|Rivers on Sheed: I think it’s over||06.24.10 at 11:57 pm ET|
Word spread around the league on draft night that Rasheed Wallace is going to retire. While it’s still not official, Doc Rivers said that he thinks it will be soon.
“I don’t think he’s going to change his mind,” Rivers said. “Rasheed had told me three days before the last game that he was pretty sure this was it. The night before he called and said hey I’m going to give it everything I’ve got because this is my last time playing. He was pretty definite. But again, it was very emotional so you never know. I think it is over.”
There are still procedural issues that will need to be clarified regarding the remaining two years on his contract and what that will mean in terms of potential cap and luxury tax relief, but for now it seems that we have seen the last of Wallace in a Celtics uniform.
|Report: Wallace decides to retire||at 8:16 pm ET|
Rasheed Wallace has officially decided to retire, TNT’s David Aldridge reported on Thursday night, citing a league source. The decision was expected following the Celtics’ Game 7 loss to the Lakers in the NBA finals. After the game, Doc Rivers said, “I don’t know if Rasheed will ever play again. He’s one of them. I think he took that out on the floor with him.” Wallace had $12 million and two years left on his contract, which he signed last summer.
Wallace most recently averaged 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds during the finals, including a Game 7 start. It was a bounceback from an inconsistent regular season in which he posted 9.0 points and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 28.3 percent from 3-point range in 79 games.
Wallace was selected by the Bullets with the fourth overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft. He earned four All-Star selections and won a championship in 2004 with the Pistons. Wallace ranked sixth in games played among all active players.
|Doc: Sheed thinking about retirement||06.18.10 at 1:22 am ET|
Rasheed Wallace may have played his last NBA game, Doc Rivers speculated following the Celtics Game 7 loss to the Lakers in the finals.
“You know, I don’t know if Rasheed will ever play again,” Rivers said. “You know, he’s one of them. I think he took that out on the floor with him. I think he is thinking about retiring, and I thought you could see that in his play. He was dying out there. When he got the cramps and the strains, he was just trying to figure out a way of staying on the floor.”
Wallace, 35, started in place of the injured Kendrick Perkins. He posted 11 points and 8 rebounds in 36 minutes before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Wallace propelled the Celtics early in the game by providing a much-needed post presence and was effective at scoring down low. (In typical Wallace fashion, he also mixed in a critical 3-pointer.)
But eventually Wallace, who suffered back spasms during the postseason, became hampered by injuries. He could no longer serve as an option at the basket for the Celtics, a huge loss when they were already playing without Perkins.
“We had to keep subbing him for one minute and two minutes, and I thought the reason we got up early was because of Rasheed Wallace,” said Rivers. “We got it low in the post, he started scoring, and I thought what happened was late in the game he got tired and had the injuries and we couldn’t go down anymore. And I think that had a huge impact on how we were playing. We had to go away from the post almost because of fatigue. You know, it’s the first time all year that you can actually say at the end of the day we were old at the end of the game because we didn’t have a enough bodies. I thought it hurt us.”
Wallace is under contract next season and has a player option for 2011.
If Game 7 turns out to be Wallace’s last game, he lived up to the expectations set by his previous postseason success. After an inconsistent first regular season in Boston (9.0 points, 40.9% FG, 28.3% 3PG), Wallace made it clear why he had signed with the Celtics.
“I didn’t come here for the regular season,” he said during the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
On Thursday, he proved he was there to win a championship. Even though the C’s fell short, Wallace left no question that he had come to the Celtics to help them achieve postseason success.
Said Rivers, “He was a warrior.”
|Sheed gets the starting call||06.17.10 at 8:13 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — Rasheed Wallace will start for the injured Kendrick Perkins in Game 7 of the NBA finals. Celtics coach Doc Rivers made the announcement about an hour before the game.
“He’s old. I figured I’d play the oldest guys,” Rivers joked of the 35-year-old Wallace before giving a serious explanation. “I just think it’s a good combination with Kevin [Garnett] because of the size, with Bynum’s size. I just think it’s a better fit for us.
“It also may give [Rajon] Rondo a chance to get loose early because of the spacing on the floor.”
The decision to go with a taller lineup against Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol also means that Glen Davis will come off the bench. Otherwise, Rivers doesn’t expect many other changes with the loss of Perkins to two torn ligaments in his right knee in Game 6.
“We’re not going to change a lot. We could, and if the game dictates that we need to do that, we’re ready to do it. But we’re not going to recreate the wheel tonight. We’re going to be basically who we’ve been. Not having Perk, we may have to do it a little different, but not much.”
