|Irish Coffee: The Celtics’ bench struggles||12.21.10 at 12:16 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …
Remember when a lot of people — including me — believed the Celtics had the best bench in the NBA? Well, they don’t. At least not now.
The second unit that C’s head coach Doc Rivers had cultivated to give his veteran starters their much-needed rest throughout the 82-game NBA season was supposed to look like this: Nate Robinson, Delonte West, Marquis Daniels, Glen Davis and Shaquille O’Neal.
On paper, that lineup looks good. Very good. Unfortunately, wrists, ankles and knees aren’t made out of paper. As a result, the Celtics’ reserves rank 24th out of 30 NBA teams, according to Hoopsstats.com‘s efficiency differential.
West’s suspension and subsequent broken wrist have kept him out of all but five games. Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal have been a pain in the knee, missing a combined 28 games and vaulting a third-string guy (Semih Erden) into four starts. And Rajon Rondo‘s feet, hamstring and ankle soreness, tweaks and sprains haven’t helped, either, forcing one of the original sencond unit’s go-to scorers (Robinson) into a starting role six times.
Put those injuries to paper, and the Celtics’ bench has produced better than only one team that would be in the postseason if the playoffs started today — the Trail Blazers, who have had more injuries than King Leonidas‘ men in the movie “300.”
Here’s where the C’s reserves rank in the league statistically per game this season:
Rebounds: 25th (22nd defensive/30th offensive)
Field-goal percentage: 1st
3-point field goal percentage: 23rd
Free-throw percentage: 19th
And here’s where their opponents’ bench’s production against them ranks:
|Happy 54th birthday, Larry Bird!||12.07.10 at 5:30 pm ET|
Happy 54th birthday to one of the greatest basketball players — and worst actors — of all-time: Larry Bird! The Celtics legend and current Pacers president only eclipsed 54 points once in his career, scoring 60 against the Hawks on March 12, 1985.
|Doc Rivers backs Kevin Garnett’s version||11.03.10 at 7:59 pm ET|
Doc Rivers said he was standing next to Kevin Garnett when he said whatever it was that he said to Charlie Villanueva Tuesday night and the coach stands by his player’s account. “I’m not going to go off on a tangent on this whole thing,” Rivers said before the C’s played the Bucks. “I actually heard what Kevin said. I was standing right there. What he released is what he said. I’m going to leave it at that.”
Villanueva wrote on his Twitter account: “KG called me a cancer patient.”
Garnett responded in a statement: “My comment to Charlie Villanueva was in fact ‘You are cancerous to your team and our league.’”
Rivers didn’t care for the way Villanueva handled the situation. “I used to play and I can’t imagine us running and talking about what was said,’ Rivers said. He then joked, “Larry [Bird] has said some terrible stuff to me and I’m still hurt by it. There are times when guys do cross the line, but you get over that too. I don’t think talking about what guys said during the game… I just don’t find a place for it.”
Rivers acknowledged that he’s uncomfortable with Twitter and the Celtics have a roster full of players who actively tweet.
“What we try to tell them is it’s your life and have fun and all that, but what goes on [with] the team stays on the team,” Rivers said. “I think so far they’ve been pretty good with it, but this is a new generation and we’re going to continue to have problems with this until we figure it out.”
|A day for Celtics Game 5 success?||05.26.10 at 12:11 am ET|
On Wednesday, the Celtics will look to wrap up the Eastern Conference finals in Game 5 against the Magic in Orlando.
If they are able to do so, it would not be the first time a Celtics team has pulled off a significant Game 5 win on May 26.
On May 26, 1987, Larry Bird infamously stole an inbounds pass from Isiah Thomas and dished to Dennis Johnson for the game-winning basket against the Detroit Pistons in the Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.
The Celtics went on the win the series in seven games before ultimately falling to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
(Click here for extended footage.)
|Rivers embraces Celtics history||05.21.10 at 4:15 pm ET|
WALTHAM — History and tradition are wonderful, but there are times when the burden can be too great. Times when the ones who built that legacy feel the need to defend it, and in so doing, wind up taking shots at the current structure. Take the Chicago Bears who are getting criticism from Gale Sayers, among others.
The Celtics are one of the most unique franchises in all of sports, and their past is always playing with the present.
Take Paul Pierce’s epic Game 7 showdown with LeBron James in the 2008 playoffs. The immediate comparison, of course, was to Larry Bird in 1988 against Dominique Wilkins and the Hawks. It’s hard to create your own path when everything has already been done before your time.
But the Celtics embrace their history, and it helps that their alumni embrace it too; as history.
“Our guys are the best,” Doc Rivers said. “That’s the biggest thing that I tell people all the time. From afar you think, man you see all these ex-players around, are they still trying to hold on to their little piece? I don’t know about other organizations, actually I do, but this one is different. Our guys so much want you to do well because you’re a Celtic and they don’t worry about their legacy because they have championships too. I think it’s amazing. The best I’ve ever seen. [John] Havlicek, [Bill] Russell, all of them. When they come around all they tell you is that they want you and how to win.”
The video montage that runs before Celtics games features ex-Celtic greats from Red to Larry to Russ all speaking about their time in Boston as players and what it meant to them to be a Celtics. It’s a subtle reminder, although perhaps not that subtle, of the expectations.
“We brainwash [them] a little bit too and we do it on purpose,” Rivers said. “We show a lot of film of those guys. Larry Bird, some of the things he said, all the stuff about playing in Boston. The history of their voice, for [coaching purposes], is far better than the history of their play.”
|Movie critics||02.27.10 at 2:45 pm ET|
There was plenty of hype surrounding the debut of the HBO movie, “Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals.” Our own Jess Camerato summarized it.
On Friday, Celtics coach Doc Rivers thought his team could learn something more from that film rather than tape of their meltdown on Thursday against Cleveland.
“I just thought it was a good thing to watch,” Rivers said. “I saw it in L.A. the night before the Laker game and I loved it. I thought there were a lot of great things in it for our team, not just for our team but anyone who plays basketball or anybody who likes sports actually.
“I thought [Friday] was a good day. I didn’t think we needed work. I thought we needed to be together. So instead of watching us play, and I don’t know if anybody wanted to watch that, instead of watching a horror film, I decided to watch a good film.”
It unfortunately did not have the desired impact – at least initially – as the Celtics came out and played one of their flattest games of the season. They allowed the 5-52 Nets to outscore them 44-24 in the first half and take command, leading by as many 14 midway through the third.
“I don’t know if it had any effect short term,” Rivers said. “But I just thought it was a good day for us.
“We’ll see. It’s really good. There’s a lot of team stuff in it and just a lot of good messages in it, and more than just the Magic-Bird thing. I thought Bird was phenomenal because I thought it captured him exactly as he was.”
|Pierce officially in Three-Point Shootout||02.05.10 at 3:37 pm ET|
Paul Pierce is now officially among the field of six who will take part in the NBA Three-Point Shootout on Sat., Feb. 12, in Dallas. Pierce’s 46.7 percent from long range this year leads the group, though his 37.0 percent career rate from distance is the second worst among the six competitors, behind only 2009 champion Daequan Cook of the Heat.
No member of the Celtics has won since Larry Bird took each of the first three Three-Point Shootout titles, from 1986-88. Read the rest of this entry »
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