|Danny Ainge pays tribute to Paul Pierce: ‘I think Paul could play for a few more years’||09.26.16 at 6:09 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Danny Ainge had the chance to pay tribute to a pair of all-time greats that combined to bring home one title to Boston and nearly another.
Hours before Monday’s media day in Waltham, 38-year-old Paul Pierce announced that this season would be his last in the NBA after 19 seasons.
“Well, first of all, I think Paul could play for a few more years, but I’ll believe it when I see it,” the Celtics president of basketball operations said. “Paul loves the game. He loves basketball and I think that it’s hard to see him walking away. I know there will come a time when he will. He’s one of the great Celtics of all-time, he’s a great competitor.
“The thing that stands out more to me than anything about Paul — after all the great shots and great plays and everything else he did here — was just watching him, sitting right outside my office, seeing him come in at midnight and work on his game, work on his conditioning. He really loved the game and took it very seriously.”
Ainge was also asked about Kevin Garnett, who announced his retirement last week.
“I think I said in a statement that KG had as big an impact as anybody that I’ve been around in an organization,” Ainge said. “I think the thing that stands out the most to me about KG is just his team-first mentality. He never wanted it to be about KG. He never wanted his individual success to trump team success. He lived that in his day-to-day practice, and that’s something that I’ll remember about him.”
Will the numbers 34 and 5 wind up in the rafters?
“That’s for future discussion,” Ainge said. “I won’t answer that yet because we haven’t really discussed it internally. That’s a decision that Wyc and Rich will ultimately make. You guys know the answers to those anyway. We’ll just let the other people make those decisions, make those calls.”
|Kevin Garnett announces retirement via Instagram, ending storied 21-year career that included title with Celtics||09.23.16 at 7:52 pm ET|
After 21 years, Kevin Garnett’s NBA career is over.
The 40-year-old announced his retirement via an Instagram video on Friday, hours after accepting a buyout from the Timberwolves, which was first reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Had Garnett returned this season, he would’ve become the only player in league history to play 22 seasons.
Garnett’s career ends after a second stint with the T-Wolves, who drafted him fifth overall out of high school in 1995. He spent 12 years in Minnesota before being traded to the Celtics in July of 2007 as part of the C’s formation of the Big Three with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.
He won the only championship of his career with the C’s in 2008, memorably screaming, “Anything’s possible!” in the moments after the win.
His career took a disappointing turn, however, when he was dealt to the Nets with Pierce prior to the 2013 season. He spent 1 1/2 seasons with Brooklyn before waiving his no-trade clause and heading back to Minnesota.
The 15-time All-Star left quite an impression with the Celtics, earning All-Star honors all but one season in Boston while averaging 15.7 points and 8.3 rebounds with a stellar 52 percent mark from the field in his 396 games over six seasons.
|Studs and Duds: Celtics clawed by Wolves, Karl-Anthony Towns||02.22.16 at 10:42 pm ET|
The Celtics had their moments Monday night. But not nearly enough to overcome an inconsistent road effort against a young and talented lottery-bound team.
Karl-Anthony Towns, the No. 1 overall pick last June, scored 28 points and hauled in 13 rebounds while Gorgui Dieng hit a key third quarter buzzer-beating 3-pointer as part of a double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds) to lead the Timberwolves past the Celtics, 124-122, Monday night at the Target Center in Minneapolis.
Marcus Smart, who had an open Isaiah Thomas on his left, had a chance to win it at the buzzer but his contested pull-up three fell short. The Celtics finished the game on a 20-8 run, including an Avery Bradley three with six seconds left that cut the deficit to one, 123-122.
As well as the Celtics started a night earlier in Denver, Boston looked awful in the first 10 minutes of the game. Minnesota (18-39) started out shooting 11-of-14 from the field and out-rebounding the Celtics, 17-7. They built a 31-15 lead.
Towns showed why he’s the franchise player in Minnesota in the opening quarter, scoring 15 points and grabbing seven rebounds. But the Celtics finished the quarter on an 8-0 to cut the deficit to 31-23 heading into the second quarter. Smart provided some key energy off the bench with three steals, including one a clear path with 1.4 seconds left in the quarter that help the Celtics close the gap.
