2014 Free Agency

Game Time: San Antonio vs Boston

In Game Log / Recap on December 3, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Good matchup tonight … but it should be a comfortable win for the Celtics

Notes

  • No Manu Ginobili tonight. The Spurs aren’t an elite team without him. More like a 50-55 win squad, a good-to-very good team. Unfortunately, the Spurs defense is still a work in progress so their current form is a little below that level.
  • Edit: Manu will play tonight … the Spurs do have a decent chance of winning. I thought he was still out injured. The Spurs remain an underdog but a they have a respectable shot at winning.
  • The Celtics are the single best low post defensive squad in the NBA. They simply do not lose to post scorers to beat them. It doesn’t happen. Look at the previous two seasons and see how many games they’ve lost where a post player was the leading offensive scorer/threat, it’s a tiny number.
  • Kendrick Perkins is the best low post defender in the game. KG and Rasheed are two excellent post defenders who have good track records against Tim Duncan. The C’s also have another very good post defender in Glen Davis but he’s not healthy enough to play yet.
  • Watch him closely tonight. He’s the fourth/fifth best player on the Celtics … compare how large his impact is versus the Spurs 4th or 5th best body.
  • Rajon Rondo and Tony Parker is a good matchup. I rate both as top five point guards (Billups, Paul, Deron). Rajon Rondo’s defense has been suspect for a few weeks … but playing against TP could spark him back into life.

Lineups

  • Spurs — Parker + Bogans + RJ + McDyess + Duncan
  • Celtics — Rondo + Ray + Pierce + KG + Perk

First Quarter

  • RJ clearout left wing, Jefferson settles for the face up jumper, rims in and out. 18 feet out.
  • Ray Allen runs off a screen along the baseline, to the corner, Rondo hits him, Ray fires up a three pointer, miss. Good look.
  • Spurs post up Tim Duncan, one dribble left, right post, Perk a little off balance, Duncan pulls up quickly from 14 feet, hits it. Nice shot.
  • Tim Duncan with the wrap-around slap to knock the ball away from Perkins in the low post … fastbreak, missed layup, Duncan tip, missed tip … Celtics come back down the other way, Rondo nails a jump shot.
  • RJ on the pick and roll with Duncan on the left sideline, Perkins doesn’t show, RJ goes right to the rim and dunks it home. No help. Poor defense.
  • Pierce knocks down a three pointer from the left wing with the shot clock winding down.
  • Ray Allen creating off the bounce, top of the key, dribbles right, spins left, gets a step on Bogans, holds him on his hip, pulls up from 7 feet, hit on the elbow, foul, and he makes the shot. Three point play.
  • Spurs get nothing going off the two cross screens by Duncan on McDyess … 10 seconds left on the shot clock … nothing on, Parker tries to pass to the wing but Bogans began to cut, miss-placed pass, turnover.
  • Perkins slaps the ball away from Duncan in the post, Pierce has it, fastbreak, ahead to Ray Allen, slam dunk.
  • 8-0 run by Boston over the last two minutes. They’re ahead 10-4.
  • Tony Parker squeezing his way into the paint, Pierce slides down to draw the charge off the right block. Nice defense.
  • Oh, pretty pass, extra pass by KG to Perkins off the pick adn roll with Pierce after Duncan (defending Perk) had to rotate over, Perk finishes the layup.
  • Timeout San Antonio — 12-4 Celtics.
  • Tony Parker hits a baseline jumper from 18 feet. Open shot. Nice pass by DUncan.
  • Pierce working the screen and roll with Perkins again, drives into the middle of the paint, forces the defense to collapse, passes it back to a cutting Perk, fouled. Perk misses both FTs.
  • RJ pick and pop with Duncan, great help by KG (Dice high left post, Duncan high right post, poor spacing, easy help) … Duncan decides to create off the bounce and makes a jump shot.
  • Great transition defense by KG and Pierce to force the turnover on RJ at midcourt
  • Pick and pop with McDyess, left sideline, 20 footer, misses. A little too far out, Dice should try for a 16-17 footer instead of that shot.
  • Spurs post up Duncan, left post, Perk denying the middle, turnaround J, going away from the basket, 14 footer heavily contested, hits it! Great shot-make by Duncan. Tough shot.
  • Ah poor job by Perkins jumping out on Duncan on the pick and pop, Duncan wasn’t doing anything, Perk slow to react, then over-aggressive on the close out, Duncan just dribbles around Perk … goes left, into a crowd, loses the dribble, turnover … fastbreak, Rondo on the breakaway, layup.
  • Tony Parker catches the C’s defense sleeping, blows by his man to the rim, Perk forced to foul.
  • Ginobili and Bonner have entered the game.
  • Ginobili runs off a screen on the right block, wide open, 10 feet of open space on that catch, three pointer right wing, nope he passes it up!
  • Next possession, Ginobili takes that same shot, right sideline/wing, three pointer, misses.
  • Boston misses a long shot, long rebound, Parker has it, long bounce pack ahead of the trailing pack to a streaking Richard Jefferson, slam dunk!
  • Celtics defense hasn’t gotten much joy the last few possessions … clearout for Pierce on the left wing, he tries to drive, Bonner helping off Duncan closes the lane to the paint, out to KG, passes it back to Paul, quick spin move baseline to beat RJ, draws the foul. Sideline inbounds, Rondo drive and kick to KG, 21 footer, nails it.
  • Parker and Duncan on the high screen and roll, drives right, kicks it out to the left wing to Matt Bonner as KG looks to help, three pointer, misses. Good shot just didn’t go in.
  • Boston lead 18-14
  • Wallace into the game … Rondo with the nice pass to Pierce for the easy hoop … Wallace has 8 technicals already. Wow, those last four came quickly.
  • Sheed defending Duncan very well on the drive off the left wing, driving hook going across the paint, misses. Offensive rebound, George Hill takes the pull up J off the dribble from 17 feet, misses.
  • Sheed on the low post, right box, quick face up/turnaround J without dribbling, Duncan fouls. Three point play.
  • Boston ahead 23-14 with one minute and change remaining
  • Ginobili pick and roll right wing, takes the pull up jumper, misses … turnover Boston, Hill and Finley with a nice two man play there, Hill dribbling up court, passes to Finley on the left wing, runs to left corner, only one defender so he sticks with the ball, Hill wide open three pointer out of the corner in transition, misses.
  • Marquis Daniels brings the ball up, very good pressure defense by Ginobili, later in the play, Ginobili deflects the hand off pass from Wallace to Daniels out of bounds.
  • Celtics miss a long shot, Blair goes up for the rebound but tips the ball into his own basket by accident.
  • Ginobili holds it for the final shot of the quarter, creating one-on-one, step back jumper from the top of the key, misses.

