|12.10.08 at 12:41 pm ET|
The last time they visited the nation’s capital, all the Celtics could focus on was being on the same stage with President Bush.
Wednesday afternoon, as they boarded a plane for D.C. again, their focus was quite different.
The Celtics are 20-2 and once again on top of the NBA world. But listen to them at practice and they realize that they are the only people who can keep them there.
“It’s not hard at all, especially when you’re ultimate goal is to win a championship, the focus is there everyday,” Paul Pierce said. “Just because we’re veterans, we don’t have any letdowns. We check everybody, we check on one another and when we see one guy have slippage, we pick them up. That’s what this team is all about.”
As well as the Celtics know themselves, the Wizards are wondering who they are. They completed a stunning comeback on Tuesday night, coming from 15 points down to beat the Detroit Pistons going away. But still, at 4-15, the Wizards are a mess. Coaching journeyman Ed Tapscott took over for Eddie Jordan following the team’s 1-10 start without the injured Gilbert Arenas available.
In an effort to get more scoring depth, the Wizards pulled off a three-way trade on Wednesday, a deal that should have former Celtic Mike James available for Thursday’s contest.
If the Celtics can handle Caron Butler, they stand a very good chance of improving to 21-2 with the James Posey-Chris Paul-led Hornets up next on Friday at the Garden.
|12.10.08 at 8:17 am ET|
Former Boston Celtic James Posey is one of the newest NBA players to join the Blogosphere. Posey, now a member of the New Orleans Hornets, is sharing his thoughts on the Hornets.com blog, “Pose Knows.” In his most recent edition, he discusses returning to Boston this Friday to receive his championship ring and what playing for the Celtics meant to him.
So on Friday the team will be traveling up to Boston to take on my former team, the Celtics. I’m really excited for the trip; I’m going to be getting my championship ring. That’s the reason why I play this game, why we all play this game: to have an opportunity to win a championship. It really meant a lot to me to have a chance to win a title in Boston, because of all the tradition surrounding the franchise. It’s pretty surreal to now be associated with and mentioned in the same breath as Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Larry Bird, and the list goes on and on. To be thought of as a player on that team when people look up and see the banner that reads “BOSTON CELTICS 2008 WORLD CHAMPIONS,” that’s something really special. It will be good to see all my former teammates as well. I keep in touch with KG (Kevin Garnett) and Sam (Cassell) all the time, and Doc (Rivers) and I text message each other all the time too.
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo also has his own blog on YardBarker.com.
|12.10.08 at 6:48 am ET|
No wonder why it’s so hard to get Celtics tickets these days. The Cs have the highest total attendance in the Eastern Conference through December 8, according to data on SportsBusiness Daily. For the second consecutive season, the Celtics are averaging a sold out crowd of 18,624. This ranks them first in total attendance after 13 home games and sixth in average attendance, due to the capacity of the TD BankNorth Garden.
The Detroit Pistons have the highest average attendance (22,076) and the Indiana Pacers have seen the most growth since last season (+15.7%). The Atlanta Hawks, who packed the house against the Celtics in the playoffs, are up nearly 11% in average attendance, while the Miami Heat are down 16%. Even though the Philadelphia 76ers (+12.0%) are one of the fastest growing draws, they are filling less than 70% of their total capacity. On average, the Eastern Conference is averaging the same attendance as last season (+0.9%).
|12.09.08 at 8:45 am ET|
This week Kevin McHale returned to the bench as the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He is the 27th former Boston Celtic to trade in his jersey for a clipboard and coach in the NBA. Here is a look Celtics-turned-head coaches who found success calling the plays (in alphabetical order):
Danny Ainge: Led the Phoenix Suns to a 136-90 record (.602) over three-plus seasons as head coach. He found success in the regular season but failed to make it out of the first round of the playoffs (3-9). That’s all a distant memory since building a world champion Boston Celtics squad in 2008.
Larry Bird: Returned to Indiana in 1997 to coach the Pacers for three seasons (147-67, .687). Reached the Eastern Conference Finals each season and made it to the 2000 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers (32-20 postseason). Three years after stepping down as head coach, he returned to the Pacers front office as Team President. Read the rest of this entry »
|12.08.08 at 7:09 am ET|
Nine years ago today, one of the most infamous NBA careers came to an end. On December 8, 1999, Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley tore the tendon in his left quadricep away from his kneecap on an attempted blocked shot against the Philadelphia 76ers. Ironically, he played half of his 16-season career with the Sixers. Even though Barkley made one last appearance in the Rockets final game of the regular season on April 19, 2000, he held a press conference following the game on December 8 to thank his former teammates, commemorating the end of his career. The 11-time All-Star and NBA Hall of Famer ranks sixth all-time in offensive rebounds and left the game with a career average of 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds.
Also on this date, then-Los Angeles Laker Shaquille O’Neal broke a 40-year-old NBA record for missing all of his 11 free throw attempts against the Seattle SuperSonics. The previous record had been held by Wilt Chamberlain, who missed all of his 10 free throw attempts in 1960.
|12.06.08 at 11:44 am ET|
Last season, in their run to their 17th NBA title, the Celtics went from potential to prolific, winning 66 games in the regular season. This season, they are going from hype to historic, as in no team in NBA history has ever followed up an 18-2 start one season with a 19-2 opening the next… until now. What’s scary about the Green Machine’s is they honestly believe they have yet to play a complete game. Friday night, the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA came to town with a 16-4 mark and a six-game winning streak. They hadn’t lost to an Eastern Conference team. They had lost just twice in 16 games when holding their opponent under 100 points. Still not enough to overcome the Celtics, who overwhelmed them with a 21-0 run. The Celtics are all on the same page, preaching the same message, we’re playing well but there’s a lot of season remaining and a lot to play for. Just take a listen.
|12.05.08 at 10:16 pm ET|
“I hope he doesn’t think we’re making fun of him,” the man in the bright orange wig said. “We’re actually rooting for him. From what I hear, he takes it the wrong way.”
Jamie and Liz are two of Brian Scalabrine’s biggest fans. On Friday night the couple drove down from Portland, Maine to catch their favorite Boston Celtic in action against the Portland Trail Blazers.
“We’re trying to start a fan club for Brian Scalabrine,” Jamie said. “He’s the underdog, we love him.”
Scal’s Pals was inspired by Sal’s Pals, baseball player Sal Fasano’s fan club. It was Jamie who first became a fan of Scal — “Pretty much since he came to Boston, I would say” — and his appreciation had an infectious impact on his girlfriend.
“I started dating Jamie about a year ago and he got me into the Celtics,” Liz said. “We’ve been Scal’s Pals ever since.”
The couple chose to express their enthusiasm by transforming into red-heads for the evening.
“No this is all real,” Jamie tried to pass off as the truth. “I just got a bad haircut.”
Liz and Jamie hope their cheering isn’t misinterpreted as mocking. True, there are those who chant “Scal-a-bri-ne” as an instigation but it’s all love coming from these two.
“Absolutely,” Jamie said of cheering. “But that’s in respect. (Pauses) That’s not, that’s not to make fun of him.”
So what would the pair say if they ever met Scal?
“I’d say, Boston loves you,” said Jamie.
Liz quickly added, “I’d say, Maine loves you.”
A Message from Scal: “I want to thank all the people out there, especially the Scal’s Pals. Listen to 107.3 at 8 o’clock on Monday morning. I’m going to be hosting a show. Tell them to call in and talk to Scal themselves.”