|Celtics net win against former team||03.04.09 at 11:24 pm ET|
The Boston Celtics face the New Jersey Nets four times every regular season. Some members of the Celtics, however, are more familiar with this opponent than others. On Wednesday night, Eddie House, Stephon Marbury, and Mikki Moore returned to their old stomping grounds. (RECAP HERE) Not only do these players have ties to the Nets, they also had ties to the Celtics while playing in New Jersey.
Stephon Marbury: 1999-2001
Average with Nets: 23.0 points, 8.1 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 43.7 percent from the field
- 1998-99: Traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he played with Kevin Garnett, to the Nets in part of a three-team deal that included former Celtic Sam Cassell. It only takes Marbury 31 games to establish himself as the Nets second-highest scorer that season.
- 1999-2000: Leads the Nets in scoring (22.2 ppg) and assists (8.4 apg). Ranks 10th in the NBA in assists. Teammates with former Celtic Sherman Douglas.
- 2000-2001: Marbury earns first All-Star appearance and represents the Eastern Conference with Ray Allen. Leads Nets in scoring (23.9 ppg) and assists (7.6 apg) once again.
March 4, 2009: Marbury is greeted at the IZOD Center with boos heard all the way back in Boston. He gives the Celtics a reliable ball handler off the bench, allowing the starters to take a breather, and finishes with four assists and two rebounds. Marbury commits only one turnover.
Mikki Moore: 2003-2004, 2006-2007
Average with Nets: 9.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 60.9 percent from the field (2007 season only)
- 2003-04: Moore signs with the Nets as a free agent in December of 2003. After appearing in just four games, he is waived the following month. Moore scores two points during this stint. During this time he is teammates with Celtics forward ‘ and current next door neighbor in the locker room ‘ Brian Scalabrine. That season the Nets went on to defeat Marbury and the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs.
- 2006-07: Moore is traded back to the Nets by the Seattle SuperSonics (where he played with Ray Allen) in exchange for future draft pick. After bouncing around the league for almost ten years, Moore has a breakout season (9.8 ppgs, 5.1 rpg). He also leads the league in field goal percentage (60.9 percent from the field). Moore is teammates with Eddie House.
March 4, 2009: Despite leaving the Nets for a big money contract with the Sacramento Kings, Moore is still welcome in New Jersey. He looks comfortable on the court at the IZOD Center, scoring six points in 12 minutes. The seven-foot Moore also spreads the Nets defense with his mid-range jumper.
Eddie House: 2006-2007
Average with Nets: 8.4 points, 42.8 from the field
- 2006-07: Signs as a free agent with the Nets in August of 2006. House is teammates with recently acquired Celtic Mikki Moore. He leads the Nets in three-point shooting (42.9 percent), ahead of Jason Kidd and Vince Carter, and ranks 10th in the league that season. The Nets lose in the second round of the playoffs to former Celtic Scot Pollard and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
March 4, 2009: House had been playing well against the Nets so far this season, averaging 11.5 points and shooting 60 percent from the field heading into Wednesday’s game. With Rajon Rondo in early foul trouble, he is the first one off the bench for the Celtics. House scores 10 points in 16 minutes, including 3-for-6 shooting from long-range. He also adds two rebounds and two steals.
(Brian Scalabrine played with the New Jersey Nets from 2001-2005. However he did not play on March 4 and is out for at least a month after suffering his third concussion.)
|Celtics youth basketball camps announced||03.04.09 at 9:19 pm ET|
The Boston Celtics, Reebok, and BasketBall City have announced the return of the Reebok Youth Basketball Camps, to be held this summer at BasketBall City (Boston, MA), the Sports Authority Training Center (Waltham, MA), and Salve Regina University (Newport, RI). The Celtics will host six week-long camps for children ages 8-17 beginning in July.
