Archive for January, 2010

Rivers on D&C: Can’t change trash-talking

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to talk about trash-talking, whether the Celtics will make a trade, the craziest players and teams Rivers played on, and the Celtics’ upcoming three games with Orlando, Atlanta and the Lakers.

Did you see Paul Pierce and Rasheed Wallace in the footage at Ellis Memorial in Roxbury yesterday? It was very heartwarming. The reason we bring this up is it flies in the face of your team’s reputation as the biggest trash-talkers in the NBA.

Well, they can do that and still do that, I guess. We have a bunch of great guys and we have a bunch of insane guys when the game starts. I’ve always said there’s a lot of guys who you would love to meet on the court and who you would not like to meet off the court. That’s probably two of them.

[Sports Illustrated] made a list of the top trash-talkers and you have three of them. Are you comfortable with that?

It’s who we are and I’m not going to try to change it. It’s part of their DNA. I’m assuming the three are Rasheed Wallace, Kevin Garnett and you can go with either Paul or [Kendrick Perkins].

It was Paul. It was a player’s poll and Kevin won going away.

The thing with Kevin is, Kevin talks the whole game — to himself, to us, to his teammates and to the other team. So I don’t know who he’s talking to, and I don’t think the other team does, as well. Again, it’s funny. My first year with Kevin I realized that’s who he was. We had one game and before the game I said to the guys, “Look. We have to play the game. Respect the game. No talking.” At halftime we were awful and I went in and said, “Kevin, everybody. Go back to who you were. Play basketball.” That’s who a couple of my guys are. Do I wish they didn’t do it? Yeah. But that’s who they are. I’m not going to try and change it.

Do the other players on the other teams take offense?

I think sometimes they do and I don’t really think Kevin is a trash-talker, of the three. Kevin is a talker. He’ll do that, “Get that stuff out of here,” and I don’t even consider that trash talk anymore. He yells more at the atmosphere. “We’re gonna win. We’re playing hard.” Stuff like that. It’s not really directed at anyone. But, yes, some guys do. It’s the teams that aren’t very good and can’t handle it. The great teams don’t pay any attention to it because they do it themselves. (more…)

How Rondo is like Brett Favre

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

WALTHAM ‘€” Celtics coach Doc Rivers wants his supremely talented point guard to get downright defensive.

Rivers has spent the last three years trying to instill in Rajon Rondo the kind of traits Rivers used to gain a reputation as one of the best defensive guards in the NBA in the 1980s.

Right now, Rivers knows the reputation Rondo has around the league. Go at Rondo and make him try to stop you, since defense hasn’t always come naturally for the guard. On Tuesday, following practice, Rivers drew a analogy between Rondo and another pro athlete.

“I think teams try to go at Rondo because of his size and because they want to try and get him to gamble,” Rivers said. “It’s like trying to make Brett Favre try and throw across his body. It’s who you are, and teams know that and try to take advantage of that.”

[Click here to hear Doc Rivers talk about how defense led to Rondo’s development into a possible All-Star]

Like Favre on Sunday with an ill-advised cross-body pass that was picked, Rondo’s season came to a bitter end in Game 7 last spring against the Orlando Magic, a game in which some critics felt Rondo hurt the team by constantly gambling for steals instead of playing solid defense on Orlando’s dangerous backcourt. (more…)

Glen Davis: Don’t play if you’re not a competitor

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

WALTHAM  —  The Celtics leave Wednesday morning to begin one of their toughest four-day stretches of the season. On Thursday, they play in Orlando, followed by a road game in Atlanta the next night.

They return home on Sunday to host Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. All three teams have a combined 91 wins entering Tuesday’s play.

‘€œHuge,” Glen Davis said of the week. “These are big, big, big games. If you’€™re not a competitor, you don’€™t need to play in these games. This is a great opportunity for us to keep our win streak alive and also get better with playoff-contending teams. We’€™re looking forward to the challenge. Every game is big but these games are bigger.’€

Speaking of Davis, he said he is on a new path when it comes to his former moniker – ‘Big Baby’

‘€œBig Baby will always be a part of me. But I’€™m going to put Big Baby on the shelf ‘€“ for now,’€ he said.

Asked why Davis, No. 11,  is leaning toward ‘Uno, Uno’ as a new nickname, Davis pointed toward Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco. Davis doesn’t feel the need to formally change his last name, just his handle.

“Every sport has their version of nicknames,” Davis said. “He paved the way. Knock off or not, I’m a different player than Ochocinco. He plays football. I play basketball.”

Davis wouldn’t be the first pro athlete in Boston to follow the Cincinnati receiver’s lead. In 2008, Jonathan Papelbon had ‘Cinco Ocho’ T-shirts made up sporting the reverse of the famous wide receiver, and representing the No. 58 on the back of Papelbon’s uniform.

Scal cleared to play, Marquis begins drills

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

WALTHAM  —  Brian Scalabrine returned to Celtics practice on Tuesday and was cleared to play on the team’s upcoming trip to Orlando and Atlanta. He had missed two games with separated right shoulder, injured on Jan. 6 in Miami.

“Scal practiced today and showed no sign of injury,” coach Doc Rivers announced following practice. “He shot two airballs and I was like, ‘Scal’s back.’ He’s good. He’ll play.”

Rivers said that Marquis Daniels participated in passing drills for the first time since surgery on his left thumb. Rivers is hopeful Daniels could re-join the team the first game back from the All-Star break.

Daniels missed his 22nd straight game on Monday night, before which Rivers indicated there was a “slight chance” the guard/forward could return on Feb. 10 in New Orleans, the final game before the All-Star break.

