|Perkins: Inside the mind of a shot-blocker||11.23.09 at 11:27 pm ET|
Kendrick Perkins leads the Celtics in blocked shots this season and also is one of the top swatters in the NBA. His 29 blocks through 14 games ranks him seventh overall in the league in blocks per game (2.07) and blocks per 48 minutes (3.73). He ranks third in total blocks among all NBA centers and second in the Eastern Conference.
Perkins gave WEEI.com a glimpse into the mind of a shot-blocker:
Good block, bad block: “A good block is when you can block a shot and keep it in play. A block, rebound, keep it in play where you get the possession. A bad block is when you block it and block it out of bounds and you’ve got to play defense all over again.”
Timing is everything: “Timing, you’ve got to read. I think you’ve got to read, see what’s going on. Sometimes you’ve got to judge whether or not you can actually block the shot. Is it worth trying to go and block it? So it’s all timing and decision making.”
Judgment call: “Well, you can tell if a guy’s out of position as far as just how he goes up, if he’s kind of capable of making the shot. If a guy goes up out of control, you kind of want to fall back and just wait for a rebound.”
Making the move: “When it leaves his hands, then you jump up.”
Perkins has used his judgment to make cautious decisions on defense. He leads all Eastern Conference centers in blocks per personal foul (.74). Perkins shows no signs of letting up this season, either. He is averaging a season-best 2.5 blocks per game on zero days’ rest.
|Rondo helping Hudson improve defense||11.21.09 at 3:33 pm ET|
The two point guards were in the midst of an intense post-practice drill and neither wanted to stop. Rondo drove, pulled up for shots, and tried to shake Hudson on the way to the basket. Hudson buckled down and tried to stay one step ahead of him.
“I just play defense and he’s on offense the whole time,” Hudson explained.
The drill, while competitive, was friendly in nature — “Me and Lester are pretty close. I like Les,” said Rondo. They decided some extra practice time would help Hudson improve on defense and Rondo was happy to help him out.
“[I've learned] you’ve got to be ready,” said Hudson. “There are multiple pick-and-rolls in practice. Just he’s very quick so he’s going to help me out guarding quicker guards in the NBA, so hopefully I can get my defense right.”
Rondo participated in similar drills as a rookie against Sebastian Telfair and Delonte West and knows the benefits of additional time on the court. It is especially valuable for Hudson, who has clocked just 37 minutes so far in his first season.
“He can play D, he’s long, he’s athletic, he’s quick,” Rondo said of Hudson. “He’s going to be a great player in the league one day. He’s young, he’s just trying to learn the way and try to find his way on the team.”
Hudson also learned about Rondo’s game as well. Rondo is shooting 55.9% from the field this season, the second best percentage among all guards behind Chris Paul, but his offense has been criticized in the past.
“He can shoot better than I thought he could. He’s very quick, so it helps me on my defense. I’m trying to get my defense up,” Hudson said. “He can shoot from the three. In one-on-ones he’s been hitting, so I think he can shoot it. He just has to shoot the ball.”
Neither player keeps score in this drill. It just comes down to shots and stops.
Said Hudson, “We just go til we say we’re done.”
|Celtics assign Walker to NBDL||at 2:33 pm ET|
On Saturday the Boston Celtics assigned second-year forward Bill Walker to the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League. Walker has appeared in one game this season after suffering a knee injury during Training Camp. He has played a total of two minutes this season for the Celtics.
|Magic know formula to beat Celtics||at 12:05 am ET|
BOSTON – It has been nearly a year since the Magic faced a healthy Celtics squad. On Friday they proved they can beat the Celtics with or without Kevin Garnett.
“It’s very important especially when they are full strength to show you that we’re still a good team,” Rashard Lewis told WEEI.com after the Magic’s 83-78 victory (Recap). “You know they’re a great team. This is only one game, it’s early in the season and I definitely would not count them out at all. Every time we play the Boston Celtics it’s going to be a tough, tough game.”
The Celtics were 0-2 last regular season against the Magic without Garnett and were eliminated from the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the Magic without him. But the truth is, the Magic have held their own against the Celtics in recent years. They improved to 5-3 against the Cs since the 2007-08 regular season.
“I think the biggest thing playing their team is not allowing them to get a lot of second chance points, hold them to one shot, and then run,” said Dwight Howard.
The Celtics actually outshot the Magic 87-to-70 from the floor, but the Magic shot 10-for-22 from three-point range while Celtics were a mere 2-for-19. Vince Carter attempted 29 field goals — “All of them weren’t open, I’ll be the first to tell you that,” he said with a laugh — the same number as Ray Allen and Paul Pierce combined. Stifling the Celtics offense was a must-do for the Magic.
“You’ve got to play defense,” said Lewis. “I think every time we play this team we really buckle down on the defensive end and we try to take their main guys out – Ray Allen at the three-point line, and we try to crowd Paul Pierce and make other guys beat us. Tonight I think we did a good job of that.”
The Celtics lost their lead just three minutes into the first quarter, and the Magic held off a 17-12 fourth quarter run after Rasheed Wallace tied the game at 78 apiece. Lewis said his team regained their composure after coach Stan Van Gundy called a timeout and buckled down, realizing how easily the Celtics can fight back from a double-digit deficit. The Magic diminished the Celtics homecourt advantage and held on in the TD Garden’s playoff atmosphere.
“We’re not going to do that [back down] to anybody,” said Jason Williams. “I mean, we feel that we’re just as good as anybody else. So if we come out and do what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to win more times than not.”
On Friday night, like they have so many times in recent games against the Celtics, the Magic came out on top. Neither team can read too much into this victory, though. While the Magic know how to beat the Celtics, but they also know either team is capable of winning at any time.
“I don’t want to say we got their number because anything can happen on any given night,” said Lewis. “Tonight the ball kind of bounced our way and towards the end of the game we were able to get away. It’s not like we blew them out. We won by like four points so it could have easily gone the other way.”
|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.”