|Stan praised Sheed||05.27.10 at 2:39 am ET|
ORLANDO — Lost in all the madness of Game 5 was the fact that Rasheed Wallace made seven of nine shots and scored 21 points in 18 minutes before fouling out.
Stan Van Gundy was not surprised. “I’ll tell you what, Rasheed Wallace, I want to say this in the right way: I hate the guy,” Van Gundy said. “I mean, he never, ever — same thing when I was with Miami — it’s like the guy never, ever ever has a bad game against the team I coach. So incredible.”
Wallace for his part wasn’t talking to reporters after the game. He shooed a pack away from his locker saying he didn’t want to get fined.
|Legler on D&C: Sheed’s ‘D’ key for C’s||05.18.10 at 10:15 am ET|
ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to talk about the Celtics-Magic series. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Legler pointed to the much-maligned Rasheed Wallace as the pivotal figure in the C’s Game 1 victory. “You have to have guys that not only physically are capable of playing Dwight Howard in single coverage as much as you can, you have to have guys that are emotionally ready for it and want the challenge. Boston’s got a few guys like that,” Legler said. “I thought Rasheed Wallace was the key to their victory in Game 1. I thought he got in the head of Dwight Howard. I thought his nastiness, his edge was something Dwight Howard wasn’t prepared for, ready for. Rasheed, you think of him as a 7-foot 3-point shooter and a finesse player, but that’s not the case on the defensive end of the floor. He has been, in the 15 years he’s been in the league, he’s been one of the pre-eminent post defenders we’ve had. He loves the challenge.
“His versatility defensively I thought was the key to the first game, and it will be the key to the series moving forward. If [Kendrick] Perkins and Rasheed can play [Howard] that successfully one-on-one and you stay out on the 3-point shooters, Orlando’s in big trouble.”
Legler said the pressure is on Orlando’s big man to come up big. “Dwight Howard has to do more,” Legler said. “He has to be a guy who can knock down a face-up jump shot once in a while. I’ve never seen him even take one, much less make one. He doesn’t have enough ability to go to a sky hook or go to a turnaround jump shot in the post. He’s a guy that simply has to overpower you and he has to catch the ball in great position to be able to do that, and the Boston Celtics are determined not to let that happen. … What is his efficiency going to be when he catches the ball? It wasn’t there in Game 1. It’s going to have to get a lot better.”
Legler said the Celtics’ balance makes them difficult to defend, but he points to Ray Allen as the player the Magic should focus on stopping. Said Legler: “Ray Allen, to me, is the barometer for the Celtics. He always has been. He’s a guy, his activity offensively, when he’s running off those screens and he’s getting clean looks, or he’s getting looks in transition, that loosens up everything. … Ray Allen, to me, is a guy that you’ve got to get under control and make sure he’s not getting up in the mid-20s. Because when he’s there, the Celtics rarely lose.”
Asked for his prediction about where LeBron James will sign as a free agent, Legler said he would rank the favorites as Chicago, New York and Cleveland.
|Sheed lives||05.05.10 at 4:17 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Rasheed Wallace didn’t talk to the assembled media in front of his locker after his 17-point performance in Game 2, but there was a lot of words spoken on his behalf. Perhaps the most provocative were said by Kevin Garnett after the game to WEEI [Click here to listen to the audio].
“We’ve been talking all year,” Wallace said after practice Wednesday before ending his interview.
But, ever defiant, he refused to say that his Game 2 performance was anything special.
“No difference,” he said when asked what what the difference was for him between games. “Either or, y’all think it’s just one facet of this game. It’s not. There’s two facets to this game. If I’m not making shots, OK, then I have to something on defense. So if I’m missing shots or making shots it doesn’t affect my whole overall game.”
Still, there was no denying the impact he had on the game. The Celtics opened up a double-digit lead in the second quarter when he made his first five shots, including three 3’s.
“His play spoke for itself,” Rajon Rondo said. “He was big for us. He doesn’t have to score 20, or whatever he had, 17 each game. But if he can get us 10 [points] and 10 [rebounds] we can definitely win the championship.”
The Celtics obviously need Wallace to keep playing well, especially with injuries hampering Garnett and Kendrick Perkins.
“I need him to keep doing it,” Doc Rivers said. “Maybe he went into the Hot Tub Time Machine. He was good. Now we need him to follow it up, but we need everyone to. That’s just part of team basketball.”
Rivers didn’t specifically credit Garnett’s speech, but did note that players talking to players is often more effective than when the coach has to say something. “It’s been that way for 50 years,” Rivers said.
|Sheed takes heed from Garnett||05.04.10 at 11:46 pm ET|
Turns out, Rivers wasn’t the only one who wanted to see Wallace step up. Kevin Garnett also believed Wallace was critical to the Celtics postseason success, and he made it a point to tell him that.
‘After the first game, I went to him in the shower and I said, ‘In order for us to beat this team, man, it’s going to take not just the starting five. It’s going to take Rasheed, it’s going to take Tony Allen, it’s going to take Marquis (Daniels), Big Baby (Glen Davis), Shelden Williams, everybody, Nate Robinson. It’s going to take everybody who’s on that bench,’ Garnett told WEEI’s Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell following the C’s Game 2 victory on Monday (listen to the audio here).
Garnett has known his teammate long enough to understand his receptiveness ‘ or lack thereof ‘ to feedback. But fortunately for Garnett, who was in the 1995 NBA draft class with Wallace, he is on that short list.
