|Magic: Can’t Afford to Foul Rondo||11.20.09 at 7:46 pm ET|
BOSTON — Even though Rajon Rondo enters Friday’s game shooting a mere 25 percent from the free throw line, the Magic are not going to give him extra trips to the charity stripe. Just because free throws have been a weakness for Rondo this season that doesn’t mean the same is true for his teammates.
“With their team you don’t want to foul unnecessarily,” said Anthony Johnson. “Even though maybe he’s not shooting well, Paul Pierce, KG, all the other guys, they’re going to draw fouls.”
In spite of Rondo’s struggle (4-16 FG), the Celtics are still in the middle of the pack around the league. Ray Allen is ranked eighth in the NBA (89.3%) while Shelden Williams and Pierce are both shooting better than 80 percent.
“If you waste your fouls on Rondo, it’s going to help them as a team get into the bonus and it’s going to give those guys free points,” Johnson said. “So as much as possible we want to keep them off the line, including him, and try to make them make tough shots over the top of us.”
The Magic have a lot more to worry about with Rondo than just free throws. They are without starting point guard Jameer Nelson (knee) and will depend on veterans Johnson and Jason Williams to contain Rondo.
“He’s a guy that plays with a lot of energy offensively and defensively so you’ve got to always keep him in front of you, don’t allow him to really dictate the tempo with his ball pressure and just putting pressure on our defense getting into the paint,” said Johnson. “So we’re going to have to keep him in front of us and not let him orchestrate and make all the big plays.”
|Pierce to strike again for charity||11.15.09 at 11:19 pm ET|
On Monday evening Paul Pierce will trade his basketball sneakers for bowling shoes at “The Truth Strikes Again,” a celebrity bowling tournament to raise funds for the Truth on Health Campaign and FitClub 34 by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Pierce is scheduled to be joined by his teammates, including Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, Eddie House, Marquis Daniels, Tony Allen, Brian Scalabrine, Lester Hudson, and Bill Walker. The event will take place at Kings Lanes in Dedham. For more information on Pierce’s initiatives, visit www.paulpierce.net.
|Walker makes unexpected return||11.11.09 at 11:19 pm ET|
Bill Walker didn’t expect to hear his name called on Wednesday night. Even though he felt ready to play, he didn’t know if Doc Rivers felt the same.
“Actually I think he wanted me to get one more practice in, get more acclimated with everything before he wanted to put me in, but he just happened to put me in,” said Walker following the Celtics 105-86 win over the Jazz.
Walker had not played in the regular season since tearing the meniscus in his right knee during training camp. But with Brian Scalabrine sidelined, Rivers turned to Walker to give Rasheed Wallace a rest. He checked into his first game with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“I felt ready,” he said. “I felt pretty good after Monday’s practice. One thing that was missing was probably my conditioning. It’s a different type of conditioning from just running to actually getting out there, trying to dodge guys, getting hit, that type of thing. I’ll be fine though.”
Walker, who has suffered several knee injuries in the past, will take all the precautions to make avoid any irritation.
“Icing and rest, just get off my legs,” he explained. “Just take advantage of the down time we have and come in early tomorrow, get treatment, still work on everything I need to work on on my lower body.”
As Walker works his way back on to the court, he will judge his progress in practice. There is one play he looks forward to accomplishing again.
“You finally get out there and you’re chasing Ray [Allen] off a screen and you’re in front of him when he comes off of it,” he said with a laugh. “That’s a signal because not a lot of guys can do that. But I don’t know, it’s just getting out there and playing and not really favoring or thinking about your injury. That’s when you know you’re back.”
|Celtics generous in win over Jazz||at 11:00 pm ET|
There is a reason why the Celtics entered Wednesday’s game leading the league in assists. It isn’t only because of Rajon Rondo — point guards Steve Nash, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams are all ahead of him in dimes per game. It’s because the Celtics as a team look to pass, and that ball movement and selflessness were determining factors in their win over the Jazz.
“Doc [Rivers] and Coach [Armond] Hill were just saying move the ball,” Rondo said after the Celtics 105-86 victory. “It started in practice. We kept getting each other involved and we made plays for each other.”
The Celtics dished out 30 assists to the Jazz 18. Rondo accounted for 11, which totals more than Jazz starting guard Deron Williams and Ronnie Brewer combined.
They looked for not just one or two extra passes on Wednesday. One of the most significant possessions of the game involved four in the third quarter — Rondo to Ray Allen, Allen to Kendrick Perkins, Perkins behind the back to Kevin Garnett, Garnett back to Rondo for the lay in.
That sequence was memorable to many, but Rondo is so accustomed to sharing the ball that it was just another trip down the floor for him.
“I don’t even remember the play,” he said. “I think it was like five passes maybe, but I don’t remember how I got there.”
If the Celtics continue to see each other on the court like they did against the Jazz, they will remember how they ended up in the win column throughout the season.
|Veterans Day has special meaning for Allen||at 7:17 pm ET|
Wednesday night is more than just another game for Ray Allen. Veterans Day has a special meaning for the guard who grew up in a military home.
