Celtics trying to establish a home court presence


Celtics trying to establish a home court presence

BOSTON To have a 16-17 record is bad enough for the Boston Celtics. Realizing that only one team (the Minnesota Timberwolves) had more home games prior to the All-Star break than the C's is downright depressing.

The Garden has been affectionately referred to as the jungle for all the rough and tumble action teams expect when they're on the Green Team's turf.

But this year?

It's been more like a jungle gym as the Celtics sport an 11-8 home record, the kind of mediocrity that they know can't continue if they're to make a surge record-wise.

"We gotta go home and play better basketball," said Paul Pierce. "That's something we've been thinking about, something we've been talking about, just playing better at home. If we played better at home in the first part (of the season), we know we'd have a better record. That's on us, to take care of business at home."

Winning at home is important, obviously.

For the Celtics, winning period is what really matters at this point.

"Momentum is important for us right now," said Kevin Garnett, whose strong play in Tuesday's win at Cleveland helped snap a five-game losing streak. "We playing every other day, and this is going to be a grind, a true grind physically. Mentally, we have to be into it and prepare and just be ready to hoop."

And as far as winning at home, Garnett added, "We have to establish some type of presence at home, and it starts (tonight against Milwaukee)."

Said Rajon Rondo: "We need to establish a presence, period. We're trying to get back on track some how, some way. It starts with a win (over the Cavs), try to follow with another win (tonight over Milwaukee)."

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

BOSTON – Here are a few odds and ends to keep an eye on heading into tonight’s game against the Sacramento Kings: 
· The Celtics have won eight in a row over the Kings in Boston, with the last loss to Sacramento at the TD Garden coming on Jan. 19, 2007. Current Celtic Gerald Green was in the starting lineup that night. 

· Only six times in franchise history have the Celtics launched 38 or more 3-pointers in a game, four of which came in the month of November this season. 

· Speaking of 3-pointers, 36.2 percent of Boston’s shots are 3s. That ranks fifth in the league behind Houston, Cleveland, Brooklyn and Golden State.

· Don’t be surprised if Avery Bradley gets off to a good start tonight, especially from 3-point range. He’s shooting 59.1 percent on 3s in the first quarter which ranks second in the league. 

· Isaiah Thomas tallied 395 points scored in November, the most by a Celtic since John Havlicek had 406 points in November during the 1971-1972 season. 

· Boston leads the NBA in points scored (46.3 per game) by second-round picks. The Celtics’ second-round picks include Isaiah Thomas; Jae Crowder; Amir Johnson; Jonas Jerebko; Demetrius Jackson and Jordan Mickey.

· The Celtics are 5-0 this season when they outrebound an opponent. 

· Tonight’s game will be Boston’s fifth set of back-to-back games this season. In the first game, they are 3-1 this season. On the second night, they are 2-2.

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

BOSTON – When it comes to defense, the Celtics are quick to claim that it is indeed the foundation for which their team is built upon. 
Still, far too often this season, we have seen cracks in their usually Teflon-tough defense, the kind that ultimately means the difference between winning and losing.
The Celtics’ defense will once again need to step up and play well tonight against a Sacramento squad that has shown it can fill it up offensively of late. 
Sacramento (7-11) has scored 100 or more points in eight of their past 10 games. In that span, their 107.2 points per game ranks ninth in the league. 
In that same span, the Celtics have allowed opponents to score 100.3 points per game, which ranks 10th in the NBA in fewest points allowed.
And when it comes to winning, limiting teams to less than 100 points has been huge in Boston’s win total. 
The Celtics have held eight opponents to 100 points or less this season. 
Their record in those games? 8-0.
Within that limited scoring, Boston must also make sure teams don’t get into a nice groove shooting the ball. 
Boston is 0-5 this season when an opponent shoots 48 percent or better from the field. 
While there are several things Boston must do to be successful, having the right kind of defensive disposition ranks at or near the top of that list in their efforts to play with the kind of defensive success that gave so many hope that this would the year Boston would hold court among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

“We have to get a little more nastier on the defensive end and not let a team come in and get comfortable,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.