Posts Tagged ‘Chris Forsberg’

Celtics Preparing For One Last Run?



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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We always seem to find coach Doc Rivers and his Boston Celtics in this position at the end of a season.

Perhaps it has something to do with the exhausting effort the Celtics put in each and every season, or the grueling emotional fallout from coming up short of their ultimate goal (it’s always championship-or-bust in Boston, even when the rest of us understand that it’s not possible). Rivers always seems spent when the ball stops bouncing, like he’s not sure if he has another season in him, regardless of his contract situation.

The way he and Kevin Garnett acknowledged the end in that Game 6 loss to the New York Knicks last week, it certainly felt like the end of an era was near. But maybe not. Celtics boss Danny Ainge spoke publicly on a radio show in Boston about both Rivers and Garnett coming back for another go at it next season.

They’re both under contract and even with the inevitable changes that are sure to come in the offseason, Ainge is counting on those two franchise pillars to be in place. At least that’s what he said on the radio, as Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com details here:

“Doc is always unsure [about his future],” Ainge said. “Coaching is very, very draining. Every year with Doc, he’s had to go home and sort of recharge and ask himself that question, ‘Is this something that I’m passionate about and want to continue doing?’ I understand that. And we sorta give him time to unwind and relax, and after a couple of 92s on the golf course, he usually comes back.”

Pressed further on what he believes Rivers will do next season, Ainge added, “I think Doc will be coaching the Boston Celtics.”

Rivers signed a five-year, $35 million contract extension with the Celtics following the 2010-11 season. That hasn’t stopped his name from dancing in rumors about other vacant jobs, and a report by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith suggested there were whispers around the league about a potential deal that could land Rivers, Garnett, and Paul Pierce with the Los Angeles Clippers as part of a blockbuster swap.

Said an amused Ainge: “Hey, listen, those things are silly. Those are a waste of time to even acknowledge.”

Pressed on Smith’s suggestion that there could be lingering friction between Ainge and Rivers, Ainge added, “Well, you’d have to ask Doc what he thinks, but what I think is that I have the best coach in the NBA and I’m not the least bit tired of hearing his voice. We have a great relationship from what I feel, and what I perceive, and so I have no idea where that’s coming from. But it’s certainly not coming from my side of the table.”

Ainge has every reason to support his coach. Rivers has held the Celtics together through some absolutely tumultuous times over the past couple of seasons, given the injuries to both Garnett, Rajon Rondo and others as well as the roster shuffling that has gone on since the Celtics played in The Finals in 2010.

There is a genuine love between Rivers and his veteran leaders. It’s a bond that will be extremely difficult for Ainge to break up. And make no mistake, there will come a time when the remaining nucleus of the Celtics’ championship crew of Garnett, Pierce and Rondo will no longer be a viable unit.

The Celtics’ vets aren’t getting any younger. And even with an influx of youth (Jeff Green and Avery Bradley) and fresh faces (Jason Terry and Jordan Crawford), the playoff load was just too much for Garnett and Pierce to handle without Rondo around to help direct the traffic.

“We need more,” Rivers said. “It’s like that little girl on the commercial said. ‘We need more, we need more because we need more.’ We need more, because we do. The key for us is do you want to take away to get more. And that will be a decision that make … later.”

Rivers is fiercely loyal to the players who have sacrificed for the greater good in Boston. So it won’t be easy for him to part ways with Pierce either, especially with Pierce’s history with the franchise.

“He’s one of the greatest Celtics ever to ever play. He’s done so much for this franchise,” Rivers said. “Listen, we live in a day and time when guys are changing teams like socks. And Paul has chosen to stay here throughout his career, when clearly he had all rights to leave. And he chose to stay here. I have so much respect for him for that. When I first got here we were really rebuilding. Its’s funny, we made the playoffs that first year and I remember telling him that ‘we’re going to change our team and things may not go very well for a year or two.’ And they didn’t. And Paul, he never wavered. I give him that and just an amazing amount of respect. He wanted to get it done here. He made that choice … [where] other guys are running around trying to find it.”

Ainge will ultimately have to make the decision on when the Celtics’ Big 3 era officially comes to an end. Ray Allen‘s departure last summer didn’t do it. Neither did Rondo’s season-ending knee injury nor the deflating end to this season.

If Rivers and Garnett do indeed return, whether Pierce stays on or not, the Celtics are poised to make at least one last run together before the inevitability of it all finally catches up to them.

Report: Celtics Legend Russell Recovering From Heart Procedure

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Hall of Famer and Boston Celtics great Bill Russell is recovering from a recent heart procedure and “feeling better,” according to an ESPNBoston.com report.

Russell’s business manager Stuart Layne cleared up previous reports about Russell’s status to Chris Forsberg:

Celtics vice president of media relations/alumni relations Jeff Twiss spoke with Layne on Monday and relayed that Russell is on the road to recovery.

Former New York Post columnist Peter Vecsey Tweeted on Monday that Russell underwent two heart procedures that left him unable to travel from Seattle for a golf event in Long Island.

