|05.20.10 at 12:20 pm ET|
The playoffs are in full swing, but after the ping pong balls were dropped Tuesday night in the NBA draft lottery, many teams now turn their focus to prospective players who can help them get to the next level. This year’s draft does not have a prototypical superstar, but there are more than a few potential stars to pick from.
The Celtics, although battling with Orlando right now for the right to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA finals, pick 19th overall in the June 24 draft. With an aging roster, the Celtics hope to land a player who can be productive for years to come.
On Wednesday, we gave you 10 candidates for selection by the Celtics. We’ve also bounced around the web to find out what other sites are predicting for the C’s. What we found is a variety of predictions, with Butler standout Gordon Hayward the only one to be budgeted to Boston by a few prognosticators.
NBADraft.net has the C’s grabbing Luke Babbit, a 6-foot-8 small forward/power forward hybrid from Nevada. Touted as a highly skilled big man, Babbit possesses a strong 3-point touch as well as an impressive mid-range game. He averaged 21.9 points per game last season as a sophomore while shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc. He is described as a tweener, however, and will have a difficult time defending small forwards in the NBA.
The same site is predicting the C’s will draft Sherron Collins, a 5-11 point guard from Kansas, with their second selection, 52nd overall. Collins, who had a very successful career at Kansas ‘ winning a title his sophomore year ‘ will come into the league a bit raw. He is quick and elusive and has proven he can handle the ball when the game is on the line. Ultimately, he could be a good backup for Rondo, but cannot play any other positions. His size does not allow him to play 2 guard, so he would serve as a spark off the bench.
Yahoo!Sports has the Celtics taking Elliot Williams, a 6-5 shooting guard from Memphis who transferred from Duke. Even if they re-sign free agent Ray Allen, the C’s could stand to shore up their depth at guard. Although Yahoo! explains that Williams’ outside game needs some work, he could be a good addition to an already impressive backcourt.
MyNBADraft.com and TheHoopDoctors.com have the Celtics taking Hayward, the NCAA tournament standout from underdog Butler. Hayward averaged 15 points and eight rebounds a game last season while shooting 46 percent from the floor. HoopsWorld.com also has the C’s taking Hayward in the first round, then 6-5 SF/PF Marquis Blakely from Vermont in the second round. Read the rest of this entry »
|05.20.10 at 6:53 am ET|
A day after the Celtics went up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference finals against Orlando, C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his weekly call to The Big Show on Wednesday afternoon to talk about Doc Rivers‘ strategy against the Magic, Rajon Rondo‘s emergence, Rasheed Wallace‘s strong postseason play, and the team’s recent dominance over the top two seeds in the East.
‘With each of these individuals on our team, I know what they are capable of doing and it’s taken a great performance out of each guy,’ Ainge said. ‘We’re getting a lot of contributions out of a lot of people right now and they’re all playing their best basketball of the year together. We’ll see what they’re capable of doing.’
A transcript of the interview follows. To hear the full interview, click on The Big Show audio on demand page.
How are you feeling right now?
I’m doing well. That was an exciting game last night.
Celtics analyst Cedric Maxwell said that the things going on in the stands reminded him of Philadelphia in the ‘80s. Was it that bad?
I heard of some incidents, but I didn’t see anything. Maxwell had a better view of that than I did.
There’s a story out that Marquis Daniels‘ father was tased during the game. Does the team have anything to say on that?
No, we won’t comment on that. I talked to Marquis after the game and I’m aware of the situation, but don’t know all the details.
It seems like playing single coverage has really tripped up Orlando and it’s allowed the Celtics to cover out on the perimeter.
Well, I didn’t think we did such a good job last night. We got the win, but Dwight [Howard] had his way inside. He was out of the game for a short period of time with foul trouble, and we made a little bit of a run. He’s still a very dominant force. The first game, I thought that he struggled, and the second game, I thought he dominated. Read the rest of this entry »
|05.19.10 at 8:44 pm ET|
Willie L. Buie, 55, was charged with resisting arrest with violence.
Police reports indicate that officers responded to a disturbance in Section 106-107 around 10:55 p.m. The officers tried to remove Buie from his seat, but Buie refused. With the help of several more officers Buie was finally removed from the arena and into a security area.
Buie, however, continued to resist arrest, keeping his hands under his body and refusing to be handcuffed. At that point an officer took his Taser and shot Buie in the back, a hit of electricity that lasted five seconds, according to reports. Following the Taser shot Buie put his hands behind his back and was handcuffed.
Buie reportedly has a long criminal history, including an arrest for second-degree murder. He served 11 years in prison and was released in 1989.
|05.19.10 at 8:16 pm ET|
Prior to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night, 14 teams watched the ping pong balls determine their draft location in the NBA draft lottery, with the Wizards, 76ers and Nets grabbing the top three spots, respectively. Though the Celtics weren’t one of those teams, they will have their own pivotal decisions to make on June 24, regardless of the outcome of their playoff run.
Celtics president Danny Ainge has done fairly well in past drafts. When Ainge has had high picks to work with, he’s turned Al Jefferson and Jeff Green into Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and helped bring Boston a 17th banner. The Celtics also have had success with later picks such as Glen Davis (35th in 2007), Rajon Rondo (21st in 2006), Leon Powe (49th in 2006) and Tony Allen (25th in 2004). All of those picks (the first three of which technically were chosen by other teams but were part of draft-day trades) have been of some service to Boston and have worked out well compared to other late fliers.
Picking at No. 19 this year, Boston will need to rejuvenate its veteran roster and continue to find late steals. Here’s a list of 10 players the Celtics potentially could draft in the first round. Read the rest of this entry »
|05.19.10 at 3:10 pm ET|
The NBA said it will investigate a confrontation that occurred between a fan and veteran referee Joe DeRosa at halftime of the Celtics-Magic game Tuesday night in Orlando.
