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Monday , Apr , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

D’Antoni on Rondo: ‘I’d like to see him on Minnesota’

D'Antoni on Rondo: "I'd like to see him on Minnesota and see how well he does." But quickly adds, "He's a really good player."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Mike D’Antoni should’ve been worrying about his New York Knicks beating Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics.

After all, D’Antoni’s Knicks were trailing their series 3-0 when he spouted off on whether Rondo could succeed without The Big Three on a weaker squad like the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The sideline boss had to field a team without starting point guard Chauncey Billups. Instead of preparing a solution like, say, inserting veteran Anthony Carter earlier on, D’Antoni provided bulletin board material for Rondo.

Know this: Rondo would be a player in The Frozen Tundra of ‘Sota -or anywhere else, for that matter. He’d pile-up assists with Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, and anybody else.

And Rondo makes his squad go, as demonstrated by his 21 points and 12 assists in game four against the Knicks. Now his Celtics are going to the second round after sweeping D’Antoni’s Knicks.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Apr , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Glen Davis on Amar’e’s core insult: ‘I’ve never had abs’

Glen Davis laughed off the latest barb from Amar'e Stoudemire. The rail-thin Knicks center, who brags about his low body fat, had said Davis' "core wasn't as tight as it should be."

The 6-foot-9, 289-pound Celtics forward took that as a sly way of pointing out that he is chubby. Davis leaned back in his seat next to the court at the Garden and patted his round stomach."I've never have had abs, no abs," Davis said with a laugh. "I am not gonna worry about that. Never in my life have I had abs, ever, even when I was a little baby."

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Glen Davis doesn’t have abs. In fact, the portly post admits he’s never had a ripped stomach.
 
The Boston Celtics’ star is openly defending his body shape because Amar’e Stoudemire mocked his core to reporters. Stoudemire has six-pack abs. Davis does not.
 
Davis does have a championship ring, though. His team does have a 3-0 advantage in their playoff series against Stoudemire’s New York Knicks.
 
Most importantly, Davis has his priorities right. Stoudemire does not.
 
For instance, Davis is laughing off Stoudemire’s latest insult, worrying only about closing out the series, and not saying anything at this stage that will end up on the Knicks’ bulletin board. There's no comment about Stoudemire being 'easy to defend'.
 
Meanwhile, Stoudemire is foolishly engaged in a personal duel. It doesn’t matter that he isn’t healthy. It doesn’t matter that his team is a game away from their cottages at the Hamptons. He’s acting a fool by running his mouth.
 
Of course, it’s ironic to see Davis showing maturity. His nickname is Big Baby. And he once missed weeks with a broken hand because he and a ‘friend’ had a physical encounter after a night of drinking.
 
Perhaps people learn. And perhaps people get sidetracked. Stoudemire will have time to think this over when his season soon ends.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Apr , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Big Shamrock Down: Shaquille O’Neal out for Boston Celtics

Shaquille O'Neal failed a conditioning test this morning, and has been ruled out indefinitely by the Boston Celtics. Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, made the announcement this afternoon with team physician, Dr. Brian McKeon.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Big Shamrock is down. And the Boston Celtics have a problem.

Word is Shaquille O’Neal won’t be ready for the playoffs because of nagging calf and Achilles injuries.

Glen Davis, Kevin Garnett, Nenad Krstic, and Jermaine O’Neal will split time at the 4-5 spots, while Jeff Green will get significant minutes as a stretch-4.

The Celtics struggled down the stretch without a legitimate 5-man. Whether they can make do with this platoon of players remains to be seen.

Unfortunately, this puts the spotlight on GM Danny Ainge. He traded defensive anchor Kendrick Perkins for Green mid-season, in part, because he expected O’Neal to be healthy.

Green may pay dividends in the future. Right now, he’s the Celtics’ 7th man. And Ainge is believed to have sacrificed 2011 for a piece to rebuild around when The Big Three calls it a day.

