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NBA Power Rankings, 1/27 01.27.11 at 5:38 pm ET
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1. San Antonio (39-7): It seems like every time I look at the NBA standings, the Spurs are 9-1 in their last 10 games. It’s ridiculous. According to John Hollinger’s playoff odds, San Antonio has a 78.1 percent chance of capturing the top seed out West and homecourt throughout the playoffs. Yet, their odds of making the Finals are just 27.3 percent, despite possessing the league’s best home record at 24-2. Strange.

2. Boston (34-10): The Celtics lost another game to a bad team when they fell to the Wizards over the weekend, but we’ll give them a break considering it was once again the result of playing on the road in the second game of a back-to-back following a plane trip. Losses to the Cavaliers, Rockets and Wizards are the only reason the C’s aren’t ranked No. 1, because no team has been better than them — when motivated.

3. LA Lakers (33-13): The silhouette of the NBA’s logo, former Lakers general manager Jerry West eased off his comments that the Lakers are too old to play defense (they’re ranked 10th in points allowed), but he didn’t back down from saying he wouldn’t want to play the Celtics every other night — calling the C’s the favorites over the Lakers to win the NBA title.

4. Miami (31-13): Speaking of predictions involving the Celtics and Lakers, Phil Jackson obviously chimed in, as he doesn’t believe the Heat can get by the Celtics to reach the NBA Finals. Considering the Celtics still own a 2-0 record against Miami (and it wasn’t even that close), how can you argue with Jackson? Especially after you watch some of the poses Chris Bosh gets into during his Maxim shoot.

5. Chicago (31-14): I figured the Bulls could be a top-five team once Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah were both healthy at the same time. It turns out Noah’s presence isn’t necessary for that to happen. Perhaps more important than homecourt advantage in the Celtics’ chase for the No. 1 seed is the fact that — as it stands now — they’d only have to face the Heat or Bulls and not both in the playoffs.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, power rankings
Irish Coffee: Celtics less valuable than Lakers at 12:10 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦ 

According to Forbes Magazine’s latest valuations of all 30 NBA franchises, 17 teams hemorrhaged money over the last year — the highest number since the 1998-99 lockout — despite the fact that 24 of those 30 clubs generated at least $100 million in revenue.

Based on the numbers, the Celtics are the fourth most valuable franchise in the NBA. They generated $151 million in revenue while the franchise’s value rose 5 percent over the past year, yet they made just $4.2 million.

When the magazine released the same figures just over a year ago, the Celtics ranked as the eighth-most valuable franchise, generating less revenue but taking home almost $9 million more in income.

Despite the state of the U.S. economy, the average value of all 30 NBA franchises rose 1 percent since the magazine’s last valuations. However, the average team’s operating income fell 22 percent — to $6.1 million — “the lowest figure since the 2002-03 season.”

In the offseason, Amar’e Stoudemire and LeBron James altered the balance of NBA financial power. The Knicks’ worth increased 12 percent, dethroning the Lakers as the league’s most valuable franchise. Meanwhile, the Heat’s worth rose 17 percent, while the Cavaliers‘ value fell 26 percent.

Here are the top five most valuable NBA franchises:

After noting the surprising fact that the Pistons, who haven’t been able to find a proper suitor, are valued 13th, here are the five least valuable NBA franchises:

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Portland Trail Blazers
Kevin Garnett releases ‘Beat L.A.’ shoes 01.26.11 at 5:12 pm ET
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The Chinese shoe company that sponsors Kevin Garnett, Anta, is releasing the latest pair in the KG1 series, entitled “Beat L.A.” The 152-120 reference on the tongue of the green and white suede shoes is a reference to the Celtics‘ lead in their all-time regular-season series against the Lakers.

The Celtics and Lakers square off for the first time this season on Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center. Think Garnett will be sporting these?

Read More: Anta, Beat L.A., Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett
Kendrick Perkins, NBA officials and how you know ‘Perk’s back’ for real at 2:21 pm ET
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Memo to Kendrick Perkins: While you were gone from the NBA – impressively rehabbing your right knee – the league decided to give more power to the referees that officiate NBA games.

During their annual meeting last fall in Jersey City, N.J., the league’s officials, in conjunction with the league, announced new guidelines for technical fouls, including T’ing up any and all “overt” player reactions to calls.

Just because we’re here to help, here’s what NBA officials are on the lookout for in determining whether a player should be “T’d” up:

– Running directly at an official to complain about a call.

– Excessive inquiries about a call, even in a civilized tone.

– Players making aggressive gestures, such as air punches, anywhere on the court.

– Demonstrative disagreement, such as when a player incredulously raises his hands, or smacks his own arm to demonstrate how he was fouled.

This season, refs have also been instructed to consider technicals on players who use body language to question or demonstrate displeasure. Additionally, officials can also consider techs on players who “take the long path to the official,” i.e., walking across the court to make their case.

So, what would a return to NBA game action be without Perk testing out those new limits?

He did just that in the first half when he was called for a personal foul and raised his arms and scowled that trademark “Perk Scowl”. But apparently, he mellowed during physical therapy. He stopped short of getting a tech. Last season, Perk was called for seven technicals in the playoffs alone, but the second one in Game 5 against the Magic in the Eastern Conference finals was rescinded by the league, thus he avoided suspension.

If a player accumulates 16 in a regular season, he draws an automatic one-game suspension. Perk has a long way to go to approach that.

