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Celtics will honor Pierce's contract to facilitate Nets deal

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 30, 2013 09:16 PM

The Celtics had until Sunday at midnight to make a decision on Paul Pierce's contract, and NBA source said the club will honor the final year of his deal at $15.3 million to facilitate the blockbuster deal with the Brooklyn Nets.

The Celtics are expected to send Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humpries, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans and Kris Joseph and first-round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018 and the right to swap first-round picks in 2017.

While the Celtics may have considered buying out Pierce's contract at $5 million if not for the trade, they will guarantee the deal and send that contract to the Nets. The Nets also guaranteed the final year of Garnett's deal in 2014-15, which was partially guaranteed when he signed the deal with the Celtics last summer.

The transaction won't be official until July 12, the first day Joseph is eligible to be traded. So the Celtics won't be able to comment on the deal despite free agency beginning Sunday at midnight. It is uncertain whether the club will be active. At the very least, they will have the mini mid-level to offer a free agent at $3 million per season.

Celtics waive guard/forward Terrence Williams

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff June 30, 2013 12:18 PM

On the eve of free agency, the Celtics announced Sunday that they've waived guard/forward Terrence Williams.

The timing of the move was no accident: the 26-year-old Williams was guaranteed $200,000 from the Celtics if they hadn't waived him on or by midnight Sunday. By cutting him, the Celtics create some cap space -- Williams would've been owed about $950,000 had he not been waived on or by Oct. 31 -- while also opening up a roster spot.

The 6-foot-6 Williams joined the injury-ravaged Celtics, his fourth NBA team since being drafted in 2009, in February after playing overseas in China, and he was seen as a back-up point guard who could help fill in with Rajon Rondo out for the season with a knee injury.

Williams played sparingly in 24 games, averaging 4.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 13.3 minutes per game. Williams also played in five playoff games with the Celtics, averaging 1.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 9.6 minutes per game.

Williams was signed to a deal through the end of the last season, but his contract for next season wasn't fully guaranteed.

It certainly didn't help matters that Williams was arrested in May in Kent, Wash., after the mother of his 10-year-old son said Williams threatened her with a gun.

Williams was being investigated for second-degree domestic assault, but prosecutors decided to delay bringing charges against him as they continued to investigate the incident, which occurred in a parking lot during a custody exchange between Williams and the woman.

Last week, King County prosecutor's office spokesman Dan Donohoe said that the case was still being investigated and that there was no timetable for a possible resolution.

If convicted, Williams, who turned 26 Friday, faces possible jail time.

NBA source: Mavericks looking to acquire Rondo

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 29, 2013 01:48 PM

The Dallas Mavericks, looking to make one final championship run in the Dirk Nowitzki era and looking for a lure to attract Dwight Howard, are interested in acquiring Rajon Rondo from the Celtics, according to an NBA source.

Rondo, who has two years left on his contract at a total of $25 million, is considered now the central cornerstone of the Celtics with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett headed to the Brooklyn Nets. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told reporters Thursday the club is planning to build around Rondo and he will not be traded.

When asked if he was comfortable with Rondo as the team's centerpiece, Ainge said: "Yes we are. There's guys we're not looking to move right now."

When asked if one of those players was Rondo, Ainge said: "Yeah."

That likely won't stop the Mavericks from inquiring about Rondo, who could be the distributor that could help return the club back into a Western Conference contender and someone who could attract Howard, a free agent, into signing with the Mavericks. Dallas is well under the salary cap, so it could absorb Rondo's contract but would likely want to send the Celtics Shawn Marion's expiring deal along with a younger player and a draft pick to make it attractive for Ainge.

The Mavericks also acquired former University of Miami point guard Shane Larkin, who could also be included in a deal. Larkin worked out twice with the Celtics.

Saying goodbye to Paul Pierce

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 29, 2013 12:39 PM

Paul Pierce was always taking chances. Before most games, the Celtics captain would shout over to the nearest teammate, assistant coach, or general manager to make a friendly wager on a shot.

"Hey Danny, you want any of this?" he'd yell, usually from out-of-bounds somewhere in the corner next to the team's bench.

To minimize the risk of the investment, Pierce himself was always the shooter. I rarely saw him miss.

The Celtics took a chance on Pierce in the 1998 draft, selecting the small forward out of Kansas with the No. 10 pick when others had passed on him. Pierce took a chance on the Celtics, sticking it out in Boston through highs and lows, through Marcus Banks, J.R. Bremer, Bryant Stith, Ricky Davis, and Tony Delk, through Rick Pitino and Jim O'Brien. In Pierce's first season, the Celtics finished last in the Atlantic Division. In the season before the arrivals of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, they suffered an 18-game losing streak.

Danny Ainge made a necessary trade Thursday in sending Pierce and Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets for contracts and draft picks. Doing the right thing can be sad. In making a sound business move, Ainge is sending 21 combined seasons of Celtics memories to New York. No one can take them away, but it doesn't remove the initial sting. The image of Pierce, all head and shoulders, faking his defender one way before barreling to the rim in the other direction, is burned into our collective consciousness. Seeing him do the same thing in a black jersey at TD Garden will be difficult.

Pierce's tenure wasn't perfect. After a playoff loss to the Indiana Pacers in 2005, Pierce wrapped a fake bandage around his head and walked into a press conference. In 2007, he told the Globe's Jackie MacMullan, "I'm the classic case of a great player on a bad team, and it stinks."

The bad times made the good ones sweeter. We watched Pierce grow up, watched him rein in the bravado of a 21-year-old kid and use it for good on the game's biggest stages. He led a ragtag bunch to the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals. He took down LeBron, then Kobe, in 2008. After securing Boston's 17th championship, Pierce, named Finals MVP, stated that he was the best player in the world. It was hard to argue with him.

"Paul had a chance to leave us when we were bad," now former Celtics coach Doc Rivers said last February when Pierce moved past Larry Bird on the Celtics' all-time scoring list. "And instead of moaning that he wanted to go to a championship team, he stayed. And he said, 'I simply want to be a Celtic, and I trust that we’re going to win a title some day.' He had no reason to believe that, at that time."

In a statement now twisted up in all kinds of irony, Rivers added, "I wish people talked about his loyalty more. I do think it’s special that Paul Pierce decided that he wanted to be a Celtic for his life. And I think that’s pretty cool. In this day and time, in any sport, I think that’s special.”

The biggest irony here may be that of the three (Pierce, Garnett, and Rivers), the player most loyal to the franchise had the least amount of say of where he ended up. Garnett came from Minnesota and Rivers is going to Hollywood, but you don't associate Pierce with any place but Boston. Garnett injected energy into the franchise and was integral in winning a title in 2008, but he did his suffering elsewhere. On many a cold winter New England night in the last 15 seasons, you could look at Pierce's face and see that he was just as frustrated with all the losing as you were. No one would have blamed him if he had decided not to wait it out.

"You knew eventually it would turn around," Pierce said the night he passed Bird. "I’ve just always been the optimist, just knowing eventually, 'The next year, the next year.' That’s what I always kept saying to myself, that it would eventually turn around."

Pierce was finally proven right in 2008. In the video clip above, Pierce, Rivers, and Garnett are shown celebrating after the Celtics defeated the Detroit Pistons and earned a trip to the NBA Finals (hat tip to @MrTrpleDouble10 for finding the video). We've all seen the footage of the Celtics celebrating after Game 6 vs. the Lakers, but the Pistons celebration is one of unbridled joy. Pierce can't stop bouncing. Rivers hugs anyone within site.

"I'm glad they stuck with me," Pierce says simply.

Pierce said earlier this season that if he ever left the Celtics he'd come back and sign a one-day contract so he could retire as a member of the team. Talking to reporters the night the Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs, he seemed resigned to that fate. For the first time in a long time, the usually boisterous captain was at a loss for words.

We'll miss the pull-up jumper from the elbow. We'll miss the pump fake that gets the defender to bite what seems like every time. We'll miss the player who never shies away from the spotlight, who after making a big 3-pointer turns to the Garden crowd with his palms raised as if to ask, "Did you expect anything less?"

The Celtics took a chance on Pierce, and he in turn took a chance on the team. He embraced the city, and in the end both the player and the fan base were rewarded. In today's sports landscape, it really doesn't get much better than that.

Sources: San Antonio assistant Brett Brown "extremely" interested in Celtics coaching position

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff June 28, 2013 03:03 PM

Longtime San Antonio assistant coach Brett Brown, a Portland, Maine, native who played basketball at Boston University and grew up as a diehard Celtics fan, is "extremely" interested in becoming the Celtics' new head coach, league sources told the Globe Friday.

However, it's unclear how much longer Brown will be on the market. The Philadelphia 76ers are very interested in hiring Brown, who is considered one of the top candidates available, to fill their head coaching vacancy.

The New York Daily News reported Thursday night that the 76ers were set to hire Brown to replace Doug Collins. But Sam Hinkie, the 76ers general manager, denied that report.

"We had a lot of things going on. That was not part of what happened in the last several hours," Hinkie said early Friday morning following the NBA draft.

As of Friday, the only NBA teams that haven't hired a coach were the Celtics and 76ers.

Brown has been an assistant under Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for the past seven seasons and previously served as San Antonio's player development coach.

According to a report in the San Antonio Express-News, Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said Brown is still in line to replace the departed Mike Budenholzer as the Spurs’ lead assistant. Budenholzer left the Spurs to become head coach of the Atlanta Hawks.

Kevin Garnett waives no-trade clause, headed to Nets with Paul Pierce

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 27, 2013 11:15 PM




An NBA source confirmed that Kevin Garnett has waived his no-trade clause, clearing the way for a blockbuster trade that would send Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets for Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Keith Bogans, and three first-round picks.

This deal officially marks the end of the Big Three Era and the beginning of the Celtics rebuilding plan as the organization parts ways with two of the most popular players in team history. Pierce played 15 years for the Celtics after being drafted in 1998, and finishes as the team's second all-time leading scorer to John Havlicek.

Garnett came to the Celtics in a 2007 trade with Minnesota and helped the Celtics to the NBA title in 2008, their first in 22 years. The trio of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce won one NBA title, reached the Finals again in 2010 and lost in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

Allen bolted for the Miami Heat last summer after the Celtics were hesitant in re-signing him, then coach Doc Rivers left Monday to coach the Los Angeles Clippers. Pierce and Garnett were the final two remaining pieces and team president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has said the Celtics would not be a championship-caliber team if they kept the roster intact.

This trade gives the Celtics an expiring contract next summer in Humphries, and long-term possibilities with Wallace and three extra first-round picks. The Celtics now have four first-round picks in the next two seasons.

Yahoo! Sports first reported the talks.

Pierce has a $5 million buyout of his contract that would have to be executed by Sunday, but the Celtics are expected to pick up the $15.3 million option and deal that contract to Brooklyn.

The Celtics were attempting to package Garnett in a deal with Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers for DeAndre Jordan and draft picks, but the league blocked any player-coach transactions and disallowed player deals between the two clubs this season.

5 reasons Kelly Olynyk is a great pick

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 27, 2013 09:50 PM

The Celtics traded up in the NBA Draft Thursday night, acquiring the No. 13 pick from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for two future second-round picks and the 16th overall pick. With the pick, the Celtics selected Gonzaga big man Kelly Olynyk, a 7-foot, 234-pound center/power forward. The Celtics are trying to rebuild, and they could certainly use a 7-footer, but they could also use guards, scorers, and ball-handlers. There's reason to question whether Olynyk is the right guy. Here are five reasons why he is:

-- He's efficient: Most Boston fans haven't had the chance to watch Olynyk considering he played on the West Coast. Luckily for us, DraftExpress.com watches a lot of games. One major positive in Olynyk's game is his efficiency. His 1.13 points per possession last season were the highest among draft prospects at his position. His 1.1 points per possession in the halfcourt also ranks highly. He's great on the pick-and-roll and a 70-percent finisher at the rim. These numbers are massively big compared to some of the big men who went before and after Olynyk.