Second Quarter

  • Boston leads 25-15
  • Doc Rivers says that the Celtics want to stay one-on-one with everyone on the Spurs. Double teaming will be a last resort.
  • Sheed draws a foul, splits a pair at the stripe.
  • Manu Ginobili with the cut backdoor as his defender overplays the passing lane, nice pass, easy layup. Finley made the pass.
  • Excellent pass by Pierce to Sheed, pick and roll, fouled at the rim, more FTs.
  • Ginobili creating one-on-one vs Daniels, top of the key, drives right, takes a running shot, misses it … Daniels misses on the drive in transition
  • Drive and kick to Finley for a deep three, missed shot.
  • Pick and pop between Ray and Sheed, Sheed left wing, misses the three pointer.
  • Reggie Miller — “I’d put Sheed down in the post every time against the rookie DeJuan Blair if I was Doc Rivers” — great matchup for Boston.
  • Wallace posts up left post, turnaround J on the baseline, good look, but misses.
  • Blair gets back to back tap ins on the offensive glass. That’s given some energy to the Spurs fans + players.
  • Scalabrine passes on the shot after a nice pump fake and dribble left, Ray Allen is forced to take a heavily contested 19 footer on the baseline as a result, hits it. Tough, tough shot.
  • Boston leading 29-21 after three minutes … nice pass by Ginobil, bounec pass from the baseline to the cutter going down the right wing, off the pick and roll, Blair makes the shot + draws the foul.
  • Good hands by San Antonio to knock that ball loose from Ray Allen after he curled around the off the ball screen, made the catch, and was heading to the rim.
  • Ginobili checks out of the game — he has played very well. Spurs best player so far. Created some havoc offensively + defensively.
  • Daniels misses a pull up jumper from 16-17 feet.
  • Daniels knocks the ball loose from Finley, Finley retrieves it, gets the step on Daniels, blows by Marquis into the paint, slam dunk, nah finger roll, nice first step by Finley. Good drive.
  • House bangs home a three pointer from the left wing
  • A lot of sloppy passes + near turnovers. There’s been a lot of good defense but sloppy play is the main cause for some of these.
  • George Hill with the pretty reverse layup in transition after blowing by House and then using his body to bump Wallace off in mid-air (draw the foul) to stop the shot blocker and hits the layup.
  • Celtics lead 32-29 with seven minutes remaining in the first half
  • Spurs are 1-7 from the FT line
  • Rajon Rondo has checked back. It feels like he was sitting for a long time. Rondo has to take a 19 footer with the shot clock ticking down, miss.
  • Spurs going under all Rondo picks in the pick and roll. Trying to get him to shoot jump shots.
  • Rondo right sideline, KG sets the pick, Perk behind KG to set another screen, Rondo dribble drive into the paint, around the lane, under the rim as Duncan follows + denies the layup attemp, Rondo going all around the world, kicks it back out to KG who stayed on the right wing, 19 footer, KG hits it!
  • KG wide open from 19 feet right elbow extended, too eager to pass to House for the shot, doesn’t draw the defender to him before the pass, creates a more contested shot for House, misses. Either take the open shot or show a little more patience on the pass.
  • Ray Allen front rims a jump shot, McDyess pulls down the rebound, nice pressure defense by KG off the rebound to deny the quick outlet + slow the Spurs down.
  • Garnett left block against Dice, drives left, spins back right, fallaway, well contested by Dice, missed shot, loose ball foul by Perkins on the rebound (elbow to Duncan’s head). KG has a huge length advantage of Dice in the post, no need to over-work himself in the post with difficult spinning shots.
  • McDyess 18 footer top of the key, misses the shot.
  • Rondo wheeling and dealing, back to KG, 19 footer, pump fake, drive and dish to Perk, layup + foul. Beautiful basketball by Garnett.
  • Tony Parker twisting his way to the hoop, nice drive, draws the foul.
  • Ray Allen with a nice baseline cut, great pass (KG?), fouled on the layup attempt.
  • Tony Parker drives into the paint, floater, misses. Roger Mason Jr missed a shot on the play before.
  • Paul Pierce drives a foul on Ginobili while creating off the bounce from the top of the key
  • Boston lead 41-32 with two and a half minutes to play
  • Rondo driving from the left wing, down the baseline, kicks it out, telegraphs his pass … both Dice and Ginobili jump on the pass, turnover, Ginobili layup … inbounds quickly, long pass ahead, less the four seconds off the shot clock before Boston gets a layup. Poor play by San Antonio getting back after the transition layup.
  • Drive and kick to KG for the 20 footer on the left wing, hits it!
  • Duncan posts up Garnett, Garnett denying middle, Duncan doesn’t got baseline, kicks it out … contested baseline J, air ball, rebound KG, outlet KG, Rondo to Perk, layup. Great fastbreak.
  • Celtics on a 10-2 run over the past three minutes … lead 47-34
  • Ginobili left wide open on the right wing/corner, nails a three pointer. Pierce got caught in a Dice screen and Perk didn’t rotate out.
  • Drive and kick to Garnett for a 17 footer on the left wing, miss … fastbreak Spurs, Ginobili running the break, Celtics lackadaisical coming back down, to Parker, layup.
  • Rondo heave at the buzzer, misses.

