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Ian Thomsen on D&C: C’s need to adjust game 02.01.10 at 11:08 am ET
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Sports Illustrated NBA writer Ian Thomsen made an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the Celtics‘ recent woes. He explored the team’s current struggles, whether the Big Three still has the legs to mount a championship run, whether the team might consider a major deal along the lines of a trade of Ray Allen or whether a move to acquire a player such as Kirk Hinrich of the Bulls could help the team to pull out of its current funk.

Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, click here.

How quickly is the window closing?

It’s going to close fast if they don’t make the adjustments they need to make. They aren’t themselves, and I’m talking about [Kevin] Garnett especially, and [Paul] Pierce a little bit, and even Ray Allen. They’re just going to need to adjust the way they play, to try to make the best of it while they get through this transition. If they still think they can win a championship, they can’t do it the way they are playing now. They have to sort of do a transitional style to get them to March and April with a chance to win it.

Meaning what? Get new people?

Garnett needs to be more of a center right now. He’s not himself. He’s not beating guys down the floor in transition. [Lakers coach] Phil Jackson brought that up yesterday. He needs to be more that post-up guy, play a little bit more inside, they can play the ball through him. He needs to figure out what he can do and do that. Because what he’s doing now isn’t very productive.

They’ve been outscored in the fourth quarter in 12 of their last 14 games. Is that age and injury?

It’s age and injury, and I really think they’re asking too much of Rajon Rondo in his [fourth] year to be doing so much, to be carrying them, playing a lot of minutes, and then to lead them in the fourth quarters the way he’s been having to do. I think he’s come a long way, he’s a terrific player, he’s going to be even better in a couple of years. But right now they’re asking too much of him.

A lot of it just doesn’t make sense. The team doesn’t make sense, when you look at the hierarchy. Think about two years ago. When you looked at the stats for the season, it just all made sense the way the shots were divvied out, the order of things. And they don’t have that order right now. Rondo’s a big part of the offense as a point guard who is not a great shooter. Really, it all just comes down to not having Garnett be himself, and he’s got to figure out some way to be productive right now.

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Read More: Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett, Kirk Hinrich, Marquis Daniels
Doc Rivers on D&C, 10/29 10.29.09 at 11:24 am ET
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Doc Rivers appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show and talked about the Celtics‘ fast start, the impressive bench, and Glen Davis‘ immaturity. A transcript follows. Listen to the interview at the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Can the first game of an 82-game season … be a statement game?

I don’t know if it can be a statement game. I don’t think it’s a statement game to the Cavs, for sure. But I think for us, it helps us. Because we’ve had problems winning in that building, and now you have that monkey off your back, so when you go in there, at least that won’t be in the conversation anymore.

Was [last night’s blowout] useful?

It’s always useful this early in the season. We have a lot of things to work on. They didn’t play well, Charlotte, especially in the first half. It’s funny, I thought defensively we were really good, obviously, you look at the numbers all game. But in the first half, I thought we played terrific defense and our offense didn’t match at all. And then in the second half we continued to play terrific defense and then our offense matched. And that’s what stretched the score. I think it was only 10 points at halftime. It was one of those games. Film-wise, it will be a good film session for us when we watch it tomorrow.

Are there not some easy wins in the NBA?

You’re never comfortable. Obviously, just like in football, fourth quarter, you have a big lead, that quarter can become easy. But up until then, it’s all work. You have to earn that score, you have to earn that lead. I was not happy at halftime, because I thought we had blown a golden opportunity to maybe have an easy night the rest of the night. And then we came out in the third quarter and played terrific on both ends. But it’s still hard work to get those leads. And once you get it, as a coaching staff, then you’re panicked to keep it all the time.

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Isiah lashes out at Magic, Bird 10.22.09 at 4:32 pm ET
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Isiah Thomas responded to criticism from his longtime friend Magic Johnson by lashing out at the Lakers legend in a story today on SportsIllustrated.com. Thomas, the former Pistons standout, most recently failed miserably as coach of the Knicks and is now coaching at Florida International University.

“I’m really hurt, and I really feel taken advantage of for all these years,” Thomas told SI.com. “I’m totally blindsided by this. Every time that I’ve seen Magic, he has been friendly with me. Whenever he came to a Knick game, he was standing in the tunnel [to the locker room] with me. He and [Knicks assistant coach] Herb [Williams] and I, we would go out to dinner in New York. I didn’t know he felt this way.”

Johnson and Larry Bird contributed to a book by Jackie MacMullan, “When The Game Was Ours,” which is due out Nov. 4. In the book, Johnson accuses Thomas of questioning his sexuality after Johnson was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1991. Johnson also confirms that Thomas was not well-liked by other NBA stars.

Thomas fired back at Johnson and defended himself in today’s story. He also accuses Johnson of duplicitous behavior in his friendship with Bird.

“Let’s be real. I’m not going to say the things Magic said in private about Larry, but I do know the public stance he’s taken [in becoming Bird’s friend],” Thomas told SI.com. “I know that’s not how he felt about Larry Bird. Magic hated Larry, and he tried to make other people hate Larry. Magic was no friend of Larry Bird’s during that time. And his Laker teammates will tell you that. And I’m sure they’ve got to be disgusted with the way he’s carried on with this whole me-and-Larry bull.”

Read the entire SI story here. And click here to listen to Jackie MacMullan discuss the book on Dennis & Callahan last week.

Read More: Isiah Thomas, Jackie MacMullan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson
Hawks say Pierce lost bet on ’08 playoffs 10.20.09 at 9:32 pm ET
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Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks had some interesting things to say about Celtics captain Paul Pierce Tuesday in a radio interview on Atlanta’s 790 The Zone. Recalling the teams’ intense, seven-game, first-round playoff series in 2008, Horford said Pierce was so confident that, during some trash-talking on the court, Pierce bet Horford $10,000 that the Celtics would sweep.

“I haven’t talked to him [since the series], but I know he owes me money,” Horford said. “Marvin [Williams] was a witness. We were at the free throw line and he was telling me that they were going to sweep us and all this and, you know, we bet and I never got anything.”

Williams also took part in Tuesday’s interview and backed up his teammate’s accusation.

“He bet ten thousand we wouldn’t win a game,” Williams stated.

Later in the interview, Horford and Williams claimed that they were not holding a grudge.

“I’m not mad at him at all,” Horford said. “You know, I mean, he’s a competitor like you said and, you know, he wants to win. He’s a good player, so, I mean, it’s fine for him to talk. He’s a vet.”

Said Williams: “You know, growing up, you know, Paul Pierce was one of the guys I looked up to. At the end of the day, he’s a competitor, man, he wants to win just like we want to win and it’s never personal.”

For more on the story at Hooponion.com, including the audio of the interview, click here.

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