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Chris Mannix on D&C: Celtics don’t know what they have for playoffs 03.28.11 at 9:51 am ET
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Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the Celtics and their recent struggles. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Mannix said he thinks there is something to the theory that the Celtics are disinterested in getting the one-seed and seem to think they’€™ll be able to just turn it on in the playoffs like they did last year.

‘€œI think there’€™s a lot of truth to that,’€ Mannix said. ‘€œI think we saw at the end of last year that the Celtics had the same kind of laissez-faire attitude about the end of the regular season. The difference last year, though, was the core of that team was still in tact and they kind of knew what they could do if they turned the jets on and played well in the postseason. This year, they’€™re banking on something that no one, including themselves, is sure is even there. You’€™re talking about bringing back [Shaquille O’€™Neal] and Jermaine [O’€™Neal].

‘€œImagine before the season if we thought getting into late March, early April, ‘€˜If only Shaq and Jermaine can come back, we’€™ll be OK for the postseason.’€™ To me, that’€™s a horrible attitude to have, if that’€™s what this team is thinking, that one of those guys can come back and be a difference-maker. Once Shaq comes back, he’€™ll only play for about two months, and who knows what kind of physical shape he’€™s in at this stage. And Jermaine has given you nothing all season long, so there’€™s no reason to believe he’€™s going to add anything to the equation.’€

Mannix said not getting the top seed could be a death knell for the Celtics. ‘€œI honestly think that not getting the No. 1 seed for Boston this year could be disastrous and could be the reason that they don’€™t come out of the Eastern Conference for two reasons,’€ he said.

‘€œNumber one, the difference between playing the 8 seed and the 7 seed this year is like playing the 16 seed in the NCAA tournament vs. a 2 or 3 seed. Whoever winds up in that 8 spot, be it Indiana, Milwaukee, Charlotte, I think they’€™re going to be a relative pushover in the first round. Maybe they take a team to five games. Most likely they get swept in four.

‘€œThat 7 seed, whether it’€™s New York or Philadelphia, those aren’€™t going to be easy games,’€ Mannix continued. ‘€œThey’€™re going to be kind of knock-down, drag-out games. They might push you to six, maybe even seven games. I think that’€™s something Boston really has to start to consider going into the postseason.’€

The hosts added that not only have the Celtics fallen behind the Bulls, but they’€™re also on the verge of getting passed by the Heat and dropping to third. ‘€œYeah, and that’€™s going to kill them, too,’€ Mannix said. ‘€œYou get into those second-round series that are inevitably going to go six games, probably seven games. You lose that homecourt advantage and that hurts, even against a team like Miami, whom, by the way, Boston hasn’€™t beaten yet with this new group. Same thing with Chicago.’€

Speaking of that new group, Mannix said the Kendrick Perkins trade has everything to do with this slump. ‘€œI 100 percent attribute it to the trade,’€ Mannix said. ‘€œI said as soon as this deal went down that it was the worst trade they could’€™ve possibly made. And I say that knowing exactly why it was made. ‘€¦ This was a one-sided trade, I thought. That’€™s taking nothing away from the obvious skill of Jeff Green. But Jeff Green, as much as you needed a backup swingman for this roster, you needed a powerful big up front more.

‘€œYou need a guy that brings the intensity every single night,’€ Mannix continued. ‘€œYou just mentioned that lackadaisical attitude. I think some of that would’€™ve been eliminated with Perkins in the lineup because he never takes plays off. The guy is aggressive all the time. With him in the lineup bringing that intensity, I think a lot of it would’€™ve rubbed off on some of his teammates. So I think they lost a physical presence and I think they lost a mental intense presence.’€

Read More: Chris Mannix, Jeff Green, Jermaine O'Neal, Kendrick Perkins
Chris Broussard on M&M: ‘It comes down to the Celtics and the Heat’ 03.21.11 at 1:12 pm ET
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ESPN’s Chris Broussard joined the Mut & Merloni show Monday afternoon to talk about the Celtics and topics of interest around the NBA. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

The C’s play the Knicks Monday night in New York. Broussard said despite the initial excitement over the addition of Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks aren’t a threat to knock off one of the East’s elite. And that was before the reported locker room discord that is swirling around the team during its recent struggles (five losses in the last seven games).

“They clearly have talent and should be dangerous,” Broussard said. “They don’t look that way right now. Even when they were looking good, I would never have picked them to win their first-round series over those top teams. But I did think they had maybe a puncher’s chance and could make it interesting. I still will say they could make it interesting if they get it together, but right now they don’t look like they’re any major threat to beat any of these top teams.”

The Celtics have their own problems, having lost four of their last seven games. Broussard speculated that much of the reason for the malaise falls on the trade of Kendrick Perkins, noting that Perkins and the struggling Rajon Rondo “were very tight.” He also said the Celtics still have a hole to fill with Perkins off the roster, and Shaquille O’Neal‘s absence exposes it that much more.

“I didn’t like [the trade] in the first place,” Broussard said. “With this kind of mystery involving Shaq, I like it even less.”

Added Broussard: “My biggest concern if I was a Celtics fan would be the lack of bulk and toughness that they now have without Kendrick Perkins. They only needed Perk for a few teams: Miami ‘€” that gave them a big advantage over the Heat ‘€” Orlando and the Lakers. You may be better matching up with Chicago without Perk. But if Shaquille O’Neal can’t come back and give you really quality minutes, and significant minutes, then I think a huge advantage that the Celtics had over everyone in the league is gone.”