Halftime

  • Boston leads 47-39
  • Celtics are 18-39 from the field (46%), 2-10 from downtown, and 9-13 from the FT line. They have 12 assists on their 18 baskets.
  • Spurs are 18-44 from the field (41%), 1-8 from downtown, and 2-9 from the foul line. They have 9 assists on their 18 buckets.
  • Spurs have scored five points off five turnovers. Celtics have seven off of seven.
  • Spurs lead 8-5 in fastbreak points (that stat feels wrong).
  • Tim Duncan has only 6 points on his 9 shot attempts. He does have 10 first half rebounds though.
  • Tony Parker has 9 points on 7 shots + 4 Fts but only 2 assists and 1 rebound.
  • Ginobili has struggled with his shot going 3-8 for seven points but he’s looked active + creative offensively and defensively. The Spurs look a different team when he’s on the floor, as always.
  • Bogans and McDyess are scoreless. Bogans hasn’t gotten a shot up. Dice missed two in ten minutes. Worse still, Dice has only one rebound in 10 minutes.
  • Matt Bonner and Blair came in and put up 6 rebounds in 12 minutes.
  • Rebounding is fairly even, Spurs slightly ahead 22-21, largely behind Duncan’s great board work.
  • The Spurs perimeter players have a combined five rebounds in 59 minutes. That’s one rebound every 12 minutes. Pathetic … they need to step up and give Duncan some more help as the game goes on.
  • Rajon Rondo has 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 4 points in 18 minutes. Ray Allen and Perkins have 9 points apiece. Garnett added 8 points. Pierce has another seven points but he’s been quiet after a good start.

Third Quarter

  • Boston leads 47-39
  • Perkins low post, short shot in the paint, Duncan gets a piece of it, miss.
  • Great job by by KG closing out on Duncan at the top of the key, arms out wide, took away the passing lanes, forced Duncan to put the ball on the floor, take a dribble and create the passing lane for the corner shot allowing the defense time to recover to the corner.
  • Ray Allen give and go with KG in the low post, left block, cuts middle, layup
  • Tim Duncan knocks down the face up jumper
  • Pierce misses a three pointer from the right wing, good close out by Duncan.
  • Duncan left wing, drives left on Perk, dribbles back out as Perk beats him to the spot, on the perimeter now, drive and kick, poor spacing, Dice misses the shot, blocked by Perkins as he rotated out on Dice. Very good defense by Perk on Duncan, terrible offense by Timmy.
  • Jefferson with the lob pass to Duncan but TD misses the layup. Nice pass, great hands by Duncan to control it too.
  • Rondo steals it in the backcourt, sets it up for Pierce, dunk attempt, Duncan blocks it, Spurs run the other way … foul on Rondo.
  • Rondo steals the inbounds pass, breakaway layup, timeout San Antonio. Great activity by Rondo defensively. Jefferson threw the poor inbounds pass.
  • Boston leads 53-41 after three and a half minutes.
  • Pierce misses another three pointer, good look though, Tony Parker pushes the ball hard on the break, right down the middle to the rim, hits the layup
  • Perkins offensive rebound, stripped by Dice, retrieves it. Perk out-muscled Duncan on the glass there. Kicks it out to Ray Allen who hits a jump shot.
  • Nice give and go between Bogans and Duncan, layup, miss.
  • Oh, pretty wrap around pass on the drive to the rim to Tim Duncan, layup. Parker with the pass.
  • Ginobili has checked back in for Bogans
