Celtics executed poorly, steamrolled by Heat in season opener 120-17

Well, this game certainly fell below everyone’s expectations. If you think about it, the game did pan out in a way that parallels what the team is right now. An entirely new bench, Pierce and KG being a year older, and Bradley still out. Compare that with the Heat, who basically kept the same roster while adding Ray and Rashard, making for better continuation and team chemistry. Factor LeBron’s usual destructive firepower into the equation, and it was quite obvious that the Heat would have swept this. That didn’t keep us green-tinted goggle wearers from hoping though!

Game observations

Rondo’s emotions
It felt like Rondo was out of control in this game. Pierce was caught on the mic shouting at Rondo to “stop thinking too much, we need you to play ball”. Rondo seemed frustrated and out of sync, obviously not in playoff mode. Perhaps it was everyone’s poor movement that caused his inability to spread the ball as well. Rondo seems to be making passes that are way too slow, an observation made since preseason. Those slow passes need to stop.

Leaky defense
Tons of open baskets. Poor baseline coverage, and KG seemed a to be a little out of his usual defensive matador mode. We have come to expect so much from KG’s defensive intensity, that when he fails to deliver his usual standards, it seems abnormal. The defensive energy was missing, everyone seemed to be slow, Rondo gambled on steals too much.

Stagnant offense
The Heat’s crazy switching and double teams on defense caused a lot of problems. Guys couldn’t get free, took uncomfortable shots (excluding Bass), and Pierce was about the only person outside of Bass who kept his head and played his usual game. Pierce scored a team high 23 points.

Bad matchups
JET seemed to be handling Ray pretty badly on defense. Same went with Lee, who had problems with Wade’s adept footwork. That’s two bad matchups in this game, let’s see if this improves down the stretch.

The Bass man delivers
Battier knew what he was doing, and forced Bass to take the ball at the three line. This made Bass pretty uncomfortable with his dribble, and resulted in a few bad possessions. Bass however kept his game on, and hit jumper after jumper, even crashing the offensive glass for rebounds. I would say he was one of the best Celtics in this game, notching 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Hesitant Green
Green seemed uncertain today, and did not go into his usual aggressive isolation sets. No cuts either. If he continues playing passively, we are in for a bad time – a large part of this season depends on him getting into his rhythm and scoring to back PP’s load up.

Instant offense
If there was a human definition of instant offense, Barbosa was it today. He was 6 for 8 FG, 3/3 from 3P in the fourth quarter, sparking a run that closed the gap (when LeBron was off the court). I’m looking forward to seeing him play in transition. JET on the other hand, seemed frustrated on offense. He scored 8 points with zero from 3P, an absolutely unusual stat for the JET.


Random trivia: KG ignored Ray, who walked over to shake hands with the coaches and gave him a pat on the shoulder. Nothing important, as they seemed to bump fists after that.

Ray scored 19 points, including a lucky bank shot 3 over Lee. Not a bad number for an opening game against his old team, hopefully this was a fluke.

A discouraging start to the season, let’s forget this one and look to bettering the record in the games ahead.

The Green Ubuntu feat Wade respecting the C’s and more

The Green Ubuntu is a collection of Celtics-related news and columns from around the intarwebs, just so that you keep in touch with our favourite green team.

Follow us on Twitter at @CelticsDownUnd and like us on Facebook too! There will be a contest for the season opening game, so join us on the Facebook page, have fun together and win a prize if you’re a lucky at game stats.

Today’s edition features talk about the Celtics’ open practice, Dwyane Wade showing respect for the C’s and more.


Practice highlights

Celtics open practice: One fabulous Rondo jacket and some offensive drills – Red’s Army

Videos of the open practice, courtesy Chuck from Red’s Army:

Observations from the Celtics “open practice” – Lucid Sports Fan

Mark Vandeusen writes about the open practice as well, check out his post with some videos and snaps of the session. It must be fun to be able to attend stuff like this, something we blokes in Australia miss out on. I like the part where JET was getting the crowd involved:

Jason Terry is a lot of fun. Before they started scrimmaging he told one side of the building to root for the green team, and the other to cheer for the white team. This got the fans much more involved. I was sitting on the “white” side, and the crowd around me chanted “de-fense” and jokingly booed Pierce on the free throw line at the end of the game


Player features

Heat’s Wade has great respect for Celtics – Boston Herald

“I understand what he was saying at that standpoint and we look forward to the challenge every year. Boston is always the team that’s going to make us point fingers (at each other) in the game sometimes. They mess with your mind a little bit. It’s a great challenge for us and by the time you get to the playoffs, we look forward it. You have to be aware and focused on everything that they’re doing because they can beat you any given night.”

Wade at least is acknowledging that the Celtics will prove to be a handful this season, rather than sitting easy in arrogance or overconfidence. He also recognises the fact that adding younger legs around KG will only serve to preserve him (and Pierce) for the games that matter.

