|Ian Thomsen on D&C: C’s need to adjust game||02.01.10 at 11:08 am ET|
Sports Illustrated NBA writer Ian Thomsen made an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the Celtics‘ recent woes. He explored the team’s current struggles, whether the Big Three still has the legs to mount a championship run, whether the team might consider a major deal along the lines of a trade of Ray Allen or whether a move to acquire a player such as Kirk Hinrich of the Bulls could help the team to pull out of its current funk.
Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, click here.
How quickly is the window closing?
It’s going to close fast if they don’t make the adjustments they need to make. They aren’t themselves, and I’m talking about [Kevin] Garnett especially, and [Paul] Pierce a little bit, and even Ray Allen. They’re just going to need to adjust the way they play, to try to make the best of it while they get through this transition. If they still think they can win a championship, they can’t do it the way they are playing now. They have to sort of do a transitional style to get them to March and April with a chance to win it.
Meaning what? Get new people?
Garnett needs to be more of a center right now. He’s not himself. He’s not beating guys down the floor in transition. [Lakers coach] Phil Jackson brought that up yesterday. He needs to be more that post-up guy, play a little bit more inside, they can play the ball through him. He needs to figure out what he can do and do that. Because what he’s doing now isn’t very productive.
They’ve been outscored in the fourth quarter in 12 of their last 14 games. Is that age and injury?
It’s age and injury, and I really think they’re asking too much of Rajon Rondo in his [fourth] year to be doing so much, to be carrying them, playing a lot of minutes, and then to lead them in the fourth quarters the way he’s been having to do. I think he’s come a long way, he’s a terrific player, he’s going to be even better in a couple of years. But right now they’re asking too much of him.
A lot of it just doesn’t make sense. The team doesn’t make sense, when you look at the hierarchy. Think about two years ago. When you looked at the stats for the season, it just all made sense the way the shots were divvied out, the order of things. And they don’t have that order right now. Rondo’s a big part of the offense as a point guard who is not a great shooter. Really, it all just comes down to not having Garnett be himself, and he’s got to figure out some way to be productive right now.
|Rivers on trade talk: Don’t think so||01.27.10 at 11:05 am ET|
“I don’t think so,” Rivers said when asked if the team was likely to make a move. “I really don’t. I’ve heard some silly talk over the last two or three days about trades that we’ve been discussing, which I wish I had I had known about. They were interesting. Obviously if we can improve our team we’re going to. But, I don’t think there’s a trade out there that we can pull off and I don’t mind if we don’t.” [Click here for a full transcript.]
A published report on CSNNE indicated the Golden State Warriors would consider offering a package of players for Ray Allen, with Monta Ellis prominently involved. The struggling Warriors acknowledged they needed to make changes, but coach Don Nelson laughed when asked about the rumor.
For his part, Allen told reporters after practice Tuesday that he wanted to remain with the Celtics beyond this season when his contract expires, and that he understands that he would probably have to take less money to make that happen.
The trade deadline is Feb. 18 and the Celtics have a number of expiring contracts, with Allen’s potentially the biggest bait. But the Celtics are eager to see what this team can do when everyone is healthy, which has not happened yet. Marquis Daniels is on track to rejoin the team around the All-Star break, which won’t give them much time to make a decision, if there even is one to be made.
UPDATE: Danny Ainge was a guest on the Big Show (click here for a full transcript) and he also shot down the rumors.
“There’s one little rumor, that’s made up by the way, that gets reported that actually ends up being a story every day for a couple of weeks,” Ainge said.
Ainge said he did talk to Allen about the rumor and that Allen understands the nature of the business.
“Ray gets it,” Ainge said. “He knows there’s no such thing as players being untradeable. He knows he’s 34 years old and at the end of his contract. At the same time he knows that he is a very valuable piece to what we’re trying to do right now, which is win a championship and he’s one of our key components. So, he gets all of it and he understands the business. It’s unfortunate that someone says something and then players have to respond and coaches have to respond for weeks at a time sometimes with no validity to it.”
Ainge went on to say that he believes Allen has a lot of basketball left in him and that he feels the Celtics, as constituted, are good enough to contend for a championship.
|Ray on tough week: ‘It an us project right now’||01.24.10 at 5:03 pm ET|
The Celtics host the Clippers on Monday night, a team that beat them in late December. They have two days off and then play at Orlando and Atlanta on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Then they welcome the defending champion Lakers on Sunday the 31st to the Garden, followed the next day by a game in Washington.
The tough stretch ends with a game at home against Miami a week from Wednesday.
“From a schedule prospective, it looks daunting because we’re playing some of the better teams in the league,” Allen said. “Right now, it’s an ‘us’ project, just focusing on the small, little things that we’ve done to be successful, the things we’ve done to build this team to where it is right now.”
Rivers did acknowledge that his only concern with playing Garnett in the next two weeks are in the second game of back-to-back contests.
“The games that I’m concerned with Kevin will be the Atlanta game because it comes off a tough back-to-back with Orlando and then the Washington game because it comes off a tough Laker game,” Rivers said. “Those the only two games in the next eight or nine days I have concern.
Rivers repeated on Sunday following practice that Garnett looks strong in practice and he has no concern about the health of Garnett’s right knee. Rivers said his only concern is Garnett’s conditioning.
