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Transcript: Rivers on D&C 04.15.10 at 12:45 pm ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning. Following is a transcript. To listen, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Most coaches like to talk about how hot they are heading into the playoffs. But the Celtics have lost seven of 10, not exactly on a roll?

Yeah, and I don’€™t know if I’€™ve ever even used that. You want to have good rhythm and all that, but the playoffs are a new season, they’€™ve always been a new season, and that’€™s how you have to view them going in. You could have won 10 games in a row as we did two years ago, we were hot going in, and went into a seven-game series against Atlanta. So, it means a lot to say, but it is a new season.

David Stern isn’€™t pleased with coaches resting their players heading into then playoffs, is he?

I get that. I agree with part of that, more from the fans standpoint, families that come to games. There were families last night, I guess, who came to their first game ever. And to see Kevin [Garnett] and Ray [Allen] and Paul [Pierce] and everyone else, and they get there and they don’€™t play ‘€” that would be disappointing if I was a fan, that would be tough. But then, it’€™s the same fan who understands that listen ‘€” we want them to do well in the playoffs, we want them to be rested, we want them to be healthy. And, if that last game doesn’€™t have a lot of meaning, as a coach you have to do what’€™s best for the team and the whole picture. So it is a very tough situation. I was injured in the last game of the year as a player, and that will always stick with me.

Could you imagine if Paul had ruined his knee last night? They would have killed you.

Oh, last night, it wasn’€™t funny but it was funny. It was seven minutes left, and I had Oliver Lafayette at the table going in for [Rajon] Rondo, and there was no play stoppage. I couldn’€™t get the play to stop ‘€” it was one of those stretches where the game kept going on, and then finally I yelled out to Nate [Robinson], ‘€œFoul! Foul somebody!’€ And then [Brian Scalabrine] fouled, so Rondo comes in and on the next possession, Nate fouls. And he looks at me, ‘€œYou told me to foul!’€ Rondo’€™s already out! Read the rest of this entry »

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Wyc Grousbeck on D&C: Full transcript 03.25.10 at 7:09 pm ET
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One of the many captivating stories of the 2010 Celtics season has been the development of point guard Rajon Rondo, who is shooting at a 51.3 percent clip.

Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck joined Dale & Holley Thursday morning to talk a little bit about Rondo as a player, how he came about to be a member of the Celtics and how important the Kentucky alum will be for the Celtics as they move toward the future.

‘€œI’€™ve been very proud of Rondo since day one,’€ Grousbeck said. ‘€œI’€™ve loved the way he’€™s played and the way he’€™s developed. He’€™s going to be here for five years after this, and I’€™m really proud of that, and we’€™ll build from there.’€

Grousbeck also touched on the big win over the Nuggets, as well as which NBA team scares him the most ‘€” and it doesn’€™t include LeBron James, Dwight Howard or even Kobe Bryant.

‘€œThe team that makes me nervous is the Celtics. I’€™m serious, I think we have a chance to be as good as anybody at any given time. We’€™re worried about a lot of teams, but it starts with us.’€

Below is a transcript. To listen to the whole interview, click here.

That was fun last night, wasn’€™t it?

I had a smile on my face from beginning to end, nice little 14-point win over the Nuggets. I was out there in Denver when we lost to them, month-and-a-half two months ago, so it’€™s nice to get them back.

When you sit that close, you ever think you’€™re going to go after the refs, chase them down?

No, but they can hear me from there. I reminded one of them that we were on national TV last night, ESPN, and he better sharpen up his game a little.

I normally think Tommy’€™s over the top, last night I was right with him. What the hell were they watching?

I don’€™t know. I guess, I would say that it seemed to be equally distributed from my standpoint. I know the guys are trying, but we try to encourage them to remember certain rules, like three seconds and charging and goaltending and some of that. Read the rest of this entry »

Rivers on D&C: Full transcript 03.25.10 at 12:48 pm ET
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With their 113-99 victory Wednesday night over the Nuggets, the Celtics improved to 46-25 and are tied with the Hawks for third place in the Eastern Conference, 3½ games behind the second-place Magic.

The morning after Boston’s fifth victory in six games, Doc Rivers joined Dennis & Callahan to discuss the recent turnaround in Boston’€™s play ‘€” and how a lot of people forgot just how good the guys in green really were.

