Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers

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


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

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.

Kevin Love names NBA players he thinks could play in NFL

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The majority of guys in the NBA are not built for the NFL. Blake Griffin the tight end makes a huge target for a free safety to line up. Kevin Durant is a little thin. Carmelo Anthony? Come on now.

But there are a few guys who might be able to, and on his show Dan Patrick asks Kevin Love about it today (see the video above). Then DP tries to take the obvious call of LeBron James off the table.

Nate Robinson as a DB? He’s athletic enough but at his height he would be a target for tall receivers. I like Dan Patrick’s suggestion of Russell Westbrook the free safety — he is certainly athletic enough.

Love also picked himself as a QB. Um, no. I’m not sure his outlet passing skills translate.

Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on not guilty verdict: “Justice was served”

Thabo Sefolosha
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Friday morning, a New York jury found Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. The charges stemmed from the night in the final weeks of last season when Sefolosha and then teammate Pero Antic went to a New York club after arriving in town, and while there Pacers’ player Chris Copeland was stabbed outside the club. In his clash with police, Sefolosha suffered a broken leg that required surgery and kept him out of the playoffs.

The New York prosecutor tried to make this go away with a plea deal of just day of community service and six months probation. But Sefolosha had the means and mind to fight the charges, got his day in court and won. This is what he said in a statement after the verdict, released by the Atlanta Hawks.

“This morning’s verdict ended a long and emotional period for me.  Justice was served and for that I am eternally grateful to the judge and jury for their quick and deliberate decision….

“It’s troubling to me that with so much evidence in my support that this case would even be brought to trial and that I had to defend myself so hard to get justice. It pains me to think about all of the innocent people who aren’t fortunate enough to have the resources, visibility and access to quality legal counsel that I have had.

“It was important to me as a man, a father to two young girls and as a role model, to stand up for what I believe in and have my name cleared of any wrongdoing.  Today’s verdict will not make up for the pain and trauma my family and I have suffered over the past six months or bring back the opportunity to have played in the Eastern Conference Finals and have a shot at an NBA title, but it does bring me some peace and closes a painful chapter in my life.

“Now I look forward to returning to the team and focusing solely on my rehabilitation for the upcoming season so that I can get back to playing the game I cherish so much.”

While Sefolosha says he is focusing “solely” on his rehab, the win in the criminal case would bode well for a potential civil case if he wanted to sue regarding his treatment and the broken leg.

Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer — who testified at the trial and was amused by parts of it — released this statement:

“Thabo is a man of great character and we are proud that he took a principled approach to proving his innocence. We are extremely happy for him and his family, and we are very pleased with today’s verdict in his favor.”