|A players’ coach…||03.09.09 at 5:47 pm ET|
Doc Rivers quipped after practice on Monday that he just worked up his best sweat since his playing days.
The former NBA point guard wasn’t joking. He just finished running Stephon Marbury through a five-man ghost drill in which Rivers called out various plays, leaving Marbury to run an offense that included the likes of Mikki Moore, Leon Powe, J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker and Gabe Pruitt.
With five players unavailable due to injury and with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen playing 45 minutes apiece the day before, the Celtics were running on a skelton practice with barely enough bodies to make it worthwhile.
Now, while he’ll have the benefit of Pierce and Allen on Wednesday when the team plays next in Miami, Marbury will have to pick up his mastery of the offense if the Celtics are to find their way on offense and not fall behind by 20 like they did on Sunday in the first half against Orlando.
“Steph ran the set, but he didn’t know what to look for or who to look for and then he’s playing at half-speed, because you could feel him thinking out there on the floor,” Rivers said. “That killed him and it killed the team as well. So, it’s just going to take time. What I’m trying to get him to do is not to press or worry about it. The first thing I told him (Sunday) night was don’t worry about, it’s going to come together.”
Even though he was clearly not playing up to the potential that Danny Ainge saw when he signed him two weeks ago, Marbury was hardly crestfallen about his chances to improve. Instead, he exhibited the kind of confidence required from a point guard of a NBA title contender.
“Yeah, I’m definitely, getting it,” Marbury said. “Today was definitely helpful. As coach said today, learning what we want out of the offense as opposed to just running the sets. As a point guard, you normally know all of the plays, you know where to go and you know what everyone is going to do.”
With Rivers saying on Monday that he foresees Rajon Rondo out for at least the next couple of games with his sprained right ankle, this will be Marbury’s team. Marbury will have a golden opportunity to show that he can pick up the offense in time to be a force for the playoffs.
“For me, asserting myself in the lineups, I need to make sure the guys get the shots who are supposed to get the shots,” Marbury said.
|Sounds of the game… Magic 86, Celtics 79||03.08.09 at 4:00 pm ET|
It was clear from the start that the Celtics missed Rajon Rondo. To a man, afterward, everyone was quick to give Stephon Marbury props for doing his best, but Marbury has only been in Green for nine days. It’s hard to expect someone, even of his talent, to just step in and replace Rondo, who did not dress with a sprained right ankle.
Marbury got his first start but the Celtics were out of rhythm from the start, falling behind by 20 in the first half and commiting 11 turnovers.
Ray Allen led a furious fourth-quarter comeback but it fell short in the end as his three-pointer to tie with 35 seconds remaining was off the mark and the Celtics fell, 86-79.
|Celtics-Cavs Game Blog: Second Quarter||03.06.09 at 8:39 pm ET|
At the start of the second quarter … Celtics 21, Cavaliers 19
- The Garden kicked off the second quarter with a trivia contest for playoff tickets, hosted by Greg Dickerson. The contest pitted a Celtics and Cavs fan against one another. Despite being spoon-fed the correct answers, the Celtics fans still got the first question wrong. Needless to say he was booed.
- On the court: Celtics – Powe/Moore/Marbury/Pierce/House … Cavs – Gibson/Williams/Szczerbiak/Hickson/Smith
- It’ll be interesting to see how the Celtics bigs handle Joe Smith and J.J. Hickson. Smith has a mid-range jumper that can pull defenders out of the paint. The rookie Hickson was working on turn-around bank shots before the game.
- Mikki Moore had his first crowd-rousing moment at the Garden when he dunked through a handful of Cavs off of a Marbury pass.
- At the timeout: Celtics Karaoke courtesy of Big Baby, Ray Allen, and Leon Powe. Davis busted out into a solo performance that sounded like Simon Cowell’s worst nightmare.
- Rondo was welcomed back into the game with a standing ovation. The Cavs have most of their starters back in the game looking for an offensive spark. So far they have come up cold in the second quarter. The Celtics have all five starters in the game.
- LeBron’s posing after every shot like it’s a game winner. He’s shooting 2-for-7.