The Celtics are comfortably ahead in the Atlantic Division with a mark of 28-13. They have nine games before the All-Star break.
“We look forward to the whole week,” Allen said. “We know we’re winding down to the All-Star break.”
|Ray Allen: ‘The ball needed to go in’||01.23.10 at 12:27 am ET|
Ray Allen said the key to overcome his sluggish night from the field and the free throw line was keeping mentally focused.
And that seemed a might tall order considering he had missed 11-of-13 shots before the biggest shot he took of the night. It came with 41.3 seconds remaining in overtime and the Trail Blazers leading, 95-93.
“I knew I was close,” Allen said. “There wasn’t anything wrong with my form or my mechanics. It was just the ball needed to go in. I had a shot where I hit the glass [on bank shot] and it just kinda hit the glass and rolled off and it was like, ‘Geez.’ It just wasn’t working for me.
“Mentally, I had to whatever I could to help this team win and just be prepared because you never know when that ball drifts in your direction and you’ve got to be ready to shoot.”
The fact that the shot found the bottom of the basket surprised no one. After all, he was due. And less than a minute earlier, he nearly had a shot rattle home but it ‘toilet bowled’ out as Allen himself described it.
To hear Allen talk about his night, click here.
|Ray Allen on his future and Big Baby on D&H||01.21.10 at 3:03 pm ET|
Celtics guard Ray Allen check in with the Dale & Holley Show on Thursday afternoon. The Celtics star analyzed his team’s struggles in the third quarter during its recent slump, his thoughts on the exchange between Glen Davis and a fan in Detroit on Thursday, and how Allen is viewing his future given that he is currently in the fifth and final year of his current deal.
A complete transcript is below. To listen to the interview, click here.
What happened in the second half against the Pistons?
We’ve been having problems in the third quarter. As a team we talked about it last night, we talked about it previous games ‘ third quarter, our energy has to be better than it is. It’s something that’s been plaguing us as a team, again, we’ve talked about it, and everybody’s ready to do better. Read the rest of this entry »
|Ray Allen’s mystical ability||01.06.10 at 1:40 pm ET|
Zach Lowe from Celtics Hub has an excellent post up about Ray Allen‘s ability to make his teammates better, particularly the second unit. Lowe did some terrific research and his post is well worth a read. The quick takeaway is that when Allen is on the floor, the other four Celtics perform better.
Doc Rivers often likes to integrate either Allen or Paul Pierce with the second unit in his first round of rotation subs. While Pierce has played well with the reserves, the numbers have shown that Allen has been a better fit. It’s not always a cut-and-dry decision for Rivers. Sometimes foul trouble dictates who will play. If one or the other has two fouls before the substitution it’s a safe bet that they will sit. Other times, it’s matchups.
Rivers had some interesting things to say about this back in November following a practice after the Celtics played the Nets in that ugly game in the Meadowlands.
“It’s matchups and unfortunately for us it’s not even matchups for us so far,” Rivers said at the time. “Paul and Ray have been in foul trouble almost every game. That makes the decision for you. The other night I wanted to go with Paul against Jersey because the pace was slow and I thought it would be a good time to get Ray some early rest and then Paul picks up his second foul. We actually gambled a bit and left him on the floor which is something I don’t prescribe doing a lot. But I did it and we got away with it.”
More generally, Rivers is aware of the different dynamics the two bring to the court.
“They change the lineups completely,” he said. “When it’s Marquis [Daniels] and Paul it becomes a power game. When it’s Ray and Marquis, now you have Ray, Eddie [House] and Rasheed [Wallace] on the floor: that’s a team that will stretch it out. It’s amazing what those two guys, it’s only one change, but the style is completely different with either of those two guys on the floor.”
All this comes at a time when there has been loose talk swirling around various Celtics-related websites about how it might be a good move to trade Allen and his expiring contract. There’s very little chance of that happening and not just because it probably wouldn’t make long-term financial sense. Allen has tremendous value to the Celtics beyond his shooting prowess and this is one manifestation.
|Pierce and Rondo practice||01.05.10 at 3:24 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Where to begin with the Celtics injury situation Tuesday? Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce were on the floor taking part in practice. Kendrick Perkins and Eddie House were home with the flu. Just for good measure, injured swing man Marquis Daniels was spotted sweating through a treadmill workout while the team practiced and Kevin Garnett is definitely not playing on the road trip.
“Yeah,” Doc Rivers said to the media as they tried to sort through where to begin their questions. “The circus continues.”
The good news is that Pierce and Rondo both took part in most of the practice session Tuesday and it seems likely that they will both play Wednesday against Miami, although Pierce looks like the safer bet right now.
“They looked all right,” Rivers said. “Paul looked good. Rondo, you really couldn’t tell. He didn’t do much. So we’ll see tomorrow. I think he’s going to go but I wouldn’t write that down in pen for sure. Paul probably will go tomorrow it looks like, so that would help us a lot. Getting one of those guys back I’d be very happy and if we got both back it would be absolutely fantastic.”
Rondo left without talking to reporters for the second straight day although he did tell Yahoo!’s Marc Spears that he expects to play against the Heat. Pierce did talk and he said that while he’s not 100 percent, he’s feeling confident about returning to the court. Read the rest of this entry »
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