|Danny Ainge: ‘We don’t feel any urgency’ to find the next coach as part of busy offseason||06.25.13 at 11:10 pm ET|
WALTHAM — On the surface, Danny Ainge wanted everyone to know Tuesday evening that he will not make a panic-driven choice in selecting the replacement to Doc Rivers as head coach of the Celtics.
But deep down the president of basketball operations of the Celtics knows that next month will be a challenging one for him and his staff as they try to juggle finding the right coach with the NBA draft on Thursday with free agency, the Paul Pierce question, the Kevin Garnett dilemma and the Rajon Rondo factor.
That’s a lot for general manager who hasn’t had to search for a head coach in nine seasons.
“I do watch coaches often as I travel around and scout NBA games and college games and so forth, so I do have some people in mind,” Ainge told reporters Tuesday. “But because I haven’t had any contact or really had any consulting with my staff on all of this, I’m not really prepared at this time to address any of those questions.
“The only wrinkle [to our off-season] now is that we need to get a new coaching staff, and we don’t feel any urgency with that. We don’t need a coach before the draft, we don’t need a coach before summer league. We don’t need that to happen fast, so we’ll take our time and look, unless our No. 1 choice makes a quick choice.”
Ainge needs to decide by next Monday if he is going to try and trade Pierce, buy out his $5 million option or have him stay.
Ainge is also reportedly busy consummating a sign-and-trade for Atlanta’s talented but sometimes inconsistent forward Josh Smith.
There’s the question of what to do with Garnett and Rondo. Does Garnett want to even be around in Boston without Rivers and with the franchise facing a rebuild? How will Rondo work out with the next head coach? Are they really pieces Ainge wants to build the future of the team around?
So many questions to be answered in the next several weeks.
One thing Ainge has going for him is a growing supply of picks. The trade of Doc Rivers to the Clippers gives the Celtics an unprotected first-round pick in 2015.
“It’s an unprotected pick. You never know what can happen,” Ainge told the media. “There’s been all sorts of circumstances that have happened in our league. To get an unprotected pick is very difficult to get in our league.” “It’s an unprotected pick. You never know what can happen,” Ainge told the media. “There’s been all sorts of circumstances that have happened in our league. To get an unprotected pick is very difficult to get in our league.”
The Celtics now have eight former first-round draft picks under contract for next season who are all under the age of 28.
And with the Clippers’ first-round pick in the 2015 draft, Boston now has 13 picks over the next five NBA drafts. Six of those picks (their own five, plus L.A.’s) will be in the first round. The C’s also possess two second-round picks in the 2014, 2015 and 2017 NBA Drafts, as well as one second-rounder in 2016. All in all, the Celtics, according to NetsDaily.com, are one of seven NBA teams to own all of their first-round picks in the next six drafts.
So, Ainge has plenty of reason to be grateful to Rivers, one NBA title, another Eastern Conference championship, an appearance in the Eastern finals in 2012 and now an unprotected first-round pick.
Rivers leaves as the third-winningest coach in Celtics history, with 416 regular-season victories. Only Red Auerbach (910-450) and Tommy Heinsohn (427-263) have more wins. Rivers also compiled a 58-46 record in the playoffs.
“We don’t have a championship without Doc Rivers coaching,” said Ainge. “He did an unbelievable job. He has a long history of success with us in the last nine years, and we wish him the best in Los Angeles.
“I don’t think there should be resentment,” Ainge proclaimed. “I know how Boston fans are and all that, but I really don’t feel like there should be resentment. This may be good for everybody. This may be a win-win. Time will tell.”
|Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have ‘no idea’ about their futures after Game 6||05.04.13 at 12:43 am ET|
It was the obvious question to ask Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the moments after their season came to an end with a Game 6 loss to the Knicks.
Will they be back for another season?
“I haven’t really thought about it, to be honest with you. I’m kind of digesting , obviously, the current, and Doc came to me, pulled Paul and I to the side and all three of us agreed to speak later — too emotional,” Garnett said. “Obviously, it was a big game, tough loss, especially at home. But more importantly in the future, it’s a different day for that conversation.”
Pierce is signed for next season but only $5 million of his $15 million for next season is guaranteed. He could be amnestied under the new NBA CBA if GM Danny Ainge wants to overhaul the roster.
“That’s a decision for the management,” Pierce said. “Who knows what the future [holds]? I’ve been here 15 years and I’ve seen a lot of changes each and every year. So I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of changes here and we’ll see what happens.”
Garnett made it very clear that his decision about next year will hinge greatly on whether Ainge brings back Pierce.
“One of the big reasons I came [to Celtics] was because of Paul,” said Garnett. “Obviously, you want to be in a situation where it’s better. I want to make sure that I’m able to always help a team. I want to be in positions to where I’m giving something. I demand a lot of myself, both physically and from a skill level. But I’d be lying to y’all if I said Paul didn’t play into that factor. Like I said, it’s too soon of a conversation for me right now.”
