|Ainge on Big Show: ‘I regret’ towel incident||05.05.10 at 7:34 pm ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined The Big Show on Wednesday and talked about the controversy surrounding his actions in the second half of Monday’s Game 2 victory over the Cavaliers. Ainge was seen throwing a white towel in the air from behind the basket in an attempt to distract Cavs forward J.J. Hickson during a free throw attempt.
‘I regret that. It was very unprofessional,” said Ainge. “I was having fun with the hecklers and the crowd who were sitting around me. There’s just no excuse. It was unprofessional. I regret doing it.’
Ainge admitted that his competitive nature can “get the best of me,” but hopes that “we can move on past this and just focus on the players and the real issues at hand.”
Ainge said that he has not heard from the league but “is sure” that he will at some point.
To hear the interview, click on The Big Show audio on demand page.
|Rondo’s honor: All defense||05.05.10 at 4:32 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Rajon Rondo set a goal of making the NBA’s All Defense First Team and he was rewarded by the league Wednesday. Rondo earned the second most votes, both first place and overall, behind Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard.
“It strokes my ego,” he joked after the team’s practice Wednesday. “It’s something I’ve worked for since I’ve come into the league. One of my goals this year was to make the first team.”
Rondo deflected credit to his teammates who posted the league’s fifth best defensive efficiency rating (a step down from previous seasons).
“Having four guys behind you makes you look a lot better,” Rondo said. “When I get beat on the dribble I got Perk and Kevin [Garnett] blocking those shots.”
Rondo led the league in steals with 189 [and set a new franchise record in the process], but those steals have sometimes been a point of contention to those who felt that he gambled too much. The Celtics feel that he has curbed those tendencies and has played more solid on the ball defense this season.
“He deserves it,” Doc Rivers said. “He works at it. It’s a great honor. When you’re on the first team in anything it’s a hell of an honor.”
Rondo’s defense was a key component in the Celtics first round series win over the Heat. When he was able to pressure full court, Miami had major trouble getting into its offense. The key word for him is disruptive because of his steals and also his deflections.
The Celtics have had to rely on him in their series with the Cavs even more. He has played 87 of the available 96 minutes in the first two games and the Celtics have been +19 when he’s in the game and -9 when he’s been out. Tony Allen has been the nominal point guard in Rondo’s absence, but the Celtics have had Ray Allen and Paul Pierce bring the ball up at times.
“I’m OK with Tony,” Rivers said. “I don’t know the answer with Rondo. I don’t like the minutes, but as you saw in the fourth quarter, we took him for two minutes and it changed quickly. Our plan was to take him out in the first half, but then Paul got in foul trouble. I told him at that point, I’m sorry.”
|Sheed lives||05.05.10 at 4:17 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Rasheed Wallace didn’t talk to the assembled media in front of his locker after his 17-point performance in Game 2, but there was a lot of words spoken on his behalf. Perhaps the most provocative were said by Kevin Garnett after the game to WEEI [Click here to listen to the audio].
“We’ve been talking all year,” Wallace said after practice Wednesday before ending his interview.
But, ever defiant, he refused to say that his Game 2 performance was anything special.
“No difference,” he said when asked what what the difference was for him between games. “Either or, y’all think it’s just one facet of this game. It’s not. There’s two facets to this game. If I’m not making shots, OK, then I have to something on defense. So if I’m missing shots or making shots it doesn’t affect my whole overall game.”
Still, there was no denying the impact he had on the game. The Celtics opened up a double-digit lead in the second quarter when he made his first five shots, including three 3’s.
“His play spoke for itself,” Rajon Rondo said. “He was big for us. He doesn’t have to score 20, or whatever he had, 17 each game. But if he can get us 10 [points] and 10 [rebounds] we can definitely win the championship.”
The Celtics obviously need Wallace to keep playing well, especially with injuries hampering Garnett and Kendrick Perkins.
“I need him to keep doing it,” Doc Rivers said. “Maybe he went into the Hot Tub Time Machine. He was good. Now we need him to follow it up, but we need everyone to. That’s just part of team basketball.”
Rivers didn’t specifically credit Garnett’s speech, but did note that players talking to players is often more effective than when the coach has to say something. “It’s been that way for 50 years,” Rivers said.
|Doc treads lightly on fouls||05.05.10 at 3:39 pm ET|
With the NBA cracking down on coaches and players who speak ill of the way the game is called, the Celtics have refrained from voicing their displeasure with the discrepancy. Doc Rivers adhered to that when he was asked about it at practice Wednesday.
“We’re going to play the way we play and we’re not going to change the way we play,” Rivers said. “We have to do a better job of doing it without fouling. And we have to do a better job, somehow, of drawing some fouls on them.”
