|Jermaine O’Neal out indefinitely||11.15.10 at 4:45 pm ET|
The Celtics don’t know how long Jermaine O’Neal will be out with his knee injury, but it will be measured in weeks, not days. “Two, three weeks would be a guestimate,” Doc Rivers said Monday. “We don’t know exactly. We’re going through a couple of more evaluations.”
O’Neal sought a second opinion in Miami on his injured left knee and didn’t travel with the team to Memphis for the last game on their road trip. Rivers said he hasn’t “heard the word ‘surgery,’” yet, but there’s still no real timetable on O’Neal’s return.
Shaquille O’Neal returned to the Celtics lineup and for now he and Semih Erden are playing 30-32 minutes a night in the post, while Glen Davis takes up the rest of the minutes. It’s not perfect, but the Celtics are hanging on for now with the arrangement.
“Semih and Shaq are playing through whatever they’re playing through,” Rivers said. “Semih’s shoulder and Shaq’s everything, really. It’s a concern but there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re not going to go out and get anyone else. There are not a lot of really good 7-footers walking the earth that are not signed in the NBA, so we just have to make do.”
The Celtics may also be without Marquis Daniels who missed practice and isn’t expected back Tuesday with what Rivers called a family issue. There is some doubt as to whether Daniels will be with the team Wednesday when they play the Wizards.
|Delonte West is back; now what?||11.15.10 at 4:37 pm ET|
For the month and a half, Delonte West has been treating his post-practice workouts as if they are a form of penance. For an hour or so after the team is done, West stays on the floor working with whoever will work with him. He goes through a litany of drills and shooting exercises filled with quick starts and stops.
Miss a free throw? Run down and back. Miss two? Do it twice.
The gym has been his sanctuary and his catharsis as he works to get himself back into game shape during his 10-game suspension, which was handed down by the league after he plead guilty weapons-related charges stemming from an incident in the summer of 2009. He’s not nervous. A little anxious maybe to see where his body is at this point, but not about getting back on the court.
“I know what I can do,” he said. “I’m very confident in what I’m able to do out on the basketball floor. They’re not asking me to do anything I can’t do. They’re not telling me to post-up and get 30 rebounds. It’s time to go play my game. That’s the best feeling ever.”
The Celtics have been waiting on him, as well. Doc Rivers feels that a backcourt combination of West and Nate Robinson will be a perfect match for their respective skillsets. On the one hand, West can take some of the ballhandling responsibilities from Robinson and allow him to be a scorer. On the other, West also offers a tough, physical defender.
“I think it helps,” Rivers said. “It moves [Robinson] off the ball half the time. I want Nate with the ball especially in our pick and roll package. It makes them both very comfortable.”
That’s been an issue for the Celtics so far this season. Robinson has not shot the ball well and has not had a strong start to his season. There have been flashes of brilliance, but the Celtics would like to see some consistency develop with their second unit and West is the kind of player who can provide some.
He is also likely to take away whatever time Von Wafer has been getting in the rotation, which has been limited. Wafer has appeared in seven games, but he has logged just 32 minutes and has taken only six shots.
West and Wafer had a pair of well-documented dust-ups already and some have wondered if Wafer’s time with the team would be coming to an end now that West is eligible to play again. That doesn’t seem to the case, at least not yet anyway. But Wafer did not do much with his opportunity, limited as it was, and now may be further edged out of the conversation.
“I still have to earn my playing time,” West said. “It’s a talented team. Guys that are out there earned the right to be out there. it starts here.”
Rivers said West will play Wednesday and while it will take him a bit to get his game back together, the Celtics have a comfort level with West. “He’s older,” Rivers said. “We’ve all matured a little bit. He’s still the same as far as he’s probably one of the most competitive people I’ve ever coached.”
|Avery Bradley returns to practice||11.15.10 at 4:16 pm ET|
Rookie guard Avery Bradley won’t turn 20 until later this month and everyone around the Celtics thinks he has a bright future. But it’s been a slow start to his professional career after the Celtics took him with the 19th pick in the draft.
He had surgery on his ankle after the draft, which kept him out of summer league and also limited his time in training camp and in preseason. Then, he rolled his surgically repaired ankle on Paul Pierce’s foot and the team shut him down for two more weeks. He returned to practice Monday and is happy to be back on the court.
“I wasn’t nervous at all,” he said after a spirited 2-on-2 game with Von Wafer, Luke Harangody and assistant coach Ty Lue. “Just anxious to get a chance to get in there and practice with my team again.”
Bradley didn’t travel with the team, but said players and coaches were texting him with information from the games.
“That’s the good thing about this team,” Bradley said. “They want me to get better. The older guys want me to help me out all the time.”
Bradley is known as a defensive player and he took turns guarding Nate Robinson and Delonte West during practice. His work was noticed by West.
