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Thibodeau reportedly turns down Hornets 06.03.10 at 6:57 am ET
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According to a report in the New York Post, Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau turned down the Hornets’ offer of their head coaching position. Thibodeau reportedly had been given until the start of Thursday night’s Game 1 of the NBA finals to accept the offer, with Charlotte planning to give the job to Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams as a backup plan.

Thibodeau also is in the running for the Bulls vacancy, and reports indicated that Bulls executives Jon Paxson and Gar Forman flew to Los Angeles to interview Thibodeau, who also interviewed with the Nets before the Celtics departed for the West Coast.

Meanwhile, ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy removed himself for consideration from all vacancies, according to the The Star-Ledger in New Jersey. Van Gundy reportedly was considered a leading candidate with the Nets, who also interviewed former Mavericks coach Avery Johnson.

Big Papi breaks down the NBA finals 06.02.10 at 11:30 pm ET
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Big Papi is also a big Celtics fan. When he isn’€™t working in the batter’€™s box, David Ortiz enjoys watching the C’€™s work toward another championship.

‘€œI’€™m all the way with the Celtics,’€ he said.

Ortiz believe the Celtics have what it takes to win it all against the Lakers. He offered up his NBA finals analysis, including why he thinks Paul Pierce is the key to the Celtics success, how Kevin Garnett pumps him up, and what makes the C’€™s a ‘€œteam.’€

Ortiz on’€¦

Kevin Garnett: ‘€œKG is a monster down there. KG, he puts everybody in the mood. When he’€™s [trash talking] people out there and getting mad, that pumps me up. That even gets me ready to play baseball. I love it. I love it. I’€™m telling you, when I see KG doing that, I want to jump on the court and [kick butt] with him. It’€™s not a secret that his game is something else.’€

Paul Pierce: ‘€œI believe that Pierce has got to keep his game up the way he’€™s been doing it [for the Celtics to win]. ‘€¦ I want Pierce to stay where he’€™s at, scoring those 25, 30 points.’€

Rajon Rondo: ‘€œRondo’€™s fine in his game. I’€™m not worried about Rondo.’€

Kendrick Perkins: ‘€œMy man the center, Perkins, keep on [kicking butt]. Clean it out down there (in the paint). Don’€™t let anybody get in there.’€

Ray Allen: ‘€œI don’€™t worry about Allen. He’€™s shooting the [heck] out of the ball. That’€™s a game that you know is going to be there because he’€™s been hot as hell. I don’€™t know how he does it. He’€™s been shooting some balls with everybody on top of him.’€

Glen Davis: ‘€œBig Boy, I’€™m watching his game all the time. ‘€¦ He’€™s just awesome. I love watching him down there hustling and doing his thing.’€

The bench: ‘€œThe bench is unbelievable, too. When those guys (the starters) take a break, it’€™s like they’€™re still in because those guys on the bench, they come out and get it done. That’€™s a team, that’€™s a team. That’€™s what I call a team. So I’€™m cheering for them big time.’€

Key to victory: ‘€œThey’€™ve got everything. First of all, everybody’€™s healthy to begin with. The games have been unbelievable. They just have to increase the defense just a little bit more, just a little tiny bit. Not anything crazy because their defense has been great too, just a little more and that’€™s about it, it’€™s an easy win.’€

Read More: Celtics, David Ortiz, Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins
Lakers get cash for drawing charges 06.02.10 at 2:28 pm ET
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Lakers coach Phil Jackson has tried every approach he can to get his players to take charges. The coach’s strategy includes insulting them ‘€” calling his big men “thin-chested” ‘€” as well as offering $50 cash for each charge.

“To motivate us in a way to take charges and getting away with it,” Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic told ESPN’s Shelley Smith.

Vujacic said the Lakers see an opportunity to get some spending money vs. the Celtics.

“Their whole team is kind of a charging possibility taking team,” he said. ” We’ve just got to be smart. They are a very smart team that can go from block to a charge, so we’ve been working a lot on charges and how to take them and stuff, so, we’ll see.”

The ESPN story indicated the money comes from players’ fines ‘€” for example, the team collects $25 from a player every time he gets called for illegal defense. Assistant coach Frank Hamblen said Lamar Odom has been keeping the pot full.

“I mean, I just pencil him in every night for illegal defense,” Hamblen said. “I ask him every night: ‘Lamar, you know the illegal defense rules, don’t you?’ ”

Hamblen said the Lakers haven’t had many takers in the charge-drawing sweepstakes. At least one player isn’t interested in that strategy.

“I don’t even know how to take a charge,” Ron Artest said. “To get the charge, you have to fall. I’d rather not fall. You call an offensive foul [on the New York playgrounds], possibly be a fight. That’s just how we grew up playing basketball.”

