|Jeff Van Gundy on D&C: Celtics ‘just don’t have enough offensive talent’||04.30.13 at 9:52 am ET|
ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to talk about Jason Collins, the Celtics and the playoffs.
Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran who started the season with the Celtics and was traded to the Wizards in February, revealed Monday that he is gay. The support from people in and around the league was immediate and impressive.
“I expected every player to publicly support him, certainly the league to support him,” Van Gundy said. “I think the question that remains is privately, when you get behind the locker room doors, or they’re in their rooms in the hotels, what do they say then? Because everyone’s aware player-wise that to do like what [Dolphins wide receiver] Mike Wallace said yesterday, there’s going to be major repercussions. But to think that some players don’t have those similar thoughts but just won’t publicly express them is a bit naive. I think if Collins is on a roster next year, I think the public support will always be there. Privately, I think there will still be some ignorance to his situation.”
Collins is being heralded as the first active player in major team sports to come out. However, Van Gundy isn’t so sure Collins, a free agent, will be playing next season.
“The big issue whether Collins gets signed next year or if he’s not signed is going to have nothing to do with his sexual orientation and everything to do with his diminishing skills and athleticism,” Van Gundy said. “He’s a marginal NBA player right now, at best.”
The Celtics head back to New York for Wednesday’s Game 5 as heavy underdogs as they look to extend the series.
“I just think that the Celtics, are they going to be able to find enough offense over the next three games to legitimately put pressure on New York,” Van Gundy said. “Certainly if they win Game 5, anything becomes possible then because then you just have to win one home game to get to the ultimate Game 7. But when I see them, their guard struggles are so dramatic without [Rajon] Rondo that it’s difficult to create quality opportunities in the halfcourt. I think it will be even more so on the road.
“The thing that’s been overlooked is the first two halves of the games in New York, Boston was great. So many people have been focusing on what was wrong in the second halves, and I think it’s a talent issue, they just don’t have enough offensive talent with the loss of Rondo and Ray Allen from last year. But if they can stay in a faster-paced game, like they can get that ball and advance it and attack before the Knick defense gets set, then we’ve seen how effective Jeff Green can be in that type of game, [Paul] Pierce can hit some trail 3′s. I just think they have to play with pace and offensive energy. And if they can do that, their defense should be able to limit New York. They’re still an excellent defensive team.”
|NBA offers support to Jason Collins after his decision to come out||04.29.13 at 1:33 pm ET|
There has been overwhelmingly positive response to former Celtics center Jason Collins‘ revelation Monday that he is gay. Collins revealed his homosexuality in a first-person article he wrote for Sports Illustrated.
NBA commissioner David Stern made his support clear in a statement released shortly after the article was posted on the web.
“As [deputy NBA commissioner] Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and [twin brother] Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family,” Stern said. “Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.”
Collins, 34, is a free agent after playing out the season with the Wizards following his trade from Boston in February.
“We are extremely proud of Jason and support his decision to live his life proudly and openly,” Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfield said in a statement. “He has been a leader on and off the court and an outstanding teammate throughout his NBA career. Those qualities will continue to serve him both as a player and as a positive role model for others of all sexual orientation.”
A number of NBA players also offered encourgament via Twitter.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 29, 2013
— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) April 29, 2013
— Kenneth Faried (@KennethFaried35) April 29, 2013
— Baron Davis (@Baron_Davis) April 29, 2013
|Ex-Celtic Jason Collins reveals he is gay||04.29.13 at 11:31 am ET|
Center Jason Collins, who spent most of the season with the Celtics before being traded to the Wizards in February, reveals in the May 6 issue of Sports Illustrated that he is gay.
Collins, a free agent, explained that at the age of 34 and with 12 NBA seasons (among six teams) behind him, he feels more comfortable discussing his sexuality. He also explained that Boston played a key role in his decision, which he had been considering since the 2011 NBA lockout.
Writes Collins: “I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I’d been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, ‘Me, too.’
