|The 19th pick in the NBA draft||06.23.10 at 8:11 am ET|
On Thursday, the Celtics will put the past behind them and look to the future with the NBA draft in New York City. The C’s are going to have plenty of gaps to fill, with the possibility of Rasheed Wallace retiring, the future of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in question, and other players, namely Nate Robinson and Tony Allen, becoming free agents.
The Celtics have one pick in the first round of this year’s draft, just beyond the halfway point, at 19. A pick at that number typically is not somebody a team can build around, but a pick that can be a role player or a deal-maker in trades. A role player would be just what the Celtics would need.
Looking over the past picks at No. 19, a few names stick out. There’s Hakim Warrick from 2005, Zach Randolph from 2001, Jamaal Magloire from 2000, Scot Pollard from 1997, Rod Strickland from 1988 and John Paxson in 1983. Boston has had the 19th pick twice in the past 15 years: 1993 (Acie Earl) and 1990 (Dee Brown). The Celtics also got 1996’s No. 19, Walter McCarty, a year after his rookie season. Back before the NBA-ABA merger, the 19th pick was in the second round, but there were significant picks, like Jerry Sloan in 1964 and the list’s lone Hall of Fame No. 19, Nate Archibald in 1970.
Here’s a list of the No. 19 picks in the past 25 NBA drafts.
2008 ‘ Cleveland Cavaliers: J.J. Hickson, NC State
2008-present: 143 games, 934 points, 49 assists, 565 rebounds, 54.3% FG
|NBA finals a ratings bonanza||06.22.10 at 1:10 pm ET|
According to numbers released Tuesday by the Nielson Co., Game 7 of the NBA finals drew an audience of 28.2 million people, ranking it as the most-watched basketball game since Michael Jordan’s last championship-clinching win in 1998.
Not including the Olympics, Thursday’s game between the Celtics and Lakers was the most-watched show on network TV since the finale of the first “Survivor” season in August 2000.
|Rivers on D&C: ‘Leaning’ one way about future||06.21.10 at 11:12 am ET|
Rivers said he has not decided whether or not he will return to the Celtics next season. “I’m not going to say which way I’m leaning ‘ and I am one way ‘ but I could look you in the eye and tell you I haven’t decided,” he said.
Rivers said he did not discuss the matter with his family during Father’s Day Sunday. “We didn’t talk about it at all, really,” he said. “It’s still very difficult to get through Game 7, let alone talk about your future, to be honest.”
Rivers said the players have been encouraging him to return, which makes him feel great but embarrassed to be in the spotlight. That type of support is the main reason why he would consider returning. Said Rivers, “The only reason you stay is your love for the guys you coach … knowing that if you do leave, you’re not going to get that back.”
Rasheed Wallace, like Rivers, is considering leaving the game. Rivers said he expects we’ve seen the last of the controversial center. “I think you have,” he said. “It’s so emotional right after the game. But Rasheed told me before [Game 7]. He told me the the night before. He walked up to me and said, ‘Hey, listen, I’m going to give you everything I’ve got. I really believe this is my last game that I’m going to play.’ And he said this year was very difficult for him physically. He never felt like ‘ even the conditioning part of it hurt. He said he doesn’t think he wants to go through that again, and he wants to watch his kids. I do think it’s the last time we’ll see him in a Celtics uniform.”
Rivers said he’s watched some video of the fourth quarter of Game 7. “I’ve looked at some of it but I couldn’t watch it [all],” he said. “It’s still very difficult.”
The coach said one thing he might have done differently is to get Rondo some rest at the start of the fourth. “I think I should have given Rondo another blow,” Rivers said. “I thought he was tired. I thought he played that way in the fourth. And that was a tough one, because he was starting to play well at the end of the third, so it was tough to pull him out.”
Rivers also said he wished the team would have attacked the post more, although he noted that some post plays were called, and Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace both were tiring. “You could just feel that we were running out of gas,” he said.
Rivers also said the referees’ more frequent whistles down the stretch were an adjustment the Celtics did not handle well. “The whole fourth quarter, it was called tighter,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that after watching [the video]. That hurt us a lot. … It was just a free throw line parade. That’s the one line you can’t defend.”
Rivers also credited Ron Artest as the key to the Lakers’ comeback. “We didn’t defend him the way we should have defended him,” he said. “I thought Ron Artest was the difference in that game.”
|Lakers emphasize green not their color||06.20.10 at 11:20 pm ET|
‘I was just lying to you guys,’ he said after Game 7. ‘When you’re in the moment you have to suppress that because if you get caught up in the hype of it all, you don’t really play your best basketball.’
Now that Bryant and the Lakers have won the trophy, there is no hiding his feelings.
The Lakers recently appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in celebration of their victory. When asked if he talks to or is friendly with any of the Celtics, Bryant quickly replied: ‘No.’
Derek Fisher added, ‘It’s just different. If you’re a Laker, it’s really hard to like anything green. Period.’
See the clip below at the 2:04 mark.
|Big Baby: Game 7 makes for long summer||06.18.10 at 7:50 am ET|
LOS ANGELES — Was the tank on empty? It was the same question asked after Game 7 against Orlando in 2009. And it’s a question that could linger with the Celtics all summer long after dropping the seventh and decisive game to the Lakers Thursday night at Staples Center.
The Celtics had built leads of 23-14 after one quarter, 40-34 at halftime and 57-53 going into the final period.
But the Celtics were outscored 30-22. And it’s the 30 points that most Celtics pointed to afterward as the real reason for the loss.
“Close is not enough,” summed up Glen Davis. “You’ve got to win it. This is the way it is. Someone else has to lose and it sucks. It’s how you look at it. It’s how you bounce back. I don’t know what’s going on with who’s coming back [next season]. But I’ll be ready when training camp comes around.”
Davis did acknowledge the play of one Laker in particular – Ron Artest. The forward burned the Celtics in Game 7 for 20 points, including a dagger of a 3 with just over a minute left that put the Lakers up six. He also ripped the ball from Davis’ own hands on a loose ball rebound with just under two minutes remaining and the Celtics down one possession.
“Artest was the difference in the game,” Davis said. “He wanted it. He took it from us.”
In the end, like everyone else in green, the next three months could be very difficult to stomach.
“It’s going to be a a long summer because of this. But, like I said, somebody has to lose and you have to take the approach in a positive way and look forward to next year.”
|TA: Hard to come to grips||at 7:24 am ET|
LOS ANGELES — No one took Thursday night’s loss harder than Tony Allen.
He was walking out of the Celtics dressing room and took a right-hand turn before bravely making a U-turn and agreeing to meet with reporters outside. He was the first Celtic player to try and express what had just happened.
Clearly heart-broken, he tried to come to grips with losing Game 7 of the NBA Finals, 83-79, as the Celtics fell short in their bid to win title No. 18. The Lakers won their 16th by rallying in the fourth quarter, outscoring Boston, 30-22.
“Definitely a tough one to swallow,” Allen began. “What I am going to say is I love this group of guys. It’s just a really emotional time for me. Just a tough one to swallow right here.”
“I definitely want to see this group back but who knows,” Allen continued. “It’s not that surprising. We fought hard to get here it’s just a real unfortunate Game 7 for us to lose.
“I definitely want to see Doc back. I don’t know. It’s tough right now.”
With those words, Allen became choked up and was excused by the group of reporters.
|Ray: ‘One of the hardest feelings of my lifetime’||at 2:40 am ET|
LOS ANGELES — Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen called the Game 7 loss to the Lakers Thursday night “one of the hardest feelings” of his life after the Lakers rallied for an 83-79 win over the Celtics at Staples Center, the first time in five tries the Lakers have beaten Boston in a Game 7.
Allen, in what could be his final game as a Celtic, finished with 13 points on 3-for-14 shooting.
“It’s disappointing,” Allen began. “This is probably one of the hardest feelings I’ve felt in my lifetime. We’re scratching and clawing, trying to do everything we could to pull this one out. That’s probably what hurt the most – just having the opportunity to win down the stretch. It didn’t go our way.”
And the mood in the locker room after what could be the final game together for these particular group of Celtics?
“Tears, just a lot of tears,” Allen said.
And would he return?
“It’s hard to think about playing,” he said. “You’ve got guys that are veteran players that come in and do their job every night. You know, we’re here for a reason. It’s tough to see it end this way.
“I’m extremely proud,” Allen continued. “We’re a group of guys that stay within ourselves and do what we’re capable of. We fought the good fight all the time. When people didn’t believe in us, we stayed true to ourselves and made sure we came in and did our jobs every day. We don’t win this final game, but we still have a lot to hold our heads high for.”
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