-- He's something of a mystery:This is a good thing. Olynyk is unorthodox, but he's gotten it done at a very high level for Gonzaga. There are two schools to drafting, and the Celtics seem to be moving away from the school of best athlete wins the day. JaJuan Johnson, who was the Celtics' pick in the 2011 draft, had the body but never developed the game. Same with J.R. Giddens as a guard. Fab Melo is a work in progress. On the other side, Jared Sullinger, Glen Davis, and Nate Robinson are examples of unorthodox Celtics players who have produced. Boston knows Olynyk can play. The Celtics aren't drafting on "potential" here.

-- He can shoot: The NBA is changing. Rather than using slow, plodding big men, NBA teams are playing small forwards on the block and mobile forwards as centers. If you've been pining for Kendrick Perkins all these years, you may not have noticed, but the league has moved on. Olynyk can step out and shoot, but he also has the height and post moves to be a traditional big man. He makes 77 percent of his free throws. He's unorthodox, but so were Jared Sullinger, Glen Davis, and Nate Robinson, and they were all effective.

-- Danny Ainge likes it: This is going to sound like a kiss-up, but this is a space that recently panned the whole Rivers-Ainge process earlier this week. Ainge felt strongly enough about Olynyk to trade up for him. Recently, he felt strongly about Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, and Sullinger when not many people did. No matter how you feel about the direction of the franchise, it's hard to argue about Ainge and his staff's judge of talent (this blog would have taken Marcus Williams in the 2006 draft). Let this one play out.

-- It's the first step: As this is being written, a trade of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn for contracts and future considerations is being reported. This was inevitable, but it also speaks to the importance of this single, No. 16 pick. The Celtics view Olynyk as asset, a player worth trading up to get. He's a power forward of the future in the grand scheme of things. He's not a safe pick, which is a good thing. The Celtics need to hit a home run, if not now then soon.

Below is a video scouting report of Kelly Olynyk, as well as his Twitter handle.




Celtics trade up, get Gonzaga's Olynyk

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 27, 2013 08:59 PM

The Celtics participated in a trade-filled draft night, moving up to the 13th pick to nab Gonzaga forward Kelly Olynyk, swapping picks with the Dallas Mavericks.

Olynyk, the West Coast Conference Player of the Year, averaged 17.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks for the Bulldogs. The Canadian was one of the highest rising players in the country last season and wowed teams with his skills at the NBA Draft Combine. He gives the Celtics a perimeter scorer and versatile big man, perhaps replacing the aging Kevin Garnett.

For the pick, the Celtics sent two future second-round selections and the 16th overall pick. NBA sources said the Celtics are also trying to move into the late first round or second round for another draft selection. Olynyk, 21, also played for the Canadian National Team after playing sparingly for Gonzaga as a freshman.

The Celtics eventually drafted Brazilian Lucas Nogueira with the 16th pick and traded him and two future second-round picks to Dallas for the rights to Olynyk.

Celtics NBA Draft live chat

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 27, 2013 05:22 PM

Boston.com's Gary Dzen chats live and takes your questions during the NBA Draft. Follow along with updates from NBA writers as well.

Doc Rivers meets the press in Los Angeles

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff June 26, 2013 05:14 PM

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- Doc Rivers emphasized over and over again as he was introduced as the Los Angeles Clippers head coach and vice president of basketball operations here Friday that he had no intentions of ever leaving his post as coach of the Boston Celtics.

"It was not like I was leaving somewhere," Rivers said to a large contingent of media gathered at the Clippers practice facility. "I enjoyed where I was at."

Rivers said that on Sunday, he had committed to return to the Celtics. Then he went to an AAU tournament in Florida to watch his son play. He turned off his phone. When he turned it on again, he saw that he had several calls from his agent, Lonnie Cooper, and from Danny Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations.

Rivers was told that a deal had been completed in which the Clippers would give the Celtics an unprotected 2015 first-round draft pick in exchange for letting Rivers out of his contract with the Celtics so that he could become the Clippers coach.

"On Sunday, Danny and I were talking about our roster, and then on Sunday night, a deal was agreed upon," Rivers said.

Later, Rivers said on a conference call with Boston media, "This is not a one-trick pony deal where I was the only one fueling this. I never pushed this deal. It happened."

But Rivers also indicated that at his age -- 51 -- he was very interested in coaching a team that had a chance to contend, which the Clippers certainly do with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

"Quite honestly, at this point in my life, that’s the only reason I’m coaching, is to try to win titles," he said.

Retirement, though, was not an option, he said.

"I just thought, after nine years, I didn't know if my job had run its course in Boston," Rivers said.

From the Clippers' perspective, they believe they finally got their man -- one who will ensure that the team is able to re-sign Paul when he becomes a free agent next month.

"We feel he’s the best coach in the NBA and a perfect fit for the organization," said Clippers general manager Gary Sacks.

Said Rivers: "It’s really good to be here. This is a new challenge for me. I had nine absolutely amazing years in Boston. So before I do anything, I have to thank Danny and Wyc [Grousbeck] and the ownership and the fans there, because it was an amazing run.

"When I look back on that and where I’m sitting now, that’s where we want to go. We want to get to that level of winning."

Rivers said he has spoken to several Celtics players, including Rajon Rondo. There has been speculation that Rivers left Boston, in part, because of Rondo, who's a high-maintenance player.

"I did not leave because I did not want to coach Rondo," Rivers said. "That's silly."

Rivers said he wasn't sure what would happen now with Kevin Garnett, who was involved in previous forms of a deal that could've sent him to the Clippers but who does not have that option now.

"I think he'll play this year for sure," Rivers said. "I don't know that, but that's my gut."

Rivers also said he hasn't made any final decisions about which members of his assistant coaching staff in Boston he'll bring to Los Angeles, but he did indicate that he'd "probably" take most of them.

And as for Celtics fans, Rivers said, "I hope they'll remember me as somebody who gave that city everything he had."

Danny Ainge addresses Doc Rivers's departure

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 25, 2013 07:43 PM




WALTHAM -- Celtics general manager Danny Ainge officially announced the departure of his coach of nine years Tuesday, reflecting on the tenure of Doc Rivers and answering questions about the future of the franchise.

"I'd like to thank Doc for nine years of friendship and great coaching," Ainge said in his opening statement. "He was a great teammate. And the Clippers are getting a really good coach."

Flanked by team president Rich Gotham, Ainge took questions about the deal that sent the rights to Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers for a 2015 first-round draft pick. The teams had engaged in on-again, off-again negotiations for Rivers for more than a week. Ainge said that despite reports, the deal was not a sure thing until it was finalized Tuesday.

"I had planned on Doc being our coach all along," said Ainge. "We had discussions about him being Gregg Poppovich or Jerry Sloan or Red Auerbach, getting the all-time wins record as a Celtic and being here for a long time."

Rivers and Ainge first spoke about the coach's future on May 8, according to the GM, because Ainge was "curious as to which way he was leaning and why."

"He was uncertain still at that time but wondered what his options may be," said Ainge.

According to Ainge, the team sent Rivers a letter on May 9 saying they "expected him to be our coach and fulfill his contract. ... That's what we hoped that he would do."

When it became clear Rivers had an interest in leaving, Ainge said the pair discussed Rivers trying to get the Clippers job. Other teams expressed interest in Rivers but were denied the chance to speak with him about their coaching vacancies.

"If it wasn't good for the Celtics -- which is what my job is, to do what's best for the Celtics -- if it wasn't good for him, if it wasn't good for us, we just wouldn't do a deal and he would come back and coach," said Ainge.

Asked if he truly expected Rivers to come back after negotiations with Los Angeles became public, Ainge said, "I would have welcomed him back."

During a 30-minute press conference, Ainge spoke highly of Rivers while admitting that his departure was not his or the team's first choice.

"I do not believe Doc quit on this franchise," said Ainge. "I think he believed that a change was needed. Maybe he just felt he needed a change."

According to Ainge, Rivers knew what he was getting into when the team signed him to a five-year, $35 million contract extension in 2011. At that time, the Celtics were faced with decisions on a 33-year-old Paul Pierce, a 35-year-old Kevin Garnett, and a 35-year-old Ray Allen.

"When we signed Doc to the highest-paid coaching contract in the NBA a couple years ago, we knew the ages of our players," said Ainge. "We knew that a time for rebuild would be in store. We talked about that.

"I felt like I did do a very good sales job on Doc at that time. Maybe he did a sales job on me."

Neither Ainge nor Gotham offered up reasons for Rivers leaving other than the coach deciding it was time for a change. Ainge denied that Rivers, who has been given the title of "Senior VP of basketball operations" in Los Angeles, asked for more organizational power in Boston. Reports of rifts between Rivers and point guard Rajon Rondo were also unrelated to the coach's departure, according to the GM.

"Sometimes you've got to let your good people go and pursue what they feel like they need to pursue to make themselves happy," said Gotham. On losing the public face of the franchise, Gotham said, "No disrespect to Doc, but I think the fans care a lot more about the team, if the team does well."

Ainge said he has not yet reached out to "a single coaching candidate," nor has he made decisions on the futures of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The NBA Draft is Thursday, and the Celtics will field a Summer League team in Orlando starting July 7. Despite the team's impending offseason obligations, Ainge said he won't rush his search for Rivers's replacement. Ainge said he himself is not a candidate.

Celtics officially announce Doc Rivers' departure

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff June 25, 2013 05:03 PM





The Celtics made it official on their end, announcing that the team has allowed Doc Rivers to become head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Clippers also confirmed the announcement, adding that Rivers will also be the senior vice president of basketball operations for the organization. The Celtics will get the Clippers' 2015 first-round draft choice in exchange.

Report: Brian Shaw named Nuggets coach

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff June 24, 2013 09:15 PM
Looks like at least one name can come off the list of potential candidates to be the next Celtics coach.

Brian Shaw, whose agent told the Globe earlier Monday that Shaw would be interested in the Celtics job but had not been approached about it by the team, has accepted the Denver Nuggets' coaching position, the Denver Post reported.

Shaw, who played for the Celtics from 1988 to 1992 after they drafted him in the first round in 1988, was an associate head coach for the Indiana Pacers last season.

Source: League yet to approve Doc Rivers deal

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 24, 2013 04:51 PM

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WALTHAM -- There is nothing but quiet at the Celtics' practice facility as the organization awaits the Los Angeles Clippers to reach a contract agreement with Doc Rivers so the deal can be presented to the league office, according to an NBA source.

That source said the league has not approved any deal and the Celtics are in wait-and-see mode as Monday reaches the early evening. The Celtics have yet to cancel their scheduled press conference, which was originally set for noon and the Hall of Fame Room at the Sports Authority Practice Facility has been prepared for a press conference for three days.

The Celtics agreed to release Rivers' non-compete clause for a Clippers' first-round pick in 2015. And Rivers apparently agreed to a three-year, $21 million deal with Los Angeles. But that deal is not official and neither is the transaction between the Celtics and Clippers.

Brian Shaw's agent confirms that Shaw is interested in Celtics job

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff June 24, 2013 04:18 PM

Brian Shaw, who was taken by the Celtics in the first round of the 1988 draft, is interested in the Celtics head coaching job, his agent confirmed to the Globe Monday.

"[He] would enjoy working for the team that he started his career with," said Shaw's agent, Jerome Stanley, adding that Shaw also would enjoy working for Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, who was Shaw's teammate in Boston during the 1988-89 season.

Stanley said they have not been contacted by the Celtics.

Shaw, 47, who is the associate head coach for the Indiana Pacers, was a candidate for the Clippers' head coaching position before they agreed to terms Sunday on a deal that would make Doc Rivers their coach.

