|Avery Bradley and E’Twaun Moore make their case for playing time||12.17.11 at 5:40 pm ET|
The opening tip of the season is fast approaching and the Celtics still have to figure out their rotation, particularly who will backup Ray Allen. Veterans Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic would seem to have the inside track, but without Jeff Green they will also play small forward behind Paul Pierce.
“Somebody will win it, and we’re going to let them,” said coach Doc Rivers following last night’s open scrimmage at the TD Banknorth Garden. ”We’re honest with guys. There is a spot there and not everyone is going to play it. It has been a competitive camp because of that.”
One candidate to fill the vacant role is Avery Bradley. The 2010 first round draft pick struggled earning playing time as a rookie while dealing with injuries and ineffectiveness last season. Bradley came to this year’s camp knowing there is an opportunity to contribute. However, he also knows opportunity means competition.
“I know everybody is going to be working hard for that position,” Bradley said. “I’m going to try to do everything Doc says. I know I’m going to come in grind and work hard.”
Without summer league or a full training camp, the lockout could have stunted the development of young players like Bradley, but he spent the extended offseason working out with his veteran teammates.
“I have the best teammates,” Bradley said. “I would work out with Jermaine O’Neal in Las Vegas and get [text messages] from Kevin [Garnett] checking in on me to make sure I’m working. Paul [Pierce] always invited me to [California] to help me work on my game and keep it sharp.”
Rivers praised Bradley’s ability to get to the basket and draw fouls, but he thought Bradley had trouble finding the proper rhythm during the scrimmage. “He was trying to do too much, going too fast,” Rivers said. “That’s where you see what we see.”
E’Twaun Moore is another candidate for playing time. The second round draft pick has impressed his coaches and teammates in camp, and he knocked down a 3-pointer late in the scrimmage that gave his side the lead before Bradley’s winner. Moore could have passed to Allen, but the rookie had the better look and was aggressive.
“He didn’t hesitate,” Rivers said. “That’s what I like about him.”
With the first of only two preseason games on Sunday in Toronto — every minute becomes paramount for the young Celtics.
|Celtics scrimmage: Avery Bradley and E’Twaun Moore thrill ‘em at the end||12.16.11 at 10:07 pm ET|
Back-up point guard Avery Bradley hit a baseline jumper as time expired to lift the Green team to a 52-51 win over the White in an intrasquad scrimmage for the Boston Celtics Friday night before about 4,000 fans at TD Garden.
Rookie E’Twaun Moore‘s three-pointer with 0.8 seconds remaining had given the white team, featuring Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo the lead before Bradley’s game-winning shot. A portly Mike Sweetney, weighing in at well over 320 pounds, put the White up, 48-46, with just over 50 seconds remaining as the two sides exchanged buckets in a furious finish before an appreciative crowd.
Rajon Rondo started for the White team, along with Ray Allen and Jermaine O’Neal at center. Marquis Daniels started for the Green while Chris Wilcox started at center and took the opening tip for the Green.
The games were split into two 12-minute halves. The White trailed 27-18 at halftime before the Green, mostly stocked with reserves.
Wilcox led everyone at the scrimmage with 17 points and 10 rebounds, both game highs. Brandon Bass started and led the White with 13 points and five rebounds. Bradley, Dooling and Daniels each played the entire 24 minutes of the scrimmage.
The game was highly entertaining and featured the first look for fans at newcomers Wilcox, Bass, Moore, Keyon Dooling – who made all three of his 3-point attempts.
After the scrimmage, coach Doc Rivers said there was no medical update on the condition of Jeff Green, who failed his physical earlier in the week. He visited with doctors on Friday with team President and general manager Danny Ainge. WEEI.com’s Paul Flannery reported after the game that an announcement is expected sometime Saturday.
The Celtics open their brief two-game preseason schedule Sunday in Toronto, with the two teams playing in Boston on Wednesday night.
Paul Pierce will not make the trip to Toronto while Kevin Garnett is questionable after injuring his thumb on Thursday in practice. Rivers said after Friday night’s scrimmage that the X-rays were negative.
|Irish Coffee: Top 10 Celtics Media Day moments||12.14.11 at 1:03 pm ET|
Tuesday’s Media Day marked the official unveiling of the 2011-12 Celtics at their practice facility in Waltham. Some familiar faces. Some new ones. Here are the top 10 highlights from what was a tame afternoon compared to the Shaquille O’Neal hoopla from a year ago.
