|GMs Predict Lakers to Beat Celtics in NBA Finals||10.22.08 at 11:37 am ET|
On Wednesday NBA.com revealed the results of the 2008-09 GM Survey. There were some expected predictions based on last season’s performances ‘ a second straight Celtics/Lakers Finals, the Miami Heat will be the most improved team, and Chris Paul is the fastest player with the ball. But there were also a few notable results worth taking another look at:
Which team will win NBA Finals 2009?
1. L.A. Lakers — 46.2%
2. Boston — 19.2%
3. New Orleans — 11.5%
4. Houston — 7.7%
San Antonio — 7.7%
Others receiving votes: Detroit, Orlando
The departure of James Posey caused many to doubt the Celtics chances to repeat, but this landslide victory was still surprising. Most of the hoopla surrounding the Lakers this season is the return of Andrew Bynum. Yes, he will make them better by giving them an inside presence and allowing Pau Gasol to move back to the power forward position (where he won’t get beat up by Kendrick Perkins). But can Bynum hold up for three postseason rounds? The Lakers starting five (including the hobbled Kobe Bryant) has not proven they can win it all as a unit whereas the Celtics are returning their entire starting lineup. While experience isn’t accounted for on the box score, it can affect the final outcome.
Who will win the 2008-09 Rookie of the Year?
1. Michael Beasley — 48.1%
2. Greg Oden — 29.6%
Which rookie will be the best player in five years?
1. Greg Oden — 30.8%
2. Michael Beasley — 23.1%
A year ago the race for Rookie of the Year was neck-and-neck between Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. One knee injury later, Oden has been edged out by Michael Beasley for the honors. But you’ve got to feel good if you’re Portland Trail Blazer GM Kevin Pritchard. His long-term vision for young talent will make his team a contender for several years down the road.
Who is the best head coach in the NBA?
Which head coach is the best manager/motivator of people?
1. Phil Jackson — 44.0%
2. Gregg Popovich — 28.0%
3. Doc Rivers — 12.0%
4. Nate McMillan — 8.0%
Others receiving votes: Rick Adelman, Jerry Sloan
Did you check that list twice? After winning an NBA Championship, Doc Rivers was left off the list of best head coaches. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich still reigns supreme in the eyes of GMs, also taking first place over Rivers for coach with the best defensive schemes. You would assume that Rivers would get at least one nod after transforming the Celtics from worst to first, but fortunately for Rivers the title of 2008 NBA Champions holds more clout than any preseason predictions.
As far as defense goes, Kevin Garnett was predicted to be the league’s best defensive player, best interior defender, and best leader. Rajon Rondo’s inclusion on the best on-the-ball defender list speaks volumes to the influences of Garnett and Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau, who was also predicted best in the NBA. To put things into perspective, Rondo was 10 years old when Bruce Bowen made his professional debut. Talk about a quick learner.
So how much stock should you put into these results? It’s up to you.
|Tables Still Available for 2008 World Championship Celebration Gala||10.21.08 at 6:46 am ET|
Tables are still available for the 2008 World Championship Celebration Gala to benefit the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation. The annual gala will be held this Friday, October 24 beginning at 6:00pm at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.
This fundraising event raises money for an exceptional cause ‘ providing education and support for children in our community. All proceeds will go to benefit the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation.
This year’s gala will feature the unveiling of the 2008 championship rings as well as a roundtable panel discussion with last season’s starting five, moderated by WEEI’s Glen Ordway.
Members of the Boston Celtics organization in attendance will include All-Stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, members of the 2008-2009 Celtics team and coaching staff, Head Coach Doc Rivers, Executive Director of Basketball Operations and GM Danny Ainge, and Co-owners Wyc Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca and Robert Epstein.
The gala will also feature once-in-a-lifetime auction items, including a 2008 World Championship Executive Level Ring, Two Gold Level Seats to the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, a ‘Travel with the Team,’ and more.
To purchase a table contact Rebekah Splaine at 617-854-8090.
|Celtics Lose, Cuts Loom||10.17.08 at 7:47 pm ET|
Final Score: Knicks 104 – Celtics 97
Eddie House rained threes but that wasn’t enough to fend off the Knicks in the Celtics seven-point loss. House shot 7-for-11 from long range and finished the game with 27 points. Nate Robinson carried the Knicks with 19. A few postgame notes:
- According to Doc Rivers, Rajon Rondo (sprained ankle) could have returned to tonight’s game. He left the young PG out, though, since “he knows how to play.” Rondo is still uncertain for Sunday.
- Cuts are coming, and maybe sooner than expected. Doc Rivers said he wants to cut down his roster sooner rather than later to give player(s) a shot at being picked up being another team. He wants to learn more about three or four players before making his decision.
- Who does Kevin Garnett have the best chemistry with? It’s not Paul Pierce. It’s not Ray Allen either. KG said he has “the best chemistry by far” with Kendrick Perkins. Even though Perk missed the beginning of preseason play with a shoulder injury, Garnett claims the two bigs never missed a beat when he returned and were in constant communication tonight.
The Celtics will hold an open practice for a select group of ticket holders tomorrow in Lowell before taking on the New Jersey Nets on Sunday afternoon in the Garden.
|Celtics? We’re playing the Celtics?||at 4:23 pm ET|
It’s nearly impossible to avoid the 2008 World Champion signs plastered around the Garden. But somehow Knicks head coach Mike D’Antonio was able to block that all out. He has tunnel vision for one team and one team only … even if he is going up against the defending champs.
“None. It’s preseason,” D’Antoni said of the significance of playing the Celtics. “It’s significant if we played the Nets, which we will be on Monday, if it was Philadelphia it’d be significant. It’s significant because we’re worried about the Knicks.”
“Boston’s the best team out there ‘ I can’t help that one,” D’Antoni said. “But we can worry about the Knicks and that’s what we’ll do in preseason.”
|Miles Settling Into Boston||10.12.08 at 10:19 pm ET|
Darius Miles was anxious when he moved to Boston last month. He had played here before on opposing teams but it’s a different story when you are representing Beantown. The city’s winning tradition was intimidating at first.
‘The last time I played there it wasn’t really a big deal because the team was losing games,’ Miles said. ‘Like now just walking into the practice facility, it’s like it’s scary to a point because of the history that goes back on this team. Seeing all these pictures of Bill Russell and all these great players that used to play here and seeing those big banners, it’s different now.’
Through his six-year stint in the NBA, Miles already knew many of the veteran Celtics including Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Sam Cassell. Knowing these players also meant knowing the high expectations of winning another championship this season.
‘I’m a basketball fan so I kind of knew a lot about [the Celtics tradition],’ Miles said. ‘Then once they brought a championship back, that kind of brought it all back to the world and everybody else and it kind of brought it back to my memory too. Like I said it got scary where I just don’t want to mess up, don’t want to miss a pass, drop the ball, miss a shot.’
After six weeks Miles has become more comfortable in his new digs. Doc Rivers has praised his hustle and he seems at ease in the Celtics locker room. Off the court, he has already staked claim of his new favorite restaurant, Biagio in Waltham.
‘I like the family restaurants,’ he said. ‘They don’t have too many name brand restaurants. There are a lot of family-owned restaurants around here, so the food tastes better and the people know how to cook.’
What else does Miles like about Boston?
‘My favorite part is I like everybody’s accent,’ he said, adding, ‘My mom came down here when I was sick (tonsillitis) and she was telling me she liked everybody’s accents too.’
So will this Belleville, Illinois native be pahkin the cah any time soon?
‘No, I don’t think I’ll pick one up,’ Miles said with a laugh. ‘I’m too country for that.’
|Pruitt Shows Growth in Win||10.11.08 at 10:18 pm ET|
It’s a rare occasion when the media flocks to Gabe Pruitt before Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, or Ray Allen after a game. But tonight Pruitt who stole the show, clinching an 90-89 victory over the Houston Rockets with six seconds to go.
“There wasn’t [any hesitation],” Pruitt said. “[Doc] told me that he’s going to put it in my hands and he wanted me to attack early and that’s what I did.”
In just three preseason games Pruitt has already shown signs of improvement from his rookie season. The second-year guard chipped in eight points and four steals in 20 minutes on Saturday night.
“This time [Doc’s] giving me more opportunities,” he said, “And even though it’s early, I feel like I need to show coach that he can be confident in me. He gave me that opportunity tonight in the second half and I just wanted to build off of that.”
The veteran Celtics showed their enthusiasm for Pruitt’s heroics after the game.
“Hold on G. Wipe your face, man,” Kevin Garnett yelled as Pruitt addressed reporters. “You can’t be sweating on TV.”
|Sounds of the game… Celtics-Rockets postgame||at 10:18 pm ET|
The Celtics beat the Houston Rockets, 90-89, when Gabe Pruitt banked in a jumper with 6.6 seconds remaining to improve to 2-1 in the preseason. But that was hardly the story of a game that featured Ron Artest driving Paul Pierce the floor on a drive to the basket in the first quarter, a Tracy McGrady elbow to the ribs of rookie Bill Walker and McGrady and Eddie House almost going at it after exchanging words in the second quarter.
Here’s what some of the Celtics had to say about not backing down afterward.
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