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Your daily Rajon Rondo update: With LeBron James 09.14.11 at 12:04 pm ET
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What, does Rajon Rondo have a private jet or something? One second the Inside Track has the Celtics point guard eating at Stephanie’s on Newbury in Boston over the weekend, and the next second LeBron James is tweeting around midnight on Tuesday about how he just got done practicing with the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, along with Wildcats alumni Rondo, Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins.

If you’ll remember, Rondo defended the Heat forward on several occasions this past season. In one instance, Rondo sparked a 20-3 run on his way to a triple-double during an 85-82 Celtics win. Of guarding James, Rondo said in February, “I was just trying to cut the head off the horse, just wanted to change the tempo of the game.”

Added Celtics coach Doc Rivers, “That matchup made no sense, honestly. And it hurt us a couple times. The only thing I saw honestly is that it gave us life. Because he was trying so hard and working so hard, it just sort of forced everybody else to join in. And even Lawrence [Frank] was like, ‘€˜We can’€™t do this!’€™ And I said, ‘€˜You’re right, but we’re just going to keep doing it.’€™ And it was good for us.”

As much as James is disliked by fans, it doesn’t appear many players hold any ill will towards him. As always, here’s the quick rundown of what has been an extremely busy offseason for Rondo …

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, LeBron James, Rajon Rondo,
Kevin Durant, LeBron James put on show as Jeff Green remains conspicuously absent from highlights 08.31.11 at 10:07 am ET
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While Kevin Durant and LeBron James stole the show in the much anticipated summer exhibition matchup between the Goodman League and the Melo League, Celtics restricted free agent forward Jeff Green was noticeably missing from any and all Twitter coverage, highlights packages and game stories.

Durant scored 59 points in defeat, while James netted 38 points in victory — seemingly all on dunks. Carmelo Anthony chipped in 36 points and Chris Paul tallied 18 points for the Melo All-Stars. To be fair, with so many NBA stars involved, it’s no wonder really that Green’s light shone least.

There are only two reasons we know Green even showed up: 1) He and Durant arrived late, delaying the game; and 2) This picture of Anthony cruising to the basket past him … Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Goodman League, Jeff Green, Kevin Durant
10 Things I Heard About Celtics IV 08.30.11 at 12:26 pm ET
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On another slow Celtics news day, there’€™s still plenty to learn about Boston’€™s green men. Here are 10 more C’€™s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (‘€œ10 Things I Heard About Celtics’€ III and III) ‘€¦

10. The success of the 1985-86 Celtics (67-15; 40-1 home; 15-3 playoffs) stemmed from not only talent but intellectualism, according to this recent NBA.com puff piece. The team featured six future NBA head coaches: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, Rick Carlisle and Sam Vincent. Not to mention quote machine Bill Walton. Here’s what McHale and Walton had to say on the subject …

  • Kevin McHale: “We had a lot of guys on that team who really knew the game and understood what it took and what it meant to play it the right way. I kinda took it for granted, thinking that was the way everybody played, because I had been around guys with the Celtics where everyone understood that. I probably realized for the first time that it wasn’t that way everywhere when Danny Ainge told me that other people couldn’t totally change their game plans during a timeout and then go right out onto the floor and execute it. It was after Danny got traded to Sacramento and he said that if that team didn’t work on something in practice for three days, there was no way they could do it in a game. We could devise a whole new scheme in a timeout and then just go do it. I guess everybody on that Celtics team just had a good basketball mind.”
  • Bill Walton: “Everyone constantly thought basketball. Everyone always played a mental game. Even though we were a team that physically had the tools necessary to be at highest level of the game, it was the mental edge that allowed that team to be so special.”

9. Reason No. 893 Celtics guard Ray Allen is cool: While every other NBA player is seemingly shopping himself overseas or making headlines in exhibition games against questionable competition, the 3-point king works on his golf game as if it were just another off-season.

Last month, Allen played in Lake Tahoe. Two weeks ago, in Connecticut. Next week, in New Jersey at the Liberty Cup Charity Golf Tournament with golfer Natalie Gulbis and “Desperate Housewives” star Kyle MacLachlan. All for charity.

