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Name That NBA Tweet: Celtics vs. Suns 01.28.11 at 6:09 pm ET
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Welcome to “Name that NBA Tweet” — the game show where everybody’s a loser (including the host)! If you didn’t catch the first season over on LEEInks, here’s the deal: An athlete or celebrity posted the following 140-character thought on his/her twitter account over the last week. This week’s episode features a Celtics vs. Suns theme in anticipation of Friday’s game. It’s your job to figure out who produced these Shakespearean efforts.

1. “I’ma go home and sit by the fire and drink some hot cocoa. And listen to some John Denver!!!”

– Glen Davis or Justin Bieber?

Davis is Big Baby. Bieber sings “Baby”. Both have been known to dance the Dougie.

Answer: Click here.

 2. “Gotta pick my girls up early from a half day of school. How good were half days?!!”

 Steve Nash or Ice Cube?

Cube messed around and got a triple-double, while Nash once recorded a triple-double in a playoff game.

Answer: Click here.

3. “Thank you for all your well wishes. I AM slowly coming out of this thing. It has been truly, truly brutal.

– Jermaine O’Neal or Dr. Drew?

Drew is recovering from Leptospirosis. Jermaine is recovering from Oh-my-knee-itis.

Answer: Click here.

4. “What did everbody think about Obama’s State of the Union speech he just finished?”

– Jared Dudley or Shannon Elizabeth?

Dudley played alongside Sean Williams at Boston College, while Elizabeth played alongside Sean William Scott in “American Pie”.

Answer: Click here.

5. “WELL THIS IS SUNDAY … so let’s all give a big shout out to GOD … and LOVE.”

– Nate Robinson or Kirstie Alley?

Robinson has won three dunk contests. Alley has probably won at least that many pie-eating contests.

Answer: Click here.

Thanks for playing again, folks. Two more terrible Twitter puns: If you got four or more wrong, you’re a Twignoramus; if you got four or more right, you’ve got Twisdom. Until next week, and, as Bob Barker said, “Have your pets spayed or neutered!”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Justin Bieber, Name That Tweet, Phoenix Suns
Irish Coffee: Why Celtics should fear Suns 01.28.11 at 12:33 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

I’ve got to hand it to colleague Jerry Spar for this one. It’s not surprising that the Celtics haven’t performed well on back-to-back nights when the second game is on the road, regardless of where the first game is played. What’s surprising is how putrid they’ve been in those situations this season.

And they’ve found themselves in that situation again Friday night, as the Celtics take on the Suns in Phoenix less than 24 hours and 1,300 miles removed from defeating the Trail Blazers 88-78 in Portland Thursday night.

Here’s how the Celtics have fared on the road during the second leg of back-to-back nights:

  • Oct. 27 at Cleveland: 95-87 loss
  • Nov. 8 at Dallas: 89-87 loss
  • Dec. 9 at Philadelphia: 102-101 win
  • Dec. 29 at Detroit: 104-92 loss
  • Jan. 8 at Chicago: 90-79 loss
  • Jan. 22 at Washington: 85-83 loss

Note: This doesn’t include the Nov. 22 game at Atlanta (a 99-76 win), because the game the day before (at Toronto) was played in the afternoon, not at night — allowing for extra travel/recovery time.

For those of you counting at home, that’s a 1-5 record in such instances, with the lone win a one-point decision over a 20-25 Sixers team that required a Kevin Garnett alley-oop with 1.4 seconds left.

The Celtics have five remaining games in these situations:

  • Friday at Phoenix
  • March 14 at New Jersey
  • March 19 at New Orleans
  • March 28 at Indiana
  • April 1 at Atlanta

Note: This doesn’t include Feb. 7 at Charlotte or April 11 at Washington because the games the previous days are in the afternoon.

Spar took this breakdown further, noting that the C’s have had four occurrences when they’ve played the second game on back-to-back nights at home (the first game was on the road each time). They’re 4-0 in those instances.

The fact that the Celtics are four-point favorites tonight in Phoenix makes all this even more interesting.

It's the (really) little things that make Kendrick Perkins shine. (AP)

THE CASE FOR KENDRICK PERKINS

I won’t bore you with in-depth statistical analysis like I did the other day, so I’ll let the New York Times do it for me. If you like this stuff, as I do, you’ll love this piece about why Kendrick Perkins makes a huge difference.

While Perkins’ 36-minute averages last season of 13.2 points and 9.8 rebounds are good, they don’t reflect the Celtics center’s impact, particularly defensively. Even the adjusted plus/minus statistics that author Michael Lewis unveiled to portray the relative value of a player like Shane Battier don’t help Perkins’ case.

Over his last two seasons of action, Perkins has posted a -5.76 adjusted plus/minus, one of the worst marks in the league. Adjusted plus/minus is far from infallible, but characteristically it favors guys who fall in line with Perkins’ reputation: tough-defending, solid-rebounding, low-usage role players on winning teams.

Furthermore, when you look at the production of his individual opponents, Perkins’ 2009-10 numbers aren’t so favorable, either, as they were for Battier.

