There was a lot of bad blood between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat coming into the conference semifinals, and it’s only going to get worse after Paul Pierce was ejected from Game 1 of the series.
The Celtics’ captain was thrown out of the game after being involved in two altercations that resulted in double technical fouls being issued. The first technical came at the 7:58 mark of the fourth quarter. Pierce got James Jones into the air with a pump-fake, and Jones wrapped up Pierce around the neck/shoulder area in order to prevent him from getting a possible And-1 opportunity. Pierce took exception to Jones’ foul, and got right up in Jones’ face, talking trash while performing what the broadcast crew described as a “face-rub.”
Less than a minute of game time later, Dwyane Wade was issued a personal foul for running through a screen set by Pierce. Pierce had what were apparently some choice words for Wade after the whistle was blown, and referee Ed Malloy issued another double-technical to Pierce and Wade, which meant Pierce had to be ejected.
Given how aggressive Pierce was with Jones on his first technical less than a minute earlier, Malloy may have been quick to T up Pierce because he was afraid the situation was escalating. In hindsight, it appears as though Malloy should have allowed Pierce to stay in the game, especially given the situation, but Malloy had to make a call in the heat of the moment.
After the game, referee Danny Crawford explained Pierce’s second technical, saying that Pierce “directed profanity at Wade,” which qualifies as a “verbal taunt.”
After the game, Celtic coach Doc Rivers said that both Jones and Wade’s fouls on Pierce should have been flagrant fouls, but he also said that Pierce should not have reacted. When Pierce was ejected, the Celtics were down 87-74. The Celtics outscored the Heat over the last seven minutes of the game, but it wasn’t enough for them to avoid a loss.
Three Things to Know: Anthony Davis gives Celtics fans 45 reasons to drool over him more
Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA. And we didn’t even get to
1) Anthony Davis shows why Celtics’ fans drool over him, drops 45 in Pelicans win. There are executives and fans with 29 NBA teams who covet Anthony Davis and fantasize about would look like in their uniform. It’s just that Boston fans and executives are the loudest and least subtle about it. That despite the fact that Davis — a top-five NBA player who makes an impact at both ends of the floor — has three years on his contract after this one (the last one a player option) and the Pelicans are not trading him for the foreseeable future because they are not stupid (the feeling around the league is the Pelicans will re-sign DeMarcus Cousins next summer and go all-in with that combo). That didn’t stop Boston media from peppering Davis with questions Tuesday that basically amounted to little more than “so, just how badly do you want to come here and when can we expect you?” Davis dodged them all. As he should.
Tuesday night Davis gave Celtics fans a first-hand reminder why they want him so badly — he dropped 45 on the Celtics and led the Pelicans to a big win in the Boston Garden (his second 45+ point game, he did the same thing to the Knicks Saturday).
After a performance like that, Celtics fans would even be willing to trade Terry Rozier for Davis. Well, some of them would, not all. Some would construct a trade around Daniel Theis and think it was a fair swap.
Davis had help in this one, and not just from DeMarcus Cousins (who had 19 points and 15 rebounds). Jrue Holiday had 23 points, seven assists, and played fantastic defense on Kyrie Irving down the stretch (Irving had 27 points, but on 8-of-24 shooting). Davis, Cousins, and Holiday all had key buckets in the overtime session.
This win puts the Pelicans three games over .500 for only the second time this season, and now they head into a soft week in the schedule where (if focused) they should be able to pad their record a little. They need to. While right now the Pelicans are the six seed in the West, they are just one game ahead of the nine-seed Clippers — the race for the playoffs is on. New Orleans needs every win it can get.
2) Aaron Afflalo throws a punch (and misses) at Nemanja Bjelica, both men were ejected in actual, almost, NBA fight. Orlando’s Afflalo and Minnesota’s Bjelica had been going at it for a while in this game — both had already picked up a technical and things were getting chippy. Then midway through the second quarter, as the two men went for a rebound on a Jamal Crawford jumper, Bjelica just ran headlong into Afflalo as the Magic player looked like he was pass blocking.
That’s when a fight broke out and Afflalo threw a haymaker, which didn’t connect, then Bjelica gets him in a headlock.
Both men were ejected. Obviously.
Bjelica: "I don’t want to feel like victim here. That’s part of the game. He took a swing at me. I was just trying to protect myself & to help him, to calm him down, because he was wild. I don’t know what's wrong with that guy. If you attack me I have protect myself & my family.
Afflalo is getting suspended for this — his punch was wild and didn’t connect, but that was a punch. Bjelica may miss a game or two as well for his role.
Orlando went on to upset the Timberwolves behind 32 points from Evan Fournier, snapping a five-game Minnesota win streak.
