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The Latest Sports News
Thursday, 21 January 2010 20:55

Boston Vs. Portland Preview

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With a disparaging record in recent weeks, the Celtics look to find some sort of glimmer of continuity. Kevin Garnett is expected to make his return from the knee injury that has kept him out during this horrible stretch of play. Kage was looking good during his practice sessions and hopefully will be close to regaining his mid season form against the Portland Trail Blazers.Portland is a dangerous team even without Greg Oden, who again will miss the rest of the season due to injury. Brandon Roy is a legit star who is averaging 23 PPG and will luckily be out against the Boston because of a strained right hamstring. Jerryd Bayless, whose natural position is at the point, will be getting the start. Bayless is averaging 8.8 PPG in his second year out of Arizona and I think the C’s will look to get Ray Allen going against the sophomore.Andre Miller is a nice veteran point guard for Portland and is putting up decent numbers this year. At 13 PPG with around 5 APG he can do a bit of everything on offense but is not exactly known for his defensive prowess and Rondo should be able to exploit that as he has so many others he has been matched up against.Portland spreads the scoring out with the starters and LaMarcus Aldridge is compiling nice numbers at the power forward position and will be tasked with handling a fresh and ready to rock KG. Aldridge is a good young forward but he tweaked his ankle in the win over Philadelphia on Wednesday night.Martel Webster will be the Paul Pierce’s assignment. Webster is another young gun playing big minutes coming off a weak game in which he only scored two points. Pierce has been on fire lately but his play alone has not been enough to bring in the W’s.Juwan Howard is playing at an undersized center position going only 6’ 9”. With Oden out Howard has the starting job with Joel Przybilla out with a ruptured right patella tendon. That sounds nasty but the Celtics need to take advantage of the small size inside with Perk and KG posting up.Maybe with Rasheed coming off the bench the C’s can finally get some production from their reserves. Eddie House also needs to start finding the bottom of the basket on the regular to get his confidence back. House has been streaky all year and can’t seem to get a handle on his stroke.Boston desperately needs this win and to snap out of the funk they have been in the past couple weeks with losing leads in the second half. If they can at least keep the turnovers in the single digits (doubtful) they can control the game inside.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 08:51

Don't Expect Miracles Because Kevin Garnett's Back

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1 - 2 - 3-- BREATH!We can all exhale after holding our breath for eleven games. Without question, I did not expect to go 5-6 in Kevin Garnett's absence. I did feel the Celtics would inevitably struggle without the Big Ticket but I never expected the team to fall below .500 while the Ticket recovered. This team's problems strike much deeper then missing their aging spiritual and defensive leader.On a team that is stacked with potential present and past all-star's, the Celtics should have won more than they lost without Garnett. Losing to inferior opponents such as the Warriors, Bulls and Pistons, many questions about heart and focus have come into question. Most disturbing has been the Celtics back to back losses to the Atlanta Hawks, an emerging Eastern Conference power holding very little respect for the Eastern Conference last NBA champion. The Hawks have always given then Celtics fits with athleticism and length, however, it is without question that they are an inferior ball club. Yet the C's dropped two games and hung their heads. The Boston Celtics I remember would have come out and steamrolled over any team that challenged their authority, league position or talent level. Forcing it's will on team's that can out run and out jump them requires a motivation that is drawn directly from the player's heart.Am I questioning the heart of a (former) champion? I can say openly that I am.One game away from the half way point of the season (can you believe it?) and the Celtics have already exceeded their home loss record of one year ago and are on pace to equal their 2008 and 2009 home losses combined this season. Half of the games in the team's loss column have come from sub .500 ball clubs. They have lost three consecutive games twice and are on the verge of a fourth consecutive (fourth home as well) loss if Garnett's return does not provide a spark for the struggling C's.I feel the Celtics have been looking at each other in shock since their first loss of the season to Phoenix at the Garden. I can see visions of a frustrated Paul Pierce, a befuddled Kendrick Perkins, an overweight Glen Davis, a trigger happy Rasheed Wallace and a coach defending them at every breath.Is it time for Doc to explode? Fact is, though the Doc always plays lawyer publicly, he must be throwing clipboards and launching chairs in the locker room, right? If not, this team's lackadaisical approach to playing is being facilitated by a coach that is enabling their inexcusably poor play.Just two seasons ago, the Celtics could build a beautiful photo album of highlight reel plays that were so dominant that it was hard to find the few low points. Even last season, a year that was decimated by injuries to key players, showed a team that boasted a 62-20 record as the exhausted players' heart gushed onto the court.Why in a year that they are equipped to handle key injuries has this team struggled so much?Of course we all turn to injuries and they have played a key factor into the (sometimes) lack of chemistry this team displays. The several different incarnations of the line-up have resulted in very choppy bouts of play that leaves fans wondering who is willing to step up. I found myself asking that question throughout the second half of Wednesday night's flopper at the Palace of Auburn Hills. While the Celtics barely cracked the thirty point mark in the second half and shooting less then 28 percent from the field, I was asking myself, who on this team can step up to stop the lowly Pistons from sending the Celtics back to Boston in embarrassment.The Defensive struggles have been apparent as the Celtics allowed the Rodney Stuckey to go off for 27 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists in a very Rondo-type effort. They also allowed the Pistons to score 40 of their 44 second half points in the paint (thanks KWAPT). What happened to the Boston Celtics philosophy of defending the paint at all costs?I would expect the defense to slouch a bit without Garnett but the offense disturbed me way more. The Celtics scored only 30 second half points, the Piston bench out-scored the C's 43-12, the Celtics' only hit five three point shots yet continued to chuck them up to the tune of 19 attempts. Paul Pierce went off for 17 first quarter points and then disappeared, scoring just 4 points the rest of the contest.As the Celtics struggled to get the ball up court or set up a reasonable offensive set, they began to resemble a junior varsity team learning to cope with a zone defense. Rondo was a floor general void of attack options. The team lacked a player to settle them down and get them points when needed. That duty always fell upon the captain shoulders but last night he was not up to the task. Would Garnett have been the guy? Fact is, KG probably would have been able to nail a few fifteen footers in crunch time but he would not have been the player to create his own shots against a swarming and physical defense.The C's "coasting mentality" has led critics to declare them to be a "soft and fragile" team struggling with athletic and physical opponents. Are we talking about the same Celtics that created a bully reputation over the course of two seasons? Boston has always been the ball club initiating the physical play not running from it.Kevin Garnett is not going to have much time to settle back into action. Next week's schedule may be the toughest stretch of the season to date. Starting January 28th, Orlando, Atlanta and the Lakers are anxiously waiting to get a crack at the struggling Celtics. Boston will face all three opponents in four nights-- a scary thought to say the least. As we are all anxiously awaiting the all-star break, the Celtics can pull out a nice string of victories to prove that they are still the class act of the Eastern Conference and create a nice momentum builder going into February.A statement game against Orlando, revenge on the Hawks (avoiding a season sweep) and avenging two losses to LA last season should draw the very best out of the Celtics. With a line-up close to intact their will be no excuse for lacking of heart or motivation.In year's past I would be confident the Celtics can draw upon their championship pedigree to pull out victories against the league's top teams. I'm sorry to say that this season is a bit different and I still can't figure out why. Hopefully KG can provide the spark that will make me stop having to try...
(You can expect a full breakdown of Kevin Garnett's return on the next episode of the Celtics Late Night Show)
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 22:33

