|11.01.08 at 9:40 pm ET|
Al Jefferson’s talent is old news to Celtics fans who watched him shine in the days of 18-game losing streaks and failed youth movements. After all, he was the main attraction for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Kevin Garnett deal.
But the spotlight doesn’t shine on the T’Wolves and Jefferson is overshadowed by big men on winning Western Conference teams. Until his squad is a postseason contender, Big Al will struggle to receive the same recognition as players like Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, and David West.
This season, though, one of Jefferson’s newest teammates is spreading the word of his talent. Rookie Kevin Love, who is blogging on NBA.com, is already advocating for more publicity for his mentor.
“Al’s great to me, especially in practice. There are people who like to say he’s not athletic, he’s a below the rim player, he can’t run, and that’s what some people say about me. But people focus on what he can’t do rather than what he can do. He’s going to come out and get 20 and 10 and in practice he works his butt off, he’s one of the hardest workers, if not the hardest. It shows on the court and on the stat sheet. You can’t really do much to stop him. He’s just a great player.”
Thanks to K-Love, Jefferson is getting the love he deserves.
|11.01.08 at 2:46 pm ET|
Before even winning a championship last season, the Boston Celtics were targets every time they hit the road. The hype surrounding the Big Three was enough to make every game significant for their opponent and one in which they amped up their intensity.
After spending last week in the comforts of the TD BankNorth Garden, the Celtics are shipping out for their first road trip of the regular season. The three-stop tour will take them from Indiana to Houston and end in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.
The defending champs don’t expect to be welcomed with open arms and explain why:
Kendrick Perkins: “This first game (of road trip) is key. I think we need to go out there and establish ourselves early and don’t give a chance for the fans to get involved and just go out there and play Celtics ball and we’ll be alright.”
Glen Davis: “My guess is that we’re the champs. We’re last year’s champs. We have a reputation to hold on to and the odds are going to be against us but hey, what do you expect?”
Leon Powe: “We’re just going to go out and play well and set the tone early. We are just going to stay within our rules and hopefully we can pull the game out. But we’ll come out with the same intensity we came out with tonight (Friday against the Chicago Bulls) and get the win.”
Eddie House: “I expect the same thing we’ve been expecting since last year. Everybody was gunning for us last year because people pretty much crowned us the champions before we actually went out and did it. People were gunning for us because we had the Big Three and stuff like that so I think that by us winning it, people are going to come out a little bit harder and I think we’re ready for that. One thing about that is they’re going to come harder but we’re going to come even harder.”
Tony Allen: “I ain’t really worried about that. We’ve got to go out there any play any how. They were tough last year, they were gunning for us last year so it’s going to be times two.”
Head Coach Doc Rivers: “Not very well, I would say (of the expected reception). But that’s fine. That makes the games better. I didn’t think we were received well last year in retrospect. Teams wanted to beat you and they should. That’s what it’s all about and that’ll be nice, that’ll be fun. It’ll be a new experience for our guys and it’ll be a challenging experience for our guys.”
|11.01.08 at 12:00 pm ET|
As the Celtics sit in Indianapolis standing 2-0 on the infantile season, let’s take a look back a defensive shutdown performance that had every fan of the Green seeing visions of last year’s title run dancing in their heads more than Gino on Halloween. (Great call, Jessica!)
|10.31.08 at 11:41 pm ET|
Derrick Rose, welcome to the NBA.
In just the second regular season game of his career, Rose had to run the floor in the Garden against the defending world champion Boston Celtics. It was a tall order for the rookie point guard and he was up for the challenge.
Rose made his presence known by driving on Kendrick Perkins early in the first quarter and drawing the foul. Perkins has more than seven inches and 90 pounds on Rose and still the rook attacked the hoop as if he had a clear lane.
“I’m kind of used to it now,” Rose, 20, said after the game. “I’m the type of guard where I’m kind of athletic, so when I go to the hole I’m used to getting body contact and I’m used to finishing on people. He’s big but I’m practicing those shots all the time.”
Battling the bigs wasn’t Rose’s only concern. He also had to defend the fiesty Rajon Rondo.
“Rondo was good,” he said. “He knows his role on the team. He’s a good, improving point guard. He’s just going to make you better.”
Rose was one of the few highlights in the Bulls 96-80 loss. He tied Kevin Garnett for most points with 18 and scored all of his field goals in the paint. This was a completely different player than the one who raised red flags during an injury-ridden summer league showing.
“I didn’t want to lose,” Rose said of his improved performance. “I was steady driving, trying to get people open, shooting. I just know now that I can’t waste my time when we get out there. The Celtics, they mean business when they get out there. They try to get the game over with quick and we’ve just got to learn that and we’ll be fine.”
Just one game against the Celtics was all it took for a crash course in NBA competition.
“It’s just going to help me,” Rose said. “I’m happy that I had the opportunity to have this game early in the season so that later on in the season I can get better.”
Expect him to do just that.
|10.31.08 at 8:28 pm ET|
After beating the Chicago Bulls by 16 points, the Celtics are departing tonight for a three-game road trip that will take them from Indiana to Houston to Okalahoma City. The general consensus is they have to bring 100% and then some since the home teams will be gunning for the defending world champs. Here is the postgame wrap up:
- Kevin Garnett and Derrick Rose each scored 18 points. Both shot 100% from the free throw line.
- Rose was impressive in his debut in Boston and showed fearlessness at the basket. After the game he said that while this match up was tough, it was good to get it under his belt this early in his rookie season.
- Joakim Noah grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds off the bench. KG and Kendrick Perkins each nabbed 10.
- Doc Rivers was happy with his team’s energy from the very start — “Great execution, great intensity. That was just perfect for us early on.”
- Garnett said he was more “poised” tonight than on Opening Night, saying he “put a lot of burden on [Pierce] and Ray the first game.”
- The Celtics biggest lead of the game was 28 points.
|10.31.08 at 7:39 pm ET|
It’s the moment Celtics fans have been waiting for …
Gino returned to the Jumbotron tonight.
KG waved his fist in the air as the Celtics eagerly looked up at the screen for their beloved dancer. Later he raised two hands, one shaking his sneaker over his head. Not sure if rookies J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker understood what the fuss was all about but when KG is actully loose during a game, you go with it.
|10.31.08 at 7:04 pm ET|
Near the end of the third quarter the PA announcer told the crowd Kevin Garnett, 32, is the youngest player to play 1,000 NBA Games. He has started in all but 37 of them.
The previous record was held by Shawn Kemp, who broke the mark in December of 2002. Paul Pierce was the first Celtic to stand up and cheer and KG received a standing O from the crowd.