|Irish Coffee: Rajon Rondo’s recovery||12.22.10 at 12:26 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …
Rajon Rondo isn’t exactly Charles Barkley when it comes to talking to the media, but he’s quietly letting us in on his rehabilitation progress as he recovers from a sprained ankle — through his Twitter page …
Dec. 16: “Another great team effort tonight. A lot of treatment. Elevating my foot now, watching the game.”
Dec. 18: “Ankle is feeling better. Out of the boot. Still got a ways to go. Treatment twice a day.”
Dec. 21: “I love my new video game. Still keeping my foot elevated.” (see accompanying photo)
Now, I know what you’re all thinking: Where can I get a full-sized H2Overdrive arcade cabinet like the one Rondo uses to elevate his foot? It makes a great stocking stuffer for just $8,200.
It’s been exactly one week since Celtics president Danny Ainge threw out “a couple of weeks” as a timeframe for Rondo’s return. The first game after that two-week window is against the Pistons on Dec. 29, but do they really need Rondo to beat Detroit? Answer: No. They could probably start Avery Bradley and still win.
Two days later, however, the Celtics host Chris Paul and the Hornets. We all know how Rondo gears up to play the NBA’s best point guards, and some consider Paul the best in the game. You can bet Rondo will want to play in that game. The only question is whether Ainge, Doc Rivers and the training staff will let him.
CELTICS HAVE THE POWER
Ever-so-slowly, as their winning streak has stretched to an NBA-best 13 games — while the Mavericks, Heat and Knicks have snapped their streaks — the Celtics are gaining a monopoly on the national media’s NBA Power Rankings.
Here’s where the C’s rank, according to six major national media outlets:
NBA.com … 1. Celtics: “This sounds weird, but the Celtics, the second-best defensive team in the league, have been rather inconsistent defensively during their 12-game winning streak. They’ve needed big nights on the other end to pull out some of these wins, with Wednesday’s thriller in New York the prime example.”
ESPN.com … 1. Celtics: “KG’s resurrection. [Paul] Pierce‘s clutchness and versatility. Overcoming every injury. The Celts are just overloading us, since we also can’t stop reciting Barkley’s priceless Rondo line: “He’s the engine that stirs the drink.”
SI.com … 1. Celtics: “The great irony 26 games into the season is that while a succession of banged and bruised centers show up on the sideline in street clothes and Rondo nurses his latest injury, aging stars Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett haven’t missed a game and lead the team in total minutes. That translates into a 22-4 record and renewed appreciation for how well the Big Three work together. Pierce’s triple-double against Indiana on Sunday is the clearest indication of his ‘point forward’ responsibilities in Rondo’s absence; Allen has coupled his highest minutes average (36.5 per game) since arriving in Boston with a career-best field goal percentage (48.9); and Garnett locks down the NBA’s most efficient defense despite a revolving door of big men coming in beside him.”
NBCSports.com … 1. Celtics: “They’ve won 13 in a row. Remember how we have said that Rivers is willing to sacrifice regular-season games to keep players healthy. Well, not a lot of sacrifice.”
FOXSports.com … 3. Celtics: “The Beasts of the East have now won 13 in a row, the year’s longest streak. They’re not No. 1 simply because with Rondo out for the forseeable future, they aren’t the league’s best team. But if/when they get to full strength, they might be. And the way they’re getting everyone involved now suggests they’re only going to get stronger.”
CBSSports.com … 3. Celtics: “How the [Magic] trade affects them: You have to know Pierce woke up Sunday with a bit of a sore back. The thought of a seven-game series vs. Jason Richardson can do that to you.”
I have no idea what that last blurb from CBS Sports means. Is Pierce supposed to be scared of a matchup against Richardson? Or excited? I’m confused.
I didn’t remember Richardson ever being considered a defensive stalwart, so I Googled “Jason Richardson” and “defense” — coming up with “Richardson is an absolute younger Vince Carter — no defense at all” and “Richardson’s an expiring contract who’s played no defense his whole career.” Ouch.
BIG BABY’S ‘ALL GROWNS UP’
Is it ironic that the one thing that got Glen “Big Baby” Davis to mature this past offseason was welcoming another baby into his family? Before reading Jessica Camerato’s piece on Davis’ maturation, I had no idea he had a daughter over the summer. That’s sure to be a wake-up call to anybody, even Big Baby:
“The summer was an eye-opening experience for me, just because of losing in the Finals. Then also it comes to realization of, ‘Hey, I’ve become a father.’ I think that was one of the biggest things that really changed me.”
Davis told Camerato that it was of the veteran’s advice that helped him mature as a basketball player this season — only not a Celtics veteran you would’ve thought. Michael Finley explained to Davis after the NBA Finals that he could be a leader for the C’s second unit as long as he enters training camp with that in mind:
“I thought about it. I was just like, ‘I am. I am capable of being a post threat, being an outside shooter, being a really, really big factor on this team.’ I felt like I didn’t use all my talents to my advantage, so I always remembered that going into the summer.”
As a result, Big Baby is averaging 12.2 points and 5.7 rebounds — both career highs — off the bench for the Celtics this season. Currently, he’s ranked second by ESPN.com among contenders for the Sixth Man of the Year Award.
STEP ASIDE, LARRY BIRD
Celtics legend Larry Bird got bumped out of the NBA’s top-25 all-time scorers on Tuesday night, as Dirk Nowitzki scored 17 points to surpass Bird for 25th on the league’s all-time scoring list.
Bird texted congratulatory messages to both Nowitzki and Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle after the Mavs’ 105-99 victory against the Magic.
Nowitzki was on the Mavericks’ bus to the Orlando airport when his phone vibrated and he saw the text from Larry Legend. …
“That’s pretty cool,” Nowitzki said. (via The Dallas Morning News)
“I just got a text message from Larry right as the game ended saying to congratulate Dirk and that he’s always been a huge fan,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “They’ve had a chance to spend some time together. I’m sure he’s going to text Dirk and I’m sure that will be very meaningful for Dirk.” (via ESPN.com)
Before Dallas’ game against the Magic, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban joined The Dan Patrick Show and was asked how Nowitzki’s career will be remembered:
“Oh, as a top-10 all-time player, no question. It’s funny because over the years as we’ve had guys come onto the team from other teams, everybody’s got their opinion, but when you see it day-in and day-out, your opinion changes. … He contributes in every which way and when it’s all said and done we’re going to look back and know that he’s top 10.”
Um, top 10 of all-time? Nowitzki? Not likely, especially without a ring.
BEHIND THE CELTICS’ CURTAIN
If you haven’t already read Paul Flannery’s breakdown of the Celtics’ open practice on Tuesday, it’s a must read on WEEI.com. It’s not every day you get this kind of glimpse into why the Celtics have been so successful, and Flannery deftly puts us in a front-row seat of the C’s practice session. Here’s a teaser:
“I think there’s far more teaching in NBA practices than people realize and there’s far more structure and far more detail,” Rivers said. “I always say we have to teach the college kids when they come in the league. They don’t know as much as you think they would know and most of what they learn is probably in this league. They get the credit back in college and that’s fine with us as long as we win.”
(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)
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