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Thibodeau announced as Bulls coach 06.23.10 at 12:36 pm ET
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Tom Thibodeau officially became coach of the Bulls on Wednesday. (AP)

Tom Thibodeau officially became coach of the Bulls on Wednesday. (AP)

On Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls announced Tom Thibodeau as their new head coach.

“I am very excited to be here and to join the Bulls organization. Chicago is a great city with great fans and a storied history,” Thibodeau said. “I would like to thank Jerry Reinsdorf and [general manager] Gar Forman for presenting me with such a terrific opportunity. We have a talented team with a good nucleus of players, and I am eager to get started.”

Thibodeau served as an assistant coach for the Celtics from 2007-10. He had been drawing interest for head coaching positions since helping lead the C’s to the 2008 championship as an assistant coach. The Celtics repeatedly have credited his emphasis on defense as a key to their success.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome Tom Thibodeau as our new head coach,” Forman said. “As I went through the process to search for the next head coach of the Chicago Bulls, the longer the process went it became apparent that Tom was a perfect fit for the Bulls. He is a great communicator and teacher of the game, and he fits our organizational philosophy from a defensive standpoint. With his experience and knowledge of the NBA, I am confident he will be a great leader for our team.”

The Celtics will look to replace Thibodeau on the sideline this summer.

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Lakers emphasize green not their color 06.20.10 at 11:20 pm ET
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After defeating the Celtics to win the 2010 NBA championship, Kobe Bryant admitted he had downplayed the significance of beating the Lakers’ storied rival during the finals series.

“I was just lying to you guys,” he said after Game 7. “When you’re in the moment you have to suppress that because if you get caught up in the hype of it all, you don’t really play your best basketball.”

Now that Bryant and the Lakers have won the trophy, there is no hiding his feelings.

The Lakers recently appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in celebration of their victory. When asked if he talks to or is friendly with any of the Celtics, Bryant quickly replied: “No.”

Derek Fisher added, “It’s just different. If you’re a Laker, it’s really hard to like anything green. Period.”

See the clip below at the 2:04 mark.

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A look back: Bol at the Boston Garden 06.19.10 at 6:41 pm ET
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On Saturday, 7-foot-7 former center Manute Bol died at the age of 47. Bol played in the NBA from 1985 to 1995 for the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Miami Heat. He faced the Celtics 26 times during his career, averaging 2.7 points and 4.6 rebounds against the C’s.

See Bol in action at the Boston Garden back in 1988:

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Doc: Sheed thinking about retirement 06.18.10 at 1:22 am ET
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Rasheed Wallace may have played his last NBA game, Doc Rivers speculated following the Celtics Game 7 loss to the Lakers in the finals.

“You know, I don’t know if Rasheed will ever play again,” Rivers said. “You know, he’s one of them. I think he took that out on the floor with him. I think he is thinking about retiring, and I thought you could see that in his play. He was dying out there. When he got the cramps and the strains, he was just trying to figure out a way of staying on the floor.”

Wallace, 35, started in place of the injured Kendrick Perkins. He posted 11 points and 8 rebounds in 36 minutes before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Wallace propelled the Celtics early in the game by providing a much-needed post presence and was effective at scoring down low. (In typical Wallace fashion, he also mixed in a critical 3-pointer.)

But eventually Wallace, who suffered back spasms during the postseason, became hampered by injuries. He could no longer serve as an option at the basket for the Celtics, a huge loss when they were already playing without Perkins.

“We had to keep subbing him for one minute and two minutes, and I thought the reason we got up early was because of Rasheed Wallace,” said Rivers. “We got it low in the post, he started scoring, and I thought what happened was late in the game he got tired and had the injuries and we couldn’t go down anymore. And I think that had a huge impact on how we were playing. We had to go away from the post almost because of fatigue. You know, it’s the first time all year that you can actually say at the end of the day we were old at the end of the game because we didn’t have a enough bodies. I thought it hurt us.”

Wallace is under contract next season and has a player option for 2011.

If Game 7 turns out to be Wallace’s last game, he lived up to the expectations set by his previous postseason success. After an inconsistent first regular season in Boston (9.0 points, 40.9% FG, 28.3% 3PG), Wallace made it clear why he had signed with the Celtics.

