|Rajon Rondo out again, Nate Robinson gets 3rd start||11.24.10 at 7:38 pm ET|
The Celtics are taking every precaution with the left hamstring of Rajon Rondo and have ruled him out of tonight’s game against New Jersey at TD Garden. He likely will miss Friday’s contest against Toronto as well, coach Doc Rivers said before Wednesday’s game.
“I don’t think it’s a bad hamstring, but you just have to be careful with it,” said Rivers, who added Rondo is “iffy” against the Raptors on Friday night.
Nate Robinson makes his third straight start in Rondo’s absence.
Rivers said Rondo, who will miss his third straight game, was leading the NBA in assists, dishing out 14.3 per game. The Celtics are 1-1 in the two games without him, losing at Toronto on Sunday before a big win on Monday in Atlanta.
|Delonte West knew the ‘basketball gods’ would be unkind||11.19.10 at 11:46 pm ET|
In just his second game back, Delonte West took a leadership role after a surprising 89-84 home-court loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were playing without injured superstar Kevin Durant.
“This team didn’t even have to play with desperation to beat us tonight,” West said of the Thunder. “That’s one of our biggest concerns this year, being complacent, doing what we did tonight.”
The Celtics fell behind by as many as 10 in the third quarter before making a late charge and drawing to within one, 85-84, on West’s two free throws with 1:16 left in the fourth.
“It’s not like we put up a fight,” West said. “We just left it out on the table. Seemed like the whole game we were seaching for a challenge. It’s not like we put up a fight. We just left it out on the table. Seemed like the whole game we were seaching for a challenge. It was almost like in the third quarter we were like, ‘Ok, down 10. Let’s go.’ Basketball gods don’t reward you like that.”
The Celtics made just 2-of-12 shots in the final period and failed to score a field goal in the final 10:35 of the game, getting a jumper from Nate Robinson for their final field goal of the night.
West might get to show even more leadership on Sunday in Toronto when the Celtics take on the Raptors, possibly without Rajon Rondo, who strained his left hamstring with six minutes left in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game and is day-to-day.
Rondo will get treatment on Saturday and see how he feels.
“If he’s unable to go, I’ll be ready to do what I do best,” said West, who missed a potential game-tying three-pointer from the right baseline with 10 seconds left. “I prepare myself well and if my number is called I’ll be ready to go. Just like tonight, I prepare myself to shoot those type of shots. The ball didn’t bounce the way I wanted it to but I’m very confident in what I do.”
|Delonte West is back; now what?||11.15.10 at 4:37 pm ET|
For the month and a half, Delonte West has been treating his post-practice workouts as if they are a form of penance. For an hour or so after the team is done, West stays on the floor working with whoever will work with him. He goes through a litany of drills and shooting exercises filled with quick starts and stops.
Miss a free throw? Run down and back. Miss two? Do it twice.
The gym has been his sanctuary and his catharsis as he works to get himself back into game shape during his 10-game suspension, which was handed down by the league after he plead guilty weapons-related charges stemming from an incident in the summer of 2009. He’s not nervous. A little anxious maybe to see where his body is at this point, but not about getting back on the court.
“I know what I can do,” he said. “I’m very confident in what I’m able to do out on the basketball floor. They’re not asking me to do anything I can’t do. They’re not telling me to post-up and get 30 rebounds. It’s time to go play my game. That’s the best feeling ever.”
The Celtics have been waiting on him, as well. Doc Rivers feels that a backcourt combination of West and Nate Robinson will be a perfect match for their respective skillsets. On the one hand, West can take some of the ballhandling responsibilities from Robinson and allow him to be a scorer. On the other, West also offers a tough, physical defender.
“I think it helps,” Rivers said. “It moves [Robinson] off the ball half the time. I want Nate with the ball especially in our pick and roll package. It makes them both very comfortable.”
That’s been an issue for the Celtics so far this season. Robinson has not shot the ball well and has not had a strong start to his season. There have been flashes of brilliance, but the Celtics would like to see some consistency develop with their second unit and West is the kind of player who can provide some.
