|NBA Power Rankings, 2/10||02.10.11 at 8:28 pm ET|
A quick explanation of the top four: While the Celtics and Lakers have fallen prey to the annual February malaise at times, the Spurs continue to separate themselves in the standings, establishing a 5.5-game lead for homecourt throughout the playoffs.
Meanwhile, neither the Heat nor the Lakers have proven this season they can beat the Celtics, although that could change when both come to town in the next four days. While the Mavericks have won 10 straight and swept the C’s this season, I’m still not confident they’re any better than the third-best team out West. There you have it.
Now, it’s time to unveil this week’s full NBA Power Rankings. In a tribute to Ray Allen‘s chase for Reggie Miller‘s all-time 3-point record, we give you the best current and former long-distance shooters on each of the league’s 30 teams …
1. San Antonio (44-8): Sinking 916-of-2,450 (37.4 percent) in his Spurs career, Manu Ginobili is both the team’s current and all-time leading 3-point shooter.
2. Boston (38-13): Sinking 1,540-of-4,158 (37.0 percent) in his Celtics career, Paul Pierce is both the team’s current and all-time leading 3-point shooter. Allen has made 639 of his 1,586 3-point shots (40.3 percent) since coming to Boston in 2007.
3. Miami (38-14): Sinking 806-of-2,263 (35.6 percent) in his Heat career, Tim Hardaway is the team’s all-time leading 3-point shooter. Dwyane Wade is Miami’s current 3-point shooting leader, making 288-of-985 (29.2 percent) in his career with the team.
4. LA Lakers (36-16): Sinking 1,370-of-4,042 (33.9 percent) in his Lakers career, Kobe Bryant is both the team’s current and all-time leading 3-point shooter.
5. Dallas (37-15): Sinking 1,175-of-3,084 (38.1 percent) in his Mavericks career, Dirk Nowitzki is both the team’s current and all-time leading 3-point shooter.
|Shaquille O’Neal to levitate over the Garden?||02.10.11 at 3:43 pm ET|
Accompanying girlfriend Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander on WGBH’s Emily Rooney Show Thursay, he announced plans to perform a magic act on top of the TD Garden.
“Now, listen,” O’Neal told WGBH. “I asked Criss Angel to levitate me over the top of the TD Boston Garden, and he said yes so we just have to figure out a date.”
Angel is a magician who appears on an A&E television show entitled “Mindfreak.”
Alexander also revealed that the two have taken dancing classes together in their hometown of Sudbury. Unfortunately, there’s no video available of that. She and O’Neal also debated whether or not she’s ever defeated him 1-on-1 in tennis.
Suffering from an inflamed Achilles tendon, O’Neal hasn’t played since Feb. 1 against the Kings. He is expected to miss Thursday night’s game against the Lakers and could be out through the Feb. 18-21 NBA All-Star break.
|Irish Coffee: Ray Allen 3-Point Timeline||02.10.11 at 1:46 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
In case you haven’t heard, Ray Allen trails Reggie Miller by one 3-pointer for the NBA’s all-time record of 2,560 career treys. Considering he’ll likely surpass Miller against the Lakers on Thursday night, what better time than now to create the Ray Allen 3-Point Timeline?
- Nov. 1, 1996 (Bucks 111, 76ers 103): Allen made the first 3-pointer of his NBA career.
- Nov. 2, 2000 (Rockets 114, Bucks 93): Allen made the 500th 3-pointer of his NBA career.
- Jan. 1, 2003 (Bucks 106, Cavaliers 94): Allen made the 1,000th 3-pointer of his NBA career.
- Jan. 11, 2005 (Sonics 104, Clippers 99): Allen made the 1,361st 3-pointer of his NBA career, passing Dan Majerle for fifth on the all-time list.
- Nov. 9, 2005 (Cavaliers 112, Sonics 85): Allen made the 1,500th 3-pointer of his NBA career.
- Dec. 13, 2005 (Warriors 110, Sonics 107): Allen made the 1,543rd 3-pointer of his NBA career, passing Tim Hardaway for fourth on the all-time list.
- Dec. 20, 2005 (Suns 111, Sonics 83): Allen made the 1,560th 3-pointer of his NBA career, passing Glen Rice for third on the all-time list.
