Notes: Stoudemire injured after warm-up dunk


Notes: Stoudemire injured after warm-up dunk

By A.Sherrod Blakely and JessicaCamerato

BOSTON Amar'e Stoudemire burst on to the Big Apple scene, and has been getting lots of love from the always-tough-to-please New York City crowd.

It's too soon to tell if that love affair will last after Stoudemire suffers a back injury while -- of all things -- doing a high degree-of-difficulty dunk during warm-ups.

Stoudemire spent the second half of Tuesday's 96-93 Celtics win in the locker room receiving treatments.

When asked about the injury, he said it happened during warmups.

"I touched the top of the glass with my left hand, and dunked it with my right," Stoudemire said. "I think that's when I felt it really get tight on me."

Stoudemire is not sure that his back will heal in time for him to play in Game 3 at Madison Square Garden.

Getting hurt is one thing; it is after all, a part of the game. But during warm-ups?

Stoudemire tried to play through the pain, but it was clearly too much to bear after he was on the floor for 18 relatively non-productive minutes in the first half.

"I could hardly move (during the game)," Stoudemire said. "I was trying to play through it. just couldn't get quite totally loose."

Jermaine O'Neal left the game in the second quarter with a sprained left wrist injury, but was able to return. Although he wasn't nearly as good statistically on Tuesday as he was in Boston's Game 1 win, O'Neal was once again a factor for the Celtics around the basket.

As well as he played, Celtics coach Doc Rivers elected to keep him on the bench for the entire fourth quarter and instead go primarily with Glen Davis.

"It was a tough call," Rivers said. "I don't know if I made the right call or not, honestly."

The Knicks went with a smaller lineup, which usually results in Davis being a better fit for the C's than O'Neal.

While it made sense to go with Davis, the decision to play him was by no means a unanimous one among the coaching staff.

"As a coach, you're going back and fourth," Rivers said. "The debate on the bench would've been terrific for you guys to hear, but we turned the micas off so you couldn't."

The Knicks may not be a good team defensively, but they are smart enough to know the importance of not letting Ray Allen get a lot of shots off. Allen had 18 points in Boston's 96-93 win on Tuesday, and he did it on 6-for-8 shooting.

It was the second straight game that the ball didn't find its way into the hands of Ray Allen until several minute had expired.

Allen is averaging 21 points in the first two games of this series, but he has been scoreless in the first quarter in each game.

"They do play defense," Rivers said of the Knicks. "And so they just the ball didn't find him."

With so many offensive weapons, there are bound to be games when certain players don't get as many touches as they're used to.

It appears it's Ray Allen's turn now.

"We trust our offense," Rivers said. "I'm not that disappointed with it. Obviously I'd love Ray to get shots, but they actually know Ray's on the floor, too."

Glen Davis knew he could do better after Game 1. He wasnt pleased with his offensive performance, having shot 1-for-8 (2 points) in just over 25 minutes.

Davis approached Game 2 with the mentality that he doesnt have to score in double digits to be effective. He scored four points, doubling his Game 1 total with just three shots.

Im just doing what Doc wants me to do, he told I passed up a lot of shots today for the betterment of the team. If thats what I have to do, thats fine.

With Chauncey Billups (left knee injury) out of the lineup, the Knicks turned to Toney Douglas for Game 2. It was only his second career postseason game and his first start in the playoffs. In spite of the difference in experience, the Celtics were not taking Douglas (or rookie Landry Fields) lightly.

Theyre young players in the league but theyre capable of doing the things that their team needs them to do and thats good enough, Ray Allen said before the game. You cant rely on the lack of experience, nor can you rely on the wealth of experience. At the end of the day, its just experience. youve got to put it out there.

But Douglas inexperience was apparent at times. He picked up three fouls in the first half alone and attempted 16 shots, only making five (14 points).

Allen says it can be apparent to a veteran which players have postseason experience and which ones do not.

