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Irish Coffee: It’s matter over mind for Celtics
Posted By Ben Rohrbach On November 23, 2010 @ 11:47 am In General | No Comments
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
When these veteran Boston Celtics are resting their aching bodies and losing back-to-back games to the Detroit Pistons  and Philadelphia 76ers  in April, remember this four-game stretch in November.
Pundits enjoy saying things like, “Games in November don’t matter much in the NBA,” but these Celtics are more mentally prepared only when the games matter — if that makes sense. And come playoff time, as we all know, every game means something.
Exhibit A: Last Wednesday’s 31-point blowout of the Washington Wizards . If the Celtics suffer letdowns against meaningless teams, why would they care about a Wizards team without John Wall , its newest star?
“This is a team that gave us problems last year, and we haven’t forgotten that. I haven’t,” Garnett told reporters  after the win. “Paul [Pierce] and I got here and could hear [Wizards assistant coach] Sam Cassell voice about how young they were and how they were going to come at us. We made note of it. We talked about it, you know, before the game and coming out here, taking care of business. I thought we stayed with that for 48 minutes.”
Exhibit B: Kevin Durant  and Jeff Green ‘s Oklahoma City Thunder  came to town, only Durant and Green didn’t suit up. The Celtics had already quieted the Thunder with those guys in uniform, in their house, two weeks before. They’d already proven themselves against OKC. No urgency to do it again.
“I think we underestimated that team,” Shaquille O’Neal  told the media  following the loss. “Shot ourselves in the foot. It’s kind of hard in this league to get up for certain people. Tonight, we disrespected the basketball gods. We paid for it.”
Exhibit C: On a lazy Sunday afternoon, the Celtics faced a Toronto Raptors  club that was worse than usual, playing undermanned after a trade. The C’s thought a hard-fought first quarter and a solid six-minte stretch in the second half would be just enough effort to take care of Toronto. Think again.
I figured the home loss to OKC and a day off in between would fuel the Celtics to a blowout in Toronto. I thought this team had learned something from playing to the level of their opponents last season, but perhaps what they learned is that they can play that way — and still be successful.
The guys over at Gino’s Jungle  tweeted back, “I thought a lineup of KG, Pierce, Ray Allen , Shaq and Rajon Rondo  could beat a Durant and Green-less OKC, so no game’s a gimme with this team.” And they were right.
“We’re a better team than those two teams,” Pierce told reporters  after the defeat. “I know we are. Just mentally, I don’t think we have the right mindset coming into these games.”
Exhibit D: Monday night in Atlanta, the game once again had meaning to the Celtics, who got swept by the Hawks last season. That led to a 99-76 dominating victory against the Hawks in Atlanta.
In the aftermath, one thing became clear: These Celtics will play hard when they want to play hard, regardless of how good of a motivational speech head coach Doc Rivers  delivers before the game.
“I gave that up my first year coaching,” Rivers said postgame . “This group, that’s who they are. We’re going to have those poor nights. But I just thought the loss Sunday set the tone for us. You could feel it.”
Remember all of this evidence when people are questioning how much the aged Celtics have left in the tank entering the NBA playoffs . When these C’s have something to play for, they are great — capable of wiping the floor with mere good teams like the Atlanta Hawks .
REACTIONS FROM ATLANTA
Yup, when these Celtics play hard, they can make any team question itself. And that’s exactly what the Hawks were doing on Monday night. Head coach Larry Drew thinks his team might have had a few too many Four Lokos the night before, and Mo Evans is asking, “Who am I?” like a heartbroken girl from a teenage drama.
The AJC also caught up with Shaquille O’Neal, who said he picked the Celtics  over the Hawks because Boston gave him a better shot at a title. And it sounds like the Hawks agree with him.
“They have a blend of veteran players with the core of their team, and it’s a lot easier to fit in a vet like Shaq,” Drew added. “If we brought him in here, it would be a little tougher. I don’t think his personality would have fit with our guys. It makes more sense to have veteran guys around him.”
DELONTE WEST DISHES ON HIS DISORDER
CBS Sports.com senior writer Ken Berger wrote a fantastic piece  on Delonte West’s battle with bipolar disorder.
However irresponsible West’s actions were when he was arrested on multiple weapons charges a year ago, it’s impossible not to root for a guy who is working as hard as he is to overcome his issues.
Here are a few highlights:
I love that last quote. It comes from a man who is taking hold of his own destiny.
“You’ve got to remember, this is just a game,” West told Tomasson. “Some people are die-hard fans and they paint their face and it’s all great. But you got to do unto others as you have unto yourself. People say something about your mother and drag your mother through something like that and your family, you’d be ready to do something yourself. So it’s sad that happened. But, you know, they hated Jesus, too. You got to keep going. So I wish [LeBron James ] much success down there [in Miami] with his family, and I got to keep going here.”
‘THE ASSOCIATION’ FOCUSES ON CELTICS
The Celtics are the focus of a season-long documentary by ESPN Films and NBA Entertainment, entitled “The Association: Boston Celtics “. ESPN will debut the behind-the-scenes footage from the past few weeks on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. Here’s the schedule:
With the addition of Shaquille O’Neal, the preseason antics of Nate Robinson and the all-star power of Garnett, Pierce, Rondo and Allen, the Celtics had to be the obvious choice.
