Green Runs Deep #5 – Michael Robinson

green-runs-deep_michael_robinson

Our fifth edition of ‘Green Runs Deep’ features Michael Robinson, a Celtics Down Under friend from Melbourne, Australia. Knowing of Michael from my early days on Twitter, I’ve always regarded him as one of the most loyal Celtics fans Australia has to offer. Never one to randomly, or frequently throw out opinions, Michael’s style is more quality over quantity’. When Mike Tweets, I read. -AusCelticsFan

 

2012-05-11-Grant-Park-Chicago

Michael in front of the Abraham Lincoln Statue in Grant Park, Chicago in 2012.

Please tell us about yourself:
“Name: Michael Robinson
Twitter: @mikerobbo34
Age: 40 years old
Profession: IT Consultant
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia
Likes: American Football, Association Football, Australian Rules Football, Basketball, Films, History, Photography, Tennis.
Dislikes: People who wait around for car parking spaces. I call them ‘parking parasites’.”

Dislikes: People who wait around for car parking spaces. I call them ‘parking parasites’

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How did you first become a fan of the Boston Celtics?
“This is a long story. I started watching the NBA on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Saturday morning telecasts in the mid to late 1980s. It was around this time that I started playing basketball at age 12 in 1987. The teams that were popular and receiving the most air time on the TV here in Australia were the Lakers, Knicks, Sixers, and Celtics.

My father ran track at the University of Houston (UH) in the early 1960s (1960 – 1964) and he told me about the exploits of a talented UH player called Gary Phillips. My father, who doesn’t have a background in basketball, was amazed by the aerial ability of Phillips and I was easily impressed.

Gary Phillips was the 1961 first round selection (ninth overall) of the Boston Celtics. Obviously, the Celtics were the reigning World Champions and I assume there wasn’t much room on the roster for Phillips, who played one season (1961-1962) with the C’s before playing four seasons with the then San Francisco Warriors.

I also have a recollection of liking / preferring the Celtics green and white colours when selecting a mini basketball at a local sports store (Rebel) when the options were limited to the C’s, Lakers and maybe Sixers.

A good friend (Laker fan) of my father’s also sent me a hard copy of Larry Bird’s book in the late 1980s (circa 1988): ‘Drive: The Story of My Life

Receiving and reading this book as a young (either 13 or 14 years old) basketball and Celtics fan had a tremendous impact on me. I pretty much became obsessed with Larry Bird and the Celtics.”

Receiving and reading this book as a young basketball and Celtics fan had a tremendous impact on me. I pretty much became obsessed with Larry Bird and the Celtics. -Michael, on Larry Bird’s book ‘Drive’.
Larry_Bird_Drive

‘Drive: The Story of my Life’ by Larry Bird.

 

When did you first see the Boston Celtics play? When did you manage to see your first live Celtics game?
“I don’t remember the first Celtics game on TV, but it must have been an Eastern Conference game in the mid 80s on a Saturday morning (replay from the previous Friday night’s delayed telecast if I remember correctly). I have a vague recollection of watching the Celtics and Charles Barkley led Sixers playing back then. So it was either 1986 or 1987.

I have made four trips to Boston and three of those trips were specifically to watch the Celtics play live.

My first trip was in December 1995 during the inaugural season of the then FleetCenter. I saw a game against the then ‘New Jersey’ Nets on Friday, December 1, 1995. The C’s lost in overtime 123-131. Dana Barros was the C’s best player while future Celtic Kenny Anderson was the best player for the Nets.

I went to Boston to see the Celtics in December 1999. I saw five home games in Paul Pierce’s second season: a win on December 8 against Denver (with future Celtic James Posey in his rookie season), a win on December 10 against Houston (with rookie Steve Francis) and the C’s losing Paul Pierce with an ankle injury, a loss on December 15 against Utah (with Stockton and Malone), a loss on December 20 against the Lakers (with Shaq and Kobe), and a win on December 22 against the Hawks on the night that the team retired the original parquet floor. Fans with tickets to the game against the Hawks that night were allowed to walk on the floor during the afternoon and take photos. I remember studying the Lucky logo at mid court and seeing that Larry Bird had written his initials in the sleeve of the leprechaun.

I remember studying the Lucky logo at mid court and seeing that Larry Bird had written his initials in the sleeve of the leprechaun.

I went to Boston to see the Celtics in early December 2008. I saw three home games in the season after the championship: a win on December 1 against Orlando (with Dwight Howard), a win on December 3 against Indiana, and a win on December 5 against Portland (with Greg Oden actually playing 19 minutes).

The last time I was in Boston was in late May in 2013 to watch the Red Sox play live at Fenway Park against Cleveland, which had been something that I had always wanted to do, but was difficult when coming to the US in winter months. Unfortunately, as we all know the C’s didn’t qualify for the playoffs and I didn’t get an opportunity to see a live Celtics playoff game.

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Who is your favorite Celtics player? Past? And present? And what do they, or have they meant to you?
“My favourite Celtics players from the past are Larry Bird, Paul Pierce, Bill Russell, Sam Jones, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Kevin McHale and Reggie Lewis.

I grew up idolising Larry Bird, who was simply an awesome offensive player and team leader. I have closely followed Paul Pierce’s career since he was playing in Kansas and slid to the Celtics in the 1998 draft.

Reggie Lewis was my favourite Celtic of the post-Bird era. He was an extremely under rated offensive and defensive player, who never received the praise and accolades that he deserved. He was amazing in the 1992-1993 season, including the 1993 Playoffs. I was devastated when Reggie passed in July 1993. It was one thing for Len Bias to die before ever suiting up for the C’s, but when the team’s captain and best player passed away after a breakout season, it was simply the worst feeling in the world.”

I was devastated when Reggie passed in July 1993…it was simply the worst feeling in the world.
reggie

The legendary Reggie Lewis, had no fear.

“Apart from Kevin McHale, I never saw any of the other players that I have listed, but I have read about them and watched some video. I love the rich history of this franchise and the great players and teams of the late 50s and throughout the 60s in particular when pro basketball had yet to be corrupted by vast sums of TV money and other commercial interests.

In terms of having a favourite current player, I feel like it’s slim pickings from the current squad. I am a fan of Rajon Rondo’s game and attitude, and Avery Bradley’s defense and consistent improvement. It has to really mean something to be a memorable Celtic. I am taking a wait and see approach with Marcus Smart, James Young, and Tyler Zeller. I have a soft spot for Brandon Bass.”

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Can you tell us about how the Boston Celtics communities, whether globally, or in Boston, make you feel a part of such a large, and loving sisterhood/brotherhood?
“I enjoyed listening to and calling in (when I had time at work) to Celtics Stuff Live when Jim ‘JB’ Metz, Justin Poulin, and Jon Duke were running the Celtics Stuff Live webcast / podcast a few years ago. I also enjoyed calling into the Celtics Late Night Show and talking Nick Gelso and Brandon Paul.

I have enjoyed meeting fellow Celtic fans through Celtics Stuff Live and Twitter over the years. I must give special mention to the man most commonly known as KWAPT, Mike ‘The Scotsman’ Munger, and the various members of Celtics Down Under (including Kein and Justin).”

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Can you tell us about your proudest, or most memorable moment that’s occurred whilst being such a loyal member of the Boston Celtics fan base?
“Getting a low five from Antoine Walker as he was leaving the court after a win at the FleetCenter in December 1999. I can’t remember which game it was after all these years now.

Watching Game 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals live at home while recovering from food poisoning. It was such an amazing comeback win that essentially turned the series in the C’s favour.

Watching Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals live at Crown Casino in Melbourne while I should have been working. It was like watching a coronation.

Buying a signed Larry Bird ‘Celtic Pride’ Sports Illustrated cover from the 1987 Eastern Conference Semi Final series against the Pistons back in 1996. Buying a piece of the original parquet floor in 2001 via the FleetCenter web site.

