Doc's task: Keeping the Stars aligned


Doc's task: Keeping the Stars aligned

By JessicaCamerato

For the past four seasons, Doc Rivers has been tasked with managing superstar personalities and reigning them in to play Boston Celtics basketball.

This weekend, he has the job of getting 12 of the NBAs best to play on the same page.

For the second time in four years, Rivers was named head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Star Team. This time around he will have four Celtics on his roster -- Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo, who was not on the team when Rivers previously coached the All-Stars in 2008.

The Celtics will come off the bench, while Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire, and Dwight Howard will start. Chris Bosh, Al Horford and Joe Johnson will round out the reserves.

While these All-Stars will have to play united on Sunday, it has only been a matter of days since they were pitted as foes.

Two weeks ago the Celtics defeated Howard and the Magic in Boston. Howard was whistled for a technical foul during Boston's victory, which had its share of heated moments.

The following weekend tensions rose as the Heat came to the TD Garden. Players dealt hard fouls as the desire to win led to arguments, and perhaps the most memorable moment of the Celtics win came when James shoved Rondo, who was trying to listen in on a Heat huddle (no timeout had been called).

And as if that competition wasnt enough, Stoudemire and Horford were also involved in a war of words in the media.

While Rivers joked about his approach to coaching these players, he isnt overly concerned once the game starts.

Im going to tell them to get it on, he smiled. Hey, lets get some action going in the locker room. I think what were going to do is just have everybody have separate seats in the locker room and face the lockers and not look at each other.

Itll be when they get in there and I think its all good. Listen, back in the days there was a lot of animosity with each other, and then they got on the floor and they loved each other, and the next day they didnt like each other again. So thats just the beast.

Rivers is taking a lighthearted approach to coaching the Eastern Conference team. When it comes to preparation, he laughed that he is going to leave it up to assistant coach Lawrence Frank.

Actually, as a matter of fact, I told Lawrence hes planning the practice," Rivers said. Were running his plans. The ones that dont work are his. The ones that work are mine.

As for a pregame pep talk, Rivers didnt have to deliver one in New Orleans. The Eastern Conference team had lost, 153-132, the previous year and James wanted to address his teammates. It worked, as the East won, 134-128.

The first one in New Orleans was phenomenal because LeBron got up and he actually gave a serious talk before then, Rivers recalled. He asked if he could say something to the team, and he was serious. I guess they had gotten blown out the game before and he talked about how embarrassing that was. And so, after he spoke I told our coaches, I think were good tonight. And we were. He was the MVP.

Even though Rivers will be coaching a new group of players this weekend, he is still concerned about his own team during the break. The Celtics begin a four-game West Coast road trip two days after the All-Star Game, and Rivers has encouraged his players to head out west early to get their bodies acclimated.

Ive suggested, go west young man. And Ive got a feeling, Vegas, probably thats what they think," he laughed. I meant like Park City would be phenomenal for them, as long as they dont ski. But I think most of them are going to try to do that.

Once the game wraps up in L.A., it is on to Oakland where the Celtics will play the Golden State Warriors, followed by matchups against the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz.

Its a good West Coast trip, he said. Usually when you go out west after the break, we always start with those deadly back-to-back games, which are killers for everyone. At least in this case we have days off, practice time.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Ray Allen tells court he was 'catfished'


Ray Allen tells court he was 'catfished'

ORLANDO, Fla. — Retired NBA star Ray Allen said he is a victim of “catfishing,” and has asked a court to throw out a case where he is accused of stalking someone he met online.

Allen filed an emergency motion in Orange County, Florida, on Tuesday, one day after Bryant Coleman told the court he is being stalked by the 10-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion.

Allen said Coleman is the one who is stalking.

“Coleman pretended to be a number of attractive women interested in Ray Allen,” read the motion filed on Allen’s behalf. “Ray believed he was speaking with these women and communicated with them.”

Attorney David Oscar Markus released a statement saying Allen took legal action in an effort to put an end to threats against him and his family, and that Allen was the victim “of an online scheme to extract money and embarrass him by someone who appears to be troubled.”

In the filing, Allen said Coleman threatened to reveal details of their conversations, and that the sides eventually struck a deal to keep everything private. Allen said that deal has been violated and that Coleman has continued to harass him and his family through several social-media accounts.

