|10.08.08 at 3:59 pm ET|
Greetings from scenic UMass. Who’s ready for some preseason hoops? The big news is that coach Doc Rivers is not with the team tonight. He is back in Orlando to attend a hearing regarding the high school eligibility of Adam Jones. The Rivers family recently became guardians of Jones who plays on the same AAU team as Doc’s son, Austin. Armond Hill (and Tom Thibodeau) is are running the team tonight in Doc’s absence, but don’t expect too much to change. The starters are expected to play about 24 minutes and expect everyone to get some run.
Sam Cassell is also not with the team tonight. He is in Baltimore attending to a family matter. It’s a good opportunity for Gabe Pruitt to show what he can do. The team seems high on Pruitt, the second-year guard from USC. I’ll be offering some thoughts and observations all night long, so check back early and often.
|10.08.08 at 3:54 pm ET|
Believe it or not, the Celtics are NOT the home team in their preseason opener against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Mullins Center, despite playing this game just about 100 miles from Boston and in their home state.
That’s because the Celtics already have four other pre-designated ‘home’ preseason games, including two at the TD Banknorth Garden (Oct. 17 vs. NY, Oct. 19 vs. NJ), this Friday in Providence vs. Cleveland and Saturday night in Manchester, NH vs. Houston.
The Mullins Center is owned by the Comcast-Spectacor group, the same company that owns the 76ers and the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.
And besides, how appropriate that the Sixers have a home game against the Celtics on the same campus where Julius Erving made a name for himself before Dr. J did with the ABA’s New York Nets and the NBA’s Sixers.
The Celtics begin the preseason without head coach Doc Rivers on the sidelines due to personal reasons while Sam Cassell is not with the team, tending to his grandfather who suffered a heart attack this week. The 76ers are without Kareem Rush, out with a left ankle sprain.
Keep on WEEI.com for updates from yours truly and colleague Paul Flannery throughout the night.
|10.08.08 at 11:28 am ET|
The biggest storyline of tonight’s preseason match up between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers is the addition of Elton Brand. But while Brand makes the Sixers an instant threat to the Cs in the Atlantic Division, the veteran isn’t the only player the Celtics will have to keep an eye on. The 76ers have a duo of young talent with promising potential who impressed during summer league play:
- Thaddeus Young: 12th overall pick in 2007 out of Georgia Tech … only 20, has enormous upside … gives the 76ers versatility with his ability to multiple positions … at 6’8″ could cause match up problems for smaller defenders … as a rookie showed maturity in 2008 playoffs (10.2, ppg, 4.5 rpg) against the experienced Detroit Pistons … shined at 2008 Las Vegas Summer League (18.8 ppg) and got the vote of confidence from head coach Mo Cheeks.
- Marreese Speights: 16th overall pick in 2008 out of Florida … at 6’10” 245 lbs. is a beast on the boards ‘¦ ranked second in rebounding at Vegas Summer League (18.2 ppg, 10.2 ppg) ‘¦ gives the 76ers more defensive depth on the glass, which is critical to their fast break running game … think Al Jefferson with more speed … could be dangerous once he becomes consistent at the line … Cheeks was happy with all-around summer performance and sees Speights learning from Brand this season.
Jason Smith rounded out the Sixers trio of emerging big men at the Vegas Summer League before tearing his ACL in August. WEEI has you covered tonight from UMass Amherst to see how the Celtics match up against Brand, Young, Speights, and the revamped 76ers.
|10.07.08 at 9:52 pm ET|
On Tuesday, Kevin Garnett’s face was plastered around electronics stores across the country as 2K Sports’ NBA 2K9 hit the shelves. I checked out a copy for PlayStation 3 and the likeness to KG ‘ and the rest of the players around the league ‘ is uncanny. From his high release to spinning the ball into his left hand before shooting free throws to a dead-on replication of cheering on the second unit from the bench, NBA 2K9 captured every aspect of the cover star’s game.
The rosters for this game were set on August 8th, so if you want to Sam Cassell to play on the Celtics you will have to make some moves just like GM Danny Ainge. Cassell, along with P.J. Brown and Scot Pollard, are listed as free agents in this version.
|10.06.08 at 6:46 am ET|
How hard is it to get a seat at Fenway? On Sunday night, Eddie House and Leon Powe were able to score last minute tickets to Game 3 of the ALDS between the Red Sox and Angels and watch the game from a luxury box. No word if they stayed all 12 innings after a long week of training camp.
|10.05.08 at 9:57 pm ET|
This question is bound to surface several times throughout the season. Both players proved last season that they can make an impact in the paint. Big Baby is unexpectedly light on his feet and showed early signs of maturity in his rookie campaign. Powe displayed a quiet intensity while stealing the show in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
So what separates the two young big men? Who better to answer that than Davis and Powe themselves.
There were plenty of comparisons between the two of you last season and there will be even more now that you have another year of experience. What makes your game different from each other’s?
GD: I think I’m more of a finesse player than Leon. Leon is a finesse player but I think I’m more of a finesse player as far as popping, shooting a jumper. Leon is an aggressive rebounder, aggressive in the post, so he does some great things for our team. He adds a lot of muscle.