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So far this season, we’ve established an open, fast-paced, and high-scoring offensive style, however, statistics show that our defensive performance has lowered. With this current trend, how do you see the team holding up over 82 games, against tougher opponents?
“I still see this team struggling over the course of the season. There are still too many signs of the team blowing leads and failing to be clutch. This team is still lacking players who are able to take over games when it’s required.

My end of season prediction is 30-52.”

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Can you share your thoughts on our Celtics community in Australia? Do you see a lot of the Celtic Pride in our many members?
“I am aware of quite a few Celtics fans here in Australia and as long as they are genuine fans (and not just Rondo fans wearing Rondo jerseys from Foot Locker), I rate them highly. For me, it helps if they were fans prior to the 2008 championship or fans since KG and Pierce were traded.”

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Any finals words to share with your fellow Celtics fans?
“I really hope that the team doesn’t retire Ray Allen’s number. I also have some concerns about the team retiring Kevin Garnett’s number. I can understand for retiring Garnett’s number, but is this the same as retiring the numbers of the other Celtic greats?

What other Celtic players who spent the majority of their careers with another team have had their numbers retired? I can only think of Dennis Johnson, who played with Seattle and Phoenix for a total of seven seasons. However, DJ won two championships with the C’s whereas Garnett won only one.

I am a big KG fan, but let’s not forget that KG spent a majority of his career with Minnesota. The criteria for having one’s Celtics number retired must be extremely high otherwise it dilutes the honour for the great Celtics with their numbers in the rafters.”

The criteria for having one’s Celtics number retired must be extremely high otherwise it dilutes the honour for the great Celtics with their numbers in the rafters.
banners1

Boston Celtics retired numbers.


Celtics Down Under immensely thanks Michael for taking part in ‘Green Runs Deep’.

Check out Michael on Twitter at:@MikeRobbo34

You can nominate a Boston Celtics fan at:
@AusCelticsFan or justin@CelticsDownUnder.com.

Green Runs Deep #4 – Tom Westerholm – MassLive.com

Our fourth edition of ‘Green Runs Deep’ features Mr Tom Westerholm, a writer for both MassLive.com, and Celtics Hub. Tom is easily one of the most likeable Celtics fans that I follow on Twitter. Not only is Tom a fantastic writer, he has a sharp sense of humour, and isn’t afraid to use it. 

Green Runs Deep #4 - Tom Westerholm

Green Runs Deep #4 – Tom Westerholm

 

Please tell us a little about yourself.
“Hey all, my name is Tom Westerholm. I’m 25, and I live in Springfield, Massachusetts, where I work for MassLive.com doing high school sports coverage. Most of my life is dedicated to writing about or playing basketball. Most of the rest of it is spent hanging out with my wife and my dog Bear.”

Tom & Bear

Bear says “What’s up?!”

How did you first become a fan of the Boston Celtics?
“I’m originally from Orange City, Iowa (which is halfway across the country from the Celtics, for you Australians), but my dad was originally from New England, and he grew up watching Russell, Havlicek and eventually Bird. He passed on his Celtics fandom to me, and after a few years, the NBA and I became pretty exclusive. Sure, I still hang out with soccer and baseball from time to time, but we’re pretty clear about the parameters of our relationship.

I recently moved to Massachusetts, about an hour and a half from Boston, and I drive up to Celtics games whenever I can steal a day off from work that coincides with a home game.”

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When did you first see the Celtics play? When did you manage to see your first live Celtics game??
“I honestly have no idea what my first Celtics game on television was, but I first saw them live in Minnesota. My dad and I used to drive four hours to see teams play the Wolves, since they were the nearest franchise to Iowa. We saw Boston first in 2009, and I remember being completely star-struck walking down as far as security would let me go and watching Paul Pierce warm up with some lackadaisical free throws and jumpers. I mean, it was Paul freaking Pierce.

Last season, I covered my first regular season Celtics game with media credentials, and I was strangely a little disappointed that I didn’t have a similar reaction. By that point, I had covered the NBA and Summer League a couple of times, so it was a little more normal to see NBA players up close. But Rajon Rondo walked right past me, and it didn’t even really occur to me to be star-struck.

I guess the first time is always the best time.”

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Who is your favorite Celtics player? Past? And present? And what do they/have they meant to you as a person, and as a Celtics fan?
“Paul Pierce will forever be my favorite Celtic. When you are in your late teens and teams mean just a little bit too much to you, those generally seem to be the players who stick with you the longest. When Pierce — a guy who spent his entire career (or at least, his entire career that mattered) with the team — won a championship, I was 18. Paul Pierce was EVERYTHING.

I don’t think Rajon Rondo will ever reach that level for me, mostly because I’m a little older and a little more measured (I like to think), but I do enjoy him thoroughly. I like that he’s a little off, a little strange, and that his strangeness feeds into why he’s so effective on the court. He’s unconventionally talented, and that makes him fascinating to me.”

PP2

The Truth

Australia has a tight-knit Celtics ‘family’, as do so many other countries, yet obviously, the greatest Boston Celtics community is in the great city of Boston itself. Can you tell us about how these Celtics communities, whether globally, or in Boston, make you feel a part of such a large, and loving sisterhood/brotherhood?
“Honestly, for my part, I see the community most on Twitter, and I suspect most of those reading this feel the same way. Few people enjoy watching hoops as much as basketball Twitter, and it’s fun to sit down every night with a game and know that people all over the country and all over the globe are watching the same thing, making dumb jokes, bad Photoshop’s, and everything else that basketball Twitter is known for.

As far as the Celtics community specifically on Twitter, I would say it’s as strong — if not stronger — than most of the other ones. There are so many Celtics blogs and writers, and that’s a great thing. There are a million different opinions to be had, so if you think something, someone else probably disagrees with you and will challenge you on it. I enjoy that a lot. I also enjoy the various ways people have been coping with the past two years. We’re all in this together.”

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Can you tell us about your experiences writing for Celtics Hub, and MassLive? What has been your reaction over the years to its success?
“Both places have been great. Celtics Hub is a lot of fun, and working under Brian Robb has been everything I could have asked for and more. I’ve gotten to cover the team in person, the Orlando Summer League, and a whole bunch of other stuff no other outlet ever offered me before Celtics Hub.”

MassLive is great as well. I moved to Massachusetts to work for them, and I generally cover high school sports, although they let me fill in for Jay King on Celtics stuff whenever he needs a break. I’m essentially Phil Pressey to Jay’s Rajon Rondo.

I also cover the Basketball Hall of Fame for MassLive, which is located where I live in Springfield. I got to do one-on-one interviews with Alonzo Mourning, Tommy Heinsohn and others this summer. It’s a ton of fun and — once again — incredibly rewarding, but it’s also my 9-to-5, which means I have to be all professional and stuff.”

Overall, both places are amazing, and I definitely couldn’t ask for anything more.”

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Last season saw the return of a less than 100% Rajon Rondo, a revolving door of players, and a 25 win-57 loss season. How do you see the 2014/15 season treating the Celtics over 82 games?
“I think we are in for another long one. Boston is definitely better as an offensive unit, and we are seeing a lot of fun cohesion, especially in the front line. But the defense is so, so bad. Asking the offense to come up with 112+ points per night doesn’t really sound like a sustainable way to get wins, and the defense is more than happy to pass out 115-120 point games regularly.”

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We make a trade to potentially step forward as playoff contenders. What position do we trade for? Who would be your ideal candidate? And who and what would you give up for it?
“This is a pretty easy answer — the Celtics desperately need a defensive-minded big man. The ideal candidate, of course, is Marc Gasol. As a passer who can work out of the high post but can also bang around the basket, he replaces everything the Celtics will lose by taking either Sully or Olynyk out of the starting lineup, and he would also bring an absurd amount of defense to the table. He’s perfection at the center position.

marc-gasol

Marc Gasol, in Green?