“When you got great players, no matter how old they are, you’re a great player,” Wade said. “KG (Kevin Garnett) is playing phenomenal, like he’s found a fountain of youth. Why break it up? You do the San Antonio (plan), you just add players around the great players. San Antonio has been very successful and it seems like Tim Duncan has been in the league 38 years. Why change that? And Boston has kind of did the same thing. They felt they needed a facelift but they kept three of their core four to come back and still make another push at it. Their just as good. It’s a different dynamic than having Ray but they got other guys that brings something different to the team that will be challenging.”

I like the way Wade thinks, now if only he wasn’t a Heat player.

Stronger case for Sixth Man of the Year: Terry or Green? – CelticsLife

Interesting argument, and I would put my bets on defense being the key that swings the vote. Should Green be capable of good defense in the season ahead plus consistent scoring, he’s a definite shoo-in over the JET for me.

Rajon Rondo’s roadmap to greatness starts with Paul Pierce – CelticsBlog

Jeff Clark contrasts Rondo’s career with Pierce’s, which interestingly seem to be have similar bumps along the way. You can never judge until one’s journey is done, but here’s hoping Rondo rises to greater heights in the years ahead.


Injury watch

Darko Milicic

“I have some pain and it’s going to come back,” he said. “The only way I’m going to heal is not doing anything. Not lifting or anything. But I just can’t do it right now. I can’t let it go. I have to keep lifting and working out. The pain is going to be there for some time, but it is what it is. The tape gives me some support and that will be on it as long as I feel some pain.” – via WEEI

Something to worry about? At least it’s not his master hand, but the season is 82 games after all, and getting sufficient rest doesn’t seem to be an option.


That’s all for today folks, have fun and I’ll see you soon.

Great off-season review!

http://celticsdownunder.com/2012/10/27/635/

The Daily Ubuntu feat. the underpaid Jeff Green and more

The Daily Ubuntu is a collection of Celtics-related news and columns from around the intarwebs, just so that you keep in touch with our favourite green team.

Follow us on Twitter at @CelticsDownUnd and like us on Facebook too! There will be a contest for the season opening game, so join us on the Facebook page, have fun together and win a prize if you’re a lucky at game stats.

Today’s edition features talk about JET shooting the lights out in gym, Jeff Green being underpaid and more.


Video highlights

Celtics Jason Terry puts on shooting clinic in practice: Swishing one, then another, then another, then another. You get the idea. (via Mike Petraglia)


Player features

Lee gets crash course on Heat rivalry – ESPN Boston

Head coach Doc Rivers hasn’t been bashful about putting Miami on the minds of his players, and Lee — in all likelihood the team’s starting shooting guard on Tuesday — is prepped for his matchup with Wade. He already has his plan for defending Miami’s all-star guard.

“Just trying to make everything tough on him, as far as just trying to deny the ball out far, getting into him on pick-and-roll coverages, and then taking away his right-to-left crossover,” Lee said. “He loves to do that and reject pick-and-rolls, so just try to play hard defense on him, especially without fouling, and keep him off the free throw line.”

It sure looks like Lee is well-prepped on defending Wade, I’m pretty sure that he will start the game on the season opener. Everyone is getting pumped up, are you?

Jeff Green is UNDERPAID – Yes you read that right – CelticsLife

Mike D explains why he thinks Green is underpaid (in comparison to all the other overpaid stars out there). Having seen the preseason performance so far, I would tend to agree that Green is worth his salary, but underpaid? That remains to be seen. I’ll hop on the underpaid bandwagong when Green starts lockdown defense on Melo and LeBron like his life depends on it.

Some body of work – Boston Herald

Interesting writeup on Sully, about his upbringing and the way his dad taught him to post up the good old fashioned way, something that’s not very popular with players these days. Read.


That’s all for today folks, have fun and I’ll see you soon.

The Daily Ubuntu feat Bass the awesome post defender and more

The Daily Ubuntu is a collection of Celtics-related news and columns from around the intarwebs, just so that you keep in touch with our favourite green team.

Follow us on Twitter at @CelticsDownUnd and like us on Facebook too! There will be a contest for the season opening game, so join us on the Facebook page, have fun together and win a prize if you’re a lucky at game stats.

Today’s edition features talk about Brandon Bass actually being a great post defender, more Ray Allen quotes and more.


Video highlights

Lee dunking: Courtney Lee dunking it after practice – nasty, but too many replays. (via Ben Rohrbach)

Molly McGrath has a post-practice update for all of us news-starved fans.


Practice talk

“Watching Kevin Garnett and the veteran guys talk on defense, I’m becoming a better talker, and that alone makes you a better defender, I’m growing, on the defensive end. I’m more confident.”

Bass talks about how he’s going to keep working and just stay ready, I like the way he expresses confidence in his defense. Learning how to talk is a skill that cannot be overemphasized, too often it is the lack of communication that kills team defense.


Player features

Brandon Bass is an excellent post defender, apparently – CelticsTown
Great analysis from Tom Westerholm, check this article out. There’s a video of Bass defending Bosh, which shows the little things BB does to keep his opponent from getting into comfortable grounds.

