|10.15.08 at 7:18 am ET|
42 years ago today, Bill Russell made history when he became the first African-American head coach in the NBA. Russell was named player-coach of the Boston Celtics on October 15, 1966. The Celtics started the ’66-’67 season 10-1 and finished 60-21 before falling to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Russell coached the Celtics to back-to-back NBA Championships the following two seasons and left his post in Boston with a 162-83 record. He averaged nearly 20 rebounds and 12 points in just over 40 minutes per game as a player-coach.
|10.12.08 at 10:19 pm ET|
Darius Miles was anxious when he moved to Boston last month. He had played here before on opposing teams but it’s a different story when you are representing Beantown. The city’s winning tradition was intimidating at first.
‘The last time I played there it wasn’t really a big deal because the team was losing games,’ Miles said. ‘Like now just walking into the practice facility, it’s like it’s scary to a point because of the history that goes back on this team. Seeing all these pictures of Bill Russell and all these great players that used to play here and seeing those big banners, it’s different now.’
Through his six-year stint in the NBA, Miles already knew many of the veteran Celtics including Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Sam Cassell. Knowing these players also meant knowing the high expectations of winning another championship this season.
‘I’m a basketball fan so I kind of knew a lot about [the Celtics tradition],’ Miles said. ‘Then once they brought a championship back, that kind of brought it all back to the world and everybody else and it kind of brought it back to my memory too. Like I said it got scary where I just don’t want to mess up, don’t want to miss a pass, drop the ball, miss a shot.’
After six weeks Miles has become more comfortable in his new digs. Doc Rivers has praised his hustle and he seems at ease in the Celtics locker room. Off the court, he has already staked claim of his new favorite restaurant, Biagio in Waltham.
‘I like the family restaurants,’ he said. ‘They don’t have too many name brand restaurants. There are a lot of family-owned restaurants around here, so the food tastes better and the people know how to cook.’
What else does Miles like about Boston?
‘My favorite part is I like everybody’s accent,’ he said, adding, ‘My mom came down here when I was sick (tonsillitis) and she was telling me she liked everybody’s accents too.’
So will this Belleville, Illinois native be pahkin the cah any time soon?
‘No, I don’t think I’ll pick one up,’ Miles said with a laugh. ‘I’m too country for that.’
|10.11.08 at 10:33 pm ET|
Leon Powe will undergo X-rays to examine swelling in his left hand. Powe suffered the injury on Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers when his hand became entangled in his opponent’s jersey. The Celtics forward played 23 minutes against the Houston Rockets on Saturday night but wrapped his hand ice after the game. Despite the pain Powe joked he could play without his left hand.
|10.11.08 at 10:27 pm ET|
“That’s Ron,” Pierce said. “He plays like that preseason, summer league, regular season. That’s the way he plays.”
Artest’s hustle was tough enough to send Pierce to the locker room in the first quarter with a stinger.
“It’s a little stiff. I’ve got a crick in my neck but I’m going to be alright,” Pierce said.
The Celtics captain knows Artest is only the beginning of opponents who will be gunning for him this season.
“You’ve got to understand, when you’re the champs people are going to come at you whether it’s preseason, regular season,” he said. “We’ve just got to be ready for it.”
|10.11.08 at 10:18 pm ET|
It’s a rare occasion when the media flocks to Gabe Pruitt before Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, or Ray Allen after a game. But tonight Pruitt who stole the show, clinching an 90-89 victory over the Houston Rockets with six seconds to go.
“There wasn’t [any hesitation],” Pruitt said. “[Doc] told me that he’s going to put it in my hands and he wanted me to attack early and that’s what I did.”
In just three preseason games Pruitt has already shown signs of improvement from his rookie season. The second-year guard chipped in eight points and four steals in 20 minutes on Saturday night.
“This time [Doc's] giving me more opportunities,” he said, “And even though it’s early, I feel like I need to show coach that he can be confident in me. He gave me that opportunity tonight in the second half and I just wanted to build off of that.”
The veteran Celtics showed their enthusiasm for Pruitt’s heroics after the game.
“Hold on G. Wipe your face, man,” Kevin Garnett yelled as Pruitt addressed reporters. “You can’t be sweating on TV.”
|10.11.08 at 10:18 pm ET|
The Celtics beat the Houston Rockets, 90-89, when Gabe Pruitt banked in a jumper with 6.6 seconds remaining to improve to 2-1 in the preseason. But that was hardly the story of a game that featured Ron Artest driving Paul Pierce the floor on a drive to the basket in the first quarter, a Tracy McGrady elbow to the ribs of rookie Bill Walker and McGrady and Eddie House almost going at it after exchanging words in the second quarter.
Here’s what some of the Celtics had to say about not backing down afterward.
|10.11.08 at 5:17 pm ET|
There is still a minute to go in the first quarter and more tension is ensuing.
As Bill Walker drove on Tracy McGrady, T-Mac appeared to push off on the rookie. Down at the basket, words were exchanged between Walker, McGrady, and Rafer Alston after McGrady gave Walker a one-handed shove that sent him to the ground. The players were separated and order seemed to be restored. Seconds later, McGrady and Eddie House became engaged in a heated conversation. Just as Pierce, who had recently returned to the game, separated the players, Walker came back to get in a few last words, only to be held back by Luis Scola. McGrady and House were charged with technical fouls.
Looks like J.R. Giddens was right when he said there are two sides to Bill Walker.