|11.15.10 at 4:37 pm ET|
For the month and a half, Delonte West has been treating his post-practice workouts as if they are a form of penance. For an hour or so after the team is done, West stays on the floor working with whoever will work with him. He goes through a litany of drills and shooting exercises filled with quick starts and stops.
Miss a free throw? Run down and back. Miss two? Do it twice.
The gym has been his sanctuary and his catharsis as he works to get himself back into game shape during his 10-game suspension, which was handed down by the league after he plead guilty weapons-related charges stemming from an incident in the summer of 2009. He’s not nervous. A little anxious maybe to see where his body is at this point, but not about getting back on the court.
“I know what I can do,” he said. “I’m very confident in what I’m able to do out on the basketball floor. They’re not asking me to do anything I can’t do. They’re not telling me to post-up and get 30 rebounds. It’s time to go play my game. That’s the best feeling ever.”
The Celtics have been waiting on him, as well. Doc Rivers feels that a backcourt combination of West and Nate Robinson will be a perfect match for their respective skillsets. On the one hand, West can take some of the ballhandling responsibilities from Robinson and allow him to be a scorer. On the other, West also offers a tough, physical defender.
“I think it helps,” Rivers said. “It moves [Robinson] off the ball half the time. I want Nate with the ball especially in our pick and roll package. It makes them both very comfortable.”
That’s been an issue for the Celtics so far this season. Robinson has not shot the ball well and has not had a strong start to his season. There have been flashes of brilliance, but the Celtics would like to see some consistency develop with their second unit and West is the kind of player who can provide some.
He is also likely to take away whatever time Von Wafer has been getting in the rotation, which has been limited. Wafer has appeared in seven games, but he has logged just 32 minutes and has taken only six shots.
West and Wafer had a pair of well-documented dust-ups already and some have wondered if Wafer’s time with the team would be coming to an end now that West is eligible to play again. That doesn’t seem to the case, at least not yet anyway. But Wafer did not do much with his opportunity, limited as it was, and now may be further edged out of the conversation.
“I still have to earn my playing time,” West said. “It’s a talented team. Guys that are out there earned the right to be out there. it starts here.”
Rivers said West will play Wednesday and while it will take him a bit to get his game back together, the Celtics have a comfort level with West. “He’s older,” Rivers said. “We’ve all matured a little bit. He’s still the same as far as he’s probably one of the most competitive people I’ve ever coached.”
|11.15.10 at 4:16 pm ET|
Rookie guard Avery Bradley won’t turn 20 until later this month and everyone around the Celtics thinks he has a bright future. But it’s been a slow start to his professional career after the Celtics took him with the 19th pick in the draft.
He had surgery on his ankle after the draft, which kept him out of summer league and also limited his time in training camp and in preseason. Then, he rolled his surgically repaired ankle on Paul Pierce’s foot and the team shut him down for two more weeks. He returned to practice Monday and is happy to be back on the court.
“I wasn’t nervous at all,” he said after a spirited 2-on-2 game with Von Wafer, Luke Harangody and assistant coach Ty Lue. “Just anxious to get a chance to get in there and practice with my team again.”
Bradley didn’t travel with the team, but said players and coaches were texting him with information from the games.
“That’s the good thing about this team,” Bradley said. “They want me to get better. The older guys want me to help me out all the time.”
“Avery’s a talented young man,” West said. “He can do good things in this league. He’s big strong guard. He’s physical. He’s athletic. The biggest thing is he has heart. He reminded me of myself a little bit as far as getting after people defensively.”
|11.15.10 at 10:30 am ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
Off the court, Shaquille O’Neal has been everything Celtics fans could’ve expected — and more. Sunday’s trip as Shaq-A-Claus to Toys-R-Us in Framingham and his performance of “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” at Cheers in downtown Boston are just two examples.
Through 10 games, the C’s (8-2) are exactly where they were with Perkins in 2009-10. Defensively, with Perkins in the lineup, the 2009-10 Celtics ranked fifth in the NBA in points allowed per 100 possessions (103.8); this fall, they rank sixth (101.7). With Perk in ’09-10, the C’s ranked 25th in rebounding differential (-1.5); this season, they’re 16th (+0.3).
