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Irish Coffee: What’s up with Celtics’ Avery Bradley? 01.04.12 at 12:19 pm ET
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Before the Celtics season started, I made the case for a breakout Avery Bradley performance.

So far, I couldn’t be more wrong.

Of the 385 players who have appeared in an NBA game this season, Bradley ranks in the bottom 25 in both offensive rating (367th) and defensive rating (361st). In 42 minutes on the floor during the C’s first six games, he has five rebounds, two points (1-9 FG), one assist, one turnover, zero steals and zero blocks.

In terms of HoopData.com’s advanced statistics, it doesn’t get any better for the Celtics reserve. In addition to ranking dead last among the 146 NBA guards who have played at least five minutes a night in PER (-5.5) and efficiency rating (-0.2), he ranks second to last in scoring (0.3) and true shooting percentage (11.1%).

A few more of Bradley’s advanced stats among those 146 guards to drive the point home:

  • 143rd in estimated wins added (-0.3)
  • 144th in value added (-10.0)
  • 139th in win score (-0.83)
  • 138th in Usage Rate (11.22)
  • 130th in Assist Rate (9.09)

The only positive I could find: He’s held opponents to 3-of-16 shooting (18.8%). No wonder he may have dropped behind E’Twaun Moore on the depth chart. Yet, he and the C’s brass remains confident (via Boston Herald). Read the rest of this entry »

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Ray Allen continues his torrid shooting 01.03.12 at 2:45 am ET
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Less than two minutes into Monday night’s game against the Wizards, Ray Allen stepped to the free throw line after Washington’s head coach Flip Saunders was ejected for arguing with referees.

Allen, a career 89 percent free throw shooter, drew iron on one of his attempts. Four minutes later, Allen became visibly frustrated when he missed another free throw, following a technical foul on Wizards guard John Wall.

But, when Boston needed it most, they turned to Allen, who scored a game high 27 points, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ 100-92 win.

Allen – who said he had a head cold – was particularly effective from long range, hitting six of his seven 3-point attempts. Allen has been always dependable scorer. However, fans have grown accustomed to witnessing extraordinary shooting clinics like the one Allen put on Monday night. Including the playoffs, Monday night marked the 13th time Allen has hit six or more three pointers since becoming a Celtic.

Many of his open looks came in transition, something Allen attributes to his teammates. “My guys got me open tonight,” Allen said. “If you look at any shots down the stretch - Kevin [Garnett] made a tough pass, [Rajon] Rondo made a tough pass, and Paul [Pierce] made a tough pass.”

The deadly shooter is justified in giving credit to his teammates, but executing is on the go is something Allen prepares for. “[Transition shots] are not a surprise to me,” Allen said. “In practice after spot shooting, I go do sprints from half court to the corners. So fatigue never sets in, because I’m used to it.”

That’s no accident.

“Marathon man,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “He was great. He just kept going. I would never want to guard that guy. He just never stops moving.”

Allen’s preparation and diet has become folklore in the Celtics locker room. Seemingly every teammate learns from Allen’s approach.

“I’ve never seen anybody take care of his game like Ray does,” said Keyon Dooling. “Ray takes care of his game, his body, his mind, and they are all interconnected. The way he talks about basketball is something I’ve never really seen before. I always try to pick his brain.”

Last season, Allen shot a career-high 44.4 percent from 3-point territory. In six games this season the 36 year-old is shooting an incredible 61 percent from behind the arc.

Invariably, all Allen will think about are the two misses from the first quarter. “It drives me wild,” he said. “But if everything was perfect, what would I work on?”

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Keyon Dooling wants his 2-year-old son ‘to play ball like Rajon Rondo’ 12.22.11 at 10:46 am ET
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Keyon Dooling has been around long enough to let his eyes tell him what he sees while blocking out all the noise.

He’s heard all of the chatter about the limitations with Rajon Rondo (whom he calls Ray) and his jump shot. But from what he’s seen so far, up close and personal, he’s been impressed.

“I think it’s just a matter of confidence with Ray,” Dooling said of Rondo, not Ray Allen. “I think because he’s got good mechanics and he knows when to shoot. It’s just all about his confidence. He’s fun to watch.”

As a matter of fact, he’s been so enamored with Rondo that he wants his two-year-old son to model his play not after daddy but daddy’s teammate.

“I was telling him earlier that I’ve got a two-year-old son and I want him to play ball like Rondo,” Dooling said. “So, I think Ray’s going to be very important to our championship run this year.”

