Ledo averaged 23.4 points and 6.2 rebounds. He can handle the ball with the best of them, and has a quick first step, allowing him to pull back and hit the jumper or attack the rim and finish.

The Summer League will be huge in determining the type of player Ledo is or can be as a Maverick. I expect Rick Carlisle to do quite well in addressing the character issues and getting the full potential from his player, as he often does.

Please Click The Image Below To Hear MAD Mavs Radio Debut Podcast Covering Last Night’s Draft

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What’s Next?

The Mavericks will now turn their attention to finding a way to shed more salary in hopes of landing Dwight Howard. They will most likely discuss with Shawn Marion and figure out a way to keep him a Maverick, but in a more financially beneficial way. Marion must decide if he will opt in to his final year of contract by Sunday, June 30th.

 

Then the real fun will begin. Monday, July 1st marks the first day that NBA teams can court their potential free agents.

Buckle up Mavs Nation! If you thought last night was exhilarating, you haven’t seen anything yet!

 

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Who Will Man The Middle?

by Ryan Wilson on June 4, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

Let’s take a glass-half-full view of the Mavs’ offseason. That means we’ll assume that they’ll succeed in recruiting Deron Williams to come home but won’t be able to persuade theOrlando Magic to take an inferior package to ship Dwight Howard to Dallas.

If the amnesty clause is used on Brendan Haywood to create cap space as expected, how would the Mavs fill their huge hole in the middle?

They could just re-sign free agent Ian Mahinmi and pair him with Brandan Wright, but it’s hard to see the Mavs emerging as a legitimate contender without more of a presence at center. There are plenty of options in the free agent market.

A look at the most attractive available big men:

Roy Hibbert (restricted): The 7-foot-2, 260-pound Hibbert has great size and good skills. He’s only 25, so there is still room to grow in his game after he averaged 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks this season. He’d be by far the best low-post threat ever to be paired with Dirk Nowitzki. But the Pacers have the right to match any offer he gets, a ton of cap space and executive of the year Larry Bird calling the shots. If the Mavs get Hibbert, it probably means they’ve significantly overpaid another big man.

Kevin Garnett: The 36-year-old KG sure looks like he has a lot left in the tank during these playoffs. His regular-season minutes must be managed, but Garnett is still a major defensive force and good scorer and rebounder. He’ll take a pay cut after making $21 million this season and almost $300 million in his career, but Garnett won’t come cheap. It’s hard to see the Celtics letting him go when they have a chance to contend.

 

Omer Asik (restricted): Asik, the Turkish product who turns 26 on July 4, is a dominant defender, a 7-footer who can protect the rim and disrupt pick-and-rolls. He’s a very good rebounder. And he’s an awful offensive player with hands that make Haywood’s look good in comparison. Could that change with the Mavs coaching staff dedicating time to work with him? He’s also a restricted free agent, but the Bulls are already in luxury tax land and might not match a decent offer for Joakim Noah’s backup.

Marcus Camby: He’s 38 years old and doesn’t offer much offensively any more, but Camby could be an affordable stopgap solution. He’s still a defensive presence in the paint, averaging 9.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 22.9 minutes per game last season. Camby becoming a Maverick would probably mean that neither side was satisfied with what they found in the free agency market.

JaVale McGee (restricted): He tends to be comically boneheaded, but he’s a freakish athlete for a 7-footer and is talented enough to put up a 21-point, 14-rebound performance in a playoff win over the Lakers. He’s one of the league’s best shot blockers and finishers, but his basketball IQ hovers around his jersey number. He’s also only 24 years old, with the potential to be really, really good if a coaching staff can ever get through to him. Then again, he also has the potential to make an owner regret signing his paychecks every couple of weeks for the next four years.

Chris Kaman: Dirk’s German Olympic teammate would be the best offensive center in Mavs history, although his .446 shooting percentage for the Hornets last season isn’t exactly appealing. He’s a good post defender and shot blocker. He’s also injury prone, having missed major chunks of four of the last five seasons. How can the Mavs feel comfortable making a major investment in a 30-year-old with that medical record?

Brook Lopez (restricted): He’s a skilled, high-scoring young 7-footer who wouldn’t be a good fit with Dirk. The Mavs can’t afford to have a slow, subpar-rebounding, poor-defending big man on the floor with Dirk, especially if that center is expensive. Lopez missed all but five games last season, but he managed to score 38 points in a win over the Mavs.

