|Walker makes unexpected return||11.11.09 at 11:19 pm ET|
Bill Walker didn’t expect to hear his name called on Wednesday night. Even though he felt ready to play, he didn’t know if Doc Rivers felt the same.
“Actually I think he wanted me to get one more practice in, get more acclimated with everything before he wanted to put me in, but he just happened to put me in,” said Walker following the Celtics 105-86 win over the Jazz.
Walker had not played in the regular season since tearing the meniscus in his right knee during training camp. But with Brian Scalabrine sidelined, Rivers turned to Walker to give Rasheed Wallace a rest. He checked into his first game with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“I felt ready,” he said. “I felt pretty good after Monday’s practice. One thing that was missing was probably my conditioning. It’s a different type of conditioning from just running to actually getting out there, trying to dodge guys, getting hit, that type of thing. I’ll be fine though.”
Walker, who has suffered several knee injuries in the past, will take all the precautions to make avoid any irritation.
“Icing and rest, just get off my legs,” he explained. “Just take advantage of the down time we have and come in early tomorrow, get treatment, still work on everything I need to work on on my lower body.”
As Walker works his way back on to the court, he will judge his progress in practice. There is one play he looks forward to accomplishing again.
“You finally get out there and you’re chasing Ray [Allen] off a screen and you’re in front of him when he comes off of it,” he said with a laugh. “That’s a signal because not a lot of guys can do that. But I don’t know, it’s just getting out there and playing and not really favoring or thinking about your injury. That’s when you know you’re back.”
|Celtics generous in win over Jazz||at 11:00 pm ET|
There is a reason why the Celtics entered Wednesday’s game leading the league in assists. It isn’t only because of Rajon Rondo — point guards Steve Nash, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams are all ahead of him in dimes per game. It’s because the Celtics as a team look to pass, and that ball movement and selflessness were determining factors in their win over the Jazz.
“Doc [Rivers] and Coach [Armond] Hill were just saying move the ball,” Rondo said after the Celtics 105-86 victory. “It started in practice. We kept getting each other involved and we made plays for each other.”
The Celtics dished out 30 assists to the Jazz 18. Rondo accounted for 11, which totals more than Jazz starting guard Deron Williams and Ronnie Brewer combined.
They looked for not just one or two extra passes on Wednesday. One of the most significant possessions of the game involved four in the third quarter — Rondo to Ray Allen, Allen to Kendrick Perkins, Perkins behind the back to Kevin Garnett, Garnett back to Rondo for the lay in.
That sequence was memorable to many, but Rondo is so accustomed to sharing the ball that it was just another trip down the floor for him.
“I don’t even remember the play,” he said. “I think it was like five passes maybe, but I don’t remember how I got there.”
If the Celtics continue to see each other on the court like they did against the Jazz, they will remember how they ended up in the win column throughout the season.
|Veterans Day has special meaning for Allen||at 7:17 pm ET|
Wednesday night is more than just another game for Ray Allen. Veterans Day has a special meaning for the guard who grew up in a military home.
Allen’s father, Master Sergeant Walt Allen, spent 26 years in the Air Force. The senior Allen, who battled cancer this summer, made the trip from South Carolina to attend his first game since the 2008 season.
“When you say today is Veteran’s Day, that’s why I think about where I’ve come from,” Allen said prior to game against the Jazz. “I come from a background of a lot of great military presence. So any time I see any soldier, I love seeing soldiers. I run into Marines all the time and it’s always great to sit down and talk to them. You just always say thank you, thank you for your services, thank you for being selfless because to put your life in harm’s way is something that a lot of people would not do.”
Allen depicted his military upbringing in T-Shirt designed to benefit World Diabetes Day. (His son Walker was diagnosed with the disease during the 2008 playoffs.) The graphic follows a paper plane, representing the armed services, and traces through several basketballs that eventually end at his uniform number, 20.