Celtics Get Waxed Again In The Second Half, Pistons Win 92-86

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[caption id="attachment_4232" align="aligncenter" width="512" caption=" (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)"][/caption]I don’t know how this recap is being written since I am blinded by rage after witnessing the most inept performance of the season against one of the dregs of the league. Eighteen turnovers. Twelve bench points. Thirteen offensive boards given up. One atrocious second half.If the Celtics only had to play twenty four minutes of basketball they would lead the league in wins. Unfortunately, it’s mandatory that you play at least forty eight. I feel like the C’s have lost more games after having the lead in the first half.Boston’s bench was smoked in the scoring column only contributing the aforementioned twelve points. Detroit had thirty three, almost a third of the Piston’s total. I won’t even go into detail about the blown call at the end of the game when the refs gave Detroit a timeout even though Rip Hamilton never had possession of the ball and landed out of bounds. Honestly, the game shouldn’t have come down to that.The Celtics got their clocks cleaned on the offensive boards which kept the Pistons in the game early. Tommy Heinsohn brought up the fact that everyone is looking to run as soon as the shooter releases and expects Kendrick Perkins to grab any and all boards. Boston also went 5-19 from deep and Ray Allen didn’t even hit a shot until a layup late in the fourth. As a team they had more turnovers (18) than assists (16).For some reason the Celtics couldn’t defend the pick and roll in the second half, though it is hard when you have to try and fight through moving screens. Regardless, Rodney Stuckey got loose with 27 PTS and 11 REBS. Stuckey lead all scorers and rebounders for the game.Paul Pierce had another good game gone to waste although he only scored three of his 21 PTS in the second half. Rajon Rondo had a nice game with his 21 PTS, 8 REBS and 7 ASTS. ‘Jon also kept his turnovers down just committing one while swiping four.I feel like when the bench is on the floor that it’s a war of attrition. Sure, the starters may get some rest but the offensive production goes to crap. I think Doc should institute the old Suns seven seconds or less offense when he has at least three bench players on the floor. I think they will work better if they aren’t given time to think. I know it may be a retarded idea, bit things haven’t been good for a while now on this 4-8 stretch of games and something needs to be done.
Courtesy of Celtics.com

Kevin Garnett is back, to practice at least. Here's an interview courtesy of Chris Forsberg/ESPN where KG discusses his injury, his intensity, the Celtics defense and, most importantly, is loose and joking around-- a good sign!

Video Courtesy of Chris Forsberg/ESPN
For more footage of Garnett practicing with the team, click here.
Tuesday, 19 January 2010 19:53

Celtics At Pistons Preview

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The Celtics look to find some sort of reprieve from their losing ways and right the ship against a basement dwelling Pistons team in Detroit. This will be Boston’s first matchup of the year against the young and struggling Detroit squad.Tayshaun Prince is a big hole that can’t be filled at the small forward position since going down with a knee injury nine games into the season. His back up Jonas Jerebko has been averaging 8.5 PPG in his absence playing both the power and small forward positions. His length could be an issue for Pierce since he stands 6’ 10” which is three inches taller than Paul but Pierce will probably have no problem getting around the big Swede.Chris Wilcox left Monday’s game against the Knicks with a sore back and no information on whether he will play against the Celtics. Wilcox isn’t exactly a productive starter and Detroit sports Charlie Villanueva and Jason Maxiell on the bench. Both players average more points that Wilcox who gets the bulk of the starting assignments. Regardless of who starts, Rasheed Wallace will probably draw them defensively. Speaking of Sheed, it’s his first game back in Detroit and the reception could go either way. I would call mostly boos with a smattering of applause, but that is just me. Wallace could have a good game motivated by his return to the Palace.Big Ben will be filling up the paint once again for the Pistons after mundane stops in Chicago and Cleveland. He has never been a scorer but is a defensive specialist and may give Kendrick Perkins more than he can handle on the low block. Perk is accustomed to dishing the forearms out rather than absorbing him and Wallace might get under his skin early if Perk doesn’t have quick success.Rodney Stuckey is the starting point guard nowadays and is a bit of a pest offensively but Rondo once again should get the better of that match up. Stuckey is averaging a nice 18.3 per game but that is because no one else (besides Rip) can consistently drain a j.[caption id="attachment_4213" align="alignright" width="480" caption="Amish. I think."][/caption]Rip Hamilton will be forever engrained in my memory for being the guy that made Ray Allen start wearing a shooting since he was slicing Ray’s arms to ribbons with his girly nails. It will be a battle of former Uconn sharpshooters, if Rip is over the flu by then. I hope he is because I want to see if he still has that weird Amish beard he sported at the beginning of the season.All signs point to a Celtics win, but as we have seen of late, there may be a detour.
Monday, 18 January 2010 16:50

