|Doc Rivers on D&C: Jeff Green ‘starting to take off’||04.04.13 at 10:05 am ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning and talked about the final month of the regular season, the Mike Rice controversy at Rutgers, and how he almost played for Bobby Knight at Indiana.
The Celtics clinched a playoff berth Wednesday with a 98-93 victory over the Pistons. Jeff Green scored 34 points and hit a key 3-pointer in the final minute, continuing his resurgence after sitting out last season following heart surgery.
“He missed a year last year. You just don’t walk back on the court and play well, especially with the injury that he had,” Rivers said. “I just think it took some time. This is the next phase of his career, and he’s starting to take off.”
The Celtics head into the home stretch of the regular season looking to take advantage of some well-timed off days.
“This is a great stretch here,” Rivers said. “I hope we can really improve out team over this next week, because we practice [and] days off. So it’s a pretty good stretch here for us to try to get some improvement in.
Kevin Garnett remains out with an ankle injury, but Rivers said he expects the team’s inspirational leader to return in time to get some games under his belt before the playoffs.
“He’ll play soon,” Rivers said. “I don’t know if he’ll play Friday, but I think he’ll be playing pretty soon.”
The big news in the basketball world this week was the reaction to the videotape of since-fired Rutgers coach Mike Rice abusing players in practices.
“I did see the video and it was just shocking,” Rivers said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that in any practice that I’ve been in. … I’ve never seen anything like that.”
Added Rivers: “I don’t know coach Rice at all. But obviously I think when he saw that, you understand that he probably changed as well, which is a good thing for him. But that was hard to watch. And I just felt for those kids. Because the college kids, they go to college and their careers are in coaches’ hands. So, they will not complain no matter how bad things are, because they all have this dream of making it to the NBA, and they don’t want to be they guy, that guy that started a scandal and get the black mark. So, they can really be taken advantage of. In that case, they were.”
|Jason Terry on M&M: Celtics will see Heat in postseason, ‘and it’s going to be be fireworks’||03.22.13 at 2:24 pm ET|
Celtics guard Jason Terry spoke with Mut & Merloni on Friday afternoon from Dallas, where he’s preparing to play against his former team, and talked about the C’s mindset following Wednesday’s disappointing loss as well as his reaction to the LeBron James dunk that made Terry fodder on the Internet.
“I’m going to be fired up,” Terry said of Friday night’s matchup against the Mavericks. “This is a big game for us — not only for me, but for our team. We dropped one in New Orleans, we definitely shouldn’t have lost to them. We’ve got to get back and get things rolling.”
Terry said coach Doc Rivers stressed the need for better focus following Wednesday’s 87-86 loss to the Hornets.
“It’s all about learning at this point, learning how to close and finish ballgames,” Terry said. “Especially when you’re up 10, 15 points. You have to keep it going. We kind of went into cruise control mode. We got lackluster, especially with our execution. We just don’t have that luxury. Rajon Rondo‘s not coming back. So we have to do it by committee and we all have to take ownership and take pride in executing and finishing games, on both ends of the floor.
“We’ve learned from that, we watched a lot of film, and Doc ripped us a new one today in shootaround. So, just expect us to bounce back tonight and be more efficient when we do get the lead.”
Terry was posterized by James in Monday’s loss to the Heat. James later said he enjoyed the dunk because of his personal rivalry with trash-talking Terry. The dunk earned legendary status on the Internet.
“[The way] social media is today, it’s just unbelievable,” Terry said. “But I will say, I did get a kick out of the one when I was in a coffin, laying in the coffin, and the pallbearers were [Kevin Garnett] and Paul Pierce. That was hilarious. It’s all in fun, it’s all in the spirit of the sport.
“But I’ll tell you right now, I would love to see Miami in the playoffs, because the road to the championship goes through the champion. We’re fired up. We love that matchup.”
Terry said his issue is more with the Heat than LeBron. Terry’s Mavericks lost to the Heat in the 2006 NBA finals and got revenge in the 2011 rematch.
“It’s just the Miami Heat,” Terry said. “Is it the red and black? Maybe. I hate that color. I just don’t like them. … It goes back to ’05-06. It doesn’t matter who’s in those Miami Heat uniforms. … [The Mavericks were] up 2-0 and [the Heat] come back and win four straight games and you lose the NBA finals. So, LeBron inherited something bigger than the matchup of he and I. It’s about the Miami Heat and that organization. He picked his poison.