Unfortunately, there’s realistically no way the Celtics can convince Gasol to come to Boston unless they somehow find a way to put a second good player next to Rondo (and even then, it’s still incredibly unlikely — why would he leave Memphis?). So my ideal candidate is any non-point guard who would make my Marc Gasol pipe dream seem a little closer to a reality. Who I would give up would depend on whom I might be getting back. Everything is available, within reason (so no, Houston, I’m not trading you Rondo for Clint Capela and the 25th pick in the 2015 draft).”

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If you weren’t an NBA writer, what would you be?
“I toured for years in a hardcore band, so I might be doing that still. I honestly don’t know. My time is split doing one of four things — working (which means any kind of writing), working out/playing basketball, walking my dog or hanging out with my wife. Maybe I’d just be a hunter/gatherer who shows up to the local LA Fitness to hoop every day around noon.”

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Favorite non-Celtic player, current and past? And why?
“Another easy one for me: Steph Curry. I’m a 3-point shooter when I play basketball, so Steph Curry is every one of my daydreams realized. Not only can he shoot the ball better than anyone in the history of the game, he’s so crafty with his handle and his vision. If I could be any player, it would definitely be Curry.

I would also like to note that Gerald Green is a closer second than you would think. I like dunks, and I like players who just drip confidence and are prone to exploding into flames, so I absolutely love Gerald Green.”

Steph

Steph Curry

Can you share your thoughts on our Boston Celtics community down here in Australia? Do you see a lot of the Celtic Pride in our many members? Any plans to visit us one day? You’ll be welcomed with open arms by all.
“Oh man. I have never had an unpleasant interaction with an Australian Celtics fan on Twitter. You guys are intensely loyal: Somehow despite the time difference, there always seems to be a strong faction watching and live-tweeting every game on whatever blurry live-stream you follow. I’m so spoiled with CSNNE and League Pass that I whine and complain when something goes out and I have to hit refresh, while you all are trying to sort out which green-and-white shaped blur is Jeff Green and which is Rondo. The Australian Celtics community is the actual best.

Real talk, my wife and I are saving money to take an overseas vacation, and we haven’t decided on the location yet. I suspect you could sell us on Australia pretty easily.”


We’re all looking forward to it, Tom.


Celtics Down Under immensely thanks Tom Westerholm for taking part in ‘Green Runs Deep’.
You can check out Tom on Twitter at: @Tom_NBA.

You can nominate a Boston Celtics fan at: @AusCelticsFan or justin@CelticsDownUnder.com.

Retaining Rondo: A Comprehensive Examination

The rumours never end. Ever. Rajon Rondo has been the point guard of the Boston Celtics since 2006, and has repeatedly attracted trade speculation over the bulk of his career. And yet, here he is, a rarity in the league as a player who has remained with the same team since his rookie year, eight years on.

Then you realise why the rumours have been around for so long. To put it simply, he has immense talent, an NBA championship, and plays the game to make his teammates better by sharing the ball – an uncommon trait for point guards in the NBA. Then when you dig even further, you are reminded of his ability to step up his game in the postseason, of his drive to win at all costs, to sacrifice life and limb (literally) for his team. Of course other teams would be interested, there’s no doubt about that.

When you put all of this together, you really wonder why ‘experts’ are so keen to offload a player of this calibre. Allow me to analyse exactly why the captain of the most storied franchise in the game will remain in Boston not only for this season, but long enough to see that number 9 hanging in the rafters next to Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.


The Mutual Attraction

In any long-term relationship, both parties need to remain interested and enthusiastic about one another. Firstly, Rajon himself has repeatedly stated that he loves the Celtics, the city of Boston and the fans that occupy it. Here are some of his more recent quotes;

“The fans, the people here make me want to stay,” Rondo said at that time. “The organization has been great. I can’t say enough about Danny (Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations) and Wyc (Grousbeck who co-owns the team), but when I walk down the street the fans have embraced me from Day One. These people know the game; you can’t fool them. The love I get is kind of overwhelming. I want to stay here.”

“Regardless of what’s going on with the season, my position hasn’t changed,” Rondo said on Wednesday. “I love being a Celtic.”

It’s always encouraging when the player loves the team he plays for, however the feelings need to be shared by those running the organisation too. When the owner, GM and coach all like what you bring to the table, I’d say that’s a pretty good sign that the organisation would like to see you stick around.

The relationship between coach Stevens and captain Rondo is as strong as any Rondo has had with any coach. Mostly it seems as though the reports of Rondo being hard to coach are blown way out of proportion, but we’ll get to that later. NBA.com’s David Aldridge outlined the kind of rapport shared by the duo before the season began, exploring Rondo’s appreciation for how Stevens is the most positive coach he’s had in his entire career, and the values of playing hard and the will to win are shared between the pair. Having analytical minds and confidence in your star player to execute the plays drawn up in timeouts, are attributes any coach would love to have in their point guard.


The Business

With salary cap restrictions, pending free agency, and a team in rebuild mode, the final year of Rondo’s contract was always going to draw attention from reporters. While we won’t delve too far into the financial side of basketball, it actually makes sense to wait until the end of the season to re-sign him.

Due to the Collective Bargaining Agreement rules, Boston is unable to offer a five-year extension to Rondo until the end of the season. The Celtics are the only team able to offer a contract with the length of 5 years as they hold Rajon’s Bird Rights. In addition, the team can’t offer anywhere near the same amount of (possibly maximum) money until season’s end as well. Also in the Celtics’ favour is their ability to offer higher increments of pay per season than other teams once free agency does hit. It appears both Danny and Rondo are on the same page already, when Ainge was quoted on media day agreeing that a player set to reach his prime is probably worth the big dollars:

“I think a four-time All-Star by the time he’s [28] years old would qualify for max based on what we’ve seen in the marketplace,” Ainge said. “If I were Rajon and I were Rajon’s agent, I would definitely say that.”

While a maximum contract may sound a bit steep to Rondo critics, there is one very important thing to remember where the salary cap is concerned. The NBA is set to triple their national TV revenue in their next television rights deal for the season beginning 2016-17. While there is still this season and next to get through, this deal is expected to increase team salary caps by $25.8 million per year.

What this means for Rondo is that a maximum contract signed next year, won’t actually hurt the team’s cap room nearly as much after the first season. To put it simply, the current salary cap’s maximum will pay Rajon handsomely for the next five years, but it won’t destroy the Celtics’ long-term spending on other pieces. The percentage of his contract next to the salary cap will actually be comparable to his current team-friendly deal.


The Drawcard

There are many stars in the NBA, but how many of those play alongside someone who could actually make them even better? Building a roster that is strong right to the end of the bench is becoming increasingly important to building a championship team. Rondo is a distributor by nature, and has proven his ability to put the ball to his teammates that amplify their strengths. So the question is; why would you trade someone that can make their teammates better, and be appealing to potential star recruits?

One of the knocks on Rondo was that his productivity would drop off once his star teammates in Pierce, Garnett and Allen left. Overall his statistics point to someone that has remained just as effective in scoring and passing, while his rebounding numbers have actually improved since the departures of the Big Three. His maturity levels have increased, and he seems to be excelling as a leader since their departures.

If anything, he has become more of a focal point on offense, and finally plays with teammates young enough to play the running game he has always craved. Last season the Celtics ranked 12th for possessions per game while posting 96.2 points. Through this year, they rank 8th in the league for possessions while posting 104.6 points – good enough for 6th in the league. A fit Rondo is showcasing how easily he can run an offense that plays his style of run-and-gun basketball.

From an individual perspective, Rondo’s performance through 6 games this year has yielded averages of 10.8 points, a league-leading 11.3 assists, 8.2 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. The man is almost averaging a triple-double. While it’s a small sample, not many players in the league can point to those numbers.

