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Irish Coffee: One Reason Ray Allen Will Be Better 10.20.10 at 10:44 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

ESPN analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy piled on the anti-technical foul bandwagon in a conference call to promote the station’s NBA coverage this season. While most of what’s been said on the subject has been redundant over the last week — (a la Van Gundy: “More free throws is never the answer”) — Jackson made an interesting point that could benefit the Celtics:

‘€œIf I was a guy like Reggie Miller I’€™d love the rule because it would add three or four points a night to my scoring total from technical fouls.’€

Hmmm … I’m trying to think of a guy like Reggie Miller on the Celtics. Shaquille O’Neal? No. Rajon Rondo? Nope. Oh, I know: Ray Allen. Four current NBA players, including Allen, rank higher on the list of career free-throw percentage leaders than Miller (who is No. 9 at 88.8 percent): 2. Steve Nash (90.3 percent), 3. Peja Stojakovic (89.5), 4. Allen (89.4) and 6. Chauncey Billups (89.2).

Allen averaged 16.3 points per game for the Celtics last season, so an additional four points — which, for the NBA’s sake, better be an excessive estimate — would get him closer to his career average of 20.5 points a game.

The scariest name on that free-throw percentage list: Kevin Durant, whose 88.3 conversion rate ranks No. 11 all-time. Already an NBA MVP favorite, Durant’s 30.1 points per game led the league in scoring last year. An additional few points a game gets Durant that much closer to averaging 35 points. Only two players have done that since 1970: Michael Jordan (37.1 in 1986-87; 35.0 in 1987-88) and Kobe Bryant (35.4 in 2005-06).

NBA PRESEASON PREMONITION

The Sporting News produced the following NBA statistic: “Over the last nine preseasons, 17 teams have finished undefeated or with one loss. Of those 17 teams, 16 wound up in the playoffs. None went on to win a championship and only half survived to the second round, but the fact is, if you play well in October, there’€™s a good chance you’€™ll at least be playing in late April.”

Only four NBA teams currently have unbeaten or one-loss preseason records: the Celtics (6-1), Orlando Magic (6-0), Utah Jazz (7-0) and Memphis Grizzlies (7-0). I’m not sure this is good news for the Celtics, who need a monumental breakdown to miss the playoffs. Should they defeat the New Jersey Nets tonight, they would have to buck a recent trend to win the NBA title.

Along the same lines, 82games.com analyzed a five-year window to determine: Does the NBA preseason matter? Looking at records from 2001-02 to 2005-06, there was a corollary: successful preseason teams succeeded in the regular season; likewise, unsuccessful preseason teams failed in the regular season.

The most interesting statistic from the study: teams coming off less-than-30-win seasons that produced successful preseason teams gained an average of 19 wins the following season. The only team that fits that bill this season is the Minnesota Timberwolves, who finished 15-67 last season and are 5-2 this preseason.

MAGIC JOHNSON’S DISAPPEARING ACT?

What the heck is Magic Johnson up to? A day after selling his 4.5 ownership stake in the Los Angeles Lakers for an estimated $27 million, Magic reportedly sold his 105 Starbucks franchises for another $100 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Magic was rumored to have interest in the sales of the Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors, which have since been sold. Back in 2006, when the Seattle SuperSonics were sold for $350 million, five teams were supposedly available for the right price: the Portland Trail Blazers, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Magic and Grizzlies. None of those teams have been sold since.

Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Maybe Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are preparing to buy the Indiana Pacers. Bird did admit back in April that he’s fielded calls from people interested in buying the team. I’m pretty sure Magic has his number.

 Just as long as Magic isn’t planning on investing in another edition of that godawful TV show, “The Magic Hour.”

PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING SHOES

The NBA banned its players from wearing Athletic Propulsion Labs’ $300 Concept 1 shoes. Apparently, the shoes are spring-loaded to increase vertical leap. According to the Associated Press story, 30 percent of NBA players had shown interest in the shoe produced by former USC walk-ons Adam and Ryan Goldston. Any chance the aging legs of Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal were among that 30 percent?

