|Irish Coffee: NBA Fun & Games||10.25.10 at 10:53 am ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …
Over the weekend, NBA.com released a series of videos — entitled “NBA Unscripted” — leading up to tomorrow’s opening-night tipoff between the Celtics and Heat.
The footage includes some pretty cool interactions between the C’s Big Three. Here are some nuggets:
Kevin Garnett: “This training camp has some of the same energy that ’07 did. We stepped in the gym, and everybody was there early. I just feel like we’re reliving that. It feels like deja vu a little bit. In ’07, when we were alone, we came in the gym, and there was an energy. You could feel it. There were certain things you didn’t have to say.”
Ray Allen: “After Game 7, we were on the bus, and we started talking about the summer and the future, and we all hurt inside. We all had pain, and to this moment it bothered me to think where we were, what we did and what we could’ve gotten accomplished. We can say that we don’t have regrets, but there are things that we wish we could’ve done better.”
“The more years I play and each year I get more experience, the more of a leadership role I have to take on as the point guard of this team. It’s as simple as that. Whether I play as great as I did the last couple years or not, I’m still the leader. I’m here for a reason.”
Of course, no NBA preview would be complete without plenty of Heat discussion. Unscripted is no different. Here’s a couple tidbits from Miami:
Chris Bosh: “To get to where we want to go, it has to be intense. We know that other teams like the Celtics are out there working very, very hard, so we probably have to go even harder.”
Dwyane Wade: “People say we’re there, but we’re not there yet. We look at the Boston Celtics of the world and say, ‘That’s what we need to get to.’ And we’ve gotta work very hard to get there.”
Shaquille O’Neal generates more gems than Tiffany & Co. After posing as a statue (sorry, “Shaqtue”) for an hour in Harvard Square last week, The Big Shamrock is already planning his next stunt, according to USA Today.
Always wondered what Shaq might look like as a woman? Well, on the subway this Halloween, you just might meet Shaquita, a 7-foot-1, 345-pound woman. Ever want to hurl a snowball at Shaq? This winter, he may don a snowsuit and stand in a field somewhere as a human target.
“This is the funnest team I’ve been on in my life,” Shaq told the paper. “Seriously. These guys are great. Usually, I’m the ringleader of bringing fun to a team, but I haven’t even done anything yet. These guys crack me up. Big Baby (Glen Davis) and Nate Robinson, they need their own TV show.”
Still, in the same article, Doc Rivers stressed that Shaq’s maintaining a balance between off-the-court fun and on-the-court production.
“This city wants a winner,” added Shaq. “I want a winner. Everybody on this team wants to win. For me, that’s what it’s all about.”
PAUL PIERCE FEELING FIT
KG isn’t the only Celtics veteran feeling fully healthy after a summer filled with thoughts of vengeance. According to Jackie MacMullan on ESPN.com, Pierce is, too.
“I feel great for the first time in a long time,” Pierce told MacMullan.
After suffering knee, foot and thumb injuries during the 2009-10 regular season, Pierce reportedly had to wear a brace and some serious padding in his shoe just to make it through the NBA Finals.
The most disturbing revelation from MacMullan’s fantastic piece (per usual): After Pierce’s minor surgery midway through last season, his knee would actually pop open and gush liquid (I hope you’re not eating your breakfast with this Irish Coffee).
“I was probably a little stubborn about not letting it heal right,” Pierce admitted to ESPN.com. “I told them I was fine, but I had this fluid leaking out all over the place. It wasn’t so much the pain. I just lost all my strength. I played a lot of last season on basically one leg.”
STEPHANE LASME PHOENIX-BOUND?
It’s nice to see Stephane Lasme getting a shot at making another NBA roster. The former UMass standout received an invite to work out for the Phoenix Suns, according to NBA reporter Alex Kennedy.
Lasme was a stand-up guy in Celtics training camp, and even carried himself with dignity following the news that the C’s cut him from the roster — wishing each of his teammates good luck this season.
