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Preview: Grizzlies at Celtics, Game 70 03.23.11 at 2:55 pm ET
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In advance of Wednesday night’€™s game between the Celtics (50-19) and Grizzlies (39-32) at the TD Garden (7:30 p.m.), we caught up with Chip Crain at the ‘€œ3 Shades of Blue‘€ blog. He answered our five most pressing questions on the Western Conference’s current eighth seed (He did the same for a preview of November’s 116-110 C’s overtime victory) ‘€¦

1. In the wake of the Tony Allen-O.J. Mayo brawl fiasco, has the team dynamic or chemistry changed?

Yes and No. The fight is one of those things that should never have reached the media first of all. “What happens on the team plane stays on the team plane,” so to speak.

I imagine players get into scraps from time to time during an 82-game season. What made this one so newsworthy was that it involved a well-known player (Mayo), the man who recently took his starting job (Allen) and the severity of the beating (Mayo had a black eye for over a week).

What happened was that Mayo was upset over not being the starting shooting guard once Xavier Henry, who originally started in place of Mayo, was hurt. Instead, Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins turned to Allen.

Allen is not a quiet personality. His talking probably irritated Mayo long before the plane flight, but the gambling debt was the last straw. Mayo was pouting and completely in the wrong, and the beating he received was likely justified.

It was unfortunate that it happened, embarrassing that it was reported in the media but it did have a silver lining. The team bonded together after it. Instead of the battle splitting the team apart, they became more focused and united on the team goals. The Grizzlies were 15-19 at the time of the disagreement. They are 24-13 since.

2. What led to Tony Allen getting a starting spot, and why has he been so successful?

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Leon Powe, Memphis Grizzlies, Rudy Gay
Irish Coffee: Larry Bird says Rajon Rondo can’t shoot 03.23.11 at 11:17 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

I’m not sure how I missed this — probably because it took place on St. Patrick’s day – but Celtics legend Larry Bird joined The Dan Patrick Show and had this exchange with the host about C’s point guard Rajon Rondo:

  • Dan Patrick: “Who’s the guy you didn’t draft, look back on and go, ‘You know what, I’m surprised by how good he is’?”
  • Larry Bird: “Rondo.”
  • DP: “What was it about Rondo that made you nervous about drafting him?”
  • LB: “His shooting.”
  • DP: “He still can’t shoot.”
  • LB: “No, but he can play.”
  • DP: “Could you teach him to shoot?”
  • LB: “It’d take awhile.”

Rondo ranks 27th in true shooting percentage among NBA point guards who play at least 25 minutes per game. His field-goal percentage (48.0) ranks sixth for players at his position, but as you get further from the rim — where he’s shooting 54.0 percent — he gets awful shaky. Rondo is shooting 33.0 percent from 3-9 feet, 41.0 percent from 10-15 feet, 27.0 percent from 16-23 feet and 27.8 percent from 3-point range, according to HoopData.com.

You can’t really blame Bird for claiming Rondo can’t shoot, but you can blame him for selecting Shawne Williams four slots ahead of Rondo at No. 21 in the 2006 NBA draft. Here are a few other highlights from what proved to be a great interview with Bird:

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Larry Bird, Lawrence Frank, Rajon Rondo
Irish Coffee: Celtics make statement(s) in New York 03.22.11 at 2:15 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Make no mistake that Monday night’s Celtics victory against the Knicks was a statement by Doc Rivers & Co. that a) any discussion of a Celtics-Knicks rivalry still ends in a hammer-nail declaration, b) they care about the No. 1 seed more than people think, c) the Eastern Conference crown still belongs in Boston and d) Kendrick Perkins wasn’t the only tough guy in Green. The Associated Press pictures tell the whole story, so let’s let them (NOTE: click on the pictures in the rest of this entry to follow the links) …

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Irish Coffee: Who wants the No. 1 seed more? 03.21.11 at 2:12 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Arguing that the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed is more important to the Bulls than the Celtics, Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen wrote, The Celtics know they can win on the road, while this Bulls team has yet to win a series under any circumstances.”

The logic is certainly sound, considering the veteran C’s defeated the Cavaliers and Magic and nearly won the 2010 NBA Finals as a No. 4 seed. But these are the Celtics’ probable Eastern Conference playoff matchups if they earn the No. 1 seed …

  • First Round: Pacers, Bucks or Bobcats
  • Eastern semis: Magic or Hawks
  • Conference finals: Bulls or Heat

And these are their probable conference playoff opponents if they get the No. 2 seed …

  • First Round: Knicks or 76ers
  • Eastern semis: Heat
  • Conference finals: Bulls

Now, which would you rather have? Door No. 1, right? Like, by a significant margin. Still, the Celtics seem to be aligning themselves with Thomsen’s thinking — at least, to NBA.com

Rajon Rondo: “If you ask me personally, I don’t think it’s so important. I think it’s important that we get our chemistry. We have a lot of new guys on our roster and lot of veterans. The focus should be on getting Shaq [O'Neal] back, getting J.O. [Jermaine O'Neal] back. Delonte [West] is getting acquainted. We’ve got to continue finding a way.”

Doc Rivers: “We’re gonna lean on the health side. I’m gonna always go that way, and we hope we can still win games and still get the No. 1 seed. But we’re not gonna get it if it means that we’re gonna have to give up health. Health is gonna be No. 1.