Asked whom the Celtics might hire, a league source said, “I think they do have to go young, and Danny is going to want to look like a genius. Brian Shaw is what I think they’d hire, but I don’t know. Danny might go outside the box a little.”

Antoine Walker wants to coach Celtics

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 24, 2013 01:58 PM

WALTHAM -- In the midst of the anticipation of the Doc Rivers deal being declared official by the NBA, a tweet circulated this morning from the account of former Celtic Antoine Walker.

"Boston fans its time for me to be the celtics coach !!!!" he sent out three times through his Twitter account.

Walker confirmed to the Globe that he is indeed interested in coaching the Celtics. While Walker has no coaching experience, it wouldn't be an unprecedented move: Former All-Star point guard Jason Kidd has just transitioned from being a player to being head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.

Walker, 36, is retired from professional basketball after playing in the NBA Developmental League last season and is seeking a job in the NBA. He has had well-chronicled financial problems but has reached settlements with his creditors.

Walker teamed with Paul Pierce for five seasons in Boston, helping the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals in 2002 under Jim O'Brien. He was traded to the Mavericks by Danny Ainge in 2003, and then returned to Boston 16 months later in a trade with the Hawks.

Walker won an NBA title in 2006 with the Heat and finished his career in 2007-08 with the Timberwolves, playing his final NBA game at age 31. Walker was at the NBA draft combine last month, interested in working as a scout or in the front office.

This could not have been Plan A for the Celtics

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 24, 2013 12:43 PM

There's a certain clarity present only in the moments while waiting for a press conference that may never come. In a few hours or a few days (I have one eye on my car keys just in case), a group of Celtics reporters will speed off to Waltham to hear the team explain why Doc Rivers leaving to coach the Clippers is best for everyone involved. It will be explained to us that it was a mutual decision, that the Celtics even went to Rivers and suggested it, and that the coach, affable as always, said something along the lines of, "Whatever I can do to help."

Everyone, of course, will be of his or her own mind to determine how much of the narrative to absorb, but there's also something fun about being in this pre-spin limbo. And when I get right down to it, I keep going back to something Jeff Clark of Celtics Blog tweeted last week:

"This couldn't have been Plan A."

Whether you're on Team Doc or Team Danny or tired of the whole thing, it's nearly impossible to believe that the way this thing played out over the last week was Danny Ainge's primary plan heading into the offseason. Ainge spent most of the last week haggling over the departure of his coach while the futures of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were put on hold. With Rajon Rondo coming off knee surgery, the Celtics still don't have a point guard. The NBA draft is Thursday, there's a situation with Terrence Williams, and we haven't even mentioned poor Chris Wilcox yet (he's the team's only free agent).

Immediately following a 4-1 series loss to the Heat two years ago, Rivers sat down at the podium in Miami and announced, unprompted, that he was coming back. I was on deadline, tasked with wrapping up the season, and the consensus among the people covering the team had been that Doc would take his time making a decision. The announcement made our No. 1 story of the offseason a moot point in a matter of minutes. "I'm a Celtic," he said that night, and he sounded like a man who meant it.

It's not a reporter's place to call out Rivers for his change of heart, though fans have every right to do so. Ray Allen got plenty of grief for going to Miami. You can judge Rivers or give him a free pass, but what's clear about all this is that he wanted to stay then and he doesn't want to now.

Ainge worked feverishly to get Rivers to Los Angeles. He did well to get compensation. That doesn't mean all is now well and good.

Rivers wanting to leave is bad for everyone who stays behind. It's bad for Jeff Green, who was just starting to get his confidence under his head coach. It's bad for Avery Bradley, who clearly lost his down the last stretch of the season. It's especially bad for Rondo, who looks like someone Rivers, unfairly or not, wanted to get away from.

Ainge is trying to rebuild the team, and acquiring assets is what it's all about. A first-round draft pick in exchange for a coach is a good place to start, and there's likely more compensation coming for the services of Pierce and Garnett. Rondo may be Ainge's biggest chip, if he truly wants to start from scratch.

Rivers's desire to leave doesn't make him a bad guy. He was great with the media. We liked him, which in turn is a part of the reason fans liked him, which is part of the reason he's getting a relative free pass for the events of the last two weeks. Rivers was easy to get along with. (I'll especially miss his "you know, 'Doc' is just a nickname" stance on injuries.)

Being a nice guy and putting the franchise in a bad spot are not mutually exclusive. By agreeing to go along for a ride while Ainge held out for a draft pick, Rivers helped the process. But something happened between that night in Miami two years ago, the signing of a five-year contract a few weeks later, and this offseason that made Rivers want to leave.

The Celtics have spent the bulk of their offseason trying to facilitate his departure, and they now face the daunting task of overhauling the franchise without their coach of the last nine seasons. Whatever happens from here, this could not have been the plan all along.

Source: Cleveland Cavaliers interested in acquiring Paul Pierce

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff June 24, 2013 12:04 PM

The Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in the possibility of acquiring Celtics forward Paul Pierce, a league source confirmed to the Globe Monday, and reportedly the Cavaliers have discussed the possibility of offering multiple second-round draft picks in exchange for him.

However, the source told the Globe any talks are very much in the preliminary stages. That said, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge would no doubt be interested in acquiring assets, such as draft picks, that could help rebuild the Celtics going forward.

As the Globe recently reported, league sources have indicated that there is better-than-average interest for Pierce on the trade market, specifically from teams that are on the cusp of making the playoffs or are looking to make a deeper postseason push.

To those teams, the sources said, Pierce's postseason experience and scoring are valuable, even if he would be 36 by the time the 2013-14 season begins.

The Cavaliers, who hold the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's NBA draft, were 24-58 last season – 13th out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics have less than a week to make a decision about Pierce's future. By midnight on June 30, the team must decide if it wants to buy out his contract for $5 million; if the Celtics don't do that, then Pierce's $15.3 million contract for next season is guaranteed.

Pierce has spent his entire career with the Celtics and averaged 18.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists last season.

Antoine Walker throws his hat in the ring

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff June 24, 2013 09:25 AM

Here's one more name to add to the list of candidates for the vacant Celtics head coaching position.

That pronouncement from the former Celtics player naturally led to plenty of unsolicited advice.

And some fairly humorous reactions:

Sources: Clippers reach deal to hire Celtics coach Doc Rivers

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff June 23, 2013 04:34 PM





Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers have agreed in principle to a deal that would make Rivers the new Clippers' coach, league sources told the Globe Sunday.

In exchange, the Celtics would receive an unprotected 2015 first-round draft pick, the sources said. Rivers' contract with the Clippers would be for three years at $21 million, the sources added, which is what he had left on the five-year extension he signed in Boston.

Though Celtics center Kevin Garnett was involved in previous incarnations of this deal, he is not involved in the current package.

The deal still has to be approved by the league, but given that the deal is much simpler than the one these teams had proposed earlier, there is a strong chance it is approved and the deal is completed as early as Monday.

There are reports that the Celtics have scheduled a noon press conference Monday, but nothing has been officially announced.

Rivers has coached the Celtics for nine seasons, including to its 17th championship in 2008.

Talks between the Clippers and Celtics resumed Sunday after reaching a firm standstill late last week.

The Celtics' asking price for Rivers had all along been a first-round draft pick, and they weren't budging on that end. The Clippers, however, had at first refused to offer any compensation for Rivers before later offering a second-round pick.

But the Clippers, who have been urged by point guard Chris Paul to come back to the bargaining throughout this process, have changed their offer.

Paul considers Rivers as his top choice to become the Clippers' next head coach, and the Clippers' aim to appease him in an effort to re-sign him this summer when Paul becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Who will replace Doc Rivers as Celtics coach?

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff June 23, 2013 04:16 PM

Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers have agreed in principle to a deal that would make Rivers the new Clippers' coach, league sources told the Globe Sunday. Here's a quick list of some candidates to replace him.

George Karl: Recently fired by the Denver Nuggets, Karl was the NBA's Coach of the Year but had a falling out with the team over his future and a contract extension.

Vinny Del Negro: A friend of Rivers, Del Negro (above, with Lamar Odom) will receive serious consideration for the Celtics job should Rivers leave, sources have told the Herald. Del Negro has had tumultuous stints with the Bulls and Clippers.

Stan Van Gundy: Best known for his public feuding with Dwight Howard in Orlando, Van Gundy has had successful stints with the Heat and Magic, and he possesses both a sharp wit and basketball mind. He has local ties, having coached UMass-Lowell from 1988-92.

Jeff Van Gundy: Stan's brother has a pretty good gig as ABC's lead NBA analyst, and it's a long shot that the more lucrative coaching profession could lure him back in.

Brian Shaw: Shaw was a strong candidate until the Denver Nuggets hired him Monday. The longtime assistant coach finally gets his shot at a head coaching job.

Lionel Hollins: The former Grizzlies coach did wonders with the likes of Tony Allen and Marc Gasol, turning Memphis into one of the best defensive teams in the league. That's a philosophy that fits well with what Celtics president Danny Ainge is trying to do.

J.B. Bickerstaff: The architect of the Houston Rockets' free-form offense, Bickerstaff could make the Celtics attractive to free agents, provided Kevin McHale would give him up.

David Fizdale: Hiring the assistant coach and director of player development for the Heat would be a shot across the bow of Boston's biggest rival.


Celtics assistant coach accepts position with Phoenix Suns

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff June 22, 2013 11:08 AM

Celtics assistant Mike Longabardi, who was Doc Rivers' "defensive coordinator" in Boston, has accepted an offer to become an assistant for Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek, a league source told the Globe.

Longabardi becomes the first assistant coach to leave the Celtics this offseason, which has been filled with questions about whether Rivers will return to coach the team.

Aside from assistant Jay Larranaga, whose contract has one season remaining on it, all the other Celtics assistants' contracts are set to expire at the end of this month.

Longabardi joined the Celtics' staff prior to the start of the 2007-08 season.

Clippers offer second-round pick, which won't get deal done

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff June 21, 2013 04:34 PM

Talks between the Clippers and Celtics about a deal that would send Doc Rivers to Los Angeles have broken down yet again, a league source told the Globe.

Of course, the deal won't be officially dead until the Clippers hire a coach who isn't named Doc Rivers, but there is the ever-growing likelihood that this one won't get completed.

Key in the latest breakdown, the source said, is that the Clippers are offering a second-round draft pick to the Celtics as compensation for allowing Rivers out of his contract. The Celtics, though, haven't budged off their request for a first-round pick.

And so the talks have again reached a standstill, something that has happened several times already in the past week or so.

When the Celtics canceled a press conference earlier Friday, it was believed that it was because the Clippers wanted to make a better offer, but that wasn't the case.

A league source expressed serious doubt that a deal gets completed.

The Celtics have plans to hold a press conference Monday with Rivers and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.

In yet another bizarre turn, Celtics schedule press conference, then cancel it

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff June 21, 2013 11:08 AM

The soap opera-like drama surrounding the Celtics just reached a new level.

The team sent out an email at 9:30 Friday morning indicating that there would be a noon news conference at the team's practice facility in Waltham with Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and head coach Doc Rivers.

No indication was given as to why they scheduled the conference, but speculation spread.

Then, about an hour before that news conference was to be held, the Celtics canceled it.

No reason was given. The team did say that a press conference would likely be scheduled for Monday, but none was scheduled as of yet.

So, what does it all mean? Well, for one, the speculation will continue about Rivers' future and whether he'll be coaching the Celtics next season or if he'll be headed to the Clippers in some sort of deal, as Rivers would prefer.

If, in fact, the Celtics scheduled the press conference to scare the Clippers into action – the Clippers had been refusing to offer the Celtics any compensation in exchange for the coaching rights to Rivers – then it was simply a bluff. Did it work? We'll find out.