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’€™s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)

Read More: Celtics, Kevin Durant, NBA, Ray Allen
Report: Shaquille O’Neal applies for gun license 10.19.10 at 11:56 am ET
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According to reports, Shaquille O’Neal applied for a lcoal gun license from the Sudbury Police Department.

If you’ll recall, Shaq began his law enforcement career as a reserve officer in the Miami Police Department. He later applied to become a deputy sheriff with the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Sheriff’s Department while playing for the Cavaliers. Two quick thoughts on this item:

1) Well, Shaq did admit to killing off all the true centers.

2) Is Shaq simply fulfilling his proposed nickname: Blackie Bulger, the Godfather of Sudbury?

And this is reason No. 372 to be intimidated by Shaquille O’Neal.

Read More: Celtics, Shaquille O'Neal,
Irish Coffee: Ta-Ta Tony Allen 10.19.10 at 10:48 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Tony Allen left for greener pastures. Green as in the color of cash; definitely not Celtics green. How can you blame him? After all, his list of injuries reads like a children’s song: ankles, knees and thumbs, so his earning potential could go at any moment — like a post-whistle dunk attempt.

He signed a three-year, $9.7 million contract with the Memphis Grizzlies. He wasn’t going to get that from the Celtics. And he was never going to play more than 20 minutes — maybe not even 15 — for this year’s C’s squad. So, why not sign with the Grizzlies?

“I was definitely overshadowed,” Allen told The Tulsa World. “Anybody would have been overshadowed considering those Hall of Fame prolific-type scorers that they had.”

He played 18.3 minutes per game for the 2007-08 Celtics team that won the NBA title and 16.5 minutes for last year’s team that reached the finals. He’s gotta be able to play more than that for a franchise that’s never won a playoff game, right? Wrong.

“I don’t think it’s smart,” Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins also told The Tulsa World. “What would you rather do? Win and play 15 minutes a game? Or you may not win as much and play 15 minutes a game. My thing is I would rather play on a winning team and have a chance to win championships — and get a playoff share too.”

Ouch. Getting thrown under the bus by his own coach isn’t going to help Allen’s injury woes.

THE GREAT POINT GUARD DEBATE

There’s a recent theory going around the blogosphere: Should you build your team around a point guard? That’s a big question for Celtics fans, considering two years from now that’s exactly what Danny Ainge will be challenged to do. Other than what will be a 35-year-old Paul Pierce, the only current player guaranteed to play for the 2012-13 Celtics is Rajon Rondo.

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Read More: Celtics, Danny Ainge, Rajon Rondo, Tony Allen
Irish Coffee: A Preview of Celtics Previews 10.18.10 at 10:49 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

 

Every publication from here to Los Angeles is rolling out its NBA preview, and the predictions for the Celtics are, well, pretty predictable: They’re old, but they’re deep. They coasted through the 2009-10 regular season, and they’ll do it again. If they can stay healthy, they’ll compete for a championship. See for yourself …

SLAM Magazine: “Get your jokes in about the Celtics while you can. Sure, the Big Three and Shaq Daddy may alternate using the wheelchair Paul Pierce used in Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals. They probably will take some games off in the regular season, as head coach Doc Rivers did last year to keep the team healthy for the playoff run. And Rajon Rondo‘€™s jumper, though improving, is still broken like the NBA single-game scoring record Michael Jordan would be if he had played in his prime today. That said, this is a team that finished second in team assists and fifth in points allowed last season, and they have seemingly improved as a team overall. No squad in the NBA overcomes their deficiencies like the Boston Celtics, and they are serious title contenders in the 2010-11 season. Don’€™t say we didn’€™t tell you so if the Miami Heat cool off, the Orlando Magic disappear and Irish eyes are smiling after another magnificent seventh game between the Lakers and Celtics.”

That points allowed indicator — and, more specifically, point differential – has been a fairly good reflection of the C’s success the last three years. In the 2007-08 season, they ranked second in points allowed (90.3) and first in point differential (+10.2), resulting in a 66-16 record, homecourt throughout the playoffs and an NBA title.

