|10.23.10 at 4:08 pm ET|
The Celtics went through a hard practice at Waltham Saturday. This was a different sort of workout than the one they endured Friday, which stretched out past three hours. As the curtain lifted, they were going through a scrimmage, complete with refs and all the intensity you would expect from a regular season game.
“It was the best practice we’ve had in a while,” Doc Rivers said. “It was good to see. Following yesterday’s fiasco of a practice, I thought today was phenomenal.”
But what really stood out was the sight of Kendrick Perkins, whiteboard in hand, drawing up a play for the second team (usually referred to as the White Team for their jerseys, as opposed to the starters, who wear green). The play was for Von Wafer to come off a back pick, but it didn’t go according to plan.
“We needed a 3 at the time,” coach Perk explained. “We were down six. So I went with a Doc play. We didn’t execute it right.”
This whole exercise was by design. It’s something Rivers learned from Mike Fratello when he played for him in Atlanta. “I saw something during the game,” Rivers said. “We came into the huddle and I said we’ve got to run this. We did it and we won the game, but that was the last time he let me do it.”
Rivers has tried this out with his players at various times — Gabe Pruitt called up a game-winner a few years back — and the benefits work both ways.
“You see a lot when you’re hurt and on the sidelines,” Perkins said. “You put yourself in the coach’s shoes and see what they’re going through. I’m just trying to install it in my head so when I get in there I won’t make the same mistakes.”
“You learn a lot,” Rivers said. “You see what they’re thinking. You see who they think should take the shots. Who they think can make plays. What they learn is they get frustrated when guys don’t execute. That’s how I feel the whole game. It’s good learning tool for everybody.”
“Ray,” Rivers said. “Because it’s always for him. Rondo and Ray are pretty darn good.” Read the rest of this entry »
|10.23.10 at 3:29 pm ET|
You never know what you’re going to get from Kevin Garnett in an interview setting. Some days he might be terse. Other days he may be expansive. On Saturday after the C’s went through practice, KG was in a chatty mood.
“We’ve done a good job of policing ourselves, making sure the standard that we’ve built,” Garnett said. “I can’t speak on other franchises other than one that I played with, but I know that when you come in here and you look up and see all the retired numbers and banners and see the dedication and the sweat and tears that have been poured into this club, that’s a responsibility.”
Wanting to keep the conversation going, I mentioned that when veterans come to the Celtics, they find that attitude refreshing. That was when KG dropped a reference to noted children’s author Beverly Cleary.
“Think about it,” Garnett said. “You’re a writer. If you looked up to Beverly Cleary and different writers who were monumental and whatever it is that inspired you, and you come into their office or to their desk or type at their typewriter, if you have any kind of passion, I don’t know you personally, but if you have any kind of passion about something and you were able to put yourself in their place while they were writing their stories, then you would feel that. It’s no different from basketball. It’s a very prideful thing. It’s a very honorable thing.”
For the record, your correspondent is more of a F. Scott Fitzgerald man, but point taken.
|10.22.10 at 4:26 pm ET|
It happened in the first quarter of a preseason game last Friday in Toronto. Jermaine O’Neal went to take a charge and the impact left him with torn cartilage in his left wrist. His latest injury has kept him out of practice and preseason games for the past week, but after going through a full workout Friday, O’Neal said he would be ready to play Tuesday when the Celtics open up the regular season against his former team, the Miami Heat.
“I feel good,” he said. “Felt pretty good today. I got a little wrap that keeps it safe. I’m not worried about it.”
O’Neal previously missed a week of camp because of a hamstring injury and, earlier this week, Doc Rivers termed this latest setback, “disappointing.”
“He has not had the preseason that we would have liked him to have so far,” Rivers said Tuesday. “Sometimes you can’t avoid it.”
While he has missed time, O’Neal seems to have been passed by the other O’Neal, Shaq, in the competition for the starting center spot. But Jermaine O’Neal isn’t worried about that aspect.
“We don’t compete for the starting time,” he said. “We challenge each other just like everybody else challenges each other. It’s not about who’s starting, who’s coming off the bench, it’s about making each other better and getting ready for the game.”
Jermaine O’Neal said that he and Shaq have had long conversations about their roles, but not about who starts. They know that it will be an adjustment for them, but they both have stressed that they are ready for it.
“We don’t talk about anything else,” Jermaine O’Neal said. “We don’t talk about who starts. There’s no animosity. We understand that we’re going to need everybody to win a championship this year. There’s going to be times where I play well. There’s going to be times where he plays well. The key is picking each other up when we need each other. That’s all we worry about. Everything else is going to play itself out.”
|10.22.10 at 4:22 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Rajon Rondo can be one difficult person to read.
Take Friday for example. Following practice, he was asked about David Stern‘s comments a day earlier in which the NBA commissioner said he wants player salaries cut by a third or up to four teams may have to be contracted. Stern is looking to save NBA owners – his bosses – between $750 and $800 million.
It was bargaining posture that sports fans have become accustomed to in the collective bargaining era. But still, the threat had a very serious undertone.
Are NBA players worried about Stern’s latest shot in the bargaining battle?
“Who? David Stern? It doesn’t worry me at all,” said Rondo, who is in line to make $9 million this season.
“I’m preparing for like there is one,” Rondo added. “I’m saving a lot of money this year. I’m saving a lot on my car insurance, too. Geico.”