First, Bass uses his large, strong body to muscle Bosh out of his comfort zone, forcing the slender power forward to pass out and repost, which he does at the elbow. At this point, one would imagine that Bass is screwed, because we all know that Bosh, who is much faster, is about to drive directly around him, right?

Wrong. Bass moves his feet not especially quickly, but into exactly the right place to cut Bosh off. His long arms also would have contested a shot from Bosh, but by this point, Bosh is so frustrated that he chucks up a wild half-hook shot at the side of the backboard, and the Celtics are off to the races again. Bass just expertly foiled one of the best power forwards in the world in three separate, distinct ways.

A really good piece, because it points to Bass as being much more than what he is commonly advertised as – a jumpshooting big man period. Don’t forget to give this one a read.

Ray plays down the rift – ESPN Boston

He is advised how this exodus looks, that he made an emotional decision — to take significantly less money to play for a team that already has three superstars and precious few touches to go around — because he was hurt, his ego bruised, and his reaction was to sign with the Celtics’ most heated rival.

“No, no, it wasn’t like that,” Allen said. “I didn’t want to go anywhere. It hurt my family to leave. But once they loaded the roster, got Jason Terry, signed everyone but me, you could tell it was, ‘We can bring Ray back, but if he doesn’t come back, we’re all set.’

“I was like, ‘OK, this is business.’”

Our favourite Heat #34 continues to talk. I guess he doesn’t realise all this talking isn’t helping things huh? Now it’s about the organisation not showing commitment because they brought the JET in.

The question was posed to the Celtics coach shortly after Allen departed. Rivers bluntly explained he wanted the ball in Rajon Rondo’s hands more, that he wasn’t as confident with Allen’s ability to run the pick and roll, that he felt the team was more effective with Bradley as a starter. Left unsaid was a feeling among the coaches that Ray’s defensive deficiencies were becoming more difficult to camoflage.

“I sensed he (Rivers) didn’t want to use me in the pick and roll,” Allen acknowledged. “I was so good at pick and roll in Seattle. It always struck me as odd that they didn’t want me to do that.

“I would ask (Doc) about it, and he’d just say, ‘I think this is better for the team.’ But I always felt I could do it. I could shoot out of them, or get to the hole if I needed to, given the chance.

And over here, he talks about wanting to run the P&R. No man, no handling of the ball for you. I’m sure everyone was glad you didn’t dribble.

This quote below takes the cake – I really hope he doesn’t try it on opening night.

And what will he say to the Celtics on that night, when his two worlds collide in South Beach?

“I’m going to walk over and say ‘What’s up?’ ” he said. “Those guys are my brothers.”

Bad idea man.

Always a Celtic, no matter how West – CelticsLife

Bohemian speaks for everyone over here. We love how Delonte was in the Celtics, it was just tough watching him go down with injuries during his last season here. He’s a good guy, but we are just overloaded with guards at this point, adding him isn’t going to be very helpful.

Maybe next time, but not now.

The Celtics Get Jet-Fueled – Grantland

Amos Barshad does an interview at Waltham with Jason Terry about his decision to join the Celtics, and his potential contribution to the team this year. The rich opening makes me feel like I am at the practice facility itself, his style reminds me of the intimate way Jackie McMullan writes.

I love the quote that mentioned KG’s pitch to Terry about joining the C’s:

Garnett’s, expectedly, was way weirder. “I heard from KG first,” Terry says. “His phone call was simple. It was, ‘You love green, you’re from the Emerald City [Terry grew up in Seattle], and green is your favorite color. So why not be a Celtic?’”

No sales bullshit, no awkward compliments. Just straight up.

There’s a bit about Barshad’s own history with the Celtics, and his thoughts on the off-season, most especially Heat #34. There are snippets from JET about the Europe trip this year, about the bonding sessions they had at night – it feels good to hear that the guys are tight even off the court, just becoming friends and building relationships.

It’s a lengthy read, but the article flows really well, with thoughts about the KG era Big Three, expectations for the past seasons and what’s coming. Go on, read it.

Here’s a last quote about KG’s game face, this nickname’s new.

Before the media got booted from the closed practice, I watch with a security guard in a back tunnel. Turns out he’s a Celtics fan. “I’m Jamaican, we have different nicknames for everyone,” he says. “Garnett, I call him dogface. He be doing that dogface.” Then he growls, demonstrating what many of us might know as Garnett’s serial killer face. “When he’s out there, he’s like, ‘Eat that shit!” Then he does an exaggerated miming of a huge swat. We start talking about the playoffs two seasons ago, when Miami bounced Boston in five games. “It literally brought tears to my eyes,” he says.

dawg. face.


Team talk

Jason Terry says Celtics have ‘deepest bench in basketball’ – Boston Globe

“When I came here, I knew this team was very deep and very versatile. At every position, guys can create off the dribble, and also spot up and shoot. So with that comes a very difficult task for Doc [Rivers] — to pick lineups and match guys together.

“It will be difficult for opponents to match up. A lot of teams, you can get caught up, gear up and load up for them. But with us, you don’t know who’s going to beat you with all the different lineups we can play.”

JET is saying it out loud – the one flaw we had last season was a lack of players who could create their own shot, and this has been ably addressed during the off-season, with Lee, JET, Green and Barbosa coming into the lineup.

Granted isolation sets are not the most preferred option, but it is definitely something we would want to go to, given the high potential of mismatches that could happen during the game.

How will the Boston Celtics’ defense hold up in 2013? Probably quite well – CelticsTown

A look into how good the team defense could be, backed by stat analysis. The C’s defense emphasizes help defense and forcing the attacker into mid-range jumpshots, which of course is the shot that holds the lowest value. With the new additions, it would probably take a while for them to get adjusted to the system, but once they do things could be good.


That’s all for today folks, have fun and I’ll see you soon.

The Daily Ubuntu feat. Joseph making roster (official!), Barkley on the C’s and more

The Daily Ubuntu is a collection of Celtics-related news and columns from around the intarwebs, just so that you keep in touch with our favourite green team.

Follow us on Twitter at @CelticsDownUnd and like us on Facebook too! There will be a contest for the season opening game, so join us on the Facebook page, have fun together and win a prize if you’re a lucky at game stats.

Today’s edition features talk about Charles Barkley’s predictions for the Celtics, Barbosa looks forward to winning a ring with the Celtics and more.


Video highlights

Brandon Bass Boston Celtics Mix: A video mix tape on our favourite jump shooting, all dunking big guy – No Pass Bass. Enjoy!


Practice talk

Practice report: Full attendance – ESPN Boston
ESPN Boston’s Chris Forsberg presents several post-practice videos, most noticeably being newest recruit Leandro Barbosa’s interview, and the return of big guys Darko Milicic/Chris Wilcox to practice.

Lots of positive quotes in the article, I’ll just leave you with a good one to start.

* Rivers raved about the first full-team practice for newly acquired guard Leandro Barbosa.

“He’s been here for three or four days and the last two days we ran him through all the stuff. So he had a concept of what we’re running. He’s played against us for so long — that helps as well. But he had a great practice.”

Added Rajon Rondo: “[Barbosa] was very vocal today. He was the point guard. He moved [Jason Terry] to the side and I think they both liked that situation. JET’s more of a scoring point guard and Barbosa set a lot of those guys up today in practice.”


Player features

Leandro Barbosa envisions title with Celtics – Boston Globe
Leandro Barbosa is certainly buying into the team’s dream.

“I’ve been to Phoenix, I know how [winning] is and with this team I know it’s going to be [demanded],” he said. “And I’m very, very excited. I mean there’s no words I can explain to you how I feel right now. I just want to work, give them what they expect, and win games and a championship. In my mind I have the championship and I’m sure those guys have the same thing. So we’re going to work together and I’m down for that too.”

One team, one dream. It’s all about everyone buying into the same goal, and working unselfishly towards it.

The column also talks about Barbosa’s potential contributions to the team, and Doc’s opinion on the Barbosa’s abilities and what his role could be – check the article out.

Joseph makes roster out of camp – ESPN Boston

“Just happy, proud,” Joseph said Wednesday after learning he made the final cut. “I put in the work necessary to make it this far throughout my life, and when I got here, I continuously worked hard. So, it’s just a blessing. It’s a weight off my shoulders now. But, the hard work doesn’t stop here. You’ve got to always keep working hard.”

So Joseph got told officially that he’s made the team. No surprise at this point, but congratulations nonetheless. Work hard and keep proving yourself out there!

Kevin Garnett keeps the dream alive – CSNNE

Bohemian writes about how KG’s move to the Celtics has re-ignited the pride for fans all over, after a long hiatus of mediocrity. The man embodies passion, pride and grit, how can we not be proud of a player like that? So long as he’s leading the pack, we know everyone will be inspired to play harder, the way the Big Ticket does.

Top 50: Rajon Rondo, no. 8 – SLAM Online

An excellent article with a slight apologetic overtone that talks about Rondo, the much-maligned and underestimated player. The media has indeed begun to mellow on Rondo, now that he gives better interviews, but to dismiss his creativity on the court at times is just frustrating.

Basketball is never just a stats game, there are so many intangibles present that cannot ever be converted into metrics. Rondo’s situational awareness is just one of those phantom qualities that you will never ever see on the box score.

In the annual GM Survey, which was made public earlier this week, Rondo’s name appeared more times than any player not known by their surname alone. NBA GMs, men paid vast sums to evaluate talent and build rosters, voted him the third-best point guard in the League, the third-best (in a four-way tie) perimeter defender, the third-fastest with the ball, the third-best (in a two-way tie) passer, the third-toughest (in a four-way tie; he’s the only point guard) player and the player with the 10th best basketball IQ. And all of this on heels of his eighth-placed finish in last season’s MVP voting.

Yes, Rajon Rondo is not a finished product. His jumper is still shaky, he needs to improve his percentage from the charity stripe, he passes up too many layups and at times he seems to idle his engine. But the 26-year-old is the real deal.

