Tag:Boston Celtics
Posted on: September 27, 2010 11:14 pm
 

The new NBA reality in pictures

Posted by Matt Moore

We'll have plenty more from NBA media day as camp begins tomorrow, but we wanted to share with you this image from the photoshoot this afternoon at the Heat facility. (Image courtesy of Getty Images/Marc Serota)



And here's what the past four months have felt like, ever since the entire "Decision" process began. And if the depth/size/ego issues can't slow down the Heat, despite all the flak he's taken, this may be what ends up being the lasting impression of James in 2010-2011. (Illustration by NBA F&R)

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Of course, this will be standing in their way.



Awkward.

Posted on: September 22, 2010 5:00 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2010 7:16 pm
 

Pop Quiz: Are the Celtics too old?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Are the Celtics too old to win the title?


Too old for what? I suppose that's the real question here. Too old to win the East? Probably not. Too old to get homecourt advantage? Surely not. Too old to win the title?

That's a tough one. 

Let me take you back to a year ago. The Celtics began the season trying to regain their pride after a loss to the then-surprising Magic in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. And to be honest? They didn't look very convincing, even on their winning streak as they cruised to the division title. In key games, Garnett looked slow. They lost to a Kobe buzzer-beater. Even when they later got revenge for that game, it seemed to set a tone. And that was before the second half, where they looked terrible. Every Boston fan on the planet will tell you that it was just a lack of resolve, a sense of boredom, and that those games simply didn't matter to them, so their effort wasn't there. That's probably partially true. It's also partially true that even bored the Celtics should have beaten the Nets and beaten them easily in every game they played. There were problems for Boston. Tons of them. Most notably, they were swept by the Hawks, and each time it was a late run by the Hawks featuring the transition game that did them in. The Celtics simply couldn't run with them. Everyone put a plug in them, except their fans, a handful of media, and Nate Jones. 

And then the playoffs came, and all of that thought process went out the window.

The San Antonio Spurs throughout the years had drifted and coasted to second half finishes, and yet always seemed to find themselves there at the end for years. But there was no precedent for the rope-a-dope the Celtics seemingly pulled last year. Even the first few games against Miami in the first round seemed close. But then Kevin Garnett got into a fight which lead to a suspension, and from there on out, the Celtics destroyed everyone when they needed to when they came across them, all the way up until the 4th quarter of Game 7 against LA. The pitbulls had regained control of the pack, and everyone that said Boston only lost to the Magic due to Garnett's injury in 2009 was vindicated. 

That was last year. The Celtics are now a year older. Ray Allen is 35, Garnett 34, Pierce 33. They added two centers who long ago left the comfort of 30. Rajon Rondo is still young and chipper, alongside Glen Davis and Nate Robinson. But they put on a lot of miles the last two years, which will add to the fatigue factor. 

But then, Shaquille O'Neal says that old teams win titles. Which is pretty on par. Experience matters in this league, and the Celtics have a world of it. 

How old are the Celtics in comparison to other title teams? Since 2004-2005, championship team starters averaged to be 27.4 years old. The oldest were naturally the Spurs in 2007. Their starting five in the Finals that year began the season at an average age of 30.6 years old. The Celtics enter this season at 30.2 years old if we project Kendrick Perkins as the starter for a theoretical Finals and 32.8 if we go with Shaquille O'Neal, the probably opening night starter. The Celtics, in essence, are trying to be the second oldest team since 2004 to win the title. It's relatively easy to argue that the competition is greater now than it was in 2007, with the Pau-Gasol-era Lakers, the Heat, and the Magic in play, but those are the numbers. 

So what's the answer? In case you haven't been able to tell, this is simply not a quiz with a correct answer. If you are to make the case that the Celtics have finally reached the threshold where wisdom becomes physical limitation, you're probably on par. We saw signs of it last year, the Celtics just showed a remarkable amount of grit in powering through it and committing to the team concept (again). If you were to make the case that the Celtics are nowhere near done, not after last year's performance, who could argue with you?

And that's where we hit the Heat. 

Of course.

