|03.29.09 at 10:27 pm ET|
For all the ink spilled over the Kevin Garnett trade, the move that brought Ray Allen to the Celtics on draft night in 2007 has received considerably far less scrutiny. But when the Celtics acquired Allen from the Seattle Sonics (may they rest in peace) it set the stage for everything that was to follow. Not only did it remove one obstacle to acquiring Garnett (ahem, Wally Szczerbiak) it also opened KG’s eyes to the possibilities of coming to Boston.
Allen has been as good as the Celtics could have hoped for. Not only did he bounce back from an injury-plagued 2006-07 with Seattle to help the Celtics win a championship, he is in the midst of one of the most productive and efficient seasons of his career. His True Shooting Percentage and Effective Field Goal Percentage are both the highest of his illustrative career, and his defense has remained solid. Certainly better than people expected.
Interestingly, the deal has also paid off for what is now the Oklahoma City Thunder, for while Delonte West and Szczerbiak were traded to Cleveland before the end of last season, young Jeff Green who was acquired with the Celtics first round draft pick, has begun to make a name for himself. After a rookie year that was decent, if unspectacular, Green has raised his numbers across the board in his second season.
A 27 percent 3-point shooter last year, Green has quietly become a very capable shooter from distance, raising his average to .395. That’s not a surprise to OKC interim coach Scott Brooks who challenged him to work on that aspect of his game last summer, particularly from the corners.
“Last summer, he worked,” Brooks said. “He was committed to getting better and not take time off. He’s a playmaker. He’s not just a shooter. He likes to make plays for others. He’s a guy who wants to get better.”
Green has teamed with Kevin Durant to give the Thunder one of the better young forwards combinations in the league. While the Thunder messed around playing Durant at the off-guard position last year, the two have flourished under Brooks who feels that the next step for Green is to become a better rebounder and possibly a facilitator for the offense.
That’s an interesting step for OKC to take because Green received extensive experience playing in a passing offense at Georgetown, and young guard Russell Westbrook, while exciting, is not a classic point guard. “(Green) has that ability,” Brooks said. “That can be a luxury as a four-man.”
There was, of course, one other component to the Allen deal and that was the second round pick the Celtics acquired and used on Big Baby Davis. Despite receiving 10 stitches above his eye after getting hit by Durant on a loose ball, Davis scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds Sunday night.
This was truly the proverbial trade that helped both teams and one both would do again.
|03.29.09 at 8:39 pm ET|
Midway through the third quarter Glen Davis was hit in the head, inadvertently, by Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and taken back to the locker room. He was replaced by Mikki Moore. The Celtics are playing tonight with only three available big men.
UPDATE: Davis returned to the Celtics bench toward the end of the third quarter. The Celtics had a lineup on the floor with Bill Walker essentially playing the four spot. Davis received 10 stitches.
|03.29.09 at 7:22 pm ET|
Tony Allen is going to see a hand specialist Monday and if all goes well he could be ready to play next Wednesday, April 8, when the Celtics host New Jersey. It’s possible, but not likely, that Allen could return even sooner but for now the plan is to let him get a few practices under his belt. “Our practices are like game speed anyway,” Allen said before Sunday’s game with Oklahoma City.
Allen has been encouraged by his progress, which has included him taking part in pregame shootarounds. He did concede that the thumb is still a little sore. His original prognosis was six-to-eight weeks and he is just now coming up on six weeks.
When Allen does return he will likely wear a modified cast to protect his thumb and he noted that won’t be sure how it will hold up to contact until he goes through it. With JR Giddens in the D-League, the Celtics are down to 10 healthy bodies.
|03.29.09 at 7:08 pm ET|
Kevin Garnett was not in the lineup for the second straight game, and he’s probably out for Wednesday’s game against Charlotte, as well. “It depends on how he moves in practice,” said Doc Rivers who added that it was “likely” that Garnett would return Friday when the Celtics host Atlanta.
Rivers also said they haven’t discussed how his minutes would go when he does return, but that the coach was looking for, “better movement (and) less soreness,” from Garnett. “I go by his gait,” Rivers said. “It’s not hard, really. Just watch him run.”
|03.29.09 at 7:08 pm ET|
Brian Scalabrine is getting stir crazy.
