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Celtics: Irish Coffee 10.06.10 at 10:04 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Are the Celtics “playing too much,” as Shaquille O’Neal says in this video? Talk about Hack-a-Shaq. Is it just me, or could Shaq have easily injured his back during this prank by Nate Robinson and Rajon Rondo? It’s not like Shaq is some 28-year-old, like Dwyane Wade, and even he got injured in the preseason. I know Rondo is used to getting knocked to the ground a handful of times every game, and I’m not sure if Robinson’s ever heard the phrase, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” But Shaq practically invented that saying, especially after this stunt. Listen, I’m all for the wacky Halloween dance videos and the old dump-salt-in-Shaq’s-water trick, but when these hijinks could potentially effect the team on the court, I think it’s gone a little too far.

QUOTES FROM AROUND THE NBA

Gilbert Arenas on John Wall: “I’m out there to hit open shots, teach John the ins-and-outs of the game and eventually go on and move on. And I’m on my way. This is the NBA, there are few players that stay in the same city. Right now, the city is John’s. I’m not here to fight anybody. I’m here to just play alongside of him. He’s Batman, and I’m Robin. I’m moving aside so he can become a star.”
(NOTE: Arenas is signed through 2014. Sounds kinda like he’s gonna be looking for a trade.)

Tracy McGrady on The Decision: “If I had the opportunity to team with someone like D-Wade — it’s about winning isn’t it? What everyone has a problem with is how LeBron did it. You shouldn’t do it that way. As far as him leaving, I’m happy for him. I hope they win 10 championships. I’m envious.”
(NOTE: I know you’re washed up, Tracy, but you’re still in the NBA. I’m pretty sure he just admitted the Pistons are going to be terrible, and he’d rather be playing in Miami.)

Jamario Moon on Cleveland life without LeBron: “It wasn’t strange at all, it’s home. We were anxious to get out there and show that basketball is still alive in Cleveland.”
(The NBA: Where delusion happens!)

Yao Ming on his return from injury: “I’m happy that I can get on the court and I can run. I was running without pain … and I think that’s a good first step.”
(Wait, it helps to actually get on the court and run in order to play basketball?)

DeMarcus Cousins on, well, I’m not sure: “I know I’m a big body as well. As well as I’m feeling them bump me, they’re feeling the exact same thing. That’s how I approach it. I feel you on that end; you’re going to feel me down on the other end.”
(I think I’m gonna stay away from this one. I also enjoyed his coach, Paul Westphal, admitting, “And if he ever gets in shape, he’ll really be able to do a lot.” Not what you want to hear.)

Mo Lester, mo problems for Mavs

I vaguely remember some caller phoning into WEEI last fall to declare, “Lester Hudson will challenge Rondo for the starting point guard spot.” At the time, I remember thinking, This guy’s a moron. I was right, of course. But maybe now that guy can point to Hudson’s game-winning 3-pointer against the Mavericks last night in a 97-94 Wizards win that saw Wall total 21 points and nine assists in his debut.

Bird nearly flew the coop?

In hopes of acquiring a high-profile coach in order to entice LeBron James to stay in Cleveland, the Cavaliers reached out to Larry Bird during their search to replace Mike Brown, according to ESPN.com.

“Bird did take the call,” sources told Marc Stein, “but quickly informed the Cavs that he had no interest in coaching again. Sources said Bird, 53, let Cleveland know that he wants to continue in his front-office work with the Pacers and that he has all but ruled out coaching again because of health and family reasons.”

I guess that rules out Bird as a replacement whenever Doc Rivers decides to hang it up, which could be any year now.

Carr steering the ship?

Maybe former Celtic Chris Carr could be that replacement in the wings. Carr, after all, became a head coach … of a girls basketball team in Minnesota? After averaging 4.8 points in 35 games with the C’s in 2000-01, Carr retired from the NBA. Since then, he started the 43 Hoops Basketball Academy in Hopkins, Minn., so he could mentor youth athletes. Yesterday, he accepted the head girls basketball coaching position at Eden Prairie (Minn.) High ‘€” in the same district his children attend school.

“Chris stood out during the interview process,” Eden Prairie athletic director Mike Grant told the Eden Prairie News. “One, he has the experience of having played at a very high level. Two, he has the experience of having played for a number of very talented coaches.”

Chris stood out during the interview process? You’re meaning to tell me that a 6-foot-6, 200-something pound former NBA player stood out while you were interview potential high school girls basketball coaches? You don’t say.

Read More: DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal
Mock NBA Fantasy Basketball Draft 10.05.10 at 4:58 pm ET
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A breakdown of the first five rounds of a mock 10-team fantasy basketball draft, in addition to the top-10 late-round sleepers and the top-10 players to avoid. Full disclosure: I am unstoppable at fantasy basketball. I also consulted commissioner James Hough of our annual league, Mondo Rondo.

ROUND 1
(NOTE: Your season depends solely on the health of this pick.)

