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NBA POWER RANKINGS – 11/19

11.19.09 at 9:45 am ET
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1. (5): It was a hell of a week for the young Hawks, who outworked the Celtics at the Garden and then swept through home games against the rudderless Hornets, the Blazers and the Heat. By the way, Josh Smith scares me to death. He was never a bad player, yet he’s twice as good now as he was three years ago.

2. (1): The fact that Steve Nash is averaging 12 assists per game is impressive enough, but to be doing it at 35 years old is ridiculous. If Nash can maintain this pace — and he can’t — his numbers will be better than his MVP seasons. Look at the top 15 assist men in league history and none of them has had an assist season close to this at 35.

3. (9): I wonder which Magic player has the most entertaining, profane material on Stan Van Gundy. I’m telling you, despite the wins, they hate this guy. Van Gundy is right not to obsess over stats, but Rashard Lewis won’t soon forget that his head coach held him out the entire fourth quarter when he was a measly assist shy of a triple double.

4. (12): Oh, I know I can be stubborn, but this ranking is also proof that I can prop up teams that I don’t like. It’s not personal. I would never trust this group in a big game.

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Wallace looks back on Pistons Pacers Brawl

11.18.09 at 11:54 pm ET
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Thursday marks five years since the Pacers – Pistons brawl at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Rasheed Wallace, a member of the Pistons at the time, was surprised it has been that long.

‘€œNo, no I don’t even think about it unless somebody brings it up,’€ he told WEEI.com.

So what does he think when someone does bring it up?

‘€œThat was a funny little event there, if you ask me,’€ he said.

The fight began with less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter. It started with a Ron Artest foul against Ben Wallace and spiraled out of control … and into the stands. Punches and drinks were thrown, among other things, by both players and fans. A total of nine players were suspended for nearly 150 games.

In spite of the penalties, Wallace, who was not suspended, doesn’t think there have been many lessons learned from the fight.

‘€œNo, not really,’€ he said. ‘€œThere’s fights that still go on. They just try to break it up. But see, once it’s a real melee they talk all the refs tried to break it up but no, they [are] ghosts. The refs are in the back. So it’s all on the players to break it up.’€

Wallace may not think about the fight that often, but to many NBA fans, “The Malice at the Palace” still stands out to them.

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Fast Break: Celtics – Warriors

11.18.09 at 10:02 pm ET
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On Wednesday night the Celtics broke their losing streak against streaky scoring teams. After falling to Suns (111.3 ppg) and Hawks (108 ppg), the Celtics defeated the Warriors, the league’s highest scoring squad (111.6 ppg).They rolled 109-95 to improve to 9-3.

Player of the game: After scoring a total of 15 points over the last three games, Rondo scored 12 points in the third quarter alone to put the Celtics back in control. He finished the night with 18 points, 12 assists, and 7 rebounds. It was also a night of firsts for Rondo ‘€“ he hit his first free throw since November 4 against the Timberwolves and drained his first three-pointer of the season.

Play of the game: Rondo earned his player of the game status in the third quarter. He scored the Celtics first fastbreak points of the game with 4:45 to go, then completed a three-point play for a 12-point lead. On the next possession he kicked the ball cross-court to Paul Pierce for a three-pointer and drained a trey of his own to put the Celtics up 78-65.

– Pierce passed Isiah Thomas on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 19 points. He now ranks 48 (18,224) and is seven points behind Chet Walker (47th).

– The Celtics held the Warriors to 35.3% (6/17) three-point shooting. The Warriors came into the game ranked fourth in the league shooting 39.5% on the season. The Celtics, on the other hand, surpassed their season average (36.5%) with 8-for-19 shooting (42.1%).

– After getting outrebounded 21-14 in the first half, the Celtics crashed the boards in the second to reclaim the lead. They outrebounded the Warriors 22-14 in the second half (36-35 for the game).

– Former Celtic Mikki Moore posted six points and five rebounds in 28 minutes as the Warriors starting center. Before the game he said he is trying to help his high-scoring teammates become more defensive-minded, like the Celtics are.

Kendrick Perkins was the first Celtics player to score in double-digits. He finished with 15 points and passed his previous season high of 14.

Can Celtics finish?

11.18.09 at 8:45 pm ET
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In their two losses to Atlanta and Indiana, the Celtics have been jumping out to quick leads but unable to put away teams in the fourth quarter.

That’s a trait they perfected in 2008. And in three blowout wins against Utah, Charlotte and Philadelphia, it wasn’t even an issue as they built leads of over 20 points in each case, turning the final 12 minutes in each case into prime time for the bench.

But against Atlanta, they were outscored 25-16 in the fourth and lost 97-86. In Indianapolis the next night, they were outscored, 61-43, by the younger, fresher Pacers, losing 113-104. The Celtics have led in the fourth quarter in each of their three losses entering Wednesday.

