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Boston Celtics

Keepsake: Boston Celtics Season Preview

(Posted on behalf of blog brother AO)
 
Starting Five: TBA (Editor’s note: to begin the season, only F Jeff Green and G Avery Braldey are really assured of starting roles. But in general, it’s all in flux right now)
 
Key Bench Players: Undetermined
 
Notable Offseason Additions: PF Kris Humphries’ expiring contract, PF/C Kelly Olynyk, SF Gerald Wallace, G MarShon Brooks, three first round picks from the Brooklyn Nets.
 
Notable Offseason Subtractions: PF Kevin Garnett, SF Paul Pierce, G Jason Terry’s corpse and head coach Doc Rivers.
 
FACT OR FICTION: The Celtics are rebuilding.  They have cleaned house of everyone except Rajon Rondo.  To really commit to the rebuild, they must trade Rajon Rondo.
 
FICTION.  FICTION! FICTION!!! 
 
This is a popular yet misguided thought among NBA heads.   I disagree so wholeheartedly that we’re going to rip through the other Celtic summer league headlines in one summary sentence:  Olynyk was the Summer League Jesus, Humphries’ expiring is a huge deadline card to be played, and RIP Ubuntu.  Now, the three reasons why Boston should absolutely not trade Rondo:… Read more...

The Final Countdown: Brooklyn Nets Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Deron Williams, SG Paul Pierce, SF Joe Johnson, PF Kevin Garnett, C Brook Lopez
 
Key Bench Players: SG Jason Terry, SF Andrei Kirilenko, PF Reggie Evans, C Andray Blatche
 
Notable offseason additions: C/PF Kevin Garnett, SG Paul Pierce, SG Jason Terry, SF Andrei Kirilenko, Head Coach Jason Kidd
 
Notable offseason subtractions:  SF Gerald Wallace, SG Keith Bogans, SG MarShon Brooks, PF Kris Humphries
 
FACT OR FICTION: The Nets will be legitimate title contenders to challenge the Miami Heat
 
FACT. Their starting five and sixth man are All-Stars. ‘Nuff said.
 
Last year, the Brooklyn Nets were the new, cool kid on the block. They moved into the neighborhood, took your lunch money, stole your girlfriend, beat you up, and did it all while Empire State of Mind blasts forth from the hulking Barclays Center in the heart of Brooklyn. Coming off the closeout year at the Prudential Center and New Jersey Nets as we knew them, riddled with injuries and trade rumors, the Nets staked their claim in New York and even saw a playoff berth. They were fresh, fun and exciting to watch, but underneath all of the glitz and the glamour the true nature of the Nets reared its ugly mug causing even the most diehard Brooklynette’s fan to look away.… Read more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Garnett and Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets get: F/C Kevin Garnett, SF Paul Pierce, SG Jason Terry
 
Boston Celtics get: F Kris Humphries, SF Gerald Wallace, SG Keith Bogans, SF Kris Joseph, SG MarShon Brooks, 1st round picks in 2014, 2016, 2018 and rights to swap picks in 2017
 
First and foremost, let’s take a minute to memorialize The Big Three Era in Boston: you broke my spirit and I hated you with every part of my being. You played beautiful basketball to the detriment of any opponent without enough toughness to deal with it. You will be remembered as champions, though your longest lasting contribution might be bullying LeBron James for long enough that you helped him blossom into potentially the best basketball player ever. Rest in peace, or not. You assholes.
 
That felt good.
 
Let’s get this out of the way: the Celtics made the right move here. Doc is gone, Rondo is recovering from ACL surgery and their offseason moves last year didn’t completely pan out. Jeff Green is a much nicer player than most of us could have ever predicted, Jason Terry doesn’t have as much left in the tank as we all thought and both Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley didn’t develop exactly as planned. Pierce is no doubt a Celtics legend, but there’s no room for sympathy compared with delaying a rebuilding period. It’s obvious that GM Danny Ainge still bears the scars of the 1993-2007 C’s, who stunk for 15 years because the team never dealt guys like Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale and company in order to plan for the future. I would spend more time talking about the impact of Pierce’s departure in Boston, but my wheelchair of sympathy is being carted out of the arena. … Read more...