“I didn’t come here for the regular season,” he said during the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

On Thursday, he proved he was there to win a championship. Even though the C’s fell short, Wallace left no question that he had come to the Celtics to help them achieve postseason success.

Said Rivers, “He was a warrior.”

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5 Things that Went Wrong in Game 7 06.18.10 at 12:07 am ET
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The Celtics lost Game 7 of the NBA Finals to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Thursday night, 83-79, falling short of their 18th championship. Here are five things that went wrong in the deciding game. (Click here for a recap of the Celtics’ loss.)

1. The Celtics gave it away - The Celtics were in control. They had the momentum and the confidence to get it done … before they let it all slip away. The Celtics led by 10 with seven minutes to go in the third quarter and had taken away the Lakers biggest weapon. But they began to miss shots and the Lakers were there to grab the rebounds. The C’s scored just three points in the final four minutes of the quarter and only led by four going into the final 12 minutes. The Lakers immediately got within two points seconds into the fourth, while the Celtics did not score for nearly three minutes. Bryant made three free throws to cut the Celtics advantage to one, and banked another two minutes later to give the Lakers the lead. Bryant scored four consecutive points to pull the Lakers ahead by four with 5:22 left, and they never looked back. The Celtics played catch up for the rest of the game as Bryant, Ron Artest, and Pau Gasol made critical baskets.

2. Kobe Bryant - The Celtics have battled past superstars the entire postseason, each time prevailing with team basketball. But after defeating Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Dwight Howard, they could not overcome the individual performance of Kobe Bryant. The Celtics held Bryant to just eight points (3-14 FG) in 22 minutes in the first half. When Bryant began to find his rhythm, though, the C’s failed to find an answer. Bryant scored 15 points in the second half, including four straight to tie the game and give the Lakers the lead with less than six minutes left. He finished the night with 23 points. It wasn’t his best offensive performance, but he made the shots when it counted.

3. Rebounding – The Celtics have said the entire series that the team that wins the rebounding war wins the game. On Thursday, they won neither. The Lakers outrebounded the Celtics, 53-40, including 23 offensive boards. This can’t be pinned on the injury of Kendrick Perkins, either. He alone doesn’t account for a 13-rebound differential. The Celtics had players capable of rebounding, but in the end, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant combined for 33 boards while only Paul Pierce rebounded in double-digits for the C’s. Kevin Garnett, who the Celtics desperately needed defensively, grabbed just three rebounds.

4. Ray Allen - His monumental 3-point performance is all but forgotten after Ray Allen’s offensive struggles continued through Game 7. Allen shot just 3-for-14 from the field and scored 13 points. While he deserves credit for playing tough D on Bryant, his lack of production at the basket hurt the Celtics in a situation where they needed everyone scoring at full potential.

5. They Played Lakers Ball - The Celtics dominated the first half by feeding off their fundamentals of tough defense and team basketball. In the second half, however, it became showtime for Bryant and the Lakers. The Celtics failed to put together productive offensive possessions, rushed shots, and attempted forced baskets. In the end, they were forced to put the Lakers at the line, where they were outscored 25-15. They C’s began the season by beating the Cavaliers in Cleveland with Celtics basketball, and ended it by losing to the Lakers in Los Angeles by falling victim to their opponent’s game.

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Rivers: Celtics need to trust, play as a team 06.16.10 at 1:32 am ET
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After Kobe Bryant scored 19 points in the third quarter of the Lakers Game 5 loss, the Celtics showed it takes more than just one player to win in the NBA finals.

But on Tuesday night, they C’s looked as if they had forgotten the point they had made just 48 hours earlier.

“I thought we played an individual game tonight, really on both ends,” Doc Rivers said following the Celtics 89-67 loss in Game 6.

Rivers praised the Lakers trust in one another before expressing disappointment in his own team’s. The Celtics, rooted in a we-not-me mentality, failed to share the ball and find the open teammate consistently for 48 minutes. They took contested shots (33% FG) and collectively dished 17 assists, down from their finals average of 20.6.

