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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.

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Read More: Celtics, Kevin Garnett, NBA,
Celtics: Irish Coffee 09.28.10 at 7:35 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Yesterday, the Celtics held their annual Media Day extravaganza, leading into today’s training camp kickoff. Check out the top five quotes that came out of a day that featured Shaq donning green for the first time …

Kendrick Perkins on Game 7 vs. the Lakers: “If I would have played we would have won for sure. By double-figures.”

Shaquille O’Neal on Kobe Bryant’s five rings: “Yeah, I heard it. My whole career I’ve been the measuring stick. Glad to see I’m still relevant. I would’ve been more upset, more hurt, if Tim Duncan would’ve made the comment. I don’t compete with guards. They have the ball more than I do, they shoot way more than I do. You can’t compete with guards. I’m only competing with Tim Duncan, so hopefully I can get No. 5 before Tim Duncan, respectfully before Tim Duncan.”

Kevin Garnett on the 2010-11 season: “I’m really excited, really excited. I don’t like us, I love us. I like how we are, I like our depth, and I’m eager to start.”

Jermaine O’Neal on his new team: “I haven’t walked into a locker room where we talked about winning a championship and a championship only in a long time.”

Delonte West on the truth of the LeBron’s mom rumors: “Not at all. I come from an era where you don’t say nothing bad about someone’s parent, so not at all.”

Nate Robinson hijinks

On the bus ride down to training camp in Newport, Nate Robinson played a few pranks on his sleeping teammates–including Shaq, KG and Delonte–and he posted the pictures to prove it on his Twitter page. Funny stuff.

Antoine Walker’s unemployment

Just a fantastic piece on Antoine Walker by David Aldridge. It’s blunt. He cited one coach who called the former first-round pick “a bad guy in Boston.” Walker touched on his gambling problem and how a “terrible decision” to invest in Chicago real estate led to losses in the double-digit millions. He talked about how he’s had to shrink his inner-circle to a select few, which includes M.L. Carr. After ballooning to almost 300 pounds, Walker is back down to about 265 and looking for a job. So far, though, he’s been turned down by everybody, including the Heat, who he won a championship with in 2006.

“He is a long, long way from the Shimmy and the three All-Star appearances,” writes Aldridge, “and the days he and Paul Pierce were the Celtics’ future, and the day that he signed an extension in Boston that should have taken care of his family for life. There’s no buzz that I can detect that there’s a team interested, so Walker will wait and see if someone goes down during camp and a team needs a body. He wouldn’t mind a camp invite just so he can stay in shape, even if there’s not a real prospect of a job.

“And if it ends for him here? Well, he’s been poor before.”

Paul Pierce, the blogger

Pierce posted a blog on the Boston.com website yesterday. He described how meaningful his high school jersey retirement ceremony.

“Of all the things in my career,” he wrote, “going back to Inglewood High School and having my jersey retired this week in front of my family and friends and the people in my community who supported me from the beginning, was one of the most memorable.”

Considering his career includes an NBA title, that’s saying a lot.

Celtics Late Night Show

Listen to our own Paul Flannery on the Celtics Late Night Show by Gino’s Jungle. He touches on all things green, including Media Day, why fans will like Jermaine O’Neal, Shaq’s star quality, KG’s health, why Rajon Rondo doesn’t watch basketball and the addition of Lawrence Frank to the coaching staff.

Read More: Antoine Walker, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
Celtics: Morning Irish Coffee 09.24.10 at 9:11 am ET
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Interesting read from Fan House on former Celtics guard Nate Archibald, who hopes to become the only guy on the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players list to earn a Ph.D. in education. A member of Boston’s 1981 championship team, Tiny entered the NBA in 1970 without a college degree, earning his bachelor’s degree at UTEP during summers off and getting his master’s at night from Fordham.

“It might not be a big deal to some people, but to me, getting the Ph.D. will be my greatest accomplishment,” said Archibald in the piece. “I’m no Einstein, that’s for sure, and I’m not smarter than anyone else, but maybe I’ve been more persistent. And I understand the value of education.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m shocked to learn that most NBA players don’t have a Ph.D. Are we sure that Ron Artest isn’t putting diplomas on his walls?

NBA Jersey Sales

For the third straight season, Kobe Bryant tops the NBA’s list of highest-selling jerseys, but the Celtics placed three players in the league’s top 15: 3. Kevin Garnett; 8. Paul Pierce; and 11. Nate Robinson. As a team, the Celtics rank No. 2 behind the Lakers in jersey sales. Semih Erden and Von Wafer are yet to crack the top 15.

NBA 2K11 Player Ratings

The NBA 2K11 video game released its player ratings for each team’s projected starting five. The Celtics have the third-highest average rating (80.2) in the game, behind the Heat and Lakers (tied at 82.2).

Rajon Rondo (87) is Boston’s highest-rated player and the league’s fourth-ranked point guard (behind Dwyane Wade-97, Chris Paul-95 and Deron Williams-92).  No surprise there. Everywhere else? That’s a different question.

Pierce (83) is the sixth-rated player at his position (behind Andre Iguadola and Gerald Wallace?). Garnett ranks eighth among power forwards (behind David Lee and Josh Smith?). Ray Allen is the 12th-ranked shooting guard (behind OJ Mayo, Stephen Jackson and Vince Carter?). And Kendrick Perkins (72 when healthy) is ranked 16th among centers (behind Greg Oden, Marc Gasol, Ben Wallace and Andrea Bargnani?).

Celtics Scratch Ticket

The Celtics haven’t been in the NBA lottery since 2007, but they released a scratch ticket called “Celtics Cash.” Apparently, there’s more than $20 million dollars in prizes, so the good news for fans is that combined they’ll make less than Garnett ($21.2 million) this season!

NBA’s New Uniforms

The NBA unveiled new uniforms for all 30 teams. Don’t worry. They’re just lighter fitting, like when George Costanza introduced cotton unis to the Yankees. The Celtics are one of three teams–along with the Bulls and Blazers–that will stick with the traditional round-neck tanktop look, as opposed to the v-neck cutoff sleeves look. They’ll also be returning the tiny shorts that Nate Archibald used to wear. Just kidding.

Read More: Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant
Ainge: We like our talent 09.23.10 at 1:14 pm ET
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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 »

Read More: Danny Ainge, Delonte West, Kevin Garnett, Marquis Daniels
Look back: Shaq, Celtics teammates before 08.04.10 at 11:45 pm ET
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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:

Read More: Boston Celtics, Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
Catching up with Glen Davis 07.16.10 at 12:53 am ET
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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: ‘€œI 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.’€

‘€œFamily’€ Reunion: ‘€œIt 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? ‘€œI 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: ‘€œI’€™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: ‘€œThey 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.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Glen Davis, Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett
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