Rivers praises ABCD, Hoop Dreams fundraiser


Rivers praises ABCD, Hoop Dreams fundraiser

BOSTON Doc Rivers always roams the TD Garden court for a good cause, but few get better than this.
For the second year in a row, Rivers will be on the sidelines overlooking the action during the Action for Boston Community Development's (ABCD) Hoop Dreams fundraiser.
As one of the area's more prominent figures, there are plenty of organizations that Rivers can serve.
But the ABCD program struck a chord with Rivers, who said he first learned about the program when he saw an article about Bob Elias, ABCD's Director of Government and Industrial Relations.
"I had my assistant call them," Rivers told CSNNE.com. "I wanted to get involved. It's such a neat group. I thought it would be a great way to get involved in Boston charities."The ABCD program, celebrating its 50th year anniversary this year, is focused on helping to improve the lives of low-income residents in the Greater Boston area through various neighborhood-driven programs ranging from Head Start programs to job training to programs for the elderly.
Last year's Hoop Dreams fundraiser generated more than 100,000 towards the programs offered that collectively serve more than 85,000 individuals in need.
Each of the 10 teams participating in Wednesday's action paid 10,000 for a total of 100,000.Rivers, much like the ABCD organizers, would love to see the Hoop Dreams fundraiser continue to grow.
"When you meet the people that work for ABCD, especially Bob Elias, you just see how hard they work and how many people they touch," Rivers said. "The other part is they do a lot for young people. The summer jobs program that they do for kids coming out of high school, kids coming home from college. I just think it's really important. This is the one that I wanted to get involved with."
And fundraising aside, it also offers some a chance to do what so few can -- play on the legendary parquet floor.
"It's called Hoop Dreams and it's a really neat thing," Rivers said. "A lot of guys never get the opportunity to play out on the Boston Garden court. And they get to do that. Some are very serious. Some have fun."
Quipped Rivers, "The most important person here is the trainer."
For more information on the ABCD program, you can log on to their website (www.bostonabcd.org) or you can follow them on Twitter (@Bostonabcd).

Celtics-Hawks preview: C' defense looks to keep up historic pace


Celtics-Hawks preview: C' defense looks to keep up historic pace

As the wins continue to pile up for the Boston Celtics, so does the praise and adulation from others throughout the league. 

It’s a double-edged sword if you think about it. 

Acknowledging how good the Celtics are, is indeed a sign of respect. 

But it also means Boston plays every game with a large target on its back unlike any of Brad Stevens’ previous Celtics teams. 

And that means every game they play, even those like tonight’s matchup at Atlanta where they will be heavily favored, are dangerous matchups.

Because for some teams, the next best thing to competing against the champ (Golden State) is facing the team with the best record who just knocked off the champ. 

That will be one of the dynamics at work tonight when the Celtics (14-2) kick off a three-game road trip against a trio of sub-.500 teams beginning with the Hawks (3-12).

Boston has shown tremendous focus and attention to detail during their 14-game winning streak. But in that span, the Celtics have never had a trio of teams right behind each other that struggled as much as the Hawks, the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks have this season. 

Not including games played on Friday, Boston’s next three opponents are a combined 11-33. 

All three of those teams would love to be the one to knock off the Celtics, the kind of victory that could significantly shift the direction of their respective franchises from their current downward spin. 

Meanwhile, the Celtics will look to continue to play with the kind of defensive temperament that has catapulted them to the top of the NBA’s defensive standings in several categories. 

“The way they’re beating teams it ain’t pretty,” a league executive texted NBC Sports Boston. “But they win. Last I checked, that’s what matters most.”

And that success has to a large degree, put a bigger bullseye on the Celtics than ever. 

“Now that we have a reputation, I think everyone is coming for us,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Now we have to come play even harder, and I think we can do that. I think we are more than capable.”

Especially if they continue to defend at a level we haven’t seen in years. 

Boston has a league-best defensive rating of 95.4. A key component in Boston’s strong play defensively has been their ability to win the battle of the boards. They come into tonight’s game with a .530 rebounding percentage which is second in the league to Portland (.539).

And that defense, while praised for how it functions collectively, it also consists of some pretty good individual defenders as well. 

Among guards averaging at least 20 minutes per game, Boston has four players ranked among the top 10 in defensive rating (Marcus Smart, 93.5 defensive rating, 2nd); Jaylen Brown (93.6, 3rd); Terry Rozier (95.0, 5th) and Kyrie Irving (96.4, 8th). 

When you look at forwards, Brown headlines a trio of forwards that includes himself, Al Horford (94.2, 3rd) and Jayson Tatum (96.1, 7th). 

Aron Baynes has the best defensive rating (90.6) among centers, followed by Horford (94.2).

“Our guys are locked in and really trying and again we can really play some pretty ugly basketball at times,” Stevens said. “But I do think that we are competing which is really good.”