|Celtics ‘monitoring’ Greg Oden’s comeback attempt||01.17.13 at 3:17 pm ET|
In their everlasting search for frontcourt depth, “the Celtics are among the team’s monitoring” 2007 NBA draft No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden‘s comeback attempt, according to CBSSports.com columnist Ken Berger.
Plagued by a series of knee injuries, the 7-foot, 250-pound Oden played just 82 games in a Blazers uniform, the last of which was played on Dec. 5, 2009. Portland waived him in March 2012 after his third surgery in five years.
Last week, ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein reported several teams, including the Heat, have already shown interest in signing Oden this winter with the hope of bringing him to training camp this fall. The Spurs and Cavaliers also appear to be in the mix for the former Ohio State star, CBSSports.com said.
Oden’s appeal is obvious. He’s a 7-footer who averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 22.1 minutes per game in his limited NBA action. The Celtics can’t offer more money than either the Heat or Spurs, but Jared Sullinger apparently has a relationship despite playing for the Buckeyes five years apart.
|Did Danny Ainge deny Leandro Barbosa’s trade request?||01.17.13 at 2:19 pm ET|
Celtics guard Leandro Barbosa asked Danny Ainge to be either traded or released, but the C’s president of basketball operations “will not let me go,” Barbosa told a Brazilian sports radio station (h/t CelticsBlog).
Here’s the rough Portuguese-to-English translation from Google Chrome:
“I will not lie to you: I tried to get out several times, but Danny Ainge does not want to let me go,” Barbosa told Bradesco Sports FM. “He’s a guy that admires my basketball skills for many years. I was supposed to have got a good contract with the Boston Celtics, but did not. He will not let me go.”
The fifth guard on the roster after Avery Bradley‘s return to the backcourt, Barbosa’s 10.7 minutes and 4.9 points per game are both career lows, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers failed to bring the explosive scorer off the bench on Wednesday until it was too late in a game tailored for his instant offense.
“I should’ve played LB earlier when we were struggling for energy,” Rivers said after the 90-78 loss to the Hornets. “He’s an energy guy. It was easy [to say] now, obviously, but that’s what I’ll probably see when I watch the film.”
In the final 2:35 of the fourth quarter, Barbosa scored seven points on four shots. His 36-minute averages of 16.5 points (44.2 FG%, 39.3 3P%), 4.1 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals aren’t far off from 2006-07, when he won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year honor, and they’re superior across the board to fellow offensive-minded guard Jason Terry‘s 36-minute averages of 12.8 points (42.5 FG%, 36.1 3P%), 2.9 assists, 2.5 boards and 1.2 steals.
|Austin Rivers wouldn’t rule out Celtics in future||01.17.13 at 1:53 am ET|
For the Celtics, facing the boy they watched grow into a top-10 NBA draft pick during his dad’s nine seasons in Boston, it was weird to finally see Austin Rivers looking back at them on the parquet in a Hornets uniform.
“It’s just a strange dynamic,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers after losing to his son, 90-78. “I didn’t enjoy it, honestly. I know it’s neat for everyone else, but as a father, I don’t know if I enjoyed that.’
“It was strange for everybody in here,” added Kevin Garnett. “If we didn’t feel old [before], we feel a little old [now], obviously, seeing a little kid that used to say absolutely nothing, dribble his ball and kind of be in his own little world to being a young man now in the league, trying to make something of himself, doing a good job of it, talking trash, running up and down, leading his team. It’s good. It’s good to see Austin doing real good.”
Garnett might have wanted to seem do a little worse, actually, since Austin’s eight points on 3-of-6 field goals — including a running layup during their momentum-stealing run in the second quarter — marked his best scoring and shooting night this month. His 23 minutes were more than he played in his previous three games combined.
Maybe that’s why it was the 20-year-old Rivers who felt the most comfortable in such a strange situation.
|Kevin Garnett: Anthony Davis ‘makes me look like a midget’||01.17.13 at 12:33 am ET|
“That kid is long,” the aging Celtics superstar said of the Hornets rookie. “He makes me look like a midget, man. I was nothing like him. He’s a freak of nature. This kid’s going to be really good. He’s going to be really good.”
Apparently, Garnett hasn’t looked in a mirror lately. He’s officially listed at 6-foot-11, although he’s easily 7 feet, and various outlets list his wingspan at 7-foot-6. That would make him longer than the University of Kentucky product, who measured in at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan.
In an NBA career that’s spanned almost as many seasons (18) as the 19-year-old Davis has spent on this planet, Garnett only praises those few he deems worthy, and this year’s No. 1 overall pick received his stamp of approval.
Davis totaled 10 points on five shots, 10 boards and a pair of blocks in 27 minutes. He also helped force the Celtics into jump shot after jump shot, as New Orleans outscored the C’s 48-32 in the paint and 90-78 overall.
“We refused to go in the paint,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, whose team snapped a six-game winning streak and fell to 20-18. “We had an electric fence around the paint tonight. We just settled, I thought.”
|Fast Break: Austin Rivers wins bragging rights over Doc||01.16.13 at 10:29 pm ET|
Austin Rivers scored just eight points in 22 minutes against the Celtics, but he walked out of TD Garden with bragging rights against his father. C’s coach Doc Rivers watched as his team blew an early double-digit lead and snapped a six-game winning streak in a 90-78 loss to the Hornets.