Sure, some of that success can be attributed to Kevin Garnett‘s health, but Shaq should get some credit, too, as a worthy replacement for Perkins in five starts so far this season.
Take a look at the 2010-11 per-minute averages for Shaq vs. Perk’s numbers in 2009-10 (bolded statistics indicate an advantage) …
- ’10-11 SHAQ: 0.46 points, 0.27 rebounds, 0.03 assists, 0.02 blocks, 0.02 steals, 0.09 turnovers and 0.18 personal fouls
- ’09-10 PERK: 0.37 points, 0.28 rebounds, 0.04 assists, 0.06 blocks, 0.01 steals, 0.08 turnovers and 0.10 personal fouls
However, Shaq has not been capable of matching Perkins’ minutes. Shaq has averaged 21.2 minutes in his five starts this season — 76.8 percent of the 27.6 minutes per game Perk played last year. Even playing 6.4 fewer minutes per game, Shaq has been able to produce a solid Perkins impersonation, as evidenced by their per-game averages …
- ’10-11 SHAQ: 9.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.4 blocks, 0.4 steals, 1.8 turnovers and 3.8 personal fouls
- ’09-10 PERK: 10.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.7 blocks, 0.3 steals, 2.1 turnovers and 2.8 personal fouls
Essentially, because Shaq has played so well, when he plays the C’s only need to make up 6.4 minutes of Perkins’ production at the center spot in order to provide some semblance of the starting five that has reached the NBA Finals in two of the last three seasons. It’s safe to say that in spurts Glen Davis, Semih Erden and Jermaine O’Neal have been able to pick up that slack.
So far, at least, the Celtics have not missed Perkins, especially when Shaq has started in his place. That means two things for the Celtics going forward: 1) If Shaq remains healthy — and that’s a big if — it will allow Perkins to take his time regaining full strength; and 2) With both Shaq and Perk, the C’s could be a better team than the one that reached the 2008 and 2010 NBA Finals.
JERMAINE O’NEAL & PERKINS SHARE THE LOVE
Prior to Jermaine O’Neal’s arrival in Boston, he and Perkins weren’t exactly best buddies. However, the moment they became teammates, any beef between them fell by the wayside. Jessica Camerato detailed their relationship this season …
“I just wanted to let him know it’s on the court, it’s not outside of that,” explained Perkins. “I’m a great teammate, but when you’re on the other team, I’m really going at your head. But I wanted to show him there isn’t any tension outside of basketball, no beef or nothing, and just kind of welcome him with open arms.”
I especially enjoyed Doc Rivers‘ take, which explains in part how quickly the C’s have been able to incorporate new bodies into a championship-contending system …
“We don’t like anybody on the other team,” Rivers said. “The outside guy is always a little iffy when he comes to our team, especially if we’ve had it in with him. But then they find out, wow this is the greatest group. They get along great. So that’s what’s happened already. … Once you’re on our team, you’re part of our group.”
As Shaq said in the same article, “Here there’s just one language — win, win, win, championship, championship, championship. And that’s all that we talk about.”
2010-11 HEAT CAN’T MIRROR ’07-08 CELTICS
While the Celtics have seamlessly incorporated new talent into an already existing system, the Miami Heat has struggled to establish a new system with all their new talent. In a Miami Herald piece, Rivers compared the Heat’s task with the one he faced three seasons ago …
“It’s the exact same thing, and I think everyone goes through it to some extent,” said Rivers, who added that this year’s Celtics are experiencing similar problems. “The more guys you add — the more key guys you add — the first year for us, our Big 3 were in each other’s way at times early because no one wanted to do too much.”
Rivers said he had to have “a big summit early in the year” to explain everyone’s role on the team. [Kevin] Garnett was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year that season.
“Kevin was so key to us — and in some ways, [Chris] Bosh is doing the same things — but Kevin can take 20 shots or one shot and it won’t affect his day at all,” Rivers said.