Final: Heat 95, Spurs 88 (Miami wins NBA Championship)

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 20, 2013 08:28 PM

Final: Heat 95-88: LeBron James was great when the Heat needed great, draining a 19-footer with 27.9 left and the Heat prevailed for a thrilling win and a second consecutive title. James scored 37 points along with 12 rebounds and five 3-pointers. Dwyane Wade added 23 points and Mario Chalmers scored 14. Shane Batter scored 18 off the bench on 6-for-8 3-pointers. Tim Duncan led San Antonio with 24 points while Kawhi Leonard scored 19.

Fourth quarter, 39.0, Heat 90-88: Well, well, well, we have a classic. It's Miami's ball after Tim Duncan missed a layup and putback that could have tied the game and Kawhi Leonard earlier missed a 3-pointer that could and put the Spurs ahead. San Antonio needs a defensive stop and Miami can seal the game with a score. Legendary stuff.

Fourth quarter, 3:06, Heat 88-85: This will go down as one of the great Game 7s of all time as neither team will relent. LeBron James hit a jumper, Tim Duncan comes back with two free throws, LeBron James hit another jumper. Manu Ginobili responds with a 3-pointer. Shane Battier hits hit sixth 3-pointer of the game, and Duncan responds with a conventional 3-point play. Miami is 12-for-31 on 3-pointers in the game, which has made the difference.

Fourth quarter, 5:37, Heat 83-77: The Spurs haven't been the same since that Mario Chalmers banked 3-pointer to end the third quarter. Miami is on a 14-6 run since then and it is a couple of possessions away from sealing the game. LeBron James has been stellar with 31 points on 10-for-19 shooting and five 3-pointers. Dwayne Wade has 20 points while Mario Chalmers has 15 and Shane Battier 14. Ray Allen has yet to score.

End of third quarter, Heat 72-71: This is setting up to be a great finish as neither team is playing well but they are playing well enough to go toe-to-toe, basket-for-basket. After Manu Ginobili hit a runner with four seconds left, Mario Chalmers hit a 28-foot banked 3-pointer to end the quarter. LeBron James has 28 points while Tim Duncan has 17.

Third quarter, 2:36, Spurs 65-64: LeBron James is having one of those games, the same type of game he did in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Celtics two years ago when his 3-point shot was clicking. He has 26 points on 5-for-8 3-point shooting with 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Dwyane Wade has 18 points on 9-for-16 shooting. The Spurs are being led by Kawhi Leonard, who is a grown man out there with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Third quarter, 8:02, Heat 54-52 The offenses are beginning to warm up and Kawhi Leonard is developing into a star, already with 11 points and 11 rebounds as the Spurs are staying close. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are carrying the Heat as they expected to when the Big Three came together. They have 36 points on 14-for-26 shooting.

Halftime, Heat 46-44: It's been a sloppy first game with 15 combined turnovers and 34-for-84 shooting but the combination of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James have came to play with a combined 29 points on 12-for-23 shooting. The rest of the Heat are 7 of 21. Tim Duncan has 13 for San Antonio and Tony Parker has added 10 but the Spurs are shooting 35 percent and are 2-for-7 from the 3-point line. Danny Green is 0-for-2.

Second quarter, 8:40, Heat 25-22:: Shane Battier has been the star for far, hitting three 3-pointers as the Heat have responded from a 15-10 deficit. Both teams are still shooting until 40 percent and LeBron James has 4 points on 1-for-4 shooting. The Spurs are 9-for-27 shooting and Tony Parker has 6 points.

First quarter, 2:12, Spurs 15-10: Games 7s are rarely fundamental classics and this is no different. The two teams have combined for seven turnovers and 11 for 33 shooting. The Spurs have attempted seven more shots than the Heat but are mistake silly mistakes with poor passes and ill-advised shots.


Well this is the last NBA game of the season and the NBA world can focus on the Doc Rivers' situation. Will it be the Heat or Spurs tonight? Both teams appear prepared for another all-time great game.


STARTING LINEUPS

San Antonio Spurs

PG Tony Parker
SG Manu Ginobili
SF Danny Green
PF Kawhi Leonard
C Tim Duncan


Miami Heat

PG Mario Chalmers
SG Dwyane Wade
SF Mike Miller
PF LeBron James
C Chris Bosh

Proposed Clippers-Celtics deal in jeopardy – again

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff June 20, 2013 07:00 PM

The proposed blockbuster deal between the Celtics and Clippers has taken another wild and confusing turn, one that may have put it at grave risk of completely falling apart.

The Clippers have turned their focus to Doc Rivers, setting aside a deal for Kevin Garnett, a league source said. However, the Clippers have refused to offer any compensation at all in exchange for Rivers, who is under contract with the Celtics for the next three years.

Such compensation would, under terms the teams previously discussed, be a first-round draft pick, but the Clippers have made no effort to offer that, the league source said.

That has talks at a complete standstill -- and to be crystal clear, there is no "deal" at this point because neither team has agreed to any terms. The Celtics have an asking price, and the Clippers are refusing to meet it.

But the Clippers' stance also raises the question of why they would consider including an asset in an earlier form of a proposed deal -- one that turned out to be against league rules -- but not include it in a proposal of a deal that could, in fact, work out.

The NBA office made it clear to the two teams that the terms of the proposed swap they had been previously discussing were against the rules. Specifically, teams cannot trade coaches for players, but teams can trade coaches for other compensation, such as draft picks.

In 2007, for instance, Orlando sent a second-round pick and the option of swapping a first-round pick to Miami in exchange for coach Stan Van Gundy. That is pretty straightforward.

But the Clippers and Celtics had talked about a different kind of deal -- one in which Rivers and Garnett would go to the Clippers in exchange for DeAndre Jordan and two first-round draft picks.

The league doesn't allow side deals in transactions, and while the teams may have considered those two separate transactions -- draft picks in return for Rivers, and then a player-for-player trade -- the league office disagreed.

“What the rules won’t allow, it can’t be gotten around by breaking it up into two transactions,” NBA commissioner David Stern said in a radio interview.

Both teams were informed days ago by the league office that their supposed deal was against league rules, an NBA source said, which only adds to the deal's bizarre nature.

No deal was ever brought to the league office Thursday, either.

When asked in the radio interview about the possibility that the deal could be broken up into two separate transactions, Stern laughed.

“If you think those would now -- at this point, having been all over the media for the last week or so -- are separate transactions ... I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I would very much enjoy selling to you,” Stern said.

Because Rivers has a non-compete clause in his contract, he can't coach anywhere else for the next three seasons -- the duration of the Celtics deal he signed in 2011 -- unless the Celtics grant permission.

Given how the current deal with the Clippers is unfolding, and the growing likelihood that completing any kind of deal is all but impossible, a league source expects Rivers to actually be coaching the Celtics next season.

It's well-known that Rivers has no interest in coaching a rebuilding team, but sources close to him maintain that Rivers still wants to coach. If that is so, his only options on the table at the moment are with the Celtics or with the Clippers, and the latter option is fading fast.

League office concerned proposed Clippers, Celtics deal violates rules

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff June 20, 2013 11:03 AM

As always with trades in the NBA, a deal isn't done until the league office gives it its stamp of approval.

But the league office has raised serious concerns with the proposed blockbuster deal between the Clippers and Celtics that could keep it from being completed.

Specifically, the deal could violate league rules, namely that a coach cannot officially be traded and that a deal cannot involve any side deals or additional agreements.

"I would say, in the language of diplomacy, that the teams are aware that the collective bargaining agreement doesn’t authorize trades involving coaching contracts," NBA commissioner David Stern said in a radio interview.

"The only consideration that can be done here in player transactions is other players, draft picks and a very limited amount of cash. But coaches’ contracts don’t qualify as acceptable consideration in player transactions. The teams know that. It has been confirmed to them."

As the terms stand, the Celtics would make a player-for-player trade with 37-year-old Kevin Garnett heading to the Clippers for rising center DeAndre Jordan. The Clippers would also give the Celtics two first-round draft picks, and, in turn, the Celtics would release Doc Rivers from his contract and allow him to leave to coach the Clippers.

What the league office is looking into is definitive proof that the portions of the deal involving Rivers and Garnett are not, in fact, connected.

When asked in the radio interview about the possibility that the deal could be broken up into two separate transactions, Stern laughed.

"If you think those would now -- at this point, having been all over the media for week for the last week or so -- are separate transactions...I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I would very much enjoy selling to you," Stern said. "What the rules won’t allow, it can’t be gotten around by breaking it up into two transactions."

It would take some tweaking from each team, in some form or fashion, to appease the league office so that the deal ultimately is approved.

But as the Globe has reported before, there were initial concerns from both sides that this deal would ultimately be too complex to pull off. It appears that might be the case today.

NBA source: Celtics-Clippers talks on again

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 19, 2013 06:39 PM

MIAMI – The Celtics and Clippers have restarted talks to exchange Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett for players and draft picks for a third time, an NBA source said Wednesday evening.

After talks were declared dead Tuesday, the Clippers, reportedly with urging of star point guard Chris Paul, contacted the Celtics again about this unusual exchange that would involve nine-year coach Rivers and aging veteran Garnett. Rivers met with Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge Wednesday about his future, but it is uncertain whether those talks were interrupted by the Clippers reaching out or whether Rivers encouraged the two sides to resuscitate discussions.

Either way, Rivers could again be headed to the Clippers and Celtics fans will be subject to more uncertainty regarding Boston's head coach. Rivers has never publicly stated his desire to leave Boston, but privately intimated that he wanted to coach the Clippers.

Paul, who is a free agent, apparently would re-sign a long-term extension with Rivers as Los Angeles coach. Rivers played for the Clippers during the 1991-92 season and privately believes his message may not resonate as strongly with the Celtics players after nine years.

Tired complaints about the NBA hold no merit after Game 6

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 19, 2013 12:13 PM

Nothing drives me crazier than hearing the same tired complaints about the NBA. When a game is garnering any kind of national attention, the anti-NBA response is almost Pavlovian. Basketball haters are quick to pan officiating, time of game, and the toughness of its participants.

Those criticisms of the sport normally wouldn't bother me, but when they follow one of the greatest games in NBA history, it really begins to grind my gears. A friend of mine sent the following tweet immediately after the Miami Heat downed the San Antonio Spurs, 103-100 in overtime, in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

My former colleague Greg Bedard then fired this off:

I'm not trying to pick on Alex and Greg. These are people I like, who like basketball, and yet they seem to represent the majority. They can't look past the ugly veneer that surrounds to appreciate the good stuff, which (and I'm just firing off a quick list here), included last night:

  • Tim Duncan's brilliant 25-point first half
  • Boris Diaw inexplicably forcing LeBron James into tough shots despite the perceived mismatch
  • James going into full-on beast mode after getting his headband knocked off, bringing his team back from 11 points down late
  • Tony Parker's two incredibly clutch shots, including a 3-point dagger to tie the game late in the fourth quarter
  • A couple of coaching gambles by Gregg Popovich, who may be the best coach of all-time, that didn't go the Spurs' way
  • A reminder that Chris Bosh is a versatile big man who can close out on shooters with the best of them
  • A reminder that Ray Allen is a deadly force
  • Big plays by everyone involved despite the magnitude of the whole thing. The Heat were facing elimination for crying out loud. LeBron's legacy is on the line every time he steps into the gym. Celtics fans were writing eff-you tweets to Allen for two hours prior to his big shot. Heat fans did what Heat fans do and left early, then tried to get back into the arena, and yet despite their pathetic fanbase, the Heat play like champions when it matters most. Every damn play was bigger than the next. I feel tired writing about it, nevermind actually playing in the game.