The C’s have a deep roster this year, so failing to make the cut shouldn’t deflate a guy like Lasme, who could still contribute to an NBA team.
IT’S PREVIEW TIME
Green Street has you covered for any and all information you could possibly want leading up to tomorrow night’s opener. Paul Flannery has already churned out a ton of impressive stuff, including a great piece on Jermaine O’Neal, a breakdown of the secret to the Big Three’s success, this season’s top five NBA storylines and his Talking Hoops podcast.
Meanwhile, I contacted 30 blogs from around the league to give you a prediction for the team they cover and, of course, the Celtics. I’ll say this: You’ll be surprised by the range of projections. Part 1 is already up on the blog. Stay tuned for the remainder of the Western Conference today and the Eastern Conference tomorrow.
(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)
|Sunday is no day of rest for Celtics||10.24.10 at 4:51 pm ET|
WALTHAM — You could tell immediately after practice on Sunday that this was no ordinary weekend practice. It’s not often the Celtics practice both days on the weekend but Doc Rivers is giving his team every chance to get prepared for the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.
“We didn’t do much today,” Rivers said. “I really went back and forth with giving them the day off or getting them to run through some stuff. A lot of skeleton today and very little contact and going over our defensive schemes.”
Then, on their own, new players like Von Wafer, Luke Harangody and Semih Erden worked on the offensive sets. The intensity was certainly there.
Tempers flared between Delonte West and Wafer during a post-practice drill, the Celtics continued preparations for the Miami Heat on Sunday at their practice facility.
Wafer, who won the last 15th and final roster spot after the final preseason game last Wednesday, played with Harangody against West and Erden in a 2-on-2 drill as extra time is being spent at the end of practice for new players trying to learn the Celtics offensive sets before they open the season Tuesday night at home. Wafer and West exchanged words after West drove to the basket and beat Wafer for a couple of buckets.
“Listen it’s game one, even if it wasn’t Miami, everybody is going to be excited,” Rivers said. “This is a special situation. Let’s just be honest. Everybody is excited about it. Our guys try to downplay it until you walk through the locker room and hear them talking about it. The film is on all day, watching Miami. Let’s just go out and have fun and see what we have the next night. We’d like to win them both.
The Celtics play in Cleveland on Wednesday, the night after their season opener against the Heat at TD Garden.
|Pierce: No window watching needed||10.20.10 at 11:51 pm ET|
Everyone assumed that the Celtics starters would play only until halftime in Wednesday’s preseason finale against the New Jersey Nets … including, apparently, some of the players.
Boston got off to a sluggish start, and while New Jersey figures to be much-improved this year with new head coach Avery Johnson, the Celtics had no business being down 14 points early in the second quarter, on their home court, in their final tuneup before the most important (or, at least, most hyped?) regular season game in NBA history on Tuesday night at TD Garden.
And their captain knew it. Paul Pierce, who finished with a game-high 17 points in a 107-92 win over the Nets, said the Celtics wanted a good feeling heading into the season.
“We knew that was not our brand of basketball how we came out to start the game,” Pierce said of allowing the Nets to shoot 50 percent and score 55 points in the first half. “We wanted to try to establish the tone in the third quarter and we just have to do a better job on starting games off and understanding on what we need to do. But I think for the most part we are ready.
“You want to sort of build something going into the season individually and as a team. It’s about getting the confidence going. You want to be playing well not just as a team. Trying to figure out some things I am trying to do offensively just to get some confidence to know I can get the job done during the regular season.”
But that wasn’t the only message Pierce sent after the game. He was asked if he views this season, starting with Tuesday’s showdown with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, as a final shot at an NBA title with the current group of Celtics.
“I don’t look at it that way,” Pierce said. “I’ve got four years left, shoot. The window’s open as long as I’m here. Definitely, the sense of urgency is there every year we have our team [together]. We don’t look ahead at a window. The object is to have a sense of urgency now and then next year, worry about that.”
|KG: Celtics-Heat definitely a ‘soap opera’||10.19.10 at 8:50 pm ET|
Ray Allen has always had a special way with words.
