It’s Over For The Celtics

After an amazing run in the playoffs getting past D-Wade and the Heat, Lebron and the Cavs and Superman and the Magic their run to the playoffs ended in a heartbreaking 7-game series with their all-time rival the Lakers.

Now, they look down the road as Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are gonna be free agents. Garnett is entering the final year of his contract you would think they would trade him to get a younger more dynamic player. You could probably say their gonna be a lottery team next year, but if they do bring back Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, questions will start whether they have enough in them to win another championship and can they stay healthy.

Their biggest problem still is their coach area. Tom Thibodeau will be the new head coach of the Chicago Bulls. With that said, their defense will likely collapse next season. Coach Rivers, on the other hand, has agreed to stay one more year. Without Doc, they would’ve been a lost team, although they could look forward to Rajon Rondo’s progression. Also, if they bring Paul and Ray they’ll be over the luxury tax which could be a drag for the front office.

This could probably be the apocalypse for the Big Three all of them gone, except Rondo, who is a very valuable piece to build around if they decide to start from scratch. A lot of questions are gonna be answered this off-season. Every move they make this off season will shape their future, which wont be very bright either way.

Now, we ask you, NBA fans.

Do you believe it’s the apocalypse for the C’s now?

Don’t forget to comment down low.

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PHOTO CREDITS:

1 & 2) Getty Images

Paolo Palanca is a contributor to Hoops Head Central.

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Q&A Session: Lucas Shapiro – The Celtics’ NBA Final Preview

Well, this is kinda late. Sorry.

Yes, the Boston Celtics. We all know them. They’re not as championship-hyped this year. But, hey, they proved everyone wrong. After winning against the Heat, the Cavs and the Magic, they’ve made a bold statement to the league and us, the fans. Remember the 2nd-half of the season? They were playing horrid. Finishing 4th in the Eastern Conference standings. Albeit, they still have that experience inside their team. And obviously, the Playoffs is a different scenario now. They’ve woke up and they’re now much more energized than ever before. Now, their against their all-time rival, the Los Angeles Lakers.

I brought in my good friend, Lucas Shapiro, who actually is my 1st boss in the NBA blogosphere. Anyway, he’s best-known for his works in Bleacher Report as a Featured Columnist and in Dimemag.com as an Intern. He is also Real Sports Net’s Director of Content in the NBA area.

The Q’s are in Orange while L-Shap’ anwsers are in Celtic green.

Way before the Playoffs started, Celtics weren’t even in talks being in the NBA Finals. How does it feel seeing your Celtics be back in the limelight after a 1-year absence and proving those analysts and haters wrong?

I’m happy for them. I definitely did not see this coming. I thought they were going to be gone in the first round since they were not playing hard at the end of the season. I guess the new trend of taking the second half of the season off has worked for them.

This team is completely different from the NBA’s regular season. With your guys getting rejuvenated and all, have you even expected them to wake up?

I thought they wouldn’t wake up. I was watching how poorly Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were playing and I thought they didn’t have a chance this year.

What are Boston’s keys to win these series?

Their main problem is rebounding. They are not the tallest team, so their key is to box out. That means everyone too, not just the big man. Everyone needs to crash the boards, force L.A to only take one shot on each possession. If they can do that, they can win the series.

When the season started, we saw a different Rajon Rondo. He garnered an All-Star performace in Dallas early in the year. Not only that, he also lead the league in steals; earning him a spot in the All-NBA Defensive team. Now, the Celtics main concern is him being limited. How does this affect the team’s play and how do the Celtics bounce back from this?

I always knew Rajon Rondo was going to be a great player ever since the beginning of the 2008 season. The lack of a consistent three-point shot can be a problem only if Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are missing shots. We saw Allen and Pierce go 0-6 from the three-pointer in Game 1 and that is one of the reasons why Rondo was less effective.


The Celtics are renowned for players, who contribute unexpectedly. Players like Glen Davis (HEAT series), ‘Sheed (CAVS series) and Nate Robinson (MAGIC series) headline the list. Now, which specific Celtic is gonna breakout and be the X-Factor in the team’s quest for Championship #18?

