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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:

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
Fast Break: Perkins, Celtics hand Cavs 18th straight loss 01.25.11 at 9:55 pm ET
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In his first action since Game 6 of the 2010 NBA Finals, Kendrick Perkins came off the bench to a standing ovation and contributed seven points and six rebounds in just over 17 minutes during a 112-95 blowout of the Cavaliers Tuesday night in Boston.

The Celtics (34-10) projected Perkins would play 12-15 minutes in his return, but he exceeded expectations all night. Of course, it helped that the C’s were playing Cleveland (8-37), losers of 18 straight.

Paul Pierce netted 24 points in just 23:58 on the floor. Shortly after coming down awkwardly on a shot attempt and moving gingerly on his right leg up and down the floor a few times, he exited the game with 5:30 remaining in the third quarter.

Ray Allen knocked down a trio of 3-pointers to close the game to 20 between he and Reggie Miller for the NBA’s all-time 3-point record.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Perk’s return: Even in a rusty 15 minutes a night, Perkins makes a huge difference in the Celtics lineup — especially with both Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal sidelined with leg injuries and the team in desperate need of big bodies.

Just under four minutes into the game, with starter Semih Erden picking up his second foul in the first 3:58, the Celtics turned to Perkins. And 35 seconds later, after a standing ovation, Perkins proved himself, converting a layup plus the foul. He ran the floor and hit the boards hard on both ends of the floor — a cruel reminder of what might have been had he played Game 7 of the finals last season.

Pierce starts fierce: Playing the entire first quarter, Pierce knocked down 6-of-8 shots to score 17 of the team’s 34 points in the opening 12 minutes. During that span, he also exchanged words with Cleveland’s Joey Graham, whoever that is.

The Celtics captain scored 24 points by halftime and left the game midway through the third quarter. He stayed on the bench for the rest of the game, without treatment, so there should be little concern about his slight limp before his exit.

The bench showed up: Given his recent struggles, the Celtics had to be pleased to see Nate Robinson knock down 3-of-8 3-point attempts. He led the charge, as the C’s got at least seven points from all five available guys off the bench (including Perkins). Glen Davis (11 points) and Von Wafer (10) also reached double figures.

Their collective performance allowed Doc Rivers to rest Pierce, Allen (25:16) and Kevin Garnett (17:45) — although, in somewhat of a strange move, Rajon Rondo played almost 44 minutes.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Slow start on defense: Allowing the worst team in the league to score 26 first-quarter points and shoot 53 percent from the field for the opening 12 minutes isn’t what the Celtics were looking for when they welcomed the Cavaliers to town.

Cleveland actually owned a 23-21 lead late in the first quarter. It took a 21-5 that stretched into the middle of the second quarter for the Celtics to take control.

‘Big Baby’ not a happy camper: When Glen Davis picked up his second foul with seven minutes to play in the half, he let his frustration be known as he returned to the bench. After he was whistled for a third personal a few minutes later, the referees heard it from louder this time — as he picked up a technical, too.

Not much: When the game is in control from the early portion of the second quarter on, and the Celtics cruised to victory, it’d be nitpicking to find too much wrong with their effort … other than Pierce’s rendition of Enrique Iglesias‘ “I Like It” on the Jumbotron. Then again, Enrique Iglesias’ version isn’t much better.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Kendrick Perkins, NBA
Irish Coffee: Celtics succeed one possession at a time 01.25.11 at 1:58 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

 

Over the weekend, I stumbled across a New York Times article that claimed Derrick Rose is a better defender than Rajon Rondo, based on the individual statistical analysis of points allowed per possession:

Rose has allowed just 0.77 points per possession overall on defense this season, an elite mark for any defender, regardless of position. Chris Paul (0.86 points per possession allowed), Rajon Rondo (0.83 PPP allowed), and Russell Westbrook (0.92 PPP allowed) ‘€“- all excellent defenders -’€“ have been trumped statistically this year, and by no slim margin. Rose has each of those players handily beat, and boasts a shockingly comprehensive defensive profile.