So you can see why I get a little miffed when the first few comments after a game like that concern the referees. Alex (and I'm really not picking on him, he was my roommate in college, I love the kid) gave us the most common complaint about the league. I get it, and in covering hundreds of NBA games I've shaken my head at plenty of calls, too. But the two calls everyone is up in arms about last night were called the right way.

On the first, it was a good no-call on Allen when Manu Ginobili barreled to the basket and tried to make a bonehead play to win the game late. Ginobili took three steps (I've watched the replay below about 17 times). Allen got him on the arm, but you don't reward a player for driving into the lane recklessly like that. If Ginobili was in your men's league, took on four defenders, lost the ball and then complained for getting hit on the arm, you'd punch him in the face. He's one of my favorite players, but that was dumb dumb dumb.

Folks were also up in arms about Chris Bosh's block on Danny Green to end the game. In that GIF linked there, Bosh looked to get about 95 percent ball, 3 percent hand, and 2 percent body. He made a great defensive play. Are you going to reward Green for that shot, which had no chance of going in, by sending him to the line?

I think the tight defense late and subsequent turnovers are what Greg was referring to in his tweet. The game got a little sloppy. Players were chippy. Ginobili would have been given a flagrant for his elbow to James in a regular season game. I loved how James got up and didn't try to confront Ginobili, acted like he wasn't even hit. I loved seeing players dig in and dive to the floor. I loved every single second of it. It dismays me to no end that hockey and football players are lauded for their toughness, but when basketball players show the same traits, the games are "ugly". It's a nasty double-standard and I wish I knew how to fix it.

Us basketball junkies seem compelled to defend ourselves. I wish it wasn't so. Dozens of hoops writers fired off tweets something like the one below after witnessing one of the best games in recent memory:

The conspiracy theorists won't go away, but I wish they'd be a little more quiet about it. Leave hoop-heads alone. We've got a basketball game to watch.

Ray Allen reacts to tying 3-pointer, leaving Celtics

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 19, 2013 10:56 AM

MIAMI -- Ray Allen showed Tuesday night that he indeed has something left, that he can hit pressure 3-pointers and produce in clutch situations. Allen scored 9 points in the Miami Heat's 103-100 overtime win over the San Antonio Spurs and they may have been the most important 9 points of his career.

Allen scored that critical 3-pointer as well as two clinching free throws in overtime as the Heat rallied and took advantage of critical San Antonio mistakes down the stretch.

On the tying 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left, Allen took a pass from Chris Bosh, stepped back to the 3-point line and fired in one motion. Swish. That was after LeBron James hit a 3-pointer to cut the Spurs lead to 94-92. After Kawhi Leonard made one of two free throws, the Heat, desperate to tie, scrambled and LeBron James clanked a 3-pointer, and Bosh leaped for the rebound, setting up Allen's heroics.

"Well, LeBron took the shot, and I knew we had time, I had to go," Allen said. "I went into the paint to try to get the ball and make something happen. At that point there's no guarantee who is going to get the ball or what may happen. And when I seen CB get the ball, I just backpedaled right to the three point line, and I was hoping I was where I needed to be. But I wasn't quite sure. But just from years of shooting, I got to my spot."

Allen freely admitted it was one of the biggest shots of his career, perhaps the biggest.

"It's going to be a shot that I'm going to remember for a long time," he said. "There's a lot of shots that I've made in my career, but this will go high up in the ranks because of the situation. Just the way that whole last minute and a half unfolded, it wasn't looking good for us. But we've been resilient all year.

"We've been down in situations, we've come back and won games. We never give up. Just being able to be in that situation where the ball bounced in our direction. You know, we've been a part of many plays where the ball has a funky bounce to it. And I've known my whole career sometimes you just get lucky. When you win championships, it involves a little luck. That right there was luck shining on our side."

The Celtics offered Allen more money but James admitted he served a big role in recruiting Allen to Miami. He said reaching this level has been rewarding.

"Well, my focus has been here to help this team win," he said. "When I parted ways with Boston, it was they went in their direction and obviously I went in mine. The minute I got here, this team made me feel welcome, I didn't win last year with this team, but they made me feel a part of it.

"So the redemption has been winning 66 games this year, and having the best record in the NBA, making it to the playoffs and getting to this point, and being with a great group of guys. I have had a great year off the floor with them. As a team we've all bonded. Camaraderie is awesome. We put ourselves in the situation we're in. And good or bad, we're all going to fight to try to make it to the top."

Final: Heat 103, Spurs 100 (in OT)

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 18, 2013 09:09 PM

Final: Heat 103-100: Ray Allen did it again, hitting the tying 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left as the Heat rallied from a 5-point deficit with 28.2 seconds left to send the game into overtime. Allen then hit the clinching free throws in overtime. He finished with 9 points but perhaps the most important 9 of his career.

On the final shot, Allen took a pass from Chris Bosh, took a step back to the 3-point line and fired.

"Well, LeBron (James) took the shot, and I knew we had time, I had to go," Allen said. "I went into the paint to try to get the ball and make something happen. At that point there's no guarantee who is going to get the ball or what may happen. And when I seen CB get the ball, I just backpedaled right to the three point line, and I was hoping I was where I needed to be. But I wasn't quite sure. But just from years of shooting, I got to my spot."


Halftime, Spurs 50-44:Tim Duncan has gone retro on the Heat, scoring 25 points on 11-for-13 shooting with eight rebounds. He scored 13 straight in the second quarter as the Spurs ended the half on a 17-4 run. Meanwhile, the Miami Big Three have just 21 with LeBron James, who promised a big Game 6, with 9 in the first half.

Second quarter, 4:50, Heat 42-39: Tim Duncan vs, Mario Chalmers, That's been the matchup so far. The two have combined for 32 points as both teams are taking shots at each other. A classic Game 6 so far. LeBron James has 7 points in 16 minutes.

Second quarter, 8:46, Heat 36-30: Miami is playing at a better level than in Game 5, shooting 50 percent from the field and using five 3-pointers to take control after falling behind 24-19 late in the first period. Mario Chalmers, who struggled in Game 5, has 12 points and is playing as if he did when scoring 19 in Game 2. He could be the x-factor tonight.

End of first quarter, Heat 27-25: Miami ends the quarter on an 8-1 run as they shoot 50 percent in the quarter. San Antonio shot 61.1 percent but committed four turnovers, Tim Duncan led all scorers with 12 points. LeBron James scored 5.

First quarter, 7:14, Tied at 14: Both teams are off to hot starts and aren't playing much defense. LeBron James hit canned a perimeter jumper for his first points of the game and we also had a 3-pointer from Mike Miller, his first trey since Game 3. Miami is 6-for-9 shooting while San Antonio is 6 of 8. Kawhi Leonard has 8 points.

It's Game 6 and we'll have updates throughout the evening. Is this it for Miami's Big Three?

Paul Pierce the forgotten man in Celtics trade talks

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 18, 2013 01:52 PM

docpiercekg.jpg

The Celtics and Clippers cut off trade talks Tuesday, ending for now the on-again-off-again saga swirling around Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett.

This is a bad thing for Boston in the long run, but it's a good thing considering the direction in which the talks were going. In early iterations, Los Angeles would have sent guard Eric Bledsoe, center DeAndre Jordan, and draft picks to the Celtics for Garnett and Rivers. The Clippers balked on Bledsoe, then reportedly refused to part with two picks. When the Celtics countered with a salary dump of Jason Terry or Courtney Lee, Los Angeles said no to that, too.

The size of Rivers's proposed Clippers contract was also an issue, according to Yahoo! Sports.

The Clippers botched this one, and are now in danger of losing Chris Paul to free agency. Call me crazy, but if you're getting the best player in the deal and the most desirable coach on the market, you probably don't have the right to haggle over a late first-round pick or a mildly bad contract.

Danny Ainge was right to walk away from a deal that increasingly favored Los Angeles. Sometimes it's better to get nothing than "something."

It has been a blurry few days, but what's clear is that Ainge, Celtics ownership, and fans spent an awful lot of time pondering the futures of Garnett and Rivers.

But what of Paul Pierce? What of the Celtics captain, he of 15 years with the franchise, of stutter-steps, of Banner No. 17, of the 18-game losing streak, and franchise loyalty? How do you feel if you're Paul Pierce right about now, knowing that the focus of your team and your fan base is elsewhere?

The Celtics have until June 30 to buy out Pierce for $5 million or pick up his option, and Ainge has likely already made his decision. Pierce may know he's gone. It sure seemed that something was up when the Celtics captain addressed the media in the locker room following his team's elimination by the Knicks. Pierce took his time answering several questions about his future and even refused to answer one, responding with a "next question."

ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg wrote today that Garnett has become something of a forgotten man as rumors have swirled around Rivers. He's right. Sure, the fans will miss the coach if he decides to leave, but Garnett's departure would be franchise-altering. The Celtics would be losing a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Pierce is even more of an afterthought. We could be 12 days away from the end of the career of one of the five or six greatest players in Celtics history, and no one is talking about it. Pierce is the second-leading scorer in franchise history. He is first in 3-pointers, fourth in assists, and seventh in rebounds. A generation of kids from Ipswich to Wareham to Pittsfield has never needed to replace the jersey of the first Celtics star they ever cheered for.

It's hard to blame Ainge for trying to move on, and the talks may very well pick up again. Take Jordan and Bledsoe out of this. Ainge viewed them, as well as the draft picks and any expiring contracts he may have received, as pieces. Pieces that down the road give the Celtics flexibility to make a trade or sign a big free agent. And maybe one of those picks is the next Paul George or Stephen Curry or Nikola Vucevic, and then you really have something. Parting with Garnett or Pierce is a necessary means to that end. It's just hard to see Pierce in particular go out like this.

A little more than six weeks ago, the Celtics were getting pummeled by the Knicks in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series at TD Garden when the home team mounted a second-half comeback. The Knicks would eventually extend the lead, and Rivers gave each of his stars a chance to be serenaded by the home crowd as he came off the court.

Pierce was first, but an arena announcement and a procedural issue drowned out his exit. The applause was tepid, and Pierce was left to stand awkwardly on the sideline in possibly his last moment as a Celtic.

A minute or so later, Garnett left the court to a roaring ovation and responded with his usual gesturing to the crowd. We're likely nearing the end of the Celtics careers of both players, but one of them isn't getting his due.

Danny Ainge says Clippers-Celtics deal is 'dead', the team wants Doc Rivers back as head coach

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff June 18, 2013 12:26 PM

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge confirmed to the Globe that the proposed Celtics-Clippers blockbuster deal that would have sent both Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett to the Clippers is, in fact, "dead."

The Clippers began leaking word Tuesday that the Celtics' asking price of DeAndre Jordan and two first-round draft picks in exchange for Rivers and Garnett was too steep, and they were set to move on and hire either Lionel Hollins or Brian Shaw as a new coach.

A league source confirmed to the Globe that the main hangup in the deal was that the Clippers did not want to give up a second first-round draft pick.

Now, Rivers is certainly in an interesting position.

Because of a non-compete clause in the five-year extension he signed in 2011, Rivers can't coach anywhere else for the next three years unless the Celtics grant permission.

But Rivers, according to league sources, is not at all enamored with the idea of coaching a rebuilding team.

However, Ainge tells the Globe that they have reiterated to Rivers that they want him back as their head coach next season. "He has been told that all along," Ainge said.

The decision now falls to Rivers and whether he wants to walk away from the Celtics and possibly retire and go into broadcasting, or whether he wants to still coach in the NBA next season, in which case the only option would be if he returns to coach the Celtics.

Celtics-Clippers talks hit roadblock -- again

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 17, 2013 05:43 PM

MIAMI – While Doc Rivers still continues to ponder whether he wants to coach the Celtics or Clippers, the two teams reignited talks regarding the longtime coach and Kevin Garnett in a complicated deal that would include Los Angeles center DeAndre Jordan.