Dirk, Mavs Blast C's At Home 99-90

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Boston continues to find new ways to aggravate fans during their losses. Tonight it was allowing Dalla to shoot 74 percent from the floor in the second half. That is a ludicrous rate. Among other shortcomings, leaving Dirk Nowitzki wide open for half the game was probably not conducive to a winning formula since Dirk went 13-20 for 34 PTS ( 22 in the second half).Rasheed scored 11 PTS (seven when the game was already out of hand) in his return from his foot injury and didn’t really do the defensive job on Nowitzki I thought he could do. Sheed was worked on both ends of the floor and only showed up in spurts during the night.Jason Kidd piled up the assists feeding Novitzki who was knocking down everything. Kidd finished with a double double 13 and 17. Rajon Rondo had a decent amount of assists with 12 but his seven points weren’t enough offense since the Celtics bench was again outscored 19-13.Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were the only consistent offense for the C’s. Pierce went for 24 PTS on 9-17 shooting with some muggings mixed in when Boston couldn’t get a call in the paint. Allen had a nice game with 21 PTS on 9-15 from the floor but only shot one free throw courtesy of a technical foul assessed to the Mavs coach.Kendrick Perkins compiled my predicted double double with 14 and 12. Perk got into it with Dirk a little bit at the end of the half after taking an elbow below his right eye that required bandages. Kendrick did miss both of his free throws, though, helping drag down the FFT percentage to 50 for the game.Things are looking bleak since KG went down and Boston has fallen to the .500 mark with him out of the line up and are giving up nine more points per game without number five on the floor. If I was Doc I wouldn’t rush him back before the all star break against Portland like he wants, I would just let him rest up the extra days until the season starts again. One thing has become very clear in Kage’s absence and it’s that the Celtics have no shot of hanging another banner without Garnett in the line up.
Some will react to the news that former Celtics guard Stephon Marbury has landed another paying gig playing basketball with antipathy, amusement, or even vehemence. If you're one of the folks who ridiculed his behavior during this offseason, and there were hordes of them, then prepare to be angered.

Some will react to the news that former Boston guard Stephon Marbury has landed another paying gig playing basketball with antipathy, amusement, or even vehemence. If you're one of the folks who ridiculed his behavior during this offseason, and there were hordes of them, then prepare to be angered.Per the Washington Post: Twice NBA All Star point guard Stephon Marbury will become the highest profile American to play in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) after he agreed to join China's Shanxi Club. The 32-year-old, a free agent since leaving the Boston Celtics last season, had agreed a deal with the northern club and would arrive in Shanxi next week, the team announced on their official website Given that part of the team's stated goals with this signing is to "help boost Shanxi's ticket sales," this has the same bitter flavor to it as Allen Iverson's ill-fated signing by the Grizzlies going into this season. In theory, there shouldn't be the caliber of young talent slotted ahead of Marbury in China as there was in the case of Iverson. I would think that, if he is in any kind of playing shape, and he says he is, he'll stand a decent chance of making an impact in what I'm presuming is a less competitive league.The Post also describes Bonzi Wells' experience with Shanxi last year, making this sound like a match made in some ominous kind of heaven: Shanxi last season hired former NBA player Bonzi Wells, who scored as many as 50 points a game. The contract ended after less than two months when Wells went on holiday but failed to return on time. The team's management is trying to bill this as some kind of reward for their fans, which makes one curious as to exactly what kind of groundbreaking fan/ownership dynamic is playing out over there. There's a joke about sadomasochism in here somewhere, but I'm not entirely sure which party is engaging in perpetrating the abuse: the brass that think bring in Starbury is some kind of treat, or the fans who could instill that kind of sentiment.

All joking aside, I'm glad for Marbury. I posted similar sentiments in the past over at Mark Blount's Port Cellar, but when he was with the Celtics, he looked like a guy who just never quite got his legs under him, and likewise never felt completely comfortable in the system. Towards the end of the season and start of last year's playoffs, he showed some flashes of the guy he used to be. He's not going to need to be that guy to be an effective player in China. I still believe that what we saw last season was more on account of rust than aging.Furthermore, Starbury proved his critics wrong by committing to play solid, if not spectacular, defense, while at the same time not showing the same need to shoot every time the ball was in his hands that many people thought had become a staple of his game. This was, at times, a fault, as he passed up some good looks to defer to teammates, but I think it showed a real willingness to buy into Boston's philosophy. Let's not forget that he almost single-handedly won us Game 5 against Orlando when he poured in 12 points in the fourth quarter. This guy has more left in the tank than some people think.It was hard not to laugh at his online broadcasts over the summer, but I chuckled as I shook my head with sad bemusement, not out of any malice. Whatever was going on in his personal life was clearly difficult and manifested in a way that was, at times, very disturbing, and I'm glad that, at least on the surface, it looks like he's turning things around.I was nothing but impressed by his attitude and by his on-court conduct, and heard nothing negative about him off the court while he was with the Celtics. I wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.
Sunday, 17 January 2010 22:05

