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Technically speaking, Celtics need to adjust

10.14.10 at 9:58 am ET
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Kevin Garnett picked up two technical fouls in a matter of seconds Wednesday night and was ejected before the end of the first half in the Celtics exhibition game with the Knicks. Moments earlier, Jermaine O’Neal picked up his own technical foul. According to O’Neal, he was trying to get a clarification on an offensive foul that had been whistled against him.

The Knicks’ Timofey Mozgov got one later for saying something in Russian.

The Celtics have racked up nine technicals in five preseason games under the NBA’s new harsher guidelines for issuing technicals. Among the areas of emphasis as spelled out by True Hoop:

‘€¢ Players making aggressive gestures, such as air punches, anywhere on the court.

‘€¢ Demonstrative disagreement, such as when a player incredulously raises his hands, or smacks his own arm to demonstrate how he was fouled.

‘€¢ Running directly at an official to complain about a call.

‘€¢ Excessive inquiries about a call, even in a civilized tone.

Additionally, the NBA has also doubled the amount of fines for getting T’s. It will now cost players and coaches $2,000 for each of the first five, $3,000 each for the next five, $4,000 each for 11-15 and $5,000 for any above 15 and players are also subject to a one-game suspension for every two over 15 technicals.

The NBA stopped short of calling this new stricter enforcement the Rasheed Wallace Rule, but they may have had him and Kendrick Perkins in mind. The Celtics have been the NBA’s most T’d up team two years running. (The number of technicals actually went down last season with Sheed).

2009-10: 107 (First)

2008-09: 117 (First)

2007-08: 97 (Second, Indiana was first)

The year before Garnett joined the Celtics, they ranked 22nd with 65 technicals. That’s not all on Garnett obviously, but with his addition the Celtics became an attacking, nasty, defensive-minded team. The T’s naturally followed from there.

The NBA tried to crackdown on players in 2006-07 and it didn’t take, so there is a natural inclination to believe that the new stricter guidelines won’t last this time either. There have been minor flare-ups around the league this preseason, but Wednesday night’s action may be the tipping point because it involved a player of Garnett’s stature and it happened in New York with the eyes of the basketball media watching.

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski sliced and diced the league this morning.

It’s safe to assume that there will be much discussion about the new technical rules before the start of the regular season, but it’s hard to imagine the NBA will back down, at least not publicly. The league has been holding off the record seminars before preseason games with reporters to discuss the new rules, but issuing technicals is still, and always has been, a subjective matter.

To that end, Doc Rivers told reporters Wednesday night that his team would simply have to adjust. “Listen,” Rivers said. “The rules are the rules and we have to have more discipline.”

Read More: Jermaine O'Neal, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, refs

Irish Coffee: Tommy Point Taken

10.14.10 at 9:32 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

My biggest concern about the new technical foul rule that got Kevin Garnett ejected last night for laughing (GASP!!!)? Tommy Heinsohn‘s health. I mean, it’s only the preseason, and he almost blew a gasket. Only Tommy could sum up the rule so succinctly: “NBA: It’s Stupid!”

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski challenged the league’s stars — and therefore the biggest draws (cha-ching!) — to dare the refs to eject them from regular-season games. Fans won’t be too happy if they pay big bucks for the Celtics-Heat showdown on opening night (tickets are going for as much as $8,950), and LeBron James or KG are tossed a few minutes into the game.

Even before Jermaine O’Neal got a second tech in as many nights for (barely) reacting to a whistle last night, he expressed his concern over the stricter rules to Wojnarowski:

‘€œThese new rules are very, very excessive. They’€™re telling us the general public says we whine too much, but look at the way the NBA’€™s business is growing globally. I can see both sides of this. No one wants to see complaining over every call, but look at the rules. You can’€™t even make a hand gesture — never mind say anything. It’€™s going to be interesting to see the first two weeks of the season and how all this slows the pace.

‘€œThe message we’€™re getting is that this is about cleaning up the perceptions of the NBA. We never really know the reasons. We’€™re just a product out there that gets the memos.’€

Just what the NBA needs: Referees with more power.

SHAQ’S WORD OF THE DAY: ‘PAU GASOLISH’

Video killed the radio star, and Shaquille O’Neal killed the true center. The New York media crowded around Shaq last night in hopes of getting a few precious gems from The Big Shamrock. And they obviously got them.

“I think I killed off all the centers, and now all the centers want to play the European-style basketball. There’s only 1.5 or 2 real centers left, Dwight Howard and Yao Ming. Every now and then Yao Ming steps outside and wants to shoot jumpers, but it’s gone more toward the European style. The days of Patrick Ewing and Rik Smits and Kevin Duckworth and Robert Parish, those days are over, thanks to me.”