  • Garnett posting up right box, dribbles slowly towards middle, turnaround shot in the paint, draws the foul and hits the shot. KG has 13 points (6-9), 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
  • Boston lead 58-45 as we near the midway point in the third quarter — do or die time for San Antonio? They need to keep this within shooting distance.
  • Duncan hits a jump shot
  • Oh, nice give and go with Rondo and KG out of the post again, layup. Rondo went baseline on that cut.
  • Ginobili turns the ball over on a dribble drive on the next possession. Fifth Spurs turnover in the quarter vs one for Boston.
  • Pierce posting up Jefferson, great defense, forces Pierce to give it up to Ray, RJ switches onto Ray, contested jumper, Ray hits it anyway. 15 point game.
  • Tim Duncan with a nice move and soft touch on the left side of the rim. Basket.
  • Garnett putting moves on Blair down in the post, Duncan doubles, KG kicks it out, missed jumper, Manu rips down the rebound, Garnett clotheslines Manu by accident going for that loose ball. Apologizes after the play.
  • Good job by Rondo running Tim Duncan off that jumper, but Perk doesn’t close out well enough, Duncan takes him off the bounce, basket.
  • Alley-oop Rondo to Garnett, slam dunk! First pass of the halfcourt offense there by Rondo, right after he dribbled upcourt.
  • Michael Finley pull up jumper from the FT line, misses, rebound Duncan, kickout, to Ginobili, three pointer, good! Celtics lead back down to 10.
  • Pierce travels, turnover, and he sits now. Pierce hasn’t played well here in the second half.
  • Ginobili misses a three pointer on the right wing, slow fastbreak by Boston, Rondo threads a beautiful pass through a crowd, Daniels layup
  • Turnover, stolen by Garnett, poor pass ahead to Rondo but Rondo saves it, nice baseline pass to Ray Allen for the corner three, in and out, miss.
  • George Hill draws a foul and bags some FTs
  • Drive and kick by Ray Allen as he curls around a screen off the ball, back to the screener, KG 19 footer left wing, misses
  • Boston lead 66-56 with two plus minutes remaining
  • George Hill gets another foul and hits another pair of FTs
  • Rondo swirling around in the paint, but he can’t get a reasonable look a the rim on any of these drives, takes an off balance shot, misses
  • Spurs score a quick basket in transition … 6 point game
  • Lob pass to Garnett as he slips before setting the pick and roll, Garnett hits the layup + is fouled. KG is pounding his chest, excited + focused. Celtics back up 9.
  • Oh, excellent finish by Blair, great hands to catch that pass, great body control + use of the rim to take away the shot blocker to finish that difficult layup considering his body angle. Nice pass by Manu on the pick and roll too.
  • Pick and roll Manu + Blair, to the rim, Manu drives, misses, Blair putback, misses, Ginobili putback, misses, excellent hands by Garnett and Sheed to block/alter those shots, ball spills out to San An, travel on Hill after the kickout.
  • House drives on Hill, goes nowhere, turns it over. Bad take by House. Poor pass too.
  • 30 seconds — Hill dribbles it down, hand off to Manu, pick and roll with Blair, foul on Ray Ray. Ginobili heads to the line (penalty) and makes two.
  • 11 seconds — Rondo has it, high screen and roll, Rondo drive and kick back to Sheed, three pointer at the buzzer, hits it! wow! Great drive by Rondo to draw the defense and create the shot for Wallace.
  • Spurs 8-3 turnovers in the quarter