Only time will tell if this is true. Dark clouds seem to be hovering over the green-and-white.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Apr , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

No excuses: Paul Pierce tells Celtics to forget Kendrick Perkins

"It was even worse last year when we went through our struggle," Pierce said. "Definitely Kendrick had his impact, but you’ve got to remember he missed a big portion of the season and, during that portion, we were able to beat a lot of the good teams also.

"I think that’s just an excuse at this point. I think that it’s time for us to move on from that. It hurts when you lose a teammate … but at the end of the day, the guys that are in this locker room are the guys you’ve got to go to war with." Pierce said a healthy Shaquille O’Neal is capable of filling the void on both ends.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Leave it to The Truth to speak The Truth -at least, as he sees it.

Paul Pierce, the captain and star swing of the Boston Celtics, feels his club is using the Kendrick Perkins trade as an excuse not to play their best. And he’s right.

Sure, Perkins, not Kevin Garnett, was their defensive anchor. And sure, Perkins was great on the defensive and offensive glass, getting points through tips and effort.

However, Perk’s contract was up at season’s end and his knees are wonky, so GM Danny Ainge swapped him for Jeff Green to better match up against LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the playoffs.

Now Pierce may be frustrated. With Perkins, he won a championship and advanced to two NBA Finals. Yet the Celtics still changed a winning formula at mid-season.

What’s done is done, though. Pierce is keeping his thoughts private and challenging teammates to play better, especially if Shaquille O’Neal gets healthy.

Perhaps O’Neal comes to the rescue. If fit and healthy –these are big ifs- the legendary five could theoretically turn back the clock and hold his own over a seven-game series.

This may be wishful thinking, as O’Neal has missed three months. His conditioning will be suspect, and he’ll struggle to defend pick-and-rolls.

Just don’t tell Pierce. He’s having none of it. No excuses.

--Oly Sandor

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Thursday , Apr , 14 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Von Wafer’s comedy of errors against Wizards

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s one thing to miss a dunk. It’s another thing to miss a dunk and celebrate prematurely. It’s even worse to miss a dunk, celebrate prematurely, and inadvertently cause your teammate to travel.

The Boston Celtics’ Von Wafer did all three on one play against the Washington Wizards. Click the video below and get at HoopsVibe News with thoughts.

--Oly Sandor.

 

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Wednesday , Apr , 13 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Danny Granger: Bulls are easier to upset than Celtics

"Boston's a different monster," he (Granger) said. "They don't have the best record in the East, but they won championships; they know how to do it. They have four, five guys you have to worry about.

"Chicago, they go as Derrick Rose goes. If you make a concerted effort to stop Derrick Rose, you have a better chance of beating them."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:  Danny, how about using your inner voice?

Danny Granger, the star swing for the eighth-seeded Indiana Pacers, is entitled to his opinion. He may even be right: the Boston Celtics’ experience might make them a tougher playoff foe than the young Chicago Bulls.

He should’ve kept his thoughts private, though. His silence would have been golden. Or, at least wise.
 
Granger has foolishly provided the first-seeded Bulls with extra motivation. His comments will be posted in the home locker room at the United Centre. The Windy City will be all over him, too; from Wrigley to Soldier Field.

The Bulls are far more than MVP candidate Derrick Rose. Their team defense is first-rate, and their get-stops mentality gives them a chance in every game –at home or away.

Meanwhile, the Celtics have struggled since trading defensive anchor Kendrick Perkins. It remains to be seen how they’ll handle Perk’s departure come playoffs.

One thing is certain: the Bulls, thanks to Granger’s outer voice, will be ready when their series starts against the Pacers.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Apr , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Derrick Rose embarrasses Rajon Rondo

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Last night, the Chicago Bulls made a statement by beating the Boston Celtics. And Derrick Rose made a statement with his play, specifically when he caught Rajon Rondo off guard with an incredible fake.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Apr , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Derrick Rose on the Celtics: ‘We know we can beat them’

With Perkins gone, everything changed for the Celtics and they knew it: the toughness, the tenacity, the presence in the post. “He was tough,” Rose said. “We could defend on someone that was big. He was really tough to go around. … They’re different.”