“I’ve never lost a series to a guy shooting jumpers — besides Pau [Gasol], but Pau has a couple of extra weapons with him. There hasn’t been a center that has won shooting jumpers. Pau is 60-40 — 60 inside and 40 shooting jumpers. So I think the centers are getting a little more Pau Gasolish.”

Shaq also reiterated his team goal (a 5th ring) and revealed his individual goal: passing Wilt Chamberlain in scoring. He trails Wilt by 3,164 points, so he’d have to average 19.3 points, playing all 82 games in each of the two seasons on his contract. The C’s can only hope.

AMERICA’S MOST WANTED … BALD MEN

KG and Shaq both made GQ Magazine’s list of the 100 Most Powerful Bald Men in America. Whoever made the list demonstrated their vast knowledge of NBA history by calling KG a three-time MVP, even though he only won one (in 2004).

Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and Jeff Van Gundy also made the list. If those four took a picture together, I’m not sure I could pick Van Gundy out of the lineup.

Wait a second, Vin Diesel made the list, and I didn’t? I’ve been rocking the bald look as a white guy since my hairline started running away from my face in college. A little respect.

VON WAFER WANTS MORE

Von Wafer is in jeopardy of failing to make the Celtics roster, but that’s not stopping him. According to SLAM Magazine, he not only wants a roster spot; he wants playing time: ‘€œI’€™m not just trying to make it; I’€™m trying to play, too. Just making it is not enough for me.’€

That might be a tall order for an offense-first scorer who isn’t scoring … unless the C’s suffer six injuries at the guard spot.

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)

Read More: Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal, Tommy Heinsohn

Tommy Heinsohn gives NBA new slogan: ‘It’s stupid!’

10.14.10 at 8:30 am ET
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Classic Tommy after Kevin Garnett gets ejected in Wednesday night’s Celtics‘ win over the Knicks. Heinsohn: “This is absolutely, NBA, it’s stupid!” (Hat tip to ‘Ball Don’t Lie’)

Talking hoops podcast: Episode 1

10.13.10 at 9:51 pm ET
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Introducing the newest weei.com podcast: Talking Hoops.

In the debut episode, I talked with AOL/Fanhouse senior NBA writer Sam Amick about a number of topics including whether the Celtics have the attention of the Western Conference, and whether anyone can challenge the Lakers in the West. Amick also talked about Kings rookie DeMarcus Cousins (check out his story on Cousins here) and gave his prediction for the finals and MVP.

In the second segment, Michael Holley and I talked Celtics and gave our thoughts on the Heat.

Listen to the podcast here.

Read More: Celtics, Lakers, Talking Hoops,

The ‘Amazing Grace’ of Alex English

10.13.10 at 2:56 pm ET
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Alex English may never have been a Celtic, but he played one in the movies.

Prior to the C’s preseason win over Toronto, the Raptors assistant coach and NBA Hall of Famer recalled his fictitious Celtics career as Amazing Grace Smith in the 1987 cult classic film “Amazing Grace and Chuck,” starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Gregory Peck.

“It was kind of weird,” English said of wearing a Celtics uniform in the movie, despite playing in real life for the Denver Nuggets. “The best experience was just being here in the summertime for a week and a half. Red [Auerbach] was still here. I was hanging out with him for a few minutes. That was good. He was always respectful of my game.”

Red and legendary Celtics broadcaster Johnny Most also appeared in the film about a young Midwestern boy’s Cold War-era fears about nuclear war. Despite making just 18 3-point shots during his entire 15-year NBA career, English played a 3-point threat in the film.

Oddly enough, the basketball scenes were filmed during an actual preseason game at the old Boston Garden. English dressed as No. 31 in Celtics green, and the filmmakers asked him to put up a bunch of shots from beyond the arc.

“The character I played was a 3-point shooter, and I’m not a 3-point shooter,” English said. “I put them up. When you look at the movie, they all go in. I think I only made one.”

English auditioned for the part, beating out Magic Johnson and Bernard King among others. It was English’s first acting experience. Since then, he appeared in a two-part episode of the late 1980s NBC television series “Midnight Caller” as well as the 1996 film “Eddie,” starring Whoopi Goldberg.

Every once in a while, when the movie is showed on television, English will get a call from somebody, saying, “Hey, I saw the movie.” So, does he receive residual checks for his part in the film?

“I don’t know if they still have my address,” he joked.

Well, if anybody is looking for him, just scan the Raptors bench.

(WEEI.com site editor Rob Bradford contributed to this report.)

