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Monday , Nov , 01 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

West and Wafer make peace, laugh off Friday’s brawl

Delonte West and Von Wafer have moved on from their locker room fight on Friday and were laughing about it on Sunday.

"I'm competitive, he's competitive, as long as it's for the betterment of the team, there's nothing wrong with healthy competition and pushing each other to get better," West said. "Things went a little far, but at the same time, we were able to move past that. We're professionals."

Asked if he felt the two had patched things up, West added: "Oh yeah, no question. We laughed about it [Sunday]."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Boys will be boys, I guess.

Yesterday, Delonte West and Von Wafer laughed off Friday’s scuffle, saying their rumble in the jungle was due to both players’ competitive streak getting the better of them –and nothing more. 

This would fly if it was West and Wafer’s first confrontation; however, Friday’s tilt was The Rematch. These two reportedly went head-to-head earlier in the month.

On the one hand, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers must like his role players showing such intensity in training. After all, practices are the games for West and Wafer.

On the other hand, Rivers won’t like spare parts – West and Wafer – making national headlines and creating a distraction.

If there’s another incident, the Celtics, a patient organization, will take action against these two.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Tuesday , Oct , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Shaquille O’Neal becoming an ‘adult’ for Boston Celtics?

Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal isn't interested in potentially winning the Sixth Man of the Year award this season. "No," he said. "About four years ago, I gave up on the concept of winning individual awards. I'm focusing on the big one at the end of the year."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: If I hadn`t seen his duet with preteen monstrosity Justin Beiber, I’d say Shaquille O’Neal is sounding like an adult.

The powers that be with the Boston Celtics must like the signs. The future Hall of Fame center is gelling with teammates, doesn’t care for individual awards, and will apparently sacrifice to win.

This represents progress for The Big Shamrock, right? Hold on folks. Proceed with caution. For every team, October is filled with promise and promises.

The proof will come in January when O’Neal plays limited minutes during a nationally televised game against the Miami Heat.

Or during the playoffs when Coach Doc Rivers plays the defensive Kendrick Perkins (if healthy) because he can guard the pick and roll.

O’Neal will be upset. The media will circle. The media will question. And the media won’t stop until they get their controversial quote.

O’Neal must respond carefully. One wrong move, one wrong statement, or one off-putting joke could compromise his time with the green-and-white.

The year will be an exercise in maturity. So O’Neal better do more than sound like an adult. He better be one.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Wednesday , Aug , 25 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shaq ‘absolutely’ OK with bench role in Boston

Rivers said in a radio interview with ESPN 950 in Washington that the legendary center plans to be flexible. "Absolutely coach," O'Neal told Rivers when asked if he'd be OK with a reserve role. O'Neal went on to agree that he'd even be fine with playing just 10-15 minutes per game.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Easier said than done.
 
Shaquille O'Neal has always been the main attraction, so it's hard to imagine him in the supporting cast. But this is The Deal between O'Neal and Boston Celtics' coach Doc Rivers.
 
The future Hall of Fame five-man had limited options this summer as a free agent. The problem: teams were reluctant to give O'Neal the money, term, and playing time he wanted.
 
Enter Boston.    
 
Rivers knew his squad needed another big body low with Kendrick Perkins recovering from knee surgery. O'Neal landed a two-year deal for the veteran's minimum.
 
The catch: minutes would be limited. Transitioning from star to reserve is never simple. Especially since O'Neal has done movies, music, and reality television.
 
Unfortunately, Father Time is a factor. O'Neal had to play a role if he wanted an NBA job. Credit him for swallowing his pride and taking a seat on the Celtics' bench.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Thursday , Aug , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Paul Pierce:’I pushed’ for Shaq

"I pushed," he said. "You looked around and you looked at the free agents. I saw Shaq was the best available at the time." Pierce doesn't buy into the notion that the O'Neal signing is simply adding another over-the-hill player to an already aging roster.

