|11.06.09 at 8:05 pm ET|
He, like many others around the NBA, thought the Phoenix Suns hit a home run two seasons ago when they traded for Shaquille O’Neal, putting him alongside Amar’e Stoudemire and Steve Nash. Rivers just assumed the Suns would take off, challenge the Lakers and Nuggets for Western Conference supremacy.
Not so much. After a half-season in 2007-08, when they were eliminated in the first round, the Suns fell to 46-36 last season, not even good enough to qualify for the Western playoffs.
“I was obviously wrong,” Rivers said. “I didn’t that was a bad match with Shaq and Stoudamire.”
But the Suns could never optimize O’Neal’s presence with Nash and Stoudamire and the Suns let O’Neal go to Cleveland this past off season. The more nimble, athletic 6-11 Channing Frye has taken O’Neal’s spot and is averaging 14.6 points in Phoenix’s 4-1 start to this season.
“I thought you had one post guy and Stoudamire is more off the post than on the post so I thought it was a good combination but it just didn’t work out for whatever reason,” Rivers added. “It’s good to see Channing Frye play well. I’ve always been pretty high on him as a player. I think he’s another great example, a litle like Shelden [Williams], guys who take a little time to find their way and I guess he’s found his way.”
|11.06.09 at 7:42 pm ET|
The Phoenix Suns have always epitomized the Wild West part of the Western Conference.
Can the Suns still run? Sure. They’re averaging 111.2 points a game. But Rivers said that doesn’t mean Phoenix is limited to just that aspect of the game.
“We want to run,” Rivers said of his team, which is averaging 99.8 points a contest. “We would love to run and them not. They are going to but they are not just a running team. I think people don’t give them their due offensively. They’re more than a running team to me. They really execute in the half-court extremely well. They have the ability to not get fast-break points and still score 120.”
|11.06.09 at 6:52 pm ET|
The Celtics will be without forward Brian Scalabrine for their game against the Suns at TD Garden. Celtics coach Doc Rivers announced that Scalabrine came down with bad back spasms on Friday. “He was having awful spasms,” Rivers said an hour before the game.
|11.06.09 at 1:05 am ET|
Are the Green concerned about their greenbacks?
That financial question was raised in a recent article on Yahoo! Sports, which suggested co-owner Wyc Grousbeck’s consideration of suspending injured Glen Davis had less to do with discipline and more to do with money.
Just months after signing a two-year deal worth over $6 million, Davis broke his thumb fighting a childhood friend and will be sidelined for at least six weeks. Reports then surfaced that the team was looking to take back some of the salary. Days after the Davis episode subsided, the Celtics committed $55 million to Rajon Rondo over the next five years.
Coupling the money owed to an injured Davis with their recent spending spree on Rondo, is Grousbeck concerned about the team’s finances? Quite the opposite. In fact, the Celtics are on a record-setting pace for revenue as they feature a reloaded team contending for another trophy.
‘On the contrary, we are on course to set a new record for revenues thanks to our fantastic fan support and support from our sponsors and broadcast partners,’ Grousbeck told WEEI.com via email. ‘We appreciate everything they have done to support the team.’
Rondo’s new deal is a major financial obligation for a team who already has over $32 million tied up with starters Rondo, Kevin Garnett, and Kendrick Perkins next season alone. Next summer they will face Paul Pierce‘s $21.5 million player option and will also have to address Ray Allen‘s unrestricted free agency.
That’s just the starting lineup. The Celtics will also face the question of building their bench as role players including Marquis Daniels, Eddie House, Brian Scalabrine, Tony Allen, and Shelden Williams have expiring contracts.
The new-look Celts have been nothing short of a hit sensation. They are off to a 6-0 start two years removed from their 17th title and one year removed from reaching the Eastern Conference Semifinals with an undermanned/overachieving team.
And regardless of their upcoming financial commitments, Grousbeck remains confident the organization is prepared to continue its pursuit for another championship.
Said Grousbeck, ‘I thank the fans and sponsors and will do everything I can to keep a winning team on the floor.’
|11.05.09 at 10:34 am ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined Dennis & Callahan to talk about how important his bench has been, the now-infamous Rajon Rondo vs. Chris Paul tiff, how getting more sleep has helped the Celtics, and his problems with Tim Donaghy.
Does it bother you when people start talking about winning 70 games?
No, it’s unrealistic, but it’s talk and people can talk about it, obviously. But it’s not what we’re focused on, I can tell you that.
On the Minnesota game:
You could see it early on, it was just one of those nights. Nothing was going for us. It didn’t look like we had legs, which happens during the year. Rasheed Wallace, Eddie [House] and Ray [Allen] were wide open on a lot of shots and some of them weren’t even close, so you knew it was one of those nights. Sometimes it’s a good thing when you can win with that, especially down the stretch, the last two or three defensive possessions we held them from scoring, it’s a good sign for your team.
Is it difficult to keep focus?
It’s not difficult at all because we have so many things to do defensively. We have things to do to get better offensively. We have yet to put in things. We’re not getting to the third and fourth options because we just don’t know them well enough yet, so we have a ton of work to do. Read the rest of this entry »
|11.05.09 at 8:55 am ET|
1. KG is still his intense and profane self on the court, but I always look forward to his unpredictable compliments to postgame interviewers. My favorite so far is KG hugging Cheryl Miller and saying, “You smell good, girl.”
2. Can anyone tell me why Ty Lawson had to sit and watch 10 other guards’ names called before his on draft night? What a steal for the Nuggets.
3. I like watching young Andrew Bynum play. I really do. What I hate is hearing some Lakers fans talk about him. Listen to them and you’d think the guy is the next Kareem.
|11.04.09 at 10:42 pm ET|
Playing in front of a sea of No. 5 jerseys, the Timberwolves were determined to prove themselves against Kevin Garnett and the Celtics. But in the end it was Garnett himself who forced a jumball to secure a 92-90 win for the Celtics, in Minnesota.
Player of the game: Rajon Rondo was outplayed by rookie Jonny Flynn in the first half, scoring just two points. Then he turned it on in the third quarter. Rondo posted 14 points in the third to bring the Celtics back into the game. He didn’t just put the ball in the hoop ‘ he baffled the Timberwolves defense, fought to get open, and burned his opponents with quick-thinking plays at the basket. Rondo finished the night with 18 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.
Turning point of the game: With over 10 lead changes in this game, the deciding play came with 3.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Up 92-90, the Celtics were fighting to fend off the Timberwolves game-winning/tying attempt. Garnett forced the jumpball against a driving Corey Brewer and eventually iced the victory for the Celtics.
* Rasheed Wallace added another T to his resume when he got whistled for a technical from the Celtics bench during the second quarter. It was reminiscent of Sam Cassell getting ejected from the sidelines last season without ever actually playing in the game.
* The Celtics were outrebounded 21-16 in the first half. Pierce was the only starter without a board in the first two quarters. Ryan Gomes, on the other hand, had five for the Timberwolves at the three-spot.
* Even though Rondo had the hot hand coming out of halftime, Doc Rivers played up the Celtics strengths and subbed in House at the end of the quarter. The strategy paid off as a well-defended Pierce kicked the ball off to House for the game-tying three as time expired in the quarter. The Celtics carried that momentum into the fourth.
* Kevin Garnett recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. It was his first since opening night against the Cavaliers (13 points, 10 rebounds).
* Timberwolves big man Oleksiy Pecherov made a name for himself with 24 points (9-14 FG) to lead all scorers.