- Mo Williams has the Cavs back in this game with eight quick points. At the half … Cetlics 45, Cavs 43
|Celtics net win against former team||03.04.09 at 11:24 pm ET|
The Boston Celtics face the New Jersey Nets four times every regular season. Some members of the Celtics, however, are more familiar with this opponent than others. On Wednesday night, Eddie House, Stephon Marbury, and Mikki Moore returned to their old stomping grounds. (RECAP HERE) Not only do these players have ties to the Nets, they also had ties to the Celtics while playing in New Jersey.
Stephon Marbury: 1999-2001
Average with Nets: 23.0 points, 8.1 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 43.7 percent from the field
- 1998-99: Traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he played with Kevin Garnett, to the Nets in part of a three-team deal that included former Celtic Sam Cassell. It only takes Marbury 31 games to establish himself as the Nets second-highest scorer that season.
- 1999-2000: Leads the Nets in scoring (22.2 ppg) and assists (8.4 apg). Ranks 10th in the NBA in assists. Teammates with former Celtic Sherman Douglas.
- 2000-2001: Marbury earns first All-Star appearance and represents the Eastern Conference with Ray Allen. Leads Nets in scoring (23.9 ppg) and assists (7.6 apg) once again.
March 4, 2009: Marbury is greeted at the IZOD Center with boos heard all the way back in Boston. He gives the Celtics a reliable ball handler off the bench, allowing the starters to take a breather, and finishes with four assists and two rebounds. Marbury commits only one turnover.
Mikki Moore: 2003-2004, 2006-2007
Average with Nets: 9.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 60.9 percent from the field (2007 season only)
- 2003-04: Moore signs with the Nets as a free agent in December of 2003. After appearing in just four games, he is waived the following month. Moore scores two points during this stint. During this time he is teammates with Celtics forward — and current next door neighbor in the locker room — Brian Scalabrine. That season the Nets went on to defeat Marbury and the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs.
- 2006-07: Moore is traded back to the Nets by the Seattle SuperSonics (where he played with Ray Allen) in exchange for future draft pick. After bouncing around the league for almost ten years, Moore has a breakout season (9.8 ppgs, 5.1 rpg). He also leads the league in field goal percentage (60.9 percent from the field). Moore is teammates with Eddie House.
March 4, 2009: Despite leaving the Nets for a big money contract with the Sacramento Kings, Moore is still welcome in New Jersey. He looks comfortable on the court at the IZOD Center, scoring six points in 12 minutes. The seven-foot Moore also spreads the Nets defense with his mid-range jumper.
Eddie House: 2006-2007
Average with Nets: 8.4 points, 42.8 from the field
- 2006-07: Signs as a free agent with the Nets in August of 2006. House is teammates with recently acquired Celtic Mikki Moore. He leads the Nets in three-point shooting (42.9 percent), ahead of Jason Kidd and Vince Carter, and ranks 10th in the league that season. The Nets lose in the second round of the playoffs to former Celtic Scot Pollard and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
March 4, 2009: House had been playing well against the Nets so far this season, averaging 11.5 points and shooting 60 percent from the field heading into Wednesday’s game. With Rajon Rondo in early foul trouble, he is the first one off the bench for the Celtics. House scores 10 points in 16 minutes, including 3-for-6 shooting from long-range. He also adds two rebounds and two steals.
(Brian Scalabrine played with the New Jersey Nets from 2001-2005. However he did not play on March 4 and is out for at least a month after suffering his third concussion.)
|Celtics-Pistons Game Blog: Second Quarter||03.01.09 at 1:32 pm ET|
At the start of the second quarter … Celtics 22, Pistons 20
- The last time Kendrick Perkins and Jason Maxiell met Perk wound up with a flagrant foul and a $10,000 fine. But Perkins has put the January 30th incident behind him. “I don’t really think about that. You just brought it to my mind. I didn’t even think about it, so just go out there and do whatever I’ve got to do and play hard,” Perkins told WEEI.com before Sunday’s game. “I just block it out. I’ve moved on since then.”
