Scal’s Headband Is Sort Of A Helmet
April 22, 2009

That headband thing Scal is wearing is also a piece of protective equipment.

“It protects me in the slight chance I get hit there,” Scalabrine said of the white headband. “One our trainers jimmy-rigged it together. It could blow up — stock options available.

“My head is not an issue. I’ve been allowed to work out and I feel good. I didn’t even breathe hard.

I can’t wait to see this thing.

Scalabrine wore a headband during practice – which drew plenty of comparisons to the Jackie Moon character in “Semi-Pro” – and said there is a slight protective band inside of the band to help protect him in case he gets hit again. …

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Pierce Could Play The 4
April 22, 2009

The Celtics are down 2 bigs now… which leaves them in a bit of a lurch.  But after practice today, Paul Pierce said he’d be ready to step in and play the 4 if the Celtics need him to.

Other practice notes:  Rajon Rondo and Brian Scalabrine practiced… and Scal was stylin

Scal is rockin’ a sweet white headband too. That’s a new look.

Scal doesn’t need a headband.  He needs a helmet.

Leon Returns To Practice
April 10, 2009

It was just a run-through, but it shows the troops are getting healthier.

Scal and Leon joined 11 other players in running through plays at this morning’s shootaround. R Allen and Marbury also returned to practice.

Before you know it, everyone will be back.  Doc’s problem has been a lack of bodies recently… will his new problem be too many guys who should get minutes?  I love Doc, and I agree with Jeff Clark… he’s a good coach… but I also know his weakness is doling out minutes when he’s got too many options.

Scal Returning Tonight… Sort Of
April 8, 2009

Update via Celtics Twitter page:

Doc Rivers pregame: Says Leon and KG may play on Tuesday. Scal is dressed tonight but there’s “zero chance” he will play tonight.

Brian Scalabrine will probably be in uniform tonight when the C’s host the Nets.  But it’s not some kind of miraculous recovery… I think Doc did it just to take a shot at him.

“He is able to work out with us,” said Rivers about Scalabrine at today’s shootaround. “Nothing live. Just skeleton offense. Other than that, that’s it. But I may put him in a uniform today just to have 12 guys and because I’m tired of seeing his attire. It’s safer to put him uniform.”

Hey Doc… if you’re just looking for some stiff with zero chance of playing to fill out your roster… I’m free tonight.  Just think about it.

What? A Game?? TONIGHT??? Yes!!
April 8, 2009

(Image via ffffound.com)

The Celtics are back in action tonight… and it’s about goddam time.  I’ve been going nuts over here.   I’ll be giddy with anticipation all day.

Yes, it’s been great to get the guys some rest.  Yes, it’s a perfect time of year to have 5 days in between games.  But my sanity is already shaky… the only thing keeping me somewhat in check is basketball.

Quick aside:  Did anyone watch any of the UConn women?  They can really ball.  I mean, REALLY ball.  In 10 years, when women’s basketball is completely revolutionized and everyone says “remember when it was slow and it sucked?  When did that change?”  The answer will be the 2008-09 UConn women.

Back to the Celtics… and Paul Pierce… who is keeping close tabs on how the playoff race is shaking out.

“I look at it more, probably, than anybody,” said Pierce. “I think it’s fun to see who you might match up with. I look at the West, the race is changing every day.

“I’m a basketball fan. I keep up with it religiously. I watch games, look at the standings, see who we might match up with in the first round. Right now, Chicago or Detroit, they have the same records, so it could flop either way.

It’s nice to hear someone stray from the standard “Oh, I don’t watch the standings” line.  And I’m pretty sure everyone on the team noticed that Orlando lost last night, although I still contend that there is absolutely zero difference between finishing 2nd and 3rd.  I absolutely do not fear playing in Orlando.

And the Herald has some injury updates:

Rajon Rondo, who aggravated his sprained right ankle late in Monday’s practice, was back at work.

“It was a stinger,” coach Doc Rivers said. “A lot of those happen after you get the first, initial (sprain). But (Rondo) is fine.”

Garnett (knee) sat and watched practice, while Leon Powe (knee) observed from a stationary bicycle. Garnett, Powe and Scalabrine are expected to join the team for the last road trip of the season through Cleveland (Sunday) and Philadelphia (Tuesday).

One by-product of 5 days off:  a lack of stories.  The links are pretty bare right now.  Other than the two I just included, Jess Camerato has a preview of tonight’s game, CelticsHub looks at KG’s impact on rebounding,  and CSN looks at who’s stepping up with KG out.

After the jump, Scot Pollard takes on Cheryl Miller.

