|Doc on DJ: ‘People forget how good he was’||04.04.10 at 1:59 pm ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers, like many fans, was extremely happy on Saturday to hear word that Dennis Johnson was finally being inducted into the basketball hall of fame in Springfield this fall. The official announcement is expected to come out of Indianapolis on Monday during the Final Four.
Rivers just wishes that DJ were around to receive the accolades and get his chance to say thank you. Johnson died of heart failure in Feb. 2007.
“In some ways, it’s a little late,” Rivers said. “It would have been better for this to happen when DJ was alive. It would have been great for him to give the speech. That’s the only bad part of this.”
In many ways, the best thing to have ever happened to Dennis Johnson was his trade from Phoenix to Boston following the 1982-83 season for Rick Robey.
In his first year in Boston in ’83-84, Johnson helped contain Philadelphia’s Andrew Toney in the regular season and Magic Johnson in the playoffs as the Celtics returned to glory in a seven-game NBA Finals win.
But, as Celtics coach Doc Rivers correctly pointed out, while he may not have been well known by fans before coming to Boston in the mid-80s, he certainly had built quite the reputation. He led Seattle to its first and only title in 1979 and was voted NBA Finals MVP.
“I think, unfortunately, for DJ is people forget how good he was in Seattle,” Rivers said of Johnson. “They dismiss that part of his career for some reason. Somehow, they forget he won titles on two different teams and was a key player on both.”
After the ’79 title season, Johnson averaged 19.0 points and 4.1 assists, appeared in his second All-Star Game and was named to the All-Defensive first team and All-NBA second team.
However, the Sonics lost in the Western Conference Finals against the Lakers, who had Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Johnson later called that playoff exit one of the worst disappointments of his professional career.
|Pierce on C’s turmoil: We ‘talk things out’||at 12:18 am ET|
WALTHAM — Paul Pierce made a admission on Saturday following practice.
The Celtics had some words amongst each other about what was happening on their home court in three straight losses – or more to the point, what wasn’t. And that turmoil was evident several times on Friday as Rajon Rondo had animated discussions with Shelden Williams and Pierce during the fourth quarter as the Celtics were trying to get their defensive house in order.
The team’s ability to defend the simple pick-and-roll was exposed as an apparent weakness on Friday as Aaron Brooks, Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola went to town late in the fourth quarter as the Rockets battled back to force overtime and then erased a five-point hole in OT to score the last 10 points of overtime in the 119-114 Rockets win.
“I think we’re breaking down in just one area,” Pierce said. “And it needs to get better. We have to be better on the pick and roll.”
In other words, when the opposing player passes the ball, a fundamental rule in basketball defense 101 is that the passer becomes the most dangerous potential scorer on the court.
“I think we trust each other,” Pierce said. “It’s just about going out there and doing it and trusting the coaching staff. The good thing about us after a game like [Friday] or the game before, we sit in the locker room and we talk about it. We were in the training room, talking about what we need to do better and what we need to do as a team. That’s a positive sign, how during a tough stretch like this, we stick together and talk things out.”
And that talk continued from Friday night post-game to Saturday pre-film study as Pierce said the team had an animated and frank discussion of the mistakes being made, with everyone in green taking some responsibility.
Now with LeBron James, Antawn Jamison and the NBA-leading Cavaliers coming to town Sunday, the Celtics are just hoping their film study and practice on Saturday is enough to pass the huge test.
He didn’t want to get into it after Friday’s loss, but Celtics coach Doc Rivers gave several examples on Saturday of the problems that led to his team’s meltdown.
There was the lack of respect given to 3-point sharpshooter Chase Budinger, after several reminders from the coaching staff to get in his face and stick with him on defense. They failed.
There was the shot taken by Nate Robinson at the end of the second quarter, leading to a three-point swing that gave Houston a four-point lead instead of one. And there was Pierce dribbling out the clock before halftime without getting off a shot.
All of that said, Saturday was a time to look forward to preparing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that beat them by 20 on the same court on Feb. 26. Looking back on Friday’s loss on film was not what Doc ordered on Saturday.
|Report: DJ voted to Hall of Fame||04.03.10 at 3:47 pm ET|
Point guard Dennis Johnson has been elected to the basketball Hall of Fame, according to a report in the Boston Globe. Sources tell the paper that Johnson will be inducted in the latest class this fall in Springfield, Mass.
The official announcement is expected on Monday. Johnson led three teams to NBA championships, including the 1984 and 1986 Celtics. Johnson also led the Seattle SuperSonics to their only championship in 1979, earning NBA Finals MVP.
Johnson, drafted 29th overall in 1976 by Seattle, began his professional career as a shooting guard. After a short stint with the Phoenix Suns, he became the starting point guard for the Celtics and led the team to the NBA title in 1984, his first season in Boston.
‘DJ” was voted to five All-Star teams, one All-NBA first and one second team, and nine consecutive All-Defensive first and second Teams.
|Doc’s 25-point plan for free speech||04.02.10 at 9:11 pm ET|
Doc Rivers is a man on a mission.
He wants every player and coach to be able to freely speak their mind without fear of retribution from Stu Jackson, the NBA’s chief officer in charge of behavior.
