|The complicated Gerald Wallace-Tom Brady-David Ortiz man love triangle||10.14.13 at 1:01 pm ET|
New Celtics forward Gerald Wallace‘s introduction to the Boston media last month came complete with an awkward explanation of his man crushes on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.
“I’m actually happy to be here in Boston. I’ve always loved the city of Boston when I came. And, besides, I’m a Red Sox and Patriots fan, so I’m closer to my teams. … I’m from Alabama. We don’t have a professional team there. I like Big Papi. I’ve always followed Big Papi. I enjoyed watching him in those days. That’s how I became a Red Sox fan. And I’m just fascinated with Brady. I like watching Brady play. I’m a big, big Brady fan since he got started in the league. I’ve been following him since Day 1. Him and Coach Belichick. Those are my favorite teams. Actually, at my house I have a split Patriots and Red Sox room. Basically shoes, material things. I have a couple Brady jerseys, a couple pictures of Brady, Belichick, the championship teams, a couple of the Super Bowl pictures, a lot of the Red Sox World Series things, I have an autographed bat from Ortiz, just some memorabilia.”
OK, then. That went from, “Oh, he’s just saying that to endear himself to Boston sports fans,” to, “Holy crap, this guy has a room dedicated to Tom Brady and David Ortiz in his house,” real fast. For those of you wondering at home, Wallace is 31 years old. And a professional basketball player. I don’t want to say Sunday should have been the best day of Gerald’s life, but Sunday should have definitely been the best day of Gerald’s life.
Especially considering Wallace attended the Patriots-Saints game and met Brady before his man crush completed one of his most improbable comebacks in a career filled with improbable comebacks. Here’s picture proof.
|Rajon Rondo, a Chinese reporter and a shoe||10.11.13 at 4:39 pm ET|
A Chinese reporter interviewed Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo while he sat in a chair with his new Rondo 1 shoe from Anta on his lap. My favorite part is when some dude stops her from asking any more questions about his knee. Well, that and all of Rondo’s humor getting lost in translation. Here are some other highlights. Enjoy.
Let us know the latest update on your knee injury.
“I’m right on schedule. I will return this year, and I’m taking one day, one week at a time.”
How long do you anticipate until you’re back on the court?
“Well, I’m on the court now. As far as playing, I don’t know. I don’t really want to put a timetable on it, because it’s something that I can be going great for one week and then I can have a setback with this type of injury the next, so I’m just going to take it one week at a time.”
Fans still have the pictures in their mind of Paul [Pierce] and Kevin [Garnett] wearing Celtics jerseys, and now you’re the leader of the team. What is the pressure like on your shoulders?
“The pressure gets bigger each year, and if you know me, then you know I love pressure, so I don’t think about it too much. I’m just focused on getting my knee back healthy and getting back on the court as fast as possible.”
What do you think are the main characteristics a team leader needs to have?
“He has to be humble. He has to be able to listen. A leader doesn’t always have to be the one that talks. You have to lead by example, and just always have faith and believe in one another.”
What do you hope to see from the Celtics this season?
“I hope to see us grow as a team. I hope to see us win a lot of games, and as long as we’re out there competing and give it all we have each game, then I think we’ll do that.”
Danny Ainge always pledged he’d pull the trigger when Red Auerbach never could — trading a couple Boston legends in the twilight of their careers — and now Auerbach’s daughter is questioning the current Celtics president’s pride after the deal that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn.
“Given [Red Auberbach's] track record and philosophy of life, not in his lifetime would that have happened,” Randy Auerbach told Yahoo Sports. “He really took a lot of pride in players finishing their careers with the Celtics. That was something very important to him.
“If it was for Chris Paul, maybe. We got nothing [for Pierce and Garnett]. You don’t trade laterally, and we didn’t even get laterally. But I hope it works. Nothing would give me more pleasure than to be wrong.”
The way Ainge tells the story, Red shared a couple trade scenarios he ultimately rejected with Ainge, Larry Bird and Kevin McHale during a Christmas party in the early 1990s: 1) Bird to the Pacers for Chuck Person, Herb Williams and Steve Stipanovich, and 2) McHale to the Mavericks for Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins. Ainge claims he urged Auerbach to make the trades, but Bird denies it went down like that.
|Stat man: The Phil Pressey factor||10.10.13 at 12:25 pm ET|
Forget about Chris Babb, the Celtics’ training camp invitee whose plus-20 rating in eight fourth-quarter minutes stole the show against the Knicks, because based on the current projected salary structure the C’s can’t sign him. As a result, the most impressive player on the roster Wednesday night was backup point guard Phil Pressey.
The son of former Celtics assistant coach Paul Pressey didn’t even get on the Garden floor in Game 1 of the preseason, but sadly a death in Jordan Crawford‘s family opened the door for the Missouri product to get minutes behind Avery Bradley. And Pressey basically submitted a flawless performance in his first NBA appearance.
The former Waltham star’s straight stat line — 13 points on five shots, seven assists against zero turnovers, three rebounds and two steals in 28:05 — is impressive in its own right, and it gets better the deeper you dive into it.
|Vitor Faverani update: Still the best||at 10:06 am ET|
When Vitor Faverani introduced himself to Boston, we discovered that the only true center on the Celtics roster is, simply, the best — a quote machine who declared the C’s “the best team in NBA” and stated his desire “to stay here forever.” See? The best. And after two preseason games, there’s no reason to believe he’s not still the best.
