Archive for the ‘Boston Celtics’ Category

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And when I say he wants to be coach, I mean he REALLY wants to be coach.

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Like really really.

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And I know what you’re thinking — if he wants to get hired as an NBA coach despite having no experience and a career-long history of off-court issues, he should have made himself a head coach candidate the week he retired. That seems to be the sweet spot, though a press conference retirement ceremony in Idaho is maybe not the most noteworthy place for a fella to announce his availability.

Nonetheless, I don’t see any reason why this wouldn’t work out perfectly. Not only would the Celtics revolutionize the NBA with an innovative All Fours offense, it’d be fun to see them figure out a way to put all five players on the perimeter while desperately avoiding the post at all times. And even though Steph Curry’s been trying his best, it’d be incredible to see the Shimmy truly return to the NBA. For that reason alone, I’m #TeamAntoineWalker. I mean, if the Celtics are blowing things up, might as well be guided by a guy who is used to trying to fix huge messes.

Also, he could maybe hire an assistant who checks to make sure if his first tweet goes through. Nothing more embarrassing than doubling, or even tripling, up.

(via That NBA Lottery Pick)

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On July 31, 2007, something happened that set the course for the next half-decade of American professional basketball: the Boston Celtics traded five players and two draft picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Garnett. Then about six months later, the team’s age-old rival from across the country, the Los Angeles Lakers, responded by upping the ante, trading three players and two draft picks to the Memphis Grizzlies for Pau Gasol. The two trades, and the ensuing personnel moves they helped make possible, would fortify the two teams into perennial powerhouses, in the process reviving a feud that had once (twice, even) defined the NBA, and would result in the teams combining to win the next three championships — two of which even featured the clubs squaring off against each other, as they did six times in the ’60s, and three times in the ’80s.

That’s all over now. If one more nail in the coffin of Lakers-Celtics, Mk. III was needed, it was certainly provided in this year’s postseason, when for the first time since the Pau and KG trades, both teams have lost in the first round, in series that neither were expected to win. Both teams are in a state of personnel-related turmoil that they largely managed to avoid over the first five seasons of their resurgence; now, of the many players who have defined the two franchises, it’s unclear if any of them will be back and healthy at the start of next season. The Lakers and Celtics will almost certainly be really good again, possibly at the same time, and possibly even soon, but it won’t be with this same cast of characters, or anything close. It’s time to move on.

Still, upon the death of this latest incarnation of the NBA’s oldest and greatest rivalry, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on the significance that Lakers-Celtics III played in re-shaping the NBA over its half-decade of prominence, how it helped revive the league from one of its deeper lulls, and how it now leaves the league in a much better place than where it found it. Not to mention, the many memories it provided, the careers it validated, and the mythology it helped re-perpetuate.

Consider what the league was like just before the Kevin Garnett trade. The reigning powers in the West and East were the Spurs (who won three championships in five seasons) and Pistons (who made five straight conference finals, soon to be six), seemingly because no other franchise had come along that was talented and consistent enough to totally dethrone them. The Pacers once appeared to be building a championship-caliber team, but they were derailed by the Malice at the Palace, and gutted by the ensuing suspensions and trade demands. The Heat and Mavericks both made the Finals in 2006, but fell apart shortly afterwards, neither team winning a single playoff series for another three years. The Suns tried to prove you could do it without defense, and very well might have if not for the basketball gods (and/or the Spurs, and/or David Stern, and/or their own cheapskate owner) constantly getting in their way. And whether or not he was personally ready, it’d take the Cavs another couple of years to realize LeBron James needed more than Larry Hughes and Drew Gooden as “help” to win his first title, though he did manage to drag Cleveland to their first and only Finals appearance in franchise history, anyway.

It might not have been a state of chaos in the NBA, exactly, but it had precious little in the way of order or narrative. Average NBA fans found it tough to muster excitement for history-devoid Finals matchups like Heat-Mavericks or Spurs-Cavaliers, and not even diehard NBA fans could make a whole lot out of the resulting games from the latter, four low-scoring games all won by San Antonio, which produced the lowest ratings in NBA Finals history. Though teams like the Seven Seconds or Less Suns and the We Believe Warriors gained well-deserved followings, there was no big market, powerhouse team to really capture the nation’s imagination the way the Jordan Bulls or Shaq Lakers had — and that’s exactly what the NBA suddenly needed to distract fans from the Tim Donaghy scandal, which broke just about a week before the KG trade and threatened to undermine the integrity of the entire sport. (“After the most damaging NBA season in three decades … we reached the tipping point with Tim Donaghy,” wrote a noted Lakers-Celtics anthologist for ESPN. “Guilty or innocent, we will never watch an NBA game the same way.”)