Knicks-Celtics thoughts going into Game 5

KOBEsh: In the midst of OT during Game 4, you texted me “We’ve had one good game all series. The Celtics are that terrible.” What in particular has been so awful about YOUR…New York Knickerbockers? And do you think this has any bearing on how far they can go in the playoffs?
 
BockerKnocker: For four straight games, the Knicks have depended too much on Carmelo Anthony. There is blame to be shared all around. Anthony demands the ball on every play, his teammates give in, and head coach Mike Woodson doesn’t do anything to stop it. It becomes much easier to defend a scoring machine when help defenders are focused on one player.
 
The Celtics are willing to let the other Knicks beat them, which is par for the course, but the problem with going through Melo on every play is that the guy gets fatigued relatively early. The PnRs with Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler have been rare; those plays enabled Melo to basically rest by spotting up from 3, where he shot a career high this season.
 
Why doesn’t Novak play with Carmelo? Most of the Discount Double Check minutes occur when Melo takes his early 2nd and 4th quarter rest. Novak’s help defender can never stray too far, while Felton and Kidd’s men will always take that risk.
 
This of course will impact how far they go. But let’s not put the Bockers in the 2nd round just yet.… Read more...

NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference First Round Predictions

It’s Christmas kids. Except instead of Jesus being born, we’re celebrating a bunch of overpaid athletes play a game we’d all happily do for a fraction of the money. It’s pretty much the same thing, right?
 
Let’s get right to it–MAMBINO official predictions and commentary from the whole team:
 
1) Miami Heat vs. 8) Milwaukee Bucks
 
Why is this a clean sweep for the Heat?

 
El Mariachi: LeBron James.  … Read more...

The Post-Rondo Celtics – Where Do They Go From Here?

(Along with our man Thunderstolt, we sent out an APB for The King after it was announced Sunday that Rajon Rondo was done for the season with a torn ACL. To dispute some rumblings in the New England, our man sent us a couple bullet points regarding his beloved Celtics)
 
The Celtics are not a better team without Rondo
 
The King: Incredibly, some Celtics fans have suggested that the Celtics may be better off without Rondo, citing statistics such as his +/- this year. There are a million ways to prove such thinking is ludicrous, but I’ll do it simply by providing one link:
 
KOBEsh: I have nothing further to add. People are stupid.

THE GREAT PODBINO – Episode #2, Part 2: NBA Eastern Conference Preview

Not only that, but about 20 minutes of Knicks chatter from two NY faithful, El Miz and Bockerknocker. Truly a series of can’t-miss rants and hopelessly hopeful musings. Ah, Knicks fans. You endlessly fascinate me.

Also, the PODBINO is now downloadable, so if for some reason you have the strange desire to take our voices on the road with you, you’re free to do so!

Check it!

 

Also, peep Part 1 if you missed it!… Read more...

Do They Have Enough to Get Past Miami? – Boston Celtics Season Preview

(The King is again traveling. Posting on his behalf. You know the drill)
Starting Five: PG Rajon Rondo, SG Avery Bradley (when healthy), SF Paul Pierce, PF Brandon Bass, C Kevin Garnett

Key Bench Players: G Jason Terry, G Courtney Lee, F Jeff Green, PF Jared Sullinger, PF/C Chris Wilcox, C Fab Melo. C Darko Milicic


Notable offseason additions: Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green (missed last season due to health problems), Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo (first round draft picks)
Notable Offseason subtractions: G Ray Allen, F Mickael Pietrus, G Keyon Dooling

