Posts Tagged ‘Sam Cassell’

More History Awaits As Lakers Visit Celts

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HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — The craziest thing about the Los Angeles Lakers’ struggles this season is that the Boston Celtics have been dealing with very similar issues. The two franchises with the most NBA championships have been this season’s two most disappointing teams.

At this point in the season, both the Celtics and Lakers are going through what may be the most adversity they’ve faced yet. Boston has lost Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger for the season. L.A. has been without Dwight Howard for the last three games and just lost Pau Gasol for an extended period with a torn plantar fascia.

Yet, both teams are playing their best basketball of the season. The Celtics have gone 5-0 without their point guard, while the Lakers have won six of their last seven.

So it’s a great time for these two teams to meet tonight (8 ET, TNT) for the first time. The Lakers, still three games out of a playoff spot, have more on the line. But the Celtics can move up a spot to seventh (avoiding the Heat in the first round would probably be a good thing) in the Eastern Conference standings and surely would love to knock off their cross-country rivals.

When these two teams met in Boston two seasons ago on TNT, Ray Allen made history by passing Reggie Miller for the most 3-pointers in NBA history. And on Thursday, we’re going to see another milestone for a man in green.

Kevin Garnett is six points away from being the 16th player in league history to score 25,000 career points. Garnett’s scoring average has dipped quite a bit over the last five years, but he still ranks second on the all-time list among active players.

Most career points, active players

Rank Player G PTS PPG
5 Kobe Bryant 1,210 30,834 25.5
16 Kevin Garnett 1,303 24,994 19.2
18 Dirk Nowitzki 1,075 24,427 22.7
21 Paul Pierce 1,073 23,479 21.9
22 Ray Allen 1,193 23,424 19.6
24 Tim Duncan 1,154 23,300 20.2
30 Vince Carter 1,034 21,750 21.0
37 LeBron James 735 20,279 27.6
42 Antawn Jamison 1,028 19,590 19.1
71 Jason Kidd 1,357 17,385 12.8

The 10 guys listed above have all scored in different ways. Garnett has been Mr. Mid-range, attempting 52 percent of his shots from between the paint and the 3-point line, the highest rate of the group.

Garnett has never been a traditional big man and has always attempted about half of his shots from mid-range. But over the last two seasons (strangely coinciding with his move from power forward to center), that number has been at 58 percent.

Of the group above, only Antawn Jamison has had a higher percentage of his shots assisted. Since the 1996-97 season (his second year), Garnett has been assisted on more than 68 percent of his buckets, by 101 different teammates.

Most assists to Garnett since 1996-97

Player FGM
Rajon Rondo 878
Terrell Brandon 485
Paul Pierce 454
Sam Cassell 372
Wally Szczerbiak 370

Among the players with exactly one assist to Garnett are former Celtics Rasheed Wallace and Brian Scalabrine. TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal had exactly four assists to KG.

Because he spent 12 seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Garnett has scored his most points against Western Conference opponents. The Lakers are currently fifth on the list, but could be third by the end of the night.

Kevin Garnett, most points by opponent

Opponent GP PTS PPG
Sacramento 57 1,184 20.8
Golden State 55 1,137 20.7
L.A. Clippers 55 1,088 19.8
Houston 54 1,073 19.9
L.A. Lakers 55 1,072 19.5

 

Flip Flops, Takes Fall For Grunfeld





There were no Cadillac Eldorados or steak knives to be had, a la “Glengarry Glen Ross.” In the ruthless world of the NBA, at least as it pertained to the woeful Washington Wizards Tuesday morning, there was only third prize: You’re fired.

Oh, and fourth prize: You’re hired. As the interim replacement for coach Flip Saunders, terminated after a 2-15 start in his third season with Washington. Assistant Randy Wittman will take over for the rest of the season in a move that figures to bring more aggravation to Wittman than change to the Wizards’ failing, flailing culture.

This move was, of course, only a matter of time in coming. When I wrote this earlier this month about Saunders and the dysfunctional team that soon would cost him his job, I didn’t even have the confidence to wait for Washington to come to me in Chicago; I jumped on it a day early because the ax seemed that ready to fall. Two weeks later, it did, a 2-7 mark since then and looking little different from the disarray, lack of purpose and absence of development that preceded it.