“He posted about Ray’s wife, Ray’s children, Ray’s dog, Ray’s homes, Ray’s wife’s restaurant, and numerous other personal items,” read the motion. “Coleman not only posted about these things, he would actually post while physically located inside Ray’s wife’s restaurant in Orlando. And he would make sure they knew it, tagging Ray and his wife on those posts.”

Allen asked the court to stop Coleman from “cyber-stalking.” It was not clear if Coleman has an attorney, and a working phone number for him could not be found.

“Ray regrets ever engaging with this person online and is thankful they never met in person,” Markus said. “This experience has negatively impacted Ray, and he hopes that others might use his mistake to learn the dangers of communicating online with strangers.”

Allen is the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made. He starred in college at UConn and won championships with the Celtics in 2008 and Miami in 2013, the second title coming after he made one of the most dramatic shots in playoff history — a game-tying 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in regulation of Game 6 of The Finals against San Antonio, a game that the Heat would win in overtime to extend the series to a seventh game.

Allen also played for Milwaukee and Seattle, and last appeared in the league in 2014. He and his family have lived in the Miami area since.

© 2017 by The Associated Press 

Blakely's takeaways: Stevens downplays Celtics' streak

Blakely's takeaways: Stevens downplays Celtics' streak

Brad Stevens likes the fact that the Celtics have shown an unusually strong resolve this season by consistently finding ways to win on nights when they don’t play their best.
It’s to the point now where fans, as well as the players, feel no deficit is too steep to overcome.


That said, there’s a level of expectations on this team now that you would think would bring about a heightened level of pressure, right?
They’ve won 16 in a row, the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history.
Not according to Stevens.
“Coaching basketball is not pressure,” Stevens told reporters after Monday night’s win. “Playing basketball is not real pressure. Sometimes we overdo this stuff. We’re just trying to prepare well for the next game. That’s all we’ve done, that’s all we’ll continue to do. The streak doesn’t mean anything to me; maybe it does to the guys in the room. But it’s about finding ways to get better and finding ways to get the job done.”
Here are five other takeaways from the 110-102 overtime win at Dallas that extended Boston’s winning streak to 16:

There may not be a player on this team – maybe in the NBA – that’s more difficult to get a read on, than Marcus Smart. He has been a historically bad shooter throughout his career in Boston. And yet when you look at their 16-game winning streak, he’s one of the main reasons for it. He plays with an edge; he’s gritty and defends at a level that few can match. He makes big plays in big moments. But he's having his worst season ever shooting the ball yet his impact when he’s on the floor has never been greater. So, what do you do if you’re Stevens? You keep playing him. Because as much as his poor shooting hurts the team’s overall scoring, he makes so many clutch plays whether it’s facilitating, defending or – wait for it – making shots. He adds tremendous value to winning, even if his shooting numbers might suggest otherwise.

When you’re getting “M-V-P! M-V-P!” chants on the road, you know you’re ballin’ hard. Kyrie Irving wowed the Dallas crowd with 47 points, 10 of which came in overtime as Boston rallied after facing a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter. If the numbers continue to climb along with the win total, Irving will continue to cement himself as a top-five MVP candidate. 

One of the few constants in Boston’s string of success has been their rebounding. Against the Mavericks, the Celtics once again won the battle on the boards, 53-45. And it hasn’t been one or two players, either. Against Dallas, the Celtics had five players grab at least four rebounds with no one securing more than nine. That kind of rebounding balance makes Boston an extremely difficult team to out-work on the glass.

The scoring punch we’ve come to expect lately from Horford just wasn’t there against Dallas. Instead, he seemed more consumed with getting others (mainly Irving) involved offensively. He missed four of his five shots from the field and scored just three points. But he almost had a double-double in rebounds (eight) and assists (seven) along with blocking a couple of shots. And as always, his plus/minus was among the best on the team with the Celtics being +7 when he was on the floor.

While Irving was delivering one big shot after another down the stretch, one of his running partners in late-game situations this season has been Jayson Tatum. He ranks among the league’s best shooters in the fourth quarter and Monday’s victory only solidified his status. Against the Mavericks, Tatum had six points and was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field. According to NBA.com/stats, Tatum is shooting 64.1 percent in the fourth quarter, which ranks eighth in the NBA among players who take at least two field goal attempts per game in the fourth. Right ahead of him is teammate Marcus Morris (65 percent).