‘€œIt’€™s funny, what were we, 23-5 [to start the season], and we were completely healthy,’€ the coach said. ‘€œPaul [Pierce] goes down, Kevin [Garnett] goes down, [Glen Davis] is just coming back, Marquis [Daniels] just goes down, and through that whole streak, it’€™s amazing how conveniently everybody forgot about that.’€

The Celtics are trying to give the league a refresher course before they head into the postseason, though Rivers maintained that playoff seeding isn’€™t the most important thing on their minds.

‘€œI will say I think health and rest is more important than even the third spot for us,” he said. “I think for us to have a chance to win, we have to be both of those things.’€

The Celtics look to continue their recent run of successful basketball when they take the court Friday against the Sacramento Kings.

Below is a transcript. Click here for the full interview.

Nice win last night Doc. My sense is that three weeks ago, that’€™s probably a game you would have lost.

Three-and-a-half weeks ago, we probably were not the same team we are today, because we’€™re healthier, Paul’€™s playing better, Kevin’€™s playing better, so that may be true. But it’€™s now, so that’€™s all I focus on.

So when the lead was 21, then it was reduced to seven, how did you respond to that?

Number one, that happens in games, and you don’€™t think about it. And number two, we went small. I didn’€™t want to, but we had to, they were making shots, so we had to match up to then. So I thought that was the turning point for us, at least extending the lead back.

Last week, when you said ‘€œwe’€™re close,’€ what did you mean specifically? And right now, are you there, or are you still just close?

Well, we’€™re getting closer, obviously I don’€™t think anybody would say they’€™re there right now as a team with the playoffs being three weeks away. One thing I saw was Paul was starting to get back in shape, I thought Kevin was rounding out in shape, and guys, it’€™s funny, what were we, 23-5, and we were completely healthy. Paul goes down, Kevin goes down, [Glen Davis] is just coming back, Marquis [Daniels] just goes down, and through that whole streak, it’€™s amazing how conveniently everybody forgot about that. And then when we got healthy, Paul wasn’€™t right yet, Kevin wasn’€™t right yet, it just took time, we lost our rhythm, we lost our timing, because so many different guys had to play so many different roles when all those guys were out, so there’€™s no excuse to lose games, but we lost games because of that. And I saw us finally getting back healthy somewhat, I saw our timing coming back, our rhythm coming back, our team play coming back, but that took a toll on us, and it would’€™ve taken a toll on anybody, and that’€™s what I saw. Read the rest of this entry »

Doc on D&C: Celtics almost there 03.18.10 at 1:12 pm ET
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The playoffs are fast approaching, and with two straight wins under their belt, the Celtics are looking to get rolling.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined Dennis & Callahan to talk about the team’s preparation for a playoff run. He discussed getting Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett back to full strength, as well as the importance of the bench play.

But Rivers was careful to note that a big thing about getting Pierce and Garnett healthy is that it allows Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins to play their own games, saying, ‘€œWhen everybody was hurt, we needed Rondo to have the ball in his hands and keep it in his hands, to score. Now when everybody’€™s back, we need him to push the ball, and then leave the ball, and get everybody involved. And that’€™s what he’€™s doing.’€

Rivers also touched on the importance of getting players such as Michael Finely  and Nate Robinson ready for the playoffs as well, and putting Marquis Daniels in a better position to do more damage with the basketball.

‘€œHe’€™s a nightmare to guard on the post. And obviously with the second unit, we have to do a better job getting him the ball down there.’€

Read below for the transcript. To listen to the interview, click here.

Quality of opponents aside, your last two wins, against the Pistons and Knicks, with the Big Three totaling about 48 minutes in each game, is that what you’€™re looking for?

Yes, and our defense more than all that. I think whenever we score people get lost in the points, and obviously the ball movement is important, the fact that we’€™re running because we’€™re getting stops and we’€™re getting multiple stops, that’€™s far more important than anything else.

When you said, ‘This team is very, very close,’ what did you mean by that? I thought you might even be a little sarcastic with the remark.