“They put him on me to shut me down in the NBA finals in 2011 and he couldn’t get the job done. Hopefully he’ll have another chance this year in the Eastern Conference finals or wherever we match up. But I’m telling you right now, I love us, I love the way we’re built. We miss Rondo, we miss [Jared] Sullinger, but with this team we have, we have a chance.”
Added Terry: “You know at some point — I don’t want to say that it’s fixed — I think it’s going to happen. We are going to see them, and it’s going to be fireworks.”
|Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘I don’t second-guess’ Paul Pierce’s final shot||03.19.13 at 11:28 am ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning, hours after Monday night’s tough 105-103 loss to LeBron James and the streaking Heat.
“I thought we competed well,” Rivers said. “I thought we had a lot of chances to win the game. For me, and for our players, we’re really disappointed. But I think we would enjoy that matchup [in the playoffs], there’s no doubt about that.”
Rivers said the Celtics’ biggest issues were their failure to continue to push the pace after having early success playing the Heat’s preferred uptempo style, as well as turnovers and defensive miscues.
“We did make some mistakes,” Rivers said. “The turnovers, I though, cost us the game. And then our defensive mistakes — game-planning mistakes that I was frustrated with. We gave up three or four, I’ll maybe even say five or six layups to the basket where we were switching and we shouldn’t have. Those are the things that hurt you.”
The Celtics had a chance to take the lead in the final seconds, but Paul Pierce missed a fadeaway 3-pointer off an inbounds pass.
“I don’t mind that,” Rivers said. “Listen, he got a good look at it. He maybe could have drove, I don’t know. I don’t question those types of shots at the end of the game. Because he makes those shots. If it goes in, it’s a great shot. If it doesn’t go in, then could we have gotten a better shot? I don’t know.”
Added Rivers: “Paul takes fadeaways. That’s part of his shot. Having said that, the play was really what it was, except for it wasn’t designed for a 3. Jason Terry actually set a terrific pick on LeBron. LeBron actually got tangled up on it — give him credit, he closes so quick it’s amazing. But the play was just for a pin-down from Jason Terry, because I knew they didn’t want to get off his body. And I thought Paul would have an opening. And Paul went out to the 3. He didn’t probably have to. He may have been able to tight curl that. But I don’t second-guess that.”
Jeff Green scored 43 points, but he was not involved in the Celtics’ final offensive play.
“He just had the shot before that,” Rivers explained. “Paul’s a better shot-maker low clock. Jeff Green is great, obviously. But they guarded him. There was a back screen for him on the back side of that. There was more than one option on the play. The guy who takes the ball out decides who he thinks is open.”
|Report: Kevin Garnett refused offer from Chris Paul to make trade happen||02.22.13 at 6:57 am ET|
Kevin Garnett said all along he wanted to remain a Celtic, and apparently he said the same thing to Chris Paul after the All-Star guard called to gauge KG’s interest in joining the Clippers.
According to the Boston Herald‘s Mark Murphy, Paul contacted Garnett and said if the veteran big man was open to making the move to Los Angeles, Paul would make it happen. Garnett said no.
The oft-rumored trade would have landed the Celtics center DeAndre Jordan and guard Eric Bledsoe.
The Celtics ended up making one move before Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline, acquiring Jordan Crawford from the Wizards for center Jason Collins and injured guard Leandro Barbosa.
|Trade rumor roundup: Pacers shopping D.J. Augustin, Gerald Green, Tyler Hansbrough||02.21.13 at 12:12 pm ET|
Here’s a roundup of the rumors that are making their way around the web midday Thursday, hours before the 3 p.m. NBA trade deadline.
The Pacers are dangling D.J. Augustin, Gerald Green and Tyler Hansbrough, according to the Indianapolis Star. While they are 33-21 and owners of the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Pacers are looking to strengthen their roster as they look toward the playoffs.
Augustin ($3.5 million) and Hansbrough ($3.05 million) are on expiring contracts. Augustin will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, while Hansbrough will be restricted.
Green, the athletic former Celtic, signed a three-year, $10.5 million deal last offseason but has struggled to find his niche.
• Magic guard J.J. Redick, who becomes a free agent this offseason, is said to be receiving plenty of interest. Redick makes $6.19 million this season but reportedly wants close to $10 million per year for his next deal, leading to the Magic taking calls. Redick is averaging a career-best 15.2 points and 4.4 assists in 31.6 minutes per game. The Spurs are one of the teams rumored to have an interest.
• Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the Raptors have emerged as the frontrunners to land Suns guard (and onetime Celtic) Sebastian Telfair, crediting league sources. Telfair’s minutes have dropped since the Suns made a coaching change last month (hiring Lindsey Hunter to replace Alvin Gentry).
Wojnarowski also tweeted that the Hornets are struggling to find a team that will trade a high enough first-round draft pick for Gerald Henderson.
• The New Orleans Time Picayune reports that the Hornets are offering guard Eric Gordon. One option has Gordon going to the Warriors for Klay Thompson, although Golden State apparently isn’t very interested in that deal.
|Chris Mannix on M&M: ‘More likely than not, the core of this [Celtics] team stays together’||02.20.13 at 1:48 pm ET|
Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, one day before the NBA trade deadline, to discuss rumors surrounding the Celtics. Mannix said the Celtics would be wise to do the deal reportedly discussed with the Clippers, but he’s not expecting it to happen.
“Boston was making a lot of those calls about [Kevin] Garnett to the Clippers,” Mannix said. “And the interest in the Clippers, I can tell you, it’s divided out there among the organization. The coaching staff, they want Kevin Garnett, because they want to win now. … Whereas the front office, I can tell you this, they’re not all that inclined to give up Eric Bledsoe, who is a potential 10-year starter in this league, and DeAndre Jordan, a sure-fire starter right now, for Kevin Garnett, who could potentially only be giving you a couple more months. Who knows what Kevin Garnett’s future is going to hold? To me, he’s always been on a series of one-year contracts.
“I think at the end of the day, when you throw in the no-trade clause that Kevin has, and you consider the fact that I have not heard a heck of a lot of significant interest surrounding Paul Pierce, I think more likely than not, the core of this team stays together.”
A report Tuesday night had the Clippers pulling out of trade talks. Mannix said he expects Celtics boss Danny Ainge would follow through if the deal is resuscitated.
“I think if the deal is there, he makes it,” Mannix said. “If he can get Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan for Kevin Garnett, you jump at it. I’ve heard some criticisms of this deal from the Boston side; I don’t get it. Has anyone not been watching Eric Bledsoe? As really the fourth guard on this Clippers team — third, I guess, when [Chauncey] Billups is injured — but really, he’s done a lot of things.”
Added Mannix: “You’re dealing with potential right now, because he hasn’t gotten the consistent minutes at the point guard spot because Chris Paul has been there for a couple of years now. But Eric Bledsoe is a guy that could potentially take over as a starting point guard for a team right away, and be an effective guy, be a guy that can score 15 points per game and give you seven, eight assists. Look at the way he’s played this year: He’s up to about 10 points per game. But more importantly, his field goal percentage is in the mid-40s right now, his 3-point percentage is in the low 30s. This is a guy that’s been improving every single year. So I think he’s a guy you would want to get.
“Same thing with DeAndre Jordan, who admittedly is a little bit overpaid, because Golden State threw that massive contract at him last year. But he’s someone that can be a starting center on your team for the next decade.
“And when you make a deal like that, all of a sudden there can be a domino effect. Now you can think about dealing Rajon Rondo next year, when he becomes healthy, because you have Eric Bledsoe already at the starter’s spot. You can trade Rondo for some starting quality pieces or some draft picks, and all of a sudden an old, aging team could suddenly be a fast, rebuilding team on the fly. I think that’s the way it would turn out.”
|Celtics offer condolences after death of Lakers owner Jerry Buss||02.18.13 at 4:26 pm ET|
Longtime Lakers owner Jerry Buss died Monday at the age of 80 following an 18-month battle with cancer. The immediate cause of death was listed as kidney failure.
“The NBA has lost a visionary owner whose influence on our league is incalculable and will be felt for decades to come,” NBA commissioner David Stern said. “More importantly, we have lost a dear and valued friend.”
Buss bought the team in 1979 and owned it during its most successful tenure. The Lakers won 10 titles and competed in 16 finals during the 34 years of his ownership. Two of his children, Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss, have been handling most of the team’s day-to-day responsibilities as his health failed.
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck released a statement, saying: “I had the pleasure of working with Jerry closely for the last 10 years on league matters. He was a wonderful business colleague, brilliant competitor and became a good friend. Although our teams competed in two finals during that time, the friendship never wavered. He will be greatly missed and the entire Celtics organization offers condolences to the Buss family and Lakers organization.”