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Irish Coffee: Top 5 LeBron James parodies

11.12.10 at 11:59 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

If you haven’t heard by now, Paul Pierce mocked LeBron James‘ “Decision” on Twitter last night, saying, “It’s been a pleasure to bring my talents to south beach now on to Memphis.” Inspired by The Truth, this Friday version of Irish Coffee gives you the top five parodies of Lebron’s ridiculous offseason antics …

1. LeBron, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade form “New World Order”

2. Steve Carell reveals his “The Office” decision

3. Cleveland fans mock LeBron’s Nike commercial

4. Hitler from “Inglourious Basterds” reacts to  LeBron’s decision

5. “South Park” spoofs LeBron’s Nike commercial

REACTIONS FROM MIAMI

I love it when not-so-great sports cities are thrust into the limelight. Everybody gets a little too big for their britches, as it pertains to their place in the sports universe — kinda like when the “Jersey Shore” folks became overnight sensations.

Take this, for example, from the Miami Herald on Friday morning:

“Miami vs. Boston could someday be up there with Knicks-Heat, Bulls-Knicks, Pistons-Bulls, Spurs-Mavericks, perhaps even — with a lot of seasoning — Lakers-Celtics.”

Um, no it couldn’t. The Lakers-Celtics rivalry has 60 years of tradition behind it. Those two teams have more championships (33) than the number of years Miami has been in the league (22).

Actually, I take that back, if the Heat win the next 16 championships, then yes, Celtics-Heat could become like Celtics-Lakers. Sorry.

Then, I noticed this throwaway line at the end of another Miami Herald article:

About the only player who responded exactly how we would’ve expected was captain Udonis Haslem.

 Wait, what?!?! Udonis Haslem is their captain? Shouldn’t Wade be the captain? Does this mean that not one of the Big Three is a true leader? I’m confused.

MONDO RONDO

Two fomer Celtics beat writers — Jackie MacMullan and Marc Spears — took on the topic of Rajon Rondo. First, from Jackie Mac:

Rondo: “But if they put LeBron on me, who guards Paul? Who guards Ray?”

This is precisely why I don’t subscribe to the belief that Miami doesn’t need a point guard, because LeBron and Wade can assume the offensive load. That raises two questions for me: 1) If that’s the case, why have a point guard like Carlos Arroyo or Mario Chalmers on the floor? and 2) Who assumes the defensive load, because those guys can’t guard the point and the 2 or 3?

From the same article, Doc Rivers explains the difference in Rondo from last season to this one:

“Last year, or even the year before they would just get a rebound and throw it to the nearest guy. We’re telling everyone to get the ball to Rondo and let him do what he does. The trust they have in him is unbelievable.”

And Erik Spoelstra calls Rondo the best passer in the league:

“Rondo is as a unique a point guard as has been in this league for a long time. He’s so fast. He gets the overwhelming majority of his plays in random, unscripted situations. It’s his creativity and speed that separates him. You are talking about the best passer, arguably, in the game. If you try to body up and play him at half court, you are playing with fire.”

My interpretation from what these coaches told Jackie Mac? Rondo’s extraordinarily high assist totals might not slow down. If the Celtics are getting the ball into his hands more often in transition (i.e., unscripted situations), that explains the significant rise in assists.

Is it realistic to expect Rondo’s increase in assists to persist? Marc Spears asked the source:

“Last year, seven and eight assists were good for me,” Rondo said. “Now, people are expecting me to get 15 or 16 every night. I don’€™t know if it’€™s realistic, but I’€™m going to continue to try as long as guys make shots.”

DO THE CELTICS GET FAVORABLE CALLS?

Some guy over at the Bleacher Report decided to express his frustration about how he believes the Celtics get far too many calls, leading to their success.

Ah, not to excrement on your point, but I think the discrepancies in free throws in the Celtics’ last two games (13 fewer attempts against the Mavericks and 16 fewer against the Heat) — not to mention the 2010 NBA Finals (the C’s shot 57 fewer free throws in the series) — beg to differ.

