|Williams to play against C’s||11.11.09 at 7:11 pm ET|
Utah’s starting point guard Deron Williams [right calf] will play tonight against the Celtics.
“I’ll let out trainer let me know where he is in the game. That’s what we usually do when a player’s been out, make sure we don’t cause any problems and screw him up in any way,” Sloan explained.
Williams has played in all seven games for the Jazz this season, averaging 21.4 points and 10.7 assists. He suffered the calf strain in Utah’s win on Monday night in New York against the Knicks.
|Doc: ‘I understand and appreciate the day’||at 7:01 pm ET|
Every Veterans Day has special meaning to Glenn ‘Doc’ Rivers.
His late father, Grady Alexander Rivers, was in the Army and he carries that memory with him now.
“I think a lot of kids look at this day as a day off,” Rivers said before Wednesday’s game. “My dad was a veteran, so I do understand the day and I appreciate the day.”
So with that inspiration in mind, he’ll take the chance to remind his team before the game with the Jazz about why today is important.
“Today, and I do it all the time, but I’ll share some veterans’ stories,” Rivers said. “I’m going to ask the guys if they even know what day it is because a lot of people don’t. If it’s a certain day, like Martin Luther King Day, or any of these days I think it’s a good for us to bring it up. It’s not just a basketball game. I always think it’s important to bring it up.”
|Sheed: Don’t sleep on the Jazz||11.10.09 at 4:47 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Rasheed Wallace can read the standings just like everyone else.
He sees that the Utah Jazz are off to a 3-4 start out West. He also sees the likes of Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur on the box score. Throw in the sharp-shooting Andrei Kirilenko and he knows his 7-1 Celtics will have their hands full when they take the court on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
“They’re a good team,” Wallace said. “Everyone is sleeping on them coming out of the West. I think they have the talent to beat the Lakers, talent to beat the Spurs. Can’t sleep on them, in my opinion. You can’t sleep on them at all. They have a good point guard, good big men, good swing men and good coach. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us.”
Ever since the days of Stockton and Malone, the Jazz under Jerry Sloan have mastered the pick-and-roll as well as anyone in the sport.
“That’s Sloan’s calling card,” Wallace said after Tuesday’s practice preparing for just that. “Just look at Mailman [Karl Malone], just look at [Jeff] Hornacek, of course [John] Stockton. Just some of the guys they’ve had. That’s what they do to a ‘T’.
“That’s what they’re know for, their execution. Their power play, so to speak, where you dump it down from the corner. That’s something Sloan has re-written the book on, the pick and roll. And you definitely have to give them their credit.”
Sloan, who was just inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sept. 11, knows what he wants on the court at all times. And opposing players like Wallace know what to expect.
“Of course, he’s always going to have a big who can shoot, he’s always a point guard who can handle and drop it off to that big and still shoot, i.e. like Stockton did,” Wallace said. “It’s definitely not going to be a cakewalk. It’s definitely going to be a challenge.”
|All-Star love for Celtics||at 4:39 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The Celtics are regarded as one of the deepest teams in the NBA. That depth is well-represented as they placed six players on the NBA All-Star ballot that was released on Tuesday by the league.
The Celtics are the only team in the NBA with two centers on the ballot. The 2010 NBA All-Star Game will be played at brand new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington before an expected crowd of over 80,000 on Sunday, Feb. 14. That will be the largest group ever to see a live basketball game in the world.
The 120 players on the ballot – 60 from each conference – were chosen by a panel of six media members who cover the league on a regular basis.
Balloting will continue through Jan. 18.
|Doc on Kareem: we hope things work out||at 2:53 pm ET|
Following Tuesday’s practice, Rivers was informed that the Hall of Fame center has been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.
“Obviously, sad, Rivers said of his initial reaction. “Obviously, we hope things work out but that’s tough.”
The 62-year-old basketball legend, born Lew Alcindor, was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield in 1995, the first year of eligibility after his retirement in 1989.
Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA titles, including five as the post player for the Lakers during their dynasty of the 1980s.
|Scal not likely to play this week||at 2:29 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Brian Scalabrine watched Tuesday’s practice on the sideline, still slowed by back spasms that forced him to miss last Friday’s game against Phoenix.
Scalabrine returned on Saturday night against the Nets and scored five points in 20 minutes off the bench, including a 3-pointer.
|Celts get back to business||11.09.09 at 5:06 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The infamous stretch of eight games in 12 days is behind the Celtics, who now have a little bit of time to tighten the things that began to get away from them over the weekend.
“Defense and offense, we were slipping in both areas,” Doc Rivers said after a two-hour session Monday. “Defensively, our transition defense was starting to struggle. Our pick-and-roll defense was really slipping. That’s why you need practices. We still have new guys, down the stretch of games that’s when it really shows.”
A popular topic of conversation was the number of 3-pointers the Celtics have taken so far this season. Through eight games the C’s have taken 154 3-pointers, and Rivers suggested after the loss to Phoenix that he thought his team was searching for the 3-point line instead of attacking the middle of the Suns defense, where the Celtics had so much success.
Rivers, though, said several times that he didn’t mind the amount of 3’s his team was hoisting and he clarified the remarks he made at the end of the Phoenix game.
“I don’t mind the amount of 3’s we’re taking at all,” Rivers said. “What I don’t want is at the end of the game, is settling for them. I think we thought that we needed 3’s to get back in the game and we didn’t. We just needed to play. As far as the amount of 3’s we’re taking, I’m fine with that. They’re good shots for us.”
One player in particular has stood out for his willingness to shoot the long ball: Rasheed Wallace. Wallace has shot 75 times this season, and 50 of his attempts have been from beyond the arc, which even for him is a little much — particularly because he went 0-for-10 against Phoenix and New Jersey. Still, Rivers insisted that there was nothing wrong with Wallace’s role.
“I have no problem with it,” Rivers said. “We’re 7-1 and Rasheed is a big reason for that. Even when he misses, he’s taking a [center] and making them stand out by the 3-point line when Paul [Pierce] and Ray [Allen] are working down low, or Kevin [Garnett] or [Kendrick Perkins] or someone else. Obviously, we want to keep mixing it up and get him on the post and get Kevin on the post. His shooting is a big factor for us.”
A couple of things that are worth pointing out here:
1. The Celtics are averaging 19.3 3-point attempts per game, which ranks 12th in the NBA. In other words, the high volume of 3-point attempts is a league-wide trend.
2. The Celtics are making the 3’s at a rate of of just over 40 percent, which ranks fourth in the NBA.
3. They are holding teams to 32 percent shooting from 3-point range, which is tied for seventh.
So, the Celtics are making good use of the 3-point line, both offensively and defensively. There is ample evidence that suggests that teams that shoot more 3-pointers, and shoot them better, will win most of their games.
“I know this is a big deal all of a sudden here about 3-point attempts,” Rivers said. “I’m not upset at all. I like what we’re doing. We’re causing teams miserable problems because we’re spreading the floor.”
NOTES: Bill Walker practiced for the first time since undergoing knee surgery, while Brian Scalabrine sat out the sessions. Scalabrine was a DNP on Friday because of back spasms, but he suited up on Saturday while Marquis Daniels was away tending to a personal matter.
Walker still has a ways to go before he can get a chance at cracking the end of the rotation, but it does appear that his rehab is right on schedule, which is a good sign for the second-year forward, who has flashed interesting potential in his limited minutes.
“We didn’t hold him back at all,” Rivers said. “He was fine. I don’t know what his schedule was. I’m assuming it’s about on schedule because [trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] told me a week ago this is the day he’s going to practice.”
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