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Irish Coffee: Celtics’ Top 10 NBA All-Star performances 02.04.11 at 1:14 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

In honor of four Celtics — Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen — all making the NBA All-Star Game, I give you the top-five NBA All-Star Weekend performances by the current Celtics …

5. PAUL PIERCE sunk all five money balls in the final round of the 2010 NBA 3-Point Shootout. Neither Stephen Curry or Chauncy Billups could match Pierce, and the Celtics captain took home the title.

4. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL (as a member of the Lakers) recorded 24 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks to lead the West to a 136-132 win over the East and capture 2004 NBA All-Star Game MVP honors. Also the 2000 and 2009 All-Star Game MVP, O’Neal announced in his postgame interview, “Can you dig it?”

3. RAY ALLEN (as a member of the Bucks) outdueled Peja Stojakovic for the 2001 NBA 3-Point Shootout championship. Entering the final rack, Allen needed to make 3-of-5 to tie. He made four.

2. NATE ROBINSON (as a member of the Knicks) won his second of a record three NBA Slam Dunk contests in 2009, defeating Dwight Howard by leaping over the 6-foot-11 Magic center in the finals.

1. KEVIN GARNETT (as a member of the Timberwolves) outperformed Michael Jordan in the Bulls legend’s final NBA All-Star Game in 2003. Amassing the most points in an All-Star contest since Jordan’s 40 in 1988, Garnett totaled 37 points, nine rebounds, five steals and three assists to lead the West to a 155-145 double-overtime victory against the East, capturing MVP honors in the process.

“The All-Star Game is not about individual,” said Garnett. “It’s totally a group effort. It’s a time for you to share stories, good times, emotional times with your teammates.”

Given the Celtics’ storied history in NBA All-Star Games ever since Ed Macauley captured MVP honors with 20 points and six rebounds in the league’s first-ever All-Star competition, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also provide the top-five All-Star Weekend performances by former Celtics …

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Read More: All-Star Game, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, NBA
NBA Power Rankings, 2/3 02.03.11 at 6:14 pm ET
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The Celtics haven’t claimed the top spot in our NBA Power Rankings since Jan. 6, but as Paul Flannery wrote following the C’s 109-96 victory against the Lakers on Sunday, “The Celtics’ performance proved that as of this moment they are the team to beat in the NBA. On their best day, and this may have been it, no one can even come close to matching them.”

There are four other legitimate contenders for the 2011 NBA title — the Spurs, Bulls, Heat and Lakers — and the Celtics have beaten all of them, recording six wins in seven games against those teams. That’s kinda good.

The C’s have now defeated 23 of the 29 other teams in the league. The only two teams they haven’t faced yet are the Clippers and Warriors. They’ve lost their only games against the Mavericks, Suns, Rockets and Hornets so far, but they get their respective shots at revenge on Friday, March 2, March 18 and March 19.

In short, pretty much everybody has praised the Celtics as one of, if not THE best in the league. Kevin Garnett might be one of the most disliked opponents in the league, but the C’s are getting their share of respect. That’s why we’ve decided to highlight the best quotes about the Celtics from opposing coaches and players in this week’s edition of the Power Rankings. Without further ado, here goes …

1. Boston (37-11): I don’t care that the Celtics have lost to the Wizards, Pistons, Raptors and Cavaliers. I don’t care that they scored only 71 points against the Suns. Four of those losses occurred on the road after playing the previous night, and the other came at 1 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. When the Celtics are motivated, they’ve been almost unbeatable. Just ask the Spurs, Lakers and Heat.

2. San Antonio (40-8): Spurs coach Gregg Popovich after losing to the Celtics on Jan. 5, 105-103: “It’s just frustrating that we’re a definite, significant notch below the big boys — of course, Boston being one of the big boys — come playoff time if this continues. You know, Boston is third in field-goal percentage ‘D,’ and first in defensive rebounding. Those are the kind of stats we used to have defensively to do what you need to do to be the last team standing.” (via Sporting News)

3. Chicago (34-14): Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau after losing to the Celtics in overtime on Nov. 5, 110-105: “They’€™ve got a lot of weapons, they’€™re experienced, they know how to work the game and they’re hard to guard. I think the thing that often gets overlooked with them is not only their individual greatness but their collective greatness and willingness to share with each other. ‘€¦ It puts enormous pressure on your defense. Your defense can’€™t get set, and that’€™s something we’€™re striving for.”