I really think that Tony Allen is the key to the series. It was mentioned on Dimemag.com recently and I completely agree. The Lakers don’t pay attention to the Celtics role players and Allen is the type of guy who can pick up the tempo and expose the Lakers’ lack of speed.

I’ve read your article on Bleacher Report about the 2010 NBA Finals. And I saw you picked the Celtics in 6. Why is that? Just to let the readers know.

(I actually picked the Celtics in 7) I think the Celtics have better chemistry and toughness. Everyone is talking about how the Lakers became tough. I don’t really believe it. They won one game! Call me biased but I think it takes more than one game to show your true colors.

I think that’s about everything, man. Anything else to say?

I’d say check my stuff out at Bleacher Report and Dimemag.com (*Click the links).You have a great site Mark and I’ll be sure to check it out. Keep up the great work.

Thanks! I really appreciate the time you gave us. Don’t give up on writing, Lucas. You’re bound for ESPN or any supreme Sports network out there in a few years.

PHOTO CREDITS:

Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

Elsa/Getty Images

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

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Comments are much appreciated. Please leave them down low.

Follow Mark On Twitter (@InOutNBAMacGelo)

Shoot me an email at cualocsin12@gmail.com

NBA Playoff Recap 5/24: Magic Avoid Broom Service.

GAME FOUR

2nd-seed Orlando Magic vs. 4th-seed Boston Celtics

(96-92)

The Magic and the Celtics started off hot, and I mean scorching hot. Both teams made shots back-and-forth. The Magic were pretty balanced in scoring with Matt Barnes leading the way. He made 2 threes in the 1st Quarter alone, plus 1 deuce, ending with 8 points. Jameer Nelson had 7 points and 3 assists. Dwight Howard with 6 points. The Truth, Paul Pierce scored 12 1st Quarter points. I have nothing to say about the 2nd Quarter, since most of the happenings happened in the other half. Magic lead 51-47 after 2 Quarters.

3rd Quarter starts Matt Barnes makes the 1st bucket of the 2nd half with 11:20 ticks in the clock. A scuffle between Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard ensued. Only KG was given a technical. Celtics’ fans didn’t like it one bit. But, they were fired up. The crowd shouted chants of ‘Defense!’. The Celtics put it in their mindsets. Results were Defense turning into Offense. Kevin Garnett had his game-face on and he looked motivated. Sadly, he went 0/7 until the end of the game. Ray Allen scored 7 points in the 3rd Quarter alone. Dwight Howard also scored 6 , with some 3 rebounds.

The 4th Quarter was one hell of a quarter in the last few minutes, Glen Davis contributed alot and the Celtics thought they could win the game. Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard worked together, and they seem to know what the other was doing. They take an 85-78 lead after the combined effort. Paul Pierce would rally the crowd for one last time, with a strong flush to the basket. It followed with a Ray Allen three, and an And-1 from the Truth. Game was again tied. Rajon Rondo, who was pretty quiet in the game, stealed the orange away from Jameer Nelson. And Celtics’ fans knew the game-winning shot would go to the hands of Paul Pierce. Ray Allen found an open shot. Sadly, Paul Pierce wanted an isolation play. Magic doubles him, he loses the handle and we head to Overtime–the 1st Overtime of the 2010 NBA Playoffs.

Overtime, no one scores after 2:18 minutes. Until, Jameer Nelson made back-to-back threes. Ray Allen would release his skills from his arsenal, shooting 2 threes too. In the end, Dwight Howard was too much. He would ice the game at 96-92 with an And-1. Paul Pierce also was nothing in that OT. In the end, the Magic celebrate a well-deserved win. Game 5 is on Wednesday.

PHOTO CREDITS

1) Elsa/Getty Images

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NBA Playoff Recap: May 11th, 2010

4th-seed Boston Celtics vs. 1st-seed Cleveland Cavaliers (120-88)

(Boston leads 3-2)

The Cavs went into this game seeking a 3-2 lead in the series. And, so were the Celtics. Many eyebrows were raised during Game 4 due to issues concerning the Cavs‘ play, with headlines striking the Internet like “LeBron James should guard Rajon Rondo.” and “Shaq should play more minutes.” Ironically, the Cavs didn’t manage to give answers for the news during Game 5. Shaq played 26 minutes, but ended with 21 points as the Cavs leading scorer. If he could’ve played more minutes the game would’ve been close. LeBron James was able to defend Rondo for some part in the game, but it was Mo Williams defending him mostly in the game.

