|Jon Barry on Celtics winning Eastern Conference: ‘I think they will’||03.31.11 at 11:25 am ET|
Appearing on the Dennis & Callahan Show, ESPN NBA analyst Jon Barry said despite the Celtics‘ recent struggles, he still believes they will win the Eastern Conference when it’s all said and done. (To listen to the entire interview, click here.)
“I don’t put a lot of stock what happens at the end of the regular season,” Barry said. “Last year the Lakers lost 7 of 10 and went on to win the thing. Boston was 27-27 their last 54 and got to the Finals in the seventh game. So I wouldn’t read too much into this. But I’m a bit concerned because I really thought they were the best team with Kendrick Perkins on their roster. Now I think they let the pack in a little bit closer to them. I still think they can win the East and I think they will, but I think they’ve brought the other teams back to where they have a better opportunity to beat them.
“I like their experience,” Barry added. “I think Chicago has had a tremendous year but this is a team that hasn’t gone past the first round. The Miami Heat I think still aren’t ready to do it, come playoff time they’re not built for playoff basketball. I do believe the Celtics will come back and circle the wagons and be ready to go and be the team to beat in the East.”
Barry explained that he was taken aback at how much trading Perkins away has affected the Celtics.
“I’m a bit surprised,” the analyst said. “This was the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference with Kendrick Perkins playing 12 games. The impact that he’s made on the floor obviously hasn’t been that big and they’ve played through it. I’m a bit surprised that they’re losing games. They haven’t been able to score. Their execution late in games has been poor. It’s kind of been there bugaboo the last few years.”
Some of the other topics touched on by Barry …
The Celtics recent struggles: “Obviously, since the Kendrick trade this team has not played well. [Rajon] Rondo in particular has not played well. We know how close he was with Kendrick Perkins. I know he has a pinky issue. There’s been no bones about it that these guys are unhappy that Kendrick’s left. Doc Rivers has felt the same way and they got to find a way to crank it back up here as we get started her in couple weeks for the real season.”
|Celtics live chat with Paul Flannery||03.29.11 at 1:30 am ET|
Join WEEI.com Celtics writer Paul Flannery is talking about all that is right, wrong, and in between when it comes to the Celts. Bring your opinions, analysis, and questions. It all starts at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday …
|Shaq on his health, being the ‘black Steve Jobs’ and ’18-25′||03.10.11 at 12:54 pm ET|
Speaking with ‘Mut & Merloni’ Thursday afternoon on WEEI, Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal said he was ‘getting better’ in the wake of an Achilles injury that has left him on the shelf for the last month.
‘The older you get, it takes time to heal,’ O’Neal said. ‘I’m getting better. Getting stronger. There’s still a little pain.’
The 39-year-old O’Neal said the Celtics are looking at the ‘18-25 thing,’ which he described as 18 titles for “beautiful people of Boston,’ as well as a second title for coach Doc Rivers and the rest of the ‘Big 4,’ and a fifth title for him. As a result, he said the Celtics are being cautious about not rushing him back too quickly
‘The team is playing well. [Nenad] Kristic is doing a fabulous job. And they want me 1,000 percent, especially for the postseason,’ he said. ‘Because that’s when it really counts.’
O’Neal ‘ who called himself ‘the black Steve Jobs’ when he started talking about some of his business ventures ‘ would not give a specific date for his return, instead saying he was at ‘84.227115566442222 percent.’
‘I can’t give you a date because there’s a little pain fluctuation,’ said O’Neal when pressed about a possible return. ‘I’ve been told by Doc, [trainer] Ed Lacerte, and [team physician] Brian McKeon to not even come talk until I’m 100 percent. I’m work out, shooting, doing light stuff. When the pain is gone, they told me to add three days [then he’ll be back.]’
|Report: Leon Powe signs with Grizzlies||03.03.11 at 8:34 pm ET|
According to David Aldridge of NBA.com, former Celtics forward Leon Powe — who was bought out of his contract by the Cavaliers last week, thus becoming a free agent — has signed with the Memphis Grizzlies. While the Celtics had reportedly considered the possibility of a return engagement for Powe — who played in just 14 games for Cleveland this year, averaging 5.0 points and 2.7 boards in 13 minutes a night — their acquisition of Troy Murphy took them out of the market for the 27-year-old. That, in turn, led Powe to Memphis.
