|Irish Coffee: Kobe Bryant’s Ray Allen praise wasn’t easy||02.17.11 at 12:11 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
For the first half of this month, Boston was the hub of the NBA universe, as the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics welcomed four other championship contenders to the TD Garden — the Mavericks, Magic, Lakers and Heat — in a span of nine days. Sports Illustrated writer Ian Thomsen followed the C’s every step of the way for a cover story in the magazine’s issue that hits stores this week.
From each game, Thomsen uncovered some pretty juicy anecdotes. Here are the highlights …
Mavericks 101, Celtics 97
- Paul Pierce didn’t know Mavericks guard J.J. Barea spent his college days in Boston: “I’m an NBA player, I’m a Celtic! I came from Kansas! What would I be doing watching Northeastern play?”
- Mavericks center Tyson Chandler idolized Kevin Garnett: “What I try to do for my team is what he’s done his entire career. I respect what he’s accomplished, so I’m just trying to mirror that.”
- Like many players, Barea thinks Garnett isn’t always nice: “He likes to pick on little guys, I think.”
Celtics 91, Magic 80
- Magic swingman Quentin Richardson joined the anti-Garnett club: “Garnett is a great player, he’ll be a Hall of Famer, and his rÃ©sumÃ© speaks for itself. But at the same time you may not have a lot of respect for some of the things he’ll do. He picks fights with [the Raptors' 6'3" Jose] Calderon or with Barea. Come on, man, that’s not showing that you’re big or bad. You’re trying to fight point guards.”
- And Celtics coach Doc Rivers once again came to Garnett’s defense: “This guy should be the model. He is as pure a team player as I’ve ever been around. Does he say things the wrong way at times? Clearly Kevin has used the ‘F’ word as a noun, adjective and verb, and it’s mean-spirited if you’re not on his team. With his teammates he talks the same way, but it’s all about help, it’s all about team. The players who don’t like him are usually the players who aren’t winning, and maybe they should be more like him instead of talking about him.”
- Pierce didn’t enjoy 25-year-old Magic center Dwight Howard‘s imitation of Garnett’s chest-thumping pregame regimen: “I don’t know if they’ve won a game when he’s mocked anybody. I think he’s got to stop it. I saw LeBron [James] go for 51 [in a Feb. 3 win at Orlando] when he mocked him.”
- When Celtics 26-year-old center Kendrick Perkins baited Howard into a technical foul, that showed maturity on Perkins’ part, according to Rivers: “First time in his life — he fouled Dwight, holds him and holds him, Dwight hits him with an elbow, hits him with another one, and Perk just stands there. At halftime I said to the team, ‘That is toughness. Toughness is somebody hitting you in the freaking face, and you’re looking at him and laughing and walking away. That’s a tough mother.'”
- Magic coach Stan Van Gundy doesn’t believe his team can contend with the Celtics: “Not even in the same ballpark as these guys. We can be, but we’re not right now.”
|Nate Robinson on Twitter, his role and ‘Kazaam’||09.23.10 at 4:32 pm ET|
“Nate’s talking? That’s a news flash,” Doc Rivers quipped at the team’s annual golf fundraiser to support The Shamrock Foundation.
And Twitter is one of Robinson’s favorite places to chirp. He’s posted 79 tweets (@nate_robinson) since Monday, including what appeared to be his own telephone number followed by “text me NOW” last night.
That behavior made you wonder if Robinson was living up to his self-proclaimed nickname, Donkey, but it turns out that was a prank on one of his friends.
“That wasn’t my phone number,” explained Robinson, laughing. “That’s my friend’s number. … I don’t put up my information. I just joke around with my friends. Hopefully, none of my friends put my number up.”
When he first started Twitter, Robinson actually did post his personal phone number, accidentally, while attempting to send Quentin Richardson a private message.
“All of a sudden, I was like, ‘Why are all of these people calling my phone?'” he said. “It was pretty funny ‘ but never again.”
On Twitter, pretty much no topic is off limits for Robinson. He’s discussed everything from relationship advice to potential tattoos to nutrition tips.
“It takes time out of your day,” he said. “When you’re bored, you can go on Twitter, and by the time you’re done, three or four hours go by. It’s fun. You keep up with the world, I guess. I think it’s one of the best creations of the last two years.”
So, who does Robinson follow on Twitter? Other than his teammates, opponents and a slew of football players, his three favorites are rapper Fabolous (“He’s got a lot of interesting things to say”), boxer Floyd Mayweather (“he’s pretty funny”) and comedian Kevin Hart (“a lot of comedians are pretty funny, because it’s their job”).
Nate Robinson: On basketball
When he’s not tweeting, Robinson finds time to play a little basketball.
After seeing limited playing time for the Celtics following last season’s trade from New York, he had at least one breakout performance in each of the final three series of Boston’s playoff run, including the 12-point performance in Game 4 of the finals that led to the infamous “Shrek and Donkey” press conference.