No, I was not. You look at the Cleveland game, we didn’€™t play great and it was 68-all with four minutes left in the third quarter, on the road. There was a lot of positive signs, we had the ball back to back in those possessions, turned it over, and missed four free throws in a row. What we didn’€™t do was when Cleveland made their next run, was fight after. You can just see things ‘€” Paul improving, Kevin improving, everybody’€™s starting to get their rhythm back. And I’€™ve said it earlier, I don’€™t think people realize ‘€” and it wasn’€™t about the injuries, it was about the amount of injuries and trying to bring guys back at the same time ‘€” you lose your rhythm. Not only as a team but as an individual, and we haven’€™t gotten it back. But we’€™re starting to get it back, and if we can get it back in time, like I said in the interview, I love our chances. Read the rest of this entry »

Doc on D&C: Trash-talking no big deal 03.04.10 at 9:06 pm ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined guest hosts Butch Stearns and Steve DeOssie on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to shed some light on what happened in Wednesday night’s game between Paul Pierce and Charlotte’s Stephen Jackson. The guys also talked about some of the great trash-talkers in the NBA, including Boston’s own Larry Bird, as well as how the coach keeps his team focused and healthy during the monotony of an 82-game season.

What happened last night with Pierce and Stephen Jackson?

I don’€™t know what was going on, it was strange actually. All I can think of, I guess there was some talking on the free-throw line, and you know I thought more of it was frustration on Stephen’€™s part ‘€” he was struggling, he was having a tough night and it was really Ray more than Paul, I thought Ray did a terrific job on him, and got a little frustrated. After that, who knows, it was a strange one, it wasn’€™t like they were entangled under the basket, it was odd.

Was it about average for what you see in the NBA every day?

It was just average ‘€” you hear talking all the time. In this day and time, talking escalates more than it used to, and it did in this case. But I don’€™t think it was that big of a deal, I don’€™t even think I got up off my seat, I just let them go, what the heck.

There were legendary trash-talkers when you played ‘€” what were you like on the court talking?

If you talked trash to me, I just tried to get you back during the game with the play. If you could get to a guy with your mouth during the game, you would do it. You would do whatever it took to win when you were out on the floor. Times have changed in that way, it just seems like players are far more sensitive then they used to be. And I think because of the three referees, just think I played three or four years with just two officials, and it was accepted ‘€” it was like baseball with the inside pitch and the brush-off pitch, and you just accept it. Being physical, getting hit if you drove to the basket, and it no longer is accepted, guys lose their cool over it.

Anything that you remember specifically?

Not much that you can say on the air, but I can tell you one of the best trash-talkers played in Boston and his name was Larry Bird and he was terrific. And he said things that hurt ‘€” not personal family stuff, but about your game and about his game. And it bothered you sometimes, but not to the fact that you wanted to fight, what you wanted to do was get him back on the floor with your game.

Don’€™t you have to back it up, too?

Exactly right. The great players were the great trash-talkers because they could. Now everyone does it. The game [Bird] had 61, I was in the game unfortunately, in New Orleans, and he started calling shots. The last 3 that Bird made, bringing the ball down the floor, he leaned and said, 3-pointer, falling into the trainer’€™s lap, and that’€™s what he did. So either we were awful defensively or Larry Bird was really good.

All talking aside, you had to be pleased with the Celtics’€™ effort last night.

Yeah, I really was, you know the last two games I was pleased with a lot of things we were doing. Last night, defensively, I thought we were terrific, we didn’€™t start the game off great defensively, but at the end of the game, we were great. Our bench in the last two games has been terrific, and it was good to see Paul Pierce assert himself again, being injured, not having great rhythm two games ago, you can see last night he got back last night. Paul has to be our go-to guy for us to be a great team, and he has to be healthy to do that. And it’€™s good to see him healthy again.

Nate Robinson had a good game last night, and he seems to have a nice role here now.

Obviously we need him, as more of an x-factor. Nate’€™s not going to be great every night, but he’€™s going to have a lot of good nights for us, because he’€™s an offensive player. He’€™s a terrific shooter, he can handle the ball, which takes some pressure off the second unit, and when he plays like that, it makes us really good. You know I said yesterday, I don’€™t know if we need Nate to be great to win games, but when he plays well, it’€™s very difficult for us to lose games.

Are you trying to find a combination that works for sitting starters and playing bench players?

Yeah, I like the combination that we’€™ve had, you know Rasheed and Baby, if one of those two are struggling, you can go with Sheldon which is great. Marquis and Tony with Nate, and if one of those two are struggling, you can go with Scal. So this is only our second game this year, if you can believe that, where we’€™ve had our entire team intact. So our rotation and our minutes are pretty easy, it’€™s just good to have everybody on the floor.

