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Nenad Krstic: I’m lost a little because ‘Oklahoma is still in my head’ 03.10.11 at 12:43 pm ET
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Nenad Krstic had a season-high 20 points in 38 minutes but he admitted afterward he wasn’t satisfied with his defense in a 108-103 loss to the Clippers at TD Garden.

Krstic and the Celtics had tremendous difficulty early on stopping DeAndre Jordan and the rest of the Clippers front court, which scored early and often en route to shooting 68 percent in the first half and building a 60-42 halftime lead.

Krstic came to Boston on deadline day, Feb. 24 with Jeff Green in exchange for the defensive-minded Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson. Krstic is still trying to get accustomed to thinking the Celtics’ way – which begins and ends with defense.

“I just need to get better, need to be more focused,” Krstic said. “Sometimes, I’m a lost a little bit because of a different style of playing. Oklahoma is still in my head. I’m just really trying to get adjusted. It just takes time, especially when you play games. It’s different in practice but in games you just have to react.

“It’s going to come. I just need to get used to more of the guys. Sometimes, I’m trying to do too much, over help and have a couple of stupid fouls, too. I know I scored 20 points but I need to focus on my defense and help the team.”

Doc Rivers still has confidence in his new starting center.

“Krstic overall is playing pretty well,” Rivers said. “He’s got to hold his ground a little bit. The problem we had going into the game, and I’m kind of kicking myself, is I told our bigs — the two bigs that we have right now due to all the injuries — you can’t get in foul trouble. “So if it comes down to you getting out of the way, you almost had to. Because we couldn’t afford Kevin [Garnett] or Nenad in foul trouble.

“And it actually happened anyway.”

Krstic said he’s confident the defensive part of his game will come but it will take time.

“Just not having been on the court at the same time together is the problem,” Krstic said of the chemistry with his new teammates. “Sometimes, especially in the first half, our second unit is almost all new guys, and we’re not used to each other. I think that was a problem tonight, we just haven’t spent too much time together playing. It’s going to take some time, but obviously with this team, we pick it up really quickly.”

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Irish Coffee: Reggaeton, President Obama & the Celtics 03.09.11 at 11:40 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

I’ve got to tip my hat to Celtics Hub for reminding everybody that new Celtics backup point guard Carlos Arroyo is also a Reggaeton (think Akon, in Spanish) star in his native country of Puerto Rico. He’s released two singles: “Oculto Secreto” and the more popular “Se Va Conmigo” with a dude named Yomo.

Thanks to AllTheLyrics.com, we now have a (very) loose translation of the “Se Va Conmigo” (“Go Away With Me”) remix performed with Ivy Queen, and it’s obviously pretty amazing …

To me, it’s enough to look for an affair.
I told you, I go with you.
If you tell me, I continue,
And without telling me, I follow you.
If you know it, I’m a hired killer.
I catch you when you get in my area.

What you like is that I have fury,
That I speak to you clearly
And that I don’t go on with you with sweet talk.
I don’t mind nothing, I leave.
Speaking clearly, you know well what I give.

That’s enough games, and bring me down the ego.
I’m not made of ice, and you like that.
We go without detour that I’m shrewder
Pa, pa, papi.

What’s what?
Do you want it in English or in Portuguese?
He’s looking for that I catch him, he asks it.
I warn him, and he continues.

Truly, she has me with the slow note.
She don’t mind nothing, she leaves.
She leaves with me without fear of to fail,
Because her wish is that I put her to sweat.
She excels with her skirt.

Mini mami, I know you are a hired killer.
Whatever I say, I know you die in my area.
Nice, sexy, exotic.

Obviously, my favorite parts are, “Her wish is that I put her to sweat,” and, “She excels with her skirt.” And, yes, I’m going to use those lines all the time now.

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Irish Coffee: New Celtics, by the numbers 03.02.11 at 11:17 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Not that the following numbers definitively prove anything, but I figured it would be interesting to see the career production of the Celtics’ recent acquisitions compared to the departing C’s.

Here are the  combined per-game averages of Troy Murphy, Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic over the course of 1,327 career games …

  • Points: 36.1
  • Rebounds: 19.6
  • Assists: 4.2
  • Steals: 2.0
  • Blocks: 1.7
  • Turnovers: 4.4
  • Personal fouls: 8.3
  • Field-goal percentage: .457
  • 3-point field-goal percentage: .370
  • Free-throw percentage: .767

And here are the  combined per-game averages of Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson, Marquis DanielsSemih Erden and Luke Harangody over the course of 1,363 career games …

  • Points: 32.7
  • Rebounds: 16.6
  • Assists: 6.4
  • Steals: 2.7
  • Blocks: 2.7
  • Turnovers: 5.5
  • Personal fouls: 10.8
  • Field-goal percentage: .471
  • 3-point field-goal percentage: .327
  • Free-throw percentage: .703

With three players coming to Boston and five guys leaving town, the Celtics are acquiring more points, rebounds and assists in addition to fewer turnovers and personal fouls. Although, cynics could argue that those same numbers favor the former Celtics’s defensive toughness – as that group recorded more steals, blocks and personal fouls.