Read More: Celtics, charge, Lakers, Lamar Odom
NBA mock draft 06.02.10 at 6:36 am ET
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The Attack Athletics Center in Chicago hosted various general managers, coaches and team scouts late last month. The assembled individuals tried to gather as much information as possible on 52 of the best college basketball prospects at the annual NBA draft combine. During the two-day event May 20-21, the players were tested on their physicals, group workouts, skills, drills and interviews.

Some prospects had their draft stock rise, while some didn’€™t participate at all and raised questions. One player that raised eyebrows and interest was 19-year-old Ryan Richards from England. Standing at 6 feet, 10 inches, the forward showed the ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter while being fundamentally sound. After heading into the combine as an unknown, Richards improved his status and looks like an intriguing second-round pick.

Paul George from Fresno State was another player who had eyes on him after playing at a lower-profile college. Like Richards, George raised his stock by showcasing his coveted combination of athleticism and shooting. He appears to be a lottery to mid-first round pick after demonstrating his skills at the combine.

Two players — among many — who declined an invitation for both days of the combine were Al-Farouq Aminu and Quincy Pondexter. While Aminu is projected to be a top 10 pick, Pondexter is on the fringe of being a first-round selection. Though their absence could mean they feel safe in their current project, it could also mean they don’€™t want to exemplify their weaknesses through drills and workouts.

One player who needed to impress in the interview portion was Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins. Coming into the combine with questions about his character, Cousins didn’€™t fully squash that perception. He answered questions by the media with short and seemingly curt responses. Despite the concerns about his maturity, Cousins demonstrated in his only season with the Wildcats that he can be an immediate factor in the NBA.

With that said, here is the first-round mock of the NBA draft, which will be held on June 24.

1. Washington

John Wall, Kentucky, Fr., PG, 6-foot-4, 196 pounds

Wall is the no-brainer No. 1 pick in this draft. Possessing incredible quickness and athleticism that allows him to drive by defenders in a Rajon Rondo-like fashion, he will give Washington a true point guard to play alongside Gilbert Arenas. Read the rest of this entry »

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Technical analysis: Breakdown of Perkins’ playoff T’s 06.01.10 at 1:42 pm ET
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Celtics center Kendrick Perkins has never been one to hold back emotions on the basketball court. His reactions to opposing players or calls by officials have often resulted in him receiving technical fouls. During the regular season, those technicals haven’€™t hurt Boston more than one point. In the playoffs, however, those technicals are threatening to force Perkins to sit out a game.

After the ‘€œBrawl at the Palace’€ between the Pistons and Pacers at Detroit in 2004, the NBA implemented a rule that limited the amount of technical fouls a player could receive in the playoffs before being suspended. The rule states that any player will receive a one-game suspension following a seventh technical and every other technical thereafter.

Entering the NBA finals, Perkins already has six technicals on his tab and could be going on his eighth if not for the league rescinding one in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. He’€™s picked up at least one technical in each of the three series the Celtics have played in this postseason.

Here are the six technical fouls Perkins has received in the playoffs:

1.  Game 5 vs. Miami

Perkins’€™ first technical came when he locked arms with Udonis Haslem in Game 5 against the Heat. Official Derrick Stafford blew the whistle with six minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the second quarter as Perkins and Haslem became tangled after a Dwayne Wade missed shot. Though it seemed as if Perkins was only trying to get free and into the offense, Stafford felt he was a little too wild with his elbow. (Skip to 6:40 mark) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, technical fouls,
Celtics-Lakers the dominant sports rivalry of last 50 years 06.01.10 at 12:45 pm ET
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Starting on Thursday, the Celtics and Lakers will meet for the 12th time in an NBA finals series. How remarkable is that? Consider this: Since the Celtics and Lakers first met in the NBA finals in 1959 (a four-game sweep for the Celtics,) the most common World Series matchup has been the Yankees and Dodgers, who have met four times. In the NHL? Maple Leafs and Canadiens, with three matchups. And for the Super Bowl it’s the Cowboys and Steelers, also with three.

Since 1959 the Celtics and Lakers have played in the NBA finals more times than the most common championship opponents in the other three major sports combined. Not that there was a whole lot of doubt, but this pretty much confirms that we are talking about the dominant rivalry in North American professional sports, right?

Celtics-Lakers matchup a hit on resale market 06.01.10 at 11:06 am ET
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The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the average resale price for a ticket to Game 1 of the 2010 NBA finals is $1,071. That is 52% higher than the price a Game 1 ticket was going for had the series started in Phoenix.

The Journal also noted that average ticket price in Boston has increased from $561 to $591 since the Lakers eliminated the Suns on Saturday night.

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