|Postgame Wrap Up||10.28.08 at 10:43 pm ET|
Miss the Celtics 90-85 victory over the Cavs on Opening Night?
And since a night like this would not feel right without Red Auerbach, his signature is engraved on the inside of every championship ring.
|The Admiral Salutes the Celtics||10.28.08 at 9:09 pm ET|
12 years ago David Robinson and Doc Rivers sat next to each other in the San Antonio Spurs locker room, sharing dreams of becoming NBA champions. Three seasons after Rivers retired, Robinson realized his ultimate goal and won it all. On Tuesday night, Rivers finally realized his.
Robinson was on hand to watch Rivers receive his championship ring as the head coach of the Boston Celtics. The Admiral, coincidentally, had already planned to be in Boston and it couldn’t have been better timing.
“I love Doc,” Robinson said after the Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 90-85 on Opening Night. “He’s a great guy. I was watching him through the playoffs and this is really the first chance I’ve really had to talk with him and congratulate him. It was really good to be able to get up here tonight.”
Just as many of the Celtics were overcome with emotion, Robinson felt it too. Like Pierce, it took him 10 years to win his first NBA title. He felt a sense of relief for both Rivers and the players.
“I know it was an emotional time for [Doc],” he sad. “He has a great family and they went through a couple of really hard years and that kind of redemption is super. Tonight was even kind of an emotional time just watching him and knowing what it felt like for those three guys to get their first ring. Pretty nice, pretty good.”
Robinson stepped away from the game in 2003 after winning his second championship in five years with the Spurs. He knows firsthand just how hard it is to repeat.
“Obviously we weren’t able to do it,” he said. “You’ve got to have a lot of luck along with being ready. Mentally they’ve crossed the line. They’re ready mentally. But I remember one year Tim Duncan got hurt and that changes your whole picture. If they lose Kevin Garnett, if they lose Paul Pierce, that’s stuff that you can’t control. They have the right mentality now; they know they can win games; they’re going to figure out how to get themselves ready for the playoff time; Doc is great, so I think they’re in as good of a position as you could ask.”
Health, Robinson points out, is the key to success both in a season and a career. He spent 14 years in the league and offered advice to the young Celtics big men.
“Work on your body. Make sure you’re strong, you’re healthy,” he suggested. “You get so many bumps and bruises and if you don’t spend the time to be strong, if you don’t spend the time in the weight room outside of practice and outside of the locker room, you’re going to struggle. I don’t have a huge body, I’m not a 280-pound guy, so it’s even more important to keep your joints strong. So that’s what I would encourage these guys, just work on your body all the time. Be strong, be ready, be prepared to play and hopefully that’ll keep you from injuries.”
For all the sweat and tears that go into defending a title, there are also perks to being the champs. There is that special feeling they will be reminded of for 82 games.
“One of the things that I remember the most is before every game coming out there and you’re sitting on the bench getting ready to be called up and they say, ‘And now you’re Worrrrld Champion San Antonio Spurs!’” Robinson said. “That’ the best thing and you get to enjoy it all year long.”
|Two Youks, No Soulja Boy Jr.||10.28.08 at 7:39 pm ET|
I know it’s a school night but I thought for sure we’d see Soulja Boy Jr. dancing across the Jumbotron. No such luck, though, when “Crank Dat Soulja Boy” was played. Maybe he had to write a book report.
There are, however, two Youk’s in the building. There is the real Kevin Youkilis, who is enjoying the game near the Celtics bench, and another guy who looks freakishly like the Red Sox first baseman. That means the “Yooooouuukkkk” cheers had twice as much “oooo” tonight.
|Perk Fouls Out||10.28.08 at 7:33 pm ET|
Kendrick Perkins fouled out with 3:30 left to go in the game. He posted two points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes. On the other hand, Cavs starting center Zydrunas Ilgauskas has only been called for two personals.
|TA, Powe Explode in Fourth Quarter||10.28.08 at 7:18 pm ET|
Who said the bench couldn’t survive without James Posey?
It’s only the first game of the season but tonight Tony Allen and Leon Powe are showing they are determined to make sure the second unit stays dominant. Looks like Allen has finally learned to compensate for the explosiveness he lost after his knee injury and is driving it hard to the basket. Powe said this summer that he was working on becoming more physical and tonight he is showing no mercy in the lane. Competition will get tougher for Powe, as Anderson Varejao is hardly a physical player, but he is showing the promise to handle whatever comes at him this season.
|Pollard Talks Ring, NBA Future||10.28.08 at 7:04 pm ET|
Scot Pollard was late to his own party. Since he is no longer a member of the Celtics, he wasn’t sure if he should go up and get his ring like the rest of the guys on the team during the ceremony. Instead he sat in his seat when his name was called, a little confused, before showing up fashionably late to receive his hardware.
But now that he has the ring he is happy to show it to anyone who asks. Just take the herds of fans who approached him at halftime for a peek. After regaining my vision from being temporarily blinded by all the diamonds, I caught up with Scot to see what he’s up to these days.
What did you think when you woke up today knowing you were getting your ring?
I’ve been so geeked about this for so long. As soon as I heard the ring ceremony was going to be today I obviously marked it on my calendar. There was nothing that could keep me away from coming back to get it. It’s beautiful. I was worried it was going to be too big or too gaudy. It’s huge and it’s heavy but I think it’s great. I don’t think it’s gaudy at all. It’s really huge and I’m actually really excited to be able to show it off.
How have you been filling your calendar these days besides ring ceremonies?
I am working out and really, really enjoying a lot of time with my family. I’ve been able to take my kids to school every day, pick them up. I’m just having a blast being a family guy and being able to do things I’ve never had the chance or time to do. My agent is still pounding the phone and making sure people still know I’m available and healthy. I’m staying ready, staying in shape. If something happens, it happens. If not, it doesn’t.
Are you feeling 100% now?
About as good as it can be, yeah.
So you’ve got a few more games left in you?
I’ve got a lot of years left. But I don’t know if it’s going to happen.
At this point how many teams are seeking interest in you?
I’ve had a couple of phone calls, questions, but at this point in my career it’s tough for me to say I’m going to go for a 10-day contract or a training camp contract.
And with that the ever-personable Pollard was pulled away by former teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas to see the ring. Regardless of where he ends up this season, judging by the reception of the crowd he is more than welcome back at the Garden.
|Halftime Numbers and Notes||10.28.08 at 6:39 pm ET|
At the half … Cavs 50, Celtics 43
- The Cavs have got to the line 22 times (86%) while the Celtics landed their just 13 (69%)
- Neither team is on from long-range. The Cavs are 1-for-9, the Cs are 0-for-9
- Paul Pierce leads all scorers with 14 points. LeBron James leads the Cavs with 10. Both players have attempted 10 field goals.
- The Cavs have waged a balanced attack on the glass, outrebounding the Celtics 21-18.
- Who can block KG? Ben Wallace did in the second quarter.