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The ‘Amazing Grace’ of Alex English 10.13.10 at 2:56 pm ET
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Alex English may never have been a Celtic, but he played one in the movies.

Prior to the C’s preseason win over Toronto, the Raptors assistant coach and NBA Hall of Famer recalled his fictitious Celtics career as Amazing Grace Smith in the 1987 cult classic film “Amazing Grace and Chuck,” starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Gregory Peck.

“It was kind of weird,” English said of wearing a Celtics uniform in the movie, despite playing in real life for the Denver Nuggets. “The best experience was just being here in the summertime for a week and a half. Red [Auerbach] was still here. I was hanging out with him for a few minutes. That was good. He was always respectful of my game.”

Red and legendary Celtics broadcaster Johnny Most also appeared in the film about a young Midwestern boy’s Cold War-era fears about nuclear war. Despite making just 18 3-point shots during his entire 15-year NBA career, English played a 3-point threat in the film.

Oddly enough, the basketball scenes were filmed during an actual preseason game at the old Boston Garden. English dressed as No. 31 in Celtics green, and the filmmakers asked him to put up a bunch of shots from beyond the arc.

“The character I played was a 3-point shooter, and I’m not a 3-point shooter,” English said. “I put them up. When you look at the movie, they all go in. I think I only made one.”

English auditioned for the part, beating out Magic Johnson and Bernard King among others. It was English’s first acting experience. Since then, he appeared in a two-part episode of the late 1980s NBC television series “Midnight Caller” as well as the 1996 film “Eddie,” starring Whoopi Goldberg.

Every once in a while, when the movie is showed on television, English will get a call from somebody, saying, “Hey, I saw the movie.” So, does he receive residual checks for his part in the film?

“I don’t know if they still have my address,” he joked.

Well, if anybody is looking for him, just scan the Raptors bench.

(WEEI.com site editor Rob Bradford contributed to this report.)

Read More: Alex English, Jamie Lee Curtis, Magic Johnson, Red Auerbach
The Magic of LeBron 04.29.10 at 9:21 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Doc Rivers has seen that lightning-quick, cross-court pass that paralyzes a defense before leaving them powerless to prevent an easy, uncontested basket.

Magic Johnson did it seemingly at will in the 1980s and Rivers had an up close and personal view for it all.

It is precisely for this reason the Celtics coach is worried about LeBron James. Yes, No. 23 can take it to the rim. Yes, James can rebound and block shots. But what James can do to get others involved is the hardest aspect to prepare for in this series against the Cavaliers.

“He’s a bullet passer,” Rivers said on Thursday, two days before Game 1. “He’s the only guy I know of like Magic. The ‘steam’ bullet passes. He throws cross-court passes that are 100 miles an hour and it’s tough to react to.

“We showed the guys that on film and if you’re not down in your stance and you’re standing straight up on the weakside and he makes that pass, there’s no way you’re going to get out to that shooter.”

Rivers tried his best to get his team ready but admitted it’s next to impossible.

“We worked on that [Thursday] and there’s nobody on our team that can throw that pass so the work didn’t look as good. We kept getting out to the shooter and I said, ‘Yeah, we’re throwing softballs.’

“He’s a great passer. In some ways, I think he wants to pass sometimes.”

James is also the leading triple-double threat in the league. But Rivers said, like with Dwyane Wade, the Celtics can live with the points but not the rebounds and assists.

“Well, the 10 [points] and the 10 [rebounds] we can’t have,” Rivers said. “The 30 and the 40 [points] we don’t want and, if he has it, we want him to have it our way, not his way. That’s what upset us a little about Wade in a couple of the games. He got to 46 his way. The big game the last night [Game 5], he got it our way. We kept everyone else out of it so that was good.”

Read More: Cavaliers, Celtics, Doc Rivers, LeBron James
Movie critics 02.27.10 at 2:45 pm ET
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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.”

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Lakers, Larry Bird
Isiah lashes out at Magic, Bird 10.22.09 at 4:32 pm ET
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Isiah Thomas responded to criticism from his longtime friend Magic Johnson by lashing out at the Lakers legend in a story today on SportsIllustrated.com. Thomas, the former Pistons standout, most recently failed miserably as coach of the Knicks and is now coaching at Florida International University.

“I’m really hurt, and I really feel taken advantage of for all these years,” Thomas told SI.com. “I’m totally blindsided by this. Every time that I’ve seen Magic, he has been friendly with me. Whenever he came to a Knick game, he was standing in the tunnel [to the locker room] with me. He and [Knicks assistant coach] Herb [Williams] and I, we would go out to dinner in New York. I didn’t know he felt this way.”

Johnson and Larry Bird contributed to a book by Jackie MacMullan, “When The Game Was Ours,” which is due out Nov. 4. In the book, Johnson accuses Thomas of questioning his sexuality after Johnson was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1991. Johnson also confirms that Thomas was not well-liked by other NBA stars.

Thomas fired back at Johnson and defended himself in today’s story. He also accuses Johnson of duplicitous behavior in his friendship with Bird.

“Let’s be real. I’m not going to say the things Magic said in private about Larry, but I do know the public stance he’s taken [in becoming Bird’s friend],” Thomas told SI.com. “I know that’s not how he felt about Larry Bird. Magic hated Larry, and he tried to make other people hate Larry. Magic was no friend of Larry Bird’s during that time. And his Laker teammates will tell you that. And I’m sure they’ve got to be disgusted with the way he’s carried on with this whole me-and-Larry bull.”

Read the entire SI story here. And click here to listen to Jackie MacMullan discuss the book on Dennis & Callahan last week.

Read More: Isiah Thomas, Jackie MacMullan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson
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