Rivers moves up the ranks of Celtics coaches


Rivers moves up the ranks of Celtics coaches

By A. Sherrod Blakely

BOSTON We often talk about the milestones reached by Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, as well as a host of Boston Celtics veterans.

Well, their head coach, Doc Rivers, is in some pretty rare company these days.

With Wednesday's 119-95 win over the Sacramento Kings, Rivers passed K.C. Jones on the Celtics' all-time coaching win list. He now has 309 victories.

Rivers trails Comcast SportsNet analyst Tommy Heinsohn (427) and Celtics great Red Auerbach (910).

Rivers acknowledged he hadn't given the achievement much thought until asked about it following Wednesday's victory.

"I don't know what it means, honestly," Rivers said when asked about being the third-winningest coach in franchise history. "I just don't know what it means yet, because I'm not thinking about it much; I'm not done. But it's nice."

Rivers has the Celtics once again in the hunt for an NBA title with a 29-9 record.

But Rivers, in his seventh season as the C's coach, knows all too well who to credit with his long run in Boston.

"It's Danny Ainge at the end of the day," said Rivers, referring to the Celtics' president of basketball operations.

After finishing first in the Atlantic Division in his first season with the Celtics in 2005, the team got progressively worse record-wise the following two seasons before bottoming out at 24-58 during 2006-07.

There were many who wanted Rivers out.

But Ainge wasn't one of them.

"We were bad for two years and he stuck with me," Rivers said. "And Ainge believed in me."

Following the 2006-07 season, the Celtics made a draft-day trade for Ray Allen. A couple months later, they traded for Kevin Garnett.

From there, the C's have maintained a spot among the NBA's elite that already earned them an NBA title in 2008.

So as much as Rivers will get the praise and credit for winning more games than all but two coaches in franchise history, he understands how fortunate he was to be given an opportunity to do so with one of the most storied franchises in NBA history.

"At the end of the day," Rivers said, "it's Danny Ainge more than me."

As far as making a run at the top spot, Rivers has given that some thought.

"That ain't gonna happen," he said. "I can guarantee you that!"

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@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.