On the front of the shirt it reads, “W.W.J.S.D.” (What Would Jesus Shuttlesworth Do?) The back of the shirt displays the quote, “No Journey is Too Great When One Finds What He Seeks,” one of Allen’s favorite lines from the movie “Coming to America.”
He uses the quote as motivation to fight against diabetes. It can also pertain to the military’s journey to protect the country.
“I’m just grateful for them because they protect our freedoms here,” said Allen. “We get to play basketball but we’re playing here so we can do this what we’re doing and we can encourage and motivate them while they’re watching us play. So they’re protecting us and I appreciate it.”
(For more information on Allen’s t-shirt to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, visit www.muzeclothing.com)
|Grousbeck: Green days for C’s||11.06.09 at 1:05 am ET|
Are the Green concerned about their greenbacks?
That financial question was raised in a recent article on Yahoo! Sports, which suggested co-owner Wyc Grousbeck’s consideration of suspending injured Glen Davis had less to do with discipline and more to do with money.
Just months after signing a two-year deal worth over $6 million, Davis broke his thumb fighting a childhood friend and will be sidelined for at least six weeks. Reports then surfaced that the team was looking to take back some of the salary. Days after the Davis episode subsided, the Celtics committed $55 million to Rajon Rondo over the next five years.
Coupling the money owed to an injured Davis with their recent spending spree on Rondo, is Grousbeck concerned about the team’s finances? Quite the opposite. In fact, the Celtics are on a record-setting pace for revenue as they feature a reloaded team contending for another trophy.
“On the contrary, we are on course to set a new record for revenues thanks to our fantastic fan support and support from our sponsors and broadcast partners,” Grousbeck told WEEI.com via email. “We appreciate everything they have done to support the team.”
Rondo’s new deal is a major financial obligation for a team who already has over $32 million tied up with starters Rondo, Kevin Garnett, and Kendrick Perkins next season alone. Next summer they will face Paul Pierce‘s $21.5 million player option and will also have to address Ray Allen‘s unrestricted free agency.
That’s just the starting lineup. The Celtics will also face the question of building their bench as role players including Marquis Daniels, Eddie House, Brian Scalabrine, Tony Allen, and Shelden Williams have expiring contracts.
The new-look Celts have been nothing short of a hit sensation. They are off to a 6-0 start two years removed from their 17th title and one year removed from reaching the Eastern Conference Semifinals with an undermanned/overachieving team.
And regardless of their upcoming financial commitments, Grousbeck remains confident the organization is prepared to continue its pursuit for another championship.
Said Grousbeck, “I thank the fans and sponsors and will do everything I can to keep a winning team on the floor.”
|Ray Allen is not about to stop now||10.31.09 at 1:41 am ET|
With 3:58 remaining in the fourth quarter of a blow out win against Chicago, and right after the ‘Gino Moment’ when the crowd celebrates another home court win, Ray Allen was recognized for passing John Stockton and moving into 33rd on the all-time NBA scoring list with 19,715 points.
Next up is Tom Chambers with 20,049 at No. 32.
Allen had 20 points on Friday, moving him one point ahead of the man, who on Sept. 11, Allen witnessed head into Springfield and the Hall of Fame.
“I had no idea,” Allen said. “It definitely is a great feeling. Stockton played 18 years. He’s a Hall of Famer. I watched his induction. I was there personally.”
Of course, Stockton didn’t get there so much for his 19,711 points but rather his astronomical assist totals, 15,806 to be exact. That’s an NBA record, as are his 3265 steals.
Allen is a different story. He will be heading to Springfield as a Hall of Famer some day as the most prolific and deadly 3-point shooter in league history. But in his mind that certainly didn’t lessen the significance on Friday of the milestone.
“To be able to be in that company, you think about all the years, all the shots I’ve taken, and not the ones in games but off the court, in practice, it all seems worth it,” Allen said. “It stands for something at the end of the day. People look up, and you’re somewhere among greatness so I’d like to keep pushing.”
