|Cassell hired as Wizards assistant coach||05.21.09 at 9:11 pm ET|
Sam Cassell made his goal very clear when he signed with the Boston Celtics in 2008 — he wanted to coach. On Thursday, he accomplished that mission. Cassell was hired by the Washington Wizards to serve as an assistant coach to the newly appointed Flip Saunders. According to Michael Lee of the Washington Post, Cassell is already participating in pre-draft workouts.
“After 15 seasons playing in this league, I have accomplished all that I have dreamed of as a player,” Cassell said in a statement issued by the Wizards. “Now the time has come for to me to take my love for the game to the coaching ranks and pass on what I’ve learned. This team is loaded with talent, and it’s a great way for me to start my coaching career.”
Cassell will be part of a coaching staff that has close ties to Kevin Garnett. Cassell and Garnett were teammates in Boston and Minnesota; Saunders served as the Timberwolves head coach for ten seasons; and Wizards assistant coach Randy Wittman coached Garnett in Minnesota during the 2007 season.
|Ainge: Tony Allen was waiting in the wings||at 1:07 am ET|
This week Celtics head coach Doc Rivers revealed Ray Allen played in the Eastern Conference Semifinals with a hamstring injury. But the Celtics had a back up plan if another one of their stars was sidelined.
‘Now if anything had happened to Ray, if Ray wasn’t able to go because of the hamstring injury, then Tony would have started and played,’ Celtics president Danny Ainge told WEEI’s The Big Show.
Tony Allen has been waiting in the wings for an extended role his entire career. Like it has happened so many times before, his opportunity for playing time this season was cut short by injuries. Rather than replace the void left by James Posey, Allen suffered an ankle sprain, the flu, and torn ligaments in his thumb. He appeared in just 46 regular season games.
‘Every time Tony had an opportunity to play significant minutes, he performed very well in that role over the last couple of years,’ Ainge said of the five-year veteran. ‘In a more limited role, and I think Tony had expectations of playing a 20 to 25 minute a game role going into the season, and you know with the injuries, that just didn’t pan out that way.’
|Ainge: We never question KG||at 12:11 am ET|
Kevin Garnett held out hope. The Boston Celtics front office held out hope. Even though the probability of playing seemed unlikely, a chance is still a chance. And for that, Celtics president Danny Ainge has no regrets on leaving the possibility of Garnett’s return open.
‘There was some question if KG would be able to play at some point in the playoffs, and we had hope. And we still had hope for that, and it just didn’t turn out that way. But one thing that we can’t do, and one thing that we don’t do internally, is never question Kevin Garnett,’ he told WEEI’s The Big Show. ‘I mean, Kevin Garnett for 12 years has never given anybody any reason to think he would not play if he could. The guy just doesn’t miss games.
‘But the reality of it is, is there was still hope. I think there was a bit of hope in Kevin’s mind, there was hope in our minds, there was hope in Doc’s mind even though we knew that the possibility, that the stronger possibility existed that he probably wouldn’t play, there was a little bit of hope that he might be able to at some point. So I think second-guessing doesn’t do any good. It didn’t turn out, he wasn’t able to play, and we don’t really think that we’ve set ourselves that far back.’
In retrospect, holding off surgery during the season may actually help Garnett’s recovery.
‘We think the surgery now is fine. Anyway, Kevin’s gotten stronger, he’s been working extremely hard,’ Ainge said. ‘And some people think the stronger your legs are when you get the surgery, the better prepared you are for your rehab anyways. So we’re not second-guessing any of that.’
Garnett is slated for surgery next week.
|Report: KG to have surgery next week||05.19.09 at 8:37 pm ET|
The Boston Globe has reported Celtics president Danny Ainge said Kevin Garnett will have surgery on his knee next week. According to the Globe, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck expects Garnett to return next season at full strength. The Celtics had not set a date for surgery during the playoffs, leaving a small window open for the possibility of his return. Garnett injured his knee in February.
|Rivers: “We have to improve our team”||at 11:54 am ET|
On Tuesday, Doc Rivers discussed the future of the Celtics bench WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan.” With the exception of Glen Davis, who replaced Kevin Garnett in the starting lineup, all of the Celtics free agents are reserves.
‘Just think this year if Kevin was healthy and Leon was healthy, that makes our bench 10 deep. ‘¦ Those two guys being out really shortened our bench,’ Rivers said. ‘But we have to improve our team. There’s no doubt about that. We don’t have to make any changes, but definitely have to make some additions.’
The Celtics will have to decide the futures of Davis, Leon Powe, Eddie House, Stephon Marbury, Mikki Moore, and Gabe Pruitt in the offseason. Davis (restricted) and Marbury (unrestricted) are poised to make the most money of the group. So who is more likely to return to Boston?
‘Baby, it will probably come down to what he can get on the open market,’ said Rivers. ‘With Steph, it will probably come down to what we can get on the open market.’
The ironic part is none of the Celtics free agents play the role the Celtics are most looking to fill. They still have not figured out how to account for the loss of Posey.
‘Number one, the one spot no one talked about all year, was the small forward spot,’ Rivers said. ‘We need a small forward who can defend, who can make shots and give Paul (Pierce) a blow. I thought Paul, all year, had to guard the best guys all game. Whenever we took him out, we went small.
‘We put Ray Allen in at small forward, which is a tough matchup. You could see it in the Orlando series. You were almost scared to take Paul off the floor because when you did, Ray Allen was now guarding the Terkoglus or the Rashard Lewises of the world. They went straight to the post, just like every other team did.’
|Celtics injuries revealed||at 11:51 am ET|
If the Celtics looked banged up during the playoffs, that’s because they were.
‘Ray Allen had a hamstring problem throughout the Orlando series that was not getting better,’ Doc Rivers said on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Show. ‘Paul (Pierce) had some bone spurs that may need to be removed as well. (Kendrick Perkins) may have to have a procedure on his shoulder’¦ In Ray’s case, I thought his hamstring was bothering him a lot. That could have had an effect on him (during the Magic series).’
Allen averaged just over 11 points through the first six games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. He was a non-factor from behind the arc before regaining his touch in the Celtics Game 7 loss.
As for the most talked about injury on the Celtics, Rivers had little news to offer on Kevin Garnett, who turns 33 today.
‘I don’t think there will be much more (than reported),’ he said. ‘I think it will be the strained tendon and the bone spur. What they started thinking at the end was that maybe the bone spur had something to do, maybe it started rubbing against the tendon and that’s what kept it inflamed. But they don’t know that. That’s just an assumption.’
|The Impact of NCAA Experience in Game 7||05.17.09 at 8:05 pm ET|
Veteran experience can be one of the biggest advantages in the NBA playoffs. The Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic, though, are relying on two of their more inexperienced players to help them advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Fortunately for 23-year-olds Glen Davis and Courtney Lee, they have been in high pressure situations before ‘ the NCAA Tournament.
Davis was one of the driving forces on the LSU Tigers’ Final Four run in 2006, the school’s first in 20 years. Playing on a big stage prepared him for performing in the spotlight of the NBA, especially since being thrust into the Celtics starting lineup.
‘This is the seventh game, the elimination game. Either win or go home,’ Davis said prior to Game 7. ‘Every game in the NCAA Tournament is either win or go home. So it’s a good experience because it helps you understand the meaning of each game, and you understand the meaning of Game 7. No matter how you look at it, it helps you mentally prepare yourself to win or go home.’ Read the rest of this entry »