Building off that momentum, the 5-foot-9 former University of Washington star hopes to contribute to this year’s team, in any way he can.
“I love the game of basketball,” he said. “That’s never going to change. For me to get a training camp in with the Celtics, that’s only going to help me out with knowing exactly what Doc wants from me, how to play and getting in where I fit in, which is me playing with energy. I don’t try to do too much. I’ve just got to play my game.”
Nothing is set in stone for Robinson this season, especially with the re-acquisition of Delonte West. They’ll be battling for playing time behind Rajon Rondo, but Rivers believes that Robinson’s participation in a Celtics training camp can only help.
“It’ll be important,” said Rivers. “It’ll help him understand what we’re running better, and it’ll help us understand him a little better as well. It’ll be good for both of us.”
Nate Robinson: On Shaq
Robinson and Shaquille O’Neal share adjacent lockers this season, and they’re getting to know each other ‘ perhaps a little too well.
“I’ve been a Shaq fan since I was a little boy, so I’ve been teasing him about all the movies he’s been in,” Robinson said. “He’s awesome. His locker is right next to mine, so it’s kind of cool. Every day, he comes in with these Superman pajamas. I’m kinda getting tired of those already, but he’s a real fun guy. He’s one of those guys who I can always tell my kids, ‘I played with one of the all-time greats.'”
Oddly, Shaq (@THE_REAL_SHAQ) doesn’t follow Robinson on Twitter yet. Maybe it’s all those digs about Shaq’s movie career, like, “Yo, my locker is right next to Kazaam” …
|Richardson: ‘Paul’s a great NBA player’||04.27.10 at 11:10 pm ET|
But on Tuesday, Richardson shared a different opinion after the Heat’s elimination in Game 5.
‘Paul’s a great NBA player,’ he told WEEI.com. ‘That’s the only opinion that really matters, his NBA game. He’s a good NBA player.’
Even though Richardson referred to Pierce as ‘an actress’ in Game 1, he said he never knocked his talent. That’s something that, in spite of their differences on the court, Richardson cannot deny.
‘I’ve always respected his game, never not,’ he said. ‘I mean, he’s an All-Star, he’s a Finals MVP, he has his accolades, and he well deserves them. I take my hat off to him as a basketball player. Nothing will change that.’
|Richardson won’t focus on crowd reaction||04.20.10 at 7:57 pm ET|
Quentin Richardson isn’t fooling himself — he doesn’t expect a warm response from the Garden crowd.
Prior to Game 2 between the Celtics and Heat, Richardson admitted he anticipates a backlash from the Celtics fans for his involvement in Saturday’s altercation with Kevin Garnett, which resulted in Garnett’s suspension.
“Probably so,” he said, adding, “No for me, I’m going out and playing basketball, playing to help my team win. Everything else will be outside the lines. When I’m inside the lines playing basketball, that’ll be what I’m focused on.”
The Heat will be focused on a new-look Celtics without Garnett in the lineup. Even though Garnett’s absence leaves a void on the Celtics, the replacement of Glen Davis has its benefits.
“It obviously changes a lot but with them probably going with Big Baby in the starting lineup, you get a younger, healthier guy,” Richardson said. “So I don’t know. It definitely changes because [Garnett's] a huge part of their team, he’s an emotional leader, and at the same time he’s still Kevin Garnett. It obviously changes but they have a couple capable guys filling in in Rasheed (Wallace) and Davis.”
Regardless of whether Garnett or Davis are on the court for the Celtics, the Heat’s objective does not change. They look to accomplish their original goal of taking at least one game in Boston before heading home for Games 3 and 4.
“It’s just important for us to win tonight just to even up the series,” he said. “We want to go back to Miami 1-1 feeling good about ourselves and knowing that we’ve got two games on our home floor coming up.”
|A new villain emerges in Celtics playoffs||at 11:05 am ET|
Quentin Richardson is not the first opponent to stir up controversy in a playoff series against the Celtics during the current Big Three era. Prior to Richardson’s Game 1 altercation with Kevin Garnett, there had been a line of players before him who took on the role of “Public Enemy No. 1″ with Celtics fans. Take a look back at players fans loved to hate over the past three seasons.
Bibby dished the ultimate insult to Boston sports fans when he called them ‘bandwagon’ in the first round of the 2008 playoffs. The Celtics crowd responded by booing him on every possession, chanting ‘Rondo’s better’ (as encouraged by RedsArmy.com), and flashing masks of Bibby’s face during the series. Two years later, Bibby still is jeered every time he plays at the Garden. ‘I’m not even worried about that,’ he told WEEI.com this season. ‘I don’t worry about that.’