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

Read More: Boston Celtics, LeBron James, Miami Heat, NBA

Fast Break: Celtics beat the Heat

11.11.10 at 11:15 pm ET
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This was a game the Celtics were supposed to lose. Charles Barkley suggested on the TNT pregame show that the Heat would win in a blowout and, honestly, the Chuckster’s call made a lot of sense. This was a statement game for the Heat after losing to Utah and absorbing 48 hours of unrelenting criticism. This was the game that Chris Bosh either stood up for himself or became further emasculated.

The Celtics? Regular season games don’t mean anything to them. They’re too old, experienced and savvy for that kind of noise.

Um, no.

The Celtics didn’t just beat the Heat Thursday night, 112-107, they embarrassed them. While Ray Allen was knocking down 3’s at a staggering rate, Pat Riley could be seen jotting down notes in red ink like a professor grading papers. When Rajon Rondo drove to the basket, Bosh sat and watched while Rondo threw down a monster slam.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Veteran’s presence: In the first half, Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett shot a combined 16-for-21 for the Celtics. Their Miami counterparts — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Bosh — were 9-for-22. Wade was an unsightly 0-for-6. The Celtics veterans came to play and while they didn’t win all of their individual matchups (James was spectacular) they got the better of two of them handily and Pierce gave James all he wanted.

Ray-Ray for the 3: There are so many things the Celtics did right in this game, that’s it’s hard to focus on a few specific things, but if Allen is making 7-of-9 3-pointers, they are practically impossible to beat.

Ball movement: And how did Allen get so open, so often? Passing. The Celtics are the most unselfish team in the league in ways that go way beyond Rondo’s assists. They simply trust each other and that was a huge difference in this game.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Center concerns: Jermaine O’Neal told reporters in Miami that he was going to seek a second opinion on his injured left knee. That’s not good news at all for the Celtics, because despite O’Neal’s slow start, the Celtics need big bodies until Kendrick Perkins returns. Shaquille O’Neal played just 19 minutes and that’s the most the Celtics can expect from him right now. They may need another big and they may need one soon.

Free throw shooting: Here’s your fun NBA conspiracy fact of the night. The Celtics took 25 free throws. LeBron had 22 all by himself. The good news is the Celtics played through the discrepancy. The bad news is they made just 68 percent from the line.

Rather than try to come up with a third thing, let’s all enjoy the Rondo dunk over Bosh, courtesy of the incomparable Jose3030

Read More: Celtics, Fast Break, Heat,

Danny Ainge on The Big Show: Health of O’Neals ‘a concern’

11.11.10 at 7:30 pm ET
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Celtics executive president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, in his weekly appearance on The Big Show (lsten to the interview at The Big Show audio on demand page) said that the health of centers Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal had become something of a concern. Shaquille O’Neal has missed the last five games while recovering from a bruised right knee, while Jermaine O’Neal was sidelined in the second half of this week’s contest against the Mavericks due to a left knee injury.

Shaq, Ainge said, is expected to return to the lineup against the Heat on Thursday. Jermaine O’Neal, on the other hand, is expected to remain sidelined. While Ainge did proclaim the health of the two centers a concern, he also said that it was not a complete surprise that the team is managing minutes at the position.

“I think that Jermaine and Shaq are a concern with their health,” said Ainge. “I felt like with the four centers we have that we’d be able to make it through the year. I didn’t expect Shaq to play 82 games, and I didn’t expect him to play more than 20-25 minutes a night at the most, and that was if he was playing well.”

With the two O’Neals dealing with their knee issues and Kendrick Perkins trying to work his way back from his torn ACL, Ainge said that rookie Semih Erden will continue to see minutes.

“Semih is going to get a chance to play with the up-and-down health of the two O’Neals,” Ainge said. “He has pretty good instincts about where to be both offensively and defensively. … Sometimes he’s thinking too much rather than relying on his instincts.”

