Tomorrow tells the story


Tomorrow tells the story

You can't get wrapped up in yesterday when tomorrows all that matters.

I think I heard that once in an Oasis song. Or maybe it was Kanye. Or maybe it was whispered sweetly into Rachel McAdams' ear during some awful romantic comedy. Or maybe it was something Michael Caine said at the end of Mr. Destiny. Or maybe I just made it up.

OK, I made it up. But the words ring true on this absolutely beautiful and completely miserable Friday afternoon.

Lets face it: Yesterday was tough. Yesterday was impossible.

Yesterday was a reminder of how helpless the Celtics are, and the entire NBA is, when the best basketball player in the world plays like the best basketball player in the world. Its really that simple.

Yesterday was about LeBron James. Not the LeBron James hes become, but the LeBron he was supposed to be. The LeBron James that was not only admired, but almost universally loved by fans, players and coaches around this league. The LeBron James who was supposed to change basketball forever and for the better, before a big head, fragile psyche and a boat load of bad advice turned him into Alex Rodriguez in a tank top.

Today and if the Celtics fall short again tomorrow well talk about last night as a lost opportunity, but Im still not convinced that opportunity existed. I dont say that to let the Celtics off the hook, because lets be honest: That was a brutal effort. Considering who they are, where they were and what was on the line, last nights performance was an insult. Not to us, but to themselves. If last night was truly the last time we see the Big 3 together on the parquet, its a legitimate shame to have them go out like that with so much at stake and so little to show for it.

But regardless of how much better the Celtics should and could have played, they werent the story. It was LeBron. He was unstoppable. He was legendary.

But heres the thing about last night: It was last night.

And while LeBrons performance was powerful enough to keep us in awe up until tomorrows tip off, right now it means very little. It does nothing to alter his legacy or reputation, because unless he and the Heat can pull off not one, not two, but five more wins this season, the story on LeBron is staying put.

Instead, as great as it was, LeBrons transcendent performance is currently floating in limbo alongside the no-call on Rondo in overtime of Game 2, Wades missed three-pointer in overtime of Game 4, Pierces step back three and Rondos brilliant tip pass in Game 5. Right now, LeBrons 45-point outburst is merely one of a number of things that have led us to this point, the importance and historical significance of which will be entirely determined by the events of tomorrow night.

Tomorrow night.

Everything is tomorrow night. The results will affect the way we remember every aspect of these last six games, of the last two years of this rivalry, of the last five years of this historic era of Boston Celtics basketball. That may sound like hyperbole, but I promise you that it's not.

Can the Celtics do it?

Come on, thats a stupid question. Of course they can do it. If you dont believe the Celtics can go down to Miami, reverse the fortunes of Game 6 and shock the world one more time, then you're believing all wrong. You know nothing about this team, the resilience of champions, the level of grit, balls, fortitude and obscene levels of pride and skill that go into a Hall of Fame career, into making it this far in the first place. You dont know how much this team loves and cares about Doc Rivers, about each other, about their fans and about themselves. You didn't see the tears running down their faces in the moments after that Game 7 loss two years ago in LA. The feeling that they'd blown their last chance to separate themselves from the hordes of one-hit championship wonders and into another stratosphere of NBA history. As individuals, and more importantly, as a team.

Honestly, if you don't think the Celtics have a chance tomorrow then click off this page right now and never come back to this web site.

OK, I just talked to my editors. They want me to say you're always welcome back. But let me reiterate that you're missing the point: The Celtics can do this.

The question of "will they?" is obviously far more important, but unfortunately beyond our control. Anyone who tells you that they know what will happen tomorrow is lying. They're probably the same people who wrote the Celtics off after Game 2, who wrote the Heat off after Game 5, who spent the last two weeks mapping the Spurs' victory parade, and the last two days doing the same for OKC. The same people who repeatedly look ridiculous but are somehow the only ones who don't remember.

Sometimes you just don't know. Sometimes believing is all you've got.

Believing that tomorrow night, with everything EVERYTHING on the line, the best that these Celtics have to offer will once again be on display.

And hoping against all hope that the best of LeBron James is nowhere to be found.

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Young understands work isn't done after claiming Celtics final roster spot

Young understands work isn't done after claiming Celtics final roster spot

WALTHAM, Mass. – For so many years the game of basketball came easy – almost too easy – for James Young.

He stood out on a young Kentucky team that played at the highest levels, delivering the kind of performances as an 18-year-old college freshman that catapulted him into the first round of the NBA draft.

To be so young and already having achieved a childhood dream, to be in the NBA, Young was too young to realize how quickly the dream could become a nightmare if he didn't put in the necessary work.

The past couple of weeks have not been easy for Young, aware that the Celtics were torn as to whether they should keep him around this season or waive him.

They choose the former and instead waived his now-ex teammate R.J. Hunter, on Hunter’s 23rd birthday no less.

One of the first acts Young said he planned to do following Monday's practice was to reach out to Hunter, offer words of encouragement to a player he looked upon as a brother, a brother who is in a state of basketball limbo right now which could have easily been the latest chapter in James Young’s basketball narrative.

And that’s why as happy as Young is to still be donning the Green and White, his work towards proving himself to this team, to this franchise is far from done.

You listen to veterans like Jae Crowder, a second-round pick who has come up the hard way in the NBA, they speak of how Young now takes the game more serious.

Even Young acknowledged that he didn’t take the NBA game and the need to work at staying in the league as serious as he should have initially.

“I wasn’t playing as hard (early on),” Young admitted. “I just was satisfied being where I was, being too comfortable. My confidence was down. I have to change that around.”

Crowder, a straight-no-chaser kind of fellow, said as much when I asked him about the changes he has seen in Young.

“He’s taking stuff a little more serious,” Crowder said. “It’s growing up. He came in as a first-round draft pick and was on the borderline of getting cut. I don’t know what else is going to wake you up.”

That’s part of what made this decision so difficult and on some levels, left players with mixed emotions about the decision.

For those of us who followed this team through training camp, there was no question that Young had the better camp.

But the one thing that was never questioned with Hunter, was his work ethic. He made his share of mistakes and missed more shots than a player with a sharpshooter's reputation should, but you never got a sense it had anything to do with him not working as hard as he needed to.

That was among the more notable issues with Young who came into the league as an 18-year-old. That youth probably worked for him as opposed to Hunter who played three years of college basketball and was expected to be seemingly more NBA-ready.

Even though Hunter’s NBA future is on uncertain ground now, he’s too young and too talented to not get at least one more crack with an NBA team.

And by Boston waiving him, he really does become a low-risk, high-reward prospect that an NBA team might want to take a closer look at with their club. 

And Young remains a Celtic, doing all that he can to climb up the pecking order which now has him as the clear-cut 15th man on the roster.

He might see more minutes than rookie Demetrius Jackson and possibly second-year forward Jordan Mickey, but Young’s future with the Boston Celtics is still on relatively thin ice.

“I told him this morning, this might be the first time he’s earned anything in his life,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations.  “He earned this by his play, day-in and day-out. He was given a lot as a young kid with a lot of promise, a lot of potential. We talked about earlier this summer, he had to come out and win a spot with some good competition and he did. He needs to keep doing what he’s doing.”

More than anything else, Young has been consistent in his effort, overall energy and attention to detail. But it remains to be seen if Young has done all that to just secure a roster spot, or has he truly grown up and figured out what has to be done in order to be an NBA player.

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.”