Bradley hit a three and Smart a runner as the Celtics opened the second quarter the way they ended the first, scoring the first nine points for a 17-0 run that gave them their first lead of the game, 32-31. As was the case 24 hours earlier in Denver, Boston’s bench was key, outscoring Minnesota 16-1 to start the game. After Boston took a 37-34 lead, Minnesota responded with an 18-4 run that had them scoring on eight straight possessions.
Thomas missed his first seven shots before drilling a mid-range 15-footer with 1:48 left in the first half. The Celtics ended the first half on a 5-0 run to cut Minnesota’s lead to 59-53 at the break. The Wolves shot an improbable 61 percent on 25-of-41 shooting.
Trailing 81-68 in the third quarter, Jae Crowder converted two consecutive three-point plays, one on a 3-pointer from the left wing and the other, a conventional one to cut the lead to 81-74 with just over three minutes left in the third. Crowder then drilled a straightaway jumper on the next possession. Crowder scored again on Boston’s next possession, part of his 16-point third-quarter that kept Boston close. But a killer 26-foot bank three from Dieng at the third quarter buzzer gave Minnesota a 93-84 lead heading into the fourth.
Another play symbolized Boston’s frustration, trailing 111-100 with just over four minutes left, three Celtics were under the basket after a missed layup from Thomas. After a miss of a put-back by Evan Turner, three Celtics jumped up in the air and knocked the ball to the Wolves, who eventually built their lead back to 14.
After starting the post-All Star break portion of the schedule with three road games, the Celtics return home Thursday night against Milwaukee.
For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.
STUD OF THE NIGHT: Karl-Anthony Towns did everything you would expect from an overall No. 1 NBA draft pick. He carried the Wolves in the opening quarter and the Celtics didn’t have an answer for him all night. Crowder was a runner-up, scoring a career-best 27 points and keeping the Celtics in the game in the third quarter.
DUD OF THE NIGHT: Isaiah Thomas. It had to happen sometime. Thomas started the game missing his first seven attempts from the floor before hitting three in a row. He then missed his next three and could never get into an offensive rhythm all night. He finished 8-of-20 on the night.
|Kevin Garnett on Celtics vs. New York fans: ‘Bostonians all day’||12.21.15 at 7:36 am ET|
As Kevin Garnett arrives with the Timberwolves for what could be his last visit to Boston as a player, he’s coming off a 15-point victory against the Nets on Sunday in Brooklyn — his third of three NBA homes. So, the Minneapolis Star Tribune took the opportunity to ask the former Celtics superstar if he preferred Boston or New York fans.
“Bostonians all day,” said Garnett. “And they know that.”
While Garnett conceded he enjoyed his “living experience” in New York City and “playing before the crowd in Brooklyn was dope,” nothing tops winning a title in Boston, where he also made a second trip to the finals and a third appearance in the conference finals. “Every time I go to Boston I’ll have that sentimental feeling,” he said.
Garnett grabbed seven boards over 10 minutes in the 100-85 win against the Nets. The Celtics host his Wolves at 7:30 p.m. on Monday night. He is signed through 2017 for another $8 million, but there’s some speculation that as his minutes dwindle while he approaches age 40 that salary could be folded into a front-office gig in Minnesota.
Interestingly, Celtics coach Brad Stevens compared Jae Crowder’s tireless approach to the grit and balls that Garnett famously brought to the locker room whether it was practice time or Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
“I’m far from that. I can say that,” Crowder told reporters gathered at Sunday’s practice. “That’s a guy I look up to and I heard a lot of stories about him and that’s what I try to mold myself into being. I mean that’s an honor for him to say that, but I’m far from that. That’s a goal of mine to become a guy like him. That’s my approach is to try to become the most vocal leader at practice and when the cameras and stuff aren’t around.”
And how would Stevens know Garnett’s work ethic so well? Well, funny story about the two 39-year-olds …
“I was playing an AAU tournament with him on the court next to me,” Stevens told the media. “I don’t think I could be playing right now, physically, let alone as well as he does. But it’s pretty impressive what he’s done.”
|Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades: 4. Goodbye, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett||10.13.15 at 8:26 pm ET|
Over the next month, we’ll chronicle the 25 most consequential trades of Danny Ainge’s tenure as Celtics president of basketball operations. When we’re done, we’ll have a better understanding of Ainge’s philosophy and success rate on the trade market. Perhaps by the end of this exercise we’ll even feel better about the future of this rebuild. At the very least, we’ll have something interesting to debate while we wait for preseason to play out.