While all this was going on, Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant were toiling away on subpar Celtics and Lakers teams, either just scraping their way into the playoffs and losing in the first round, or missing the postseason entirely, as Kobe did in ’05 and Pierce did in ’06 and ’07. By summer ’07, both franchise players were growing impatient and gritting their teeth through their team’s lean years. Adrian Wojnarowski reported in June of that year that Paul Pierce would request a trade shortly after draft night were he not paired with “a talented veteran co-star,” and Kobe actually did request a trade, very nearly being sent to Detroit. But both stars were talked off the ledge, with Pierce particularly assuaged by the Celtics’ draft night deal for perennial All-Star Ray Allen, and Bryant eventually comforted by the improvement of big man prospect Andrew Bynum in his third season, a player who Kobe had previously insisted the Lakers deal for veteran help. Soon, of course, both players would get the blockbuster deal to validate their hard-earned patience.

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“Who? I don’t even know who that is?”J.R. Smith on Jason Terry, obviously lying

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I don’t know if Doc Rivers is the smartest coach in the NBA. I mean, he’s the only doctor amongst the 30 head guys, but I kind of think that’s just an honorary title since I can’t find any proof of him even attending medical school.

Nonetheless, I have a feeling that you will agree that Doc Rivers is the smartest coach in the game, just as soon as you read this bit of logic he used while destroying one of the NBA’s most treasured playoff clichés. From ESPN:

“I guess they say the series hasn’t started — and I’ve heard this corny line a million times — until the road team wins,” said Rivers. “I am positive the series has started because we are down 2-0.”

Isn’t that brilliant? Doc has your answer.

It’s brilliant, right? Thank you.

Doc is right about a couple of things here: 1) That is pretty brilliant; 2) I checked in to the league’s archives and found that even series that saw no road victories were counted as legitimate in the NBA’s eyes. Or to put it more clearly, an NBA postseason series starts with Game 1, it doesn’t have to wait until a road team wins. It’s not technically in the rule book, so I’m guessing it’s one of those unwritten rules of the game that even though people say “A series doesn’t start until the road team wins,” the league is still going to count the results from games where the home team wins.

Next up for Doc Rivers, however, will be convincing his team that scoring in the second half of a game counts just as much as it does in the first half of the game. I’ve never really heard a saying that says first and second half points don’t count the same, but believing that is true is the only possible explanation for why they’ve scored a combined 48 points in the 48 second half minutes they’ve played in their first round series. After settling this whole road team debacle, I’m confident Doc can talk his guys in to scoring at least 30 points in a second half. Maybe.

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As the 2012-13 regular season wraps up, there’s no weirder, more disorienting team to watch right now than the Boston Celtics. The Celtics have been odd ducks all season, patching together winning and losing streaks with no obvious internal logic or correlation to one another, cycling through lineups and featured players at a rate that only last year’s Knicks could really match in recent hoops history. The C’s of recent weeks went next-level with this, however. In Monday’s game against the Timberwolves, they played a 10-man rotation that only overlapped two players (Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass) with the 10-man rotation they played in a win over the Miami Heat exactly a year before, while losing in Minnesota for the first time since Kevin Garnett was shuttled between the two teams.

Now, a lot of this is obviously due to injuries. The Celtics’ Big Three have all missed time this season, with Rajon Rondo out half the season and counting with a torn ACL, KG sidelined indefinitely with ankle inflammation, and even the generally durable Paul Pierce missing Monday’s game with a sore ankle. And there was definitely a conscious effort to retool the team some last summer, making them younger, tougher and (in most cases) more athletic. To that extent, it makes sense that the roster would look markedly different than the classic KG-era Celtics rosters that we’re used to.

Still, that only goes half of the way to explaining the cognitive dissonance one feels watching the Celtics now — watching Jason Terry, Terrence Williams and Jordan Crawford all come off the same bench, watching games with Brandon Bass and Shavlik Randolph as the primary centers, watching the Celtics score 100 points and still lose, as they have in three of their last nine games. It’s not just a depleted Boston roster, it’s one with a completely different style and ethos, far closer to the run-and-gun small ball system employed by the late-’00s Warriors than the defensive-minded, half-court-oriented look of the late-’00s Celtics. It seems less like a team struggling through injuries than one that decided to rebuild completely without telling anybody. And at the heart of it all is Jeff Green.

