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Irish Coffee: The case for Avery Bradley breaking out 10.19.11 at 2:16 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

While his Celtics teammates await the end of the NBA lockout for structured basketball to resume, backup point guard Avery Bradley could make his Israeli basketball debut as soon as Sunday.

That experience — combined with his participation in the Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series — will leave Bradley with perhaps more competitive basketball under his belt during the lockout than any other NBA player should the lengthy collective bargaining mediation sessions ever result in an actual season.

But will it help him contribute to the Celtics if and when NBA basketball resumes? Bradley certainly thinks so. Here’s what he told Eurobasket in a recent interview:

  • On the offseason: “I’m in great shape. I played in the pro-am games and in the Impact League in Las Vegas, so basically I work out all the time and I always make sure I’m ready to play.”
  • On playing abroad: “Honestly, what I want most it to keep playing basketball, and Jerusalem sounded like the best possibility.”
  • On the lockout: “The players and owners are doing whatever they can to end the situation we’re in. No one wants the lockout, everybody wants the same thing — for it to be over. Until then, I’m with Jerusalem and my focus is on helping out the team in any way possible.”

And for what it’s worth, I think Bradley is poised for a breakout season of sorts (hard to truly break out when playing behind Rajon Rondo, but still …). Let’s not forget he hasn’t even hit his 21st birthday (Nov. 26).

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Irish Coffee: Kevin Garnett fights for the nobodies 10.07.11 at 1:28 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

If you weren’t on the players’ side of the NBA lockout before, it’s getting harder and harder not to be.

Despite the fact that they are inching closer and closer to losing paychecks, and despite the fact that the league’s top players are finding it more and more difficult to seek employment overseas — an issue we’ll get to in a moment — NBA superstars are holding firm against owners.

Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski called Kevin Garnett‘s “apoplectic” plea to his fellow players not to drop lower than a 52-48 split on behalf of the league’s next generation — even in the face of losing his $21 million salary and perhaps his last best chance at a second NBA title to a lost season — “one of the most unselfish acts in these labor talks.” Here’s what one young mid-level salary player told Wojnarowski:

“What he’s doing now, to me, it says a lot about K.G. He’s willing to sit out the year, and give up [$21 million] at the end of his last big contract, and probably his last really good chance to win another ring. For him, this is about the principle.

“I don’t want to hear this stuff from our guys saying, ‘Oh, he can afford to sit out. He’s made a lot of money.’ I respect the [expletive] out of those guys standing up for us right now, him, Kobe, all of them.”

If owners and players don’t reach an agreement by Monday, the NBA will cancel the first two weeks of the regular season. If the lockout lingers any further, the players will indeed lose paychecks beginning on Nov. 15.

The four most prominent players at the most recent collective bargaining session in New York City — Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce and Amare Stoudemire — stand to lose a combined $219,000 per day if the NBA does not return by mid-November. I’m not sure, but I think that’s a lot of money.

“It’s very, very easy to jump ship when things get hard,” Garnett told Yahoo! Sports. “It’s very, very easy to start thinking differently. I’m not that type of person.”

NBA owners are in this for the long haul, as those who own profitable franchises will be able to make up for lost revenue fairly quickly over the course of the collective bargaining agreement and those who (claim they) don’t profit will actually save money each day the lockout continues.

That’s not the case for aging superstars like Bryant and Garnett, who have 1,401 combined hours of NBA basketball on their aching knees. And it’s not as easy as they might have once thought to make that money back overseas, as Bucks center Andrew Bogut‘s agent David Bauman noted to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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Irish Coffee: Celtics legend Bill Russell sues NCAA 10.06.11 at 11:59 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Dear Electronic Arts,

I’ve got good news and bad news for you.

You want the good news first? Kudos on the NBA 2K12 commercial featuring San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson. His argument for the 1986 Celtics as the greatest team ever is pretty much perfect.

I particularly enjoyed this quote from the Winchester, Mass. native: “If you were to take all those players and put them in a blender of greatness, you’d get strawberry milkshake, because they’re sweet.”

Now for the bad news. Bill Russell is suing you. And he’s suing the NCAA. It takes a lot to get under the skin of the greatest winner in sports history, but you’ve gone and done it. The lawsuit accuses the two conglomerates of using Russell’s likeness without compensation or his consent.

Russell’s claim argues that the NCAA violates antitrust laws by profiting from video of former student-athletes, like $150 videos of his two University of San Francisco championship seasons. The Celtics legend also accuses EA Sports of using his image in the “Tournament of Legends” portion of their college basketball game.

“Bill Russell, one of the greatest NCAA, NBA and Olympic basketball players in history, joins the lawsuit brought by Ed O’Bannon alleging that the NCAA has violated federal antitrust law by unlawfully foreclosing former Division I men’s basketball and football players from receiving any compensation related to the commercial use of their images and likenesses,” attorney Jon King told Bloomberg via e-mail.

Have fun arguing against a Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree in court.

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Irish Coffee: Paul Pierce to the NBA rescue! 10.04.11 at 12:20 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Only two players attended Monday’s NBA collective bargaining session with commissioner David Stern and the NBA brass. One was National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher. The other? Paul Pierce.

Pierce isn’t a member of the union’s executive committee, although CBS Sports columnist Ken Berger suggested the Celtics captain and player representative has expressed interest in becoming the Joe Biden to Fisher’s Barack Obama. Regardless, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver cited Pierce as someone who actually brought tangible ideas to the table during labor discussions in New York City over the weekend.

Not only is Pierce expected to join Fisher again on Tuesday, but Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett have reportedly been invited to join a small group of players in what might be the final negotiating window before the NBA starts canceling regular-season games. Imagine that. Lakers and Celtics on the same side of the ball.

