|Role reversal for Gomes||07.13.09 at 7:49 pm ET|
LAS VEGAS — It’s a case of role reversal for Ryan Gomes.
He tried to soak in as much as he could in his first two seasons with the Celtics, listening to advice from Paul Pierce, the only veteran on a team dominated by youth and inexperience.
Now it is Gomes’ turn to play the role of mentor. This week, he’s offering his knowledge to the Minnesota Timberwolves Summer League team in Las Vegas.
“Even though I know time is flying and it’s going to be my fifth year, when you’ve got a lot of young guys on the team, you want to share some knowledge,” Gomes said. “I don’t know it all and I don’t think there are a lot of people who do, but when you watch the games you want to help them to get better. As players, you’re always trying to help each other out.”
When Gomes isn’t helping the Timberwolves, he is improving his own game at Joe Abunassar’s Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, along with former Celtic Sebastian Telfair. The shortage of wing players on the Timberwolves means Gomes may have to play in the backcourt as well, and he is focusing on his game away from the basket to increase his shooting percentage.
Last season he averaged 13.3 points and 4.8 rebounds, shooting 43 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point range.
“We’ve just got to be prepared,” he said. “We’ve got to be on our Ps and Qs because you just never know what can happen. It’s our job over the summertime when you’re not around the coaches and you can’t play in Summer League to work on your game and be ready for next year, and that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Gomes is not the only ex-Celtic looking to help the Timberwolves have a successful season. He noted Al Jefferson has been diligently rehabbing from ACL surgery to get back in the game as their leading scorer and rebounder.
“He’s doing good. He’s way ahead of schedule,” Gomes said. “He’s training hard and he’s on the court a little bit. We need him back, of course. He’s our All-Star, he’s the motor that goes, so hopefully next year we’ll have a good year.”
While he is focused on helping the Timberwolves win next season, the Celtics are still on his mind — even two years after being traded.
“I’m still learning from Paul and I’ll still learn from Ray (Allen) and all those other guys because of the fact that they have knowledge of the game,” he said. “Doc Rivers was great to me, Danny Ainge and those guys gave me an opportunity by drafting me, so I stay in touch with them and I still watch a lot of their games because when they made the trade, I knew what it was for. It was to win it.”
And that’s a good example to follow.
|Rubio to stay in Spain?||06.25.09 at 11:50 pm ET|
Leading up the Draft Night there was chatter of Ricky Rubio’s preference to play in a big market. Minnesota certainly isn’t one, and now the flashy point guard may return to Spain.
Rubio’s father, Esteve, told the MARCA.com in Spanish, “With this pick, it is possible that Ricky will play a year or two more in Europe.”
He added, “He can still go, he can stay a year … and until two. Everything is open, although the most probable is continuing in Europe for some time. We have to talk with the people in Minnesota … and to see what happens, because, at this time, we can be in Minnesota or in another place.”
The Timberwolves selected Rubio with the fifth overall pick in Thursday’s draft. They took another point guard, Jonny Flynn, with the following pick.
Rubio noted on his Twitter page, “Ser el #5 del draft es increíble. ¡Estoy muy contento! Be the 5th pick in the NBA draft is incredible. ¡I’m very happy!”
|Love: McHale will not return as T’Wolves coach||06.17.09 at 8:59 am ET|
Kevin Love has a lot of goals in the NBA. Breaking news was not one of them. But early Wednesday morning, the Minnesota Timberwolves forward unknowingly played the role of the reporter on Twitter.
@kevin_love: Today is a sad day…Kevin McHale will NOT be back as head coach next season.
Love Tweeted about McHale’s status with the Timberwolves before the organization had made any news public. Teammate Mark Madsen also Retweeted the news on his page.
According to the Associated Press, “Upon seeing the posting, a person in the league was told McHale sent a text message to Love indicating he was not coming back. The person requested anonymity because no official announcement has been made.”
Two hours after the initial Tweet, Love offered a clarification:
@kevin_love: P.S. I am not a breaking news guy…I had no idea no one knew..I’ll tell them I stayed at a holiday inn express last night. Always works….
News on McHale’s future had been expected. Last week the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported McHale and president of basketball operations David Kahn met for the third time.
The former Boston Celtic has collected a 39-55 coaching record over the last two seasons with the Timberwolves.
|Big Al tears ACL||02.09.09 at 2:54 pm ET|
Former Boston Celtic/Minnesota Timberwolves big man Al Jefferson is out indefinitely after tearing his ACL during Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Hornets, according to multiple reports. An MRI revealed the extent of the injury on Monday. Jefferson, who received a standing ovation at the Garden earlier this month, was having a breakthrough season. He was averaging 23.1 points and 11.0 rebounds through 50 games. No date for surgery has been set. Jefferson was the centerpiece for the Kevin Garnett trade in 2007.
In a statement on Timberwolves.com, head coach Kevin McHale said, “This is an unfortunate situation for Al and we wish him a quick recovery. Al has been playing at an all-star level all season and has been our go-to-guy on the court. Knowing Al, he will work hard in his rehab efforts to get back on the court as soon as possible.”
|Perkins ‘cool’ with call||02.02.09 at 12:24 am ET|
It’s only the first half of the season and Kendrick Perkins has already been whistled for nine technical fouls and a Flagrant 2. His latest call against Jason Maxiell during Friday’s game against the Detroit Pistons earned him a $10,000 fine. But Perkins isn’t worried about developing a bad reputation around the league. If anything, he says, his early technicals helped the officials understand his game.
