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Monday , Sep , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Report: Celtics looking for bargains to complement ‘Big Four’

If the NBA institutes a hard salary cap and eliminates the mid-level exception, the Celtics would likely to be forced to build around their Big Four with minimum-salaried players.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The new NBA will be different.

With the luxury tax likely replaced by a hard cap financial structure, have-franchises like the Boston Celtics will have a top heavy payroll.

Translation: the green and white will pay big-ticket salaries to Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo, and everyone else will earn the league minimum.

So GM Danny Ainge and the club’s front office are searching far and wide for bargains that can plug holes and fill roles next to their Big Four.

The green-and-white’s front office are scouting colleges, Europe, Asia, and anywhere else there's basketball.

This, of course, could be the new reality of the NBA, where a hard cap and revenue sharing creates some semblance of parity between big and small markets and have and have-not franchises.

In theory, an NFL style system sounds good, however, the NBA has always been a star driven league with high profile franchises. Think of the following for LeBron James and 'The Heatles' last season.

The NBA’s new and different financial system may kill the golden goose of showcasing players and teams.

--O. Sandor.

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Tuesday , Aug , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Report: Billups, Pierce, and Wall to join new Basketball League?

Impact Basketball is reportedly planning to organize a league in Las Vegas comprised entirely of pro basketball players.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s a short term solution.

Reports indicate Impact Basketball is organizing a league for NBA players displaced by the lockout, and games are slated to begin in Las Vegas for mid September.

Chauncey Billups, Paul Pierce, and John Wall are a few of the 70 NBA players who could make their way to Sin City for a run.

This seems well intentioned, however, no start up league will change or move owners off their position of a hard-cap and 50-50 split of Basketball Related Income.

And while Impact Basketball may satisfy fans and players desire for hoops, it hopefully won't distract all involved from drafting a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Aug , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Ray Allen: Boston’s Big Three will be ready when lockout ends

But Allen doesn’t believe a lost season would end the Big Three era, even if he and Kevin Garnett have only one year left on their respective contracts. “I don’t think so,” Allen said yesterday before teeing off in his charity golf tournament at the TPC River Highlands.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Ray Allen doesn’t know when the lockout will end. He does know the lockout won’t be the end of the Boston Celtics’ 'Big Three', though.

It’s hard to disagree. Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce, the Celtics’ trio of veteran stars, can use the time off to rest, recuperate, and heal from many long NBA seasons.

The green-and-white had gone far in the last four playoffs, which, of course, added significant mileage to Allen, Garnett, and Pierce’s odometer.

So time off is good. Allen, Garnett, and Pierce will heal and return. There's precedence for this.

Years ago, Anaheim Ducks star Teemu Selanne used the NHL lockout to rest his wonky knee and returned to score a pile of goals and win a Stanley Cup.

Allen, Garnett, and Pierce could do the same. They’ll have Rajon Rondo and a rejuvenated Jeff Green. When the lockout ends, Executive Danny Ainge will find a post or two to protect the paint.

So a prolonged break won’t be the end of the Celtics’ Big Three. It could be the best thing to happen to them since winning the 2008 NBA championship.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Jul , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Would Larry Brown burn the Celtics?

Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown has an interest in joining Doc Rivers’ Boston Celtics staff as an assistant coach, assuming Lawrence Frank accepts the Detroit Pistons' head coaching job, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Larry Brown has burned more bridges than a pyromaniac serving a five year bid at Sing, Sing prison in upstate New York.

Brown is the nomad coach. When the going gets tough, he gets going. Or when he thinks the grass is greener on the other side, he goes to the other side.

Just ask the Charlotte Bobcats and Los Angeles Clippers or the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks or the Philadelphia 76ers and those same Pistons.

Of course, this doesn't stop Brown from demanding his players 'Play The Right Way'. It doesn't matter that he's doing the opposite in front of them.

Despite the hypocrisy, Brown can teach youngsters. Unfortunately, the Boston Celtics are a veteran crew. Old heads like Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce won’t want to deal with the overbearing, impatient, and frustrating Brown.

Celtics head coach ‘Doc’ Rivers won’t be particularly enthused with Brown’s idiosyncrasies either -especially if he’s only using the defensive coordinator gig to showcase himself for a head coaching job.

Rivers and the Celtics should avoid Brown. He’ll burn them like he has so many other teams.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Jul , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Would ‘T-Mac’ fit with Celtics?