Ray Allen is Full of Opinions

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For many years, the NBA has had a policy of allowing fans to vote for all-star starters, while allowing coaches to select the reserves. One player who has a problem with this is Celtics guard Ray Allen. “I like the fact that the fans get the opportunity to vote and pick who they’d like to see in the All-Star Game, but I don’t think it should be 100 percent,” Allen said this week. Instead, he proposes a 50/50 vote split between fans and a group composed of players and media, believing that players know who is deserving. He said players know who is playing the best, and believes with his idea, "you'd look at five guys starting the All-Star team regardless of hype or highlight."Now, whether or not Allen has a valid point is open to debate. Obviously the fans do not consistently (or ever) pick the ten most deserving starters based upon performance. But for a game that is supposedly an exhibition to reward fans, should they not choose the players they would like to see? Besides, Allen's statements neglect the fact that coaches already pick fourteen out of twenty-four possible spots. Is this not the equivalent of splitting it down the middle? Is it really worth removing fan favorites from the all-star game to reward an extra player or two who fans have little interest in and is likely to play few minutes in the game anyway? I believe that there are better solutions than diluting the ability of the fans to choose the players they most want to see.Let's look at fan selections this season for a moment. Allen is particularly critical of the selections of Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady, saying of McGrady, "Tracy, if he played, I'm sure he'd play well enough to be an All-Star player because he's done that his career. But again, that's taking away from another player in the Western Conference that's having a great year, that's been playing, that deserves to be in there."If you believe as Ray does, that every all-star slot should be alloted to a deserving player, then clearly he has a point. Tracy McGrady has barely played this season and Allen Iverson is averaging 15 points a game with the Sixers (although he is shooting a higher percentage than he has at any point in his career).The problem is that Ray fails to mention the name of the other undeserving potential all-star if the fans have their way: teammate Kevin Garnett. KG has been slowed by injuries that have seen his scoring and rebounding dip to 15 and 7.6 respectively, numbers which are nothing to sneeze at but far from all-star caliber. Clearly Chris Bosh has outperformed Garnett this season, but so has the young Gerald Wallace and surging Antwan Jamison, to say nothing of potential defensive player of the year Josh Smith. Strangely, I have not heard a peep from him on that subject. The point is that Allen complaining about undeserving starters is akin to Kobe Bryant whining about an unfair trade. Avoiding the issues in your own house makes you seem hypocritical.I suppose what I really want to know is: why? He would not be an all-star this season if coaches and players made all twelve selections. Maybe he is trying to make a subtle case for Rondo, although I would argue that he would have been more direct. But unless he is delusional, personal interest does not come into play. Then again, that has never stopped him before. Whether it is offering unsolicited speculation on the careers of Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson or these latest all-star comments, Ray periodically creates controversey with unneccesary and unproductive comments. Does he think that Stern and the league office is unaware of this "undeserving starters" phenomenon? The fans have chosen their own interests over the greater good since the 1970s. We don't need Ray to talk down to everyone. Hopefully, tomorrow he releases a statement claiming that his associated press account was hacked.
Sunday, 17 January 2010 13:03

Celtics Vs. Maverics Preview

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The C’s are going to be hosting an angry Dallas Mavericks team that was just blown out by 22 points against the Raptors, a team that Boston consistently handles.With Garnett questionable for return before the all star break, the Celtics had a bit of good news with the return of Rasheed Wallace who is welcomed back by having to defend Dirk Nowitzki who is averaging 25.3 PPG. Sheed was on fire when he scored a season high 29 PTS in Toronto and then went down with a foot injury.Paul Pierce usually gets the best of Shawn Marion who isn’t a threat from deep, only attempting nine three point attempts this year and not converting any of them. Marion is averaging 11.3 PPG in 31 minutes. Pierce had 20 PTS in the loss to Chicago and is probably going to be the first option every time down the court unless Doc wants to try and get Ray Allen on track.Ray will be on Josh Howard who is chipping in with 13.2 PPG but is also battling season long injuries and may not be a huge factor in the game.Kendrick Perkins will be all over Erick Dampier who is at best an overrated center. Dampier didn’t even attempt a shot against the Raptors and is only scoring 7.8 PPG for the season. Perk will probably have a field day against him and collect another double double.Rajon Rondo on Jason Kidd is another favorable match up since Kidd won’t have the wheels to keep up with the speedy ‘Jon. I would think that Rondo would get a ton of dribble penetration since Sheed will more than likely be roaming around the perimeter and make Dirk follow him so Dampier is the only big man inside. That could open up a lot of possibilities for the C’s where they could kick out to any one of three players on the perimeter, Rondo could take it around the center himself or hand off to perk for an easy deuce.I think the key to the game will be if the Celtics get any sort of offense from the bench. It may sound like a broken record but no one can consistently give 8-10 points off the bench and Doc is burning out the starters like crazy. I can’t even predict what is going to happen since the C’s have been playing down to the level of their competition lately and playing good teams close.
Just when things were looking marginally up for the Celtics with Rasheed Wallace's imminent return tomorrow night against the Mavericks, the Herald is reporting that C's captain Paul Pierce injured his knee during practice today. Worse, it's the same knee that the Truth had drained several weeks ago.Just when things were looking marginally up for the Celtics with Rasheed Wallace's imminent return tomorrow night against the Mavericks, the Herald is reporting that C's captain Paul Pierce injured his knee during practice today. Worse, it's the same knee that the Truth had drained several weeks ago.Per the Herald's Insider Blog: It may have been nothing more than a momentary stinger, but Paul Pierce headed to the trainer’s room near the end of today’s practice after bumping knees with Shelden Williams and falling to the floor in significant pain. This, for Pierce, was the same right knee that had to be drained two weeks ago.Pierce briefly reemerged with a heavy ice pack on the knee before heading back to the locker room once practice ended.“He got kneed in the exact same spot - it’s just amazing, the luck right now with little things like that,” said Doc Rivers. “That’s why he was so upset. He was like, it was starting to feel good. So we hope that he’s fine.“I don’t even look any more,” he said. “I’ve seen it too much.”Rivers was encouraged by the progress of Rasheed Wallace, who is recovering from a sore foot, and even Kevin Garnett, who ran through sets with the first team today.“Rasheed was great, he went through the whole practice so that’s good, and Kevin actually did skeleton - he went through all of that and he looked great,” said the Celtics coach, who added that this doesn’t mean Garnett will return before next Friday’s game against Portland in the Garden. “He won’t play before Friday, and he may not play Friday, because we have to get him into some active stuff. We may do a little bit (of practice with Garnett) Tuesday, and something on Thursday but not with the team. It will be with five guys and some three-on-three stuff.” The Herald's blog goes on to mention the injury statuses of Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace: Rivers was encouraged by the progress of Rasheed Wallace, who is recovering from a sore foot, and even Kevin Garnett, who ran through sets with the first team today.“Rasheed was great, he went through the whole practice so that’s good, and Kevin actually did skeleton - he went through all of that and he looked great,” said the Celtics coach, who added that this doesn’t mean Garnett will return before next Friday’s game against Portland in the Garden. “He won’t play before Friday, and he may not play Friday, because we have to get him into some active stuff. We may do a little bit (of practice with Garnett) Tuesday, and something on Thursday but not with the team. It will be with five guys and some three-on-three stuff.” While I'm under the restrictions of my self-imposed Kevin Garnett non-news moratorium, I've gotta say, that sure doesn't instill confidence that the Big Ticket will be seen striding across the parquet anytime soon. He's going "through all that," and he "looked great," yet they aren't penciling him in yet because he needs to "get into some active stuff." Super.Although it raises the interesting question regarding what the term "skeleton" means in the context of a player returning to practice after an injury: I'd take it to mean he did a bare bones type of workout/drills, rather than full contact activities, but I'd be thrilled if anyone with more clarity to offer on that point would do so in the comments section below.
Getting 'Sheed back into the line-up is a sight for sore eyes. Sheed's sore foot has kept him out the line-up for three games. In his absence, the Celtics had a lack of length on the front line. 'Sheed was brought in to smooth the possibility of a Kevin Garnett injury. With KG sidelined at least until Friday, Rasheed's being back in encouraging and improves the C's chances of beating the Mavs on Monday.From the Boston Globe:Just a little sprain,’’ Wallace said. “How I did it, I haven’t the slightest idea. I was playing on it for about two weeks, before, finally, the last few minutes in that Toronto game [last Sunday] sort of did it.’’Garnett’s target for a return remains Friday’s contest against Portland. And Rivers said he will attempt to limit Paul Pierce’s playing time, using J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker in his place.With Kevin Garnett (hyperextended knee) also out, the Celtics missed a big-man presence on the perimeter as well as in the post.“Rasheed can just shoot - he’s a great shooter, so that doesn’t affect him,’’ Rivers said. “It’s more just the movement and stuff. Eddie said the swelling is down but there is still concern about it a little bit.’’Rivers said Wallace will “go through practice and see how he feels’’ today, then check with trainer Eddie Lacerte.“Baby [Glen Davis] did a tremendous job, to me. He’s rebounding, he’s giving it his all down there on the blocks, going against taller players. But it’s kind of hard for them to back him down because he’s so strong. So, the guys that came in, they were effective.’’"We still have other good shooters on the team,’’ Wallace said. “I think Scal [Brian Scalabrine] did a good job, especially in that first half, starting us off right, the last couple games.