- April 7, 2006 (Sonics 121, Trail Blazers 108): Allen made the 1,720th 3-pointer of his NBA career, passing Dale Ellis for second on the all-time list.
- Jan. 5, 2008 (Celtics 92, Pistons 85): Allen made the 2,000th 3-pointer of his NBA career.
- Dec. 25, 2010 (Orlando 86, Celtics 78): Allen made the 2,500th 3-pointer of his NBA career.
When Allen had a chance to tie or surpass a milestone or a top-five 3-point shooter, he generally accelerated past them. In fact, the only time he had the chance to set a new milestone but didn’t was the night before he eclipsed 2,000, finishing 0-for-3 that evening.
Given a chance to pass those milestones, Allen finished 35-for-70 (50.0 percent) from 3-point range in those games. He also averaged 23.5 points under those circumstances.
With 1,540 3-pointers in his NBA career thus far, Paul Pierce needs just seven to pass Hardaway and Jones for 10th on the all-time list. Oh, Avery Bradley and Kendrick Perkins have a shot at sinking the first 3-pointer of their NBA careers. Allen has just 236 fewer career 3-point baskets than the entire rest of the Celtics team combined.
|Irish Coffee: Jim Calhoun and Ray Allen team up again||02.09.11 at 12:15 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
So, Webster Bank’s new spokesman is naturally Ray Allen, because when you think money you think Ray Allen, right? Anywho, this is the new commercial. It’s pretty funny — much better than the Dunkin’ Donuts ad he does — so I figured I’d share it.
The chest bump and paper swat outtakes at the end are especially hilarious. And so is this from UConn head coach Jim Calhoun: “Everybody talked about this Ray, Roy, Rip Allen. I didn’t know his name, but boy could he play.”
A couple other interesting promotions from the Celtics: Shaquille O’Neal donated a pair of shoes to the Boston Children’s Museum’s Big & Little exhibit; adidas is giving fans a chance to design shoes inspired by Celtics history; and Marvel created Hulk-inspired Celtics gear.
REGGIE MILLER ‘EXCITED TO BE A PART OF HISTORY’
In case you haven’t heard yet, Allen is one 3-pointer away from tying Reggie Miller‘s all-time career record of 2,560 3-pointers and two away from breaking it. And Miller is making every attempt to bask in Allen’s limelight. Of course, the fact that he’ll be a part of Thursday night’s TNT broadcasting crew makes that easier for him.
In a conference call about TNT’s NBA All-Star Game coverage, Miller discussed the potential of Allen breaking the record in his presence against the Lakers:
“We had this game on the schedule for Steve [Kerr] and I to call months ago. Now who would’ve thought that it would come down to Ray Allen being able to tie and break the record in our presence? To me, there is such a thing as a ‘basketball God.’” …
“I am excited. This is going to be wonderful. It’s not very often that you get to see history being made. We all know Ray very well. He’s a very humble guy, a family man. I’m excited to be a part of history being made.”
|Irish Coffee: Phil Jackson, Eduardo Najera diss Kevin Garnett||02.08.11 at 11:45 am ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
In addition to Spike Lee‘s hypocritical comments that Garnett “needs to calm the f#%$ down” — which we detailed at length Monday afternoon — the names Phil Jackson, Gerald Henderson and Eduardo Najera can be scratched from the Kevin Garnett Fan Club.
“Pau knows who he is. He’s tenacious. I like him to be aggressive offensively. He’s always a willing passer. The one thing I’m on him about is getting that first rebound. Don’t let them knock it out of your hands. Don’t let them knock it away.
“Otherwise, all this talk about how aggressive he is or how aggressive he isn’t falls on deaf ears. He totally gets it. He is who he is. We’re not going to make him into Garnett. He’s not going to go around and punch guys in the balls. He’s too nice of a guy.”
Prior to Monday night’s 94-89 loss to the Bobcats, Celtics coach Doc Rivers defended Garnett against Lee, Jackson and the growing list of critics who suggest Garnett’s intensity has crossed the line from healthy to dirty play (the low blow to Frye, in particular):
|Three-Pointer: Celtics show age before beauty||02.07.11 at 11:42 pm ET|
‘We’re old,’ said Rondo, who at 24 is the youngest player on the roster outside of the last two guys on the bench, Avery Bradley and Luke Harangody.
