Crawford: Player Of The Week

What a year Steez is having. The importance of finding the right situation has proven to be so true in the case of Jordan Crawford.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge acquired Crawford for an injured Leandro Barbosa and a rarely-used Jason Collins at the deadline last season. Combined, those two players contributed a total of four points, eight rebounds, four blocks, two assists and 11 personal fouls in six games for the Wizards. A few weeks ago at Celtics Down Under we explored J-Craw’s journey since his arrival in Boston, which can be read here.

It’s truly hard to believe the turnaround in Crawford’s game, from being regarded as a questionable presence in Boston’s locker room after his altercation with Carmelo Anthony in last season’s playoff exit, to being handed the keys to the C’s offense until the retrun of Rajon Rondo, topping it off with player of the week honours in the Eastern Conference for the week of December 2nd through December 8th.

NBA.com breaks down Crawford’s week:

Crawford led the Celtics to the East’s lone perfect mark on the week at 3-0, behind averages of 23.3 points (fourth in the conference) on .610 shooting from the field (sixth in the conference), 6.7 assists and 3.0 rebounds. Crawford connected on 12-of-23 three-point field goals on the week, including a career-high six makes from distance on Dec. 8, during a 114-73 win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

Dec. 3 vs. Milwaukee: Tallied a season-high 25 points and added five assists and two rebounds in a 108-100 win over the Bucks.

Dec. 6 vs. Denver: Posted 22 points, eight assists and four rebounds during a 106-98 win over the Nuggets.

Dec. 8 @ New York: Connected on six three-point field goals en route to 23 points, and added seven assists and three rebounds in a 114-73 win over the Knicks.

The only team to have a 100% winning record in the East for the week, and Steez played a giant part in it. This team just continues to surprise everybody, playing well enough to now be on top of the Atlantic division by 1.5 games. It’s great to see this team having so much fun, while winning at the same time. Bring on the first clash against Brooklyn!

- Michael (@mickyt34)

Istanbul practice, Day 3.

Day 3 of practice, still held at Darussafaka Ayhan Sahenk Spor Salonu.

No contact drills for Bradley at this point, but at least he’s still running the sets together with the rest of the team. Getting in touch with how the team runs is pretty important, at the very least he’s not gonna screw up from a lack of communication.

There’s not much in the way of photos today, but @celtics comments on this being a live scrimmage session; plenty of action, plenty of chances to get used to some real action.

Judging from this comment, Pierce is really feeling confident about the third stringers. It’s just scary though, the rookies being able to play and not get overwhelmed by the starters or the second unit guys.

Either this year’s team is scary good, or we’re brimming with overconfidence right now – hopefully the former. I’m really looking forward to see how the team plays in tomorrow’s game; that should be a fair indicator of how good/bad everyone is.

Main player to watch out for tomorrow? Jeff Green.

Molly’s training camp video shows a bit of practice footage; you can see a KG/Rondo pick and roll, and KG passing off the high post in to PP who finishes at the rim.

Red’s Army’s practice day 3 gallery has plenty of good pics as usual (via Sina). Most of the pics were taken after practice, and include the use of a football more than a basketball.

The guys having fun after practice.


NBA Cares

Turns out they had an NBA Cares event right in the gym after practice. Check out KG and Rondo in the fore, that’s a lot of kids surrounding them all right.

If you look closely at the bunch of cameramen and photogs, Rondo is actually at the top with a camera. He seems to be having fun :)

Lots of snaps from Sherrod Blakely, thanks for the quick posts.

Here’s Jeff Green having a go at being the reporter at the event. He did a great job interviewing Molly McGrath, Courtney Lee and Kris Joseph – very smooth huh? The event looked like a great success, the kids were having some real fun, despite the fact that (quote Molly) “these kids don’t understand a lick of English”. Photographer Rondo also appears for a split second inside ;)


Media

Intense is right.

Mike Gorman and Scal talk about practice and the candidates for KG’s primary backup. Scal speaks pretty highly of Jason Collins, surprising. There’s talk of Fab Melo being sent to the D-League hmmm. Doc and KG video interviews alongside the full article, check it out.

