Irish Coffee: Celtics’ Top 10 NBA All-Star performances
|02.04.11 at 1:14 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …
In honor of four Celtics — Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen — all making the NBA All-Star Game, I give you the top-five NBA All-Star Weekend performances by the current Celtics …
5. PAUL PIERCE sunk all five money balls in the final round of the 2010 NBA 3-Point Shootout. Neither Stephen Curry or Chauncy Billups could match Pierce, and the Celtics captain took home the title.
4. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL (as a member of the Lakers) recorded 24 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks to lead the West to a 136-132 win over the East and capture 2004 NBA All-Star Game MVP honors. Also the 2000 and 2009 All-Star Game MVP, O’Neal announced in his postgame interview, “Can you dig it?”
3. RAY ALLEN (as a member of the Bucks) outdueled Peja Stojakovic for the 2001 NBA 3-Point Shootout championship. Entering the final rack, Allen needed to make 3-of-5 to tie. He made four.
2. NATE ROBINSON (as a member of the Knicks) won his second of a record three NBA Slam Dunk contests in 2009, defeating Dwight Howard by leaping over the 6-foot-11 Magic center in the finals.
1. KEVIN GARNETT (as a member of the Timberwolves) outperformed Michael Jordan in the Bulls legend’s final NBA All-Star Game in 2003. Amassing the most points in an All-Star contest since Jordan’s 40 in 1988, Garnett totaled 37 points, nine rebounds, five steals and three assists to lead the West to a 155-145 double-overtime victory against the East, capturing MVP honors in the process.
“The All-Star Game is not about individual,” said Garnett. “It’s totally a group effort. It’s a time for you to share stories, good times, emotional times with your teammates.”
Given the Celtics’ storied history in NBA All-Star Games ever since Ed Macauley captured MVP honors with 20 points and six rebounds in the league’s first-ever All-Star competition, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also provide the top-five All-Star Weekend performances by former Celtics …
5. BOB COUSY produced 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists to lead the East to a 100-91 victory in the 1955 NBA All-Star Game, and he didn’t even win MVP (as he did in 1954 and 1957). That honor went to Celtics teammate Bill Sharman, who finished with just 15 points, four rebounds and two assists.
4. LARRY BIRD had three great NBA All-Star Game performances, leading the East victory each time. In 1986, he totaled 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Three years earlier, in 1983, he registered 14 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. But his best performance came in 1982, as he scored 15 of his 19 points in the final 6:30 to hand the East a 120-118 win; he also amassed 12 rebounds and five assists.
3. DEE BROWN captured the 1991 Slam Dunk Contest over Shawn Kemp by leaping with his pumped-up Reeboks from just inside the foul line, placing his left arm over his eyes and throwing it down with this right. Brown and 2007 slam dunk champion Gerald Green are the only guys to win the event as Celtics.
2. BILL RUSSELL had four monster NBA All-Star Games from 1961-65, yet only took home one MVP honor, in 1963. In his brightest All-Star Game performance, he dropped 19 points, 24 rebounds and five assists on Wilt Chamberlain and the West, leading the East to a 115-108 victory in 1963.
1. LARRY BIRD snapped a 15-all tie with Dale Ellis on the final shot of the last round to capture his third consecutive 3-Point Shootout title in 1998. Still donning his warmup jacket, Bird buried his final three shots, raising his index finger in the air even before the winning shot fell through the net.
SUNS COACH: ‘I LOST A LITTLE RESPECT’ FOR GARNETT
While the Suns kept relatively quiet following their victory over the Celtics last week — which included Kevin Garnett‘s infamous low blow on Channing Frye – but Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry more than opened up about the incident during a weekly radio appearance with an Arizona radio station.
Here’s The Arizona Republic’s transcription of Gentry’s conversation:
“I used to be a big fan of his. I think some of the antics he’s pulled lately, you don’t need to do that as a star player. I’ve never seen Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant or even a Dwyane Wade do that. You can compete and play hard. That doesn’t need to be part of it. It really doesn’t. To do that to someone, you can seriously hurt him.
“You know the fact that, all of a sudden, Channing comes down twice on jump shots, that’s a very dangerous play. So if you’re asking me, yeah, I lost a little respect for him. I love his competitive nature but there is not place for what he was doing in our game.”
RAY ALLEN: NBA’S BEST CLUTCH SHOOTER
In the wake of LeBron James‘ decision to give the game-winning shot up to Eddie House rather than take it himself against the Thunder on Sunday, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann performed a fantastic analysis of players’ decision-making during the final 30 seconds of games.
Two notes from the piece stand out about the 2010-11 Celtics: 1) Generally, the NBA’s star players pass the ball at an alarmingly lower rate in the final 30 seconds of a game within 1-3 points as opposed to other situations. Makes complete sense, right? Well, there’s one exception to that rule:
Paul Pierce actually has a slightly higher assist rate in must-have-a-bucket-situations (19.4) than he does overall (15.3). He he’s attempted 17 shots and dished out five assists in the last 30 seconds with a tie game or with his team down 1-3 points over the last 2 ½ years. Only Jose Calderon has more assists (six) in such situations. Baron Davis, Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo also have five.
And 2) “Ray Allen doesn’t have a single assist in those situations. But he’s not supposed to pass.” That’s because Allen has by far the best true shooting percentage (76.1 percent) in the NBA when his team is down between 1-3 points in the final 30 seconds of games this season. He’s made 11-of-21 field goals, 9-of-14 3-point shots and 5-of-6 free throws in those situations.
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