|03.06.09 at 1:22 pm ET|
As the Celtics shot around at their training facility in Waltham, everyone wanted to know what the Celtics needed to do to beat King James and the Cavaliers without last season’s defensive player of the year and the team’s heart and emotional soul in a suit for at least another week.
“He ran yesterday, he told me, on the treadmill, which I’m sure was supervised,” Rivers said. “And he said he felt great so he’s feeling a lot better. That’s the first day he’s been able to run so we’ll take it day-to-day from that point on.”
“It’s the whole knee thing. We’re just going to take our time. I would say at least a week out and most likely, longer.”
As for tonight’s battle to end all battles, at least for the next 24 hours, Rivers, possibly looking back on last year’s Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semis, pointed out what it really means, especially if they could pull it off without Garnett, Brian Scalabrine and Tony Allen.
“It’s a big game,” Rivers said. “Obviously, home court is at stake here. And it would be a great win for us, to beat them at their full strength and us not having Kevin, Scal and Tony, I think it would be a phenomenal win for us. We’ll be ready.”
The Celtics have allowed their last two opponents to score over 100 points while a third, Indiana scored 99 last Friday.
“We want to win, really, and we have to find a way to do that,” Rivers said. “We’ve got to improve defensively. Over the last couple of games, we have not played our defense, especially transition-wise. And if we don’t get back tonight, it’s going to be a long night. That’s what we have to improve.
“We’ve won games and we’ve lost to a couple of good teams, which I can always live with even though you never want to lose, but our defense hasn’t been consistent and for us to be a good offensive team, we have to have multiple stops and we have to get back to that.”
But maybe it was Leon Powe who provided the best perspective of all on Friday morning, a mere nine hours before tip.
“It’s real good for us because we’ve been looking forward to this game,” Powe said of the test. “If you want to be the best you’ve got to beat the best. I know the road to the championship means you’ve got to knock us off. We see them as a real threat. We’ve got to go out there and play our best and hopefully both teams put on a good show and hopefully we come out on top.”
|03.06.09 at 9:50 am ET|
The Boston Celtics were ranked most successful professional sports team in 2008 by a new bizjournals study. The Detroit Lions were named the least successful.
A total of 122 organizations in the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL were compared on two criteria: games won and money made. Bizjournals reports that in addition to winning the NBA championship and earning a league-high winning percentage during the regular season (.791), the Celtics sold out every home game and saw a 14% increase in franchise value in 2008.
5 Worst NBA Organizations in 2008: overall ranking in parentheses
30. Oklahoma City Thunder/Seattle SuperSonics (108)
29. Sacramento Kings (109)
28. Indiana Pacers (112)
27. Minnesota Timberwolves (117)
26. Memphis Grizzlies (120)
|03.06.09 at 1:19 am ET|
LeBron James steals the spotlight on the Cleveland Cavaliers, but former Boston Celtic Delonte West doesn’t shy away from the camera either. Here is a look at some of West’s most memorable moments upon his return to Boston for Friday’s Celtics-Cavaliers game.
Celtics Promo: Childhood dreams and wire hangers
Dime Magazine Photo Shoot: Tattoos and a lifelong sense of style
And who can forget his ESPN Page 2 Valentine’s Day interview: Popeye’s, yachts, and “Rico Suave-ing it”
|03.04.09 at 11:24 pm ET|
The Boston Celtics face the New Jersey Nets four times every regular season. Some members of the Celtics, however, are more familiar with this opponent than others. On Wednesday night, Eddie House, Stephon Marbury, and Mikki Moore returned to their old stomping grounds. (RECAP HERE) Not only do these players have ties to the Nets, they also had ties to the Celtics while playing in New Jersey.
Stephon Marbury: 1999-2001
Average with Nets: 23.0 points, 8.1 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 43.7 percent from the field
- 1998-99: Traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he played with Kevin Garnett, to the Nets in part of a three-team deal that included former Celtic Sam Cassell. It only takes Marbury 31 games to establish himself as the Nets second-highest scorer that season.
- 1999-2000: Leads the Nets in scoring (22.2 ppg) and assists (8.4 apg). Ranks 10th in the NBA in assists. Teammates with former Celtic Sherman Douglas.
- 2000-2001: Marbury earns first All-Star appearance and represents the Eastern Conference with Ray Allen. Leads Nets in scoring (23.9 ppg) and assists (7.6 apg) once again.
March 4, 2009: Marbury is greeted at the IZOD Center with boos heard all the way back in Boston. He gives the Celtics a reliable ball handler off the bench, allowing the starters to take a breather, and finishes with four assists and two rebounds. Marbury commits only one turnover.
Mikki Moore: 2003-2004, 2006-2007
Average with Nets: 9.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 60.9 percent from the field (2007 season only)
- 2003-04: Moore signs with the Nets as a free agent in December of 2003. After appearing in just four games, he is waived the following month. Moore scores two points during this stint. During this time he is teammates with Celtics forward ‘ and current next door neighbor in the locker room ‘ Brian Scalabrine. That season the Nets went on to defeat Marbury and the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs.