Rasheed's return will be discussed in detail with Gary Dzen of the Boston Globe on

tonight's (live) episode of the Celtics Late Night Show

Nick from North Station Sports along with Brandon and Travis, from Hardwood Houdini, will be live tonight (January 10th) with their next episode of the…

The Celtics Late Night Show

Live at 11 pm EST

Call In Number – (347)-215-7771

We have one heck of a show lined up for you tomorrow night at 11pm. Earlier today we pre-recorded a segment with Gary Dzen from the Boston Globe and let me tell you this guy knows his stuff. Gary has credentials and all the behind the scene access you could only wish for. He currently is a staff writer for Boston.com and the somewhat newly established Celtics Blog on the site. He also is web editor of the site and is the man doing all the work behind the camera to keep the site going. Gary talked with us for a little over 30 minutes and answered almost every possible question you could think about when it comes to the Boston Celtics.

Topics that will be discussed with Gary include:

KG’s Injury Updates (Is he really practicing? Does he have a noticeable limp? Is he talking to media?) His take on Big Baby’s physical conditioning. What he thinks the Celtics plan to do before the trade deadline, if anything. His take on the lack of energy at the Garden this year and why he thinks that may be. Doc's rotations: Why aren't Bill Walker or J.R. Giddens getting playing time? How are they handling the lack of playing time?

Again this is just a small preview of what we discussed with Gary earlier this morning. To hear the whole segment tune into the Celtics Late Night Show tomorrow night at 11pm. The media player will be up on the site and you can also listen to us on Blog Talk Radio.

Besides having Gary on the show we also plan to do a little talking of our own. We will look back at the week that was, talk a little bit about Gilbert Arenas, and a whole bunch of other topics surrounding the Boston Celtics. As always we will also have our two special segments “Ten in Ten” and “Around the Hardwood”. For those of you unfamiliar Ten in Ten is a segment with Matt Rury from Gino’s Jungle to discuss weekly NBA power rankings; Around the Hardwood is a segment in which we are joined by Alex from NBA Tipoff to talk about everything going on around the league as a whole.

Be sure to tune in at 11PM EST as we will be live, taking your calls, and discussing all things Boston Celtics and the NBA as a whole.