Jackson levied a fine of $25,000 on Friday to Kevin Garnett for his decision to give Michael Jordan a new middle name when referencing the breaks he thought Kevin Durant was getting from officials on Wednesday night.
Instead of the player paying it, he wants the people responsible to foot the bill.
“The next time that happens, I have a solution. Each one of you guys should pitch in a thousand dollars until we get to [fine total],” Rivers suggested, tongue-in-cheek we think.
The reason there’s some truth in what Rivers believes occurred last year when Rivers was docked $25,000 during the playoffs when he was asked during a press conference if he thought Kendrick Perkins was being targeted by officials.
But in all seriousness, Rivers shed some light on how the fines are administered. They are automatically deducted from a player or coach’s paycheck.
“If we had to write a check,they’d never get the money,” Rivers said, again joking we think.
Rivers also talked before the game about the progress of the second unit and how Nate Robinson, even when he isn’t scoring that much like Wednesday night, is still having a positive impact on the reserves.
|Garnett fined for ‘Michael @#$% Jordan’ remark||at 1:51 pm ET|
The NBA fined Kevin Garnett $25,000 on Friday for his remark criticizing officials following a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.
After Kevin Durant made all 15 free throws and the Celtics made just 13-of-17 at the line, Garnett said, “I thought we were playing Michael [expletive] Jordan the way he was getting the whistle. Durant damn near shot more free throws than our whole team for the game.”
Stu Jackson, NBA Vice President for Operations, made the announcement.
|Doc’s three-point plan for success||04.01.10 at 5:23 pm ET|
Paul Pierce, on Thursday with WEEI’s Dale & Holley, might have said the Celtics are ‘built for the playoffs’ but his coach wants them to be a fine-tuned machine when they get there.
To that point, Doc Rivers outlined two areas he believes his team has improved since the All-Star break and one more he believes still needs work before the second season begins.
Rivers told reporters following Thursday’s practice that the team has cut down on its turnovers since the break and has done a better job of rebounding in recent games.
But the one area he still feels his team needs work on its weak-side defense. In other words, Rivers wants to see more green and white shirts flying to the open shooter and not allow wide open shots, especially from three-point range.
That was particularly evident on Wednesday when Jeff Green nailed back-to-back three-pointers in the final two minutes to seal Oklahoma City’s 109-104 win over the Celtics.
“Turnovers are going down but we’ve had the sporadic bad game,” Rivers said. “We’re rebounding better, we’ve had the sporadic bad game. And then there’s the weak-side defense.
“To me that’s the biggest concern, a guy is going to get beat off the dribble, that next guy being there to take the charge and the next guy being there to get his body in the way and then the next guy getting on that guy’s body. That’s the next step we have to make.”
Rivers also said his players were more upset with three free-throw discrepancy than he was.
“I thought we could’ve gone to the line more but I thought we could’ve been more aggressive going to the basket as well since we took a lot of threes,” Rivers said. “I thought they were complaining more they were playing good defense on some of those and they were playing good defense.”
|Celtics curse Kevin Durant||at 3:21 am ET|
You know you’re good when a pair of NBA veterans curse your performance after you lead your team to a win on their home court.
Kevin Durant is that good — and then some.
He scored from every spot on the court, including the free throw line — where he made all 15 attempts. When all was said and done, the Celtics watched him pour in 37 points in Oklahoma City’s 109-104 win over the Green on Wednesday at TD Garden.
“It’s a team job to help out, period,” Rasheed Wallace said. “No matter whether it’s him or any other type of NBA All-Star, it’s a team effort to help out. It was a [pain], honestly. Helping Paul [Pierce] and Ray [Allen] out, it’s just a team thing. Got to stay with him.”
As for those 15 free throws, compare that to the fact the Celtics as a team made just 13-of-17 attempts the entire game.
“I thought we were playing Michael [expletive] Jordan tonight the way he was getting the whistle,” Kevin Garnett added. “Durant damn near shot more free throws than our whole team.”
With Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook at the point, these are not your mother’s Oklahoma City Thunder — or even Seattle Supersonics, for that matter.
“We’ve grown, we’ve grown up,” Durant said. “We’ve added a lot of different pieces since our first year, me and Jeff. So it’s good to come in here and beat a team like Boston — a great team, a championship team like them. It’s all about moving on from here.
“It means a lot for us, and like you say gives us confidence. We’ve got eight more games left, so we’ve just got to keep plugging away and keep pushing. This is another step for us. We’re happy with this win, but tomorrow we’ve got to let it go and get ready for Dallas.”
Maybe most impressive is the fact the Thunder shot 50 percent, 10 percent less than their opponent — on their opponent’s home court — and still managed to win.
“If you want a tape about how to score the basketball, you’ve got to watch this game,” Durant said. “They scored it in a variety of ways and we scored in a variety of ways as well. Our point guard did a great job of starting us off early, getting to the rim and opening things up for everybody else. It was a great game as far as offensive is concerned. We’ve just got to work on our defense from here.”
Glen Davis was one of the last Celtics to give his take on Durant on Wednesday, and he didn’t even need any dirty words.
“He’s a problem because you’ve got to pay attention to him,” Davis said. “You’ve got to make sure he doesn’t beat you, and he had a big game tonight. We’ve got to get him out of his comfort zone and make sure he doesn’t have 37, but he did.”
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