Not entirely sure if this is day 3 footage, but KG talks about Sullinger and Melo post-practice.

Marc D’Amico has a good summmary of the day up on Celtics.com as well. There’s a lot of good blurps inside on the scrimmages you don’t see on Twitter, so give it a read.


Dinner

A few snaps of dinner.

Floppers face fines in coming NBA season.

This is not exactly a Celtics-related topic, seeing as we only have one player who consistently gets to the free throw line by getting fouled (no prizes as usual, you know who). Nonetheless, it is a very good sign to be able to see the league take a slightly tougher stance on these bullshit fouls.

Here’s some reference material for flopping, starring our favourite King:

Press release details on NBA’s new anti-flopping rule from Jessica Camerato on Sulia:

NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations Stu Jackson:
“Flops have no place in our game – they either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call. Accordingly, both the Board of Governors and the Competition Committee felt strongly that any player who the league determines, following video review, to have committed a flop should – after a warning – be given an automatic penalty.”

Definition of “flopping” – Any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player.

Factors of flopping – Primary factor in determining whether a player committed a flop is whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.

Not a flop – Physical acts that constitute legitimate basketball plays (such as moving to a spot in order to draw an offensive foul) and minor physical reactions to contact will not be treated as flops.


Matt Moore from CBS Sports makes a few good observations, one of which is that the definitions are broadly written, allowing the definition of a flop to be interpreted.

Paul Flannery offers his thoughts on the new legislation as well. I agree with him, it’s not going to stop flopping altogether.


Regular season flopping penalties
Violation 1: Warning
Violation 2: $5,000 fine
Violation 3: $10,000 fine
Violation 4: $15,000 fine
Violation 5: $30,000 fine
6+ Violations: Subject to discipline reasonable under the circumstances, including increased fine and/or suspension.

If a player violates the anti-flopping rule six times or more, he will be subject to discipline that is reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension.

The league will announce at a later date a separate set of penalties for flopping that will apply during the playoffs.

If I’m reading this right, it looks to be measures imposed post-game, rather than penalties imposed during the game itself right after the referees do instant video replay.

As a parallel anti-flopping measure, I would think that the referees should be trained to avoid calling those flops.

The threat of suspension should help to throttle the flops somewhat during the season, but I don’t see this making an impact in a pivotal game during the postseason. Sure man, fine me all you want. The ref called my flop, I win the game and get a ring, I still come out on top.

I’m looking forward to the postseason penalties, it had better be pretty harsh if an impact is to be felt. For example, skipping fines and dishing a one game suspension on the Xth flop would be cool.

What do you think?

Istanbul practice, Day 2.

Practice is being held at Darussafaka Ayhan Sahenk Spor Salonu, a “pretty colorful gym” as described by the official Celtics Twitter account (@celtics).

Molly McGrath (@MollyAMcGrath) tweeted another panoramic view of the stadium.

Not too sure if I’d describe it as vibrant even, but the place sure is coloured up pretty brightly. It feels like some fun house rather than a serious sports venue. The seat placement is good though, guaranteed views for every bugger out there without fear of heads blocking views.

Edit: Holy crap it’s an orphanage? This facility is crazy good.

There’s a cute video of kids presenting flowers to some of the guys, makes me go awww. (via @celtics)


There’s also some shots of Avery Bradley shooting. If a guy with multiple shoulder surgery is comfortable enough to shoot, that’s a good sign his rehab is going pretty well.

More goodies to appear on Celtics.com later, according to Molly McGrath. (I’ll update the post when it appears.)

Molly McGrath has good news on Bradley’s status:

Here’s an official Celtics interview on Bradley; sounding positive my man! If there’s no pain and he’s swishing jumpers, all is good.

There’s also a Doc interview in the clip where you can see PP and KG running a pick and pop. Naturally, KG nails the jumper. Green and Lee blurps also included towards the end, chipping in with comments about coming European game(s).


Practice shots

A shot of the guys going at it, courtesy of Sherrod Blakely.

Following Wilcox’s bruise and absence yesterday, Darko takes a hit today and leaves practice. Stay healthy man, the season hasn’t even begun!