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This weekend, I was pleased to read that North Station (our name-sake) in Boston was now dedicated to the legendary Red Auerbach. It's fitting that such an iconic sports figure in Boston gets this honor. Red is the "godfather" of the NBA, whether you like him or not, he is one of the forefathers that helped to lead the NBA from amateur-ish upstart league to a worldly professional sports league. From the Boston Globe: // Auerbach Concourse dedicated at North Station Link|Comments (2) Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff January 15, 2010 07:48 PM North Station's concourse was dedicated as the Red Auerbach Concourse on Friday.Former players JoJo White, Mal Graham, Satch Sanders, Tommy Heinsohn, and Dana Barros joined current team captain Paul Pierce, coach Doc Rivers, and Nancy Auerbach Collins, Red's daughter, at a ceremony Friday.Two plaques -- a relief of Red and a shamrock -- were unveiled in honor of the legendary coach who won nine NBA titles and later served as team president and general manager.
Saturday, 16 January 2010 22:07

NBA Injuries: It Isn't Only The Celtics

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That stupid injury virus is flying around everywhere, and luckily for the Celtics it is not only them. As nasty as we said the top tier teams such as: Orlando, Boston, Cleveland, LA, and maybe even Denver, appeared, they have not shown it thus far into the season. They are not extremely dominant by any means. There are no teams starting the season like the 27-2 Celtics team, or the 33-7 team LA put out on the floor last year. Well they are all dealing with injuries so lets weap for them as well.Starting atop the east:1) Cavs: (30-11)Shaq- Has missed 6 games- Team record: 5-1 Varejao- Missed 2 games- Team record: 1-1 West- Missed 9 games- Team record: 7-2 Big Z- Missed 1 game- Team record: 1-0 Moon- Missed 10 games- Team record: 5-5Combined Missed Games by Key Players: 28So byfar the biggest loss for the Cavs has been Jamario Moon.... Haha just kidding. He is about as key to the Cavs as maybe Marquis Daniels is to the Celtics. The Cavs are probably a better team without Shaq, so his lossed games really dont mean as much as the loss of Big Z who has only missed 1 game. Delante West is another key to this team, and he is struggling in every aspect. He is a good player as we saw on the Celtics, but I dont know if he has it together enough to really help the team out.2) Celtics (27-11)Garnett- Has missed 9 games- Team record: 5-4 Pierce- Has missed 5 games- Team Record: 2-3 Rondo- Has missed 1 game- Team Record: 1-0 Sheed- Has missed 3 games- Team Record: 1-2 Big Baby- Has missed 28 games- Team Record: 22-6 Daniels- Has missed 19 games- Team Record 12-7Combined Missed Games by Key Players: 65We haven't had a complete team yet this year. Whether it be the explosive bench we expected, or the same starting 5 that has had 2 years to gel, there is alot of room for error when this many games have been missed. The top 2 on this list are clearly the ones we care about the most, however the Big Baby's, Sheed's, and Daniels of the world mean alot to the team as well. They are the players to come in and HOLD not let the lead SLIP.3) Atlanta (26-13)Evans- Has missed 1 game- Team Record: 1-0 Williams- Has missed 1 game- Team Record: 1-0Combined Missed Games by Key Players: 2Thats all she wrote. You can't really blame them, though, because they have a young team. I don't personally expect a young team to play with as many injuries as the Celtics and Cavs do as those teams have veteran players who have been around a while. This only helps to explain their standing in the Eastern Conference, however, and eventually some sort of injuries will catch up to them, leading me to feel confident in saying, this team wont even be contending with the Celtics, Cavs, or Magic come April. They have felt no adversity yet.4) Magic (26-14)Anderson- Has missed 8 games- Team Record: 4-4 Carter- Has missed 7 games- Team Record: 5-2 Gortat- Has missed 1 game- Team Record: 1-0 Lewis- Has missed 10 games- Team Record: 7-3 Nelson- Has missed 17 games- Team Record: 13-4 Pietrus- Has missed 2 games- Team Record: 1-1Combined Missed Games by Key Players: 45The Magic have had some very key losses like Nelson and Lewis being out for the extended period of time they were out for. This far into the year both Nelson and Lewis are far off their career averages. As the year goes on we will have to see if it becomes an issue with this team, or if they will get back on track. Of all the teams in the league, it seems as though the Magic are battling with the Celtics for the most injuried plagued teams. (Among contenders- Sorry TrailBlazers fans, but I dont consider you "Title Contenders")Now to the West where I will talk about the only team the Celtics are worried about 1) Lakers (31-9)Artest- Has missed 5 games- Team Record: 4-1 Bynum- Has missed 2 games- Team Record: 2-0 Gasol- Has missed 17 games- Team Record: 11-6 Adam Morrison has missed 20 games.... But for some reason I don't think its due to injury....Combined Missed Games by Key Players: 24Alright now Laker fan, give me a break. I dont need all these postings crying about how your team is all banged up and saying "Another one goes down". With the exception of Pau Gasol, you have not even partially grasped the concept of what it means for a team to be injury plagued. Kobe has not missed a game but in strong quotes I will mention he had a "Finger Injury". Gasol is a key part to the Laker team, and if he doesn't stay healthy LA will slip. As for Artest, so far into this season he has not been as big a factor as thought to be when he was signed in the offseason. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
The article can also be viewed at Gino's Jungle
Saturday, 16 January 2010 09:56

KG Is King Of Smack

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The art of trash talking is partaken by many and perfected by few. Larry Legend bumped his gums on more than one occasion, Dennis Rodman was known to tell you how inferior he thinks you are and Jordan would tell you which way he was going and dare you to stop him.KG takes it to another level.For the recent poll conducted by Sports Illustrated, 173 NBA players were asked who talks the most garbage on the floor. Garnett blew away the competition with 62 percent of the vote. That is a staggering landslide since Kobe Bryant was second on the list with a measly 7 percent of the vote. Sheed was third with 5 percent while Paul Pierce and Nate Robinson tied for fourth with 3.Between Kevin screaming at no one in particular and getting down on all floors while melting the faces of anyone trying to bring the ball cross court I would say the players made the right choice. KG drops F bombs at about 36 per minute and leads the league in crazy screaming at the roof.During last year’s playoffs Kage tried to combust the Bulls players with some contorted mug that was so severe I thought his chin was going to blow off his face or Joakim Noah’s head was going to pop like a frog in the microwave. Every time the camera cut to Garnett in his three piece on the bench you had to hide the little ones’ eyes because you didn’t need to be a lip reading expert to catch what sor of filth was being vomited onto the court.It does beg one question, though. Does KG do it because he thinks it helps to get in someone’s head or does he do it just to hear himself talk and get psyched up? Also, if you play ball at the league level, does trash talking effect the way you play? I would hope that a dude’s mind wouldn’t be so fragile that they would be thrown off their game because someone said they sucked.One thing is for sure, Kevin Garnett has cemented himself as one of the most elite (if not the best ever) smack talker the NBA has ever seen. He can stand side by side with the trash talking all stars, the likes of Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, and Gary Payton.I’d still take KG to out smack all of those mother f*ckers.
The latest installment in the ongoing serial drama that is the status of Kevin Garnett's knee injury has arrived, and, surprise! It's just as ambiguous and unsettling as anything we could have hoped for. Per the Celtics Insider blog at BostonHerald.com:"It’s an extremely rough target, but Doc Rivers believes that one possibility for a Kevin Garnett return is a Jan. 22 home game against Portland."