Fourth Quarter

Boston leads 74-63

  • Great effort by San Antonio to keep that ball alive on the glass + win an offensive rebound.
  • Richard Jefferson made a nice drive to the basket + finish the play prior.
  • Daniels post sup Rasheed, left post, Sheed spins baseline, Blair strips Sheed, knocks it out of bounds. Nice hands.
  • Brian Scalabrine hoists a contested jumper over a smaller player to beat the shot clock, hits it.
  • Matt Bonner forcing the issue inside + scores.
  • Rasheed Wallace bags another three pointer from the top of the key.
  • Boston leads 79-67 after two minutes
  • Tony Parker knocks down the 21 footer from the left wing
  • Clearout for Piece on the left wing, Jefferson denying the pass aggressively but picks up a foul in the end.
  • Daniels posts up Mason on the right wing, turnaround J from 14 feet, hits it
  • Tony Parker whirling into the paint, drive and kick to Mason in the left wing, turnover Spurs … timeout
  • Stats — Celtics bottom of the league in offensive rebounds + 29th in second chance points + have a negative offensive rebounding differential
  • Rasheed Wallace has 4 blocks now
  • Boston lead 81-71 at the eight minute mark
  • Bonner with an excellent offensive rebound, passes it out, great pass by Jefferson to Parker on the backdoor cut for the layup
  • Wallace has hoisted two so-so three pointers that have missed in the last minute. Poor shots. Go into the post.
  • Great pick and roll, to Blair, finishes. Nice pass by Mason Jr.
  • Timeout Boston — 81-75 Celtics at seven minute mark
  • Spurs have out-rebound the Celtics 43-26 … feels like the Celtics haven’t gotten a rebound here in the last five minutes while the Spurs have been pounding them on the glass on both ends of the court.
  • The Wallace + Scalabrine pairing is a very poor rebounding pair. Both are good at keeping their man off the glass but they need someone who can grab the ball.
  • Rondo with that behind the back pass ball fake that likes, layup. Lovely move.
  • Mason showing excellent patience on the show on the pick and roll, waiting for the passing lane, Blair moving to create one, it’s there, snap pass, layup. Excellent pass.
  • Kevin Garnett backing Bonner down, turnaround J, nails it.
  • Boston leads 85-77 with five minutes to play in the fourth
  • Perkins rejects Parker’s dribble drive lay-in
  • Ray Allen on the drive, to the rim, layup, misses, Perk fights for the rebound, loses … Spurs post up KG on the other end, Blair backs down KG, great footwork and pump fakes, muscles it up, hits it!
  • Garnett misses the 19 footer from the top of the key
  • Parker high screen and roll, nothing on, forces a dangerous baseline pass to Jefferson, almost picked off … Jefferson drives on Pierce out of the left corner, to the middle of the paint, pump fake, Pierce bites, great composure, shoots, misses. Aw, he missed the easy shot after doing all the hard work. Foul
  • DeJuan Blair has 16 points and 8 rebounds on 8-10 shooting. Has Blair been the Spurs best player? I think so.
  • Duncan faces up on Perk, 15 feet out, drives right, reach in foul on Perkins/Rondo (not sure).