The Heat are going to be the antithesis for the Celtics this season, and in a lot of ways they are polar opposites. The Celtics rely on players that are very clearly defined in their roles (Rondo is the point guard, distributer, floor general. Garnett the defensive motivational speaker. Pierce is the go-to scorer. Allen is the perimeter marksman, etc.). The Heat have a nebulous lineup that may end up featuring a super freak small forward at point guard and their starting center is an inexperienced Canadian who is 6'9'' (Perkins is 6'10''). The Celtics are committed to a defensive philosophy of sacrifice and communication. The Heat are betting heavily on overwhelming opponents with skill and ability. The Celtics are primarily an old team. The Heat are primarily a mid-20's team. The Celtics have experience. The Heat are inexperie....wait. No they're not. Dwyane Wade's won a title and James has been in the Finals. But that's the perception. 

It's an interesting corollary that our society will define age with physically limited, but also often associate it with toughness. If you make it that long, you must have thick skin. And that's the area where most people doubt the Heat and believe in the Celtics. The Celtics are betting that you'll have an easier time drawing breath at your young age, but that they'll be the last one standing when the bell rings. 

I closed the door on the Magic's window and needless to say, team bloggers are not buying. I was ready to shut the door on the Celtics last year, and they slammed it back in my face, walked in, made themselves a sandwich and tracked mud on my carpet. I'm not willing to bury the Celtics until the heart's stopped beating. Age can be cruel, but for the Celtics, it's a beast they can live with. They remain contenders to the ring until that last breath gives out. 
Posted on: September 22, 2010 12:32 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 12:33 am
 

Scalabrine leaves Boston, signs with the Bulls

Posted by Royce Young

Some thought the day might not ever come. But after five seasons as a pseudo fan favorite in Boston, Brian Scalabrine is set to finally ship out.

Multiple outlets are reporting that Scalabrine is following one of his old assistant coaches and signing with the Bulls. The deal is a non-guaranteed camp invite, but reports indicate that Tom Thibodeau pushed hard for Scalabrine and with that kind of support, the veteran forward might have a shot at the roster.

The Bulls need training camp players as they currently only have 12 players under contract. So while Scalabrine's deal is non-guaranteed, he has a pretty solid chance of being on the team. In fact, one report said a source said Scalabrine is a "good bet" to make the final Bulls roster. So while the contract isn't guaranteed, by the looks of it, Scalabrine should be playing for Chicago this season. Well, not "playing" I guess. More like sitting.

Why the interest in such a minor signing like Scalabrine? Honestly, I have no idea. But there's something about the awkward redhead that people find interesting. He's a character in the league, despite being very insignificant on the actual court. He is known for being one of the league leaders in high fives and is always one of the quickest and most energetic guys off the bench for hand slaps during a TV timeout. So there's that for Chicago.

Known as a hard worker and quality practice squad player, Scalabrine, 32, has averaged 3.3 points a game during his nine seasons.
Posted on: September 17, 2010 4:12 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2010 5:07 pm
 

Pop Quiz: Has Orlando's window closed?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

As Courtney Lee hung in the air, anticipating the incoming lob for a last second shot in the NBA Finals, he likely didn't know anything of what would happen as a result in the next 1.5 seconds. He would miss the alley-oop, a nearly impossible shot that he deserves credit for simply for managing to execute. He would wind up traded to New Jersey which would go on to be one of the worst teams in NBA history, then be traded to Houston. The Magic would swap out Hedo Turkoglu for an upgrade at shooting guard in Vince Carter. And the Magic's best chance at an NBA championship would be snuffed out.

So the question has to be: Does Orlando still have a window open to win an NBA championship?

It sounds absurd. After all, the team won 59 games last season, good for second in the East. They stomped their way to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second season in a row. Dwight Howard enters the season at only 24 years old. Jameer Nelson has a promising career in front of him. They have depth. Stan Van Gundy is considered one of the better coaches in the league. How could their window be closed?

The concern comes down to a number of tangible concerns, and one that relates to the ephemeral nature of windows in the NBA.

In the tangible, the biggest glaring problem is quite simply the other teams in the league. When Orlando ousted Boston in 2009, it was thought to be a death sentence on Boston's lockhold on the East. But Celtic players and fans who thought the only reason Orlando advanced was Kevin Garnett's injury that year were validated last season when the Green stomped the Blue with defense and intensity. Not helping matters on that front is the improved center depth for the Celtics, who now feature Jermaine O'Neal and Shaquille O'Neal to combat Dwight Howard along with Kendrick Perkins.