“He’s unselfish to a fault at times.”
Rivers said the 2007-08 championship team began the season with a slightly different dynamic than the Heat because the Celtics’ stars were older and “they were at the point in their careers where they had to solidify their careers and that made it easier for me.”
I think Rivers was being kind when he said Bosh is doing the same things this season as KG did in 2007-08. There’s simply no way Bosh is going to be the Defensive Player of the Year this season.
In his weekly mailbag, Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen took on the same issue. In his eyes, the C’s two straight victories over the Heat this season should help the Big Three forego their egos in favor of the unselfishness that allowed the Celtics to thrive three years ago …
This isn’t about improving their skills; it’s about deepening their wisdom. When Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen united in Boston, they understood intuitively the demands of coach Doc Rivers to alter their games in order to fit together, because each of them had gone year after year after year of losing in the playoffs. They were all in their 30s and they were ready to change.
But these players in Miami haven’t been humbled enough in their previous careers — if they had been forced to accept that humility, they never would have gone upon that stage and behaved so naively last July.
DOC NOT A FAN OF TWITTER
Speaking of the spectacle that was Miami’s Big Three this offseason, Rivers commented on Pierce’s “It’s been a pleasure to bring my talents to South Beach” tweet following the C’s victory this past Thursday night …
“I didn’t get laughs out of that stuff; I really don’t like that stuff,” said Rivers. “I don’t care one way or another but I don’t think you need to say anything. It’s a long season. It’s a good (dig) but I’m not a fan of all that stuff.”
I like how Rivers says he didn’t like it, and then says it’s a good dig. He may not be encouraging it, but he’s certainly not discouraging it, either.
(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)
|11.13.10 at 1:58 pm ET|
Glen Davis will be signing copies of his new children’s book, Basketball with Big Baby, on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at the Lowell Beer Works. Here is the release detailing the event:
On Tuesday November 16th, come join Celtics star Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis at Lowell Beer Works as he introduces and signs his new children’s book, Basketball with Big Baby.
Proceeds from the event will go to benefit the C2 Mission, which is a charitable foundation to benefit children and families affected by Cerebral Palsy and Cystic Fibrosis. Written by Lowell Spinners Vice President Jon Goode, and illustrated by current Boston College student Rachel Gregorio, Basketball with Big Baby stars the power forward as himself as he spells out the word ‘BASKETBALL’ with different adjectives he believes in when playing the game he loves.
Beginning at 6 p.m., with a $25 Donation you will receive admission into this private event as well as a copy of Basketball with Big Baby book for him to personally autograph. Complementary appetizers will be served. Other entertainment includes a silent auction, raffle and a Boston Celtics Trivia Challenge.
‘I am honored to have had the opportunity to write a second children’s book with ‘Big Baby’ Davis of the Celtics,’ said Goode, who previously authored ‘Pitching with the Papelbons’ with Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. ‘Big Baby has been great to work with and we are both extremely excited to share this with parents and kids who are Celtics fans.’
Space is limited and to reserve a spot on the guest list and a copy of the book please RSVP Jon Goode at (978) 805-5106 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lowell Beer Works is located at 201 Cabot Street in Lowell, just steps from the Lowell Spinner’s LeLacheur Park.
|11.13.10 at 10:00 am ET|
In advance of Saturday night’s game between the Celtics (7-2) and Grizzlies (4-5) in Memphis (8 p.m.), we caught up with Chip Crain at the “3 Shades of Blue” blog. He answered our six most pressing questions on a young Grizzlies team …
1. The Grizzlies took a big step forward as a team last year. Do you expect them to take another one this season?
Well, we can always hope that the maturation of the team alone will be enough to get them over the hump, but honestly that’s about all the team has.
Will it be improved? Yes, I think they will. Will it be enough? It doesn’t look like it to me.
The problem with the Grizzlies is not their starting five but the bench. They simply are too inexperienced off the bench, even with Tony Allen in the fold. Xavier Henry, Darrell Arthur and even Hasheem Thabeet have shown some promise, but they aren’t ready to contribute, which puts too much of a strain on the starters to see it lasting for 82 games.