If he was willing to accept a bench role, the Celtics could find minutes to utilize his skill set and really allow him to thrive without the weight of having to be pre-2007 McGrady.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Would he accept a role?

Tracy McGrady heading to the Boston Celtics sounds good, however, there's the risk the former superstar won't accept less minutes, less shots, and less touches with Doc Rivers' squad.

After all, McGrady still, to some extent, believes he's 'T-Mac', the seven-time All-Star and two-time scoring champ. Last year McGrady, despite being past-his-prime, acted like a spoiled first-option and undermined Detroit Pistons coach John Kuester.  

Such behaviour would never fly in Boston. He'd have to check his ego. He'd have to sit and watch his peers –veteran stars like Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce – play. And he'd have to come off-the-bench.

In short, he'd have to become a professional. Nothing else would be tolerated by Rivers and GM Danny Ainge.

Of course, there is an alternative. McGrady can sign with another rebuilding squad and try parlaying the extra minutes and extra shots into a final, decent-money contract.

That would mean more meaningless basketball, though. In fourteen seasons, McGrady has never made the second round –ever. There was the choke-job with Orlando; there were tears in Houston.

Hopefully, McGrady has pride. Hopefully, he considers Boston. Hopefully, he becomes a professional –if he signs. It's not too late to salvage what he can.

--Oly Sandor.

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Farewell 1990s Basketball.
Saturday , May , 21 , 2011 J.N.

Farewell 1990s Basketball.

Tough to hear, but it is time. The stars, for anyone 26 years or older, drafted from the 1990s are fading away. Let’s use the present to say our goodbyes.   Father time usually corresponds with age and decline in play. This is it. We have been following these guys since middle school. Some of you guys must have been following them since elementary days. Do not feel old. Age is merely a number. Longevity in anything is actually a state of mind, but not in sports. For anyone living under a rock, Macho Man just died. With that said, let's appreciate these players while they are still alive.

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Saturday , May , 14 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

What does Doc Rivers’ 5-yr, $35 million deal mean for Boston Celtics?

“Doc Rivers has agreed to a five-year, $35 million contract extension to remain coach of the Boston Celtics, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: You don’t need to be a Johnny Kemp fan to know Doc Rivers ‘just got paid’

Instead of cashing a two-week cheque for minimum wage, the personable sideline boss is getting $35 million over five years to coach the Boston Celtics.

There are several storylines worth noting with this development:

First, Rivers had always taken the summer to decide whether he wanted to continue coaching. It was a year-by-year process. And the Celtic faithful were on pins-and-needles/shamrocks-and-clovers to know if he was staying.

Well, no more uncertainty. Rivers is the Celtics’ man for the long-term, and vice-versa.

Remember, the team is on the hook for the full $35 million if they fire Rivers. And Rivers is giving up the chance to be a basketball dad and watch son Austin start his college career.

Second, many thought Rivers’ future was tied to The Big Three. He would leave the Celtics, or perhaps coaching, when Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce called it a day.

The term of this deal means he’ll stick around long after Allen, Garnett, and Pierce retire. He’ll be part of the rebuilding process and clearly likes the chips he already has in Jeff Green and Rajon Rondo.

Third, Rivers must be comfortable with current Celtics GM Danny Ainge. And he must be convinced Ainge will be in the front office for a while.

After all, Rivers is Ainge’s guy. Always has been, too. Even when the Celtics were a perpetual lottery team and Rivers was seen as a guy who struggled with ‘Xs’ and ‘Os’.

So Rivers is staying. He’ll be the constant for the green-and-white. Expect the Celtics to shake-up their core and make changes after falling to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , May , 07 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Garnett on game three vs. Miami: ‘This is it’

The Celtics have never been down 2-0 in a playoff series in the Kevin Garnett era, and they are well aware of the situation.

“The urgency is there,” Garnett said on Friday before the team took the practice floor. “This is it. We’ve used all of our lifelines. This is it. I hate to say it like that, but it’s true. There’s not a: Cool, keep your composure. Nah, this is: You’ve got to get the next game.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: I have no idea if Kevin Garnett is a Michael Jackson fan.

Maybe he is. Maybe he isn’t. But like the gloved one’s so-so biopic, the Celtic believes his squad must put all their chips into game three against the Miami Heat because 'this is it'. Literally.

After all, the Heat is up 2-0. Their confidence is soaring; their game is peaking; and they're comfortable.

The same can’t be said for the Celtics. Their confidence is lagging, and has been since the Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green trade; their game is floundering; and they're tensing up.

