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Kevin Garnett: ‘I would never be insensitive’ 11.03.10 at 4:48 pm ET
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Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett just released the following statement in reaction to Charlie Villanueva‘s accusations on Twitter following Tuesday night’s Celtics-Pistons game:

I am aware there was a major miscommunication regarding something I said on the court last night. My comment to Charlie Villanueva was in fact ‘You are cancerous to your team and our league.’ I would never be insensitive to the brave struggle that cancer patients endure. I have lost loved ones to this deadly disease and have a family member currently undergoing treatment. I would never say anything that distasteful. The game of life is far bigger than the game of basketball.

Garnett’s version of the story is far more tame than Villanueva’s claim on Twitter that KG called him “a cancer patient.”

Side note: If KG’s take is accurate, I’ve got to say … that’s some pretty good trash talk. And shame on Villanueva for not only taking to Twitter — but misconstruing Garnett’s message. It’ll be interesting to hear Villanueva’s reaction to KG’s reaction.

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Irish Coffee: Did Kevin Garnett go too far? at 11:04 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

First, the evidence, which is circumstantial so far, considering it comes from Charlie Villanueva‘s Twitter account. Still, here are the pointed comments the Detroit Pistons wingman made about Kevin Garnett between 2 and 3 a.m. this morning …

  • “KG talks alot of crap, he’s prob never been in a fight, I would love to get in a ring with him, I will expose him”
  • KG called me a cancer patient, I’m pissed because, u know how many people died from cancer, and he’s tossing it like it’s a joke.”
  • “I wouldn’t even trip about that, but a cancer patient, I know way 2 many people who passed away from it, and I have a special place 4 those.”

Villanueva suffers from alopecia universalis, a skin disease that results in hair loss on the scalp. He won the 2006 Community Assist Award for his work as a spokesman for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.

If Villanueva’s accusations are proven to be true, man, he’s sure gone too far this time.

In his time with the Celtics, he’s had some notable taunting episodes with Jose Calderon and Jerryd Bayless — among countless others. He’s been suspended for striking Andrew Bogut and Quentin Richardson.

But this would be the worst of them all.

Talk about a low blow. There may not be a person alive who hasn’t been touched by cancer, and that includes Garnett. I’m not saying he was badmouthing cancer. He’s done his share of charity work — including when he made a dream come true for one 17-year-old kid who was suffering from the disease. Still, it would be a bad choice of words. A terrible choice of words.

Sure, this stuff might be said on a nightly basis in the NBA, but does that make it right?

Whether he likes or not, by wearing Celtics green, Garnett represents the city of Boston — the same city where the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute was founded.

If KG indeed made a comment about Villanueva being a cancer patient, an apology — at the very least — is in order. A charitable donation to Dana-Farber wouldn’t hurt, either.

Boston Celtics' Rajon Rondo (9) goes to the basket past Detroit Pistons' Austin Daye (5) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, in Auburn Hills, Mich. The Celtics defeated the Pistons 109-86.

Rajon Rondo became the fastest NBA player to reach 67 assists after his 17 last night. (AP)

GUARDING RAJON RONDO

On the heels of Rajon Rondo‘s historic four-game start in this NBA season (no other player has amassed 67 assists in their first four games), many experts are wondering just how the heck you’re supposed to guard the Celtics point guard.

HoopSpeak’s Beckley Mason suggested setting up a trap against Rondo, denying him the ball to force the offense through his teammates, dare him to score 40 points, or, at the very least, guard him close …

In his phenomenal 24 assist game, Rondo only had one assist on a pure dribble drive. Three were on cuts or catch-and-slashes, five were on fast breaks, five came from just handling the ball and finding an open shooter coming off a screen and 11 were out of the pick and pop or roll. So how smart of a strategy is applying no pressure to Rondo when he’s more than happy to hook up his skilled teammates?

After discussing the issue with NBA Analyst David Thorpe, TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott agreed wholeheartedly — guard Rondo, closely, or allow him to do “whatever he wants.” Here’s how Thorpe told Abbott he would guard the C’s record-setter …

 

I’d get in his face. You can go with size, or you can go with speed. But either way I’d try to hunt like lions do. One lioness goes out there and chases the prey right into the trap, where the other lions are waiting. I wouldn’t need my one defender to keep him on the perimeter – that’s impossible – but you can at least push him to places on the floor where things might be tougher for him.

For instance, almost every team knows almost every other team’s play calls. So you know which direction he wants to go as he crosses midcourt. I’d look at the data and see, of the different way he approaches the hoop, which areas of the floor, or approaches to the rim, give him the most trouble. Then I’d steer him there, with my best help defenders and shot-blockers ready to meet him.

Then I’d mix it up. Keep him from getting comfortable. Out of timeouts, you might try someone else on him. If he brings the ball up the left side of the floor, maybe have the defense ready to force him to a different spot. Keep him from getting comfortable. It might not work, but sagging off him all night, that’s clearly not working. At least you give yourself a shot. Maybe you can force a few more turnovers, and inspire a few more tough shots. That can turn a game.

There are a few problems with these theories: 1) You actually have to have someone on your team quick enough to guard Rondo up close; 2) If you’re throwing multiple defenders at him, that leaves guys open (and Rondo will find them); 3) You can deny Rondo the ball all you want, but the Celtics are going to find a way to get it into his hands; and 4) How do you dare him to score 40 points, other than to sag off of him defensively?

In other Rondo news, last night he became just the 16th player since 1986 to record at least 17 assists without a turnover. Celtics coach Doc Rivers actually did it in 2002 with the Hawks. John Stockton actually achieved that feat three separate times against the C’s.