Should the Celtics add either Corey Brewer, Rasual Butler or Player X, those stats would push the numbers even further in the current Celtics’ favor. Speaking of which …

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Irish Coffee: Get over the Kendrick Perkins trade 03.01.11 at 11:51 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Five days after being traded from the Celtics, Kendrick Perkins and the Thunder brass have already agreed to terms on a contract extenion. Wait a second … WHAT?!?!

If you’ll recall, Perkins turned down a four-year, $22 million deal from the Celtics, and after trading the championship-winning center Celtics president Danny Ainge told us Perkins “really wanted to test the market and see what his value was.”

Apparently not. He just wanted a better offer, and the Celtics couldn’t give it to him. Their $22 million offer was the maximum they could allocate to him. They couldn’t have offered him four years and $34.8 million, which is what the Thunder did, according to Yahoo! Sports. A difference of $3.2 million per season is a big deal. Literally.

And it’s exactly why I’m an even bigger advocate of the Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic acquisitions than I already was. Is Perkins an $8.7 million a year player? Heck no.

As for the remaining Celtics, let’s all hope the veterans get over this “Whoa is me, Perk is gone” mentality that’s been fairly evident on and off the court. As CBS Sports columnist Ken Berger pointed out last week, it’s the Big Four’s $57 million worth of contracts next season that limited the Celtics’ offer to $22 million.

If they wanted Perkins for the remainder of this season and beyond, why didn’t Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen offer up a total of $800,000 apiece per year over the next four seasons so Perkins could get his $35 million wish?

Never mind the fact that the Celtics got the best player in the deal (Green) and another guy (Krstic) who gives you comparable numbers to Perkins for a player who was obviously never going to sign in Boston this summer.

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Kendrick Perkins signs extension with Oklahoma City at 11:30 am ET
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Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins hasn’t even played a game yet for his new team in Oklahoma City, but he has agreed to a four-year contract extension with the Thunder. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski has the total value of the deal worth $34.8 million.

That’s a good deal for Perkins and it also helps explain why the Celtics would have made him available at the trade deadline. Earlier this winter, they offered him a four–year extension worth about $23 million. That was the most the Celtics could have offered him under the current collective bargaining agreement. Perkins turned it down believing he could get more as unrestricted free agent.

“We offered him all that we could offer him,” team president Danny Ainge said in an interview with WEEI. “He wasn’t really interested in doing a contract extension, which I understand. He wanted to test the market. Last time he didn’t test the market and this time he wanted to see what his value was and that was a concern.”

But the Thunder had more room to maneuver under the cap, as detailed by Sham Sports (scroll down to the bottom), and they used that extra space to up the offer for Perkins. It’s unclear how high the Celtics would have gone in an offer for Perkins had he reached unrestricted free agency, but it also seems unlikely they would have gone that far with him.

In the end, this deal works out well for the Celtics. Perkins stays out of the Eastern Conference and as an added bonus goes to a team that is now better-equipped to battle the Lakers. It also works out well for Perkins who outproduced his current contract and gets paid before the looming summer labor uncertainty. The Celtics got almost eight years out of the 27th pick in the draft and landed Jeff Green in the process.

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Fast Break: New Celtics, familiar results 02.28.11 at 11:37 pm ET
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This is going to take some time, but while Celtics coach Doc Rivers learns how to use his new toys (he had Jeff Green playing everything from the 2-guard through the four-spot), the Celtics remain the Celtics in the fourth quarter. Locked in a tight battle with Utah, the veterans made the right plays and executed down the stretch.

Ray Allen and Paul Pierce made huge shots. Kevin Garnett was dominant defensively and on the boards and Rajon Rondo made the right decisions and also sank a crucial jumper. The Celtics won 107-102, which gave them a 3-1 West Coast trip and also kept them two games ahead of the Heat in the loss column for the best record in the conference.

They have the next six weeks to figure out what kind of team they will be, but when it comes time to win games, they haven’t forgotten their formula.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Kevin Garnett is Kevin Garnett again: In the midst of all the turmoil, Garnett has very quietly run off a string of double-doubles on this West Coast trip. After scoring 18 points to go with 14 rebounds he now has seven in his last eight games. Garnett was at his best, though, on the defensive end, where he switched over to Al Jefferson late in the game and shut the big man down.

