|A new villain emerges in Celtics playoffs||04.20.10 at 11:05 am ET|
Quentin Richardson is not the first opponent to stir up controversy in a playoff series against the Celtics during the current Big Three era. Prior to Richardson’s Game 1 altercation with Kevin Garnett, there had been a line of players before him who took on the role of “Public Enemy No. 1” with Celtics fans. Take a look back at players fans loved to hate over the past three seasons.
Bibby dished the ultimate insult to Boston sports fans when he called them ‘bandwagon’ in the first round of the 2008 playoffs. The Celtics crowd responded by booing him on every possession, chanting ‘Rondo’s better’ (as encouraged by RedsArmy.com), and flashing masks of Bibby’s face during the series. Two years later, Bibby still is jeered every time he plays at the Garden. ‘I’m not even worried about that,’ he told WEEI.com this season. ‘I don’t worry about that.’
Zaza Pachulia, Atlanta Hawks
Tempers flared under the basket after Pachulia and Garnett fought for a rebound during Game 4 of the first round of the 2008 playoffs. Once the big men got involved in an altercation, their teammates got involved as well and the question of suspensions was raised. But in the end, Garnett, Sam Cassell and Atlanta’s Joe Johnson were assessed technical fouls. In the deciding Game 7, Garnett fouled Pachulia while setting a hard screen and knocked the Hawks center to the ground.
When Noah recently ranted about Garnett’s Game 1 altercation with Richardson, that wasn’t the first time he spoke out against his former childhood favorite. Prior to Game 7 of the first round of the 2009 playoffs, Noah didn’t hold back when discussing the then-injured Garnett’s presence on the sidelines. ‘I don’t care about him at all. I don’t care about him at all,’ he told WEEI.com. ‘He used to be my favorite player. Not my favorite player any more.’ Noah also added, ‘He’s a great player. Now that I hear stories, I see how he is, not a big fan.’ Noah received a standing ovation when he fouled out of Game 7.
Alston temporarily interrupted Eddie House‘s 31-point performance in Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals between the Celtics and Magic. After House drained a 3-pointer in the third, Alston slapped him in the back of the head. At the time, Alston claimed he was reacting to being elbowed by House. But there were no signs of hard feelings from Alston a season later when he told WEEI.com that he actually wanted to play for the C’s after being bought out by the Nets.
|Report: Nets eye Tibs||04.20.10 at 10:48 am ET|
A report in the New York Daily News indicated that New Jersey Nets president Rod Thorn might have interest in Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau for his team’s head coaching vacancy. According to the report, Thorn didn’t mention Thibodeau by name, but he did say he was looking for “somebody who has a defensive presence.”
That description fits Thibodeau, who has been the architect of one of the NBA’s best defenses during his three seasons with the Celtics. Thibodeau has interviewed for several head coaching jobs in the past and many think it’s only a matter of time until he gets one.
The Nets job would be intriguing in that the woebegone franchise finally is moving out of the Meadowlands and the team has a new owner with deep pockets, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Additionally, the Nets have a huge chunk of cap space and two cornerstone players already in place in Devin Harris and Brook Lopez. Also, Thorn is a widely respected executive.
|Sheed or Baby for Game 2?||04.19.10 at 5:21 pm ET|
The team tried to keep the decision under wraps, but there were indications that it will be Glen Davis rather than Rasheed Wallace. When the curtain rose on practice Monday afternoon, Davis was on the floor with the first team, while Wallace was in a white practice jersey worn by the second unit.
That may mean something, or it may not, but Rajon Rondo also said, “I think Baby’s starting.”
Maybe he didn’t get the memo. Doc Rivers, Wallace and Davis were all non-committal.
“I don’t know,” Davis said. “I have no idea. It’s either going to be the Ticket-Stub or it’s going to be Sheed.”
Wallace said he’s fine either way.
“It don’t matter as long as I’m in there in that fourth quarter,” Wallace said. “I don’t care if I start, I don’t care if I come off the bench. Like I said before, Doc’s the mad scientist. If he seems me starting, fine. If he doesn’t see me starting, fine.”
Ultimately the decision may have more to do with Miami’s personnel than with the Celtics. More specifically it may have more to do with second-year forward Michael Beasley who scored just six points on eight shots in Game 1.
|Doc: Suspend the ‘agitator’ too||04.19.10 at 4:56 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Doc Rivers said he understood the NBA’s decision to suspend Kevin Garnett for Game 2 of the Celtics playoff series with Miami, but he also offered another solution: suspend the agitator, in this case Miami’s Quentin Richardson.
Garnett was suspended for throwing an elbow at Richardson late in Game 1 after Paul Pierce went down to the ground near Miami’s bench. After the game Garnett said, “Q was talking nonsense.” Richardson didn’t back down after the game either, saying, in effect, that Pierce was faking an injury and that both Pierce and Garnett were “actresses.”
Pierce and Richardson have had dust-ups before although no one seems to know what’s at the root cause of their dispute.
“We all kind of knew [Garnett would be suspended],” Rivers said after practice Monday. “The only statement I’ll make on the whole thing is I accept Kevin being suspended. I think if you’re going to go to the letter of law you kind of knew how it was going to go, but I think if you really want to stop fights, you’ve got to suspend the agitators too. Right now the agitator gets fined and the retaliator gets suspended in all these instances. Until they stop the agitator and suspend them both you’re going to continue to have these things. It only benefits the agitator. I think this stuff in the playoffs will continue to happen until the league says, you know what, we’re going to suspend both of you. If we are really trying to clean up this stuff, I think that’s the right way to do it.”
