By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
“Mixed Emotions In The TD Garden”
By Travis Singleton BASN writer
Updated: January 18, 2012
BOSTON, MA. (BASN) What I night to remember at the TD Bank Garden last night, so many story lines leading into the big Martin Luther King Day showdown between the Boston Celtics and the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was already an appreciated day because it was Martin Luther Kings birthday, as we celebrated the life of a man that believed in equality and also believed in a better world not just for african americans but for everyone. So with the stage set up for the Boston Celtics (4-7) and the Oklahoma City Thunder(11-2) but there was one more story that had been hanging in the balance it was the return of Kendrick Perkins back to Boston for the first time since being traded too the Thunder. Many Boston fans didn’t know why Kendrick Perkins got traded when he was such a big role for them in the Celtics playoff runs for many years. When Kendrick Perkins was introduced during the player announcements the crowd went crazy and showed Kendrick a lot of love and respect as he waved to the Boston faithful.
At the start of the game you could tell there was a huge advantage for Oklahoma City because, they were running up and down and around the Celtics. The Celtics had showed that they were lacking in the youth department as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were grabbing rebounds and going coast to coast with every chance they were given. At Halftime Westbrook and Durant combined for 32 out of the 46 points that the Thunder had scored, as on the Celtics end Paul Pierce was the only one in double figures with 11 out of their 39 points. The Celtics had no answer for Kevin Durant or Westbrook but were determined to keep it close as Rondo and Pierce got in the swing of the game driving to the basket and forcing the referee’s to blow the whistle. Pierce’s game is still intact but I worry about his health after almost every drive he looks like he’s in pain. The Celtics tried to get some youth on the court when they switched to rookie guard E’Twaun Moore as the two guard to run with Rondo and it got the Celtics closer to the Thunder’s margin.
In the fourth quarter emerged two familiar faces with an unknown offensive surprise from the Oklahoma City Thunder because, it seemed every time the Celtics would get close to tying the game Westbrook would take it to the hoop and get an and1 or Kevin Durant would hit a step back three pointer in the defenders face. The big surprise was Thabo Sefolosha with probably one of his biggest games in his career on the offensive side scoring 19 points but scoring 12 points in the fourth quarter alone.Michael Pietrus and Paul Pierce were keeping the Celtics around in the fourth quarter hitting some big shots to keep them close but, the Thunders youth and star power had taken over this games as the Thunder pulled it out 97 to 88.
The Celtics have many reasons to why they didn’t win the game last night you can say it was the lack of defense in crunch time and you can even say it was because, they were already down a lot to the Thunder in the early stages of the game and it was hard to come back. But the main reason why the Celtics lost last night was because, of the lack of production from the big men and they never got Ray Allen going. The Celtics big’s are already last in the league in rebounding and they showed it last night along with Bass having a bad game and also Kevin Garnett missing a lot of easy baskets around the rim with that being said you can’t win a game like that. The Celtics dropped to (4-8) and if they want to try to be a contender again in the conference or in the league they have to get younger and also have to get stronger on the boards. The Celtics have not beaten a playoff contender yet this season and with the Toronto Raptors coming here wednesday they have to get their act together and play as a team and get back to the basic fundamentals that got them where they were in 2008.
Paul Pierce Interview
Was this an encouraging night to try to run more and get better on the court defensively?
I’m starting to get my legs back in basketball shape and I’m feeling I’m getting closer every game and I’m getting sharper and trying to get my timing back and I’m still getting the understanding of where I need to be at and I feel it coming.
You made the run and tied the game and but how did things change in their favor?
They stepped up and hit about 4 or 5 three’s in the fourth quarter and Sefolosha hit a big three and Durant hit a tough three along with Westbrook. But overall I think we defended them really well and I really liked the effort we had tonight on the glass and how we competed, I was telling the guys we have to play like that night in night out we feel like we getting close. We played our game even though we lost tonight but they made tremendous shots tonight with our defense their and they made 4 or 5 three’s that won the game for them.
Is there a frustration level in these loses?
At the end of the day none of us like to lose but from every game we can take positives and I like where were heading its just little things were missing and if we can keep teams off transition and less turnovers I think we would be great but we have to go out there and do it.
Scott Brooks Interview
What was your game plan in trying to stop the Celtics?
I know we needed defense Ray Allen has had a year like he is 23 years old running around non-stop and I know we needed to have that defender on the floor. Also Paul Pierce his games getting into shape and there two of the best premiere players to guard and we needed Thabo on the floor to try to make their scorers miss shots.
Take about Sefolosha’s shooting the ball this season?
Thabo has worked you can tell he wanted to come back a better shooter and has shot the ball well in. But fairness to him we don’t ask him to take a lot of shots he does everything we ask and does it with all his effort every night and I’m proud of the way he played tonight.
How did Kendrick Perkins handle coming back to Boston and What you like about his game?
Special night it was emotional for him he grow up here , he’s loved by his former teammates, coach and fans rightfully so he does everything you want a player to do. We love him and I’m thrilled to coach him , I love him and love how he brings energy and toughness and thats one of the things we needed and he brings it every night. It was classy of the organization to do what they did with the screen up top you don’t see that a lot and that was special.
Kendrick Perkins Tribute