West hopes to help others during suspension


West hopes to help others during suspension

By Jessica Camerato

For most of the Celtics, the NBA season will officially kick off next Tuesday night.

Delonte West, though, will have to wait a little longer.

Before West can take the court, he must serve a 10-game suspension for weapons charges stemming from last year. Now he is determined to use his situation to benefit others.

West hopes to invite a group of deserving children to the teams practice facility in Waltham to watch the Celtics battle the Miami Heat on television.

Maybe award some children that have good grades or kids from troubled situations trying to do the right thing, he said. Its not all negatives about missing games.

For West, its not the number of games that bother him. A player can be sidelined longer than that with a sprained finger, he says. Its the small moments that matter most to him. Given that he cannot be in the TD Garden two hours before game time, he will miss those first small moments of the regular season.

Taking the floor for the first time with the team or just being in that first huddle, to hear what Doc (Rivers) has to say before a game or after a game, those things are very important, he said. That develops chemistry and those things that you miss out on, those are things Im going to miss.

West already missed five of the teams eight preseason games with nagging injuries. After suffering what he thought was back spasms, he learned it was actually pain in his glute muscles. West has not played since October 10 and is looking forward to getting back out there at full strength. He expects to practice this week.

It was kind of preventing me from playing the type of game I like to play -- hard-nosed, get up, and energetic, he said. Those are things I bring to the floor that the spasms were preventing me from doing.

Even though West has been sidelined with injuries (and will be for the first ten games with a suspension) he isnt worried about having chemistry with his teammates when he returns to the floor. He is in his second stint with the Celtics and has transitioned back into the system after being away from the team for three years.

Guys know what each other can do. Were like brothers, he said. Were around each other all day, every day. When youre not on the court, youre still around each other somehow. I dont think 10 games is enough time to really fall out the loop of things.

West notes that he will feel isolated from the teammates, the group of players he badly wants to see succeed, during his suspension.

A lot of things have been thrown my way over the last year so nothing really surprises me, he said. Its going to be tough in the sense that I wont be out there helping my team.

But if Wests vision becomes a reality, he will be able to use this time to help others on Opening Night.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

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Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

BOSTON -- The last time Boston saw the Charlotte Hornets last month, both teams were streaking in the wrong direction with each coming in having lost three in a row.

Both come into tonight’s game streaking, although in two very different directions.

Boston (25-15) has won 12 of its last 15 games to firmly establish itself as the third-best team in the East behind Cleveland and Toronto. Meanwhile the Hornets (20-20) are on the cusp of falling below .500 for the first time this season after losing their last four games.

Still, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen enough of this Hornets team to know that a win tonight won’t come easily.

“This is a good team,” Stevens said. “We all know Charlotte. They don’t beat themselves. We’ve had to play really well against those guys. This is going to be a tough one, as we all know.”

Figuring out why these two teams are trending in opposite directions isn’t all that complicated.

For the Celtics, their success of late has hinged heavily on their ability to make 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s problems have had a lot to do with a tough slate of road games (all four of their recent losses were on the road) and their inability to make shots which has been an issue in some form for them all season regardless of the opponent.

Look at the last four games, all of which the Hornets lost while the Celtics won three of their four games in that span.

The Hornets rank 21st in scoring with a 101.5 points per game average while the Celtics average 110.8 points which ranks 8th in the league.

Charlotte ranks dead-last in the league the last four games when it comes to shooting the ball (40.5 percent), while Boston comes in 18th at 46.0 percent.

But it’s the 3-point shot and its impact on having an effective field goal percentage, that really separates these two.

Boston has averaged a league-best 15.3 made 3-pointers in the last four games while the Hornets and their 9.8 made 3’s ranks 20th.

And as far as its impact on eFG%, Boston comes in with the eighth-best eFG% in the league (54.8 percent) while the Hornets next-to-last in the NBA with an eFG% of .462.

So what does that mean tonight?

Boston will look to continue being fueled offensively by good ball movement and attacking the rim which in turn should result in lots of good looks from 3-point range which is clearly a strength of this team.

Charlotte will search for other sources of offense besides former UConn star Kemba Walker who is on the short list of candidates for a spot on this year’s Eastern Conference all-star roster.

As was the case in Charlotte’s 102-93 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, an off-night shooting for Walker (17 points, 7-for-23 shooting with three assists) left the Hornets extremely vulnerable to defeat. Similar struggles tonight will provide a similar ending for Charlotte which would allow both teams to continue streaking along … something the Celtics wouldn’t mind at all.