Garnett believes game three is do-or-die. If they lose, the Heat advance to the Eastern Conference championship, and the Celtics' recent run is all but over.

The good news is they'll be at home, where they typically succeed. Look for them to key on Miami’s Chris Bosh, as neutralizing the lanky post takes the Heat out their rhythm.

So ‘this is it’ for Boston. Win and live. Lose and it’s essentially over. Expect fireworks on Saturday. Too much is at stake for there not to be.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , May , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Does an injured Rondo spell the end for Boston?

Rondo was hampered by a back injury that began bothering him yesterday morning. He wore a wrap around his midsection during the team's morning shootaround, which he said kept his back warm. While Rondo downplayed the use of the wrap, it reappeared during Tuesday night's game. "His back was bothering him this morning," coach Doc Rivers said. "It was bothering him through the game. One time he asked to come out because he got tired."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The straw that stirs the Boston Celtics’ drink wanted out of the game/drink –temporarily.

Of course, Rajon Rondo was hurt for game two of their series against the Miami Heat, which is an issue for the Boston Celtics. These days, Rondo is Axel, Michael, and Wayne Rooney, while the Celtics are ‘G&R’, the Jacksons, and Manchester United.

He leads. They follow.

Rondo’s penetration and ‘quicks’ forces opposing defences to help, providing room and time for veterans like Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

Respectfully, ‘The Big Three’ need that cushion. But a hobbled Rondo can’t get in the lane and create opportunities for others, so Allen, Garnett, and Pierce have to expend extra energy to score.

Rondo is also the club’s defensive catalyst. His on-the-ball defense is a nightmare for opposing point guards and he often jumps the passing lane for easy hoops.

Bottom line: if Rondo isn’t at full health, the Celtics are in deep, deep trouble.

--Oly Sandor.

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Miami Heat making NBA playoffs look too easy. Who can stop them?
Wednesday , May , 04 , 2011 J.N.

Miami Heat making NBA playoffs look too easy. Who can stop them?

Everything is set up perfectly for the Heatles to win it all. They made quick work of the Philadelphia Sixers. The Boston Celtics are falling down all over the place trying to guard LeBron and Wade. Their opponent in the Eastern Conference Finals will probably be quick work, too. This is what LeBron, Wade, and Bosh wanted. This is reality. They are making the 2011 playoffs look like an exhibition. It’s like that?  

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Friday , Apr , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron and Heat want Celtics for lunch

Taking a metaphor right through the final bell of the first round,LeBron James was asked how his breakfast -- with NBA playoff rounds serving as meals -- went. "It was good!" said James, smiling. "Now we're preparing for lunch."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is LeBron James hungry? Did he miss a meal?

I bring this up because the Miami Heat superstar referred to his team’s first round opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers, as ‘breakfast’.
 
James dropped this little metaphor at the end of the Heat-76ers series. The implication being that the heavily favored Heat was going to ‘finish their breakfast’.
 
Unfortunately, this isn’t the end of the King’s little literary devices.
 
James’ Heat is facing the Boston Celtics in round two. Facing the mighty green-and-white hasn’t stopped James from continuing to torture us with the meal metaphors. James called the Celtics ‘lunch’. This won’t get over well with Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, or Rajon Rondo.
 
After all, the Celtics are reigning Eastern Conference champions. Not some also-ran. Or lower seed that stumbled into the second round. Perhaps they are deserving of greater respect. Perhaps not.
 
Providing the mediocre 76ers with bulletin board material is one thing. Providing the talented Celtics with bulletin board material is entirely different.
 
They’ll make James pay. And in a couple of weeks he could be the one getting feasted on.
 
--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Apr , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Joakim Noah: Derrick Rose is the NBA’s best closer

“We have the best closer in the world,” said Joakim Noah, who had 11 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. “Everybody knows it. They know it. We know it. Their coach knows it. They all say it. They have no problems saying it. We all know it. That gives you confidence for your team.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Derrick Rose is many things.

He’s currently the game’s best point-guard. He’ll most likely win Most Valuable Player. He’s also the up-and-coming face of the league.
 
However, Rose isn’t the NBA’s top closer. Not yet at least. Not until he leads his Chicago Bulls to an NBA championship and hoists the Larry O’Brien trophy.
 
To be fair, this isn’t on Rose.
 
He has only played three seasons and hasn’t had an opportunity to lead his squad deep into the playoffs.
 