10. BACK TO SCHOOL: After finishing six courses during the fall and summer semesters at Georgetown, Celtics forward Jeff Green is just two classes away from finishing a major in English and a minor in theology. He plans on completing his degree in the summer to become the first member of his family to earn a college diploma.
“It’s something I can cross off my bucket list,” he said, adding that a diploma and an NBA championship trophy would be comparable achievements to place on his mantle.
Asked if he could avoid being seen in lectures, Green smiled and said, “I’m 6-9. I can’t hide.”
9. GRUMPY OLD MEN: Since beating Ray Allen in the NBA’s 3-point contest last season, Celtics captain Paul Pierce has a new challenge for his teammate: Who can have the longest career?
Pierce, 34, called the “42-year-old” Allen (he’s 36) an inspiration to play five more years, and then referred reporters to his website PaulPierce.net/TruthonHealth for any questions. Green wasn’t the only one learning during the lockout; Pierce is apparently now a marketing expert.
8. SUPER SIZE ME: We all remember the Shawn Kemps and Vin Bakers of the 1999 lockout — the guys who showed up to training camp so out of shape their bodies never fully recovered. Allen remembers, too.
“There were some guys back in ’99, when you saw them, it was like, ‘Holy cow, this guy was on vacation for the last three months, didn’t do a thing, didn’t pick up a basketball or a weight,’” Allen said. “And that’s not the case in this locker room. We knew it, because we have too many strong-minded individuals.”
Allen had a front-row seat for Baker’s transformation from a guy who averaged 19.2 points and 8.0 rebounds for their Sonics the season before to 13.8 points and 6.2 rebounds after the last lockout-shortened season. Naturally, the Celtics traded for Baker four seasons later.
“Every day I sat around the house,” said Allen, “I was like, ‘I gotta go work out, because I don’t want to be that guy.’”
7. TOP CHEF: Celtics forward Kevin Garnett cracked one smile during Media Day, when analogizing team chemistry to the culinary arts. “Chemistry is something that you just don’t throw in the frying pan, mix it up with another something, throw something on top of that, then fry it up, put in a tortilla, put in a microwave and heat it up, and then give it to you and expect it to taste good,” he said. “For those who can cook, y’all know what I’m talking about. If y’all don’t know what I’m talking about, you can’t cook and this doesn’t concern you.”
|Irish Coffee: E’Twaun Moore or E’Twaun less?||11.07.11 at 11:12 am ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee.
If you just watched this highlight video and knew nothing else about E’Twaun Moore, you might think the Celtics second-round draft selection is destined to become an NBA rotation player once the lockout comes to an end — especially when the announcer for his Italian club Benetton Treviso yells: “E-Twaun Moore-ah, alley-oop-ah!”
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
In four games and 26 minutes a night as a starter for Benetton TV (2-2), Moore is averaging 7.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.5 blocks per contest. Sure, he’s shooting 50 percent from the field, but he’s making just 30 percent of his 3-point shots and 50 percent of his free throws.
While Moore’s production in all phases of the game (10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block and 1 assist in 25 minutes) during a 72-55 blowout win on Sunday is encouraging, let’s put his performance into perspective.
Brian Scalabrine and Von Wafer, two players who could barely crack the Celtics lineup in the Big Four era, also play in the same Italian league. In fact, Scalabrine, plays for the same team, and he’s generating 12.0 points (71.4 FG%, 66.7 3P%), 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 0.8 steals in 32 minutes a night. Wafer plays Moore’s position for Vanoli-Braga Cremona, averaging 19.4 points (63.6 FG%), 3.4 rebounds, 2.2 steals, 1.2 assists and 0.4 blocks in 31.4 minutes over his first five games.
Moore’s ability to make the Celtics roster might depend less on his expected contribution and more on the team’s financial situation after a new collective bargaining agreement. Read the rest of this entry »
|Irish Coffee: Six Celtics actually play basketball||10.24.11 at 1:02 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …
Celtics restricted free agent Jeff Green played with the big boys, and won.
