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Irish Coffee: Ron Artest guarantees title 10.12.10 at 9:15 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Ron Artest is pretty confident the Lakers will repeat as NBA champions. He practically guaranteed it in a recent Tweet, claiming he’ll give away his second ring to whoever writes the best essay “on how we can make America better” (he’s already scheduled to auction off his 2009-10 championship ring to benefit mental-health causes).

Where does this competition rank in prestige among essay contests? It probably falls somewhere between the Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contest and the John F. Kennedy library’s Profile in Courage Essay Contest, right? Artest, after all, is the same guy who wrote such lyrical poetry as “Booty Wooty” …

Now I might be quick to get a tech,
But I keep my girls in check,
Punch ‘em in the neck
With the utmost respect.

Talk about making America a better place, huh? Hypocrisy at its finest.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Ron Artest, Shaquille O'Neal
Practice report: The Celtic way 10.11.10 at 3:42 pm ET
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It was a half hour or so after practice had concluded and Kevin Garnett was finished with his customary individual workout. As he looked up from his own efforts, Garnett saw Semih Erden going through the paces on pick and roll defense. Garnett called over to assistant coach Kevin Eastman and asked him to, “get Luke,” as in Harangody, the Celtics other rookie big man.

Dripping with sweat and slightly out of breath, Garnett gathered the two together and began a tutorial as only Garnett can. He wanted them to talk loud. No, louder. Let there be no doubt which way they were showing, Garnett told them in no uncertain terms.

Erden had been too quiet on Sunday against the Raptors, and in one instance he let Rajon Rondo get steamrolled by a screen. The lesson took no more than 10 minutes and left little time for pleasantries or niceties. That’s just fine with Harangody who relishes this kind of attention from Garnett.

“He’€™s not really yelling,” Harangody said after the Raptors game. “He’€™s teaching. I like that, to be honest.”

“He helps the ones he likes,” Doc Rivers said. “Kevin is great. Kevin tries to help every big in here. If that big doesn’€™t listen to him one time, he’€™ll never speak to him again. Literally one time. That has happened a couple of times. Those two guys that he did that to are no longer here and that may be one of the reasons. That’€™s Kevin, when you talk about the Celtic Way, whatever that is, just say Kevin Garnett, and you’€™re pretty much there. Everything he does and says is about the team.”

Garnett’s little demonstration was a perfect example of the “Celtic Way,” for lack of a better phrase. It has been standard operating procedure around this team since Garnett arrived with Ray Allen and set about with Rivers and Paul Pierce “changing the culture,” to use another over-worked cliche.

“It’s not for everyone,” Rivers said. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Kevin Garnett, Luke Harangody, Nate Robinson, Semih Erden
Celtics bond at Fenway 10.09.10 at 4:03 pm ET
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The fact that the Celtics gathered at Fenway Park on their off day for an impromptu softball game is perhaps less noteworthy than the identity of the organizer. That would be Rajon Rondo, who has been criticized at times for not knowing when to assert his authority as the team’s point guard in a room full of Hall of Famers.

“It was Rondo’€™s deal,” Doc Rivers said. “It was great. The Red Sox are great to us. They gave us the field and we went out and played.”

Paul Pierce called it “one of the best days of my life.” Kevin Garnett said it was, “a dream come true.”

No question, the Celtics are having a good time getting to know one another.

“We’€™re having a blast,” Garnett said. “We come in here and bust each other’€™s [butt.]. Doc he lets us be competitive and be who we are and then off the court we try to get to know each other. It just so happens that we got more people that Tweet more than anything on this team than anybody in the league. That’€™s why y’€™all know what’€™s going on in the locker room, but we’€™re having a good time. We work hard but also we play hard.”

The softball game followed movie night in Newport, assorted team dinners and a duck boat tour. One of Garnett’s tenets is that teams that know each other off the floor are better able to relate with one another when they’re working on the court.

“It certainly doesn’€™t hurt,” he said. “The more you do together, the more activities you have together, the more you get to know one another, the more one-on-one’€™s you have with each other. … You come together for this common goal, so far so good.”

Rondo was apparently voted the MVP of the game, while Jermaine O’Neal surprised everyone with his swing. As for Garnett, he played left in the shadow of Ted Williams, Yaz, Jim Rice and Manny Ramirez. Judging by his own description, Theo Epstein shouldn’t have him on speed dial.

“Danny [Ainge] hit a couple to me,” Garnett said. “Some I dropped, some I didn’€™t. Good day. 50-50. I’€™ll take it. It was fun day. Beautiful day at Fenway. Dream come true. I felt like I was 10 years old.”

Read More: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo,
Shaq vs. Nate Robinson, again 10.02.10 at 1:29 pm ET
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Dear Shaq and KG,

Please don’t kill Nate Robinson. He could be useful this season.

Thanks,
Ben

Read More: Kevin Garnett, Nate Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal,
Rivers on D&C: ‘Let’s do it year to year’ 09.30.10 at 9:48 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show to talk about the upcoming season. Rivers discussed a number of topics, including the early odds that he wouldn’t be back in Boston after last season, and how the new additions will help the team.

“The last three years have been a joy,” Rivers said. “I’ve been allowed to coach. I’ve been allowed to tell them to do things. They’ve done them, and so when you get a group like that you want to extend that group. Now we’ve added some more guys; Shaq, Jermaine, and I’m hoping they’re the same way, and I think they will be.”

[To hear the full interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.]

Odds were that you wouldn’t be back as coach after last season. What changed in the offseason that made you want to come back?

Well, I just delayed it for a year. Honestly guys, I had shipped my car home, most of my clothes home, so at that point, you were right. The reason I kept saying I can’t a decision doing this in the year, is because it’s too emotional, number one, you’re too close to it. Getting away was good for me, it was good for my family.

We’re sitting around, and the two kids are in high school, and the first thing they said was, ‘Listen, this is not on us, number one. And you’re a coach, that’s what you do.’ My young one was the best, he actually said it. He said, ‘I can’t imagine you leaving the group that you have.’ He said I would feel awful about that if you left Kevin Garnett and that group.

And my wife thought the same thing, so that part of it was easy. And then the second part for me, was do you want to come back and do it? I love what I do, I love the guys that I coach, and you guys have been around this longer than me I’m going to say. You don’t get special groups a lot when you’re a coach, and you should try to extend it as long as you can.

The way Danny [Ainge] has lined things up, it seems players have been signed for two years for the most part. You’re just talking about one year.

Yeah, you know, I told Danny and them, I didn’t want to go through the extension and walk away. I said let’s just do it year to year. That’s what it’s going to be anyway. The risk is on me, really. It’s not them. You know, Wyc [Grousbeck] and the owners, they offered a long deal, and it wasn’t anything that I didn’t like, it was great. I just thought it would be right by them to not walk out of a deal. I thought it would be better to just do a year-to-year deal. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Doc Rivers, Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
Training camp report: Getting defensive 09.29.10 at 5:08 pm ET
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NEWPORT, R.I. — A day after working through sweltering conditions at Salve Regina, a bit of normalcy returned to the Celtics on the second day of their workouts. Doc Rivers felt that it was a good, crisp practice and the focus was on–what else?– defense.

Tom Thibodeau is no longer with them, having left to coach the Bulls, but don’t expect the Celtics to change much defensively.

“We’ll keep it the same,” Rivers said. “Thibs and I toward the end of last year wanted to make some changes, but it was in the middle of the year so we decided not to. So we’€™ll make those changes now as a group. Other than that there will be very few changes.”

There are two points of emphasis for the C’s in camp. They want to lower their opponents field goal percentage and pressure the ball fullcourt. The two things are related.

“We went from No. 1 in field goal percentage defense to No. 9 last year,” Rivers said. “We want to get that back to No. 1. We have to pressure more. Our first year and a half we pressured the ball up the floor. Kevin [Garnett] was up the floor pressuring. Due to Kevin’€™s injury we got away from that completely.”

Garnett looks healthy in the early days of camp. “Night and day,” is how Rivers put it. “He’€™s explosive again, especially defensively.”

Without fullcourt pressure, the Celtics gave teams the whole 24 seconds on the shot clock to get into their offense and that left them defending for 18-19 seconds in the halfcourt. Rivers wants to see that down to 12-14 seconds.

“We really didn’€™t pressure the ball up the floor,” Rivers said. “You got [Rajon] Rondo on the floor and Kevin to shadow and we couldn’€™t do it last year. That’€™s a huge concession for our team.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Delonte West, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal, Von Wafer
Kevin Garnett on D&C: Offseason a ‘dark place’ at 11:37 am ET
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Celtics forward Kevin Garnett spoke with Dennis & Callahan at Celtics media day in an interview that aired on Wednesday morning’s show. Garnett spoke of the depressed mood he was in following the Celtics’ NBA finals Game 7 loss to the Lakers.

Said Garnett: “Very dark, to be honest, dark. ‘Just leave me alone, let me be my myself. I don’t want to deal with anything right now. Let me just be in a dark place.’ Just the way I replay the game over and over in my mind, trying to get a resolution to some type of place to where you can settle with it. I never found it, but that’s what it is. I say it’s fuel to the fire.”

Garnett said his passion for the game though has not waned throughout the years. “I feel older in the fact that I’ve played for multiple years,” he said. “But when it comes to competing, being in shape, passion ‘€” none of those things are lacking, not with me. When I get out on the floor, man, I’m going to compete. I wear my heart on my sleeve with anything that I do, anyway. Basketball is one of the things I enjoy in this world, so it’s like I’m having a tryout here. When I work out, I work out to better myself, to better my craft. Basketball is pure enjoyment for me.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To listen to the full interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

When you’€™re done ‘€” whenever that is ‘€” will it be physical or emotional? Will it be that passion that goes first or will it be the knees?

I think it will be physical. When I retire, it will probably be because I’€™m hurting on a regular basis. I’€™m a passionate guy. Anyone who knows me or hangs out with me, they know that if I’€™m playing a video game or telling a story or something, I’€™m passionate about it.

How come nobody knows you, other than your family and friends? You’€™re pretty private, people don’€™t know much about you. Ray Allen is out playing golf, Shaq is everywhere already, but you don’€™t see much of Kevin Garnett.

Those guys like to be seen, I like to be in the back.

Are you shy?

I wouldn’€™t say shy, I’€™m just private. I think to get to know anybody is a moment. I look at life like, guys get to see me perform, play ball, a lot of things that we do are on blast anyways. So, the little private life that I do have I like to keep it private. I don’€™t like to ‘€” you know, I don’€™t have a Twitter, I don’€™t have a Facebook. It’€™s not that I’€™m not social. I’€™m social, but I like to be social with the people I know.

I just feel like everybody out here is not for you. If you let everybody in, you let those people in with that. I just prefer to have my circle tight and have my family and friends close to me. That’€™s how I like to interact and be around people. Shaq has the personality, his personality’€™s so big that you can’€™t really withhold that. Ray is a good golfer. I guess he likes people to see his swing or whatever. I’€™m just to the back. If I go out and go somewhere I like to sit down and chill. I’€™m not a rah-rah guy, I’€™m rah-rah when I’€™m on the court. I’€™m pretty laid back.

Read the rest of this entry »

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