- July 13 ‘ 17: BasketBall City
- July 20 ‘ 24: Sports Authority Training Center
- July 27 ‘ 31: Sports Authority Training Center
- August 3 ‘ 7: Salve Regina University
- August 10 ‘ 14: Sports Authority Training Center
- August 17 ‘ 21: BasketBall City
Celtics rookie and Reebok athlete Bill Walker will serve as the official spokesperson. The Celtics will also award coach-nominated scholarships, selected from nominations by local youth basketball coaches, for the first time. Celtics Youth Basketball Camps are presented by official team partner, Reebok. Visit www.celtics.com for more information.
|Scal can’t rush back||03.01.09 at 9:37 pm ET|
‘You can’t do anything,’ he said prior to Sunday’s game against the Detroit Pistons. ‘You can’t watch TV for more than like 30 minutes, can’t read a book, can’t get on the Internet.’
It’s forced a change in lifestyle for Scal and his family. What does he do now for fun?
‘Like what we did back in the day, we conversate. My wife’s getting tired of me talking to her though,’ he said with a laugh. ‘My daughter, she gets bored after 20 minutes. So like I said, you really can’t do anything. You really, really, really can’t do anything.’
Scalabrine was initially diagnosed with a cervical strain in his neck. However he now believes that “99 percent” of his injury was caused by a concussion. He also suffered two concussions in January. After being deemed asymptomatic by doctors, he will undergo an MRI on Monday morning.
“I can’t worry about that until we get to the real deal,” he said. “Am I deep, deep down inside concerned a little bit about it? You know, it’s your career, it’s your life, yeah. But hopefully it all works out and I have no problems.”
Even though concussions are more common in the NFL than the NBA, one player can relate to Scalabrine’s setback. Indiana Pacers guard T.J. Ford has suffered three severe spinal injuries dating back to the 2005 season. His most recent injury occurred last season — caused by a flagrant foul by the Atlanta Hawks‘ Al Horford — and left him motionless on the court.
Ford bruised the same area of his spinal cord so many times that he eventually has his vertebrae fused together. He understands the importance of properly healing any injury in that part of the body.
“You want to be cautious any time you’re dealing with your neck, head, or spinal injuries because it eventually could affect how the rest of your life is,” Ford said. “So he has to be very cautious. The best thing to do is seek out information and get as much advice as possible about the injury and ways that you can get better so that you can live a good, healthy life and still be able to do the things you love to do.”
As Scalabrine awaits a diagnosis, the Celtics are struggling without him. The loss of Scalabrine, Kevin Garnett (knee), and Tony Allen (thumb) has depleted the Celtics bench, forcing Paul Pierce to play 48 minutes against the Pistons. (RECAP HERE) Glen Davis also aggravated his left foot and walked with a slight limp after the game. Scalabrine is itching to help his team.
“It’s different,” said Scalabrine. “The athlete and the common person, you cannot treat them the same way. Like a common person gets the flu and he’s supposed to relax for two weeks. An athlete, you can’t do it. Like they were talking to me about three months with no activity. I mean, that just doesn’t work for us. Everyone knows this. We have to deal with what it is. And you have to deal with, if you tweak an ankle they tell you take six to eight weeks off, you’ll be fine. Well six to eight weeks for us, that’s two months. You can’t do that. That’s 30 games. I just believe that you have to treat them separately.”
But Scalabrine can’t rush back, says Ford. In fact Scalabrine can’t even read a book at this point in time without the words blending together.
“It’s preparation. It’s preparation, it’s hard work, just building that confidence back,” Ford said. “And I think it starts off the court, just with conditioning yourself while you’re working out so when you get back to this level you’re not thinking twice about it.”
Doctors will determine the timetable for Scalabrine’s return. In the meantime, all he can do is stay optimistic.
“You can’t worry about it one way,” he said. “In my mind, I’m like, I’m not discouraged. I’m like thinking that I’ll be back in a week. That’s what my mind is.”
|The unharmonic convergence of Stephon Marbury and Allen Iverson||03.01.09 at 5:23 pm ET|
While Marbury was continuing his image rehab and on-court comeback, Iverson was back in Detroit resting an achy back. The injury coincided with the Pistons’ decision to move him to the bench and reassert Rip Hamilton into the starting lineup and that move coincided with a nine-game losing streak for the Pistons, which has since resulted in road wins over Orlando and the Celtics without Iverson (click here for a recap).