"When you put him in our group of guys, he's going to have a different role now," Pierce said. "The role he had in Cleveland, he had to be the second guy or the third guy at times. With us, it's not going to have to be that way. We have a number of guys we can play through. There's not a lot of pressure for Shaq to go out and get the 15 or 20 (points) a night like he had to in Cleveland for them to be successful.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: 'The Truth' speaks the truth.
 
Paul Pierce is right when stating Shaquille O'Neal will succeed with the Boston Celtics because expectations are realistic.
 
Translation: The Big Shamrock won't have to be The Big Aristotle.
 
Coach Doc Rivers wants O'Neal defending the paint in a reserve role, not functioning as a 38-year old second option on the low block.
 
All that's left is for O'Neal to buy-in and help the Celtics compete for another championship.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 
 
 
 
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Tuesday , Aug , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shaq on the Celtics: ‘it’s all about winning, nothing else’

Shaquille O'Neal was officially introduced as a member of the Celtics on Tuesday.

"I've done everything individually that I've set out to do," O'Neal said. "Now, toward the latter part of my career, it's all about winning."

O'Neal, who wore a suit and bow tie for the introduction, insists that he'll accept any role in Boston.

"I still have hunger, I still can play, I still want to win," O'Neal said. "When I close my book at the end of the day it's all about winning, nothing else."

In terms of nicknames, O'Neal likes the Big Shamrock but was also partial to the Big Green Mile.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He gave his word. Publicly.

Today, the Boston Celtics unveiled Shaquille O'Neal at a press conference, and the future Hall of Fame center promised reporters he'd play any role for the Eastern Conference champions.

Minutes, shots, and touches don't matter. Only winning.

This sounds nice, but will O'Neal keep his word and mouth shut in the middle of, say, a January losing streak? And how will he influence his younger, impressionable teammates?

Fortunately, the Celtic players police each other. When this fails, Coach Doc Rivers has the people skills to finesse O'Neal.

Hopefully, they won't need it.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Thursday , Aug , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Larry Hughes ‘Willing’ to support Boston Celtics?

Marc J. Spears: Celtics still need swingman behind Pierce and Allen.Could it be Larry Hughes? Word is Cs and CHA interested. Hughes looking good in workoutsTwitter

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He remains versatile.

Larry Hughes is no longer a blending star, but can still play and defend all three perimeter positions. His unique skill-set would help numerous teams, especially his alleged number one suitor the Boston Celtics. 

Coach Doc Rivers could use Hughes as Ray Allen and/or Paul Pierce's primary back-up. The veteran could also get minutes at the back-up point guard spot if Nate Robinson gets injured or if the green-and-white goes big.

Best of all, Hughes has the athleticism to take over for Tony Allen as the club's lockdown defender. Let's be clear: Hughes can't replace Allen, a terrific on-the-ball defender. He can, however, play the same role because of his physical attributes.

Currently, these are hypotheticals. One question is still to be answered: would Hughes accept a supporting role?

Fair or not, right or wrong, Hughes has a reputation for demanding shots, touches, and minutes. In Boston, his role would fluctuate. There'd be no guarantee of shots, touches, or minutes.

His sacrifice could result in a championship, though. The Celtics have added Jermaine and Shaquille O'Neal to a nucleus that was one quarter from winning an NBA Title.

So he is versatile. But is he willing?

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.          

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Thursday , Jun , 17 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Game-Seven Prediction: Lakers 95, Celtics 88.

The Lakers have the best player, but Boston's depth of big-time playmakers will prevail in a game like this. I count eight Celtics -- the four current or former All-Stars in their starting lineup, plus Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, Nate Robinson’s and little-used Michael Finley, a three-point shooter with the potential to become this game's Steve Kerr -- who have it in them to make the big shot. The absence of Kendrick Perkins may create more offense for the Celtics, and they'll make up for his rebounding with a team effort led by Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. Anticipate nothing less than a tightly wound classic played to a tempo that suits Boston.

Click here for Ian Thomsen's official game seven prediction and more analysis from the CNNSI crew.