Spencer Hawes: He’s a 24-year-old former lottery pick who has had some bright moments as the Sixers’ starting center the last two seasons, although he was injured for much of this year. But his game isn’t a good fit with Dirk’s. He’s a finesse big man who lives on long jumpers and too often doesn’t carry his weight defensively.

Robin Lopez (restricted): He’s 24 years old, stands 7 feet tall and has some experience. He’s a pretty good shot blocker and pick-and-roll finisher, but he’s slow-footed, an amazingly awful passer and a poor rebounder. He’s not a starting-caliber center.

Greg Oden: Oden might not play at all next season. Heck, he might never play again after knee injuries made the big man picked before Kevin Durant a bust in Portland. But the Mavs’ medical staff, which helped everyone forget about Tyson’s Chandler’s injury history, could give Oden his best chance at having a respectable NBA career. It’s worth a minimum-salary flyer to find out if Oden can get and stay healthy enough to become the dominant defensive presence he was expected to be.

Erick Dampier: Just checking to see if you’re still paying attention.

Tim MacMahon

ESPNDallas.com

  • Joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009
  • Covers the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks
  • Worked at Dallas Morning News for six years

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Heat Defend Home Court

by Ryan Wilson on May 31, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

The biggest postseason comeback in Miami Heat franchise history wasn’t enough.

The Heat needed more — and got it, digging deep to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

LeBron James scored 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 23 and the Heat rallied from 15 down to beat the Boston Celtics 115-111 in overtime on Wednesday night.

Mario Chalmers scored 22 for the Heat, who won despite an unbelievable night by Rajon Rondo. The Celtics guard played all 53 minutes and scored 44 points, dished out 10 assists and grabbed eight rebounds. The Heat expected Boston’s best — and the Celtics didn’t disappoint.

“This group had resolve,” Wade said of the Celtics. “They came out and played a great game. It was physical early. They brought the game to us. That can’t happen. We used our crowd and the energy to get back into the game and we had to play better.”

Paul Pierce scored 21 points, Kevin Garnett added 18 and Ray Allen 13 for Boston.

Rondo finished 16 of 24 from the floor, 10 of 12 from the foul line and made both his 3-point tries.

“He was absolutely phenomenal,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Put us, put the whole team at times on his shoulders. … We had a lot of opportunities to win the game.”

Allen’s 3-pointer with 34.3 seconds left tied the game at 99-all. James missed two shots, first a layup — he got the rebound of his own miss — and then a jumper on the final possession of regulation, and to overtime they went.

“We had to do it the tough way,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Game 3 is Friday in Boston.

The Heat had come back to win from 14 points down in playoff games twice before, first in Game 6 of the 2006 NBA finals — their title clincher — and again last season against Philadelphia.

And this one was slipping away, more than once. James missed two free throws 21 seconds into overtime, and Miami looked in trouble. But the Heat held on, in a game where they took 47 free throws — 24 by James — to Boston’s 29.

The scoring dossier in overtime began like this: Rondo scored, Heat tied it, Rondo scored, Heat tied it, Rondo scored, Heat tied it.

When Rondo missed a layup — he thought he was fouled, and the Celtics agreed — with 1:33 left, Miami took advantage, with Udonis Haslem getting a dunk to put the Heat up 105-103. And after a turnover on the next Boston possession, Wade drove the lane, hit the deck and watched as his layup bounced on the rim and dropped through.

Garnett stood over Wade and glared, to no avail. Wade hit the free throw, and Miami was up 110-105 with 59.7 seconds left.

On a night where the Heat missed 16 free throws — including at least four by James in crucial situations — they would survive.

“Now we’re going home,” Boston’s Mickael Pietrus said. “Our jersey is going to be white. They got two. Fine, good for them. But we’re going home now and you know what that means.”

Miami was down by 15 in the first half and by as many as 11 in the third quarter, before a pair of 3-pointers by James started a comeback. Wade made consecutive jumpers midway through the third to shake off a slow start to his night and get the Heat within three both times, and the 2006 NBA finals MVP set up Haslem for a three-point play with 2:55 left that gave Miami its first lead since the opening minutes, 73-71.

As Haslem’s shot dropped, Wade spun at midcourt and punched the air. More highlights followed.

