Archive for January, 2011

Can the Celtics get four All-Stars?

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Ray Allen

The NBA announced the starters for the 2011 All-Star game Thursday and, as expected, no Celtics were among them. Derrick Rose and Dwayne Wade were selected as guards. LeBron James and Amar’e Stoudemire are the forwards and Dwight Howard is the center.

The West lines up with Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Yao Ming. Yao is injured and will be replaced by the league.

Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo both finished in third place at their respective positions, while Paul Pierce was fourth among Eastern forwards. Those three should be locks when the league announces the reserves on Feb. 3.

But with Ray Allen also having a deserving season, the Celtics could be in a position to have a fourth All-Star something they haven’t done since 1975 when Dave Cowens, John Havlicek, Paul Silas and Jo Jo White made the team. (They also pulled the trick in 1962 and 1953. They have had three representative a staggering 31 times).

Since Garnett and Allen came to town the Celtics have had three All-Stars each season. Allen, Garnett and Pierce went in 2008 and 2009 and Rondo joined Garnett and Pierce last season. The Celtics came close to getting four in 2009, but Rondo was denied several times that year.

First he was passed over by the coaches as a reserve for Devin Harris and Jameer Nelson. Allen was tabbed as an injury replacement for Nelson and then, after considerable lobbying by LeBron James, Cavs guard Mo Williams was selected as an injury replacement for Chris Bosh. The argument was that the Cavs had the second-best record in the league and deserved two players, which really doesn’t have anything to do with picking an All-Star team.

The politicking may be the biggest obstacle because teams like the Magic, Bulls, and Knicks will argue for a second representative, while the Hawks have as many as three potential candidates. Here’s a list of 12 possible reserve choices (seven players will be selected by the coaches):

Boston: Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Garnett

New York: Ray Felton

Chicago: Carlos Boozer

Milwaukee: Andrew Bogut

Atlanta: Al Horford, Josh Smith, Joe Johnson

Miami: Chris Bosh

Orlando: Because of trades it’s hard to make a case for anyone else on the Magic, but Jameer Nelson will get some consideration.

Looking at that list it seems there is a very good chance the Celtics will get four players in the All-Star game. NBA.com’s John Schuhmann has them on his ballot, along with Horford, Smith and Bosh. We’ll find out Feb. 3.

NBA Power Rankings, 1/27

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

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San Antonio Spurs1. San Antonio (39-7): It seems like every time I look at the NBA standings, the Spurs are 9-1 in their last 10 games. It’s ridiculous. According to John Hollinger’s playoff odds, San Antonio has a 78.1 percent chance of capturing the top seed out West and homecourt throughout the playoffs. Yet, their odds of making the Finals are just 27.3 percent, despite possessing the league’s best home record at 24-2. Strange.

Boston Celtics2. Boston (34-10): The Celtics lost another game to a bad team when they fell to the Wizards over the weekend, but we’ll give them a break considering it was once again the result of playing on the road in the second game of a back-to-back following a plane trip. Losses to the Cavaliers, Rockets and Wizards are the only reason the C’s aren’t ranked No. 1, because no team has been better than them — when motivated.

Los Angeles Lakers3. LA Lakers (33-13): The silhouette of the NBA’s logo, former Lakers general manager Jerry West eased off his comments that the Lakers are too old to play defense (they’re ranked 10th in points allowed), but he didn’t back down from saying he wouldn’t want to play the Celtics every other night — calling the C’s the favorites over the Lakers to win the NBA title.

Miami Heat4. Miami (31-13): Speaking of predictions involving the Celtics and Lakers, Phil Jackson obviously chimed in, as he doesn’t believe the Heat can get by the Celtics to reach the NBA Finals. Considering the Celtics still own a 2-0 record against Miami (and it wasn’t even that close), how can you argue with Jackson? Especially after you watch some of the poses Chris Bosh gets into during his Maxim shoot.

Chicago Bulls5. Chicago (31-14): I figured the Bulls could be a top-five team once Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah were both healthy at the same time. It turns out Noah’s presence isn’t necessary for that to happen. Perhaps more important than homecourt advantage in the Celtics’ chase for the No. 1 seed is the fact that — as it stands now — they’d only have to face the Heat or Bulls and not both in the playoffs.

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Danny Ainge on The Big Show: C’s not likely to deal at deadline

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Danny Ainge (AP)

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined The Big Show for his weekly visit and said that the team was likely to stay intact through the rest of the season. The trade deadline is Feb. 24, but unlike last season the Celtics aren’t likely to be in the trade market.

Not only are they playing better, but Ainge also pointed to the return of Kendrick Perkins last week, as well as the return of Delonte West, hopefully in late February.

“Of course there’s players out there that are good players, but I like our team,” Ainge said. “I like the mix when we’re all healthy. It’s also very difficult to make any trades because the contracts that could make some significant noise are the contracts of our big four And then the guys on our bench like Perk or [Glen Davis], we certainly don’t want to move any of those guys to make and of those trades. So I like our team and I think this is probably the team that we’ll be with by the time the season ends.”

[Go to The Big Show audio on demand page to hear the whole interview]

Ainge said that getting West back will be a key addition for the Celtics because of his versatility. “We’re looking forward to Delonte coming back, but he probably won’t be back until the end of February,” Ainge said. “He’s a perfect fit and compliment to the guys that we have on our bench and maybe the guy that’s the most versatile. He shoots and he handles the ball. He runs the team. He’s a terrific defender, rebounder. We really miss having Delonte out there.”

Here are more highlights from the conversation. (more…)

Irish Coffee: Celtics less valuable than Lakers

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee … 

According to Forbes Magazine’s latest valuations of all 30 NBA franchises, 17 teams hemorrhaged money over the last year — the highest number since the 1998-99 lockout — despite the fact that 24 of those 30 clubs generated at least $100 million in revenue.

