|Replacing Russell||04.10.09 at 6:59 pm ET|
There was a warm reunion during dinner in the Will McDonough Press Room, about 45 mintues before tip-off Friday at TD Banknorth Garden.
Hank Finkel, the seven-foot center who replaced Bill Russell the year after Russell won his 11th and final NBA title, ducked as he came into the press room. He was greeted by the man who coached him beginning in 1969, Tommy Heinsohn.
Dave Cowens eventually replaced Finkel in 1972 and finished his career in 1975, winning one NBA championship in 1974 as Cowens’ back-up.
One bit of trivia, Finkel and Heinsohn both grew up in the Union City, New Jersey area.
|KG, Powe close to games||at 12:19 pm ET|
When are regular season games more like practice?
When you’re trying to get two important pieces of your puzzle in order before the playoffs start.
Such is the case for Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who said at Friday morning’s shootaround that he still hopes to get Kevin Garnett (right knee) back in game action on Tuesday in Philadelphia and on Wednesday in the season finale against Washington.
“If we can play him 10 or 15 minutes, we will, if that’s what we think will give him better rhythm,” Rivers said. “But for us, we’ll use it as practice, and that may be the same for Leon.”
Leon Powe (right knee) went through some plays with the team on Friday morning, but not at full speed. He then worked with coach Clifford Ray on a rebounding drill where he caught the ball atop his ahead and then jumped back up immediately and shot the ball without bringing the ball below his shoulders.
“He was just trying to do drills to see how the leg responds,” Powe said. “So far, it responded real well to the drills we were doing.”
But don’t look for Brian Scalabrine (post-concussion) to return to action in the final two games of the season. Rivers said he would still rather be safe than sorry.
“The Scal thing, I’m not so sure,” Rivers said. “Even though I think he’s improving, I don’t know if we want to take the chance in a regular season game with him. Ball hits him on the head and he goes down, we literally don’t want to take that chance.”
The Celtics play Miami tonight and then at Cleveland on Sunday before wrapping up the season with a game on Tuesday in Philadelphia and at home against Washington on Sunday.
|Garden scheduling madness||at 11:41 am ET|
It’s a good problem to have but it’s still a problem that needs solving.
How to schedule two teams and two Springsteen concerts all in one building over four days.
The Celtics are almost certain to play Saturday the 18th with Game 2 of the first round to be played on Monday, the 20th. The reason is as follows:
The NBA playoffs begin on Saturday, Apr. 18. The NHL playoffs for the Boston Bruins begin at home at the Garden on Thursday, the 16th since the Celtics finish up their regular season on Wednesday, the 15th against Washington. It should be pointed out, of course, that the Bruins and owner Jeremy Jacobs own TD Banknorth Garden.
If the Bruins play Montreal in the first round, it’s very likely that Hockey Night in Canada will want the Bruins-Habs on Saturday night and the Bruins would acquiesce to that request. If that scenario takes place, then you’re likely looking at a Celtics playoff opener at 12:30 on ESPN in the afternoon and a Bruins-Canadiens nightcap.
If the Bruins play the New York Rangers in the opening round, it’s more likely, the Bruins would play on Sunday afternoon on NBC and the Celtics could move to a Saturday night game on TNT.
In any event, the NBA wants to avoid having the Celtics or any team for that matter, play on back-to-back days if at all possible.
Bruce Springsteen takes over the building on April 21 and 22 and there’s no moving The Boss. Once again, a great time to be a Boston sports fan.
|Rondo… The new Pearl Washington||04.08.09 at 11:49 pm ET|
On Wednesday night during a 106-104 nail-biter over the New Jersey Nets at TD Banknorth Garden, Rondo scored a team high 31 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the floor, while grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out five assists.
It seemed from Marbury’s standpoint, every time Rondo drove to the basket, he scored.
“The guy had [31 ]points and I think he shot all layups,” Marbury said. “He reminds me of Pearl Washington from what they said, back in the days. A guy who didn’t really shoot the jump shots, but just continued to get to the basket and dominated.”
There are cases around the NBA when the point guard looks to score, their team is usually in trouble. Such is not the case with Rajon Rondo and the Celtics. As a matter of fact, it may be just the opposite.
For the third straight game, Rondo scored at least 20 points in leading his team to victory, their fifth straight overall.