Early on, the Cavs looked for Shaq down the post, where he scored 7 early points. His presence down low took him to the free throw line too, converting 3/3 free throws. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who has received a couple of DNP-CD‘s, played back-up for Shaq.

Celtics again played magnificent defense, they were able to make the Cavs force shots with the shot clock expiring. Their offense was perkulating too. The Big Three lead the way, scoring 64 of their team’s 120. The Celtics ended the 2nd-half with a 50-44 lead.

The 3rd quarter belonged to the Boston Celtics. They outscored the Cavaliers 30-19 in the 3rd quarter alone. It started with Ray Allen threes that lead to Rajon Rondo drives. Speaking of Ray Allen, he finished with 25 points. Rajon Rondo ended with 16 points and 7 assists. Kevin Garnett also hoisted some jumpers too. The 3rd quarter would end in the favor of the Celtics with a 80-63.

The Cavs lost all hope in the 4th Quarter. Again, they were dominated by the Celtics with a 40:25 point ratio. Cavs hope to even the series and avoid elimination while the Celtics look to close them out on Thursday.

PHOTO CREDITS:

1) Gregory Shamus/NBAE via Getty Images

2) Gregory Shamus/NBAE via Getty Images

3) Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Follow Mark on Twitter:

@InOutNBAMacGelo

NBA Playoff Recap: May 9th, 2010

1st-seed Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 4th-seed Boston Celtics (87-97)

Well, the Cavs had a lot of momentum after taking home-court advantage back in Game 3. But, a point guard from Kentucky would change all of that. More details of that later. The Celtics were a little bit sloppy at first, but energy and some transition plays helped them out. The Cavs had significant help from no other than LeBron James, who finished 22 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. Shaq, another factor for the Cavs, had 17 points in the game. The other Cavaliers weren’t really producing at their level, shooting a mere 36%. Rajon Rondo scored 19 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists to end the 1st half. He would later end with 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists. (I’m not lying on the 18 rebounds. And he’s a featherweight – 170 pounds.)

2nd-half story, the Cavs made up for their 1st-half plays by coming back with a 27-20 point ratio during the 3rd, reducing the lead to two. The Celtics and the Cavs swapped runs during the 4th. Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett both scored 18 points. Paul Pierce still plays cold, shooting 3/8 from the field, ending with 9 points. In the end, the story is still Rondo. Celtics tie the series at 2 games apiece. If Rondo keeps this up, the Celtics should’nt worry about their future. Go Celtics!

3rd-seed Phoenix Suns vs. 7th-seed San Antonio Spurs (107-101)

The Spurs find themselves on a not too common “Do or Die” situation with the Phoenix Suns. Tony Parker has finally started for the Spurs in Game 4 and became productive during the 1st half. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker were going down low at the paint, combining for a 10/14 during the 2nd quarter. The Suns‘ bench on the other hand, made some key threes and timely buckets to cut the Spurs lead. Channing Frye, Goran Dragic and Jared Dudley to name a few.

Steve Nash rocking the “Cyclopse” look.

And as always, this series is physical. So, the SunsSteve Nash (pictured) receives an elbow from the SpursTim Duncan. He went back to the locker room and acquired 6 stitches before returning to the game. Speaking of Tim Duncan, he finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Manu Ginobili scored 15 points but he made up for it with 5 steals. Despite the injury, Steve Nash would still score on floaters and would pass to Amar’e Stoudemire for some key jumpers. But, the Spurs still never gave up. George Hill gets the hoop plus the harm for a 4-point play that would cut the lead to 2. The Spurs would need to foul now. They find Grant Hill, unfortunately for the Spurs, he would make both free throws. Manu Ginobili misses a three at the other end, and the Suns taste the sweetest revenge against the Spurs.

