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Celtics: Irish Coffee

09.29.10 at 8:58 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

You’d think everything was painted green in Tommy Heinsohn‘s world, but truth be told the Celtics legend does more than just color for his former team. He’s a talented artist, as detailed in this NECN piece.

Tommy recently entered some of his work into an art show that benefited a charity in honor of his late wife, the Helen J. Weiss Scholarship fund for art education amoung children.

“I do something in art every day,” he told NECN. “If it’s only for five minutes.” It’s his relaxation, he joked, from all those terrible referees in the NBA. There’s not enough Tommy Points to give it for that.

Oh, and you’ll never guess Tommy’s prediction for the 2010-11 season. “If they can put on the floor what’s on paper,” he said to NECN, “we’re gonna win a title.”

Training Camp: Day 1

The Celtics practiced for three hours in a hot and humid gym yesterday at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I. An evening walk-through got pushed until this morning. The news? The veterans’ conditioning is the biggest question going forward, Jermaine O’Neal worked mainly with the starters and Kevin Garnett “just looked explosive,” according to Doc Rivers. “He had his hop back.”

Following the practice, Shaquille O’Neal tweeted, “First day is over, the truth and ray allen didn’t miss a shot, daaayum I wish I was a shooter.”

That’s a far cry from Von Wafer‘s tweet at 2 a.m. the morning before practice: “jus woke to use the bathroom back to sleep big day tomorrow.” Thanks for the update, Von. Wafer reportedly tweaked an ankle during the first day of practice.

According to the Fredericksburg (Va.) Free Lance-Star, the C’s are waiting for a letter from FIBA Europe that will clear Chris Johnson to participate in training camp. The 6-foot-11 LSU product apparently attended practice yesterday but didn’t participate. His agent said the process normally takes seven days, and the Celtics sent the letter last week, while Johnson was reportedly participating in unofficial workouts in Boston.

Magic impressions

Members of the Orlando Magic were quick to point out to Fox Sports Florida that the East does not belong to the Heat. The Celtics, if you remember, are the returning Eastern Conference champions …

Dwight Howard: “I got tired of [hearing about the Heat] as soon as LeBron said he was going to Miami. Our discussions are not about Miami and what they’re doing. Our discussions are about what we are going to do to win a championship. What are we going to sacrifice? How are we going to play night in and night out so we can win a championship? We’re not banking on beating the Miami Heat or saying, ‘Hey we need to beat the Heat.’ That’s not our concern.”

Stan Van Gundy: “I don’t think anybody is doubting Miami’s talent and the fact that they’re going to be a serious challenge, but we don’t doubt Boston’s talent or them being a serious challenge. Or Atlanta, Chicago, Milwaukee, Philadelphia [or] Washington. There’s a lot of people who got better in the East. I think the challenge only rises, and I think we’re very confident in ourselves as a team and we look forward to those challenges ahead.”

J.J. Redick also made interesting comments to the Orlando Pinstriped Post during the Magic’s Media Day …

“I still have a bitter taste in my mouth,” he said. “I don’t know if we could have beaten Boston last year because we didn’t play our best game. We just–we got our butts kicked. … [Toughness is] a big reason why Boston beat us. It’s mental, man. Those guys were tougher mentally than us during that series.”

Top 10 All-Time Celtics

A Lakers fan ranked the top-10 Celtics of all-time on the Bleacher Report (similarly, a Celtics fan ranked the top-10 Lakers of all-time). As shocking as this may be to the person who commented on the Antoine Walker link in yesterday’s Irish Coffee (to quote: “Felger is an idiot but he isn’t stupid like weei people INCLUDINg this writer who was never around befoerw [sic] KG”), Antoine did not crack the top 10. Neither did Dino Radja. I kid. I kid. Paul Pierce did make the list. Who do you think was left off?

Putting a Price on Rondo’s jumpshot

The Herald’s Dan Duggan tweeted, “Rajon Rondo didn’t work out with Mark Price this summer. Said he didn’t do anything special to work on his shooting, but feels good about it.” Jay King at Celtics Town makes a good point: “Why would we even WANT Rondo to do something special to fix his jumper? I mean, it’s not like he shot 21.2% from behind the arc last season. It’s not like defenders were able to sag off him and clog the lane. It’s not like Rondo gives Shaq a run for his money as the worst free throw shooter on the Celtics.” Here’s to hoping Rondo was kidding.

Chicago Bullish on Thibodeau

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls players are getting more than an earful from former Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau.

“He’ll talk for like two or three hours, so you have to shorten your conversation with him real quick, come up with a good lie or something,” Derrick Rose told the Tribune. “Have one of your friends call you and say you gotta go pick him up or something.”

There’s no hint of green envy in Thibodeau’s eyes any longer. Asked if he’d occasionally wear the 2008 championship ring he won with the Celtics, he said, “I have to find it first. That was then. This is now. We want to build championship habits. It’s a lot of rhetoric to talk about. The real serious teams do it every day from how they practice.”