“The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn’t wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully? When I told Joe a few weeks ago that I was gay, he was grateful that I trusted him. He asked me to join him in 2013. We’ll be marching on June 8.”
Collins also explained that he wore the No. 98 this season because of the year’s significance to the gay community. In 1998, gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, tortured and tied to a fence, eventually dying from his injuries.
“When I put on my jersey I was making a statement to myself, my family and my friends,” Collins writes.
|Adrian Wojnarowski on D&C: ‘No easy path back’ to contention for Celtics||04.29.13 at 9:04 am ET|
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the Celtics and the NBA playoffs.
The league’s two most successful franchises, the Celtics and Lakers, have become also-rans, and the future is not promising for either team.
“There’s no question there’s been a changing of the guard in the league,” Wojnarowski said. “You look at both teams, the Lakers and Boston, it’s going to be a while before either is in contention again. It’s hard to rebuild in this league, and it doesn’t happen quickly unless you draft LeBron [James] or Kevin Durant. It’s going to take a while, and I think both organizations have to face that reality, because we aren’t going to see these two in the finals again in the foreseeable future, that’s for sure.”
Wojnarowski said the the Celtics have a better front office than the Lakers and a more appealing coach in Doc Rivers, but the Lakers are more likely to return to prominence first because of the appeal of Los Angeles.
“If the Lakers have cap space, they’re always a team that’s going to attract the best player on the market,” Wojnarowski said. “I think Boston, as long as Doc is there and Doc is coaching, I think Boston is very attractive to players, more so to the elite players. But even then, Chris Paul didn’t want to come when they talked deals. It’s not LA.”
Wojnarowski said he thinks the Celtics will attempt to rebuild around Rajon Rondo, but they need some fortuitous moves to get out of the middle.
“That’s the worst place to be in the NBA — stuck in the middle,” Wojnarowski said. “You want to be really good or really bad. That’s the fear is you don’t want to get stuck in that middle place, because you can’t get out of it. You become Milwaukee, fighting for the eighth seed. You don’t want that.
“But I do think, though, the emergence of Jeff Green this year, you’ve seen that they can lean on him to do more and be a different kind of player. Listen, a year ago you didn’t know what his career was going to look like, with the heart ailment. And then this year you saw him become a much more explosive and reliable player. I think that’s a bonus for them. You look back at the Kendrick Perkins deal, and certainly it looks a lot better in hindsight than it did to people initially. But there’s no easy path back for them.”
|Doc Rivers on D&C: Friday’s Game 3 in Boston ‘will be emotional for the players’||04.25.13 at 9:41 am ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning, as the C’s prepare for Friday night’s Game 3 against the Knicks.
The Celtics lost the first two games of their playoff series in New York, both times struggling badly on offense after halftime (48 points combined in the two second halves).
“I would love to say it’s as simple as play harder, play better, but we have to do a lot of things,” Rivers said. “Both games were completely different except for the score, as far as our scoring. In the second game, the third quarter we gave up  points, which meant that we played taking the ball out of bounds, and their pressure affected us. Our defense, though it’s been good, is still tied to our offense. And I would say in the third quarter that was the big part of it.”
Jeff Green continues to shine in spurts, but he’s been unable to carry it through for an entire game. Rivers acknowledged Green’s inconsistency can be frustrating.
“At times. Because I know how good he can be — and I know how good he will be,” Rivers said. “He was fantastic in Game 1, if you just go by total numbers [26 points, 7 rebounds]. Obviously he’s not going to have the half he had in the first half, you’re not going to do that in two halves. That’s a 50-point game. I guess that’s possible, but that’s hard to do.
“In Game 2 our pace was bad. And if our pace affects any single guy, it’s Jeff Green. Without the pace that we wanted to play at, I thought we hurt him as much as Jeff. So, that’s on us. It really is. It’s on me, it’s on our group. Our guys understand the important of that. If you want him to be effective, we have to get him in the open court, otherwise they’re just loading up on him.”
|Chris Mannix on D&C: Celtics ‘can’t win without Rajon Rondo’||04.24.13 at 9:51 am ET|
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the Celtics, who are in a 2-0 hole against the Knicks in their Eastern Conference playoff series following Tuesday night’s 87-71 loss at Madison Square Garden.
