Posts tagged: Red Auerbach
The Celtics have gotten rid of their morning walkthrough, but that doesn’t mean we have to. Here are a few Celtics links, and maybe even an NBA link or two, to help wake you up and get you focused for the day.
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “The Celtics will have to somehow contain the Heat’s Dwyane Wade, who was a 30-point night waiting to happen at the close of the season. They’ve had their trouble bottling up premier scorers recently, be it James, Kevin Durant or Manu Ginobili. In Wade, the Heat have a player who cannot only change a game, but a series. ‘It’s more than Dwyane Wade,’ Rondo said. ‘[Michael] Beasley, [Mario] Chalmers, Jermaine O’Neal. I think he has a good supporting cast, but the bulk of it is stopping Dwyane Wade. I think if we don’t stop him, we can stop other players.’ The Celtics played the ‘wait until the playoffs’ card for much of the regular season. They are now at a point where they have to show what’s in their hand. ‘Every team that is in the playoffs is here for a reason,’ Allen said. ‘Whatever happens, adversity hits, we pick it up and become a resilient bunch of guys that whatever happens we want to get better and improve. We did that in ’08. As the playoffs went on we weren’t great, we put a lot of expectations on ourselves, but we figured it out on the way.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “Clearly, Miami has figured a few things out. ‘Obviously they’ve been playing well,’ Rondo said. ‘They’ve won 12 of their last (13) games. So it’s not going to be easy, but luckily we have the first two games at home.’ The Heat will try to slow the pace, but the Celtics [team stats] still figure to get their opportunities in transition. ‘I think either way we should be able to push the ball,” Rondo said. “If they miss shots, we’ll get in transition and go. But in the playoffs, each possession is pretty much slowed down. It’s not an up-tempo game. You have to value the ball and take care of it.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “Responding to a Boston Herald report that suggested Rivers was leaning towards retirement following the 2009-10 season, Boston’s sixth-year coach noted that he goes through the same process each offseason and that this year would be no different. ‘It’s what I’ve said for the last three years, that is what I told [the Herald],’ said Rivers. ‘It’s old news, it really is. I don’t think about it, to be honest. Every summer I do the same thing: I go home, get away from it for a while, and make a decision. It’s no different than last summer or the summer before that. I was a little amused at the question, because I thought it was old news. No, I haven’t thought about it. I don’t think about it. If you thought about it after every game, you’d go a different way each time. If you win, you think you can do this forever; when you lose it’s, ‘Man, I think I’m leaving.’ It’s human nature. Other than that, as a family, we haven’t talked about it. It’s what I said [Tuesday], it’s a non-issue for me now. Obviously a lot of people outside have made a lot of conclusions on what I’m thinking. I always thought I was the best source.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “Rivers has gone to different methods to motivate his team of veterans, acknowledging that it’s worn on him. ‘I think this year has worn on everyone,’ he said. ‘This has been a difficult year, but as a coach you’re going to have some of those. It’s been a challenging year, there’s no doubt about that, but that won’t play into it. I love the guys I’m coaching. It’s just been a challenging year when you start out the way you start out and then you become an inconsistent team and every night you’re trying to find the button to push. It’s exhausting, but it’s exhilarating in some ways. In some sadistic way, it’s probably good.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “Paul Pierce has said he’d rather not play for another coach, and that sentiment is fairly strong among the Celtics veterans. As long as Doc Rivers will be re-evaluating his status as Celtic coach this offseason – with the possibility he could leave the position – the players will be keeping a close eye on his whereabouts.”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Now that rest is the order of the day, Rivers can look into increasing the minutes of his starters. ‘It didn’t look good three months ago, or two months ago,’ he said. ‘We started out in good health, and then it went away. We’ve struggled getting it back, but this is the healthiest we’ve been. I think this is the best Kevin (Garnett) has been since early in the season. I think Paul (Pierce) is feeling fantastic right now. . . . That’s the good part.’”