When DeRosa walked to the scorer’s table with fellow refs Marc Davis and Bill Kennedy, fans starting yelling at the officials. One fan, identified by the Orlando Sentinel a Wyndham Vacation Ownership CEO Franz Hanning, walked up to the table to yell at DeRosa. The ref responded by tossing the game ball to Hanning, who tossed it back. DeRosa then signaled for Amway Arena security, who relocated Hanning to another seat.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank told the Sentinel, “The situation will be reviewed after the game.”
|05.19.10 at 2:40 am ET|
ORLANDO — At some point during his postgame press conference, a post on Paul Pierce’s Twitter page appeared that read: Anybody got a BROOM?
A reporter picked up on it and asked Dwight Howard in his press conference about it, to which Howard replied, “Am I supposed to comment on that?” Pressed for a comment Howard said, “Pride comes before a fall. Just know that.”
While we have yet to hear from Pierce directly, it appears that his account was hacked. A company called Athlete Interactive, which manages digital media for several athletes, including Pierce, put on its Twitter page: That is NOT @paulpierce34 tweeting — the previous four tweets are all courtesy of a hack. Looking into it.
UPDATE: The last four posts on Pierce’s Twitter page were all removed overnight. As Pro Basketball Talk pointed out, the other posts to Pierce’s Twitter account were all submitted via Text or the web, while the offending posts were sent in via Twitterific.
On Wednesday morning at about 11:30, a tweet from Pierce’s account read: “Hacked in game and post game while on podium. Disregard chatter.”
|05.18.10 at 11:53 pm ET|
The Celtics knew the Magic would come out fighting in Game 2 after they were dealt a blow on their own court in Game 1, and the Magic proved them right on Tuesday night. In spite of owning an eight-point lead after three quarters, Boston let the Magic back into the game in the fourth and nearly watched a win slip away. But a key bucket by Rajon Rondo and some big free throws by Paul Pierce gave the Celtics a 95-92 win (click here for the full recap) and a 2-0 series lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.
Three things that went right
Celtics found Pierce early — and often: Paul Pierce scored 22 in Game 1, and matched that by halftime in Game 2. After being guarded by a scrappy Quentin Richardson and defensive-savvy LeBron James in previous rounds, Pierce took advantage of his matchup against a more offensive-minded Vince Carter. He was nearly perfect in the first quarter, going 4-for-5 from the floor, 2-for-2 from 3-point range, and 2-for-2 at the line for 12 points in just eight minutes. He followed it up with another 10 points in the second quarter despite being knocked to the ground by Dwight Howard on a flagrant foul. Pierce finished the night with a team-high 28 points (8-for-16 from the field), thanks in part to his ability to draw fouls (9-for-11 at the stripe).
Rondo had his way: Rajon Rondo was oblivious to the big bodies being thrown at him in the paint. He attacked the hoop as if the lane were empty to burn the Magic at the basket. Rondo scored 25 points (10-for-16 from the field and 5-for-6 at the line), including a critical jumper to give the Celtics a 93-90 lead with 1:32 to go. In addition to his offensive contribution, Rondo ran the floor with eight assists, two steals, and just two turnovers. He outplayed Jameer Nelson, who finished the game with nine points (on 4-of-12 shooting) and just four assists.
Celtics go home with the edge: The Celtics return to Boston just two games away from eliminating the Magic and heading to the NBA Finals. While the Magic have shown they can fight back late, they have been unable to do so on their own court. If they can’t build an early lead against the Celtics in Games 3 and 4, they will be forced to overcome a late deficit in front of the Garden crowd.
Three things that went wrong
Magic owned the fourth quarter ‘¦ again: The Magic overcame a late-game deficit during the regular season against Boston, and nearly pulled off the feat in Game 1. Their determination did not change in Game 2. The Celtics led by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter, but the final 12 minutes became prime time again for the Magic. They depleted the Celtics edge and regained the lead, 90-89, with 3:35 left in the game. The Celtics were forced to start from scratch and rebuild an advantage with minutes to go. They caught a break when Vince Carter missed a pair of free throws that could have brought the Magic within one with 30 seconds left, but they cannot rely on that moving forward. Even though they pulled out the win, they were outscored 22-17 in the fourth quarter. This is the second game in which they have fumbled a late edge (they were outscored 30-18 in the fourth in Game 1) and must play 48 minutes of basketball moving forward to avoid another surge by the Magic.
Foul trouble remains a problem: The Celtics struggled with foul trouble early on, just as they have been for most of the postseason. Kendrick Perkins and Paul Pierce were whistled for two personals in the first quarter. By halftime, Perkins and Glen Davis had three fouls while Pierce, Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace had two apiece. (This was not lopsided, though. The Magic were called for one more foul in the first half.) Fast forward to the fourth quarter, where first it was Kendrick Perkins, then Paul Pierce who fouled out. Rasheed Wallace sidelined by five fouls of his own, Glen Davis was forced to be the big man in the middle. Even though Dwight Howard didn’t take advantage of size over Davis, the Celtics were vulnerable in the paint. The absence of Pierce also posed a potential detriment to the C’s, as they were without one of their most clutch shooters late in a close game.
Dwight did damage: Dwight Howard more than doubled his Game 1 performance with a game-high 30 points on Tuesday night. Howard shot an efficient 9-for-13 from the floor and 12-for-17 from the free throw line. Foul troubles prevented Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace from staying on the court as long as the Celtics would have liked to defend Howard. (On a positive note for the Celtics, they limited Howard to just eight rebounds.)
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