3:30 to play — Boston leads 85-79

  • Timeout there … Spurs ball, sideline inbounds, Mason misses a three pointer, Duncan tips it out, Spurs reset, Duncan drives on Garnett, draws a foul.
  • San Antonio has 17 offensive rebounds vs 2 for Boston. That’s the primary reason why San Antonio is still in this game.
  • Perkins tied up, after rebound Duncan’s missed FTs, jump ball, RJ vs Perk, Perk wins it, re-do, RJ wins the tip, knocked into the backcourt, Mason runs it down, Spurs ball.
  • 3:17 — Mason has it, high left wing, pick¬† and roll with Blair, nothing on, to TD top of the key, over to Parker right wing, Parker probes, kicks it to RJ in the left wing, misses out of the corner, offensive rebound, Blair putback.
  • Blair has 8 straight points … 10-2 or 14-2 run by the Spurs over the last few minutes
  • Ray Allen misses a runner in the paint, Blair rebounds.
  • 2:20 — Mason settles for a quick pull up jumper from downtown, miss, rebound Boston.
  • 2:10 — Rajon Rondo comes up and knocks down a perimeter jump shot as San Antonio goes under the screen and roll. 16 footer.
  • Timeout — two minutes — Boston leads 87-81
  • 2:00 — Spurs ball, Parker brings it up, to Duncan right elbow, hand off to Jefferson, drives on Pierce, draws a foul on Pierce. Next foul will put Boston in the penalty. Rondo deflects the ball away from Mason on the baseline. 5 seconds on the shot clock, to Duncan, face up, heavily contested jumper, miss. Great D by Perk.
  • Ginobili hasn’t been on the floor here late in the game
  • 1:30 — Rondo left wing, pick and rolls with KG, pick and pop, 16 footer, pump fake, drive, pass to Perk, lay in, misses, rebound Duncan. Nice pass by KG but I would have liked to have seen him shoot that.
  • 1:08 — Jefferson dribbling on the left wing, bags a long jumper
  • Boston lead 87-83
  • 50 seconds — Pierce high pick and roll with KG, wheels and deals into the paint, back out to KG who stayed at the top of the key, misses the jumper … rebound San An, Parker on the break, beats Rondo, Rondo strips him though, out of bounds off Parker. Turnover. Huge play by Rondo
  • 26 seconds — inbounds, fouled after eight seconds after San An failed to get a steal + Boston’s good ball movement. Foul to give.
  • 18 seconds — inbounds to Pierce, fouled. Pierce has been hitting 85% of his FTs this season. He hasn’t scored in the second half, still stuck on 7 points.
  • 16 seconds — Finley catch and shoot after getting wide open off the ball, foot out of bounds, turnover.
  • 13 seconds — Boston up five, House fouled.

This game is over. Excellent win for Boston.