Bob Ryan, Boston Globe – “Just as Lenny Zakim dedicated his life to helping others, so, too, did Satch Sanders play 13 years with the Celtics in the shadow of more celebrated players, 11 of whom are enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. If you were to ask every one of the Hall of Famers which teammate regularly, and uncomplainingly, did the most dirty work on the team, the unanimous answer would be ‘Satch.’ That’s because his primary job was to play defense against some of the great scoring machines of the day. The most notable, of course, was the incomparable Elgin Baylor, the man who most created modern basketball when he took a game that had been horizontal and only occasionally vertical and made it diagonal with his superb body control, variety of shot-release points, and amazing combination of strength and speed. Guarding Baylor in his prime was a thankless and, for most people, impossible task. No one made life more difficult for Baylor than the 6-foot-6-inch Sanders. I still can hear Red Auerbach praising Satch to his summer campers because “he never lets Elgin get the second shot.’’ Both Auerbach and Bob Cousy swore that on the night Baylor scored 61 points against the Celtics in a playoff game, the only reason he didn’t get 75 or 80 was Satch, who made him work for every last point.”
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “He admitted he battled nerves before Wednesday’s game, but his natural ability took over on the court. ‘I was just trying to play basketball,’ said Lafayette, a native of Baton Rouge, La., which endeared him to fellow Louisiana native Glen Davis. ‘I was nervous on the bench, watching the guys play. But once I was in the game, that’s just basketball.’ It didn’t hurt that Oliver instantly opened eyes. A minute into the second quarter, he spun through the lane and dished to Shelden Williams for a baseline dunk. A few minutes later he splashed his first shot, a 21-foot jumper, and added a 6-foot runner soon after. ‘It took a lot of the nerves away,’ Lafayette said of his quick start. ‘You don’t have to worry, you can let the game come to you. There’s a lot of great guys out there, all you have to do is get open.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Gaffney was waiting for his FIBA paperwork to be finalized yesterday, and he couldn’t have landed in a more pleasing place, judging from what is still hanging on the walls of his bedroom back in Berkley, including a poster of the original Big Three. ‘Half of my room is still filled with Celtics stuff,’ he said. ‘My parents told me from Day 1 when I was in LA that they weren’t getting rid of any Celtics stuff.’ Gaffney’s allegiance, though, didn’t lessen the surprise when he heard this week that the Celtics were interested. ‘I didn’t see this coming,’ said Gaffney, who added that, in terms of his foot, ‘I’m 100 percent. The injury is still healing, but I’m 100 percent. Hopefully adrenaline will take over from here.’”
Yesterday, the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi wrote an article discussing Orlando Magic commentator Matt Guokas’ opinion that Dwight Howard is better than Bill Russell. Today, I’m here to tell you the obvious:
Guokas is right. Bill Russell couldn’t hold a candle to Dwight Howard.
What, Celtics fans? Is that gasping I hear? Puking, perhaps? Are you ready to never read this website again? Just hear me out before you permanently delete Celtics Town from your bookmarks.
Listen, I know Bill Russell won five MVP trophies, second only to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) for most all-time. That’s very impressive, especially when you consider that Russell only played for 13 seasons. But did he ever win a dunk contest? Because Dwight Howard has. Granted, the dunk contest wasn’t even invented until long after Russell played and, even if it had been, he was so focused on winning that he never would have entered it. But Dwight Howard won a dunk contest title, and Bill Russell never did. Chalk one up for Superman.
Celtics fans, I know your next point is going to be that Bill Russell won 11 NBA championships in his 13 seasons. The most championships ever, by a human being, in any team sport. That’s very nice, something he should be proud of. But he never had to face Kobe Bryant in the finals, did he? Because Dwight Howard did. Never mind that, in his final season, Bill Russell led an old and beat-up Celtics team past the Lakers trio of NBA All-Timers, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, in an epic seven-game series. Kobe didn’t play on that team, so chalk another one up for Dwight Howard. Since Russell didn’t have to play Kobe, his 11 rings don’t count.