The Wizards — especially Andray Blatche, Nick Young, JaVale McGee and increasingly John Wall — seem like raw, incorrigible talent, oblivious to the value of coaching, committed only to their knucklehead ways. They knew that Saunders was a dead man walking, whether he stayed or went, because they had tuned him out. There are no old heads on the roster, no veterans both respected enough and involved enough to act as the coaches’ trustees in that locker room. (more…)

Rubio ‘Heats’ up chilly Target Center

 

HANG TIME MIDWEST BUREAU — Sombreros are wrong on a couple of levels. First, it’s a little shaky to reduce anyone’s ethnic heritage to an article of clothing and a clichéd one at that. (There, HTB’s political correctness obligation is officially met.)

Second, and more pertinent, the big, floppy brimmed hats that dotted Target Center Friday night are a product of Mexico. Ricky Rubio is an import from Spain.

But a little misdirected enthusiasm – along with the “Ole! Ole!” calls – was understandable given the excitement and the circumstances Friday night in Minneapolis. Rubio, the much ballyhooed No. 5 pick from the 2009 NBA draft for whom Timberwolves fans had waited two years, had the locals en fuego and the mighty Miami Heat in trouble. For a while, anyway, in the Heat’s 103-101 victory.

In only his third NBA game, Rubio scored 12 points with 12 assists and six rebounds – the first Minnesota player with a stats line like that since Sam Cassell in 2004. He ran the Wolves’ attack in nearly 31 minutes off the bench. Hit a pair of 3-point shots among his 4-of-7 shooting. Dazzled the joint several times with uncanny, casual reckless (for most guys, at least) passes that generally found their marks – except for that costly fling past Wayne Ellington, out of bounds, in the final minutes. It was one of Rubio’s five turnovers.

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The New Look Celtics?

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — A rematch is the easy box to place these NBA Finals in after the 2008 title chase won by the Celtics in six games.

Not exactly, warns the Prime Minister, who pointed out a major difference in the Celtics now compared to a two years ago.

Sure, that 2008 Celtics team was led by the Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. But the supporting cast was led by veterans Sam Cassell and P.J. Brown. They were the ones that provided the glue work that kept things together for the Celtics throughout the playoffs and particularly against the Lakers in the Finals.

Fast forward to Thursday night and ask yourself if you believed that Nate Robinson, Glen Davis and Tony Allen would play critical roles for a team trying to win a second NBA title in three years?

I know it sounds crazy. It sounded the same way when we started bouncing the idea around here at the hideout (prior to our Memorial Day grill-a-thon that will commence this afternoon or whenever the rain stops).

Viewed by most people (including most of us around here) as an elderly outfit that is swinging their sword for basically one last time, the Celtics have a decidedly different look when you strap on your BluBlockers and really study their moving parts.

They’ve certainly relied on their youngsters (Rajon Rondo is included in that group) during this Finals run. Robinson’s 13-point outburst in the first half of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals (below) was the difference in the Celtics leading at the half in a game that, had it gone any other way, might have cost them this opportunity to snag banner No. 18.

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The Celtics have two veterans (Rasheed Wallace and Michael Finley) I suspect will be called upon for major contributions in the Finals, so maybe we’ve seen the last of Robinson. And perhaps Tony Allen and Davis won’t need to perform any superhuman feats this time around.

But this idea that the Celtics are the Geritol Gang is pretty misguided.

They’ve had a steady flow of contributions from their youngsters this season. Whether that continues or not, remains to be seen. But you can be sure that Celtics coach Doc Rivers will push every button he can to get his team going.

Rivers was the one that promised Robinson when they traded for him that he’d help them win a playoff game at some point, a point he reiterated after that cosmic performance in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals:

“I told him I loved him, and I told him at some point it was going to happen for him,’’ Rivers said. “And it was all up to him to stay engaged. And he did. I get no credit out of this. Nate Robinson stayed focused in 30-straight-whatever games without playing, and stayed focused. And to me, that is more important than anything he’s done tonight.’’

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