Update: he’s back apparently, whew.

Wilcox is out with a back strain, doesn’t sound too serious so that’s good.

Update: Great photos of the practice session from Sina, via Red’s Army.


Media session

Sherrod shares a snap of KG with the media, looking very serious.

His replies are anything but serious though, judging from this tweet:

Jared Sullinger kicks off day 1 of his video blog, narrating his Europe experience so far – he’s a pretty good talker.


A quick piece from the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn gives more details on the practice.

Some details on the scrimmage, pretty intense apparently:

The session was mostly scrimmaging and the players were intense despite arriving in town less than 24 hours before. Kevin Garnett sank the winning shot in the final scrimmage, one of his customary midrange jumpers, as the session went into overtime. Players were battling and there was even a brief shoving match that involved Garnett and Dionte Christmas.

Courtney Lee jokingly stepped in the middle of the fray and cooled any tensions.

It’s surprising to read about Christmas getting physical with KG, damn but does the guy have balls. I’m really hoping he stays in the roster when season begins – we need confident guys, period.


Happy birthday Courtney!

If you wanna talk about social bonding, celebrating a birthday’s probably one of the ways to make everyone feel all warm and fuzzy. Happy birthday to Courtney Lee, must feel good to have a birthday song sung by the team.

Dionte Christmas is taking the birthday boy out to dinner apparently, real good of him to do so.

Jeff Green wishes him a happy birthday, complete with voyeur snap.


Jeff Green escapes to the quiet of his hotel room – does every room have a great view or what?

And rounding the post off – Paul Pierce has something Ubuntu-ish to say about the trip so far:

Plus touristy photos.

Celtics touch down at Istanbul, practice ensues.

Views from Istanbul – Twitter
The team touch down in Istanbul at last. Paul Pierce shows some pretty views from his hotel room in Istanbul.


OK, not so pretty.

Fab Melo takes one from his room as well. Damn, have their rooms got some good views.


Two hours later, they’re already at practice. Doc’s instructions apparently, although it was more of an attempt to keep them awake and recondition the body clock.

“That’s a rarity in the NBA, where you try to make sure that they don’t go to bed early,” the coach explained. “Usually it’s the exact opposite. But because of the time change and all of that, I thought if we went straight and let them do nothing they would fall asleep at 6 p.m. and sleep the rest of the night away.”

According to the article it’ll be limited practice today, full practice tomorrow. One full practice before the game should do the trick – what do you reckon?


Check out the video of their practice by Molly McGrath, along with a chunk of Doc Rivers and some blurps from Courtney Lee and Paul Pierce.

Other than a bunch of players taking random shots, there’s a bit of footage on KG teaching Melo how to face up and attack in the post.


Multimedia galore, here are photos from the practice session.

These shots were taken by Sina, check out Red’s Army for more photos from the practice session.

Media day and the first official practice.

Media day for the Boston Celtics has come and gone, bringing with it a ton of quotable quotes to boot. There is seriously too much material to compile in a single post, but here’s a few of the ones I liked:


Y! Sports, AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Apparently KG was seriously thinking about retiring, but thankfully decided otherwise.

“My No. 1 reason for coming back, obviously, was [Celtics coach] Doc [Rivers]. Doc being here is huge. I enjoy playing for him. The guys, the city, the fans here are by far the best fans that I’ve ever been a part of, and all that stuck with me — along with some family motivation and other things of that nature. … You want to be in a position where you can still contribute and still give something. I don’t know how [Celtics president] Danny [Ainge] talked me into three years. I’m enjoying my journey here. I know it sounds lame and kind of cheesy, but coming in here, preparing, doing what I love, all those put together is why I’m here.” – via WEEI



Y! Sports, AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

Had KG retired, Pierce admitted that he would have gone along, which would have led us to a major rebuild – not something we want at this point.