I guess that’s why Allen was cast as Jesus Shuttlesworth in “He Got Game” and not someone like Kobe Bryant (interesting tidbit: Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury were reportedly approached for that role, but their agent wanted a guarantee that one of them would get the part).

8. As we’ve discussed previously, Austin Rivers and his Duke basketball teammates are traveling China and the United Arab Emirates, crushing every team in their path. Celtics head coach Doc Rivers is also with the team to watch his son make fools out of people internationally. Dubai newspaper Gulf News caught up with the pair that hopes to soon become the third father-son NBA duo in history (Jan Van Breda Kolff and Butch Van Breda Kolff; Mike Dunleavy Sr. and Mike Dunleavy Jr.). Here’s what Doc had to say about his son and vice versa … Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Austin Rivers, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James
Larry Bird on the Big Show: I never would have coached at old Garden 06.28.11 at 6:39 pm ET
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Celtics legend Larry Bird was a guest of The Big Show on Tuesday and he sat down with Glenn Ordway for a wide-ranging interview that touched on his job with the Pacers, how he feels about the modern game — and some of the players — and his memories of playing with the Celtics.

Bird also said that he never would have coached at the old Boston Garden.

“All my memories I just wanted them to be as a player,” Bird said. “Even here in Indiana, I told Donnie [Walsh] if the Garden was still up I would never go in there as an opposing coach and play the Celtics as an Indiana Pacer coach. I just couldn’t do that. But they tore it down and I got in there in the other Garden and it didn’t bother me as much.”

Asked if he would have handed over the team to his then-assistant coach Rick Carlisle, Bird laughed, “Carlisle did a lot of it anyway. No, I just wouldn’t have taken the job. I just couldn’t do that. I couldn’t see myself walking in the Boston Garden as a visitor. I just couldn’t do that.”

Listen to the whole interview on The Big Show audio on demand page. Here’s the rest of the transcription from the interview:

You haven’t made a lot of trips back [to Boston]. Is that by design or is that just how the schedule worked out?

Well, we’re pretty busy here and I try to get out there as much as I can, just never enough because my admiration I have for that city, it’s a great city, it’s a sports town. I always like to go back out there but an opportunity hadn’t arose as much as I’d like. But obviously I’m going to be there for a couple of days and I’ll probably enjoy it.

As you look back at the great period that you had with [the Celtics], is there anything you look back at and say, “I wish I had done this?”

Yeah, a couple more championships would have helped. You know in 1981 when we won our first championship, I looked at our team and I thought, “Boy, we got a chance here to win at least five championships.” And we had a couple years where we didn’t do as well. Starting in ’84, ’85, ’86, and ’87, we were well on our way to winning a lot of championships. Then all of a sudden the back issues started coming in and things started changing. I always felt that we had a good enough team to win five championships.

We played in five finals but we just won three, so that’s probably the most disappointing thing, but overall it was the greatest time of my life. It was something I loved and playing in a city that cared for their players and their teams, really it was a positive for me and I miss it. I miss being out there, I miss playing, but sometimes I forget I even played because it’s been so long. But it was a great experience for me, I grew up in Boston and met a lot of good people and obviously got to play for Red [Auerbach], and I had some good teammates. We were a good team out there. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dwight Howard, Larry Bird, LeBron James,
Talking Hoops, Episode 7: Bethlehem Shoals 06.18.11 at 10:15 am ET
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On the latest version of the Talking Hoops WEEI.com’s Paul Flannery is joined by Bethlehem Shoals the founder of FreeDarko.com and co-author of The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History.

Flannery and Shoals put a wrap on the 2010-11 season by examining the Heat, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and NBA narratives, while also pondering the future of Rajon Rondo.

Listen here: Talking Hoops, Episode 7

Read More: Bethlehem Shoals, Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, Rajon Rondo
Irish Coffee: Celtics playoff picture just a memory 05.12.11 at 1:00 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

In the end, the hated Heat executed and defended better. Essentially, they did everything the Celtics always used to do, except with younger, better and healthier players. Now, with another year of mileage on Boston’s Big Three’s old legs, the Celtics hope to make one more run against a Miami team that’s only going to improve.