Shelden seems to now be a bit of a wild-card as far as playing time, how can we see him getting into the rotations?

It’€™s like the back-up quarterback in the NFL ‘€” everybody wants to see the other guy. When you’€™re winning, they don’€™t care who’€™s playing, everybody’€™s good. But if you lose a couple games, why don’€™t you do this and why don’€™t you play this – who are you going to play him in front of? Rasheed Wallace is our backup center, so you’€™re not going to put him there. And Baby has not played bad at all, Baby has played pretty well, so that’€™s why it’€™s tough. And you also have Scalabrine. The thing we know about Shelden is he’€™s ready when he’€™s called upon, and so is Scalabrine. And on the depth chart right now Glen Davis and Rasheed Wallace are in front of Sheldon, but Shelden stays ready and that’€™s what you need.

You mention this was only the second game with your whole roster available, how important is that heading toward the playoffs, keeping everyone healthy?

It’€™s funny, our minutes have been good all year, so I’€™m not concerned by that. The bottom line is you play them and knock on wood, you just hope they stay healthy, because you have to play them. I tell you what we need the most, is in practice. Even in games, the two they’€™ve been there, we still haven’€™t had a lot of practice time with them on the floor, and we need good practices, we need good practices the rest of the year to get good rhythm. I like where were at, I like our team, I’€™ve said that all year, we just need to get them all healthy together.

You have a good connection with your players because you were a player. Do you think it gets harder to get to them over time?

It’€™s always a concern as a coach, but you have to keep your message going, you have to keep changing it. And I’€™ve got a group of guys that are pretty coachable. This year has been very difficult, I knew that coming into the year, when you think about two years ago you won it, last year you go two seven games series, we’€™ve had a lot of injuries. There’€™s a lot of reasons our record is what it is. But I don’€™t think guys tune you out is one of them. I look at our record, I’€™m amazed, and you guys have lived here, you understand that, we have the best record in the league on the road. We’€™ve struggled at home, and if I have one disappointment, it’€™s that. If we play decent at home, we probably have the best record in the NBA this year. If we just play normal at home, we do. I like this team, I like what we’€™ve done. Would I like us to have three or four more wins, yeah, there’€™s no doubt about that. But I like this team, I just think this team has something in them.

Is it tough to keep veterans focused during the season ‘€” not bored ‘€” so they don’€™t look to the playoffs?

Oh yea, it happens to all of them. It’€™s different in football because there’€™s only a certain amount of games, where we have the 82 games. But it’€™s something as a coach you have to keep pushing through. You have to keep pushing their energy through. You use different combinations during the regular season to get the win during that single game. Players are smart ‘€“ they understand that they want to be healthy, they want to be at their best when the playoffs start, so you have to watch their minutes, you have to do everything to keep it going.

And there’€™s no worry about being able to flip that switch before the playoffs?

Oh, always it is, as a coach. As a player that may be different, but as a coach you’€™re always concerned by that. But I don’€™t really think our team has done that, I just think our team haven’€™t played well. For a lot of reasons we haven’€™t, but I don’€™t think it’€™s the switch. I think some of the veterans maybe, but I think you look at Kevin Garnett who’€™s been injured and working his way back to health, I think that’€™s been an issue. I know Paul Pierces is the same way. So I don’€™t think it is as much as people think it is.

Have you ever been around a team that plays better on the road than at home like this team?

No, I haven’€™t. A lot of coaches would take that problem, and I’€™m in that belief, because you know at some point you’€™re going to get your rhythm at home, and you believe that. If you can maintain and be a great playoff team going into the playoffs, and turn it around at home, things are looking pretty good for your basketball team. But no, I’€™ve never been on a team that has played so much better on the road than at home.

A lot of games coming up, taking on Philly, Washington, Milwaukee ‘€” but it’€™s become a lot more about what your teams doing than who you’€™re playing.

That’€™s all it is. Before the year, and unfortunately it’€™s been proven right, I gave our guys a schedule, and the 82 games, the opponent every night was us. And right now, that’€™s more true than ever.

McHale on D&H: Celtics still have chance 02.18.10 at 4:24 pm ET
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Celtics legend and current NBA TV analyst Kevin McHale joined the Dale & Holley show to talk about the upcoming NBA playoffs as well as the impending trade deadline. McHale touched on how important the Caron Butler trade was for Dallas, why Cleveland now is the top team in the NBA, and why the Celtics ‘€” even without making a move Thursday ‘€” still can make a run at an 18th banner.

