|Celtics ‘monitoring’ Greg Oden’s comeback attempt||01.17.13 at 3:17 pm ET|
In their everlasting search for frontcourt depth, “the Celtics are among the team’s monitoring” 2007 NBA draft No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden‘s comeback attempt, according to CBSSports.com columnist Ken Berger.
Plagued by a series of knee injuries, the 7-foot, 250-pound Oden played just 82 games in a Blazers uniform, the last of which was played on Dec. 5, 2009. Portland waived him in March 2012 after his third surgery in five years.
Last week, ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein reported several teams, including the Heat, have already shown interest in signing Oden this winter with the hope of bringing him to training camp this fall. The Spurs and Cavaliers also appear to be in the mix for the former Ohio State star, CBSSports.com said.
Oden’s appeal is obvious. He’s a 7-footer who averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 22.1 minutes per game in his limited NBA action. The Celtics can’t offer more money than either the Heat or Spurs, but Jared Sullinger apparently has a relationship despite playing for the Buckeyes five years apart.
|Did Danny Ainge deny Leandro Barbosa’s trade request?||at 2:19 pm ET|
Celtics guard Leandro Barbosa asked Danny Ainge to be either traded or released, but the C’s president of basketball operations “will not let me go,” Barbosa told a Brazilian sports radio station (h/t CelticsBlog).
Here’s the rough Portuguese-to-English translation from Google Chrome:
“I will not lie to you: I tried to get out several times, but Danny Ainge does not want to let me go,” Barbosa told Bradesco Sports FM. “He’s a guy that admires my basketball skills for many years. I was supposed to have got a good contract with the Boston Celtics, but did not. He will not let me go.”
The fifth guard on the roster after Avery Bradley‘s return to the backcourt, Barbosa’s 10.7 minutes and 4.9 points per game are both career lows, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers failed to bring the explosive scorer off the bench on Wednesday until it was too late in a game tailored for his instant offense.
“I should’ve played LB earlier when we were struggling for energy,” Rivers said after the 90-78 loss to the Hornets. “He’s an energy guy. It was easy [to say] now, obviously, but that’s what I’ll probably see when I watch the film.”
In the final 2:35 of the fourth quarter, Barbosa scored seven points on four shots. His 36-minute averages of 16.5 points (44.2 FG%, 39.3 3P%), 4.1 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals aren’t far off from 2006-07, when he won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year honor, and they’re superior across the board to fellow offensive-minded guard Jason Terry‘s 36-minute averages of 12.8 points (42.5 FG%, 36.1 3P%), 2.9 assists, 2.5 boards and 1.2 steals.
|Austin Rivers wouldn’t rule out Celtics in future||at 1:53 am ET|
For the Celtics, facing the boy they watched grow into a top-10 NBA draft pick during his dad’s nine seasons in Boston, it was weird to finally see Austin Rivers looking back at them on the parquet in a Hornets uniform.
“It’s just a strange dynamic,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers after losing to his son, 90-78. “I didn’t enjoy it, honestly. I know it’s neat for everyone else, but as a father, I don’t know if I enjoyed that.’
“It was strange for everybody in here,” added Kevin Garnett. “If we didn’t feel old [before], we feel a little old [now], obviously, seeing a little kid that used to say absolutely nothing, dribble his ball and kind of be in his own little world to being a young man now in the league, trying to make something of himself, doing a good job of it, talking trash, running up and down, leading his team. It’s good. It’s good to see Austin doing real good.”
Garnett might have wanted to seem do a little worse, actually, since Austin’s eight points on 3-of-6 field goals — including a running layup during their momentum-stealing run in the second quarter — marked his best scoring and shooting night this month. His 23 minutes were more than he played in his previous three games combined.
Maybe that’s why it was the 20-year-old Rivers who felt the most comfortable in such a strange situation.
|Kevin Garnett: Anthony Davis ‘makes me look like a midget’||at 12:33 am ET|
“That kid is long,” the aging Celtics superstar said of the Hornets rookie. “He makes me look like a midget, man. I was nothing like him. He’s a freak of nature. This kid’s going to be really good. He’s going to be really good.”
Apparently, Garnett hasn’t looked in a mirror lately. He’s officially listed at 6-foot-11, although he’s easily 7 feet, and various outlets list his wingspan at 7-foot-6. That would make him longer than the University of Kentucky product, who measured in at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan.
In an NBA career that’s spanned almost as many seasons (18) as the 19-year-old Davis has spent on this planet, Garnett only praises those few he deems worthy, and this year’s No. 1 overall pick received his stamp of approval.
Davis totaled 10 points on five shots, 10 boards and a pair of blocks in 27 minutes. He also helped force the Celtics into jump shot after jump shot, as New Orleans outscored the C’s 48-32 in the paint and 90-78 overall.
“We refused to go in the paint,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, whose team snapped a six-game winning streak and fell to 20-18. “We had an electric fence around the paint tonight. We just settled, I thought.”
|Doc Rivers on coaching against son Austin Rivers: ‘I didn’t enjoy it, honestly’||01.16.13 at 11:50 pm ET|
Doc Rivers didn’t enjoy himself Wednesday. Not only did his Celtics see their six-game win streak end in a 90-78 loss to the Hornets at TD Garden, he had to coach against his son with incredible mixed emotions. Austin Rivers had eight points in 22 minutes off the New Orleans bench.
‘You know, it was strange,” Rivers said. “It was funny, the one time he did something, I was about to say something and I didn’t say it ‘ I caught myself ‘ I forgot he was on the other team. Other than that, it’s just a strange dynamic. I didn’t enjoy it, honestly. I know it’s neat for everyone else, but as a father, I don’t know if I enjoyed that.’