2. What’s the general feeling on Rudy Gay in Memphis? Does his new contract affect the way fans feel about him?
People complained about Rudy Gay‘s contract when he signed it, but no one is complaining now. Rudy has always had a ton of talent, but for the first time he seems to be applying it to more than just scoring.
3. Has the play of Marc Gasol helped fans get over the Pau Gasol trade? Or is there still bitterness?
Yes and no. Marc Gasol‘s play has won over many fans, but people still believe that the Grizzlies could have gotten more. After all, no one would trade Pau for Marc straight up. The Grizzlies got Javaris Crtittenton (out of the league), the draft pick that brought in Darrell Arthur and the draft pick that became Greivis Vasquez in the deal, so talent-wise the city is still sore about the trade.
However, that trade also allowed the Grizzlies to acquire Zach Randolph with the cap space, so Arthur, Randolph, Vasquez and Marc in return for Pau was a great trade in Memphians eyes.
Of course, it’s still a sore subject for the fans of teams that thought their team would have won the title if the Lakers hadn’t gotten Pau.
4. Chris Wallace became a bit of a punchline in Boston after his deal for Vin Baker. How do Grizzlies fans feel about him?
Chris Wallace is very fortunate. His owner has made so many blunders no one has really focused on the poor decisions Wallace has made. Everyone points at Michael Heisley making the calls and forgets who’s whispering in his ear.
Thabeet was a horrible pick that Wallace was against (if you believe the rumors) but Heisley insisted on. That got Wallace off the hook. The problem is that DeMarre Carroll was Wallace’s pick, and he didn’t get his third-year option picked up. Wallace passed on DeJuan Blair three times, and now the team is thin at power forward.
Arthur’s fast start this season has made people forget what a disappointment he’s been his first two seasons, and Conley’s fast start has helped him avoid criticism on that deal. The Kevin Love for O.J. Mayo trade has been a financial noose around the team’s neck as well, with the Grizzlies still owing Marco Jaric money while he babysits Adriana Lima‘s child. Mayo straight up for Love would be questionable now, and with the bad contracts the Grizzlies ate to acquire Mayo it looks really bad to me.
5. What’s a realistic expectation for Tony Allen this year?
I see his upside as starting shooting guard to allow Mayo to move to the bench as the designated scorer, while Allen becomes the defensive stopper in the starting rotation. The downside is he loses his playing time to Henry and Sam Young, and he joins the list of questionable Wallace moves I just mentioned.
Realistically, he should be one of the guys off the bench who contributes on some nights and never gets into games on other nights.
6. Is Hasheem Thabeet a bust, or is there still hope?
There is always hope, but the buzzards are circling just the same.
|11.12.10 at 4:31 pm ET|
“Paul who? Man, ain’t nobody paying them dudes no attention, man. You know what studio gangster is? Look up that, look up the definition of studio gangster. I’m here to play basketball. First of all, I don’t tweet. So I wouldn’t know what he tweeted if you guys didn’t tell me.’
The definition of ‘studio gangster’ courtesy of Urban Dictionary:
“An insult that refers to somebody who raps about ganglife style in Hiphop. Orgin: Los Angeles late 80’s slang used by street gangsters who makes fun of people in hiphop rapping about the ganglife style. “game is sold not told” meaning you live it and not speak about it. also refers to being a wannabee gangster. a person into hiphop and also intrigued by ganglifestyle and raps about it like he does it. and braggs in rap music of false situations. when in real life does none of it at all.”
|11.12.10 at 2:11 pm ET|
In 2006, Joe Lacob, joined the Celtics ownership group. On Thursday, Lacob and his business partner Peter Guber completed their purchase of the Golden State Warriors for a reported $450 million. The league announced the completion of the sale this afternoon.
Lacob did a Q+A with the San Francisco Chronicle and talked about his Celtics experiences, including wearing a Beat LA t-shirt to Staples Center during the 2008 finals. Marcus Thompson II has more details on the sale and what it means for the Warriors.
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