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Irish Coffee: Austin Rivers ‘would be great for’ Celtics, says Doc 01.19.12 at 12:51 pm ET
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At the tail end of Doc Rivers‘ weekly interview on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Morning Show (click here to listen in full), the Celtics coach opened up about the possibility of coaching his son Austin Rivers in the NBA.

“I would love the opportunity, I guess,” said Rivers. “It would be uncomfortable. I just think that would be a strange thing to do. Having that said that, I wouldn’t mind. He can score, and I think that would be great for us.”

The best prep guard in the country as a high school senior last winter, Austin Rivers averages a team-leading 13.8 points per game for No. 4 ranked Duke this season, shooting 43.6 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from beyond the arc. Once projected as a surefire lottery pick, his stock has slipped to No. 21 on ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford‘s Top 100 NBA prospects list. So, what must improve for him to have an impact at the next level?

“Just his whole game,” said the elder Rivers, who despite running practices for their teams once or twice has never coached his four kids. “I think he can score in this league right now. I don’t think he could have any problem with that. I think defensively — just the knowledge on the weak side of the ball — is where he would have to improve.”

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Read More: Austin Rivers, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers
Doc Rivers sees Kevin Garnett in the ‘half’ Kendrick Perkins 01.17.12 at 9:36 am ET
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brightcove.createExperiences();

When he was in Boston, Kendrick Perkins was known as the lumbering shot blocking man in the middle with a scowl.

When his former coach Doc Rivers looked out on the court Monday night, he saw a much different Perk.

“He’s half Perk but he’s quicker,” Rivers said of Perkins, who lost 30 pounds in the offseason. “He had a move today — even though he traveled — where he caught it, took two dribbles, went quick and gathered himself.”

This is the man that Celtics GM and team president Danny Ainge traded to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green at the trade deadline last February.

Perkins has matured — and that was clear for Rivers to see on Monday. Yes, he still got in foul trouble, limiting him to seven points and five rebounds in 28 minutes. But what was very clear — and audible — to Rivers from the Celtics sideline is what he’s done in terms of making the Thunder a tough team, a team battle-tested and ready to make a run at a title.

“You can see, he’s put work in his game,” Rivers said. “He has every year I’ve known him. His influence on that team is dramatic to me. You can see it, you can feel it. You can see it with the bigs, with [Serge Ibaka], they’re all defensive players now. Perk has completely changed the culture of that team, you can just see it on the floor. That’s terrific for him.”

Where did he get this from? Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Jeff Green
What can Mickael Pietrus really give the Celtics? 01.10.12 at 8:51 am ET
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brightcove.createExperiences();

WALTHAM — It’s a calculated gamble but one Celtics team President Danny Ainge knew he had to take.

When the Celtics got the news that Jeff Green would need season-ending surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm – surgery that was successfully performed on Monday at the Cleveland Clinic – Ainge was down a key man on his bench.

The Phoenix Suns provided the opportunity when they waived Mickael Pietrus on Dec. 22. Two days later, Ainge signed him to a one-year deal worth $1.3 million.

The veteran forward – who turns 30 on Feb. 7 – guaranteed that he’ll make his Boston debut this Wednesday when the Celtics host the defending champion Mavericks at TD Garden. Pietrus, who has averaged 8.1 points and 3.1 rebounds a game in his eight NBA seasons, missed the first two weeks with the team after rehabbing from arthroscopic right knee surgery.

What can he give the Celtics?

“Obviously, I haven’t played for eight months so I’m going to be Mickael Pietrus from the first game,” Pietrus said. “But, defensively, you can always help your team do the littlest of things to make them be a great team. So if I can get in the game Wednesday, even five minutes or 10 minutes, whatever, I’m willing to help my team.”

Pietrus is one of the most genuinely enthusiastic and likable players in the NBA. Combine that will his defensive skills, and he can bring a lot of intangibles to the Green.

“That’s why I was excited,” Pietrus said with a wide smile. “That’s why I wanted to be a Celtic because I think – on the floor – me and KG and all the guys can bring the toughness that Boston had when we played them. They were so tough. It was hard for us to get a shot so I’m trying to get the same mindset. Get in the game, play hard and make sure we work hard, and at the end of the day, make sure we get the ‘W’.

“It was a good two weeks. I got to see downtown Boston a little bit, read the newspaper so obviously, there’s no snow yet so good thing – summertime in Boston. I’ve been watching my teammates and watching a lot of film so on Wednesday, I’ll be ready… Wednesday is going to be a great day for me!”

Pietrus tested his knee in practice last Thursday then worked with the second unit on Sunday before going full bore on Monday, not coming out to rest at all.

“Today I went through my first practice,” said Pietrus. “It feels good to be a Celtic. I had fun so hopefully, I’ll be back on the court Wednesday.”

