|Irish Coffee: 10 things I heard about Celtics||01.14.13 at 3:50 pm ET|
As the Celtics prepare to extend their season-long winning streak to six against the Bobcats at the Garden on Monday night, here are 10 C’s links of interest we discovered over the weekend.
10. Plenty was made of Celtics superstar Kevin Garnett‘s reported Honey Nut Cheerios remarks about Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony‘s wife, which Celtics coach Doc Rivers vehemently denied on Thursday, but the best take came, naturally, from Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert.
“Oh, snap, crackle and pop, you just got Apple Jacked,” said Colbert. “Kevin’s saying he had your wife, reality star La La Vazquez, as part of this complete breakfast. Folks, this brings me to a tip of my hat to Kevin Garnett for forging a bold new path in product placement. This isn’t just trash talk. It’s Hefty brand trash talk. Forget gym shoes or Sprite, from now on all NBA games should be filled with athletes incorporating national brands into their taunting. Yo mama’s so fat, she should switch to Chobani non-fat Greek yogurt now with active probiotics.”
Apparently, La La agrees, because she wants some free cereal out of the deal.
Not for nothing,but we ALL deserve a check or some free cereal 4all the publicity we’ve given Honey Nut Cheerios! LOL #cantbelieveeverything
— LA LA(@lala) January 11, 2013
9. Two of Garnett’s most influential mentors, former Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale and longtime Minnesota teammate Sam Mitchell, also came to his defense. All things Kevin Garnett tend to be fascinating, and neither Mitchell nor McHale disappointed in separate stellar stories by The Globe’s Gary Washburn.
Mitchell: “Kevin has always taken the attitude that he’s not good enough. The great players feel that way. After 18 years playing in the NBA, why does he play so hard? Not the money. It’s the love of it and the fact that he’s still proving to himself that he deserves to be in this league and he has to go out and earn it and prove it every night.”
McHale: “We spent a lot of time in the gym together when I was not as gray and moved a little bit better. Great kid. Great work ethic. Turned himself into a fantastic player for years and years and years. With his energy level, what he’s still able to accomplish in the NBA, not so much his age, but look at the amount of minutes he’s played. It’s just phenomenal. I’m happy for him.”
|Marlon Wayans on Kevin Garnett vs. Carmelo Anthony||01.10.13 at 7:54 am ET|
I knew Wayans brothers movies were bad, but this bad? Maybe supposed Knicks fan Marlon Wayans should have taken a cue from Kevin Garnett after Wednesday night’s Celtics game and responded to any questions from TMZ about Carmelo Anthony by saying, “Y’all have a good night, OK?”
|Jared Sullinger: ‘We’re the Underground Railroads’||01.10.13 at 12:57 am ET|
Jared Sullinger just graduated Kevin Garnett 101. Under the tutelage of his veteran mentor, the Celtics rookie has thrived on the court. Now it’s time for a new lesson: The Art of the Metaphor.
Over the years, we’ve been treated to KG’s lectures on everything from zoology to culinary arts to technology, so there’s no telling how he’ll grade this attempt at an historical metaphor from Sullinger.
“It’s a lot of hard work,” Sullinger said after recording the second double-double of his career (12 points, 16 rebounds) in an 87-79 win over the Suns, “but the train doesn’t stop here. We’ve got to keep going. We’ve got to make it to the next stop, after that the next stop, after that the next stop, so we’re the Underground Railroads.”
|Lee: C’s shooting for 20-game win streak||01.09.13 at 10:51 pm ET|
Riding their longest winning streak of the season, the once-reeling Celtics are beginning to get their swagger back. Just ask Courtney Lee.
After the C’s began a five-game homestand with their fourth straight win, an 87-79 victory over the Suns, Lee proclaimed: “We’ve got to get them all, and then go on the road and carry this momentum on. We’re trying to start a 20-plus-game winning streak. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
The Celtics improved to 18-17, climbing above .500 for the first time since Dec. 25. They own a 4-1 record since Avery Bradley’s return from shoulder surgery. Of course, the C’s have seen both sides of that coin, losing a season-high four straight games between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
“We definitely appreciate each one,” added Lee. “We started off slow, and we were a better team than that. It took a couple of practices of [coach] Doc [Rivers] getting on us and us talking to each on the plane and whatnot to realize that we need to get out here and turn it up. And now that we’re on a four-game winning streak, we don’t want to look back. We want to keep that going forward.”
For more on the Celtics, visit weei.com/celtics.
|Fast Break: Celtics extend win streak to four games||01.09.13 at 9:54 pm ET|
Riding the best game of Jared Sullinger‘s young NBA career, the Celtics won a season-best fourth straight game, 87-79 against the Suns, and improved to 4-1 since Avery Bradley’s return on Jan. 2.
Sullinger (12 points) grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds to record the second double-double of his rookie season, as the C’s (18-17) climbed above .500 for the first time since Christmas Day.