‘I’m pretty comfortable,” Rondo said. “I’m probably as comfortable as I’ve ever been these last five or six games, just knowing when to take a shot or when to pass it.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|Rondo turns ankle, Garnett out this week||04.06.09 at 3:06 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo continues to battle ankle injuries. On Monday, in the team’s first practice since beating Atlanta on Friday night, Rondo was seen limping off the court after turning his ankle.
Doc Rivers said he wasn’t sure of the severity or which ankle was turned but said he didn’t initially think it was a serious injury.
“He just twisted his ankle, nothing bad but instead of keeping him out on the floor, easier to take him off,” Rivers said.
Meanwhile, Rivers said Kevin Garnett is making progress in rehabbing his strained right knee but not enough for him to return this week.
“I’m just really happy with what we see,” Rivers said. “A week ago there was more concern. This week, less concern. He looks great, he’s moving great. You can just tell the difference.”
Rivers ruled Garnett out from games through next Sunday, meaning the star forward won’t be able to play in the team’s final three games as Rivers had hoped.
“He won’t play this week, Wednesday, Friday or Sunday,” Rivers said. “But he’s going to go on the road with us and start practicing. Actually, our hope is start practicing our entire team on this little road trip, which would be really nice since I haven’t seen them in a while, and I think it’s possible.”
Rivers also said Garnett will travel with the team on its road trip to Cleveland and Philadelphia, with the hope of having the entire team together practicing together. Leon Powe and Brian Scalabrine could also return to action in practice.
|Sounds of the game… Celtics 104, Hawks 92||04.03.09 at 11:47 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo spent the last five minutes of Friday morning’s shootaround in Waltham setting up behind the three-point line. He was making them at roughly a 50 percent rate.
Everyone knows that Rondo is the machine that drives the Celtics offense. He’s know trying to add an extra gear to the machine that produced 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting against the Hawks on Friday night in a 104-92 win at TD Banknorth Garden.
And as is often the case with the soft-spoken Rondo, it was his teammates doing the most talking about his great game on Friday.
‘When Rajon is aggressive, he’s scoring the ball and it opens up everything for all of us,” Paul Pierce said. “Night in and night out you know me and Ray are going to get out touches but when Rajon is out there getting 16 points, getting layups, knocking down jumpers it just opens up the floor for everybody as you can see, Perk getting lay-ups, Baby getting wide open shots, I’m getting good looks and our offense gets pretty much unstoppable when he’s going.’
‘It’s hard to beat us when a guy like that gets going, you know, he’s a wonderful guy, he can do some many things on the court, and when his jump shot’s falling, that’s even better for our team,” Kendrick Perkins added. “So, Rajon is a big, big player for this team, and he goes out there and contributes, and that’s what you saw tonight.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|The lonesome shooter||04.02.09 at 1:22 pm ET|
With apologies to Adam Sandler, Ray Allen felt like the Lonesome Shooter on Wednesday night.
He had no lift or life in his jump shot in the fourth quarter and teammate Eddie House, who was on fire, gave him some friendly advice.
“It was like for a second, everything was flat,” Allen said. “I just needed to kind of back away from it and just get my legs back. I went out of the game and kind of clean-slated it. Eddie was telling me, obviously one of the best shooters in the NBA, he was telling me, ‘I don’t normally say anything to you but your shot, everything is flat.’ It’s all in my legs. There were two shots I took before I left the game. I think in the fourth quarter, it was just legs and I knew it once the ball left my fingertips. It’s a funky thing for me.”
Another teammate, Paul Pierce, called Ray Ray the best clutch shooter he’s ever seen.
“I’ll proclaim Ray the greatest shooter in the history of the NBA that I’ve ever seen,’ Pierce said after Allen’s game-winner with 2.1 seconds to go in double-OT.
But Allen remained humble.
“He didn’t play with Reggie Miller,” Allen said. “I’m sure he would’ve seen heroics from him day-in and day-out. I think it’s all predicated on what you do in clutch situations. I think on a couple of buzzer-beaters I’ve hit, he’s been the passer. He’s been right there, personally. It’s odd because Paul’s the one that always has the ball but I’m the one who’s made a couple of buzzer-beaters the last two years. He’s hit a lot of big shots but it always somebody makes a mistake. Eddie’s out there, I’m out there, Kevin’s out there to make them pay for their bad rotations.
“In my mind, I always think the next shot is always the one that going to go in and the next shot after that is the going to be the shot to win the game. Regardless of what’s happened up to this point, my mind has to be ready to take that shot as if I’m in the gym myself.”
Just like Andre Kristacovitchlalinski, Jr.
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