PHOTO CREDITS:

1) Elsa/Getty Images

2) Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

3) Ronald Martinez/NBAE/Getty Images

4) D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images

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NBA Playoff Recap: May 7th, 2010

1st-seed Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 4th-seed Boston Celtics (95-124)

(Cleveland leads series 2-1)

If you’re a Cavalier fan then this is what you have been hoping for. The Cavs started well, all because of LeBron James. He was draining so many jump shots in the 1st Quarter that the cylinder looked like an ocean. For the C’s? Let’s just say that they looked dead the whole game. They didn’t even manage to grasp a single lead in the contest.

LeBron James might have controlled the game with his 38 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. But, he had help too. Antawn Jamison had a 20-12 performance, which leads me say that this is his “Best Game of the Series”. Other than that, 6 players were in double figures for the Cavs, now that’s a balanced attack, these are the rest of the 3 starters, which is Shaq, Anthony Parker and Mo Williams. Delonte West was the only bench player, who was in double digits. From start to finish, the Cavs controlled each aspect in the game.

Rajon Rondo scored 18 and 8 assists. Kevin Garnett had 19 to lead the Celtics while Paul Pierce and Ray Allen combined for 18 points. After this game, the Celtics’ Paul Pierce said it was their Defense that paved the way for their Game 3 loss. Adjustments are expected to be made for Game 4.

3rd-seed Phoenix Suns vs. 7th-seed San Antonio Spurs (110-96)

(Phoenix leads series 3-0)

The Spurs went off to a great start. At one point, they seized an 18-point lead. During the 2nd Quarter, the Suns managed to make a 19:5 run to cut the lead to 6 after the 1st half. And then the 3rd Quarter started. Manu Ginobili and Steve Nash seemed to swapped basket for another. Manu ended with a Spurs‘ team-high of 27 points, and some 6 dimes. Steve Nash, on the other hand, scored 16 points while grabbing 8 rebounds and add 6 assists too.

But then Phoenix Suns‘ Head Coach Alvin Gentry deployed the Goran Dragic experiment, which turn’t out to be a success. He would score 23 points in the 4th Quarter alone, he finished with 26 points in the game. Amar’e Stoudemire had an off-night with 7 points. Jason Richardson scored 21 and Grant Hill added 18. Tim Duncan finished with 15 and Tony Parker with 10. As the game went to a finished, it all would  go down to Dragic‘s excellent play, as the Suns win Game 3.

My Spurs are DEAD. I guess we’re done for the Playoffs now.

PHOTO CREDITS:

1) Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

2) Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

3) D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images

4) Chris Covatta/NBAE/Getty Images

Follow Mark on Twitter:

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NBA Playoff Recap: May 3rd, 2010

4th-seed Boston Celtics vs. 1st-seed Cleveland Cavaliers (104-86)

In Game 2, “The Big Three” scored a combined 54 points with the help of Rajon Rondo, who had 13 points and 19 assists. Lebron James helped the Cavs causes with 24 points. As the game progressed, it became more physical. Anderson Varejao and Kendrick Perkins had a scuffle, both had T’s as punishment. Cavs made an unbelivable run, it started with Lebron James floater with 8:03 seconds in the fourth, cutting the lead to 10, which was 23 before the run started. But, the Celtics had an 11-3 run to end the quarter, to snatch the much-needed victory in Game 2. Momentum is now theirs.

Additional note: Lebron James presented his MVP award to the Cleveland crowd before the game started. Fans gave a well-deserved applause for his repeat.

7th-seed San Antonio Spurs vs. 3rd-seed Phoenix Suns (102-111)

In Game 1, Steve Nash started strong in the game, scoring 17 points in the 1st Quarter alone. He later ended with 33 points and 10 assists with the help of Jason Richardson, who scored 27 points. For the Spurs,  Manu Ginobili scored 27 points to lead San Antonio. Tony Parker had 26 points in a loss. Tim Duncan had 20 points and 11 boards, but it was not enough as the Suns win Game 1 of their classic NBA series. As I end, I would like to say Go Spurs Go! (I’m a Spurs fan!)

Don’t forget we have one more game tomorrow. (UTA/LAL)

PHOTO CREDITS:

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Christian Petersen via Getty Images

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