Friday FT's: Call Pierce the Big Three Four

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Friday FT's: Call Pierce the Big Three Four

Welcome back to Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that have not made the headlines but are still worth a read. In spite of the NBA lockout, there are still plenty of hoops to talk about.

Paul Pierce is picking up where Shaquille ONeal left off.

If you thought the Big Shamrock, Big Leprechaun nicknames left Boston when Shaq retired, think again.

Pierce turned 34 on Thursday and took to Twitter on his special day.

New Nik name for me this year The BiG Three Four, he tweeted.

Pierce also wrote, 34 is my number special thing r gonna happen for me this year . Let's get this lockout ova so I can show ya.

The Celtics captain shares the same birthday as Jermaine ONeal and Doc Rivers (he tweeted a birthday shoutout to them). ONeal turned 33 on October 13 while Rivers turned 50.

Pierce was one of 12 players born in 1977 playing in the NBA last season (James Posey, Jeff Foster, Vince Carter, Brian Cardinal, Peja Stojakovic, Manu Ginobili, Ime Udoka, Morris Peterson, Nazr Mohammed, Jason Terry, Kenyon Martin).

Rondo a Big Man on Campus

Rajon Rondo is one of several NBA players who has been spending time working out at the University of Kentucky during the NBA lockout. On Media Day, Wildcats head coach John Calipari gushed about the former UK guard. His praise included:

Rondo, by the way, is outstanding. I mean this guy, he is working, and he's, I told him, and I told Nazr (Mohammed) the same thing. When they are done if they want to come back and join this staff and finish up their degrees, they are welcome. They are great young people who want other people around them to get better and they are not afraid to share their knowledge and their experiences.Right now I can't tell you how hard Rondo is working, it's incredible. As this thing comes back, Rondo will have a knock out year, no question in my mind. They are going to look at who the heck is this guy in Boston because of when I'm seeing, how hard he's working.

This month Rondo is featured on the cover of Red Bulls Red Bulletin Magazine. The November issue includes the article, Style Point, and a full-page headshot of Rondo with the caption, "He pulls off his look because the only person he's out to impress is himself." Click here for more on the article.

You Dont Hang Hype in the Rafters

San Francisco Giants pitcher (and New England native) Brian Wilson showed his Celtics Pride for a recent NBA 2K12 promotion, and now hes going head-to-head with music superstar Drake in the latest round of videos. The two debated the greatest NBA team of all time, with Drake arguing in favor of the Miami Heat and Wilson, still in his green garb, defending the Cs. Some of Wilsons talking points? You dont hang hype in the rafters and Bird didn't need to dunk. He laid it up ... like a real man.

Celtics Tweet of the Week
@iambaby11: "Let us play!!!!!!"

Celtics Birthdays of the Week

Kenny Anderson, who played over four seasons with the Celtics, turned 41 on October 9. Former Celtic Bill Walker also turned 24 the 9th. He averged 4.9 points and 2.0 rebounds for the New York Knicks last season. Hall of Famer Arnie Risen was born on the same date in 1924. He played the last three seasons of his career with the C's. ... Kenny Battle, who played for the Celtics in the early 1990's, turned 47 on October 10. ... Paul Pierce, Jermaine ONeal, and head coach Doc Rivers shared a birthday on October 13 (see above) 2008 championship team member P.J. Brown, who played the final season of his 15-year career on the Celtics, turned 42 on October 14. Dwayne Schintzius, who played 16 games for the Celtics in the final season of his career, turned 43 on the same date. Ray Williams also celebrated his 57th birthday on the 14th. He played 23 games for the Celtics during the 1984-85 season.

This Week in Celtics History

On October 8, 1996, the Celtics signed Brett Szabo as a free agent. The 6-11 center averaged 2.2 points and 2.4 rebounds in his only season with the Celtics - and in the NBA. On October 13, 2006, the Celtics acquired Luke Jackson in exchange for Dwyane Jones. Jackson was waived less than two weeks later.

Thomas says he's 'not even worried about' bad blood with Schroder

Thomas says he's 'not even worried about' bad blood with Schroder

BOSTON -- No matter what Isaiah Thomas and Dennis Schroder say, you get the feeling there’s still some bad blood between these two.
 