“I think it’s mostly gaining the respect from the referees, having a better relationship,” he said prior to the Boston Celtics game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. “So now when I get mad at a call they’re not just quick to jump on me. It’s more of a respect thing.”
Perkins has noticed the referees have eased up since he got called for his ninth T in early December.
“They let me get physical on the block as far as defending people,” he said. “So I think since I’ve calmed down – I haven’t got a technical in about 25 games – so I’ve been pretty cool.”
As for the Flagrant 2 against Maxiell, Perkins attests he was not aiming for his neck. He’ll accept the consequences, though, knowing it comes with the territory of going hard on the court.
“I think I’ve just got to keep going out there playing my game, being physical and just being smart at the same time,” he said. “There are a lot of hard fouls that I’ve given that aren’t flagrant, so it’s cool.”
|Sounds of the game… Celtics 109, Timberwolves 101||02.01.09 at 6:27 pm ET|
Who needs All-Star Kevin Garnett?
Not the Celtics on Super Sunday. When news of Garnett’s flu spread before the game, Paul Pierce knew it was time to step up his game, offensively. In his last three games against Dallas, Sacramento and Detroit, he has posted games of eight, eight and 20 points. Not exactly the stuff that All-Star reserves are made of.
But obviously, when Kevin Garnett, Eddie House and Rajon Rondo are picking up their fair share and more and blowing out the competition in the first half, Pierce has not needed to be THE guy.
But on Sunday, against old friends Al Jefferson (34 points), Ryan Gomes and a vastly improved Sebastian Telfair, he was THE guy, scoring a game-high 36 points from all different angles, including a clinching fadeaway with 2:24 remaining to put the pesky Timberwolves away and clinch Boston’s 11th straight win, improving the Green to 40-9.
|More than trade bait||01.30.09 at 6:21 pm ET|
An NBA title with the Boston Celtics has made it easy to forget about Kevin Garnett’s days with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He is no longer the player who couldn’t win it all. Rather he is the champion who proved anything is possible.
Yet the former Celtics who were involved in the blockbuster deal are still known as ‘the guys traded for Garnett.’ It has been two seasons, though, since the move and now they are ready to make a name for themselves in Minnesota.
“We’re thankful for what [the Celtics] gave us but now we’ve got to set our own trends, set our own careers,” Ryan Gomes said in a telephone interview. “We’re not with the Celtics anymore. We know who they have and what they’ve accomplished, but now we’ve got to try to set other goals for ourself.”
Gomes, Al Jefferson, and Sebastian Telfair are the only remaining players on the Timberwolves from the 2007 trade. (Gerald Green and Theo Ratliff have signed with other teams.) Last season they finished 22-60, their worst record since the pre-Garnett era. In attempt to establish a new identity, the Timberwolves made off-season moves to acquire a highly-touted rookie and veteran shooter. Nonetheless they got off to an eight-game losing streak.
“What people should understand is that we had high expectations coming into this season, with the trade of Mike Miller and getting Kevin Love and Brian Cardinal and Rodney Carney,” explained Gomes. “We had high expectations and it didn’t work out for the first 35 games.”
The Timberwolves were 4-15 when head coach Randy Wittman was replaced by former VP of Basketball Operations Kevin McHale. Ironically it was a Celtic great who got the Timberwolves playing their own style of basketball. They headed into the new year hot off a five-game winning streak.
“In the beginning we did go through a rough time,” Gomes said. “Our schedule in the month of December was real tough and we were trying to find ourselves. But now we’ve found ourselves and I think that’s why we’re playing well. Everyone’s understanding their roles and fulfilling them, and I’d say that’s the most important thing. Whenever you have success that means everyone’s doing their part.”
Gomes points to a demoralizing loss as the source of their improved play. In December the Timberwolves (then 6-24) blew a 29-point lead in the third quarter to the Dallas Mavericks. In spite of losing, the Timberwolves gained confidence and momentum.
“We ended up losing that game and that was what turned it around,” said Gomes. “We had seen what we could become and where we were at, and then they took it away from us. They kept fighting and kept pushing through it and believing they could win, and I think that’s what we took out of it. We had a tough stretch where we lost 13 games in a row early in the season and that game showed that we can bounce back and we can make something of the season. There’s a lot more games to be played, and once that came in January we got off on the right foot and we’ve been rolling ever since.”
The Timberwolves are 9-3 since January 1, including upsets over the New Orleans Hornets and Phoenix Suns. They will look to continue their streak when they face the Celtics on Sunday in Boston. Their former teammates have taken notice.
“First of all, Big Al’s playing like an All-Star,” said Kendrick Perkins. “Second of all, Randy Foye has stepped his game up. Rodney Carney, the rookie (Kevin) Love, Sebastian (Telfair), they’re all playing well. Since coach Kevin McHale got the job, they’ve been playing well. They’re playing good defense and I’ve been watching them lately on TV, so they’ve been playing really well.”
With just under 40 games left on their regular season schedule, the Timberwolves are nine games out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference. A postseason berth is a longshot, but Gomes doesn’t mind waiting. Even if their time doesn’t come this season he is confident it’s only a matter of time before the Timberwolves establish themselves as a playoff contender.
“I think the Timberwolves are a team on the rise and this year is not over,” Gomes said. “We’ve got a lot of games to play and if we play the way we’ve played this month for the rest of the season, who knows where we’ll be. Hopefully we can maybe sneak in the playoffs and if not we could be right there. Next year should be our breakout year to take what we did this year and carry it over next year from the beginning and have a successful season. So the Timberwolves should be a team that teams should be worried about in the West and in the East because of the way we’ve been playing lately.”
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