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Jackie MacMullan on M&M: Veteran teams play well in shortened seasons 11.29.11 at 1:30 pm ET
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ESPN.com’s Jackie MacMullan joined Mut & Merloni to give her thoughts on the Celtics and how they will fare now that the union and the owners have come to a tentative agreement to end the NBA lockout. Boston is set to face the Knicks on Christmas day in the first game of a shortened 66-game season.

MacMullan pointed to the 1999 NBA season, which was shortened to 50 games due to another lockout, and how older teams like the Spurs, the Magic and the Knicks were among the best in the league.

“You look at who came out of that shortened ’99 season, it was all veteran teams,” MacMullan said. “The Orlando Magic had one of the oldest teams in the league, the New York Knicks were dragging Patrick Ewing along and of course the San Antonio Spurs, who ended up winning the whole thing. They didn’t do well in those back-to-back-to-back games, in fact they did somewhat poorly, the older teams.

“But over the long haul, you had a bunch of veterans. Do you think anyone needs to tell Kevin Garnett how to stay in shape during the lockout? Do you think anyone needs to tell Ray Allen? And I would daresay even Paul Pierce has figured it out at this point. So the veteran teams tend to do well in these shortened seasons because they know what it takes not just to get into shape, but to stay in shape as the lockout goes along.”

While many think that the Celtics’ window to win another championship has closed, MacMullan said that the team has the ingredients to still be a contender.

“These guys know how to do it, they play the kind of defense that can get it done,” MacMullan said. “The question of course we always have with them is, can they score enough points? Because they really do get bogged down offensively.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

On what moves the Celtics will make before the start of the season: “I think it will be small moves. They have a core that they can try to go out a win. Don’t laugh, I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried going after Grant Hill one more time, another old guy, a veteran that Doc loves and I think would be great in their locker room. They need a big body. My guess is they’ll go for a defensive type of center, like Kendrick Perkins, who’s going to cost them less money. Maybe a Joel Przybilla, his name has been out there. Do they go after a young, athletic guy like Al Thornton? They might.

“I was intrigued with one thing. Greg Oden is a restricted free agent in Portland. We know about his terrible, terrible foot problems. Do you take a flyer on him, one that doesn’t cost you a ton of money? My guess is whatever you did Portland would match it. But I just go all the way back to when we thought the Celtics might have a No. 1 pick, they were in the Greg Oden camp. Not the Kevin Durant pick, and by the way, that’s true of 99 percent of the people in the NBA at that time. So do you take a shot at Greg Oden? I don’t know. I doubt you overpay for him. You maybe overplay a little, but I doubt you throw big, big bucks at him and my guess is Portland would match no matter what. But he’s just a guy to throw out there because if he could at all be healthy, he’d really help you.”

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Read More: Glen Davis, Greg Oden, Jackie MacMullan, Jeff Green
Irish Coffee: Celtics hope to sign-and-trade Big Baby? 11.28.11 at 12:35 pm ET
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With half the roster still to be filled, expect a whole lot of Celtics rumors to fly around the interwebs between now and Christmas Day — and here’s the first, courtesy of Sporting News NBA writer Sean Deveney’s Twitter account: “From what I’m told, the Celts are happy about the whole sign-and-trade issue for tax teams, because that’s the plan with Big Baby [Glen] Davis.”

At some point during the haze that was the NBA lockout, we discussed the realistic sign-and-trade options for Davis at length. Options included old friend Tony Allen, Warriors forward Dorell Wright, Kings center Jason Thompson and Bucks swingman Carlos Delfino, among others.

In an interview with the Boston Herald, Davis said he’ll have “a pen and pad and two phones up to my ears” as he listens to offers elsewhere, preferably for a starting position. He also expressed his interest (once again) in returning to the Celtics.

“I’ve been in the playoffs every year on that team — twice in the Finals,’€ Davis told the Herald. “I think of the legacies that Kevin [Garnett] and Ray [Allen] have built here, and that’s the path you want to take. I’ll take a look at them first to see what we can do here, and then if I have to, I’ll look into where else I can go.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Glen Big Baby Davis, NBA, Paul Pierce
Irish Coffee: E’Twaun Moore or E’Twaun less? 11.07.11 at 11:12 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee.

