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Irish Coffee: LeBron James, wrong again 02.24.11 at 12:03 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

After the Celtics defeated the Heat for the third time this season, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who’s also an avid NBA fan, and we came up with a theory that LeBron James has Michael Jackson Syndrome.

Essentially, he’s been so famous from a such a young age that he has no idea what normal people do in their everyday lives — much less any concept of what those people think about him. That’s why he says stuff like this:

“Everybody’s bringing their talents to the East,” James said. “It’s going to be fun. We came here to team up, and we knew we were starting a trend. Teams are going to have to load up because the competition level is rising.”

Did he really bring up the “bringing their talents” garbage again? For the past eight months, everyone and their mother has mocked LeBron’s infamous “I’m taking my talents to South Beach” quote from his idiotic Decision ordeal. Even Paul Pierce gave him a jab, tweeting, “It’s been a pleasure to bring my talents ot South Beach” after another Celtics win over the Heat.

It’s as though James still doesn’t recognize that he’s been the butt of that joke for almost a year. That’s why James does stuff like blame the negative reaction to The Decision on racism, tweet “Karma is a bitch” when the Cavaliers get blown out by the Lakers and wear an “LBJ MVP” t-shirt after his team gets bounced from the playoffs. He has Michael Jackson Syndrome.

As for his second point — that his Heat started this trend of stars joining forces — not everybody agrees with him on that one, either (shocking, I know) — Amare Stoudemire included:

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Read More: Amare Stoudemire, Bill Russell, Boston Celtics, LeBron James
Irish Coffee: Ultimate Celtics rumor roundup 02.23.11 at 2:40 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Ever since Marquis Daniels suffered a bruised spinal cord on Feb. 6, it’s been no secret the Celtics want to make a trade, and Lord knows they’re active. Just look at the names they’ve reportedly inquired about.

The Celtics don’t have to make a deal. They’ll be NBA title contenders no matter what. If they do add someone, they’ll have to part ways with Marquis Daniels, Nate Robinson, Von Wafer, Semih Erden, Avery Bradley or Luke Harangody. In a lot of cases, that someone wouldn’t be an upgrade over any of those guys.

So, let’s sort all the rumors into three categories: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

THE GOOD: UPGRADES

Suns forward Grant Hill

  • Contract: Signed through this season ($3.32 million)
  • Statistics: 30.4 minutes, 13.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks, 49.5 FG%, 35.8 3-PT FG%, 84.0 FT%
  • Rumor: Among the places the Celtics have looked is Phoenix. Three sourdes confirmed the clubs spoke about three Suns wings.
  • Chances: ‘€œThat looks like it’€™s gone,’€ said one Herald source, ‘€œbut you never know.’€
  • What it would take: Daniels and either Bradley, Erden or Harangody

Rockets forward Shane Battier

  • Contract: Signed through this season ($7.35 million)
  • Statistics: 30.8 minutes, 8.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.2 blocks, 45.4 FG%, 64.9 3-PT FG%, 64.9 FT%
  • Rumor: The Rockets would be tempted to make the deal if the Celtics would include center Semih Erden, though we’ll probably never know since Boston apparently wants to keep and develop him.
  • Chances: Houston-Boston deal involving Shane Battier not happening, says source close to situation
  • What it would take: Robinson, Bradley and Erden or Harangody; or Daniels and Robinson

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Nate Robinson, NBA, Trade rumors
Irish Coffee: Top 5 reasons not to fear Knicks 02.22.11 at 2:59 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

As details of the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks from the Nuggets in a deal that involved 15 current and future NBA players leaked to the media, the man who led Syracuse University to the 2003 NCAA title as an 18-year-old appeared on TV in a pre-recorded interview with Conan O’Brien and stated that he’d indeed like to stay in Denver.

Whether Anthony’s answer was sincere makes little difference. The real question is this: Should the Knicks still want the NBA’s third-best small forward in a Nuggets uniform? Considering he likely would’ve joined New York this summer for less dollars anyway — and the Knicks wouldn’t have had to part with three of their best five players — the answer to that question in the long-term is Absolutely.

Here are the details of the Carmelo Anthony trade from the Knicks perspective …

Either way, the deal is done. So, that leaves another question: Should the Celtics, Heat or Bulls fear the Knicks at any point in the next four years? Here are the top five reasons they shouldn’t …

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets, NBA, New York Knicks
Irish Coffee: Celtics’ NBA All-Star Weekend in quotes 02.21.11 at 12:05 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Celtics Ray Allen and Paul Pierce may have lost to overlooked Heat forward James Jones in the final round of the 3-Point Contest, and more heralded Miami forward Lebron James (29 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) might have singlehandedly played Allen, Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo (28 points, 12 rebounds, 14 assists) even at the NBA All-Star Game, but all was not lost.