In the last two seasons, during the 2008-09 campagin (62-20) and last year’s regular-season walkthrough (50-32), those numbers slipped.

To put the importance of those stats in perspective, when the C’s finished 24-58 in 2006-07 BB3 (Before Big 3), they ranked 18th in points allowed and 23rd in point differential. Keep an eye on those numbers in the first month of the season, especially considering the C’s brutal schedule through the first few weeks.

Ball Don’t Lie: “The team looks great. Kevin Garnett appears to be the picture of health, a chubbed-out Paul Pierce is as feisty as ever, Ray Allen looks about the same, and the team just oozes competitive spirit. But this is a team built to turn over a new leaf when there aren’t any leaves on the trees next spring, not when the foliage is blowing around and the days are getting shorter. It’s a long season, people get injured and things tend to even out. And, as was the case last year, those 50 wins would have little bearing on what happens in the postseason. This is a championship contender. Perhaps more than ever.”

I’m not exactly sure what they’re getting at when they call Pierce “chubbed-out,” considering he’s shown up slimmed down in each of the last two seasons. Still, they touch on an interesting point: The C’s competitive spirit. With the play of the second unit, a renewed focus on that two-year window and a vengeance factor for that Game 7 loss, this year’s team appears to have a competitive edge we haven’t seen since 2007-08.

Hoops Daily: “The Celtics’€™ Achilles heel remains health.  A lot of guys have played a lot of games, and a major injury to anybody inside the Allen-Garnett-Pierce trio would be catastrophic.  Rebounding, the Celtics’ ugly nemesis last year, could prove to be even more problematic with Perkins in street clothes for a while. And then there’€™s the departure of Tom Thibodeau, the guy who masterminded the Celtics’€™ dominant lockdown defense for the last three years, to consider as well. The team has the personnel and the experience to continue their defensive dominance, but it wouldn’€™t be a shock if they took a slight step back in that department. The Big Three are rickety and parts of their bench are downright old, but if you’€™re an Eastern Conference team dreaming of a Finals matchup with the Lakers, you’€™d do well not to run into the Green come May. Expecting 50-55 wins is probably best for a group that will likely go through the motions in the regular season before showing up gangbusters in the playoffs.”

Obviously, a major injury to any of the Big 4 (with Rondo) would be catastrophic. Then again, that can be said for the Heat, Lakers and Magic as well. I’m not sure if I’m buying the rebounding issue, either, considering that was the Celtics main focus in the offseason. I’m not sure if you know, but the C’s picked up Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal in the offseason, not to mention the addition of Semih Erden.

However, the loss of Thibodeau needed to be mentioned. That point differential statistic is largely a result of a defensive scheme he implemented, and the C’s will be integrating the O’Neal Brothers and Co. into that scheme without Thibodeau. How Rivers and new assistant Lawrence Frank incorporate the new bodies into the “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” defensive system will go a long way in determining this team’s success. In his first two full seasons as head coach of the Nets (2004-05 and 2005-06), Frank’s teams ranked sixth in points allowed.

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Read More: Doc Rivers, Larry Siegfried, Lawrence Frank, LeBron James
Irish Coffee: Top 5 Celtics Rappers 10.15.10 at 10:43 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Other than the player’s union’ s legal action against the NBA over all the hullabaloo about technical fouls, it’s a slow Celtics Friday. Inspired by Marquis Daniels‘ new hip hop track “Something to Talk About,” I thought we’d do a little Celtics Idol with C’s turned rappers. Submit your vote in the comments section below. (Drum roll please) And the nominees are …

MARQUIS DANIELS (AKA Q6)

Song: “Something to Talk About” feat. Kevin Cossom
Lyric: “I plan to raise the game until my bank account impregnate.
The haters say I regulate. Cheese on that beefsteak.”
Simon Cowell: “Not everybody is perfect, and I don’t think we should be looking for perfect people.”

SHAQUILLE O’NEAL (AKA Shaq Diesel)

Song: “(I Know I Got) Skillz” feat. Def Jef
Lyrics: “I got a hand that’ll rock ya cradle,
cream you like cheese, spread you on my bagel,
my Ford Explorer boomin’ with the clumped-up funk,
all you jealous punks can’t stop my dunks.”
Simon Cowell: “You’ve got quite a good voice, the problem I have is this looks to me like 10 years ago.”

