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Stephen A. Smith on D&C: ‘Nothing less will suffice’ than getting rid of Donald Sterling 04.29.14 at 10:02 am ET
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ESPN’€™s Stephen A. Smith joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to discuss the racist remarks that Clippers owner Donald Sterling allegedly made. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

While Sterling’s alleged remarks recently created an uproar, the Clippers owner has made headlines with his discriminatory actions in the past. Still, Smith made the case that this was dramatically different.

“You could have a spouse or a partner, and you could know that they’re cheating on you and the thought of that hurts you, but it’s something to know that, and it’s something entirely different to walk in on them and witness them actually doing it,” Smith said. “And in the case of Donald Sterling with the audio tape, it’s sort of tantamount to that because it’s one thing to hear the stories about him, to sort of suspect it and know it, but at the same time you’re working, you’re playing the game you love, you’re coaching the game. You love doing what you want to do and that’s it. Or if you’re a co-owner everyone’s making money, you live your life, you live this — fine.

“It’s another thing entirely for it to slap you in your face right there, front and center, and say, ‘Here I am. This is who I am. This is who I’ve been. This is who you’ve known all this time and there’s been unequivocal evidence and it’s clear there’s nowhere else to go but where you are. … Everybody has a right to feel the way they want to feel, and you can’t legislate what’s in people’s hearts, but when they throw it in your face flagrantly, it’s the ultimate form of disrespect, and it’s something that can’t be tolerated and that is how it’s viewed what Donald Sterling has done and most of white American and beyond can’t ever be accused of being guilty of being that stupid.”

The NBA will address the situation on Tuesday when Commissioner Adam Silver holds a press conference in New York City at 2 p.m.

“I think there’s one thing he could say — he could say Donald Sterling will no longer be an NBA owner,” Smith said. “Himself and the owners collectively standup in unison and have made the decision that Donald Sterling will be removed as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers … not only can there be a $1 million fine, there can be a $2 million fine, there can be a complication of draft picks from the Clippers organization, but there can also be a lifetime ban, which could ultimately force Donald Sterling to have to sell this team … There are mechanisms in place within the constitutional bylaws of the NBA that would facilitate somebody else taking over the team and taking it away from Donald Sterling. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adam silver, donald sterling, NBA, Stephen A. Smith
Celtics bring fired Warriors assistant Darren Erman back to Boston at 10:02 am ET
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Less than a month after the Warriors fired him from his assistant coaching position, Darren Erman has returned to the Celtics.

The C’s hired Erman as the team’s director of NBA scouting, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowksi. Prior to joining Mark Jackson‘s Golden State staff, Erman served as a coaching assistant under Doc Rivers from 2007-11.

Erman’s previous stint with the Celtics involved scouting and individual skill development, and the Emory University product developed a reputation for his ability to study film during his tenure.

Shortly after the Warriors reassigned another assistant coach — former Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine — they announced Erman’s dismissal. ESPN later reported his departure involved a “violation of company policy” centered around his recording of internal conversations without consent. It didn’t take long for the Celtics to bring him back to Boston, which should speak volumes about how president of basketball operations Danny Ainge feels about the 37-year-old.

 

Read More: Boston Celtics, Darren Erman, NBA,
Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett ‘happy’ for playoff support of Celtics fans during Nets run 04.24.14 at 4:25 pm ET
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Paul Pierce knows the postseason as well as he knows Boston.

“This is the playoffs,”€ he said from the Nets practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J. “This is do or die.”

Pierce played 136 playoff games over 15 seasons for the Celtics. His 24,021 points rank second on the team’s all-time scoring list, brought a championship back to Boston in 2008, and also earned the NBA Finals MVP that very same season. The Truth restored meaning to the NBA’€™s signature franchise, so No. 34 still appreciates that Celtics fans are watching his run in Brooklyn.

“There’€™s a lot of fans [in Boston],” he added, “and I’€™m happy for their support.”

Kevin Garnett spent the last six seasons as a Celtic, patrolling the Garden paint and delivering a Bill Russell-esque intensity focused completely on winning. Up until this season, Garnett had played his last 84 playoff games for Boston, providing the interior defense, elbows, scowls and growls that the people of Boston know intimately well.

