|Danny Ainge on The Big Show||11.24.09 at 6:09 pm ET|
Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations and GM Danny Ainge joined the Big Show on Tuesday to discuss the Celtics’ recent play, the development of Rajon Rondo, the three-point difficulties of Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett’s recovery from injury. To listen to the interview, visit the Big Show’s Audio On Demand page.
Do you think the team’s recent play has anything to do with the fact the players are getting older?
I don’t think so, no. I think our team has played well in a lot of scenarios and I just think that we haven’t been as consistent. But, shooting the ball accounts for a lot. We haven’t been hitting a lot of fairways but we have been hitting a lot of puts. Right now we are a shot of two shots away from winning these games and we have been shooting the ball very poorly from the outside.
You can’t be happy with the defense thus far though?
No, I have been happy with the defense we’ve played in a lot of the stretch but I think we get sloppy and we get lazy and we lose our focus a little bit. Defensively, statistically we were doing well defensively.
Two things that are worrying about Rondo: lack of defensive pressure at the point and that he is not breaking down the defense quite as much. Is this the same guy we saw last year?
I think he is playing better than last year. I think his defense is significantly better than last year. I think he is not getting to the line as much but I think part of that is that we are getting the ball inside more to our post players and not relying on his penetration as much but he is shooting a much better percentage than he did last year which says he is getting to the basket more, he is just not getting to the line more. Read the rest of this entry »
|Celts’ struggles, by the numbers||11.23.09 at 2:37 pm ET|
After 14 games, the Celtics are 10-4, comfortably in first place in their division and just one game behind the league leaders (Atlanta, Orlando and Phoenix, who all beat the Celtics in the last 10 days). The Celtics also have the NBA’s best point differential at +8.8, and point differential is a more reliable indicator than record.
Despite all that, something seems wrong with the Celtics, who needed overtime to get past a dreadful Knicks team and have lost three of their last five, with all three losses coming against the aforementioned teams with better records. So, what gives?
First, their record and point differential are skewed from the first five games of the season, when the C’s ran roughshod over the league and people started seriously considering 72 wins. The Celtics won the next game, 92-90, against Minnesota, but that’s when their play started to slip.
Point differential: +21.6
Points for: 101.4
Points against: 79.8
Point differential: +1.7
Point for: 96.7
Points against: 95
By far the biggest slip in terms of individual offensive numbers belongs to Rasheed Wallace, who made 15 of his first 33 3-point attempts through the first five games and has been 7-for-48 from beyond the arc ever since. Wallace has acknowledged that he’s in a slump, but the general consensus is that he is taking good shots and they’re just not falling for him. That happens. On the positive side, it has not affected Wallace’s defense.
Ray Allen has been a similar 3-point shooting slump, although not nearly as pronounced. Through five games, Allen was 9-for-21. He is 7-for-29 in the last nine. Despite shooting 32 percent from 3-point range, Allen has continued to be a productive offensive player by shooting 57 percent on his 2-point shots (60-for-106).
Digging a little bit deeper, 82games.com has Allen as the Celtics’ most productive player in terms of on-court plus/minus with Wallace second, so while their shooting slumps may account for the Celtics’ drop offensively, the real issue is a defense that went from giving up less than 80 points a night (a number that is skewed by holding Charlotte to 59 points) to one that is surrendering 95.
After we plow through the numbers on 82games.com, a few things stand out.
The C’s defense on jump shots is worse than last year (.433, 48.1 points per game vs. .417, 43.4 points per game) and they are also struggling defending teams at the end of the shot clock compared to last season (.491 compared to .447). This brings up something Doc Rivers said last week:
“Some of our defensive sets have been very good, and then with five seconds left on the clock the guy dribbling the ball gets all the way to the basket and that’s not just the guy guarding the ball.”
That speaks to effort, fatigue or just plain understanding the defensive system. It’s probably safe to rule out effort with this group, and “understanding the system” should work itself out in time, but it does explain Rivers saying that the team was “making stuff up” after the Orlando loss. That leaves fatigue, and it’s worth noting that the Celtics’ biggest wins during this stretch — Utah and Golden State — came after multiple days off.
That, in a nutshell, is what makes people wary about the Celtics come playoff time. The good news is that we are a long way from April, and most teams would love to struggle out of the gate at 10-4. To be sure, there are other issues, particularly a lack of offensive rebounding and fewer trips to the free throw line, but age will continue to be the dominant theme from here on out.
|Sheed trying to keep Superman from lifting off||11.20.09 at 1:27 pm ET|
Rasheed Wallace makes no bones about his game plan heading into tonight’s match-up with Dwight Howard the defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic.
Don’t let Superman take off.
“Step on his launch pad,” Wallace said of his strategy. “He’s a big fella, he can jump. If you step on his launch pad before he can take off and make it a hard shot for him, it’s a 50-50 chance. He going to come with the hook and little jumper, just take that 50-50 chance.”
But just because he wants to make life miserable on Howard’s big feet, don’t get the impression he doesn’t try and help Howard when the two aren’t combatants in the low post.
Wallace actually gives Howard advice on how to become even more of a force than he is now.