On the Cavaliers acquiring Antawn Jamison:

I think ever since the Cavs lost to the Magic last year, they were worried about that matchup against Rashard Lewis at the 4 spot, that got real funky for them last year in the playoffs. They needed somebody, kind of a hybrid 3-4 to be able to guard him, but also he’€™s someone that can be able to attack him on the defensive end and make Rashard play defense. You know, with Anderson Varejao more comfortable guarding in the paint, Shaq and Ilgauskas, neither of them could guard him, so I think the whole year long they were looking at that.

Cleveland has played better than anybody else in the NBA the last six weeks, but I think this helps quite a bit. I think when you’€™re playing really well and you go out and add a guy like Jamison, I think he’€™ll fit in pretty easily. I think a lot of times teams are really struggling, they make a trade and a guy comes in and they’€™re thinking, jeez, this guy really didn’€™t help very much, but you know when a team’€™s struggling, and you add a guy, it’€™s hard. And I think this is a really good trade for Cleveland. And I picked the Celtics to come out of the East at the beginning of the year, and I’€™m still waiting on them to be able to hit their stride, and they’€™re going to have to get going.

Looks like the Celtics are going to trade Eddie House for Nate Robinson ‘€“ looks pretty silly compared to this move for Jamison. Are the Cavs clearly the team to beat in the Eastern Conference?

Yeah, but I think you could have said that starting about six weeks ago really. Cleveland really started playing much better. I saw them earlier this year, and I wasn’€™t very impressed ‘€” I thought there was just something really funky about Cleveland ‘€” I didn’€™t like them. But the more I watched them, I would say right around Christmas, I saw them really come out and play some defense, they got up, they got some energy going ‘€” they looked like a different team to me. So they’€™ve actually to me, have been better than the Lakers, better than everybody in the league the past six weeks. So, I think going into the trade deadline they were the team playing the best.

The Celtics, they just have not hit their stride yet this year, I’€™ve seen them have a couple of periods where they’€™ve played really well, and I’€™m thinking OK, here they go. But for a championship-caliber team, it’€™s really how you play after the All-Star break. Prior to the All-Star break, you’€™re getting your rhythm, you’€™re pushing yourself, after the All-Star break you really have to go.

So as far as the trade, Eddie House for Nate, Nate’€™s more dynamic ‘€” I actually have always liked Eddie with the Celtics because he’€™s a great finisher, as far as just making shots. And when Paul’€™s got the ball, and he’€™s doing his thing from the elbows, his little isolation spot on the right side over there, it’€™s always great to have guys that can just knock down shots. And I think Eddie’€™s done that for them. I think with Nate, you get a little bit more of a dynamic player, he can do a few more things then Eddie, but I still think Eddie’€™s a better shooter than Nate Robinson.

But to be truthful, I don’€™t think that’€™s a big deal. I think the much bigger deal is getting Garnett playing better, Rasheed Wallace playing a lot better, getting Ray Allen playing better, getting Paul Pierce healthy ‘€” that’€™s what’€™s really got to happen for those guys, and getting Marquis Daniels acclimated and playing better. But I don’€™t think you’€™re ever going to add a player that will be better than Ray and Paul and Kevin and Rasheed ‘€¦ but they’€™ve got to start jelling and playing well together. If they’€™re playing like this going into the playoffs, it won’€™t be good.

Celtics fans are kind of hanging their hat a little bit on Kevin Garnett getting healthy. Isn’€™t it a little naïve to think he’€™ll get healthier between now and the playoffs?

I don’€™t know exactly what the injury is. I know his knees have been bothering him, but without knowing the exact injury it’€™s hard to say, but I think you can. I think Doc has done a good job at keeping their minutes down, and I think Doc has really been conscious about trying to make this push after the All-Star break, and not wearing them out. So I think they’€™re set and poised for a push right now, and sometimes when you get older and you’€™re looking for that push, it just never materializes, and they have got to be able to get something going right now. I watched them the other night against Sacramento, and honestly, Sacramento missed six free throws coming down the stretch, had they made those free throws it could have been a different game.