The latest installment in the ongoing serial drama that is the status of Kevin Garnett's knee injury has arrived, and, surprise! It's just as ambiguous and unsettling as anything we could have hoped for.Per the Celtics Insider blog at BostonHerald.com: It’s an extremely rough target, but Doc Rivers believes that one possibility for a Kevin Garnett return is a Jan. 22 home game against Portland.The Celtics play a game against the Pistons two nights earlier in Auburn Hills, MI.“We would have a practice day the day before (the Portland game),” the Celtics coach said before tonight’s game against the Bulls. “I’m just glad that he’s running right now. We’ll have a couple of practices over the next week where he can get on the floor and work with us.“We’ll play him when he’s ready, and that’s it,” said Rivers. “But there’s an outside chance that Portland could be the return game for him.” My favorite aspect of this "update" is the title itself, which reads "New KG target: Jan. 22nd vs. Portland." The question I find myself instinctively asking is, if I were playing darts, and began haphazardly hurling projectiles in the general direction of the dart board, is that the same thing as selecting a valid target? If the C's, as an organization, continue to give the public vague timetables, unclear diagnoses, and very little of any substance aside from a metaphoric finger gesturing lackadaisically somewhere down the road... does that really count as an update?I don't mean this post to come across as a turd in the punch bowl, as any concrete news regarding an impending return by the Big Ticket would be warmly welcomed, but that's not how this reads: in fact, it bears a striking resemblance to a past update on KG's knee, this time from the Boston Globe: Garnett has been out with a sprained right knee he suffered Feb. 19 at Utah. The 2007-08 Defensive Player of the Year made the trip to San Antonio, but has not practiced since suffering the injury. Although Ainge is confident Garnett is ready based on his workouts this week, the team is still being cautious."He's looking good," Ainge said. "He's made a great deal of strides, especially in the last 10 days or so. It took him a little while to get going. But in the last week to 10 days, he's been looking a lot better."Just by the way he's moving, he looks fresh and healthy. We're still playing it by ear. We're still waiting to see what's going to happen. I'm confident that he will be back [soon]."A strong shootaround could get Garnett back in the starting lineup tonight. That update came last season on March 20, 2009, just a week and a half before KG was shut down going into the playoffs.I'm not trying to say that Garnett is on the verge of being shut down: only that these updates should be taken with a grain of salt. The rhetoric is the same now as it was last year: he's looking better, blah blah blah, not going to rush him, blah blah blah, confident he'll be back soon, blah blah blah. And we all know how that story unfolded.I'd much rather the Celtics take their cues from Bill Belichick (not a popular sentiment these days, I know) on this one, and say nothing beyond the player's official status. Maybe they think that they're reassuring fans, but I don't find that to be the case here at all. If Garnett didn't have the injury track record that he does, perhaps that'd be valid. But all I feel when I read these constantly adjusted return projections is an ever-increasing sense of impending gloom (not yet full on doom). I spent all of last year's playoffs holding my breath for a Willis Reed-esque return by KG, first against the Bulls, then against the Magic, which ended in disappointment and diminished my enjoyment of a classic series against Chicago.I had a college philosophy professor with whom I shared a fanatical worship of hobbit-creating author J.R.R. Tolkien, and he particularly loved one quote that he would trot out on an almost weekly basis, and which resonates with me to this day: Perilous to us all are the devices of an art deeper than we possess ourselves. (LOTR, p. 583) There are machinations occurring here that we, as fans, aren't privy to. Knowledge of what is going on with Garnett's knee would be illuminating, but incomplete knowledge, obscurities and exaggerations are not. All this incomplete information does is set us up for disappointment. It diminishes my enjoyment of what is happening by making casual promises about what might happen in the near future. Thus, barring the release of what appears to be substantial, breaking information regarding Garnett (i.e. "KG to return tonight"), or a significant change in his injury status (change in diagnosis, etc.), this will be my last post on the subject.Sometimes, it's better not to know.
Saturday, 16 January 2010 03:29

