Delonte West in good mental state
If you watched The Association a couple nights ago, you heard Delonte West profess his love for basketball. “Basketball is my life,” he said. He was emotional after the Celtics gave him a second lease on his NBA career, and happy to be back on the court. Basketball is like a safe haven to West, whose life off the court has been a roller-coaster the last couple years.
With West’s bi-polar disorder, which makes highs better and lows worse, I wondered how he would react to his broken right wrist. Facing months away from the game that means so much to him, I wondered how West would be affected. Would it tear him down? Would it bring back the monsters of his past? Would he be okay?
West joined the team at yesterday’s game, the first time he’d watched a game since the injury. Though he said the injury was the worst broken bone in his life (he has broken eight bones), he said his wrist is good. His cast should be off in two weeks, and he expects to play later this season. For now, he is limited to jump-shooting (the broken wrist was his non-shooting one) and conditioning.
But really, when it comes to West, basketball isn’t most important. His mental health, so fragile at times, takes precedent. From that standpoint, West passed the first test.
“You know what? I got right back up and can’t feel sorry for myself,’’ he said. “Feeling sorry for myself, them days are over with. I gotta get back up again. The Lord is trying to get my attention, trying to show me something. He has my undivided attention now. And my eyes are open, seeing what I can do to help out in the community, help out off the court, and wait this out.’’
And so he continues to ready himself for the return he is certain will come this season.
“That’s what I have to do,’’ he said. “I can’t hang my head and cry about it, it happened. It’s over. It’s on to the next mission.’’
(Source: Boston Globe)
Kevin Garnett expresses uncertainty about future
Want to scare an entire fanbase? Be as vital to a franchise as Kevin Garnett, then say, “Who knows if this is my last year?” Of course, Garnett qualified that question with extenuating circumstances, but this is still the first time Garnett leaving has crossed my mind. Here’s what Garnett actually said (WEEI):
“At some point, especially with the lockout coming up, who knows if this is my last year or if we don’t play next what it’s going to be. So I’m trying to enjoy the guys now, you know.”
Enjoy the guys now, KG. But don’t tell me this might be your last season. Say it ain’t so.
The Noah-Garnett feud continues
Kevin Garnett finished exacting revenge on Joakim Noah last night, he kinda-sorta called Noah a nobody. That was to be expected. If a player talks shit about KG, the normal response from KG was exactly what he said yesterday: “I’m not entertaining nor addressing nobodies.”
Is Joakim Noah really a nobody? Absolutely not. He’s one of the league’s best big men, and a potential All-Star. You’ll just never get KG to admit any of Noah’s potential. After Noah’s disrespect, you’re more likely to see KG stop cussing for an entire year than you are to see him praise Noah.
Did KG have any extra motivation last night?
“It’s not that he’s up for [Friday's game], it’s that these young cats have no respect,” Shaq told CSNNE. “So Kevin just has to teach them.”
It looks like Noah learned his lesson.
“Maybe sometimes, you’re right,” he told CSNNE. “Maybe sometimes it’s better to just shut your mouth. And my mouth definitely, my mouth definitely gets me in trouble. But, you know, you’re right. Maybe sometimes it’s better to not say anything and let your game do the speaking. He (Garnett, 20 points, 17 rebounds) did that tonight, and I don’t like that.”
There’s a reason Noah and Garnett don’t like each other: they’re both competitors. Throwbacks to the days when players didn’t help opponents off the floor, the days when nobody gave a damn about being liked. Once Kevin Garnett steps on a basketball court, all of his opponents are nobodies. (Boston Globe)
“No way, unless you’re on the same team as him,” Glen Davis said of what players actually get shown respect. “Other than that, he’s just a fierce competitor. He doesn’t care who comes in. You can be my friend, but at the end of the day he’s trying to rip your head off. That’s the way he plays.”
That’s how EVERYBODY should play. In high school, I was really good friends with a lot of my opponents. I would hang out with them all the time, we’d play AAU basketball together, yada yada yada. But as soon as I stepped on that court and my friends were on the other side, those friends were just like anybody else –they were enemies. I wasn’t going to take it easy on them just because we had slumber parties once in a while. Fuck, if anything I wanted to beat them even more. Bragging rights are a powerful thing. Even my best friends were never immune to a nicely timed elbow.