For his part Garnett said he accepted the decision, but that he wanted it to be known that he support his teammates.
“Obviously I want all this to be over with, but the message here whoever it is, my teammates, Doc Rivers, anyone in this organization, I want them to know that I got their backs,” Garnett said. “That’s what [the NBA] had to do to set a tone and I respect that.”
Asked about Richardson’s role as an agitator, Garnett said, “You know how that goes, the person who instigates something is not the one that usually gets the penalty, but it’s over.”
Rivers defended Garnett’s actions, saying it was an emotional moment.
“It’s easy for me in a suit and tie to say walk away,” Rivers said. “It’s an emotional game. It’s 47 minutes into the game, you’re exhausted, you’re emotional, your best player [Paul Pierce] is lying on the floor, hurt you think, and then all this stuff happens. Whether Q said it, it doesn’t matter, it is emotional. You can remind them a thousand times, you really can. Having said that if you’re in scrum and somebody’s grabbing you to say just walk away, it’s tough to do. We have to move on.”
“It’s hard,” Rivers continued, “because you don’t want to lose Kevin Garnett, period. He is our most important player. But he’s not going to be there and there’s nothing I can do about it now. In Q’s defense, I don’t think he wanted it to happen. It happens.”
Garnett can’t be in the Garden for Game 2 and he said he would probably be at Danny Ainge’s house.
“Very difficult,” Garnett said. “Danny Ainge is planning on having me over his house to watch the game. It will be an experience. Danny talks through the whole damn game.”
Garnett also had one last dig at Chicago’s Joakim Noah, who called Garnett a “dirty player.”
“Tell Joakim Noah to keep it in Cleveland and worry about Shaq,” Garnett said as he was leaving the practice court.
|Time to call on Big Baby||04.18.10 at 8:06 pm ET|
Now that the NBA has decided to suspend Kevin Garnett for Game 2 of the Celtics series with the Heat, Doc Rivers has a decision to make. If form holds from this season, Rasheed Wallace will get the call to start for Garnett.
Wallace has started every game that Garnett has missed due to injury or coach-ordered rest, but now is not the time to play it safe. Rivers should start Glen Davis instead.
Davis overcame a shaky first half in Game 1 to put together a solid eight point, eight rebound effort with almost all of that production coming in a decisive second-half Celtic run. Wallace didn’t play poorly, but Davis was a difference-maker. Starting Davis would be a reward for his inspired play and also better utilize Wallace’s versatility to play both the four and five spots.
Davis filled in admirably for Garnett during last year’s playoff run, and might be a better match up for Miami’s Michael Beasley, a young, athletic forward. Additionally Shelden Williams, who has played well when given an opportunity, should also see some playing time.
The Celtics managed to win Game 1 despite playing uninspired basketball for 30 minutes Saturday night. It wasn’t until Tony Allen and Davis came in off the bench that the momentum changed as the Celtics erased a 14-point deficit.
“Tony and Baby changed the game defensively for us,” Rivers said after the game. “Baby came in and was sensational and I thought Tony was great.”
Rivers has already gone against the grain once in this series. Midway through the fourth quarter when he brought Paul Pierce back into the game, he had Pierce replace Ray Allen and elected to let Tony Allen stay on the court. Rivers would do well to continue rewarding the players who play with energy in this series by starting Davis in Game 2.
|Garnett suspended for Game 2||04.18.10 at 7:50 pm ET|
Garnett was involved in an altercation with Miami’s Quentin Richardson near the Heat bench with 40 seconds remaining in Game 1 when he threw an elbow at Richardson’s jaw. Garnett received two technical fouls and was ejected. Richardson was also fined $25,000 by the league.
After the game, Richardson sounded off on Garnett and Paul Pierce, saying, “I don’t like them and they know it.” Richardson and Pierce have a history of bad blood.
On Sunday, Garnett called Richardson’s comments, “classless,” and said he had no regrets for how he handled the incident.
|Rivers: No comment on Noah’s rip of KG||04.18.10 at 4:06 pm ET|
Emotions were high on Saturday night in Boston between the Celtics and Heat, and now they are spreading to … Cleveland?
On Sunday, Bulls center Joakim Noah ripped Kevin Garnett following Garnett’s altercation with Quentin Richardson in Game 1. Noah expressed plenty of his own emotion to reporters in Cleveland, where the Bulls are playing a first round series against the Cavaliers.
“He’s unbelievable, that guy,” Noah told the media. “I’m gonna say it: He’s a dirty player, man. That’s messed up.”
When asked about Noah’s statement, Doc Rivers chose not to comment.
“Noah? Noah’s in this series now? Well I have no comment,” he said following Celtics practice. “If Noah had said that last year, I would have had a comment. But since he’s in Cleveland dealing with that, I’m just going to let him focus on Shaq and that group right now.”
Noah did, in fact, have pointed words for Garnett during last season’s first round match up between the Celtics and Bulls. Prior to Game 7, he told WEEI.com that he was no longer a fan of his childhood favorite player.
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