|One year later: The tweet that impacted the NBA||03.15.10 at 11:22 pm ET|
One year ago Monday, then-Milwaukee forward Charlie Villanueva entered the locker room during halftime of the Bucks-Celtics game. He logged into Twitter and posted the following tweet:
@CV31: In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We’re playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up.
Those hundred-something characters opened the virtual book on social networking in the NBA. His midgame tweet was frowned upon, and it created a ripple effect: Before the start of this season, a league-wide policy was enacted. Among its guidelines included the restriction of cell phones and other communication devices 45 minutes before the game and prohibited it during halftime.
A year later, Villanueva, now a member of the Pistons, is still surprised by the impact.
‘It’s funny, because Twitter wasn’t really that big of a deal, like nobody really knew too much about it,’ he told WEEI.com following Monday’s Pistons-Celtics game. ‘I didn’t know it was going to get that much attention. I just did it, fun for the fans and whatnot, and the next day it just blew up. The media just took it and ran with it.
“Obviously I didn’t mean for it to get that much attention, but hey, it put my name out there even more,’ he added with a laugh.
As of Monday night, Villanueva had 73,685 followers. It is a huge jump from his following a year ago. In an instant, he went from a Twitter novice to one of the early faces of social media in the NBA.
‘It was crazy because I had just started, too,’ he said. ‘I probably had like 2,000 followers at first. It was probably a couple of months old, two or three months old, my account. After that, it rose to like 13,000 in two or three days. It was ridiculous. Ever since, it’s just been picking up.’
Villanueva has turned a potential negative into a positive by taking advantage of the benefits of social networking. He has raised awareness for charitable organizations, held contests for his followers to win game tickets, and spread well wishes to friends and fans alike.
‘There are a lot of opportunities,’ he explained. ‘You get to meet a lot of people. It’s very important for networking, just opportunities come abound, appearances, they can just work directly with you instead of going through a third party.’
Twitter has become the norm for many NBA players. On the Celtics, Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) has over 1.5 million followers, Ray Allen (@greenRAYn20) has nearly 25,000, and Shelden Williams (@SheldenWilliams) is a frequent tweeter with over 10,000 followers.
Now a seasoned vet, Villanueva has some advice for his fellow NBA athletes who are starting out in the world of social networking.
‘What the fans want to see is you being straight up and interacting with them as well,’ he suggested. ‘Showing pictures as well, they want to see what’s going on, what an NBA player does on a day-to-day basis.’
Tweeting has become something Villanueva does on a day-to-day basis. Except during halftime, of course.
|Fast Break: Celtics – Pistons||at 9:42 pm ET|
No one on the Celtics scored more than 15 points yet they beat the Pistons by 26, 119-93, on Monday in Boston.
The victory was a total team effort, the kind of win the Celtics needed after their leadership had been critiqued. Ray Allen said the team has “a bunch of leaders,” and showed up on Monday. Every player on the C’s scored.
Allen, Michael Finley, and Paul Pierce scored 15 points apiece; Kevin Garnett scored 14; Glen Davis contributed 13; and Kendrick Perkins and Marquis Daniels each added 11. (Rajon Rondo scored just three points and dished six assists.) The Celtics shot 62.2 percent from the field, 0.1 percent away from their season high.
Player of the Game: Finley was the spark plug off the bench the Celtics have needed. He started off shooting a perfect 3-for-3 and finished the game 6-for-7 from the field and 3-for-4 from behind the arc. Finley’s 15 was the most he has scored since October 20, 2009 when he posted 20 against the Thunder in preseason action.
Turning Point: After being tied 6-6 five minutes into the game, the Celtics went on a 14-3 run early in the first quarter. They got up by as many as 18 early on and never gave up their lead.
– Tayshaun Prince left the game with 4:53 remaining in the third after hitting his lower back against Jason Maxiell’s knee while fighting for a rebound. A timeout was called as Prince lay on the court and received medical attention. He was eventually helped off by the Pistons staff and did not return to the game.
– Before the game, Doc Rivers affirmed that he is not giving up on the Celtics. ‘I don’t care how frustrating it gets for me,’ he said. ‘I see it, and if you see it or not, I see it and I’m going to get it out of you. And that’s what I told them after the game [Sunday]. I don’t know how but I will get it out of you.’ Rivers also pointed out Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels and said both players could be more productive. Wallace posted 8 points and 4 rebounds; Daniels contributed 11 points and 5 boards.
– Tony Allen set Nate Robinson up for an alley-oop dunk off the backboard with 43.5 seconds left. Despite drawing a standing O from the crowd, Robinson was called for a technical for hanging on the rim.
|Third Quarter: Celtics – Pistons||at 9:08 pm ET|
The Pistons outscored the Celtics, 33-25, in the third quarter, but the C’s are still holding on a commanding lead heading into the fourth. They are up 89-70 after three.
The Celtics are shooting an impressive 55.9 percent from the field. However, they let the Pistons shoot 12-for-17 in the quarter. Jonas Jerebko was on a mission to get his back in the game. He scored all of his 10 points in the third, many coming at the basket. Kevin Garnett scored eight for the Celtics.
