|Stephen A. Smith on D&C: Never seen Kobe this focused||06.17.10 at 7:56 am ET|
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist and radio host Stephen A. Smith joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the NBA finals. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Smith said at least two of the Celtics’ top players must step up in Game 7, because he has no doubt Kobe Bryant will be at his best. “I have never seen him this focused,” Smith said of the Lakers star. “If he was this focused before Game 7, imagine how he’s going to be tonight.”
Talking about Rasheed Wallace, whose play becomes that much more important with the absence of injured starter Kendrick Perkins, Smith said: “As big as this game is, he is completely unfazed. … He’s not going to be nervous. At the same time, it’s a bad thing, because the urgency of the moment is not going to affect him. … Game 7 is not going to make him give you more.”
As for a prediction, Smith said that despite Bryant wanting it more than anyone else, “I picked the Boston Celtics to win this series, and I’m going to stick with it.” He also said to keep an eye on Nate Robinson, who could make a big impact with his outside shooting.
Smith also touched on Doc Rivers‘ future, saying: “He gave me indications the other day that he would probably come back,” based on his relationship with the players.
|Former Celtic Walker ordered to trial||06.14.10 at 1:39 pm ET|
Former Celtics forward Antoine Walker appeared in a Las Vegas court Monday and was ordered to face trial on felony bad check charges that he failed to repay almost $1 million in gambling debts to three Vegas casinos. The judge noted that Walker had yet to make any progress repaying some $770,000 he agreed to pay in restitution, court fees and penalties.
Walker filed for bankruptcy last month in Florida, and the Las Vegas prosecutor indicated that he is working with Walker’s lawyer on a deal that would avoid forcing Walker to serve jail time.
To read more, click here.
|Satch Sanders on D&H: Bench is C’s only edge||06.11.10 at 12:40 pm ET|
Sanders said Doc Rivers‘ use of his bench in Game 4 Thursday night reminded him of Red Auberbach’s strategy during the Celtics’ dynasty in the 1960s, of which Sanders was a key part.
“It was consistent with Auerbach to use that second unit when games were extremely tight or when we were losing,” said Sanders, who won eight NBA titles as a player and briefly coached the C’s in the late 1970s. “Basically, he’d change that whole group up, and we’d get back in many a game. … That’s a good role to play if you’ve got that kind of bench, and certainly Rivers has that kind of bench, and he’s clearly not afraid to use it.”
Sanders said that because the Celtics and Lakers starters match up so evenly, the bench should decide the series. “Boston has a much deeper bench,” he said. “That’s the only edge that they have.”
As for the referees, Sanders said complaining isn’t worth the players’ time and focus. “Forget about the referees,” he advised. “They have a job to do, but you’d better do yours.”
Sanders will be on hand Monday night at TD Garden for The Tradition, the New England Sports Museum’s annual event honoring area sports legends. He will be there to help present former teammate Jo Jo White with the basketball legacy award.
|Dr. J rooting for ‘Eastern Conference,’ not Celtics||06.11.10 at 12:21 pm ET|
Julius Erving, who won an NBA championship with the 76ers in 1983 and was involved in numerous battles against the Celtics, was in the stands at Thursday’s NBA finals Game 4 at TD Garden, sitting with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the winner of an online contest.
Erving said he is begrudgingly pulling for Boston to win, as he did when the Celtics and Lakers met three times in the 1980s.
“I am an Eastern Conference guy. I’m always pretty loyal, cheer for the conference,” Erving told The Associated Press, adding: “It’s hard to root for Boston. I root for the conference. Rooting for Boston, that’s asking a little much, especially in public.”
|Legler on D&C: Nate’s energy priceless||06.11.10 at 9:44 am ET|
ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the NBA finals, following the Celtics‘ Game 4 win Thursday night. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“Last night was the quintessential Celtics defense that we’ve come to know out of this team for the last three years.” Legler said, noting that the officials helped the C’s by letting them play.
Legler said Nate Robinson’s performance off the bench makes him wonder even more why the former Knick hasn’t seen more playing time. “I’ve kind of been scratching my head, going back about a month, as to why he wasn’t regularly in the rotation down the stretch of the season and in the postseason,” Legler said.
“One thing I love about Nate Robinson, he never thinks the stage is too big,” Legler added. “He believes every time he’s on the court he’s the best player on the floor. I have a lot of respect for guys that don’t care about the moment, that can come in ‘ sit there for a month, the way he did in the Orlando series and come in and give you 13 points in an important game the way he did in that series ‘ and then to come in last night on that stage. He just plays like, ‘I belong here. This is my game.’ … I just don’t think you can put a price tag on the energy that that guy provides.”
Legler, who stands by his prediction of Celtics in six, said if the C’s can finally put together a balanced offensive night, the Lakers will be in trouble. “I think offensively they’ve been so out of sync and so far from where they can be,” he said. “Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and [Rajon] Rondo ‘ they haven’t come close to playing well on the same night yet. And once they do, the Lakers I just don’t think can beat this team.”
|NBA tabs Eddie F. Rush to referee Game 4||06.10.10 at 9:17 am ET|
The officials for Game 4 of the NBA finals were announced Thursday morning, and the trio includes a referee Celtics fans won’t be happy to see. Eddie F. Rush, who ejected Kendrick Perkins from the Eastern Conference finals Game 5 on a technical foul that later was rescinded by the league, will be on the floor along with Scott Foster and Greg Willard.
However, according to NBAstuffer.com, Celtics fans shouldn’t be too upset about Rush taking the floor in Boston. The site’s stats indicate that home teams have won nine of the 10 times Rush has officiated in the 2010 postseason. He calls fouls on the road team 55 percent of the time.
Rush officiated two games in the 2008 finals between the Celtics and Lakers: Games 1 and 5. Both were played in Boston, and both resulted in Celtics wins.
Greg Willard and Scott Foster have identical stats that are much more even. Home teams have won 64 percent of their games (both have reffed 11 times), and their foul calls are an almost even split: 51 percent on players on road teams, 49 percent on home teams.
Foster is the referee Tim Donaghy called 134 times in a seven-month stretch during the 2006-07 season, which raised suspicion as that was during the time Donaghy was gambling on games. Foster was not charged with any wrongdoing. He refereed two games in the 2008 NBA finals, Game 1 (a Celtics win) and Game 5 (a C’s road loss).
|Rappers push Celtics street anthem||06.08.10 at 4:25 pm ET|
Cambridge-based rap group N.B.S. (Natural Born Spitters) has released a Celtics street anthem titled “Who Are We (The Celtics)” that features highlights of the C’s run at Banner 18.
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