“Avery’s a talented young man,” West said. “He can do good things in this league. He’s big strong guard. He’s physical. He’s athletic. The biggest thing is he has heart. He reminded me of myself a little bit as far as getting after people defensively.”
|Udonis Haslem fires back at Paul Pierce tweet||11.12.10 at 4:31 pm ET|
By now everyone has seen the tweet from Paul Pierce after the Celtics beat the Heat Thursday night: ‘It’s been a pleasure to bring my talents to south beach now on to Memphis’
The Heat saw it too and Udonis Haslem had some choice comments for Pierce after practice Friday. (The full quote comes via ESPN)
“Paul who? Man, ain’t nobody paying them dudes no attention, man. You know what studio gangster is? Look up that, look up the definition of studio gangster. I’m here to play basketball. First of all, I don’t tweet. So I wouldn’t know what he tweeted if you guys didn’t tell me.”
The definition of ‘studio gangster’ courtesy of Urban Dictionary:
“An insult that refers to somebody who raps about ganglife style in Hiphop. Orgin: Los Angeles late 80′s slang used by street gangsters who makes fun of people in hiphop rapping about the ganglife style. “game is sold not told” meaning you live it and not speak about it. also refers to being a wannabee gangster. a person into hiphop and also intrigued by ganglifestyle and raps about it like he does it. and braggs in rap music of false situations. when in real life does none of it at all.”
|Joe Lacob, who had stake in Celtics, completes Warriors Purchase||11.12.10 at 2:11 pm ET|
In 2006, Joe Lacob, joined the Celtics ownership group. On Thursday, Lacob and his business partner Peter Guber completed their purchase of the Golden State Warriors for a reported $450 million. The league announced the completion of the sale this afternoon.
Lacob did a Q+A with the San Francisco Chronicle and talked about his Celtics experiences, including wearing a Beat LA t-shirt to Staples Center during the 2008 finals. Marcus Thompson II has more details on the sale and what it means for the Warriors.
|Fast Break: Celtics beat the Heat||11.11.10 at 11:15 pm ET|
This was a game the Celtics were supposed to lose. Charles Barkley suggested on the TNT pregame show that the Heat would win in a blowout and, honestly, the Chuckster’s call made a lot of sense. This was a statement game for the Heat after losing to Utah and absorbing 48 hours of unrelenting criticism. This was the game that Chris Bosh either stood up for himself or became further emasculated.
The Celtics? Regular season games don’t mean anything to them. They’re too old, experienced and savvy for that kind of noise.
The Celtics didn’t just beat the Heat Thursday night, 112-107, they embarrassed them. While Ray Allen was knocking down 3′s at a staggering rate, Pat Riley could be seen jotting down notes in red ink like a professor grading papers. When Rajon Rondo drove to the basket, Bosh sat and watched while Rondo threw down a monster slam.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Veteran’s presence: In the first half, Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett shot a combined 16-for-21 for the Celtics. Their Miami counterparts — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Bosh — were 9-for-22. Wade was an unsightly 0-for-6. The Celtics veterans came to play and while they didn’t win all of their individual matchups (James was spectacular) they got the better of two of them handily and Pierce gave James all he wanted.
Ray-Ray for the 3: There are so many things the Celtics did right in this game, that’s it’s hard to focus on a few specific things, but if Allen is making 7-of-9 3-pointers, they are practically impossible to beat.
Ball movement: And how did Allen get so open, so often? Passing. The Celtics are the most unselfish team in the league in ways that go way beyond Rondo’s assists. They simply trust each other and that was a huge difference in this game.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Center concerns: Jermaine O’Neal told reporters in Miami that he was going to seek a second opinion on his injured left knee. That’s not good news at all for the Celtics, because despite O’Neal’s slow start, the Celtics need big bodies until Kendrick Perkins returns. Shaquille O’Neal played just 19 minutes and that’s the most the Celtics can expect from him right now. They may need another big and they may need one soon.
Free throw shooting: Here’s your fun NBA conspiracy fact of the night. The Celtics took 25 free throws. LeBron had 22 all by himself. The good news is the Celtics played through the discrepancy. The bad news is they made just 68 percent from the line.
Rather than try to come up with a third thing, let’s all enjoy the Rondo dunk over Bosh, courtesy of the incomparable Jose3030
|Talking Hoops: Episode Three||11.10.10 at 4:43 pm ET|
The third episode of the Talking Hoops podcast is now online.
This week I talked with Kevin Arnovitz, site editor of ESPN.com’s Heat Index, about how the Heat have played since leaving Boston and what’s going on with Chris Bosh. Kevin and I also discuss how the Heat feel about the Celtics, whether Thursday night’s rematch will have a lasting impact on the season and if Miami will ever be a basketball city.
In the second part of the show, I sit down with Michael Holley to see if we can get at the root of all the LeBron James hate. Holley’s from Akron and he gives a little insight into his hometown and its dynamic with Cleveland.