Celtics dont stand up to Rockets backcourt


Celtics dont stand up to Rockets backcourt

By Jessica Camerato

BOSTON -- Aaron Brooks looked up at the numbers hanging in the rafters.

Then he stared across the court at the names on his opponents jerseys.

He soaked it all in . . . and attacked.

Brooks scored 24 points on Monday night against the Boston Celtics, bringing his total at the TD Garden to 54 over the past two seasons. The offensive spark is no coincidence.

Theyve got all those numbers up in the rafters, he said. Sooner or later, theyre going to add 9, 34, 5, and 20. So I want to be able to say, Hey, those guys up there, I beat them at least once or twice.

The Rockets beat the Celtics, 108-102, extending their streak in Boston to three straight wins.

They were led by Brooks and Kyle Lowry (17 points), who teamed up to pester the Celtics with a backcourt duo that both got in the paint and found the open man on the wing.

By the end of the night, the undersized guards had made a major impact.

They always looked to attack, said Nate Robinson. As small guards, youve got to play with chips like that. Youve always got to use your ability to your advantage, and they did that.

Rather than trying to beat the Celtics with individual efforts, Brooks and Lowry played off each other and formed a two-headed monster of sorts.

Weve got two guys in their creating and shooting the ball, said Brooks. As long as Kyle can guard the two-man, that makes us really dangerous because Kyle can rebound the ball down there . . . We just wanted to get in the middle and kick it out to our shooters. I think we both did a good job of finishing in the paint so they have to respect that.

Brooks knocked down five three-pointers while Lowry shot a perfect eight-for-eight from the free-throw line. When they werent scoring, the pair was getting their teammates open looks. Lowry dished eight assists and Brooks added five.

This ball movement helped the Rockets shoot 50 percent (10-for-20) from 3-point range and score 30 points from behind the arc, including three treys by Chase Budinger. The Celtics entered the game holding their opponents to 34.4 from three-point range.

The Celtics are one of the best defensive teams out there, so youve got to pick your spots and when you get an open look, you have to take it, said Budinger, who scored 24 points (6-for-8 3PG) against the Celtics last season. You cant second-guess yourself. You cant try to create for another person because they only will give you that one opportunity when youre open. I think we did a good job of that tonight at finding our spots and everybody took spots when theyre open.

Ray Allen agreed. The Celtics defense struggled to challenge the Rockets looks at the basket.

They just moved the ball, Allen said. They moved the ball and they got to their spots. I dont think at any time we made them kind of veer off of the path that they were set. Offenses are designed to you cut here, go here, you have your shot, screen, whatever. The whole time we kind of let them go to their spots.

There are a handful of backcourt match ups dubbed as the ones to watch every season, headlined by stars like Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose. Brooks and Lowry arent exactly at the top of the list, but after teaming up to tackle the Celtics, they showed they should have been watched more closely.

Weve got a good backcourt, Lowry told CSNNE.com. Weve got an awesome backcourt, to me. I think we have one of the top backcourts in the NBA.

Follow Jessica Camerato on Twitter at http:www.twitter.comjcameratonba

Davis' 52 points breaks Chamberlain's All-Star record, West beats East, 192-182


Davis' 52 points breaks Chamberlain's All-Star record, West beats East, 192-182

NEW ORLEANS – The stars were everywhere, on and off the court during the 66th annual NBA All-Star game.

There were lots of hugs, handshakes and goody-good vibes shared by all.

And then … the fourth quarter arrived.

It’s the only time of the game when the All-Star game actually looks like a game and not an open gym full of the best players on the planet.

And as we’ve seen this season, no one is better in the fourth quarter than Boston’s Isaiah Thomas.

True to form, Thomas saw a playing time in the fourth quarter.

But his scoring prowess wasn’t enough with the Western Conference emerging with a 192-182 win.  It is the sixth time in the last seven All-Star games that the West has come away with the victory.

Thomas had 20 points on 7-for-15 shooting and 4-for-10 from 3-point range.

That’s not a bad performance, but there were others who were a lot more prolific shooting the ball.

Kevin Durant, playing in his first All-Star game as a member of the Golden State Warriors, had a triple-double of 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, MVP each of the previous two All-Star games, finished with 41 points – one shy of tying the most points scored in an All-Star game.

Despite Westbrook’s monster game, the record wound up being shattered by New Orleans’ Anthony Davis who had 52 points which broke Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star game record of 42 points set in 1962.

Shooting 26 for 39 from the field, Davis also grabbed 10 rebounds.

One of the more interesting stretches came in the first half between Thomas and Westbrook.

Westbrook grabbed an offensive rebound, saw that he was being guarded by Thomas and snarled at him moments before banking in a 3-pointer.

Thomas wasn’t about to be showed up by his fellow All-Star.

On the ensuing possession, he came right back and hit a long range 3-pointer in Russell’s mug. Westbrook came back with a 3-pointer that was off the mark followed by a Thomas miss.

That sequence was about as close as we came to seeming some semblance of defense played by either team, with lay-ups, and wide open dunks reigning supreme all night.

The much-talked about “reunion” between Durant and Westbrook was very civil, one that included the two connecting on a give-and-go in the first half that ended with a Westbrook basket.

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo gave the crowd better dunks in the All-Star game than the actual slam dunk contest, finishing with 30 points on 14-of-17 with 12 dunks.

Report: Kings 'fully engaged' in DeMarcus Cousins trade talks

Report: Kings 'fully engaged' in DeMarcus Cousins trade talks

With the NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching rumors will be swirling in every direction. 

One name that everyone is keeping an eye on is Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. But will he be on the move?

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Kings are "fully engaged" in trade talks involving Cousins.

Making things a little more interesting, Cousins' agent told Wojnarowski earlier in the night that the Kings "assured" the All-Star center that he wouldn't be traded

More to come. . .