My natural reaction: How do I get my hands on these points per possession (PPP) statistics? It turns out Synergy Sports Technology tracks every possession — offensively and defensively – for every NBA player. On both sides of the ball, a team or player’s possessions are broken down into 11 categories: 1. isolations, 2. pick-and-rolls (ball-handler), 3. post-ups, 4. pick-and-rolls (roll man), 5. spot-ups, 6. off screens, 7. handoffs, 8. cuts, 9. offensive rebounds, 10. transitions and 11. all other plays.

Obviously, a player’s PPP offensively doesn’t account for the quality of the pass he’s receiving or the look he’s getting, but it’s a great tool to determine how well he’s performing overall and on which plays he’s succeeding.

Likewise, a player’s PPP allowed defensively doesn’t account for the quality of his help defense or who he’s defending, but it’s an accurate representation of whether or not he’s stopping his assignment as well as on what plays he’s being beaten.

Let’s first break down how efficient the Celtics have been offensively as a team; the first number is where they rank in the league in terms of PPP, and the percentage reflects how often they run each play:

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Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Paul Pierce, PPP
Irish Coffee: ‘The Association’ observations 01.24.11 at 11:36 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Episode 2 of “The Association: Boston Celtics” aired on Friday night, and like the first episode, it was a must-watch for any Celtics fan. Once again, there was a lot to take from the behind-the-scenes documentary. Here’s a rundown of the highlights:

  • Even in early December, Jermaine O’Neal was rubbing some serious ointment on his knee.
  • Doc Rivers‘ leash on Rajon Rondo can wrap around the TD Garden. With Rondo on the floor stretching his hamstring during game action, Rivers was asking him if he needed a blow.
  • Paul Pierce plays defense on Kevin Garnett like Mike Tyson played defense against Peter McNeeley — by knocking his head around.
  • Ray Allen: “At some point, somebody’s going to say, ‘Well, you guys are too old, and it’s time for you to go.’ But we all have too much competitve nature and fierceness to even show any weakness.”
  • Pierce’s leadership during the eight-man practice was great to see. Rivers called the Celtics captain “more focused” as opposed to more vocal. And Pierce believes the C’s can still “whoop some ass” despite all the injuries.
  • Rivers: “We’ve got a group of guys who lost in a Game 7, and they understand that it’s going to be hard to get back to that. We’re dealing with a ton of injuries, so we’re going to need all hands on deck.”
  • This episode really personalizes Luke Harangody’s season with the Celtics, and the portion where he compares joining this C’s team to fitting in on the first day of high school is probably the best portion of the show.
  • Earlier this season, Kendrick Perkins claimed to be working on a mid-range jumper, and he was indeed working on it during filming.
  • Shaquille O’Neal broke out a portion of my all-time favorite line of his: “A hero ain’t nothing but a sandwich.” The original quote — which he delivered after a 2004 game-winning dunk against the Rockets in the playoffs — ended with, “and I’m trying to give up carbohydrates.”
  • Glen Davis‘ pregame meal? Spaghetti and pancakes, of course.
  • Allen arrives at the gym four hours before tipoff to work on his shooting. A friend pointed out over the weekend that, based on his production in games and his work ethic around them, Allen may have made more 3-pointers in his lifetime than any other human being alive. As for the official NBA record? He’s 23 shy of Reggie Miller‘s record.
  • The shot Shaq made while he was sitting on the bench was fairly ridiculous.
  • Sam Jones: “They have a sense of playing like the Celtics of old. They know they have a chance of getting that NBA championship, but they must do it together.”
  • Was that Rondo in the background at Allen’s family Christmas? And was he wearing his warmups? I’m pretty sure he was.
  • Pierce: “We know we’re a great team, but we can’t win a championship without Kevin Garnett. He’s the one most important piece to the puzzle.”

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Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jerry West, Kevin Garnett
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