“Any timing when you get healthy is good timing. But I obviously would have preferred it to be right after the All-Star break. That’s when we hoped that everyone would be back and that we’d be able to kind of put the parts together. It just hasn’t happened. There’s nothing we can do about it. So we have to hope to figure it out on the fly.”

We should be able to determine if either team cares less about the top seed than the other simply by taking a look at whether or not Rivers or Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau are limiting their respective team’s minutes.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose, Doc Rivers
Irish Coffee: Delonte West ecstatic about Jeff Green 03.18.11 at 2:21 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

 

While the Big Four of Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen probably looked at the Celtics-Thunder deadline deal as “The Kendrick Perkins Trade,” at least one member of the C’s saw it from a different perspective.

That’s because Delonte West knew better than his teammates what Jeff Green was capable of contributing, because — as West puts it — everybody who grows up playing basketball in the Washington D.C. greater metropolitan area knows each other. Not to mention the two played together on the SuperSonics for half the 2007-08 season.

“I played with Jeff in a few rec leagues before up at Georgetown, and I played with him in Seattle,” said West. “I know what he can do. I know what he’€™s capable of. In Oklahoma, you had a few guys taking all the shine over there, but when I heard we were getting Jeff Green, I was automatic ecstatic. I’€™ve been in the gym with him before in Seattle. The guy can play.”

Green could play then, and West believes his former teammate is even better now that he’s added a few weapons to his repertoire of skills. Green has averaged 11.1 points on 48.8 percent shooting in 23.1 minutes a night in 10 games for the Celtics.

“Of course he’€™s matured a little bit,” added West. “He’€™s a few years in now, and he’€™s only getting better. I see him shooting that 3 ball real comfortably. I already knew he could run the floor and how easy he can get points for us. That’€™s important.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Delonte West, Jeff Green, Kendrick Perkins
Irish Coffee: Bill Walton’s St. Patrick’s Day 03.17.11 at 11:56 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

The NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year as a member of the 1985-86 Celtics that finished 67-15 during the regular season — and 41-1 at home in the Boston Garden — on their way to winning 15-of-18 playoff games and the franchise’s 16th NBA title, Bill Walton can wish you a St. Patrick’s Day far better than I can.

So, without further ado, I give you Walton uncensored, about five or six Guinesses deep most likely (from his appearance on the Big Show):

“Go Green. Go Guinness. I’m popping one right now. Ten million pints poured every day around this great globe of ours — the globe, the most perfect orb, just like the basketball. The basketball by itself does nothing, but when you make it an extension of your mind the way that [Rajon] Rondo does, the way that Danny Ainge did and DJ [Dennis Johnson] and Larry [Bird] and Kevin [McHale] and Chief [Robert Parish] and Jerry [Sichting] and Rick [Carlisle] and Scotty [Wedman] and all the guys did — but when you’re able to make an extension of your mind, of what it is you’re doing in life, whether it’s drinking a Guinness responsibly, whether you’re bouncing that magic basketball for the Celtic Green, you can make a difference, and that’s what we’re calling everybody to do on St. Patrick’s Day, the start of the college tournament, the most perfect harmonic convergence ever. Be bold, stand tall, quit your job and chase your dreams. …

“I only drink Guinness, the holy water falling from the sky, delivering spiritual guidance. We’re blessed. We’re so blessed. We’re on record pace, and we’re having the time of our life. …

“When this morning started, and it started more than 24 hours ago, the call to action was to take the day off. Who wants to lead a watered down life? C’mon. Let’s get up and be bold. Forget just taking the day off, just quit your job. Make your dream your job, and that’s what I was able to do. My parents ask me to this very day, ‘So, Billy, did you ever get a job?’ I’m closer than ever to being able to say yes. It’s so special. The remarkable thing about Guinness in our world is that in the mother country, Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday. In Canada, St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday. Somewhere, we got lost along the path, along the golden road to unlimited devotion. …

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Read More: Bill Walton, Boston Celtics, Larry Bird, St. Patrick's Day
Carlos Arroyo ‘truly honored’ to be a Celtic 03.17.11 at 10:54 am ET
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A Heat team that has struggled to surround its All-Star trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the supporting cast to win as expected jettisoned Carlos Arroyo, but somehow a deeper Celtics team that has enjoyed more success found a role for the veteran point guard.

For Arroyo, that juxtaposition is perplexing. So, what happened in Miami?

‘€œIf I knew, I’€™d be there right now,’€ he said, and later added, “You can’t just throw 15 guys together and expect to win. It takes time. That’s what they have here in Boston, and that’s what every other team in the NBA is trying to achieve.”

Adjusting to a new team with fewer than 20 games until the start of the playoffs has been a whirlwind process for Arroyo, but nothing a guy who’s played for seven teams since 2001 hasn’t been through before.

“I’ve been talking a lot with my friends, and I compare this team to the team I was on in Detroit,” said Arroyo. “We went all the way to the Finals. I got there midseason, and it was similar types of players – veterans mixed with young guys – a similar city – not taking anything away from Boston – similar weather. Just the same atmosphere. I’€™m kind of enjoying that, and that brings memories.”

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