Looking into the history books, Rondo has demonstrated that he can take his game to another level once the playoffs hit. First there was holding the keys to the 2008 championship team (of course), but it was over the next few years he really began to shine. The 2009 series against the Bulls was a coming out party for Rondo, playing a starring role in the 7 game series. He almost single-handedly took his team of stars to the championship in 2010 with the way he played in the Finals, and he played out the series against Miami in 2011 despite a dislocated elbow. Then in 2012, he helped take the soon-to-be champion Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals, including that 44-point game that almost ripped Miami’s heart out.

He has proven to the league that he is capable of stepping up when it matters most in the postseason, something his contemporaries have no doubt noticed, but also respected immensely. Keeping in mind that the Celtics are primed to make a charge at the 2015 offseason, in both free agency and trades, Rondo is a pretty handy individual to help sell the Boston Celtics franchise to prospective players.


The Silencing of Detractors

Where to begin? Rondo is in the final year of a contract, which makes him an easy target for trade speculation, even by his standards. We often see players step up their games when playing for another contract, then drastically dropping off in the following season. Danny Ainge summarises where Rondo would fit into this topic:

“I don’t think that’s what drives Rajon. I think that he’s motivated because he didn’t play to his standards coming off the knee injury. He doesn’t like to not be good. He doesn’t like not being considered one of the best point guards in the game. I think that’s what drives him, that’s what motivates him, and that’s what drove him to hard work this summer.”

Even if the C’s were looking to offload Rondo, the issue of placing a value on such a unique player opens up a whole new can of worms. People say he’s a hard individual to deal with, which would automatically be used against the Celtics in any negotiations to trade for anyone of equal talent – especially when the team is taking a risk to convince him to stay if he’s only been there for half a season. I believe a trade is even more unlikely now than it was at any point last year.

The perception that Rondo is a tough personality to deal with is unfounded. He’s the ultimate competitor who loves to win, and I can only recall one occasion in his entire career where there has ever been any issues with teammates. That teammate happened to be Ray Allen, who was more upset with Doc Rivers’ decision to put the ball in Rondo’s hands more than Rondo as a person. Kobe Bryant, one of the fiercest competitors to ever play in the NBA, has had his fair share of issues with teammates – but I don’t see anyone kicking him out of LA, and he’s had several more indiscretions than Rondo ever will. I’m not comparing the two from a basketball level, as Rondo is more a likely to form a star duo, but it’s a good comparison when it comes to competitive personalities.

If anything I would say Rondo is one of the more loyal individuals when it comes to his teammates, when you consider his lasting friendships with past Celtics such as Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Keyon Dooling, Jason Terry and Kendrick Perkins, just to name a few. With these players now all departed, Rajon can seek advice from his former teammates about parting from such a great place. If he values Kendrick Perkins’ guidance, then we shouldn’t be worried about the number 9 leaving any time soon

“I think it’s a great place for him. I think he wants to stay here. We talk on the regular, and I think he should stay,” said Perkins. “If I was him, I’d stay.”

The current roster is shaped by a strong guard rotation of Rondo, Avery Bradley and rookie Marcus Smart. On draft night, many people began pointing at Boston’s selection of Smart as the end of Rondo’s time in a green uniform. While Smart has already shown his potential as a capable player, it would actually seem that these three guards could co-exist with one another as the C’s build a deep roster. Who’s to say the Celtics won’t look to offload one of Bradley or Smart if the right deal presents itself? It’s never nice to think about, but there is always the possibility.

Lastly, our friend John from Red’s Army made a great point about a potential Rondo trade at this season’s deadline:

“I don’t think Danny Ainge is going to lesson, lower his price, I don’t think he wants to become the GM that becomes known as the guy who lowers his price when his back’s against the wall.”


The Final Word

All dialogue from both Rajon and the Celtics organisation appears to be heading to a contract extension in the summer of 2015. Again, Danny Ainge has prepared for the Celtics to make a full tilt at this year’s free agency, and has a ridiculous amount of young players and draft picks at his disposal via trades, to get this team back to the top end of the Eastern conference. If Boston is looking to attract big names to the city next year, having a player as special as Rondo waiting to play alongside you has to make the team more appealing. Four-time All Stars and NBA champions don’t grow on trees, trading away a player at the peak of his powers doesn’t make sense to me.

Rajon Rondo is a loyal person, and I have no doubt he wants to become a Celtic for life. He is the captain of the team for a reason. He is respected right around the league, and I believe he is a key component to bringing banner 18 to the city of Boston. Thank you for reading.

- Michael Tarran

(@mickyt34)

Green Runs Deep #3 – John Karalis – Red’s Army

This third edition of ‘Green Runs Deep’ is an extremely exciting edition for me.

Back in March of 2011, when I created my very first Twitter account, I immediately searched “Boston Celtics”, as a means to begin my journey of not only conversing with like-minded Celtics fans, but also to learn from, and be educated by those in the know.

One of the very first names I came across, ended up being a man who displayed balance, strong yet fair opinions, immense knowledge of Celtics history, a great mind for the inner-workings of the NBA business machine, as well as trade and free agency trends.

Over the last 3 years, he has inadvertently (and without knowing) taught me to see things from all angles, and not just opine from the heart, but also, from the head. He just also happens to be a really top bloke.

Dear readers, I present to you, Mr John Karalis of RedsArmy.com

green-runs-deep-john-kGreen Runs Deep #3 – John Karalis – Reds Army

 

Please tell our readers about who you are, and your history:

John is the co-founder of RedsArmy.com, one of the web’s original Celtics blogs. The blog is about to celebrate its 9th anniversary, which is approximately 45 years old in internet years. When John isn’t writing about the Celtics, he’s in the park training his squirrel army for their eventual revolt against humanity where he will reign as their king.

John was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, about 45 miles south of Boston. He attended Emerson College in Boston, where he played basketball for four years. After a year of professional basketball in Greece, John’s body disintegrated, forcing him to return to Boston to begin what has become a nearly 20 year career in television news.

John’s non-sports likes include dogs and whiskey, the latter of which help him write introductions about himself in the third person for his friend’s blog.

Relaxing like a Champion.

Relaxing like a Champion.

How did you first become a fan of the Boston Celtics?

I got involved with sports at a very young age. When I was young, cable didn’t exist (no really), so I only got a select few sporting events on the television. Being in the Boston viewing area, my first exposure to the Celtics was the early 80’s, when I was somewhere around 10 years-old.

I remember distinctly watching the games and thinking “how does someone win this game? They never miss!” I swear I thought teams missed maybe 2 shots a game back then.
I loved watching all sports, and the Celtics were part of my love for that. My parents came to the United States from Greece, and basketball was non-existent when my parents where young, so I had to discover and learn about these guys all on my own.

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When did you manage to see your first live Celtics game?

I didn’t get to see them live until I was in college. You see, while I played a lot of sports, I wasn’t very good at basketball for any of my life up until that point. I was more of a baseball player, and my home town was home to the Red Sox top minor league team, so baseball was my first love.

I didn’t have a yearning in my childhood to make my parents take the hour-long drive up to Boston and spend their money on bringing me to the Garden. Even in high school, when I finally started developing as a basketball player, my professional sports experiences were trips to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox or to nearby Foxboro Stadium (about a 20 minute drive) to watch the New England Patriots play football.

I didn’t really blossom as a player until my senior year of high school. The years I spent focusing on getting good in high school made me want to consume more basketball. So that’s when I really started to develop a more voracious appetite to watch college and professional games to analyse them and incorporate them into my own game. So it really wasn’t until then that I had “the itch” to go watch Celtics games live. Yes, I loved the team, but I also equally loved all Boston sports.

John, enjoying the Celtics win over the Brooklyn Nets.

John, enjoying the Celtics win over Brooklyn.

Who is your favorite Celtics player? Past of present? And what do they/have they meant to you as a person, and as a Celtics fan?

