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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:

  • ‘€œHopefully, 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.’€™’€™
  • ‘€œIf 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.’€™’€™
  • ‘€œI 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.’€™’€™
  • ‘€œ[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?

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.

‘€œI’€™ve been playing with it all year, since Game 7 of last year,’€ Davis said. ‘€œIt’€™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 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
Doc Rivers on D&C: Paul Pierce’s injury not enough to prevent All-Star appearance 02.15.11 at 11:41 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning for his weekly appearance, two days earlier than usual because of Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game.

Rivers said the Celtics are searching outside the organization for help as injuries have left the team shorthanded.

“We’re looking. I can tell you that,” he said. “We’re not going to do anything, obviously, that just takes away from our team. But we’re looking pretty hard. Obviously, there’s not a lot out there right now. But as the deadline gets closer, we’re hoping some things open up.”

As for the team’s biggest need, he said: “Depending on what happens with Marquis [Daniels], I would say that’s our biggest need right now, the backup 3.”

Following are highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Based on the fact that your main concern for your basketball team going into the second half is your health and your freshness and those things that you need for them to play with energy when it comes to the playoffs ‘€¦ wouldn’€™t it be better for Paul Pierce to stay home on All-Star weekend, catch his breath and regroup for the second half of the season?

It depends on how serious it is. I don’€™t think it’€™s as serious as it’€™s made out to be. He was concerned more just because it was hurting, but it’€™s not even as close to as bad as we thought it could be. I think we’€™re overreacting a little bit on this one.

You’re going to keep an eye on their minutes, right?

I’m going to keep an eye on all of their minutes. I think [Rajon] Rondo will probably play the most, him or Ray [Allen], because Ray loves playing. He is perfect in those games, obviously. Other than that, I’m going to play LeBron [James] and Dwyane [Wade] probably 47-48 minutes, in that area.

How will they get along? Clearly Rondo got under their skin Sunday, you guys as a team got under their skin and maybe in their heads a little bit.  Is that all forgotten Sunday in LA?

It usually is. I don’€™t know if they got under their skin or not, but they pestered them, especially Rondo, but that’€™s just in that single game. Athletes have a great way of kind of getting over it and moving on.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Paul Pierce
Rajon Rondo gets inside the heads of the Heat 02.13.11 at 7:24 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo may be a guard but he certainly is getting accustomed to being in the center of the action.

The Celtics trailed, 43-39, at halftime and looked tired, even to coach Doc Rivers. Rondo knew something had to change and fast if the C’s were to avoid a third straight loss.

“D-West talked to me coming out of halftime and couple of guys told me to try and up the tempo and the only way I could do that was by pressuring the ball,” Rondo said.

Even if it meant picking up LeBron James at midcourt. And he did. And the Celtics responded with a 20-3 run that gave them the lead they never relinquished.

“I was just trying to cut the head of the horse, just wanted to change the tempo of the game,” Rondo added.

Rondo had a triple-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and Kevin Garnett added 19 points as the Celtics won for the third time in as many tries against King LeBron and the Heat, 85-82, Sunday afternoon at TD Garden.

So Doc, whose brilliant idea was it?

“It was Rondo’€™s idea,” Rivers said. “Really what it was, was that we just ‘€“ I told him to pressure the ball, and he took that whoever brought it up. I didn’€™t mean that. He took it that way and then I stayed with it. He actually during a time-out thought we were going to switch back, and when I didn’€™t say anything he was surprised. Because I liked it.

“Sometimes you go off the book and today was clearly that. That match-up made no sense, honestly. And it hurt us a couple times. The only thing I saw honestly is that it gave us life. Because he was trying so hard and working so hard, I just sort of force everybody else to join in. And even [Assistant Coach] Lawrence [Frank] was like ‘€˜We can’€™t do this!’€™ And I said, ‘€˜You’€™re right, but we’€™re just going to keep doing it.’€™ And it was good for us.’€

The Celtics, who scored just 11 points in the fourth quarter, reclaimed first in the Eastern Conference by a half-game over the Heat, improving to 39-14 while the Heat fell to 39-15. With a chance to tie the game, James missed the front end of a pair of free throws with 12.5 seconds remaining and Mike Miller missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer just before the buzzer.

The Celtics had six players in double figures but captain Paul Pierce was not one of them. He missed all 10 shots and finished with just one point in 39 minutes. The Celtics shot just 30 percent in the opening quarter and 37 percent in the first half, and trailed 43-39 at the half. But Boston outscored Miami, 20-3, to open the third quarter and take command of the game.

The third quarter also featured some playoff-brand physical play and frustration from the the Heat. After Zydrunas Ilguaskas set a devastating screen on Rondo, who immediately got up. Moments later, Garnett got retribution with a clean pick on Mike Miller. But Dwyane Wade took exception and threw an elbow at Garnett. Wade was whistled for a flagrant foul and the two teams had to be separated.

The Celtics are off until Wednesday when they host the Nets in the final game before the All-Star break.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Delonte West, Doc Rivers, Miami Heat
Jackie MacMullan on D&H: Celtics’ problems at center critical 02.11.11 at 1:12 pm ET
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Basketball Hall of Fame writer Jackie MacMullan joined the Dale & Holley show Friday to talk about the Celtics and news from around the NBA. While Kobe Bryant scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half to spark a Lakers comeback Thursday night, MacMullan attributed most of the blame for the Celtics’ loss on their sudden lack of depth at center. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

“That was the game in a nutshell,” she said. “Their bigs just played really, really well, crushed them on the boards, made things happen in the paint. We know Kobe can turn it on, as he did in the second half. And we all knew when he had three points at halftime that it wouldn’t end that way. But to me, it really was about what went on in the paint last night.”

Ray Allen broke the NBA record for career 3-pointers Thursday night. MacMullan noted that despite the lofty praise, Allen has not always been the most coachable player. Said MacMullan: “It was just so funny to me how, as he was approaching the record, everyone was saying, ‘Oh, Ray Allen, a coach’s dream, the greatest veteran, what a model, an ambassador for the NBA.’ And I was thinking, ‘Whoa.’ I can remember a lot of coaches that really struggled with Ray, including the one here.

“And that doesn’t mean they don’t love him ‘€” and certainly Doc [Rivers] and Ray have found their way together ‘€” but that’s not who Ray is. Ray’s going to challenge you and Ray’s going to question you. Because he wants things to work within his own parameters. And to me, that was the most interesting part about this quest for the 3-point title, was he did it through multiple coaches, each of whom at one point or another I’m sure were saying, ‘This guy drives me nuts!’ ”

Addressing the rumors of a trade that would send Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers, MacMullan noted that Lakers owner Jerry Buss has been looking to trim payroll, not add to it. Plus, the Lakers already have a title-contending team without adding a player with defensive liabilities who would take some time to learn the triangle offense. “It just didn’t make sense to me,” she said. “Not if you’re the Lakers and you’re right there.”

MacMullan, who had lunch Thursday with Lakers coach Phil Jackson, said she believes Jackson will stick to his word and retire at the end of the season. “The impression I get is that Phil is at the end of the road,” she said. “He didn’t say that, he won’t say anything about it. But that’s the impression I get. I think he’s come to the point where it’s time to step away again.”

MacMullan was talking to Jackson for a book she’s writing about Shaquille O’Neal. “He gave me some great insight on Shaquille, who he has a great affection for to this day, really loved being with him,” she said. “And you know, when it was Phil, Kobe and Shaq, nine times out of 10, Phil was siding with Shaq, not Kobe.”

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Doc Rivers, Jackie MacMullan, Jerry Buss
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