|Ainge on The Big Show: ‘We need the Big Four to play well’||04.28.10 at 5:19 pm ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined The Big Show on Wednesday and talked about his team’s playoff hopes. The Celtics looked strong in a first-round win over the Heat after struggling for much of the regular season. “I think that the inconsistency is more a state of mind,” Ainge said. “Everyone said we’re going to turn the button on and off. I don’t think we did that except in the course of each game. It was like we came out to play all the big games of the year and many others. And then it would just be like we got disinterested in the fourth quarter, or late in the third. We were one of the worst third-quarter teams in the season, and now we’re one of the best third-quarter teams in the playoffs. To me, it’s all a frame of mind and your approach to the game.”
Ainge said that in order for the Celtics to beat LeBron James‘ Cavaliers, the C’s need Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo to be at the top of their games each time out. “Because we don’t have LeBron, we need a lot of guys to step up and carry us,” Ainge said. “We need the Big Four to play well. It comes down to that. We’re going to get inconsistent performances out of guys off the bench because that’s who they’ve been all year and kind of who’ve they have been in their careers. But we need consistent effort out of our Big Four.”
Asked about the future of his coach, Ainge said, “I’ve wondered about Doc because I know how much of a family man he is. I know how hard it is to coach in this business. I know the emotional toll it takes to be a coach in this league. I think this has been an extraordinarily difficult year for Doc, a challenging year,” Ainge said, adding. “I think Doc will be back next year. He hasn’t told me that, and it’s something that we really don’t talk about. I did talk with Doc earlier in the year about the possibility of doing a contract extension, and he didn’t want to do it [not] because he wasn’t sure he wanted to come back, he didn’t want to do it because he doesn’t want a distraction.” Added Ainge: “I think that Doc does like it here. I think he understands the unique opportunity he has coaching here. And I think that once the season gets over and once he has the chance to settle back, I think he will want to come back.”
Ainge was asked if the Celtics had any chance of being a player with one of the marquee free agents this summer and said it would be doubtful but not out of the question. “The only way it would be possible would be a sign and trade, and that’s very unlikely. The only way we would be able to do it is if a player said, ‘I want to play in Boston, and I’m only going to play in Boston under any circumstances.’ … That team would have to believe that [the player was willing to sign for a mid-level exception] and work out some sort of sign and trade to get that player more money.” Additionally, Ainge confirmed that the Celtics likely would have to entice the other team with a package of a player such as Ray Allen, with his huge contract, and a promising young player.
To hear the interview, click on The Big Show audio on demand page.
|Four Celtics among most popular NBA jerseys||at 11:01 am ET|
Four of the Celtics ranked among the top 15 most popular NBA jerseys this season, while the Celtics ranked second in team merchandise, the league announced Wednesday.
Kevin Garnett (third), Paul Pierce (eighth), Nate Robinson (11th), and Rajon Rondo (15th) made the list, which was topped by Kobe Bryant. The Lakers earned the top spot for most popular team merchandise.
The results are based on sales from the start of the 2009-10 season through April at the NBA Store in New York City and NBAStore.com. Both stores are experiencing record sales years and a combined increase of 20 percent over last year.
Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys
1. Kobe Bryant, Lakers
2. LeBron James, Cavaliers
3. Kevin Garnett, Celtics
4. Derrick Rose, Bulls
5. Dwight Howard, Magic
6. Dwyane Wade, Heat
7. Chris Paul, Hornets
8. Paul Pierce, Celtics
9. Kevin Durant, Thunder
10. Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets
11. Nate Robinson, Celtics
12. David Lee, Knicks
13. Brandon Roy, Blazers
14. Pau Gasol, Lakers
15. Rajon Rondo, Celtics
Top 10 Most Popular Team Merchandise
|Davis plans on attacking the Kingdom||at 12:31 am ET|
Glen Davis was speaking for the Celtics when he characterized the match-up with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers starting this Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland in the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
“It’s going to be tougher, we know that,” Davis said. “We’ve got to go there and grind it out. We go to them first. We just have to make sure we go there with the mentality of attack first. It’s just like in every kingdom, sometimes you’ve got to go to the fight, you’ve got to bring it to them, attack their fortress and bust down their wall with a wooden tree and go attack it. That’s how it is.”
Davis and the Celtics will have Wednesday off before returning to practice Thursday afternoon. Game 1 is Saturday while Game 2 will be Monday in Cleveland before the series shifts back to Boston for Games 3 and 4.
While Dwyane Wade had another big game with 31 points in Game 5 Tuesday night, it was Davis who helped keep the rest of the Miami starters in single digits.
‘Our defensive presence was just there,” Davis said. “Game 4 we kind of backed off of that a little bit and D-Wade had a big game, some of the other players on their team. One of the reasons we closed this out is because of defense and kind of [containing] people round D-Wade.”
Davis said the five-game series against Wade and the Heat might just be the perfect tune-up for James and the Cavs beginning Saturday on the shores of Lake Erie.