As for his own play, he was scoreless in 15 minutes while handing out four assists. He considers himself a “Rondo-like” leader of the second unit, and he was disappointed that the second unit let a double-digit lead slip in the second half Wednesday in the preseason finale.

“I think if you look at us, I think the thing that is apparent or obvious is that our defense is ahead of our offense,” Dooling said. “We had a spurt with our second unit that was very disappointing. So, we’ll go back to the drawing board. We’ll be in practice a little bit earlier than the rest of the guys and we’ll try and continue to build our continuity with the second unit.”

Helping along the way is, of course, head coach Doc Rivers, who pulled Dooling aside several times during a break in the action to talk over things.

“It’s been fantastic,” Dooling said after Wednesday’s scrimmage. “Doc has been great so far. I’m a guy who sits back and I just watch him, watch him work, I watch him when he’s thinking of a play, staring into space, when he’s writing down on the board what he’s saying, how’s he motivating all the guys. Doc’s a guy I just want to sponge off and learn as much as I can.”

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Irish Coffee: Celtics sour grapes over David West 12.20.11 at 11:06 am ET
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Celtics president Danny Ainge lost out to former teammate Larry Bird in the David West sweepstakes, and that left a bitter taste in the mouths of Ray Allen and head coach Doc Rivers.

Ainge reportedly offered a sign-and-trade package of Jermaine O’Neal and a younger player to the Hornets for West, who would then be signed to a three-year, $29 million deal, according to ESPN.com’s Jackie MacMullan.

Instead, Bird signed the free agent to a two-year, $20 million contract, offering a higher annual value and a shorter window until West’s next free agency period, when he likely wouldn’t be coming off reconstructive knee surgery.

“Once it got down to the end, I think his ego kicked back in,” Allen told MacMullan. “He wanted the dollars. I guess it comes down to ‘What is a championship worth to you?’ Think of all the guys who have made $20 million and could be considered one of the best ever, but they get chided because they never won. We [the Big Three] all had to do less when we won. We’re still taking less to make it work. But it’s worth it. No one can ever say to KG [Kevin Garnett], Paul [Pierce] or me, ‘You guys never got your ring.’”

“I’m very disappointed,” Rivers told Jackie Mac, “but we’re moving on with the guys we have.”

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Celtics scrimmage: Avery Bradley and E’Twaun Moore thrill ‘em at the end 12.16.11 at 10:07 pm ET
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Back-up point guard Avery Bradley hit a baseline jumper as time expired to lift the Green team to a 52-51 win over the White in an intrasquad scrimmage for the Boston Celtics Friday night before about 4,000 fans at TD Garden.

Rookie E’Twaun Moore‘s three-pointer with 0.8 seconds remaining had given the white team, featuring Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo the lead before Bradley’s game-winning shot. A portly Mike Sweetney, weighing in at well over 320 pounds, put the White up, 48-46, with just over 50 seconds remaining as the two sides exchanged buckets in a furious finish before an appreciative crowd.

Rajon Rondo started for the White team, along with Ray Allen and Jermaine O’Neal at center. Marquis Daniels started for the Green while Chris Wilcox started at center and took the opening tip for the Green.

The games were split into two 12-minute halves. The White trailed 27-18 at halftime before the Green, mostly stocked with reserves.

Wilcox led everyone at the scrimmage with 17 points and 10 rebounds, both game highs. Brandon Bass started and led the White with 13 points and five rebounds. Bradley, Dooling and Daniels each played the entire 24 minutes of the scrimmage.

The game was highly entertaining and featured the first look for fans at newcomers Wilcox, Bass, Moore, Keyon Dooling – who made all three of his 3-point attempts.

After the scrimmage, coach Doc Rivers said there was no medical update on the condition of Jeff Green, who failed his physical earlier in the week. He visited with doctors on Friday with team President and general manager Danny Ainge. WEEI.com’s Paul Flannery reported after the game that an announcement is expected sometime Saturday.

The Celtics open their brief two-game preseason schedule Sunday in Toronto, with the two teams playing in Boston on Wednesday night.

Paul Pierce will not make the trip to Toronto while Kevin Garnett is questionable after injuring his thumb on Thursday in practice. Rivers said after Friday night’s scrimmage that the X-rays were negative.

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Irish Coffee: Top 10 Celtics Media Day moments 12.14.11 at 1:03 pm ET
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Tuesday’s Media Day marked the official unveiling of the 2011-12 Celtics at their practice facility in Waltham. Some familiar faces. Some new ones. Here are the top 10 highlights from what was a tame afternoon compared to the Shaquille O’Neal hoopla from a year ago.

