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Irish Coffee: Ultimate Celtics rumor roundup 02.23.11 at 2:40 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Ever since Marquis Daniels suffered a bruised spinal cord on Feb. 6, it’s been no secret the Celtics want to make a trade, and Lord knows they’re active. Just look at the names they’ve reportedly inquired about.

The Celtics don’t have to make a deal. They’ll be NBA title contenders no matter what. If they do add someone, they’ll have to part ways with Marquis Daniels, Nate Robinson, Von Wafer, Semih Erden, Avery Bradley or Luke Harangody. In a lot of cases, that someone wouldn’t be an upgrade over any of those guys.

So, let’s sort all the rumors into three categories: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

THE GOOD: UPGRADES

Suns forward Grant Hill

  • Contract: Signed through this season ($3.32 million)
  • Statistics: 30.4 minutes, 13.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks, 49.5 FG%, 35.8 3-PT FG%, 84.0 FT%
  • Rumor: Among the places the Celtics have looked is Phoenix. Three sourdes confirmed the clubs spoke about three Suns wings.
  • Chances: ‘€œThat looks like it’€™s gone,’€ said one Herald source, ‘€œbut you never know.’€
  • What it would take: Daniels and either Bradley, Erden or Harangody

Rockets forward Shane Battier

  • Contract: Signed through this season ($7.35 million)
  • Statistics: 30.8 minutes, 8.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.2 blocks, 45.4 FG%, 64.9 3-PT FG%, 64.9 FT%
  • Rumor: The Rockets would be tempted to make the deal if the Celtics would include center Semih Erden, though we’ll probably never know since Boston apparently wants to keep and develop him.
  • Chances: Houston-Boston deal involving Shane Battier not happening, says source close to situation
  • What it would take: Robinson, Bradley and Erden or Harangody; or Daniels and Robinson

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Nate Robinson, NBA, Trade rumors
Irish Coffee: Top 5 reasons not to fear Knicks 02.22.11 at 2:59 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

As details of the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks from the Nuggets in a deal that involved 15 current and future NBA players leaked to the media, the man who led Syracuse University to the 2003 NCAA title as an 18-year-old appeared on TV in a pre-recorded interview with Conan O’Brien and stated that he’d indeed like to stay in Denver.

Whether Anthony’s answer was sincere makes little difference. The real question is this: Should the Knicks still want the NBA’s third-best small forward in a Nuggets uniform? Considering he likely would’ve joined New York this summer for less dollars anyway — and the Knicks wouldn’t have had to part with three of their best five players — the answer to that question in the long-term is Absolutely.

Here are the details of the Carmelo Anthony trade from the Knicks perspective …

Either way, the deal is done. So, that leaves another question: Should the Celtics, Heat or Bulls fear the Knicks at any point in the next four years? Here are the top five reasons they shouldn’t …

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets, NBA, New York Knicks
Kevin Garnett: My boys ‘forgot to beat’ James Jones 02.22.11 at 2:30 pm ET
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Celtics forward Kevin Garnett posted a couple blogs on the Anta website prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Warriors.

He touched on everything from the 3-Point Shootout to Doc Rivers‘ pre-All-Star Game speech to the team’s focus going forward. Here are the highlights …

On the dunk contest: “The dunk contest  was unreal. Those young fellas did some different things. Serge [Ibaka] with the dunk and grabbed the monkey with his teeth, [JaVale] McGee with the old “[Larry] Nance” rock the cradle, Blake [Griffin] with the 360 pump with power and [Demar] DeRozan with the reverse 360 flush. Cool stuff.”

On the 3-point contest: “My boys were worried about themselves and forgot to beat [James] Jones in the 3-point contest. Both Ray [Allen] and P2 [Paul Pierce] made it to the finals. Sitting with [Dwyane] Wade, [Rajon] Rondo, [Shaquille O'Neal]. Things were cool. I got my Anta swag on and feel like I was looking good.”