“€œThis is a different level of intensity,”€ said Garnett, who verified the fans in Boston understand that vigor and fury. “€œA different level of concentration. Some people can withstand that for 48 minutes, and some can’€™t.”

Pierce and Garnett helped Brooklyn split the first two games with the Atlantic Division champion Raptors. Now the Nets head back to play two home games in the Barclays Center, a place Pierce still finds odd calling home. He has registered two playoff games so far for the Nets, and is still getting used to placing his long arms through a green and white jersey before each game.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Celtics lose coin flip to Jazz, receive worse NBA draft lottery odds 04.18.14 at 3:13 pm ET
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The Celtics split a pair of tie-breaking coin flips but lost the one they really needed, the NBA announced.

The Jazz won the first flip, moving into the fourth position in the NBA draft lottery and capturing a 10.4 percent chance at the No. 1 overall pick. The C’s are slotted fifth with a 10.3 percent chance. Utah can pick no lower than seventh while the Celtics could select as low as eighth.

While the two teams have a nearly identical chance at a top-three pick — 33.7 percent for the Jazz and 33.4 for the Celtics — Utah’s luck has more significant ramifications should neither team win a shot at (most likely) Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid. The Jazz have a 9.9 percent shot at the fourth selection, 37.3 percent shot at fifth, 17.6 shot at sixth and 1.4 percent shot at seventh.

Meanwhile, the C’s cannot get the fourth pick and have a 23.7 percent shot at fifth, 34.2 percent shot at sixth, 8.2 percent shot at seventh and 0.3 percent shot at eighth, according to Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren.

In other words, the Jazz now have a 98.4 percent chance at a top-six pick while the C’s have an 8.5 percent chance at seven or eight. Similarly, Utah gets a 43.6 percent shot at a top-four pick while the C’s are stuck at 33.4 percent.

As for the good news, the Nets won their tie-breaker over the Wizards, so the Celtics will pick 17th instead of 18th.

 

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA,
Brad Stevens sends a clear message to his Celtics: ‘We’ve got to have a defensive DNA’ 04.17.14 at 9:30 am ET
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Brad Stevens saw a lot in his first season in the NBA as a head coach.

After the 57th and final loss of the season, he gave some insight as to what he learned from his maiden voyage in the pro ranks of basketball.

“I think the best thing I learned is that this is not fun to not win but it doesn’t define who you are or how you go about your business. One of the things that I’m probably most happy about with our team is that they didn’t change necessarily who they were. They didn’t let the losing or the multiple losses affect them or their approach, and I hope that I was the same way.”

The best advice for what would be a long season came at the start of the season, when Celtics assistant coach and long-time NBA veteran coach and scout Ron Adams offered some perspective on patience.

“I learned a lot about the NBA game and how it’s played,” Stevens said. “It’s a different kind of basketball. Ron Adams told me at the beginning of the year, ‘If I went and coached high school after 22 years coaching in the NBA, I wouldn’t know what’s going on. It’s 32 minutes, no shot clock. I’d really have to adjust to that.’ I think that’s probably true no matter which way you go. But it is an adjustment. The part I felt most comfortable was in the game, once we got used to the time outs, the 24-second clock and all that other stuff.”

All that other stuff for Stevens starts and ends with better and more consistent defense. It’s what separates talented teams from winning teams in the NBA. It’s what separates teams that can close out games and protect leads from those – like the 2013-14 Celtics – who lose close games time after time down the stretch. Stevens very rarely called his team out after games of this lost season, with a notable exception coming after a lackluster home loss to the Sixers on April 4. But after the final game Wednesday, a 118-102 defenseless loss to the playoff-bound Wizards, he delivered a clear and present message to any player that might return next season.

“€œSo there’€™s a couple different ways to look at it: are you going to get better in your role, or are you going to expand your role? What I mean by that is: are you going to get better at what you do well, or are you going to get better at some other things that make you, that give you the chance to instead of be the eighth guy be the fifth guy, instead of be the fifth guy be the third guy. We have a lot of great data to be able to share and subjective thoughts as well, and I think we can get better with the guys in the room. I think we clearly are going to need to add to our team to be better, but I told them at halftime, I said, ‘€˜We can start it on October 1st or we can start it right now.’€™ That is, we’€™ve got to have a defensive DNA to start next season at a little bit different level than I thought we did at the end of this season. I thought we tried to compete defensively early-on in the year; I didn’€™t think we made the strides that I would’€™ve liked to have made.”