Miami’s lead got to as much as seven in the third after James blocked Pierce’s shot near the rim, sending the ball high into the air and starting a sequence that was capped by a three-point play from Wade, pushing the margin to 78-71. It capped a 12-0 run for the Heat, who took an 81-75 lead into the fourth.

It was the fifth straight game where Miami outscored its opponent by double-digits in the third quarter. In each of the previous four of those outings, Miami never trailed in the final period.

That streak ended in this one.

And a call that Boston argued against played a big role in the Celtics getting the lead back.

James stole the ball from Rondo early in the fourth, drove down the court and got wrapped up by Pietrus, who was assessed a clear-path foul, meaning Miami got two free throws and the ball. James missed both foul shots, Mike Miller missed a 3-pointer later in the possession, and the lead stayed at 85-81.

Barely a minute later, it was gone. Pietrus hit a 3-pointer, Rondo followed with a steal and layup and Boston led 86-85. The Celtics led by five with 3:50 left after a jumper by Pierce, and the Celtics looked to be in control.

It was temporary. The Heat scored the next nine points, Haslem’s jumper with 1:08 remaining put Miami up 98-94. So of course, back came Boston — Allen’s 3-pointer tying the game a few moments after Pierce fouled out.

Early on, it was all Boston. Over the first 15-plus minutes, Boston was shooting 65 percent (15 for 23), Miami 27 percent (7 for 26). By halftime, Rondo had 22 points, the most anyone had scored in the first half of a playoff game against Miami since 2004.

“An incredible game,” Spoelstra said of the Celtics’ point guard.

Miami’s point guard did his best to keep the Heat close.

Chalmers had 12 in the second quarter and seven in a 14-6 Miami spurt to end the half. He hit a pair of 3-pointers during the flurry, Wade got his first points of the night on a falling-down layup with 27 seconds left and the Heat closed the margin to 53-46 by halftime.

 

Game notes

Celebrities in attendance included UCLA coach Ben Howland, rapper Flo Rida and former Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, a regular in the Heat crowd. … Celtics F Greg Stiemsma had four fouls in the first quarter, the first NBA player to do that since 2009. … Rondo’s other 22-point first half was Feb. 22, 2009 at Phoenix. … Allen, considered one of the game’s absolute best shooters for many years, said he’s been getting plenty of unsolicited advice lately on how to get rolling again. “I’ve only been doing this for 20 years,” Allen said at the morning shootaround. … Haslem (6) had more rebounds than Boston (5) in the third quarter. … Heat C Ronny Turiaf started, played the first 4:51 and did not return. Joel Anthony started the second half in Turiaf’s place.

 

 

 

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Veteran Celtics Must Show Famous Pride

by Ryan Wilson on May 21, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers loves his team’s mental toughness. It’s been on display throughout a hurdle-filled 2011-12 season. Sure, he’d love his team to take the easier route sometimes; he’s just not sure that’s possible.

“I keep saying with our team, we don’t ever do it the easy way. But I don’t know if we could,” Rivers admitted. “Sometimes I just don’t. Not because the mental [aspect], just because we are bent, and there are times that we do break, and more for other reasons than basketball.”

The latest example of upping the season’s degree of difficulty: The Celtics kicked away an 18-point second-half lead during Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night. That tied the series at 2 as it shifts back to Boston for Game 5 on Monday night at TD Garden.

Rivers chastised the Celtics after they “completely lost our discipline,” particularly on the defensive end late in Friday’s loss. But Rivers also knows that adversity has a way of bringing out the best in his team and thinks it will respond well in what’s now a best-of-three series.

“I think they’re upset, they clearly understand what happened,” Rivers said. “But you also understand that just happens. It’s happened every night [in the playoffs]. If you watched both games [Saturday] night, you’re like, ‘Wow.’ It just happens, and you move on.”

The Celtics spent a lot of time Sunday answering questions about Game 4, but captain Paul Pierce may have said it best in terms of putting the game behind them.

“It’s over. Milk is spilled, got to clean up, move on to the next game,” he said. “You can’t let it frustrate you, can’t dwell on the past. It is what it is. The series is 2-2, obviously we have to go back to Philly. But we’ve got to take care of business at home.”

Kevin Garnett also acknowledged the importance of Game 5. “It’s critical,” he said. “Nothing more, nothing less than that. We’re at home, we’ve got to win.”

Pierce said the extra day off between Games 4 and 5 probably worked against Boston this time. It’s only the second time this postseason that the Celtics have received an extra day of rest in a tightly packed schedule, but the players are eager to get back on the court and atone for the lackluster second-half effort in Game 4.