- No. 25: Hello, Sebastian Telfair.
- No. 24: Goodbye, Semih Erden.
- No. 23: Hello and goodbye again, Antoine Walker.
- No. 22: Hello, Ricky Davis.
- No. 21: Goodbye, Walter McCarty.
- No. 20: Hello, Keyon Dooling.
- No. 19: Hello and goodbye, Courtney Lee.
- No. 18: Hello, Kelly Olynyk.
- No. 17: Hello, Nate Robinson.
- No. 16: Hello, Brandon Bass.
- No. 15: Hello, Wally Szczerbiak.
- No. 14: Goodbye, Jiri Welsch.
- No. 13: Hello, Leon Powe.
- No. 12: Goodbye, Jeff Green.
- No. 11: Hello and goodbye, Jordan Crawford.
- No. 10: Goodbye, Antoine Walker.
- No. 9: Hello, Kendrick Perkins.
- No. 8: Hello, Tony Allen.
- No. 7: Goodbye, Rajon Rondo.
- No. 6: Hello, Isaiah Thomas.
- No. 5: Goodbye, Kendrick Perkins.
With that out of the way, here’s No. 4 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.
|Report: Kevin Garnett to return to Timberwolves||07.07.15 at 12:41 pm ET|
The 21-year pro will reportedly sign a two-year deal with the same team that drafted him out of Farragut High School in 1995.
Garnett, 39, was traded to the Wolves from the Nets on Feb. 19. He spent the first 12 years of his NBA career in Minnesota before being traded to the Celtics in 2007. He and Ray Allen along with Paul Pierce spawned the Big Three that brought home the franchise’s 17th banner in 2008.
In five years donning the green and white, Garnett averaged 15.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists, earning an All-Star bid every year except for one. Last season with the Timberwolves and the Nets, Garnett logged 6.9 points and 6.6 boards in 20.3 minutes per game.
Garnett will have the chance to mentor young, rising stars like 2015 first overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns and last year’s No. 1 overall selection and 2014-15 Rookie of the Year, Andrew Wiggins.
The deal will not be official until the NBA’s moratorium on signings is lifted later this week.
|Cady Lalanne would love to channel his inner Kevin Garnett in a Celtics uniform||06.03.15 at 4:00 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Cady Lalanne has his sights set high.
The 6-foot-8 big man from UMass with a 7-foot-5 wingspan would love to model his game after another big man who made quite the impression during his time with the Celtics.
“Since I started playing basketball in ninth grade, KG has been a player I love to watch,” Lalanne said of Kevin Garnett after his pre-draft workout Wednesday with the Celtics. “I remember I used to always go to the park and try his fadeaway that he had when he was with the Timberwolves. When he came here and won a championship, I was really excited. Even right now, I still watch him and try to learn from him.”
What makes him think he can play like KG?
“Rebound the ball and play defense, that’s the strong [parts] right now,” Lalanne said. “I still have a lot to work on. I’m just ready to work. I would love to [emulate him]. He can knock the 15-foot jump shot, hit the three here and there and you can always count on him on defense to get stops.
“I can knock down the 15 to 17-foot jump shot, make threes and give a full effort on defense and offense and do everything I can to help the team win.”
While he’s got a long way to go to match KG’s accomplishments, he’s already traveled quite the road to get where he’s in position to dream the dream.
He was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He went to Oak Ridge High School in Orlando, Fla. And he had to overcome not getting into his first choice (University of Georgia) because of academic ineligibility. But that didn’t stop him.
“Originally, it’s because I didn’t qualify. I signed with the University of Georgia and I didn’t qualify to go there. UMass and the whole A-10 is a “Prop 48” program. Coach [Derek] Kellogg started recruiting me so me and my head coach gave him a call. I didn’t get accepted to Georgia. The NCAA wouldn’t let me go to any schools except for the A-10 or the JUCOs. He told me he’d love to have me here so I came here, sat out the first year and was able to play the following year.”
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