|10.28.08 at 6:02 am ET|
Today the Boston Celtics announced they have promoted Danny Ainge to President of Basketball Operations. He formerly held the joint title of Executive Director of Basketball Operations and General Manager.
The organization has also extended Ainge’s contract. Update: Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com and WEEI.com has reported that the extension is through the 2011-2012 season. His previous contract would have expired after this season.
Last season Ainge was honored with the 2007-08 Executive of the Year award for transforming the Celtics from worst to first. Tonight he will receive his third world championship ring with the Celtics after winning two titles as a player in 1984 and 1986.
“Danny has been a key part of building our World Championship team and basketball program,” said Boston Celtics Managing Partner and Co-owner Stephen Pagliuca. “He represents all that is the best of Celtics Pride and we applaud his success.”
|10.27.08 at 12:49 pm ET|
Sam Cassell is the only player on the Boston Celtics who knows how it feels to defend an NBA championship. Not only that, he also knows what it takes to win two consecutive titles. Nearly 15 years after going back-to-back with the Houston Rockets, Cassell explains what the Celtics should expect heading into Opening Night.
On playing as an NBA champion: These guys got a grasp of that early in preseason. Everyone’s going to be giving us their best shot. Every game is going to be a big game. Every game.
On controlling emotions from the ring ceremony to focus on the game: You don’t control them. You don’t control them but our game plan is defense. If our offense ain’t hitting, our defense is going to be hitting so that’s the thing we live and die by, our defense. There’s no excuse if our defense isn’t up to par, so you’ll see our defense up to par and if our offense is struggling our defense will have to win the game for us.
On being a target for 82 games: Our big guys understand that and that’s why when we practice, our second unit goes after our starting unit, fouling and going after them, trying to frustrate them. But they’ve been doing a hell of a job just keeping their composure and understanding what’s at stake. And what’s at stake is winning.
On the reception in opposing arenas: Oh we’re on top of the mountain. We’re the Celtics and the majority of places we play at, we’ll have a lot of fans there ourselves. Everybody loves the champion no matter who they are. We’ve got great guys on our team and people really enjoy the way we play the game of basketball. We play it, we don’t taunt, we play hard.
On repeating the same success with different players this season: First of all, we’ve got to have the basketball gods on our side. Injuries, course of the NBA season, they happen. But we’ve also got to understand that every night is going to be a dog fight for us. So we’ve got to bring the fight. If we do that we’ll be fine.
On convincing the new Celtics to buy in to the system: Well they’ve got to. We don’t have too many new guys on this ball club but they’ve got to. They’ve got to understand. I told the guys I had a great summer last summer. I had a wonderful summer being a champ. That’s what we want to get back to. Everyone on this team had probably the best summer of their NBA career. For me it was blast because where I came from and where I ended up at, I went from last to first in a matter of 48 hours.
On putting last season behind them: It’s forgotten. It’s forgotten. We haven’t done anything yet. It’s all over. Doc emphasizes that every day in practice that it’s all over. After one night we’re just the world champions, it’s just a title. So we’re trying to get that back again.
|10.26.08 at 10:08 pm ET|
Just in time for Opening Night, Kobe Bryant is now singing and dancing his way into your homes through your TV sets. And he’s bringing a friend along, too. His name is A-Rod.
Bryant and Rodriguez, along with Michael Phelps and Tony Hawk, are featured in a new commercial for Guitar Hero. The ad is a throwback to “Risky Business” with the four men donning pink button down shirts and white boxers. Click here to check it out!
Notice how Kobe’s shorts are longer. He’s probably sensitive to the idea of anything above the knee after this incident.
|10.25.08 at 11:27 am ET|
Notes from Saturday’s practice:
- After practicing with his right hand wrapped in tape, Paul Pierce revealed that he jammed his right index finger during Friday’s practice. The medical tape was a preventative measure and Doc Rivers is not concerned. Aside from some soreness, Pierce isn’t anticipating any problems.
- Rivers was pleased with his team’s high energy today after a less-than-impressive practice yesterday. He is ready to leave last season behind him and has everything in place to kick off the new season on Tuesday.
- Age knows no boundaries with Sam Cassell. The 38-year-old vet challenged Rivers’ teenage son Austin to a competitive one-on-one battle after practice. Adam Jones, who Rivers recently gained legal guardianship of, was next on Cassell’s radar — “You next, red shorts, you next!”
- Leon Powe was the last to leave the court, working on his free throws. Kendrick Perkins and Patrick O’Bryant also spent a while at the basket together working on 10′ jumpers.
- Stephen A. Smith is in Waltham to interview the Big Three for ESPN.
|10.25.08 at 10:46 am ET|
Winning an NBA title is cause for celebration and on Friday night the Boston Celtics shared their excitement at the Shamrock Foundation’s World Championship Gala. Members of the team held little back as they entertained the crowd with anecdotes, jokes, and even an operatic performance when emcee Glenn Ordway passed the mic to Paul Pierce. Highlights included:
- Eddie House gave his best Ray Allen impersonation while explaining the definition of “Ubuntu.” Word is House doesn’t need to practice that anymore … he does it so often it’s like second nature by now.
- Big Baby shimmied across the stage doing his best take on KG’s dance moves. If Davis’ impression is any indication of the real thing, let’s just say “Dancing With the Stars” won’t be calling Garnett any time soon.
- Pierce invited rookies J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker to the stage for a public display of rookie initiation. The two sang an off-key rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly” which sounded more like Sanjaya than R. Kelly when Giddens tried to hit a high note.