“He doesn’t try to brush me off,” Wallace said. “He listens. That’s coming from him being raised well by his mom and dad. I don’t think he’s arroagant. He’s still trying to learn. I think he’s just tipping the iceberg because all we’re seeing right now is him dunking and catching the alley-oops. If he decides to go into the gym and get that little 12-to-15 footer down and they establish a good pick-and-roll with the three guys they’ve got, him and Jameer or him and Rashard, I think they’ll be pretty good.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Kevin Garnett on D&H, 11/19||11.19.09 at 4:01 pm ET|
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett joined the Dale & Holley Show on Thursday. The Celtics star discussed his health, the challenge of returning from injury, the impact of Rasheed Wallace on the Celtics and the state of this season’s team.
Highlights are transcribed below. To listen to the complete interview, click here.
Last week Rasheed Wallace said he might not have an outside range. What’s yours, 75-feet?
Well, if you want to take that shot last night, probably about 80 to 75-feet, yeah, that’s about accurate, yeah.
You called it in the air didn’t you?
I called it when I let it go, and then Don Nelson sort of said something to me. That’s why my reaction was the way it was, because I knew when I let it go, it felt good, but you never know in those situations. I let it go, it felt good, ooh, went in.
I’m wondering if fear is the right word to use when you had a major injury for the first time in your career. When you didn’t know what was going on, were you fearful at all about what was going on in there?
I fear God and I fear my mother, that’s about the only thing in life, other than that it was just straight up pain. At one point I thought it was something that I could play through, I knew when I got home and when I was in my own personal space, that’s when I knew it was something serious. Walking up steps, sitting down, laying out on the floor, stretched out on the floor, my leg was constantly bothering me.
And you’re talking about a lot of activity, so when I really started to take it serious and the more I got educated on what was going on, that’s when I started to make decisions health wise, what was best for me. I was running like I was running with a peg leg, and Doc in practice was like, this is terrible to watch. My effort, I pretty much through was there, I tried to come back, play a couple games, I knew that I was hurt, I knew that I was really hurt, but I was trying to grind through it, trying to give Paul and the rest of these guys some support.
But I just knew at the same time I was probably making it worse by playing. I had a very, very, very rare injury, obviously bone spurs but the size of the spur was pretty irregular, and pretty dramatic. It wasn’t until I got to see it then I took it a lot more serious, but until that point I was built off hard work and dedication to your craft. I haven’t changed that since I got here, I’ve always felt like mind over matter, you know the mind tells the body, but at some point the mind has to listen to the body. Read the rest of this entry »
|Wallace looks back on Pistons Pacers Brawl||11.18.09 at 11:54 pm ET|
Thursday marks five years since the Pacers – Pistons brawl at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Rasheed Wallace, a member of the Pistons at the time, was surprised it has been that long.
“No, no I don’t even think about it unless somebody brings it up,” he told WEEI.com.
So what does he think when someone does bring it up?
“That was a funny little event there, if you ask me,” he said.
The fight began with less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter. It started with a Ron Artest foul against Ben Wallace and spiraled out of control … and into the stands. Punches and drinks were thrown, among other things, by both players and fans. A total of nine players were suspended for nearly 150 games.
In spite of the penalties, Wallace, who was not suspended, doesn’t think there have been many lessons learned from the fight.
“No, not really,” he said. “There’s fights that still go on. They just try to break it up. But see, once it’s a real melee they talk all the refs tried to break it up but no, they [are] ghosts. The refs are in the back. So it’s all on the players to break it up.”
Wallace may not think about the fight that often, but to many NBA fans, “The Malice at the Palace” still stands out to them.
|Rasheed Wallace on D&H 11/12||11.12.09 at 4:53 pm ET|
Celtics F/C Rasheed Wallace appeared on D&H this afternoon to talk about his love for the Kansas City Chiefs, how Kevin Garnett and the rest of the Big 3 recruited him to Boston, and his relationship with NBA referees.
Click here to listen to the full audio and read below for some highlights.
How did a guy who grew up in Philadelphia become a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs?
Well, being the black sheep of the family, everyone in my family was an Eagles‘ fan, so I always rooted for the other teams. Everyone: my aunts, uncles, cousins, my mom, my dad, my brothers, they all cheer for the Eagles so I had to go against the grain.
Yep. You know, I’m always a fan of individual players, but around about ’93, ’94, when Joe Montana got traded to Kansas City, no one I knew was a Kansas City fan so I’ve been with them ever since.
There was a story on you in the Kansas City Star about your obsession with the Chiefs and the writer said, “Rasheed Wallace was holding a prosthetic leg,” or something like that. Why were you holding a prosthetic leg? Read the rest of this entry »
|Turn up the volume: C’s practice makes perfect||at 1:17 am ET|
So this is why Doc Rivers and his coaching staff were so happy to have two solid days of practice this week.
The Celtics more prepared to take a final exam than the Utah Jazz did to take a pop quiz as the C’s systematically took apart the Jazz, 105-86, at TD Garden.
The Celtics held the Jazz to 37-of-79 shooting for 46.8 percent. But most impressively, they forced Utah, a team that prides itself on execution, to commit 21 turnovers.
Apparently the Celtics were listening when the coaches, starting with defensive guru Tom Thibodeau, preached about staying ready for the pick-and-roll and not letting Utah’s big men of Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur get easy baskets underneath.
Afterward, the Celtics were appreciative of their coaches’ preparation, as was head coach Doc Rivers.
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