‘€œHe’€™s going to get a tech soon,” coach Doc Rivers smiled and laughed after Tuesday’s win over Cleveland. “Yeah, we’ll see I think because he started so late he can’€™t get to the number. So I think we’€™re safe there because at the end of the day Perk’€™s going to be Perk. I mean, he almost ran after the guy the one time. And I was thinking, ‘€˜You’€™ve got to be kidding me. Perk’€™s back.’€™ That’€™s the whole bench; when he did it the bench started laughing, saying ‘€˜Perk’€™s back.’€™ I’€™m thinking we have a cushion.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins, NBA
Irish Coffee: Danny Ainge would trade anybody at 11:53 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦ 

For the right price, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge would’ve traded just about anybody — Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen — during the C’s .500 stretch last season. 

Heck, he would’ve traded Larry Bird and Kevin McHale in the 1980s, too, according to the latest piece from Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen.

Here are five things that we learned from Thomsen’s conversation with Ainge: 

1. During the 1988-89 season, Ainge urged Red Auerbach to trade Bird to the Pacers for Chuck Person, Herb Williams and Steve Stipanovich, as well as McHale to the Mavericks for Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins

“I’ll never forget being at that Christmas party and we discussed them. He told us all at that time he wasn’t going to trade any of us, that he wanted us to finish our careers as Celtics. And a few months later, they traded me for Joe Kleine and Ed Pinckney. … 

(Interjection: It’s kind of funny that the guy who pleaded Red to deal Bird and McHale got traded himself. Coincidence? You tell me.) 

“But you could get Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins in their early 20s for Kevin McHale on a downward-slide team that was not going to win a championship. Stipanovich would be hurt and wouldn’t play, but Chuck had a good career. Those guys were still young, and instead you were getting two or three more years of Larry, but you were only getting 75-80 percent of Larry. We didn’t have a chance to win the championship in ’88-89 because Larry wasn’t playing — he was in those ankle casts. I don’t think anybody really believed we were a championship team during the 1988-89 season or after that. We were just hanging on.” 

By the way, here are the best seasons from Bird, Person, Williams, Stipanovich, McHale, Schrempf and Perkins after the 1988-89 season: 

  • Bird (1989-90): 24.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 47.3 FG%, 33.3 3-PT FG%, 93.0 FT%
  • Person (1989-90): 19.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 48.7 FG%, 37.2 3-PT FG%, 78.1 FT%
  • Williams (1990-91): 12.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.5 blocks, 50.7 FG%, 63.8 FT%
  • Stipanovich: never played after the 1987-88 season (injury)
  • McHale (1989-90): 20.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.9 blocks, 54.9 FG%, 89.3 FT%
  • Schrempf (1992-93): 19.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 52.3 FG%, 51.4 3-PT FG%, 83.9 FT%
  • Perkins (1991-92): 16.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.0 blocks, 45.0 FG%, 81.7 FT%

If it were me, with the benefit of hindsight, there’s no way I would’ve traded Bird for that package during the 1988-89 season. McHale? Well, that’s a different story. 

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Kendrick Perkins, Larry Bird
Doc Rivers and Paul Pierce know this West Coast trip is big at 10:15 am ET
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Every year, Doc Rivers takes a look at the schedule and he has the chance – along with the team – to petition the league for a change or two. And without fail, it always seems the Celtics try to get part of their two West Coast trips altered to help with rest on the road.

Last summer, he took one look at late January and thought to himself the first trip out West will be a real bear. They start Thursday in Portland, playing one day later – and one time zone backward – in Phoenix. Then they play an afternoon game 36 hours later back in LA against the Lakers before wrapping up next Wednesday in Sacramento.

Sure, they’re bonding experiences for the team but a little more time bonding and a little more rest would certainly be appreciated.

“I don’t really look forward to them but I know they’re coming,” Rivers said. “It’ll be a good one for us, tough teams, all tough in their buildings. The only thing I don’t like about this trip is the travel in games so quickly. Traveling to Portland and playing a game the next day is brutal.

“And then you fly backwards to Phoenix where you lose an hour and then you play LA in a one o’clock game. That’s a lot of games. We get our schedules before the season starts, before [public] gets them. We have a chance to change games. This is one trip we actually really tried to get changed. We just wanted another day. They said, ‘No.'”

Last season when the Celtics went out West in February to play the Kings, Lakers and Trail Blazers, they swept all three games before losing at Denver in the finale. Now, starting Thursday at the Rose Garden in Portland, they will play those three teams again with a trip to Phoenix thrown in as the second game of the four-game swing. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA, NBA West Coast road trip
Ray Allen: ‘We’ve been less than ourselves’ without Kendrick Perkins 01.25.11 at 11:49 pm ET
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Following Kendrick Perkins‘ early return to the Celtics lineup, just about everybody was asked about the team’s 26-year-old center, and Ray Allen — dressed in a Shaft-like leather jacket and a sweater that went up to his nose — was no different.

“We’ve kind of been less than ourselves over the last three or fourth months, just waiting,” said Allen of Perkins’ absence this season. “We’ve had great success with the guys we’ve been using, but we haven’t had the lineup that’s been consistent here over the last three and a half years, when we’ve been successful and won some big games, including the championship. So, it’s great to see him back out on the floor, and it just makes us that much stronger.”

The vibe in the Celtics locker room felt different after the team disposed of the Cavaliers, 112-95, and it’s because, like Jerry Maguire, Perkins completes them.

“When he went down, obviously eyes around the world were on him,” added Allen. “Everybody felt a little sympathy for us, because we weren’t whole. Him coming back has a great symbolism to it, because we know what we’re trying to get back to.”

Perkins’ return was a reminder of how close the Celtics came to winning another NBA title last season before he went down with his ACL injury in Game 6 of the finals, especially considering his six rebounds in 17 minutes on Tuesday night.

And before the C’s get back to where they want to go, they’ll have another reminder of that Game 7 loss when they visit the Staples Center for the first time since to take on the Lakers on Sunday afternoon. But Allen’s blocking that from his memory.

“I’d like that to sneak up on me,” he said, “and just not think about it.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, NBA, Ray Allen
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