Allen’s father, Master Sergeant Walt Allen, spent 26 years in the Air Force. The senior Allen, who battled cancer this summer, made the trip from South Carolina to attend his first game since the 2008 season.
“When you say today is Veteran’s Day, that’s why I think about where I’ve come from,” Allen said prior to game against the Jazz. “I come from a background of a lot of great military presence. So any time I see any soldier, I love seeing soldiers. I run into Marines all the time and it’s always great to sit down and talk to them. You just always say thank you, thank you for your services, thank you for being selfless because to put your life in harm’s way is something that a lot of people would not do.”
Allen depicted his military upbringing in T-Shirt designed to benefit World Diabetes Day. (His son Walker was diagnosed with the disease during the 2008 playoffs.) The graphic follows a paper plane, representing the armed services, and traces through several basketballs that eventually end at his uniform number, 20.
On the front of the shirt it reads, “W.W.J.S.D.” (What Would Jesus Shuttlesworth Do?) The back of the shirt displays the quote, “No Journey is Too Great When One Finds What He Seeks,” one of Allen’s favorite lines from the movie “Coming to America.”
He uses the quote as motivation to fight against diabetes. It can also pertain to the military’s journey to protect the country.
“I’m just grateful for them because they protect our freedoms here,” said Allen. “We get to play basketball but we’re playing here so we can do this what we’re doing and we can encourage and motivate them while they’re watching us play. So they’re protecting us and I appreciate it.”
(For more information on Allen’s t-shirt to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, visit www.muzeclothing.com)
|House Stays Hot with Suns||at 1:03 am ET|
“I call him the ‘Cheat Code,’ really because every time he shoots you think it’s going in,” Frye said. “Like in a video game, a basketball game, you put one person into one spot and they’re going make it every time. And that’s him. Yeah, he’s the ‘Cheat Code.’ ”
Frye came up with the moniker after watching House drain trey after trey, day after day this summer. House, who played in Phoenix during the 2005-06 season, lives in Arizona during the offseason. He trained with Frye and the Suns before reporting to training camp in Boston.
“That’s the best runs that you can get in Arizona,” House explained. “So as soon as those guys start getting into town, I go up there and we get some runs.”
House donned his Celtics workout gear and hit the court with the Suns to stay hot during the offseason. He capped off last regular season by breaking the Celtics franchise record previously set by Danny Ainge for 3-point shooting in a single season (.444). The Suns were impressed by the skills that earned him that mark.
“Any time he’s open it’s like, ‘Dang it’s going in,’ ” said Jason Richardson.
Added Frye, “We were playing to 15 and he’d make five 3′s — one, two, three, four, five — boom, game over.”
Grant Hill chimed in as well.
“I tell you what, that guy did not miss. He’s a great shooter,” Hill said. “There were some days that he got hot, and when a guy like him gets going it can be fun to watch.”
|Grousbeck: Green days for C’s||11.06.09 at 1:05 am ET|
Are the Green concerned about their greenbacks?
That financial question was raised in a recent article on Yahoo! Sports, which suggested co-owner Wyc Grousbeck’s consideration of suspending injured Glen Davis had less to do with discipline and more to do with money.
Just months after signing a two-year deal worth over $6 million, Davis broke his thumb fighting a childhood friend and will be sidelined for at least six weeks. Reports then surfaced that the team was looking to take back some of the salary. Days after the Davis episode subsided, the Celtics committed $55 million to Rajon Rondo over the next five years.
Coupling the money owed to an injured Davis with their recent spending spree on Rondo, is Grousbeck concerned about the team’s finances? Quite the opposite. In fact, the Celtics are on a record-setting pace for revenue as they feature a reloaded team contending for another trophy.
“On the contrary, we are on course to set a new record for revenues thanks to our fantastic fan support and support from our sponsors and broadcast partners,” Grousbeck told WEEI.com via email. “We appreciate everything they have done to support the team.”
Rondo’s new deal is a major financial obligation for a team who already has over $32 million tied up with starters Rondo, Kevin Garnett, and Kendrick Perkins next season alone. Next summer they will face Paul Pierce‘s $21.5 million player option and will also have to address Ray Allen‘s unrestricted free agency.
That’s just the starting lineup. The Celtics will also face the question of building their bench as role players including Marquis Daniels, Eddie House, Brian Scalabrine, Tony Allen, and Shelden Williams have expiring contracts.
The new-look Celts have been nothing short of a hit sensation. They are off to a 6-0 start two years removed from their 17th title and one year removed from reaching the Eastern Conference Semifinals with an undermanned/overachieving team.
And regardless of their upcoming financial commitments, Grousbeck remains confident the organization is prepared to continue its pursuit for another championship.
Said Grousbeck, “I thank the fans and sponsors and will do everything I can to keep a winning team on the floor.”
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