Ainge also touched on the recent remarks by Joakim Noah of the Bulls that were critical of Celtics forward Kevin Garnett. Noah called Garnett “very mean” and “ugly,” comments that Ainge suggested were a non-story.

“I’m sure Kevin’s enjoying it. … It’s hilarious. I’m sure Kevin is enjoying every bit of it,” Ainge said. “I don’t even think this is a story. i don’t even want to talk about it, it’s so boring. … Joaquim Noah popping off is not very interesting.”

Ainge also discussed the early inconsistencies of the Heat, a team that he characterized as alternately dominant and vulnerable, as well as the status of Perkins’ recovery and the nature of his team’s budding rivalry with Miami.

Read More: Danny Ainge, Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal

NBA Power Rankings, 11/11

11.11.10 at 5:54 pm ET
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1. LA Lakers (8-0): Phil Jackson said this Lakers team is not as good as the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls team that won an NBA record 72 games because of defense. Still, they’re pretty darn good, or so says their league-leading unbeaten record and 12.5 point differential.

2. New Orleans (7-0): The Hornets have played the toughest schedule in the NBA and remain undefeated. I don’t think there’s anybody outside the New Orleans area that would’ve predicted that. But since Chris Paul is back to his MVP form from three years ago, anything can happen.

3. Boston (6-2): The Hornets played their way into the No. 2 spot, rather than the Celtics playing their way out of it. I came hardly blame the Celtics for a two-point loss to the Mavericks on the road. The health of the O’Neal Bros. could catch up to the C’s, but it hasn’t quite yet.

4. San Antonio (6-1): The Spurs just keep on winning. They’re reliable like that. They still have just one loss, and it’s to the Hornets. Believe it or not, Tim Duncan is the fourth leading scorer in San Antonio, where their average of 106.7 points per game ranks fourth in the league.

5. Dallas (5-2): The Mavericks rank third in the Southwest Division but fifth overall. Talk about tough. Dirk Nowitzki is still a top-1o player (top five?), and he said the Tyson Chandler/Brendan Haywood center tandem is the best he’s seen in Dallas. Oh, and they’re actually playing defense.

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Irish Coffee: Kendrick Perkins’ NBA secrets

11.11.10 at 10:22 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Celtics center Kendrick Perkins may be out for the first few months because of his ACL injury, but that doesn’t mean he can’t offer advice on how to guard the NBA‘s elite post players, like the Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh.

In a recent Dime Magazine article, Perkins discussed his strategy …

“Very skilled face-up guy, but he’€™s not a physical player. I try to push him off the block and play him physical. He’€™s gonna score a few, but you can’€™t get frustrated by that. Just stay focused. You’€™d rather him hit you for 18 points than for 40 points.”

Given the physical play of Kevin Garnett, perhaps that’s why he was able to hold Bosh to eight points on 3-of-11 shooting in their first meeting this season. Yet another matchup to watch tonight (we covered Rondo vs. Arroyo on Tuesday).

Perkins also discussed his game plan against Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Yao Ming, former teammate Al Jefferson and current teammate Shaquille O’Neal

“I’€™ve been playing against Old Shaq, so I don’€™t know what it was like when he was younger. He’€™s kinda like Dwight [Howard], but not as athletic. He can’€™t really finish over the top no more, so you just keep a body between him and the rim.”

Throughout the discussion, Perkins is brutally honest, saying of Jefferson, “I don’t think he’s a great passer.” Great, great stuff.

The same author is also responsible for the magazine’s power rankings. Somehow, the Heat (No. 3) are ranked three slots higher than the Celtics (No. 6), despite the C’s better record and head-to-head victory. Hmmm …

SHAQ FOOL

The never-ending stream of entertainment that comes from having Shaquille O’Neal in town just keeps flowing.