LP: I think I’m different than him because he attacks. I attack, I dunk on people, too. I play a little bit more above the rim than he does. But we both have a similarity in hustle and getting to the line and guarding people.
How does he challenge you in practice?
GD: Just by going hard every day. Two competitors, we’re going to compete.
LP: You know me, when I’m in practice I’m going to war so I’ll see him as an enemy in practice. He’s a good defender and if you’re able to score over him then that’s great for me because that shows that I’m getting better and improving my game for the regular season.
On the flip side, how do you compliment each other on the court?
GD: If he doesn’t have the ball, I have the ball and rebound. He gives you a lot of motivation to play hard, not verbally but through his actions so that’s a great thing.
LP: I think we work well together. If you look at the times we’ve been on the court, we either sustained the lead or pushed the lead up. We didn’t have any trouble guarding the other teams’ big men and keeping them under control, and we were doing a little bit of scoring of our own.
What did you learn from one another last season that will help you this season?
GD: I saw that every opportunity that he had, he seized the moment and that’s a good thing. On the bench you don’t get a lot of time and him coming in his second year, he understood that and he did it. So hopefully me coming into my second year, I’ll understand that and capitalize off some things.
LP: Me and him, he brought out the competitiveness in me. (Pauses) I do not want him to score. He does not want me to score. And so when we play and we get on the practice court, we go 150%. Actually, (head) coach (Doc Rivers) had to calm us down a few times. We’re always getting into it and he had to calm us down a couple of times because me, I take stuff out of hand and I know he does too because we’re all competing out there.
What do you expect from Glen/Leon this season?
GD: Him going into this third year now, he should be a little bit more comfortable and be the player that he wants to be.
LP: He’s going to be that much better, that much smarter, and he’s going to calm down on the fouling a lot. He’s just going to have an overall feel for the game and he’s going to be more relaxed out there. He’s going to have a good year.
Enough about other people. What can we expect from you this season?
GD: Me? A lot more. I don’t know yet but it’s going to be a lot more. [I worked on] being consistent. Coming into the league as a rookie, it’s tough. It’s tough. There are some ups and downs but that’s what makes you a professional, when you can come in every day and be consistent. That’s what I’ve been trying to learn this summer and hopefully it’ll pay off this season.
LP: You might see a couple more coast-to-coasts, you know, just a couple. I’m not going to be reluctant so don’t trap my team when I’m in the game. (Laughs)
Davis got the nod 13 more times than Powe during the last regular season, but Powe’s experience and versatility to play the center position prevailed in the playoffs. Powe averaged 6.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in less than nine minutes per game during the NBA Finals. Davis appeared in just one postseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
|10.03.08 at 4:20 pm ET|
Welcome to the blog. I’ll be checking in with the C’s on Wednesday when they play the Sixers out at U-Mass, so to fill the gap, let’s take a look at the first month of the real schedule. After opening the NBA season in prime time against the Cavs on Oct. 26, the Celtics are scheduled to have six back-to-backs and four three-in-four game stretches. That’s arduous, but not impossible.
Interestingly, two of their three games with the Pistons are set for November (Nov. 9 at the Palace, and Nov. 20 at the Garden), and they don’t meet again until March. There are also two games with Toronto, one with Atlanta, and one with what should be a much-improved Philly team.
Two other games of note: On. Nov. 5, the C’s go to Oklahoma City to play the Clay Bennett’s. I’ll be curious to see how fans in other cities react to the (ugh) Thunder, after the franchise was shamelessly stolen from the good people of Seattle.
Years ago, in another lifetime, I spent a decent amount of time in the city of Olympia, home of Evergreen State College. A friend of mine was finishing up her degree in, I kid you not, touring with Phish. We stopped off in a grimy pizza shop decorated with posters of the late 70’s Sonic teams. You haven’t lived until you’ve enjoyed a slice under a life-size cutout of Jack Sikma.
The Sonics were Seattle. In the criminally underrated Gen-X classic, Singles there’s a memorable scene when Steve Dunne and Linda Stevens are getting it on for the first time. Linda dreamily asks Steve, “What are you thinking about right now? ” Steve, of course, is thinking about Xavier McDaniel who advises him on his next bedroom move. Now that’s having a connection with your team.
The other interesting matchup is a trip to the Target Center to play the Timberwolves on Nov. 21. You probably recall that Kevin Garnett was injured during last year’s trip to ‘Sota. Garnett received a hero’s welcome, but then, he wasn’t in uniform. It’s probably best for KG’s sanity to get this one out of the way early.
The November breakdown:
18 Games (counting two in October)
10 Home/8 Away
8 games against playoff teams including rematches with Atlanta, Cleveland, and Detroit
4 National Telecasts, two on ESPN, two on TNT
Longest Road Trip: Nov. 1-5 (Indiana, Houston, OKC)
Longest Homestand: Nov. 10-14 (Toronto, Atlanta, Denver)
Toughest Week: Nov. 9-15 (Road games at Detroit and Milwaukee on both ends of the homestand)
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