4. Miami (34-14): Heat forward LeBron James on Wednesday: “We’re way behind [the Celtics]. Just look at the number of games played, the number of playoff series those guys have had. We’re only a few months in together — 40-something-plus games. I’ve seen the statistics. Boston has like 250-plus games played together. We’re way behind those teams.” (via ESPN.com)

5. LA Lakers (34-15): Lakers coach Phil Jackson: “I personally don’t think [the Heat] can get by Boston. I think Boston is too good a team. I think a team is still going to win.” (via ESPN.com)

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, power rankings
Irish Coffee: Shaquille O’Neal talks Hoopz 02.03.11 at 12:31 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦  

  

During the filming of “Flavor of Love” on VH1, Nikki “Hoopz” Alexander dominated Flavor Flav in a game of one-on-one. Then she owned some dude named “Entertainer” with a flurry of profanities on “I Love Money” — another VH1 reality show.  

But she’d probably have a tougher time defeating her current boyfriend, Shaquille O’Neal.  

Sudbury’s most famous couple went two-on-one in an interview with The Globe’s Meredith Goldstein for a Home & Lifestyle section cover story. Here’s what we learned:  

  • Hoopz, 28, on Shaq, 38: ‘€œI knew he was a goofball. We’€™re the same. We’€™re both goofballs.’€™’€™
  • Shaq is 7-foot-1; Hoopz is 5-foot-2. A full Nelson de la Rosa separates them.
  • Hoopz is filming another reality show, based on their suburban life and her desire to become a women’s heath and self-defense guru. Like I won’t watch that.
  • Shaq has a pit bull named Shamrock. Do you think the dog has a Kobe Bryant chew toy?
  • Ther’s a room in Shaq’s house that features Taylor Swift and “Alice in Wonderland” posters on the wall and candy canisters everwhere. Oh, and there’s a pink bathroom, too. Thankfully, that room is Hoopz’s. Shaq calls it the “dungeon.”
  • Hoopz won “Flavor of Love” Season 1, capturing Flavor Flav’s “on-camera affection” and the ultimate prize: a set of gold teeth. I think I just found my Valentine’s Day gift.
  • Hoopz then took home $250,000 for winning ‘€œI Love Money,’€™’€™ a crazy reality show spinoff about the craziest VH1 reality show castoffs that could only happen in America.
  • Hoopz once followed another basketball player,  James “Boo” Jackson, to Tennessee. A gym gypsy of sorts, Jackson left town for another team. Hoopz stayed behind.
  • Hoopz and Shaq’s first date was in Las Vegas. Luckily, it didn’t end up at The Best Little Chapel — a la Stu and Jade in “The Hangover.”
  • The next few dates between Hoopz took Shaq included fishing, visiting a Waffle House and listening to music by Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift. You know, typical Shaq things.
  • Shaq on Hoopz: ‘€œShe’€™s my first female best friend, besides my mother.’€™’€™
  • Shaq has a live-in chef. Unfortunately, it’s not Chef from “South Park.”
  • Hoopz and Shaq watch “Spartacus” on Starz together. Loin cloths optional.
  • Hoopz attends every Celtics home game. Shaq attends most, too.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Nikki "Hoopz" Alexander
Irish Coffee: Time to start Kendrick Perkins 02.02.11 at 12:57 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

It’s time for Kendrick Perkins to start.

Despite Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge‘s claim on WEEI’s Big Show last week that he doesn’t think it matters who starts between Shaquille O’Neal and Perkins, the man who hasn’t lost a playoff series starting alongside Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo has proven within five games that he deserves his spot back.

In Perkins’ first three games since returning from ACL surgery this past offseason, the Celtics were better off with either O’Neal or Semih Erden starting the first and third quarters. The numbers back it up. The C’s outscored their opponents by a total of three points to start each half before Perkins entered the game against the Cavaliers, Blazers and Suns. They were subsequently outscored by a total of 11 points with Perkins on the floor in those three games.

However, in the last two games — victories over the Lakers and Kings — the C’s have outscored their opponents by 22 from the moment Perkins entered the game in the first and third quarters to the time somebody substituted for him. That’s nine points better than they were in those two contests with O’Neal on the floor to start each half.

In his first five games this season, Perkins’ minutes have steadily risen to the mid-20s, culminating in a near double-double against the Kings. His performance Tuesday night marked the first game he vastly outperformed the C’s starting center.