Pierce, who said he will play in the NBA next season, was asked if he wants to return to Boston for a 16th season.
“That’s up to Danny and them,” Pierce said. “I have no idea.”
Coach Doc Rivers is also not a sure thing to return. He signed a five-year, $35 million extension before the 2011-12 season. He has three years left on it, that is if he wants to return.
“I don’t think about any of that stuff,” Rivers said. “Danny knows me pretty well. I immerse myself; that’s the only way I can do it, probably to a fault. Pretty much unlivable during the year. So I don’t know. Danny knows he gives me at least a week to do just whatever I do — and I don’t know what I do, sit and watch cartoons or something — then we’ll talk about it. But Danny has already worked on [offseason plans]. He never shows me. I don’t want to hear it, I don’t want to see it, I don’t want to know anything. We’ll figure it all out, and we’ll see.”
|Jason Terry: ‘Gotta love the heart of a champion’||05.04.13 at 12:24 am ET|
Jason Terry knew it wouldn’t be easy beating the Knicks four straight games. And down 26 with under 10 minutes left in Game 6, he knew it would be nearly impossible.
But that didn’t keep Boston from putting a huge scare into the Knicks before New York advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2000.
The Celtics went on a 20-0 run, cutting a 26-point lead down to six, and eventually down to four before succumbing to the Knicks, 88-80. Terry finished 14 points in 24 minutes off the bench as the Celtics’ season came to an end.
“Gotta love the heart of a champion,” Terry said. “We hung in there tonight to get down 20 in the fourth quarter, battled back…but you could see it. We just didn’t have enough gas in the tank.”
Some may have felt the season was over with 10 minutes left but not Terry. And once the Celtics gave them reason, the TD Garden crowd roared at levels that made it sound like the building was about to take off.
“We thought it we got some stops, got a couple baskets we’d be back in the game,” Terry said. “The crowd they never died down, they were still with us. That’s what the definition of a true Celtic is. Never say never, never say die. Im proud to wear this uniform. We fought through a lot of adversity this season, but we never made excuses. We always came to work, we played with what we had…sometimes you know other teams just better than you, and they were better than us today.”
Like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Terry said his future with the Celtics is not for him to decide, though, like Garnett, he is signed for two more seasons.
“That’s not for me to decide,” he said. “I want to make sure I’m right, make sure my body’s healthy through this summer and we’ll see what happens.”
|Last call: Celtics make furious comeback but season ends in Game 6||05.03.13 at 9:57 pm ET|
History will have to wait.
Despite one of the most furious comebacks in NBA playoff history, the Celtics’ season came to an end Friday night with an 88-80 loss to the Knicks in Game 6 at a wild TD Garden. Boston used a 20-0 run over a four-minute span midway through the fourth quarter to cut a 26-point hole down to six, and eventually cut it to four before the Knicks held on for dear life.
Iman Shumpert and Pablo Prigioni hit seven of their first nine attempts from 3-point range and combined for 27 points as the Knicks ended Boston’s hopes of becoming the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-0 series deficit.
The Knicks hit eight of their first 15 3-point attempts and turned 20 Boston turnovers into 17 points as New York clinched their first playoff series win since 2000.
The ice-cold Celtics lost in the first round for the first time since 2005, when they fell in seven games to the Pacers. In repeat of their offensive woes for most of the series, Boston scored just 27 points in the first half.
Paul Pierce shot just 4-of-18 from the field and finished with just 14 points. Kevin Garnett led Boston with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Jeff Green was the leading scorer with 21.
The Celtics pulled out all of the cards in their final home game of the season, including playing a video montage of the Red Sox comeback from 3-0 down in the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees before the tip.
In a repeat of Game 5 in New York on Wednesday night, the Celtics got off to a very cold start. New York raced out to a 21-5 lead in the first quarter as Pablo Prigioni hit three 3-pointers. Unlike Game 5, the Celtics couldn’t immediately work their way back into the game as they started out missing 11 of their first 14 shots and finished the first quarter trailing 24-10, while shooting just 4-for-16 from the field.
No one on the Celtics struggled more than their captain. Pierce finished the first half making just one of 10 shots while missing all five from 3-point range after going 4-for-8 from long distance in Game 5. The Knicks built their lead to 18 twice in the second quarter before the Celtics answered with a 10-0 run that included consecutive threes from Jeff Green and Jason Terry, getting the Garden crowd into the game for the first time.
Carmelo Anthony carried the Knicks offensively in the first half, scoring 14 points, including a key three-point play with just 4.5 seconds left before halftime that gave New York a 39-27 halftime lead. Anthony finished with 21 points.
Garnett hit a jumper to start the third quarter to cut the deficit to 10 but Prigioni fed Tyson Chandler for a slam dunk. That was followed by a Prigioni reverse layup and a Raymond Felton jumper and New York had a 45-29 lead. After Bass hit one of two free throws, Prigioni answered with his fifth 3-pointer with 8:56 and the Knicks matched their biggest lead, 50-32. Read the rest of this entry »
|Game 6 pregame notes: Doc Rivers tells his team they must ‘supply the energy’||05.03.13 at 7:13 pm ET|
Maybe it was as simple as learning from Game 6 against Miami last spring in the Eastern Conference finals. Or Maybe it was just re-enforcing the obvious.