The review also talks about the takeover moments Rondo had in recent years; the elbow dislocation and return, the OT win against the Knicks, and his otherworldly performance in the Heat series last postseason.

Yep, the real deal folks. And he’s staying green.

Stat check: JET’s preseason defense – ESPN Boston

Terry limited opponents to 26.7 percent shooting (12 of 45 shooting) and, maybe most amazingly, did not commit a single foul that resulted in free throws.

Preseason stats in a very small sample size are likely misleading, but the JET’s defense looks pretty good over here.


Team talk

Celtics’ ‘legit chance of beating’ Heat, Jeff Green as NBA’s most underrated player and other Charles Barkleyisms – WEEI

“I think the most underrated player in the NBA is Jeff Green,” said Barkley, who also proclaimed himself “a big Jeff Green fan” last season. “I know he didn’t play last year. I loved him in Oklahoma City. When he got to Boston, he went late into the year, so he really never got comfortable. I think he is going to be fantastic.”

Barkley also made some classic Barkley statements about the C’s Atlantic Division rivals.

“The Celtics got an older Kevin Garnett and a Paul Pierce,” he said. “They brought in all these younger guys to bring in energy and take the load off of Garnett and Paul Pierce, and the Knicks brought in a bunch of old geezers.

I like what Sir Charles is thinking. You sir, are saying what the rest of us are hoping for – a breakout season in Jeff Green.

Celtics Feel That Regular Season Has Begun – Celtics.com

The C’s are going at practice very hard in anticipation of the Heat game, very nice. Of course, it helps that the quality of the matchups have gone up substantially since last season.

“It just helped that the second group now, because [Wilcox and Barbosa are] on the floor, can compete better when you do it,” Rivers said of changing up his lineups. “Before, when you messed with the lineup, because of the numbers we had and we had a lot of the young guys, it gave you a false sense of security. You were scoring every time or stopping them every time.”

No easy bunnies, that’s for sure. Stay injury-free guys, less than a week to go!


Injury watch

Darko Milicic

Good to hear that Darko’s back to play. I’m not sure if he is going to be a huge factor in the Heat game though, seeing as they thrive on mismatches, and Darko’s not exactly the quickest guy out there.

Chris Wilcox

After straining his lower back on the first day of practice on Sept. 29, Chris Wilcox finally took the floor again this morning.

“The back felt good – everything felt good today,” said Wilcox. “I’m trying to improve on everything. I’m coming from scratch right now, so everything I do is about trying to improve and trying to get better. I’m feeling out where I need to be, the spots I need to be in. I’m working right now to just get back in shape and get back into the flow of things.” – via Boston Herald

More good news as well, it’s great to hear Wilcox back on the court. I don’t see him playing huge minutes on the season opener, but a few minutes here and there? Very likely.


That’s all for today folks, have fun and I’ll see you soon.

The Daily Ubuntu feat. Team Bradley, JET pranking and more

The Daily Ubuntu is a collection of Celtics-related news and columns from around the intarwebs, just so that you keep in touch with our favourite green team.

Follow us on Twitter at @CelticsDownUnd and like us on Facebook too! There will be a contest for the season opening game, so join us on the Facebook page, have fun together and win a prize if you’re a lucky at game stats.

Today’s edition features talk about JET’s pranking 101 video with Christmas, Wilcox on the road to recovery and more.


Video highlights

Prank 101: Episode 4 of the entertaining “Jason Terry is a Celtic” series by The NOC. The JET teaches you how pulling a prank is done (with the help of Dionte Christmas):

Watching this video reminds me again – sucks that Christmas got cut!


Player features

Bradley sends his home team on the road – CSNNE
Not Celtics-related, interesting topic nonetheless. Avery Bradley is the first NBA player in his own hometown over at Tacoma, Washington. Being that, he’s taken it upon himself to adopt the local AAU team, now known as Team Avery Bradley. He sponsors shoes and gear for them (via Adidas), pays for the plane tickets on tournaments and looks to provide a good environment for the younger Tacoma players to have a chance at balling further.

Good man, good read.

A Look Back: Paul Pierce – CelticsLife

Jacob Zweiback reminds us of PP’s epic duel against King James back in the championship season of 2008. He matched James shot for shot, hitting pullup after pullup, three after three. It was a race to score, and the Truth wasn’t going to give way.

Man, that was a good game.

Wilcox taking a weight-and-see approach to return – CSNNE

A short piece about Wilcox’s journey to get back in game form, unfortunately hampered by recent back spasms as we all know. One good thing seen here is his discipline on food intake. He doesn’t do it Big Baby style, but instead sticks to a healthy diet.

While we’re on Wilcox, here’s a few photographs of him visiting the cardiac unit for the Boston Children’s Hospital. (via Wilcox’s Facebook page album)

From his Facebook page:

Headed to @BostonChildrens to visit with kids in the cardiac unit and ICU. Wasn’t that long ago that I was in their shoes…


Lineup talk

Extreme makeover: bench edition – CelticsLife

This column’s quite fascinating when you think about it: none of the bench guys from last season returned. Zero. Some left during free agency, some were traded and the rest were not resigned. The only obvious exception of course, was Reverend Dooling’s signing and unexpected retirement.