Asked how close he was to 100 percent after knee surgery, Pietrus pointed to the watch of a reporter.

“You have a watch? Probably 48 hours,” Pietrus said. “I think I’ll be able to help my team. I went through practice with no pain. I told you guys I’d be ready to go in two weeks and two weeks came. I’m very happy I could go through practice with my teammates and get stuff done.”

Pietrus, who battled against the Celtics in the playoffs in 2009 and 2010 with the Orlando Magic, said he’s happy to be wearing the green.

“It feels good,” he said. “Look around, there’s 17 banners so I’m in a great spot. I just want to work hard and be available for my team on Wednesday.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Clinic, Danny Ainge, Jeff Green
Irish Coffee: What’s up with Celtics’ Avery Bradley? 01.04.12 at 12:19 pm ET
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Before the Celtics season started, I made the case for a breakout Avery Bradley performance.

So far, I couldn’t be more wrong.

Of the 385 players who have appeared in an NBA game this season, Bradley ranks in the bottom 25 in both offensive rating (367th) and defensive rating (361st). In 42 minutes on the floor during the C’s first six games, he has five rebounds, two points (1-9 FG), one assist, one turnover, zero steals and zero blocks.

In terms of HoopData.com’s advanced statistics, it doesn’t get any better for the Celtics reserve. In addition to ranking dead last among the 146 NBA guards who have played at least five minutes a night in PER (-5.5) and efficiency rating (-0.2), he ranks second to last in scoring (0.3) and true shooting percentage (11.1%).

A few more of Bradley’s advanced stats among those 146 guards to drive the point home:

  • 143rd in estimated wins added (-0.3)
  • 144th in value added (-10.0)
  • 139th in win score (-0.83)
  • 138th in Usage Rate (11.22)
  • 130th in Assist Rate (9.09)

The only positive I could find: He’s held opponents to 3-of-16 shooting (18.8%). No wonder he may have dropped behind E’Twaun Moore on the depth chart. Yet, he and the C’s brass remains confident (via Boston Herald). Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Dwyane Wade
Ian Thomsen on M&M: Expect more Rajon Rondo trade rumors 12.22.11 at 2:04 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated NBA writer Ian Thomsen joined Mut & Merloni Thursday to talk about the Celtics, who open the season in New York on Christmas Day.

Thomsen said the early part of the NBA season likely will be tough to watch, following a shortened preseason.

“It will be a lot like April baseball when it’s freezing cold and no one really wants to be out there, including the fans,” Thomsen said. “And then, how many empty seats are we going to see? All the fans that didn’t renew their season tickets, not knowing what the NBA was going to be, if they were going to have a season, not knowing if they wanted to support the team even if they did come back.

“It’s going to be a lot of interesting things to watch for, and almost none of them are positive over the first month, I would say. By the end of the year, I would think the NBA’s hoping everybody forgets all about all of this. Right now, it’s just really interesting to see how it plays out.”

However, Thomsen said he can’t fault the owners for pushing to start the season on Christmas.

“I think this was the right thing to do,” he said. “People are complaining about it, for sure. ‘€¦ This was all part of trying to save as much of the season as they could. To me, the greater good was served by that.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

On the Celtics’ near acquisition of David West and why West chose instead to go the Pacers: “They thought they were going to get him. And it would have been a huge get. Now, would he have been lost a little bit here? What was his role going to be alongside Garnett? The talk was Kevin Garnett would shift over to center and then David West would be the power forward. But everyone knows that Kevin doesn’t like to play around the basket. And even now, when Doc [Rivers] says he wants Kevin to be more of a scorer, he’s not saying he has to go inside.

“Maybe from David West’s point of view, where was he going to play? Because this was Kevin Garnett’s team. David West isn’t going to come in and take over for Kevin Garnett this year. So, what were their roles going to be? They sort of play on the same areas on the floor. Maybe that was a big part of it. Whereas if he goes to Indiana, he can take a team that’s on the rise, make them better. They barely made the playoffs last year. They should be much better this year. They have a great coaching staff. It’s not the Celtics. It’s not nearly as close as that. But maybe he can establish himself again coming off knee surgery. After his two-year deal’s up, he can go get another big contract. But they thought they had him, for sure.”

On Rajon Rondo trade rumors: “At times there may be complaints from Danny Ainge that he’s not generating it. But I think he wouldn’t be doing his job if he wasn’t generating it. He should be generating it. He should be trying to figure out what can be done to make the team better. And really, the only thing he has going for him right now is cap space, the chance to play with Paul Pierce, who isn’t going to be traded, and then the ability to trade Rondo. What else does he have? What other assets does he have? So, I think we’re going to be hearing more of it. There’s just no way around it.”