I’m not saying, “Hey, guys! I did everything right! Model yourself after me!” Not at all. I was a mediocre basketball player. I had Eddy Curry’s vertical leap, Dwight Howard’s handle and Chris Quinn’s frame. Nothing about my basketball game was perfect. But I was a competitor, and I never wanted to lose. I feel like that aspect of basketball has partially been lost (see: Cleveland Cavaliers in Lebron’s return). But not within Garnett and Noah. Those guys, whether you like them or not, are warriors. They always come out to play.
Von Wafer wants what’s best for the team
It’s natural to desire playing time. If you didn’t, well, why do you play basketball again? So I didn’t dislike Von Wafer’s preseason “I don’t just want to make the team; I want to play real minutes” comment (I paraphrased) because he wanted minutes. Everyone in the NBA wants minutes, I assume. I disliked Von’s comments because it was evident he hadn’t quite grasped the team concept.
Now? Everything that comes out of his mouth is about the team. Yesterday, Wafer spoke about his role (or lack thereof) so far this season. He still wants minutes (again, who doesn’t?), but Wafer now understands he’s part of something greater. (Boston Globe)
“It’s tough. It’s very tough, because I’m a rhythm player. I need my rhythm. But it’s not about me, it’s about the team. I’ve just got to play the cards that have been given.’’
At this point, Wafer said, he’s more interested in making shots than making waves.
“Just do what I’ve been doing,’’ Wafer said. “Coming to the gym early, staying out of the way, listening to what they say. Just don’t become a distraction.
“Hopefully, they’ll eventually notice the work I’m putting in and how bad I want to be a part of this, because it’s something special.’’
Wafer said he will stay ready in case his opportunity comes, but he wants to keep his hopes down. He doesn’t expect to be subbed into games, yet he will be prepared when his name does get called. And that might happen sooner than Wafer thinks.
“We’ve got to get one more guy to play,’’ said Rivers. “Von is probably the first candidate.
“We’ve got to figure out a way of getting him going a little bit. He’ll figure it out. He’s close, he’s working. He’s just got to remember why we play him, and he’ll figure it out.’’
So Von, remember why the Celtics play you — because all other options are exhausted. I kid, I kid. Wafer’s coming around, but he still has to learn the Celtic way to play. At least he’s now headed in the right direction. The intentions are good. Now, the Celtics just have to work on defense and shot selection.
– Rajon Rondo is still bothered by two ailments: plantar fasciitis and a sore hamstring. Early in the first quarter of Friday’s game, reports Chris Forsberg, Rondo actually asked Doc Rivers to replace him with Nate Robinson. Rondo’s hamstring was THAT stiff. Says Paul Pierce, “He’s battling through a lot of injuries right now.”
Even Doc Rivers admitted Rondo’s minutes have to be cut down. “”Rondo’s a guy, we have to lower his minutes. There’s no doubt about that.”
I bet you $100 Rondo plays at least 39 minutes today.
– Nate Robinson, limited by symptoms similar to those caused by plantar fasciitis, played only three minutes against Portland. He bounced back with 13 minutes against Chicago, and — despite registering more shot attempts (6) than points (5) — didn’t look any worse for the wear.
– Kendrick Perkins continues to recover from his offseason ACL surgery. Perk targets a February return, saying he intends to take the recovery slow and safe. Perk has been okayed, he said, for all activity except side-to-side movement. He can now run on a treadmill, and has been shooting jump shots for quite some time. By all accounts, he looks to be slimmer (in a good way) than he was before the injury.
– Jermaine O’Neal could be cleared for activity sometime this week. Still, according to Forsberg, “no return is imminent.” Yes, I know the Celtics originally said he would miss 2-3 weeks, and now it has (already) been damn near a month, but — hey — better late than never. Also, it’s not like the Celtics have a reputation of being open about injuries. They’re more Belichickian than Belichick himself.
– Devin Harris will likely return to the court today when the Celtics play the Nets. He has missed the last two games with a strained left knee.