He knows exactly how to say something with a smile and deliver the right tone and most importantly – the right message.
His message following Tuesday night’s intrasquad “Green-White” scrimmage at TD Garden was: Everyone knows we’re a team. Everyone wants to find out if Miami is, too.
“I believe so because there’s never been an opening game that has been more heavily anticipated,” Allen said. “I do believe that people are definitely excited to see them more than they’re excited about about seeing us. Truly they know, as a team, what we represent. The two teams are Eastern Conference powerhouses. It’s going to be a game.”
That game will be played next Tuesday night at TD Garden as LeBron James makes his official debut with the Heat, along with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
“I think with the anticipation [after] our exiting the finals last year and then with the new additions to Miami, they overly hyped the game,” Kevin Garnett added. “Yeah, I can see this has a lot of episodes, a lot of drama, if you will. It will have a lot of soap opera feel to it. Days of Our Lives, Another World, Santa Barbara.
“My grandmother was a big, big soap opera fan so it was either go outside or sit in there with her so I know that schedule quite well.”
The Celtics and Miami Heat are getting ready to open the season next Tuesday night at TD Garden in one of the most anticipated regular season games in NBA history.
Allen played Tuesday for the Green squad, which captured a 38-31 victory in an enhanced practice before season ticket holders and VIPs. The Celtics conclude their preseason Wednesday night against New Jersey at the Garden before opening the NBA season next Tuesday against the Heat, also at TD Garden.
|Shaq on D&C: ‘I would have played for free’ in Boston||09.28.10 at 8:49 am ET|
In an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show, new Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal, who has made no less than $10 million in his last 14 NBA seasons and at least $20 million in his last nine campaigns, said that he had no problem taking a pay cut in excess of 90 percent in order to come to the Celtics. O’Neal signed a two-year deal for approximately $3 million this summer, and he suggested that money was virtually irrelevant in making his decision to join Boston.
“I had other options where the money would have been greater. But this franchise, this team, has a tradition of winning,” O’Neal said. “I’ve been one of the luckiest guys in the history of the game. I’ve had four max deals and one lifetime of play. So money wasn’t an issue. Money will never be an issue. But Danny Ainge had $1 million left, which was the minimum. If I had to, to come here and play, I would have played for free. Doesn’t matter to me.”
O’Neal — who said that he wanted to be called The Big Shamrock while with the Celtics — also discussed whether he will be able to “blend in” in Boston both on and off the court, his bucket list, his experience of last year’s Celtics-Cavaliers playoff series from Cleveland’s perspective and his feelings on Dwight Howard and LeBron James, among several other topics.
A transcript is below. To listen to the complete interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
This is Shaquille O’Neal. Don’t mess with Dennis & Callahan, weekdays from 6-10 on the WEEI Sports Radio Network.
Skip the boring basketball questions. Is Boston big enough for your personality?
I always tell people that I was raised Karate Kid style. My father took me many places as a youngster. I started off in Northern New Jersey, born and raised. Went down south to Hinesville, Ga., then to West Germany, then to San Antonio, Tex. I say that to say that I can blend in anywhere.
You probably can’t blend in.
I can blend in. If people are looking for me in Boston, I’ll be in Sudbury. If you’re looking for the Big Shamrock, he’ll be in Sudbury, in the fields of Sudbury.
You’ve settled on the Big Shamrock?
Yes. The Big Shamrock. Yes.
|Agent: Ex-Celtic House joins Heat||07.29.10 at 12:08 pm ET|
Former Celtics guard Eddie House has reached an agreement to join the revamped Heat lineup, House’s agent Mark Bartelstein told Yahoo! Sports. House was traded from the C’s to the Knicks for Nate Robinson last season. Bartelstein said this week that he had talked to the Celtics about the possibility of the 10-year veteran returning to Boston, but the sharpshooter will take his talents to Miami instead, agreeing to a two-year deal worth a reported $2.8 million.
|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.”