Pierce pointed to the “little things” to clean up, like doing a better job on the glass (Philadelphia out rebounded Boston 52-38), limiting second-chance opportunities (the 76ers had 17 offensive rebounds and 12 second-chance points) and winning the 50/50 game (Philadelphia out hustled and outmuscled the Celtics throughout the second half).

One chess match to watch is how the Celtics counter when the 76ers go small, often using Thaddeus Young at the 4 and rookie Lavoy Allen at the 5. Boston typically has gone small to counter the move, taking Brandon Bass off the floor and running four guards with Garnett. But that backfired Friday.

Rivers said the Celtics have to be careful about making knee-jerk reactions to one bad half.

“Honestly, if we made one mistake, we should have gone back to Bass,” Rivers said. “In the first three games, our small lineup was a better lineup than our big lineup. Statistically, in Game 4, the big lineup was better; the big lineup was what got us the lead. The big lineup at the beginning of the third got off to a good start. And both times when we went small, it hurt us.

“So that’s something as a staff we have to recognize, and it’s a tough call. We’re going to have to make a call each game, it looks like, and there’s no right or wrong to it. It’s going to have to be a gut feeling and I hope when we make it, we make the right one.”

The Celtics haven’t had to make too many tough personnel calls this postseason because they’ve been able to keep their players upright. But Rivers held second-year shooting guard Avery Bradley out of practice Sunday after his left shoulder was dislocated for the third time this postseason on Friday. Bradley toughed out the rest of the game — and is expected to start Game 5 — but his shoulder is a perfect example of the tenuous nature of the Celtics’ season.

“That’s the scariest part about our team,” Rivers said. “I’ve said it for about three months, we are very thin. That’s why games like the other night hurt you more. We don’t have a big margin for error. We don’t even have it when guys are healthy.

“Our [starters] have to play well to give our bench guys a chance to stay on the floor longer, which allows us to get more rest. There’s a minute number every game that I’m concerned by for our starters, and when they get over that we struggle.

“There’s a lot of things going on in a game every night for us that quite honestly a lot of teams don’t have to deal with. But we know that and we understand that.”

Yes, the Celtics know they’ve been forced to navigate the hard path this season. Through it all, they’ve emerged at the other end. And as Game 5 approaches, they’re confident in their chances to do the same yet again.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

  • Covered Celtics since 2007
  • Emmy award-winning videographer
  • Joined ESPNBoston.com in 2009

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Kevin Garnett, Celtics Move On

by Ryan Wilson on May 11, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

Call him old.

Call him dirty.

It just fires up Kevin Garnett even more — and that didn’t work out very well for the Atlanta Hawks in their first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics.

Upset by comments from a Hawks owner calling him “the dirtiest guy in the league,” Garnett responded with 28 points and 14 rebounds to give the Celtics an 83-80 victory in Game 6 on Thursday night that eliminated Atlanta.

“Thank you to their owner for giving me some extra gas tonight,” Garnett said. “My only advice to him is next time he opens his mouth to know what he’s talking about with X’s and O’s versus checkbooks and bottom lines.”

The Celtics will open the Eastern Conference semifinals on Saturday in Boston against the Philadelphia 76ers, who eliminated the East’s No. 1 seed, Chicago, in six games with a 79-78 victory earlier Thursday.

“At least we don’t have to travel,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who had hoped to be playing a day or two later. “I’d rather be going to Game 1 here than Game 7 in Atlanta.”

Garnett topped his regular-season high of 25 points, and had five blocks and three steals for Boston. Paul Pierce had 18 points despite playing with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, and Rajon Rondo had 14 points and eight assists.

But Garnett, who turns 36 this month, was the star, defying age and a reputation that led Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. to say within earshot of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “They are old. I know what happens when you play basketball: Old guys foul. Garnett is the dirtiest guy in the league.”

Garnett responded on the court, hitting a jumper with 31 seconds left to give Boston the lead for good.

Then he responded off it.

“I just found that comment to be a little rude and a little out of hand, and I wanted to address it,” he said. “Just because you’ve got a lot of money doesn’t mean you can open your mouth.”

Josh Smith had 19 points and nine rebounds for Atlanta, which failed to advance in the playoffs for the first time in four years. Joe Johnson had 17 points,Marvin Williams added 16 and eight rebounds and Al Horford had 15 points and nine rebounds.