RICK CRAZY LIKE A FOX

After getting booted from “Dancing with the Stars” last night, former Celtic and Laker Rick Fox said dancing on the show was harder than Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Of course, he never played a Game 7 in the NBA Finals, but still …

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)

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One year later: The tweet that impacted the NBA 03.15.10 at 11:22 pm ET
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One year ago Monday, then-Milwaukee forward Charlie Villanueva entered the locker room during halftime of the Bucks-Celtics game. He logged into Twitter and posted the following tweet:

@CV31: In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We’re playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up.

Those hundred-something characters opened the virtual book on social networking in the NBA. His midgame tweet was frowned upon, and it created a ripple effect: Before the start of this season, a league-wide policy was enacted. Among its guidelines included the restriction of cell phones and other communication devices 45 minutes before the game and prohibited it during halftime.

A year later, Villanueva, now a member of the Pistons, is still surprised by the impact.

“It’s funny, because Twitter wasn’t really that big of a deal, like nobody really knew too much about it,“ he told WEEI.com following Monday’s Pistons-Celtics game. “I didn’t know it was going to get that much attention. I just did it, fun for the fans and whatnot, and the next day it just blew up. The media just took it and ran with it.

“Obviously I didn’t mean for it to get that much attention, but hey, it put my name out there even more,” he added with a laugh.

As of Monday night, Villanueva had 73,685 followers. It is a huge jump from his following a year ago. In an instant, he went from a Twitter novice to one of the early faces of social media in the NBA.

“It was crazy because I had just started, too,” he said. “I probably had like 2,000 followers at first. It was probably a couple of months old, two or three months old, my account. After that, it rose to like 13,000 in two or three days. It was ridiculous. Ever since, it’s just been picking up.”

Villanueva has turned a potential negative into a positive by taking advantage of the benefits of social networking. He has raised awareness for charitable organizations, held contests for his followers to win game tickets, and spread well wishes to friends and fans alike.

“There are a lot of opportunities,” he explained. “You get to meet a lot of people. It’s very important for networking, just opportunities come abound, appearances, they can just work directly with you instead of going through a third party.”

Twitter has become the norm for many NBA players. On the Celtics, Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) has over 1.5 million followers, Ray Allen (@greenRAYn20) has nearly 25,000, and Shelden Williams (@SheldenWilliams) is a frequent tweeter with over 10,000 followers.

Now a seasoned vet, Villanueva has some advice for his fellow NBA athletes who are starting out in the world of social networking.

“What the fans want to see is you being straight up and interacting with them as well,“ he suggested. “Showing pictures as well, they want to see what’s going on, what an NBA player does on a day-to-day basis.”

Tweeting has become something Villanueva does on a day-to-day basis. Except during halftime, of course.

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Celtics-Bucks Game Blog Fourth Quarter 11.07.08 at 7:34 pm ET
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Once down 19-8 in the first quarter, the Celtics have fought their way back to pull away from the Bucks. Here is how they’re getting it done to close it out … Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Andrew Bogut, Boston Celtics, Charlie Villanueva, Milwaukee Bucks Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
Take a mental picture of the Bucks at 7:15 pm ET
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Take a good look at the Milwaukee Bucks because there are very few chances to see them during the regular season. The team doesn’t come back to Boston again (the Celtics go to Milwaukee twice) and, as Andrew Bogut pointed out, they don’t get much national coverage either. The Bucks are ok with that, though.

“Going under the radar a little bit is something we’re obviously used to,” Bogut said. “We never really get attention, even when we had winning seasons back in the early 2000s. Milwaukee isn’t a big city and we don’t get that much attention nationally. I think we only have one ESPN game this year. But regardless of that I think it’s better for us.”

Charlie Villanueva, who played college ball in the spotlight at UConn, doesn’t thrive on the attention either.

“That’s the way we want it. We want to be under the radar,” he said. “Not a lot of people are talking about the Bucks or us acquiring (Richard) Jefferson and Luke Ridnour. But that’s the way we want it. We want to be under the radar and at the end of the season we’ll see where we stand and I think we’ll be in a good position.”

Considering the way the Bucks are keeping it close with the Celtics tonight, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see them back in Boston for the early rounds of the playoffs.

Read More: Andrew Bogut, Boston Celtics, Charlie Villanueva, Milwaukee Bucks Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
Celtics-Bucks Game Blog Second Quarter at 6:20 pm ET
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The Milwaukee Bucks jumped out to a surprising first quarter lead and the Celtics are battling back to claim this game which they are favored to win.

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Keep an eye on: Ramon Sessions at 5:24 pm ET
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Pregame: Celtics vs. Bucks

His name is Ramon Sessions (pronounced Rah-mawn) and chances are you’ve never heard of him.

His jersey number is close to his assists per game

His jersey number is close to his assists per game

Sessions is one of the those good players hidden by a losing record. Up until this summer, you didn’t get much press in Milwaukee unless your name was Michael Redd and even then the coverage was limited. But Sessions began to come into his own last season and has carried that progress over into his sophomore year. Now his ball handling is earning him shout-outs on the BottomLine and recognition as a sleeper in fantasy keeper leagues.

He may have a ways to go before he earns full-time starter status (he’s headed back to the bench now that Luke Ridnour is healthy), but in the meantime Sessions is a promosing PG worth keeping an eye on.

  • Averaged 8.3 assists in 38 minutes in first three games of the season
  • Last season became first rookie in over 15 years to have a 20 point, 20 assist night
  • Has been mentored by Charlie Villanueva and earned early praises from new head coach Scott Skiles

The Bucks will play the Celtics twice in two weeks when the Cs travel to Milwaukee on November 15. Stay tuned for more on Sessions and his teammates then.

Read More: Charlie Villanueva, Milwaukee Bucks, Ramon Sessions, Scott Skiles Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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