Celtics expected to have four All-Stars chosen tonight


Celtics expected to have four All-Stars chosen tonight

By A. Sherrod Blakely

The All-Star reserves will be announced tonight, and Celtics Nation will be waiting with great anticipation.

The C's have four legit All-Star candidates, all of whom have put up the kind of numbers that are worthy of All-Star selection.

If Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo are all selected, it would be the first time since 2006 (Detroit Pistons) that one team had four players participating in the all-star game. It would also be the first time a Boston Celtics quartet was so honored since 1975.

But before we get too ahead of ourselves, the Eastern Conference coaches who vote on the award have the final say.

I had a chance to talk with four different Eastern Conference coaches about their reserve selections, and all four said that they included the C's Big Four on their list of all-star reserves.

"I don't see how you couldn't include all four of them," one coach said. "All four of those guys are either the best or second-best player at their position in the East."

Added another coach, "The only one who might not get in is Ray, which would be a shame. He's one of the greatest shooters to ever play the game. And the crazy thing is, he's shooting the ball better now than he ever has. How is that guy not an All-Star?"

Well, the coaches will have their selections unveiled tonight.

For now, you get my picks on who should be All-Stars this season:
EASTERN CONFERENCEStarters (already selected by fans)

F - Amar'e Stoudemire, New York
F - LeBron James, Miami
C - Dwight Howard, Orlando
G - Derrick Rose, Chicago
G - Dwyane Wade, Miami


F - Kevin Garnett, Boston

F - Paul Pierce, Boston

C - Al Horford, Atlanta

G - Rajon Rondo, Boston

G - Joe Johnson, Atlanta

Util - Ray Allen, Boston

Util - Chris Bosh, Miami

WESTERN CONFERENCEStarters (already selected by fans)

F - Carmelo Anthony, Denver

F - Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City

C - Yao Ming, Houston (injured; Commissioner David Stern will select his replacement)

G - Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

G - Chris Paul, New Orleans

F - Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas

F - LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland

C - Tyson Chandler, Dallas

G - Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City

G - Tony Parker, San Antonio

Util - Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

Util - Manu Ginobili, San Antonio

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

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a CSNNE.com report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”