|01.28.10 at 10:31 am ET|
During the course of a long season it is customary for players and coaches to downplay significant games on the schedule. In the matter of the Celtics‘ three-game stretch that begins tonight in Orlando, continues Friday in Atlanta and concludes back home on Sunday against the Lakers, a curious thing has happened. Everyone connected with the Celtics seems to view these games as meaningful and important.
“We understand that these are three great games to be able to play,” Doc Rivers said Wednesday on Dennis & Callahan. “Coaches look forward to them and players look forward to them as well. Once they’re over then they become one of the 82. There’s no doubt that players look forward to them.”
Danny Ainge also acknowledged their importance. “I think it will tell us a lot about our depth, our conditioning and the quality of our play right now,” he said on The Big Show.
Each game has its own personality. The Magic offer the most compelling 1-through-5 matchups, while the Hawks present their in-season mastery of the Celtics as a hurdle to climb. The Lakers provide their own drama, of course. This is not a make-or-break stretch for the Celtics by any means, but it will reveal something about who they are and where they are going.
CELTICS (29-13, 5-5 last 10)
Points Per Game: 99.7
Points Allowed: 93.7
Differential: +6.0 (3rd)
Offensive Efficiency: 107.9 (13th)
Defensive Efficiency: 101.4 (1st)
Pace: 91.7 (22nd)
MAGIC (29-16, 505 last 10)
Points Per Game: 101.1
Points Allowed: 96.3
Differential: +4.8 (7th)
Offensive Efficiency: 108.4 (11th)
Defensive Efficiency: 103.2 (5th)
Pace: 93.1 (12th)
Injuries: None Read the rest of this entry »
|01.28.10 at 9:15 am ET|
1. Cleveland (2): It’s surprising how well the Cavaliers have matched up with the Lakers this year. With or without Shaq in Cleveland’s lineup, I just didn’t think that they had the big men to deal with LA’s size. As for player-coach-mayor LeBron, I’ve seen him carry a worse team than this to the Finals … but he did it when the Eastern Conference was worse, too. After last year, regular-season dominance means nothing. Can this team be this good in late May and early June?
2. LA Lakers (1): What fickle person comes up with these rankings, anyway? Wasn’t it just last week that “it’s going to be hard for someone to knock them from this [No. 1] perch”? That someone was the Cavaliers, who swept the season series from the Lakers. (An aside, from the world of trashy TV: The fellas might think I’m crazy on this one, but do you know which Kardashian is really starting to grow on me? Khloe. Lamar Odom’s girl. Kim and Kourtney get all the hype, but … I’m just saying … never mind.)
3. Denver (5): What the Nuggets have done this year is amazing. They’ve won some games without Carmelo Anthony, they’ve won some games without Chauncey Billups, they’ve won some games without bench guy J.R. Smith. They were conference finalists last year, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they were able to return and make it even more interesting than last time.
4. Dallas (3): I love the way they’re playing, but I don’t believe in the way they’re playing. It’s great for the regular season. But when the playoffs arrive and scouting and defense becomes more intense, there’s one player I definitely trust (Dirk, of course) and two maybes (the Jasons: Terry and Kidd).
5. Boston (6) KG is back and the world is back to normal for the C’s. They closed out two games, against the Clippers and Blazers, that they probably would have lost without the presence, sound and fury of No. 5. Speaking of which, does anyone know any good lip readers? I swear, before the year is over, I’m going to the Garden with a lip reader whose only assignment will be to focus on KG the entire night. Some people are offended by his rants. I’m not. I just want to know what he’s saying beyond the obvious, you know, “Take that, mother…” and other assorted f-bombs.
|01.27.10 at 5:24 pm ET|
On Glen Davis wanting to change his nickname: Did this upset you guys in the front office?
Why would it upset us in the front office? First of all, this guy and all the players, there are people around them constantly. It’s why I don’t think players should Twitter or Facebook, there are so many things said on the spur of the moment that aren’t thought through. I don’t think there was anything he meant. Maybe he just thought he should change his nickname and it becomes a huge story. It’s incredible to me. I know Glen. I know his intentions. I know where his heart is and what his goals are. I just think it was blown completely out of context.
