|Doc on Shaq: ‘I was obviously wrong’||11.06.09 at 8:05 pm ET|
One of the great traits of Celtics coach Doc Rivers is his brutal honesty.
He, like many others around the NBA, thought the Phoenix Suns hit a home run two seasons ago when they traded for Shaquille O’Neal, putting him alongside Amar’e Stoudemire and Steve Nash. Rivers just assumed the Suns would take off, challenge the Lakers and Nuggets for Western Conference supremacy.
Not so much. After a half-season in 2007-08, when they were eliminated in the first round, the Suns fell to 46-36 last season, not even good enough to qualify for the Western playoffs.
“I was obviously wrong,” Rivers said. “I didn’t that was a bad match with Shaq and Stoudamire.”
But the Suns could never optimize O’Neal’s presence with Nash and Stoudamire and the Suns let O’Neal go to Cleveland this past off season. The more nimble, athletic 6-11 Channing Frye has taken O’Neal’s spot and is averaging 14.6 points in Phoenix’s 4-1 start to this season.
“I thought you had one post guy and Stoudamire is more off the post than on the post so I thought it was a good combination but it just didn’t work out for whatever reason,” Rivers added. “It’s good to see Channing Frye play well. I’ve always been pretty high on him as a player. I think he’s another great example, a litle like Shelden [Williams], guys who take a little time to find their way and I guess he’s found his way.”
|Fast break: Celtics-Sixers||11.03.09 at 9:26 pm ET|
The Celtics improved to 5-0 on the young season with a 105-74 win over the Sixers Tuesday night in Philadelphia. It was the Celtics first game against an Atlantic Division foe and while they struggled offensively at times they remained dominant defensively, holding Philly to 36 percent shooting and 1-for-16 from 3-point range.
The Celtics broke it open in the fourth quarter with 23-5 run, which gave Lester Hudson, JR Giddens and Brian Scalabrine ample time to work on their games. The trio scored 13 points. Philly’s leading scorer, Andre Iguodala scored 17. It was that kind of night.
Player of the game: Rasheed Wallace. Philly’s favorite son shot the Celtics into the lead with three first half 3-pointers and broke it open with three more in the second half. Wallace finished with 20 points and 6 rebounds in 24 minutes of action.
Turning point: It was late in the first quarter and the Celtics were having a miserable time of it offensively. They had scored points on just two of their first 15 possessions and weren’t running anything resembling an offense. That’s when Rajon Rondo popped a 20-foot jumper. The second unit came in soon after that and the hot shooting of Wallace, Eddie House and Marquis Daniels opened up a double-digit lead.
Rondo’s shot was a minor blip in that run, but further confirmation that he has more confidence in his jumper.
* According to the early box score, Marquis Daniels was an unadjusted +21 for the Celtics. What that means in layman’s terms is that the Celtics were 15 points better than Philly when Daniels was on the floor. Unadjusted +/- is not a very reliable indicator of performance over time, but it helps reveal Daniels’ contribution in a way that six points, three rebounds and four assists never will.
* In theory you don’t need a true point guard to run the Princeton offense that new Philly coach Eddie Jordan is employing. That’s good news for Philly because Lou Williams is a lot of things, but a true point isn’t one of them. What you do need are willing passers, good shooters and movement away from the ball. The Sixers had none of that.
* The Celtics opened the fourth quarter with a 69-54 lead. That’s a comfortable margin, but it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see the starters back on the floor at some point to finish it off. Instead, the bench pushed the lead to 33 points and the starters never had to take off their warmups again. Those kinds of unexpected gifts are invaluable over the course of the season.
* Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Kendrick Perkins were a combined 4-for-18. Everyone else was 37-for-54. Frightening.
|Making it official: Rondo re-ups with Celtics||11.02.09 at 8:48 pm ET|
WALTHAM, Mass. – While Rajon Rondo spoke earlier in the day about the long-term security his new deal would provide, the Celtics waited till every detail was in place before announcing Monday night that they have re-signed their All-Star point guard to a contract extension, thus avoiding restricted free agency next summer.
WEEI.com’s Jeff Goodman confirmed through NBA sources that the extension is worth $55 million over five years.
The following was the release from the team:
The Boston Celtics announced today that the club has signed point guard Rajon Rondo to a multi-year contract extension. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are extremely pleased to be able to extend Rajon’s contract,” said Celtics President of Basketball Operations, Danny Ainge. “We believe that he is one of the elite point guards in the NBA and has a tremendous future ahead of him.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Rondo: ‘I’m thankful for what I’m signing for’||at 2:22 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Rajon Rondo acknowledged for the first time following Monday’s practice that he has agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Celtics. The deal is worth a reported $55 million.