Like what the article says, we have got a very solid upgrade in the off-season especially on offensive firepower, so I’m not complaining. I would have liked to see Pietrus or Quisy back though.

Irish Coffee: C’s chemistry at a 9 or 10 but not ’08 level – WEEI

Ben Rohrbach makes a very good point on this season’s team when comparing to the championship team in ’08:

That may v be true, but it raises another point: Other than Rondo, nobody really has a defined role. Five years ago, Rondo, Ray Allen, Pierce, Garnett and Kendrick Perkins practically defined the point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward and center positions. In fact, the only real matchup decisions C’s coach Doc Rivers ever had to make involved Eddie House and Tony Allen or Glen Davis and Leon Powe.

Now? Not even Pierce (guard/forward) and Garnett (forward/center) have fully defined roles. Sure, they’ll be on the court 30-plus minutes a game, starting and finishing games, but what positions they’ll be playing could change from night to night. Same goes for Jason Terry (1/2), Avery Bradley (1/2), Leandro Barbosa (1/2), Courtney Lee (1/2/3), Green (2/3/4), Brandon Bass (4/5), Jared Sullinger (4/5) and Chris Wilcox (4/5). Did we miss anybody? At least Darko Milicic and Jason Collins know they’ll just be playing backup center for a few minutes a night.

I would like to think that the obvious change in the player roles was necessitated by the evolving NBA landscape. Teams are getting smaller and faster, and to play the traditional team lineup is an open invitation to get killed by small ball lineups.

Making decisions on who to play is definitely harder, but the upside of this is versatility, plus the fact that most guys can do the job by themselves if needed, rather than being a role player that needs to be facilitated in order to score.

All this being said, Rohrbach is right on cautioning optimism. We are most definitely not going to start a win streak of ten games or more when the season opens. If we do, the progress bar on team chemistry has indeed moved along a lot quicker than what anyone else expected.


Play talk

Sag off Rondo? You’re just giving him a head start – Red’s Army

John Karalis points out how sagging off Rondo is always a bad idea, with his quickness and court awareness. Now that he’s got the elbow shot going, defenders will probably be a trifle more reluctant to go under the screen automatically, a crucial half-second that could just allow Rondo the hesitation he needs to get into the paint at will.


That’s all for today folks, have fun and I’ll see you soon.

The Daily Ubuntu feat. the KG era guard list, Sullinger’s positives and more

The Daily Ubuntu is a collection of Celtics-related news and columns from around the intarwebs, just so that you keep in touch with our favourite green team.

Follow us on Twitter at @CelticsDownUnd and like us on Facebook too! There will be a contest for the season opening game, so join us on the Facebook page, have fun together and win a prize if you’re a lucky at game stats.

Today’s edition features talk about wrapping up the postseason, Doc’s view on the backup point role and more.


Video highlights

Post-game interview from Rondo, KG and Pierce. Watch out they take turns to answer a few questions, then slip away soon as the next teammate is ready to leave – funny! (via Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston)

Interesting blurp: you can see Rondo being the leader here, as he is keeping an eye on everyone in the locker room (out of camera), and directing guys to do their share of the post-game interview.

Here’s our favourite (White) Mamba doing a season preview for the team, check it out all you Scal fans. (via CelticsLife, CSNNE)


Preseason wrap up

Sizing up the C’s at the end of the preseason – CSNNE

Sherrod does a very good job summing up what we have seen so far on the preseason games, the storylines being Rondo’s leadership, a defense that is still in the midst of working out its kinks, and of course Jeff Green’s growing contributions every game.


Player features

Kris Joseph makes the team, Celtics will cut two more – CelticsBlog
With the need to cut the roster down to 15 men, it’s quite likely that Kris Joseph will be staying on. Jeff Clark muses on the possibility of having Kurz and Downs in the D-League team, and Joseph’s role in the season ahead.

I like how Joseph has begun to assert himself, especially on offense. Given time, he has the potential to become the second insurance policy for Paul Pierce, and I’m looking forward to that development. Until then, would it be better for him to head over to the Red Claws, or to play garbage time in season minutes?

The case for starting Brandon Bass – Red’s Army

John Karalis puts forward a strong argument for putting Bass into the starting lineup. Bass provides consistent defense and offense, and the main sell (in my opinion) is that enthusiasm aside, Sully would fare much better against the opponent reserves than he would fighting against enemy starters on the floor.

What do you think?

Sullinger hops on ‘dinosaur’ train – ESPN Boston

A great summary piece of Jared Sullinger. Greg Payne describes how Sully’s various skills on the court translated into results, which in turn convinced Doc to let the rookie run with the starters.

In some instances, the little things stood out with Sullinger — the quick outlet passes, going right up for a layup without hesitating after receiving a pass and finding the correct positioning around the basket in accordance with where his teammates were lined up. It all adds up to a rookie who doesn’t play like a rookie, and he’s managed to make an impact both on the floor and in the locker room.