If the last few years had proven anything to us, it’s that the Celtics team that shows up to play this spring will perform vastly different than the one that coasts through the 82 game regular season.  Unlike every other team in the league, the Celtics have little to play for during the regular season. Any squad that relies on high-intensity defense and has a “Big Three” that consists of two 35+ year olds, one of which has knees that are less sturdy than a rope bridge during an earthquake, will not be consistent enough to challenge for the conference’s top two seeds. Yet, because the Eastern Conference is so shallow, the chances that Boston fails to clinch one of the top six seeds are pretty low unless they have significant injuries.
The Boston Celtics real season begins when the playoffs start. The NBA playoff structure will require the Celtics to defeat three teams in their NBA Finals quest but the fact is, only one team matters. Unlike the Western Conference which can lay claim to six legitimate title-contending teams, the Eastern Conference has only one elite team – the defending champion Miami Heat. If you’re good enough to beat the Heat, you’re going to beat any other team you match up against in the Eastern Conference playoffs barring injuries. For that reason, the remainder of this preview is going to focus exclusively on how the Celtics match up against the Heat.
The Celtics team that lost the Eastern Conference Finals in seven games last year had no hope of defeating the champs this year. Fortunately for the C’s, the squad they’ve built this year is far better than the one that couldn’t hold onto a 3-2 series last year. For Boston, it’s all about beating Miami. Let’s take a look at how the team’s offseason changes impact their ability to combat the defending champs:


1.   Avery Bradley – I’ve seen a few writers downplaying Boston’s chances to upset Miami this year based on Miami’s performance when Chris Bosh was healthy for the last two games. I’ve yet to see one of these writers mention how injuries at 2-guard for the Celtics significantly impacted their performance. Due in large part to the suffocating defense Bradley played against in the 2 regular season games that he started against Dwayne Wade, Bradley’s plus/minus number around 12. As numerous statistics last year showed, the Celtics are a much better defensive (and overall) team with him in the lineup. As those that watched last year’s conference finals remember, the Celtics surprisingly doubled Wade more often than LeBron. With Bradley’s aggressive on and off-ball defense, the Celtics can afford to direct more of there double teams at James this year while still limiting Wade’s production.

Bradley is also an underrated offensive player.   Before enduring two shoulder injuries that required offseason surgery (which will keep him out for the beginning of the season, and perhaps longer), he showed a much improved jump shot, as evidenced by his 41% 3PT FG%.

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Instant Trade Analysis: Ray Allen to the Miami Heat

Miami Heat get: SG Ray Allen, 3 years, $9 million

In our pathetic attempts to make the NBA seem like a more important organism than it actually is, we’ve noticed here on MAMBINO that the L seems to resemble America in a lot of ways. Most notably, the rich are getting richer, while the poor are only going to the lottery again.

Let’s look at what’s happened in the past few days:

As you can see, the good teams are only getting better. The case of the 2012 Champion Miami Heat acquiring SG Ray Allen is just another example.

Let’s get down to business: the Evil Empire just got better. A lot better.


I’ve looked at this trade sideways ever since the news broke, and quite honestly, I can only see one avenue, besides freak injury, in which this signing goes wrong.

As for what’s right? Even on 37 year-old surgically repaired ankles, Ray Allen is still an unshakeably devastating shooter. Every complaint about his age or mobility has to be combated with sheer numbers: we’re looking at 47/40/90 shooting percentages over his Celtics career. For those of you that aren’t stat-savvy, those type of numbers put him up there with the Larry Birds and Steve Nashs of NBA history. In fact, over the past two seasons, a 36 and 37 year-old Allen has shot 48/45/89, while playing 80 games in 2010-2011. Yes, he just had surgery on ankles that severely limited his role down the stretch this year, but we’re talking about a world-class athlete who looks just as good now as he did 10 years ago.

In regards to the Miami Heat offensive system, I have little doubt that Jesus Shuttlesworth will be able to fit in. Most likely, he’ll come off the bench behind Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers. According to early reports, he’ll be spelling the Heat’s starting backcourt for extended periods of time, seeing as Wade will be coming off injury and the team from a prolonged season that ended in June. It’s no secret that coach Erik Spoelstra had to ride his talent into the dirt to get enough team production out of them. Going into 2012-2013, Miami knows they’ll have to get their guys more rest in order to compete deep into June. Enter, Jesus. The Heat now have a legitimate 8-man rotation that includes Wade, Chalmers, Shane Battier, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Norris Cole. The Heat will still be undersized, but looking at all the hardware in owner Mickey Arison’s office, it seemed to work out just fine. Ray will no doubt get big, big minutes, and the season-long clangers shot by Mike Miller and Shane Battier will belong to him.