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call:
The Boston Celtics are deserving of respect.

Consider their road to the NBA Finals. First, they took out Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat -despite some questionable tactics from Kevin Garnett. They made the Cleveland Cavaliers – the NBA’s best team in the regular season – implode, which, unfortunately, gave us an extra month of The LeBron Watch. They then coolly took out the Orlando Magic, the reigning Eastern Conference champions, in six games.

This was a most improbable run for a club that was supposedly dead, gone, and over at mid-season. Clearly, they saved their best for last, though.

The green-and-white have now pushed the defending champion and heavily favoured Lakers to the limit. The secret to Boston’s success: inspired team play on the defensive end.

Look at the NBA Finals: they’ve mostly contained Ron Artest and Lamar Odom; they’ve battled superstar Pau Gasol; and they’ve made the immortal Kobe Bryant look surprisingly mortal.

Doc Rivers’ crew is an all-time great defensive team. They can hang with any of Phil Jackson’s Chicago teams that had notable defenders like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Horace Grant/Dennis Rodman. And they hold their own against Detroit’s Bad Boys and any of Pat Riley’s squads in Los Angeles or New York.

Offensively, somebody different carries the load each night. For instance, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo have all had moments.

Of course, reserves Glen Davis and Nate Robinson – also known as Shrek and Donkey - won game four of the NBA Finals. And the defending Sprite Slam Dunk Champion went off in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals, too.

That said, the Lakers have the edge in the decisive game-seven. Here’s why:

1) Home-court matters: The purple-and-gold is a different team at home. They’re confident. They’re nasty. And they’re arrogant.     

2) No Perk’: The Celtics will miss Kendrick Perkins. They lack the size to win the paint, and contain Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

3) Kobe Bryant: He’s the best player on either team. He’s the best player in the NBA. And he understands tonight is a legacy game.

Bryant – if he wants to be considered an all-time great – can’t afford a loss. After all, five championships are far better than four. And two losses to the arch rival Celtics in the NBA Finals would be devastating.

Expect Bryant to drop a Jordan-like effort. And HoopsVibe News expects the Lakers to win.

Prediction for game-seven of the 2010 NBA Finals: Lakers 95, Boston 88.

Got thoughts? What is your prediction for game-seven of the NBA Finals?  

Kobe’s Lakers won the title. It’s over. Vol. 2010 NBA Finals game 6
Thursday , Jun , 17 , 2010 J.N.

Kobe’s Lakers won the title. It’s over. Vol. 2010 NBA Finals game 6

What happened? The game was over when Kendrick Perkins got injured. The Lakers took their hearts. After Kobe questioned his teammates’ hearts, they proved that they had more than enough for game 6 in Los Angeles. Pau Gasol finished with a near triple double: 17 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 blocks. Derek Fisher didn’t need to do much. Kendrick Perkins is done. Rajon Rondo took a vicious elbow from Ron Artest that required stitches. The Lakers got this and Kobe got his 5th ring.

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Saturday , Jun , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

‘Keeping It Real’: Nate Robinson wants to stay with Boston Celtics

Robinson, who will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his five-year career, said he definitely has interest in re-signing with the Celtics if they want him back.

"Of course,'' Robinson said in an interview Friday with FanHouse, a day after Boston fell 102-89 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals
against the Lakers.

Even though the 5-foot-9 Robinson's playing time has been erratic, he said he likes the way the Celtics have treated him since he was acquired Feb. 19 from New York.

"I feel wanted here,'' said Robinson, who averaged 6.5 points in 14.7 minutes in 26 Boston regular-season games, but has seen his numbers drop in the postseason to 3.4 points in 6.4 minutes in the 11 games he has played.

"This group of guys, this team, this organization is good for me. They're high class, man. They keep it 100 percent (real) with you. Doc (Rivers, the coach) keeps it 100 percent. He tells you straight forward what he wants. I like that.''

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: Can you feel the love?

