Celtics

Friday FT's: Shaq wouldn't trade Rondo; Marbury update

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Friday FT's: Shaq wouldn't trade Rondo; Marbury update

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.

With Rajon Rondo - Chris Paul trade rumors buzzing this week, Shaquille O'Neal weighed in on the topic during a recent interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

O'Neal recently revealed in his book, Shaq Uncut, he believes playful insult from President Obama messed with Rondo's head. Nonetheless, he wouldnt trade his former teammates if he was in the front office.

Everyone is tradeable, you could probably get a lot for Rajon Rondo but he is the heart and soul of the team, he said. I dont think that would be a good idea. If I was the general manager, I wouldnt do it.

Shaq followed that up by giving Rondo an edge over Paul on the court.

Chris Paul is not better than Rajon Rondo, he said. Rajon Rondo is the true definition of a point guard, period. He gets everybody involved and he scores when he has to. Chris Paul scores a lot of points, but when was the last time they made it to the playoffs? Thank you very much.

Bias Remembered 25 Years Later

To commemorate its 25th anniversary, the Washington Post Magazine took a look at 25 moments that changed Washington. The first moment -- June 17, 1986, the day the Boston Celtics drafted Len Bias with the second overall pick. The photo caption includes, "When he completed his extraordinary basketball career at the University of Maryland, the only question surrounding Len Bias was whether he would dominate the NBA in the same fashion he ruled the Atlantic Coast Conference. Twenty years later, many still wonder."

Johnsons Jersey Already Retired

JaJuan Johnsons college number has been retired before he even suited up for the Celtics. On Tuesday, Johnson was honored by Purdue University with a dedication ceremony in which his jersey was hung in the rafters. It still hasnt sunk in, all of the stuff that Ive done at Purdue, Johnson told the Purdue Exponent. Its kind of weird and I just left last year so I can still enjoy it while Im young. Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter praised the Celtics rookie, noting the 6-10, 221-pound forward is stronger than he may look. Its just special to see somebody develop like that as a player and as a person and achieve some of their dreams, he said.

Marbury Wants a Championship in China

Former Celtics guard Stephon Marbury is hoping to achieve a goal that eluded him in the NBA winning a championship. Marbury, who is playing for the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), is focused on one objective this season We have to think of the championships, whether you are able to achieve it or not, he said, according to ChinaDaily.com. The report also noted Marbury is learning Chinese and would like to play the rest of his career in the league. "I will retire as a professional player in CBA and that is my aim, he said.

Whats Gabe Pruitt Up To?

As the Celtics look to add depth to their bench this season, lets take a look back at a former bench player. Celtics 2007 second round draft pick Gabe Pruitt (remember him?) is playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the NBA Development League this season. The guard is off to a quick start this season, averaging 22.5 points and 4.5 assists in his first two games.

Celtics Tweet of the Week

@Aabradley11: Best bday gift ever.. It's time to hoop

Celtics Birthdays of the Week

Celtics guard Avery Bradley turned 21 on November 26 High-flying Dee Brown turned 43 on November 29. He is currently an assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons. Jerry Sichting, a member of the 1986 championship team, turned 55 the same day. Five-time All-Star and 1974 championship-winning Paul Westphal turned 61 on November 30. He shares a birthday with Mark Blount (36) and Darren Daye (51).

This Week in Celtics History

On November 27, 2007 the newly revamped Celtics lost, 109-104, in overtime against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road. LeBron James scored a game-high 38 points and dished 13 assists. Days later, the Celtics fought back at home, beating the Cavs 80-70 on December 2, 2007 at TD Garden. James did not play in that game, and Ray Allen led all scorers with 20 points. On November 26, 1995, the Celtics traded Sherman Douglas to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Todd Day and Alton Lister.

Larkin provides fourth-quarter spark, Celtics beat Sixers, 102-92

Larkin provides fourth-quarter spark, Celtics beat Sixers, 102-92

PHILADELPHIA – Despite playing its second straight game without a key rotation player, the Boston Celtics did just enough to get their first win of the season, 102-92, over Philadelphia.

Boston (1-2) was led by Kyrie Irving’s game-high 21 points, but it was Shane Larkin's floor game down the stretch that truly catapulted Boston to its first win of the season.

Larkin, who was seeing action in large part because Marcus Smart was out with a left ankle injury, provided a huge spark in the fourth before finishing with 10 points and four assists.

He drained a 3-pointer that tied the game at 75-all, which was part of an 18-9 Celtics run.

The Sixers (0-2) were led by J.J. Redick and Jerryd Bayless who had 19 and 18 points, respectively. Joel Embiid got off to a slow start, but finished with a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Boston played with a lead for most of the first half, but Philadelphia took over with a 7-0 run to end the second quarter and had the Celtics playing catch-up for all of the third and some of the fourth quarter.

Boston was once again short-handed, with Marcus Smart out with a left ankle injury. He replaced Gordon Hayward, whose left ankle injury in the first quarter of Boston’s loss to Cleveland on Tuesday, is expected to keep him sidelined for the rest of the season.

But with players out, that opens up opportunities for others to step up.

Larkin, who walked away from a contract overseas that would have paid about $5 million more than he’s making with the Celtics, was one of those players.

Aron Baynes, who got the start with Smart out, had 10 points and eight rebounds. Boston also got another strong game off the bench from Terry Rozier who had 14 points and seven rebounds

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

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Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

PHILADELPHIA – For the third time in as many games, the Boston Celtics will field a different lineup.

It will have a domino effect on Boston’s usual starters, but no one more than Al Horford who will slide over to power forward with Aron Baynes inserted into the starting lineup where he’ll be charged with trying to defend Sixers 7-footer Joel Embiid.

Meanwhile, Horford will be assigned to defend Robert Covington who is one of Philadelphia’s better perimeter scorers.

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“I feel like one of my strengths is being able to play multiple positions,” Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “It presents a different challenge for me, which is making sure I do a good job of covering him out on the perimeter, staying between him and the basket.”

In Philadelphia’s 120-115 season-opening loss to Washington, Covington led all Sixers with 29 points which included him going 7-for-11 from 3-point range in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.

While Covington will be Horford’s first defensive assignment, he knows he will also be called upon at times to defend Embiid who ranks among the best centers in the NBA despite having played just 32 games over the course of three NBA seasons.

In the loss to the Wizards, Embiid had a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Horford’s defense will be critical for Boston (0-2) to get its first win of the season, but the Celtics will also need him to take advantage of scoring opportunities as well.

“We have some guys down, but that creates opportunities for other guys to step up and contribute,” Horford said. “It’s going to all of us, the veterans, the young players, all of us to get that first win.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens agreed.

“I think that’s how we have to look at it,” Stevens said. “We’re going to have to make a few tweaks on how we do things, obviously. Hey, it’s gonna be something that we’re going to have to do really, really well on the fly.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE