Celtics

Friday FT's: Scalabrine bolts Italy; KG's new campaign

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Friday FT's: Scalabrine bolts Italy; KG's new campaign

Welcome back to Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that have not made the headlines but are still worth a read.

Brian Scalabrine is known as one of the ultimate team players in the NBA, so when he recently left Benetton Treviso to pursue a contract in the NBA, his coachs response was surprising.

EuroBasket.com reported Alexander Djordjevic said :

A disappointment on the human side, I didn't expect that. This is my personal opinion. He was the first NBA player in Europe to go back to the USA without a contract, without playing the latest games and help the team and greet the fans, all at 33 years ago only for going on his knees to his wife that wanted him back. He hasn't a team and an NBA contract yet. I was counting on his professionalism, respect for the club and especially for his young teammates. He could help us at least until tomorrow, the team needed it, but Scalabrine had a very negative attitude, as already shown in recent weeks, which gave us not so much on the field and beyond, indeed he has also negatively influenced other Americans. We're thrown off by this, thinking of a serious professional, but caused problems with teammates and club.

(ht Yahoos Ball Dont Lie)

Scalabrine played seven games for Benetton Treviso, averaging 11.6 points per game, and quickly became a fan favorite.

He was a favorite among his teammates, too. Celtics rookie ETwaun Moore, who played in Italy with Scalabrine, recently told the Boston Herald, I ask (Scalabrine) a lot of questions. He has given me a lot of insight things to look for. Hes told me that everyone on the Celtics is a close family, and gets along real well. Hes told me how well (coach) Doc (Rivers) does at getting everyone into the right situations to play to their strengths.

KGs New Campaign

Want to learn more about Kevin Garnett? ANTA's new marketing campaign, "Basketball is My Life," will include stories on their endorsed players, according to the company's press release. As part of the campaign, ANTA will also debut a new series of basketball sneakers showcasing "the Four Mythical Creatures" -- White Tiger, Vermilion Bird, Black Tortoise and Azure Dragon. No word yet on which shoe Garnett will wear this season.

Will Arroyo Play in the Big Apple?

Carlos Arroyo is one of those veteran players who doesnt make a lot of noise, but once the postseason rolls around, you usually see him on the court for a playoff contender. After previously playing for the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, and Miami Heat, Arroyo joined the Celtics in March for their title push last season. Now it seems he has his eye on another championship hopeful the New York Knicks.

"I love New York," Arroyo told ESPNNewYork.com. "It would be a great situation for me -- aside from being the largest Puerto Rican population in the U.S. (laughs). I have a great relationship with Chauncey, Melo and Amare, especially with Chauncey since we played together in Detroit.

Arroyo averaged 2.4 points and 1.7 assists in 15 games for the Cs.

I Wanna Be Like Perk

When younger players compare their games to NBA veterans, names like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Kevin Garnett are frequently used. You know, star players who are idolized and emulated by millions. So when Knicks rookie Josh Harrellson compared himself to former Celtic Kendrick Perkins, the reference stood out.

Im a lot like Kendrick Perkins, Dennis Rodman type player, Harrellson said, according to the New York Post. Im tough and Im going to do the little things, offensive rebounds, going to play good defense, take charges. The little things that those two did to make their teams successful: Kendrick at Boston, Rodman for the Bulls. The little things those guys did to make championships teams better.

Harrellson also has another link to the Celtics the University of Kentucky alum worked out this summer with Rajon Rondo and other former Wildcats.

Celtics Tweet of the Week

@CharleeRedz13: "Thx 4 all the support from my fans.......I will continue 2 become a better player and person every day..... Let's hope 4 the best dis week."

Celtics Birthdays of the Week

Celtics legend and Hall of Famer Larry Bird turned 55 on December 7. Bird played all 13 years of his career with the Celtics, winning three NBA championships during the 1980s. His accolades include three MVP awards, two NBA Finals MVP awards, Rookie of the Year honors, and 12 All-Star selections. Over the course of his career, he averaged 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists during the regular season and 23.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 6.5 assists during the playoffs. Four-time All-Star Otis Birdsong, who played in the 1988-89 team with Bird, turned 56 on December 9.

This Week in Celtics History

On December 4, 1992, the Celtics traded Jon Barry and a 1995 second round pick to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Alaa Abdelnaby. On the same day, the Cs waived Kenny Battle. On December 6, 2000, the Celtics signed Milt Palacio as a free agent. On December 8, 1977 the Cs waived Steve Kuberski, who was in his second stint with the team.

Kyrie goes back to the mask tonight

Kyrie goes back to the mask tonight

The mask will be back tonight in Atlanta for Kyrie Irving.

The Celtics guard told reporters at the team's shootaround Saturday in preparation for Saturday night's game against the Hawks - where Boston will try and win its 15th in a row - that he'll grudgingly go back to wearing the clear plastic facemask he had been using to protect a facial fracture he suffered last week. 

Irving wore the mask against Brooklyn for a full game earlier in the week then ditched it in the second half of the victory over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday. He shot just 4-for-16 from the field (1-for-5 on 3's) against the Warriors and has made no secret of his disdain for wearing it.  

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

To get to 15, C's need to keep up the D

To get to 15, C's need to keep up the D

BOSTON – If you were to deconstruct the building blocks of the Celtics' 14-game winning streak, you would find the foundation lies in what they’re able to accomplish defensively.
 
And to the Celtics’ credit, their defense has been challenged in a multitude of ways already.

MORE CELTICS:

 
They have managed to beat teams with great one-on-one talent (Golden State), those that rely heavily on athleticism and length (Milwaukee) as well as those that put a premium on sharing the ball (Philadelphia), which will be among the ways Atlanta could potentially challenge the Celtics tonight.
 
While the Hawks (3-12) have had their struggles this season, it hasn’t necessarily been because of selfish play offensively.
 
Atlanta averages 327.9 passes per game, which ranks third in the NBA.
 
The problem hasn’t been getting players the ball; it’s what happens – or doesn’t happen – when they get it.
 
Despite being a top three passing team, the Hawks average 22.9 assists, 10th in the NBA. And they're connecting on 45.5 percent of their shots from the field, 14th in the league.
 
For Boston to continue its winning ways, it’ll again be because their defense will have taken away things the Hawks love to do.
 
When it comes to scoring, Atlanta has been one of the NBA’s best at generating offense off screens.
 
Despite having an offense that ranks 19th in scoring (104.2) this season, Atlanta has been among the league leaders when it comes to scoring off screens.
 
In fact, only two NBA teams (Golden State and Cleveland) have generated more points off screens this season than Atlanta (141).
 
That still shouldn’t be a major issue for the Celtics defense, which allows a league-low 94.1 points per game and has shown the ability to find success against any and every kind of offense.
 
Here are five below-the-radar storylines heading into tonight’s game between two teams at opposite ends of the success spectrum this season.
 

KYRIE IN THE CLUTCH
It’s one thing to score a bunch of points, but it takes a special player to do it in the latter stages of play, especially against an elite team that knows you’re looking to get points any way possible. We saw Kyrie Irving shrug off a horrible shooting night (4-for-16) in the 92-88 win over Golden State that included him draining all seven of his fourth-quarter free throws. But Irving coming through when the game counts shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. According to NBA.com/stats, Irving is averaging a league-best 5.8 points in “clutch” situations (last five minutes of a game with the margin being five points or less), ahead of notable standouts Damian Lillard (5.0) of Portland who is second and ex-teammate LeBron James (4.6) who ranks behind Irving, Lillard and Miami’s Dion Waiters (4.9).
 

HIGHS, LOWS FOR HORFORD
Although he spent nine seasons in Atlanta, it has been anything but a sweet homecoming for Al Horford statistically speaking. In the four games he has played against his former team, Horford has averaged 8.8 points and 6.8 rebounds, which are his lowest career scoring and rebounding averages against any team. However, the 5.8 assists he averages against the Hawks represents his highest career average in that category against any team.
 

JAYLEN BROWN
His athleticism has always made Jaylen Brown a standout and the way he has shot the ball this season in clutch situations has stood out as well. But what hasn’t been talked much about is his defense against 3-point shooters. NBA.com/stats lists Brown with 67 contested 3’s this season. That's tops in the NBA. And his 4.2 contested 3’s per game rank sixth in the league.
 

DENNIS SCHRODER
When you see the numbers, it’s clear that much of what the Atlanta Hawks do these days is centered around Dennis Schroder. But upon deeper inspection, it’s apparent that Atlanta is literally driven by the play of the 6-foot-1 point guard. Known for his attacking style of basketball, it doesn’t come as a surprise that he’s one of the league’s best at getting to the rim. According to NBA.com/stats, Schroder leads the NBA with 19.1 drives per game. The closest Celtic in that category is Irving who averages 9.7 drives per game which ranks 38th in the league.
 

TAUREAN PRINCE
With Schroder looking to run out in transition as much as possible, Taurean Prince has been more than willing to help fill lanes and provide an option for Schroder to pass to on the break. That has led to lots of spot-up shot opportunities for Prince this season. He comes into tonight’s game averaging 5.4 spot-up possessions per game, which ranks third in the NBA behind Detroit’s Tobias Harris (6.3) and New Orleans’ DeMarcus Cousins (6.2).