(more…)

Scal is Symptom Free
April 7, 2009

Via the Celtics Twitter page:

Scalabrine cleared for non-contact 5-on-0 drills today. He called his progress “Baby steps” and says he’s been symptom free for 8 days.

Another piece of the puzzle is rounding into form on the defending champs. Soon Scal will be able to take it to the next level and give 110 percent. I’m running out of cliches….

Cs Open Up Home Stretch Against Charlotte
April 1, 2009

34-40 @ 56-19
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
7:30 pm ET
TD BankNorth Garden (Boston, MA)

With just seven games to go before playoff time, the Celtics kick off the final month of the regular season at home against one of the scrappiest young teams in the league. The Charlotte Bobcats typically give the men in green a tough battle, win or lose, and have won two of the last five matchups against the 2008 champs.

Charlotte heads into tonight’s game with extra incentive to pull out a victory, as well. As it currently stands, Larry Brown’s club is one game behind Chicago for the final Eastern Conference playoff seed. The ‘Cats have won six of their last eight and come into tonight on a three-game winning streak, but the Bulls have countered those efforts by winning seven of their last 10 games.

Kevin Garnett, as you may have already heard, will be “shut down” for the time being, and could even be out for the remainder of the regular season. Leon Powe is in the same boat, and Brian Scalabrine may not suit up at all until 2009-10 preseason. Tony Allen, however, is expected to give it a go tonight after missing the last 22 games with torn ligaments in his left thumb. “TA” typically takes a while to get back into the swing of things when he returns from a time-consuming healing process, but it is somewhat comforting to have another body nonetheless.

Projected Starters
G G F F C

Team Leaders
PPG: Gerald Wallace (16.9)
RPG: Emeka Okafor (10.1)
APG: Raymond Felton (6.8)
SPG: Gerald Wallace (1.7)
BPG: Emeka Okafor (1.7)

Projected Starters
G G F F C

Team Leaders
PPG: Paul Pierce (20.3)
RPG: Kevin Garnett (8.5)
APG: Rajon Rondo (8.5)
SPG: Rajon Rondo (1.9)
BPG: Kendrick Perkins (1.9)

Key Matchup

Injury Report
Kevin Garnett (Knee – out)
Leon Powe (bruised right knee – out)
Tony Allen (recovering from thumb surgery – probable)
Brian Scalabrine (post-concussion syndrome – out)

Keys to Victory

  • Limit Turnovers
  • Avoid Foul Trouble
  • Bench Play
  • Outwork the Opposition

Accentuating The Positive
March 13, 2009

Ok, so things aren’t exactly going the way we want them to.  Some people, like John Hollinger, seem all to happy to focus on the negative… like the Celtics 22-14 record since Christmas.

But I’m a positive person.  The Celtics are only 2.5 games behind Cleveland, and they’ve hung around despite injuries to key players and the addition of two new guys.  And since we’re being positive today, here’s the positive spin on a few more things involving the Celtics right now:

  • Stephon Marbury

When Sam Cassell came in, he was just gunning like mad.  Stephon could have done the same thing, but he’s actually trying to fit in.  And isn’t that what we were worried about?  Don’t look at the short term results.  I’m ok with negative results in the early stages of a positive thing.  It’s like a little kid learning to shoot correctly with one hand after spending their whole childhood shooting that 2-handed push thing.  If they miss shots but used proper form, I’m happy.

The point is, if Stephon is missing shots because he’s trying to run our offense and do the right things, I’m happy.  It’s not about him making shots today.  It’s about him making shots a month from now.  He’ll get comfortable soon enough.  And once he does, things will start falling.

  • Injuries

KG’s injury wasn’t a case of any structural damage to his knee.  So this is basically an extended vacation that will benefit KG in the playoffs.

Brian Scalabrine is going to come back from what really could have been a career ending situation.  Really, what’s more positive than that?

Rondo and Davis are only missing a week with minor ankle sprains.  We’re going to go into April with a full squad, and hopefully some rest.

  • Home Court

This isn’t last year.  I hear blowhards yapping all over the place about how we should look at last year.

When has last year ever had a bearing on this year?  And even if we look at last year, wasn’t part of the story line by the end of the playoffs how the Celtics finally figured things out on the road?  The Celtics won games in Detroit and in LA… closing out both series in 6 games.  I thought that answered the questions.

But apparently not.  People want to focus on whatever makes their argument.  Forget that the experience gained from that will only make the team better.  Forget that they sorted out their roles late in the playoffs and actually won on the road.  Forget all that.  You want to be all doom-and-gloom.  You shouldn’t be.