Take a look at Perkins’ progression upon entering each half since his return compared to the Celtics’ starting center that night (each player’s plus/minus statistics are in parentheses):

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Read More: Bill Walton, Boston Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Magic Johnson
Irish Coffee: Avery Bradley’s stock rising 02.01.11 at 11:34 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Avery Bradley‘s move to Maine has been the best thing for both him and the Celtics.

The C’s first-round selection in the 2010 NBA draft, Bradley took his talents to Portland when the team sent him to the NBA Development League, and he’s beginning to prove himself as one of the (minor) league’s best.

The 20-year-old is flourishing in the NBADL, gaining valuable experience. But the value of his performance might be even greater for the Celtics. Because there’s no urgency to force a young kid into the rotation, the C’s — if necessary — can either call on a kid who two years ago was ranked higher than John Wall as a high school player or shop him with all the leverage in a trade discussion.

Either way, it’s a win-win — another great pick by president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. Bradley is a valuable member of this Celtics team, even if he’s not playing for them. Look at his averages while playing just 30 minutes a night in seven games (4 starts) for the Maine Red Claws:

  • Points: 15.3
  • Assists: 5.0
  • Rebounds: 3.9
  • Steals: 0.4
  • Blocks: 0.4
  • Turnovers: 4.3
  • FG percentage: 39.8
  • 3-point FG percentage: 36.4
  • FT percentage: 83.3

Sure, his turnovers and field-goal percentage could use some improvement, but his offensive production has been better than expected, considering his defensive ability has always been his greatest strength. Here’s how ESPNU described his game when they ranked him as the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2009:

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Paul Pierce
Irish Coffee: Interpreting Celtics vs. Lakers 01.31.11 at 1:07 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Considering all the stars on and off the court — for both teams — at Sunday’s game between the Celtics and Lakers, you would’ve thought there’d have been some great Twitter messages in the aftermath of the C’s 109-96 victory at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. There wasn’t, so I made them up anyway. Here’s my interpretation of what the players and celebrity fans should’ve Tweeted throughout the finals rematch:

  • Matt Damon: “The Celtics are showing ‘True Grit’. The Lakers are playing like True …”
  • Jimmy Kimmel: “I’m feeling Matt Damon.”
  • Ron Artest: “Is this my second season with the Lakers? Time to check out.”
  • Phil Jackson: “I’m going to kill Ron Art– (deep breath) Serenity now!!!”
  • Kobe Bryant: “The ring I bought my wife and Artest’s contract cost the same. And I’m sorry for both.”
  • Robert Rodriguez: “Black Mamba seems like a strange nickname for a guy who was once arrested for sexual assault, but let’s go with it Kobe!”
  • Derek Fisher: “A cheerleader blew me a kiss, and I thought I got shot. I flopped like 10 feet backwards!”
  • Zac Efron: “Who’s worse at acting: Me or Fisher?”
  • Paul Pierce: “The only way I could’ve made this win better is to get the wheelchair involved.”
  • Adam Sandler: “KG told a ballboy he had a better chance of catching Bin Laden than getting an autograph? Was it Bobby Boucher? ‘Stop making fun of me!'”
  • Kevin Garnett: “It wasn’t a good week for me and things that hold balls. Just ask Channing Frye.”
  • George Lopez: “Wait, why aren’t I rooting for the Nuggets? They have Eduardo Najera!”
  • Glen Davis: “Coach told me to treat Odom and Andrew Bynum like a bowl of gumbo. Eat ‘em up. Ayo!”
  • Lamar Odom: “I’m not sure whose badonkadonk is bigger: Big Baby’s or Khloe Kardashian‘s.”
  • John Lackey: “Who’s better looking: Me or Semih Erden?”
  • Brooklyn Decker: “I love basketball. How many touchdowns does Kobe have? Oh, and who’s better looking: Me or John Lackey’s wife?”
  • Joey Crawford: “Wait, Kendrick Perkins is back? (whistle) Technical foul, No. 43.”
  • Kendrick Perkins: “Two technicals in two nights. I’m in midseason form!”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Paul Pierce
Name That NBA Tweet: Celtics vs. Suns 01.28.11 at 6:09 pm ET
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Welcome to ‘€œName 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. ‘€œI’€™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 ‘€œBaby’€. Both have been known to dance the Dougie.

Answer: Click here.

 2. ‘€œGotta 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. ‘€œThank 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. ‘€œWhat 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 ‘€œAmerican Pie’€.

Answer: Click here.

5. ‘€œWELL 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, ‘€œHave your pets spayed or neutered!’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Justin Bieber, Name That Tweet, Phoenix Suns
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