“I really wasn’t confident he was coming back. He said, ‘This is it for me.’ People didn’t know this, but there were times we’d be in the locker room, and I’d be like, ‘Kevin, is this your last year?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, this is it.’ And I would say, ‘If you’re going to retire, then I’m going to retire.’ But then I started thinking: Kevin’s been in the NBA since he was 18. He doesn’t know anything else. What’s he going to do? He has to come back. When in you’ve been in the NBA that long — you’re fresh out of high school, and then you’re talking about you’re going to retire — and you’re still playing at a high level, and it’s like: What else are you going to do? This is in his blood. This is what he was born to do. For him to be playing at a high level … and with his competitive spirit, I knew he wasn’t going anywhere.” – via WEEI


If you are not sick of the Ray Allen thing yet, KG talks about what he thinks:

“I don’t have Ray’s number anymore. I’m not trying to communicate with him. I’m just being honest with everybody in here. It’s not that I wish him less than or whatever, it’s just what it is. I choose not to [communicate with him]. That’s a choice I personally made. I’m very close to Ray, I know his family, I wish nothing but the best for him and his family, I just made the choice to move on. That’s all. I’m focusing on J.T. [Jason Terry], Courtney Lee, the new guys that are here. … I wasn’t going to come here and answer a bunch of Ray Allen questions. I was going to obviously answer one time, and then focus on what’s right here in this gym and what’s present. That’s where I’m at.” – via WEEI


Y! Sports, AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Ray Allen responds to this in a similar vein, on the HEAT media day:

“That’s a shame,” Allen said after the Heat practiced Saturday. “I’m a good person to talk to on the phone.” On a serious note, Allen said, “I’m not really worried about it.”

Asked if that was just Garnett’s competitive nature speaking, Allen said, “That’s a question you have to ask him. I’ve been around long enough to know that you speak sometimes what’s been said — I don’t know how many miles apart — sometimes the translation gets mixed up. So I don’t worry about it.”

Allen still considers himself Garnett’s friend.

“Even if I was still there, I probably wouldn’t have talked to him much (this summer),” he said. “We’re friends regardless of what happened. I’m on another team, and that’s my focus right now.” – USA Today

Jason Terry just adds a little bit of fun to the mix, when asked about Ray Allen.

“Who?,” the 35-year-old Terry said with a straight face.

“No, we’re two different players and hopefully, I’ll bring something that Ray didn’t and some of the things that he did. Obviously, Ray was a great player for this franchise for years, brought them a championship in ’08. But, again, our games are totally different. He’s 6-5 and I’m 6-2, but I am “The Jet” and I like to fly so we’ll see what happens. A lot of those comparisons will be thrown out there but we’re two totally different players.” – WEEI

That’s all we’re gonna get, so bury the story and let’s get on with life. Ray Allen’s gone, and that’s it period.


Rondo seems to be growing in his leadership role so far, especially on him organising the LA practice sessions (via Y! Sports).


Y! Sports, AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

Danny shows his approval for Rondo over here (not the first time he’s showing support):

“Rajon is really becoming a leader and I’m not sure a few years ago we could have said that,’’ Celtics GM Danny Ainge said Friday at the annual Media Day. “He obviously is a great player, but, right before our eyes, he is growing as a person and a leader. I think the hardest thing to do is convince guys like Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce that you’re a leader. And that’s something you can’t just give to somebody. It has to be earned. I think he is earning that respect from them.” – ESPN Boston

There’s also the full media day session if you are interested in watching it, thanks to CelticsLife for sharing.

Or if you are interested in the individual chunks, CelticsLife also has you covered:


There’s a couple of things I enjoyed on the first practice session, one of them being Courtney Lee’s flying block on JET’s shot (via ESPN’s Chris Forsberg):

I wouldn’t mind him doing a few of these to Ray in the opening game come October.

There’s also footage of the practice, pretty good stuff along with some talk from Pierce, Doc, KG, Rondo

Pierce talks about chemistry, which is pretty true. You don’t build chemistry in a week, so it’s gonna take some time to see this year’s team gel and build some real cohesion – hopefully the training in Europe does that.

Jeff Green also talks about how good it feels to be back in the team – looking forward to seeing him in the lineup this season.

I’ll end this post with Pierce’s very upbeat tweet after practice:

Not sure if this gets you excited, but it sure is making me feel good about the season ahead! (If the damn injury bug doesn’t strike again.)

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