This question has so many answers. My favorite current Celtic is Rajon Rondo, because I think he’s one of the most exciting players in the league, and he can make you say “whoa” in a lot of different ways.

My favorite should-be current Celtic is Paul Pierce, and not just because he was a great, clutch player. I remember Pierce’s early days with the team. I remember working at a TV station and hearing the news that Paul Pierce had been stabbed multiple times and rushed to a hospital. I heard that might die. And then I watched him play every game that season and the next. I saw him do horribly immature things and grow as a person and a player… and eventually become captain.

I love Paul Pierce’s story, and it makes him a very special player to me. His story is perfect, in my opinion. His story is what life is… overcoming obstacles, growing up as a person, and earning your rewards. That’s really special to me.

Larry Bird and Bill Russell are my favorite Celtics of all time, because they were awesome. I obviously never watched Russell play, but I learned a lot about him and respect his status as one of the greatest of the greats. But I saw Larry play and do amazing things. He was the guy that captivated me and made me keep coming back. But after all that, the most important Celtics player to me has to be Kevin McHale.

Remember, I was a pretty horrible basketball player when I was young. But I was about 6’3” as a freshman in high school, in a state where 6’3” made you a center. I spent my summers studying McHale’s low post moves and molding my game after his. If it wasn’t for his game, I don’t know that any of this would have ever happened for me. I might have just been some big goofy guy who came up with excuses for when people asked “so why don’t you play basketball?” I know it might sound hyperbolic, but McHale’s game changed my life… or it at least altered the course I took.

Chuck, KWAPT and John at the TD Garden.

Chuck, KWAPT and John at the TD Garden.

Australia has a tight-knit Celtics ‘family’, as do so many other countries, yet obviously, the greatest Boston Celtics community is in the great city of Boston itself. Can you tell us about how these Celtics communities, whether globally, or in Boston, make you feel a part of such a large, and loving sisterhood/brotherhood?

There’s one thing that hammers this home for me, and it’s when I check the Red’s Army site stats and see all the different countries represented by our readers. I just checked right now and got 140 different countries that visited our site. Even if some of them came to us in error, there are still people in more than 100 different countries that willingly choose to visit our site.

That right there is all I need to know about the family. That’s something that is a source of pride for me, because I and my team can provide this place for all of these family members to gather and be unified by our love for a single thing. We all have our differences in life. But here, liberals and conservatives, capitalists and communists, men and women, of all races, of all religions, can put it all aside for a little while and just be Celtics fans.

Pardon the drama there, but to me that’s powerful. Sport is a powerful unifier, and I don’t take my role in this dynamic for granted. I’m in awe of it.

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Can you tell us about your proudest, or most memorable moment that’s occurred whilst being such a loyal member of the Boston Celtics fan base?

This is tough, but I would have to say just seeing how happy everyone was on Red’s Army after the Celtics won the championship. I have little moments all the time where I’m proud to do what I do almost every day. Every time I hear how much people enjoy our site, I get that feeling. But when people chose to pile onto our site and celebrate Banner 17… that was amazing.

John, with the 2008 Larry O'Brien Trophy.

John, with the 2008 Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Can you tell us about your experiences having co-created and run such a prominent and respected Boston Celtics fan site? What has been your reaction over the years to its success?

It has been a wild ride. We started with such a crude site that was nowhere near what it is today. We’ve sacrificed a lot to make the site what it is, and I’m honestly amazed at its success. I’m not fishing for compliments when I say this, I’m just telling you what’s going on in my head when I see our stats or followers on Twitter… I’m consistently shocked that people want to hear what I have to say. In my head, I’m just some guy who started some site. I do this because I love it, and I’d write or podcast even if we had 1 reader.

Again, I’m really not trying to humblebrag here. I’m proud of what I and the site have accomplished and we’ve all worked hard to get it to this point. Chuck (the site’s other co-founder) and I have put Red’s Army higher on our list of life priorities than most sane people would. This site’s success is a complete product of Chuck and I’s abnormal obsession with it. I’m not kidding about it being abnormal, either. If you’re a guy telling a woman early in a relationship “I’m a blogger, so we can’t do anything on game nights,” you’re not right in the head.

John with MVP and 2 x NBA Champion (Celtics 1986) Bill Walton.

John with NBA MVP and 2 x NBA Champion (Celtics 1986) Bill Walton.

After such a fast-paced, defensively strong performance in our home opener versus the Brooklyn Nets, and a lacklustre performance against Houston, how do you see the team holding up over 82 games?

I picked them to win 33 games and I’m sticking to that. They’re shooting the ball amazingly well right now, but that’s not going to be there every game (like Houston). They will hit bumps in the road, and guys will miss time with things like Marcus Smart’s sprained ankle, or the inevitable muscle and joint tweaks. The Celtics can’t afford a lot of injuries, so it’ll be interesting to see how the season plays out in that regard. I’m impressed, though, with their offense. Well, I’m impressed with the offense of the starting unit. The second unit has struggled, but I’m sure that’ll get better as Stevens adjust substitution patterns and guys like Evan Turner and Marcus Thornton start hitting their shots.

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Recently, there’s been some back-and-forth between yourself and a known ‘personality’ who I won’t mention. You’ve taken this person to task for outlandish and unsubstantiated innuendo. A lot of us feel as though you’re doing somewhat of a public service. Thoughts?

Ha ha, I’ll accept my role as media watchdog.

I think it’s important to keep some people in the media in check when the opportunity presents itself. Part of the reason is that many members of the sports talk media horde don’t know all of the intricacies of the sport. That’s partly because they follow so many sports that it’s not possible to be experts in any one of them, but that’s where I and other bloggers can act as fact-checkers.

I don’t wan to be the “well, actually” guy all the time, but sometimes you have to interject some level of sense into the bombast. One thing I do pride myself on is the fact that I pay attention to what’s going on in games, and I do my homework on the topic. If I read something somewhere that I don’t understand, I’ll go find more on the topic and learn about it.

So when a sports-talking head wonders if Rajon Rondo is a max guy and gives some tired excuse about how only the biggest of stars should be “max guys,” I feel like I have to make sure fans know that there’s a deeper way to look at that. By digging into the stats to show Rondo accounts for about as much offense as the league’s top scorers, and knowing enough about the salary cap to know that a “max” contract now will eventually equal the percentage of space his current contract occupies, I can refute the blather.

Basically, these guys often don’t know what they’re talking about, but fans hear what these guys say and often just accept it as fact simply because they’re saying it on television. If I can interject truth and inform a couple of fans at a time, then those fans will repeat that information to their friends and hopefully, exponentially, I’ve helped make some of the fan base more knowledgable.

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Set the record straight here: Who’s younger and more handsome, you or Chuck?

I’m not sure I should answer this because grandpa Chuck is very sensitive about his age and, if I’m being honest, is still probably intimidated by my radiant smile. It’s why we can’t do our shows together in the same room. Think of me as Rob Lowe from the satellite TV commercials, and Chuck is the other Rob Lowe. I mean… that’s not EXACTLY the dynamic… but if you’re looking for a pretty accurate representation of it… yeah, that’s it.

Chuck and John.

Chuck and John.

Can you share your thoughts on our Boston Celtics community down here in Australia? Do you see a lot of the Celtic Pride in our many members? Any plans to visit us one day? You’ll be welcomed with open arms by all.

The best compliment I can pay you guys is to say you guys are absolutely nuts. And remember, I said earlier that I’m abnormal about my fandom. So if you set the curve where my insanity is the norm, your dedication is insane. I’m not exactly sure how the time zone thing works, but I think Wednesday night’s 7:30 pm game somehow airs at like 2:30 am on Friday. AND YOU GUYS WAKE UP TO WATCH IT LIVE!!

I’m thoroughly impressed by the dedication by Celtics fans in Australia, and around the world. You wouldn’t catch me waking up a 4am to watch games…. well… it might depend on the game. But I definitely wouldn’t be up early for some crap games in November. So kudos to you all. I love it.

