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Irish Coffee: Pat Riley longs for Doc Rivers 03.11.11 at 9:51 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Four months ago, when rumors started swirling that Pat Riley wants Doc Rivers to replace Erik Spoelstra as head coach of the Heat in 2011-12 (if there is a 2011-12 season), the current Celtics head  coach told WEEI: “As far as I’m concerned, I’m a Celtic and I plan on being that for a long time, as long as I’m coaching.”

Yet, Riley still pines for his former point guard when the two were Knicks, like Rick Blaine longed for Ilsa Lund in “Casablanca.”  Unfortunately for the Heat president, Rivers chose Celtics orchestrator Danny Ainge as his Victor Laszlo.

We’ll let Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski explain

Yes, Riles has long been intrigued with Doc Rivers, his old point guard with the New York Knicks. In his mind, Doc’s an extension of his own coaching tree. He must love to hear Rivers tell the story about how Riles told him that he would one day be a coach, about how Doc told him that he was crazy. The Celtics have a contract extension waiting for Rivers, sources say, but so far he’s wanted to wait until the season’s end to deal with it. For him, it would be difficult to make a direct leap from an aging Celtics roster to the Heat. Rivers is too entrenched, too woven into the franchise’s fabric now. What would happen to his relationships with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, with that city, those fans who adore him?

Nevertheless, he’s perfect for Miami. He’s a championship coach. He has a blueprint for making a Big Three work, for holding difficult stars accountable and together. Yet Rivers has a relationship with his GM that Riley has never had with a coach. He isn’t afraid to tell GM Danny Ainge that he’s completely wrong, that he’s going to do it his way and that that’s just way it has to be. Rivers and Ainge can argue, debate and sometimes even rage, but ultimately Ainge lets Rivers coach the Celtics. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Riley, or Rivers, could have the autonomy that they would need to co-exist. Go down the list of strong-minded, successful coaches, and ask yourself how many could come from the outside and fit into that insular Heat world.

Do you think every time the Celtics visit American Airlines Arena, Riley quotes the words written by Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein‘s grandfather and great uncle: “Of all the arenas, in all the towns, in all the world, he walks into mine”?

Celtics fans can revel in the fact that the Heat essentially want to be the Celtics, from the president right on down to the players. And to throw another log on the fire, read Jessica Camerato’s discussion with former Heat starter and current C’s backup point guard Carlos Arroyo — conducted in Spanish and translated by Miami blog Hot Hot Hoops – during which Arroyo explains the difference between the two teams:

“I think it starts with the players. Not every player has incredible team chemistry. [Boston] already has a lot of time together, and they know each other very well on the court. I think that’s what Miami is missing. Boston always has a very complete team and I hope it happens this year.”

For everybody’s sake, let’s jut hope Riley doesn’t start crying in the front office.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
Shaquille O’Neal feeling 84.22711556644222 percent 03.10.11 at 3:48 pm ET
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Shaquille O'Neal turned 39, but don't remind him. (AP)

Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal joined WEEI’s Mut & Merloni show this morning. He touched on everything from his health to eating pizza with the elderly — and everything in between.

You can hear the entire interview on WEEI.com right here. And here is the transcription:

How’s O’Neal’s Achilles (he hasn’t played since Feb. 1)?

“It’s getting better. I can remember a time when I was 19, I’d get hit by a car and five minutes later I’d be Ok. The older you get, it takes time to heal. I’ve been getting better, a little stronger, but there’s still a little pain. I’ve been instructed by Doc [Rivers] and the Big Three to come back when there’s no pain. It’s their call. Doc and I are from the same era. If it’s not getting better, shoot it up and let’s go out and play. But we’re looking at the 1825 thing (see below) here, so we want to do things right. The team’s playing well. [Nenad] Krstic is doing a fabulous job. They want me 1,000 percent, especially for the postseason, because that’s when it really counts.”

How did O’Neal feel about the Kendrick Perkins trade?

“I was training, and I heard about the trade. It was kind of a sad ordeal. I got to know a lot about him and got to see his work ethic. I didn’t realize he was from Texas. I’m from Texas. We hung out on the road and got to talk strategies, talk shop and then business kicks in. He’s a very physical player — long arms, plays hard, not afraid of anybody, takes the elbow, gives them out, hard-nosed guy. We’re going to miss him. Boston’s going to miss him. He’s done a lot for the Boston community. He helped them get No. 17, and it’s been an honor to play with him.”

How difficult will it be to integrate the newest Celtics?

“It’s difficult, but it’s not difficult. You brought in five consistent role players — guys who are used to being role players. Everybody’s gonna be playing off the Big Three. We know that. We just have to create a rhythm and keep it going. We’re looking very good right now. We’re going to be full strength very soon, and then we know what’s at hand. A lot of people play for championships, but for us — for the city of Boston — it’s something different. Something I call 1825: 18 for the beautiful people of Boston, two for Ray [Allen] and Doc and Kevin [Garnett] and those guys, and five for me. It was also the year John Quincy Adams was inaugurated, and he was a Boston guy. So, for us, it’s bigger than winning.”