THE MIAMI HEAT HAVE ISSUES
All three of the Miami Heat’s Big Three — Dwyane Wade , LeBron James and Chris Bosh – made news over the past week with remarks about their unexpected 8-6 start.
It’s almost comical how much difficulty they’re having trying to figure out why things aren’t working. Not to worry. Erick Dampier is coming  to the rescue.
NBA LOCKOUT A ’99 PERCENT’ LOCK
Exactly one month after we predicted as much  in this very space, the Players Association brass predicted a lockout this coming summer if NBA commissioner David Stern  continues to push for a 40 percent reduction in salaries.
“I’d be 99 percent sure as of today that there will be a lockout,” NBA Player Association executive director Billy Hunter told The New York Times . “I’ve said, ‘Save your money because in all probability there’s going to be a lockout.’ … I’m waiting to get some sign, some movement from owners, that they want to reach a reasonable deal. Right now they’re being unreasonable. And I can’t tell you when reason is going set in.”
Trust me, it didn’t take a genius to see this one coming, because I’m no genius.
(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach  on Twitter.)
Article printed from Green Street: http://greenstreet.weei.com
URL to article: http://greenstreet.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/2010/11/23/irish-coffee-its-matter-over-mind-for-celtics/
URLs in this post:
 Detroit Pistons: http://media.weei.com/basketball/detroit-pistons.htm
 Philadelphia 76ers: http://media.weei.com/basketball/philadelphia-76ers.htm
 Washington Wizards: http://media.weei.com/basketball/washington-wizards.htm
 John Wall: http://media.weei.com/basketball/john-wall.htm
 Kevin Garnett: http://media.weei.com/basketball/kevin-garnett.htm
 Andray Blatche: http://media.weei.com/basketball/andray-blatche.htm
 told reporters: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/wizardsinsider/2010/11/wizards-get-flattened-in-bosto.html
 Kevin Durant: http://media.weei.com/basketball/kevin-durant.htm
 Jeff Green: http://media.weei.com/basketball/jeff-green.htm
 Oklahoma City Thunder: http://media.weei.com/basketball/oklahoma-city-thunder.htm
 Shaquille O’Neal: http://media.weei.com/basketball/shaquille-oneal.htm
 told the media: http://www.newsok.com/article/3516330
 Toronto Raptors: http://media.weei.com/basketball/toronto-raptors.htm
 Delonte West: http://media.weei.com/basketball/delonte-west.htm
 Nate Robinson: http://media.weei.com/basketball/nate-robinson.htm
 Marquis Daniels: http://media.weei.com/basketball/marquis-daniels.htm
 Glen Davis: http://media.weei.com/basketball/glen-davis.htm
 Gino’s Jungle: http://ginosjungle.com/
 Ray Allen: http://media.weei.com/basketball/ray-allen-celtics.htm
 Rajon Rondo: http://media.weei.com/basketball/rajon-rondo.htm
 told reporters: http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/articles/2010/11/22/raptors_snatch_one_away_from_celtics_in_late_going/
 Doc Rivers: http://media.weei.com/basketball/doc-rivers.htm
 said postgame: http://greenstreet.weei.comWhen these veteran Boston Celtics are resting their aching bodies and losing back-to-back games to the Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers in April, remember this four-game stretch in November.
 Miami Heat: http://media.weei.com/basketball/miami-heat.htm
 Cleveland Cavaliers: http://media.weei.com/basketball/cleveland-cavaliers.htm
 NBA playoffs: http://media.weei.com/basketball/nba-playoffs.htm
 Atlanta Hawks: http://media.weei.com/basketball/atlanta-hawks.htm
 told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-hawks/hawks-no-match-for-751058.html
 he picked the Celtics: http://
 a fantastic piece: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/story/14337635/west-deals-with-bipolar-disorder-gets-back-on-track
 to discuss: http://nba.fanhouse.com/2010/11/22/much-maligned-delonte-west-realizes-he-is-a-role-model/
 Von Wafer: http://media.weei.com/basketball/von-wafer.htm
 LeBron James: http://media.weei.com/basketball/lebron-james.htm
 Boston Celtics: http://media.weei.com/basketball/boston-celtics.htm
 Dwyane Wade: http://media.weei.com/basketball/dwyane-wade.htm
 a lengthy interview: http://www.esquire.com/features/dwyane-wade-interview-1210
 a discussion: http://espn.go.com/nba/dailydime/_/page/dime-101123/daily-dime
 postgame interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0OHiv9TTQM&feature=player_embedded
 Erik Spoelstra: http://media.weei.com/basketball/erik-spoelstra.htm
 is coming: http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/Miami-Heat-Erick-Dampier-expected-to-sign-offer-112210
 we predicted as much: http://greenstreet.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/2010/10/22/irish-coffee-nbas-david-stern-warning/
 David Stern: http://media.weei.com/basketball/david-stern-nba.htm
 told The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/sports/basketball/23hunter.html?_r=1&src=twrhp
 @brohrbach: http://twitter.com/brohrbach
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