DANA BARROS

Song: “Check It”
Lyric: “I’m about to snap, so you better give me room.
I’m blowing up on the hit when it go boom.
Mad dough’s what I made when I played.”
Simon Cowell: “A natural. A total natural. And I like you.”

GARY PAYTON

Song: “Livin’ Legal and Large”
Lyrics: “On my way to practice to work on my shot
’cause you can’t stop even you reach the top.
Check it, a lot of folks hate the fact that I’m the man
Got the mic to the left and the ball in my right hand.”
Simon Cowell: “Not in a billion years. There are only so many words I can drag out of my vocabulary to say how awful that was.”

BRIAN SHAW

Song: “Anything Can Happen”
Lyrics: “So, what I do, I keeps a lo-pro composure,
developing my skills without no exposure
Born in Oakland, California, raised in Richmond,
class of 1983, smacking opponents coming in my kitchen.”
Simon Cowell: “It was dreadful. No, no, really dreadful. I’m telling you to be kind, because you will never, ever, ever have a career in singing.”

AND THE WINNER IS … My vote is clearly for Dana Barros. Dude can rhyme. His song’s got a little old school feel to it, like a Naughty by Nature production.

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’€™s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)

Read More: Brian Shaw, Dana Barros, Gary Payton, Marquis Daniels
Jermaine O’Neal loves the Celtics 10.14.10 at 1:04 pm ET
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In a conversation with SLAM Online‘s Russ Bengtson prior to last night’s game against the Knicks, Jermaine O’Neal continued to heap praise on his new team:

  • ‘€œIt’€™s hard to explain the chemistry that we have. I always try to picture words to express the feeling that I have about being here. You know, obviously the rich tradition of championships and all the guys that’€™ve played in this uniform. It’€™s definitely an honor and a pleasure to be involved in something like this.’€
  • “Most teams you’€™re on you’€™re gonna dominate the guy that’€™s backing you up or the guy that you share time with. But here it’€™s like, OK, let me get stretched. Let me make sure I’€™m ready to go when Doc says let’€™s go.’€
  • ‘€œEverything that I’€™ve pictured it would be, it’€™s been that way. But it’€™s been probably five times better. You look at the point in my career where the chapter’€™s coming to a close, and if I had to pick a group of guys to close it with, this is it right here.’€
Read More: Jermaine O'Neal,
NBA Power Rankings, 10/14 10.14.10 at 12:12 pm ET
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1. LA Lakers: Lamar Odom hired his mother-in-law, Kris Jenner, as his new manager. If the knee injuries to Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum don’t spell doom for the Lakers, this could, as anybody who has seen “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” can attest. We’ll leave them in the top spot — until Kris makes Odom pose nude or something.

2. Boston: After his jumper to beat the Knicks, Paul Pierce appears to be up to his old game-winning ways. And the Celtics bench seems to keep getting deeper and deeper. The play of Semih Erden, Stephane Lasme and Luke Harangody has been an encouraging sign. So far, the injury bug has only claimed Delonte West, and he’s suspended for 10 games anyway.

3. Miami: First it was Dwyane Wade’s hamstring, and now it’s LeBron James‘ leg cramps. I heard somewhere that if Wade really does miss the remainder of the preseason, the Heat’s Big 3 (do they have a nickname yet?) will have only played a few minutes together before taking on the Celtics on opening night. I think it’s just a marketing ploy.

4. Oklahoma City: Larry Brown recently called the Thunder everything that’s right with the NBA: young, talented and well-behaved. I couldn’t agree more. This team should be fun to watch all season long, especially if Longar Longar makes the roster.

5. Dallas: With this new technical foul rule, how much in fines do you think Mark Cuban will spend this year? I’m putting the over/under at $1 million. In other news, I love the nickname for Mavericks rookie Dominique Jones: DoJo.

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Read More: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, NBA, Paul Pierce
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