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Thibodeau reportedly turns down Hornets 06.03.10 at 6:57 am ET
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According to a report in the New York Post, Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau turned down the Hornets’ offer of their head coaching position. Thibodeau reportedly had been given until the start of Thursday night’s Game 1 of the NBA finals to accept the offer, with Charlotte planning to give the job to Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams as a backup plan.

Thibodeau also is in the running for the Bulls vacancy, and reports indicated that Bulls executives Jon Paxson and Gar Forman flew to Los Angeles to interview Thibodeau, who also interviewed with the Nets before the Celtics departed for the West Coast.

Meanwhile, ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy removed himself for consideration from all vacancies, according to the The Star-Ledger in New Jersey. Van Gundy reportedly was considered a leading candidate with the Nets, who also interviewed former Mavericks coach Avery Johnson.

Lakers get cash for drawing charges 06.02.10 at 2:28 pm ET
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Lakers coach Phil Jackson has tried every approach he can to get his players to take charges. The coach’s strategy includes insulting them ‘€” calling his big men “thin-chested” ‘€” as well as offering $50 cash for each charge.

“To motivate us in a way to take charges and getting away with it,” Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic told ESPN’s Shelley Smith.

Vujacic said the Lakers see an opportunity to get some spending money vs. the Celtics.

“Their whole team is kind of a charging possibility taking team,” he said. ” We’ve just got to be smart. They are a very smart team that can go from block to a charge, so we’ve been working a lot on charges and how to take them and stuff, so, we’ll see.”

The ESPN story indicated the money comes from players’ fines ‘€” for example, the team collects $25 from a player every time he gets called for illegal defense. Assistant coach Frank Hamblen said Lamar Odom has been keeping the pot full.

“I mean, I just pencil him in every night for illegal defense,” Hamblen said. “I ask him every night: ‘Lamar, you know the illegal defense rules, don’t you?’ ”

Hamblen said the Lakers haven’t had many takers in the charge-drawing sweepstakes. At least one player isn’t interested in that strategy.

“I don’t even know how to take a charge,” Ron Artest said. “To get the charge, you have to fall. I’d rather not fall. You call an offensive foul [on the New York playgrounds], possibly be a fight. That’s just how we grew up playing basketball.”

Read More: Celtics, charge, Lakers, Lamar Odom
Video: Top 10 plays in Celtics-Lakers rivalry 05.31.10 at 1:17 pm ET
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NBA.com produced a video of the 10 top plays in the Celtics-Lakers rivalry. Warning: The top three plays all favor the Lakers, including one play in which Cedric Maxwell misses a shot and then gets dunked on by James Worthy.

Read More: Celtics, Lakers, top plays,
Rivers on D&C: ‘You feel a responsibility’ to beat LA 05.31.10 at 11:02 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the NBA finals against the Lakers. Rivers said his players do not view themselves as underdogs. “We don’t think that way,” he said. “We don’t care what others think. We believed going into the playoff rounds that we could get here and win it. We thought we needed to be healthy, and we did get healthy. I don’t know how healthy we are now, but we’re getting closer again. That was key for us. We just believe that the 23-5 team was the real team, at the beginning of the season. The 27-27 the rest of the way was due to different circumstances that had nothing to do with basketball. And we believe that as a group.”

Rivers talked about the respect he has for the Celtics-Lakers rivalry. “It means a lot,” he said. “I know the history. I love the history of the game. To be part of it is huge for me, personally. But you feel a responsibility. You don’t want them to beat you. And that’s just the bottom line. Let’s say you were playing Phoenix. You still would want to win the world championship, obviously. But you’re playing the Lakers, and it’s like you’re thinking more about you want to beat them and less about wanting to win the title. And that’s probably good.”

Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

What is your schedule?

The schedule is we’re practicing at 11 o’clock. And then right after practice we’re jumping on a plane and flying out a day early — just with the time change and stuff. Then we’ll practice at UCLA tomorrow. Then we’ll have that league-mandated practice on Wednesday that I love so much.