That's what is known right now. The rest is still being discussed and both sides are reaching frustration, according to NBA sources. While the Celtics demanded Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe in any deal, they have backed off that insistence and instead want the Clippers to take on the contracts of Courtney Lee or Jason Terry and preferably both.

If the Celtics plan to part with Rivers, they want a young piece, draft picks and salary cap relief. Realizing that signing Terry and Lee to multiyear deals at the mid-level exception (5-plus million) was a mistake, the Celtics would prefer the Clippers accept those deals to facilitate clearance to negotiate a contract with Rivers.

Meanwhile, a source close to Rivers told the Globe that Rivers is still grappling with the decision, especially as the trade gets more complicated and negotiations more contentious. The talk of the Clippers acquiring Paul Pierce in the trade are remote, especially since the Celtics would have to honor his deal and send him to the Clippers with a $15 million salary.

And don't expect the Celtics to waive Pierce just to see him sign with the Clippers during free agency. If they decide to trade Pierce, and NBA sources said the team is open to the possibility, they want a return for his services unless waiving him will allow him enough salary cap space to sign a solid free agent.

The consensus around the league is that a decision on this has to be made this week and Rivers is looking worse by the day because of his indecisiveness.

Celtics draft prospect profile: Cody Zeller

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 17, 2013 06:00 AM

Sixth in a series of profiles of potential Celtics draft choices.

We're continuing our Celtics draft preview with a profile of Indiana center Cody Zeller. We'll preview the best fits for the Celtics up until the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27. Boston owns the No. 16 pick.

zeller.jpgCody Zeller
Position: Forward/center
Age: 20
Height, weight: 7-0, 230 pounds
Last played: Indiana University
2012-13 stats:16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 56.2 percent shooting
DraftExpress.com projection: No. 11 pick

Strengths: Versatility, polished offensive game, mobility

Weaknesses: Strength, interior defense, wingspan

Skinny: Zeller's stock fell dramatically after he bypassed the chance to be a top-10 pick last year and came back for his sophomore season at Indiana. Playing another year in the national spotlight exposed Zeller a bit, calling into question his toughness and response to double-teams and added pressure.

There's no question he remains one of the more polished players in the draft offensively. In that way, he reminds me of Jared Sullinger, who slid in the draft despite playing at the highest level in college. Zeller lacks Sullinger's tenacity. He also lacks a consistent jump shot; he attempted just 24 of them in 36 games last season. He makes free throws at a high rate.

Zeller can run the floor, and he improved his rebounding from his freshman to his sophomore season -- that was one of the big question marks about his game. He's a 7-footer with skills and is still a lock to be a top 20 pick.

Final: Spurs 114, Heat 104

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 16, 2013 08:16 PM

Final: Spurs 114-104: The Spurs were good enough in the third quarter and early in the fourth to take control of the series, using 26 points from Tony Parker and 24 apiece from Manu Ginobili and Danny Green to seal the win. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each scored 25 and Ray Allen scored 15 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter but Miami was just awful defensively, allowing the Spurs to shoot 60 percent.

Fourth quarter, 2:23, Spurs 109-98: Ray Allen has been carrying the Heat, yeah seriously and he just made a 3-pointer that would have cut the deficit to 8 but LeBron James was called for an illegal screen. It's been a nightmare second half for James, who has 9 points after the break on 2-for-10 shooting. Dwyane Wade has 24 for Miami. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili leads the Spurs with 24.

Fourth quarter, 7:23, Spurs 98-85 The Spurs led 96-76 just a few minutes ago but 7 points from Ray Allen has sparked a Heat run and Gregg Popovich just called one of his angry timeouts. Manu Ginobili leads the Spurs with 22 points while Danny Green has 21.

Fourth quarter, 9:31, Spurs 94-75: Wow, it may be over tonight. The Spurs are on a 17-1 run after the Heat cut the deficit to 1. All five starters are in double figures while Miami can't even hit a layup. LeBron James is 7-for-20 shooting and 22 points. Dwyane Wade has 22 with seven assists. Chris Bosh is stuck on 12 points. The other Heat players are 7-for-23 shooting.

End of third quarter, Spurs 87-75: It;s Manu time as Manu Ginobili scored 7 of the final 9 Spurs' points of the quarter and San Antonio has retaken command after the Heat got to within 1 with a 7-0 run. Ginobili has 20 points and nine assists while Danny Green has 19 on 5-for-7 3-point shooting. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each have 22. Chris Bosh has 12.

Third quarter, 3:53, Spurs 75-71: The best game of the series so far because both teams are playing well and both Big Threes are producing. San Antonio's version -- Duncan, Ginobili and Parker -- have 43 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. Miami's version -- Wade, James and Bosh -- have 53, 10 and 13. James leads all scorers with 21 while Wade has 20. Parker has 17 for San Antonio.

Halftime, Spurs 61-52: An eventful first half as the race to a 17-point lead (47-30). The Heat rally to slice the deficit to five and the Spurs come back with a couple of key hoops near the end of the half to regain control. Tony Parker has 11 points and scored the last basket of the half while Danny Green and Tim Duncan lead San Antonio with 13 apiece. LeBron James warmed up near the end of the first half and has a game-high 16 while Dwyane Wade has 14 and Chris Bosh 10. The rest of the Heat have scored 12 points.

Second quarter, 2:14, Spurs 52-46: The Heat went on a 10-0 run as Erik Spoelstra ditched his point guard and went with Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen as his primary ball handlers. The Heat have been saved by Chris Bosh, who has 12 points while LeBron James is heating up with 8 points in the quarter. Danny Green is back to his old tricks with three 3-pointers and 13 poitns while Tim Duncan has 11.

Second quarter, 8:30, Spurs 39-24: San Antonio has been impressive on both sides, stifling the Heat with their defense. Miami is 8 of 28 shooting with a combined 15 points from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and 11 from the other players. Kawhi Leonard has 9 points and four rebounds for the Spurs while Manu Ginobili has 7 and four assists.

End of first quarter, Spurs 32-19: San Antonio ends the quarter on a 15-2 run as their defense was stifling and Tony Parker began to live in the paint. He has 7 points as to three other Spurs. San Antonio was 12-for-19 shooting in the period while Miami was 6 of 20. Dwayne Wade and LeBron James scored 15 points on 4-for-10 shooting, the rest of the Heat scored 4 on 2-for-10 shooting.

First quarter, 6:43, Spurs 15-12: The Spurs are off to another hot start but the question is whether they can sustain it. Manu Ginobili is in the starting lineup and already have 7 points, already his series average. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James have combined for 10 points for Miami.

Source: Celtics focus has moved to completing blockbuster Clippers deal

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff June 15, 2013 04:25 PM

Though Doc Rivers is under contract for the next three seasons to coach the Boston Celtics, the team's focus has shifted, at the moment, from retaining Rivers to completing a deal in which he and Kevin Garnett would go to the Clippers, a league source tells the Globe.

"Danny (Ainge) would still like Doc to coach and would still like to make that happen," the source said, "but there's more focus right now on looking at other options."

And, the source said, the only other plausible option would result in Rivers leaving the Celtics to head to the Clippers, who would, in turn, send players and draft picks back to Boston as part of a compensation package required for Rivers to escape his contract.

Rivers has a non-compete clause in the five-year extension he signed in 2011 and cannot coach for any other team under the remaining duration of his deal unless the Celtics grant permission, which league sources say they won't do unless they receive a level of compensation that they deem as adequate.

That compensation, as it is being discussed, centers on Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan coming to Boston, along with two first-round draft picks.

Garnett has a no-trade clause, but, as the Globe reported Friday, it is believed that he would waive it if it meant reuniting with Rivers, with whom Garnett is extremely close.

A likely hurdle is Bledsoe. A league source said that when the two teams were discussing a proposed deal in February around the trade deadline, talks broke down, at least in part, because the Clippers didn't want to part ways with Bledsoe.

It's widely believed that one of the key reasons the Clippers haven't wanted to part with Bledsoe is because they view him as too valuable if Chris Paul signs with another team.

However, a league source told the Globe that if Rivers did leave to coach the Clippers, "I guarantee that Chris Paul re-signs" with the Clippers.

"I guarantee it," the source continued.

Paul, an All-Star point guard, becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

However, there are concerns on both sides.

One league source said there’s concern among Clippers management that a potential deal might include too many moving parts to pull off.

Another league source said that there is also the belief that the Celtics would demand too much compensation for Rivers.

"I know (Doc) is concerned that Danny (Ainge) just wants to get everything and anything and the Clippers are going to get to the point where they say, 'screw it,'" a league source said.

Celtics draft prospect profile: Jamaal Franklin

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 14, 2013 06:24 AM

Fifth in a series of profiles of potential Celtics draft choices.

We're continuing our Celtics draft preview with a profile of San Diego State guard Jamaal Franklin. We'll preview the best fits for the Celtics up until the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27. Boston owns the No. 16 pick.

franklin.jpgJamaal Franklin
Position: Guard
Age: 21
Height, weight: 6-4, 191 pounds
Last played: San Diego State
2012-13 stats: 17.0 points, 9.5 rebounds (!!!), 28 percent shooting on 3-pointers
DraftExpress.com projection: No. 21 pick

Strengths: Rebounding, size, toughness, versatility

Weaknesses: Long-range shooting, lack of position

Skinny: Franklin is a combination inside-outside player who is always in attack mode. He led his team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals as a junior. His rebounding numbers are insane for someone his size. His shooting and efficiency numbers, however, leave something to be desired.

The Celtics hoped to work out Franklin this week, but an ankle injury may keep him from working out before the draft. A guard with size is valuable, but a guard without a position is something they seem to have too many of. You can watch Franklin knock down jumpers in a workout in the video below. Maybe there's something they can work with there.

Final: Heat 109, Spurs 93

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 13, 2013 09:11 PM

Final: Heat 109-93: When Dwyane Wade and LeBron James combine for 65 points, the Heat are nearly impossible to beat, and they were Thursday in an impressive win, outscoring the Spurs 60-44 in the second half for their Game 4 win. Game 5 is set for Sunday night. Tim Duncan scored 20 for San Antonio.

Fourth quarter, 6:04, Heat 96-85: Dwyane Wade has been magnificent tonight with 30 points in 35 minutes on 13-for-21 shooting, including a vintage dunk as the Heat are pulling away. LeBron James has been respectable with 24 points but it's been Wade's night.

Fourth quarter, 8:46, Heat 86-79: Miami is trying to put the game away and the Spurs are preventing themselves from a rally with silly mistakes. San Antonio is shooting just 9 of 26 from the field in the second half while the Heat are at 15 of 30. Still, the Spurs are hanging around with Tiago Splitter about to attempt two free throws.

End of third quarter, Heat 81-76: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 17 points in the quarter as the Heat are looking in vintage form. The Spurs are staying close with the 3-pointer -- 7 for 12 -- but are losing the rebounding battle (31-27) and have just three offensive rebounds. It should be a thrilling final period.

Third quarter, 3:56, Heat 69-66: Miami is playing well with LeBron James having scored 21 points in 29 minutes. But the Spurs, like in Game 1, keep staying close with big buckets. Kawhi Leonard just completed a 3-point play and has 12 points with seven rebounds. After hitting 16 3-pointers in Game 3, the Spurs have just five in Game 4.

Third quarter, 6:43, Heat 60-58: Reminiscent of Game 1, both teams are taking shots at least other in this physical slugfest. LeBron James just hit a jumper from an out-of-bounds play for the Miami lead and a furious Gregg Popovich called timeout. James and Dwayne Wade each have 19 points but Wade picked up his fourth foul and is on the bench. Tony Parker has 15 points but the Spurs are just 4-for-10 shooting in the second half and have missed six free throws in the game.