The Celtics are indeed old, averaging 31.1 years of age. The good news is that with age comes experience. That’s 902 playoff games and 47 All-Star selections of experience. Generally, that means a lot of victories ‘ just ask the 1997-98 Bulls, who at an average age of 31.6 were the oldest team in NBA history to capture a title, winning 62 games in the regular season and 15 of 21 playoff contests.
But with age also comes aching bodies. Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal have a combined 14 feet and 550 pounds of bodies — logging a total of 66,669 minutes in their careers — that have translated into 47 missed games already this season. Their consistent absences from the lineup means when other injuries occur (i.e., Delonte West, Marquis Daniels and Semih Erden), Doc Rivers‘ bench looks like Norman Dale’s in ‘Hoosiers’ when he was forced to play Ollie.
Remarkably, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are defying their ages of 35, 34 and 33, respectively, as the only players on the Celtics’ roster to start 40 of the team’s 51 games. Still, that doesn’t mean their old legs aren’t tired on the second night of back-to-back games.
‘I think we have 13 losses, and I know seven of them have come on back-to-backs,’ the Celtics coach told reporters after the C’s fell to 38-13 with a 94-89 loss to the Bobcats (click here for the complete recap). ‘And it’s the same script in five of them, where we win a decent game the day before, we come out, we kind of goof around and then all of a sudden you try to win it in the fourth. Well, then you don’t have anything left.’
|Fast Break: Bobcats’ bench bests Celtics||02.07.11 at 9:41 pm ET|
Despite leading scorer Stephen Jackson getting ejected, the Bobcats got 19 points and 16 rebounds from Gerald Wallace to hand the Celtics a 94-89 loss Monday night in Charlotte. Shaun Livingston and Gerald Henderson combined for 33 points off the bench for the Bobcats.
Ray Allen led all scorers with 25 points, and Rajon Rondo (10 points, 14 rebounds) produced a double-double for the Celtics (38-13), who maintain a slim lead over the Heat for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Bench scoring: While a lineup of Nate Robinson, Von Wafer, Luke Harangody, Glen Davis and Allen battled the Bobcats fairly even for the first five minutes of the second quarter, they scored just three points in that stretch. Overall, the Bobcats’ bench outscored its Boston counterpart 44-15 for the game. The 6-foot-7 Livingston (17 points) led the way, using his size advantage against Rondo and Robinson.
Off the mark: When the Celtics’ offense is running on all cylinders, they’ll shoot 60 percent as a team. Against the Bobcats, though, they hovered around 40 percent all night. That’s especially bad when you consider Rondo was seeing the floor well.
Banging the boards: Wallace (16 rebounds) and Kwame Brown (12 rebounds) owned the boards against the Celtics. Wallace is undertandable; Brown isn’t. Together, those two helped the Bobcats out-rebound the C’s by 14 (50-36) for the night. The Celtics really felt the absences of both Shaquille O’Neal and Semih Erden, who sat with injuries.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
The Ray Allen watch: Allen sunk a 3-pointer in the first minute of the game — bringing the magic number to three in order to break Reggie Miller‘s all-time 3-point record. He cut that number to two when he sunk another trey in the third quarter.
At times, though, it appeared Allen might want to wait until Thursday’s home game against the Lakers to set the mark. He must’ve taken more pullup jumpers inside the arc than he had all season. Still, Allen finished with 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting.
Getting under Stephen Jackson’s skin: Earlier this week, when he was sitting on 11 technical fouls for the season and had already been suspended for berating a referee, Jackson said, “If me speaking my mend gets me a tech, hey.” Well, that attitude got him another two technical fouls — in succession — when he thought he got fouled going to the basket. As a result, he was tossed from the game while leading the Bobcats with 11 points at the time.
Rajon Rondo’s strong start: Just as he did against the Magic, Rondo made it a point to get to the basket right from the opening whistle, which he did rather easily against Bobcats point guard D.J. Augustin. Rondo had 10 points and five assists in the first quarter alone.