Why engage this after getting fined [for the Detroit incident]?
My thing is why would you ever want to bring attention to yourself when things aren’t going great. Glen is a funny guy. He’s an outgoing guy, he’s a very spontaneous guy and I think that, not making any excuses for him, of course that wasn’t a great thing to say, but it doesn’t change how we feel about him. We just know his personality and those kinds of things come out of him. I don’t think he has any selfish motives by doing it, or things that go against the grain of the team, it was just not the brightest thing for him to say.
He hasn’t played as well this season, obviously the injury had a lot to do with it, but he hasn’t seemed as bouncy and funny when he’s talking to the media. Away from the press, is he the same personality?
Yeah, he’s a good personality. He’s happy when he comes in every day. he puts his work in. I think he was humbled by the whole experience. I think the difference is, he hasn’t had a chance to play. You don’t get that rhythm. He was getting 15 and 7 last year in the playoffs. I’m very confident that if something happened to one of the guys ahead of him in the rotation and he was put in a position to play the minutes that he did last year he would produce every bit like he did last year, if not better.
You’ve had Kevin Garnett back for a few games. How has it worked out?
I think probably better than we expected after a guy was sitting out for a while, from being rusty and having his timing off. He’s been making shots, and making big shots for us down the stretch of games. You see the energy that he brings to our defense, and just the accountability and confidence he gives to our players when he’s on the court. It’s every bit as important as his production. He’s been huge, and health-wise he’s good. He looks great in practice. He’s still obviously not as bouncy as he was two years ago, but he’s better than he was last year and I think he’s better today then he was in training camp. Read the rest of this entry »
|01.27.10 at 5:21 pm ET|
According to a statement issued by the NBA:
‘The NBA has conducted a thorough investigation of events relating to this matter.
‘It is not disputed that, following an argument on the team’s flight home from a game in Phoenix, both Mr. Arenas and Mr. Crittenton brought guns to the Verizon Center locker room and ‘ with other players and team personnel present or nearby ‘ displayed them to one another in a continuation of their dispute. The players engaged in this conduct despite a specific rule set forth in the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the Players Association prohibiting players from possessing a weapon at an NBA facility, and reminders of this prohibition given annually by the NBA to players both in writing and in person.
‘The issue here is not about the legal ownership and possession of guns, either in one’s home or elsewhere. It is about possession of guns in the NBA workplace, which will not be tolerated.
‘I have met separately with Mr. Arenas and with Mr. Crittenton. Both have expressed remorse for their actions and an understanding of the seriousness of their transgressions. Both have volunteered to engage in community service in order to turn the lessons they have learned into an educational message for others. I accept fully the sincerity of their expressions of regret and intent to create something positive from this incident.
‘Nevertheless, there is no justification for their conduct. Accordingly, I am today converting Mr. Arenas’ indefinite suspension without pay to a suspension without pay for the remainder of the 2009-10 season, and am also suspending Mr. Crittenton without pay, effective immediately, for the remainder of the 2009-10 season.’
Arenas has not played since Jan. 10. The Celtics will face the Wizards on Monday in Washington, D.C.
|01.27.10 at 11:05 am ET|
“I don’t think so,” Rivers said when asked if the team was likely to make a move. “I really don’t. I’ve heard some silly talk over the last two or three days about trades that we’ve been discussing, which I wish I had I had known about. They were interesting. Obviously if we can improve our team we’re going to. But, I don’t think there’s a trade out there that we can pull off and I don’t mind if we don’t.” [Click here for a full transcript.]
A published report on CSNNE indicated the Golden State Warriors would consider offering a package of players for Ray Allen, with Monta Ellis prominently involved. The struggling Warriors acknowledged they needed to make changes, but coach Don Nelson laughed when asked about the rumor.
For his part, Allen told reporters after practice Tuesday that he wanted to remain with the Celtics beyond this season when his contract expires, and that he understands that he would probably have to take less money to make that happen.