It goes back to the playoffs last season when Thomas slapped Schroder in the face and extended into their last meeting in which Schroder said Thomas spoke unkind words about his family in Atlanta (allegations that Thomas has repeatedly denied).
 
Following Atlanta’s shoot-around this morning, Schroder doubled down on his previous comments about Thomas having said things about his family.
 
“Everybody heard it, too,” Schroder said earlier today. “My family sat courtside too. Thabu (Sefolosha) heard some things; he was involved in that. It is what it is. We just try to compete and it’s getting heated in the game. It is what it is.”
 
I asked Thomas about the Schroder allegations following Boston’s 104-98 win at Detroit on Sunday night.
 
“Man, I’m past that. I’m not worried about that guy,” Thomas said. “Once he did that the last game, where he tried to damage my character, (saying I was) talking about his parents … I’m past that. Hopefully we can beat the Atlanta Hawks. I’m not even worried about him.”
 
Schroder speaks a similar tone about his approach to tonight’s game.
 
Boston (38-21) is looking to build off the win at Detroit which snapped a two-game losing streak.
 
Meanwhile, the Hawks (32-26) have lost three straight -- each defeat by at least 15 points -- and four of their last five.
 
In the last two losses, Schroder was suspended for one game because he missed practice following the All-Star break (he told the Hawks there was a visa mix-up) and was late arriving to the team bus for another so he began that game on the bench.
 
That’s why the beef that still exist between both players isn’t likely to be a major deal tonight; at least that’s what they want us to believe.
 
“We gotta win,” Schroder said. “We lost two in a row after All-Star break. I think the team is more important than a player on the other team. We just focus on winning this game and try to compete for 48 minutes.”
 
Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer will be the first to tell you that Schroder’s competitive drive is among the reasons the franchise hasn’t looked back on its decision to trade all-star Jeff Teague and give Schroder the keys to running the team.
 
He has certainly had his moments when that decision might be questioned, but for the most part he has shown the kind of growth individually that they were hoping for as a full-time starter.
 
This season he’s averaging career highs in scoring (17.4) and assists (6.3) per game.
 
However, Atlanta hasn’t enjoyed the same level of success this year that we’ve seen from them recently.
 
A fixture among the top two or three teams the past couple of years, they are currently fifth in the NBA, trailing East-leading Cleveland by 8.5 games and the No. 2 Celtics by 5.5 games.
 
And while Boston does have a nice cushion with 24 games left to play, they know a strong finish will position them to better control their postseason destiny -- something that hasn’t been the case the past couple of seasons in which Boston began the playoffs on the road as a lower seed.
 
As much as the need to win will be front and center tonight, all eyes will be on the two point guards.
 
But in the end, both understand that tonight’s game isn’t about which of them can out-perform the other.
 
“Dennis is a competitive guy, as is Isaiah,” Budenholzer said. “They both are more concerned about their teams and what’s best for their teams.”

Raptors, in pursuit of Celtics in playoff race, lose Lowry for perhaps rest of regular season

Raptors, in pursuit of Celtics in playoff race, lose Lowry for perhaps rest of regular season

The Eastern Conference playoff race, seemingly altered by the moves -- and non-moves (hello there, Celtics) -- of some of the contenders, just took another twist.

The Raptors, bolstered by the acquisition of Serge Ibaka and appearing poised to make a run toward the top of the standings after a come-from-behind victory over the Celtics on Friday, were hit with a body blow Monday when it was announced All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry needs surgery on his right wrist and may miss the remainder of the regular season.

ESPN reports Lowry is expected to be sidelined from four to eight weeks. Toronto hopes to have him back for the playoffs.

The Raptors are currently in fourth place in the conference at 35-24, trailing Cleveland (40-17), Boston (38-21) and Washington (34-23). Without Lowry, and facing a rough, six-of-their-next-seven-games-on-the-road stretch, Toronto may stop focusing on catching the Wizards and/or Celtics and focus on holding off Atlanta (32-26) in order to hold onto home-court in the first round.

Lowry, 30, who missed the last two games because of the injury, is averaging a career-best 22.8 points per game. He also is averaging 6.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds.