|Former Magic Notice Changes in Celtics||10.11.09 at 5:01 pm ET|
The last time Rafer Alston, Tony Battie, and Courtney Lee played against the Celtics, they sent the C’s packing for the summer. The trio were members of the Magic team that eliminated the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. This year they are in a different uniform and noticed the Cs have a different look as well.
Alston, Battie and Lee were traded from the Magic to the Nets over the summer as part of the Vince Carter deal. On Sunday they got their first take at the Celtics with their new team during preseason action at the TD Garden (recap here).
“They got a brand new season,” Battie said. “I mean, you look and [Kevin Garnett] is back and Rasheed [Wallace] is part of it. They got a great steal in getting Marquis Daniels, and you have those three additions coming back in the team. So, I think they’re the team to beat, definitely.”
Last season a hobbled Celtics squad was outscored, outrebounded and burned from the 3-point line by the Magic. Without Garnett on the court and veterans Ray Allen and Paul Pierce overworked, the Celtics bench could not save the season. Now the additions of Wallace and Daniels give the team much-needed depth.
“They get their big guy back and then they add Rasheed Wallace in there now,” Alston said. “I think when you’re trying to take away a lot of their main guys, they have a lot of guys that can step up and stretch the defense or post up on the low block. They have a different dynamic to their team, especially from a defensive aspect for other teams.”
Both Alston and Lee agree the series would have been completely different if the Celtics had so many weapons last season.
“They would’ve been a better team,” Lee said. “They definitely would’ve been harder for a matchup because you can play Marquis at the 1 and you sub in Rasheed, so they keep a shooting big in at all times, so they definitely would have been better.”
Said Alston: “I don’t think we would have been able to roam a lot off of a lot of their guys — [Rajon] Rondo, [Kendrick] Perkins, Big Baby [Glen Davis]. Those guys who really bring more scoring to the offense, especially from the bench standpoint.”
The combination of a healthy Garnett and a revamped second unit has Alston noticing a difference in the 2009-10 Celtics. Although he isn’t as willing as Battie to name them the best in the Eastern Conference, he can’t deny the changes on the court.
“Whenever they have all their guys, they have a swagger,” he said. “When someone goes down they don’t have swagger no more. That’s just how they are.”
|Garden Debut has New Vets Feeling Young Again||10.09.09 at 10:26 pm ET|
Marquis Daniels is entering his seventh NBA season, and he can’t help but feel like it’s his first.
“I’m very excited. I told the guys the other day, I’m like, ‘I feel like a rookie,’ ” Daniels said before the game. “I’m very excited to be playing here. I’ve played in here on the other team and I knew there’d be a big difference. The fans play a big role and they’re great.”
Daniels was one of five Celtics who played their first games on the parquet as a member of the home team. Rasheed Wallace, Michael Sweetney, Shelden Williams and rookie Lester Hudson also made their Celtics debuts.
“Coming here is just a great moment,” said Sweetney, who had not played in the NBA since the 2006-07 season. “Coming in the building was like, wow. But coming into this locker room and the history and just being on this team is just amazing.”
Newcomers such as Williams point to the Celtics’ deep tradition as something they have never experienced in the NBA. Williams has played for the Hawks, Timberwolves and Kings over the course of his career.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “I know it’s not the same gym as the Boston Garden, but there’s still a lot of history here and in the city wearing green. It’s still a great feeling to be part of history.”
With the titles and electricity of the TD Garden come high expectations for the upcoming season.
“I’ve never been on a team at the beginning of the season and everybody says, ‘We’re going to make the playoffs,’ ” Sweetney said. “But this team has won championships, so it’s a different feeling surrounding it.”
This has Daniels looking forward to the feeling he has wearing a Celtics uniform.
“[The difference with the Celtics is] just knowing that we have a chance to be real special and we have a chance to do great things,” he said. “There are a lot of great, hard-working guys, great veterans, great franchise, coaches and everything. It’s going to be a great situation.”
|Doc Rivers on D&C, 10/6||10.06.09 at 11:38 am ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers appeared on Dennis & Callahan Tuesday morning to discuss the team’s preseason preparations as the C’s get set to play the Houston Rockets in Hidaglo, Texas, on Wednesday night.
Following is a complete transcript. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Do you worry about your guys … when you make a trip like that [to Hidalgo, Texas, on the Mexico border]?
I worry more about [Greg] Dickerson doing it than our players. I’m hoping he actually goes and we can steal his passport so he can’t come back.
No, you do worry about it. Guys like going over and having fun or whatever. We have great guys, and we’ll talk to them about it so you’re not that concerned. But you’d rather [they] not be there, let’s put it that way.
Give us several significant highlights to camp at this point. What are we missing here so far?