What has it been like for O’Neal to work with Jackie MacMullan on a book?

“She knew things that I’d forgotten about. We were sitting at the house talking — we meet twice a week for three hours. She asks me questions, and I ‘ve got to dig in my old Shaqodex. I’m like, ‘That’s 13 years ago.’ It should be a very exciting book — no holds barred. ‘Tell-all’ wouldn’t be the correct term. ‘Truthful’ would be the better term.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins, nenad krstic
Nenad Krstic: I’m lost a little because ‘Oklahoma is still in my head’ at 12:43 pm ET
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Nenad Krstic had a season-high 20 points in 38 minutes but he admitted afterward he wasn’t satisfied with his defense in a 108-103 loss to the Clippers at TD Garden.

Krstic and the Celtics had tremendous difficulty early on stopping DeAndre Jordan and the rest of the Clippers front court, which scored early and often en route to shooting 68 percent in the first half and building a 60-42 halftime lead.

Krstic came to Boston on deadline day, Feb. 24 with Jeff Green in exchange for the defensive-minded Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson. Krstic is still trying to get accustomed to thinking the Celtics’ way – which begins and ends with defense.

“I just need to get better, need to be more focused,” Krstic said. “Sometimes, I’m a lost a little bit because of a different style of playing. Oklahoma is still in my head. I’m just really trying to get adjusted. It just takes time, especially when you play games. It’s different in practice but in games you just have to react.

“It’s going to come. I just need to get used to more of the guys. Sometimes, I’m trying to do too much, over help and have a couple of stupid fouls, too. I know I scored 20 points but I need to focus on my defense and help the team.”

Doc Rivers still has confidence in his new starting center.

“Krstic overall is playing pretty well,” Rivers said. “He’s got to hold his ground a little bit. The problem we had going into the game, and I’m kind of kicking myself, is I told our bigs — the two bigs that we have right now due to all the injuries — you can’t get in foul trouble. “So if it comes down to you getting out of the way, you almost had to. Because we couldn’t afford Kevin [Garnett] or Nenad in foul trouble.

“And it actually happened anyway.”

Krstic said he’s confident the defensive part of his game will come but it will take time.

“Just not having been on the court at the same time together is the problem,” Krstic said of the chemistry with his new teammates. “Sometimes, especially in the first half, our second unit is almost all new guys, and we’re not used to each other. I think that was a problem tonight, we just haven’t spent too much time together playing. It’s going to take some time, but obviously with this team, we pick it up really quickly.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jeff Green, Kendrick Perkins
Irish Coffee: The Shaqtionary 03.08.11 at 11:04 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

The oldest player in the NBA, Shaquille O’Neal celebrated his 39th birthday where most almost over-the-hill men celebrate their birthdays — at Boston Children’s Museum.

The Celtics center who hasn’t played since Feb. 1 — and has already missed 25 games this season — told reporters he was 85 percent and would not return until he’s fully healthy, which could be as soon as next week. Here are the quotes from his birthday celebration, courtesy of The Globe:

  • “Hopefully, in the next week [I’ll be back]. They want me back at 100 percent. I tried to run on it the other day, and it felt pretty good, but I took a step back and I’m going to get back out there in a few days. I don’t really feel like I’m 39.’’
  • “If I can walk, I can play, and I asked many times to shoot it up, and you know, they refuse. And the Big Three said they want me at 100 percent healthy, so I’m getting there.’’
  • “I have a little Achilles soreness. It gets better, it comes back, it gets better, it comes back. It’s better. Dr. [Brian] McKeon is doing a great job. I’ve been working out twice a day, getting treatment. It’ll be right.’’
  • “[Kendrick] Perkins has meant a lot to this city, and he really helped them get No. 17 and we’re going to miss him. He was my main man. Everybody loves Perk. I love him. We became real good friends, and I congratulated him on his new deal. But this is a business. He’s going to be missed. We had a great time this year being on the same team.’’

So, there you have it. Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, trainer Ed Lacerte, Dr. Brian McKeon and the Big Three all want Shaq to wait until he’s 100 percent before he returns to the court. He could play right now, but he’s won’t. The Celtics don’t need him now; they need him in the playoffs, so why rush him back? It’s a smart move by the Celtics, so can we just take it easy on the Shaq Watch?

Let's hope Shaquille O'Neal didn't eat his entire birthday cake. That would be Shaqnasty.

Which brings me to a much more important topic. In honor of Shaq’s 39th birthday – which he called ShaqDay, which makes almost no sense — we scoured UrbanDictionary.com for the ultimate Shaqtionary, described as “the book that will be used to document all of the words that Shaquille O’Neal manages to create during his scrabble games.”

Of course, we eliminated the dirtiest definitions — like Shaq Off and Shaq’s Arm (use your imagination) – and came up with the following list …

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
Doc Rivers to his new reserves: We don’t take practice off so you better be ready 03.05.11 at 8:40 pm ET
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WALTHAM — You could sense the urgency in his voice.

Doc Rivers is a coach who exudes confidence and a positive attitude. But he also calls it the way he sees it and can push the emotional buttons of his players when need be.

