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Bill Simmons on D&C: Heat ‘not ready’ to win Eastern Conference 10.26.10 at 4:17 pm ET
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Bill Simmons joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to discuss the Celtics‘ heavily hyped season-opener against the Heat. Simmons talked about LeBron James and his new crew in Miami and how the Big Three in South Beach will fare this season.

He also talked about the Celtics’ chances for success in the 2010-11 season. Simmons said that Paul Pierce is the player the team could least afford to lose.

“Pierce is the guys who can guard the other small forward, the guy who can take over a little bit at the end of the game. I even think they could survive a Rondo injury. … Pierce is the guy who they’d really feel it.”

Below are some highlights from the interview. To listen to the full audio visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Do you buy into the corporate lie that the Celtics are telling, that the regular season really means more to them this year than it did last year, because hell, had they won five or six more games in the regular season, the seventh game [of the NBA finals] would have been in Boston last year?  Isn’t this an aging veteran team that just needs to get to the playoffs healthy?

That’s a good question, John Dennis. I don’t believe them. I do think the one difference between last year’s team and this year’s team is they have a bench. And when you have a bench, you can win games that maybe ‘€” last year’s team, the starters, they didn’t show up, the team was not going to win. And I think you’ll see when Delonte [West] comes back ‘€” I’ve got to say I was shocked by how good Delonte looked in the preseason. I thought out of everything I watched, that was the one thing I didn’t expect.

He just was bad last year. Obviously, it started out with him riding on a motorcycle with guns, and he got suspended and missed preseason and just was never what he was in 2008, when he was the second-best player on a team that almost bear the Celtics. I think that he is back to where he was, from what I saw. And when you see him and Nate [Robinson] come off the bench, I actually think that’s a backcourt that can swing a game for six, seven minutes. Then you throw in Big Baby [Glen Davis], who’s in fantastic shape. I’m not crazy about Jermaine O’Neal, obviously, but if he’s your 10th man, that’s not a terrible thing.

I just think the difference with last year vs. this year is Paul Pierce can go 5-for-19 in Detroit or Philly or wherever and they can still win the game because they have other guys.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Simmons, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Paul Pierce
Celtics practice what Doc preaches 10.23.10 at 4:08 pm ET
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The Celtics went through a hard practice at Waltham Saturday. This was a different sort of workout than the one they endured Friday, which stretched out past three hours. As the curtain lifted, they were going through a scrimmage, complete with refs and all the intensity you would expect from a regular season game.

“It was the best practice we’€™ve had in a while,” Doc Rivers said. “It was good to see. Following yesterday’€™s fiasco of a practice, I thought today was phenomenal.”

But what really stood out was the sight of Kendrick Perkins, whiteboard in hand, drawing up a play for the second team (usually referred to as the White Team for their jerseys, as opposed to the starters, who wear green). The play was for Von Wafer to come off a back pick, but it didn’t go according to plan.

“We needed a 3 at the time,” coach Perk explained. “We were down six. So I went with a Doc play. We didn’€™t execute it right.”

This whole exercise was by design. It’s something Rivers learned from Mike Fratello when he played for him in Atlanta. “I saw  something during the game,” Rivers said. “We came into the huddle and I said we’€™ve got to run this. We did it and we won the game, but that was the last time he let me do it.”

Rivers has tried this out with his players at various times — Gabe Pruitt called up a game-winner a few years back — and the benefits work both ways.

“You see a lot when you’€™re hurt and on the sidelines,” Perkins said. “You put yourself in the coach’€™s shoes and see what they’€™re going through. I’€™m just trying to install it in my head so when I get in there I won’€™t make the same mistakes.”

“You learn a lot,” Rivers said. “You see what they’€™re thinking. You see who they think should take the shots. Who they think can make plays. What they learn is they get frustrated when guys don’€™t execute. That’€™s how I feel the whole game. It’€™s good learning tool for everybody.”

Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen usually take the honors for the Green Team, Rivers said, while Perkins, Glen Davis and Delonte West often take charge of the White Team. So who calls the best plays?

“Ray,” Rivers said. “Because it’€™s always for him. Rondo and Ray are pretty darn good.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dwyane Wade, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James
Kevin Garnett on Celtic pride, Beverly Cleary at 3:29 pm ET
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You never know what you’re going to get from Kevin Garnett in an interview setting. Some days he might be terse. Other days he may be expansive. On Saturday after the C’s went through practice, KG was in a chatty mood.

The subject was Celtic pride, and more specifically, the standard that he, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were able to instill with the team when they joined forces in 2007.

“We’€™ve done a good job of policing ourselves, making sure the standard that we’€™ve built,” Garnett said. “I can’€™t speak on other franchises other than one that I played with, but I know that when you come in here and you look up and see all the retired numbers and banners and see the dedication and the sweat and tears that have been poured into this club, that’€™s a responsibility.”