I think Rasheed [Wallace] and Marquis Daniels, they really have solidified our bench. It’s a veteran bench, very similar to two years ago. Rasheed’s ability to stretch the floor will be amazing when he plays with [Kendrick Perkins] or Kevin [Garnett], it doesn’t really matter which one he plays with, he still stretches the floor, he has the ability to take 5s out. And Marquis Daniels, he’s really good for our team. He’s a small forward, he plays 2 guard as well. From his position, he can handle the ball, and that frees up Eddie [House]. The old point forward — if you remember the Paul Pressey days in Milwaukee, where he handled the ball, and then Sidney Moncrief and Marques Johnson and those guys came off picks. Well, it will be very similar to us with the second team.
Is Rasheed going to be beloved here in Boston?
Yeah. The one thing we knew about Rasheed was the fact that his teammates that he’s played for loved him. He’s always been a great teammate. He’s one of the more verbal talkers on defense in the league — him and Kevin. And it’s amazing. During camp, I have a lot of college coaches come in and they watch camp. And that’s the one thing they keep saying is — well, there’s two things: “Boy, your bigs have a chance to be really good.” The second thing is, “I’ve never seen a team talk as much on defense, especially Rasheed, Perk and Kevin.” So, those are the things they’ll notice. But they’ll love him. I’m sure there will be a couple of nights where he’ll get into an exchange with someone else in stripes, and we’re going to have to deal with that. But that’s not going to be an issue, in my opinion.
|Grousbeck discusses Davis, Celtics offseason||07.14.09 at 10:42 pm ET|
LAS VEGAS – On Tuesday, Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck was in Las Vegas to discuss the state of the league at the NBA Board of Governor’s Meeting. Grousbeck was appointed to the Labor Relations Committee, and will serve as the chairman of the planning committee.
While out West, he told WEEI.com he is also focused on preparing for a successful season back in Boston.
“We are continuing to try to do everything we can to win Banner 18,” Grousbeck said. “We’re looking at our roster and figuring out what other help we need at which positions.”
The Celtics are not zoning in on a specific position, he said, but rather improving the overall team. One player he believes can help the Celtics next season is restricted free agent Glen Davis, whose name has been mentioned as a person of interest to several teams around the league.
“We’d love to have Baby back,” Grousbeck said.
They will also evaluate the players who participated in the Orlando Summer League earlier this month. As is the case with many teams, only a select few will have the chance to be contributors. Even though Lester Hudson broke his finger, Grousbeck mentioned the rookie “started off well.”
“I think we liked seeing Lester Hudson and Billy (Walker) and J.R. (Giddens) and the other guys on the roster,” he said. “Some of them will make the team and some won’t.”
As the Celtics piece together their roster for the 2010 season, the acquisition of Rasheed Wallace has been a hot topic of conversation at the Las Vegas Summer League. The signing, many NBA players have said, has put the Celtics back in contention after an injury-stricken postseason.
Grousbeck won’t argue with that.
“I just looked at the Vegas odds and the Lakers are 2-to-1, Cleveland is 3-to-1, and we’re 4-to-1,” he said. “So Vegas has us at 4-to-1. We’d like to win that bet.”
|Doc talks Sheed, NBA on WEEI||07.10.09 at 1:44 pm ET|
On Friday morning Celtics head coach Doc Rivers checked in with Mike Felger and Rob Bradford on WEEI. Click here to listen to his thoughts on the signing of Rasheed Wallace and the NBA offseason.
|Source: Hill leaning toward Phoenix||at 8:56 am ET|
A source close to the situation has told WEEI.com Grant Hill is leaning toward re-signing with the Phoenix Suns. The 36-year-old forward has been a free agent prospect for the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, among other teams, this summer. The Celtics have been eyeing Hill as a potential back up for Paul Pierce, a major hole in last season’s bench.
According to the source, Hill’s concern with coming to Boston is the decreased role, not the money. He has spent most of his 14-year career as a starter and averaged nearly 30 minutes with the Suns last season. (He has never averaged less than 29 minutes per game.) The Celtics do not have anywhere close to that to offer with the starting lineup playing the majority of minutes and the recent signing of Rasheed Wallace.
Although they have expressed their interest to Hill, the Celtics know they are not the only team in the picture. “I don’t even allow myself to go there, optimistic or pessimistic,” Danny Ainge said on Thursday at Wallace’s introductory press conference. “He knows our desire for him. We know his interest in us.”
Hill averaged 12.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists last season while shooting 52.3% from the field. He has also averaged 16.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in 22 playoff games.
Update: Yahoo! Sports has reported Hill has decided to re-sign with the Suns.
|Sounds of Sheed||07.09.09 at 10:16 pm ET|
WALTHAM – From the ’18′ on the backboard shot clock above the dais to the ’20:10′ on the clock with the number ’30′ on scoreboard, the Celtics practice facility was decked out on Thursday for the arrival of Rasheed Wallace.
It was arguably the most significant press conference held at Healthpoint, as the Big Three introductory presser of July 2007 was at the Garden.
Eight people were on the dais at that presser as opposed to the to six on Thursday.
Once all the parties sat down, they shared their thoughts on the newest member of the Celtics after he agreed to a three-year deal.
Here’s some of the highlights, in audio form.
There were also questions asked of Kevin Garnett about the bone spurs removed from behind his right knee, shortly after the Celtics were eliminated by the Orlando Magic.