After sorting through all 29,562, 317 interviews from the All-Star festivities, I present the weekend in quotes …

Kevin Garnett (via USA Today): “I’m far from dirty. Dirty is like hate. Don’t use that word. I’m competitive, and I play hard, but don’t call me dirty. Just like if you dislike me, dislike me. ‘Hate’ is a very strong word, just like ‘dirty’ is a very strong word.”

Garnett (via CBS Sports): “All-Star weekend is a chance for all players to sit down and relax. Get to know one another. I don’€™t like the word ‘fraternizing’ and I don’€™t like the word ‘fronting’. It’€™s the one time that we get to socialize and be friendly, I don’€™t think it’€™s fronting, I think everybody is sort of in a relaxed state.”

Garnett (via NBA.com): “Look here, I don’€™t play for the Phoenix Suns. I could care less what Spike [Lee] or whoever else has to say about me. As long as Doc Rivers and my organization is happy with what I’€™m doing, I could care less. …

“If I’€™m playing against you, I’€™m not trying to be your friend. I’€™m out here to win. I’€™m just competitive. I go about this a certain way. Always have, always will. I don’€™t make any excuses about that or apologize for anything I’€™ve done. I carry myself in a well-fashioned manner. I respect the game first-off, respect the players that are in it. And I’€™m definitely not trying to hurt anybody — I don’€™t want to be hurt. I’€™m just out there playing hard and playing competitive. If that comes off as something else, then that’€™s your problem.”

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Read More: All-Star Game, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant
Irish Coffee: Too many minutes for Celtics to win it? 02.18.11 at 1:06 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

In my mind, seven teams could potentially win the 2011 NBA championship: the Celtics, Spurs, Lakers, Heat, Bulls, Mavericks and Thunder. Four of those teams — the C’s, Spurs, Lakers and Mavericks — have veteran-laden rotations, so which coaches are doing the best job this season of managing the minutes logged on their top players’ aging bodies before the All-Star break?

Let’s look at those four teams’ top six players, their ages and their minutes logged …

Boston Celtics
Average Age: 30.1 years
Average Games Played: 43.5
Average Minutes Per Game: 33.5 (8,746 total)
Percent of Team’s Total Minutes: 67.1

Rajon Rondo (24 years, 361 days): 1,622 minutes; 37.7 minutes per game
Ray Allen (35 years, 213 days): 1,948 min; 36.1 mpg
Paul Pierce (33 years, 128 days): 1,881 min; 34.8 mpg
Kevin Garnett (34 years, 275 days): 1,409 min; 31.3 mpg
Glen Davis (25 years, 48 days): 1,585 min; 29.4 mpg
Kendrick Perkins (26 years, 100 days): 301 min; 27.4 mpg

***

San Antonio Spurs
Average Age: 29.4
Average Games Played: 55.0
Average MPG: 29.0 (9,562 total)
Percent of Team’s Total Minutes: 70.8

Tony Parker (28 years, 277 days): 1,826 min; 32.6 mpg
Richard Jefferson (30 years, 242 days): 1,752 min; 31.3 mpg
Manu Ginobili (33 years, 205 days): 1,738 min; 31.0 mpg
Tim Duncan (34 years, 299 days): 1,609 min; 28.7 mpg
George Hill (24 years, 290 days): 1,393 min; 27.9 mpg
DeJuan Blair (21 years, 302 days): 1,244 min; 22.2 mpg

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Read More: Bill Russell, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA
NBA Power Rankings, 2/17 02.17.11 at 6:24 pm ET
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1. San Antonio (46-9): According to the New York Post, citing a waitress at Tao on 58th Street in New York City, Tony Parker “celebrated Valentine’s Day, a win over the Nets — and his divorce — by canoodling with a brunette.” When this is the biggest news about the Spurs for the week, it’s pretty clear they’re still the NBA’s No. 1 (regular-season) team and (somehow) still underrated.

2. Dallas (39-16): The Mavericks are 37-9 with Dirk Nowitzki in the lineup — and 18-7 against teams above .500. That’s pretty good. Not surprisingly, owner Mark Cuban told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram his team has all the pieces in place for a title run. While they’re certainly playing better than the Lakers — and even the Celtics — right now, I’m still not buying them as contenders.