The irony of the situation hung heavily in the locker room as various members of the Celtics took great care not to diss A.I. but sounded wary of the Pistons getting back to being the Pistons, especially if they should meet in the first round of the playoffs.
“You can tell they’re playing the system they played before Iverson got there,” Paul Pierce said. “They run a lot of down screens with Rip. They run a lot of high pick and rolls with (Rodney) Stuckey. That’s what Chauncey (Billups) used to do and Stuckey has been there. Those guys that are out on the court, they’re comfortable with each other. You know when Iverson is out there they’re still trying to figure out how to use each other, how to all be successful.”
It’s not entirely Iverson’s fault that he has found himself at this particular crossroads in his career. After things went south in Philly and he was traded to Denver, the Sixers almost immediately became a better team, while the Nuggets never came close to realizing the sky-high expectations of the AI-Carmelo Anthony combination. He had played one way, his way, for so long and now it seems that it is the only way he can perform.
Once Iverson was traded to Detroit for Billups, the Nuggets emerged as one of the top second-tier contenders in the West (behind LA and San Antonio) and it was not lost on anyone there that better ball movement and better shot selection were the keys to the turnaround. It’s only been two games for the Pistons, but Stuckey has had an immediate transformation, going from a player who seemed lost to one who put together a tidy and efficient 10-point, five-assist performance against the Celtics.
Iverson now finds himself in exactly the same position that Marbury has battled for most of his career. For all the off the court stuff, the most damning evidence against Marbury the player has been the fact that every team he has left (Minnesota, New Jersey, Phoenix and even New York to some extent) has been better without him than they were with him.
Marbury either didn’t know what was up with Iverson, or didn’t care to get into it, brushing off pre-game questions about his long-time on-court nemesis. Since they came into the league together in 1996 they have always been rivals. When Iverson was on his way to winning Rookie of the Year with the Sixers, there was a late groundswell for Marbury’s candidacy based on Minnesota’s improved record with him at the controls.
But as Marbury began his long strange trip around the NBA, Iverson settled into becoming a Philadelphia legend and a beloved in some quarters, reviled in others, cultural touchstone. He won the MVP and led the Sixers to the Finals in 2001, but more than that Iverson represented something larger. He wasn’t the first of the so-called New Jack Jocks, but he was the lead M.C., breaking down Michael Jordan’s ankles one moment and force-feeding the 90’s hip-hop culture on a mostly unsuspecting populace.
It wasn’t just the corn rows and the tattoos, or even the shooting sleeve, that became ubiquitous sign posts of a changing NBA world, it was the forceful singular personality that alternately alienated and excited so many. If Marbury had any cultural significance on the rest of the league it was as one of the first group of players who signed long-term max deals that made he and his peers both franchise cornerstones and cumbersome anchors. As they advanced, Iverson became something of a respected elder statesman, while Marbury’s career disintegrated into vaudeville sideshow.
But now the two find themselves at the end of those long-term maximum contracts with uncertain futures ahead of them. Marbury has at his disposal an enviable proposition. If he can prove that he can fit in with the team-first Celtics and help them win another championship, it could prolong his career another few years (albeit not at a max level).
Iverson doesn’t seem to have that opportunity. Whether or not he’s to blame for what has happened to the Pistons, it was clear that Detroit’s run was coming to an end regardless. The best he can hope for now is to embrace his role as a bench player and try once more to transform his game, but that doesn’t seem likely.
“We just have to play the same way and he has to play that way,” Pistons coach Michael Curry said of Iverson. “I still like playing Tayshaun (Prince) and Walter (Hermann) a lot together at the two and three. Maybe Iverson can come in and spend some time in Will Bynum’s spot.”