“He’s still got a lot of work, but he does a lot of good things,” Rivers said of Sullinger. “He has a veteran mind, does not play like a young guy, except for he makes rookie fouls, he does things, and that’s why he had the foul trouble. But he’s just a good spirit and it’s good to have him in the locker room.”

By showing the right work ethic, making his contribution in the one area the C’s have needed most (rebounding) and having the court vision to always make the right pass, Sully has meshed with the team very well on the court.

Of course, it helps that he has been showing respect and listening to advice – no one likes a rookie who has a ton of pride and thinks he knows it all. Humility never hurt anyone, and it definitely has not hurt Sully; much rather the opposite I would say.

For this year’s Celtics, Green means go – Boston Herald

With the performance Jeff Green has been putting up, it’s no wonder everyone has been impressed so far during the offseason – add Danny Ainge to the list.

“So I don’t see what’s happening now as just a function of, ‘Oh, I’m going to be more aggressive.’ I mean, when you’re in a certain role, it’s tough to just take that initiative on yourself. That has to be a function of the team and your role within that team, how your coach sees that role. So I just don’t think that it’s that simple.”

“I understand that,” Ainge said. “I just think it needs to be more than that. You need to have your number called and sort of have that role. I mean, it’s tough for Danny Ainge to have that role when he’s playing with Kevin (McHale) and Larry (Bird) and DJ (Dennis Johnson), you know what I’m saying? It’s not as easy as just being more aggressive or assertive, although I’m not saying that assessment’s not right. I just think that there are a lot of factors.

I would say cautious optimism, but things are looking as well as they can get right now. There were no major injuries, court chemistry is decent (but not five stars), and we have a week of training to go before the season opens. If Green continues to assert himself in the Heat game and beyond, we will be looking at a very big scoring option in #8 for months to come.

Leandro Barbosa unfazed by guard logjam – Boston Herald

Asked about the backcourt traffic ahead of him, Barbosa didn’t blink.

“That will be on Doc’s call,” said Barbosa, a Brazil native who was unable to play last night because of visa issues. “I think he’s the coach; he knows what he has to do. I’m here to help. They’re all good players. You know, I’m here just to help, and as soon as I get my chance to go on the court, I’m just going to try to do my best to succeed and help the team. It’s an experienced team, so I’m still young.

“I’m here to learn, too. So whatever happens happens. I just want to help. It’s a great team. To be here and play with (Kevin) Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo — all those kind of guys — is great. I’m very happy.”

Everyone likes an unselfish player. For a guy to take the veteran’s minimum to (relative chump change for NBA players) to join the Celtics, say that he’s not concerned about game minutes, but to stay ready and play when his number is called – always good news. I’m liking Barbosa already.

Should he decide to stay on after this season, we could possibly be looking at the making of a great guard roster over the long term.


Lineup talk

Introducing the Celtics’ backup point guards, all of them – CSNNE

Over the past five seasons the following players have attempted to fill the role of Rajon Rondo‘s backup: Eddie House, Sam Cassell, Stephon Marbury, Tony Allen, Nate Robinson, Delonte West, Keyon Dooling and Avery Bradley.

Also appearing in minor roles: E’Twaun Moore, Carlos Arroyo, Gabe Pruitt and the immortal Lester Hudson. (Oliver Lafayette never played in an actual game, but go ahead and throw his name in there as well along with Jamar Smith.)

“We’ve never really had, like, a true backup point,” said Doc Rivers. Of the dozen or so players listed above only two players — Marbury and Cassell — were anything like true point guards, but they sure have tried almost everybody else on the combo guard platter.

This year figures to be different. No, they still don’t have a true backup point guard, but what Rivers does have are four guards who can all handle the ball.

“I like it,” the coach said. “I like that there are multiple guys. Instead of trying to force and find a guy who’s a point guard, just find two guys who can dribble.”

Apologies in advance to Paul Flannery for the huge quoted chunk, but the context of this topic is fairly interesting.

First up, it is evident that almost all of the players listed were more of the two than one, but I would include Arroyo into the pure point guard list. He is a smart guy who spreads the ball, knows how to execute plays and shoots it when he has to. It is just a pity he plays in Europe now, I reckon he would make a fine addition in his role as the backup point guard this season.

However, Doc is right in saying that having two combo guards bringing the ball up would serve the purpose equally well. So long as they take turns handling the ball, they will still be freed up enough to take the off guard role and attack with the ball.

Conclusion: ball-handling by committee is the answer for this season. With Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Avery Bradley, Leandro Barbosa in the combo guard bunch, we are looking at a group of players that can handle the ball and attack. Problems? What problems?


That’s all for today folks, have fun and I’ll see you soon.

The Daily Ubuntu feat. the New Jeff Green, a super-fast Melo and more

The Daily Ubuntu is a collection of Celtics-related news and columns from around the intarwebs, just so that you keep in touch with our favourite green team.

