Rondo, Perkins among C's to play together again

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Rondo, Perkins among C's to play together again

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA

The Boston Celtics -- past and present -- are reuniting.

On Friday, September 30 Marquis Daniels, Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, and Nate Robinson will suit up as teammates in the Southern Hospitality Showcase Atlanta 2011, a competitive, fast-paced "pick-up" style game featuring over 20 NBA players.

Along with the currentformer Celtics, other NBA players slated to participate include John Wall, Jason Terry, Stephen Jackson, Josh Howard, Al Harrington, JJ Hickson, Josh Selby, and Trey Thompkins. Additional players are expected to be announced.

The event will take place at Morehouse Colleges Forbes Arena and is presented by Daniels organization, the Q6 Foundation, as well as SLAM Magazine, Victory H2O, C9 by Champion, The V Firm, and The Cube Lounge.

With players traveling around the country during the NBA lockout to play in various leagues (more than 60 took part in the Impact League in Las Vegas last week), Daniels, an Orlando native and Auburn University alum, was inspired to bring basketball down south.

We all sat down collectively, me and my team, and saw there was a lot of stuff going on out west and up north in Baltimore, Daniels told CSNNE.com in a telephone interview. I figured why dont we do something in the south and get some guys to come down here and play also.

This game will be the first time Daniels, Perkins, Robinson, and Rondo have played together since February 6, 2011 when Daniels suffered a season-ending injury due to spinal stenosis. Weeks later, Daniels was traded from the Celtics to the Sacramento Kings and Perkins and Robinson were dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The former teammates have stayed close, and Daniels looks forward to taking the court with them again . . . on the same side.

Were still friends, at the end of the day, he said. Its going to be great just to get out there on the court with them, just knowing how hard they compete and how hard they play. I know what to expect from them and they know what to expect from me.

Daniels also looks forward to playing - period. He has been cleared for contact and has been hitting the gym to keep himself in the best shape possible during his rehab and the NBA lockout.

Im able to play, he said. Im still being careful with it and everything but it just helps me to work on my jumpshot more, my mid-range game, get back to what Ive usually been doing as far as slashing to the basket.

Daniels stressed the game is about giving the fans basketball to watch. There will also be live entertainment and performances, including DJ Irie, the official DJ of the Miami Heat.

He has hopes beyond just one game, too.

Hopefully we can travel around and go play in different places as well, Daniels said. Like I said, they have teams on the West Coast, they have the Goodman League and Carmelo Anthony has something that he does in Baltimore. Hopefully we can expand it to Chicago and different places, Miami, wherever. At the end of the day, we just want to keep playing basketball and keep ourselves in shape.

Proceeds will benefit The American Heart Association, Sickle Cell Anemia and Research, Green Boy and Morehouse College Athletics.

Tickets will go on sale on September 22 at ticketalternative.com and whyiball.com. Fans can also purchase tickets the day of the event at the Forbes Arena Box Office.

For those who cannot attend, the game will be streamed lived online at www.slamonline.com (courtesy of spunlive.com).

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA.

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

BOSTON -- On more than one occasion Monday night, the Boston Celtics were a discombobulated bunch with some players thinking they were running one play, while others were thinking the play called was something totally different.
 
You see that stuff in the preseason and to a certain extent in the regular season for a lot of teams. It is in those moments that we’re reminded that this Boston Celtics team is a work in progress on so many levels.
 
Because of that, we all need to hit the pause button when talking about them as a team inching closer towards Eastern Conference supremacy.
 
After the first month of the season, they have yet to show that they are going to be better than last season’s 48-win ball club.
 
The big problem a year ago was the offense bogging down and for the most part, not making shots. This year, it’s the team’s defense that has let them down on many nights.
 
And with that comes a sobering reminder this crew is good, but at best are maybe top-five in the East.
 
As a team on the rise, beating teams you’re not supposed to has to happen with some semblance of regularity.
 
There were only three teams on the Celtics’ docket this season thus far that they should have been beaten by without there being any argument: Golden State, San Antonio and Cleveland.
 
They were beaten in all three, two of which (Golden State and Cleveland) had final scores that did not indicate the level of dominance they had over the Celtics.
 
The average margin of defeat in the three games was 9.3 points, but two of them (San Antonio and Golden State) were at the TD Garden, which is supposed to be the equalizer for upset-minded teams.
 
But in each game, Boston put up a decent fight only to fail to emerge victorious.
 
The struggles against the upper echelon teams of the NBA has nothing to do with not having a superstar or a great rebounder or any of the kazillion reasons/excuses offered up as to why they’re not better.
 
It’s hunger.
 
It’s effort.
 
It’s about being blinded by the internet clicks that tout them as one of the best teams in the East, and them not seeing the danger that comes with embracing all that patting on the back.
 
It makes you soft.
 
It makes you fat and happy.
 
And maybe most significant, it creates a false sense of arrival before you’ve left the tarmac.
 
That’s where the Boston Celtics are right now: a team that seems to have forgotten why they were the team nobody wanted to play last year.
 
It wasn’t that teams feared playing them. It was the fact that they knew playing the Celtics would be tough, and it would force them to play a lot closer to their full potential than they were used to if they wanted to win.
 
It was because everyone knew that to beat the Celtics, you don’t have a choice but to play hard because you damn well knew they would.
 
Not anymore.
 
They bring that toughness to the game in small doses, like an intra-venous drip full of hope and promise, providing just enough to life to keep their fans optimistic but not nearly enough to kill the noise of their haters and critics.
 
And while the season is still young, the Celtics need to start racking up some quality wins.
 
Right now, their most impressive win is a toss-up between beating Charlotte 104-98 on Oct. 29, or a 94-92 win at Detroit on Nov. 19.
 
Boston plays at Orlando on Wednesday, a team that’s likely to be back in the lottery again. But after that, they travel back to Boston where they’ll host Toronto -- a game that they desperately need to not only to pad their win total but also provide a much-needed boost of energy and confidence going forward.

The Celtics have to find that hunger, that collective desire that we’ve seen in the past which has propelled them to greater heights than we’ve seen thus far.
 
Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford… you can go down the roster and the mission for all of them has to be the same: play harder, for longer, and be smarter about it, because this team has too much collective talent to be just three games above .500.
 
At 12-9, Boston is third in the East and trail conference-leading Cleveland by three games for the best record in the conference. But then you look at the teams behind the Celtics and realize that they’re only two games out of having the ninth-best record in the East.
 
It speaks in part to the season still being in its infancy stage. But it’s also telling as to how Boston does not have a huge margin of error when it comes to losing winnable games.
 
And as we’ve seen thus far, the Celtics can play with any team in the NBA and hold their own.
 
But beating them is a totally different narrative that this squad has yet to write.