Stevens took the time Wednesday at halftime of a game in which they surrendered 38 points in the first quarter and 68 points in the half to remind his team of exactly what he will expect going forward.

“At halftime, I was obviously disappointed in our defensive effort,” Stevens said. “I knew, just look out there, we were undermanned a little bit, but I thought we could play better defensively and it thought we came out in the second half with a great deal of spirit and fight, a little bit more aggressiveness, and it was great until we were worn out. And I thought we wore out and we didn’€™t have any juice in the last 10 minutes or so, prior to that little run at the end. Credit them; they put us in a world of hurt in a lot of different match-ups. It’€™s a good basketball team who’€™s playing well right now, who, as I said earlier, is really sitting pretty for the future because they’€™ve got really good players at the one and the two that are both very young, that have a chance to be elite at their positions.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Brandon Bass, NBA
Celtics, Jazz tie for NBA’s fourth-worst record 04.16.14 at 11:22 pm ET
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The Celtics‘ loss combined with a Jazz double-overtime win left both teams tied for the NBA’s fourth-worst record.

As a result, the teams split their lottery odds, each receiving a 10.4 percent chance at the No. 1 pick and a 33.5 percent chance at a top-three selection. A coin flip will determine their positioning should neither team end up in the top three on May 20, and the worst-case scenario for the Celtics is the eighth pick in the June 26 draft.

Meanwhile, the Wizards’ victory over the C’s pulled them even with the Nets at 44-38. Since the Celtics also own Brooklyn’s pick, another coin flip later this week will determine if they receive the 17th or 18th pick.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Utah Jazz,
Fast Break: Celtics lose, call it a season at 10:19 pm ET
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Prior to the game, Jared Sullinger addressed the crowd on Celtics fan appreciation night, “Hopefully we’ll come back next year,” which wasn’t exactly a great omen for the final game of the regular season. While a handful of C’s scored in double figures, they fell under the Wizards spell, 118-102.

Kelly Olynyk led the Celtics with 24 points while adding seven rebounds and five assists. Jeff Green (20 points), Avery Bradley (18), Brandon Bass (16) and Chris Johnson (10) also reached double digits.

Sullinger, Rajon Rondo, Kris Humphries and Jerryd Bayless all sat out, nursing various minor injuries.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Rondo a no go: With what the team described as a sore left hamstring, Rondo called it a season before the final game of the year. His final home game came April 4. When all was said and done, the Celtics captain played 30 games this season, and the C’s lost 24 of them — including the final eight. Mission accomplished?

No defense: Prior to the game, Danny Ainge lamented his team’s lack of a post presence and a general absence of cohesiveness, and the Celtics held true to form on the defensive end. The Wizards shot better than 50 percent and reached 100 points midway through the fourth quarter. In the end, the Celtics were one of the NBA’s 10 worst defenses this season, and the C’s brass must address that issue from a personnel and tactical standpoint.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Turn up the Bass: The Celtics handed out the ninth annual Auerbach Award before the game, and there was no other choice but Bass. He’s been the most consistent green teamer all year, producing somewhere around his season averages of 11 points and six assists each month. And he had himself a game against the Wizards, too. Previous winners: Paul Pierce (twice), Al Jefferson, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and Doc Rivers.

K.O. punch: Olynyk entered the night averaging 15.6 points on 62.1 true shooting to go along with 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game this month. As a result, he earned his third straight start to finish the season, and he didn’t disappoint. As Ainge said before the game, “I’€™ve been really happy with how he’€™s improved.”

Full-court Pressey: With Rondo on the mend, Phil Pressey made a serious case to stick around in the Celtics locker room next season as a backup point guard. He averaged five points and seven assists per game in the final month of the season and had at least nine dimes in four of his final six appearances of the year.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Washington Wizards,
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