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Back to Basics: C’s 113, Nuggets 99

 

Roundball Mining CompanyDenver Stiffs

The C’s controlled this one from start to finish, cruising behind Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and some impressive play off the bench by Tony Allen to the victory for the shorthanded Nuggets.

Tough to pick a place to start tonight with this team. Do you go with the 31 assists on 44 baskets? The one and only TA, making the most of his opportunity for minutes, making me feel like a prophet for a split second after I clamored for him to get more playing time yesterday? Allen put together 13 points, 10 in the first half, using his energy and terrific defense to help push the C’s to a double digit lead at the half.

How about the engine of this team, Rajon Rondo, putting together his second triple double of the season with a fantastic line of 11 points, 11 rebounds and 15 assists in 36 minutes? The guy set the table and attacked the tired Nuggets relentlessly throughout the evening, keeping Denver at bay for the majority of the evening.

Kevin Garnett, despite having some trouble finishing at the room, had as what someone in the press room phrased it, “An Old School KG Line,” with 20 points, 10 boards and 5 assists.

There was some trouble finishing in close for The Big Ticket, but the C’s made up for it on the offensive glass, pounding the Kenyon Martin-less Nuggets for 17 offensive boards, 10 of which came from KG and Rondo alone. The C’s imposed their will in the paint tonight, and the Nuggets, despite some strong shooting from the outside and countless opportunities at free throw line (37 attempts) couldn’t get any closer than 7 in the 2nd half.

The C’s did what they want in this game and they did it well, especially on the offensive end.  I haven’t even gotten to The Captain yet, who had a tidy 26 points on 10/16 shooting. Nothing spectacular, just vintage Pierce doing his thing and getting to the bucket and the free throw line at will. Every possession it seemed like Pierce and company were attacking, keeping the younger Nuggets on their heels. It was seemingly a role reversal from the double digit loss in Denver for this same Celtic squad, as the Nuggets had too much firepower for the C’s to handle back then. What a difference a month and a few injuries make.

All in all, as strong of an effort as you could have wanted out of the C’s tonight. They had their way with a shorthanded and tired Denver team and beat the snot out of them all night long, winning the battle for loose balls and keeping their foot on the gas on both sides of the floor. This was an effort we are use to seeing at The Garden and it comes with some great timing with the team setting up shop for 5 more games at TD.

More analysis on the way in the morning hours.

  • Jay P

    DVRed the game, and just got done watching it. I have to get some things off my chest on this one:

    1) Rajon Rondo = Stud. Triple double, scored, rebounded, passed, played defense. Is there a point guard that does more for his team than Rondo? Nash might be a better passer, Paul/Williams might be better scorers. But all around, do everything point guard, give me Rajon anyday.

    2) Kevin Garnett – This man looked like he stepped in a time machine tonight and went back 10 years. Energetic, tenacious, he looked like a man possessed and was everywhere, fantastic stuff.

    3) Tony Allen – I can’t put into words how much he impressed me tonight.

    3a) Marquis Daniels – Get used to sitting that bench.

    4) Finley – Looked great, and has been very consistent since joining the C’s, continue to love what I see from him.

    5) Robinson – Look for your shot more, we need you to score.

    6) Pierce/Remainder of starters I haven’t mentioned – Fantastic stuff.

    And finally, and unbulleted point, because it need to be on it’s own…

    To the officials of this game. Kill yourself, you are an embarrassment to the profession. This game really wasn’t close, and if you called it right, it would have been 40 points. The Celtics attacked the rim ALL NIGHT, and Denver shot TWICE as many free throws, this is embarrassing. In light of the Donaughey scandals, a game like this deserves a response from Stern, I’ve never yelled at a TV so loud in my life during a game that the Celtics were winning. It was disgusting.

    From top to bottom, this was as good as this team has looked all year. ALL Year. I will sleep well tonight.

  • What More Can I Say?

    I will just live up to my name and shut up. Jay P wrapped it up so nice and pretty it should have a bow and be put under a Christmas tree.

  • Jay P

    Oh, completely forget to mentioned: In addendum:

    Sheed – I still hate you, and you did nothing to change that tonight.

    Doc – Kudos to you for realizing how well Allen was playing and riding him tonight. You managed this game very well, keep it up.

    **Final summation**

    I take back what I said about the Utah game, I will concede it, they were tired, and got outplayed by a VERY good Utah team. Given the bounce back and how incredible they looked tonight, I will forget that game and beg apologies for doubting, no lapses, no giving up, they were in 08 form tonight.

    **IF** they play they well in the playoffs. Bring on the Bucks, bring on the Cavs, bring on anyone, it wont matter.

  • DRJ1

    Agree that it was an overall excellent game. But…

    While KG was very energetic overall, and his D was excellent as usual — he did have some problems on offense, especially around the rim. It feels like he’s trying to avoid injury. Whatever the reason, he missed too many easy ones within 2 feet.

    The most worrisome thing tonight was the weakness the Nuggets exposed in the Cs’ 2nd unit. When they applied some fairly simple ball pressure on Nate, he basically fell apart, and either gave up the rock or took a bad shot. That was a little scary. Made me think we don’t have the kind of backup PG we thought we had.