Shaq and Sports Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina sat down for a Q&A to discuss comedy. Here are a few things we learned …

  • Garnett is the funniest player in the NBA.
  • “Best prank I pulled was on Lou Amundson in Phoenix. I took a Snickers bar, put it in some water to get it real brown and wet and put it in my hand. [When he] came off the bench to go in the game, he had on white shorts, I rubbed it all over his shorts and said ‘good game, bro,’ so when he was running on the court he thought he s#@! himself.”
  • Shaqeeta is done.
  • He wants to become the next “The Rock” in the movie business and star alongside Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.
  • His favorite “Yo Mamma” joke: “Yo Mamma is so nasty her crabs have crabs.”
  • The Big Aristotle is the best name he’s given himself.
  • His top five comedy movies of all-time: “Don’t Be a Menace To South Central While Drinking Juice in the Hood”, “Harlem Nights”, “Life”, “Me, Myself and Irene” and “Step Brothers”.

Shaq did the SI Q&A to promote an online video series for Power Balance where he interviews himself. It’s the funniest thing he’s ever done. Here’s a great exchange …

Shaq1: “So, you and Kobe [Bryant] finally made nice?”
Shaq2: “Who?”
Shaq1: “Did he get you a diamond ring?”
Shaq2: “I don’t accept diamond rings from guys.”
Shaq1: “Well, you should, because then you would have five rings, too, stupid.”

I also enjoyed Shaq asking himself, “What page were you on of the ‘Kazaam’ script when you called your agent and said, ‘I’m in’?” Hilarious.

O’Neal is also promoting his second annual “Join Shaq, Give Back” holiday campaign. As Shaq-a-Claus, he is encouraging “shoppers to donate new, unwrapped toys and cash in Toys-R-Us and Babies-R-Us stores nationwide and online at ToysRUs.com/ToysforTots.”

“My parents always encouraged me to give back to those less fortunate, and ever since I made it to the NBA, I’€™ve been visiting Toys-R-Us stores during the holiday season to buy gifts for kids in need,” O’€™Neal said. “As a father myself, I know firsthand how magical it is for a child to open a gift on Christmas morning.’€

Since Oct. 31, the program has raised $366,139. Great stuff all-around off the court. Now, if only he could get back on the court.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Chris Bosh, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett

Talking Hoops: Episode Three

11.10.10 at 4:43 pm ET
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The third episode of the Talking Hoops podcast is now online.

This week I talked with Kevin Arnovitz, site editor of ESPN.com’s Heat Index, about how the Heat have played since leaving Boston and what’s going on with Chris Bosh. Kevin and I also discuss how the Heat feel about the Celtics, whether Thursday night’s rematch will have a lasting impact on the season and if Miami will ever be a basketball city.

In the second part of the show, I sit down with Michael Holley to see if we can get at the root of all the LeBron James hate. Holley’s from Akron and he gives a little insight into his hometown and its dynamic with Cleveland.

Read More: Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Talking Hoops,

Irish Coffee: Why Miami is a fifth seed

11.10.10 at 1:53 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

The offseason’s biggest hype — How far can the Big Three (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh) carry the Miami Heat? — has now become the regular season’s biggest question — How far can the Little Two (Carlos Arroyo and Joel Anthony) drag down the Heat?

After Utah’s 116-114 overtime win Tuesday night against the Heat, the writing is on the wall: Miami needs point guard and post help — STAT. If the Heat don’t get it, should they meet, the Celtics will beat them in the NBA playoffs.

So far, the Heat are 0-3 against elite point guards (Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul and Deron Williams). That trio averaged 12.7 points and 16.7 assists — producing 46.1 points per game — against Arroyo, who averaged just 5.3 points and 1.0 assists (producing 7.3 points) in those three games. From the point guard position alone, the Heat essentially started each game in a 39-point hole.

Overall, in the Heat’s eight games, Arroyo is averaging 5.6 fewer points and 6.3 fewer assists (18.2 fewer points produced) than his point guard counterpart. You know it’s bad when Devin Harris totals six points and one assist — and outplays you. Thursday night’s game against Rondo isn’t going to help, either.

