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Celtics: Irish Coffee 10.01.10 at 8:51 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Rajon Rondo shows off his comedic chops in the newest NBA 2K11 commercial. It’s essentially a take on the old “Da Bears, Da Bulls” sketches from Saturday Night Live. Derrick Rose asks a group that includes Rondo, Andre Iguadola, Joe Smith and Russel Westbrook the question, “What about the ’86 Bulls vs. the 2011 Celtics?” Of course, everybody picks the Bulls.

In truth, other than Michael Jordan, the ’86 Bulls roster was awful, finishing 30-52. Let’s hope the ’11 Celtics finish better than that. The ’97 Bulls vs. Genghis Khan is a way better question.

O’Neal vs. O’Neal

Dime Magazine rated Shaquille vs. Jermaine O’Neal as one of the top-10 position battles in the NBA this season. Honestly, I don’t see it. Jermaine should start until Kendrick Perkins returns, and Shaq should provide 15-20 minutes per game off the bench. One man’s opinion.

Celtics 1, Politicians 0

The Boston Media Consortium agreed to reschedule the Oct. 26 gubernatorial debate between Deval Patrick and Charlie Baker, so as not to coincide with the C’s opening night game against Miami. I guess we know where Boston’s priorities lie. Big Baby for Governor?

Heat Hate

Yahoo’s  Adrian Wojnarowski got the C’s–Shaq, in particular–to open up about the Heat. And let’s just say there’s no love lost between them.

‘€œThey got a great 1-2,’€ Shaq told Yahoo, completely discounting Chris Bosh‘s presence. “Everyone is young this, young that. I’€™ve been in the NBA Finals six times in the last 16 years, and I haven’€™t seen a young team make it all the way and win it. They may look better, but they don’€™t do what we do.”

Wojnarowski says not to expect the Celtics to come out of the gate fast. “Not with Delonte West suspended 10 games and Perkins out until February and Doc Rivers monitoring his player’€™s minutes to make sure everyone’€™s fresh for the playoffs,” he writes. “Rivers has kept it civil with the Heat, but he knows his players hate most of them, and this entire buildup brings a level of loathing that makes the coach feel like these are the old days.”

Paul Pierce echos those sentiments: ‘€œWe’€™ll continue to go at our slow pace and creep up on everybody.’€

I gotta be honest: I don’t like the sound of that. Do they really think they’re sneaking up on anybody? Don’t tell me we’re gonna be sitting through another lackadaisical regular season. I expect the C’s to come out of the gate with something to prove. Their first game is against Miami, the same team that everybody seems to be anointing already. In their first 10 games, they face the Heat twice, the Knicks, the Bucks, the Bulls, the Thunder and the Mavericks. Are we expected to believe that Boston won’t be up for those games?

Shaq Watching the Paint Dry?

Stumbled across an old article in The Onion, entitled, “Shaq To Solidify Celtics’ Ability To Get 3-Second Violations.” Thought that was pretty funny …

“Not only does Shaq’s presence in the paint give his team more opportunities to turn the ball over, but the Celtics have also added an experienced big man who makes an already old team significantly older,” said NBA analyst David Aldridge, adding that O’Neal should fill a key role in terms of drastically slowing down the Celtics’ offense. “Danny Ainge was looking for someone with size who can’t make it down to the other end of the court, and he went out and got the best in the business.”

The Van Gundy Rule

The NBA dress code has gone too far: Stan Van Gundy is no longer allowed to wear turtlenecks. What is this world coming to? Next thing you tell me, Brian Scalabrine won’t be able to wear his corduroy sportcoats.

“I don’t like that,” Rivers told the AP. “I really like Stan’s style. I thought Stan really set the bar for the dress code. I think he should stay with that. I think it’s nice.”

Read More: Adrian Wojnarowski, NBA2K11, Rajon Rondo, Stan Van Gundy
Celtics: Irish Coffee 09.29.10 at 8:58 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

You’d think everything was painted green in Tommy Heinsohn‘s world, but truth be told the Celtics legend does more than just color for his former team. He’s a talented artist, as detailed in this NECN piece.

Tommy recently entered some of his work into an art show that benefited a charity in honor of his late wife, the Helen J. Weiss Scholarship fund for art education amoung children.

“I do something in art every day,” he told NECN. “If it’s only for five minutes.” It’s his relaxation, he joked, from all those terrible referees in the NBA. There’s not enough Tommy Points to give it for that.

Oh, and you’ll never guess Tommy’s prediction for the 2010-11 season. “If they can put on the floor what’s on paper,” he said to NECN, “we’re gonna win a title.”

