Daily Noontime – June 2, 2011

Was Game 1 between Boston and Vancouver a classic?

Happy Thursday friends and welcome to the Daily Noontime! Here’s today’s news and headlines, so enjoy! 

Headlines: 

* Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup was a classic, but in the end, Vancouver won and beat Boston, 1-0.

* After watching the Stanley Cup, what exactly did the Bruins do wrong? Well, they just didn’t score, which is why they allowed the Canucks to win Game 1.

* Wednesday was an interesting day for the Boston Celtics and NBA, as Shaquille O’Neal officially announced his retirement.

* Good news for the Minnesota Timberwolves, they’ve officially reached an agreement with Ricky Rubio.

* The Chicago White Sox left Boston Wednesday after winning three-games in a row against the Boston Red Sox. How sweep was that?

Games to Watch: 

* Dallas at Miami (NBA Finals – Game 2) 9:00pm eastern

Video of the Day: 

Time to say SO LONG to Shaq! 

Miami Beats Celtics, Advances to Eastern Conference Finals

The Heat only needed five games, but beat Boston on Wednesday, 97-87.

By Matt Noonan

Remember Game 7 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angles Lakers in 2010? What happened during the final four minutes in regulation?

Well, in case you forgot, the Boston Celtics ran out of gas and allowed the Los Angles Lakers to comeback and win their 16th NBA Championship. Although, on Wednesday, it was as if Boston was reliving the nightmare, but this time, LeBron James was playing the role of Kobe Bryant.

The Miami Heat tore apart the aging Celtics in Game 5, as well as punched their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2006 with a convincing 97-87 win. James finished the game with 33 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while his partner in crime, Dwyane Wade added 34 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

As for Boston, they watched Ray Allen lead the Celtics with 18 points, while Kevin Garnett added 15 points and collected 11 rebounds. Also, the Celtics received some additional help from their bench during the third and fourth quarter, as Delonte West finished the game with 10 points and Jeff Green added an additional nine points.  

Although, while this loss is certainly painful, it’s pretty easy to state, we saw this coming.

Against the New York Knicks in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, the Celtics displayed their age and tired legs, but were able to sneak past a banged up squad that didn’t even have a healthy Amare Stoudemire. Boston got lucky by sweeping the Knickerbockers in four games, but knew that Miami wasn’t going to be an easy foe.

Miami immediately took control in Game 1, which set the tone for the entire series. The Heat ended up winning the first two games, but lost to Boston in Game 3 at the TD Garden. However, they bounced back two days later and then won again.

The Celtics also witnessed their major contributors, such as Rajon Rondo, Shaquille O’Neal, Paul Pierce, Allen and West either sustain injuries or re-aggravate their ailing bones and muscles.

Boston will now head into the off-season with a lot of questions, such as; will Doc Rivers return to the bench next season as the head coach? What should the Celtics do with Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal? What battled tested free agent veterans can the Celtics scoop up? Also, can the “Big-3” win one more championship?

There certainly is a lot that has to happen if Boston wants to return to the NBA Championship, but after losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat, I’d say, it’s time to sit back and reflect on the past season.

Indeed, it was a fun run, but certainly not the finish the Celtics and their fans expected, but hey, this is what makes sports so enjoyable, right?

Rondo, Celtics Win Game 3, 97-81

By Matt Noonan

Rajon Rondo inked his name in Boston Celtics lore on Saturday, as he not only returned to the game after sustaining a dislocated elbow, but also finished the evening with three rebounds, six points and 11 assists. Sure, his numbers weren’t flattering, but anyone who witnessed his grit and toughness certainly understands that he was a major factor for his teams first win of the series against the Miami Heat.

Besides Rondo’s courageous effort, the Celtics watched their starters and role players step up, score important baskets and deny the Heat second and third offensive opportunities. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce combined for 55 points, 23 rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Jeff Green exhibited the fact that he came to play, as he finished the game with six points, two rebounds and one block. Again, similar to Rondo, his final numbers may have not been flashy, but he definitely impressed the TD Garden crowd that applauded his efforts during the fourth quarter because he fought for rebounds, dove on the floor for loose balls and pretty much did everything head coach Doc Rivers expected him to do.

Finally, the Celtics seemed elated with Shaquille O’Neal’s performance too, as the “Big Shamrock” walked off the court with two points, one assist and one steal.

All in all, the Celtics played terrific team basketball against the Heat and will return to the TD Garden parquet on Monday for Game 4, tip-off is scheduled for 7:00pm eastern.

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.