A fixture in exhibition games hosted by NBA stars during the lockout, Green helped former Thunder teammate Kevin Durant as well as LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, Jamal Crawford and former Boston College standout Reggie Jackson win the U.S. Fleet Tracking Basketball Invitational in Oklahoma City on Sunday night.
Green totaled 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists in 48 minutes of a 176-171 overtime victory against the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Michael Beasley, Damien Wilkins, James Harden and Jonny Flynn. Beasley (51), Anthony (43), Durant (42) and James (40) all eclipsed 40 points.
“You put guys like that on the court, you are going to do whatever it takes,” Green told reporters after the game. “It was fun at the beginning, then it got serious at the end. It’s great to play these type of games, but we do want to get the season started.”
Green was one of six current or recent Celtics who actually played competitive basketball over the weekend. Here’s a rundown of the other five … Read the rest of this entry »
|Impromptu Irish Coffee: The Next Bill Russell?||07.28.11 at 1:58 pm ET|
When someone compares a player to Bill Russell, my usual reaction is a rolling of the eyes, followed by an audible sigh and capped by a sarcastic, “And Harold Miner is the next Michael Jordan.” However, when a member of the Celtics’ front office makes the analogy, that’s an entirely different story.
Celtics senior director of basketball operations Leo Papile — also the Boston Amateur Basketball Club’s director — told Louisville’s Courier-Journal that the current star of his AAU program, Nerlens Noel (great name, by the way), could indeed be the next William Felton Russell:
“No one has ever been compared to Bill Russell, but I said that about this kid when he was in the eighth grade. He has a basketball brain like no other player that I have ever coached. He’s a special kid. …
“He has great timing. Everything he does is just perfect. He passes, his team defense … it’s all just perfect. And now he has an offensive game.”
ESPNU’s No. 3 ranked recruit and top-ranked center in the Class of 2013, Noel led Papile’s BABC team to the Peach Jam title earlier this month and the AAU Super Showcase championship game this past week. This winter, the 6-foot-10, 215-pound Everett native enters his junior season at New Hampshire’s Tilton School.
To put Papile’s statement in perspective, he has worked for the Celtics since 1997 and currently serves as one of the team’s chief talent evaluators at the NBA, D-League, international and collegiate levels. Founding the BABC in 1977, he has helped develop NBA talents like Patrick Ewing and Dana Barros.
So, the real question is: Does the 17-year-old Noel even know who is the greatest winner in professional sports? Read the rest of this entry »
|JaJuan Johnson on D&C: I just want to learn from veterans||06.28.11 at 10:15 am ET|
Celtics first-round pick JaJuan Johnson joined Dennis and Callahan Tuesday, discussing Boston and his upcoming rookie year (to listen to the entire interview, click here).
Given that the Celtics are a veteran team that hopes to compete for a title, the 27th overall pick may have a hard time finding regular minutes, something Johnson said he’s ready to deal with.
“I don’t expect too much,” Johnson said. “Really, this year I just want to take in as much as I can from those older guys. Just learn from those guys and really just continue to get better as a player.”
The 221-pound forward is trying to bulk up so he is better-suited to play forward in the NBA. Johnson said that it’s a matter of diet, which he hopes to get straightened out in short order.
“When I was back in Chicago, I had a chef, and he was cooking for me every day, pretty much helping me with calories, the amount of calories I needed to put in each day,” he said. “Once I get in [to Boston on Thursday] I’ll get back on track.”
As for having his college teammate join him in Boston, Johnson seemed thrilled. E’Twaun Moore, with whom Johnson played at Purdue, was taken by the C’s in the second round.
“It’s a huge comfort factor,” Johnson said of the team also drafting Moore. “He was with me freshman year, in college. To have somebody else at this stage is almost unheard of. It’s definitely a blessing to have him with me.”
Johnson said he was told by Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge that he was coming to a respectable organization, and noted that he’s ready to do whatever he can to help it.
“It’s a team with tradition,” he said. “They do things the right way. We have a lot of work to do, but I’m willing to put in all that work, just to become a better player.”