- Tony Allen is in taking in the game in street clothes from the Celtics bench. Allen (thumb) will wear a cast on his left hand for another two weeks and hopes to return to action four games before the end of the regular season.
- Looks like the novelty has already worn off. As soon as Stephon Marbury committed a turnover, an angry fan began berating him from the stands.
- Georgia Tech is being represented today. Both Marbury and Pistons guard Will Bynum are former Yellow Jackets.
- Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau spent some one-on-one time with Mikki Moore during a timeout. Moore has picked up three fouls in five minutes, but Doc is leaving him on the court to get acclimated with the Celtics system.
- Leon Powe received a loud ovation when he headed to the bench with nine points and five rebounds in eight minutes.
- Rajon Rondo got tripped up on Rasheed Wallace and fell to the ground while driving to the basket. He got back up, though, and attacked the hoop on the next possession.
- Soulja Boy Jr. was recognized during a timeout for his recent feature in Boston Magazine. Seven-year-old Daylon Trotman was named a Person of Interest in the February issue. Trotman has been entertaining Celtics fans to the tune of Soulja Boy’s “Superman” anthem.
- At halftime … Pistons 55, Celtics 47
|Passing Chemistry 101||02.27.09 at 10:48 pm ET|
Stephon Marbury wasted no time making his intentions known.
“I’m not looking to improve my game,” he said at his introductory press conference. “I’m coming here to try to help the Celtics win another championship.”
Wearing a Boston Celtics shirt with a handwritten number eight on the shamrock, Marbury addressed the media prior to Friday’s game against the Indiana Pacers. (RECAP HERE) He shrugged off talks of selfishness and expressed his willingness to do whatever is asked of him on the court.
Marbury said all the right things as the newest member of an organization driven by chemistry and teamwork.
“This is a very selfless team,” said Ray Allen. “We don’t care about individual accolades.”
Even though Marbury received a standing ovation in his first game, the skepticism of his team-first attitude is not going to go away overnight. He comes to Boston with the baggage of a tarnished reputation, one that isn’t forgotten by wearing a new uniform. The front office explained to Marbury how the team operates, a discussion which is protocol for every new player.
“We establish what the rules are, how we run things here, and how it’s about the team,” Celtics president Danny Ainge told WEEI’s Big Show. “We’ve established those rules with Steph. (Head coach) Doc (Rivers) and I had a good conversation with him this morning and I’ve had a handful of conversations with Steph about those things even before now, as the Knicks gave us permission to talk.”
Marbury wants to look ahead. And so do the Celtics.
“I’m not afraid of Steph, Doc’s not afraid of Steph, and it really comes down to Doc,” Ainge said. “I think Doc understands Steph and can manage him and that Steph will respect Doc, first and foremost.”
Last season Rivers coached five veteran first-year Celtics to a championship. He knows firsthand that a new environment can turn a vet’s career around.
“That was New York and wherever else. That has nothing to do with today and tomorrow,” Rivers said of concerns about Marbury. “I’ve always had an open mind with everyone who’s come in, and you know, we’ve done pretty well. Our locker room is very strong and we just have good people. And so, no, I’m not that concerned about that at all.”
The players are on board with personnel. After winning a title with a reconstructed team, the Celtics know that a midseason acquistion (think P.J. Brown) can be the missing piece to success.
“You’ve just got to welcome him in, make him feel like he’s at home. Other than that, just do things together off the court,” said Kendrick Perkins. “I think [adding so many new players last season] helped us a lot. We’ve just got to keep getting better and help these guys just keep improving as a team. I think we’ll get better as they get to play more games.”
The key to Marbury’s success with his new team is just that, playing as a team.
“You never know what’s in front of you as far as your basketball career,” he said. “That’s why you just play as hard as you can and do the best that you can.”
|Report: Marbury signs with Celtics||at 2:05 pm ET|
Stephon Marbury has signed with the Boston Celtics, according to the Boston Globe. Marc Spears reported Marbury will undergo a physical and is expected to attend a closed practice prior to tonight’s game against the Indiana Pacers. It has not been confirmed whether or not Marbury will be in uniform.