On defense, KG helps Celtics talk the talk

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On defense, KG helps Celtics talk the talk

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

PHOENIX Not a game passes by where Kevin Garnett isn't running his mouth and coach Doc Rivers couldn't be any happier.

For all the talk about KG's trash-talking, regarded as the best of the best in the NBA, what's often overlooked is his role as the voice literally of the Celtics defense.

That defense was again put to the test (and failed) Friday against a Phoenix Suns squad that did what all Phoenix Suns teams try to do run, run and when that doesn't work, run some more. Not only did the Celtics lose the game, 88-71, but both Garnett and Rivers were ejected from the contest.

For all the things that the C's do well, often their ability to effectively communicate with one another is overlooked.

Rivers feels so strongly about making sure his team understands this, every now and then he'll have practice where no talking is allowed.

"Then they find out, a guy gets cracked and knocked down on a pick and then he'll turn around because he can't talk . . . then all of a sudden, you realize how important talking is," Rivers told CSNNE.com. "We don't do that a lot."

That's because most nights, it is evident that the C's place a premium on ensuring everyone on the floor is on the same page defensively.

Even before a sold-out crowd with the collective voices of fans usually drowning out the players on the court, there's no mistaking Garnett barking out defensive instructions to his teammates, or Rajon Rondo alerting a teammate to a screen coming, before it is set.

And when that communication isn't what it should be, players notice.

Rivers recalls Boston's most recent game against Detroit, a game in which the Celtics struggled before ultimately rallying in the fourth quarter for an 86-82 win.

"At halftime, Rondo was complaining that no one was talking," Rivers said. "All the switching that we were doing defensively, there was no talking. We were getting destroyed. You can't play good defense without a lot of guys talking."

For Boston, the productive chatter begins and ends with Garnett.

Even though the C's managed to win six of the nine games Garnett missed when he was out with a muscle strain in his lower right leg, it was clear that their defense suffered in his absence.

In the 36 games Garnett has played this season, the C's are giving up just 90.8 points per game.

In the other nine without him, that number jumps to 94.1 points per game.

"The value he has on your team, is irreplaceable," Rivers said. "It's amazing the difference when he doesn't play. Even though we're still a good defensive team, it's not the same."

Before the Celtics traded for Garnett in 2007, Rivers got a heads-up from Garnett's former coach in Minnesota, Flip Saunders, about what to expect.

"Flip said, 'You're going to be amazed at how much he talks on defense,' " Rivers recalls. "And you knew it anyway when you played against him. You always heard him. It's great."

So is getting back Kendrick Perkins, a player who like Garnett, impacts a game as much with his words as he does with his play on the court.

"Defensively, Perkins doesn't need a lot of help," Garnett said. "He's a talker. We have that chemistry and rapport with him. To have him back to be a force . . . it's good to have Perk back."

Indeed, the return of Perkins has brought the C's as close to being complete as we've seen them all season.

"All the starters have great chemistry," Rondo said. "Not many guys play together four years straight, same starting five. We're in a great situation."

But the on-the-court chatter, making sure teammates don't get beat by giving them a heads-up, it speaks to a bond that goes deeper than simply the game of basketball.

"We actually give two cents about each other, which is a rarity," Garnett said. "We deal with each other off the court, which is a big plus. I'm not just saying that to make your column look like whatever, this is true life. And we enjoy each other; we're like brothers. We argue, we debate, we laugh . . . we're like brothers, real life."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Bean: Nobody should ever compare Love Actually to the Warriors

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Bean: Nobody should ever compare Love Actually to the Warriors

I’ve never met Jemele Hill. I think she and Michael Smith are great and I completely respect her bravery in voicing the unpopular (but correct) opinion that “Bad and Boujee” is good, but not great. This isn’t about Jemele Hill. It’s about a question she asked and an attempt to answer it. 

Hell no it is not. Know why? Because the Warriors are awesome. Know what’s not awesome? Love Actually. 

All that these two things share is that they’re both loaded with stars. The Warriors have Steph, Draymond, Klay and Durant. Love Actually has Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Billy Bob Thornton, a child who kind of looks like Satan, etc. They’re both loaded. 

Yet the Warriors won and there is no debating their greatness. There is absolutely debating Love Actually’s greatness, since it isn’t great.  

It’s at this point that I should disclose that Pete Blackburn and I had a collective two-hour meltdown about all the reasons why Love Actually is terrible. There were lots. That’s why it took two hours. 

Here are some things about the Warriors:

- They won their second NBA title in three years. 

- They went 16-1 in the postseason. 

- Steph Curry made 56 more three-pointers than anyone else in the playoffs.  

- They led the NBA with 115.9 points per game. 

Here are some things about Love Actually:  

- The movie starts with a weird 9/11 reference. 

- Casual homophobia is rampant. 

- A widower gets mocked for his sexual inactivity very recently after his damn wife died. 

- The movie likely birthed thousands of eating disorders. 

- A guy decides to cross his best friend and make a run at that guy’s wife just so he can break it off immediately. The much coveted lose-lose-lose to ensure a weird life for everyone. 

- Somebody whose job it is to be a people person sexually harasses every woman in his office. 

- The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has a woman fired because he wants to have sex with her. 

- The writer whose wife cheats on him storyline is literally the most boring thing in the history of the world. It makes The Steps of Knowledge in “Legends of the Hidden Temple” look like “Mad Max: Fury Road.” 

So no, Jemele Hill, “Love Actually” is not the Golden State Warriors of romantic comedies. Know what is? “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” That movie also has a loaded cast (and a better one, at that) with outstanding execution. 

Steph Curry is Cal. Six teams passed on him, but he made them rue the day. Draymond Green is Jacob, as he pulls a lot of stunts but he’s as lovable as lovable gets. Kevin Durant is David Lindhagen: He’s got his detractors, but he’s what makes the team the best. 

Love Actually stinks. 

Ray Allen to Celtics fans: ‘Get over it’

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Ray Allen to Celtics fans: ‘Get over it’

Regardless of what you think of Ray Allen, the man has a point. 

On his 42nd birthday, Instagram account BostonCeltics4ever posted a picture of Allen in a Celtics uniform saying to like the post to wish Allen a happy birthday. 

As you might expect, a lot of Celtics fans didn’t want to do that because he left the team for the Heat and has since seen teammates Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett talk about him in a less than flattering light. 

As such, fans politely and impolitely commented “no,” leading Allen to respond. 

Said Allen: 

“Y’all need to get over it!!! where were you all when the team tried to trade me. It’s a business, we go where it’s necessary just like you all do in your jobs!!!!I will always be a Celtic no matter what any of you say. Get over it!!!!

“Oh and Thank you everyone for wishing me a happy birthday!!!”

Allen is right. Later in Allen’s tenure, the team tried to trade him to Memphis and Phoenix before he eventually departed in free agency. 

The UConn product spent five seasons in Boston before playing the final two years of his career with the Heat. The C’s gave his No. 20 to Gordon Hayward this offseason.