|Irish Coffee: Dwight Howard ‘looks up to a team like Boston’||01.24.12 at 2:23 pm ET|
If Magic All-NBA center Dwight Howard ever considered Boston as a free agent destination this summer, current Celtics center Jermaine O’Neal didn’t exactly roll out the welcome mat.
In the third quarter of Monday night’s Celtics victory, as Howard attempted to establish position in the paint and bumped O’Neal on the block, the latter stuck his finger in the former’s face and voiced his displeasure. The two bigs at dichotomous points in their careers were separated by teammates and each assessed technicals.
“That’s kind of crossing the line when somebody puts their hand in your face,” said Howard (18 points, 14 rebounds), who had four of his team’s NBA record low 16 field goals in the 87-56 loss. “I just put his hand out of my face. I didn’t run up on him. It’s basketball. We’re not MMA fighters. I don’t know why I got a tech, but I’m cool.”
O’Neal (6), Greg Stiemsma (5), Brandon Bass (4) and Kevin Garnett (2) combined for 17 personal fouls, sending Howard to the line 18 times (he made 10) in an attempt to minimize his sizable impact.
“You’re at his mercy to be honest,” said Garnett, who totaled 14 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and two blocks. “You have to do what we call dirty work early, which is to try to take him off his sweet spots, contest his shots. He’s strong, he’s very powerful and explosive. You’re at his mercy, man, seriously. I’m not about to sit up here in front of the cameras and give y’all defensive schemes and secrets, but different ways you play different guys.”
There’s one important difference between Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins: Big Baby left on his own terms.
Davis didn’t profess his love for Boston in his postgame press conference the way Perk did. He wanted a change in scenery and an upgraded role, and Orlando offered that opportunity. Or so he thought.
“I’m in the same situation I was here — coming off the bench,” said a dejected Davis after losing to his former team, 87-56. “The only thing I know is that I got paid a little bit more money. Like I said, it’s a process and a system that I’ve got to get used to. I don’t know. I know what I’m supposed to do, but I don’t know yet. I’m still searching.”
As they did for fellow members of the 2007-08 NBA championship team Eddie House and Perkins before him, the Celtics gave Big Baby the video montage treatment. When the Garden crowd responded with a standing ovation, Davis flashed his signature smile and acknowledged the fans with a wave before returning to the Magic bench.
“It was good to remember all the memories that you had,” he said. “I looked really big, like really fat. I was like, ‘Wow, chubby.’ I look a little more leander now. But it was good. It’s always good to see things like that, memories I can never forget. The fans showed love, and I appreciate that.”
|Fast Break: Magic pull disappearing act vs. Celtics||01.23.12 at 10:09 pm ET|
Maybe this is the win this Celtics team needed. It was hard to see this one coming, especially with five Celtics regulars sidelined by injury against a Magic team that won 11 of its first 15 games, but the C’s put together their best stretch of basketball in a 87-56 welcome home victory against Glen Davis & Co. at the Garden on Monday.
Paul Pierce (19 points, 7 assists) once again led the offensive charge, with a little help from friends Kevin Garnett (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Brandon Bass (19 points, 8 rebounds). Meanwhile, starting in place of the injured Rajon Rondo, guard Avery Bradley (3 steals) wreaked havoc on the defensive end to help the C’s (7-9) hold Orlando to 16-of-65 shooting (24.6%) — the best defensive effort of this Big Three era.
Davis scored just six points (2-9 FG) but grabbed 11 rebounds, and Dwight Howard led the Magic’s anemic offensive effort with 18 points (4-15 FG) and 14 boards.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Defending their life: Led by defensive-minded starters Garnett and Bradley, the Celtics put together their best defensive game of the season. They held the Magic to just 11-of-38 shooting (28.9%) before the break, and actually improved upon that in the second half (5-27; 18.5%). The C’s recorded six blocks (shockingly, none by rejection artist Greg Stiemsma) and six steals by halftime, building an early lead — something that escaped them through their 6-9 start.
Familiar foes: Lost in the drama surrounding Big Baby’s return to the Garden was the fact Bass was also facing his former team, as the two former LSU teammates were traded for each other after the lockout. One of few healthy bodies coming off the bench, Bass reached double digits by halftime and gave the C’s a much-needed boost against his old teammates.
Avery Bradley, defensive stopper: The Celtics sophomore guard gave veteran Magic point guard Jameer Nelson problems all night long, picking his pocket twice, forcing a jump ball and altering his shot — all in the third quarter. Given his third consecutive start in Rondo’s absence, this stretch might be just what the Doc ordered in building Bradley’s confidence and expediting his development in what some believed could be a breakout season for the young guard.
|Celtics montage: ‘Thank you Big Baby’ Glen Davis||at 8:21 pm ET|
Just as they did a week ago for Kendrick Perkins, the Celtics honored Glen “Big Baby” Davis with a tribute video during the first timeout of Monday night’s game against the Magic. A member of the 2007-08 NBA championship team and a key contributor in the 2010 NBA Finals run, Davis was traded along with Von Wafer to Orlando in exchange for Brandon Bass after the lockout.
Considering the Garden was far from filled (Patriots hangover, anyone?), the montage didn’t have quite the emotional impact Perk’s did. Prior to the game, Dwight Howard guessed that his new teammate might shed a tear during the video, but the opposite turned out to be true. Big Baby was all smiles as he waived to the cheering crowd. There were dry eyes pretty much everywhere in the house.
|Irish Coffee: Top 5 Big Baby Celtics moments||at 12:58 pm ET|
For the second time in five games, the Celtics welcome a member of the 2007-08 NBA championship team in an opposing uniform. Kendrick Perkins got a hero’s welcome when the Thunder visited Boston last week, so will Glen Davis get the same treatment when the Magic visit Monday night?
Davis had his share of moments, good and bad, during his four years in a Celtics uniform (remember how he broke his thumb?), culminating in a 32 percent shooting performance in last season’s five-game Eastern Conference semifinals loss to the Heat. In one last contribution to the Celtics, he agreed to a four-year, $26 million sign-and-trade deal after the NBA lockout that shipped him and Von Wafer to Orlando for Brandon Bass.
So far, at least, the Celtics got the best of that deal, as Bass only makes $4 million this season, although Wafer’s production on the Magic makes it closer than one might think. Take a look at their numbers through 15 games.
Bass: 11.5 PTS (48.1 FG%, 72.7 FT%), 6.4 REB, 0.7 BLK, 0.6 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.9 TO
Davis: 7.9 PTS (37.5 FG%, 73.3 FT%), 5.1 REB, 0.7 AST, 0.4 STL, 0.2 BLK, 1.3 TO
Wafer: 6.2 PTS (47.8 FG%, 46.7 3P%, 84.6 FT%), 1.3 REB, 0.8 AST, 0.2 STL, 1.1 TO
Regardless, Davis gave the Celtics more than they could have hoped for when they selected him with the 35th overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft, developing into one of the game’s top three Sixth Man Award contenders last season. If Eddie House got a tribute montage video, why shouldn’t Big Baby?
“We just have to let it play out,” Magic teammate Dwight Howard told the Orlando Sentinel. “He’s emotional. He might cry. We’ll make sure we bring a big pacifier.” It wouldn’t be the first time.
Without further ado, I give you the top five Glen “Big Baby” Davis moments in a Celtics uniform. Read the rest of this entry »
|Chris Mannix on D&C: Chris Paul to Celtics an ‘extreme longshot’||12.09.11 at 11:06 am ET|
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to discuss the NBA blocking a trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers.
On Thursday, the Hornets, Rockets and Lakers reached an agreement to send Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic and Luis Scola to New Orleans. But according to multiple reports, commissioner David Stern intervened and blocked the trade because league owners were irate that the trade was being allowed to go through.
The Celtics have been reportedly interested in acquiring Paul ever since the lockout unofficially ended, but Mannix does not expect that Boston will be able to trade for Paul after the Lakers deal was blocked.
“Do you know what [Lakers owner] Jerry Buss would do if the NBA approved [Paul to the Celtics]? He would make Mark Cuban look like a guy on Xanax because he would go absolutely ballistic over something like that,” Mannix said. “You can’t veto a trade of Chris Paul to the Lakers and all of a sudden trade him to your arch rival.”
Added Mannix: “I would say right now it’s an extreme longshot that Chris Paul would wind up with the Celtics.”
Mannix explained that Stern and the NBA rejected the trade for a number of reasons.
“I think he did for a few reasons. No. 1, the small-market owners certainly had an influence. I’m sure by now you’ve seen Dan Gilbert‘s letter. … I’m sure Dan Gilbert and some of the other small-market owners, like Robert Sarver, maybe Michael Heisley in Memphis, put some pressure on Stern,” Mannix said. “But guys I’ve been saying for two weeks right now the biggest road block to Chris Paul getting traded is the commissioner’s office. Because No. 1, they’ve spent five months trying to legislate against players doing exactly what Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are trying to do right now. They don’t have a problem with super teams. … They have a problem with how these super teams are formed. They don’t want players independently going out there and saying, ‘I want to play in such-and-such market, if you don’t trade me there, I’m going to walk at the end of the season.’”
|10 questions post-NBA lockout Celtics must answer||11.26.11 at 4:34 pm ET|
Now that the NBA lockout is all but over, we can talk actual basketball again. No more exhibition games. No more Paul Pierce sightings at the World Series of Poker. No more overseas discussions. Should lawyers on both sides approve the tentative agreement as expected in the next three days to a week, both training camp and free agency are scheduled to begin on Dec. 9, leading up to a Celtics at Knicks season opener on Christmas Day.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, head coach Doc Rivers and the rest of the C’s brass face a ton of questions over the next month. Here are 10 of the biggest ones they’ll have to answer.
10. How will the Celtics fill out the remainder of the roster?
The C’s currently have just six players under contract: The Big Four of Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen as well as center Jermaine O’Neal and second-year guard Avery Bradley. That leaves nine open spots on the 15-man roster.
Jeff Green has received a $5.9 million qualifying offer that makes him a restricted free agent, and the remaining eight players from the team that lost a five-game Eastern Conference semifinal series to the Heat are free agents. Only Nenad Krstic, who signed a two-year deal with CSKA Moscow that did not include an NBA out clause for this season, is off limits.
First-round draft pick JaJuan Johnson is a lock to land one of those nine open slots, while second-round selection E’Twaun Moore is a strong candidate to make the roster. Johnson has been working out in his hometown of Indianapolis during the offseason, and Moore has averaged 9.5 points in six appearances for Italy’s Benetton Treviso over the past two months.
Prior to the lockout, undrafted Pitt swingman Gilbert Brown was on the team’s radar, so he has a chance to join the Purdue pair on the bench as well.
Assuming Green remains in Boston, Ainge will at the very least have to find veteran players capable of playing significant backup minutes at center, power forward and the two guard positions. Re-signing combo guard Delonte West would go a long way in cementing the latter, and we’ll be examining the free-agent options at each position throughout this week.
9. Is the annual mid-level exception still available to the Celtics? Read the rest of this entry »
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