“I’m concerned about bad finishes than slow starts, honestly,” Rivers said before Wednesday’s contest. “I think all three of the games, we’ve had a lead in the fourth quarter. I said it [Tuesday], I don’t think we’re a 48-minute team yet.”

On Wednesday, the Celtics took a 49-48 lead to the locker room, somewhat deflated by the waving off of Kevin Garnett’s 3/4-court heave that hit nothing but net.

But the real question remains – Can the Celtics finish?

Stay tuned now and for the rest of the season.

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett,

Allen takes on second generation of shooters

11.18.09 at 7:32 pm ET
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Ray Allen reveres Dell Curry as one of the best players he ever competed against ‘€“ and with ‘€“ in the NBA. Ten years after playing with him on the Milwaukee Bucks, Allen is playing against Curry’s son, rookie Stephen, as the Celtics take on the Warriors.

‘€œIt doesn’t make me feel old,’€ Allen, 34, said before the game. ‘€œIt just makes me feel privileged to be able to play in two generations of players. I always say Dell was the one guy I feared playing against because he shot the ball so quick. And then when I played with him, it was a privilege because he was the one guy that I loved watching.’€

21-year-old Stephen looks forward to the match up as well. Allen was one of his favorite basketball players growing up and he has carefully watched Allen’s game with his father over the years.

‘€œWe would watch the Celtics play and he would point out how well Ray would move without the ball and how quickly he could get his shot off,’€ he told WEEI.com before tip-off. ‘€œI don’t think he figured out how to defend him so he couldn’t give me any advice. But you’ve just got to be able to chase him around the court because Ray Allen’s going to find a shot.’€

Allen believes Stephen will find his shoot, too, but he points out the bar has been raised for the young guard.

‘€œDell was a pure shooter. Dell’s a big guard, Dell was pretty slow.  Stephen is quicker but his jumpshoot doesn’t compare to his dad’s,’€ he said. ‘€œAs good as Stephen’s jumpshot is, people ask me who the best star is and I say Dell Curry and Dale Ellis that I’ve seen. And so you’re talking about 30 years combined of great shooting, so that’s lineage that Stephen has to live up to.’€

Read More: Ray Allen, Stephen Curry,

Danny Ainge on the Big Show

11.18.09 at 5:31 pm ET
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Danny Ainge joined the guys on The Big Show to talk about the rumored three-way trade that was just a rumor, the media’s incessant rumor-mongering and his team’s recent lack of consistency (CLICK HERE for complete audio interview). There’s also some good Stephon Marbury talk later on. [Edited in spots for clarity].

Lets’ get right to it, right off the bat. We keep hearing about this three-team deal, lay it on us, what’s going on?

Ainge: We have nothing going on.

Are you telling me that the media making this stuff up?

In the media there are people who are more concerned with breaking news then they are with writing truth and writing real history. It’s the competition of who breaks the story first, and I have a feeling there’s people with motives that are trying to get their player traded from another team. That’s why this story gets out.

Were there any conversations with any of these teams at all?

No.

You haven’t had any conversations with any of these teams?

No.

So, is it possible that an agent with a media person would have their own reason for doing it?

I think that happens a lot. There’s some person who will call some person in the business to get their input. That input spreads from person to person to the next thing you know a story comes out and there’s no validity to it. There’s so much of that that goes on. I spend so much of my time talking to reporters that are calling to see if this stuff is true.

Do you have to deal with the agents and players on the other side when something like this comes out?

That’s the easier part. Players get it. They understand the business. I’ve been very honest with my players. I’ll answer any question they have to see if there’s any validity to any of the rumors. It’s not just our team. There’s things that I read almost daily that I know for a fact aren’t true. Read the rest of this entry »

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Donny Basketball

11.18.09 at 1:49 pm ET
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Doc Rivers has known Don Nelson a long time. When he arrived on the scene in the NBA, Rivers was a point guard on the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta would have knock down, drag out bouts with Nellie’s Milwaukee Bucks when the Bucks were winning Central Division titles year after year.

This year though, the Warriors are tops in the league in scoring through 10 games, at 111.6 points. Note to Celtics, the Suns and Hawks are second and third and both beat Boston at the Garden.

The flip side of that is they’re allowing 113.7 points a contest, the highest in the league.

“He didn’t start out that way,” Rivers said. “Don’s been coaching a long time. He’s basically taken what he has and uses it and turns it into that.

“In Milwaukee, they might have been the slowest basketball team on Earth to play. They walked the ball up the floor, played slow and used the clock and you were in an 80-point game with them.”

Nelson broke into coaching at the age of 36 in 1976 with the Milwaukee Bucks. He is now 69 and has more wins (1312) than any active coach and is a three-time NBA Coach of the Year. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Don Nelson, Warriors
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