On All-Star Game appearances: “No. 14 for me, which says to me, gotta keep working. Not many men can say they laced them up for 14 All-Stars. Hard work, little luck and having the drive. I’m happy to be a part of this day and to be with my homies. P2, Ray and young fella (Rondo). The Coaches are here, [strength and conditioning coach Bryan] Doo, Lynchie [director of team security Phil Lynch] and [vice president of media services Jeff] Twiss. Feel like we doing something.”

On All-Star Game adversaries: “Not often do I see the other players in a situation like this, so giving them a dap or catching up. Cool stuff.”

On All-Star Game intensity: “The game prep wasn’t the same, but as Doc said, “Any time there is a score, then someone has to win and someone has to lose. Let’s make it them.”

On All-Star Game minutes: “Didn’t want to play that much so I could rest a little, but got up and down. We played with our four and [Chris] Bosh first. It’s funny when you run a play and it doesn’t go all the way through because of the fifth person. Played with Amare [Stoudemire] and some of the other cats. We didn’t get the win, but what you gonna do. NOW WE FOCUS on BANNER No. 18.”

Read More: Anta, Boston Celtics, James Jones, Kevin Garnett
Irish Coffee: Celtics’ NBA All-Star Weekend in quotes 02.21.11 at 12:05 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Celtics Ray Allen and Paul Pierce may have lost to overlooked Heat forward James Jones in the final round of the 3-Point Contest, and more heralded Miami forward Lebron James (29 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) might have singlehandedly played Allen, Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo (28 points, 12 rebounds, 14 assists) even at the NBA All-Star Game, but all was not lost.

After sorting through all 29,562, 317 interviews from the All-Star festivities, I present the weekend in quotes …

Kevin Garnett (via USA Today): “I’m far from dirty. Dirty is like hate. Don’t use that word. I’m competitive, and I play hard, but don’t call me dirty. Just like if you dislike me, dislike me. ‘Hate’ is a very strong word, just like ‘dirty’ is a very strong word.”

Garnett (via CBS Sports): “All-Star weekend is a chance for all players to sit down and relax. Get to know one another. I don’€™t like the word ‘fraternizing’ and I don’€™t like the word ‘fronting’. It’€™s the one time that we get to socialize and be friendly, I don’€™t think it’€™s fronting, I think everybody is sort of in a relaxed state.”

Garnett (via NBA.com): “Look here, I don’€™t play for the Phoenix Suns. I could care less what Spike [Lee] or whoever else has to say about me. As long as Doc Rivers and my organization is happy with what I’€™m doing, I could care less. …

“If I’€™m playing against you, I’€™m not trying to be your friend. I’€™m out here to win. I’€™m just competitive. I go about this a certain way. Always have, always will. I don’€™t make any excuses about that or apologize for anything I’€™ve done. I carry myself in a well-fashioned manner. I respect the game first-off, respect the players that are in it. And I’€™m definitely not trying to hurt anybody — I don’€™t want to be hurt. I’€™m just out there playing hard and playing competitive. If that comes off as something else, then that’€™s your problem.”

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Read More: All-Star Game, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant
Irish Coffee: Too many minutes for Celtics to win it? 02.18.11 at 1:06 pm ET
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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

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Read More: Bill Russell, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA
NBA Power Rankings, 2/17 02.17.11 at 6:24 pm ET
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1. San Antonio (46-9): According to the New York Post, citing a waitress at Tao on 58th Street in New York City, Tony Parker “celebrated Valentine’s Day, a win over the Nets — and his divorce — by canoodling with a brunette.” When this is the biggest news about the Spurs for the week, it’s pretty clear they’re still the NBA’s No. 1 (regular-season) team and (somehow) still underrated.

2. Dallas (39-16): The Mavericks are 37-9 with Dirk Nowitzki in the lineup — and 18-7 against teams above .500. That’s pretty good. Not surprisingly, owner Mark Cuban told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram his team has all the pieces in place for a title run. While they’re certainly playing better than the Lakers — and even the Celtics — right now, I’m still not buying them as contenders.