He is also likely to take away whatever time Von Wafer has been getting in the rotation, which has been limited. Wafer has appeared in seven games, but he has logged just 32 minutes and has taken only six shots.
West and Wafer had a pair of well-documented dust-ups already and some have wondered if Wafer’s time with the team would be coming to an end now that West is eligible to play again. That doesn’t seem to the case, at least not yet anyway. But Wafer did not do much with his opportunity, limited as it was, and now may be further edged out of the conversation.
“I still have to earn my playing time,” West said. “It’s a talented team. Guys that are out there earned the right to be out there. it starts here.”
Rivers said West will play Wednesday and while it will take him a bit to get his game back together, the Celtics have a comfort level with West. “He’s older,” Rivers said. “We’ve all matured a little bit. He’s still the same as far as he’s probably one of the most competitive people I’ve ever coached.”
|Meet Tiny Gallon||10.20.10 at 8:07 pm ET|
The Celtics newest player wasted little time ingratiating himself into the Celtics locker room. After sweating through a pregame workout, Tiny Gallon started talking trash to anyone and everyone about his alma mater, the University of Oklahoma. No one was spared including Nate Robinson who tried to give the rookie an education about the University of Washington.
It was all in good fun, and despite being here for little more than 24 hours, Gallon has long-standing relationships with Kendrick Perkins and Avery Bradley. “I’ve been playing Avery since ninth grade,” Gallon said. “Avery’s been the same way. Me and him are real close, like brothers.”
Gallon, who is listed at 6-9, 290 pounds wasn’t in uniform Wednesday night when the Celtics closed their preseason slate against the Nets at the Garden, and he’s really not sure how things are going to go for him in Boston. He doesn’t have a realistic chance at landing a roster spot with the Celtics, but the team could take advantage of the new rules on D-League allocations by sending him to Maine, provided he signs a D-League contract.
The Celtics wouldn’t hold his rights, but if he does play for Maine it would be for Austin Ainge, Danny’s son. Danny Ainge said that the C’s liked Gallon during the pre-draft process and this is a chance to get a longer look at him.
“It’s just been a learning experience for me being around these vets,” Gallon said. “It’s been fun for me.”
Gallon was drafted by the Bucks in the second round, but didn’t stick with the team. He said he wasn’t surprised that they released him.
As for his game, Gallon said, “I’m a versatile big. I can shoot the ball, play inside. I really don’t label myself as having a position. I just play basketball. People say I’m a power forward or something like that. I just play basketball.”
Gallon’s number is 63 and he said that made him feel like an offensive tackle. He’d like to change it if he stick around, but that seems like a mighty big if right now.
|Practice report: The Celtic way||10.11.10 at 3:42 pm ET|
It was a half hour or so after practice had concluded and Kevin Garnett was finished with his customary individual workout. As he looked up from his own efforts, Garnett saw Semih Erden going through the paces on pick and roll defense. Garnett called over to assistant coach Kevin Eastman and asked him to, “get Luke,” as in Harangody, the Celtics other rookie big man.
Dripping with sweat and slightly out of breath, Garnett gathered the two together and began a tutorial as only Garnett can. He wanted them to talk loud. No, louder. Let there be no doubt which way they were showing, Garnett told them in no uncertain terms.
Erden had been too quiet on Sunday against the Raptors, and in one instance he let Rajon Rondo get steamrolled by a screen. The lesson took no more than 10 minutes and left little time for pleasantries or niceties. That’s just fine with Harangody who relishes this kind of attention from Garnett.
“He’s not really yelling,” Harangody said after the Raptors game. “He’s teaching. I like that, to be honest.”
“He helps the ones he likes,” Doc Rivers said. “Kevin is great. Kevin tries to help every big in here. If that big doesn’t listen to him one time, he’ll never speak to him again. Literally one time. That has happened a couple of times. Those two guys that he did that to are no longer here and that may be one of the reasons. That’s Kevin, when you talk about the Celtic Way, whatever that is, just say Kevin Garnett, and you’re pretty much there. Everything he does and says is about the team.”