In other words, Marbury and Iverson are essentially being asked to play the same role, albeit in entirely different circumstances, and Marbury has finally been dealt the better hand.
|Maxwell responds to Rondo rumor||03.01.09 at 4:45 pm ET|
The Internet has been buzzing with rumors of a heated conversation between Rajon Rondo and Boston Celtics radio broadcaster Cedric Maxwell. According to reports, Rondo shot harsh words at Maxwell in the Celtics locker room following Friday’s game against the Indiana Pacers. Maxwell cleared the air with WEEI.com during halftime of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Detroit Pistons.
“Me and Rondo were talking about a card game where he and I had played,” he said. “That’s what we were talking about and we were poking fun at each other. It wasn’t any argument that we had at all.”
Maxwell told Rondo about the rumors. Both he and the Celtics point guard laughed at the reality of their conversation.
“The words were, ‘You played the wrong card the other day when we were playing in the card game,'” Maxwell said. “That’s what that was.”
|Celtics-Pistons Game Blog: Fourth Quarter||03.01.09 at 3:00 pm ET|
At the start of the fourth … Pistons 77, Celtics 70
- Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo start the fourth quarter shooting a combined 4-for-17 from the field. The Celtics are 0-for-8 from three-point range while their backcourt accounts for just 16 of their 70 points. (House and Marbury are scoreless.) Rip Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey, and Will Bynum, on the other hand, have scored 35 of the Pistons 77 points.
– Marbury has hit work cut out for him on D. With House on Bynum, Marbury is left to guard Tayhsaun Prince, who has at least seven inches on him. So far so good — the Celtics forced a 24-second violation on the Pistons.
– Two treys from House have the Celtics right back in this game and the Garden on its feet.
– A behind-the-back pass from Marbury led to a flailing layin from Big Baby, his 17th point of the game.
– Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” just doesn’t have the same effect without KG on the court. A chest pump or two would have really added to the atmosphere.
– Ray Allen gave Pierce a few pointers while Leon Powe shot free throws. Pierce has played every minute of this game so far.
– The Celtics are trying to stay in this game with outside shooting, but they have dominated down low the entire afternoon. With three minutes to go they have outscored the Pistons 38-18 in the paint.
– Without Iverson the Pistons have led a balanced offensive attack. Rip Hamilton is proving why he should be a starter and everyone who has played is on the scoreboard.
– The Garden is clearing out with a minute to go. Repeatedly showing babies on the JumboTron doesn’t exactly move the crowd to their feet.
- Final score … Pistons 105, Celtics 95
|Celtics-Pistons Game Blog: Third Quarter||03.01.09 at 2:29 pm ET|
Bad half for the Celtics. No other way to say it. Even without Kevin Garnett, and his loss has been felt in a number of subtle and over ways this afternoon, these are games the Celtics need to win to keep pace with Cleveland for the top seed in the East.
THIRD QUARTER WRAP: After decent start to the half, the Celtics are basically right back where they started, down seven heading into the fourth quarter. They are going to have dig in defensively if they are going to pull this one out.
Third Quarter Observations
— How do the Celtics miss Garnett? Besides defensively, there have been a number of times when Rondo has broken down the defense and looked to kick it to a big man who is either not in the exact right spot or is not the shooter that KG is. Early in the quarter, Big Baby rolled down the lane and got an easy layup. That’s the kind of positioning and away from the ball movement that has been missing without Garnett.
— Perkins has been pushing Rasheed further and further out on the block for that fadeaway. Perk has done a fine job defending Sheed in KG’s absence. Of course just as I typed that Wallace got an and-one against Perkins. But the point still holds.
— It is getting really physical. Rip just launched Ray Allen with a hip check and the elbows are working overtime away from the ball. That’s not to say that it’s chippy, because it’s not. As mentioned before, Joey Crawford is working the game. The two things are almost certainly related.
— This quarter has been a complete reversal from the first two. The Celtics are getting stops, rebounds and then running when it’s there.
— Presumably the second unit is going to have to make something happen for the Celtics to win this game. Outside of Leon Powe, they didn’t exactly rise to the occasion in the second quarter.
— Pierce has gone wire-to-wire today. They really need to figure something out in terms of a back-up for him.
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