[Click here to listen to Doc Rivers explaining his move to start Rasheed Wallace for the injured Kendrick Perkins.]
|Mashburn on D&C: ‘This is Rondo’s team’||at 9:55 am ET|
ESPN NBA analyst Jamal Mashburn joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to discuss Game 7 of the NBA finals. Below are some highlights. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
On what Rasheed Wallace will give the Celtics:
Rasheed has experience and he comes to play, it seems like when he wants to play, when the moment shines the brightest. Obviously, what they need from him is rebounding and defense and for him to knock down a couple of those long 3-point shots to stake the defense. And also to stay out of foul trouble. I think that’s the critical part. with Kendrick Perkins being out of the lineup. Rasheed has to stay out of foul trouble, and he’s done a pretty good job of keeping his cool even though does continue to do his antics — it looks like he never gets whistled for a foul in his life. Rasheed Wallace is a capable player, but, as you mentioned, you talked about the consistency of Rasheed Wallace, that’s something the Boston Celtics wish they had; that’s what they had in Kendrick Perkins. Doc Rivers knew what he was going to get out of Kendrick Perkins, and that’s going to be awfully difficult to replace.
On if Game 7 brings out the best in most players:
It just depends on who you are. I’ve seen some guys, when I’ve played, you’ve had Game 5 situations, as well as Game 7 situations. But it depends on who you are. Some guys are great at staying in the moment and not thinking beyond that. And I think that’s how you have to approach it. I mean it is just another basketball game with “Game 7″ attached to it, as far as when you’re going out there and playing and executing. And when guys tend to over-think it and buy into the hype before the game, if you’re a role player, it can usually affect how you play.
Some guys don’t get sleep the night before a Game 7 situation because they’re so nervous and anxious to get the game tipped off. It’s a process you have to go through, your routine. You have to remember, you played 82 games in the regular season, eight preseason games and a bunch of playoff games, so they’re all the same. You just have to stay in the moment and go out there and execute. Don’t try and do anything you’re not capable of doing; if you’re a rebounder, don’t attempt to shoot 3′s. Stay inside your role and play the game.
On if the Celtics will bring Nate Robinson off the bench early if the Celtics are struggling:
In Game 7 situations Doc [Rivers] is going to go with who he trusts. And right now I would have to say, depending upon what happens, I think Doc Rivers will pull out all the stops to win the game. But I think at the end of the day, Rajon Rondo will be the guy who finishes the game. Whatever happens in between there with him trying to find a spark, or him trying to get something out of Nate Robinson, I think Rondo will finish the game. Rondo has gotten them this far; this is Rondo’s team, and I think we all know that.
|Stephen A. Smith on D&C: Never seen Kobe this focused||at 7:56 am ET|
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist and radio host Stephen A. Smith joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the NBA finals. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Smith said at least two of the Celtics’ top players must step up in Game 7, because he has no doubt Kobe Bryant will be at his best. “I have never seen him this focused,” Smith said of the Lakers star. “If he was this focused before Game 7, imagine how he’s going to be tonight.”
Talking about Rasheed Wallace, whose play becomes that much more important with the absence of injured starter Kendrick Perkins, Smith said: “As big as this game is, he is completely unfazed. … He’s not going to be nervous. At the same time, it’s a bad thing, because the urgency of the moment is not going to affect him. … Game 7 is not going to make him give you more.”
As for a prediction, Smith said that despite Bryant wanting it more than anyone else, “I picked the Boston Celtics to win this series, and I’m going to stick with it.” He also said to keep an eye on Nate Robinson, who could make a big impact with his outside shooting.
Smith also touched on Doc Rivers’ future, saying: “He gave me indications the other day that he would probably come back,” based on his relationship with the players.
|Phil on provoking techs: That’s not fair play||06.11.10 at 1:19 pm ET|
Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace are both sitting on six technical fouls during the postseason. If either of them gets one more they are subject to a one-game suspension from the NBA.
Doc Rivers has expressed concern that they could be provoked into getting technicals, but Lakers coach Phil Jackson said that was not part of his team’s mindset. “That’s not fair play,” he said. “That’s not the way to play the games.”
Before the series began, Jackson agreed with Rivers that the NBA should revisit the seven technical foul rule for the playoffs. Both coaches feel that the number should be reduced the longer teams are alive in the postseason and that the league should look at whether double technical fouls should be counted against the number.
That’s the biggest concern for Rivers. He noted after Game 4 that he pulled Perkins out of the game after he and Pau Gasol spent several possessions getting physical in the post because he was afraid a double tech was about to happen.
“Yeah, you can be provocative and get out there and act kind of like they do if you want to and get in people’s faces and do that,” Jackson said. “But that’s not the way I like to coach a team. That’s not what I consider positive coaching, and that’s what I like to think is the right way to do things.”
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