Training Camp: Day 1

The Celtics practiced for three hours in a hot and humid gym yesterday at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I. An evening walk-through got pushed until this morning. The news? The veterans’ conditioning is the biggest question going forward, Jermaine O’Neal worked mainly with the starters and Kevin Garnett “just looked explosive,” according to Doc Rivers. “He had his hop back.”

Following the practice, Shaquille O’Neal tweeted, “First day is over, the truth and ray allen didn’t miss a shot, daaayum I wish I was a shooter.”

That’s a far cry from Von Wafer‘s tweet at 2 a.m. the morning before practice: “jus woke to use the bathroom back to sleep big day tomorrow.” Thanks for the update, Von. Wafer reportedly tweaked an ankle during the first day of practice.

According to the Fredericksburg (Va.) Free Lance-Star, the C’s are waiting for a letter from FIBA Europe that will clear Chris Johnson to participate in training camp. The 6-foot-11 LSU product apparently attended practice yesterday but didn’t participate. His agent said the process normally takes seven days, and the Celtics sent the letter last week, while Johnson was reportedly participating in unofficial workouts in Boston.

Magic impressions

Members of the Orlando Magic were quick to point out to Fox Sports Florida that the East does not belong to the Heat. The Celtics, if you remember, are the returning Eastern Conference champions …

Dwight Howard: “I got tired of [hearing about the Heat] as soon as LeBron said he was going to Miami. Our discussions are not about Miami and what they’re doing. Our discussions are about what we are going to do to win a championship. What are we going to sacrifice? How are we going to play night in and night out so we can win a championship? We’re not banking on beating the Miami Heat or saying, ‘Hey we need to beat the Heat.’ That’s not our concern.”

Stan Van Gundy: “I don’t think anybody is doubting Miami’s talent and the fact that they’re going to be a serious challenge, but we don’t doubt Boston’s talent or them being a serious challenge. Or Atlanta, Chicago, Milwaukee, Philadelphia [or] Washington. There’s a lot of people who got better in the East. I think the challenge only rises, and I think we’re very confident in ourselves as a team and we look forward to those challenges ahead.”

J.J. Redick also made interesting comments to the Orlando Pinstriped Post during the Magic’s Media Day …

“I still have a bitter taste in my mouth,” he said. “I don’t know if we could have beaten Boston last year because we didn’t play our best game. We just–we got our butts kicked. … [Toughness is] a big reason why Boston beat us. It’s mental, man. Those guys were tougher mentally than us during that series.”

Top 10 All-Time Celtics

A Lakers fan ranked the top-10 Celtics of all-time on the Bleacher Report (similarly, a Celtics fan ranked the top-10 Lakers of all-time). As shocking as this may be to the person who commented on the Antoine Walker link in yesterday’s Irish Coffee (to quote: “Felger is an idiot but he isn’t stupid like weei people INCLUDINg this writer who was never around befoerw [sic] KG”), Antoine did not crack the top 10. Neither did Dino Radja. I kid. I kid. Paul Pierce did make the list. Who do you think was left off?

Putting a Price on Rondo’s jumpshot

The Herald’s Dan Duggan tweeted, “Rajon Rondo didn’t work out with Mark Price this summer. Said he didn’t do anything special to work on his shooting, but feels good about it.” Jay King at Celtics Town makes a good point: “Why would we even WANT Rondo to do something special to fix his jumper? I mean, it’s not like he shot 21.2% from behind the arc last season. It’s not like defenders were able to sag off him and clog the lane. It’s not like Rondo gives Shaq a run for his money as the worst free throw shooter on the Celtics.” Here’s to hoping Rondo was kidding.

Chicago Bullish on Thibodeau

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls players are getting more than an earful from former Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau.

“He’ll talk for like two or three hours, so you have to shorten your conversation with him real quick, come up with a good lie or something,” Derrick Rose told the Tribune. “Have one of your friends call you and say you gotta go pick him up or something.”

There’s no hint of green envy in Thibodeau’s eyes any longer. Asked if he’d occasionally wear the 2008 championship ring he won with the Celtics, he said, “I have to find it first. That was then. This is now. We want to build championship habits. It’s a lot of rhetoric to talk about. The real serious teams do it every day from how they practice.”

Read More: Chris Johnson, Rajon Rondo, Tom Thibodeau, Tommy Heinsohn
Celtics: Morning Irish Coffee 09.24.10 at 9:11 am ET
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Interesting read from Fan House on former Celtics guard Nate Archibald, who hopes to become the only guy on the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players list to earn a Ph.D. in education. A member of Boston’s 1981 championship team, Tiny entered the NBA in 1970 without a college degree, earning his bachelor’s degree at UTEP during summers off and getting his master’s at night from Fordham.

