|The need for Sheed||07.05.09 at 10:57 pm ET|
Once the Celtics interest in Rasheed Wallace became known, and once the other free agent prizes began to find teams, it became more and more apparent that the Celtics had to get a deal done with Wallace. Not because Cleveland traded for Shaquille O’Neal or because Orlando added Vince Carter, but because Wallace is exactly what the Celtics need, and there is no one else remotely like him available.
The Celtics came into this offseason with three identifiable areas of need: A backup point guard who can run the team competently when Rajon Rondo goes to the bench, a versatile swing man–preferably one who can guard at least two positions, make a jump shot and give Paul Pierce some real rest–and a big man. Already in luxury tax territory and armed with the mid-level exception the Celtics had one big play to make and to that end they wisely stayed out of the limited point guard pool and the big-money small forward arms race. In zeroing in on Wallace, the Celtics identified their biggest need and spent accordingly.
Wallace’s agent, Bill Strickland, made noises during the courtship that a selling point for Wallace was assurances that the Celtics were not done making moves. They still have the bi-annual exception (projected to be around $2 million) and if they can land someone like Grant Hill, that would represent the best-case scenario. But there are still a few solid veterans looking for new homes, like Marquis Daniels, Quinton Ross and Anthony Parker, as well as in-house options like Brian Scalabrine, JR Giddens and Bill Walker. The Celtics have options, in other words.
But landing a quality big man was always the top priority and in Wallace the Celtics not only get an intelligent, versatile veteran who has been on a championship team, they also get something they did not have at all last season: protection in case Kevin Garnett or Kendrick Perkins gets hurt.
Wallace is much more than an insurance policy, however. His offensive game may have gotten a little too perimeter-heavy last season, but his style of play fits perfectly in the Celtics system which rarely utilizes a low-post option. Additionally his ability to guard power forward and centers, particularly centers, is a huge addition for the Celtics who haven’t really had that player during the Big 3 era (except for PJ Brown’s playoff run), and they have had to ask undersized power forwards like Leon Powe and Glen Davis to play out of position.
The Celtics still need a backup point guard and seem content to try to lure one with the veteran minimum like maybe Ty Lue (one of Kevin Garnett’s best friends) and that small forward, but they just solved their biggest offseason problem with the addition of Rasheed Wallace.
|Ainge: We’ve had discussions||06.23.09 at 10:20 am ET|
WALTHAM – Danny Ainge has heard all the same rumors that everyone else has about the future of Rajon Rondo.
Only he, as Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Celtics is actually in a position of authority to comment on it and take action.
Ainge will gladly do the first part but as for the second part, don’t expect Rondo to be headed out the door anytime soon.
“The notion that we might be trading him because of some reason other than we think we could be better, or trading any other player of some reason, his contract situation,” Ainge said Tuesday morning at Healthpoint in Waltham. “I’ve heard speculation that we’re dissatisfied with him or his attitude. That stuff is so false.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Bench blues||05.18.09 at 12:56 am ET|
It was the unit that carried them time after time in this playoff run.
But on Sunday night, the Celtics‘ bench looked like the regulars — drained and empty at the end.
“Yes, did we struggle off the bench? Yes,” Scalabrine said. “I don’t know if it’s like you count on us. It’s like, once again, I always keep saying, the guys who make plays for us, they make plays for us and it’s our job to just knock shots down.”
|Perk: We just didn’t show up||05.17.09 at 11:59 pm ET|
“They took the crowd out early,” Perkins said. “Their three-point shooting was phenomenal. We looked tired, sluggish. I know guys’ hearts were there but we just didn’t really show up on the court tonight. It’s very disappointing, just for the simple fact that you don’t get opportunities to play on teams this talented.
“Nobody expected us to win (anything) anyway,” he added. “We had belief in this locker room. It looked like fatigue set in at the end of the day but they came out with all the right effort.”
|Scal: We missed KG ‘a ton’||at 11:57 pm ET|
Following a 101-82 loss to the Orlando Magic in Game 7 Sunday night, Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine said the Celtics missed Kevin Garnett in the playoffs. “(We missed him) a ton and I noticed it this year in the postseason more than the regular season because he’s so intelligent defensively,” Scalabrine said. “He is a special basketball player and you see it now. We’re going home and he’s sitting over there in a suit and you’re thinking what could’ve been.”
|Game 7: Third quarter update||at 10:00 pm ET|
After three, the Magic lead, 66-61.
Every time the Celtics get close enough to really put pressure on Orlando, the Magic find a way to make a play or two. With the score 54-50, Ray Allen had a look at a 3-pointer, but it rimmed out. J.J. Redick and Hedo Turkoglu then hit 3-pointers to make it a 10-point game again.
But the Celtics are hanging in there and they have the Magic to thank. Rashard Lewis missed a pair of free throws at the end of the quarter and Rafer Alston fouled Rajon Rondo while he was shooting a fade-away jumper. Then after Courtney Lee missed a 10-footer, Rondo drained a long two at the buzzer.
This sets up the classic fourth quarter situation. If the Magic are going to take a step and advance they will have to hold a lead on the road in a close-out game. The Celtics have 12 minutes to come back from yet another deficit and continue the defense of their title.
|Game 7: First quarter update||at 8:39 pm ET|
With about four and a half minutes to go in the quarter and the magic leading by 13 points, Rafer Alston tried to throw an alley-oop to Dwight Howard. The play had no chance of being successful and Howard wound up coming down out of bounds. It was either an indication that the Magic are playing confident, or that they were about to start getting too fast and loose.
After the botched dunk, the Celtics started making plays and scored eight of the next 10 points to get the lead into single digits. Ray Allen hit a pull-up jumper, Glen Davis drove the lane and banked in a layup and Paul Pierce scored four points. Just as soon as they got back in the game, however, Mickael Pietrus nailed a 3-pointer to make it 27-17 after one quarter.
The Magic are shooting 53 percent and are 5-for-6 from 3-point range, while the Celtics are shooting just 39 percent and have already committed five turnovers.
Doc Rivers also made a subtle adjustment bringing in Eddie House for Rajon Rondo at the three-minute mark. The Magic aren’t even making an attempt to guard Rondo outside and after he bricked a pair of jumpers House came on to try to make the Magic pay for doubling Pierce.
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