“They can’t win without Rajon Rondo. It kind of just boils down to that,” Mannix said. “It was such a gutty first half, how they played. They defended, they made shots, Jason Terry was big for them. But the second half, when the Knicks came out with a modicum of defensive intensity, they could do nothing, because they don’t have anyone on the floor that knows how to manufacture shots. [Paul] Pierce did the best he could, but it was pretty clear to me that the Knicks were loading up on him and really putting a focus on keeping him under control in the second half, contesting more shots in the second half. And without Rondo, they got nothing in the paint. Everything was a contested jump shot off one or two passes.
“In a lot of ways, it’s kind of depressing to watch. Because the Knicks, they’re not a good defensive team. They were good for like five games in the month of November. Then all of a sudden they reverted back to Carmelo Anthony ball, circa 2008, and decided to outscore people. But the Knicks, when they put any kind of pressure on the Celtics last night, they just didn’t have anything in terms of playmaking that could respond.”
The Celtics were able to play well for stretches after Rondo’s season-ending ACL injury in the regular season, but Mannix noted that the style and intensity in the playoffs are a different matter.
Said Mannix: “We’ve seen first-hand the last two years what Rondo has done for this team in the playoffs — he’s been the best player on the floor every single year. … He just creates shots, and he wreaks havoc in the paint. You simply can’t replace that.”
Jeff Green‘s inconsistency continues to be an issue. After recording 26 points and seven rebounds in Saturday’s Game 1 loss, Green had 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting with one rebound in almost 35 minutes Tuesday.
“I don’t know what it is, other than the fact that it’s just kind of who Jeff Green is at this point,” Mannix said. “He has been a workhorse for him in the second half of the season, and so many nights you can see just that talent. But I can tell you this: The inconsistency was maddening to Oklahoma City back in the day. They wanted to keep Jeff Green, they offered him a good contract extension. But they weren’t willing to go as high as Jeff Green wanted them to go because of that inconsistency. It was a big part of it. They didn’t know if he was going to be that guy every single night. At his best, he’s one of the most versatile forwards in the NBA, he can do a lot at either forward spot from the perimeter and on the inside. But some nights, as you mentioned, he does disappear. That’s one of the most frustrating things about Green, and that’s something I think that until he resolves, it’s always going to hold him back.”
|Wyc Grousbeck on M&M: ‘It just didn’t feel right at all to be playing tonight’||04.16.13 at 1:06 pm ET|
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday afternoon to talk about the decision to cancel Tuesday night’s game against the Pacers in the wake of Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing.
“The first phone call I got about this was from [NBA commissioner] David Stern,” Grousbeck said. “[Wife] Corinne and I had been following the news for just a few minutes. Right away David called, and we started our dialogue. We’re always on the same page. He’s a terrific commissioner and a terrific person. It was an easy decision for us to make together as the evening unfolded, as we learned about injuries and deaths.
“It wasn’t going to feel right to play a basketball game tonight just out of respect, and then out of diverting police resources in any way to playing a game. I’d rather personally have them able to work on the crime scene and help care for anybody who needs help in Boston as opposed to helping patrol our game. It just didn’t feel right at all to be playing tonight. It was an easy decision, which we made together.”
Grousbeck said the team will do its best to make sure TD Garden is a safe place for next week’s playoff games against the Knicks.
“We’ll be intensely focused on security,” Grousbeck said. “I’ve been here 10 years now, and it was shortly after 9/11 when we came in. Every single game is secured to a relatively high degree. Every playoff game is secured to the nth degree. Maybe we’ll secure every game to the nth degree, as it were. But these playoffs will be a very safe place to be. And they will be respectful of the victims and hopeful for the future.”
Added Grousbeck: “I think it’s fair to say that there are levels of security that people are even unaware of. There will be more of those.”