In each of his last two seasons, Perkins has allowed opposing centers to produce at an above average rate, a curiosity for a well-regarded player whose primary contributions come on the defensive end.

Yet, when you examine his per-possession statistics, it sheds some light on Perkins’ value.

According to Synergy Sports Technology, Perkins allowed just 0.77 points per possession in the post during the 2009-10 season, a truly impressive mark. Opponents on the low block shot just 38.5 percent despite their proximity to the basket, and Perkins, amazingly, fouled opponents on only 6.3 percent of their post-up possessions. Go back to the 2008-09 season and the numbers get even better: 0.73 points per possession allowed and 35.4 percent shooting.

PORTLAND PERSPECTIVE

Following an ugly, ugly game that saw the Celtics tie a season-high for turnovers (21), the Trail Blazers still had high praise for their Eastern Conference foes. Here‘s what they told the Oregonian:

LaMarcus Aldridge: “They showed why they are champions. They played championship basketball. They do a good job of taking away the paint. Every time I wanted to go middle, I never saw anything [open]. I tried to force it a couple times, turned it over, but I think they are one of the best teams at not … letting you get to the basket.”

Nate McMillan: “That’s a great team. That team is prepared and built to win a championship. I thought our guys scrapped. I thought they played hard. They battled tonight. But they have so many options that they can go to. When you have that many options and that team is locked in to playing that way, knowing how to win. It’s going to be a tough game.”

Two other interesting statistics from the Celtics’ victory on Thursday night:

  • Portland out-shot the C’s, 90-64, but made only three more field goals (33-30).
  • In just 31 minutes, Kevin Garnett nearly recorded his first triple-double of the season (10 points, 9 rebounds and a season-high 9 assists).

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee or a future mailbag? Send an e-mail to brohrbach@weei.com or a Twitter message to @brohrbach.)

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, NBA
NBA Power Rankings, 1/27 01.27.11 at 5:38 pm ET
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San Antonio Spurs1. San Antonio (39-7): It seems like every time I look at the NBA standings, the Spurs are 9-1 in their last 10 games. It’s ridiculous. According to John Hollinger’s playoff odds, San Antonio has a 78.1 percent chance of capturing the top seed out West and homecourt throughout the playoffs. Yet, their odds of making the Finals are just 27.3 percent, despite possessing the league’s best home record at 24-2. Strange.

Boston Celtics2. Boston (34-10): The Celtics lost another game to a bad team when they fell to the Wizards over the weekend, but we’ll give them a break considering it was once again the result of playing on the road in the second game of a back-to-back following a plane trip. Losses to the Cavaliers, Rockets and Wizards are the only reason the C’s aren’t ranked No. 1, because no team has been better than them — when motivated.

Los Angeles Lakers3. LA Lakers (33-13): The silhouette of the NBA’s logo, former Lakers general manager Jerry West eased off his comments that the Lakers are too old to play defense (they’re ranked 10th in points allowed), but he didn’t back down from saying he wouldn’t want to play the Celtics every other night — calling the C’s the favorites over the Lakers to win the NBA title.

Miami Heat4. Miami (31-13): Speaking of predictions involving the Celtics and Lakers, Phil Jackson obviously chimed in, as he doesn’t believe the Heat can get by the Celtics to reach the NBA Finals. Considering the Celtics still own a 2-0 record against Miami (and it wasn’t even that close), how can you argue with Jackson? Especially after you watch some of the poses Chris Bosh gets into during his Maxim shoot.

Chicago Bulls5. Chicago (31-14): I figured the Bulls could be a top-five team once Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah were both healthy at the same time. It turns out Noah’s presence isn’t necessary for that to happen. Perhaps more important than homecourt advantage in the Celtics’ chase for the No. 1 seed is the fact that — as it stands now — they’d only have to face the Heat or Bulls and not both in the playoffs.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, power rankings
Irish Coffee: Celtics less valuable than Lakers 01.27.11 at 12:10 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee … 

According to Forbes Magazine’s latest valuations of all 30 NBA franchises, 17 teams hemorrhaged money over the last year — the highest number since the 1998-99 lockout — despite the fact that 24 of those 30 clubs generated at least $100 million in revenue.

Based on the numbers, the Celtics are the fourth most valuable franchise in the NBA. They generated $151 million in revenue while the franchise’s value rose 5 percent over the past year, yet they made just $4.2 million.

When the magazine released the same figures just over a year ago, the Celtics ranked as the eighth-most valuable franchise, generating less revenue but taking home almost $9 million more in income.

Despite the state of the U.S. economy, the average value of all 30 NBA franchises rose 1 percent since the magazine’s last valuations. However, the average team’s operating income fell 22 percent — to $6.1 million — “the lowest figure since the 2002-03 season.”

In the offseason, Amar’e Stoudemire and LeBron James altered the balance of NBA financial power. The Knicks’ worth increased 12 percent, dethroning the Lakers as the league’s most valuable franchise. Meanwhile, the Heat’s worth rose 17 percent, while the Cavaliers’ value fell 26 percent.