Thoughts

  • Spurs fourth straight win in San Antonio. The first of those was in the Celtics terrible 24 win season, an excellent performance, particularly by Pierce. The second one was the memorable 20+ points comeback after a terrible first half in KG’s first year there. I can’t remember last season’s game.
  • The Celtics rebounding was atrocious tonight and has been mediocre over the course of the young season. I’m at a loss to describe what’s going on …
    • One would expect a downturn in the team’s rebounding from last season to this season due to the Leon Powe to Rasheed Wallace switch but not this large of a decrease.
    • The Celtics have gone from the second best rebounding team in the league that had a rebounding differential of +4 to a middle of the pack rebounding squad.
    • Kevin Garnett hasn’t been rebounding the ball as well this year. Kendrick Perkins isn’t doing as well as in past years (edit: my mistake, I had it in my head that his rebounding numbers were weaker than normal. Perhaps they’ve increased over the last 5-10 games) and Rondo, while still being very good on the glass, isn’t being the dominant rebounder that we saw when KG went down with an injury. Pierce and Ray have also seen their rebounding drop some too. Ray’s drop looks like old age.
    • The question is …. is this just a temporary problem or long lasting problem with the Celtics? That’s the part that I can’t figure out yet. I thought it was a temporary problem about 10 games ago but there’s been no progress and I’ve become more concerned about the team’s rebounding since then.
    • The Celtics are 10th in defensive rebounding + 29th in offensive rebounding. I would have expected them to be top 5 in defensive rebounding was slightly below average in offensive rebounding entering the season.
  • Richard Jefferson was magnificent defensively against Paul Pierce tonight. Pierce, however, was also very poor offensively after a bright start.
  • Rajon Rondo did a good job limiting Tony Parker’s scoring prowess + outplayed Parker in all other facets of the game. Rondo has matched up very well against Parker over the last couple of seasons.
  • Tim Duncan was tremendous with 16 points, 15 rebounds, good passing and some stout defense … but the Celtics made his life extremely difficult. Duncan finished 8-17 from the floor and only made it to the FT line once (two FTs) plus finished with 6 turnovers. Duncan’s best play offensively came away from the rim when he tried to use his skill-set + quickness against Perkins. He got little-to-no joy as a post scorer during the game.
  • Kevin Garnett looked good tonight. Physically, I mean.Not great, but good.
  • Ray Allen continues to look a significantly inferior player to the Ray Allen we’ve seen the last two years. He’s an expiring contract (trade asset) + his contract is up at the end of the year (to re-sign or not to re-sign?) … the Celtics have some difficult questions around that corner.
  • The Spurs played well defensively (good-to-very good) but they’re still not playing elite defense. It doesn’t look like they have the horses to become an elite defensive team either.
  • Manu Ginobili was up and down. He’s the Spurs best creative player offensively + a high quality defender/rebounder so he creates a lot of havoc out there … but the end product wasn’t always there. He’s the difference, right now, between San Antonio playing like a 50-50 win team and their hopes of becoming a Title Contender.
  • I’ve said this before … but DeJuan Blair has the strongest set of hands in the league. Quick too. He catches everything, rips balls away from others, and it’s extremely difficult to take the ball away from him especially when he gets two hands on the ball.
  • Brian Scalabrine played tonight to shut down Matt Bonner. Last year, Bonner lit up the Celtics for 23 points and 8 rebounds in the Garden and was the X-Factor that allowed the Spurs to beat Boston on their own homecourt. Doc Rivers choose to play Brian Scalabrine because his perimeter defense is very strong while Shelden Williams, in contrast, plays very poor perimeter D. The strategy worked in stopping Bonner from getting any type of offensive rhythm/confidence going and Matt finished with only 2 points on 5 shot attempts.
  • The Scalabrine lineup did cause other problems though. Scalabrine is a very poor rebounder and he was playing alongside another subpar rebounding big man in Rasheed Wallace. The problem was further compounded by poor rebounding from the Celtics wings (Marquis Daniels in particular) and the Celtics second unit consequently struggled mightily on the boards.¬† The Celtics bench combined to grab a total of 6 rebounds in 60 minutes.
    • Scalabrine grabs only one rebound every 10 minutes or so … but he does do a sensational job of boxing his man out and keeping him off the glass. So he’s a better rebounder than his rebounding per game/minute stats suggest — stats which make Bargnani look like a dominant rebounder — but he’s still very poor overall.
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