Based on the numbers, the Celtics are the fourth most valuable franchise in the NBA. They generated $151 million in revenue while the franchise’s value rose 5 percent over the past year, yet they made just $4.2 million.

When the magazine released the same figures just over a year ago, the Celtics ranked as the eighth-most valuable franchise, generating less revenue but taking home almost $9 million more in income.

Despite the state of the U.S. economy, the average value of all 30 NBA franchises rose 1 percent since the magazine’s last valuations. However, the average team’s operating income fell 22 percent — to $6.1 million — “the lowest figure since the 2002-03 season.”

In the offseason, Amar’e Stoudemire and LeBron James altered the balance of NBA financial power. The Knicks’ worth increased 12 percent, dethroning the Lakers as the league’s most valuable franchise. Meanwhile, the Heat’s worth rose 17 percent, while the Cavaliers’ value fell 26 percent.

Here are the top five most valuable NBA franchises:

  • 1. New York Knicks ($655 million)
  • 2. Los Angeles Lakers ($643 million)
  • 3. Chicago Bulls ($511 million)
  • 4. Boston Celtics ($452 million)
  • 5. Houston Rockets ($443 million)

After noting the surprising fact that the Pistons, who haven’t been able to find a proper suitor, are valued 13th, here are the five least valuable NBA franchises:

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Preview: Celtics at Trail Blazers, Game 45

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

You just can’t kill the Portland Trail Blazers. Greg Oden is out for the season, again, after knee surgery. Marcus Camby is out for three weeks after knee surgery. Brandon Roy had surgery on both his knees. On and on it goes for the most star-crossed franchise in the NBA who may never approach the greatness that was forecast for them following the 2009 season.

Yet, here they are again, clinging to the eighth spot in the Western Conference having won five of their last six games. Much of the credit for Portland’s still viable status belongs to forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who has taken on a larger burden without Roy in the Blazers deliberate offense and scoring more inside.

Aldridge, Andre Miller, Wes Matthews and Nic Batum form the thrown-together core of this Blazers team and that’s enough talent to make them a tough out any night of the week.

The Celtics come to town tonight for the start of a four-game west coast trip and in many way, this is the pivotal game of the trip. They have a back-to-back with Phoenix Friday night and then the showdown with the Lakers on Sunday. The last thing the Celtics want is a losing streak heading into L.A.

CELTICS (34-10, 7-3 last 10)

Offensive Rating: 109.1 (Points scored per 100 possessions, 10th)

Defensive Rating: 100.6 (Points allowed per 100 possessions, 2nd)

Pace: 90.6 (Possessions per game, 22nd)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Semih Erden

Injuries: Shaquille O’Neal (Hip, questionable), Jermaine O’Neal (Knee, out), Delonte West (Wrist, out).

TRAIL BLAZERS (25-21, 6-4 last 10)

Offensive Rating: 107.3 (14th)

Defensive Rating: 106.6 (15th)

Pace: 88.8 (30th)

Likely Starters: Andre Miller, Wes Matthews, Nic Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Pryzbilla

Injuries: Marcus Camby (Knee, out), Greg Oden (Knee, out), Brandon Roy (Knee, out), Elliot Williams (Knee, out), Aldridge (Hip, probable), Matthews (Hip, questionable). (more…)

Kevin Garnett releases ‘Beat L.A.’ shoes

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

The Chinese shoe company that sponsors Kevin Garnett, Anta, is releasing the latest pair in the KG1 series, entitled “Beat L.A.” The 152-120 reference on the tongue of the green and white suede shoes is a reference to the Celtics’ lead in their all-time regular-season series against the Lakers.

The Celtics and Lakers square off for the first time this season on Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center. Think Garnett will be sporting these?

Kendrick Perkins, NBA officials and how you know ‘Perk’s back’ for real

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Memo to Kendrick Perkins: While you were gone from the NBA – impressively rehabbing your right knee – the league decided to give more power to the referees that officiate NBA games.

During their annual meeting last fall in Jersey City, N.J., the league’s officials, in conjunction with the league, announced new guidelines for technical fouls, including T’ing up any and all “overt” player reactions to calls.

Just because we’re here to help, here’s what NBA officials are on the lookout for in determining whether a player should be “T’d” up:

- Running directly at an official to complain about a call.

- Excessive inquiries about a call, even in a civilized tone.

- Players making aggressive gestures, such as air punches, anywhere on the court.

- Demonstrative disagreement, such as when a player incredulously raises his hands, or smacks his own arm to demonstrate how he was fouled.

This season, refs have also been instructed to consider technicals on players who use body language to question or demonstrate displeasure. Additionally, officials can also consider techs on players who “take the long path to the official,” i.e., walking across the court to make their case.

So, what would a return to NBA game action be without Perk testing out those new limits?

He did just that in the first half when he was called for a personal foul and raised his arms and scowled that trademark “Perk Scowl”. But apparently, he mellowed during physical therapy. He stopped short of getting a tech. Last season, Perk was called for seven technicals in the playoffs alone, but the second one in Game 5 against the Magic in the Eastern Conference finals was rescinded by the league, thus he avoided suspension.

If a player accumulates 16 in a regular season, he draws an automatic one-game suspension. Perk has a long way to go to approach that.

“He’s going to get a tech soon,” coach Doc Rivers smiled and laughed after Tuesday’s win over Cleveland. “Yeah, we’ll see I think because he started so late he can’t get to the number. So I think we’re safe there because at the end of the day Perk’s going to be Perk. I mean, he almost ran after the guy the one time. And I was thinking, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. Perk’s back.’ That’s the whole bench; when he did it the bench started laughing, saying ‘Perk’s back.’ I’m thinking we have a cushion.” (more…)