Jeff Green entered this season as something of the forgotten man in the Celtics lineup, and possibly the whole NBA. Or at least, he would have been, if he hadn’t signed a four-year, $36 million contract with Boston that many instantly concluded was not close to commiserate with his likely production, a burden of anticipated-failure that hung over him as he followed up a promising preseason with a very slow start to the regular season, going FG-less in the season debut against Miami and then averaging an underwhelming 8.7 points and 2.5 rebounds on just 42 percent shooting (29 percent from deep) in November. The numbers improved little in December and January, and it quickly seemed like Green’s extension would be an albatross for Boston.

But have you seen Green’s splits coming off the bench (which he did for the majority of the season while Boston was healthier) and starting (as he’s done recently with so many regulars out)? If not, you really, really should:

Reserve: 64 Games, 10.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 44% FG, 33% 3PT
Starter: 10 Games, 21.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 3.6 APG, 55% FG, 52% 3PT

That’s not just the difference between a decent player and a good one, that’s the difference between a fringe rotation player and a borderline superstar. Reserve Jeff Green is overpaid and overhyped, Starter Jeff Green is on the shortlist of the league’s biggest bargains. It’s an absolutely staggering dichotomy, one made even more astounding by Green’s minutes-per-game splits, which show that not only does he score more when he plays more, he also scores more efficiently — shooting 39 percent when he plays 10-19 minutes, 46 percent when plays 20-29, 47 percent when he plays 30-39, and an astounding 52 percent when he plays 40 or more (in a sample size of just five games, too small to draw any real conclusions, but big enough to remain intriguing).

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When LeBron James sent Jason Terry to Tha Crossroads with a very tall dunk, you couldn’t help feeling that LeBron took more than a small bit of satisfaction that said dunk was on said Jason Terry. You know, the same guy who antagonized him throughout the 2011 NBA Finals and partially credits the Mavs’ championship to a moment of celebration betwixt LeBron and Dwyane Wade — of course LeBron was going to be pretty happy he’d just grounded the JET.

That’s why I’m very glad to tell you that you’re right — LeBron James is happy that it was Jason Terry he dunked on. From Ira Winderman of the South Florida SunSentinel:

LeBron on Monday dunk on Jason Terry, “t was one of my better ones. And the fact that it happened to J.T. made it even that much sweeter…

More LeBron on Terry, “…Because I think we all know what J.T. talks, and he talks too much sometimes and I’m glad it happened to him.”

I think we can all agree that in those few seconds post-dunk, when LeBron barely took a step toward Terry’s corpse, that this thought — “I’m glad it happened to him” — is exactly what was going through LeBron’s head. Yeah, it was a dunk, but it was also kind of a “Shut up, little man” that was literally years in the making. And just like “Jurassic Park,” the payoff was worth it.

For his part, Jason Terry seems to be taking things pretty well. From Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe:

Terry cont: “My reaction was when the fans were cheering and I went up and knocked down the technical. That’s a great reaction.”

Nice zing. And nice job saving a point on the three-point play. Too bad about you still got dunked on and we all saw it.

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Remember when we found out that Rajon Rondo is a homicidally competitive Connect Four player via an excerpt from a Sports Illustrated profile on Rajon Rondo? Well, Lee Jenkins’ full piece just dropped and it is a banger. Here are some of the most incredible parts.

Rajon Rondo was born with giant hands

Amber considered calling him Roderick, after an uncle. William, his oldest brother, preferred Johnny. They settled on Rajon, a name that would be butchered by a hundred broadcasters. RAH-zhan was born at University of Louisville Hospital in 1986, and before his mother laid eyes on the baby boy with the narrow cheekbones, a doctor approached in awe. “His hands,” the obstetrician gushed, “are humongous.”

In response, his mother sighed and then said, “Trust me, I know.”

Rajon Rondo is good at all the sports

Ainge has seen him throw a football 80 yards, hit a softball 380 feet and beat 33-year-old assistant general manager Ryan McDonough in a 40-yard dash with a tire strapped to his waist.

The main conclusion I can draw from this is that 33-year-old assistant general manager Ryan McDonough is probably pretty slow, which would partially explain why he’s a basketball executive and not a basketball player.

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