Take a look at Arroyo’s production against Miami opponents’ primary point guard:

  • Arroyo: 3 points-0 rebounds-0 assists; Rondo: 4-5-17
  • Arroyo: 6-3-1; Louis Williams: 15-1-7
  • Arroyo: 7-4-4; Jameer Nelson: 10-3-1
  • Arroyo: 12-5-4; Harris: 13-1-6
  • Arroyo: 8-6-3; Sebastian Telfair: 13-1-1
  • Arroyo: 0-1-1; Paul: 13-2-19
  • Arroyo: 4-1-0; Harris: 6-2-1
  • Arroyo: 10-0-2; Deron Williams: 21-4-14
  • Total: 50-19-16; Opponents: 95-19-66
  • Average: 6.3-2.4-2.0; Opponents: 11.9-2.4-8.3

Things get far worse in Miami when you factor in the center position. Joel Anthony is averaging just 1.9 points and 4.3 rebounds in eight games. He’s scored only 15 points in 145 minutes this season. His counterparts?  Oh, they’re only averaging 14.5 points and 7.4 rebounds against him.

Take a look at Anthony’s production against the primary center for Miami’s opponent on that given night:

  • Anthony: 2 points-7 rebounds-1 assist; Glen Davis: 13-5-0
  • Anthony: 0-3-0; Elton Brand: 12-9-0
  • Anthony: 0-4-0; Dwight Howard: 19-7-0
  • Anthony: 1-3-2; Brook Lopez: 20-5-1
  • Anthony: 4-5-0; Nikola Pekovic: 12-8-0
  • Anthony: 2-5-0; Emeka Okafor: 26-13-1
  • Anthony: 2-2-0; Lopez: 12-3-2
  • Anthony: 4-5-0; Al Jefferson: 2-9-2
  • Total: 15-34-3; Opponents: 116-59-6
  • Average: 1.9-4.3-0.4; Opponents: 14.5-7.4-0.8

Because of how putrid Arroyo and Anthony have been this season, the remaining members of the Heat have to make up an average of 18.2 points per game. They might be capable of that if Bosh wasn’t also being outplayed.

On average, after being dominated by Paul Millsap Tuesday night, Bosh has been outscored by his counterparts by 1.7 points and out-rebounded by 1.1 boards per game. See how he’s fared against opponents:

  • Bosh: 8 points-8 rebounds-2 assists; Kevin Garnett: 10-10-3
  • Bosh: 15-7-1; Thaddeus Young: 15-3-1
  • Bosh: 11-10-1; Rashard Lewis: 2-3-0
  • Bosh: 18-1-2; Derrick Favors: 13-13-1
  • Bosh: 13-6-2; Kevin Love: 20-6-1
  • Bosh: 15-1-1; David West: 15-7-0
  • Bosh: 21-5-2; Favors: 11-5-0
  • Bosh: 17-9-3; Millsap: 46-9-1
  • Total: 118-47-14; Opponents: 132-56-7
  • Average: 14.8-5.9-1.8; Opponents: 16.5-7.0-0.9

What does all this mean? Every game, the Heat are essentially trailing 20-0 before the first whistle. That’s a big hole for James and Wade to dig out of each night. They must be muttering, “You’re killing me, Smalls,” more than Ham did in “Sandlot.”

The worse news for the Heat? There isn’t much out there to replace those guys. Is signing people like Rashad McCants or Robert Swift to the veteran minimum going to help? Honestly, I’m not sure it could get any worse.

The other option is for Miami to seek a trade, but who do they have to deal? Udonis Haslem is the only guy who would garner any interest. And it’s not like they can get someone else’s salary dump, because they don’t have the salaries in return to make the numbers match up.

Basically, they are what they are until next offseason. So, what are they? I’m thinking a No. 5 seed behind the Celtics, Magic, Bulls and Hawks.

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