  • Kendrick Perkins

The fouls are still a problem, but people aren’t talking about how he’s broken his habit of bringing the ball down.  And did you know he’s scored double digits in every game this month?

Yes, progress has been a bit slow with Perkins, but he’s making progress.  He’s become more of a threat offensively and a pretty good post defender.  He’s still got things to work on, but his hard work to correct some big things should be recognized.

So smile, Celtics fans.  Sure, it would be great to catch Cleveland, but it’s not the end of the world.  The Celtics are fine, and they’re only going to get better.  The rest of the league, and some people around Boston, might be in a hurry to start counting us out… but that’s a big mistake.

Herald:  Bill Walker gives support to Celtics Grizzlies-Celtics scouting report |  Globe:  Free and easyGrizzlies thumbnails |  Milford Daily News:  Busy stretch ahead for C’sLakers beat SpursCavs win |  Daily Dimes:  Flaws with the top contenders

C’s Host Eastern Conference Showdown
March 6, 2009

48-12 @ 48-14
Friday, March 6, 2009
8:00 pm ET
TD BankNorth Garden (Boston, MA)

Tonight, the C’s return to The Garden for perhaps the biggest game of the regular season. Probable MVP LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers are set to pay a visit to the men in green for a prime time Eastern Conference showdown. Cleveland currently holds a one-game advantage over Boston for the East’s top seed, and this evening’s victor may very well decide which of the two powerhouses receive homecourt advantage this postseason.

Both teams come into tonight’s game a bit shorthanded. In addition to role players Tony Allen (thumb) and Brian Scalabrine (concussions/neck), defensive anchor and emotional leader Kevin Garnett continues to recoup from the posterior muscle strain he obtained in Utah on February 20. Since the injury, the Celtics have won four of seven games.

Cleveland will also be without a starting big, as Ben Wallace went down with a fractured right fibula in last week’s loss in Houston, which will keep him out of the lineup for 4-6 weeks. The Cavs haven’t missed a beat since, however, as they’ve won four straight (three coming on the road) with Anderson Varejao replacing Wallace as the team’s starting power forward. As a starter in 21 games this season, Varejao has put up 10 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

Fortunately for Cleveland, they’ve been able to throw salt on the wound caused by Wallace’s injury by adding veteran big Joe Smith this week. Smith was bought out and released by Oklahoma City this past Sunday and elected to go back to Cleveland as soon as he cleared waivers. The fourteenth-year power forward appeared in 27 regular season games for the Cavs last season, where he held averages of 8.1 PPG and 5.0 RPG. Against the Celtics in the 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Smith produced 7.6 points and 4.4 rebounds throughout the seven-game series, in which Cleveland came up on the wrong side of.

Leading up to the March 1 deadline for free agents to be playoff eligible, Boston was considered the favorite to land Smith when and if the Thunder decided to part ways. Unfortunately, the Celtics couldn’t afford to wait any longer. Sacramento made Mikki Moore available first, and Danny Ainge took what he could get while he could get it.

Smith may or may not be in action tonight, but all signs point to him playing, as he went through Cleveland’s scheduled practice yesterday.

There’s no Kevin Garnett, but you better believe that emotions will be flaring. Homecourt advantage is extremely important, should these two teams meet in the playoffs, as expected. Get your popcorn ready.

Projected Starters
G G F F C

Team Leaders
PPG: LeBron James (28.5)
RPG: Zydrunas Ilgauskas (7.7)
APG: LeBron James (7.0)
SPG: James/West (1.7)
BPG: Ben Wallace (1.4)

Projected Starters
G G F F C

Team Leaders
PPG: Paul Pierce (20.3)
RPG: Kevin Garnett (8.8)
APG: Rajon Rondo (8.4)
SPG: Rajon Rondo (1.9)
BPG: Kendrick Perkins (1.7)

Key Matchup

Injury Report
Ben Wallace (fractured right fibula – out)
Eric Snow (chronic left knee injury – out)
Kevin Garnett (posterior muscle strain – out)
Tony Allen (recovering from thumb surgery – out)
Brian Scalabrine (concussions/strained neck – out)

Keys to Victory

  • Ball Control
  • Crash the Boards
  • Production From the “Other Guys”
  • Don’t Let This Happen

Scal Out For March
March 3, 2009

Via the Globe:

Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine is slated to be out the remainder of this month after being diagnosed with post concussion syndrome. Scalabrine suffered his third concussion this season against the Nuggets on Feb. 23 and has not played since. He is currently resting and won’t begin monitored basketball workouts until he shows improvement. Celtics coach Doc Rivers is hopeful that Scalabrine can return to action on April 1 against Charlotte.

Most of us are just glad he’s coming back – period.