Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
In my mind, seven teams could potentially win the 2011 NBA championship: the Celtics, Spurs, Lakers, Heat, Bulls, Mavericks and Thunder. Four of those teams — the C’s, Spurs, Lakers and Mavericks — have veteran-laden rotations, so which coaches are doing the best job this season of managing the minutes logged on their top players’ aging bodies before the All-Star break?
Let’s look at those four teams’ top six players, their ages and their minutes logged …
Boston Celtics 
Average Age: 30.1 years
Average Games Played: 43.5
Average Minutes Per Game: 33.5 (8,746 total)
Percent of Team’s Total Minutes: 67.1
Rajon Rondo  (24 years, 361 days): 1,622 minutes; 37.7 minutes per game
Ray Allen  (35 years, 213 days): 1,948 min; 36.1 mpg
Paul Pierce  (33 years, 128 days): 1,881 min; 34.8 mpg
Kevin Garnett  (34 years, 275 days): 1,409 min; 31.3 mpg
Glen Davis  (25 years, 48 days): 1,585 min; 29.4 mpg
Kendrick Perkins  (26 years, 100 days): 301 min; 27.4 mpg
San Antonio Spurs 
Average Age: 29.4
Average Games Played: 55.0
Average MPG: 29.0 (9,562 total)
Percent of Team’s Total Minutes: 70.8
Tony Parker  (28 years, 277 days): 1,826 min; 32.6 mpg
Richard Jefferson  (30 years, 242 days): 1,752 min; 31.3 mpg
Manu Ginobili  (33 years, 205 days): 1,738 min; 31.0 mpg
Tim Duncan  (34 years, 299 days): 1,609 min; 28.7 mpg
George Hill (24 years, 290 days): 1,393 min; 27.9 mpg
DeJuan Blair  (21 years, 302 days): 1,244 min; 22.2 mpg
Los Angeles Lakers 
Average Age: 31.0
Average Games Played: 52.8
Average MPG: 31.3 (9,926 total)
Percent of Team’s Total Minutes: 72.4
Pau Gasol  (30 years, 227 days): 2,127 min; 37.3 mpg
Kobe Bryant  (32 years, 179 days): 1,933 min; 33.9 mpg
Lamar Odom (31 years, 104 days): 1,887 min; 33.1 mpg
Ron Artest  (31 years, 97 days): 1,604 min; 28.1 mpg
Derek Fisher (36 years, 193 days): 1,558 min; 27.3 mpg
Andrew Bynum  (23 years, 114 days): 817 min; 25.5 mpg
Dallas Mavericks 
Average Age: 33.4
Average Games Played: 46.8
Average MPG: 30.5 (8,558 total)
Percent of Team’s Total Minutes: 62.9
Drik Nowitzki (32 years, 244 days): 1,611 min; 34.3 mpg
Jason Terry  (33 years, 156 days): 1,803 min; 32.2 mpg
Jason Kidd  (37 years, 332 days): 1,888 min; 33.7
Tyson Chandler  (28 years, 139 days): 1,499 min; 28.3 mpg
Shawn Marion  (32 days, 287 days): 1,522 min; 27.7 mpg
Peja Stojakovic (33 years, 254 days): 235 min; 20.7 mpg
There are plenty of inferences to make from these numbers. Here are the top five …
1. The Celtics’ rotation 1-6 averages more minutes per game than their counterparts on the Spurs, Lakers and Mavericks. I can’t imagine Doc Rivers  enjoys that statistic.
2. Gasol and Bryant have logged a ton of minutes — 4,060 to be exact. Of the 24 players listed, Gasol has clocked the most minutes and Bryant has played the third-most (behind Allen). Those two are clearly the most important players on their team, and they’ve logged at least 713 more minutes than the most vital duo on the three other clubs (Ginobili/Duncan: 3,347).
3. Despite the 34-year-old Duncan, the Spurs have the youngest and healthiest core — who also log the fewest minutes per game among the four groups. More reason to fear the Spurs.
4. The Lakers’ top-six players have logged 72.4 percent of their team’s total minutes, the highest number of this group. To me, that means two things: a) they’ve been relatively healthy, and b) Phil Jackson  doesn’t have much trust in the bench outside of Odom.
5. Due to injuries, the top six guys in the Celtics and Mavericks rotations have logged the fewest total games and minutes among these four units, but there’s a silver lining — if they enter the playoffs healthy, those minutes saved could actually benefit the C’s and Mavs.
KEVIN GARNETT TO LAKERS: ‘WE OWE THEM ONE’
It’s been a while since Garnett posted on his blog  — which appears on shoe company Anta website — but he checked in prior to heading to his hometown of Los Angeles for the All-Star Game. From the Lakers to the Heat, here are the highlights from Garnett’s post …
- Lakers 92, Celtics 86: “Losing to the Lakers at home is not a good feeling. We had a big lead and couldn’t finish it off. Losing Nate [Robinson] during the game really left us shorthanded. No excuses, we just didn’t play team ball at the end. We owe them one.”
- On days off: “Having a couple days between games was needed. My body is holding up, but an extra day of rest is always welcome. Doc had us watch film and is getting us focused on the time after the All-Star break. It goes by quick, so we need to be firing on all cylinders come April.”
- Celtics 85, Heat 82: “Played the Heat and got it done! Rondo had a triple-double, and it was a low-scoring game. I feel as though these games work to our advantage, because we grind games out! I was emotionally involved in this game and didn’t even realize I had five fouls at one point. I get a rush doing the things I’m supposed to do to get our team a win.”
- On injuries: “Right now we have 10 healthy bodies. Shaq [O’Neal] is working hard, Jermaine [O’Neal] just had surgery, Semih [Erden] has some lingering issues from the World Championships and Delonte [West] should be back soon from his broken wrist. Can’t wait to get the troops in line for the Championship run!”
- On 3-point contest: “Let’s hope P2 [Pierce] and Ray end up going head-to-head in the 3-point contest during All-Star Weekend! Paul’s the defending champ, so Ray has some work to do.”
‘MAGIC/BIRD’ TO HIT BROADWAY
According to the Chicago Tribune , the guys who brought “Lombardi” to the stage — Eric Simonson, Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo — will debut a play entitled “Magic/Bird” about Celtics legend Larry Bird  and Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson  on Broadway in 2012.
The NBA, Bird and Johnson are all expected to contribute to the project. There’s no news yet on who might play them, but for Bird might I suggest Jared Rushton , the kid who played Billy in “Big,” Ron in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and Charlie in “Overboard.”
Both Celtics legend Bill Rusell and current center Shaquille O’Neal  attended the unveiling of a statue in Jerry West‘s honor outside of the Staples Center  in Los Angeles. Russell spoke at the event , and the Los Angeles Times was there to relay his thoughts …
Celtics great Bill Russell just spoke and said of Jerry West, “To us [players], Jerry was not a silhouette. To us, he was a man with a soul.”
Then Russell, after heavily praising West, said how he always admired Lakers center George Mikan, who once told him that when he got out of high school he should play for the Lakers.
“That’s one ambition I never got to fulfill,” Russell said.
Lakers owner Jerry Buss then said something along the lines of “darn it,” seeming to wish somehow Russell had been in Lakers’ purple and gold rather that the Celtics’ green and white.
Wait a second, one of Russell’s ambitions was to play for the Lakers? Blasphemy! Is that why the Celtics haven’t discussed building a statue in Russell’s honor until now ?