Different doesn’t mean better. It means diminished. The Bulls beat the Celtics 44-22 in the paint, beat them badly on the boards, too. They assailed the Celtics the way the Celtics used to assail everyone else. “We know we can beat them,” Rose flatly said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Last night was the proof. It was the smoking gun, the bloody glove, and weapon of mass destruction all in one.

The Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls, two of the Eastern Conference’s premier teams, are moving in different directions. The Celtics are stumbling; the Bulls are soaring.

No other conclusion can be drawn from the Bulls’ decisive victory on Thursday in front of a national audience. The difference at point guard says everything.

After all, these teams live and die by their point guards, All-Star Rajon Rondo and MVP candidate Derrick Rose. As Rondo and Rose go, so goes the Celts’ and Bulls.

Rose soared last night, notching 30 points, 8 assists, and limiting Rondo’s effectiveness. There’s no longer any doubt he’s MVP worthy. His play clinched it.

Best of all, Rose spoke publicly of no longer fearing the Celtics, especially since they dealt defensive five Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Jeff Green.

Conversely, Rondo struggled. Mightily.

After getting outplayed, the Celtics’ floor general expressed doubt about his club’s ability to flip a switch ala 2010. He then requested a meeting with his coach, Glen ‘Doc’ Rivers.

Of course, the Celtics surprised everyone with last year's run. Repeating such heroics seems unlikely –if their point guard and best player doesn’t believe.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Apr , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Doc Rivers on Jeff Green: ‘I think he’s too nice’

Celtics coach Doc Rivers offered an interesting criticism of Jeff Green following Sunday’s 101-90 victory over the Detroit Pistons. ‘I think he’s too nice,’ Rivers said. ‘He’s trying to please the other guys on the floor. I’ve always thought playing with us is difficult, when you’re new, because you’re playing with Paul [Pierce] and Ray [Allen] and Kevin [Garnett] and [Rajon] Rondo and you almost don’t think like you deserve to be an aggressive offensive player or you should be, and I think he does that way too much.’

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:  You know where nice guys finish, right?

It’s hardly surprising Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers wants Jeff Green to stop deferring to future Hall of Famers Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce and headstrong All-Star Rajon Rondo.

Of course, it can’t be easy for Green, who was acquired at the trade deadline from the Oklahoma City Thunder for Kendrick Perkins.

He doesn’t have the luxury of training camp, the regular season, or practices. He must learn on the fly. The playoffs are fast approaching.

Green’s best strategy is to use his athleticism and size on both ends of the floor to be an effort player. In time, he’ll get comfortable with the team’s half-court sets. Then, he’ll become more assertive.

For now, the Celtics have to settle for a nice guy.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Apr , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

What does Shaq’s latest injury mean for struggling Celtics?

O'Neal missed 27 games with foot and Achilles' tendon injuries and was making his first appearance since Feb. 1. "The update is that it's not the same injury," Rivers said. "Had nothing to do with the Achilles; it's a calf strain. It's not a bad strain, but it's a strain. So similar to the one Von [Wafer] had but not even close to the severity. Well, 'I don't know [when he will be back]' is the answer."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Just when you thought 'The Big Shamrock' was back, he’s out –again.

Shaquille O’Neal finally returned to the Boston Celtics’ line-up yesterday after missing 27 games with an Achilles injury. His good health appears short-lived, though.

O’Neal left in the second quarter of last night’s game with a calf injury. He did not return.

While the injury isn’t serious, the fact O’Neal has missed months of action is. The future Hall of Fame center has never been known for fitness, and this is magnified by his age.

Here’s the question: what can O’Neal provide the green-and-white in the playoffs?

Well, nobody knows. But O’Neal must perform because the Celtics’ other fives like Jermaine O’Neal and Nenad Krstic are hurt. And there’s no Kendrick Perkins, who was sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder for combo forward Jeff Green at the trade deadline.

Shaq’, when he returns, needs to anchor the middle, allowing Kevin Garnett to play the majority of his minutes at power forward. It wouldn’t hurt if he provided a target for point guard Rajon Rondo, too.

Bottom line: the sliding Celtics need O’Neal. A return to the NBA Finals is unlikely without him holding his own down low. 

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Apr , 01 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Celtics need Shaq, Jermaine O’Neal, and Krstic healthy to win NBA Title?

Krstic left with 2:18 left in the first half of Thursday's game after landing awkwardly on his right leg. His knee became bent out of shape and he immediately felt the pain. With the help of Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte, Krstic limped off the floor. Krstic will return home to Boston where he will undergo an MRI on Friday.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:  Suddenly, the Boston Celtics are thin at center.
 
Remember, the green-and-white signed the two O’Neals, Jermaine and Shaquille this summer. Depth was one reason executive Danny Ainge felt comfortable sending interior defender Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jeff Green at the trade deadline.

Injuries, pending free agency, and a plethora of posts, made Perk’ expendable. Or, so the Celtics thought.

Jermaine O’Neal isn’t healthy. He hasn’t been all year. Shaquille O’Neal’s Achilles has kept him out of the line-up for some time. Whenever he returns, fitness will be an issue.

Knowing this, Ainge prudently acquired Nenad Krstic from Oklahoma City as part of the Green deal. Now Krstic is out for the foreseeable future with his own knee troubles.

Well, what does this mean?

Suppose the Celtics advance to the NBA Finals. They’ll need size at center to counter, say, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Andrew Bynum, the Dallas Mavericks’ Tyson Chandler, or the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan.
 
Some combination of the O'Neals and Krstic must be available to log heavy minutes. And Garnett must be free to roam and help on defence. He does this best when playing power forward.

Sliding The Big Ticket to center makes the defending Eastern Conference champs smaller and limits Garnett's effectiveness.

Hopefully, the Celtics get healthy down low. Returning to the Finals and having any chance at beating the Lakers, or any other western foe, depends on it.  

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Mar , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Shaq: Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard ’won’t dare play me one-on-one’

Shaquille O'Neal had a lot to say in a little time during a recent Q&A. Q: How much do you look forward to the opportunity to go up against guys like Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum in the playoffs? A: Excuse me? Don't ask me a question like that. Q: But that's what people want to know. Those guys are playing so well and everyone wants to see if you can match up with them one-on-one. A: First of all, they won't dare play me one-on-one, even at the tender age of 39. And you know what? Playin' those teams, it ain't gonna be about the [center] matchup, so I don't really worry about that.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: His age doesn’t matter. Neither do his injuries. Shaquille O’Neal, never lacking in confidence, just called out the game’s best centers.

Why the confidence?

O’Neal, even at 39, thinks he can still hold his own against premier fives like Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard. For one game, he’s fine. In a seven game series, he probably doesn’t get embarrassed.

O’Neal’s wear-and-tear does show during the regular season. He gets nicked up. His lack of fitness and age becomes a problem.

Credit Boston Celtics Coach Glen ‘Doc’ Rivers for limiting O’Neal’s minutes, knowing his size and experience will be needed against, say, Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum in the playoffs.

This brings us back to O’Neal comments. Consider the timing: He’s returning from injury and the playoffs are fast approaching.
 
Clearly, the veteran is anticipating a match-up against Howard’s Magic and Bynum’s Lakers. He’s playing the role of angry mentor, and once again trashing both to the media.

There’s a method to his madness. Spouting off to the press has provided O’Neal with a mental advantage in the past, especially when facing Howard.