3. Boston (40-14): With Glen Davis as the sole healthy member of their projected second unit — and even he suffered a bruised noggin — the Celtics finished 2-2 against the Mavericks, Magic, Lakers and Heat in the span of nine days. The win over the Heat was truly significant; no matter who earns the East’s No. 1 seed the C’s cemented themselves as the clear favorites in the conference.

4. Miami (41-15): Sure, the Heat are 38-10 (.792 winning percentage) with Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all in the lineup. Still, even with all three of those guys on the floor, they’re only 11-8 (.579) against teams above the .500 mark. Oh, and they’re 0-4 against the two other teams vying for Eastern Conference supremacy. I’d say that’s a concern.

5. Chicago (37-16): Under Tom Thibodeau‘s tutelage, the Bulls have gone from 11th place in points allowed per 100 possessions last season to second place this year — without defensive stalwart Joakim Noah at center since Dec. 15. The booby prize for finishing second in the East is not only a Game 7 on the road in the conference finals but also a semifinals matchup with Chicago.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA
Glen Davis, Von Wafer give Celtics just enough reserve in the tank 02.14.11 at 10:18 am ET
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Simply put, without a great performance from Glen Davis and Von Wafer, the Celtics lose to the Heat Sunday and are in the midst of a three-game losing streak.

Instead, Davis had 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting – with one very embarrassing miss – and Wafer was 4-for-5 and had his most important game as a Celtic with 10 points, including a pair of huge 3’s in an 85-82 win over the Heat.

Forget the fact that the Celtics leap-frogged the Heat back into first in the Eastern Conference. Sunday was significant if for no other reason than the Celtics had every reason – and excuse – to lose this game.

Paul Pierceas we found out after the game – was really banged up and it showed as he missed all 10 shots from the field. Rajon Rondo turned in another all-world performance in 43 minutes of action but Doc Rivers couldn’t really rely on Nate Robinson who played just five minutes. And Avery Bradley played the final nine seconds of the first quarter.

That left it up to Davis and Wafer.

With the Celtics up 71-61, Wafer nailed a 3-ball for the Celtics’ final points of the third. He also gave the C’s their first three points of the fourth on another jumper from long range.

Davis’ big moment came even later. With 6.3 seconds remaining, Davis was fouled by LeBron James, who had just missed 1-of-2 free throws that could’ve tied the game. Instead, Davis had a chance to put the C’s up three, where a 3-pointer wouldn’t beat them.

He drained both, even with some talking going on in front of him from the Heat.

‘€œYou want to be in those positions,” Davis said. “That’€™s why you practice so hard, that’€™s why you get in the condition.

‘€œWe’€™re just trying to play the game like it’€™s supposed to be played. You know these are two of the best teams in the NBA. We got a lot of things to accomplish, getting over injuries, just trying to get better every day. We have 31 games left, we need to go out there and try to play 31 perfect games until the post-season starts.”

The more serious Wafer said there was an important message behind Sunday’s win.

‘€œIt says that we shouldn’€™t have lost the last two games,” Wafer said of the losses to the Bobcats and Lakers. “It’€™s kind of frustrating, but it’€™s already done so we just have to move on and work with what we got.’€

Rivers was just happy his team found a way with the team missing Daniels, both O’Neals, Delonte West, Robinson and a banged-up captain in Pierce.

“The bench won the game in the first half,” Rivers said of his team’s seven-point deficit in the first quarter. “They got us back into it. You know, it was amazing watching the two units play; the first unit was kind of dragging, obviously, and I thought all of them except for Rondo ‘€“ and then the second unit comes in and we don’€™t change anything; they just ‘€“ everything was quicker, harder, more desperate. And they made things happen.

“I thought in a role-reversal they showed the first unit how we were going to have to win this game. And then I thought our first unit took it from there. But Von and Baby were absolutely huge for us and terrific.’€

No discussion of Sunday’s game and Davis would be complete without mentioning what happened with 10:30 left in the second quarter. Davis, who played remarkable defense all day, stole the ball from Dwyane Wade and his reward was an open court to go to the basket for an easy two – except for the fact that he left the floor on the wrong foot and missed the lay-up/dunk in front of gasping crowd. Whoops.

‘€œThat was just what it was,” Davis smiling in very good humor. “I missed it, I went up the wrong way too. I can’€™t wait to see it on ESPN Not Top 10 that was a classic one. I was laughing. I’€™m glad it happened cause it kind of got me going in the game’€

And may have just helped the Celtics register the most significant win of the season.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwyane Wade, Glen Davis, LeBron James
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