Then of course, there's that nasty Miami issue. With the Heat not only taking a giant step forward, but playing in Miami's division, things get considerably harder for the Magic.

But those are outside matters. The real issue for Orlando in trying to make it back to the Finals and compete is that they seem to have detonated the special formula that got them there in the first place. Vince Carter had a handful of terrific great games for the Magic but also brought all the questions about toughness and clutch ability. And he seemed a tremendous step back from what Hedo Turkoglu had given them, regardless of Turkoglu's age and diminishing skill. Chemistry for that team was shaky. It seemed inconsistent and incomplete, like there were tensions bubbling under, in contrast to the 2009 team which seemed to hum like a finely tuned engine.

Finally there's the nature of championship windows themselves for small-market teams. A large market team like the Lakers can contend for a decade if they keep egos in check. They can stay in the conversation as long as their top elite player is around and healthy. But we've seen it often in the past. A smaller market team has what is considered a great team, pushes the elite team in their conference, but is unable to reach the summit. The Magic tinkered with what worked, which is often a big no-no in sports. Turkoglu may have been on the downside of his career and not as talented as Vince Carter, but the Magic were better with him running point forward in the halfcourt set.

Think of what they need in order to return to the championship if they don't make a major trade this season. They need Carter to play better than he did last season, have everyone stay healthy, repeat last year's performance, then overcome Boston's defense and Miami's starpower... just to make the Finals where barring a gigantic upset they'll then face the same Lakers team that overwhelmed them two years ago. Orlando's ownership group has commendably committed money to the team as it enters a new arena with a contending team. But unless it takes a major step back up the ladder, it may just be spinning its expensive wheels as the rest of the league continues to stay one step ahead of them.

Orlando will be good. But barring Dwight Howard becoming one of the most dominant offensive players in the league or massive injuries to both Miami and Boston, there's little evidence to believe they'll be good enough to be considered a real title contender.
Posted on: September 17, 2010 9:51 am
Edited on: September 17, 2010 10:27 am
 

Shootaround 9.17.10: La-Z-Boys are awesome

Landry's La-Z-Boys, Duncan's slim fit, and Ainge's cliff in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


Of all the endorsement opportunities you can get, I don't want Nike. Nor do I want Pepsi or Coke or McDonalds. No, I want the same endorsement op that Carl Landry just got. La-Z-Boy . Now that's a quality endorsement. I bet he has a La-Z-Boy in each and every room in his house. I wonder if he gets the ones with the cupholders and refrigerators underneath. Are they custom-sized for his frame? So many questions.

There were a lot of questions about the Bobcat's decision to waive Erick Dampier's crazy valuable $13 million expiring non-guaranteed contract. Turns out the contract is guaranteed if Dampier is injured , which means the Bobcats would be on the hook for the $13 million, and that was a risk they simply couldn't afford to take.

Tim Duncan is getting up there in years. That impacts his ability to stay on the floor, especially given how many games he's played with playoffs included. But it appears he's reacted that situation by losing some weight, as Greg Popovich told reporters Thursday that Duncan has shown up for camp slimmer and faster than in years past, this after showing up last year 15 lbs. lighter. That move could partially be based on the improved depth the Spurs have, which means Duncan doesn't have to play the part of traditional big-man center, especially with Tiago Splitter on board. It's possible Duncan could be playing more in traditional power forward sets for the Spurs this year.

Jon Scheyer is going to camp with the Jazz. This concludes your "most appropriate undrafted free agent signing" of the week.

Monta Ellis wants to make things work with Stephen Curry, and regrets his comments about the rook last year. There's a thought that the two can coexist, but if that's going to happen, someone's going to have to determine a pecking order. And the better Ellis gets, the more complicated that issue comes, and that's before we factor in David Lee. Still, it's good to see Ellis recognizes his failure to lead last year.

The Celtics opted for the status quo this year , but they had options. It's a difficult question that Danny Ainge faces, the question of when exactly to pull the plug and begin the move towards the future. That's a cliff no one wants to jump off, which is why so many are shoved off.