Celtics react to Grizzlies unexpected streak

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

If you were told at the start of the season that among the Celtics and Grizzlies, one team would win 11 straight at home while the other would lose three consecutive games on their own turf, chances are you would pick the Celtics to be streaking.

That’d be the wrong answer.

The Grizzlies have not lost at home since falling to the Celtics on December 14, 2009. After winning just 16 games in Memphis last season, they have put together a string of victories that includes wins over the playoff contending Nuggets, Jazz, Suns, and Spurs.

On Monday, they extended the streak to 11 with a win over the Magic, the Celtics’€™ next opponent, tying the previous mark set by the Cavaliers and Lakers this season.

‘€œIt’€™s pretty tough,’€ Rasheed Wallace said when told of the Grizzlies achievement. ‘€œYou have good teams coming in night in and night out, some top-notched teams and some teams that are lower than you that are not playing on your level. That’€™s what makes it harder because you want to try to get your ball club to stay on that high level and not stoop down.’€

Even though the Celtics have won their last two games at home, they can appreciate the Grizzlies accomplishments. This season they learned how vulnerable they can be on their own court. After posting 35-6 records at the TD Garden the previous two seasons, the Celtics uncharacteristically dropped three in a row this month. The C’€™s understand what goes into a streak like the Grizzlies.

‘€œIt’€™s very hard, but I think they’€™re focused,’€ said Kendrick Perkins. ‘€œThey’€™re playing with a  lot of confidence, they’€™ve got a pretty good coach over there, good young talent, and they’€™re just sticking together, grinding out games.’€

Perkins knows firsthand the obstacles faced by a young team, making the Grizzlies streak that much more notable. He was a member of the 2007 Celtics squad that lost 18 straight during a rocky youth movement.

‘€œThey’€™re young but their basketball IQ’€™s a little bit better than how we were,’€ he said. ‘€œThey’€™re playing team ball and tough defense. They’€™ve got a lot of smart guys.’€

The Grizzlies will look to extend their home streak to 12 on Saturday against the Hornets, while the Celtics will try to make it three in a row in Boston on Sunday against the Lakers. The Grizzlies will test the C’€™s at the TD Garden on March 10.

Mr. Smith comes back to Boston

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

BOSTON — For all the attention paid to the return of Marcus Camby to town as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, it’s easy to forget another former New England college star who came back on Monday night at TD Garden.

Craig Smith scored 2,349 points in his collegiate career at Boston College (2002-06), placing him second on the school’s career scoring list, trailing only Troy Bell.

In his senior season, he averaged 17.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.8 blocked shots as the Eagles reached the Sweet 16. There, they lost a heartbreaker to Villanova at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. He also attended Worcester Academy for a year as a post-graduate student before college.

When the time arrived to turn pro following his four years at BC, he was regarded as one of the most promising young power forwards in the draft. Yes, he was just 6-7 but he could rebound and proved he had a scorer’s mentality in college. Those factors were enough for the Timberwolves to take him in the second round (36th overall) in the 2006 NBA draft.

After two seasons in Minny, he was dealt this past summer, along with Sebastian Telfair and Mark Madsen to the Clippers in exchange for Quentin Richardson.

On Monday night, Smith scored 13 points in 21 minutes for the Clippers in a 95-89 loss to the Celtics.

‘€œCraig’€™s been giving us a lot of good work off the bench the last couple of weeks, and you know when we’€™re scoring down there, we’€™ve been going to him and he’€™s been able to deliver for us and we had a good mix,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “Like I said, hey, we had good inside opportunities, we got to the free throw line some, and we didn’€™t convert on some fast break opportunities and some wide open shots and that was the big difference for us.’€ (more…)

About those wet spots

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Before the game even started, the Clippers were not happy with the condition of the floor at TD Garden Monday night. After warmups, the players told coach Mike Dunleavy of their concern. The floor was slippery in spots, particularly under the basket in front of the Clippers bench.

“They brought the captains in,” Marcus Camby said. “They brought me, Paul [Pierce] and Kevin [Garnett] and Doc [Rivers] and Mike. It was very slippery out there. I thought it was just one area, but it was all over the floor. I think it was the ice, the humidity in the gym that combined to [cause it].”

The game was delayed for several minutes in the first quarter while the arena crew feverishly mopped the floor. The crew continued its work during timeouts and when the action was on the other end of the floor. According to Rivers, the game was close to being called at one point.

“You know, [referee] Joey [Crawford] was terrific,” Rivers said. “Mike and I came together. We, at that point, were very close. The next guy, if anybody slipped in the next two minutes, the game was over. And Joey was going to make that call. Mike said the same thing. We said almost simultaneously, ‘We can’t afford a guy to get injured on this floor.’ ”

(Click here to listen to Doc Rivers’ complete analysis of the wet floor.)

Camby was not happy with the way the situation was handled.

“Oh my goodness,” Camby said. “We were all slipping. It seemed like every Clipper was slipping, then when Ray Allen slips, they want to bring it in and address the issue. So that’€™s what we were chirping about. It was kind of dangerous out there for both teams.”

“Terrible,” was how Rasheed Wallace summed it up. “Terrible. I think it was condensation from it being a little warm outside and it was warm in the building with it still being winter. It made it a little slick out there. Had to play cautiously the whole game. You can’t put them brakes on when you want to because you don’t know if you’re going to slide. Saw a couple of guys slipping out there like Peggy Fleming. It’s part of it when you play in arenas that have ice under the floor.”