Celtics, Heat set tone for physical series


Celtics, Heat set tone for physical series

By A.Sherrod Blakely

MIAMI The Boston Celtics have a well-deserved reputation for being a physical team, one that you don't push around.

The Miami Heat aren't quite there yet -- but they're getting closer.

For all of Dwyane Wade's scoring and James Jones' 3-point bombing away, it was Miami's ability to be the more physical team, to be the aggressor, that ultimately led to the Heat prevailing with a 99-90 Game 1 win over Boston.

"Both teams are physical and this is the playoffs," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "At this point in the year, you can't be someone you're not. We're trying to play our game and the habits we've built for five months and do it better than them for four games."

No statistic better exemplifies the physical nature of Game 1 than the number of technical fouls (five) handed out to both teams.

"It's going to be physical," said Boston's Rajon Rondo. "There were five technical fouls called. I'm sure there will be a lot more during the series."

For some players, Game 1 was just the beginning of what they anticipate will be a very physical series.

"Every game is going to be physical," said Miami forward Chris Bosh. "As the series progresses, I think it will get more physical."

Even some of the more mild-mannered players got into it.

Heat forward James Jones got into it with Paul Pierce, with both being whistled for a technical foul.

Less than a minute later, Pierce and Dwyane Wade had words which led to another double technical being called.

For Pierce, it was his second technical and with that, he was ejected.

That sequence summed up the kind of night it was for Pierce, who did not talk to the media after the game, and the Celtics as a whole.

"I thought as a whole we were the retaliating team all night," Rivers said. "We were never the first-hit team."

While it was pretty clear that the Heat played with greater force most of the game, Rivers wasn't sold on the notion that Game 1 was all that physical even if his team was whistled for three technical fouls and had another player, Jermaine O'Neal, whistled for a flagrant foul.

"You knew it was coming," Rivers said of the technicals. "All the Heat did was talk about being physical. To me, that is not being physical, that is being chippy. We didn't handle it well."

And while the Heat would love for the C's to struggle handling their force in Game 2, Miami isn't banking on it happening.

"We have to be prepared for them to not lose their composure," Bosh said. "I think they'll do a better job on Tuesday, so we have to watch a lot of film and be ready for them next game."

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

Celtics break ground on new practice facility


Celtics break ground on new practice facility

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- When it comes to finding ways to attract the best talent, colleges and universities often seek to upgrade their training facilities as an enticement to prospective players.
So why should it be any different at the pro level?
The Boston Celtics had a groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning for The Auerbach Center at New Balance Headquarters.
“When you think he was hired in 1966 and they’re still honoring him, it’s very humbling,” said Randy Auerbach, Red’s daughter.
New Balance officials echoed similar sentiments about the legendary Red Auerbach, the architect of arguably the greatest dynasty in professional basketball.
“Red Auerbach was a true entrepreneur whose passion for winning and dedication to the sport of basketball and the Boston Celtics was equally matched with his commitment to people and his local community,” said Jim Davis, Chairman and Owner at New Balance.  “New Balance is extremely proud to join with the Boston Celtics in honoring his professional achievements and personal values through ‘Red’s House’ at our Boston world headquarters.”
Celtics president Rich Gotham cited several benefits to moving the team to a state-of-the-art practice facility closer to Boston.
Among the reasons given was the potential for the practice facility to be a potential enticement for free agents.
“Players spend more time in the practice facility than they do in the arena they play in certainly, and maybe more than they do at home,” Gotham said. “So having a place where they feel comfortable, a place where they want to spend time to improve themselves across the board … it’s all coming together in a pretty big way. The best players know it’s integral to their success that make sure that support is there, that infrastructure is there. So when we’re out talking to a player, we’re going to be talking about this practice facility we’re building. Because we do think it’s an important part of our story.”
Some of the features of the new practice facility will include:
·  Two state-of-the-art parquet floor basketball courts where the team will practice
·  Leading edge audio-visual technology throughout the facility
·  Expanded strength and conditioning, training, and recovery facilities
·  Best-in-class locker rooms and players’ lounge
·  Physical therapy areas including hydrotherapy pools
·  Sports science and nutrition facilities
·  Expanded media work room, press conference and broadcast facilities
·  A flexible hospitality area designed for community relations activities, partner gatherings and other guest events
·  Work space for the team’s coaching and basketball front office staffs
While the facility will have all the bells and whistles you would come to expect in a new facility, Gotham said there will be a balance of sorts struck between that and the franchise’s longstanding history.
“What will be clear is it will be … at that intersection of, which is a strange intersection, of innovation but honoring our tradition,” Gotham said. “This will be a building that’s state-of-the-art, moving forward. But at the same time, I think one of the things we’re lucky to have is this treasure trove of great guys who came before us who left great wisdom and great quotes. You can see a lot of that built in. Coach Stevens is big on having motivational phrases around for the guys to see every single day when they come in for practice. If those come from Red Auerbach and Bill Russell, all the better. You’ll see us incorporating those kind of things.”   

Celtics waive R.J. Hunter as James Young makes roster

Celtics waive R.J. Hunter as James Young makes roster

BOSTON – One way or another, R.J. Hunter or James Young was not going to be a Boston Celtic by the end of the day Monday.
The Celtics made their choice by waiving Hunter just hours before the NBA deadline to trim their roster down to 15 players.
Hunter began to show signs of coming around near the end of training camp, but his improved play would eventually be too little too late.

This is certainly good news for Young, who like Hunter, made it clear that he wanted to remain with the Celtics. But it by no means should be seen as a victory for Young who is entering his third NBA season.
The 21-year-old is now part of the 15-man roster, but it still doesn’t address the issue of him playing better to where the Celtics might actually use him with some degree of regularity.
If not for Kelly Olynyk’s shoulder injury, which will keep him out of action until next month, there was a decent chance that Young would begin the season on the inactive roster. But to Young’s credit, he showed a level of dedication to the game that the Celtics had not seen before. He spent most of this past summer in Boston working on his game, trying to get physically stronger. During the preseason, his level of commitment to improving was noticeable as well.
And when he did get a chance to play in the preseason, he did a lot of little things really well, showing the kind of improvement that ultimately put him a leg up on Hunter whom the Celtics drafted last year with the 28th overall pick.
If Hunter isn’t claimed, he becomes an unrestricted free agent who can then sign with any team of his choosing. Do not be surprised if Hunter is claimed off waivers by a team which then assigns him to their Development League affiliate, similar to what the Celtics did with Ryan Kelly over the weekend.