Today’s edition features talk about the all new Jeff Green, Fab Melo’s feelings on the court and more.


Video highlights

ICYMI – This morning’s last preseason game against the Sixers ended in a loss.

Check out the post-game comments if you haven’t read it yet.


Player features

Meet the new and improved Jeff Green – WEEI

“Jeff’s a lot more aggressive than I can remember,” Kevin Garnett said. “I can remember when he first got here, maybe he was just understanding his role or whatever, at times he was tentative. Now he has a different appreciation. He’s playing like it. He’s playing like he knows he’s going to be here. He knows his role and he’s aggressive. We’re going to need that from him. He has an old-school game like James Worthy and to see him back, see him refreshed, see him doing the things he loves to do. It’s good to see him back.”

The Big Ticket says it all. Green is playing up and beyond everyone’s expectations at this point, let us see him continue at this level of play in the days ahead. I’m still keen on seeing him match up against Lebron, his role could prove pivotal in that series in the postseason.

Celtics Locker Room Report: Jeff Green’s Game Continues to Expand as Regular Season Arrives – CLNS Radio

The part I enjoyed most in this article.

When asked by CLNS about the four blocks, Green said, “I had four blocks? Awesome. I told [Hawes] I was gonna get him. Him and that mullet.”
Green was in a joking mood after the game. When CLNS asked him if he felt confident in his low post defense, Green smirked and simply said, “Nope.”

Life is good when Green is a shot blocker in addition to everything else.

I’m still a little concerned about his finish though, there have been times when he attempted to finish it high off the glass (without success), evidence that he was too far away from the rim to complete his layup. Would a pull-up J be an option at that point, or perhaps better footwork to get closer?

Melo is Fab 5 of C’s future – Boston Herald

Wanting so badly to speed his acclimation to the NBA — and still very young in his basketball life after taking the game up late in Brazil and playing two years at Syracuse — he is getting winded during his brief stints, not because he is out of shape, but because of anxiety. In his desire to do well, he is wasting motion.

“I’m trying to do everything too fast,” said Melo. “I’ve just got to slow down and I’ll be good. I know what I have to do, but it’s hard because I just want to play so well and show them I’m learning.

Performance anxiety, period. He seemed to be more out of place and jittery than actually playing too fast though. Some extended minutes in the D-League will definitely give him greater exposure to pick and roll defense, rebound positioning and dare I say, post up moves even? The fadeaway airball he chucked in the Knicks game still haunts me.


That’s all for today folks, have fun and I’ll see you soon.

Sixers grab last preseason game 88-79, time to look ahead.

A home loss sucks in the way of ending the preseason, but I’m glad to just see the end of it.

Not much in the way of new storylines seen in this game. Everything we have seen in the previous games, continue to be seen here.

Jeff Green doing his thing
A jab step. Shooting from triple-threat. Two huge steps, and the strong finish. That’s how Green is going to roll this season, and he’s proving to be more than capable of taking it right to the hoop.

With the rebounding and shot blocking capabilities he’s bringing to the team, things look good on the defensive end. The sharper he is, the better our bench is going to be. Stay focused Jeff!

Bass is still money
Mid-range. Dribble drives. Bass still hitting when it counts, consistently the best option on the court tonight. His knee didn’t seem to affect him too much, good sign.

Lee’s manic energy continues to impress
Suffocating defense on Nick Young, chasing him around screens, up down and around with no end in sight. Lee’s persistence on defense is very, very impressive. Count his added duties as the backup point tonight and I’m really pleased with what he has shown the team so far.

He’s proving himself as a capable combo guard who can handle a bit of the ball, a solid defender with great athleticism, and a player who can create his own shot off the dribble or into the paint as needed.

Sloppy passing and turnovers
Maybe it is just the way preseason is, but passing was sloppy was again in this game. Little things here and there like poor hand off dribbles with too much space in between, miscommunication on the one-two passes, kick out passes that are off mark and so on. It appears to be mostly chemistry issues between Sully and the starters. It does not look to be a major concern, we have a week of practice before season kicks off after all.

Of how roll men kill the Celtics with huge buzzing chainsaws
Fatal weakness. Tonight it was Spencer Hawes who abused the paint continually. Not as good as Copeland at finishing inside but being way more versatile, Hawes varied his routine, hitting his mid-range baseline shot easy.

Without KG, it remains to be seen how well the pick and roll will be defended. The interior defense has tightened up a notch or two in the past few games with multiple defenders collapsing but regressed a ton in today’s game, giving open lanes for the big men.

New wrinkle: Rondo in the post
We see more of Rondo’s aggressive low post moves. He’s quick and good to finish, but shows an unfortunate tendency to dump the ball to a teammate halfway through the spin into the paint – why oh why? Couch analysts will never understand the mind of Rondo.

That being said, I look forward to simultaneous action when Rondo is posting up. For example, a baseline shooter at the 3 line that he can pass to, or a cutter that he can pass and screen for.


That’s a wrap, and the next game preview will be up after the season opener. Until then, it’s all going to be post-practice interviews I reckon.

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