If you just watched this highlight video and knew nothing else about E’Twaun Moore, you might think the Celtics second-round draft selection is destined to become an NBA rotation player once the lockout comes to an end — especially when the announcer for his Italian club Benetton Treviso yells: “E-Twaun Moore-ah, alley-oop-ah!”

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

In four games and 26 minutes a night as a starter for Benetton TV (2-2), Moore is averaging 7.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.5 blocks per contest. Sure, he’s shooting 50 percent from the field, but he’s making just 30 percent of his 3-point shots and 50 percent of his free throws.

While Moore’s production in all phases of the game (10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block and 1 assist in 25 minutes) during a 72-55 blowout win on Sunday is encouraging, let’s put his performance into perspective.

Brian Scalabrine and Von Wafer, two players who could barely crack the Celtics lineup in the Big Four era, also play in the same Italian league. In fact, Scalabrine, plays for the same team, and he’s generating 12.0 points (71.4 FG%, 66.7 3P%), 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 0.8 steals in 32 minutes a night. Wafer plays Moore’s position for Vanoli-Braga Cremona, averaging 19.4 points (63.6 FG%), 3.4 rebounds, 2.2 steals, 1.2 assists and 0.4 blocks in 31.4 minutes over his first five games.

Moore’s ability to make the Celtics roster might depend less on his expected contribution and more on the team’s financial situation after a new collective bargaining agreement. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, E'Twaun Moore, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Irish Coffee: Rajon Rondo’s NBA lockout ‘just boring’ 10.26.11 at 10:29 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Rajon Rondo granted interviews to a number of reporters after participating in an exhibition game in Kentucky on Monday night, which is more than can be said about plenty of Celtics games.

Among his comments was this gem on the NBA lockout (via The Kentucky Kernel): “It’s just boring.”

Tell me about it, bro. Why I else would I be combing the interwebs for anything interesting about the Celtics, like this youth football photo of you? (By the way, I’m 92 percent certain Rondo could start for the Oakland Raiders this Sunday and be better than the Kyle Boller/Carson Palmer Soup du Poop.)

At least NBA owners and players will resume collective bargaining negotiations on Wednesday, according to Newsday. Can’t they just agree on a 50/50 split and end this boredom?

Moving on to a few other Rondoisms (via Kentucky Sports Report and WHAS-11):

  • On losing: “I don’t like to lose. I missed a free throw, so I was pretty pissed off a little bit. I compete to win, and I don’t like to lose. I never like to lose, even a game like this.”
  • On mentoring: “I had a couple of mentors I looked up to and was able to talk to about what I was going through when I was young. That is what I’m doing for those guys. When I’m around, I am showing them positive things to do and how to handle themselves as young men, because I have been through what they are going through. They all want to be in the league and want to win and be the man, but there are certain steps you have to take. They are all very young. Just be patient. I try to tell them not to be in a rush to grow up and get this life so fast.”
  • On playing: “I’m ready to get it going. I’m excited about the season this year. I’m just trying to stay healthy, most of all, and try to get back to the championship and win.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo
Irish Coffee: Ray Allen’s microcosm of life 10.20.11 at 1:46 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Celtics guard Ray Allen and coach Doc Rivers are in Orlando, Fla. for the PGA Tour’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic pro-am on Thursday and Friday. ESPN.com golf writer Michael Collins interviewed Allen prior to a round with 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman. Here are 10 things we learned from the exchange:

  • Allen couldn’t have looked less interested to start the interview.
  • Though a scratch golfer, he’s not thinking about a professional golf career.
  • Tee shots in front of a gallery scare him more than an NBA Finals tip-off.
  • His lowest round ever: A 67 at Newton’s Charles River Country Club.
  • He sees golf as a microcosm of life.
  • He doesn’t have a favorite part of his game.
  • Sand shots are the worst part of his game.
  • Ball-striking is the best part of his game.
  • He’d like to see more trash talking in golf.
  • He’d like to see a fight between John Daly and Woody Austin.

“The next shot is the best shot — the most important shot.” Sounds like he takes the same approach to golf as he does in basketball. Speaking of which, three people who donated $4,500 to The Home For Little Wanderers earned the chance to play (read: “lose”) a game of H.O.R.S.E. with Allen in his driveway before his wife Shannon Allen prepares them a home-cooked meal. Good times.