Something’s gotta change. They need help at the center position. They need the No. 25 pick in the NBA draft to give them something. And they need to make a splash with their mid-level exception. This all assumes, of course, that there is an NBA season in 2011-12. As for Game 5 and its aftermath, The Associated Press pictures tell the whole story, so let’s let them (NOTE: click on the pictures in the rest of this entry to follow the links) …

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, LeBron James, Miami Heat
Fast Break: LeBron James, Heat bury the Celtics 05.11.11 at 9:49 pm ET
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A pair of 3-pointers, a fast break dunk off a steal and a driving layup by LeBron James in the final 2:10 capped a 16-0 run that gave the Heat a 97-87 victory Wednesday night and ended the Celtics season after five games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Nenad Krstic scored the C’s final points of the season, with 4:28 remaining, giving the Celtics an 87-81 lead. But James broke an 87-87 tie with 2:10 remaining, and then buried a go-ahead trey with 40 seconds left after Jeff Green mishandled a poor Paul Pierce pass. After a timeout, Delonte West turned the ball over and James put the game — and the C’s season — away with a dunk and a layup seconds later.

James finished with 33 points, and Dwyane Wade had 34 for the Heat. Ray Allen led the Celtics with 18 points.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Paul Pierce’s early foul trouble: With the Celtics leading by three and James cruising for a breakaway dunk, Pierce committed a truly ill-advised foul just 5:40 into the game. Not only that, but it was Pierce’s second personal, forcing coach Doc Rivers to give him an early hook before bringing him back for the second quarter. Pierce then picked up his third foul late in the second quarter and missed the final 1:44 of the half. He never got into a rhythm and couldn’t provide any physicality on the defensive end.

Dwyane Wade’s monster first half: While the rest of his teammates made just 6-of-24 first-half shots (25 percent), Wade buried 9-of-12 from the field and 5-of-9 from the free-throw line for 23 points before the break. While the Celtics shot 52.9 percent for the opening 24 minutes, the Heat trailed by only two points (49-47) at the half — thanks to Wade and the Heat’s 23-14 advantage in free-throw attempts. Wade had 15 foul shots in all, and overall, the Heat totaled free throws 38 to the Celtics’ 20.

Rondo’s health: At one point in the fourth quarter, both Rondo and Jermaine O’Neal were receiving back treatment on the sidelines. And how could you forget Rondo was already dealing with a dislocated left elbow that left him at 50-50 prior to the game? He did not play in the fourth quarter, finishing with six points and three assists, despite a valiant effort. O’Neal also missed the final quarter, totaling just three points and two boards.

Careless turnovers: Garnett and Pierce combined for seven turnovers, and the Celtics committed 17 in all — the majority of them seemingly unforced. Down 3-1 and on the road, the C’s couldn’t afford to give the Heat that many extra opportunities.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Getting KG involved early: The Heat crowd may have arrived late, as usual, but Garnett showed up right from the opening tip. He attacked the paint and scored nine of the Celtics’ first 13 points, finishing the first quarter with 12 points, five rebounds and two steals to help the C’s grab a 24-16 before the Heat and their fans even knew what hit them. Considering Garnett’s Game 3 success (28 points, 18 rebounds) and Game 4 failure (7 points on 1-of-10 shooting), the Celtics needed Garnett to set the tone. Unfortunately, he scored three points the rest of the way.

Ray Allen gets open looks: After struggling to find space and making only 11-of-30 shots in Games 2-4, Allen got free from Wade and made 6-of-12 from the field in Game 5, including 5-of-10 shooting on some pretty wide open looks from beyond the arc (not to mention a huge four-point play). His 11 first-half points helped pick up some of the slack left by Pierce’s relative absence.

Nenad Krstic and the bench (yup, you read that right): At the end of the third quarter, Krstic buried a long baseline jumper that put the Celtics up 73-71 heading into the final 12 minutes of play. Krstic finished with eight points as the Celtics’ bench outscored the Heat’s 33-12. Krstic, Jeff Green (9 points), Delonte West (10 points) and even Glen Davis (6 points) each scored at least six points on the night.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Miami Heat
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