|Stephen A. Smith: Celtics ‘too close’ for Heat to win several consecutive titles||10.30.12 at 2:45 pm ET|
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith joined Mut & Merloni Tuesday to discuss the upcoming NBA season and the hot water he’s found himself in over his perceived use of a racial slur last week.
Smith denied saying the slur on ESPN’s “First Take,” though he said he understands that people heard it that way, and that he would have “shook their hands” and accepted it should ESPN have punished him. For Smith’s complete answer regarding the incident, click here.
In discussing the upcoming season, Smith touched on Tuesday night’s season-opener between the Heat and the Celtics, the first game in which Ray Allen will face his old team since rejecting a more lucrative deal from Boston to sign with the defending NBA champions.
Since Allen left, there has been a bit of a war of words between the two sides, as Allen has made numerous comments about the C’s while Kevin Garnett said he deleted Allen’s phone number.
“I think the animosity is real on Boston’s side. I don’t think Ray Allen has that level of animosity for anybody. He’s class personified,” Smith said. “It’s not to say the Boston Celtics are not classy because they very much are, but Ray Allen just isn’t one to get into all of that. That’s never been his MO in all the years that I’ve known him, but the reality of the situation is he doesn’t really have legitimate reasons to harbor animosity.
“When you look at the situation in Boston, yeah you didn’t like getting benched for Avery Bradley, yeah you didn’t like feeling that you were no longer the significant part of the game plan that you were in years past. There’s no way to get around the fact that if you look at the Ray Allen situation in Boston from that standpoint, you have to remember he left them. They offered him twice as much as he’s getting from Miami, even though it was an additional year compared to what Miami was offering him. They offered him more years, they offered him more money and he still decided to leave, but not only did he decide to leave, he decided to leave for somebody that is considered the enemy in that locker room and throughout that franchise in the Miami Heat, particularly since LeBron James arrived.
“That’s why you see Kevin Garnett reacting the way that he’s reacting. Paul Pierce sort of smiled it off, but he’s following KG’s lead because Paul Pierce obviously is a friend of Ray Allen. He loves him. It’s just that he’s a competitor now. Kevin Garnett takes it to another level. Right now he has no love whatsoever for Ray Allen. He looks at Ray Allen as somebody that betrayed him and this franchise. He has no love for him whatsoever. He wants to take him out just as badly as he wants to take the rest of them out and he considers him the enemy. It’s just that simple.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Doc Rivers is sick of talking about Ray Allen and other notes from Friday||10.26.12 at 9:25 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Doc Rivers will go with a rotation of starting lineups to start the season, the Celtics coach announced after practice Friday. Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are the certainties when healthy. Rivers said he will rotate Brandon Bass, Jeff Green and rookie Jared Sullinger in the other two spots, depending on various factors.
“Experience, size, it depends on the night,” Rivers said. “I don’t think we’re going to have one starting lineup this year. There’s three that I know of we’ll use. We can move it around.”
The Celtics featured a starting lineup of Rondo, Pierce, Garnett, Green and Bass in their preseason finale against the Sixers, with Sullinger and Courtney Lee seeing significant time as the first two players off the bench.
“We’re going to go the same. Early in year every year, I play 10 guys, whether we have a good 10 or not,” Rivers said with no hesitation. “Ten guys played last year because you have to get through the season, so it’ll be 10 this year for the most part.”
Meanwhile, Rivers said Friday afternoon after practice that he understands his players will be motivated to play the Heat and the Heat and Ray Allen will likely be motivated to play Boston in the season opener Tuesday night in Miami.
“I don’t mind that,” Rivers said. “I don’t think it’s Ray, honestly. I’ve said it before. There may be several guys who want to play against and Ray may want to play against several guys. This is not going to be a ‘Ray-versus-the-Celtics’ game. If it becomes that, we’re going to lose by a lot of points because as good as Ray is, I know of two guys for sure, probably three guys on that team that are a lot better on that team. If we’re focused on Ray, we’re going to lose by 40.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Jason Terry: I’m the JET (not Ray Allen) and “I like to fly”||09.29.12 at 1:30 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Veteran guard Jason Terry was prepared Friday at Celtics media day to handle the question he knew was coming – how does it feel to be replacing Ray Allen?
“Who?,” the 35-year-old Terry said with a straight face. “No, we’re two different players and hopefully, I’ll bring something that Ray didn’t and some of the things that he did. Obviously, Ray was a great player for this franchise for years, brought them a championship in ’08. But, again, our games are totally different. He’s 6-5 and I’m 6-2, but I am “The Jet” and I like to fly so we’ll see what happens. A lot of those comparisons will be thrown out there but we’re two totally different players.
“For me, my job, it doesn’t change. I’ll be thrust into the sixth-man role. But hey, I’m on one of the best. It is what it is, and I take pride in it. It’s something every team needs, that spark, that energy off the bench and that’s what I’m here to do. Anything other than that, I won’t be doing my job. I don’t want to let these guys down. KG has already talked to me about what it means for him to win another championship, [Rajon Rondo] tells me every day what it means to win another one. And Paul Pierce, he’s looking great and he’s in great shape and condition. They know, they’re champions.”