Greg Oden is like some sort of really powerful Magic The Gathering card . I tend to think of him more like one of those really difficult to unlock video game secrets that when you unlock it, really isn't that cool anyway. It's cool, it's just not worth the work you did to get there.

Let's all have a giggle at the idea of Derrick Favors starting to begin the season .

An image of the Cleveland skyline will replace the "We Are All Witnesses" banner in Cleveland. That's still going to sting fans that look at it each night.

The jerks in Sacramento defaced the Casspi mural again . Sigh.
Posted on: September 10, 2010 9:11 am
 

Shootaround 9.10.10: An extension for Noah?

Posted by Royce Young
  • Before we get too carried away with Joakim Noah for Carmelo Anthony talk, Marc Stein of ESPN says that the Bulls are actually working on something else Noah related: an extension. Which adds a potentially interesting twist to the trade rumors. Right now, Noah's salary is nowhere close to being enough to get a deal done with Denver for Anthony. Luol Deng would have to be included in the trade, but Denver is lukewarm on Deng. So if the Bulls extend Noah to say, $10 million a year, that would make a swap much easier. Just a thought.
  • Kevin Durant wrote "1972" on his sneakers yesterday for the game against Russia. Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie: "Not only does it remind me of how proud I am to be an American, but it should remind followers from all nations in this tournament that being part of a team can be a pretty special thing. Whether you're a member of Team USA at one point, CCCP, the Russian team, or a squad that didn't even exist in the 1988 Olympics (which took place the month Kevin Durant was born), it hardly matters. You're a teammate for life, and I appreciated Durant's little message to his teammates."
  • Ailene Voison of the Sac Bee on the reprehensible situation with Omri Casspi: "Kings forward Omri Casspi said Thursday he was 'hurt' after learning that a mural featuring his likeness was defaced with a swastika. The incident at 16th and R streets in midtown Sacramento is being investigated as a possible hate crime by local authorities. 'It's been all over the news over here,' said Casspi by phone at his family home in Yavne, Israel. 'Everybody's talking about it. It's hurtful to think that this is 2010, and there are still people like that out there. I almost don't know what to say. It's probably just some idiot who wants some publicity. But I know the people in Sacramento, and they have been wonderful to me. I know they must feel bad about this. Same thing with the Kings. I'll just let the police handle this and focus on having a great season.' Casspi, the first Israeli to play in the NBA, returns to Sacramento on Monday to begin preparing for his second training camp."
  • What does the old show "The White Shadow" and Turkey's 12 Giant Men have in common? Pete Thamel of the NY Times: "Turkey’s rapid rise as a basketball power can be traced, in part, to 'The White Shadow,' whose 54 episodes appeared on black-and-white TV here from 1980 to 1982. 'It made people aware of basketball in Turkey,' said Alper Yilmaz, a former national team player who works in the front office of Efes Pilsen, a club in Istanbul that has won 13 Turkish League titles since its founding in 1976. 'There was already basketball in Turkey,' Yilmaz added, 'but after that show, everyone started playing.'"
  • Chris Sheridan of ESPN on what gets lost in translation in international basketball: "The inclination for a player in foul trouble is to hold back, even just a little. Not so for Andre Iguodala , who played with so much energy and passion right when the Americans needed it that one of the Russian players actually thought he was swearing at him -- in Russian. "He say in Russian a bad word. I don't know how he know this. I won't even translate it. It's bad," said Russian forward Andrey Vorontsevich, who got yelled at by Iguodala after being a little too physical with Lamar Odom . "All I said was, 'watch it, watch it,'" Iguodala said, bewildered. "I don't speak any Russian."Apparently (according to bilingual Russian journalist Vladimir Gomelsky of NTV+, the Russian all-sports cable network), if you say, "watch it, watch it" fast enough, it can be misconstrued as the Russian euphemism for a female canine."
Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:15 am
Edited on: September 9, 2010 11:42 am
 

Shootaround 9.9.10: Dwight grants a big wish

Rodman's overheard orgy, Artest's ring on the market, and Bogut's MRI.
Posted by Matt Moore
Get your Kleenex ready. The Orlando Sentinel  reports of a visit from Dwight Howard to a woman dying of Stage 3 Multiple Myeloma. The one wish from a dying woman? A visit from the Orlando All-Star. It's a touching story, one that wound up with Howard being the one changed by the visit. Howard is in a unique position for these types of life-changing events. His relationship with his faith may come under constant scrutiny because of his fame, but it also equips him for times like these, comforting a woman on her way out with laughter and compassion.