3. Boston (40-14): With Glen Davis as the sole healthy member of their projected second unit — and even he suffered a bruised noggin — the Celtics finished 2-2 against the Mavericks, Magic, Lakers and Heat in the span of nine days. The win over the Heat was truly significant; no matter who earns the East’s No. 1 seed the C’s cemented themselves as the clear favorites in the conference.

4. Miami (41-15): Sure, the Heat are 38-10 (.792 winning percentage) with Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all in the lineup. Still, even with all three of those guys on the floor, they’re only 11-8 (.579) against teams above the .500 mark. Oh, and they’re 0-4 against the two other teams vying for Eastern Conference supremacy. I’d say that’s a concern.

5. Chicago (37-16): Under Tom Thibodeau‘s tutelage, the Bulls have gone from 11th place in points allowed per 100 possessions last season to second place this year — without defensive stalwart Joakim Noah at center since Dec. 15. The booby prize for finishing second in the East is not only a Game 7 on the road in the conference finals but also a semifinals matchup with Chicago.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA
Irish Coffee: Kobe Bryant’s Ray Allen praise wasn’t easy 02.17.11 at 12:11 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

For the first half of this month, Boston was the hub of the NBA universe, as the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics welcomed four other championship contenders to the TD Garden – the Mavericks, Magic, Lakers and Heat — in a span of nine days. Sports Illustrated writer Ian Thomsen followed the C’s every step of the way for a cover story in the magazine’s issue that hits stores this week.

From each game, Thomsen uncovered some pretty juicy anecdotes. Here are the highlights …

Mavericks 101, Celtics 97

  • Paul Pierce didn’t know Mavericks guard J.J. Barea spent his college days in Boston: “I’m an NBA player, I’m a Celtic! I came from Kansas! What would I be doing watching Northeastern play?”
  • Mavericks center Tyson Chandler idolized Kevin Garnett“What I try to do for my team is what he’s done his entire career. I respect what he’s accomplished, so I’m just trying to mirror that.”
  • Like many players, Barea thinks Garnett isn’t always nice: “He likes to pick on little guys, I think.”

Celtics 91, Magic 80

  • Magic swingman Quentin Richardson joined the anti-Garnett club: “Garnett is a great player, he’ll be a Hall of Famer, and his résumé speaks for itself. But at the same time you may not have a lot of respect for some of the things he’ll do. He picks fights with [the Raptors' 6'3" Jose] Calderon or with Barea. Come on, man, that’s not showing that you’re big or bad. You’re trying to fight point guards.”
  • And Celtics coach Doc Rivers once again came to Garnett’s defense: “This guy should be the model. He is as pure a team player as I’ve ever been around. Does he say things the wrong way at times? Clearly Kevin has used the ‘F’ word as a noun, adjective and verb, and it’s mean-spirited if you’re not on his team. With his teammates he talks the same way, but it’s all about help, it’s all about team. The players who don’t like him are usually the players who aren’t winning, and maybe they should be more like him instead of talking about him.”
  • Pierce didn’t enjoy 25-year-old Magic center Dwight Howard‘s imitation of Garnett’s chest-thumping pregame regimen: “I don’t know if they’ve won a game when he’s mocked anybody. I think he’s got to stop it. I saw LeBron [James] go for 51 [in a Feb. 3 win at Orlando] when he mocked him.”
  • When Celtics 26-year-old center Kendrick Perkins baited Howard into a technical foul, that showed maturity on Perkins’ part, according to Rivers: “First time in his life — he fouled Dwight, holds him and holds him, Dwight hits him with an elbow, hits him with another one, and Perk just stands there. At halftime I said to the team, ‘That is toughness. Toughness is somebody hitting you in the freaking face, and you’re looking at him and laughing and walking away. That’s a tough mother.’”
  • Magic coach Stan Van Gundy doesn’t believe his team can contend with the Celtics: “Not even in the same ballpark as these guys. We can be, but we’re not right now.”

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Read More: Anthony Parker, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Quentin RIchardson
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