Halftime, Tied at 49 Spurs end the half on an 18-8 run as Tony Parker took advantage of the Heat's desire to stop the 3-pointer by living in the paint. And after a masterful 11-point first quarter, LeBron James scored 4 in the second period but leads the Heat with 15. Parker has 15, 6 assists and 3 rebounds as the Spurs shot 51.4 percent in the half. Miami is at 50 percent while Ray Allen has 8 points.

Second quarter, 5:03, Heat 41-36: Miami led by as many as 10 just a minute ago but the Spurs are fighting to rally behind Tony Parker, who has just set up Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard with layups after spinning passes. He already has 11 points and four assists. LeBron James has 13 points but just 2 in the first 6:57 of the second period. Dwayne Wade leads Miami with 14 while Chris Bosh has 6. Duncan has 5 points and two rebounds.

Second quarter, 8:37, Heat 37-29: Miami is on a 32-14 run with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combining for 25 points on 11-for-16 shooting. The Spurs have fallen apart offensively with 1-for-5 shooting in the quarter and a litter of missed layups. Tony Parker has 11 points on 5-for-9 shooting. The rest of the Spurs are 5 of 13.

End of first quarter, Heat 29-26: Miami ends the quarter on a 24-11 run and LeBron James has now arrived, scoring 11 points, 8 in the final 3:36 of the quarter. Tony Parker has 11 points but the Spurs defense is an issue so far. Dwyane Wade added 10 points for the Heat, so two of the Big Three are hot.

First quarter, 5:08, Spurs 17-11: It's Dwayne Wade, not LeBron James, going into beast mode with 8 points already as the Heat try to stat close. The Spurs have hit 7 of their first 10 shots but have scored only 2 points in the past 2:02, prompting a timeout from Gregg Popovich. Tony Parker, who was questionable for the game, already has 8 points. James has 3 points and one assist in seven minutes.

First quarter, 7:30, Spurs 12-5: Danny Green and Gary Neal have already hit 3-pointers and LeBron James has 1 point. Dwyane Wade has 4 for the Heat, who aren't exactly playing desperate right now. Tony Parker just scored his 6th point.

Celtics draft prospect profile: Gorgui Dieng

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 13, 2013 06:00 AM

Fourth in a series of profiles of potential Celtics draft choices.

We're continuing our Celtics draft preview with a profile of Louisville center Gorgui Dieng. We'll preview the best fits for the Celtics up until the 2013 NBA Draft June 27. Boston owns the No. 16 pick.

dieng.jpgGorgui Dieng
Position: Center
Age: 23
Height, weight: 6-11, 230 pounds
Last played: University of Louisville
2012-13 stats: 9.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 blocks in 31 minutes
DraftExpress.com projection: No. 20 pick

Strengths: Length, shot-blocking, wingspan

Weaknesses: Post game, strength on defense/rebounding

Skinny: Dieng was the Big East's Defensive Player of the Year and the anchor to one of the best defenses in the country, averaging 3.2 blocks per 40 minutes of play. He also became adept at guarding the pick-and-roll and switching onto smaller players, skills that will translate very well to the NBA. Where Dieng is lacking a bit is in guarding and boxing out stronger players, though he's added about 50 pounds to his frame and is no longer a too-skinny prospect.

On offense, Dieng has developed a midrange jump shot, knocking down 50 percent of his attempts last season. His post-up game is a work in progress. He's gotten much better at catching and finishing around the rim. The 23-year-old has been playing basketball for six years and figures to be a defensive specialist in the NBA, at least to start.

DraftExpress.com puts together some fantastic prospect profile videos. The one of Dieng is below.

Report: Doc Rivers believes it 'may be time for a change'

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 12, 2013 11:40 AM

Doc Rivers has not yet committed to coaching the Celtics for the upcoming season, and the latest report concerning Rivers doesn't solidify his plans any further.

On Sunday, Rivers told the Globe's Gary Washburn that he'd "rather not say" whether or not he'd be returning for his 10th season. He has three years and $21 million remaining on his contract. With the NBA Draft a little more than two weeks away, Rivers appears to still be pondering his future.

Whether or not Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett finish next season in Boston, the Celtics are in the midst of building a different roster than the one that won the NBA title in 2008 and made it to Game 7 of the Finals in 2010. Rivers has a 416-295 record as Celtics coach after coming to Boston from the Orlando Magic. The Celtics have made the playoffs in 7 of 9 seasons under Rivers, including six straight.

Celtics draft prospect profile: Steven Adams

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 12, 2013 06:00 AM

Third in a series of profiles of potential Celtics draft choices.

We're continuing our Celtics NBA Draft preview with a profile of Pittsburgh center Steven Adams. We'll preview the best fits for the Celtics up until the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27. Boston owns the No. 16 pick in this year's draft.

stevenadams.jpgSteven Adams
Position: Center
Age: 19
Height/weight: 7-feet, 255 pounds
Last played: University of Pittsburgh
2012-13 stats: 7.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2 blocks in 23 minutes
DraftExpress.com projection: No. 10 pick

Strengths: Size, offensive rebounding, ability to run the floor

Weaknesses: Free throw shooting, offensive repertoire

Skinny: To this point we've profiled two point guards. That's one direction the Celtics might want to go in, but they also need size. The 19-year-old New Zealander is a true 7-footer and a true center, something the Celtics haven't really used much on their roster in recent years.

Adams worked out for the Celtics a couple of weeks ago and was impressive.

"I thought he was great," Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga told ESPN Boston. "I think he showed his size and athleticism, which is what most people first see. He competed, and he showed a high basketball IQ. I think through these workouts, he’s shown maybe more skill than people realized he had during his year at Pittsburgh. He was just a lot of fun to work with."

Former Celtic and current NBA analyst Brian Scalabrine compared Adams to center Omer Asik in terms of athelticism and physicality. Adams has a 33-inch vertical leap. The physical profile is impressive, but Adams has yet to show that dominance on the court. Pittsburgh ran just 11 percent of its offense through Adams. He shot 44 percent from the free-throw line. Most of his scoring came on offensive rebounds.

An athletic big man is a commodity, and Adams is projected to be gone before the Celtics pick. If he slips, look for Boston to pounce.

DraftExpress.com puts together some fantastic prospect profile videos. The one of Adams is below.

Final: Spurs 113, Heat 77

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 11, 2013 10:08 PM

Final: San Antonio 113-77: This was no typo. The Spurs outscored the Heat 63-33 in the second half, using a barrage of 3-pointers and terrible defense by the Heat to pull away. A 13-0 run to begin the fourth quarter made the difference. Danny Green led the Spurs with 27 points and Gary Neal added 24. Both were a combined 13-for-19 shooting on 3-pointers. The basketball public will be on LeBron James for the next two days as he scored 15 points on 7-for-21 shooting and looked tentative all evening.

End of third quarter, San Antonio 78-63: LeBron James scored Miami's final 8 points as the Heat showed some fight but James only has 12 points on 6-for-17 shooting as the has yet to reach 20 points in the series. Gary Neal leads the Spurs with 18 off the bench.

Third quarter, 2:54, San Antonio 73-52: The Spurs are on an 11-0 run as they are looking for some payback from Game 2. LeBron James is back to his Game 5 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals form with 4 points on 2-for-13 shooting. He looks frustrated and is not getting calls he's accustomed.

Third quarter, 8:21, San Antonio 59-46: The Heat have come out for the second half uncharacteristically passive and the Spurs and come up with steals and fastbreak points. Danny Green has scored the last 5 for the Spurs and has 10 for the game. Tim Duncan has 12 points and 10 rebounds while LeBron James has yet to attempt a shot in the quarter and has just 4 points.

Halftime, San Antonio 50-44: Sorry for the delay folks. Technical difficulties with the Internet here at AT&T Center have made things difficult. But let's get to the game:

The Spurs score 6 points in the final 27 seconds after Miami tied the game at 44 following a 12-1 run. The Spurs have controlled most of the first half, shooting 45 percent including 7 of 15 from the 3-point line but the Heat, as usual, have stayed close and made their share of runs. LeBron James has 4 points on 2-for-8 shooting, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 21 minutes. Dwyane Wade leads the Heat with 12 points while Chris Bosh has added 10.

Gary Neal has been key for the Spurs, scoring a game-high 14 points in 14 minutes while Tim Duncan has 10 points and 7 rebounds. Tony Parker has been passive, scoring just 6 points on 2-for-4 shooting.

Draft prospect profile: Shane Larkin

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 11, 2013 06:00 AM

shanelarkin.jpg

Second in a series of profiles of potential Celtics draft choices.

We're continuing our Celtics NBA Draft preview with a profile of Miami point guard Shane Larkin. We'll preview the best fits for the Celtics up until the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27. Boston owns the No. 16 pick in this year's draft.

Shane Larkin
Position: Point guard
Age: 20
Height/weight: 5-10, 171 pounds
Last played: University of Miami
2012-13 stats: 14.5 points, 4.6 assists, and 2.3 turnovers in 36 minutes
DraftExpress.com projection: No. 14 pick

Strengths: Pick-and-roll, agility, speed, scoring. Larkin's 44-inch vertical leap was the second-highest ever recorded at the combine.

Weaknesses: Size, defense

Skinny: Undersized guards are something of a trend following Nate Robinson's standout performance for the Bulls in this year's playoffs. Robinson aside, the Celtics could use someone to run their offense when Rajon Rondo goes to the bench (or in case Rondo isn't ready for the start of the season). On Monday we profiled German point guard Dennis Schroeder. Larkin is more ready to contribute now.

If you watched college basketball this season you're familiar with the explosiveness which Larkin possesses. The Celtics are familiar, too. Larkin was high school rivals with Doc Rivers's son Austin in Orlando. He played at Miami for Jim Larranaga, father of Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga. The Celtics have already brought him in for a workout.

“For me, I think he showed the things I’ve watched over the last two years in playing for my father,” said the younger Larranaga, who ran the workouts. “Shane, I thought he did what he normally does. He’s a very athletic, unselfish, tough player.”

Larkin's father, Barry, is a Hall of Fame shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds.

The scouting report below is from the diligent work of DraftExpress.

Rajon Rondo talks Doc Rivers, Connect Four, algebra and more

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff June 10, 2013 03:36 PM

Celtics All-Star point guard has kept himself busy during this offseason, whether appearing on E! Fashion Police with Joan Rivers, reading mean tweets about himself on Jimmy Kimmel Live! or hanging out with the folks at Red Bull, who sponsor him, to talk about a variety of topics, such as Doc Rivers and Connect Four, a game Rondo is famously known to dominate.

For Celtics fans, the most interesting tid-bit from the videos passed along by Red Bull is Rondo talking about his relationship with coach Doc Rivers and how it has grown.

"I pretty much know what he's going to say. I've been playing for him for seven years, and we've pretty much always been on the same page, especially now," Rondo said from the Red Bull studios in Los Angeles. "Each year we're growing, we're communicating better, learning each other more and more each year."

When asked if he was hard to coach, at least early in his career, Rondo said, "I still am. It's not that I'm hard to coach, it's just that I may challenge what you say. I know the game myself, I'm out there playing the game. So I may have saw something different versus what you saw from the sideline. I'm going to be respectable. I'm going to let the coach talk."

Rondo also said of Rivers, "I wouldn't rather play for any other coach."

If you want to see how quickly Rondo can dispatch not one but two opponents at Connect Four, watch the video below:

And if you want to hear Rondo talk about his math skills, and how it helps him as a point guard on the basketball court, check this out:

Draft prospect profile: Dennis Schroeder

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 10, 2013 08:16 AM

First in a series of profiles of potential Celtics draft choices.

We're just over two weeks away from the 2013 NBA Draft. The Celtics hold pick No. 16, and they've got holes to fill at the backup point guard position and in the frontcourt. Trades and free agency could be major factors in shaping the roster, but the pick is crucial as well. The selected haven't selected this early in the draft since 2007, when they selected and then traded Jeff Green with the No. 5 pick.