When all was said and done, the gala raised $1.5 million to benefit the Celtics Shamrock Foundation, which provides education and support for charities in and around the Boston area.
The ornate 2008 World Championship rings were revealed and featured a diamond encrusted emerald shamrock. The big ticket auction item was a personalized championship ring, which went for $15,000.
Other auction items featured autographed memorabilia from the Boston Celtics and around the NBA, including celebratory photographs of the Big Three, an oversized cover of the Sporting News with Paul Pierce and David Ortiz, a basketball signed by members of the 2007-08 Celtics and Lakers squads, and a pair of sneakers worn by Dwight Howard. Guests were also able to bid on the opportunity to dine with the 2008 Championship trophy for the evening.
|10.23.08 at 12:44 pm ET|
Today the NBA Board of Governors voted to allow the expanded use of instant replay by game officials. The new sanction will begin this season and can be enacted in the following situations, as explained in an official league release:
- To determine at any point during a game whether a field goal was correctly scored as a two- or three-point field goal, and, for the purposes of awarding the correct number of free throws, whether a shooter was fouled while taking a two- or three-point attempt.*
- When the game clock malfunctions during a play concluding with no time remaining on the clock (0:00) at the end of any quarter or overtime period.^
*With respect to the first scenario, review would occur at the discretion of the game officials, and would be based on a conclusion by the crew that they cannot be reasonably certain whether the shot was a two- or three-pointer.
^In the second scenario, game officials are currently required to reconstruct the timing of a play occurring during a clock malfunction; the use of replay would enable them to do so with substantially greater accuracy.
|10.22.08 at 11:37 am ET|
On Wednesday NBA.com revealed the results of the 2008-09 GM Survey. There were some expected predictions based on last season’s performances – a second straight Celtics/Lakers Finals, the Miami Heat will be the most improved team, and Chris Paul is the fastest player with the ball. But there were also a few notable results worth taking another look at:
Which team will win NBA Finals 2009?
1. L.A. Lakers — 46.2%
2. Boston — 19.2%
3. New Orleans — 11.5%
4. Houston — 7.7%
San Antonio — 7.7%
Others receiving votes: Detroit, Orlando
The departure of James Posey caused many to doubt the Celtics chances to repeat, but this landslide victory was still surprising. Most of the hoopla surrounding the Lakers this season is the return of Andrew Bynum. Yes, he will make them better by giving them an inside presence and allowing Pau Gasol to move back to the power forward position (where he won’t get beat up by Kendrick Perkins). But can Bynum hold up for three postseason rounds? The Lakers starting five (including the hobbled Kobe Bryant) has not proven they can win it all as a unit whereas the Celtics are returning their entire starting lineup. While experience isn’t accounted for on the box score, it can affect the final outcome.
Who will win the 2008-09 Rookie of the Year?
1. Michael Beasley — 48.1%
2. Greg Oden — 29.6%
Which rookie will be the best player in five years?
1. Greg Oden — 30.8%
2. Michael Beasley — 23.1%
A year ago the race for Rookie of the Year was neck-and-neck between Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. One knee injury later, Oden has been edged out by Michael Beasley for the honors. But you’ve got to feel good if you’re Portland Trail Blazer GM Kevin Pritchard. His long-term vision for young talent will make his team a contender for several years down the road.
Who is the best head coach in the NBA?
1. Gregg Popovich — 53.8%
2. Phil Jackson — 23.1%
3. Jerry Sloan — 7.7%
Others receiving votes: Rick Adelman, Rick Carlisle, Nate McMillan,
Stan Van Gundy
Which head coach is the best manager/motivator of people?
1. Phil Jackson — 44.0%
2. Gregg Popovich — 28.0%
3. Doc Rivers — 12.0%
4. Nate McMillan — 8.0%
Others receiving votes: Rick Adelman, Jerry Sloan
Did you check that list twice? After winning an NBA Championship, Doc Rivers was left off the list of best head coaches. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich still reigns supreme in the eyes of GMs, also taking first place over Rivers for coach with the best defensive schemes. You would assume that Rivers would get at least one nod after transforming the Celtics from worst to first, but fortunately for Rivers the title of 2008 NBA Champions holds more clout than any preseason predictions.
Who is the best on-the-ball defender in the NBA?
1. Kobe Bryant — 26.9%
2. Ron Artest — 19.2%
Bruce Bowen — 19.2%
Rajon Rondo — 19.2%
As far as defense goes, Kevin Garnett was predicted to be the league’s best defensive player, best interior defender, and best leader. Rajon Rondo’s inclusion on the best on-the-ball defender list speaks volumes to the influences of Garnett and Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau, who was also predicted best in the NBA. To put things into perspective, Rondo was 10 years old when Bruce Bowen made his professional debut. Talk about a quick learner.
So how much stock should you put into these results? It’s up to you.
Which team will win NBA Finals 2008?
1. San Antonio Spurs 37.0%
2. Phoenix Suns 25.9%
3. Dallas Mavericks 14.8%
4. Detroit Pistons 7.4%
Others receiving votes: Boston, Houston, Miami, Orlando
- Boston Celtics Daily Links 12/9
- State of the Celtics: Jordan Crawford named Eastern Conference Player of...
- Paul Pierce practices, might play tomorrow against Celtics
- An emotional week ahead for the Celtics
- State of the Celtics
- Brad Stevens keeping everyone on an even keel
- It's a laugher: Celtics trounce Knicks 114 - 73