But Horford missed the first of two foul shots with 2.3 seconds left after he was tackled by Marquis Daniels to avoid an easy dunk that would have tied the game. After he made the second, the Celtics got the ball to Pierce, who was fouled and made both free throws.

Boston has won at least one playoff series every year since the new Big Three was assembled in the summer of 2007.

“The one thing about the Celtics is those guys know how to win,” Williams said. “After winning (Game 5) down in Atlanta with our backs against the wall, we knew it was going to be tough coming up here. I thought we did a really good job putting ourselves in position to win down the stretch.”

The Boston crowd burst into a cheer — even the Celtics’ players were checking it out — near the end of the third quarter when the final play of the Sixers-Bulls game was shown on the scoreboard. Instead of having to face Chicago on the road — even without injured star Derrick Rose – the Celtics will have home-court advantage against eighth-seeded Philadelphia.

The Hawks went 5 minutes without scoring early in the fourth quarter as the Celtics turned a two-point game into a 74-65 lead. But Atlanta scored 10 of the next 12 points, with Horford scoring the last three baskets, making it a one-point game on an alley-oop pass from Smith with 3:52 left.

Smith faked at the top of the key and went right down the lane for a dunk that gave Atlanta its first lead of the second half, 77-76. Horford drove to the basket to give the Hawks a three-point lead.

Atlanta still led 79-78 when Garnett made a turnaround jumper in the lane over Smith to put Boston ahead by one. Smith missed a long rainbow jumper, and Ray Allen got the rebound with 10 seconds left, but he made only one of two free throws.

Johnson drove to the basket but Pierce blocked his shot and Garnett tipped it out of bounds with 3.1 seconds left. The Hawks got the ball to Horford in the lane, but as he went up for the dunk or layup, Daniels, who played just one minute in the game, wrapped him up and kept him from scoring.

The first foul shot went off the rim, costing Atlanta a chance to tie.

Game notes
Pierce injured the knee during Sunday morning’s shootaround and hurt it again when he tried to get around a screen set by Smith during Game 4 that night. … Rivers became just the third coach in Celtics history to record 50 postseason victories, joining Red Auerbach (90) and K.C. Jones (65) . New England Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork was at the game. … The Hawks lost to the Celtics in the first round of the 2008 playoffs, a series that went seven games. Boston went on to win its NBA-record 17th championship. … Allen, the NBA’s all-time 3-point leader, was 1 for 7 from beyond the arc. … The Hawks are 1-11 in playoff series against Boston. They last beat the Celtics as the St. Louis Hawks to win the 1958 NBA title. … Rondo had three assists and two baskets during a 16-0 run in the second quarter. Pierce, who came back off the bench in the middle of the run, had five points and a steal over the span of 4 minutes.

 

 

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Kevin Garnett Called Dirtiest NBA Player

by Ryan Wilson on May 10, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

Atlanta Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. was a guest speaker Wednesday at an event sponsored by the W.E.B. Du Bois Society, but he reserved some choice words for Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett.

“We don’t get any calls, which I know everybody always hears,” Gearon said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But I’ll give you a stat. Last night, we are playing this old physical team. They are old. I know what happens when you play basketball, old guys foul. [Kevin] Garnett is the dirtiest guy in the league. We are playing Boston last night and they had two fouls the whole first half. We had five times that and we’re athletic.”

In his comments at the luncheon, Gearon also complimented Hawks players Al Horford and Josh Smith for battling through injuries to make valuable on-court contributions.

“Did you see what Al Horford did (in Tuesday’s Game 5)?” he said. “The timeline for recovery for his injury is another three months. He’s not even supposed to be playing and Josh should not be playing. Zaza (Pachulia) can’t stand up, but if we can get past this round there is a chance that we can get him back. So this is a team that is overcoming adversity. I wish … some of the national media or even some of the local media, more the paper than the TV guys, recognize how hard these guys are playing based on how injured they are.”

The Celtics lead the Hawks 3-2 in an Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series. Game 6 is Thursday at 8 p.m. ET in Boston.

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Celtics Put Hawks Against Ropes

by Ryan Wilson on May 7, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

By the time Avery Bradley, who is recovering from a dislocated shoulder, sank a free throw to give the Boston Celtics a 37-point lead early in the third quarter, Paul Pierce was done for the night, riding a stationary bicycle under the stands and trying to keep his sore left knee from stiffening up.