    TA was definitely a HUGE improvement over Quis tonight. Doc needs to rethink the whole Quis vs. TA thing, because TA sure brings a lot to the table.

    No question, this entire game was produced by, directed by and starred… Rajon Rondo.

  • DeVelaine

    f I’m reading the numbers right… Rondo ended this game with 167 steals on the season, yet I don’t recall there being any discussion of it during the broadcast like they did after he got #166. According to Basketball Reference, he started the day with 163 steals. Maybe I should dig around and see what ESPN has him at.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    DVR’d and am at the half now. The TA buzzer beater was great. Good for TA.

  • Jack Sprat

    I didn’t realize Orlando was 3-0 against Atlanta until it was mentioned during the first half (3-1 after tonight’s game, one which easily could have gone either way). Still, whether or not the Celtics end up the 3rd or 4th seed, I’m going to stop worrying about the Hawks. If, god willing, we make it to the conference finals, we can expect with at least some confidence that the Hawks will be taken care of by then.

    But yeah, this was a great, reassuring game.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    Reaching the end now. Two things of note:

    1) The C’s used KG as a sort of roving strong side help defender tonight more than they have in any game this season. This could be a reflection of KG’s improving health/mobility or the Nugs sad big man rotation without K-Mart.

    I’ll have a video post on this either tom night or Friday morning.

    2) I found it interesting that for the bulk of the 2nd/3rd, when the Nugs went small and played Melo at the power forward, Doc stayed big. Didn’t always work but found it interesting he stuck with his line-up instead of adjusting to what Denver was doing–for better or worse.

  • DeVelaine

    Doc even admitted at the start of the 4th that it was on him that the mistake played out like it did.

  • DRJ1

    @Zach– Doc said after the game that he saw what was happening, that their smalls were killing our standard lineup, so he eventually went against his usual stance of not going small, which worked out very well. (You probably wanna watch his remarks too… was very interesting… he also loved TA tonight… and had a negative word about Quis.)

  • http://celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @DRJ: I prob won’t get Doc’s remarks on League Pass. What’d he say about Quis? (I’m sure I’ll read it tomorrow, but…)

  • http://celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    Oh, and you guys are right: Nate was not good tonight with the traditional PG duties—too much dribbling back toward half court, a beat late on his reads, etc.

  • DRJ1

    @Zach– Doc said:
    I thought TA was the star of the game… he was absolutely terrific… we were really stubborn, didn’t wanna go small… but we really had no choice… fortunately in our last practice we had just worked on our small offense. Etc.

    Here’s the link… just find the “Doc Rivers Post Game 3.24.10″ box: http://www.csnne.com/pages/celtics_video

  • DRJ1

    Here’s more from Doc:

    “I didn’t think Quis was playing great, I just thought we needed a little more energy. And you know, guys are hungry. Scal, Shelden, guys wanna play. So for guys in front of them, they know that. They know if they don’t go at speed, there’s always somebody waiting behind them. And that’s a good thing.

    “And to me where Tony has really grown up… he didn’t pout… worked every day… on the bench cheering… that’s where our team’s at just now… it’s really good.”

  • DRJ1

    Interesting note: Doc also said that neither he nor Danny knew about the rule that the Division leader gets the tie-breaker regardless of records. That they both just found out a couple of days ago.

  • DRJ1

    I just listened to the whole thing again… no question, this is Must-See TV. Zach, you especially gotta watch it.

  • David

    The Celtics played a great game against Denver. They played a complete game, their 2nd half/fourth quater breakdown was gone, it will be interesting to see if they can finish out the season strong.I think 3rd or 4th seed doesn’t matter at this point. The Celtics most important battles will be between Clev,Orl,Atl. Another important thing was, Celtics won an important home game against a playoff team.

  • Mike

    Agree with you Jay P – That was the first time I have ever watched the Celtics win by such a comfortable margin and still be left with a horrible taste in my mouth from the officiating. It was embarrassing how bad they were.

  • Chris

    I’m just going to say this: and I want to know what you guys think.

    In four of the last five games, Paul Pierce has played great, while his starting matchup was Galinari, Ariza, Marion, Miles, and Melo/Smith. If we exclude the Dallas game, we notice that one thing is constant in the good games, and another in the bad ones, going back to after the Cleveland games: its foul trouble. It just seems that when Paul has had foul trouble, and he comes in at a different point in the game, he tears it up.

    The worst game he had recently was against the worst defender, Miles… and he never was taken out prematurely. He’s had foul trouble in the Denver, Houston, New York, and Detroit games, and he’s shooting something like 70% when that happens, with the Dallas game the aberration…

    I’m just saying. We talk about Ray possibly being the future 6th man: but everyone plays better when he’s on the court statistically. Do you think in light of Pauls success playing minutes that are not totally in line with the starters he might be the one who actually should play the Ginobli role, even (it would never happen though) this year?

  • Chris

    Mind, looking at the foul numbers doesn’t tell the story. He left all of those games early in the first half: if you go back and look at the Tivos its true: it didn’t happen in the Utah and Dallas games, however.