So, I just haven’€™t seen the Celtics defense and where they’€™re at, but as far as getting healthy, you can get healthy as long as you’€™re not playing 40 minutes a night. But I’€™ll tell you what, as you get older, it is really hard to get healthier. And Charles made a good point the other day when we were talking, Charles said that forget the amount of games played by KG, look at the minutes he’€™s played. He’€™s just played an unbelievable amount of minutes, and that’€™s really what takes its toll at the end of the day, it’€™s the minutes played, not the games played.

You’€™ve seen KG since he came into the NBA ‘€” and in the Orlando game, Rashard Lewis went baseline on him, and against New Orleans when Kris Humphries abused him. … Do you think we’€™ll see Kevin Garnett again? He looks like a different guy out there.

You know, Kevin, always, even when he was younger, he had the habit of allowing guys to get a step on him, but then he’€™d come from behind and make a great block, or his length would make up for it, his length, quickness and athleticism. I used to always tell him, some day all your athleticism and quickness is going to start to go away a little bit, you got to keep people in front of you. He does a good job of keeping people in front of him, but I saw exactly what you’€™re talking about, he did this whole habit of letting Lewis drive and he was going to make a play from behind him and Lewis just took it to the other side of the rim and laid it in. When I saw that, I just said, ooh.

As you lose a little athleticism, you’€™ve got to be a lot more solid, more fundamental, keep people in front of you, move your feet more and really concentrate on not making the spectacular defensive play at the end of the play but making the good solid defensive play at the beginning of the play, which means just keep the guy in front of you and make him take the jump shot over your hand.

Do you think there have been more trades than normal as teams try to line up for free agency this offseason?

Well, I think you have teams like Cleveland who are close and are really trying to add pieces, and that’€™s what Dallas did also by getting Caron Butler. But there are also teams that are saying we’€™ve got to lose salary, try to open up some more salary for the summer, you see Chicago try to make a couple of moves to have more salary for the summer, so you have both ends of the spectrum, and that’€™s when a lot of trades happen. Sometimes there’€™s a bad free agent class, there’€™s nothing happening in the summer, all of a sudden the lower teams are trying to shed salary, get a little cap space for the summer, so sometimes there’€™s not a lot of movement there. But that’€™s not the case this year, there will be movement on the lower end teams trying to shed some salary, and also the upper teams looking at: Can we improve?

The fact that Danny’€™s out there working hard, trying to get something for the Celtics ‘€” Cleveland made a big move, Orlando’€™s looking at some things, Dallas went out and made a move ‘€” so you see some of the top teams making a move. So that’€™s what makes for a more interesting trading deadline, when you have the best teams in the league trying to make moves and get better and the worst teams in the league trying to make moves to create bait.

So personally, I think the Caron Butler trade to Dallas is a big move, I think he helps them, and you’€™ll see some salary shedding and some other considered to be minor moves. I think one thing you’€™ll see is at some point, and I think it already happened, is Houston being 2.7 over the luxury tax. Whenever you’€™re a couple of million dollars over the luxury tax, which is very penalizing, it’€™s a dollar for dollar outlay for a team that’€™s over the luxury tax. You’€™ll see them get under, and I think Houston got under it, that’€™s usually something that happens, you’€™ll see a lot of teams that are close to the luxury tax drop under the luxury tax before the trade deadline.

I have this ridiculous thought ‘€” is Kevin Durant the best 21-year-old in the history of the NBA?

That’€™s not very crazy, that’€™s actually pretty accurate. I think you’€™d be very hard-pressed to find another guy that’€™s as polished as he is. He understands the offensive scheme, has that type of size ‘€” I agree. He is, for a young kid, amazingly adept at scoring the ball every single play. I just chuckle, because when people see guys score the ball, they think, ah, he’€™s a good scorer. You don’€™t know how hard that is. When the other team spends the entire shootaround and the entire day before the game preparing to stop you, it’€™s really hard to score, and that doesn’€™t deter that kid one iota, he’€™s out there scoring the ball as a young guy, they’€™re trying to double team him, throw different people at him, try to rough him up, they do a lot of stuff that usually throws you off your game if you’€™re a young player, but nothing throws him off his game. He’€™s really a unique talent. Oklahoma City’€™s got a good young group of players in [Russell] Westbrook and [James] Harden and Jeff Green and Durant, their future’€™s really bright if they can keep them all together.