But Bynum has no reason to take the bait. Not this time around, at least. He’s been brilliant since February’s All-Star game, helping the two-time defending champion Lakers regain their form.

So O’Neal still talks-the-talk. Can he still walk-the-walk on-court? We’ll find out come playoffs.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Mar , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Would a lockout push Rivers from Celtics to Heat?

Celtics fans may have one reason to root for a lockout. A delay in the start of the season might actually work to the team's advantage in retaining a prized free agent -- head coach Doc Rivers.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: On the one hand, a lockout may help the Boston Celtics re-sign their brilliant coach Glen ‘Doc’ Rivers.

A work stoppage would let Rivers spend additional time in Florida with his children, who are competitive athletes. The hope is he would take the extra time to get refreshed and refocused, and ink another one-year contract with the Celtics.

The key word is hope.

On the other hand, a lockout may hurt the Celtics’ ability to keep Rivers. Suppose there’s a prolonged work stoppage. Kevin Garnett and/or Ray Allen could retire. Yes, The Big Ticket and Jesus Shuttlesworth could cash their 501K and call it a career.

Would Rivers return to a Celtics squad without Garnett and/or Allen?

After all, Rivers has his money. And he seems awfully content relaxing with family in and around Florida.

This could also be a ploy. Rivers has often been linked to the Miami Heat, especially since South Beach’s current coach Erik ‘Cry-Gate’ Spoelstra seems overwhelmed.

Suppose the Heat fall short of expectations. As much as he loves the spotlight, oil-slick GM Pat Riley probably won’t leave the executive suite for the sideline.

The Heat needs a coach for the long term –like Rivers. So expect Riley to give Rivers, a master at handling superstars, a blank cheque. And Rivers would have to choose between the aging Celtics and the superstar-laden Heat.

And the Heat’s offer would be tough to turn down.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Mar , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Carmelo Anthony: ‘There’s no need to panic’

After the buzzer, (Carmelo) Anthony sat alone on the Knicks bench long after his teammates left the court. Asked what he was thinking, the Brooklyn native said, "This ship is going to turn right."  For now, the ship be sinking -- to borrow Micheal Ray Richardson's famous Knicks quotation.

"We just got to a point where I thought we panicked," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "This is a work in progress and we have a month to get this thing figured out. If we can figure out fourth quarters, we can get a lot smoother. With two scorers on the floor like Carmelo and Amar'e, we just have to figure it out." We're going to get it right," Anthony said. "There's no need to panic."

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There's no need to panic, but the New York Knicks should be concerned.

Last night, they crumbled in the fourth quarter against a steely, calm Boston Celtics team, who took particular pleasure in beating up and exposing the Knicks’ many flaws.

The Knicks’ problems have nothing to do with talent. Their problems have everything to do with chemistry.

Mike D’Antoni’s crew spent two-thirds of a season establishing familiarity. Amar’e Stoudemire was the undisputed top dog, and everybody else had a supporting role.

That arrangement is out the window with Carmelo Anthony in the fold. Knick players seem confused as to whether Stoudemire or Anthony gets the ball in the decisive fourth quarter.

Before the Anthony trade, the Knicks could always get a good shot by running a pick-and-roll between Ray Felton and Stoudemire. This, in fact, was their bread and butter play.

Well, Felton was traded to the Denver Nuggets for Anthony. And come crunch time the ball goes in to Anthony or Stoudemire on an ‘iso’ play. Good defensive teams - like the Celtics did last night - will take that option away.

Finally, Anthony is a mixed bag. While he’s a talented offensive player, Melo has many bad habits. He doesn’t move the ball; he switches too often on screens defensively; he’s mentally weak.

This won’t change overnight. Neither will the Knicks. They are not a championship contender. They are a decent team with two supremely talented scorers. Nothing more, nothing less.

The sooner the faithful at Madison Square Gardens accept this, the better.

--Oly Sandor.