Pressed further, Rivers said, “We have to be more aggressive offensively. We have to attack more. It is something we want. As well as we’ve played, the low free throw attempts for us, we have to get to that line more.”
There’s a subtle message in there. The Celtics have played well and usually the team that plays better is rewarded with more calls. The Cavs may have set an unofficial record by going more than 19 minutes without getting whistled for a personal fouls in Game 2.
Rivers was asked if he’s ever seen that before. “Nope.”
|Rondo named to NBA-All Defensive Team||05.05.10 at 3:06 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team, the league announced on Wednesday. Rondo finished second in voting to Dwight Howard. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Gerald Wallace were also named to the First Team.
Rondo led the league with 2.3 steals per game during the regular season. He set a Celtics franchise record in single-season steals (189), held previously by Rick Fox (1996-97). Rondo also ranked 10th among all guards with 360 total rebounds (4.4 rpg).
Members of the First and Second Teams were voted on by position by the NBA’s head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for players from their own teams. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.
All-Defensive First Team
Center ‘ Dwight Howard, Magic (57 points)
Guard ‘ Rajon Rondo, Celtics (50 points)
Forward ‘ LeBron James, Cavaliers (45 points)
Guard ‘ Kobe Bryant, Lakers (34 points)
Forward ‘ Gerald Wallace, Bobcats (30 points)
All-Defensive Second Team
Center ‘ Tim Duncan, Spurs (21 points)
Guard ‘ Dwyane Wade, Heat (20 points)
Forward ‘ Josh Smith, Hawks (20 points)
Forward ‘ Anderson Varejao, Cavaliers (15 points)
Guard ‘ Thabo Sefolosha, Thunder (14 points)
|Garnett, Perkins miss practice||05.05.10 at 2:55 pm ET|
Of the two, Garnett’s is apparently more worrisome. He suffered what the team called a right mid-foot strain late in the fourth quarter of Game 2. He arrived for practice but was told to shut it down by Doc Rivers.
“Honestly, today, if we had a game I don’t think he could have played,” Rivers said. “We just have to wait. I doubt if he’ll practice tomorrow. We’ll see. Perk we think will be all right. I don’t know if he can practice tomorrow either.”
Perkins suffered a hyperextended right knee during the team’s shootaround but did score 10 points and have nine rebounds in 30 minutes. He was also a team-best +20 in plus/minus. Perkins had a bout with knee tendinitis in March.
The Cavs have their own injury problems with LeBron James undergoing another MRI on his right elbow and Anderson Varejao missing part of the fourth quarter with back spasms. Varejao was examined by the team doctors Tuesday. The series has a three day break between games, which now seems like a very good thing for both teams.
“The rest, we were complaining, but now it turns out that rest is good for everybody,” Rivers said. “It’s probably good for Cleveland. They have a chance to get healthy.”
Garnett was not present to talk to the media Wednesday, but Perkins did an expressed confidence that both he and Garnett would play Friday.
“I’ll be ready for Friday,” Perkins said. “Hopefully I can practice [Thursday.] Kevin wanted to practice. He was mad that Doc wanted him to sit out. He’ll play.”
Perkins said that he hurt himself running and joked that he was, “just being clumsy. It happens.”
UPDATE: Garnett’s injury may have actually come in the second quarter when Perkins landed on his foot. Here’s the video:
|C’s plan to stop Varejao’s ‘dirty work’||05.05.10 at 1:32 pm ET|
Anderson Varejao is far from a Celtics fan favorite. He isn’t a flashy scorer, nor is he a finesse player. But that’s not what his game is about.
‘The man does one thing, and he does it well, and that’s what he gets paid for,’ Kevin Garnett told WEEI’s Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell following the C’s Game 2 victory (listen to the audio here). ‘And you know what? He doesn’t score a lot, he feeds off LeBron [James], he picks up the garbage, he does the dirty work. He’s out here trying to get guys rattled, trying to get technicals, the dumb stuff. You know, the stuff that shouldn’t even be in basketball, but it is.’
Even though Varejao does the dirty work for the Cavs, he still makes an impact on the scoreboard. He entered the series averaging 13 points and nine boards against the Celtics during the regular season, including a 17-point, 10-rebound performance in March.
In response, the C’s have turned to their bigs to combat Varejao’s energy and keep him away from the glass. They have limited him to a total of 12 points and 13 rebounds in Games 1 and 2 combined. Half of those points have come at the line.
‘We watched a lot of tape, we focused, we understand we’ve got to block him out,’ Garnett said. ‘He’s pure energy, he is a momentum changer, and we understand that. Baby is our momentum changer. And I think not just Kevin Garnett, but Rasheed Wallace, Big Baby Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins, Shelden Williams, everybody’s been getting a body on him, we’ve been conscious of where he is. And we’ve been helping and trying to foul him and make him score at the free throw line. And it’s been working so far. Knock on wood.’
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