- 2006-07: Moore is traded back to the Nets by the Seattle SuperSonics (where he played with Ray Allen) in exchange for future draft pick. After bouncing around the league for almost ten years, Moore has a breakout season (9.8 ppgs, 5.1 rpg). He also leads the league in field goal percentage (60.9 percent from the field). Moore is teammates with Eddie House.
March 4, 2009: Despite leaving the Nets for a big money contract with the Sacramento Kings, Moore is still welcome in New Jersey. He looks comfortable on the court at the IZOD Center, scoring six points in 12 minutes. The seven-foot Moore also spreads the Nets defense with his mid-range jumper.
Eddie House: 2006-2007
Average with Nets: 8.4 points, 42.8 from the field
- 2006-07: Signs as a free agent with the Nets in August of 2006. House is teammates with recently acquired Celtic Mikki Moore. He leads the Nets in three-point shooting (42.9 percent), ahead of Jason Kidd and Vince Carter, and ranks 10th in the league that season. The Nets lose in the second round of the playoffs to former Celtic Scot Pollard and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
March 4, 2009: House had been playing well against the Nets so far this season, averaging 11.5 points and shooting 60 percent from the field heading into Wednesday’s game. With Rajon Rondo in early foul trouble, he is the first one off the bench for the Celtics. House scores 10 points in 16 minutes, including 3-for-6 shooting from long-range. He also adds two rebounds and two steals.
(Brian Scalabrine played with the New Jersey Nets from 2001-2005. However he did not play on March 4 and is out for at least a month after suffering his third concussion.)
|03.04.09 at 9:19 pm ET|
The Boston Celtics, Reebok, and BasketBall City have announced the return of the Reebok Youth Basketball Camps, to be held this summer at BasketBall City (Boston, MA), the Sports Authority Training Center (Waltham, MA), and Salve Regina University (Newport, RI). The Celtics will host six week-long camps for children ages 8-17 beginning in July.
- July 13 ‘ 17: BasketBall City
- July 20 ‘ 24: Sports Authority Training Center
- July 27 ‘ 31: Sports Authority Training Center
- August 3 ‘ 7: Salve Regina University
- August 10 ‘ 14: Sports Authority Training Center
- August 17 ‘ 21: BasketBall City
Celtics rookie and Reebok athlete Bill Walker will serve as the official spokesperson. The Celtics will also award coach-nominated scholarships, selected from nominations by local youth basketball coaches, for the first time. Celtics Youth Basketball Camps are presented by official team partner, Reebok. Visit www.celtics.com for more information.
|03.01.09 at 9:37 pm ET|
‘You can’t do anything,’ he said prior to Sunday’s game against the Detroit Pistons. ‘You can’t watch TV for more than like 30 minutes, can’t read a book, can’t get on the Internet.’
It’s forced a change in lifestyle for Scal and his family. What does he do now for fun?
‘Like what we did back in the day, we conversate. My wife’s getting tired of me talking to her though,’ he said with a laugh. ‘My daughter, she gets bored after 20 minutes. So like I said, you really can’t do anything. You really, really, really can’t do anything.’
Scalabrine was initially diagnosed with a cervical strain in his neck. However he now believes that “99 percent” of his injury was caused by a concussion. He also suffered two concussions in January. After being deemed asymptomatic by doctors, he will undergo an MRI on Monday morning.
“I can’t worry about that until we get to the real deal,” he said. “Am I deep, deep down inside concerned a little bit about it? You know, it’s your career, it’s your life, yeah. But hopefully it all works out and I have no problems.”
Even though concussions are more common in the NFL than the NBA, one player can relate to Scalabrine’s setback. Indiana Pacers guard T.J. Ford has suffered three severe spinal injuries dating back to the 2005 season. His most recent injury occurred last season — caused by a flagrant foul by the Atlanta Hawks‘ Al Horford — and left him motionless on the court.
Ford bruised the same area of his spinal cord so many times that he eventually has his vertebrae fused together. He understands the importance of properly healing any injury in that part of the body.
“You want to be cautious any time you’re dealing with your neck, head, or spinal injuries because it eventually could affect how the rest of your life is,” Ford said. “So he has to be very cautious. The best thing to do is seek out information and get as much advice as possible about the injury and ways that you can get better so that you can live a good, healthy life and still be able to do the things you love to do.”
As Scalabrine awaits a diagnosis, the Celtics are struggling without him. The loss of Scalabrine, Kevin Garnett (knee), and Tony Allen (thumb) has depleted the Celtics bench, forcing Paul Pierce to play 48 minutes against the Pistons. (RECAP HERE) Glen Davis also aggravated his left foot and walked with a slight limp after the game. Scalabrine is itching to help his team.
“It’s different,” said Scalabrine. “The athlete and the common person, you cannot treat them the same way. Like a common person gets the flu and he’s supposed to relax for two weeks. An athlete, you can’t do it. Like they were talking to me about three months with no activity. I mean, that just doesn’t work for us. Everyone knows this. We have to deal with what it is. And you have to deal with, if you tweak an ankle they tell you take six to eight weeks off, you’ll be fine. Well six to eight weeks for us, that’s two months. You can’t do that. That’s 30 games. I just believe that you have to treat them separately.”