As for a visit… I’ve spent a majority of my 41 years building up what I believe to be a pretty impressive tolerance. Which, if my United States-to-Australian tolerance conversion is correct, I’ll be ready for a visit in another 20 years. In all seriousness, I’d LOVE to visit Australia someday. It does seem like a lovely country and everyone I’ve met from there has been really cool. I feel like it’d be an amazing trip, and I look forward to making it someday, and hopefully soon.

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My partner and I are planning our trip to Boston. Care to show us the local Pub and have a drink or 3 with us?

THE local pub?  Oh, my friends, there is not just one.  There are many, and I will be happy to crawl to as many as I can with you guys.  Aside from the bars shutting down at 2am, Boston can be a lot of fun, and there are a few different sections of the city and types of bars to go to. 

Sullivan’s Tap is great for a gritty dive bar, The Fours is a great sports bar, The Greatest Bar is more of a club atmosphere… and those are all 2 blocks from the Garden.  We haven’t even ventured into the North End, Faneuil Hall, Kenmore Square, or beyond.  

A drink or 3?  I’ll cut to the head of the line!


Celtics Down Under immensely thanks John Karalis for taking part in ‘Green Runs Deep’.

You can nominate a Boston Celtics fan at: @AusCelticsFan or justin@CelticsDownUnder.com.

Green Runs Deep #2 – Olivia K

Green Runs Deep #2 - Olivia K

Green Runs Deep #2 – Olivia K

In our second part of ‘Green Runs Deep’, we feature Olivia, yet another die-hard Boston Celtics fan, and Paul “The Truth” Pierce fanatic. We at Celtics Down Under are once again deeply honoured to have such a lovely and dedicated Celtics fan sharing their story with us. -AusCelticsFan

Green Runs Deep #2 - Olivia K!

Green Runs Deep #2 – Olivia K!

Please tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Olivia (@Olivia_Celtics) and I am from Massachusetts. I am 16 years old, and a junior in high school. I love to listen to music, laugh with friends, and of course watch my Boston Celtics!

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How did you first become a fan of the Boston Celtics?:

My cousin and I were very close growing up and did almost everything together. We loved the same things from a very young age up until we had to leave each other when we graduated from junior high. With that being said, she met Ray Allen in the fall of 2010 at an open practice and from there told me to start watching them with her. From then on each game I watched I fell more and more in love. There’s something special about being part of something big, and that’s how I feel to this day about being a Celtics fan. You’re there for the ups and the downs, just like the players are.

Celtics Ladies!

Celtics Ladies!

When did you first see the Celtics play (Television)? When did you manage to see your first live Celtics game??

I can’t remember the first time I watched the Celtics play on television. I do know I used to watch the end of a game every once and a while with my dad when he came home from work late. I did not do it for sake of the Celtics though, just to spend time with him. The first time I saw the Celtics live at the TD Garden was in December of 2008 when they played the Utah Jazz. My dad did like the Jazz in the 90’s when they had John Stockton and Karl Malone, so whenever the Jazz come to town we still try to make it to a game. Anyways, I remember we sat pretty close and all I can remember thinking was this place is big and the players are even bigger!


Who is your favorite Celtics player? Past? And present? And what do they/have they meant to you?

This is always a hard question for me to have to answer, considering the situation. Everybody who knows me knows that I absolutely LOVE Paul Pierce. He was and still is such a big part of my life. I remember before I went to my first game my aunt and uncle asked me which shirt I wanted and they named off 4-5 players before they said Pierce and for some reason I said I wanted his!

For 2 years I owned the shirt but did not think much until November 3rd, 2010 when I happened to be at my 2nd Celtics game and Pierce made his 20,000th point. Hearing the crowd and seeing his emotions really made me think, “This guy must be something special”. From there I learned a lot about him and took pride in calling him my favorite player. He really stole my heart. When he was traded, I cried myself to sleep that night. I miss him so much and I know the entire Celtics family does as well. I really hope he comes back to the organisation in some capacity. In the end, nobody will ever beat him for the spot of my favorite Celtics player.

The Truth returns to Boston.

The Truth returns to Boston.

He really stole my heart. When he was traded, I cried myself to sleep that night. I miss him so much and I know the entire Celtics family does as well. - Olivia, on Paul Pierce.

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Australia has such a tight-knit Celtics ‘family’, as do so many countries around the world. But obviously, the greatest Boston Celtics community is in the great city of Boston itself. Can you tell us about how these Celtics communities, whether globally, or in Boston, make you feel a part of such a large, and loving sisterhood/brotherhood?

Firstly, I would like to say that twitter is one of the best things that has happened to me. As crazy as it sounds, it just is. It has given me so many amazing opportunities! From meeting Sean Grande, to Walter McCarty, to sitting courtside at an open practice, to even getting a follow form the Celtics official twitter account! It really is incredible. But, the most important thing that has come out of it is a few friendships that I know will be lifelong.

I remember first becoming close with my friend summer (@summerrito), a few months after I created my account. We shared an incredible love for Paul Pierce, and that has really been the base of our friendship. It has been almost two years since we became friends and she has become one of my favorite people in the world. We talk and laugh every day, and I will always be grateful for that.

Someone who has seriously touched my life in many, many ways is the girl I call my “big sister”, Sam (@mssamanthamay). We became friends a few months after Summer and I did and from there it’s history. We are on such a personal level and I can go to her for anything. We met four times last season at Celtics games, and I just saw her a few weeks ago at the open practice and at opening night. She is taking me to Celtics vs Wizards to see Paul in December! I can’t wait.

The final person who has made me feel like I’m in a sisterhood environment is my friend Katie (@KatieTDE). We just became friends 4-5 months ago or so but we talk every day and have hung out because it turns out we live in the same town! I love to laugh with her and I can’t wait to finally have somebody to watch games with me at home!

Olivia and her Celtics 'sisters'!

Olivia and her Celtics ‘sisters’!

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Can you tell us about your proudest, or most memorable moment that’s occurred whilst being such a loyal member of the Boston Celtics fan base?

A very memorable moment occurred on January 26th, 2014, when Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett returned to the TD Garden for the first time since the trade. I had begged my parents since the schedule came out that previous July to get tickets. They did not feel like it was important enough (I know, crazy!) and so I took matters into my own hands and saved my money from cleaning tables at my dad’s restaurant and spent $400 on tickets so I could sit as close as possible to the court. I was able to sit next to my friend Summer as well, so that was very special. To see and hear the crowd that night was something else. I will never ever forget it. I am so happy that I was able to experience such a night, and thank Pierce and KG in every way I could for making my life so much better over the years.

 

Last season saw the return of a less than 100% Rajon Rondo, a revolving door of players, and a 25 win-57 loss season. How do you see the 2014/15 season treating the Celtics over 82 games?

I’ve noticed progress already with this team, especially offensively. If we can keep our significantly big leads that we seem to build every game, and keep working on improving our defense, I think our record will be 39-43.

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We make a trade to potentially step forward as playoff contenders. What position do we trade for? Who would be your ideal candidate? And who and what would you give up for it?

It is hard for me to say who exactly I would want to give up, because I am no Danny Ainge. But what I can tell you is that we are in desperate need of a true Center. I remember when KG was on the team and we had to make him play that position and he wasn’t happy. This has been a re-occurring issue and I hope Ainge makes the right decision and tries to make a push for a Center sometime soon.

Favorite non-Celtic player, current and past? And why?

This is a question that really made me think for a few minutes. In the end I would have to say Kevin Durant. Besides the fact that he is a great versatile player, his actions on and off the court really stick out to me. When I like a player it’s not just because of their stats. They have to be respectful on the court and do what’s best for their team and KD really is the epitome of that. I only respected him more when I watched his MVP speech last year. Instead of talking about himself he emotionally thanked his teammates as well as his mother, and it was an amazing thing to see. I would love watching him get a ring someday… on the Celtics of course!