Ron Artest is selling his championship ring , for charity, before he even has a chance to wear it. NBA.com reports that Artest will sell the ring without putting it on in a fundraiser to help put more mental health professionals in school. This comes on the heels of Artest working in schools to promote good mental health. It's indicative of a drastic reversal in public perception, with Artest going from being considered crazy in the negative, non-serious sense to really putting himself forward as a champion for the cause of mental health intervention. Standing "O" for Crazy Pills.

Dwyane Wade is in court this week for the custody case of his children. His lawyer is recommending custody for Wade, obviously, and there's a lawyer for the boys with three recommendations in play. All three recommendations feature Wade in a custody position to some degree. It would appear the talk of family being important for Wade is talk that's being walked, in this instance.

Depressing news out of Sacramento , as police are investigating vandalism of a Kings mural with a swastika that may be related to Kings' Israeli player Omri Casspi. Seriously, folks. We can move past this, right? The vandals really should watch the kid pass in transition. It's hard to hate him after that.

Andrew Bogut is seeing a hand specialist and having an MRI done . Nothing to worry about, really. After all, there's still like, two weeks before training camp...wait, that's not much time at all. Dang.

So Dennis Rodman? Yeah, he went to a party, and was MC'ing, and then left his microphone on when he went upstairs. That's embarrassing. Wait, what's that you say? He was upstairs having sex with six women? What's the word I'm looking for here? Oh, yeah. Icky. But hey, good to know that just like his playing days, Rodman is hyper-efficient. At least those guests that overheard him on the microphone downstairs can cross "eavesdrop on Dennis Rodman in an orgy" off their bucket list.

Spain fell to Serbia yesterday, in a minor upset. Here's how Spain unraveled . It was a shocking loss for Spain, and for those that believe that Ricky Rubio can actually walk on water, part the seas, and hit a jumpshot.

A look back at Dwight Howard's career nights . It's posts like this that make you think twice before criticizing his play too much.

If you have Raptor fan friends, prepare for them to be a grumpy bunch next season . They're gaining a great scorer (as he's shown in World play) in Linas Kleiza, but they're worried about his usage. They have a dynamic scorer in Andrea Bargnani, who, quite honestly, they hate because he doesn't rebound. There's just a lot of bad blood there right now.

I can answer this question . Does Luke Harangody have a role with the Celtics? Sure. Someone's gotta be mascot.

Jared Dudley is resigned to a good-faith situation with the Suns. That rarely works out well in the A. 
Posted on: September 1, 2010 2:47 pm
 

Report: Delonte West to return to Boston

Posted by Royce Young

And the Celtics roster continues to get weirder. A league source tells the Boston Herald that Delonte West is ready to sign a deal with Boston.

West of course had one stint already with the Celtics, as he was drafted 24th overall in the 2004 draft and played in Boston for three years. He was then traded to Seattle in a deal that brought in Ray Allen. He most recently played with LeBron in Cleveland, but then was traded to Minnesota were he was promptly released.

The Herald says West will sign a non-guaranteed contract and will be in training camp this fall. So a spot on the roster is not a lock for the volatile guard.  West is suspended for the first 10 games this season for pleading guilty to a gun charge.

West is a helpful role player when his head is right. He might be able to settle in as the team's backup point guard behind Rajon Rondo as currently rookie Avery Bradley is playing behind Rondo. The Celtic bench doesn't have a ton of punch off it currently with Marquis Daniels and Nate Robinson being the top scoring names right now. Of course Jermaine O'Neal and Glen Davis are on Boston's second unit, but in terms of guard production, the Celtics are a bit thin, especially after losing Tony Allen to free agency.

Last season in Cleveland, West played in 60 games and averaged 8.8 points and 3.3 assists in 25 minutes a game.
 
 
 
 
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