Zaza Pachulia, Atlanta Hawks
Tempers flared under the basket after Pachulia and Garnett fought for a rebound during Game 4 of the first round of the 2008 playoffs. Once the big men got involved in an altercation, their teammates got involved as well and the question of suspensions was raised. But in the end, Garnett, Sam Cassell and Atlanta’s Joe Johnson were assessed technical fouls. In the deciding Game 7, Garnett fouled Pachulia while setting a hard screen and knocked the Hawks center to the ground.
When Noah recently ranted about Garnett’s Game 1 altercation with Richardson, that wasn’t the first time he spoke out against his former childhood favorite. Prior to Game 7 of the first round of the 2009 playoffs, Noah didn’t hold back when discussing the then-injured Garnett’s presence on the sidelines. ‘I don’t care about him at all. I don’t care about him at all,’ he told WEEI.com. ‘He used to be my favorite player. Not my favorite player any more.’ Noah also added, ‘He’s a great player. Now that I hear stories, I see how he is, not a big fan.’ Noah received a standing ovation when he fouled out of Game 7.
Alston temporarily interrupted Eddie House‘s 31-point performance in Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals between the Celtics and Magic. After House drained a 3-pointer in the third, Alston slapped him in the back of the head. At the time, Alston claimed he was reacting to being elbowed by House. But there were no signs of hard feelings from Alston a season later when he told WEEI.com that he actually wanted to play for the C’s after being bought out by the Nets.
|Doc: Suspend the ‘agitator’ too||04.19.10 at 4:56 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Doc Rivers said he understood the NBA’s decision to suspend Kevin Garnett for Game 2 of the Celtics playoff series with Miami, but he also offered another solution: suspend the agitator, in this case Miami’s Quentin Richardson.
Garnett was suspended for throwing an elbow at Richardson late in Game 1 after Paul Pierce went down to the ground near Miami’s bench. After the game Garnett said, “Q was talking nonsense.” Richardson didn’t back down after the game either, saying, in effect, that Pierce was faking an injury and that both Pierce and Garnett were “actresses.”
Pierce and Richardson have had dust-ups before although no one seems to know what’s at the root cause of their dispute.
“We all kind of knew [Garnett would be suspended],” Rivers said after practice Monday. “The only statement I’ll make on the whole thing is I accept Kevin being suspended. I think if you’re going to go to the letter of law you kind of knew how it was going to go, but I think if you really want to stop fights, you’ve got to suspend the agitators too. Right now the agitator gets fined and the retaliator gets suspended in all these instances. Until they stop the agitator and suspend them both you’re going to continue to have these things. It only benefits the agitator. I think this stuff in the playoffs will continue to happen until the league says, you know what, we’re going to suspend both of you. If we are really trying to clean up this stuff, I think that’s the right way to do it.”
For his part Garnett said he accepted the decision, but that he wanted it to be known that he support his teammates.
“Obviously I want all this to be over with, but the message here whoever it is, my teammates, Doc Rivers, anyone in this organization, I want them to know that I got their backs,” Garnett said. “That’s what [the NBA] had to do to set a tone and I respect that.”
Asked about Richardson’s role as an agitator, Garnett said, “You know how that goes, the person who instigates something is not the one that usually gets the penalty, but it’s over.”
Rivers defended Garnett’s actions, saying it was an emotional moment.
“It’s easy for me in a suit and tie to say walk away,” Rivers said. “It’s an emotional game. It’s 47 minutes into the game, you’re exhausted, you’re emotional, your best player [Paul Pierce] is lying on the floor, hurt you think, and then all this stuff happens. Whether Q said it, it doesn’t matter, it is emotional. You can remind them a thousand times, you really can. Having said that if you’re in scrum and somebody’s grabbing you to say just walk away, it’s tough to do. We have to move on.”
“It’s hard,” Rivers continued, “because you don’t want to lose Kevin Garnett, period. He is our most important player. But he’s not going to be there and there’s nothing I can do about it now. In Q’s defense, I don’t think he wanted it to happen. It happens.”
Garnett can’t be in the Garden for Game 2 and he said he would probably be at Danny Ainge’s house.
“Very difficult,” Garnett said. “Danny Ainge is planning on having me over his house to watch the game. It will be an experience. Danny talks through the whole damn game.”
Garnett also had one last dig at Chicago’s Joakim Noah, who called Garnett a “dirty player.”
“Tell Joakim Noah to keep it in Cleveland and worry about Shaq,” Garnett said as he was leaving the practice court.
|Garnett suspended for Game 2||04.18.10 at 7:50 pm ET|
Garnett was involved in an altercation with Miami’s Quentin Richardson near the Heat bench with 40 seconds remaining in Game 1 when he threw an elbow at Richardson’s jaw. Garnett received two technical fouls and was ejected. Richardson was also fined $25,000 by the league.
After the game, Richardson sounded off on Garnett and Paul Pierce, saying, “I don’t like them and they know it.” Richardson and Pierce have a history of bad blood.
On Sunday, Garnett called Richardson’s comments, “classless,” and said he had no regrets for how he handled the incident.