Five Hornets (12-27) reached double figures, led by Robin Lopez‘s 17 points, and New Orleans won the rebound battle, 47-33. Greivis Vasquez (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Anthony Davis each had double-doubles.
WHAT WENT WRONG
First-half lapse: Mainly behind the starting five, the Celtics built a 21-10 lead in the game’s first nine minutes. Mainly against the C’s reserves, the Hornets slowly chipped away until a four-minute stretch midway through the second quarter, when the Celtics committed four turnovers and missed three jumpers. That’s when the young New Orleans squad snatched their first lead of the game, eventually taking a 44-43 advantage into halftime.
Painting a poor picture: The Hornets’ first lead, 33-32, came after a pair of layups from Greivis Vasquez and Austin Rivers and a Jason Smith dunk. That was quickly followed by an Al-Farouq Aminu dunk. The point? The Celtics allowed a whole lotta points in the paint (48 to be exact), and 22 of those first 33 points came in the key.
Too many freebies: Doc Rivers doesn’t want to see his team give up more than 14 turnovers, and he definitely doesn’t want them to allow more than 14 points off those giveaways. They turned the ball over 15 times, gifting the Hornets 21 points. Garnett, Rondo and Pierce were the biggest culprits, committing 10 between them. Of course, the C’s 6-of-16 free throw shooting didn’t help, either.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Bass first: It’s been five games since Brandon Bass last scored 10 points, and after his first half, he seemed prepared to snap out of the drought. Bass made four of his first five shots, including a trio of jumpers, to score nine points by the break, but he attempted just one shot after the half and failed to reach double figures. He’s already lost minutes to Jared Sullinger, and he’ll need more stretches like he had in the game’s opening 24 minutes in order to keep Chris Wilcox from taking even more.
Terry time: Likewise, Terry reached double digits after his first scoreless game of the season on Monday night. His performance was the lone bright spot off the bench, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as he scored 10 of his 12 points on 4-for-4 shooting in the third quarter to keep the Celtics within five … against the Hornets.
3-point defense: The Celtics held New Orleans to just 2-for-17 shooting from beyond the arc, including 1-of-5 by former Magic sharpshooter Ryan Anderson. It might’ve helped had the C’s shot better than 4-for-18 from 3.
|Carmelo Anthony likes Honey Nut Cheerios after all||01.16.13 at 11:09 am ET|
Carmelo Anthony appears to be putting his strange beef over breakfast cereal with Kevin Garnett behind him with, strangely, breakfast cereal over beef.
Anthony plans to break his two-week fast for “clarity” after hosting the rival Nets on Monday, when chefs from New York City’s Old Homestead Steakhouse will be chauffeured in a town car to the Knicks locker room to deliver a 40-ounce porterhouse steak covered in “a classic French Bordelaise sauce infused with pulverized Honey Nut Cheerioes,” according to the New York Daily News.
‘They said after his fast they wanted to satisfy his urge of both and actually put these two things together,’ a member of the restaurant staff told the Daily News.
Since rumors circled the internet that Garnett told Anthony his wife La La Vazquez “tasted like Honey Nut Cheerios” during the Celtics‘ 102-96 win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 7, everybody from KG to La La has denied that comment is what led to Melo’s confrontation with Garnett in front the C’s team bus.
Still, Anthony seems intent on discovering just how good Honey Nut Cheerios can taste.
“Only the owners and chef have tasted it, and the first one after them to taste it will be Melo. If he likes it, then it goes on the menu,” the staff member, who claims Garnett won’t be welcome in the restaurant, told the paper. “Melo was insulted, and we want to help him. Garnett’s messing with the wrong town.”
Of course, we all know Garnett is a master chef himself and probably has his own recipe for Bordelaise sauce that he will surely use as a metaphor for team chemistry sometime before the Knicks host the Celtics on Jan. 24.
|Danny Ainge: ‘Radically’ changing Celtics makes no sense||01.16.13 at 9:17 am ET|
While the Celtics have been linked to almost every big name on the market (DeMarcus Cousins, Marcin Gortat, etc.), team president Danny Ainge claims he doesn’t foresee a major trade before the Feb. 21 deadline.
‘That doesn’t make a lot of sense to radically change the team when you’re trying to compete to win it all,’ Ainge told Comcast in a preview of a 20-minute interview that will air prior to Wednesday night’s Celtics game against the Hornets. ‘We have been and will continue to look to upgrade our team, but I think it’s always more unlikely that that happens than likely.’
Based on those comments, Ainge either: a) changed his philosophy in the wake of the Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green swap with the Thunder in 2011; or b) didn’t believe that trade would “radically change the team.” In which case, does he believe a deal involving Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger or anybody not named Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo or Kevin Garnett radically changes these C’s?
Either way, his statements appear to be a vote of confidence in Doc Rivers and this season’s Celtics as the result of their six-game winning streak. But who’s to say he won’t change his mind over the next five weeks?
‘You have to produce,” added Ainge, who has admitted urging Red Auerbach during the 1988-89 NBA season to trade Larry Bird for Chuck Person, Herb Williams and Steve Stipanovich in addition to dealing Kevin McHale to the Mavericks for Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins. And those were his friends. “It’s my job to look at the bigger picture. We have to live in the moment and try to win and help our team have success, but at the same time, if it’s not happening on the court, than there has to be changes made, absolutely.’