 

Can you share your thoughts on our Celtics community down here? Do you see a lot of the Celtic Pride in our many members? Any plans to visit us one day? You’ll be welcomed with open arms by all.

I think you all are a very tight-knit group and I respect how much you love the Boston Celtics. It truly shows that it doesn’t matter how far away you are. The green runs through your veins, and your Celtic pride is off the charts.

I would love to someday pay a visit, or even maybe see you all at the TD Garden for a game!

Olivia, we’d love that. See you one day soon!!

-@AusCelticsFan


Celtics Down Under would like to thank Olivia for taking part in our ‘Green Runs Deep’ Fan Q&A.

[Read more…]

Celtics Stuff Live – 9th November – Reds Army v Gary Tanguay

Karalis_vs_TanguayWhilst we didn’t get 12 rounds of brutal jabs, pummelling and uppercuts that most expected, listeners were treated to, and somewhat surprised by, a respectful and quite civil exchange of opinions between John Karalis of RedsArmy.com, and Gary Tanguay of CSNNE.

It’s no secret that Tanguay is NOT Rajon Rondo’s biggest admirer, and John Karalis, the fair and balanced opinionist that he is, took it to Tanguay to explain his attitude towards the Boston Celtics All-Star point guard.

The live exchange was broadcast on Blogtalk Radio, and can be listened to, or downloaded in its entirety, at the link below.

I was fortunate enough to have a call that I placed make it into the show, to offer my take on the live exchange.

Listeners can here my barely audible Australian ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Bane voice at the 1:08:50 mark of the show.

Hope you enjoy. – @auscelticsfan

Link: Reds Army v Gary Tanguay

“Celtics Band Together, Grab Win for Marcus Smart”

Marcus Smart drives in the paint.

Marcus Smart drives in the paint.

By Marc D’Amico © | @Marc_DAmico
Via Celtics.com ©
November 8, 2014

BOSTON – For a moment, time stopped. Emotions boiled over. Hands covered mouths. Mouths gasped for air.

Boston’s promising young rookie, Marcus Smart, was down. He wasn’t getting up.

He agonized in pain under Boston’s basket, his hands grasping around left leg. His future was in doubt, directly in front of 17,000-plus pairs of terrified eyes.

Was it a blown out knee? Had his Achilles popped? Did his leg break?

Every soul in TD Garden feared the worst, including Brad Stevens.

“It was really scary,” Stevens said after his team rallied to beat Indiana 101-98. “And then obviously he was writhing in pain, so that makes it even more scary.”

This wasn’t just any player on the floor. This was a player who has built a reputation for getting up. Every. Single. Time.

Smart is only five games into his NBA career, but it is already understood that he’s as tough as nails. Nothing, many believed, could cast a chink in his armor.

“The guy’s tough, man,” said Jeff Green, whose open-heart surgery taught him a thing or two about the subject. “It’s plan and simple. He’s just tough.”

Toughness, however, couldn’t turn the pain off.

The game clock stuck at 11:07 of the fourth quarter for nearly 10 minutes as Smart lay on the floor, following his attempt to score on a fast break. Those 10 minutes felt like an eternity.

With an arena’s worth of eyes watching down on him, and with every one of his teammates and coaches standing by his side, Smart was placed onto a stretcher and wheeled away. As he gazed back to the court and toward his brothers in green, Smart gave one simple gesture that fueled the remainder of the night.

“He put his thumbs up and that let us know he was still good and in good spirits,” said second-year point guard Phil Pressey, who filled in admirably in Smart’s absence. “We just wanted to get this win for him.”

Against all odds, the Celtics made that happen. The stared adversity in the eyes and beat it.

“It’s tough to see a teammate go down the way he went down, not knowing what the circumstances were of his injury,” Green said, “but the game had to continue. We had to pull ourselves together quick.”

The Celtics quickly rallied around their fallen teammate, and it showed in their play. They outscored the Pacers 26-23 over the remainder of the contest, coincidentally accounting for the final margin of three points.

Boston played inspired basketball across the board over the final 11-plus minutes of the game. Everyone from Phil Pressey to Jared Sullinger to Gerald Wallace to Brandon Bass made contributions. They banded together as one and would not allow this game slip away.

This game was important to them. This game was for Marcus.

“It all was for him,” an emotional Green stated after the game. “That guy came into the game when we were going through our downside of our game and he came and brought some good energy. It was tough to see him go down, but that game was for him. We got the win for him.”

After going nine days without the taste of victory, this night tasted extra sweet to the Celtics. And became even sweeter once the game was deposited into their win column.

Boston’s players and coaches made their way back to their locker room to find positive news waiting for them. Initial feedback indicated that Smart might have sidestepped a devastating injury.

“We’re hoping it’s a (left ankle) sprain, but we don’t know that,” Stevens relayed to the media. “So obviously a great deal of concern for him, number one, and hopefully he can get back sooner rather than later.”

In the meantime, Smart’s teammates will be right by his side, just as they were Friday night as he was carted off of the parquet. This group is a family, as Jared Sullinger called it, and each of its members truly care about one another. That’s why time stopped when Smart went down. That’s why basketball took a back seat for 10 long minutes.

That’s why this win was for Marcus.

“I’m glad to be a part of it,” Stevens proudly stated at the end of the night. “I’m glad to be a part of a team that feels like that.” – Marc D’Amico

John Karalis vs Gary Tanguay: LIVE on RedsArmy.com

Karalis_vs_Tanguay

Will this one on one go the full 12 rounds? Or end in a knockout? (Image: @auscelticsfan)

It’s real. It’s happening. The moment we’ve all been patiently waiting for. Gary Tanguay will go toe-to-toe with John Karalis LIVE on RedsArmy.com to discuss the TRUTH about Boston Celtics Point Guard, Rajon Rondo, once and for all.

The gloves are off, so to speak. Don’t miss the event of the year.

Australian fans your appropriate time conversions are below:

Boston (U.S.A. – Massachusetts) Sunday, 9 November 2014 at 9:00:00 PM EST UTC-5 hours
Brisbane (Australia – Queensland) Monday, 10 November 2014 at 12:00:00 Noon AEST UTC+10 hours
Melbourne (Australia – Victoria) Monday, 10 November 2014 at 1:00:00 PM AEDT UTC+11 hours
Adelaide (Australia – South Australia) Monday, 10 November 2014 at 12:30:00 PM ACDT UTC+10:30 hours
Perth (Australia – Western Australia) Monday, 10 November 2014 at 10:00:00 AM AWST UTC+8 hours

- @AusCelticsFan

 

Green Runs Deep #1 – Ms Samantha May

GreenRunsDeep#1

Green Runs Deep #1 – Ms Samantha May

Unless you’ve being living under a rock, there’s a great chance you’ve seen the now infamous photo of a Boston Celtics fan wearing a green “LeBron is a Bitch” t-shirt, whilst standing next to All-Star Celtics point guard, Rajon Rondo. Well, the lady in that great photo is none other than Ms Samantha May, a lady who could just as easily tear you a new one, as enjoy a great game at the TD Garden watching her beloved Boston Celtics. Sam is an amazing, head-strong person, and we’re honoured to have her feature in ‘Green Runs Deep’. -AusCelticsFan

Sam, sporting her now famous shirt, next to Rajon Rondo

Sam, sporting her now famous shirt, next to Rajon Rondo

Please tell us a little about yourself:
Samantha: @MsSamanthaMay on Twitter & @MsSamanthaMay9 on Instagram.

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How did you first become a fan of the Boston Celtics?:

When I was little, I used to watch Celtics games with my grandmother. Her passion for this group of guys just playing Basketball was mind blowing to me. When she passed away, she was buried in a Larry Bird jersey. The Celtics are more then an NBA team to me now; they’re in a way affiliated with her, and I wholeheartedly understand and have attained her sense of passion for this group of guys just playing Basketball.