Whatever the reason, Doc Rivers made one thing perfectly clear before Game 6 with the Knicks Friday night – the Celtics, not the crowd, must be the ones to bring it against New York if they are going to become the fourth team in NBA history to force a Game 7 after a 3-0 hole,
“I told our guys, we can’t lean on,” said Rivers. “We have to supply the energy. We can’t think because we’re here now that we can let our guard down. We’re playing a really good team and an extremely talented team. We have to do more to win, in my opinion. We have to be ready to do that.”
Rivers, surrounded by 25 reporters and photographers outside the Celtics locker room, said he’s also not putting much stock in the bad blood between the two teams after the exchange between Jordan Crawford and Carmelo Anthony.
“I don’t worry about that. I really thought that was much ado about nothing,” Rivers said. “I thought Carmelo said something to Jordan; Jordan said something back. It’s words. Obviously, then then words take their own meaning, I’m hearing that people are reading lips now and all this stuff. I had one of my assistants telling me what he thought someone said. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is getting too deep for me.’ I really don’t worry about it. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of healthy dislike, that’s all good. But let’s just play the game.”
|Terrence Williams: ‘I don’t think either team likes each other’||05.03.13 at 12:04 pm ET|
WALTHAM — In the hours before Game 6, Terrence Williams reminded everyone of the animosity between the Celtics and Knicks in this series.
“I always wanted to say this, that’s playoff basketball,” Williams said at Friday morning’s shootaround in Waltham. “Before I got here, I heard these two teams were rivals so you don’t expect anything less. But at the end of the day, it’s basketball. I think everything should be left on the court. Nothing should be escalated off the court like last game at the end of the game. Stuff like that shouldn’t happen but it’s playoff basketball.”
The back-up guard doesn’t think either team has any tricks in store for Game 6 at TD Garden. Williams made a point to once again bring up the Knicks funeral wardrobe before Game 5 at Madison Square Garden, and explained why that bothered him.
“No, there are no surprises,” Williams said. “At this point, I don’t think either team likes each other. We’re all for our guys and they’re for their guys. When people wear all black and say it’s a funeral, a lot of us have people that died in our own personal lives. That’s not really something funny. That’s not something to play with. You can say you’re going to end the series in New York but not [call it] a funeral. We know we don’t like them and we know they don’t like us.”
That bad blood was countered when Jordan Crawford verbally attacked Carmelo Anthony at the end of Game 5, giving the Knicks some ammunition in the war of words. Crawford didn’t play in Game 5 but Williams did. It was Williams, along with DJ White and Chris Wilcox, who was at the center of trying to keep Crawford away from Anthony and the Knicks.
“I was there, yeah,” Williams said Friday morning. “I don’t really remember. I put out of my mind. As you guys saw, I was trying to be the peacemaker. I grabbed Felton. I don’t want that to escalate. I don’t really remember.”
Has a message been sent from coach Doc Rivers and the staff about keeping the mouths shut before and during the game?
“I don’t know if it has or hasn’t,” Williams said. “It doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day, we’re going to compete. If there’s a funeral, then there’s a funeral. If there’s fuel to the fire with that, then it is what it is but you don’t really have to have that conversation because we’re not little kids. We’re professionals. We’re going to try and handle our jobs every day.”
Williams was the only Celtics player to talk Friday morning as the team prepared for the 7 p.m. tip at TD Garden.
|Terrence Williams: ‘One thing I’ve learned from being here is to be ready’||05.02.13 at 2:23 am ET|
NEW YORK — Unheralded backup guard Terrence Williams was one of only two bench players to see action for the Celtics on Wednesday night, but he provided four points and four rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench as the Celtics beat the Knicks, 92-86, in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden.
“I know it sounds cliche, but I know how to play basketball,” Williams said when asked about not being overwhelmed by the big-game situation of Game 5. “One thing I’ve learned from being here [with the Celtics] is to be ready.”
Williams came off the bench several times in the second half, including midway through the third quarter when Jeff Green was struggling with his offensive game.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers trusted Williams enough to put him in the game in the second half for Green, as the team’s season hung in the balance.
“He controlled the ball,” Rivers said. “He can handle the pressure and bring it up the floor. He got guys into our stuff. He allowed us to get organized. Sometimes you pull out a card. He was it tonight. We loved his size, he was rebounding. What we are asking him to do is what he has never done before. He is defending. Everybody told me he can’t defend, but he is proving everyone wrong. He is doing it for us.”
After Williams came off the bench ahead of Jordan Crawford, Courtney Lee, Shav Randolph and Chris Wilcox, all of whom did not play, it’s fairly obvious that he will be ready again for Game 6 Friday night in Boston.
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