Read More: Alex English, Jamie Lee Curtis, Magic Johnson, Red Auerbach

Irish Coffee: NBA conspiracy theories

10.13.10 at 10:28 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

It’s time for a conspiracy theory. I’m sure you’ve all heard about Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference finals between the Kings and Lakers — one of several games former NBA ref Tim Donaghy accused the NBA of rigging in order to squeeze an extra game out of the series. Well, after yesterday’s unrelated arrest of one of the Lakers-Kings Game referees, let’s take a look at the aftermath … again.

  • On July 20, 2007, New York Post columnist Murray Weiss reported an FBI investigation into Donaghy for betting on NBA games he officiated.
  • On Feb. 11, 2008, one Kings-Lakers Game 6 referee, Bob Delaney, spoke with ESPN about his upcoming book, “Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob.” The former New Jersey State Police trooper admitted to these criminal activities during his investigation: “stolen property, loan sharking, gambling, purchasing of guns.”
  • On June 11, 2008, The New York Times cited court documents in which Donaghy called out NBA executives and referees for manipulating games, including the 2002 series in question. Keep in mind, Donaghy had already pleaded guilty to conspiring with gamblers at this point.
  • On June 13, 2008, we learned from ESPN’s Chris Sheridan that the FBI questioned at least two former NBA referees about another Lakers-Kings Game 6 ref, Dick Bavetta, more than they did Donaghy. In that report, the game’s third ref, Tim Bernhardt, said: “I stand by my calls in that game. I was right on. I believe in Dick Bavetta, and I believe in Bob Delaney, and I believe in the NBA for that matter.”
  • On Dec. 8, 2009, in an interview with Dennis & Callahan, Donaghy said, “I had many conversations with Dick Bavetta and he claimed that he was the NBA’€™s go-to guy and he was put on certain games to make sure a certain team win.”
  • On Oct. 12, 2010, according to WFIE.com, Bernhardt was arrested in Indiana for violating a restraining order taken out against him by his ex-girlfriend and allegedly burglarizing her residence.

So, to recap the facts, in the last three years the refereeing trio of Kings-Lakers Game 6 has: a) admitted to gambling with the mob, albeit during an investigation as a New Jersey State Police officer (Delaney); b) been the subject of the FBI’s questioning during their investigation into NBA referees (Bavetta); and c) been arrested and charged with burglary and violating a restraining order (Bernhardt).

While none of those incidents implicates any of the three officials or directly relates to the outcome of any NBA game, including Kings-Lakers Game 6, I give you this — in Delaney’s own words — from an interview with ESPN’s Bob Ley: “I have dealt with criminals and informants, and I know full well they are capable of doing and saying anything.”

Now, I know there are more holes in this story than there were in Sonny Corleone‘s car, but that’s why it’s called a conspiracy theory, right?

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dwight Howard, Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Bernhardt, Tim Donaghy

Paul Pierce on D&C: ‘I don’t think you ever forget’ Game 7 loss

10.13.10 at 9:40 am ET
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Celtics captain Paul Pierce sat down with Dennis & Callahan at C’s media day for an interview that aired Wednesday morning. Pierce said he’s still working on getting past the loss to the Lakers. “I still haven’t gotten over it,” he said. “You think about the what ifs and all of that. I don’t think you ever forget it.”

Pierce also talked about the upcoming season, the acquisition of Shaquille O’Neal, and LeBron James and the new-look Heat.

Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

How long does it take a competitive person like you to get over a seventh-game loss in the NBA [finals]? A week? A month? Ever?

I still haven’t gotten over it. It’s tough. Because you envision back, and saying, “If we could have done this different, that different in the game, it would have been a different outcome.” So, it’s hard. You think about the what ifs and all of that. I don’t think you ever forget it.

What’s the process? Do you go in your bedroom for a couple of days and sleep, and then don’t shave for a while, or don’t bathe, and then finally come out of the shell?

I didn’t talk to people for a long time. I didn’t watch any basketball for a long time. I sort of kind of did go into a shell. I didn’t want to leave the house. I didn’t even want to go out and eat for a while, because you just felt that bad about the loss. But then as I got back into the gym and working out, I just used it for motivation and just sort of loosened up from there.

Did you feel like last season was the final run this team was going to have? And are you surprised to look around and see the same crew back together, indeed with more big, old guys like Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal?

No, I wasn’t surprised at the run. We struggled a bit during the regular season at home. When I looked at our team from the beginning, I told people that we were more built for the playoffs that the regular season, because we didn’t have the up-and-down athletes, high-flyers that a lot of teams in the NBA have that can beat you in one game, on any given night. But when you have to break down a team and really scout them and put us in the playoffs, then I knew that we could be successful.

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Read More: LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Shaquille O'Neal,
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