‘I went to him personally, you know, he don’t really listen to a lot of people,’ Garnett explained. “Sheed sort of goes by his own tune and he only respects a few, and I’m one of the very few that he listens to and that he respects. And I went to him and I said, ‘If you give us 10 and 10, we’re going to not only beat these Cavs, but we’re going to blow them out.’ I said, ‘I need 10 and 10 every night with you, at least in this series right here.’”
Wallace shot just 1-for-5 and recorded more fouls than points in Game 1. But Garnett knew what Wallace was capable of, in spite of a disappointing regular season in which he averaged nine points, four rebounds, shot 28 percent from 3-point range, and was assessed numerous technical fouls and fines. He wanted Wallace to put that behind him, focus on the postseason series at hand, and provide the Celtics with a solid contribution off the bench.
‘I said, ‘I don’t care what you’ve been going through. To hell with what the year is. So what? You can make it all up right here,’’ Garnett recounted. ‘And I got into him a little bit. I rubbed him the wrong way a little bit. And then later on we talked. He said, ‘You’re right.’’
Whatever the driving force may have been, Wallace stepped onto the court in Game 2 and gave one of his best performances in a Celtics uniform. He scored an efficient 17 points (7-for-8 on field goals and 3-for-4 on threes) in 18 minutes. Even though Wallace didn’t do anything fancy, it was just what the Celtics needed.
‘It was just good to see results,’ said Garnett. ‘He’s a gutty veteran, he knows how to play, and it was just big. He was big for us.’
|Doc: We need more from our bench||05.03.10 at 1:20 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — In Game 1, every starter except for Kendrick Perkins played at least 38 minutes and Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo both logged over 42. Part of that was foul trouble. Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis both picked up three fouls early in the first half and part of that was the ongoing production problems with the second unit.
That has to change in Game 2.
“You don’t do a lot of rotation changes, but you do make some tweaks as far as what you run on the offense end and defensively,” Doc Rivers said at the team’s shootaround. “Honestly, we’ve got to get more out of our bench. The guys are on the floor too long. We just have to get more play out of our bench. Our bench has to come through for us.
“They have to play,” Rivers continued. “We’re not going to win this series playing five guys 45 minutes a night. It’s not going to happen. I believe in our bench and I think they’ll come through, but we need them to.”
There will be three days between Games 2 and 3, so that does leave an opening if Rivers feels the need to extend minutes, but that was also part of the rationale for working the starters so hard in Game 1 when the Celtics built an 11-point lead only to wind up losing by eight.
“We could extend minutes tonight, but we did just play on Saturday.,” Rivers said. “The break could go either way. If you win tonight you’d like to play tomorrow if you could. It does change your thinking a little bit honestly with the long lay off.”
Rivers indicated that he would like to get Wallace more involved in the post (as well as Paul Pierce), but don’t expect any major changes.
“The chess match comes when you think you’re overmatched as far as talent on the floor,” Rivers said. “Then you have to really try out of the box things. I don’t think either guy thinks that in this case.”
|Rivers on Sheed: He has to play better||05.02.10 at 4:38 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — Rasheed Wallace has said all season that the playoffs are what motivates him, but after a disastrous regular season, the playoffs have been pretty much the same story for the Celtics prized free agent acquisition.
Wallace picked up three quick fouls in the first half and went 1-for-5 in 13 minutes of Game 1 against the Cavaliers. He was also a liability again on the defensive end where his rotations were slow and his help defense was lacking.
“He has to play better, bottom line,” Doc Rivers said Sunday. “He has to play better defense. The offense will come but he has to be a better defender. We can’t wait. He has to play better.”
Rivers elected not to use Shelden Williams despite the heavy foul trouble that Wallace and Glen Davis found themselves in early in the game. That might change, although Rivers didn’t quite his tip his hand on that front.
“He is in the discussion every day,” Rivers said of Williams.
Is he is it more today?
“No,” Rivers answered. “But he definitely is in that discussion.”
|The Varejao factor||04.29.10 at 5:22 pm ET|
WALTHAM – In three games against the Celtics this season, Anderson Varejao averaged 13 points, nine rebounds ( with half of them coming on the offensive glass) and about a hundred different migraines. His energy seemed to overwhelm the Celtics and he was a huge key in Cleveland’s 20-point win over the Celtics at the Garden.
“They’re only good because they play hard with a high basketball IQ,” Rivers said. “I can give you a bunch of guys who can play hard but don’t think. They do it intelligently. That’s what made Dennis Rodman so good because his IQ on the floor was ridiculous. Varejao’s just a smart, crafty, hard-playing 7-footer.”
Davis will play a large role in this series. The Celtics are counting on him and Rasheed Wallace to match Varejao’s energy off the bench as well as the other big men options the Cavs can throw at the Celtics.
“Our bench has to play well,” Rivers said. “It doesn’t have to be all of them. The combination of Baby and Rasheed, we need one of them and we would prefer two. They have to play well. We need somebody to match Varejao’s energy. The two games they won he was the best player. He dominated those games with his energy and his effort.”
Varejao has also been known as an irritant, which is part of his job. He’s the kind of player only the hometown fans can love, even though all give him grudging respect. Davis is also an emotional player, but Rivers doesn’t think that will be an issue, at least not for him.
“I’m not worried about him getting under Baby’s skin,” Rivers said. “I am more concerned about the Kevin [Garnett's] and the Rasheed’s because that’s what he wants to do. Baby’s pretty good with that. Baby will just keep competing back. Baby actually has the ability to get under people’s skin himself. The other guys, they know it. Listen, if I’m Varejao and I can get under their skin, I’m going to try.”