Read More: Chris Johnson, Rajon Rondo, Tom Thibodeau, Tommy Heinsohn

Why the time is now (and right) for Delonte West

09.28.10 at 6:26 pm ET
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WALTHAM ‘€” Delonte West stepped on a foot stool he didn’t need with a broad, beaming smile and began to talk in a most relaxed fashion about how glad and grateful he is to be back in Boston with a chance to win his first NBA title with the team where it all began.

If ever anyone was grateful to be back in Boston with a chance at redemption, it’s the 27-year-old lefty-shooting guard from Washington, signed by the Celtics on Sept. 1 to a non-guaranteed free agent deal. West had been cut by Minnesota, which had acquired him from Cleveland just days after the Cavaliers lost free agent LeBron James to Miami.

“It feels great to be back in green and white, where I started my career,” West said. “That’s a great compliment, being picked up from a team that’s coming off an [NBA finals] Game 7 and got their eyes set on a championship. To be called to render my services to help this team put up another banner, that’s an amazing feeling.”

Before doing so, he must sit out the first 10 games of the season on gun charges after he pleaded guilty for carrying two loaded handguns, a loaded shotgun and two knives when he was pulled over in suburban Washington last September.

He spoke of being familiar with Doc Rivers when he broke into the NBA. He spoke of his experiences in Cleveland, where he was on a team favored to get to the NBA finals ‘€” only to be twice denied by the Celtics.

But most of all, West spoke like a man who knows that ‘€” assuming he can win a spot on the roster out of camp ‘€” he will have his best shot yet to reach the NBA summit.

And it would certainly have been quite the journey. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Delonte West, LeBron James

Celtics practice report: O’Neals pass first test

09.28.10 at 5:51 pm ET
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NEWPORT, R.I. — It was hot inside Rodgers Recreation Center at Salve Regina University Tuesday, where the Celtics held their first practice of the 2010-11 season.

How hot?

“Way too warm, felt like the [Boston] Garden in the ’80s,” said Doc Rivers, who played in his share of summer playoff games vs. the Celtics during his years with the Hawks.

“It a little humid in here, a little warm,” said Jermaine O’Neal, who felt the players did a “pretty good” job dealing with the heat.

Rivers felt that the temperature inside the gym — best guess was somewhere in the low 90s — “didn’t help” the players during a three-plus hour session, but he wasn’t going to make excuses.

“I think that we’€™re not in great shape, personally,” said Rivers. “I don’€™t think that we’€™ve come back in the condition that we want. So we’€™re going to have to come back in better shape.”

— It was the first day as a member of the Celtics for both Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal. Rivers was pleased with the efforts of both.

“Shaq was great, actually. He looked fine,” said Rivers, who when asked about Jermaine O’Neal noted, “What did I see [from him]? He’s going to help us.

Both O’Neals were seen practicing with the first team [the media was allowed to watch the last 20 minutes or so of the session] but it was Shaquille O’Neal who spent some time with the second unit ‘€” “The White Team” ‘€” that also included Delonte West, Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels.

“My game is real limited,” Shaq said when asked if he preferred to start or come off the bench. “I know to look for [Kevin] Garnett and to look for my shooters. I’ve always played with great big men and great shooters, so it’s no different.

“I’m not going to be playing 30-40 minutes a game, just 20-30.”

Jermaine O’Neal didn’t seem concerned about the starter/reserve situation, either.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jermaine O'Neal, Shaquille O'Neal

Shaq Q&A: ‘Always knew Doc was a great coach’

09.28.10 at 4:27 pm ET
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Newport, R.I. — Shaquille O’Neal speaks maybe a half a notch above whisper. So it took my best Talia Shire to get through the rest of the  media and pick up what I could from his (very brief) sit down with the press folks following his first practice with the Celtics Tuesday at Salve Regina University. Here’s what we got:

No chemistry problems with a new team?

“I’ve known a lot of these guys their whole career, spent a lot of time with them during the summer. Getting along with the guys won’t be a problem or a factor. I’ve known these guys since the first day they came into the NBA.”

Does it matter if you start or not at this point of your career?

“Nope, my game is real limited. I know to look for Garnett and to look for my shooters. I’ve always played with great big men and great shooters, so it’s no different.”

How about your first day with Doc Rivers as your head coach? About what you expected?

“I always knew Doc was a great coach, that’s why I called him this summer. I want to end my career with a players coach, I wanted to end my career with a team that’s going to win.”

Doc mentioned that some of the guys weren’t in the condition he had hoped. Is your fitness level a concern?

“I’m happy, I’m cool. There’s a difference between being in shape and in basketball shape. Remember, I’m not going to be playing 35-40 minutes a game, more like 20-25 minutes a game, and I could do that all day. I’m still putting in some extra work, doing some yoga at night so I’ll be ready.”

Just happy to be with this team?

