Tag: Big Baby

Celtics Sweep the Knicks, Advance to NBA Playoffs Round II

Kevin Garnett led the Celtics past New York!

By Matt Noonan

The Boston Celtics avoided a possible Game 5 at the TD Garden and brought their broomsticks to Madison Square Garden on Sunday, so they could officially beat the Knicks and move onto round two of the NBA playoffs.

However, was this game totally in their control? That’s certainly debatable, as New York attempted to do whatever they could to remain in contention during all four quarters.

Although, despite their valiant effort and Carmelo Anthony’s attempted comeback, the Celtics ended their first round series with a 101-89 win and officially move onto face either Miami or Philadelphia.

Here are our Noontime Sports notes and reflections from Sunday’s win.

*Consider this series sweep a “NBA omen” for the Celtics, but also, Shaquille O’Neal, who didn’t record a single minute against New York. Will he play against Miami or Philadelphia remains a “hot-button” issue, although, neither the Heat nor Sixers have a solid “big-man” that could certainly challenge the Celtics offense, so if Shaq needs another round of rest, I’d say, let it happen. Danny Ainge acquired the Big Shamrock for one reason, which was so he could win one more championship before he retires, so again, having a few extra days of rest won’t be the worst thing.

*Glen Davis certainly snapped out of his “funk,” as he led the bench with 14 points and recorded five rebounds. Davis is indeed one of their more important role players on the Celtics roster because he is expected to secure multiple rebounds on both offense and defense, as well as tally roughly 10-15 points a game. Don’t consider Davis the next coming of Bill Russell or Robert “The Chief” Parish, but hopefully Sunday’s game was a turning point. Also, expect Davis to continue playing roughly 25-30 minutes in round two.

* Kevin Garnett led the team with 26 points and 10 rebounds, which is great, but also a sign that the “Big Ticket” is slowly transforming himself into postseason form. During the first three games of the series, Garnett scored 36 points and pulled down 35 rebounds, which is indeed, typical Garnett, but can he continue this trend going forward? We shall see, but after watching the way he played against the Knicks, it certainly seems like he is incredibly focused and wants to return to the NBA Finals.

* The Celtics defense appeared stagnant through the first two quarters, but eventually ratcheted up their pressure during the second half. They allowed Carmelo Anthony to score 32 points and Amare Stoudemire 19 points. The Knicks turned the ball over 14 times, but also couldn’t compete with Boston on the defensive glass. The Celtics tallied 44 defensive rebounds, which certainly demonstrated the fact that head coach Doc Rivers must have made some changes at halftime.

* Continuing with the defensive theme, expect Rivers and his coaching staff to make sure his defense is ready for their next opponent. Defense was what helped the Celtics earn Banner 17 in ’08, so if the Celtics want to advance to the Eastern Conference for the third time in four seasons, they better play defense.

* Finally, the Boston Celtics recorded their first playoff series sweep since the 1985-1986 season, when they swept the Chicago Bulls in round one, three games to none.

Noonan: Bruins and Celtics Playoffs On My Mind

By Matt Noonan

The best part of March Madness is it’s literally a prelude to the NBA and NHL playoffs.

Here in Boston, fans are eagerly anticipating the “second season,” but in all honesty, are the Bruins or Celtics prepared for a possible title run?

Should those who support the “black and gold” or bleed “green and white” pencil in a championship playoff parade in June?

Wait a second… I am getting way too ahead of myself, so allow me to provide an opinionated break down on where both Boston teams stand, as well as attempt to answer the question… are these teams ready for a successful playoff run?

Thoughts on the Boston Bruins:

As of lately, the Black and Gold appear tired, lazy and not prepared for what lies ahead. The NHL made a terrific move on Monday by suspending Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke for the rest of the season, so hopefully, if the Bruins had to play of this particular team, they wouldn’t have to worry about his hard hits or unruly behavior.

Although, aren’t the Bruins known for their hard hits, emotional play and physicality?