The key moment came when Garnett and Jefferson were called for double technicals late in the fourth quarter. The T’s didn’t stop the chatter between the two players and Jefferson was obviously primed to get the ball and score. He got the ball, but Garnett gave ground at the right moment and caused a travel. It was a classic veteran trap and Jefferson fell right into it.

Rajon Rondo takeover: Rondo scored only six points in the first half and passed up a couple of easy looks to make passes instead, but in the second half he reverted back into an attacking machine. When Rondo doesn’t look for his offense he makes himself so much easier to defend. But when he keeps the threat of scoring alive, it makes him nearly impossible to defend.

Nenad Krstic is no Perk offensively: Krstic is known as a player who can step outside and make jump shots, but he’s also shown in limited time an ability to score with his back to the basket. The Celtics don’t use a lot of post-ups as part of their regular offense, but Krstic has a nice touch around the basket and is also able to roll smoothly to the basket. Offensively, he is a definite upgrade from Kendrick Perkins‘ limited repertoire.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Krstic is no Perk, defensively: Then there’s the other end of the floor. Krstic will get better as he gets used to playing in the Celtics’ defensive scheme (and also gets used to playing alongside Garnett). Early on he’s looked slow in rotations and a step behind the play. Krstic was also abused by Jefferson, who scored 18 of his 28 points in the first half. It wasn’t all Krstic’s fault, but the Jazz went flying through the lane time and again for layups. The Celtics will have to adjust to Krstic as much as he will have to adjust to them.

Glen Davis continues to struggle: Over his last three games, Davis has shot 9-for-28. Over the last two months Davis has been as up and down as any Celtic, but they keep using him in the fourth quarter. Davis remains the best — and maybe only — option for getting crunch-time minutes with the other four starters, but if Rivers wants to continue to experiment he may take a look at his closing lineup over the next month and a half.

Delonte West is hurt again: The Celtics got bad news even before this one started as West rolled his right ankle during an informal workout on Sunday. He missed Monday’s game with Utah and is likely to miss Wednesday’s game when the Celtics return home to play the Suns. With Nate Robinson in Oklahoma City, the Celtics are relying on West to be the third guard, not only backing up Rajon Rondo, but Ray Allen as well.

But it’s at backup point guard where they desperately need his steady hand and veteran experience. Rookie Avery Bradley took those minutes against Utah and was more aggressive and confident than he’s been to date, but Bradley is not the answer this season. The Celtics need West to be healthy.

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Stephen A. Smith on D&C: ‘I still believe that Rasheed Wallace is going to come back’ at 10:38 am ET
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Stephen A. Smith

Veteran columnist and radio host Stephen A. Smith joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the Celtics and NBA news. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Smith made news recently by speculating that Rasheed Wallace would end his retirement and return to the Celtics. Smith explained that Wallace indicated last June — when the player talked about his retirement — that he would consider returning after the trade deadline this season.

“He was alluding [in June] to coming back once the trading deadline expired if the Celtics needed him, that he would think about it,” Smith said. “And throughout this year, he had been saying one day, he wants to come back, the other day, he doesn’t want to come back. … He was going back and forth throughout the year. One day he wants to come back, another day he doesn’t want to come back. One minute he’s thinking about going to Orlando, the next minute he misses all the boys he was with in Boston last year.

“So, I simply said I think he’s going to end up coming back to Boston, because I believe that Boston is going to be the team that fights the Lakers for the world championship, and I believe that Doc Rivers is the ultimate motivator. And I think if you have an opportunity to play for Doc Rivers for a couple of months, that’s not something that you’re going to turn down. I still believe that. I still believe that Rasheed Wallace is going to come back.”

Smith called the trade of Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder “a devasating blow” to Boston, but he remains convinced that the Celtics will beat the Heat and win the Eastern Conference en route to an NBA title. Smith said he can’t pick a team that starts Erick Dampier at center, and that the Celtics can slow the games down, taking away the Heat’s uptempo style.

“If [the Celtics] play the kind of defense they always play, I can’t see how the Miami Heat can beat them in a seven-game series,” he said.

Added Smith: “I believe in Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal, and I think somehow, someway, specifically Shaquille O’Neal can offset the loss of Kendrick Perkins. And I think that will be enough to get you back to the NBA finals, where I believe they will beat the Los Angeles Lakers.”

The Perkins trade hurts the Celtics more emotionally than physically, Smith explained. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the Boston Celtics made the right move for the long term,” he said. “But short term, I think it’s a devastating blow. Kendrick Perkins is a big body, a wide body, he’s very, very physical. And I’m one of those people who firmly believes that if Kendrick Perkins hadn’t gotten hurt in Game 6 of the NBA finals that the Boston Celtics would be the reigning defending world champions right now. I think they would have beaten the Lakers in Game 7.

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