The 7-foot Brazilian’s English isn’t perfect, but he gets his point across. Faverani breaks basketball down to four things: 1) physical plays, 2) passes, 3) dunks and 4) pick-and-roll. As long as Celtics coach Brad Stevens keeps giving him minutes, Faverani says, he’ll provide all four. And, really, what else do you want from a backup center?
“When coach Stevens gives me my minutes, I try to do my best,” Faverani said following Monday’s loss to the Raptors. “That’s all. I’m happy, and I try to do my best.” C’mon, now, isn’t he the best? I think he’s the best.
On Wednesday, Stevens fed Faverani more minutes, and he happily did his best. In 31 minutes in a Celtics uniform, he’s produced 13 points (6-12 FG), nine rebounds, two blocks, two steals and a plus-7 rating. He’s played physical, dunked aplenty and set a mean pick for two straight games. Other than a few nice outlet passes to Phil Pressey during that impressive fourth-quarter comeback against the Knicks, the only thing we haven’t really seen from him is the passing. But I’m sure that will come, too, because Vitor is the best.
|Rajon Rondo: Why would I want out of Boston?||10.09.13 at 10:14 am ET|
His new endorsement deal with Chinese company Anta now official, Rajon Rondo granted an interview to a few reporters at Boston’s Four Seasons Hotel to promote the shoe he helped design and a new clothing line.
The Celtics point guard held true to his vague “some time in the 2013-14 season” timeline for a return and cleared up a few recent statements, including Grantland’s assertion “he will be traded” this season and Rondo’s own claim he “didn’t feel anything” when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers left town this summer. The following quotes come from CBS Sports, Boston Herald and Comcast reports.
- On Boston: “I love it here. The fans are great here. And Danny [Ainge] has been straightforward with me. This is my team. Why would I want to leave? Why would I want out? I never really backed away from a challenge. This would be a challenge. I’m looking forward to working with coach [Brad] Stevens. It’s a brand new start for us as a team. A lot of new players and a lot of young guys willing to listen, so I’m very excited.”
- On basketball: “Whatever coach asks of me, that’s what I try to do. If he wants me to shoot the ball more, I’ll shoot it. But at the end of the day, my natural instincts are to make my teammates better. Regardless of who is out on the floor, I believe I do make everybody out there better. I’m going to push them as hard as I can. I’m going to demand a lot out of them. I wouldn’t demand anything that I wouldn’t demand of myself. So I’m excited to play with a new group of guys.”
- On brotherhood: “Obviously, it was different when the trade went down. I didn’t expect it to happen because I just got off a plane. But it happens, and that’s the business. But I’m not going to say, like, ‘Forget about them.’ I was just talking about them in the locker room today — telling some stories about how KG was, things Paul did. At the end of the day, I still talk to every one of those guys. I talk to JET [Jason Terry]. I talk to P. I talked to Kevin [Monday]. We still check on each other. It’s a brotherhood. It’s something you can’t erase. We won titles together. We’ve been through the fire together. It’s something for life.”
- On Rivers: “I took a lot away from Doc. I still catch myself laughing at some of the things he’s told certain guys. Now, me being the leader of this team, I mimic some of the things that Doc has said to each individual guy. I learned a lot from Doc. I tried to study his ways as far as a coach because it’s something I may want to do in the future. I’ve got a lot of respect for Doc.”
- On Adrian Peterson: “Obviously, he came back and had an MVP season. That’s what I want to have when I come back. I don’t want to come back and be mediocre. I don’t want to have any excuses. I want to be ready to go. I don’t want to have to blame anything on my knee.”
|Kris Humphries just needed a change of scenery||10.08.13 at 5:38 pm ET|
An excerpt from a column titled, “Reality check: In defense of Kris Humphries.”
As a joke, Keith Bogans placed a picture of the Rajon Rondo-Kris Humphries brawl in the practice facility locker room, asking who’d win the fight, and the results were split. Danny Ainge praised the 10-year NBA veteran’s early arrival “in great shape,” the younger players credited his leadership during pre-camp workouts, the vets applauded his physicality during practice and Brad Stevens awarded him the starting center spot.
And despite being forced out of position, Humphries said all the right things, setting a positive tone for what will surely become a difficult juggling act for the coach, who will ask a lot of his players to do the same because of the redundancy on his roster.
“Whatever helps this team,” said Humphries. “I trust the coaches, so I’ve just got to do what I’m asked to do. I’m obviously more naturally a 4, but I’m willing to play 5.”
In that role, Humphries totaled 11 points (4-8 FG) and four rebounds in his 23:46, and he wasn’t satisfied. “I wasn’t really happy with the way I rebounded,” he said.
The rebounds will come. Humphries averaged double-digit boards per 36 minutes in each of his last seven seasons. A more encouraging development? He shot 4-of-5 between 15-19 feet. To put that in perspective, Humphries made 21 field goals from that range all of last season, shooting just 36.2 percent on those long 2’s in 2012-13.
Meanwhile, the first thing out of Humphries’ mouth upon meeting Stevens was, “Hey, let’s run” — a departure from a Nets system that didn’t maximize his skills last season — and Monday’s performance in a 97-89 loss to the Raptors didn’t cut it, so he dragged Jeff Green with him to run postgame sprints on a couple treadmills.
“We want to play at a faster pace,” said Humphries, still dripping in sweat from the workout. “Jeff and I actually did a little bit of extra conditioning after the game, just to kind of get us going a little bit more, so we can build to the start of the season.”
To read the column in full, click here. And check out the rest of the coverage from Monday night’s game.