Garnett’s little demonstration was a perfect example of the “Celtic Way,” for lack of a better phrase. It has been standard operating procedure around this team since Garnett arrived with Ray Allen and set about with Rivers and Paul Pierce “changing the culture,” to use another over-worked cliche.
“It’s not for everyone,” Rivers said. Read the rest of this entry »
|Fast Break: Celtics tame Raptors||10.10.10 at 8:42 pm ET|
Led by Nate Robinson‘s 13 points and the rest of the bench (again), the Celtics held off the Raptors, 91-87, to improve to 3-0 this preseason. Delonte West and Marquis Daniels also contributed 11 points apiece off the bench.
THREE THINGS THAT WENT RIGHT
1. Gutsy second-unit minutes: Playing the majority of minutes in the second half of a close game, the Celtics bench responded each time the Raptors starters tried to make a run. A monster dunk by Stephane Lasme, a corner 3-pointer from Daniels and a nifty double-clutch layup over a defender by Robinson all proved key moments down the stretch. If you’re Doc Rivers, you love knowing the bench guys can contribute important minutes if necessary.
2. Quick transition: The Celtics hauled down 36 defensive rebounds — as Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Luke Harangody and Semih Erden each grabbed at least five — and did a good job of looking for Rajon Rondo, West or Robinson running the floor. Some nice outlet passes (by Shaquille O’Neal in particular) led to a number of easy baskets offensively. The C’s did a nice job of passing all the way around, amassing 23 assists as a group (led by Rondo’s 7).
3. Setting the defensive tone early: In two of the Celtics three preseason games, they’ve held opponents to fewer than 20 points in the first quarter and 40 points in the half — building an early lead and dictating the tone from the tip. I’m sure Doc enjoyed Jermaine O’Neal fitting quickly in the team’s defensive mindset, blocking three shots in his first six minutes in a Celtics uniform.
THREE THINGS THAT WENT WRONG
2. Shaq’s foul trouble: In just 16:37 on the floor, Shaq picked up five fouls. While he has whistled for one of them for standing still as Jarrett Jack charged into him (kinda like a fly smacking into a windshield), that still spells trouble. With Kendrick Perkins sidelined, the C’s can’t afford to have one of the O’Neals consistently in foul trouble.
3. Too many turnovers: After committing 20 and 18 turnovers, respectively, against the 76ers and Nets in their first two preseason games, the Celtics again got careless with the ball, committing 22 turnovers. Rondo led the way with five giveaways, but the bigger crime was the nine turnovers from post players (Semih Erden 4, KG 3, J. O’Neal 2).
1. Guard the 3-pointer: The Raptors knocked down 5-of-11 3-pointers on the night, led by Leandro Barbosa, who knocked down a pair on fairly open looks as the Raptors took a brief second-half lead. While it may not have hurt them against the Raptors, giving open looks to teams like the Magic is only gonna hurt their chances. Guys rotating defensively need to push that extra mile to get out to the wings on those looks.
|Shaquille O’Neal vs. Paris Hilton||10.08.10 at 3:06 pm ET|
I swear, the best stories always pop up around Shaquille O’Neal. This stuff just wouldn’t come up if he weren’t around. Anyhow, Shaq and Paris Hilton obviously both want Einstein, the world’s smallest horse, who resides in Gilmanton, N.H. Only they can’t have him.
“Shaq would have to arm-wrestle Paris Hilton for him,” the horse’s owner, Charlie Cantrell, told the New Hampshire Union Leader. “We’ve been contacted by so many people, but he’s not for sale. He’s priceless.”
Now, I’m positive Paris has no idea who Einstein is. Shaq, on the other hand, probably does. In fact, he’s probably called himself The Big Einstein at some point his career. Of course, I have to make the obvious joke: Why would Shaq want the world’s smallest horse, when he already has a rather small, self-proclaimed donkey (Nate Robinson) on his own team? And … scene.