After practice Saturday, he sent a very clear message to his second unit.

“They’ve got to get out of their [old] habits, wherever they’ve been,” Rivers said, referring clearly to Jeff Green, Sasha Pavlovic, Troy Murphy and Nenad Krstic. “We don’t [practice] long but we play with intensity, play hard. You just see some of their habits and some of their habits have to change. It will. It’s just going to take time.”

Rivers made it clear before practice began with several hundred fans listening in that their “help” defense was very sub-par Friday night in a 107-103 win over the Warriors.

“Learning to cover for each other is number one,” Rivers said. “But you can’t do that unless you have unbelievable focus and intensity and that’s what we’re trying to show them. I thought they were trying to do the right stuff on their help [defense] but they were always late because they’re not ready.”

Then Rivers got really serious.

“A lot of pros practice and they think practice is leisure and we don’t believe that here. It’s quick here but it’s hard. When you have your starters, who are playing 35 minutes [a game] going hard and you have your second unit going in cruise control, that’s not going to settle well with me.”

Message delivered.

During the open practice Saturday afternoon at their practice facility, which gave a peek to fans and special guests into some of their basic defensive principles, defensive coach Lawrence Frank called out positions and assignments and helped Rivers get the new players accustomed to the Celtics’ way of defending. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Carlos Arroyo, Delonte West, Doc Rivers, Jeff Green
Glen Davis will miss only week but he’s still ticked he won’t play in all 82 03.03.11 at 3:54 pm ET
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WALTHAM — The Celtics received good news on Thursday when an MRI revealed that Glen Davis has only left knee patellar tendinitis and no major structural damage. The power forward, who has started at center many times this season in place of Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal, said he will need only a week to rest the injury before returning to action.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers confirmed that assessment after practice on Thursday.

“Nothing serious but he may be out for three, four or five days,” Rivers said. “But it’s nothing serious. He’ll miss Friday [vs. Golden State]. I think he’ll miss a couple of games. But overall, that’s pretty good.”

Davis, who injured the knee going up for a dunk with 49 seconds left in Wednesday’s game against the Suns, said he’s been playing with the soreness all season and initially aggravated the knee in Game 7 of the NBA finals last year in Los Angeles.

“I’ve been playing with it all year, since Game 7 of last year,” Davis said. “It’s a sigh of relief but you don’t want to be hurt anyway. You don’t want to sit out. You can’t take that approach. It could be worse. I’m just glad I’m here [watching practice], getting healthy and getting ready to play.”

Davis entered last night tied for the team lead with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in games played this season, having played in all 59 contests. His hopes of making it a perfect 82 were dashed Thursday when he was told rest was needed to make sure he will be ready for the playoffs, beginning in April.

“It kind of [stinks],” Davis said. “I kind of wanted to play the whole season. I tried the best I can. I just have to get healthy now and get ready for the playoffs.”

Speaking of Allen, ironically, he came to practice Thursday and told Rivers and trainer Ed Lacerte that he had ‘soreness’ in his legs and was given the day off. He is expected to be ready for Friday against the Warriors.

Rivers said Shaquille O’Neal ran ‘skeleton’ sets with the team on Thursday during practice but has not been cleared yet to take part in full contact practice. Delonte West (sprained right ankle) is still not ready to practice but was shooting around. Rivers said West will “definitely” miss the next two games this weekend against the Warriors Friday and at Milwaukee Sunday night.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Glen Davis, NBA
Doc Rivers hopes Jeff Green can be the new James Posey 02.25.11 at 7:14 pm ET
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Doc Rivers is hoping that Jeff Green can impact the Celtics offense (AP)

Doc Rivers told reporters in Denver that he envisioned newly acquired guard/forward Jeff Green as being a player with the skill set to replicate the contributions made by James Posey in the team’s 2007-08 NBA title run. The Celtics coach suggested that the 24-year-old, whom Boston netted along with Nenad Krstic in exchange for center Kendrick Perkins and guard Nate Robinson, offered the ability to spread the floor with offensive weapons.

“We’ve been trying to get that lineup since Posey left. And I think people forget how many times we did that in the playoffs, which was every fourth quarter for the most part,” Rivers told reporters. “We haven’t been able to duplicate that.”

As for the decision to part with Perkins, who was also a part of that 2007-08 championship team, Rivers said that the performance of Shaquille O’Neal would be critical to the way in which the deal is assessed. O’Neal has not played since Feb. 1, but Rivers said that the 38-year-old is expected to return in good health.

“We need to get Shaq healthy. Shaq will be healthy. But if Shaq plays great, then this deal was obviously really, really good for us,” Rivers said. “And that’s on Shaq. Getting Shaq in great shape, getting him ready, getting him healthy is really going to be important for us in the playoffs.”

Meanwhile, though much of the attention on the locker room dynamics of the deal has fallen on the departure of Perkins from Boston, Green’s exit from Oklahoma City was being treated with comparable gravitas. About 12 minutes into his discussion of the deal with reporters at a press conference, Thunder GM Jeff Presti choked up when he discussed Green’s departure. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Doc Rivers, James Posey, Jeff Green, jeff presti
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