The Boston Celtics forward has been out of commission with post concussion syndrome since February 19. In an attempt to speed up his recovery, he pushed himself too far. Scalabrine is still suffering from lingering headaches in the morning and evening. However his doctors discourage him from taking Tylenol because the medication could mask his symptoms.
‘I was going too hard. I was doing too many things,’ he said prior to the Celtics game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. ‘I was trying to get back and you’re limited in what you can do. You can ride a bike, you can lift weights, but I was lifting weights really hard, riding the bike really hard. We’re not going to tone that down because they (headaches) could just go away and your body could get used to it. But more so April 1 will be the time that we’ll know from the doctors.’
In the meantime, he is itching to get back on the court. In addition to supporting his teammates, attending Celtics home games is a much needed escape.
‘For me it’s about getting out of the house,’ Scalabrine, a hunting enthusiast, laughed. ‘A man can only be home so long before he needs to go hunt and gather … I’ve got to do a lot more than the dishes if I stay home. We’re just not built that way … Men are not built to stay home and do stuff at home … We’re not good like that.’
Scalabrine keeps a journal three times a day to record his progress. He will meet with doctors on April 1.
|03.29.09 at 6:33 pm ET|
On Sunday Leon Powe made his first appearance at a Boston Celtics game since spraining his knee against the Chicago Bulls on March 17. Powe was scheduled to undergo further testing by team doctors, but spoke to the media beforehand.
‘It’s sore every once and a while but it feels good,’ he said. ‘It’s feeling better than it did when I hurt it. I was able to run straight it that game but then when it got stiffened up, it stiffened up on me in the back and I couldn’t even move it.’
Powe suffered the injury when he banged knees with Ben Gordon. A sprain is nothing compared to the extensive knee injuries he has endured in the past. He hopes to return a few games before or during the playoffs.
‘I’ve been through a lot of knee problems a whole lot worse,’ he said. ‘Just a few weeks, three-and-a-half weeks, that isn’t anything to me. But I would like to get back into action a little bit before the playoffs. But however I feel, that’s where I’m going to go from there.’
As for Sunday’s game, Powe will watch the Celtics take on the Oklahoma City Thunder from the locker room.
‘I’m not going to be on the bench,’ he said. ‘I didn’t wear a sports coat today. I don’t want to get fined, especially when I’m sitting out.’
Update: Following the game, Powe gave a thumbs up when asked about his meeting with team doctors.
|03.29.09 at 12:26 am ET|
BOSTON – Covering Saturday night’s East Regional final was the single toughest assignment of my professional career.
It’s one thing to grow up following a team and surrender those feelings once you turn professional reporter.
It’s another to cover the school you poured your heart and soul into for four years while watching one of the greatest sporting upsets in modern sports history as a freshman in person. Yes, I’m referring to Villanova over Georgetown on April 1, 1985 at Rupp Arena.
So it was Saturday night. I blogged away as Pittsburgh battled my alma mater, Villanova in a game where classic doesn’t seem to do it justice.
I got text messages from my peeps in my native Cincinnati, my peeps in New York, my peeps here in Boston, all of whom were pulling for me during a nerve-wracking second half. Thanks to you all for your concern for my mental health as I was typing furiously away across from the Pittsburgh bench. But I was also in front of the Villanova fan section. It was deafening all night.
I maintained professional composure until the last teardrop by Scottie Reynolds. And beyond. No cheering, no smiling, honest. At least on the outside. On the inside, I was a mess. I’ll admit that I clenched my fist when the ball went through the hoop but as soon as it did, I unclenched and got busy typing This Just In on WEEI.com.
As NovaNation was going bonkers right behind me, all I could think of was the man sitting five seats to my right and one row back. Rollie Massimino had seen this all before. He smiled like the proud daddy he is. After all, when this reporter attended Villanova between 1985-88 Rollie was simply known as Daddy Mass, something Jay Wright referenced all weekend long.
Then I got to work again covering postgame. I’m glad I was at TD Banknorth Garden for the greatest game ever played in the building.
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