Terry said he’s been inspired by the veterans like Rondo, Pierce and Kevin Garnett to be a leader for the bench.
“So now, for me as a veteran player, it’s [my job] to help these young guys, those guys we’re going to need off the bench, be the leader for them and help them understand what it’s going to mean to win a championship,” he said. “There is no other goal. The goal is to win a championship and I believe this year we have the talent, the coaching staff, the fans to get the job done. We believe it, we believe it to a man that we will win.”
|Top 5 Kevin Garnett quotes from Celtics Media Day||09.28.12 at 9:15 pm ET|
Five highlights from Celtics center Kevin Garnett‘s interview at the team’s media day in Waltham:
|Top 5 Paul Pierce quotes from Celtics Media Day||at 8:10 pm ET|
Five highlights from Celtics captain Paul Pierce‘s interview at the team’s media day in Waltham:
WALTHAM — Kevin Garnett has taught Rajon Rondo how to be a leader.
That much was obvious two weeks ago when Rondo took it upon himself to invite Celtics players out to Los Angeles for a pick-up game/workout and a friendly game of flag-football. The reason? Team bonding.
Rondo made it clear Friday at Celtics media day how big of an impact Garnett has had on him in his career. Rondo said after losing Game 7 of the Eastern finals to the Heat in Miami, the first thing he did when he got on the bus was to ask Garnett if he were coming back.
“I can probably say Kevin is my closest friend on the team,” Rondo began. “Kevin always wants to see me do well. From Day 1, I think my second year when he first came in, he told me he would be disappointed if I wasn’t the MVP of the league one day, if I wasn’t considered one of the best point guards one day so he’s always pushed me and expected more out of me than a lot of people did. He’s always showed me how to become a better person each day. Whenever I mess up, Kevin’s always the one who tells me you should do this, or conduct yourself this way or handle it that way.
“He’s been kind of like a big brother/mentor and he’s always wanted the best for me so that’s how we sort of gravitated toward each other. Obviously, off the court, we have a lot of things in common. We share the same interests in a lot of things. He’s been like a big brother to me. The way he goes about the game, the way he approaches the game. He’s a future hall of famer, I consider one of the greatest players to ever play the game who’s been in front of me. So, he’s inspired me to work hard, come in every day, come in get extra shots, taking care of my body, getting proper rest, getting massages, getting treatment and getting stretching. This is how to have longevity in the NBA. He’s played for 17 years and only two or three players can say that in this era.”
As for those who doubt whether a 36-year-old Kevin Garnett can be productive, Rondo said Friday he knows better.
“I don’t take it personal because I’m not him but I kind of laugh when people say he’s old or he doesn’t do this or he can’t do that because if you know the game of basketball, it’s one thing but when you play with Kevin, he does so many little things that don’t show up in the stat book,” Rondo said. “When you play with another big guy that isn’t Kevin Garnett, you know what you’re missing out there on the floor. Obviously, in the playoffs he had a great run. If you look at the stats, the plus-minus when Kevin was on and off the floor, there was a big difference. Read the rest of this entry »
|Irish Coffee: Celtics ‘veteran’ Avery Bradley emerges from Ray Allen’s shadow||08.10.12 at 11:28 am ET|
Two years ago, as a rookie, Avery Bradley actually tried to hide in practice.
“I didn’t want to get in, because I was so scared of KG [Kevin Garnett] yelling at me if I messed up,” he said during a panel Thursday hosted by Jessica Camerato at the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation’s Summer Soiree. “I would sit on the sideline. I might not even get in the whole practice, because I didn’t want KG to yell at me.”
You forget Bradley’s only 21 years old, since he’s the elder Celtics statesman on a panel that included newcomers Courtney Lee, Kris Joseph and Dionte Christmas. How far the shy kid has come from Tacoma, Wash.
“We’re like a family,” added Bradley, making his third charitable appearance in as many days. “These guys are going to learn that we’re like a family on and off the court. We all hang out. We all go to each other’s house. It felt good to be part of a family, and I felt a lot more comfortable around the guys.”
It was once almost impossible to elicit more than a few words from Bradley, who could often be found fixating on the floor from a chair at his locker. Now? Camerato couldn’t get him to stop talking.
“You guys are going to be happy once we start that first day of training camp because all we want to do is win,” he added. “We’re a family. We don’t care about anything but winning. To be part of a team like that, it makes you feel comfortable, because there’s no pressure. You’re not going out there worrying about scoring or doing things you can’t do. You do your role and everything else will work itself out and we’ll win games.”
The only subjects he wouldn’t expound upon were his right and left shoulders, deftly explaining, “I’m just taking it day by day,” four times during an interview session prior to the public panel. And when someone from the crowd later blurted out, “Avery, when you coming back?” he simply smiled and said, “Can’t tell you.”
Of course, it wasn’t always so easy for Bradley. As a rookie, he averaged only 5.2 minutes over just 31 games, shooting 34.3 percent from the field and precisely 0.0 percent from 3-point range. And it seemed worse.
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