Was that Nate Robinson’s 15 minutes of fame, or are we going to see more of Nate Robinson?

I think you’ll see more of him. It’s funny what you learn in losses. Nate Robinson didn’t play because we needed him in Game 6. Nate Robinson played because he played so well in Game 5, the game that Orlando beat us. It wasn’t the offensive end, it was the defensive end. He was doing all the things that we needed him to do, that we worked with him on. You could see that he had bought in. I remember turning to our bench early on and saying, “Hey, Nate’s going to help us.” I didn’t know he was going to do that, obviously, offensively or anything like that. If he can continue to do that, then yeah, he has a chance to help us. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Dennis & Callahan, Doc Rivers, Glen Davis
Report: Thibodeau in running for Bulls job 05.31.10 at 8:55 am ET
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Reports last week indicated that the Hornets were ready to offer their head coaching job to Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau, and a story by Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo!Sports late Sunday night says the team has begun contract discussions with Thibodeau’s representatives at Creative Artists Agency. However, a story out of Illinois’ Daily Herald Monday morning notes that the Bulls have interest in him as well, and multiple reports say that Thibodeau plans to remain in discussions for the Nets job.

Daily Herald reporter Mike McGraw writes that Thibodeau and former Trail Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks are the favorites in Chicago. But the story indicates that Lakers assistant Brian Shaw (a former Celtic) now is being pushed by LeBron James associate William Wesley, who previously was campaigning for John Calipari. The rumor is that James would be interested in playing the triangle offense made popular by Phil Jackson, and Shaw has spent five seasons alongside Jackson learning the intricacies of the offense.

A side note: Creative Artists Agency, with whom Thibodeau recently signed, also represents James and fellow high-profile free agents Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

The Yahoo!Sports report notes that Thibodeau risks losing out on the Hornets job if he decides to wait on the Bulls and/or Nets. Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams reportedly is the Hornets’ second choice, with some players, including star guard Chris Paul, said to prefer Williams.

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Hornets, LeBron James
A closer look at Game 6 refs 05.28.10 at 12:47 pm ET
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There seems to be a consensus that the referees assigned to Friday’s Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals will benefit the Celtics. Dale & Holley guest Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated called them liberal officials who will allow the C’s more room to bang Dwight Howard and the Magic down low.

Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who served prison time for a gambling scandal, talked to Dennis & Callahan producer Steve Ciaccio Friday morning and, after being informed of the crew assigned to TD Garden, said: “Orlando should dust off their golf clubs.”

The Game 6 refs are Ken Mauer, Monty McCutchen and Mike Callahan.

Mauer is an interesting story. A former University of Minnesota All-Big Ten baseball player, he is the uncle of Twins standout catcher Joe Mauer. An NBA official since 1986, Mauer is the son of a longtime referee, and his four brothers all officiate at various levels as well. He refereed his first NBA finals in 2006.

A decade ago, Mauer was one of the referees accused of felony tax evasion for not reporting profit from downgraded airline tickets as income. Mauer was one of two refs ‘€” of the 45 charged ‘€” who did not accept a plea bargain, insisting he did not intentionally commit a crime. In April 2001, he was sentenced to five months in prison, five months home detention and three years of supervised released, along with 800 hours of community service.

Mike “Duke” Callahan is a graduate of Cardinal O’Hara High School outside of Philadelphia. That’s also the alma mater of the disgraced Donaghy, as well as veteran official Joey Crawford, who called the technical foul on Rajon Rondo in Game 5 that drew a lot of criticism. Callahan was one of the officials when the C’s played in Portland two years ago and the Blazers had six players on the floor. The Blazers scored and were allowed to keep the two points, although a technical foul was called.

Monty McCutchen is a Texas native who taught high school history and English in Los Angeles before becoming an NBA official.