For the Celtics, 2010 Draws Eery Similarities to 1988

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As disappointing as the Celtics loss was on Thursday night, I found it slightly encouraging to hear the captain not excepting any reasons as an excuse for lack of energy. The Boston Globe's Gary Dzen (guest on this week's Celtics Late Night Show) would bring reference to the Celtics lack of fire power on the second night of back to backs by quoting Pierce as saying, "Every team in the NBA has to do it," said Celtics captain Paul Pierce. "We’re conditioned to play as many games as they put on the schedule, so I don’t know if that’s a factor or not...We feel like we’re at home, we should be a better team at home than what we’ve been playing as of late." Playing on national television and on the second night of back to backs (four games in five nights), the Celtics looked old, tired and defeated at tip off. The young and athletic Bulls had charged through the TD Garden tunnel, onto the parquet floor and over the vulnerable Celtics. Described as "old and experienced" by the TNT intro to the telecast, the 2009-10 Celtics continue bare resemblance to the late 80's/early 90's team led by the aging Big Three of that era.Those, late-era, Larry Bird led team's were very dangerous but never had the youth and health needed to compete with the emerging Bulls, Pistons and Hawks of that era. Those youthful team's gave Bird, Parish, McHale, Ainge and DJ fits that they were not accustomed to. The '88 team (57-25) would drop regular season games to up and coming team's, such as the Hawks, Bulls, Nuggets, Knicks and Cavs. By this time in January, the '88 team had already dropped two games to the Hawks, Cavs, Pistons and Bucks. They had compiled a three game losing streak, something that had not been done by a Bird led team since the early 80's.The 1988 team would post their eleventh loss of the season by January 16th. Though the Celtics of that era epitomized Celtics Mystique by protecting the parquet floor (three losses at home through January), they were atrocious on the road, displaying a lack of focus similar to 2010's team's lack of focus at home.Though, in 1988, Larry Bird would notch career high's in offensive stats, it had become visibly apparent that the team had run out of gas and had to be carried on Bird's back throughout the season. Unfortunately we all remember the affects of carrying his teammates had on Bird's back.The 1988 team had been the '84, '85, '86, '87 versions of the team, beat down by injuries and burnt out from four straight seasons of hard fought battles to get the finals. Back then, I remember thinking "this team lacks the fire of the past team's." How can the exact same line-up look so much older in one season?Though today's version of the team has only reached the finals once and won one title, they draw eery similarities to the late era Bird team's. Bird had provided excitement in 1988 but was ultimately burned out by the eastern conference finals, losing to the Pistons in six games. In 1989, Larry Bird would only play six games and, when returning a season later, never displayed the lethal shooting that had made him famous.1988 kicked off the theme that "we, as fans, might be watching the Celtics of that era compete for the last time." In the seasons that followed, broadcasters would refer to the Celtics as "old legs" and "veteran savvy and experience."Sound familiar?
Thursday, 14 January 2010 23:12

Celtics Look Tired Against Bulls, Lose 96-83

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[caption id="attachment_4142" align="alignleft" width="272" caption=" (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)"][/caption]Boston needs to figure out how to get some continuity going after tonight’s frustrating loss against a sub .500 Chicago team. They can start by practicing free throws from the end of the game until the start of the next one on Monday.The Celtics shot an abysmal 52% from the line on 14-27. That alone was the margin of defeat. They also could learn to box out on the defensive end since they gave up 15 O boards and 49 overall. Boston grabbed 39. The C’s only had five more assists (17) than turnovers (12). Needless to say, that is not a recipe for winning.Glen Davis had one of the most inefficient performances off the bench I’ve seen in a long time scoring 6 PTS in 26 minutes. To be fair, he did grab 8 REBS but that is about it. Tony Allen only scored 2 PTS in his 14 minutes.The starters are tired and it showed in the second half. Perkins walking back after offensive misses and a plethora of flat shots from Pierce and Ray Allen signaled the toll of that stretch of 40+ minute games is catching up to them. Ray only went 4-10 and didn’t hit a three pointer. Pierce had 20 PTS, 8 REBS and 6 ASTS for a decent night but couldn’t turn it on down the stretch. It’s a disconcerting trend that when the C’s fall behind early by 11 or so they can never seem to close the gap. Whenever they get close they give up another 10-2 run and have to start digging out from another hole.Chicago had 10 blocks as a team with Joakim Noah collecting four of them. If I was blocked by Noah and he started talking junk to me, I’m not sure I would be able to keep my fist from trying to reach the back of his ugly head through his rat face.One bright spot was Kendrick Perkins collecting another double double with 14 PTS and 10 REBS. It was something to cheer for in an otherwise excruciating game to watch. Chicago took advantage of the tired legs of Boston and ran the tempo up from the start, only slowing down when the likes of Brad Miller were in the game.Now the Celtics have three days off and will host Dallas on Monday night. If they can’t address some of their season long issues with turnovers and rebounding I doubt that game will be very much fun to watch.
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 22:28

Celtics Paste Nets 111-87

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The Celtics finally dominated a game from start to finish, though with the Nets looking like the Washington Generals these days, it wasn’t hard.Boston led by as many as 36 and that was just at the end of the first half. The Celtics shot right around 60% from the field for the game. Curiously, even though the C’s were up large for most of the game and it being the first of a back to back, Doc played Pierce for 28 minutes. Paul had 24 PTS, 6 REBS and two knee on knee collisions.Kendrick Perkins had a lock down defensive game despite Brook Lopez’s numbers. Perk had 12 PTS, 8 REBS and 5 BLKS on the night and he only played 26 minutes. Rajon Rondo piled up 11 PTS and 14 ASTS while Boston demolished the Nets in the first half.Tony Allen showed some more signs of his high flying ability coming back from two devastating knee injuries. In the second quarter he caught an alley oop from Pierce which he caught one handed with his head slightly behind the backboard and flushed it with authority. TA finished up with 11 PTS, 5 REBS and a couple of steals on the night.The Celtics bench finally played some minutes tonight as Doc cleared the pine in the 4th when Bill Walker was the last player to enter the game. Everyone but Walker had double digits off the bench with TA leading the way with 20. Glen Davis scored 13 PTS to lead the reserves and Eddie House struggled going 1-9 for a lowly 2 PTS. Davis was icing his right hand after a hard foul by Kris Humphries late in the game and will remain to be seen how that will affect tomorrow’s game against Chicago.For everything that went right for Boston, it was the exact opposite for New Jersey. They couldn’t get any sort of rhythm going against the starting five of the Celtics and were outplayed by the C’s bench for most of the game. Boston outrebounded the Nets 47-36 collected 14 of them on the offensive side of the glass.Billy Walker and J.R Giddens had a game of anything you can do I can do better during the last three minutes of the game with some high flying dunks and athletic layups which was fun to see. Not only because I like to see those guys play but because that meant that the starters were relegated to cheerleaders. Every starter was off the floor with less than 30 minutes of playing time so they finally got some rest after a few games of 40 minutes plus.This was a good win that they had to blow out in order to get some rest for a back to back with travel. The C’s will look to continue their winning ways against a Bulls team on Thursday that is nowhere near the club they faced in the playoffs.