Celtics

A. Sherrod Blakely's Truth and Rumors

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A. Sherrod Blakely's Truth and Rumors

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

Having returned to the United States to have a growth removed from his right leg, there is a school of thought that says Allen Iverson may not return to play for Besiktas Cola in the Turkish league.

Yahoo! Sports reporter Adrian Wojnarowski had a Tweet earlier this week indicating that Besiktas attempted -- and failed -- to sign a potential replacement for him in Sundiata Gaines. They have since moved on and will sign former Celtics guard Oliver Lafayette.

Even if Iverson were to return, Besiktas is starting to realize what all 30 NBA teams realized this summer.

Iverson's game hasn't just slowed down.

It's come to a damn near screeching halt.

The idea that he might not return to Besiktas isn't all that surprising.

When he was traded from Denver to Detroit in 2008, he got hurt after struggling on the floor.

Near the end of the season, both sides decided that he would be best away from the team.

Iverson resurfaced in Memphis, and that didn't end any better.

The best thing for Iverson right now is figure out what his life after basketball will consist of.

The more you watch him, the more clear it becomes that his days as pro basketball player are numbered.

Perk technically OK for now
Only four games into his return to the lineup, and Kendrick Perkins has already picked up two technical fouls.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers isn't worried, because Perkins has a 43-game cushion.

While the technicals may not tally up to where he'll miss games, technicals in games by nature tend to make players try to be more under control emotionally.

Perkins?

Under control emotionally?

I don't like the way that guy plays, and neither will the Celtics.

Just like the rest of the Celtics had to work through the ''respect for the game'' edict handed down by the league this season, so does Perkins.

He'll get better.

Because if he doesn't, he won't be nearly as effective as he should be -- and the Celtics will suffer.

Rondo in a slump
We saw Rondo have back-to-back games with single-digit assists totals, and a third straight seemed in order after a one-assist total in Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Then halftime came, and Rondo was never the same as he ripped off 15 second-half assists.

Here's the thing about Rondo.

As much as we talk about him being the catalyst for this team, so much of his play is dictated by the play of those around him.

And we're not just talking about making shots, either.

Rondo is at his best when he has the ball in his hands, in transition.

The problem of late has been the Celtics big men either 1) not getting enough rebounds or 2) getting rebounds but not getting the ball in Rondo's hands quick enough.

That results in a lot of walking the ball up against set defenses, which, to some degree, takes a little bit away from what he does best.

Every now and then, the Celtics need a reminder of sorts as to what they do well, and how Rondo sets the tone for stellar play.

They got away from that a little bit at Portland, and a little bit more in Friday's loss at Phoenix.

We'll see if the win over the Lakers, and the way it came about with Rondo doing what Rondo does best, will be enough of a wake-up call for them moving forward.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Gil Santos had connection to Celtics, in addition to Patriots

Gil Santos had connection to Celtics, in addition to Patriots

MILWAUKEE -- When most fans of New England pro teams think of Gil Santos, they immediately associate him as the longtime voice of the New England Patriots.

But once upon a time, many years ago, Santos -- who passed away Thursday on his 80th birthday -- was the television voice of the Boston Celtics. His broadcast partner was the legendary Bob Cousy through most of the 1980s.

MORE ON SANTOS

"Gil was the consummate professional," Cousy told NBC Sports Boston. "I worked with a lot of play-by-play men who went on to National success, but Gil, to me, was by far the most prepared. He did it by the book, not a lot of editorializing. I appreciated that he often let the pictures do the talking . . . that's something he really believed in."

Cousy added: "I thought he had the best voice of all the play-by-play men. I had great respect for him as a play-by-play man because I always knew he was well prepared. I also enjoyed his company. He was a great dinner companion because he was a great story teller . . . and he loved good food. Gil would always handle the dinner arrangements and to me that was another big plus. He was the best at finding the best restaurants."

Santos' impact went beyond the airwaves.

He was a man who changed lives, something the current TV voice of the Boston Celtics can attest to.

Mike Gorman recalls his first encounter with Santos, in 1975.

"I was just out of the Navy and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life," Gorman told NBC Sports Boston. "At one point when I was getting out of the Navy, I decided I wanted to be a sportscaster but I had no credentials for it and no experience in it. That was fortunate for me because ignorance was bliss."

After sending out resumes, Gorman realized his dream job wasn't going to come about that route.

"So I walked up to WBZ to speak to Gil Santos," Gorman said. "Gil was nice enough to come out and see who I was."

