|10.13.10 at 9:51 pm ET|
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.
|10.13.10 at 2:56 pm ET|
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.)
|10.13.10 at 10:28 am ET|
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?
|10.13.10 at 9:40 am ET|
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.”
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.
|10.12.10 at 3:10 pm ET|
Training in Italy this summer for Russia’s Spartak Saint Petersburg squad, Lasme — a citizen of Gabon — was informed that if he didn’t return to the United States and land a year-long job, he could lose his residency.
“My wife and my baby are American,” the 27-year-old Lasme said after Sunday’s 91-87 win over the Raptors. “To get a chance to see them, I basically have to get a job here.”
Playing for teams in Serbia and Tel Aviv ever since he failed to make the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat in 2007-08, Lasme decided to return to the U.S., even if that meant a “big, big, big” pay cut.
“I had to make a choice between seeing my family or not seeing my family and taking that much money,” said the 6-foot-8, 220-pound former UMass forward. “For me, the choice is obvious. I’m gonna see my family.”
Even if Lasme fails to make the Celtics roster, he could stay relatively close to his wife Anastasia and 17-month-old Lily in Marlborough, Mass. A new NBA rule would allow the C’s to sign him — along with two other players — to their Developmental League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.
“Even if I don’t make the team, I’m going to stay around,” said Lasme. “(Signing with the Red Claws) is an option that I’ve thought about with the new rule. Maine is not that far away from home.”
It’s appearing more and more likely that Lasme won’t have to worry about that. Wafer’s minutes have declined in each preseason game, and West has contributed little in two brief stints. Meanwhile, Lasme has made his presence felt, significantly.
After totaling 12 points and four boards in just seven minutes in the opener, he threw down a highlight-reel dunk over Andrea Bargnani in a key moment of Sunday night’s victory over the Raptors. He’s looked downright Leon Powe-esque, and that’s a good thing (remember 2008?).
“I like him a lot,” C’s head coach Doc Rivers said after the game. “I do. He just does everything. He has energy. He has a high basketball IQ. He’s athletic. He’s probably our most athletic player. … He has a great shot at making our team. He’s terrific.”
Capturing Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors after averaging 13.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.1 blocks as a senior, Lasme concluded his college career as UMass’ all-time shot-blocking leader, over Marcus Camby. Since then, he’s added to his game, and if the Celtics keep him around, he’ll get to show off the skills he learned in Europe over the last two years.
“I’ve had a couple of good coaches who have tried to develop my game in the summer, and I think it’s worked out pretty good,” said Lasme. “I’ve worked a lot on my ball-handling and shooting. I know I haven’t shot the ball (from the outside) yet, but I’ve worked a lot on those two aspects. The more I play, the more I’m going to get a chance to show that.”
In all likelihood, he’ll get that chance.
|10.12.10 at 9:15 am ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
Ron Artest is pretty confident the Lakers will repeat as NBA champions. He practically guaranteed it in a recent Tweet, claiming he’ll give away his second ring to whoever writes the best essay “on how we can make America better” (he’s already scheduled to auction off his 2009-10 championship ring to benefit mental-health causes).
Where does this competition rank in prestige among essay contests? It probably falls somewhere between the Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contest and the John F. Kennedy library’s Profile in Courage Essay Contest, right? Artest, after all, is the same guy who wrote such lyrical poetry as “Booty Wooty” …
Now I might be quick to get a tech,
But I keep my girls in check,
Punch ’em in the neck
With the utmost respect.
Talk about making America a better place, huh? Hypocrisy at its finest.
|10.11.10 at 3:42 pm ET|
It was a half hour or so after practice had concluded and Kevin Garnett was finished with his customary individual workout. As he looked up from his own efforts, Garnett saw Semih Erden going through the paces on pick and roll defense. Garnett called over to assistant coach Kevin Eastman and asked him to, “get Luke,” as in Harangody, the Celtics other rookie big man.
Dripping with sweat and slightly out of breath, Garnett gathered the two together and began a tutorial as only Garnett can. He wanted them to talk loud. No, louder. Let there be no doubt which way they were showing, Garnett told them in no uncertain terms.
Erden had been too quiet on Sunday against the Raptors, and in one instance he let Rajon Rondo get steamrolled by a screen. The lesson took no more than 10 minutes and left little time for pleasantries or niceties. That’s just fine with Harangody who relishes this kind of attention from Garnett.
“He’s not really yelling,” Harangody said after the Raptors game. “He’s teaching. I like that, to be honest.”
“He helps the ones he likes,” Doc Rivers said. “Kevin is great. Kevin tries to help every big in here. If that big doesn’t listen to him one time, he’ll never speak to him again. Literally one time. That has happened a couple of times. Those two guys that he did that to are no longer here and that may be one of the reasons. That’s Kevin, when you talk about the Celtic Way, whatever that is, just say Kevin Garnett, and you’re pretty much there. Everything he does and says is about the team.”
Garnett’s little demonstration was a perfect example of the “Celtic Way,” for lack of a better phrase. It has been standard operating procedure around this team since Garnett arrived with Ray Allen and set about with Rivers and Paul Pierce “changing the culture,” to use another over-worked cliche.
“It’s not for everyone,” Rivers said. Read the rest of this entry »
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