We'll start the preview process with a point guard who's been mentioned quite a bit in recent weeks.

Dennis Schroeder
Position: Point guard
Age: 19
Height/weight: 6-2, 165 pounds
Last played: NY Phantoms Braunschweig, International (German)
2012 stats: 11.8 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.5 turnovers in 25 minutes
DraftExpress.com projection: No. 15 pick

Strengths: Quickness, ball handling, athleticism

Weaknesses: Experience, finishing at the rim, lack of strength

Skinny: The Celtics need a backup to Rajon Rondo. A wiry, athletic player with a long wingspan, Schroeder was suspended for one game by his German coach last season for insubordination. Remind you of anyone?

"I play like him a little bit," Schroeder says about Rondo in the video below. "He's got defense too, he's got the long arms. After the pick-and-roll he finds the open guy. I think I play a little bit like him."

Schroeder has entered the realm of potential lottery pick only recently. He's a risk, but so was Rondo. He won't be NBA-ready right away. If the Celtics picked Schroeder they'd be mortgaging the present for a high upside. Depending on how else the chips fall on the roster, they could be willing to do just that. There was a report that the Celtics had made a promise to Schroeder at No. 16, but the player and his agent have denied that.

What do you think of Schroeder? Does he remind you of Rondo? Watch some of his highlights and leave a comment below. Thanks much to Draft Express for the diligent work on the scouting report.

Final: Heat 103, Spurs 84

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 9, 2013 07:32 PM

Final: Miami 103-84: The Heat end the game on a 42-22 run -- it was 30-5 at one point -- to cruise to the victory against a Spurs team that struggled all night to make an open shot. The Heat shot 49 percent, got double figure scoring from five players and received a combined 41 points and two turnovers from Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers.

Fourth quarter, 9:11, Miami 84-65: Celtics fans have seen this act before. The Heat are using defense to pull away in the fourth quarter and are on a 23-3 run since late in the third quarter. LeBron James refuses to get selfish, instead swinging passes to teammates and Mike Miller has hit a pair of big 3-pointers. Mario Chalmers leads Miami with 19 points.

End of third quarter, Miami 75-65: Mario Chalmers has been splendid tonight with a game-high 17 points. capped by a three-point play with 9.8 seconds left in the period for Miami's largest lead of the series. LeBron James has been erratic with 8 points on 3-for-13 shooting while Tim Duncan has just 9 points and Manu Ginobili has 5.

Third quarter, 3:11, Miami 64-62: The two teams are going back and forth but the heavy hitters are Danny Green for San Antonio and Mario Chalmers for Miami. LeBron James has reverted back to his 2011 NBA Finals form, with 6 points on 2-for-12 shooting. Tim Duncan has nearly matched that with 8 points on 3-for-12 shooting.

Third quarter, 7:43, Miami 54-53: The Heat jumped out to an 8-point lead but the Spurs have stormed back, thanks to another 3-pointer by Danny Green, his fifth, and San Antonio is 8-for-12 shooting from the 3-point line and 11-for-36 from 2-pointers. LeBron James is having one of those uh-oh games with 6 points on 2-for-10 shooting.

Halftime, Miami 50-45: The Heat end the half on a 5-0 run and shoot 51.2 percent, including 12-for-22 in the second period. The good news for Miami is LeBron James scored just 4 points with one rebound. Mario Chalmers and Dwyane Wade each tallied 10 points while Chris Andersen added 7 off the bench while Danny Green led the Spurs with 12 and Tony Parker added 10.

Second quarter, 1:55, Tied at 45: The Spurs are 7-for-10 from the 3-point line and are forcing LeBron James into tentative play. He has just 4 points on 2-for-6 shooting. Dwyane Wade leads the Heat with 8 points while Green has 12. The Spurs are 8-for-15 shooting in the quarter after 8-for-21 in the first period.

Second quarter, 5:00, Spurs 38-36: San Antonio is keeping the lead with 3-point shooting (6 of 8) while LeBron James is off to another slow start with just 4 points although the Heat are shooting 48 percent. Gary Neal has 8 points off the bench for the Spurs.

End of first quarter, tied at 22: It seems as if the Heat should lead by at least 5 points as they shot 47.4 percent and forced five Spurs turnovers, more than they committed all of Game 1. But the Spurs were 4-for-5 shooting from the 3-point stripe and 4-for-16 on 2-pointers. Danny Green hit three of those 3-pointers and has a game-high 9 points while Chris Bosh leads Miami with 6.

First quarter, 3:23, Heat 16-15: Danny Green has already canned three 3-pointers but the Heat are withstanding the long-range barrage by attacking the basket. LeBron James has attempted one shot and is scoreless but Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers have combined for 13 points.

The Spurs have a chance to take a 2-0 lead over the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the NBA Finals at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat are in desperate mode, realizing that heading to San Antonio trailing two games to none could mean the end in the 2-3-2 format, Chris Bosh said this morning that the Heat need to play with a healthy "fear" tonight while the Spurs are intent on stealing another game in the series.

STARTING LINEUPS

San Antonio Spurs

PG Tony Parker
SG Danny Green
SF Kawhi Leonard
PF Tim Duncan
C Tiago Splitter


Miami Heat

PG Mario Chalmers
SG Dwyane Wade
SF LeBron James
PF Udonis Haslen
C Chris Bosh

Doc Rivers remains mum on future

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 9, 2013 07:26 PM

MIAMI – Celtics coach Doc Rivers reached out to the Globe for the first time since the season concluded but would not offer any hints as to whether he will return in a text-message exchange Sunday evening.

Rivers said he needed to “detox” after the season and apologized for being inaccessible to reporters. But he would not give any indication whether he will be back for a 10th season although president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe last month that Rivers had planned to return.

Rivers himself has not confirmed that and with the Celtics season being over for five weeks, speculation has grown that the beloved coach is seriously considering stepping down.

When asked if he is still in the decision-making process, Rivers told the Globe “I’d rather not say.” Although he has not been available to the media, Rivers has been present for pre-draft workouts and has discussed the future of the season on several occasions with Ainge.

He also has three years and $21 million remaining on the table and several NBA sources believe he would not hold the Celtics hostage for more than a month and then step down, especially with the number of qualified coaches dwindling by the week. There is speculation that Rivers and Ainge are discussing new parameters for the immediate future, including the fates of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

With the draft in less than three weeks and the decision on the contract of Pierce necessary by June 30, Rivers is expected to make his final decision within weeks. He only promised that he would speak publicly about his situation “soon.”

So for now, Celtics faithful will have to wait in anxiety while the team’s future remains in serious limbo.

Final: Spurs 92, Heat 88

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 6, 2013 09:16 PM

Final: Spurs 92-88 The Heat couldn't capitalize when the Spurs were struggling from the field and then San Antonio got hot and the Heat were done. Tony Parker scored 10 of his 21 points in the final period, including an improbable bank shot with 5.2 left to seal the win.

Fourth quarter, 5.2, Spurs 92-88 Tony Parker just hit a stirring, spinning jumper to beat the shot clock, potentially sealing the game for the Spurs. Parker has 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and the Heat are just 5-for-17 shooting in the final period with no points from Dwyane Wade.

Fourth quarter, 58.7, Spurs 90-86 The combination of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have 4 points in the fourth quarter as San Antonio tries to eke out Game 1. James has just 16 points while Wade has 17.

Fourth quarter, 5:59, Spurs 81-78 Well the Spurs hung around long enough for the Heat to begin to miss shots and Tony Parker to warm up. Miami is 3-for-10 shooting in the fourth quarter while Parker just put the Spurs ahead by 3 with a spinning layup. Parker now has 6 of his 17 in the final quarter. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have gone scoreless so far in the fourth period.

End of third quarter, Heat 72-69 Ray Allen hit his third 3-pointer of the game at the 38.3 mark for a 5-point Miami lead as the Spurs continue to stay close but are unable to hit the tying shot. Tony Parker has been quiet with 11 points and five assists while Tim Duncan has 16. Dwyane Wade has 17 for Miami.

Third quarter, 1:00, Heat 69-67: The Spurs keep making runs and the Heat keep fighting them off. Dwyane Wade has 17 points in one of his better games of the postseason while LeBron James is two assists from a triple double. Tim Duncan has 16 points, all after the first quarter with 11 rebounds while Manu Ginobili has 11 off the bench.

Third quarter, 7:10, Heat 58-57: Miami went on a 6-2 run to begin the quarter and looked primed to create some distance but the Spurs have responded with 6 consecutive points, Tim Duncan has 14 points for San Antonio and Tony Parker has 11.

Halftime, Heat 52-49: An entertaining first half with Tim Duncan going for 12 in the second quarter, including a buzzer-beating jumper to end the half. The Spurs shot identical 9-for-21 clips in each other while the Heat shot 50 percent and canned six 3-pointers but missed their last four of the half. Dwyane Wade leads Miami with 13 points and LeBron James has 10 for the Heat.

Second quarter, 2:30, Heat 48-42: Miami is running and attacking the basket while the Spurs are missing layups and look ragged offensively. Still, the Heat lead by just 6. Tim Duncan has rallied from an 0-for-5 first quarter with 8 points in the second period. Dwyane Wade leads Miami with 11 points and looks like Dwyane Wade of old, not old Dwyane Wade. LeBron James has 8 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.

Second quarter, 6:48, Heat 38-34: Miami is on fire from the 3-point line, having hit 6 of 11, including two from former Celtic Ray Allen. Miami has balanced scoring with LeBron James already with 8 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Tim Duncan scored his first points of the game at the 7:46 mark and San Antonio is hanging close despite shooting 43.3 percent. Miami is shooting 56 percent.

End of first quarter, Heat 24-23: Both teams took shots at each other but the Spurs end the quarter on a 4-0 run to get back the momentum. Tim Duncan looks rusty, going 0-for-5 shooting so far with two fouls. LeBron James led the Heat with 6 points but the key was 5 points apiece from Mario Chalmers and Chris Bosh. Danny Green and Tony Parker each scored 6 for the Spurs, who have missed more than a few layups so far in shooting 42.9 percent in the quarter.

First quarter, 6:00, Heat 13-11: The Spurs went out to a 9-2 run but behind the jump shooting of Chris Bosh, the Heat have rallies. Bosh has 5 points along with Mario Chalmers. LeBron James has just 2 as he is playing facilitator. Tony Parker leads the Spurs with 6 points.

MIAMI -- The NBA Finals have begun between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami and we'll have periodic updates from AmericanAirlines Arena. It's a matchup of the defending champions against the four-time championship. Who have you got? Keep checking the Boston.com for updates.

Ray Allen said there's vindication in signing with Heat

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff June 5, 2013 05:13 PM

MIAMI -- While Ray Allen made sure not to overly emphasize his decision to leave Boston for Miami or take any shots at the Celtics a day before his club faces the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, he did say that his third trip to the finals in six years does offer some satisfaction.

“I knew when I assessed the situation at the time every player going into free agency wants to win and as you get older, you try to see everything," he said Wednesday. "You try to look at the situation a little bit closer. You step out on the limb every summer and a guy says, ‘am I going to go to this team or that team?’ For me, I guess there is a little bit of vindication because being here is where my whole hope was of doing last summer.”

When asked whether he had any empathy for former teammate Paul Pierce, who could be traded or perhaps waived this summer after 15 seasons with the Celtics, Allen said: "Going back to my situation, last summer I had control. I had the ultimate choice to decide where my future was going to be and I didn't have to worry about what a team was going to decide to do with me. What team out there possibly was going to give me the option to be able to play and also at the same time, being able to win. I guess he is at the mercy of what the team wants to do."

Allen signed a two-year deal with the Heat with a player option after this season for $3 million. He said he has not decided whether to exercise that option or become a free agent again.

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