The two talked, shared a couple Cokes, played a softball game and before you know it, Santos was on the phone with a friend of a radio station in New Bedford, Mass., which would soon become Gorman's first on-air job.

And that was the catalyst for what has been a Hall of Fame-worthy career for Gorman, whose broadcasting career has been influenced by many.

But the impact of Santos on his career, is immeasurable.

Gorman said he would probably be a teacher and a would-be basketball coach right now if it wasn't for Santos.

"I was pretty much at the end of the line trying to get into broadcasting," Gorman said. "If Gil had been discouraging or said you need to go to broadcasting school or something like that, I would have said, ‘Thanks' and gone back to being a teacher, which is what I was trained to be in college."

Gorman added: "He opened the door for me. If he doesn't open the door for me, I'm 90 percent sure I would be in some other business not doing what I'm doing now."

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

No extra motivation for Celtics' Monroe in beating his old team

No extra motivation for Celtics' Monroe in beating his old team

MILWAUKEE – Unlike previous stops in his NBA career, Greg Monroe is no longer saddled with the burden of being the face of the franchise or expected to be a central part of the team’s core.

Drafted by the Detroit Pistons with the seventh overall pick in 2010, Monroe has been a solid but far from spectacular pro with career averages of 13.7 points and 8.6 rebounds while shooting 51.5 percent from the field.

Now, with the Celtics, that’s no longer an issue.

With Boston, the 6-foot-11 center is part of the puzzle rather than a cornerstone which works for all involved and has been one of the many factors weighing in Boston’s favor as the Celtics hit the road with a 2-0 lead against Monroe’s old team, the Milwaukee Bucks, in the best-of-seven series.

One of the big knocks on Monroe was how most of the teams he played on failed to get to the playoffs.

An eight-year veteran, this is only the second time Monroe has been to the playoffs.

The first time?

That was last year, with the Bucks, who were bounced in the first round by Toronto.

The irony of Monroe potentially getting to the second round of the playoffs at the expense of the Bucks is not lost on the veteran big man.

Still, he insists there’s no added motivation or incentive for him in this series against his former team.

“Like I said before, that part of my career is over,” Monroe said. “I’m focused on right now and right now we have to win this series.”

Here are five under-the-radar storylines leading into tonight’s pivotal Game 3 in Milwaukee:

MIDDLETON AND FOULS


Khris Middleton will be the first to tell you that he’s not the quickest defender on the floor. And the numbers will back him up on that assertion, especially when it comes to committing fouls. The 6-foot-8 Middleton leads all players in the postseason with a 5.0-fouls-committed-per-game average. While it is higher than his regular-season average, even then he ranked among the most foul-prone players in the NBA. Among those who appeared in at least 60 games last season, Middleton’s 3.3 fouls committed per game was the fourth-highest average.

BENCH PLAY


The Celtics' second unit has been among the NBA’s most productive since the All-Star break and that trend has continued into the playoffs. Boston’s bench has absolutely dominated this series, outscoring the Bucks’ backups, 68-48. Leading Boston’s backup attack has been Marcus Morris, who by himself has scored 39 points in the first two games – just nine less than the entire Milwaukee bench.

BOXING OUT


This series thus far has been more about Boston doing the little things, a lot better than the Bucks. Among the areas Boston has been better at, is boxing out which has been key to Boston’s success on both the offensive and defensive boards. In the first two games, nba.com/stats has the Celtics for 66 box-outs compared to 62 for the Bucks. It may not seem like a lot, but a couple more box-outs on Milwaukee’s part may have been enough for them to be coming into tonight’s game in a 1-1 series tie versus this being a must-win game for them now that they’re trailing, 2-0.

TATUM MORE THAN A SCORER


After having one of the greatest playoff debuts ever by a Celtics rookie, Jayson Tatum’s scoring wasn’t quite up to par with what we’ve seen from him this season or in Game 1 (19 points, 10 rebounds). He had just four points on 2-for-9 shooting in Game 2. Still, he actually did a lot of really good things for Boston to take control of Game 2 and never let it be in question. Tatum grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists while tallying a game-high four steals and blocking one shot. His ability to impact games in ways beyond scoring, speaks to his growth as a player and understanding of his role within the framework of this roster.

JABARI PARKER


There’s a different gear the best players have to shift into when the playoffs begin. And Jabari Parker simply hasn’t made that change. Not even close. A 12.6 points per game scorer in the regular season, Parker has scored just two points in the two games in this series. He has to be better tonight if the Bucks are to have any shot at getting back in this series.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE