|Ainge: We like our talent||09.23.10 at 1:14 pm ET|
QUINCY — Speaking to reporters before the Celtics annual golf fundraiser to support The Shamrock Foundation, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge noted: “I think this is the most talented team we’ve had in quite a while. Now it’s just a matter of it all coming together.”
Never one to tip his hand, Ainge acknowledged that the team has been bringing in players such as Rashad McCants and Adam Morrison (who just agreed to a training camp deal with the Wizards), but said, “We may be all done, and we may not.”
Where the Celtics are thin is at the backup wing position behind Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Ainge brought in Delonte West and Von Wafer, and re-signed Marquis Daniels to primarily fill those roles. West and Daniels, in particular, seem to have the inside track.
“Had we not had the [Kendrick Perkins] injury, maybe our focus would have been on backup wings for Paul and Ray,” Ainge said. “It was still a priority. After we got our center positions filled, bringing in Delonte and Nate [Robinson], I think were huge just to take minutes off of [Rajon] Rondo and Paul and Ray. I think we have great depth now in bringing Marquis back.”
On the subject of Daniels, it hardly seemed a given that he would return to Boston after falling out of favor, and the rotation, following a mid-season thumb injury. Ainge, however, sounded an optimistic note about his contributions.
“It didn’t work out for him [last year],” Ainge said. “Tony [Allen] earned the minutes, but coming out of training camp Marquis won those minutes. Marquis outplayed all of our bench players throughout October, November and December until he had the [thumb] injury. We know what Marquis is capable of doing.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Look back: Shaq, Celtics teammates before||08.04.10 at 11:45 pm ET|
When Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal suit up for the Celtics next season, there will be some familiarity with their new teammates on the court. Both played with Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the 2004 and 2005 NBA All-Star Games.
In 2004, Pierce (Celtics) and Jermaine O’Neal (Pacers) represented the East while Garnett (Timberwolves), Allen (SuperSonics), and Shaquille O’Neal (Lakers) played for the West. Shaq (24 points, 11 rebounds) took home MVP honors as the West won, 136-132, in Los Angeles.
The following year, Shaquille O’Neal changed conferences and joined Pierce and Jermaine O’Neal on the East team as a member of the Heat. Garnett and Allen played for the West. Allen led all players with 17 points and Jermaine O’Neal tied MVP Allen Iverson with 15 for the East. The East won, 125-115, in Denver.
Check out the video of Garnett and Shaq from the 2004 All-Star Game:
|Catching up with Glen Davis||07.16.10 at 12:53 am ET|
LAS VEGAS — WEEI.com caught up with Glen Davis while he is training with Joe Abunassar at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas. He talked about the Celtics’ upcoming season, free agent moves, and a new trio in South Beach.
Optimistic Outlook: “I think we’re going to do well [next season]. We have a lot of pieces back. With Ray Allen being back, I’m really happy he came back. I’m also happy that Paul [Pierce] came back. We have KG and then we just added Jermaine O’Neal. There’s a lot of other pieces that we need to put together, but I think Danny [Ainge] and the front office are going to make sure we have the team, the players, and it’s all about just gelling together and making sure it happens.”
“Family” Reunion: “It was great. To see [Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen] come back means a lot. Especially what it means to them, and that’s what it’s all about. We’re family. Everybody knows that. We’ve been together, we’ve been through the ups and downs. We’ve been through the trenches and we’ve just got to make sure we do what we have to do.”
Shrek and Donkey 2.0? “I love Nate [Robinson]. He brings a whole realm to the team that most players can’t bring. I just hope that he finds a place to play, and if it’s not with us, that [stinks], but if it’s with us that’s great. I would love to play with Nate.”
A Big Help: “I’ve known Jermaine [O’Neal] since I was in college. He’s a great player. He’s done a lot of things in the NBA, he’s an All-Star-caliber player, he’s been on that level before. He’s a great post up guy. You can always learn something from him, so I’m glad he’s on our team and he can definitely help us.”
No Sweating the Heat: “They have a Big Three, we have a Big Three. We have players that are capable of making big shots and playing big minutes; they have players that are capable of doing all that. So I’m not really worried about the Miami Heat. They still have to put the team together and make it gel. And that’s what it’s all about — chemistry — and it takes more than three players to win a championship. And everybody knows that. So there’s no worrying. We’re just ready to play.”
|Now healthy, winning the priority for O’Neal||07.14.10 at 5:57 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Jermaine O’Neal came clean on why he struggled so mightily against the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs this past season. The new C’s center said he was kicked in the left ankle in a March 11 contest against the Knicks, which led to it being “extremely swollen.” He tried toughing it out in the playoffs, but the results weren’t pretty, as he average just 4.2 points and 5.6 rebounds and saw the Heat fall in five games.
“You go out there, you’re telling your team, you’re telling your followers that you’re ready to play, and whatever excuse you have should be kept in the locker room, so I chose not to talk about it because it didn’t really matter,” O’Neal said. “I still felt like I could go out there and help the team. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do it. It was just one of those things.”
Both he and Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said that he is healthy, and O’Neal now looks forward to embracing a new environment in Boston as he enters his 15th season in the league.
“One thing I admired about the Boston Celtics team was the coaching and also the way the players played together, it was very selfless on the court,” O’Neal said. “They compete at a very high level on both ends of the floor. They don’t really care who gets the credit for scoring or rebounding or whatever it may be, they just kind of play together and play to win.”
O’Neal said he looked at the way Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett united in Boston for a chance at a first ring, and that his decision was strongly based on their line of thinking, saying, “I thought those guys [were] at a position in their career where I’m kind of at that same position.”
With starting center Kendrick Perkins out for the time being with torn MCL and PCL ligaments, the popular line of thinking has been that O’Neal will be the starting center until whenever Perkins returns (sometime in early 2011, whether it be January of February) and that he will then spell both Perkins and Garnett in a reserve role with Glen Davis.
Given what O’Neal has been able to accomplish in his career statistically, it might be hard to imagine a six-time All-Star turning down other offers for a potential job off the bench. Still, despite coming close to averaging a double-double from 2000 to 2007, O’Neal is extremely content with his new role.
“It’s not about options, it’s about winning,” O’Neal said. “That’s what it really boils down to. I’m not at a point in my career where I need to worry about that. I’ve been on an Olympic team, I’ve had Nike campaigns, I’ve had All-Star games, All-NBA’s and I don’t have an NBA finals appearance, which is the most important thing to me and that’s what I really value the most right now.
“Sometimes as players we kind of take for granted that it’s going to keep happening. All those great years in Indiana, you couldn’t have told me that I would go five straight years of basically talking about – going into camp – talking about just making the playoffs. It’s a big difference when you come into camp talking about a championship run and talking about trying to make the first round.”
There could be a string of factors that could make the road bumpier than some would hope, whether it be keeping everyone happy, fighting off injuries, or dealing with O’Neal’s old team, now fully equipped with Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, but it’s quite clear the center is all smiles and glad to be in Boston.
|Celtics video: C’s react to loss||06.18.10 at 7:12 am ET|
LOS ANGELES — Celtics players speak to the media following the team’s Game 7 loss to the Lakers in the NBA finals.
|5 Things that Went Wrong in Game 7||at 12:07 am ET|
The Celtics lost Game 7 of the NBA Finals to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Thursday night, 83-79, falling short of their 18th championship. Here are five things that went wrong in the deciding game. (Click here for a recap of the Celtics’ loss.)
1. The Celtics gave it away - The Celtics were in control. They had the momentum and the confidence to get it done … before they let it all slip away. The Celtics led by 10 with seven minutes to go in the third quarter and had taken away the Lakers biggest weapon. But they began to miss shots and the Lakers were there to grab the rebounds. The C’s scored just three points in the final four minutes of the quarter and only led by four going into the final 12 minutes. The Lakers immediately got within two points seconds into the fourth, while the Celtics did not score for nearly three minutes. Bryant made three free throws to cut the Celtics advantage to one, and banked another two minutes later to give the Lakers the lead. Bryant scored four consecutive points to pull the Lakers ahead by four with 5:22 left, and they never looked back. The Celtics played catch up for the rest of the game as Bryant, Ron Artest, and Pau Gasol made critical baskets.
2. Kobe Bryant - The Celtics have battled past superstars the entire postseason, each time prevailing with team basketball. But after defeating Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Dwight Howard, they could not overcome the individual performance of Kobe Bryant. The Celtics held Bryant to just eight points (3-14 FG) in 22 minutes in the first half. When Bryant began to find his rhythm, though, the C’s failed to find an answer. Bryant scored 15 points in the second half, including four straight to tie the game and give the Lakers the lead with less than six minutes left. He finished the night with 23 points. It wasn’t his best offensive performance, but he made the shots when it counted.
3. Rebounding – The Celtics have said the entire series that the team that wins the rebounding war wins the game. On Thursday, they won neither. The Lakers outrebounded the Celtics, 53-40, including 23 offensive boards. This can’t be pinned on the injury of Kendrick Perkins, either. He alone doesn’t account for a 13-rebound differential. The Celtics had players capable of rebounding, but in the end, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant combined for 33 boards while only Paul Pierce rebounded in double-digits for the C’s. Kevin Garnett, who the Celtics desperately needed defensively, grabbed just three rebounds.
4. Ray Allen - His monumental 3-point performance is all but forgotten after Ray Allen’s offensive struggles continued through Game 7. Allen shot just 3-for-14 from the field and scored 13 points. While he deserves credit for playing tough D on Bryant, his lack of production at the basket hurt the Celtics in a situation where they needed everyone scoring at full potential.
5. They Played Lakers Ball - The Celtics dominated the first half by feeding off their fundamentals of tough defense and team basketball. In the second half, however, it became showtime for Bryant and the Lakers. The Celtics failed to put together productive offensive possessions, rushed shots, and attempted forced baskets. In the end, they were forced to put the Lakers at the line, where they were outscored 25-15. They C’s began the season by beating the Cavaliers in Cleveland with Celtics basketball, and ended it by losing to the Lakers in Los Angeles by falling victim to their opponent’s game.
|C’s veterans call a meeting||06.16.10 at 2:50 am ET|
LOS ANGELES — In the late moments of Game 6, the television cameras caught a glimpse of a conversation on the Celtics bench between their veteran players. That conversation carried over to the locker room and while the details are murky, the point was clear.
“We take complete responsibility,” Ray Allen said. “We just put us in a hole early. It affects our bench. We didn’t give them any great rhythm, any great chemistry. I think we talked about our defense and how we allowed so many points, but I think it stemmed from the offense because we didn’t make the extra pass. Each individual tried to make the home run play early.”
Oddly enough, the veterans finally put together solid shooting nights in the same game. Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett combined to go 19-for-42 and score 44 points. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider the rest of the team shot 9-for-42 and scored just 23, they accounted for a sizable portion of the Celtics limited production.
All the veterans know that this may be their final chance at winning another ring, and given the uncertainty surrounding the summer, it may be their final chance together in the same uniform.
Pierce said he was keeping the conversation in-house, while Garnett said it was nothing. But one thing is certain: They don’t want to go out like they did in Game 6.
“As a unit, starting unit, we take responsibility,” Allen said. “We have to do a better job for next game.”