1. Kevin Durant: Team USA’s best player; absolute monster; fills every stat category.
2. LeBron James: Has a legit chance to average a triple-double.
3. Kobe Bryant: Even if not 100 percent, the game’s best player can’t slip past No. 3.
4. Chris Paul: Might be the No. 2 pick if not for the whole knee surgery thing.
5. Deron Williams: Averaged at least 18 points & 10 assists per game last 3 seasons.
6. Danny Granger: Most underrated player in the NBA on a bad team translates into numbers.
7. Dwight Howard: You’re giving up FT% with this pick … but likely winning FG%, blocks & boards.
8. Dwyane Wade: Stats will suffer beside LeBron, but still warrants first-round pick.
9. Dirk Nowitzki: The first-round guy I’d least like to have on my team still fills the statsheet.
10. Pau Gasol: He may look like a llama, but he’s the best offensive center in the game.

ROUND 2(NOTE: Either diversify your roster or lock categories down in your favor.)

11. Chris Bosh: He’ll still score, grab rebounds, block shots and make free throws.
12. Steve Nash: It’s a good thing defense isn’t really a category in fantasy hoops.
13. Amar’e Stoudemire: Last season under D’Antoni: 25.2 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.1 bpg, 59.0 FG%, 80.5 FT%.
14. Josh Smith: Draft him with Howard, and you win blocks & boards every week.
15. Stephen Curry: A first-round pick on most boards, I wouldn’t take him until now.
16. Brook Lopez: Never would’ve predicted he’d be a top-20 pick.
17. Carmelo Anthony: A top-10 player, but on a team he doesn’t want to play for.
18. Rajon Rondo: Points, assists, steals and FG% have gone up every year.
19. Derrick Rose: Is anybody else thinking he’s going to have a huge season?
20. David Lee: You can count the number of centers who have average 20 and 12 on one hand.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Fantasy, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James
Celtics: Irish Coffee 10.05.10 at 9:40 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Members of the Knicks, Lakers and Timberwolves were among the Americans warned yesterday of potential terrorist plots at sports arenas, according to the New York Daily News. The teams would reportedly return to the United States immediately if the terror alert increased.

“This is real,” a fomer senior U.S. counterterrorism official told the paper.

Man, after watching Jean Claude Van Damme in Sudden Death as a kid, I used to wonder if I’d enjoy teams like the Knicks and Lakers being involved in a terrorist plot, but this is scary stuff. In all honesty, let’s hope these teams make it home safe.

NBA Europe

While the Lakers were busy losing to the Timberwolves overseas, NBA commissioner David Stern spoke to the  British media about the sport’s future in Europe. His hope is that the upcoming 2012 London Olympics will spark basketball’s popularity in the United Kingdom. You know, because John Amaechi‘s 6.2 points per game didn’t quite capture the nation’s hearts during his five-year NBA career.

“It’s no secret that the UK trails other European markets in development, but we think this is a great market and participation rates are increasing,” Stern said. “That’s why we have our European headquarters in London, and we think the Olympics provides a huge opportunity to demonstrate that this is a sport of great inclusiveness.”

Admitting it’s certainly not in the near future, Stern was receptive to the idea of having not only one but an entire European division of NBA teams. “As our game gets better known post-Olympics, maybe that will come into view,” he said, “but it’s nothing soon.”

The NBA will gain further exposure when the Raptors and Nets meet for two games in London in March. I’m not sure a Raptors/Nets series will be the exposure Stern is looking for, but still …

Rondo: “It’s still the Big 3″

Rajon Rondo sat down with ESPN.com to promote today’s release of NBA 2K11. We learned that he’s gathered more about the history of his league from playing the video game than watching actual NBA games as a kid; Nate Robinson, Kevin Garnett and Glen Davis are actually video game geeks; and Rondo wants a 99 rating (the highest in the game). Yet, when Rondo discussed his real team, he was much more modest:

“It’s still the Big Three,” he told ESPN.com. “Shaq is four. Shaq is an enforcer. I know that from experience. He knocks guards like myself down, but he can’t hit me no more, so I’m excited about that. I’m just one of the guys. I’m not saying I’m not important, but this is a team game. The Big Three still get a lot of attention, and I’m just really excited to start the season with them and be a part of this team.”

C’s a safe bet

Gambling lines are already coming out for the C’s opening night game against the Heat on Oct. 26, and according to the oddsmakers, these teams are pretty even. PinnacleSports.com has the Celtics +1 home underdogs.

The MGM Mirage in Las Vegas reportedly listed the Celtics at 5-1 odds to win the NBA title. The Heat were 3-2, the Lakers 9-5, Bulls 6-1 and Magic 10-1. But on the Sportsbook.com website, the Celtics are 10-1 to win the NBA title this season, tied with the Orlando Magic behind the Lakers (5-2) and Heat (8-5).

If gambling were legal in the United States, that 10-1 C’s bet would be a solid value.

Hazed and confused

According to NBCSports.com, rookie hazing has begun in the NBA. The Sixers sent Evan Turner to buy Chick-fil-A for the entire team, while Pacers rookies Lance Stephenson and Paul George have been caught wearing pink Disney backpacks.

What do you think the Celtics should do to Avery Bradley, Luke Harangody and Semih Erden? I think they should make them wear the C’s uber-short ’80s shorts during the preseason. Maybe dance like fools in Halloween costumes? Oh, wait, KG, Robinson and Big Baby did that already.

