|Doc Rivers press conference||04.21.10 at 3:18 am ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers spoke to the media after the Celtics took a 2-0 series lead in the first round of the playoffs. The Celtics beat the Heat 106-77 at TD Garden without star forward Kevin Garnett.
|Richardson won’t focus on crowd reaction||04.20.10 at 7:57 pm ET|
Quentin Richardson isn’t fooling himself — he doesn’t expect a warm response from the Garden crowd.
Prior to Game 2 between the Celtics and Heat, Richardson admitted he anticipates a backlash from the Celtics fans for his involvement in Saturday’s altercation with Kevin Garnett, which resulted in Garnett’s suspension.
“Probably so,” he said, adding, “No for me, I’m going out and playing basketball, playing to help my team win. Everything else will be outside the lines. When I’m inside the lines playing basketball, that’ll be what I’m focused on.”
The Heat will be focused on a new-look Celtics without Garnett in the lineup. Even though Garnett’s absence leaves a void on the Celtics, the replacement of Glen Davis has its benefits.
“It obviously changes a lot but with them probably going with Big Baby in the starting lineup, you get a younger, healthier guy,” Richardson said. “So I don’t know. It definitely changes because [Garnett's] a huge part of their team, he’s an emotional leader, and at the same time he’s still Kevin Garnett. It obviously changes but they have a couple capable guys filling in in Rasheed (Wallace) and Davis.”
Regardless of whether Garnett or Davis are on the court for the Celtics, the Heat’s objective does not change. They look to accomplish their original goal of taking at least one game in Boston before heading home for Games 3 and 4.
“It’s just important for us to win tonight just to even up the series,” he said. “We want to go back to Miami 1-1 feeling good about ourselves and knowing that we’ve got two games on our home floor coming up.”
|Sheed or Baby for Game 2?||04.19.10 at 5:21 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Now that Kevin Garnett has been suspended for Game 2, a decision that took no one by surprise within the Celtics organization, the immediate question becomes: who will start in his place?
The team tried to keep the decision under wraps, but there were indications that it will be Glen Davis rather than Rasheed Wallace. When the curtain rose on practice Monday afternoon, Davis was on the floor with the first team, while Wallace was in a white practice jersey worn by the second unit.
That may mean something, or it may not, but Rajon Rondo also said, “I think Baby’s starting.”
Maybe he didn’t get the memo. Doc Rivers, Wallace and Davis were all non-committal.
“I don’t know,” Davis said. “I have no idea. It’s either going to be the Ticket-Stub or it’s going to be Sheed.”
Wallace said he’s fine either way.
“It don’t matter as long as I’m in there in that fourth quarter,” Wallace said. “I don’t care if I start, I don’t care if I come off the bench. Like I said before, Doc’s the mad scientist. If he seems me starting, fine. If he doesn’t see me starting, fine.”
Ultimately the decision may have more to do with Miami’s personnel than with the Celtics. More specifically it may have more to do with second-year forward Michael Beasley who scored just six points on eight shots in Game 1.
|Time to call on Big Baby||04.18.10 at 8:06 pm ET|
Now that the NBA has decided to suspend Kevin Garnett for Game 2 of the Celtics series with the Heat, Doc Rivers has a decision to make. If form holds from this season, Rasheed Wallace will get the call to start for Garnett.
Wallace has started every game that Garnett has missed due to injury or coach-ordered rest, but now is not the time to play it safe. Rivers should start Glen Davis instead.
Davis overcame a shaky first half in Game 1 to put together a solid eight point, eight rebound effort with almost all of that production coming in a decisive second-half Celtic run. Wallace didn’t play poorly, but Davis was a difference-maker. Starting Davis would be a reward for his inspired play and also better utilize Wallace’s versatility to play both the four and five spots.
Davis filled in admirably for Garnett during last year’s playoff run, and might be a better match up for Miami’s Michael Beasley, a young, athletic forward. Additionally Shelden Williams, who has played well when given an opportunity, should also see some playing time.
The Celtics managed to win Game 1 despite playing uninspired basketball for 30 minutes Saturday night. It wasn’t until Tony Allen and Davis came in off the bench that the momentum changed as the Celtics erased a 14-point deficit.
“Tony and Baby changed the game defensively for us,” Rivers said after the game. “Baby came in and was sensational and I thought Tony was great.”
Rivers has already gone against the grain once in this series. Midway through the fourth quarter when he brought Paul Pierce back into the game, he had Pierce replace Ray Allen and elected to let Tony Allen stay on the court. Rivers would do well to continue rewarding the players who play with energy in this series by starting Davis in Game 2.
|Flu bug bites Rondo||04.16.10 at 4:43 pm ET|
WALTHAM – When the curtain lifted on the Celtics practice sessions yesterday there was one player missing. Rajon Rondo is the latest victim of the flu that has swept through the team recently. He took part in film session and a walkthrough and then the team sent him home.
Doc Rivers said that he expects Rondo will play, but he added, “I don’t know how he’s going to feel.”
Rivers said he had been throwing up and was sent to the hospital for IV work.