10. BACK TO SCHOOL: After finishing six courses during the fall and summer semesters at Georgetown, Celtics forward Jeff Green is just two classes away from finishing a major in English and a minor in theology. He plans on completing his degree in the summer to become the first member of his family to earn a college diploma.

“It’s something I can cross off my bucket list,” he said, adding that a diploma and an NBA championship trophy would be comparable achievements to place on his mantle.

Asked if he could avoid being seen in lectures, Green smiled and said, “I’m 6-9. I can’t hide.”

9. GRUMPY OLD MEN: Since beating Ray Allen in the NBA’s 3-point contest last season, Celtics captain Paul Pierce has a new challenge for his teammate: Who can have the longest career?

Pierce, 34, called the “42-year-old” Allen (he’s 36) an inspiration to play five more years, and then referred reporters to his website PaulPierce.net/TruthonHealth for any questions. Green wasn’t the only one learning during the lockout; Pierce is apparently now a marketing expert.

8. SUPER SIZE ME: We all remember the Shawn Kemps and Vin Bakers of the 1999 lockout — the guys who showed up to training camp so out of shape their bodies never fully recovered. Allen remembers, too.

“There were some guys back in ’99, when you saw them, it was like, ‘Holy cow, this guy was on vacation for the last three months, didn’t do a thing, didn’t pick up a basketball or a weight,’” Allen said. “And that’s not the case in this locker room. We knew it, because we have too many strong-minded individuals.”

Allen had a front-row seat for Baker’s transformation from a guy who averaged 19.2 points and 8.0 rebounds for their Sonics the season before to 13.8 points and 6.2 rebounds after the last lockout-shortened season. Naturally, the Celtics traded for Baker four seasons later.

“Every day I sat around the house,” said Allen, “I was like, ‘I gotta go work out, because I don’t want to be that guy.’”

7. TOP CHEF: Celtics forward Kevin Garnett cracked one smile during Media Day, when analogizing team chemistry to the culinary arts. “Chemistry is something that you just don’t throw in the frying pan, mix it up with another something, throw something on top of that, then fry it up, put in a tortilla, put in a microwave and heat it up, and then give it to you and expect it to taste good,” he said. “For those who can cook, y’all know what I’m talking about. If y’all don’t know what I’m talking about, you can’t cook and this doesn’t concern you.”

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Transcript of Kevin Garnett on D&C: Rajon Rondo the smartest, most stubborn, possibly most hated player in NBA at 10:53 am ET
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Kevin Garnett

Celtics forward Kevin Garnett joined Dennis & Callahan for an interview from Celtics training camp that aired Wednesday morning.

Following rumors that Rajon Rondo could get traded, Garnett was asked his opinion of the young point guard. Garnett said Rondo is the smartest player in the league, as well as “the most stubborn, the most probably hated.”

Said Garnett: “I’ve grown to understand Shorty. His greatest gift is his greatest curse. We as players try to help him to understand that. Me, more or less, I see a lot of myself in him. I’m not as cocky as he is. I like to actually set aside ego when I step on the court and let the play do the talking.

“Shorty’s very smart but he’s also very stubborn. Nonetheless, with all that said and done, talking to him, I see the maturity, I hear the maturity in him wanting to be better. That’s what you want from your young guy. You want your young guy growing. You want your guy to always be in a sense to where he’s understanding that he’s the future. I think him understanding that, him being confident in that. You hear your name in talks, that’s not what you want to be. Things like that come on for a reason. Just understanding growth and understanding being young. But I love Shorty. I wouldn’t want to play with anybody else.”

Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Did you think there was a chance there might not be basketball this year? Did that thought dross your mind? Did it worry you?

To be honest, yeah, I didn’t think that we were going to have basketball, and I thought for the betterment of. I thought players should have stayed solid and together on what we thought was right. I’m a fighter, man. I understood the demographics. Obviously 500-plus players, everybody’s going to have a preference. This was just my own. I understood the negotiating. I understood the whole process of it, going through it in ’99 and ’98. But times are different now. And here we are.

Do wounds need to heal?

I think everybody needs to get past mad and come here and be professional. And I think that’s what you see, guys understanding what this is. But to sit back and complain about the things that [David] Stern is doing, jamming up trades and all this other stuff, I think he’s been playing God for a while. But we need to understand that he’s also grown our league. He’s also done a lot of good things in our league.

At some point if you’re going to go forward, you’ve got to get past mad and come in here and understand that and focus on the positives. So, that’s what I think everybody’s doing. We’ve got a new team here. Basketball is back and alive here. I think all the guys here agree that we’re happy to see each other. Now, it’s just about preparing for this year.

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