Celtics game won't win beauty contest


Celtics game won't win beauty contest

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics win over the New York Knicks on Friday night at TD Garden was far from pretty.

There were a total of 46 free-throw attempts, 30 turnovers, and four technical fouls issued between both head coaches and a pair of players. Only after two hours and forty-five minutes did the Celtics edge out the Knicks for a 91-89 win.

Down the stretch, the game had the intensity of a playoff matchup, perhaps even more so than the Celtics-Knicks first round series last season. After trailing by 12 points, the Celtics came back to take a two-point lead with 5.2 seconds left. Even then, the Knicks still had a chance to pull of a game-winner but Steve Novak missed the final shot.

My mind is blank right now, Carmelo Anthony said after the game. I cant even remember that last play. I dont know what happened. I will answer that question tomorrow.

While Anthony couldnt put the end result into words, Paul Pierce offered an analogy for the grind-it-out win. It is one that he hopes carries over to Sundays Super Bowl showdown between the New England Patriots and New York Giants.

That seemed like a game in the third and fourth quarter where you had two teams maybe in the summer and somebody said, Whoever wins this game, youre going to make the NBA. And they both teams were just fighting for it, he said. Whatever team wins, youre going to be on the roster this year. And it was just that kind of fight. Maybe thats what it is when you get New York and Boston together. And I hope this is an indication of whats going to happen Sunday.

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Following Thursday’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics will be on the prowl to rebound – literally – from its first defeat of the season.

Because for all that did not go right in Thursday night’s loss, the way Boston was beaten on the boards stands out emphatically.

“They got 24 more shots than us. We only turned it over (12) times,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss. “So that’s the obvious place they’re getting their possessions, on the glass. That’s going to be the number one thing, that has been the number one thing. It’s something we’ve talked about. We have to get better at it.”


Boston was out-rebounded 55-36 on the boards which heavily factored into Chicago’s 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.

In the Celtics' 122-117 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday, Boston won the overall rebounding battle 47-44, but had just 12 offensive rebounds compared to Brooklyn's 15 offensive boards. Despite the close margin, the Nets won the battle on the offensive glass running away, outscoring the Celtics 23-13 in second-chance points.

Stevens decided to start Tyler Zeller ahead of Amir Johnson to begin the third quarter, hoping Zeller would be a better matchup on the glass than Johnson who did not grab a single rebound in the 11 minutes of court time he got in the first half.

While Zeller did do a few good things on the glass and scoring in half-court sets, it wasn’t enough to swing the momentum Chicago was steadily gaining due to its ability to control the boards.

“I wasn’t real surprised but at the same time I knew it could happen,” Zeller told reporters, referring to Stevens’ decision to have him start the second half. “They did a good job of coming out and setting the tone. They beat us up on the boards, especially the first half. It’s something we have to get better at and continue to grow at.”

And it’s not a one-player or one-position issue, either.

Usually we think of bigs when it comes to rebounding. But Boston’s guards need to step up their rebounding game as well.

The struggles thus far have to be put in the context of this being just two games, the latter being the season opener for the Bulls who were jacked up more than usual due to it being the first game for Chicago native Dwyane Wade and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

“We have to focus on boxing out,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Guards have to do a better job. Guys like me, Al (Horford), Amir (Johnson), Tyler (Zeller) ... We have to do a good job of coming in the weak side and grabbing those; just focus on it, pay more attention to detail.”