Every morning, we’ll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: Not dead yet?
The Boston Celtics have won four in a row, and eight of their last nine. They’re now 13-10 on the season and in 7th place in the Eastern Conference. Only 3.5 games separate Boston from Philadelphia, the current third seed.
After being left for dead, that run has left the Celtics in a position to climb back into the thick of things. Paul Pierce is slowly getting himself back into form. Kevin Garnett (more on him later) has done the same. Ray Allen is shooting better than he ever has in Boston. With Rajon Rondo back, and the Celtics bench playing better, the Celtics are giving themselves a chance to make a run.
Can they actually contend for a title? Nothing at this point has painted them as a serious threat to any of the favorites, but once you get into the playoffs, especially the way this season is going, anything can happen. The healthiest legs might be the ones that walk away with a title, so we’ll have to wait and see if the Celtics can keep their healthy enough to have a real shot.
2: Bosh Bowl
A slow Super-Sunday schedule gave us two games, to work with. So here’s the other one.
The Heat toyed around with a Raptors team still missing its best player in Andrea Bargnani. My favorite thing, I think, from this game was banner on
NBA TV that read “Big 3 combine for 67 points.” Well… LeBron and Dwyane Wade combined for 55. It’s nice of them to add Chris Bosh’s 12 to that mix. If only Mario Chalmers had a couple of more free throws, maybe he could have made NBA TV’s graphic.
LeBron with the steal and slam.
DeMar DeRozan down the middle for the dunk
Rajon Rondo being Rajon Rondo… and Jermaine O’Neal benefiting
4: Line of the Night: Kevin Garnett – 24 points (9-12 fg, 1-1 3pt), 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
For the third straight game, Kevin Garnett hit a three-pointer. Everyone in Boston is shocked that Garnett is suddenly taking three’s, but the three that he has taken so far this season bring his career total up to 599. The bigger story with Kevin Garnett is his renewed vigor. KG is shooting 49.4% on the season, but he’s hitting on 52.3% of his shots in the last 10 games… and 55.8% in his last five. Doc Rivers is using a strict substitution plan called “5-5-5″… under which Garnett is subbed out after playing five minutes, he sits for five minutes, and then he comes back for five. After playing his way into better shape, Garnett is providing a key spark for the Celtics in their recent climb from a losing record to now 13-10.
5: You can quote me on that:
“Don’t get used to that y’all. It’s not even that. Man, listen, I can shoot 3s. OK? We need to cut this, all right? Because I don’t want no more questions about this — I can shoot 3s, all right? You’re all acting like I’m 50 and I’m out here on one leg and a cane. Some nights are better than others. I’m human, I mess up. I make mistakes. But I can shoot 3s.
“I don’t shoot 3s because we have one of the all-time greatest 3-point shooters in history [in Ray Allen]. We have Paul Pierce, who has won the 3-point contest. We have other guys in here that can shoot 3s. That ain’t my role here. My role is to get those guys open. And if they throw it to me — shoot it, dunk it, pass it — OK, cool. But I can shoot 3s.
“When I walk around the streets, y’all stop acting like y’all shocked that I can shoot 3s. Everybody in Boston, everybody in the world, everybody in Minnesota, everybody wherever I’m at — Concord, Lexington, Burlington — I can shoot 3s, OK. Let that go. I can shoot 3s. Y’all are acting all shocked like you ain’t seen a black guy hit a 3. The hell’s going on with y’all? I can shoot 3s, all right? Doc was yelling at me today — shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot. Finally, I just shot the 3 and said, ‘Huh! Is that what you want!?’
“Man, can I shoot 3s? [Celtics media relations czar Jeff Twiss] can I shoot 3s?” [Twiss replies, “Yes, sir.”]
“I can shoot 3s. Look, do not get all, ‘Shoot a 3!’ I don’t want that. You know how [the fans] used to do it with [Brian Scalabrine]. ‘Shoooooot!’ No, don’t do that, don’t do that to me. I’m not on the Celtics to be out here shooting 3s. I am here to do other things, not shoot 3s. But I can shoot 3s, OK.
– Kevin Garnett, insisting he can shoot the 3