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Boston Celtics Playing Opossum… Again
Monday , Mar , 21 , 2011 Paul Eide

Boston Celtics Playing Opossum… Again

 

Last year at this time all the experts were saying Boston was too old, weren’t deep enough and just not good enough to make a run in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They were coming off of a rough stretch where they lost a couple games they shouldn’t have, and pretty much everyone wrote them off as dead. Most of the talk was spurred on by Kevin Garnett’s limited minutes and a lack of overall depth.
 
The Celtics ultimately made the playoffs as the fourth seed with a 50-32 record, which is decent, but considering all eight teams who qualified for the Western Conference playoffs won at least 50 games, it was another reason for the haters to come out.  They finished an unremarkable 5-8 over the final 13 games of the 2009-10 regular season and really looked to be coasting into the playoffs, where much wasn’t expected from them. But Boston blew up in the playoffs, beating the Heat, Cavs and Magic en route to losing the NBA Finals in game seven to the Lakers. But nobody expected them to be there at this time last year.
 
This year, the injury concerns are again a primary focus of why they can’t win over the long haul. Most of the concerns focus on starting point guard Rajon Rondo. Allegedly, per Kevin Garnett, he has some sort of finger injury on his shooting hand which has limited his scoring in a big way, which no one else will confirm.
 
The numbers speak for themselves and Rondo’s numbers in March would at least indicate he is playing hurt. In 10 games he’s averaging 33.8 minutes which is down from his season average 37.1. He’s only shooting 35% from the field (32/90) compared to 48% on the season. In the first two games of March Rondo had 31 assists. In the other eight he has 53 which puts his average for March at 8.4, down from the NBA leading 11.5 he is averaging all year. What people are really freaking out about is that he is only averaging seven ppg which is strange, because he has never been a scorer and they don’t need him to be. But if a starting point guard has had game point totals of 16, 6, 6, 13, 12, 2, 2, 0, 4, and 9 people tend to freak out which is what’s happening here.
 
In addition to Rondo, everyone has focused on Shaq’s never ending Achilles injury, Big Baby Davis’ knee injury and the lack of any help from Jermaine O’Neal, but people are forgetting how Nenad Krstic has totally picked up the slack in the meantime.  Krstic is averaging 10.8 ppg and 6.5 rpg in only 25.9 minutes a game since joining the C’s. Remember how “crazy” the national media thought Danny Ainge was for making that deal and getting rid of Kendrick Perkins? Perkins has only played four games since, and Nate Robinson played one before having right knee surgery and is no expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Can we give Ainge some credit here people? And that’s without even mentioning Jeff Green.
 
So, here come the Celtics, "old" and "slow" as ever but quietly tied for first place in the Eastern Conference with the Bulls. If we don't learn from history we are doomed to repeat it, right? in that case, no one should sleep on the Celtics until the season is over.

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/53095191@N08/

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Sunday , Mar , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Rambis and coaching staff convenient scapegoat for Wolves?

What were the odds of Kevin Love's double- double streak ending at 53 Sunday with a reeking, 100-77, thud -- six points, a dozen rebounds in 33 minutes -- against an escort service like the pedal-to-the-metal Warriors? Can Kurt Rambis and the Timberwolves' ball handling play-callers rationally explain how Love merely managed to get six shots -- making one and 4-of-6 free throws? you would presume Rambis possesses the presence of mind and the coaching aptitude to get Love a few more field goal attempts, if not a couple more baskets.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the debacle that is the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Instead of focusing on improving, instead of focusing on becoming more competitive, the Timberwolves are focusing on Kevin Love’s double-double streak.

With all respect, who cares?

Sure, Love’s double-double streak is nice. It gives the Timberwolves, who are the league’s version of Siberia, some much-needed publicity.

But good teams focus on the one stat that matters: winning. Individual honours are either irrelevant or taken through the context of team success.