|Report: Heat no longer staring at Shaq||02.27.11 at 10:31 am ET|
According to the Palm Beach Post, the Heat redecorated the walls leading to their locker room over the All-Star break. The face lift included the removal of images from the team’s title run in 2006, which notably included the sweat-drenched face of former Miami (and current Celtics) center Shaquille O’Neal. In place of images from the Heat’s lone title, the team now has posted images of its current stars, including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade (a holdover from the championship team) and Chris Bosh.
|Danny Ainge on Planet Mikey: Celtics ‘agonized’ over dealing Kendrick Perkins||02.25.11 at 8:53 am ET|
Celtics president Danny Ainge joined WEEI Thursday night to talk about the trade that sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic, as well as the present and future of the team in the wake of the unexpected moves. Ainge said that he and coach Doc Rivers “agonized” over the decision but ultimately decided it was the best interest of the team.
“I’m as close to Perk as any of them,” Ainge said. “I have a great relationship with him. I brought him in as an 18-year-old. It was very difficult. We shed some tears today, talking to Perk. It was tough. He’s a good kid. I think he’s going to a great situation for himself and for his future. I think Oklahoma City is a top-notch franchise and they obviously have some great young players. He has a bright future there, so that does make it a little bit easier.”
Ainge said that while both his health and his pending free agency were concerns, neither one was a deciding factor in making the deal. “He wanted to test the market. Last time, he didn’t test the market, and this time he wanted to see what his value was, and that was a concern,” Ainge said. “It wasn’t so much of a concern that we would have done something just for that purpose. But the fact we were able in our opinion to help our team for this year and protect ourselves for the future was very good for us.”
On the new additions, Green and Krstic, Ainge said: “We’re really excited with the guys that we got. Jeff Green is a terrific player. He’s a versatile player. He’s playing 37 minutes on one of the top teams in the West as a starter. He’s 24 years old. He brings length and athleticism to the game and great versatility. And we like Krstic. Krstic is a terrific shooter. I think he complements Rondo’s game very well in that he’s another guy that can knock down that mid-range jump shot.”
Ainge noted that Shaquille O’Neal was a week away from returning and that he likely would have come back before Perkins did from his knee strain. He also said that he thought O’Neal would be better suited as a starter than someone coming off the bench and that the team played better when Shaq was in the starting lineup. “Shaq has proven to be excellent with our starters,” he said. “The numbers actually show that he has been better with our starters. We beat all the good teams in the league while Kendrick was out.”
As for the developing veteran free agent market, Ainge said that the Celtics would like add a wing, a frontline player and possibly a guard, although he said that was probably the least of their priorities. He added that they may sign just two players and leave another spot available for now.
To listen to the complete interview, click here.
|Jermaine O’Neal has surgery, out 6-8 weeks||02.04.11 at 11:31 pm ET|
Celtics‘ general manager Danny Ainge announced after his team’s 101-97 loss to the Mavericks Friday night that center/forward Jermaine O’Neal went arthroscopic surgery on his left knee earlier in the day and will be out of games an estimated 6-8 weeks.
“Surgery went fine and we’re hoping that helps alleviates the swelling he was getting with extra activity,” Ainge said.
O’Neal, who hasn’t played since Jan. 10, was originally thought not to need surgery, but the problematic knee wasn’t progressing in a fashion that was satisfactory for the player or team.
“It didn’t respond like we had hoped,” Ainge said.
Ainge, who said he hopes for an early April return, noted that the procedure wasn’t one which will solve O’Neal’s health concerns heading into next season.
“I think it could be something he could be dealing with next season,” he said. “Whenever you have arthritis in your knee and there’s bone on bone there’s a long-term issue there. This surgery was not something to fix him long-term.”
For more Celtics coverage, see the team page at weei.com/celtics.
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