Ray Allen went to the bench soon after to rest his ailing right ankle. He grabbed a seat near Kevin Garnett, who is about to turn 36 and played 42 minutes in the previous game — surpassing 50,000 total minutes in the regular season and playoffs in his 17-year NBA career.

“We had a lot of things going on on our bench today with bodies,” coach Doc Rivers said on Sunday night after the Celtics coasted to a 101-79 victory over the Atlanta Hawks to take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven playoff series. “The whole game I kept looking down there (to see if) there were enough guys to put in the game.”

Pierce scored 24 points in 18 minutes before heading to the stationary bicycle in the tunnel leading to the locker room, getting some much-needed rest after the Celtics scored 16 of the first 18 points in the second half.

Boston can close out the Hawks with a victory in Game 5 on Tuesday night in Atlanta. Game 6 would be in Boston in Thursday, if necessary.

“Their team set the tone from the jump ball and we weren’t able to recover,” said Al Horford, who played for the first time in almost four months and scored 12 points. “It’s disappointing for us to lose this way, but the good thing is we’re going back home. It’s 3-1 and I’m sure a lot of people are writing us off already. But we feel pretty good about going back home.”

Horford returned from a torn pectoral muscle that has kept him out since Jan. 11, but he wasn’t available in the fourth quarter. Josh Smith returned after missing Friday’s game and had 15 points and 13 rebounds for Atlanta. Tracy McGrady, a key contributor in the first half of Game 3 before turning his ankle, played just nine minutes and scored two points.

“We were beaten in every phase of the game,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “We just didn’t respond very well. I haven’t seen that type of performance in our team in quite some time.”

Two nights after Rajon Rondo had a triple-double to help turn back the Hawks in overtime, he may have been even better, scoring 20 points with 16 assists. The point guard shot 8 for 11 from the floor, sinking a pair of 3-pointers to tie a career high.

Perhaps the biggest boost of all for the aging and injured Boston lineup: Rondo and Brandon Basswere the only Celtics to play more than 30 minutes.

“That time on the bench was good time,” said Allen, who missed more than three weeks with bone spurs before returning for 37 minutes in Game 3. “It was good we played the way we did early. We’ve got to manage our bodies.”

Pierce limped off the court favoring his left knee midway through the second quarter, but he returned for the start of the third. He was on the court as Boston went on a 16-2 run to start the second half and open an 80-37 lead with 8:13 left in the third quarter.

That was enough to earn Pierce, who played 47 minutes on Friday and tweaked his knee during Sunday’s shootaround, some much-needed rest. Bradley, who dislocated his shoulder in Game 3, played just 19 minutes Sunday and Allen sat down after scoring 12 points and pulling down five rebounds in 19 minutes in Game 4.

“We overplayed them the last game, gave them the day off and they came out with this effort,” Rivers said. “I think over the long run … if you can get two or three of these games, it has to help.”

The teams went to the locker rooms at the half with Boston holding a 63-41 lead. But during the break, the officials reviewed a jumper by Allen and changed it from a 2-pointer to a 3-pointer. Rondo hit a 3-pointer to open the third quarter, giving Boston a 26-point lead, then Bass made a jumper and Pierce hit a 3 to make it 72-41.

By the time the Hawks recovered, Boston led 80-43 and Rivers was emptying his bench. Pierce tried to keep his legs moving in case he was needed again.

He wasn’t.

Now he’s hoping for a long break if the Celtics can eliminate the Hawks in five games.

“The NBA is a weird league, and one game could give a team confidence,” said Pierce, who tripped over a teammate’s foot in the shootaround and aggravated the injury when he came off a screen in the game. “We hope that we can take them and advance in the series in the next game.”

The Hawks weren’t able to get any closer than 22 points before Rondo and Allen hit back-to-back 3-pointers, then Rondo made a behind-the-back fake to clear out the lane for an easy layup as Boston closed out the third quarter with a 90-63 lead.

Atlanta did cut it to 20 points in garbage time before Keyon Dooling made a 3-pointer with just under 2 minutes to play.

Game notes
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney attended the game with his wife, Ann. They left their mid-court seats with about 6 minutes left and Boston leading 98-71. … The Celtics shot 64 percent in the first half. … Rondo was 7 for 22 on Friday, when he had his seventh career playoff triple-double.

 

 

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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