Here are the top five most valuable NBA franchises:

  • 1. New York Knicks ($655 million)
  • 2. Los Angeles Lakers ($643 million)
  • 3. Chicago Bulls ($511 million)
  • 4. Boston Celtics ($452 million)
  • 5. Houston Rockets ($443 million)

After noting the surprising fact that the Pistons, who haven’t been able to find a proper suitor, are valued 13th, here are the five least valuable NBA franchises:

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Portland Trail Blazers
Kevin Garnett releases ‘Beat L.A.’ shoes 01.26.11 at 5:12 pm ET
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The Chinese shoe company that sponsors Kevin Garnett, Anta, is releasing the latest pair in the KG1 series, entitled “Beat L.A.” The 152-120 reference on the tongue of the green and white suede shoes is a reference to the Celtics’ lead in their all-time regular-season series against the Lakers.

The Celtics and Lakers square off for the first time this season on Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center. Think Garnett will be sporting these?

Read More: Anta, Beat L.A., Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett
Irish Coffee: Danny Ainge would trade anybody 01.26.11 at 11:53 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee … 

For the right price, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge would’ve traded just about anybody — Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen — during the C’s .500 stretch last season. 

Heck, he would’ve traded Larry Bird and Kevin McHale in the 1980s, too, according to the latest piece from Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen.

Here are five things that we learned from Thomsen’s conversation with Ainge: 

1. During the 1988-89 season, Ainge urged Red Auerbach to trade Bird to the Pacers for Chuck Person, Herb Williams and Steve Stipanovich, as well as McHale to the Mavericks for Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins

“I’ll never forget being at that Christmas party and we discussed them. He told us all at that time he wasn’t going to trade any of us, that he wanted us to finish our careers as Celtics. And a few months later, they traded me for Joe Kleine and Ed Pinckney. … 

(Interjection: It’s kind of funny that the guy who pleaded Red to deal Bird and McHale got traded himself. Coincidence? You tell me.) 

“But you could get Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins in their early 20s for Kevin McHale on a downward-slide team that was not going to win a championship. Stipanovich would be hurt and wouldn’t play, but Chuck had a good career. Those guys were still young, and instead you were getting two or three more years of Larry, but you were only getting 75-80 percent of Larry. We didn’t have a chance to win the championship in ’88-89 because Larry wasn’t playing — he was in those ankle casts. I don’t think anybody really believed we were a championship team during the 1988-89 season or after that. We were just hanging on.” 

By the way, here are the best seasons from Bird, Person, Williams, Stipanovich, McHale, Schrempf and Perkins after the 1988-89 season: 

  • Bird (1989-90): 24.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 47.3 FG%, 33.3 3-PT FG%, 93.0 FT%
  • Person (1989-90): 19.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 48.7 FG%, 37.2 3-PT FG%, 78.1 FT%
  • Williams (1990-91): 12.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.5 blocks, 50.7 FG%, 63.8 FT%
  • Stipanovich: never played after the 1987-88 season (injury)
  • McHale (1989-90): 20.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.9 blocks, 54.9 FG%, 89.3 FT%
  • Schrempf (1992-93): 19.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 52.3 FG%, 51.4 3-PT FG%, 83.9 FT%
  • Perkins (1991-92): 16.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.0 blocks, 45.0 FG%, 81.7 FT%

If it were me, with the benefit of hindsight, there’s no way I would’ve traded Bird for that package during the 1988-89 season. McHale? Well, that’s a different story. 

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Kendrick Perkins, Larry Bird
Ray Allen: ‘We’ve been less than ourselves’ without Kendrick Perkins 01.25.11 at 11:49 pm ET
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Following Kendrick Perkins‘ early return to the Celtics lineup, just about everybody was asked about the team’s 26-year-old center, and Ray Allen — dressed in a Shaft-like leather jacket and a sweater that went up to his nose — was no different.

“We’ve kind of been less than ourselves over the last three or fourth months, just waiting,” said Allen of Perkins’ absence this season. “We’ve had great success with the guys we’ve been using, but we haven’t had the lineup that’s been consistent here over the last three and a half years, when we’ve been successful and won some big games, including the championship. So, it’s great to see him back out on the floor, and it just makes us that much stronger.”

The vibe in the Celtics locker room felt different after the team disposed of the Cavaliers, 112-95, and it’s because, like Jerry Maguire, Perkins completes them.

“When he went down, obviously eyes around the world were on him,” added Allen. “Everybody felt a little sympathy for us, because we weren’t whole. Him coming back has a great symbolism to it, because we know what we’re trying to get back to.”

Perkins’ return was a reminder of how close the Celtics came to winning another NBA title last season before he went down with his ACL injury in Game 6 of the finals, especially considering his six rebounds in 17 minutes on Tuesday night.

And before the C’s get back to where they want to go, they’ll have another reminder of that Game 7 loss when they visit the Staples Center for the first time since to take on the Lakers on Sunday afternoon. But Allen’s blocking that from his memory.

“I’d like that to sneak up on me,” he said, “and just not think about it.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, NBA, Ray Allen
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