Plus, both Howard and Russell have the same amount of Finals MVP Awards: zero. Didn’t you Celtics fans know that? Of course, Howard doesn’t have one because he has never won a championship and lost in his only finals appearance. Russell doesn’t have one because the award wasn’t given until 1969, which happened to be Russell’s last year. And, umm, David Stern actually named the award after Russell, apparently apologizing that the award was never given out while Russell was scooping championships like they were free samples. In the end, though, they both have the same amount of Finals MVP awards, so that one’s a push.
And Dwight Howard is far better on defense. This year will be the second year he’ll lead the league in blocks, after all! How many times did Russell lead the league in blocks? Zero. See, I told you Howard was a better defender. Of course, Russell played in an era when blocks weren’t counted as a statistic, so you can’t really tell how many times he would have led the league. Never mind that Russell is widely credited with changing the way defense in basketball has played, or that some people contend Russell would have averaged a triple-double if you did count his blocks. He never led the league in blocks. It’s that simple.
Hell, Russell only even made one All-Defensive team, the First Team in 1969. Of course, it was the only year in Russell’s career they actually had an All-Defensive Team and, even in the last year of his career, Russell was named to the First Team. Howard’s already been named to the All-Defensive Team twice, though! More than Russell ever did! He was even named Defensive Player of the Year last year. Russell was never given that honor. Ha! Told you Howard was better. Of course, they never gave that award out in Russell’s time, either. If they had, he might have won it a dozen or so times. But, as it is, Howard has won more Defensive Player of the Year Awards, All-Defensive Team honors, and shot-blocking titles. So, clearly, he’s a better defender. Even if Red Auerbach said of Bill Russell, “Russell single-handedly revolutionized this game simply because he made defense so important.”
Beyond Howard’s dominant defense, there’s the whole question of whether Russell ever could have competed in today’s game. How would he have fared against the monsters of 2010? I mean, centers today are so terrific that Al Horford was an All-Star. Russell never could have competed against a guy of Horford’s caliber, no way. Never mind that Russell was the greatest winner of all-time, in any sport, or that Bill Bradley once wrote, “If I could pick any player in history to start a franchise in the National Basketball Association, I would pick Bill Russell. He was the smartest player ever to play the game and the epitome of a team leader.” That kind of sounds like a player who could have adapted to the times, doesn’t it? But centers today are so big and athletic, when back then they were slow and plodding. Of course, the centers are so athletic today mostly because Russell’s success set the blueprint for mobile centers that every other team would later copy. In so many ways, Russell changed the game of basketball.
Actually, now that I think of it, Mr. Matt Guokas, you couldn’t have been more wrong if you had said Brian Scalabrine should have started this season’s All-Star game. Not only is Dwight Howard nowhere near being able to hold Bill Russell’s jock strap, but he never will be. He could win a championship every year from now until 2019, and still not have as many rings as Russell. He could block five shots a game, and never have the same impact on a game that Russell did. He could win 60 games a season for the next 12 years, and still never approach changing the game the way Bill Russell did.
In the end, Bill Russell’s greatness comes down to two things: He is the greatest winner ever and the person who led the basketball revolution from a bunch of small, scrawny white boys to big, athletic, muscle-bound Dwight Howards.
Dwight Howard isn’t better than Bill Russell, and he doesn’t even come within miles of sniffing Russell’s greatness. Actually, Howard is a product of everything Russell did for the game.
And, until Howard no longer has enough fingers for his rings, I’d appreciate it if we never again spoke their names in the same sentence.
Nothing the Celtics can do tonight against the Detroit Pistons will ease my doubts. They’ve fallen, and it seems like they can’t get up. I’ve come to terms with it, now, finally.
The Celtics are down for the count.
