Rivers, Garnett ejected in heated loss to Suns, 88-71


Rivers, Garnett ejected in heated loss to Suns, 88-71

By A. Sherrod Blakely

PHOENIX For most of Friday night's game at Phoenix, the Boston Celtics were without coach Doc Rivers, who was ejected in the second quarter.

His departure was just the beginning.

In the fourth quarter, Kevin Garnett was tossed as well.

It didn't really matter.

Before Rivers and Garnett were tossed, the Celtics were playing poorly.

After their departure, it was more of the same as the Celtics suffered an 88-71 loss to the Suns.

"I thought the Suns played hard," Rivers said. "We kind of got away from our game plan. It was one of those nights."

Said Paul Pierce: "It's tough. We're coming off a back-to-back and it's important for us to get off to a good start. They really killed us at the start of the game."

Phoenix opened the game with a 5-2 spurt, and continued to pull ahead as their lead peaked at 14 points in the first quarter.

Boston would spend the majority of the game from that point trailing by double digits.

The margin of defeat was consistent with how games between these two have played out in recent years.

In the previous 12 matchups, all were decided by at least five points. The average margin of victory in those games was 11.5 points.

"We didn't really get into a good rhythm early," said Ray Allen. "Defensively, we were porous to start the game off. They got to their spots. They got a great rhythm early, and we didn't. We didn't get easy shots, we didn't get open shots. We turned the ball over, and put them in transition."

Pinpointing what went wrong for the Celtics was simple.


They turned the ball over too much, which not only allowed the Suns additional opportunities to score, but it prevented the C's from ever getting into any kind of flow.

Defensively, they didn't get enough stops and allowed Phoenix too many second and third shots.

But maybe the biggest problem for the Celtics was that, in one of the rare instances this season, they showed a lack of composure.

Phoenix, like most teams that play the Celtics, make a point of trying to be as physical as possible which for a lot of teams, means playing a brand of basketball that's not what they usually do.

Boston usually handles the overly aggressive play with no problem.

On Friday night?

Big problem.

With about seven minutes to play, Kevin Garnett and Mickael Pietrus got into it, which led to a flagrant foul being called against Pietrus.

That seemed to provided a much-needed spark for the Celtics, as the C's reeled off seven straight points to come within nine points (78-69) with more than five minutes remaining.

Boston had a chance to get even closer, but Nate Robinson missed an ill-advised pull-up 3-pointer that was off the mark.

Former Magic center Marcin Gortat, who had a season-high 19 points off the bench, scored on the next possession to give the Suns a double-digit lead that they would not relinquish.

With all that the C's did wrong, most of the postgame attention centered around Rivers' and Garnett's ejections.

Both were tossed by official Steve Javie.

Rivers ejection came during a time-out in the second quarter when, according to Rivers, he was approached by Javie.

"Javie said, 'Your guys are complaining too much.' I said, 'Well, make the right call,' " Rivers said. "He answered back, 'I'll make a call for you.' "

That's when Rivers received his first technical foul.

After Javie went to the scorer's table, Rivers appeared to have told him, "It's not about you."

Following the loss, Rivers said he told Javie, "It's about the game. It's not about one individual. That's all I said, over and over again."

As for Garnett's ejection, both Garnett and Channing Frye were given technicals for their back-and-forth verbal spat, which came about several minutes after Garnett was whistled for fouling moments prior to that. Garnett was given a second technical foul, which is an automatic ejection, for the below-the-waist contact he made with Frye.

"It wasn't about that the technicals, why we lost," Rivers said. "We didn't play well. I thought they played well."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.


Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”