On the C’s improved depth: “It’s really not a bad bench. It compares pretty well to the other second units they’ve had. And if Jeff Green was there, it would be even better. It’s not a bunch of old guys. Keyon Dooling, Chris Wilcox, Marquis [Daniels], Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, E’Twaun Moore, who looks like he’s going to be able to play a little bit — all these guys, they can come in and do some things to help them.

“What they don’t have is size. It’s the weakest group of big men they’ve had since they brought in Garnett and Ray Allen to go with Pierce. Jermaine O’Neal has a long history of not being able to stay healthy. And Chris Wilcox is an athletic big man but doesn’t have the low-post skills you’d like to have coming off the bench. That might be an issue. Brandon Bass is height deficient like Big Baby [Glen Davis] was. That’s really going to be a problem for them. Really, the bench is OK. The problem is the age of the players that are going to define the team.”

Read More: Danny Ainge, David West, Ian Thomsen, Kevin Garnett
Celtics owners Steve Pagliuca, Wyc Grousbeck on D&C: ‘We’re going for it’ 12.21.11 at 5:04 pm ET
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Celtics owners Steve Pagliuca and Wyc Grousbeck stopped by to chat with D&C guest hosts Dale Arnold and Bob Ryan Wednesday morning and discussed the upcoming season, Rajon Rondo‘s mindset, and why this could be the best Celtics team Danny Ainge has put together.

After the Celtics’ disappointing loss at the hands of LeBron James and the Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the owners expressed optimism about the C’s fortunes for the shortened 2011-12 season.

‘€œIt’s going to be a frenetic season, obviously packed in, a lot of games,” Pagliuca said. “The good news for us is that we have a veteran core, but we’ve got a lot of young legs on the team. Danny’€™s done another great job of building this squad. It’€™s a very deep team, and that deep team will pay service. Also, with a short training camp, we have four veterans coming back. They know the offense; we have veterans coming in. Doc [Rivers] will have them in very good shape to play.”

Added Pagliuca: ‘€œThe positive side early is that the team has a lot of depth. One through 15 we’€™re about as good as we’€™ve been. If you look at the players Danny’€™s added here, they can all play basketball. We’€™re going to get some offensive rebounding this year with [Chris] Wilcox and [Brandon] Bass on the boards, so we’€™re optimistic. It’€™s really early in the season, but so far they’€™ve looked really good.’€

Grousbeck said the decision was made to stick with the Big Three and build around them for another shot at the title, holding off any rebuilding plans.

“We do think about the future every day. We really, really do,” Grousbeck said. “But this does look like another year when this core has a chance. And if we supplement them to the max, everything we can possibly do under the new rules, it looks like to us, and more importantly to the basketball staff, that these guys have one more chance at least. So, you make that decision and you put the throttle fully that way. We’re not halfway. … It wasn’t a bad team last year. This year it looks like we can have a chance. Shortened season, almost anything can happen. So, we’re going for it.”

Added Grousbeck: ‘€œIt has been a shortened preseason. There hasn’€™t been a lot of chance to really settle in with this team yet, this roster, and see it, and get a sense of other rosters as well. Having said that, every time I see [Kevin] Garnett, [Paul] Pierce, [Ray] Allen, and Rondo walk out on the court and Rivers coaching them, I get goose bumps, actually. So, I’€™m hopeful, and we’€™ll see.’€

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Read More: Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Jeff Green, Rajon Rondo
Irish Coffee: Celtics sour grapes over David West 12.20.11 at 11:06 am ET
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Celtics president Danny Ainge lost out to former teammate Larry Bird in the David West sweepstakes, and that left a bitter taste in the mouths of Ray Allen and head coach Doc Rivers.

Ainge reportedly offered a sign-and-trade package of Jermaine O’Neal and a younger player to the Hornets for West, who would then be signed to a three-year, $29 million deal, according to ESPN.com’s Jackie MacMullan.

Instead, Bird signed the free agent to a two-year, $20 million contract, offering a higher annual value and a shorter window until West’s next free agency period, when he likely wouldn’t be coming off reconstructive knee surgery.

“Once it got down to the end, I think his ego kicked back in,” Allen told MacMullan. “He wanted the dollars. I guess it comes down to ‘What is a championship worth to you?’ Think of all the guys who have made $20 million and could be considered one of the best ever, but they get chided because they never won. We [the Big Three] all had to do less when we won. We’re still taking less to make it work. But it’s worth it. No one can ever say to KG [Kevin Garnett], Paul [Pierce] or me, ‘You guys never got your ring.’”

“I’m very disappointed,” Rivers told Jackie Mac, “but we’re moving on with the guys we have.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, David West, Doc Rivers
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