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News » Two of three not enough

Two of three not enough

Two of three not enough


The Celtics started the season with their Big 3 feeling healthy and wealthy. But things ended abruptly with a 101-82 loss to the Orlando Magic last night, with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce joining Kevin Garnett on the bench for the last minutes of the game.

It was clear at that point that the Celtics' dependence on Garnett (right knee) had been exposed - and exploited - by Orlando.

``Kevin, just his frame underneath the basket is just very intimidating for anybody,'' Allen said. ``A lot of times, guards got into our paint and when he's out there most guards don't come down there.''

The Magic, though, were able to penetrate into the lane, opening up their 3-point game. Orlando shot 13 for 21 (61.1 percent) on 3-pointers and 23 for 49 on 2-pointers.

``We got off to an awful start defensively,'' Pierce said. ``We gave [Dwight] Howard a couple of dunks, we opened up their 3-point game early, and that's something we feared the whole series. I thought, for the most part, the whole series, we really defended their 3-point shot really well - up until [last] night.''

Late discovery

Allen snapped a shooting slump, scoring 23 points on 9-for-18 shooting.

``Ray got it going, nobody else did,'' Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``I thought, for the most part, we made it tough on Ray. I know he missed some good looks, but I thought we made it tough on him. [Last] night he was looking like Ray Allen again and scaring the hell out of me.

``They just didn't get the second guy. Paul really couldn't - we weren't giving him a chance. I thought we did a really good job on our double teams. If you watched, we tried to double-team him every time he got the ball, anywhere on the floor. We tried to run a guy at him virtually every catch he had in the scoring area.''

Bench bust

The Celtics continued with an eight-player rotation, including reserves Eddie House, Stephon Marbury, and Brian Scalabrine, who combined for 8 points on 3-of-12 shooting.

``We've basically gone with eight guys and we are probably going to continue to do that,'' Rivers said before the game. ``There's other guys who are ready if called upon, if we get in foul trouble.

``The key for us early is Baby [Glen Davis] not picking up a foul, because it really does force our hand in some ways. Because we only have a certain amount of fouls we can use on Dwight Howard, so we don't want [Davis] wasting fouls on someone else. But other than that, we're pretty much who we are.

``We'll decide, we'll go by feel, but it's a dangerous game. If you leave Davis in and he picks up that second foul, and [Kendrick Perkins] gets in foul trouble, you have to put Baby back on Dwight Howard, and now you're playing a dangerous game. That's where our depth is challenged when you lose Kevin and Leon [Powe].

Big baby steps

Davis, who was forced to play a big role in Garnett's absence, says he's learned from the experience.

``Kevin is a big part of this team,'' Davis said. ``Without him, it's tough. I filled his spot and I'm not using no excuses. The opportunity was there for me to close and I didn't get us to the Finals. Just something I've got to look back on this summer and use as motivation to work even harder because the opportunity is always there. So, next time I could be more prepared, more ready and bring my game up to a whole different level.

He said having Garnett healthy next year can only help him more.

``Especially with my confidence coming off the bench and understanding the game even more,'' Davis said. ``With Paul, a hungrier Kevin, it's going to be hard to beat us.''

Free to choose

Davis, Marbury, and Mikki Moore all said after last night's game that they hope to re-sign with the Celtics .

Marbury, an unrestricted free agent, said, ``I'm going to wait. I'm not going to make any hasty decisions.''

He said he'd be willing to back up Rajon Rondo, but wants more minutes.

Moore said he's confident that he'd be re-signed.

Powe, who recently had surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee, is expected to return in the middle of next season. He will be an unrestricted free agent.

The Celtics have a team option on second-year guard Gabe Pruitt, who said he'd like to return.

Marc J. Spears of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 18, 2009


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