Hmm… that was the Bruins of yesteryear, right?

Take the Montreal game from this past February and just hope that all the energy, which resulted in close to 200-minutes of penalties is on display every moment throughout the playoffs. Yet, both Boston and Montreal finished the game with literally enough players for one line, so it may not be the smartest idea to lose 15 players for an entire series, right?

Although, with the playoffs nearly a few weeks away, it’s perfectly normal for any New Englander to seem a tad bit worried about their current play. Between their offense, defense and goaltenders, the Bruins just don’t seem to have the fire in their bellies, which was constantly on display during October and November.

However, over the last six games, the Bruins have only won one and lost five. Any chance they finish the month of March with an identical record to last year, which was [8-8]? Could a brand new month of April brighten up this bunch of rag tag hockey players?

Finally, should the Bruins provide more rest for Tim Thomas, who most recently allowed four goals against an up and down Toronto Maple Leafs squad on Sunday.

What the Bruins need to do is take advantage of winning games on their home ice. They’ll be at home on Tuesday against New Jersey, Thursday against Montreal and Saturday against New York, but can fans count on three wins and six additional points in the standings?

Sure, it may seem like a lot to ask for currently, but it is critical for them to respond quickly and get ready for a “deep” playoff run.

They’ll have some “easy” contests against the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators, which will literally be “scrimmages” or “tune-up games” that will get them ready for their real opponents, but what exactly do the Bruins need to do?

They need to get rest, play smart hockey and be mentally prepared for these final few weeks. Yes, the season is long, very long, but as long as they can add a few more wins to the win column, they may not be in too bad of shape for their first round opponent, who could be their rival, Montreal.

Thoughts on the Boston Celtics:

Talk about another team that has looked awful and played terribly bad over the past  few weeks. In fact, after reading multiple reports on Tuesday, the word that seems to  describe the Celtics best is “soft.”

Against the New York Knicks the Celtics lackluster offense appeared of sync and  incredibly awful at times, especially during the entire first half. However, the Celtics  are certainly lucky to have veterans like Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin  Garnett, to bale the youngsters out of tough and tumultuous situations. Yet, the  window to win Banner 18 is certainly a lot smaller than it was last season. All three  veterans are older, slowing down and may not have the same “jump” in their step like they did during the ’07-’08 season, so if they want a championship, it has to happen… NOW!

It is easy to imagine that the Celtics remaining opponents won’t give them too much trouble, but against San Antonio, Atlanta, Chicago and Miami, the Celtics need to be at their best, as all four teams are pretty much locks for the playoffs.

Also, capturing the number one seed is vital, so losing to Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Detroit and Minnesota shouldn’t be allowed. It seems more obvious that head coach Doc Rivers continues to learn more and more about his new players, but sometimes, it does seem that Carlos Arroyo, Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and Sasha Pavlovic seem timid when on the court. Although, Green has been the best out of all five new players, so Celtics fans should have some faith.

Boston should also rely heavily on Glen Davis, who was lethal during certain playoff games last year, but as also, been a threat this past season when teams don’t properly defend him.

Although, rather than sit here and break down this team piece by piece, quarter by quarter and game by game, I’d rather just throw in my very own “two-cents” and say, I am indeed worried about this particular team. They haven’t seemed to fathomed or digested the Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson deal, but have also looked incredibly lazy when on the court. Yes, they have those “must watch” players, but in all honesty, who is going to rise up once the regular season ends? Will Davis or Pierce be the players to watch or will Garnett actually have a somewhat decent playoff run?

There are still a lot of questions that remains with this team, but in all honesty, who exactly knows how far the Green and White can go, especially against Chicago, a team that has always been under the radar all season, but is currently battling for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

If the Celtics want to set themselves up for a successful playoff run, it all begins with good ball movement, playing as a team and doing what they do best, playing defense. Oh and one more thing to add to that list, acquiring the number one seed in the conference, which would provide them with home court advantage.