“It might not be a big deal to some people, but to me, getting the Ph.D. will be my greatest accomplishment,” said Archibald in the piece. “I’m no Einstein, that’s for sure, and I’m not smarter than anyone else, but maybe I’ve been more persistent. And I understand the value of education.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m shocked to learn that most NBA players don’t have a Ph.D. Are we sure that Ron Artest isn’t putting diplomas on his walls?

NBA Jersey Sales

For the third straight season, Kobe Bryant tops the NBA’s list of highest-selling jerseys, but the Celtics placed three players in the league’s top 15: 3. Kevin Garnett; 8. Paul Pierce; and 11. Nate Robinson. As a team, the Celtics rank No. 2 behind the Lakers in jersey sales. Semih Erden and Von Wafer are yet to crack the top 15.

NBA 2K11 Player Ratings

The NBA 2K11 video game released its player ratings for each team’s projected starting five. The Celtics have the third-highest average rating (80.2) in the game, behind the Heat and Lakers (tied at 82.2).

Rajon Rondo (87) is Boston’s highest-rated player and the league’s fourth-ranked point guard (behind Dwyane Wade-97, Chris Paul-95 and Deron Williams-92).  No surprise there. Everywhere else? That’s a different question.

Pierce (83) is the sixth-rated player at his position (behind Andre Iguadola and Gerald Wallace?). Garnett ranks eighth among power forwards (behind David Lee and Josh Smith?). Ray Allen is the 12th-ranked shooting guard (behind OJ Mayo, Stephen Jackson and Vince Carter?). And Kendrick Perkins (72 when healthy) is ranked 16th among centers (behind Greg Oden, Marc Gasol, Ben Wallace and Andrea Bargnani?).

Celtics Scratch Ticket

The Celtics haven’t been in the NBA lottery since 2007, but they released a scratch ticket called “Celtics Cash.” Apparently, there’s more than $20 million dollars in prizes, so the good news for fans is that combined they’ll make less than Garnett ($21.2 million) this season!

NBA’s New Uniforms

The NBA unveiled new uniforms for all 30 teams. Don’t worry. They’re just lighter fitting, like when George Costanza introduced cotton unis to the Yankees. The Celtics are one of three teams–along with the Bulls and Blazers–that will stick with the traditional round-neck tanktop look, as opposed to the v-neck cutoff sleeves look. They’ll also be returning the tiny shorts that Nate Archibald used to wear. Just kidding.

Read More: Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant
Nate Robinson on Twitter, his role and ‘Kazaam’ 09.23.10 at 4:32 pm ET
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QUINCY — If you’re one of Nate Robinson‘s 153,448 followers on Twitter, then you know the backup Celtics guard isn’t afraid to share his thoughts.

“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” …

Read More: Delonte West, Doc Rivers, Fabolous, Floyd Mayweather
Rajon Rondo would like a new pair of shoes 09.21.10 at 10:16 am ET
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With the start of training camp less than a week away, Rajon Rondo has been making the rounds. He talked to Slam magazine for an interview that was posted on their website about his goals, buying groceries and his shoes.

“Actually,” he said. “I wear a new pair of shoes every game for the most part.”

Good to know.

Of more immediate concern, Rondo laid out his individual goals for the upcoming season: making the All-Star and All-Defense team. Rondo gave credit to his teammates for helping him achieve those milestones last season and then said something very interesting:

“I’€™m pretty sure that people who don’€™t like my game are waiting to see how I react when I don’€™t have the Big Three, but I don’€™t really care. I’€™m doing what I can do now for the team, and that’€™s why I’€™m in this situation.”

If you’ve paid attention to his career, then you know that Rondo is beyond intrigued about one day playing on a team without the veterans. That’s entirely normal for a young superstar. Beyond even acknowledging it, what makes Rondo unique is that he’s able to separate the here and the now from the future.

The only other player on the 2010 All-Star Eastern Conference team who couldn’t definitively be termed as a franchise’s signature player was Atlanta’s Al Horford. But, none of those other players have a championship ring.

Along those lines, Rondo’s team goals are to win a championship, obviously, but he also has goals for the regular season and there again, he’s a little unique among the current Celtics.

As a team it’€™s to try to win 60-plus games and to try to stay healthy. As long as we’€™re healthy I’€™m pretty fine with what we do on the court. We don’€™t have to win 70 games, but it would be nice to get the first-place position and the home court advantage, because who can say? I never look back and say what if, but if we had the home seed then maybe the outcome would have been different against L.A.”