Nate Robinson is apparently cool with the Boston Celtics because they've 'kept it 100 percent' real with him.

Okay, HoopsVibe News has no idea what this means, except it's good. For several reasons, club and player are a fit and should continue their mutually beneficial partnership with an extension this summer. Here's why:

1) Boston's Hall of Fame veterans have the credibility to keep Robinson on track. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce can play bad cop and, if necessary, get in the tiny combo guard's face, allowing Coach Doc Rivers and GM Danny Ainge to play the good cop and encourage him.

2) Of course, Robinson, when focused, provides energy, life, and athleticism. This is always useful, especially when coming off the bench for a veteran laden club. For instance, the former Slam Dunk champion had an amazing game six performance, which helped Boston seal the Eastern Conference championship.

3) The Celtics are a defensive terror. That's their identity. Together, Robinson and Rajon Rondo would be the quickest starter-back-up point guard tandem in the NBA. And they'd harass opposing table-setters with their intense on-the-ball pressure.

4) How out of control can you look with Rasheed Wallace as a teammate?

Is Robinson and the Celtics and a match? Let us know in the comment box below.

 

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Wednesday , Jun , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

New Orleans or Boston? The Tom Thibodeau coaching saga

The New Orleans Hornets, who offered their vacant coaching job to Boston Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau last week, might hire someone else if Thibodeau has not accepted the job before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, according to sources close to the situation.

The Hornets don't want to let their coaching search drag beyond this week and plan to offer the job instead to Portland Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams if Thibodeau, Boston's defensive specialist, doesn't accept by Thursday, according to sources.

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: It all depends on why Thibodeau is making them wait. 

It's fair if the defensive guru has held off making a decision because he doesn't want distractions while the Boston Celtics are in the NBA Finals. However, it's unfair if the veteran assistant is keeping the New Orleans Hornets waiting in hopes of landing a better offer from another franchise -or perhaps even the Celtics.

Remember, head coach Doc Rivers could call it quits at season's end, so Thibodeau might prefer sliding down Boston's bench instead of relocating to New Orleans.

Got thoughts on the Hornets' coaching situation? Get at us in the comment box below.   

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Thursday , May , 06 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Benching Costs Nate Robinson $1 Million

Boston Celtics guard Nate Robinson was benched for two games near the end of the regular season, and it cost him $1 million, while saving the team twice that amount.

A clause in Robinson's contract calls for him to make a $1 million bonus if he both played in at least 58 games and made the playoffs this season. Robinson's Celtics are in the postseason but he played in 56 games. As a result, the Celtics saved the $1 million they would have paid Robinson -- equivalent to a quarter of his reported annual salary -- and an additional $1 million they would have owed in luxury tax to the NBA (most of which would have been distributed to teams with payrolls below the luxury tax threshold).

[...]
 
The Knicks traded Robinson to the Celtics at the deadline. He played his first game for Boston on Feb. 23. To reach 58 games played, he would have had to play in every remaining game. His playing time was sporadic, but with 10 days left, he remained on track, having played in 20 straight games. Robinson has averaged 15 minutes a game with the Celtics.
 
He missed an entire game, and a big payday, when the Celtics beat the Cavaliers on April 4. The Celtics played their starters long minutes and were also working Michael Finley -- a veteran bench scorer, like Robinson -- into the rotation. Robinson dressed but did not see action.

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Sunday , Apr , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Doc Rivers: Rasheed Will Be Judged on Playoffs

Celtics coach Doc Rivers last night called Wallace’s season “up and down” and that’s putting it kindly. 

But there’s still time for Wallace to win over Celtics fans. 

“The bottom line,” Rivers said, “is he will be judged and our team will be judged by how we play in the playoffs. If he has a great playoff run, I don’t think anyone is going to say it was a disappointing Rasheed Wallace. If he has a great playoff run, they’re going to say, ‘That’s what we brought him here for.’ I think somebody is going to write that. If he has a poor one, obviously it’s going to go the other way.”