For instance, take Ray Allen becoming the NBA’s all-time three-point king. The Boston Celtics celebrated this achievement; however, it didn’t take away from their desire to win the Eastern Conference and home-court advantage.

Love’s double-double record was all the Timberwolves had, which is a problem. They need to focus on righting the ship and changing the club’s culture of losing.

This doesn’t necessarily mean firing Kurt Rambis and his staff of assistant coaches, and hiring another cheap selection of bench bosses to plug-up the problem.

Of course, blaming Rambis seems like the plan. After another horrendous season, the Timberwolves are looking for a scapegoat. And Rambis is perfect.

So why not point the finger at the Lakers’ former utility man for ruining the club’s one positive and everything else?

It doesn’t matter that he has a mediocre roster. It doesn’t matter that he has mostly young, inexperienced players. It doesn’t matter that the front office has failed to sign Spanish golden boy Ricky Rubio. And it doesn’t matter that just two years ago, Rambis was the first choice of the same front office that has now turned on him.

All signs are pointing to Rambis taking the fall. This is a cover for management, who have clearly committed their share of flaws, errors, and blunders.

If the Timberwolves don’t make legitimate changes, the one thing they do have, budding superstar Love, will surely leave as a free agent.

--Oly Sandor.
 
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Sunday , Mar , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Blake Griffin concerned with Clippers owner Donald Sterling?

Blake Griffin is concerned with the way Donald Sterling manages the Clippers and is monitoring the situation, according to sources.

Sterling recently testified in Elgin Baylor's lawsuit against the Clippers for wrongful termination and the owner also had a mishap related to an advertisement for Black History Month that was actually scheduled for March and included Griffin's picture.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Good for Blake Griffin. He has recognized the obvious: the Los Angeles Clippers’ greatest weakness is owner Donald Sterling.

After all, The Don has been embroiled in sexual harassment and discrimination suits, refuses to honour contracts of coaches and executives that he fires, and is more concerned with winning making money than winning.

Simply put, he’s a scumbag. And great teams typically have great owners. Not scumbags.

For instance, the San Antonio Spurs have a partnership of first-class businessman. The Boston Celtics owner is all class. And Jerry Buss, despite his idiosyncrasies and poor decisions, is perfect for the glitz and glamour of the Los Angeles Lakers.

So Griffin is right to try to use his skill and star power to initiate change at the top. Championship teams have stability and sanity at the top.

They don’t have an owner who is so cheap he won’t pay his assistant coach’s cancer bills when the team’s medical provider refuses to do so.

The Don must reform his ways if he wants to sign the NBA’s brightest young star to a multi-year extension. Even better, perhaps he has to finally sell the Clippers if his team wants to re-sign Griffin.

And this, not the highlight reel dunks or headlines, would be Griffin’s greatest accomplishment.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Mar , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Celtics sign Heat castoff Carlos Arroyo

 

The Celtics have agreed to a contract with Carlos Arroyo, according to a league source. Arroyo's deal is for the pro-rated veteran's minimum for the remainder of the season.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: One team’s junk is another team’s treasure.

The Boston Celtics have signed Carlos Arroyo, who was waived by the Miami Heat after they signed veteran point guard Mike Bibby.

Yes, the contenders in the Eastern Conference have been playing musical chairs at the one-spot.

After all, the Atlanta Hawks traded Bibby to the Washington Wizards for Kirk Hinrich at the trade deadline. Bibby was promptly bought out and signed with the Heat, which led to South Beach giving Arroyo, who started much of the season, his walking papers.

The Celtics had an opening because they sent Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of the Kendrick Perkins-for-Jeff Green blockbuster.

So what will Arroyo bring to the green-and-white?

Well, he’s a veteran. Arroyo has been around the league and can help off the bench or start when absolutely necessary. He’ll also have some idea as to how the Heat operate, and could provide invaluable info in a best-of-seven series.

Both the Celtics and Heat are expecting to meet in the playoffs. What a match-up that could be.

--Oly Sandor.

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