Allen is the lone member of the Celtics’ Big Four not rumored among NBA players expected to participate in a two-week exhibition tour in Puerto Rico, London, Macau and Australia, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard. Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo are expected to participate — and Kevin Garnett is reportedly mulling an offer to play — during the canceled first two weeks of the NBA season.

I don’t know about you, but I kind of respect the fact that Allen isn’t bothering with any of these exhibition games or sticking his nose in labor negotiations. He’s ready to play whenever the lockout lifts. Otherwise, he’ll be playing golf. “I can work out for basketball, but there are so many hours left in the day.” So Shuttlesworth.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Ray Allen, Celtics talk NBA lockout during workouts 09.15.11 at 11:48 am ET
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This NBA offseason of lockout talk has been anything but ordinary, but leave it to Ray Allen to maintain business as usual. Per usual at the end of each summer, the NBA 3-point king is practicing at his alma mater.

As you can see from the embedded video, the Celtics shooting guard knocked down shots on the regular in a shooting drill with the UConn men’s basketball team. And when he finally misses, he’s none too happy.

“I want to show them how to get into the rhythm,” Allen told The Hartford Courant. “the template of being a shooting guard.”

Allen and former Huskies teammate, longtime friend and Celtics commentator Donny Marshall arrived in Storrs, Conn., on Tuesday and are expected to work out with Jim Calhoun‘s team for the next few weeks. UConn alums Rudy Gay and Kemba Walker have also stopped by to practice at Guyer Gym this summer.

While this summer has been status quo for Allen, his fall plans seem destined to be disrupted, as NBA labor negotiations seemingly disintegrated during the latest collective bargaining session on Tuesday.

‘€œI’€™m optimistic,” Allen told Connecticut’s Journal Inquirer. “Both sides want to play basketball. Both sides want the same thing, for the game to grow, and to make it better for our fans. I purposely in my mind am expecting camp on the date I would normally expect it. That way, once I get to end of September, my body will at least be in a good place and I don’€™t have to worry about rushing it if it comes at the last minute.’€

Allen’s Tuesday workout reportedly lasted for several hours, after which he spoke to the current UConn squad for more than half an hour and signed autographs for onlooking fans. Then, the 1995-96 Big East Player of the Year spoke to reporters about his impressions of the current Huskies: Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Jermaine O'Neal, Ray Allen
10 Things I Heard About Celtics VI 09.13.11 at 11:49 am ET
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On another slow Celtics news day, there’€™s still plenty to learn about Boston’€™s green men. Here are 10 more C’€™s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (‘€œ10 Things I Heard About Celtics’€ IIIIIIIV and V) ‘€¦

10. After Celtics All-Star forward Kevin Garnett participated in the Pros vs. G.I. Joes video gaming event to promote Call of Duty, a few interviews have emerged from the event. The embedded one by a dude in a Yankees hat from Machinima.com asks which member of the Celtics is the best video game player on the team.

‘€œI would say Big Baby,’€ Garnett said. ‘€œBig Baby [Glen Davis] is probably our best gamer, just because he plays a lot more than everybody else. He’€™s young, doesn’€™t really have a family yet, got all this extra time. You know, young boys, they find time to occupy themselves with gaming and other things. If I had to give it up, it would have to be Big Baby. Big Baby’€™s really good. He’€™s consistent with his play.’€

Of course, the 25-year-old Davis does have a daughter who just turned 1 year old on Sept. 2, so his gaming skills may have slipped since he last played against Garnett.

9. Exhibition games continue to fill Celtics restricted free agent forward Jeff Green‘€™s offseason schedule, as he’€™ll compete in the Clash of Superstars for charity in Washington D.C. on Saturday before a game between his Goodman League squad and an Indianapolis Pro-Am team on Sept. 24.

In this weekend’€™s game to benefit a local Boys & Girls Club, YMCA chapters and an area basketball academy, Green will join fellow NBA players Kevin Durant, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Kemba Walker, James Harden, Greg Monroe, Corey Brewer, Jarrett Jack, Eric Maynor and Samardo Samuels.

Celtics first-round draft pick JaJuan Johnson is expected to join NBA performers Zach Randolph, Eric Gordon, George Hill, Mario Chalmers, Gordon Hayward and Lance Stephenson on the Indy Pro-Am team that will face a Goodman group led by Green, Durant, Wall, Cousins and Jack the following weekend.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post’€™s Michael Lee caught up with Green over the phone. The highlights:

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Justin Bieber, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
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