3) Nikola Jokic had a monster night, dropping 29 points and grabbing 18 boards. This year, the center position for the All-NBA teams feels wide open. (The league still makes people pick a center for this award, which is outdated for today’s game, but that’s the rules.) Joel Embiid is in the conversation for one of those slots (so long as he plays enough games), as is DeMarcus Cousins. LaMarcus Aldridge plays more center than power forward now and has to be mentioned. So does Karl-Anthony Towns, who has started to finally focus more on the defensive end.
Just don’t sleep on Nikola Jokic.
Denver’s best player had maybe his best game of the season Tuesday night, carving up Dallas to the tune of 29 points, 18 rebounds, and seven assists. Dallas threw a variety of defenders at him and it just didn’t matter.
Much like was mentioned with the Pelicans above, the Nuggets need to rack up wins. Just 1.5 games separates Oklahoma City at the five seed and the L.A. Clippers at the seven seed. Five teams for four spots. There’s half a season to go, and injuries will likely ultimately determine who is in and who is out, but Denver can’t afford to look past anyone, and scrappy teams like Dallas can be a tough out. This was a good win for the Nuggets on Tuesday, and Jokic is why they have it.
Watch Anthony Davis score 42 points in OT win over Celtics (VIDEO)
New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis is on a bit of a tear.
Davis scored 48 points to go along with 17 rebounds on Sunday as the Pelicans beat the New York Knicks at MSG. Then on Tuesday night, Davis again went for 40+, scorching the Boston Celtics at TD Garden to the tune of 45 points, this time with 16 rebounds.
Alongside DeMarcus Cousins, who scored 19 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, Davis was the deciding factor in Tuesday’s game, helping to get early buckets in the extra time period.
The final result was impressive, and good news for the Pelicans as they continue to solidify their playoff position going into the All-Star break.
Watch the full highlights from Davis’ scoring outbreak in the video above.
BOSTON (AP) Basketball Hall of Famer Jo Jo White, a two-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics and an Olympic gold medalist, has died. He was 71.
The Celtics announced his death Tuesday night. No cause was provided.
The team said it was “terribly saddened” by White’s passing, calling him a “champion and a gentleman; supremely talented and brilliant on the court, and endlessly gracious off of it.”
White played 10 seasons for Boston, which drafted him ninth overall from Kansas in 1969. He averaged 17.2 points per game over 13 years, also playing for Golden State and the Kansas City Kings before retiring in 1981.
The Celtics retired White’s No. 10 the following year, and he still was working with the club as a director of special projects at the time of his death.
White averaged 18.1 points as a member of the 1974 Celtics championship team and was chosen MVP of the NBA Finals two years later when Boston won again, scoring 33 while leading the Celtics to a 128-126 win in triple overtime against the Phoenix Suns.
Boston traded White to the Warriors midway through the 1978-79 season and he remained with Golden State through the following season. He played one final season in Kansas City, but was always beloved in Boston as a Celtic.
“His contributions to the team’s championship legacy may have only been surpassed by the deep and lasting impact that he had in the community,” the Celtics said in the statement. “The thoughts and sympathies of the entire Celtics organization are with the White family.”
White, who won an Olympic gold medal with the U.S. team in 1968, was a seven-time NBA All-Star. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015, when he recalled his performance in the triple-overtime victory over the Suns that put Boston one game away from winning another title.
White played 60 of a possible 63 minutes of the game. Former Boston coach and player Tommy Heinsohn said the induction into the Hall of Fame was long overdue for White, who was thrilled it happened after battling health problems, including a brain tumor, late in life.
“I absolutely adored playing this game,” White said.
Isaiah Thomas asks Celtics to skip video tribute to focus on Paul Pierce
Now, it seems that Boston might have to skip a video tribute for their former point guard altogether.
On Tuesday, Thomas took to Twitter to say that he’d rather defer to former Celtics forward Paul Pierce, who is having his jersey retired by the team that night and complained about Thomas’ tribute.
I'd like to thank the Celtics for their gracious offer to play a video tribute on Feb 11th celebrating my 3yrs in Boston. But since it appears this has caused some controversy w/ Paul Pierce's night I'd ask the Celtics instead to focus all of their attention on #34's career.
The odd thing about this whole tale is that Pierce changed his mind on this thing in a span of 24 hours. A Fox Sports radio host pointed out earlier this month that Pierce initially said that he was OK with Thomas’ video tribute.
The next day on ESPN’s The Jump, Pierce did a full 180° and instead said he wanted the treatment the Los Angeles Lakers gave Kobe Bryant, with multiple videos being shown during timeouts throughout the game.
This seems petty on the part of Pierce, but at least Thomas appears to be taking it with grace.