Someone who can appreciate Allen’s sharp-shooting skills is teammate Eddie House.
“That’s a big moment,” House said. “Hats off to Ray, a future Hall of Famer. I’m happy for him. But he’s not done. He’s got a lot more points to get.”
Allen’s 20 points also helped the Celtics to another easy win and a 3-0 start to the season.
“Winning any game, the day-and-a-half of preparation we put into it coming down from another game, it’s a lot more I think than people can see from the surface,” Allen said. “For us to go out there and the way we played tonight, moving the ball offensively, defensively we were all in the same accord, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
|Allen knocked down, leaves practice with stitches||10.24.09 at 3:27 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Ray Allen left Celtics practice on Saturday after getting unintentionally elbowed above the left eye and knocked to the ground by Kendrick Perkins, who was playing on the same team. Allen received stitches and is not expected to miss any games.
“The sad thing is it was a skeleton offense. There was no defense,” said Doc Rivers. “We run a lot of hand-off stuff as you know and it didn’t go well. It was a hand-off with Perk and Perk had his elbow up while he was supposed to be handing it off to Ray. And those are the ones that hurt because you don’t expect those cuts to come at that time.”
Allen hit the ground grabbing his eye, according to Rivers who initially thought Allen was joking. “All of a sudden he was laying down and all of a sudden you saw the blood and said, ‘Oh no, I don’t think he’s faking.’”
Rasheed Wallace said the injury did not affect the Celtics energy during practice.
“We’re still going hard, still intense,” he said. “Unfortunately it happened but we can’t sit up here and be sad and be down on ourselves, like oh man Ray got hurt. No, we’ve still got to go out there and play.”
The Celtics open their season on Tuesday night in Cleveland against the Cavaliers.
UPDATE: Allen received five stitches at New England Baptist Hospital, according to Celtics team officials.
|Celtics Bench Falls to Knicks||10.20.09 at 10:41 pm ET|
The Celtics and Knicks entered Tuesday’s game with the same goal: to win. But the two teams had different underlying objectives. For the Knicks, it was about getting a victory from their starting unit. For the Celtics, it was about developing the bench in what looks to be the Big Three’s final game of the preseason.
Despite losing, 108-103 (recap here), Doc Rivers told the media after the game there were plenty of things for him to be pleased with, including the development of the second unit. Below are numbers and notes from Tuesday’s game:
- Managing Minutes: None of the Celtics starters played over 30 minutes. In fact they only combined for 130 minutes, compared to the Knicks starters with 157. Final counts for the starting five: Rajon Rondo (27), Ray Allen (30), Kevin Garnett (24), Paul Pierce (26), Kendrick Perkins (23).
- More than the Second Unit: Rivers added Brian Scalabrine and J.R. Giddens to the mix with Eddie House, Marquis Daniels, and Rasheed Wallace in the fourth quarter. Scalabrine and Giddens came into the game down 98-90 and were part of an 11-1 Celtics run.
- Getting Chippy: Preseason action got heated in the second quarter as the Celtics and Knicks exchanged flagrant fouls in a matter of a minute. First House was whistled for a flagrant against Jared Jeffries, which sent Jeffries to the ground. (House did help him to his feet.) Nate Robinson followed up with a push that sent Rondo into the scorers table. Garnett was also called for a technical foul in the third quarter.
- Three’s Not Company: Last season the Celtics were hampered by the Magic’s long-range shooting during the Eastern Conference Semifinals. On Tuesday they faced the same challenge as the Knicks shot 13-for-36 (36.1%), compared to the Celtics 6-for-24 (25.0%). The Knicks’ missed their fair amount of three-pointers, but at the end of the game they still put 39 points on the board from behind the arc.
The Celtics will take on the Cavaliers on the road on Wednesday night. Don’t expect to see Pierce, Allen, or Garnett on the court for the final game of the preseason. Catch their regular season debuts in Cleveland next Tuesday.
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