You know who feels comfortable and whos kind of in their wheelhouse where it doesnt really affect them when they go out there and play, he said. Offensively theyre always in control. They always play the game that they played in the regular season. Its just a command, just kind of having your wits about them on the floor.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA. She can be reached at

Horford-Celtics partnership gives both stability, chance to win


Horford-Celtics partnership gives both stability, chance to win

BOSTON –  This is not where Al Horford thought he would be right now.
Back in May, the Atlanta Hawks had just been swept out of the playoffs by the soon-to-be NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Disappointed with the outcome obviously, Horford was a free agent-to-be who was confident that he would be back in Atlanta and the Hawks would retool by adding to their core group which he was a major part of, and they would be back to making another run at it this season.
First there was the draft night trade of point guard Jeff Teague to the Indiana Pacers. 
And during Horford's negotiations with the Hawks in July, they were also negotiating with Dwight Howard and ultimately signed the Atlanta native to a three-year, $70.5 million contract. 
Before the Howard deal was complete, the Celtics had already made a strong impression on Horford during their presentation to him. 
So the choice was pretty clear.
Return to Atlanta and potentially have a major logjam up front with himself, Howard and Paul Millsap, or join a Celtics team that’s on the rise where his five-tool skillset – passing, rebounding, defending, scoring and making those around him better – could be put to great use on a team that’s clearly on the rise. 
Horford chose the latter, giving both himself and the Celtics exactly what they wanted – stability and a chance to win at the highest of levels.
The first shot to see how this basketball marriage looks on the floor will be tonight when the Celtics kick off the 2016-2017 season at the TD Garden against the Brooklyn Nets. 
The preseason isn’t the best indicator of what’s on the horizon now that games count, but Horford’s presence was undeniable.
Boston’s starters which includes Horford, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson, each finished with a positive, double-digit plus/minus in the preseason. 
“He just makes the game so much easier for all of us,” Johnson told “He can do so many things out there at both ends of the floor. He’s going to be big for us this season.”
And his impact can be felt both on the floor and inside the locker room, similar to what he brought to the Atlanta Hawks.
“With the way that I go about it is, I’m trying to win,” Horford told “I’m gonna work, put in my work, try to help guys get better not only on the court but off the court as well. That’s how I carry myself.”
 And it is that approach to the game that has made his transition to the Celtics a relatively seamless one. 
Horford holds many fond memories of his time in Atlanta, a place that will always be near and dear to his heart. 
But he’s a Celtic now, coming in with the same single-minded focus that drives this organization to continue pursuing the only thing that truly matters to them – an NBA title. 
"Even though I’m leaving a lot behind, as a player you always want to be in the best position you can,” Horford said. “I felt for me being on this team would put me in a position to be able to contend and win an NBA championship. That’s my ultimate goal.”

Rozier's confidence, hard work earning him more minutes in Celtics rotation


Rozier's confidence, hard work earning him more minutes in Celtics rotation

BOSTON – You’ll have to pardon Terry Rozier if he doesn’t have that deer-in-the-headlights look about him when he takes to the floor tonight for what should be the first of many meaningful stretches of playing time.
You see, being harassed with the defensive pressure of Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart while trying to become a pest to Isaiah Thomas (which I’m told Rozier is frequently in practice), has instilled in Rozier the kind of confidence that’s not easily shaken.
That’s one of the main reasons why the Celtics aren’t freaking out about the departure of Evan Turner to Portland this offseason and more recently the sprained left ankle injury to Marcus Smart that’ll keep him out for a few games.
When it comes to filling those two voids, all eyes will be on Rozier.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next guy has to step up,” Thomas said. “Terry has shown he’s ready for that opportunity. He’s worked very hard this summer. I’m proud of him. I’ve been in that position before. He’s been waiting for that opportunity. He’s ready.”
Rozier had an impressive run during summer league as Boston’s best player. And in training camp, he hasn’t let up in being one of the standout performers.
It has led to the second-year guard being exactly where he thought his hard work in the offseason would take him to, and that’s a prominent spot in the Celtics’ rotation.
And in doing so, Rozier knows it’ll likely mean taking some minutes from his veteran teammates like Isaiah Thomas who he credits for always being there to help him grow as a player.
“I’m trying to get better, but I want to play too,” Rozier told “Getting his (Thomas’) minutes, anybody’s minutes, I’m going for it. But I know he’s not going to lighten up and make it easy for me. I know that. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
It certainly looks like it for Rozier who has shown growth in just about every phase of his game since he was selected by Boston with the 16th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft.
There were many who questioned Danny Ainge’s decision to draft a guard so high when he already had Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart in the fold.
But Rozier has shown the promise that Ainge saw in him coming out of Louisville.

Now it’s just a matter of Rozier getting the kind of minutes and producing, that will ultimately validate the trust and faith Ainge and his coaching staff showed in selecting Rozier.
For Rozier, not being looked upon all that favorably is just par for the course when it comes to his basketball career.
“I’ve been doubted all my life,” Rozier said. “It ain’t hurt me. I always tell myself, ‘they’re gonna fall in love with me because I play hard and they’re gonna fall in love with my intensity level. People didn’t know who I was when I came here; that’s fine. They’ll fall in love with me and my game sooner or later.”