Did his eye keep drifting to Austin?
‘No, you detach from it, but you do see him,” the coach acknowledged. “I mean, you see your son run by you down the floor. I mean, that’s just different. The one time he made the layup in front of our bench and run right by you, you know I’m used to like, ‘Keep going!’ and instead I’m yelling at my guy for letting him get to the basket. So it’s just different. George Karl this summer, we were laughing, and he said, ‘It’s going to be strange’ and he said, ‘your guy’s going to play more.’ And he was right.’
When Rivers got knocked to the floor by Paul Pierce at the end of the third quarter, Rivers said he didn’t fear for his son at all. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even flinch.
‘No, I don’t,” Rivers said. “That’s one thing my kids know with me; when you go to the floor I don’t flinch. ‘Get the hell up.’ They all laugh at that, because that’s how I’ve always been. I never flinch. My wife would run out there; I’m not going out there. I mean, get the hell up.’
|Fast Break: Austin Rivers wins bragging rights over Doc||at 10:29 pm ET|
Austin Rivers scored just eight points in 22 minutes against the Celtics, but he walked out of TD Garden with bragging rights against his father. C’s coach Doc Rivers watched as his team blew an early double-digit lead and snapped a six-game winning streak in a 90-78 loss to the Hornets.
Five Hornets (12-27) reached double figures, led by Robin Lopez‘s 17 points, and New Orleans won the rebound battle, 47-33. Greivis Vasquez (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Anthony Davis each had double-doubles.
WHAT WENT WRONG
First-half lapse: Mainly behind the starting five, the Celtics built a 21-10 lead in the game’s first nine minutes. Mainly against the C’s reserves, the Hornets slowly chipped away until a four-minute stretch midway through the second quarter, when the Celtics committed four turnovers and missed three jumpers. That’s when the young New Orleans squad snatched their first lead of the game, eventually taking a 44-43 advantage into halftime.
Painting a poor picture: The Hornets’ first lead, 33-32, came after a pair of layups from Greivis Vasquez and Austin Rivers and a Jason Smith dunk. That was quickly followed by an Al-Farouq Aminu dunk. The point? The Celtics allowed a whole lotta points in the paint (48 to be exact), and 22 of those first 33 points came in the key.
Too many freebies: Doc Rivers doesn’t want to see his team give up more than 14 turnovers, and he definitely doesn’t want them to allow more than 14 points off those giveaways. They turned the ball over 15 times, gifting the Hornets 21 points. Garnett, Rondo and Pierce were the biggest culprits, committing 10 between them. Of course, the C’s 6-of-16 free throw shooting didn’t help, either.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Bass first: It’s been five games since Brandon Bass last scored 10 points, and after his first half, he seemed prepared to snap out of the drought. Bass made four of his first five shots, including a trio of jumpers, to score nine points by the break, but he attempted just one shot after the half and failed to reach double figures. He’s already lost minutes to Jared Sullinger, and he’ll need more stretches like he had in the game’s opening 24 minutes in order to keep Chris Wilcox from taking even more.
Terry time: Likewise, Terry reached double digits after his first scoreless game of the season on Monday night. His performance was the lone bright spot off the bench, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as he scored 10 of his 12 points on 4-for-4 shooting in the third quarter to keep the Celtics within five … against the Hornets.
3-point defense: The Celtics held New Orleans to just 2-for-17 shooting from beyond the arc, including 1-of-5 by former Magic sharpshooter Ryan Anderson. It might’ve helped had the C’s shot better than 4-for-18 from 3.
|Celtics stung by Hornets in an upset||at 10:22 pm ET|
In a game that was billed as the father-son contest, it was a twin brother who spoiled the night for the Celtics and put an end to their season-high six-game winning streak. Robin Lopez – the twin of Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez – scored 17 points while Al-Farouq Aminu added 16 points and eight rebounds to lead the Hornets to a 90-78 win over the Celtics Wednesday night at TD Garden. The Hornets pounded the Celtics on the glass, 48-33, and outscored them, 48-32, in the paint.
Austin Rivers, the son of Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, entered the game late in the first quarter, played 22 minutes and scored eight points. His highlight was drawing a foul on Paul Pierce with 0.4 seconds left in the third quarter. He made one of two free throws while the crowd booed.
Kevin Garnett had 15 points while Pierce had 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Celtics, who fell to 20-18 on the season. The Hornets, who were just 6-13 on the road coming in, improve to 13-26.
For the second straight night, the Celtics jumped out in front of an inferior opponent and appeared to be in for an easy night. But for a second straight night, the Celtics went mysteriously cold at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half, allowing the Hornets back in the game.
The Celtics opened up a 21-10 lead in the first quarter as Brandon Bass had seven points in the opening period as the Celtics took a 25-20 into the second quarter. But the Celtics went cold in the second quarter and were dominated on the board by rookie Anthony Davis and the Aminu. With the Celtics leading 29-22, New Orleans went on a 16-3 run to take the lead. The Celtics responded to take the lead on a Pierce three with 28 seconds left in the half. But Ryan Anderson answered with his own 3-pointer to give the Hornets a 44-43 lead at the half.
The Celtics were ice cold to open the third, as New Orleans went on a 8-0 run to open the period to build a 52-43 lead. Pierce finally ended the drought when he hit an 11-foot turnaround with 8:16 left in the third. New Orleans, behind Aminu and Robin Lopez, built their lead to 12 twice, leading 61-49 when Jason Terry sparked a 7-0 run with a jumper and a three.
The Celtics, who trailed 68-63 after three, closed to within three in the fourth quarter but could get no closer and faded down the stretch.
The Celtics conclude their season-long five-game homestand on Friday when they host the Bulls at 7 p.m. at TD Garden. For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
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