Charlie Villanueva, you big baby


Charlie Villanueva, you big baby

By Mary Paoletti

I can't believe that "Villanueva versus KG" is still making headlines.
Reportedly, Danny Ainge is the latest to jump in front of the morality missile aimed at Boston headcase Kevin Garnett.

"There's one thing that I know for sure, and it's that KG would not offend cancer patients," Ainge said. "That makes no sense. It makes no sense on a lot of fronts. Not only is he experiencing it in his own family, but that's just not something I've ever heard -- in 30 years -- ever say, in trash talking."

Thanks for weighing in, Danny.

It's nice to have some more people over here with me on KG's side. My problem with Charlie's bawling is completely different, though. I bet Garnett really did say he looked like a cancer patient.

And I don't care that if he did.

Some prefaces before I continue:

My family is one of the millions affected tragically by the disease. I celebrated my 21st birthday by going home to Maine for my young aunt's funeral. She was a wonderful woman and I hold a grudge. A huge one. I hate cancer with a blind rage and nothing about it is funny.

I'm a die-hard, irrationally biased UConn basketball fan. UC is my alma mater and Charlie Villanueva played on a dominant Huskies team that wrecked opponents right before my adoring eyeballs.

I think Kevin Garnett is slightly deranged. Dude's a sharp dresser and all but he's loony.

So why take KG's side? Because it's trash talk and trash talk is part of the game. Garnett wasn't trying to offend cancer patients, he was trying to offend Charlie Villanueva and CV is a baby for crying foul.

"But it's cancer!" the conservative cry. "You just can't go there!"

Hey: good luck on the Some Topics Are Off Limits crusade. Do you really believe that there are acceptable degrees of meanness? Are these outlined in the NBA rulebook somewhere? I saw on TV that Gout is making a comeback. Is that one off limits too?

"Damn, Will Bynum! You so slow, you play like you got Gout."


It would be impossible to draw a line. Do you really think KG's comment was the worst ever uttered? Zinedine Zidane will tell you it wasn't. I once heard "I HOPE EVERYTHING THAT YOU LOVE DIES" hollered between rivals during a SyracuseUConn game.

And that was just two fans jawing.

Nobody should care or comment on trash talk except the guys running the hardwood and that's where it should be settled. Villanueva lost the battle by letting KG in his head. The NBA will lose if some trash talk turns into an even bigger affair.

As they say...

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.


But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."