But Scalabrine can’t rush back, says Ford. In fact Scalabrine can’t even read a book at this point in time without the words blending together.
“It’s preparation. It’s preparation, it’s hard work, just building that confidence back,” Ford said. “And I think it starts off the court, just with conditioning yourself while you’re working out so when you get back to this level you’re not thinking twice about it.”
Doctors will determine the timetable for Scalabrine’s return. In the meantime, all he can do is stay optimistic.
“You can’t worry about it one way,” he said. “In my mind, I’m like, I’m not discouraged. I’m like thinking that I’ll be back in a week. That’s what my mind is.”
|03.01.09 at 5:23 pm ET|
While Marbury was continuing his image rehab and on-court comeback, Iverson was back in Detroit resting an achy back. The injury coincided with the Pistons’ decision to move him to the bench and reassert Rip Hamilton into the starting lineup and that move coincided with a nine-game losing streak for the Pistons, which has since resulted in road wins over Orlando and the Celtics without Iverson (click here for a recap).
The irony of the situation hung heavily in the locker room as various members of the Celtics took great care not to diss A.I. but sounded wary of the Pistons getting back to being the Pistons, especially if they should meet in the first round of the playoffs.
“You can tell they’re playing the system they played before Iverson got there,” Paul Pierce said. “They run a lot of down screens with Rip. They run a lot of high pick and rolls with (Rodney) Stuckey. That’s what Chauncey (Billups) used to do and Stuckey has been there. Those guys that are out on the court, they’re comfortable with each other. You know when Iverson is out there they’re still trying to figure out how to use each other, how to all be successful.”
It’s not entirely Iverson’s fault that he has found himself at this particular crossroads in his career. After things went south in Philly and he was traded to Denver, the Sixers almost immediately became a better team, while the Nuggets never came close to realizing the sky-high expectations of the AI-Carmelo Anthony combination. He had played one way, his way, for so long and now it seems that it is the only way he can perform.
Once Iverson was traded to Detroit for Billups, the Nuggets emerged as one of the top second-tier contenders in the West (behind LA and San Antonio) and it was not lost on anyone there that better ball movement and better shot selection were the keys to the turnaround. It’s only been two games for the Pistons, but Stuckey has had an immediate transformation, going from a player who seemed lost to one who put together a tidy and efficient 10-point, five-assist performance against the Celtics.
Iverson now finds himself in exactly the same position that Marbury has battled for most of his career. For all the off the court stuff, the most damning evidence against Marbury the player has been the fact that every team he has left (Minnesota, New Jersey, Phoenix and even New York to some extent) has been better without him than they were with him.
Marbury either didn’t know what was up with Iverson, or didn’t care to get into it, brushing off pre-game questions about his long-time on-court nemesis. Since they came into the league together in 1996 they have always been rivals. When Iverson was on his way to winning Rookie of the Year with the Sixers, there was a late groundswell for Marbury’s candidacy based on Minnesota’s improved record with him at the controls.
But as Marbury began his long strange trip around the NBA, Iverson settled into becoming a Philadelphia legend and a beloved in some quarters, reviled in others, cultural touchstone. He won the MVP and led the Sixers to the Finals in 2001, but more than that Iverson represented something larger. He wasn’t the first of the so-called New Jack Jocks, but he was the lead M.C., breaking down Michael Jordan’s ankles one moment and force-feeding the 90’s hip-hop culture on a mostly unsuspecting populace.
It wasn’t just the corn rows and the tattoos, or even the shooting sleeve, that became ubiquitous sign posts of a changing NBA world, it was the forceful singular personality that alternately alienated and excited so many. If Marbury had any cultural significance on the rest of the league it was as one of the first group of players who signed long-term max deals that made he and his peers both franchise cornerstones and cumbersome anchors. As they advanced, Iverson became something of a respected elder statesman, while Marbury’s career disintegrated into vaudeville sideshow.
But now the two find themselves at the end of those long-term maximum contracts with uncertain futures ahead of them. Marbury has at his disposal an enviable proposition. If he can prove that he can fit in with the team-first Celtics and help them win another championship, it could prolong his career another few years (albeit not at a max level).
Iverson doesn’t seem to have that opportunity. Whether or not he’s to blame for what has happened to the Pistons, it was clear that Detroit’s run was coming to an end regardless. The best he can hope for now is to embrace his role as a bench player and try once more to transform his game, but that doesn’t seem likely.
“We just have to play the same way and he has to play that way,” Pistons coach Michael Curry said of Iverson. “I still like playing Tayshaun (Prince) and Walter (Hermann) a lot together at the two and three. Maybe Iverson can come in and spend some time in Will Bynum’s spot.”
In other words, Marbury and Iverson are essentially being asked to play the same role, albeit in entirely different circumstances, and Marbury has finally been dealt the better hand.
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