The trade deadline is Feb. 18 and the Celtics have a number of expiring contracts, with Allen’s potentially the biggest bait. But the Celtics are eager to see what this team can do when everyone is healthy, which has not happened yet. Marquis Daniels is on track to rejoin the team around the All-Star break, which won’t give them much time to make a decision, if there even is one to be made.
UPDATE: Danny Ainge was a guest on the Big Show (click here for a full transcript) and he also shot down the rumors.
“There’s one little rumor, that’s made up by the way, that gets reported that actually ends up being a story every day for a couple of weeks,” Ainge said.
Ainge said he did talk to Allen about the rumor and that Allen understands the nature of the business.
“Ray gets it,” Ainge said. “He knows there’s no such thing as players being untradeable. He knows he’s 34 years old and at the end of his contract. At the same time he knows that he is a very valuable piece to what we’re trying to do right now, which is win a championship and he’s one of our key components. So, he gets all of it and he understands the business. It’s unfortunate that someone says something and then players have to respond and coaches have to respond for weeks at a time sometimes with no validity to it.”
Ainge went on to say that he believes Allen has a lot of basketball left in him and that he feels the Celtics, as constituted, are good enough to contend for a championship.
|01.27.10 at 10:15 am ET|
Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to talk about trash-talking, whether the Celtics will make a trade, the craziest players and teams Rivers played on, and the Celtics’ upcoming three games with Orlando, Atlanta and the Lakers.
Did you see Paul Pierce and Rasheed Wallace in the footage at Ellis Memorial in Roxbury yesterday? It was very heartwarming. The reason we bring this up is it flies in the face of your team’s reputation as the biggest trash-talkers in the NBA.
Well, they can do that and still do that, I guess. We have a bunch of great guys and we have a bunch of insane guys when the game starts. I’ve always said there’s a lot of guys who you would love to meet on the court and who you would not like to meet off the court. That’s probably two of them.
[Sports Illustrated] made a list of the top trash-talkers and you have three of them. Are you comfortable with that?
It was Paul. It was a player’s poll and Kevin won going away.
The thing with Kevin is, Kevin talks the whole game — to himself, to us, to his teammates and to the other team. So I don’t know who he’s talking to, and I don’t think the other team does, as well. Again, it’s funny. My first year with Kevin I realized that’s who he was. We had one game and before the game I said to the guys, “Look. We have to play the game. Respect the game. No talking.” At halftime we were awful and I went in and said, “Kevin, everybody. Go back to who you were. Play basketball.” That’s who a couple of my guys are. Do I wish they didn’t do it? Yeah. But that’s who they are. I’m not going to try and change it.
Do the other players on the other teams take offense?
I think sometimes they do and I don’t really think Kevin is a trash-talker, of the three. Kevin is a talker. He’ll do that, “Get that stuff out of here,” and I don’t even consider that trash talk anymore. He yells more at the atmosphere. “We’re gonna win. We’re playing hard.” Stuff like that. It’s not really directed at anyone. But, yes, some guys do. It’s the teams that aren’t very good and can’t handle it. The great teams don’t pay any attention to it because they do it themselves. Read the rest of this entry »
|01.26.10 at 9:57 pm ET|
Rivers has spent the last three years trying to instill in Rajon Rondo the kind of traits Rivers used to gain a reputation as one of the best defensive guards in the NBA in the 1980s.
Right now, Rivers knows the reputation Rondo has around the league. Go at Rondo and make him try to stop you, since defense hasn’t always come naturally for the guard. On Tuesday, following practice, Rivers drew a analogy between Rondo and another pro athlete.
“I think teams try to go at Rondo because of his size and because they want to try and get him to gamble,” Rivers said. “It’s like trying to make Brett Favre try and throw across his body. It’s who you are, and teams know that and try to take advantage of that.”
[Click here to hear Doc Rivers talk about how defense led to Rondo’s development into a possible All-Star]
Like Favre on Sunday with an ill-advised cross-body pass that was picked, Rondo’s season came to a bitter end in Game 7 last spring against the Orlando Magic, a game in which some critics felt Rondo hurt the team by constantly gambling for steals instead of playing solid defense on Orlando’s dangerous backcourt. Read the rest of this entry »
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