|Doc Rivers: ‘We need to have as much versatility as possible going into the playoffs’||04.10.13 at 8:59 pm ET|
To Doc Rivers, the key to playoff success will be outmaneuvering his opponent. Given the fact that he’s going to be facing either the Knicks or Pacers in the first round, he’s going to need as many options as possible.
Thus, with Paul Pierce and Jeff Green finding their rhythm heading into the playoffs, this gives Rivers and his staff another bullet in the holster.
“I like the ability to have that lineup and other lineups instead of just having this ‘small lineup’ with Jeff at the 4,” Rivers said. “We want to have three lineups – Jeff at the 2, Jeff at the 3, Jeff at the 4. Or if you want to call Paul the 2, I don’t care who you call the 2. I just think it gives us more versatility.
Wednesday against the Nets, Rivers featured the lineup (Pierce, Green, Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley) that’s likely going to start the playoffs, of course barring another in an seemingly unending avalanche of injuries.
“This lineup is good,” Rivers said. “It’s important because it gives us a third lineup, because there’s one lineup we can’t go to, and that’s the very big lineup, like two 7-footers. We’re not going to be able to do that. We need to have as much versatility as possible going into the playoffs to play multiple styles.”
Before Wednesday at the Garden, the Celtics and Nets hadn’t met since Boston’s cakewalk on Christmas Day when the Celtics beat the Nets, 93-76. A game later, Avery Johnson was fired and PJ Carlesimo was promoted to head coach. The Nets are 31-18 since. Read the rest of this entry »
|Rajon Rondo ejected as Kris Humphries starts brawl with Kevin Garnett and Celtics||11.28.12 at 9:10 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo was ejected from Wednesday night’s game with the Nets in the aftermath of a brawl with 29.5 seconds left in the first half. As a result, his streak of consecutive games with double figure assists ends at 37 games.
Kevin Garnett was fouled under the Celtics’ basket by Kris Humphries. Pushing and shoving immediately ensued, as Garnett also got into a shoving match with Gerald Wallace. Rondo into a shoving match with Humphries and the altercation spilled into the first two rows of seats under the basket. Wallace and Humphries picked up technical fouls and second techinals on the play, resulting in automatic ejection. Rondo was the only Celtic ejected.
The first half was a frustrating one for the Celtics, who trailed by as much as 21 points. They made a late charge and cut the Nets lead down to 13, 51-38, at the half. Rondo finished with six points and three assists in 18 minutes. He finishes tied with John Stockton with the second-longest double-digit assist streak in history at 37 games, nine behind the all-time leader, Magic Johnson.
|Irish Coffee: Why Rajon Rondo’s assist streak is more impressive than John Stockton’s or Magic Johnson’s||11.26.12 at 4:50 pm ET|
This topic stemmed from a conversation with Celtics guard Jason Terry about the evolution of the assist after colleague Rob Bradford compared the dwindling distribution of assists to baseball errors: Considering teams in the 1980s scored at a higher rate, is Rajon Rondo‘s current streak of 37 consecutive games with at least 10 assists more impressive than John Stockton‘s string of 37 in 1989 or Magic Johnson’s record stretch of 46 in 1983?
In a word? Yes. Let the 35-year-old NBA veteran of 13 seasons who grew up on ’80s basketball explain.
“It’s just a different style of play,” said Terry, whose longest streak of double-digit assists lasted all of three games in 2003. “Now, it’s a lot more difficult to get those assists per se as in the ’80s. If you look at the style of play, it was up-and-down, run-and-gun. Now, there are much more intricate defenses. There’s also the zone defense, so it makes it a lot tougher to get assists. So, that makes his feat a lot more amazing.”
Great points all around. Let’s look at that style of play. Last season, when Rondo’s streak began, the C’s averaged only 90.4 possessions per 48 minutes. By comparison, in 1989, when Stockton’s stretch started, the Jazz averaged 98.0; and in 1983, when Magic’s string commenced, the Lakers averaged a whopping 103.8. All three hover around the league average that season, so defense has clearly muddled the pace over the years.
To put a finer point on it, not only must Rondo generate his assists on fewer possessions — and thus fewer field goal attempts — but the maturation of defensive schemes over the past quarter-century has also forced lower shooting percentages. Translation: Even fewer opportunities for Rondo to collect his dimes.
|Rajon Rondo has made us take a closer look at the evolution of the assist||11.23.12 at 1:06 pm ET|
The debate regarding just how important or impressive Rajon Rondo’s streak of 35 straight games with at least 10 assists will continue into Friday night’s game at TD Garden.
But one of the more interesting elements of the run has been the opportunity to reflect on how the assist statistic has changed over the years, and if that evolution makes Rondo’s feat any more, or less, impressive.
The stat itself can be compared somewhat to an error in baseball, with just enough subjectivity involved to spark conversation.
For instance, in 1980 there were 3,609 errors given out in 4,210 Major League Baseball games (0.85 per game). Last season, in 4,860 games there were 3,008 errors (0.61 per game).