Layne noted that Russell is up and about and feeling better each day.

The Truth Sets The Celtics Free





HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS – No Rajon Rondo. No Ray Allen. No Problem for the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics didn’t let their lingering issues, Rondo’s one-game suspension for bumping into a referee or Allen’s ankle injury slow them down last night in Atlanta.

It certainly helped that they had the “Tebowing” Truth, Paul Pierce, on their side. And it certainly helped that they had a willing dance partner in the Hawks, a team that’s almost always guaranteed to do exactly what they did last night (over the years, the Hawks have a made a habit of falling down when everything seems to be lined up for them to thrive) in losing home court advantage.

For all of the posturing that goes on and all of the moves coaches make in the course of a playoff series, sometimes the final result hangs on the answer to a simple question … whose will to win is greater?

That edge in this series belongs to the men in green and white, and one in particular.

Pierce showed last night that his is greater than anyone else’s in this series, and that includes the ultra-intense Kevin Garnett, Rondo, Allen, Celtics coach Doc Rivers, Hawks stars Joe Johnson and Josh Smith (who left the game with a sprained left patella tendon with four minutes to play) and anyone else you care to toss into the mix.

The Hawks led by 11 points with three minutes to play in the third quarter, a lead that we’ve learned in the past few days means next to nothing for a home team (ask the Grizzlies) and could not hold Pierce and the Celtics off.

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Pierce Redefines Legacy In Boston





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Take a good look at Paul Pierce right now, the day after he etched his name in Celtics’ lore forever by surpassing Larry Bird for the No. 2 spot on the storied franchise’s all-time scoring list.

He’s a rarity in this day and age, a player that has toiled for the same franchise since the day he was drafted and endured all the ups and down anyone’s career could stand and is still thriving 14 years deep into what could very well end up being a Hall of Fame career.

There’s no question Pierce will see his No. 34 hanging from the rafters alongside the numbers of Bird, the game’s greatest winner ever Bill Russell, the franchise’s No. 1 all-time scorer John Havlicek, Kevin McHale, Bob Cousy, Sam Jones and so many others. How he got there, however, will be even more compelling than the final destination.

Pierce is a case study for any player wondering how to redefine a legacy.

I remember his early days in Boston, when he and Antoine Walker formed a potent 1-2 punch for a feisty Celtics team that made plenty of noise in the Eastern Conference and even made the conference finals in 2002. But at the time neither Pierce nor Walker was viewed by the masses as the sort of player capable of leading a team to championship glory.

He endured all of the criticism that came when the franchise fell on hard times, when they dropped from the playoff scene to the lottery, when Walker departed and it was Pierce and locker room full of youngsters who couldn’t find their way out of the bottom of the standings with GPS.

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Celtics Already Feeling The Pain

HANG TIME TEXAS, Y’ALL – Admit it, just the mere thought of trying to cram 66 games into four months was enough to send many of us reaching for an ice pack and a comfortable spot on the sofa.

If you’re the aging Celtics, all of those trips on an off the planes, the back-to-back-to-backs and especially that grueling stretch of eight games in 13 nights in three time zones and five states touching both coasts in March were bound to take a toll. It’s a fact of life when your core consists of 34-year-old Paul Pierce, 35-year-old Kevin Garnett and 36-year-old Ray Allen.

But did anybody think it would be happening already, before the Green Seniors have even rolled out of bed on Christmas morning for the opener against the Knicks?

Coach Doc Rivers, as usual, is trying to stave off panic. But if any team of would-be contenders needs to walk the tightrope of good health, it’s these Celtics. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge is already handcuffed by salary cap room in trying to make additions to his team and any kind of significant or lingering injury to a member of the Big Three could sink the Celtics in the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it condensed season.

Having already lost key reserve Jeff Green for the season due to a heart problem, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com tells us that the Celtics are now keeping a careful watch on a bruised right heel that’s been bothering Pierce:

Tip-off for the 2011-12 season is a mere five days away and Rivers expressed concern Tuesday about whether Pierce would be ready for a Christmas Day visit to New York because of a bruised right heel. What seemed like a minor ailment suffered on the first day of training camp has grown more worrisome as Pierce has been shut down yet again with the goal of getting him game-ready later in the week.

Rivers admits that, long term, Pierce’s injury is not much of a concern (though the pessimist would kindly remind him that he said something similar when Shaquille O’Neal first tweaked his Achilles in February and we all know how that turned out). Let’s be absolutely clear, we’re not suggesting that Pierce’s injury is anywhere near as severe (he worked out Monday, but woke up sore on Tuesday, forcing the team to reduce his workload with hopes of ramping him back up on Friday). But here’s the point: New season, familiar line of discussion.

Come to think of it, could the worries about injuries have been at least part of the motivation behind Allen’s blast of free agent David West choosing Indiana over Boston?

Considering the grind, can anyone really expect the Celtics to be and ready and able by the time the playoffs begin?

There are still four shopping days ‘til Christmas. If you haven’t picked out something for the Celtics yet, may we suggest a bottle of aspirin and some extra rolls of tape?