You won’t find too many Celtics worried about winning 60 games and playoff seeding. Their postseason success may have reinforced the notion that the regular season doesn’t matter, but it does in one very significant way: homecourt advantage.

That will be the largest theme of this regular season, along with health, and the two things are related. How much does Doc Rivers push his team, and how will they react? Rondo’s at the point in his career where he wants it all.

[To read the whole interview in Slam, click here]

Read More: Rajon Rondo,
Rajon Rondo talks about leaving team USA 09.19.10 at 9:50 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo hasn’t had a lot to say about why he left the United States team just before the FIBA World Championships in Turkey, but that hasn’t stopped others from speculating about the decision. (For my take, click here).

Rondo spoke to ESPN’s Ric Bucher over the weekend in San Francisco where he was hosting a 1-on-1 tournament on Alcatraz for Red Bull, which he endorses. Bucher also talked to Rondo’s agent Bill Duffy, was said he was the one who pushed Rondo to go out for the team, something the All-Star guard has resisted in the past.

Other reasons cited in the piece include: fatigue, both mental and physical, and family issues. (His uncle died during the preliminary games.) It will be interesting to see how much weight Rondo’s decision has on the 2012 Olympic team, or if he has any desire to play when it comes around.

Read More: Rajon Rondo,
Mannix on D&C: ‘Not a unanimous decison’ for C’s on Shaq 08.04.10 at 10:09 am ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to discuss the Celtics‘ impending signing of Shaquille O’Neal. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Mannix said it’s a one-year deal for the veteran minimum ‘€” approximately $1.4 million ‘€” with a second-year player option. “This was not an easy decision for either side,” Mannix said, adding, “Shaq is obviously taking a monster pay cut. … It’s a huge, huge pay cut for this guy to play for this team and to accept a reserve role, coming off the bench.

“And for the Celtics, I can tell you this much, it was not a unanimous decision. This is not something that the entire front office and coaching staff entirely agreed upon. But it is a Danny Ainge type of move. He’s taken risks like this in the past, whether it’s Gary Payton or Stephon Marbury or Nate Robinson this past year. He’s taken chances on guys he thinks can help put them over the top. Danny obviously is convinced that Shaq is what this team needs right now.”

Asked if it was Shaq’s off-court distractions or on-court issues that made the Celtics hesitate, Mannix said: “It’s a little bit of a blend of both, but I think you’d have to start with the on-the-court problems. He is the worst pick-and-roll defender of all-time. He really is. He’s just a horrible, horrible guy when you’re coming off blitzing those screens. And Kendrick Perkins was one of the better pick-and-roll defenders on this Celtics team. This whole defense that Tom Thibodeau put together, and Kevin Garnett glued together, was based on effective pick-and-roll defense.

“It’s going to be incumbent now on Doc Rivers, and to a certain degree Lawrence Frank, who is essentially taking over that Tom Thibodeau role, to redesign the defense. They’re going to have to come up with something almost entirely new when Shaq’s on the floor. Because think about it: The two teams standing in Boston’s path are really Orlando and Miami, and those teams are going to run pick and roll all day long.”

Mannix also noted how Shaq often was in the way of Steve Nash when they were teammates in Phoenix. “Rajon Rondo is going to have similar problems,” Mannix said. “Shaq is not a guy who is even remotely comfortable playing anywhere but six or seven feet away from the basket. So, that’s going to be a challenge for Doc Rivers and his coaching staff to figure that out as well.”

All that said, Mannix said he thinks the signing is a good one for the Celtics. “He instantly becomes the best rebounder you have out there,” Mannix said. “And I’m not worried about him bogging down the fast break. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Kendrick Perkins wasn’t exactly Brad Daugherty running the floor out there for the Celtics. I just think overall, he’s a solid fit.”

Added Mannix: “While I understand the risks ‘€” and I think it’s a huge risk to a certain degree ‘€” you’re not going to get by Miami, you’re not going to get by Orlando unless you make an upgrade. And Shaq, to me, was the best available upgrade out there.”

Asked about controversial guard Delonte West, Mannix said it makes sense for the Celtics to bring him in. West was waived by the Timberwolves this week following a trade from Cleveland. “I think they should [sign him],” Mannix said. “Delonte obviously is familiar with the system, familiar with Boston, familiar with some of the pieces that are in place there. And he’s a proven combo guard. Obviously, the personal problems he’s had off the floor have been well-documented. … But again, you’re talking about adding guys for the minimum salary. If Delonte doesn’t work out ‘€” and I guess to a certain degree if Shaq doesn’t work out ‘€” you can just waive these guys.”

Read More: Chris Mannix, Kendrick Perkins, Rajon Rondo, Shaquille O'Neal
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