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When did you first see the Celtics play (television)? When did you manage to see your first live Celtics game?

I’m going to be real honest. I grew up in the ‘90s. Outside all the time. Watched my occasional Basketball game here and there, but it escaped me for a few years until I found out about Allen Iverson. I was obsessed with the way he played. So for my sweet 16th birthday, my parents bought me tickets to the Celtics vs. 76ers game so I could watch him live. When we got to the game, Iverson was injured & it was announced that he wasn’t going to play.

I was devastated. My parents asked if I wanted to leave, but we stayed regardless, and I watched this other man. This guy had an ‘aura’ around him. He was the star of the game. I watched the fans eyes fill with the same passion my grandmothers did when she watched Larry Bird play. Every time this man that wore #34 sunk a bucket, the Fleet Center (at that time) went crazy. Paul Pierce single-handedly made me fall in love with the Celtics from that day on.

Samantha's colourful commitment to her Boston Celtics.

Samantha’s colourful commitment to her Boston Celtics.

Who is your favorite Celtics player? Past? And present? And what do they/have they meant to you?

Favorite Celtic? Of all time? Easily: Paul Pierce… I’ve watch this man since I was 16… Grow… Cry… Struggle… Succeed… And I felt all of these things with him… Ball really is life lol …. Oh then there is KG. The intensity this man brought to the garden every game… His passion… He if he epitomized ‘bleeding Green’ to me… A few honorable mentions I would have to say Tony Allen, Perk, Dooling…  Oh…and you all can’t expect me to forget Rondo, where do I start.?! My god…. I just adore him. Period.

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Australia has such a tight-knit Celtics ‘family’, as do so many countries around the world. But obviously, the greatest Boston Celtics community is in the great city of Boston itself. Can you tell us about how these Celtics communities, whether globally, or in Boston, make you feel a part of such a large, and loving sisterhood/brotherhood?

Doc said it best… “This is such a neat place. People don’t get Boston. They don’t understand. It is a special, different place. They cheer for their teams . . . It’s just such a classy place”. It’s hard to describe the camaraderie and unity Boston sports teams have… It’s such a passion and love. It’s just amazing to be a part of. Nothing compares to being at a game and everyone is up and dancing and cheering and yelling because we win… a game… One game…(not a practice .. A game)  It’s just fantastic.

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Can you tell us about your proudest, or most memorable moment that’s occurred whilst being such a loyal member of the Boston Celtics fan base?

I’ve had several moments in being a fan… I have one fan contests at games… Walked on the parquet floor… And met several players… But honest to God, the one thing I am most blessed for experiencing is meeting these other people on Twitter that share the same passion that I do for this team. I met amazing people but no one can compare to Olivia… I have to mention her in this as she has been one of the best things to ever happen in my life… All because of the Celtics… I love you little sister!!

Sam & Olivia. Boston Besties!

Sam & Olivia. Boston Besties!

Whilst already being a well-known, and well-liked person, did you feel that your exposure from wearing your “LeBron is a Bitch” t-shirt in a photo with Rajon Rondo has increased your admirers on Twitter, or even in the public domain?

That picture. (*Shaking my head). I still can’t believe it went viral. I wish I got paid for that haha!! I have clearly received my fair amount of Twitter ‘fame’ and hype from that picture, from daily marriage proposals to daily death threats from bitter LeBron fans, it blew up far more than I ever thought possible. It was everywhere. But I believe the reason I have all these followers is not really due to that pic, I think it has to do with my smart mouth, my unfiltered attitude. And being a female that actually knows a thing or two about basketball is a rarity these days.

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Can you tell us your experience being a female fan in a mostly male-dominated Sports industry? My understanding is you’re as strong and as confident as they come. Any interesting stories you care to share with our readers?

I love being immediately disregarded from any sports knowledge considering the fact that I’m a woman… It makes it so much better when I completely ‘own’ these ignorant people in a basketball discussion.

One of Sam's many Celtics tickets | Sams 2013 'Rondo' Birthday cake.

One of Sam’s many Celtics tickets | Sams 2013 ‘Rondo’ Birthday cake.

How do you see the team holding up over 82 games, against tougher opponents? Which team match-ups are you looking forward to?

The home opener was amazing… I was sitting back & enjoying every minute of that blowout… And seeing KG didn’t hurt either (actually it did) I think the Celtics need to learn how to be consistent… We always go in so hot and then lose our lead in the second half… We’ve been doing that for a long time now and we really got to figure it out haha we absolutely struggle with any west team which is immensely concerning to me… Thank God all will be around next year too, because this year will be tough.

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Can you share your thoughts on our Celtics community down here? Do you see a lot of the Celtic Pride in our many members? Any plans to visit us one day? You’ll be welcomed with open arms by all.

When my picture with Rondo went viral, The Celtics fam from down under were one of the biggest supporters. I’m so proud of y’all for the way you rep in this team… Makes me proud that were in the same C’s fam :)

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My partner and I are planning our trip to Boston. Care to show us the local Pub and have a drink with us?

Let me know when you’re around! Of course! :) Thank you!!! Xo!!


Celtics Down Under would like to thank Sam for taking part in our ‘Green Runs Deep’ Fan Q&A.
Nominate a loyal Boston Celtics fan at: @AusCelticsFan or justin@CelticsDownUnder.com.

Rockets stop Celtics perfect start behind Harden’s 26.

Capture

The Celtics had the tough task of going into Houston & beating Dwight & the Rockets but led by Captain Rondo they weren’t going to back down. Houston were straight out of the gates playing real aggressive & took a 16 point lead getting Olynyk in early foul trouble. Green & Bass would score 6 points for the C’s but 10 free throws & 60% shooting would have Houston up 22-37.

The 2nd started similar to the first with Houston shooting more free throws as they maintained a double digit lead. A basket by Turner halted the Rockets run & got the game back down to 16 with about half the quarter remaining. Houston would push their lead to 20 on their 21st and 22nd free throw attempts. Jeff led Boston with 8 points but the Celtics shot 0-12 from 3 & lost the rebound battle 28-15 in the first half as they trailed 38-57.
The C’s collapsed a lot in the first half when going for the double team, not getting back out to the wide open shooters.

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Screenshot by Justin

The 3rd quarter started ugly for both sides but the Celtics managed to go on a 9-0 run, led by Sullinger to climb within 13. Sullinger was hitting the offensive glass consistently to start the quarter & getting second chance points as his 5th rebound & 7th point of the quarter would have the Rockets calling a timeout as Boston made a game of it. Bradley & Zeller picked up their 5th fouls as Harden shot his 13th & 14th free throws for the night to give the Rockets back an 18 point lead. Boston would head to the 4th down 19 as Harden was leading the way with 26.

The 4th had begun & JET would hit a 3 for the Rockets. Rondo’s layup would cut the Rockets lead to 16 & give the Celtics some hope with 8 minutes still to go. Houston responded immediately & pushed the lead back to 22. Jones knocked down a 3 that put the Rockets up by 26. Jeff Green capped of a 5-0 run by the Celtics with a 3, Boston’s first of the night with 4:10 left. Houston shot 40 free throws during the game to win 90-104. Green led Boston with 17.

Boston shot 1-25 from 3 shot 22 less free throws.

Full time statistics:
Jeff Green 17 points, 4 rebounds , 2 assists
Jared Sullinger 14 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists
Rajon Rondo 4 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists
Kelly Olynyk 8 points, 5 rebounds
Brandon Bass 8 points, 5 rebounds
Evan Turner 8 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists
Tyler Zeller 8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assists
Marcus Thornton 9 points
James Young 6 points

A highlight of the game for the Celtics was a lovely spin move by Sullinger that got him this wide open look

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Screenshot by Justin

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Screenshot by Justin

Captain Rajon Rondo & Brad Stevens during the 4th quarter

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