After yesterday’s loss to the Cavaliers, it’s as plain and simple as Tim Duncan’s game. The Celtics aren’t going to be a contender, not this year. They don’t have what it takes to win a championship, or even come close. The truly elite teams have lapped them, left them behind like Zydrunas Ilgauskas in a suicide. This year just isn’t the year.
It’s sad, too, because everything started out so peachy. The Celtics were 6-0, and smacking everyone around like this was the WWE. Six games into the season, I was getting fitted for my NBA championship t-shirt. The Celtics had dreams of 72 wins, and their play showed why. Why stop at 72, I thought? Let’s get 75 or 77. The Celtics were hungry, talented, and driven. This year was going to be great.
By the time Christmas rolled around, the Celtics were 23-5, and throttled the Orlando Magic without Paul Pierce in front of a national television audience. Sitting in front of my T.V., eating my aunts’ Christmas feast, I had just about abandoned hope of 72 wins, but what did it matter? After undressing the Magic on Christmas, the Celtics were clearly the class of the East. I couldn’t wait for a rematch with the Lakers in the finals.
Two days after Christmas, Baron Davis hit a buzzer-beater to send the Celtics to a heart-wrenching defeat. Who cares?, I thought. It was a normal letdown after owning the Magic so thoroughly in the previous game. But that Clippers game was the first of many like it — disappointing, uneven efforts that brought disappointing, uneven results.
Looking back on it, Davis’ game-winner was the shot that put a hole in the Celtics’ ship. They sprung a leak that day, and water’s been spilling into the vessel ever since. The Celtics’ sinking has been slow, marred by injuries, inconsistency and boredom, but it’s undeniable. With a record against the league’s elite more befitting the New Jersey Nets, and a sub-.500 record for their past 37 games, the Celtics aren’t a great team anymore. Hell, they’re barely even good.
Win or lose tonight in Detroit, the sinking has already taken place. It’s possible that the Celtics could right the ship and plug the leaking hole in time for the playoffs, but it would be almost unprecedented. As Zach Lowe notes, only three champions in NBA history have gone through dry spells as long as the current Celtics’ stretch. Two of them (the ’78 Bullets and ’75 Warriors) played in very mediocre eras, and another (the ’94 Rockets) experienced an injury-riddled regular season and traded Otis Thorpe for Clyde “The Glide” Drexler in the middle of February. With The Glide — still averaging almost 22 ppg — in tow, the playoff Rockets were a very different team than the one that suffered through a 47-35 regular season.
The Celtics aren’t playing in a mediocre era, and nobody besides perhaps Isiah Thomas would argue that Nate Robinson and Michael Finley will play a Drexler-like role to help lead them to a championship. The season appears over, lost a long time ago and never to be discovered. Championship teams don’t sleepwalk through almost half their schedule, and they don’t get beat down in every showdown with the NBA’s top teams.
It’s been hard to give up on this season, because this team still possesses talent capable of stringing a championship run together, and I doubt I’ll ever entirely let go of hope. But consider this column as my waving of the white flag.
The NBA is blowing the Celtics out right now, and Gino is up on the scoreboard, swiveling his hips and mocking Boston while the NBA’s crowd goes wild. The NBA is lighting up Red Auerbach’s victory cigar, and the Celtics can do nothing but sit on the bench with a towel over their heads, deflated and depressed.
The Cavaliers’ game was the final wave that pushed the Celtics all the way under, but they’ve been on the way down for some time now.
The Celtics have gotten rid of their morning walkthrough, but that doesn’t mean we have to. Here are a few Celtics links, and maybe even an NBA link or two, to help wake you up and get you focused for the day.
Marc Spears, Yahoo! Sports – “The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers are among the teams who have expressed some interest in New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson(notes), league sources said. Robinson’s base-year status, however, makes it difficult for any trade and the Knicks are said to be reluctant to ship Robinson to an Eastern Conference team, further complicating the Celtics’ efforts to land him.”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Just imagine Cleveland’s LeBron James or Orlando’s Dwight Howard missing double-digit games before the All-Star break, the way Kevin Garnett (hyperextended right knee) has for Boston. What if Atlanta’s Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jamal Crawford suffered a broken left thumb injury, like Boston’s Marquis Daniels that led to him missing more than half the season? Does anyone believe any of those teams would still be among the top three or four clubs in the NBA? I didn’t think so. And that’s why as we near the midway point of the season, Boston may be the most dangerous team in the NBA.”