In a balanced effort, Sullinger, Jeff Green (14 points), Jason Terry (13 points), Kevin Garnett (10 points), Bradley (9 points), Rajon Rondo (8 points, 8 assists), Paul Pierce (7 points, 7 rebounds), Brandon Bass (6 points, 5 rebounds) and Courtney Lee (6 points) all scored between 6-14 points.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Green machine: On back-to-back second-quarter possessions, Green threw down ferocious dunks on separate Suns to hand the Celtics a 38-33 lead and force a Phoenix timeout. The first came on a dribble drive over old friend Jermaine O’Neal, and he slammed the second on a fast break oop from Bradley over Michael Beasley.
Rotating schedule: Actually, the entire Celtics bench once again performed admirably. Green, Terry and Sullinger were the C’s three highest scorers as the reserves outscored their Suns counterparts 47-16. Bradley’s return has helped coach Doc Rivers find some consistency in his rotations, and the Celtics appear to be responding to their more clearly defined roles.
On the defense: The Celtics are slowly climbing the NBA’s defensive ranks. After allowing 98.1 points per game through December, the C’s have gave up an average of just 86.3 points in Bradley’s first four games back. In his fifth, the Suns didn’t reach 70 points until 4:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. Even lineups that contain Green and Terry, who aren’t exactly known for their defensive prowess, appear to be grasping the C’s defensive schemes.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Dudley do right: Quietly, Boston College product Jared Dudley has carved out a nice NBA career for himself. He’s averaging double-digit points for the third straight season, shooting 40.5 percent from 3-point range in his five-year career and dishing out a career-high 2.7 assists per game. Against the Celtics, he amassed 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, doing all the little things to keep the Suns in the game.
Bigs problem: It wasn’t a matter of whether the length of the Suns frontcourt would hurt the Celtics; it was a question of how much. The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Marcin Gortat and 6-foot-9, 245-pound Luis Scola entered the game averaging 24.5 points and 15.1 rebounds between them, and they combined to surpass both those numbers against the Celtics (28 points, 22 rebounds). In all, the Suns totaled 50 points in the paint.
Aunt Chippy: Whether the Celtics instigate it or not, there’s been some serious chippiness in their recent stretch of games. Two games after Rondo’s suspension for bumping a ref and two nights after Carmelo Anthony grew infuriated with Garnett, Rondo and Suns forward P.J. Tucker logged technicals and both Green and Courtney Lee took hard falls to the parquet floor. While some of their success can be attributed to the intensity, there’s a line between aggressiveness and overaggressiveness, and the Celtics have been riding it.
|Videos: How Carmelo Anthony-Kevin Garnett feud unfolds during quintessential Celtics-Knicks battle||01.08.13 at 7:47 am ET|
Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony barked at each other throughout Monday night’s 102-96 Celtics victory against the rival Knicks, and for once KG didn’t appear to be the instigator. Instead, Anthony pushed and prodded Garnett every chance he got, stormed through the visiting tunnel towards the Celtics locker room after the game and eventually waited by the C’s team bus to confront his fellow All-Star.
Between the whistles, the referees did a poor job controlling the escalating feud. On the play preceding their double technicals, Garnett and Anthony exchange shoves for what seems like a lifetime directly in front of referee Violet Palmer, and as my wife said upon her first Dick Bavetta sighting, “Is he even alive?”
As Anthony’s Knicks teammate Marcus Camby said of Garnett, “He talks a lot, but that’s pretty much to pump himself up. He’s been doing that so long that it’s amazing how guys still succumb to it.”
|Why did Celtics waive Kris Joseph, Jarvis Varnado?||01.06.13 at 9:29 pm ET|
The C’s second-round draft pick, Joseph appeared in mostly garbage time of six games for the Celtics, but he averaged 17.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 10 games for the Red Claws in the NBA Development League, so this transaction comes as a surprise.
Meanwhile, Varnado averaged just 1.2 points in 4.0 minutes over five appearances after signing from the D-League on Christmas Eve, and Fab Melo‘s emergence may have made him expendable.
The moves give the Celtics flexibility in two arenas:
1) Both Joseph and Varnado were playing on non-guaranteed contracts, and their waivers come prior to Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline to cut such players. After signing Jason Terry to the mid-level exception, the Celtics are forced to adhere to the NBA’s $74.3 million hard cap. These moves save the Celtics a few hundred thousand dollars, which doesn’t sound like much, but it opens the possibility of adding a veteran minimum talent like Kenyon Martin down the road.
2) The departures of Joseph and Varnado free up the team’s final two roster spots. Considering Danny Ainge‘s rumored interest in just about every big on the market, including DeMarcus Cousins and Marcin Gortat, the Celtics could take on additional players or slightly more dollars in a potential trade.
Either way, those roster spots won’t remain empty until June.