Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers

Can emotion of coming home lift Celtics to Game 3 win over Knicks?

19 Comments

The blueprint for Boston to get back into this series is there — they have won the first half of Games 1 and 2. Tenacious defense, getting points out of Jeff Green and/or Jason Terry to go with Paul Pierce, and to make the little hustle plays.

The Celtics have had two problems. First, they haven’t come close to sustaining that when the Knicks play their best — 25 points for Boston in the second half of Game 1, 23 in Game 2. Second, the Knicks are the better, deeper team.

But if there is one thing that can give the Celtics the lift they need it’s a return to TD Garden — especially on an emotional night, the Celtics first home game since the Boston Marathon tragedy.

Boston was dramatically better at home than on the road this season — 27-13 in Boston, 14-27 on the road. They outscored opponents by 4.6 points per game at home, lost by 4.9 on the road. The key reason was their defense — Boston allowed 95.9 points per 100 possessions at home, 104.9 on the road. (Stats via NBA.com)

Boston is not likely to come apart for 24 minutes at home, in front of their crowd, like they did in Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks are going to have to earn this one.

Of course, the Knicks are still the better team and have a couple things to fall back on.

One is more Raymond Felton in the pick-and-roll (ideally with better play out of Tyson Chandler). His speed and the way he attacks puts the Celtics defense more on its heels — when Carmelo Anthony is in isolation or Pablo Prigioni is running the offense at a more leisurely pace, Boston’s defense can slow the Knicks. But Felton has been more of the disruptive force.

Second, there is Carmelo Anthony. He’s put up big numbers but taken a lot of shots to get there in the first couple games. He remains the best player in this series and if he can take over a game the Knicks can get the win.

New York needs to win one of the two games in Boston this weekend. Make it the first one and their path gets much, much easier.

Report: Bulls’ Cristiano Felicio ‘strong favorite’ to replace Anderson Varejao on Brazilian Olympic team

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 19: Cristiano Felicio #6 of the Chicago Bulls looks to pass against the Toronto Raptors at the United Center on February 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Raptors 116-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
1 Comment

Warriors center Anderson Varejao will miss the Rio Olympics due to a back injury.

Where will Team Brazil turn now?

Likely to Bulls center Cristiano Felicio.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Felicio came on strong late last season. He puts his 6-foot-10, 275-pound frame to good use protecting the paint and rebounding. He showed potential as passer and mid-range shooter, too.

At age 24, he’s a candidate to break out in the Olympics.

If he’s not ready, Brazil can turn to a steady veteran at center, Nene.

Report: Equipment staffer punched by Blake Griffin no longer works for Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin stands on the court as equipment manager Matias Testi, left, stands behind the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in Los Angeles. Griffin broke his hand last month when he punched Testi in the face. The Clippers won 105-86. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
2 Comments

Blake Griffin broke his hand punching Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi in January.

Make that former Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi.

TMZ:

The L.A. Clippers equipment staffer who was punched in the face by Blake Griffin during a fight in Toronto earlier this year is off the team — and will NOT be back for the ’16/’17 season … TMZ Sports has learned.

We spoke with a rep for the Clippers who confirmed Matias Testi “no longer works for the team.”

#Family

Writer recants report of Kevin Durant telling Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with Thunder

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 03:  Kevin Durant #35 and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder talk to head coach Billy Donovan during their game against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on March 3, 2016 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
1 Comment

The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?

Never mind.

Royce Young of ESPN:

I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.

Warriors/Brazil center Anderson Varejao to miss Olympics with back injury

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Dan Clark #13 of Great Britain shoots over Anderson Varejao #11 of Brazil in the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match between Great Britain and Brazil on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Center Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics for host Brazil because of a herniated disc in his lower back.

The Golden State Warriors announced the injury Wednesday and say that Varejao should be ready for the start of training camp but will not be healthy enough to play in the Olympics. Varejao recently experienced back pain while training with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins earlier this week.

Varejao averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 22 games after signing with the Warriors on Feb. 22. He re-signed with the team earlier this month.