Greg Payne, CelticsBlog – “The 72-10 nonsense is officially over. The new regular season goal: Tough this stretch out, get healthy, find a groove and enter the playoffs ready to knock opponents in the jaw. We certainly can’t dismiss these last 10 games as if they never happened, because even with injuries we could still see improvement from guys like Rondo and Kendrick Perkins and we can still expect guys like Pierce and Ray Allen to lead the team late in games. So while we still want to win, we know deep down that this team is a shell of the one that was constructed over the offseason. This current group is not the 2009-2010 Boston Celtics. A quarter of what would be Doc’s every day rotation is stuck in street clothes. We can’t judge this team right now. We can’t make any unfair assessments about who should be traded or who should be fired or who deserves more playing time. We have yet to see a polished final product, and until that day comes, the jury is still out.”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Perhaps it’s too much to think this team will be healthy for the stretch run, but dreaming doesn’t cost much. ‘I can’t see why we would not be,’ Doc Rivers said of the possibility that total health can make a return for the playoffs. ‘We’re working our way through it. If we can come back after the All-Star break healthy, and go through the rest of the season that way, that would be phenomenal. With all of the injuries we’ve had, and even with guys like Paul and Tony (Allen) just starting to get right, we have to win every game we can win.’”
Frank Dell’Apa, Boston Globe- “Playing six games in nine days took its toll. Not having Marquis Daniels (wrist), Kevin Garnett (knee), and Rasheed Wallace (foot) also hurt, but they did not have those players when they defeated Chicago in the playoffs last season. The Celtics should be rested by Monday, and they are hoping Wallace can return to match up with Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki. Garnett could be back by Friday, when the Celtics host Portland. ‘But we can’t wait for them,’ coach Doc Rivers said. ‘We’ve got to play every night.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “Celtics coach Doc Rivers and captain Paul Pierce were among the luminaries as the ‘Red Auerbach Concourse,’ replete with photos and signs in Auerbach’s honor, was christened in a short ceremony and speaking program. Auerbach’s daugther, Nancy Collins, highlighted the dedication by unveiling a bronze plaque with the image of her father and his trademark cigar. Next to it stands a bronze shamrock and it was suggested that anyone looking for a little luck come touch the fixture. With the Celtics having lost six of their last 10 games, Rivers and Pierce eagerly obliged, leading the way as guests and even commuters wandering through all craned for a glimpse of the concourse’s newest additions.”
Once in a while, someone else’s article catches my eye. Sometimes, it’s because the article is so spot-on I wish I’d written it myself. Other times, it’s because the article enlightens me with something I never knew. Still other times, it’s because I disagree with whatever’s written. No matter what the reason, I dish it off to another writer to make his/her point. You know, throwing some dimes.
1. Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston took some video of Red Auerbach’s plaque being unveiled inside the North Station.
2. Greg Payne from CelticsBlog: Celtics-Bulls had upset written all over it even before tipoff.
All of the ingredients for an upset were spread on the table: The salivating thought of three days off awaiting them, a grueling five-games-in-seven-nights stretch coming to an end, a young and athletic Bulls team waiting in the weeds, and a slight hangover after a ridiculously easy win against a helpless New Jersey Nets squad the night before.
3. Zach Lowe of CelticsHub explores a three-team trade the Celtics could make… and would bring back James Posey.
4. Red’s Army is celebrating its fourth birthday party, and if you go you could win a free phone.
5. The NBA and its player’s association have made a classy move, donating $1 million to Haiti relief efforts. Unfortunately, $25,000 of that is rightfully Doc Rivers’.