Wanting to keep the conversation going, I mentioned that when veterans come to the Celtics, they find that attitude refreshing. That was when KG dropped a reference to noted children’s author Beverly Cleary.

“Think about it,” Garnett said. “You’€™re a writer. If you looked up to Beverly Cleary and different writers who were monumental and whatever it is that inspired you, and you come into their office or to their desk or type at their typewriter, if you have any kind of passion, I don’€™t know you personally, but if you have any kind of passion about something and you were able to put yourself in their place while they were writing their stories, then you would feel that. It’€™s no different from basketball. It’€™s a very prideful thing. It’€™s a very honorable thing.”

For the record, your correspondent is more of a F. Scott Fitzgerald man, but point taken.

Read More: Beverly Cleary, Kevin Garnett,
KG: Celtics-Heat definitely a ‘soap opera’ 10.19.10 at 8:50 pm ET
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Ray Allen has always had a special way with words.

He knows exactly how to say something with a smile and deliver the right tone and most importantly – the right message.

His message following Tuesday night’s intrasquad “Green-White” scrimmage at TD Garden was: Everyone knows we’re a team. Everyone wants to find out if Miami is, too.

“I believe so because there’s never been an opening game that has been more heavily anticipated,” Allen said. “I do believe that people are definitely excited to see them more than they’re excited about about seeing us. Truly they know, as a team, what we represent. The two teams are Eastern Conference powerhouses. It’s going to be a game.”

That game will be played next Tuesday night at TD Garden as LeBron James makes his official debut with the Heat, along with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

“I think with the anticipation [after] our exiting the finals last year and then with the new additions to Miami, they overly hyped the game,” Kevin Garnett added. “Yeah, I can see this has a lot of episodes, a lot of drama, if you will. It will have a lot of soap opera feel to it. Days of Our Lives, Another World, Santa Barbara.

“My grandmother was a big, big soap opera fan so it was either go outside or sit in there with her so I know that schedule quite well.”

The Celtics and Miami Heat are getting ready to open the season next Tuesday night at TD Garden in one of the most anticipated regular season games in NBA history.

Allen played Tuesday for the Green squad, which captured a 38-31 victory in an enhanced practice before season ticket holders and VIPs. The Celtics conclude their preseason Wednesday night against New Jersey at the Garden before opening the NBA season next Tuesday against the Heat, also at TD Garden.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett
Player’s union plans legal challenge to techs 10.14.10 at 9:33 pm ET
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Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBA player’s union, said in a statement that the union would mount a legal challenge against the league’s crackdown on technical fouls. Hunter added that the players were not consulted about the rule change before it was implemented.

Here’s the statement:

“We have not seen any increase in the level of ‘complaining’ to the officials and we believe that players as a whole have demonstrated appropriate behavior toward the officials. Worse yet, to the extent the harsher treatment from the referees leads to a stifling of the players’ passion and exuberance for their work, we fear these changes may actually harm our product. The changes were made without proper consultation with the Players Association, and we intend to file an appropriate legal challenge.’€”

The union’s move comes on the heels of Kevin Garnett’s ejection Wednesday during the Celtics exhibition game with the Knicks. Garnett was issued two quick technical fouls just before the end of the first half.

(For more on Garnett’s ejection and how the new rules affect the Celtics, click here).

Read More: Billy Hunter, David Stern, Kevin Garnett,
Technically speaking, Celtics need to adjust at 9:58 am ET
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Kevin Garnett picked up two technical fouls in a matter of seconds Wednesday night and was ejected before the end of the first half in the Celtics exhibition game with the Knicks. Moments earlier, Jermaine O’Neal picked up his own technical foul. According to O’Neal, he was trying to get a clarification on an offensive foul that had been whistled against him.

The Knicks’ Timofey Mozgov got one later for saying something in Russian.

The Celtics have racked up nine technicals in five preseason games under the NBA’s new harsher guidelines for issuing technicals. Among the areas of emphasis as spelled out by True Hoop:

‘€¢ Players making aggressive gestures, such as air punches, anywhere on the court.

‘€¢ Demonstrative disagreement, such as when a player incredulously raises his hands, or smacks his own arm to demonstrate how he was fouled.

‘€¢ Running directly at an official to complain about a call.

‘€¢ Excessive inquiries about a call, even in a civilized tone.

Additionally, the NBA has also doubled the amount of fines for getting T’s. It will now cost players and coaches $2,000 for each of the first five, $3,000 each for the next five, $4,000 each for 11-15 and $5,000 for any above 15 and players are also subject to a one-game suspension for every two over 15 technicals.

The NBA stopped short of calling this new stricter enforcement the Rasheed Wallace Rule, but they may have had him and Kendrick Perkins in mind. The Celtics have been the NBA’s most T’d up team two years running. (The number of technicals actually went down last season with Sheed).

2009-10: 107 (First)

2008-09: 117 (First)

2007-08: 97 (Second, Indiana was first)

The year before Garnett joined the Celtics, they ranked 22nd with 65 technicals. That’s not all on Garnett obviously, but with his addition the Celtics became an attacking, nasty, defensive-minded team. The T’s naturally followed from there.

The NBA tried to crackdown on players in 2006-07 and it didn’t take, so there is a natural inclination to believe that the new stricter guidelines won’t last this time either. There have been minor flare-ups around the league this preseason, but Wednesday night’s action may be the tipping point because it involved a player of Garnett’s stature and it happened in New York with the eyes of the basketball media watching.

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski sliced and diced the league this morning.

It’s safe to assume that there will be much discussion about the new technical rules before the start of the regular season, but it’s hard to imagine the NBA will back down, at least not publicly. The league has been holding off the record seminars before preseason games with reporters to discuss the new rules, but issuing technicals is still, and always has been, a subjective matter.

To that end, Doc Rivers told reporters Wednesday night that his team would simply have to adjust. “Listen,” Rivers said. “The rules are the rules and we have to have more discipline.”

Read More: Jermaine O'Neal, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, refs
Irish Coffee: Tommy Point Taken at 9:32 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

My biggest concern about the new technical foul rule that got Kevin Garnett ejected last night for laughing (GASP!!!)? Tommy Heinsohn‘s health. I mean, it’s only the preseason, and he almost blew a gasket. Only Tommy could sum up the rule so succinctly: “NBA: It’s Stupid!”

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski challenged the league’s stars — and therefore the biggest draws (cha-ching!) — to dare the refs to eject them from regular-season games. Fans won’t be too happy if they pay big bucks for the Celtics-Heat showdown on opening night (tickets are going for as much as $8,950), and LeBron James or KG are tossed a few minutes into the game.

Even before Jermaine O’Neal got a second tech in as many nights for (barely) reacting to a whistle last night, he expressed his concern over the stricter rules to Wojnarowski:

‘€œThese new rules are very, very excessive. They’€™re telling us the general public says we whine too much, but look at the way the NBA’€™s business is growing globally. I can see both sides of this. No one wants to see complaining over every call, but look at the rules. You can’€™t even make a hand gesture — never mind say anything. It’€™s going to be interesting to see the first two weeks of the season and how all this slows the pace.

‘€œThe message we’€™re getting is that this is about cleaning up the perceptions of the NBA. We never really know the reasons. We’€™re just a product out there that gets the memos.’€

Just what the NBA needs: Referees with more power.

SHAQ’S WORD OF THE DAY: ‘PAU GASOLISH’

Video killed the radio star, and Shaquille O’Neal killed the true center. The New York media crowded around Shaq last night in hopes of getting a few precious gems from The Big Shamrock. And they obviously got them.

“I think I killed off all the centers, and now all the centers want to play the European-style basketball. There’s only 1.5 or 2 real centers left, Dwight Howard and Yao Ming. Every now and then Yao Ming steps outside and wants to shoot jumpers, but it’s gone more toward the European style. The days of Patrick Ewing and Rik Smits and Kevin Duckworth and Robert Parish, those days are over, thanks to me.”

“I’ve never lost a series to a guy shooting jumpers — besides Pau [Gasol], but Pau has a couple of extra weapons with him. There hasn’t been a center that has won shooting jumpers. Pau is 60-40 — 60 inside and 40 shooting jumpers. So I think the centers are getting a little more Pau Gasolish.”

Shaq also reiterated his team goal (a 5th ring) and revealed his individual goal: passing Wilt Chamberlain in scoring. He trails Wilt by 3,164 points, so he’d have to average 19.3 points, playing all 82 games in each of the two seasons on his contract. The C’s can only hope.

AMERICA’S MOST WANTED … BALD MEN

KG and Shaq both made GQ Magazine’s list of the 100 Most Powerful Bald Men in America. Whoever made the list demonstrated their vast knowledge of NBA history by calling KG a three-time MVP, even though he only won one (in 2004).

Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and Jeff Van Gundy also made the list. If those four took a picture together, I’m not sure I could pick Van Gundy out of the lineup.

Wait a second, Vin Diesel made the list, and I didn’t? I’ve been rocking the bald look as a white guy since my hairline started running away from my face in college. A little respect.

VON WAFER WANTS MORE

Von Wafer is in jeopardy of failing to make the Celtics roster, but that’s not stopping him. According to SLAM Magazine, he not only wants a roster spot; he wants playing time: ‘€œI’€™m not just trying to make it; I’€™m trying to play, too. Just making it is not enough for me.’€

That might be a tall order for an offense-first scorer who isn’t scoring … unless the C’s suffer six injuries at the guard spot.

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)

Read More: Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal, Tommy Heinsohn
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