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Danny Ainge on the Big Show, 11/11

11.11.09 at 10:52 pm ET
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Celtics GM, Danny Ainge, stopped by the Big Show to talk C’s basketball. Check out the full audio here and some of the highlights below.

How difficult was the opening of the season for the team, given the stretch of eight games in 12 days?
It did seem like that, and not only that, but coming out of training camp, it makes it tough when you have that schedule because you still haven’t put everything in. So there was a lot of things slipping execution-wise. So it was a good break for us.

What was more beneficial, the rest or the chance to practice?
I think both. We needed some practice time and we needed some rest. We were grateful for both.

Deron Williams might not play tonight, what do you think?
I’d be surprised. I have a feeling that Deron Williams is going to play, and play very well. He’s a heck of a player.

[Rajon] Rondo “gets up” to play these guys, right?
He does, I think. This year, he’s done a better job of being ready every night and playing with better intensity. I always get frustrated with match-ups in basketball. Rondo needs a lot of help on these pick and rolls because the game is so much pick and roll defense and pick and roll offense. So a player like Williams, in particular, or Chris Paul, even Rondo. You have to go and give help. You have to go out there and give help. If the big guys are doing a good job of showing and recovering it takes away lot from what point guards can do. Our defense against Deron Williams tonight is going to be a team defensive base. Sure, Rondo will have to fight through screens and work hard and compete hard but it also comes down to the whole team defense and how we defend Utah’s precision offense. They do a great job of executing and always have in Jerry Sloan’s 20 years coaching in Utah.

You talk about the necessity of being able to defend the pick and roll, is Utah still the best at running it?
Well, [John] Stockton and [Karl] Malone were pretty special. Stockton was great. Stockton was arguably one of the top point guards in the history of our game. Deron Williams in undoubtedly one the best point guards in the game today. I don’t think it’s just Utah. I think it’s the other way around. I the coincidence is that Utah executes the pick and roll well because they had Stockton for 20 years and Daron Williams. Because it seems like with [Carlos] Boozer, and [Andrei] Kirilenko and [Paul] Millsap and [Mehmet] Okur, it seems like there are a lot of guys who come around from th big position but there are really few points guards who are special.

When you bring in new ball players, how much do you think Doc [Rivers] adds, in terms of offense, when he sees what new players can do?
I think that is true, Doc will discover things as he goes along. But, I think, for the most part, guys have played a lot in the NBA I think it’s more rare to find more. I think we have a good read on Marquis [Daniels] and Rasheed [Wallace] and I think Doc is learning about Sheldon [Williams], he’s obviously learning a great deal about Lester Hudson … But Marquis and Rasheed, I think we have a pretty good feel on what they can do.

Is the situation with [Brian] Scalabrine an on-going situation?
It is right now. I mean it’s a little bit frustrating for him. He had a great traing camp and was really ready for the season and after what happened to him last year, I know he’s very frustrated. I certainly tease him all the time about not being ready to play. I know he’s frustrated and he wants to come back. He hopes that his back thing will heal up pretty quick. I don’t think it’s too long term of an issue. I think he’ll be ready to go in another week or two.

Danny, Rasheed Wallace, over the course of his career, shoots 35 percent from 3-point range. Do you have any concern about the timing of his threes? Or do you want him to shoot freely like that?
I know, I think Rasheed is kind of like Eddie House. He’s out there to shoot, that’ what he does, that’s we want him to do. Shooting 35 percent from the 3-point line is much better than shooting 50 percent from the 2-point [area]. so, I think we understand the odds. There will be nights where he’ll make them and look great, and some nights where he’s not making them. I think that Doc just has to manage who’s out on the floor. A lot of times, because Rasheed is a lot scarier than his percentage, teams defend him and it really spreads the floor and it opens it up for our other good two point scorers like Paul [Pierce]. I think that is something that Doc will have to weigh it. I do know that Doc encourages him to take those shots.

Would you like to see Rondo take the ball to the hole more often?
It’s not like he’s not trying to take the ball to hole. Rondo is trying to get to the hole a lot. A lot of defenses back off of him and sag into the paint and make it difficult and try to get him to shoot. So, while we’re trying to get the ball to Rondo and get him into the paint that is exactly what everyone is trying to prevent him from doing. So, I know that he’s needs to be able to pick his spots. He’s been very effective. He shot over 50 percent from the field last year which I think is amazing and gives us a pretty good indication that he’s doing it on a good percentage. So, it’s not really how much, but with what efficiency and we want him to remain an efficient scorer and keep the defense honest.

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