SI’s Mannix on D&H: Game 6 refs good for C’s 05.28.10 at 12:05 pm ET
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Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated joined the Dale & Holley show Friday morning to talk about the Celtics-Magic series. To hear the interview, click on the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Mannix said the officiating crew assigned to Game 6 ‘€” Mike Callahan, Monty McCutchen and Ken Mauer ‘€” appears to be one that will help Boston’s cause. “It will be a liberally called game,” Mannix said. “Just based on the names and what you’re saying, I think that favors Boston. I think they’re going to be able to get away with a little bit more physically against Dwight Howard and some other guys. That’s a good trio, I think for the Celtics.”

Looking back at Ed F. Rush’s ejection of Kendrick Perkins in Game 5, Mannix said the blame needs to be passed around. “I believe Eddie made a bone-headed call, I believe he wouldn’t have made that call if he remembered that Perkins had one technical foul, but I’ve got to slap some responsibility on Kendrick Perkins, too,” Mannix said. “You need to be aware of your surroundings and aware of your situation. You know you have one technical. You know you had five technicals coming into this game. You know another technical will throw you out of this game and likely get you suspended for another game. You’re not a rookie center. This is a fourth- or fifth-year guy who has won a championship. You need to understand the situation and not be so demonstrative. Did he deserve the tech? Probably not. But it’s possible. I didn’t rule it out in my mind.”

Mannix was more bothered by the technical foul Joey Crawford gave to Rajon Rondo for arguing with another official. “What Joey Crawford did was embarrassing,” Mannix said. “Rajon Rondo was not talking to Joey Crawford, and he just injected him into the story.” Added Mannix: “Joey I hope never touches another Celtics game ever again after his performance in Orlando.”

Asked if Dwight Howard is a dirty player, Mannix said there’s an element of that to the big man’s game. “Everybody’s saying no. I think there’s a twinge of dirt in Dwight Howard,” Mannix said. “He swings that elbow. And the NBA has noticed it, believe me, I’ve talked to people over there about this. They know he wields that elbow as a weapon sometimes. … Once you start swinging [the elbow], that’s a punch. You’re swinging it like it’s a weapon. … There’s definitely a bit of dirtiness to his game.”

Looking at the game strategy, Mannix said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy “has done a terrific coaching job and might have actually saved his own job.” He said now the Celtics need to make an adjustment on defense. “To me the adjustment is not Dwight Howard, it’s not defensively [overall], it’s that double pick and roll they keep running with Jameer Nelson. Boston has no answer for that. Either they get caught on it and Nelson has a clear path to the basket, or they wind up switched and Dwight Howard or Rashard Lewis get a massive mismatch underneath the rim. There’s got to be ways that Boston can tinker with that defense and make sure they don’t get caught with their pants down when Jameer comes around that corner. I think part of that responsibility is on Rajon Rondo. It looks to me a couple of times he fights through the first pick but he doesn’t quite give the same amount of effort through that second pick.”

Asked for his prediction, Mannix leaned toward the Celtics. “I think Boston wins,” he said. “I think they gut it out. I think the home crowd is going to be important, the energy behind them. I think they win a very close game. I think the important thing to look at it how they play in the first quarter. The games they’ve won so far in this series, they’ve jumped out to leads. The games they’ve lost, they’ve kind of had to fight from behind. I don’t think Boston’s very good at fighting from behind, at least not against Orlando, which has a tendency to six or nine points up on you so quickly. … So I think it’s very important for Boston to get out to one of those 7-0, 12-6 advantages. Take some of the pressure off them and put Orlando behind the 8-ball. Make them feel the pressure of making jump shots late in the game, in the third and the fourth quarter, so they have to get back in the game. I think the pressure at some point, if they’re trailing will get to the Orlando shooters. I don’t think you’re going to see Rashard Lewis or Vince Carter step up and make big jump shots  if the Magic are coming from behind.”

However, cautioned Mannix, “If they can’t defend Dwight, and they’re also not able to defend Jameer Nelson, this could be a blowout. … This Orlando team is fully capable of routing Boston on their home court.”

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