“I’m very delighted for myself and my family. Going into my 19th year, breaking records every day and being different historical teams. I’ve had a very, very unorthodox and illustrious career. Unorthodox and illustrious — two big words in a row.”

Read More: Shaquille O'Neal,

Doc Rivers Q&A: ‘Kevin was phenomenal’

09.28.10 at 3:31 pm ET
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NEWPORT, R.I. – With a three-plus hour opening practice in the books. Doc Rivers spoke to the media at Salve Regina University, host of the Celtics training camp until the end of week. Here are a few highlights:

How was the level of conditioning?

“They didn’t hold up very well, honestly. It was a long practice, a lot of talking as you can tell (Rivers was nursing a hoarse voice). We won’t go three hours every day but we needed it. I think we’re not in great shape, personally. I think we’ve come back in the condition we want.”

How was Shaquille O’Neal’s first practice?

“Shaq was great, actually. He looked fine.”

A year ago Kevin Garnett was limping through the first day of camp. A big difference a year later?

“Kevin was phenomenal, really, yeah. Explosive.”

Warm in the gym today (and it was — must’ve been close to 90 degrees). Was that done on purpose?

“No, it’s too warm. That didn’t help practice, honestly. Way to warm — feels like the Garden in the 1980s.”

What did you see out of Jermaine O’ Neal?

“Just one practice, you know? What did I see? He’s gonna help us.”

How hard was it for Kendrick Perkins to watch practice?

“I’m sure it was hard, it was hard for me to watch practice at times. That’s going to be tough for Perk. I’ve been there. That’s going to be really tough, a tough thing to do. He’s a great kid, he’ll get through it, but it’s not going to be easy.”

What will Von Wafer’s role be?

“He’s got to make his role. He’s young, he’s got a lot of guys in front of him right now. He’s a guy coming off the bench and being a good practice player until he can get in front of somebody.”

Comments made by Big Baby at Media Day (doesn’t know his role)?

“I think he’s living up to [The Big Baby moniker] again … if Baby doesn’t know what his role is by now, I guess he’ll be sitting down a lot. It’s just that simple.”

Read More: Doc Rivers,

Paul Pierce on Doc Rivers’ return: ‘That was huge’

09.28.10 at 11:48 am ET
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In our countdown of the Celtics 10 most important offseason developments, we gave the top spot to Doc Rivers‘ decision to return to the bench. Paul Pierce backed that up at media day Monday

“I think the most important thing was Doc coming back,” Pierce said. “That was huge. It would have been a tougher decision on me truthfully. It would have been a domino effect. If you had seen Doc leave, I honestly believe that we probably wouldn’€™t have re-signed Ray [Allen]. We probably wouldn’€™t have went after Shaq, re-signed Nate [Robinson]. We probably would have seen rebuilding here”

Pierce also acknowledged that he wouldn’t have wanted to be involved with another rebuilding effort at this point in his career.

Read More: Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Shaquille O'Neal

Shaq on D&C: ‘I would have played for free’ in Boston

09.28.10 at 8:49 am ET
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In an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show, new Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal, who has made no less than $10 million in his last 14 NBA seasons and at least $20 million in his last nine campaigns, said that he had no problem taking a pay cut in excess of 90 percent in order to come to the Celtics. O’Neal signed a two-year deal for approximately $3 million this summer, and he suggested that money was virtually irrelevant in making his decision to join Boston.

“I had other options where the money would have been greater. But this franchise, this team, has a tradition of winning,” O’Neal said. “I’€™ve been one of the luckiest guys in the history of the game. I’€™ve had four max deals and one lifetime of play. So money wasn’€™t an issue. Money will never be an issue. But Danny Ainge had $1 million left, which was the minimum. If I had to, to come here and play, I would have played for free. Doesn’€™t matter to me.”

O’Neal ‘€” who said that he wanted to be called The Big Shamrock while with the Celtics — also discussed whether he will be able to “blend in” in Boston both on and off the court, his bucket list, his experience of last year’s Celtics-Cavaliers playoff series from Cleveland’s perspective and his feelings on Dwight Howard and LeBron James, among several other topics.

A transcript is below. To listen to the complete interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

This is Shaquille O’€™Neal. Don’€™t mess with Dennis & Callahan, weekdays from 6-10 on the WEEI Sports Radio Network.

Skip the boring basketball questions. Is Boston big enough for your personality?

I always tell people that I was raised Karate Kid style. My father took me many places as a youngster. I started off in Northern New Jersey, born and raised. Went down south to Hinesville, Ga., then to West Germany, then to San Antonio, Tex. I say that to say that I can blend in anywhere.

You probably can’€™t blend in.

I can blend in. If people are looking for me in Boston, I’€™ll be in Sudbury. If you’€™re looking for the Big Shamrock, he’€™ll be in Sudbury, in the fields of Sudbury.

You’€™ve settled on the Big Shamrock?

Yes. The Big Shamrock. Yes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Russell, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James
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