“I’m thankful for what I’m signing for,” Rondo said.
[To hear Rondo answer questions about his new deal, click here.]
[For audio of Doc Rivers' reaction and what it means to Celtics, click here.]
The deal between Rondo’s agent Bill Duffy and the team has yet to be finalized but Rondo acknowledged it’s a formality.
The team made Rondo available following Monday’s practice as the team will fly to Philadelphia for Tuesday’s game against the 76ers.
“Nothing changes,” Rondo added. “Still have one goal in mind. It’s great to have security but we’re still focused on winning a championship.
“No, it’s not, necessarily, happiness is. I couldn’t deal without my teammates,” Rondo said. “I’ve had great teammates for the past four years. When it’s all said and done, we’re still going to have relationships on the court, regardless of whatever certain guys make. The relationships you build with one another in the NBA, you can’t compare it to money.”
Rondo also added that he’s grateful that his young daughter will be taken care of. Read the rest of this entry »
|Rondo on Hornets: ‘It was intense’||11.01.09 at 10:31 pm ET|
Sunday’s postgame access to Rajon Rondo came with a condition to reporters: No questions about Chris Paul.
After Rondo and Paul traded verbal barbs and even a double-technical midway through the second quarter, the two star point guards of the Celtics and Hornets got into it even more at the end of the fourth, with both teams needing to be separated.
“It was very intense,” Rondo said. “I think it was our first close game. I think we handled it well. We didn’t play extremely well tonight but when they made their run, we got stops and then we scored offensively.”
Ray Allen played next to Rondo all night and he liked what he saw from the intense tete-a-tete between Rondo and CP 3.
“Yeah, they’re both feisty,” Allen said. “Both aggressive, in your face. They take the ball to the hole. Put you on your heels all game long. So I’m pretty sure it can get pretty chippy out there.”
And Allen didn’t mind seeing that, as long as the teams left the hard feelings on the court and controlled each other coming off, which was a bit of a challenge following Boston’s 97-87 win.
“Walk off the floor and say, ‘Way to compete tonight,’” Allen said. “For those 48 minutes, I cannot stand you. I wanted to fight you. I wanted to do everything I possibly could. And when you walk off the floor you say, ‘Way to battle.’”
To hear what Chris Paul had to say for himself, click here.
|Turn up the volume: Rondo speaks out||at 8:54 pm ET|
Everyone wanted to hear from Rajon Rondo before Sunday’s game.
The NBA had extended their deadline to Monday evening for signing players before they can become restricted free agents at the end of the season and Rondo falls into that category.
No deal was announced but Rondo told reporters he’s not worried about the business aspect of his career. Smart move since he was getting ready to face Chris Paul and the Hornets.
Here’s what he had to say before the game.
|Ray Allen is not about to stop now||10.31.09 at 1:41 am ET|
With 3:58 remaining in the fourth quarter of a blow out win against Chicago, and right after the ‘Gino Moment’ when the crowd celebrates another home court win, Ray Allen was recognized for passing John Stockton and moving into 33rd on the all-time NBA scoring list with 19,715 points.
Next up is Tom Chambers with 20,049 at No. 32.
Allen had 20 points on Friday, moving him one point ahead of the man, who on Sept. 11, Allen witnessed head into Springfield and the Hall of Fame.
“I had no idea,” Allen said. “It definitely is a great feeling. Stockton played 18 years. He’s a Hall of Famer. I watched his induction. I was there personally.”
Of course, Stockton didn’t get there so much for his 19,711 points but rather his astronomical assist totals, 15,806 to be exact. That’s an NBA record, as are his 3265 steals.
Allen is a different story. He will be heading to Springfield as a Hall of Famer some day as the most prolific and deadly 3-point shooter in league history. But in his mind that certainly didn’t lessen the significance on Friday of the milestone.
“To be able to be in that company, you think about all the years, all the shots I’ve taken, and not the ones in games but off the court, in practice, it all seems worth it,” Allen said. “It stands for something at the end of the day. People look up, and you’re somewhere among greatness so I’d like to keep pushing.”
Someone who can appreciate Allen’s sharp-shooting skills is teammate Eddie House.
“That’s a big moment,” House said. “Hats off to Ray, a future Hall of Famer. I’m happy for him. But he’s not done. He’s got a lot more points to get.”
Allen’s 20 points also helped the Celtics to another easy win and a 3-0 start to the season.
“Winning any game, the day-and-a-half of preparation we put into it coming down from another game, it’s a lot more I think than people can see from the surface,” Allen said. “For us to go out there and the way we played tonight, moving the ball offensively, defensively we were all in the same accord, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”