“We never gave ourselves an opportunity offensively because we didn’t trust tonight.  Everybody was trying to make their own plays,” said Rivers. “When we’ve done that this year, we’ve lost games. We’ve been blown out in some of those games, and if you do that against a team like the Lakers and a team like the Lakers who are really ready to play and play desperate, you’re going to lose. And I thought we did that.”

The need for a total team effort is that much greater heading into Game 7 due to the injury of Kendrick Perkins. His status for Thursday night is unclear after leaving the game with a sprained right knee. Without Perkins, the Celtics lose size down low against the towering Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

Rivers will look to the bench, which was outscored in Game 6, to step up. If Perkins is unable to play, either Glen Davis or Rasheed Wallace will get the start. Rivers hopes Davis will bring the same level of energy he exuded in Game 4 — “The famous Shrek and Donkey game,” Rivers dubbed it — and that the rest of the team will follow suit.

“We need that again,” he said, “And we need that from everybody.”

As Rivers preps the Celtics for the deciding Game 7, there is no way of knowing who could suddenly have the hot hand. But what he does know is that the entire lineup, not just one player, will make the difference.

“I’m hoping both teams play great and the best team wins, and I’m hoping that’s us,“ he said. “The effort is going to be great by both teams. It’s really going to come down to the trust. It’s going to come down to the execution. One team will do that and one team will question it at some point in the game. We’ll see.”

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Five reasons the Celtics lost Game 6 06.15.10 at 11:43 pm ET
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The Celtics are headed to a deciding Game 7 against the Lakers after falling, 89-67, in Game 6 of the NBA finals on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. Here are five reasons why the Celtics couldn’t get it done in six.

1. Kendrick Perkins went down: Perkins sprained his right knee and left the game halfway through the first quarter. He fell to the ground after fighting for a rebound (an effort the Celtics hardly made in the quarter as they were outrebounded 12-5) and did not return after being helped off the court. The injury had a ripple effect on the Celtics’ inside game. Not only did the C’s suffer by losing Perkins’ presence on the court, his injury forced Rasheed Wallace into the game. Wallace, who is just one technical away from a one-game suspension, picked up three personal fouls in just eight first half minutes. With Perkins’ injured and Wallace benched with foul trouble, the Lakers got to the basket at will, including 17 points and 13 rebounds from Pau Gasol.

2. One and done: The Celtics were four quarters away from winning their 18th championship, but they let the game slip away in the first. The C’s hung with the Lakers for the first five minutes of the game and were tied 12-12 at the seven-minute mark. The Lakers then went on a run and outscored the Celtics 16-6 to end the quarter. The C’s went scoreless for over two minutes during the beginning of the Lakers tear and did not hit a shot in the final 2:11 of the quarter. The Lakers led 28-18 after one. Kobe Bryant hit five field goals in the quarter, the entire Celtics team hit just eight.

3. Ron Artest appeared: Artest’s offensive numbers through the first five games of the finals were dismal – 7.8 points, 30.2% FG, 31.6% 3PG, 46.7% FT. Paul Pierce had contained him in the battle of the perimeter players, and he had offered little help to the Lakers on the scoreboard. But Artest showed up in Game 6. He scored 10 points in the first half alone and finished the game with 15. Artest doesn’t have to be the game’s leading scorer to make a difference. He spreads the defense and draws the Celtics away from his other teammates, like Bryant, when he is making his shots.

4. The bench never stood up: Just two games ago, they won the battle for the Celtics. But in Game 6, the C’s bench was ineffective, to say the least. Five reserves combined for just 13 points, and the only reason why those numbers are that high is because the starters were benched toward the end of the blowout. The Lakers bench, on the other hand, played with the energy and hustle exhibited by the Celtics in Game 4. Sasha Vujacic swished 3-pointers, Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown got up for highlight reel dunks. With the Perkins injured, the Celtics bench needed to step up and help the starters. That didn’t happen.

5. Lakers attacked the glass: Doc Rivers told the Celtics at the start of the series that rebounding is key. It was key in their three wins, and it was key in their third loss. The Celtics were annihilated on the glass, 52-39, as three Lakers recorded double-digit rebounds — Gasol (13), Bryant (11), Lamar Odom (10). No one on the Celtics grabbed more than nine boards (Glen Davis led the team), which was magnified by Perkins’ absence on the glass.

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