West chooses worst time for ejection


West chooses worst time for ejection

By A. Sherrod Blakely

BOSTON There's no such thing as a good time to get tossed from a game.

But Boston's Delonte West could not have picked a worse time than the first quarter of Boston's 104-88 win over Washington.

It was the second game of a set of back-to-backs, the kind of game where any team - but especially one with as many injuries and as many veterans as Boston - is looking for as much depth as possible.

The incident occurred with 8:54 to play in the second quarter.

West was whistled for a foul, and voiced his objection to official Josh Tiven.

It is unclear exactly what West said to Tiven, but whatever it was, it was just the right words to get the 6-foot-3 guard a pair of technicals which is an automatic ejection.

After the game, head coach Doc Rivers said West apologized to his teammates for getting himself ejected.

"I got the feeling he said the right stuff," Rivers said. "Because it wasn't a lot of words so it had to be the right words."

His absence put Rivers in a tight spot in terms of his rotation.

Rivers likes to have West fill in for Rondo at the point guard position.

But after he got tossed, Rivers elected to simply extend Rondo's minutes and throw in Carlos Arroyo for an early fourth quarter stint.

Although Rondo started the fourth, Rivers took him out with 9:39 to play and the Celtics ahead by six points.

Three minutes later, the C's lead was down to four points after a Jordan Crawford lay-up.

Back came Rondo, who had six points, three assists and three steals in the fourth to help propel the Celtics to a victory that keeps them tied with the Miami Heat for the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference.

Rondo wound up playing 40-plus minutes, in part because he was playing so well but also because the Celtics didn't have West.

"He apologized to the team, but, still, we needed the bodies tonight on a back-to-back," Rivers said. "And that's - that's what I told him. I mean, get thrown out yesterday (at Chicago). Today, we needed you. We needed the body."

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

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

BOSTON – No one is proclaiming DeMarcus Cousins’ demeanor is all that radically different than past seasons. 

But the volatile nature that has often overshadowed his on-the-court-brilliance, doesn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to. 

Maybe he’s growing up. 

Maybe he’s finally comfortable with his team. 

And then there’s the almighty dollar which was the incentive for one of his teammates, Matt Barnes, to clean up his act as far as racking up technical fouls and being fined by the league. 

I asked Barnes whether there was a light bulb moment or a teammate or player that helped him get on track and not draw so much attention from officials and the league office. 

“It was all the money I was being fined,” he said. “I think I lost like $600,000 over my career for fines. It was time to kind of wake and say ‘hey, they don’t like you so you have to stick to the book.’”

With Barnes returning to Sacramento (he played for the Kings during the 2004-2005 season), he finds an intense, kindred spirit of sorts in Cousins who like Barnes has had his share of technical and fines handed down by the league office. 

This season, Cousins is the NBA’s leader in technical fouls with six. 

“I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders,” Barnes said. “I’m just a passionate player. I play with my emotion on my sleeve. I think DeMarcus does the same thing. What I’m trying to show him now, we have to keep our emotions and energy focused towards the right things. That could be detrimental to the team if it gets out of hand.”

First-year coach Dave Joerger has been pleased to see how different Cousins is to be around on a daily basis as opposed to how he’s perceived. 

“He gets credit for his talent. He gets credit that he’s improved in the league,” Joerger said. “I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the way that his approach to the game and the way that he’s carrying himself and conducting himself has greatly improved. He’s a good person. Now being with him, I see improvement over the last three years, the way that he goes about his business. I think that’s very positive.”

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.