The most errors given out to any one team in ’80 was 174 (Cubs), while last season’s top team was the Rockies, who committed 122 (which would have been the 23rd most 22 years ago).
The lesson is that different statistics are viewed differently through the ages and the eyeballs, and assists are no exception.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers recalled after Tuesday’s practice how different arenas offer different expectations when giving out assists. Washington, he said, was notorious for being a difficult environment for visiting players to extract assists. Upon further examination, Rivers was right. Read the rest of this entry »
|Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin: Rajon Rondo ‘different’ than John Stockton||11.15.12 at 10:46 am ET|
Just before Rajon Rondo “slightly” sprained his ankle against the Jazz, the Celtics point guard stretched his string of double-digit assists to 32 games. Only John Stockton (37) and Magic Johnson (46) own longer streaks.
Utah coach Tyrone Corbin played his entire 16-year NBA career either with or against Stockton, including three seasons as his Jazz teammate from 1991-94. In 1992, Stockton recorded another stretch of 29 straight games with 10-plus assists, which Rondo recently eclipsed, so Corbin knows first-hand what that does for a team.
“[Rondo]‘s a great player, a great competitive player,” Corbin said. “He’s doing a great job. He’s a big asset for this team. He reads his team well; he makes the right plays for them. Any time you get a guy that makes double-figure assists every night for you, that’s a great honor and you’ve got a chance to win games as a result, because you know he’s going to be able to get the ball to the right guys and spread it out well, so he’s a tremendous player.”
Asked if he sees similarities between Rondo and Stockton, Corbin made it clear: “They’re two different players.” But how different are Rondo and Stockton? Here are their numbers through their first six NBA seasons.
Read the rest of this entry »
|Ray Allen on D&C: Roller coaster of emotions over summer||10.01.10 at 10:03 am ET|
Celtics guard Ray Allen has been a critical part of the Boston roster for the last three years, helping lead the team to two NBA finals appearances, including one NBA championship. Allen appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show early Friday morning in an interview that was taped at Celtics media day, and he discussed varying topics, including the Game 7 loss to the Lakers and the upcoming season with some new faces but same leadership.
“I honestly believe that everything was imperfect [last season], throughout all last year going into the playoffs,” he said. “Nothing was lined up the way we wanted it to be. You know, we had to fight tooth and nail every possession, every game, to get it to where we wanted it to be. So, we imagine that it’ll be pretty much the same way. It was probably the most grueling, taxing season that I’ve had in the playoffs for sure. But when you get it, it makes it that much more special.”
Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
After 14 years in the NBA, does the gap between the end of the season and training camp seem shorter or longer, in your opinion?
It’s definitely gotten shorter. When I was young, it just seemed like it was a whole other year. The summertime you’d be home and I would catch everything. You know, you go home and you see people’s graduations, you know, you do some other things. But as I’ve gotten older, the summer’s already in full swing and we start in July. You’ve got July and August to try and get back into shape and stay in shape.
What’s the process like for you, getting over losing the NBA finals in a seventh game?
Well, I didn’t cut my hair for a long time. I didn’t want to really do anything; I didn’t really go out in public a whole lot. Just being around anybody was just too taxing. I’ve never had so many more people come up to me now, since we lost, come up to me and say congratulations, and they were so happy, and thank us for what we’ve done for them, and they watched and enjoyed what we did. When we won, it didn’t seem like anybody came up to me at all, but it just was everywhere I went, people said something. The most unassuming people you would ever expect watched the games, and, “You guys were so awesome, so great.”
|Sheed: Don’t sleep on the Jazz||11.10.09 at 4:47 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Rasheed Wallace can read the standings just like everyone else.
He sees that the Utah Jazz are off to a 3-4 start out West. He also sees the likes of Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur on the box score. Throw in the sharp-shooting Andrei Kirilenko and he knows his 7-1 Celtics will have their hands full when they take the court on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
“They’re a good team,” Wallace said. “Everyone is sleeping on them coming out of the West. I think they have the talent to beat the Lakers, talent to beat the Spurs. Can’t sleep on them, in my opinion. You can’t sleep on them at all. They have a good point guard, good big men, good swing men and good coach. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us.”
Ever since the days of Stockton and Malone, the Jazz under Jerry Sloan have mastered the pick-and-roll as well as anyone in the sport.
“That’s Sloan’s calling card,” Wallace said after Tuesday’s practice preparing for just that. “Just look at Mailman [Karl Malone], just look at [Jeff] Hornacek, of course [John] Stockton. Just some of the guys they’ve had. That’s what they do to a ‘T’.
“That’s what they’re know for, their execution. Their power play, so to speak, where you dump it down from the corner. That’s something Sloan has re-written the book on, the pick and roll. And you definitely have to give them their credit.”
Sloan, who was just inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sept. 11, knows what he wants on the court at all times. And opposing players like Wallace know what to expect.
“Of course, he’s always going to have a big who can shoot, he’s always a point guard who can handle and drop it off to that big and still shoot, i.e. like Stockton did,” Wallace said. “It’s definitely not going to be a cakewalk. It’s definitely going to be a challenge.”