At the beginning of the year, I was calling Durant the new English ‘€” because he reminds me of Alex English with more range. Then I heard Cedric Maxwell say he reminds him of George Gervin ‘€” does he remind you of anybody?

Yeah, George, he does remind me of George. I think all the guys that played with George see the similarities of just being able to score easy, rising up, got long length, the same kind of body that George had. And just, he scores in a variety of ways, like George did. Alex was more unconventional, he shot one-legged runners off the wrong foot, Alex English’€™s game was so unconventional and unorthodox, it was really hard to guard that guy. Kevin’€™s got more of a George Gervin type game, like I said, the guy can flat-out score the ball.

So you think Cleveland is the team to beat in the NBA?

I think Cleveland right now is playing better than anybody else, but like I’€™ve often said, the playoffs is a different animal. Unless Delonte West, an old Celtic, gets there and starts making plays and gets healthy and gets his head on straight, which has been a problem for Delonte all year long, I don’€™t know, because I think you can keep Mo Williams out. Last year in the playoffs, they put a guy on Mo Williams, said don’€™t leave him, get after him, don’€™t let him catch and shoot, make him put the ball on the floor, make him make plays going to the hole, and he was Cleveland’€™s second-best player. Anytime your second-best player can’€™t create his own shot, it puts a lot more pressure on LeBron. But LeBron is playing at such a high level, it’€™s unbelievable. The game is so easy for LeBron to play right now, it’€™s ridiculous.

So I would tell you, right now they’€™re playing the best, but I still think they could be had in a playoff series, when you have a chance to really prepare for them. The regular season is different than the playoffs, but like I said, Cleveland is playing with an intensity level I like, LeBron is playing at a whole different level, they’€™ve figured out how to use Shaq and get him incorporated in the game. But yet, I’€™m just concerned when your second-best player has a hard time creating his own shot, which brings me back to Delonte West. If Delonte is able to get in there, make the plays, he’€™s a good perimeter expander, he posts up a little bit, he drives, kicks out ‘€” Delonte doesn’€™t throw the ball away, he’€™s a nice distributor with the ball, if they get him back and playing well and now with Antawn Jamison, I think yeah, they have a chance.

Again, the Lakers are big, they’€™ve got Kobe, they can play, I still think the Celtics can get it going, and Orlando’€™s going to be dangerous. And who out West would want to play Denver in a playoff series? You’€™ve got J.R. Smith who can flat out score, Carmelo who can score as easy as anybody, and you’€™ve got Big Shot Johnson [Chauncey Billups]. So, it’€™ll be an interesting playoffs.

Finally, the comment was that Paul Pierce is one of the top-five greatest Celtics of all time. Is he?

Oh, that’€™s hard to say. Who are you going to kick off that list? You’€™ve got Russell and you’€™ve got Cousy, and you’€™ve got Havlicek and you’€™ve got Bird ‘€” there’€™s so many great players that have come through there. It’€™s a hard thing to, they’€™re just different ‘€” and Paul’€™s been a tremendous, tremendous player for Boston for years and the guy can really score the ball, he’€™s won a championship there, so he’€™s definitely in the discussion. But I think you can take eight, nine guys and just say, these guys are Celtics and they’€™re just great players, and the Celtics would be proud of all of them.

Eddie House on D&H: Rondo, Pierce and 3′s 02.04.10 at 1:46 pm ET
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Celtics guard Eddie House joined the guys on Dale & Holley to talk about the All-Star 3-point contest, the Celtics’ recent struggles and Rajon Rondo’s maturity.

I’€™m hoping you could give us some news ‘€” that you’€™re going to take part in the 3-point contest?

No, I haven’€™t got an invite. I think Paul’€™s actually going to be the one representing the Celtics in the contest, so I hope all’€™s well with that and I hope he gets a win.

You should have been in last year, in your hometown ‘€” could you imagine a final in Phoenix between you and Mike Bibby?

That would have been a lot of fun, but at the end of the day, that’€™s not my main goal, to get in the 3-point contest. Mine is to make sure my 3-point percentage is steadily on the way up, and I’€™m helping the team get wins ‘€” that’€™s what it’€™s about. My job is to do whatever I can to get wins and get a few loose rebounds or make the next pass so somebody else can make the wide open shot, or if it’€™s me to take the shot or hit a 3 or 2, whatever I have to do to get a win, that’€™s what my focus is. Read the rest of this entry »

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