Pierce’s presence is only magnified by the fact that his agent, Jeff Schwartz, is among a handful who encourage union decertification and drafted a letter urging the players not to accept a revenue share less than 52 percent — six points higher than Stern’s current offer and two points above what some believe could seal a deal.

Are those final two percentage points — a total of $80 or so million — worth destroying the momentum that two Celtics-Lakers finals and a Heat firestorm created over the last few seasons? It’s hard to imagine Pierce & Co. allowing these negotiations to devolve into decertification, as that could cost the league the 2011-12 NBA season. These are the issues that Pierce, Fisher, Garnett, Bryant and their colleagues face.

My how far Pierce has come since he got ejected from Game 6 of a first-round series loss to the Pacers in the 2005 NBA Playoffs, swung his Celtics jersey over his head at the Conseco Fieldhouse crowd and showed up to the post-game press conference with his head wrapped in a faux bandage.

If the 2008 NBA Finals MVP was Pierce’s defining moment on the court, this could be his moment of Truth off it. He could cement his legacy as not only a Hall of Famer but a power player in the NBA’s future for years to come.

For more on Tuesday’s pivotal NBA labor negotiations, WEEI.com’s Paul Flannery sets the stage perfectly.

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Irish Coffee: Celtics, Heat party in NYC’s meatpacking district (not that there’s anything wrong with that) 10.03.11 at 11:58 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Enough’s enough. The NBA might still be locked out, but Irish Coffee’s holdout has officially come to an end. It’s October, and NBA training camps should be in progress. Instead, the Celtics and Heat are partying together.

After the C’s swept the Knicks and got out-athleticismed (new word!) by the Heat in five games during the 2011 NBA Playoffs, did you ever think you’d be reading about Carmelo Anthony hosting Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in New York City’s meatpacking district on Oct. 3? At least the Daily News reported that “the Boston boys and Anthony’s crew exchanged little more than ‘hi and bye’ pleasantries.”

Did you think Rajon Rondo would pledge to play alongside Wade, LBJ, Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire at an event hosted by Isiah Thomas on Oct. 8? At least its for charity.

Did you think restricted free agent Jeff Green – the crux of the Kendrick Perkins deal that many believe killed the Celtics season faster than an unnamed Red Sox player can slam a beer in the clubhouse — would be discussing the oh-so-difficult process of making smoothies on some lady’s couch (see embedded video)? At least he’s staying healthy. (On an unrelated note, should we tell them that almond milk, bananas, strawberries, blueberries and ice isn’t a protein shake?)

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10 Things I Heard About Celtics VII 09.20.11 at 6:35 pm ET
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On another slow Celtics news day, there’s still plenty to learn about Boston’s green men. Here are 10 more C’s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (“10 Things I Heard About Celtics” IIIIIIIVV and VI) …

10. Taking time out from practice on the LSU campus, Celtics free agent forward Glen Davis recently traveled to South Portland, Maine to dedicate a pair of basketball courts and speak on behalf of a charitable venture.

The latter event provided us with two dichotomous Davis interviews courtesy of the local NBA affiliate: 1) the awkward exchange in the embedded video between a report intent on asking lockout questions and Davis, who clearly wanted no part of it; and 2) the poignant speech to Day One fundraisers about being raised by a mother with substance abuse problems.

We’ll start on the basketball side. The short of what Davis had to say was “I have no worry,” “Everything will be Ok” and “We’ll be back on the court.” The long of it:

  • On the lockout: “The owners and the players are trying to deal with something, and they’ll make sure everything will happen the way it needs to happen. I have no worry. Everybody loves basketball.”
  • On the lockout, again: “They have issues. We have to work them out. Everybody wants basketball. With everybody on the same ground, we can work something out. Everything will be Ok.”
  • And again: “I think a lot of guys are working out and preparing themselves, but everybody’s at their house or doing something. We’re preparing like there’s going to be a season, and after everything gets worked out we’ll be back on the court.”
  • And again: “We’ve got to work things out first. In the meantime, between time, I’m just affiliated with and doing other things, so I’m just waiting.”

Now to the human side. Here are a few touching tidbits from Davis about his childhood:

  • On his hometown: “I grew up in a neighborhood where there were drugs everywhere. It was like walking zombies out there.”
  • On his upbringing: “I had to face some things that I never could ever imagine that I would have had to face as a young child. I was put in situations where I had to grow up as an adult. I had to realize what life was really about.”
  • On finding hoops: “In basketball, that’s where I found the values of life. It’s where I found that structure. It’s where I found that place where I can vent and be me, because I had to be someone else.”

The Portland Press Herald has more from the emotional Davis, who was introduced by Celtics legend Dave Cowens with this: “All the old guys I played with think he really knows how to play the game.”

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Paul Pierce goes 1-on-1 with Maria Menounos 09.14.11 at 10:21 am ET
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Most people can only dream of scoring on Maria Menounos. Not Celtics captain Paul Pierce. Not only did Pierce wax the Medford native in a little game of 1-on-1, but she offered to buy him dinner afterwards. I guess they don’t call him The Truth for nothing. And I think I just hit the innuendo quota for one blog.

By the way, I enjoyed how Menounos said she couldn’t start her new job without everybody knowing where she stands. Um, this is a new job? Hasn’t she been doing that show for like 10 years? Apparently, she’s moved from “Entertainment Tonight” to “Access Hollywood” to “Extra,” and here I was thinking that was all the same show.

Whatever. There’s no doubt Menounos has been a long-time C’s fan. Here’s picture proof:

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