Kendrick Perkins was called for a technical foul. It was his 14th of the season and second of the month.
|Allen: ‘We’ve got a bunch of leaders’||at 7:14 pm ET|
Ray Allen says the Celtics don’t come down to one or two individuals. They are not led by a single player, he notes. Never have been nor do they plan on becoming so.
‘The same as it’s always been,’ he said prior to the Celtics – Pistons game on Monday. ‘We’ve got a bunch of leaders on this team.’
‘I think maybe a different guy gotta try to step up and be a leader,’ reported the Boston Globe. ‘I think sometimes you try to feed off your All-Stars, but maybe somebody else gotta step up. I’m talking about leading by example. One spark or positive energy on the court and guys tend to feed off that. Maybe it’s gotta be me, Rondo, ‘Sheed, somebody.’’
A day later, Doc Rivers echoed the notion of players needing to step up. He believes his players have it in them, it is just a matter of putting it out there on the court. He pointed out Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels specifically as two players the Celtics need better production from.
“I don’t care how frustrating it gets for me,” Rivers said before Monday’s game. “I see it, and if you see it or not, I see it and I’m going to get it out of you. And that’s what I told them after the game [Sunday]. I don’t know how but I will get it out of you.”
|How close is that corner?||03.14.10 at 11:03 pm ET|
The Celtics repeatedly have mentioned ‘turning a corner’ to get back on a winning track. But with 17 games left in the regular season, how far away is that corner?
‘I don’t know, maybe 17 blocks,’ Rajon Rondo guesstimated on Friday. ‘It should be the same zip code.’
Doc Rivers said he has felt his team getting closer, including at times during Sunday’s loss to the Cavaliers. ‘I told our guys, it’s frustrating for me because I could see in a lot of ways how close we are to breaking out and to being really good,’ he told reporters after the game. But the Celtics trailed the Cavs by as many as 17 in the fourth quarter and lost for the third time in four games.
The Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 contests, a stretch that included a three-game winning streak and a pair of two-game skids. Ray Allen understands the regular season can be a series of ups and downs, the reason why he thinks that corner isn’t that distant.
‘I live on an island. I don’t have blocks or anything in the country,’ Ray Allen said. ‘Any time you have to turn a corner, the corner is a block away. It’s just a block away because once you do something well, you feel like you’ve turned a corner. So it’s never that far away. Just like when you’re good, you’re just teeter-tottering on being bad, vice versa.’
|Fast Break: Celtics vs. Cavaliers||at 5:30 pm ET|
Winning in Cleveland was important to the Celtics, but Doc Rivers knew beating the Celtics at home would be significant to the Cavaliers, too. On Sunday, the Cavs defended their homecourt (where they are now 29-4) and defeated the Celtics, 104-93.
LeBron James scored just two field goals in the first quarter and had six points in the entire first half, but finished with a game-high 30 points.
The Big Three tried to carry the Celtics offensively — Ray Allen led with 20 points; Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce followed with 18 each. Rajon Rondo led the C’s with eight boards, but the team was outrebounded 51-43.
Turning Point: The Celtics had an opportunity to reclaim control of this game in the third quarter. Allen and Pierce tied the game at 68 apiece with back-to-back 3-pointers. But Garnett and Rondo committed a pair of turnovers in 24 seconds and the Cavs went on an 8-0 run.
Player of the Game: After Saturday’s practice, Kendrick Perkins said Anderson Varejao was an instigator on the court, and he proved to be on Sunday. Varejao scored 15 points and grabbed 6 rebounds off the bench in the first half alone. His tough play early on set the tone for the Cavaliers.
– Garnett and Glen Davis were both involved in rough play during the game. Early in the first, Garnett and J.J. Hickson were called for technical fouls after exchanging words under the basket. In the third, Garnett went for the ball and ended up hitting James in the face. James fell to the ground and had to go to the bench during a subsequent timeout. As for Davis, he practically leapt at Antawn Jamison and knocked him to the floor while attempting a 3-pointer.
– One of the reasons why the Celtics were able to stay in the game was because of free throw shooting. They shot 23-for-30 from the line while the Cavs were 31-for-48.
– The Celtics shot 0-for-6 from 3-point range in the first half, but went 6-for-11 in the second. Allen and Pierce hit three apiece.
– Former Celtic Leon Powe scored six points and grabbed four rebounds in eight minutes for the Cavs.
|Third Quarter Wrap: Celtics vs. Cavaliers||at 4:39 pm ET|
Early in the third, Kevin Garnett went for the ball and hit LeBron James in the face. James fell to the ground and went to the bench for a timeout. He returned to the game and scored 11 points in the quarter.
Even though they trail, the Celtics did even things up in the quarter. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen hit back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game at 68 apiece. But they committed two consecutive turnovers and the Cavs quickly went back up by six.
Garnett and Glen Davis both picked up their fourth fouls. The Celtics, however, have a strong advantage at the line. They are shooting 20-for-23 from the line while the Cavs are 19-for-30.