Asked which team is the best in the East, Broussard said: “Boston, you’d have to give them their due respect. They’ve been great all year. I’m not going to hold this couple of weeks where they’ve struggled against them.”

Added Broussard: “I think if Miami plays the right way, they can win the East. And I feel a lot more comfortable about picking them in the preseason. But for most of this year, I have felt like it was Boston that’s the best team in the East. I like Chicago, but I still think at the end of the day it comes down to the Celtics and the Heat.”

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Broussard, Grant Hill, Jalen Rose
Irish Coffee: Delonte West ecstatic about Jeff Green 03.18.11 at 2:21 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

 

While the Big Four of Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen probably looked at the Celtics-Thunder deadline deal as “The Kendrick Perkins Trade,” at least one member of the C’s saw it from a different perspective.

That’s because Delonte West knew better than his teammates what Jeff Green was capable of contributing, because — as West puts it — everybody who grows up playing basketball in the Washington D.C. greater metropolitan area knows each other. Not to mention the two played together on the SuperSonics for half the 2007-08 season.

“I played with Jeff in a few rec leagues before up at Georgetown, and I played with him in Seattle,” said West. “I know what he can do. I know what he’€™s capable of. In Oklahoma, you had a few guys taking all the shine over there, but when I heard we were getting Jeff Green, I was automatic ecstatic. I’€™ve been in the gym with him before in Seattle. The guy can play.”

Green could play then, and West believes his former teammate is even better now that he’s added a few weapons to his repertoire of skills. Green has averaged 11.1 points on 48.8 percent shooting in 23.1 minutes a night in 10 games for the Celtics.

“Of course he’€™s matured a little bit,” added West. “He’€™s a few years in now, and he’€™s only getting better. I see him shooting that 3 ball real comfortably. I already knew he could run the floor and how easy he can get points for us. That’€™s important.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Delonte West, Jeff Green, Kendrick Perkins
Shaquille O’Neal feeling 84.22711556644222 percent 03.10.11 at 3:48 pm ET
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Celtics center Shaquille O’€™Neal joined WEEI’€™s Mut & Merloni show this morning. He touched on everything from his health to eating pizza with the elderly — and everything in between.

You can hear the entire interview on WEEI.com right here. And here is the transcription:

How’€™s O’€™Neal’€™s Achilles (he hasn’€™t played since Feb. 1)?

‘€œIt’€™s getting better. I can remember a time when I was 19, I’€™d get hit by a car and five minutes later I’€™d be Ok. The older you get, it takes time to heal. I’€™ve been getting better, a little stronger, but there’€™s still a little pain. I’€™ve been instructed by Doc [Rivers] and the Big Three to come back when there’€™s no pain. It’€™s their call. Doc and I are from the same era. If it’€™s not getting better, shoot it up and let’€™s go out and play. But we’€™re looking at the 1825 thing (see below) here, so we want to do things right. The team’€™s playing well. [Nenad] Krstic is doing a fabulous job. They want me 1,000 percent, especially for the postseason, because that’€™s when it really counts.’€

How did O’€™Neal feel about the Kendrick Perkins trade?

‘€œI was training, and I heard about the trade. It was kind of a sad ordeal. I got to know a lot about him and got to see his work ethic. I didn’€™t realize he was from Texas. I’€™m from Texas. We hung out on the road and got to talk strategies, talk shop and then business kicks in. He’€™s a very physical player — long arms, plays hard, not afraid of anybody, takes the elbow, gives them out, hard-nosed guy. We’€™re going to miss him. Boston’€™s going to miss him. He’€™s done a lot for the Boston community. He helped them get No. 17, and it’€™s been an honor to play with him.’€

How difficult will it be to integrate the newest Celtics?

‘€œIt’€™s difficult, but it’€™s not difficult. You brought in five consistent role players — guys who are used to being role players. Everybody’€™s gonna be playing off the Big Three. We know that. We just have to create a rhythm and keep it going. We’€™re looking very good right now. We’€™re going to be full strength very soon, and then we know what’€™s at hand. A lot of people play for championships, but for us — for the city of Boston — it’€™s something different. Something I call 1825: 18 for the beautiful people of Boston, two for Ray [Allen] and Doc and Kevin [Garnett] and those guys, and five for me. It was also the year John Quincy Adams was inaugurated, and he was a Boston guy. So, for us, it’€™s bigger than winning.’€

What has it been like for O’€™Neal to work with Jackie MacMullan on a book?

‘€œShe knew things that I’€™d forgotten about. We were sitting at the house talking — we meet twice a week for three hours. She asks me questions, and I ‘€˜ve got to dig in my old Shaqodex. I’€™m like, ‘€˜That’€™s 13 years ago.’€™ It should be a very exciting book — no holds barred. ‘€˜Tell-all’€™ wouldn’€™t be the correct term. ‘€˜Truthful’€™ would be the better term.’€

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins, nenad krstic
Nenad Krstic: I’m lost a little because ‘Oklahoma is still in my head’ 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.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jeff Green, Kendrick Perkins
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: ‘€œOculto Secreto’€ and the more popular ‘€œSe Va Conmigo’€ with a dude named Yomo.

Thanks to AllTheLyrics.com, we now have a (very) loose translation of the ‘€œSe Va Conmigo’€ (‘€œGo 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, ‘€œHer wish is that I put her to sweat,’€ and, ‘€œShe excels with her skirt.’€ And, yes, I’€™m going to use those lines all the time now.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Carlos Arroyo, Glen Big Baby Davis, Kendrick Perkins
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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Read More: Bill Russell, Boston Celtics, Brian Scalabrine, Kendrick Perkins
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