And he wasn’t bragging about being ‘The Man’ with the game on-line. It was teammate Joakim Noah, who has had a front row seat for his heroics all year.
 
For now, the NBA’s best closers are still Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, and Dwyane Wade. They have the experience. They have the championships.
 
Of course, this could all change for Rose –and soon. His legend grows with every clutch basket against the Indiana Pacers.
 
--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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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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Three Point Shootout, I Miss You
Tuesday , Feb , 08 , 2011 Paul Eide

Three Point Shootout, I Miss You

Would anyone even notice if the Three Point Shootout was replaced by an offhand layup drill? Does anyone really believe Daequan Cook or Paul Pierce are potentially the best three point shooters in the league?  Did you know Jason Kapono won the title in back to back years? The only reason I did is because I Wikipedia-ed it. If you answered “no” to any of these questions like I did, then you are as desensitized by the three point shootout as I am. Which is very sad because I used to love it.

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Thursday , Dec , 30 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Video: Paul Pierce steals Pacers fan’s water

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Boston Celtics are having fun.

Reserves Glen Davis and Nate Robinson are always up to something, while new addition Shaquille O’Neal loves the punchline.

Even Paul Pierce is getting in on the action. During Tuesday’s 93-85 win over the Boston Celtics, Pierce, after chasing a loose ball out of bounds, suddenly took a swig out of a fan’s water bottle.

The fan, even though she supported the Pacers, didn’t seem to mind. Anyway, watch the clip and get at us with thoughts on Pierce’s antics.
 


--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Dec , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Nate Robinson eats Madison Square Garden floor

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Think Nate Robinson was excited when Paul Pierce hit the game-winning shot against his former team, the New York Knicks?

First, the Boston combo guard tried recreating his days as a prep football star in Washington by tackling Pierce. 

Then he tried recreating his ‘Shrek and Donkey’ moment from last year’s NBA Finals with Glen Davis by leaping onto Pierce.

Both attempts failed. Badly. The second ended with Robinson falling on his face and eating the floor at Madison Square Garden.

Click the video below and get at us with thoughts on Robinson’s antics.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Nov , 13 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Udonis Haslem: Paul Pierce is a ‘studio gangster’

"Paul who?" Haslem told reporters at Friday's afternoon practice, according to Michael Wallace of ESPN's The Heat Index.  "Man, ain't nobody paying them dudes no attention, man. You know what studio gangster is? Look up that, look up the definition of studio gangster. I'm here to play basketball. First of all, I don't tweet. So I wouldn't know what he tweeted if you guys didn't tell me."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Leave it to the heart and soul of the Miami Heat to respond to Paul Pierce’s tweet.

By calling Pierce a ‘studio gangster’, Udonis Haslem, a veteran energy player, was implying that Pierce was a fake for insulting Heat superstar LeBron James via twitter.

Clearly, Pierce’s Celtics and Haslem’s Heat don’t like each other. Not one bit.

Pierce and the green-and-white feel as reigning Eastern Conference champions they deserve greater respect, while Haslem and The Holy Trinity of South Beach are expected to cruise to the NBA Title.

See the potential for conflict?

Haslem’s comments are the latest development between these rivals. Expect their war of words to continue, especially once the Heat round into form.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Nov , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Paul Pierce mocks LeBron James

"It's been a pleasure to bring my talents to south beach now on to Memphis''.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Can you say rivalry?

The Boston Celtics do not like the Miami Heat. Not one bit.

The Celtics, who were a quarter away from winning the NBA Title, are miffed the Heat was picked to win the Eastern Conference, even though The Holy Trinity had yet to play a game together.

After manhandling the Heat for the second time in two weeks, Pierce, the Celtics’ closer and leading scorer, felt obligated to talk a little viral trash. His tweet is spoofing James’ (in)famous line during The Decision. 

Fair enough. Pierce has good reason to be confident.

Kevin Garnett has turned back the clock; Rajon Rondo is the NBA’s top all-around table-setter; Ray Allen’s stroke is still silky; the bench will be productive, especially when Kendrick Perkins and Delonte West get healthy.

Garnett and Rondo, in particular, should please Pierce and worry the Heat

The Big Ticket is one of many physical Boston posts who will give Miami’s smaller frontline trouble. Also, Rondo will have his way with the underwhelming Carlos Arroyo.

A rivalry is brewing between the Celtics and Heat. Right now, it’s one way, though.

--Oly Sandor.


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