Rondo is just the latest Celtic to become ill. Tony Allen missed the last two games with the flu and Glen Davis was also sick earlier in the week.
Allen, who will have a big hand in defending Dwyane Wade, said he is feeling better.
“I feel good today,” he said. “I was a little winded, but I expected that. Tomorrow should be a little better.”
|Unexpected Reunion for Davis and Lafayette||04.14.10 at 11:44 pm ET|
Glen Davis got a surprise when he arrived at TD Garden on Wednesday.
He entered the locker room and saw his childhood friend, Oliver Lafayette … in Celtics warmup gear?
“I walked in and I was like, ‘What’s up man?! Baton Rouge!’” Davis exclaimed.
Davis and Lafayette have known each other since elementary school and played AAU basketball together in Louisiana. Unbeknown to Davis, Lafayette had recently signed with the Celtics. The former D-League standout received the call just two days ago while he was driving to Baton Rogue.
“My agent called me and told me Danny Ainge had called him. When he called me, I almost ran off the road driving,” Lafayette said before suiting up for his first Celtics game. “I had to pull over for like an hour or two. I had to regroup myself. I called my mother and told her the good news.”
The 25-year-old guard came to the Celtics by way of Brown Mackie (Junior) College, the University of Houston, Erie BayHawks and Fort Wayne Mad Ants. He is thankful for his time in the NBA Development League, where he says the coaches gave him the green light to play ball.
“My coaches just taught me the game,” he said. “They put the ball in my hand and let me go to work, learn how to read the defense and stuff like that.”
This season Lafayette averaged 17.1 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.0 rebounds in 48 games for the Mad Ants, and ranked 10th in the league in steals. He was named NBDL Co-Performer of the Week after averaging 26.4 points, 8.0 assists, and 6.4 rebounds in his last seven games.
“He’s a scorer,” said Davis. “He’s a scoring point guard. He can play the point, he can play the one, play the two. He’s efficient with his jumpshot, playing defense, he’d be good for our team.”
The rookie made the most of his first opportunity with the Celtics in their 106-95 loss to the Bucks. He scored seven points (3-6 from the field, including 1-of-2 on threes), grabbed four rebounds, and dished two assists in 21 minutes. Davis believes it is time for Lafayette’s hard work to pay off.
“He’s a great guy, a wonderful player. I think he’s a great player, actually,” he said. “Oliver, I’ve always though of like a late-bloomer as far as his opportunities. He played high school at Capitol High School … he went to [junior college], every time it was a late-bloomer. He went to University of Houston, played great over there, and now he’s just finally really getting his opportunity.”
Lafayette’s goal is to play well enough to earn a contract with the Celtics next season. In the meantime, he is trying to digest a whirlwind 48 hours that has taken him from the roads of Louisiana to the Garden parquet.
“I can’t believe it myself right now,“ he said. “This is a great opportunity, great guys, great team, and great players I’ve been looking up to my whole life.”
|Williams happy to see Duke return to Final Four||03.30.10 at 12:36 am ET|
It’s hard for Shelden Williams to believe the last time the Duke appeared in the Final Four, he was on the court.
In 2004 the Blue Devils suffered a one-point loss to the University of Connecticut Huskies, who went on to win it all. Since then, the team had not been able to make it past the Sweet Sixteen. (Interestingly enough, Williams and the Blue Devils were eliminated by Glen Davis and the LSU Tigers in 2006.) But that all changed this season.
Six years later, Williams watched Duke defeat Baylor in the Elite Eight prior to the Celtics-Spurs game. (He even boasted when the Blue Devils drained back-to-back 3-pointers.) The top-seeded Blue Devils will face the second-ranked Mountaineers of West Virginia on Saturday in a Final Four match up. It has been a long wait for Williams, who is happy to see his alma mater just one game away from the championship battle.
What was it like watching Duke advance to the Final Four?
“It’s great. It’s kind of strange that this is the first time that we’ve been back to the Final Four since my team in ‘04. It’s been kind of crazy, but actually this year has been amazing for college basketball fans to watch. This tournament has been unbelievable with underdog teams and powerhouse teams, you never know what to expect. If you had tried to tell me after being in the tournament that a fifth seed, a fifth seed, and only one one-seed would make it, that’s crazy.”
Why do you think the Blue Devils could win it all this year?
“Everybody on that team is playing their role. Nobody’s getting out of hands with things, nobody’s trying to doing more than what they can do. I think just everybody is playing their role and playing off of each other well. I think that’s a great thing for them to do. Whether they’re not shooting well, like [Sunday], (Kyle) Singler was 0-for-10, he’s one of the top scorers if not the top scorer on the team, and they still managed to find a way to win. That says a lot.”
Even though you are in the NBA now, what do you miss the most about playing in the NCAA Tournament?
“Just how much every game means to you, how much the atmosphere comes into play, everybody is into it whether they love you or hate you. Basketball is like king and everything else is secondary. It’s one of the best feelings to be part of.”
For more on Williams career at Duke, where he graduated as the school’s all-time leader in rebounds and blocked shots, check out WEEI.com’s Inside the Game series.