Read More: Avery Bradley, David Stern, Luke Harangody, Rajon Rondo
Celtics: Irish Coffee 10.04.10 at 10:23 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

In an appearance at the London School of Basketball over the weekend, Kobe Bryant claimed he could beat LeBron James 1-0n-1 in his sleep.

“I’d win, I’d win” Bryant said. “That’s what I do. One on one is … that’s easy for me, you know. Playing one on one is how I grew up playing, it’s like my thing. LeBron is more like a Magic Johnson, he’s a great passer and plays an all-around game. At the core of me, I’m a one-on-one player. I’d do that in my sleep.”

That’s a bold statement, but I tend to agree. He’s arrogant, but his breakdown is pretty much spot on. So, what do you think? Could any current Celtics beat Kobe 1-on-1? I think Ray Allen could beat him in HORSE.

Why Boston hates L.A.

This is the most ridiculous story I’ve ever heard. So, the L.A. Times is doing a weekly series on its Lakers Blog community. Each writer explains a little about himself, including how he became a Lakers fan. Well, this guy claims he was a longtime Celtics fan who became a loyal Lakers fan. I say that’s impossible.

“I liked winners, and they won every year–like the Yankees,” wrote Paul Hefti. “Following the Celtics, Yankees and Bruins seemed a natural thing to do. … I had moved to L.A. and the Lakers really got a hold of me. They were so clean, pretty, sunshiny–all things L.A.–and I was hooked. Getting beaten by the Celtics really started to kill me–my Boston family never forgave me.”

Is that the most ridiculous paragraph ever written in sports journalism history? No wonder Boston fans hate L.A. No true Celtics fan would ever become a Lakers fan. EVER. Anyone who roots for the Lakers and Yankees is called a fair-weather fan. Not a fan. And that’s the end of that.

Celtics idol?

Interested in singing the national anthem at a Celtics home game this season? Show up at the Hard Rock Café between noon and 5 p.m. today to audition in front of former New Edition member Michael Bivins, one-time American Idol contestant Ayla Brown and JAMN 94.5 personality Melissa. More info here. Try not to pull a Roseanne Barr or a Carl Lewis while attempting “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Celtics SCVNGR hunt

Foursquare competitor SCVNGR teamed with the Celtics to allow users to compete for a pair of season tickets. C’s fans with Android or iPhones can use SCVNGR to hunt around Boston, completing tasks at locations tied to the team. The fan with the most points by Oct. 22 wins a pair of season tix.

I’m not sure they thought of these, but I’d include: rub Bill Russell‘s beard, find the old Scotch ‘n Sirloin and imitate this kid’s dance moves step for step on a stairwell in Boston.

Read More: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, SCVNGR,
Shaq gossip all over the Radar 10.02.10 at 4:09 pm ET
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Don’t shoot the messenger on this one, but I thought this story from RadarOnline.com was weird when I read that Shaquille O’Neal‘s ex-wife Shaunie reportedly offered Shaq’s alleged mistress, Vanessa Lopez, an “incentive” to go public with an affair in order to nullify the terms of their pre-nup. But that’s the least bizarre aspect of the story.

Twist No. 1: According to RadarOnline.com, Shawn Darling, who used to work for Shaq, accused his former boss of hacking into his computer, destroying evidence and planting child pornography. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the old blame the cat for your disgusting kiddie porn trick that some guy tried a few months back. And, somehow, I don’t picture Shaq as the computer hacking type. Or should I say computer shaq-ing type (that was bad, I know).

Twist No. 2: Now, RadarOnline.com reports that Shaq allegedly hired Justin Zormelo to harass Lopez. Zormelo denies this claim in an e-mail to the website: “The allegations are completely untrue. I have never spoken to that woman, nor threatened her.”

I have no idea what to make of all this. Lawsuits are flying everywhere. Messy stuff. Whether the info is true or not, it obviously creates an unwanted distraction for Shaq.

Read More: Justin Zormelo, Shaquille O'Neal, Shawn Darling, Vanessa Lopez
Celtics cut Tony Gaffney 10.02.10 at 2:03 pm ET
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According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, the Celtics have cut Tony Gaffney.

The former UMass star reportedly posted this on his Facebook page: “All good things must come to an end. It was a great time being w the celtics, it ended today. I appreciate all the love n support. You guys are the best. My agent is back to the drawing board and stirring up something. So when the next move is finalized you all will know. Thanks again everyone.”

The C’s have not yet formally announced the move. It would bring the roster down to 17 players, meaning Boston only has two cuts remaining. Of course, Gaffney could still land on the Maine Red Claws, the C’s NBA Development League affiliate.

Gaffney signed with the Celtics last season in April and received a non-guaranteed contract for the 2010-11 season.  He was the last man cut by the Lakers prior to the 2009-10 season.

Read More: Tony Gaffney,
Shaq vs. Nate Robinson, again 10.02.10 at 1:29 pm ET
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Dear Shaq and KG,

Please don’t kill Nate Robinson. He could be useful this season.

Thanks,
Ben

Read More: Kevin Garnett, Nate Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal,
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