    Also, he shot around 65% in these games, not 70, with a slightly worse night in Dallas and a terrible one in Utah wedged in there.

  • Chris

    Seriously.

    Detroit:
    “He played just 30 seconds in the second quarter, when the Celtics used a 19-5 run to open a 29-point lead, before picking up his third foul.”

    New York:
    “Pierce hit 11 of 17 shots despite missing nearly the entire first quarter with two fouls”

    Houston
    “Pierce went to the bench with his fourth foul early in the third quarter”

    Denver
    ” Paul Pierce scored a team-high 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting despite early foul trouble”

  • http://facebook.com James

    i cant believe after 1 good game from TA everyones willing to forgot about how bad he’s been since after his injury….idk , im not even close to jumping on his bandwagon yet

  • Dan

    Forget what you all think about TA, here’s what HE thinks about his role:

    “Well, I just look at it like we’ve got a quiet assassin and whenever you all want to unleash him, he’s going to be ready.”

  • http://CelticsHub.com Zach Lowe

    @DRJ: Thanks for that link. It’s hysterical they didn’t know about the tie-breaker, b/c there has been so much confusion about that, even among the smartest league observers.

  • Dave

    I only saw the second half. Was surprised they had another gear when the lead was cut to seven at the end of Q3, and the first two minutes of the 4th they were already in the penalty.

  • Jay P

    @James

    How has TA been terrible? I actually thought he’s looked pretty good for stretches this year. When Paul went down with the knee thing, he played pretty good ball.

    Granted, he still has the turnovers problem, and even though he did well against Denver in that category, I don’t expect that to hold consistently.

    But he looked like a quicker more agile version of Davis on those boards, slashing from the weak side, fighting for loose balls, and his defense was incredible. The intrinsic value of how that inspires other players when you watch a guy like that leaving his heart of the floor is immensely valuable. Seeing two guys out there like TA and Baby, playing with energy and pouring it all out there, not giving up on any play rallies others behind them. It was fun to watch, and that is something Daniels has never, and will never bring to this time.

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  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    Quis really hasn’t played worth a darn all year. He plays good when he gets aggressive, but that is almost never. Doc & co have just been trying to boost his confidence all year by saying how good he is…..people took this as fact even though it was just hype to pump him up. Now Doc is changing tact and trying to light a fire. If that doesn’t make sparks, Quis is the odd man out when the bench shortens for the playoffs.

    TA plays hard but makes so many mental mistakes that you just can’t trust him in crunch time. He plays much better without the ball so needs to be in with guys who control the game (i.e. not alone with the 2nd unit).

    At this point, I’ll take a platoon of Finley (shooting, crunch time experience) and TA (defense, athleticism/energy).

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    and lets not get too up on the nuggs win. they are a different team without Kmart….very similar dropoff like the Cs without KG last year. anyone who doesn’t like kmart should respect his game now seeing how critical he is to that team.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    I agree with the Koolaid. Put the Fin out there with TA. Tell TA to play suffocating D, make cuts, get out on the break & leave the jump shots to the Fin. I like Quis, and he does some things well, but he has a tendency to disappear & not get physical. Quis has a place on the team with some nice offense, but he is a finesse guy. He is not as good or athletic as TA on defense.

    There are a lot of little things which I love seeing in games. One little thing was the Fin rotating off his man to Sheed’s man driving the baseline when Sheed went for a steal. The Fin has been shooting well, but I was not expecting much on D. It was great to see this little rotation to come to Sheed’s rescue & save a basket. Smart. I also really liked the look of wonder in Paul & Rondo’s eyes on the bench after the Fin hit a baseline jumper– like getting a bike at Christmas. Looks like the Fin can shoot & is brainy. Thanks Fin!

    Thanks Rondo for the triple double. Even though you looked like a mummy over there on the side line you still shook it off & brought it. We loves it. Billups tried to man handle you like DW, but you toughed it out. Which reminds me, I’ve got to call out the bigs in the Utah game for the lack of hard fouls on DW. You can lose the game, but stop being a bunch of sissies when it comes to DW in the lane. Make him pay for beating on Rajon. And please Rajon stop arguing every call with the refs & just take all that negative energy from bad calls out on the other team like you did in the Wiz game with the dunk. Didn’t that feel a whole lot better than wasting your time & energy arguing?

  • I love Green

    Yeah I agree with kool aid. The nugs are a different team with Kmart, but still very good without him.

    And about the TA, Quis, and Finley problem. Have the lineup be Rondo or Nate with Quis and Finley, then sub TA in for Quis and Pierce in for Finley. Or Ray and TA in for both of them. There’s a lot of possibilities with those lineups, but they all have one thing in common; they give Pierce or Ray valuable rest time. With Finley, Tony, or Quis staying in the game while Pierce or Ray comes in and the other one rests.

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    aarongoil20100408
    agree with the Koolaid. Put the Fin out there with TA. Tell TA to play suffocating D, make cuts, get out on the break & leave the jump shots to the Fin. I like Quis, and he does some things well, but he has a tendency to disappear & not get physical. Quis has a place on the team with some nice offense, but he is a finesse guy. He is not as good or athletic as TA on defense.

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