While that might seem like the off-hand comedic comment it is, he followed up with something a little more telling.
“We’re focused on the season. It’d be great if we could get a ring heading into a lockout but other than that, I’m focused on the season.” Read the rest of this entry »
|10.22.10 at 10:36 am ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
What if your boss came up to you and said, “Um, yeah, I’m gonna need you guys to go ahead and cut your salaries by $800 million”? I know I wouldn’t like if WEEI slashed my salary by $800 million, and NBA players aren’t going to like it, either.
But that’s exactly what NBA commissioner David Stern is proposing on his side of the collective bargaining agreement to make his league profitable again. Owners claimed $380 million in losses last season and project $350 million in losses this season.
“Even though we reported we have record season ticket sales over the summer and otherwise very robust revenue generation because of the built-in cost of the system,” deputy commissioner Adam Silver told reporters, “it’s virtually impossible for us to move the needle in terms of our losses.”
The NBA player’s association contested those numbers, and I am, too. You’re telling me that the league is losing that much money when season-ticket sales are at an all-time high and they’re just four months removed from a seven-game finals series between the league’s two biggest rivals? Didn’t 8.4 million people tune in just to watch the league’s biggest star announce where he was going to take his talents?
Slashing salaries by 36 percent is going to be a hard sell to the players, especially in a year that the league itself projected attendance to rank in the top five seasons ever.
“They’re saying lockout,” Clippers center Chris Kaman told the Los Angeles Times. “You just never know. You’ve just got to be ready and prepare yourself for that, moneywise. I’ve been saving a lot — looking out.”
If this is truly how the NBA owners are expecting to negotiate the collective bargaining agreement, don’t expect the season to start on time next year. The Celtics‘ starting five would have to give up $40 million next year alone to meet Stern’s demands. I’m not naive enough to believe that’s possible.
CELTICS WILL LOSE: SCOUTS’ HONOR
Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen released his annual survey of NBA advance and personnel scouts, and they don’t expect the Celtics to reach the finals. The highlights:
- The Miami Heat and Orlando Magic are expected to finish with higher seeds than the Celtics in the East.
- Three of the six scouts believe the Heat will take down the Celtics in the conference finals. Two scouts predict the C’s won’t even make it that far, and only one has Boston returning to the NBA finals.
- That lone scout has the Celtics beating the Lakers in the finals. Three of them have the Lakers beating Miami, one has those two finishing vice versa and the sixth scout has the San Antonio Spurs as champs.
“When we were at the Hall of Fame, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and myself said we would not have went to Miami. That’s just a basketball situation. That has nothing to do with anything. We just said we wanted to beat the other guy. That’s not a criticism; that was just giving our opinion. My criticism, and the only criticism I’ve really heard about LeBron, is how he handled the situation.”
While many people are arguing MJ ripped Kobe and Barkley dissed LeBron, that’s not really the case. Jordan called Kobe one of the top-10 guards of all-time, and Barkley called LeBron the best player in the NBA. Those hardly sound like fighting words.
Now, the real controversy should be over this statement from Oscar Robertson to ESPN: “LeBron James is in a class by himself,” even compared to Jordan. Really? I think Jordan’s six NBA titles and LeBron’s zero beg to differ.
A LAYUP DRILL
In the bad news department, former Celtic Charles Smith was shot twice in the chest in a Washington D.C. home yesterday afternoon, according to the local NBC affiliate. Smith reportedly remains in critical-but-stable condition following surgery.
After capturing 1998-89 Big East Player of the Year honors, Smith played 60 games for the 1989-90 Celtics that reached the playoffs. Continue to cheer for him. …
According to The Washington Post, the Wizards waived Adam Morrison yesterday. Back in July, the Celtics were one of four teams scouting Morrison’s Las Vegas workout. Any chance the C’s could bring him in for a look? …
Former Celtic Dominique Wilkins met with 30 kids from Maine who suffer from Type I diabetes to share his own experiences with the disease, The Portland Press Herald reported. Add that to his highlight film. …
(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)
|10.22.10 at 8:37 am ET|
According to multiple reports, former Celtics guard Charles Smith was shot Thursday afternoon at a house in Bowie, Md., and was in critical but stable condition following surgery. Authorities were searching for a man seen fleeing the home with a handgun.
Smith, an All-American and the Big East Player of the Year at Georgetown in 1989, played 65 games for the Celtics in the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons. In 1992, he was convicted of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crime in the hit-and-run deaths of two Boston University students a year earlier. Smith served 28 months of a 4 1/2-year sentence and then returned to basketball, making a brief stop in the NBA with the Timberwolves in 1995-96 and playing in the minors and in foreign leagues until 2001.
|10.21.10 at 5:58 pm ET|
The Celtics announced Thursday that they have waived forwards Stephane Lasme, Keith ‘Tiny’ Gallon, and guard Mario West. Lasme, a 6-foot-8 215 lbs forward, averaged 4.1 points and 2.6 rebounds in 12.6 minutes per game during the 2010 preseason for the Celtics. West, a 6-foot-5 210 lbs guard, appeared in all eight preseason games for the Celtics averaging 0.7 points and 0.7 rebounds in 7.3 minutes per game. Gallon, a 6-foot-9 290 lbs forward, was signed by the Celtics on Oct. 19 and dressed for the game against New Jersey on Oct. 20.
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