“It’s just great practice for us against Cleveland,” Davis said. “We had good practices. D-Wade is a great player. LeBron’s a great player and he has good players around him and he makes them better. We have to stop the ones around him.
‘We could do better,” Davis added. “We’re a better team, we’ve been together for a long time and we still make some of the same mistakes. We can always be better.’
Starting Saturday, Davis and the Celtics have little choice if they plan on advancing.
|Return trip not in plan for C’s||04.27.10 at 2:01 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The next time Paul Pierce visits South Florida, he wants to be on a beach having fun in the sun.
“There’s a lot of urgency,” Pierce said. “We don’t want to go to Miami. Hopefully the next time I go to Miami, I’ll be on vacation.”
While there was a lot of focus on the 46 points Wade put up in Game 4 on Sunday, on 16-of-24 shooting from the field, Pierce said it’s Wade’s supporting cast of Quentin Richardson and Michael Beasley that must be contained. And that starts with him.
“Other guys like [Carlos] Arroyo and Beasley can’t have big games for them,” Pierce said. “Wade is going to have the ball most of the time. You have to expect him [Wade] to have big numbers because of that. It’s the other guys definitely we have to shut down.”
While Arroyo was held to just six points in 21 minutes, Richardson and Beasley combined for 35 points while making a disturbing 13-of-27 shots from the field. That’s the stat that concerned coach Doc Rivers afterward and it’s what the Celtics must be aware of in Game 5 if they are to avoid the pain of getting on a plane Wednesday for South Florida.
Kevin Garnett had a slightly different take on what will be needed against the Heat. Garnett wants everyone to remember they can’t win the game by themselves.
“I thought, for the most part, everybody wanted to get this settled in Miami and we were trying to do it with one shot instead of one pass,” Garnett said. “We were one step late on a lot of rotations. They threw a zone at us and we were all out of whack with that.”
|Maybe Wyc can help the C’s slow D-Wade||04.26.10 at 5:08 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Celtics coach Doc Rivers admitted on Monday that his team is not trying to stop Dwyane Wade from scoring, but he wants to see more urgency on defense. Wade scored 46 points and made 16-of-24 shots from the field as the Heat beat the Celtics, 101-92, in Game 4 in Miami on Sunday.
“If it were that easy, he wouldn’t be Dwyane Wade,” Rivers said. “If I can find a guy who can keep him in front of him, we’re signing him. Hopefully, Wyc [Grousbeck] has more money to give and we’re going to go get him. It’s going to be a team effort and one guy’s not guarding that guy.”
Rivers put his team through a two-hour session — split between video and on-court practice — on Monday. The Celtics host Miami on Tuesday at TD Garden, with a win sending Boston into the Eastern Conference semifinals.
|Allen finishes third for Sportsmanship Award||at 4:53 pm ET|
Ray Allen finished third in voting for the 2009-10 NBA Sportsmanship Award. The league announced Grant Hill as the winner of the Joe Dumars Trophy on Monday. Allen was the Atlantic Division winner and received 48 first place votes overall (Hill received 96). The NBA will make a $5,000 donation to Allen’s Ray of Hope Foundation on his behalf. Allen previously won the award in 2003 as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics.
Top 2009-10 voting results:
|Rivers: “Rasheed alone is an individual hedge fund”||04.23.10 at 2:13 pm ET|
MIAMI — Rasheed Wallace was fined $35,000 by the NBA, yet again, after making comments critical of the officials, and specifically how they work games when superstars are involved. It’s a familiar gripe for Wallace who has been fined several times by the NBA for making similar statements.
“Rasheed alone is an individual hedge fund by himself,” Doc Rivers joked after shootaround.
But Wallace’s words cut deep for a league that is fighting to regain trust in the wake of the Tim Donaghy affair. Officials have come under great scrutiny already in the playoffs and several coaches, notably Phil Jackson and Stan Van Gundy, have not helped matters with their comments.
Both Jackson and Van Gundy were fined by the league for various statements about the officiating and David Stern made a point of saying Thursday night in Oklahoma City that it won’t be tolerated.
“I wish I had it to do all over again,’ Stern said to reporters before Game 3 of the Lakers-Thunder series. “Starting 20 years ago I’d be suspending Phil and Pat Riley for all the games they play in the media. You guys know our referees go out there and knock themselves out and do the best job they can.”
Make no mistake, this is a huge problem for the NBA and Stern basically dared coached to test him.
Stern also noted that within in the NBA community, it’s understood that when Jackson says that Kevin Durant gets to the free throw line too much, he’s doing it for effect, but the perception is that refs call the game differently for star players. Or in Van Gundy’s case, that his star player, Dwight Howard, doesn’t get the benefit of the calls.
“I think David is half right on that one,” Rivers said. “Sometimes we do know, but sometimes we really are defending our guys. Everyone is on the league’s side at the end of the day. Listen, I’ve been a league guy for 20-whatever years. I love this league and I want this league to do well. I don’t think any coach doesn’t want the league to do well. Having said that the coaches job is to do what he can to help the team win.”
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