The contract itself is extremely manageable. Even in the event that Allen gets hurt, or even unlikelier than he’s healthy and simply ineffective, the way over the cap Heat will only suffer a $3 million per year hit. Considering the Celtics offered him two years and $12 million, GM Pat Riley got even more of a bargain.

The only way I see Allen potentially hurting the Heat is if his ankles don’t hold up post-surgery. Ray has played terrific team defense his five years in Boston, fitting well into Doc Rivers’ schemes even though he’d been considered a subpar defender his entire career. He seemed to guard players like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade best, relishing the challenge of luring opposing superstars into defen… Read more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Jason Terry to the Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics get: G Jason Terry, 3 years, $15 million

The already ancient Boston Celtics just got even older, but that might not even be a bad thing.

As the Boston media likes to say, the Celtics are approaching year six of a three-year plan. When a 31 year-old Kevin Garnett and a 32 year-old Ray Allen were traded to Boston in that week-long stretch in 2007, writers and talking heads alike proclaimed no more than  two or three year window for the new “Big Three” to win a title in New England. Here we are, not in 2009 or 2010, but rather in 2012 asking ourselves how much longer can they keep the panes of opportunity from closing shut.

Miraculously, the Celtics have remained relevant amidst massive changes in the East, from the Knicks resurgence to the formation of the eventual 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat and the upstart Bulls from Chicago. At the ages of 36, 37 and 34 respectively, KG, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, the Celtics forced themselves to a Game 7 with LeBron, Wade and Bosh, narrowly missing another chance to play for their second title. While Rajon Rondo is undoubtedly the most talented of anyone in Beantown these days, there’s no doubt that it’s Garnett’s leadership and intensity, Piece’s four quarter bravado and Ray’s steadiness that keeps this team competing for titles.

Strangely, one of the oldest rosters in the league wasn’t slayed by the younger Sixers, Hawks or Heat with athleticism or toughness. To be frank, the Celtics just didn’t have enough bodies. Doc Rivers’ squad managed to lose rotation players G Avery Bradley, F Jeff Green, F Chris Wilcox and C Jermaine O’Neal to injury before the deciding Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. More importantly, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were both playing with injuries that would have kept them on the sidelines if it weren’t the postseason. Even when equipped with personnel whose myriad of disabilities became comical, the C’s still played their trademark defense and managed to put up enough points on the board behind Garnett’s resurgent play and Rondo’s otherwordly productiveness.
With Ray Allen possibly going to the Clippers, Thunder or Heat in free agency, the Celtics needed someone with three different qualifications: long-range shooting, health and offensive production. Since the beginning of free agency, the C’s had coveted ex-Memphis guard OJ Mayo. He’d be able to provide all of the above criteria, and as a bonus, the former 2nd overall draft pick was a full decade younger than his prospective teammates. However, his asking price was over what the capped-out Celtics had to offer. Enter Jason Terry.

JET, now 35, may be exactly what Boston GM Danny Ainge is looking for. Terry is coming of a eight-year stint with the Mavericks that involved two NBA Finals and one championship.  He amazingly ranks fourth on the all-time three-point buckets made, shooting no worse than 36% in any of his seasons in Dallas. Terry has been reliably averaged over 16 points per season as a Maverick, mostly off the bench, winning the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2009. Perhaps most importantly, Jason Terry has missed 28 games…in his career. Unbelievable. JET has been the paragon of good health, which is incredibly important for a team that’s had a rash of injuries the past few years, and isn’t getting any easier with the progressing seasons under their belts and on their knees.

There’s not really a much more perfect match for the Celtics – he’
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