View Full Version : 2 articles out of Boston, one on Greene and one on Bird

10-15-2006, 08:24 PM
I thought these were worth posting.


Greener pastures in Indiana
Injury aside, ex-Celtic has a shot with Pacers
By Peter May, Globe Staff | October 15, 2006

Orien Greene became eminently expendable in Boston on the night of the 2006 NBA draft. The Celtics traded for Sebastian Telfair, traded for the pick to select Rajon Rondo, and then declined to pick up the second year of Greene's deal, making the point guard a free agent. He was not unemployed for long.

The Indiana Pacers claimed him off waivers and put him through a crash course in Pacers Basics over the summer. He arrived at training camp ready to claim a job, and it appears he has done just that.

``I love the guy," gushed Larry Bird, Indiana's basketball operations boss. ``He don't say much. He's a lot like [Danny] Granger in that way. They keep their mouths shut and just go out and work their butts off."

The glass-half-full assessment of Greene in Boston was that he had the tools to be a Don Chaney-type player. Defense was, and is, Greene's calling card. His offense? Well, in Boston, it was, to be charitable, on-again, off-again. He shot 39.5 percent from the field and 66 percent from the line. He averaged 3.2 points and 1.6 assists in 15.4 minutes.

None of those numbers deterred the Pacers. Indiana is trying to become a more athletic, versatile team, and Greene fit the job description. He spent all summer working on his shot -- ``He's making them now," Bird said -- and he led Indiana to a come-from-behind win in its exhibition opener against New Jersey, dishing out five assists and making two steals in an impact fourth quarter in which the Nets were outscored, 30-11.

``He was the catalyst in that win," said coach Rick Carlisle. ``That's why we had him in there. We like his size, his athleticism, and his tenacity. And he has a good feel for the game."

Alas, the exhibition performance did not have a happy ending.

``I jammed my finger against another player and I found out later that I broke it in two places," Greene said. ``I thought when it happened that I just dislocated it and I asked the trainer to pop it back in place. I kept playing with it. They say I'll be out 3-6 weeks. We'll see."

Greene played in 80 games for the Celtics last season, so he wasn't exactly a wallflower. He played more minutes than Al Jefferson. ``I had an all-right year," he said. ``I had a lot of learning to do. I'm hoping to be a lot better this year. I've gotten a lot more confidence in my game."

Bird said Indiana probably will keep four point guards, which bodes well for Greene. The key returnees are oft-injured Jamaal Tinsley (involved, but not charged, in the recent strip club fiasco) and Sarunas Jasikevicius. Carlisle said he likes the way Greene plays and, needless to say, loves his defense.

``His defense is what's going to keep him in the league and keep him on the roster," said Carlisle.

That sounds great to Greene. It would sound a lot better if he were able to play, but, for now, the encouraging words from Bird and Carlisle will do. It could be a lot worse.

Refs prepared to play T-ball

During Celtics scrimmages, Doc Rivers has instructed his rent-a-refs to be unsparing in calling technical fouls. The reason: The NBA supposedly has told its referees not to hesitate to ``T" up a player or a coach who embarrasses them in any way.

``We're going to be more aware of some of the behavior that the NBA doesn't want," said one NBA referee, who asked not to be identified. ``But, for me, nothing really has changed. You handle business accordingly."

That's the way NBA operations chief Stu Jackson sees the so-called ``zero tolerance" policy.

``This goes back a few years," he said. ``We told the officials back then that if a player or a coach approached them in a respectful way, then they would owe that person a response in a like manner. But if an official is addressed in a nonprofessional way, then the official is to use what is available to him, and that is the technical foul."

Where you will notice a change is in the NBA's version of the Tuck Rule. Players now must have their shirts tucked in or they are liable to be called for a delay of game violation and, if it happens again, a technical foul. The Pacers' David Harrison was called for a delay-of-game violation for a non-tucked-in jersey in an exhibition.

Also verboten is a player stripping his warmups on the sideline as he enters the game.

Boston could be the break Jackson is looking for

The Luke Jackson acquisition is a no-brainer for the Celtics. First, they aren't committed to him beyond this season if they don't exercise his fourth-year option by the end of the month. Second, the money sent by the Cavaliers pays the kid's freight for 2006-07. Third, Dwayne Jones was not going to make the team and the Cavs were looking for big bodies. Fourth, the Celtics apparently are going to play a lot of small ball, and if Jackson rediscovers his game and his shot, he could help.

Having said all that, he also could be one of the three cuts that, as of now, the Celtics must make to get the roster to 15.

Jackson is not lacking in confidence, that's for sure.

``I think I'll fit in here," he said. ``I'm a team guy, a hard worker. I always bring a good attitude. I can shoot the ball. I'm an all-around player.

``I'm just excited to get a chance to play here. Playing behind the two highest-paid players on the [Cavs], Larry Hughes and LeBron James, hasn't really been a great opportunity. I realize Paul Pierce and Wally [ Szczerbiak] are two established stars as well, but, playing up-tempo, it looks like Coach wants to get a lot of guys in there. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to prove myself."

The Jackson-Jones deal is at least the fourth between the Celtics and the Cavaliers since Danny Ainge came on board. Ainge traded for Jumaine Jones (sending JR Bremer and Bruno Sundov to the Cavs in that blockbuster) and then pulled the big deal involving Ricky Davis.

Ainge then fleeced a No. 1 pick in 2007 out of the Cavs for Jiri Welsch, a pick that subsequently was moved to Phoenix for the right to select Rajon Rondo in the 2006 draft.


Bidding to qualify
USA Basketball will find out tomorrow where its senior men's team will be playing next summer in the American zone qualifier for the 2008 Olympics. FIBA Americas is expected to announce the site of the August tournament, out of which two teams will gain Olympic berths. Venezuela had the early inside track, but did not come up with the necessary down payment ($1.5 million) by Aug. 31 and FIBA returned the less-than-adequate payment. FIBA told Venezuela it could resubmit its bid, but the favorites now appear to be Las Vegas and San Juan, the latter of which has hosted the last two zone qualifiers. The importance and glamour of the qualifier jumped exponentially when neither the United States nor Argentina won the World Championships, necessitating them both to field teams in 2007.

Sticking point for Bird
With all the hoopla surrounding the new basketball, and its better, albeit stickier, grip, Larry Bird was asked a simple question. If this ball had been in play when he broke into the league, would he ever have seen the need to wipe his hands on the bottom of his sneakers, a Bird staple and trademark that was copied by thousands of kids. ``I first started to do it way before I got into the NBA because I played on a lot of slippery floors and I wanted to make sure I had enough traction on my sneakers," Bird said.

``But I also did it when my hands got wet, too, so I guess you could say I wouldn't need to have done it. But I mostly did it because of the slippery floors. You want to get all the dirt and stuff off of your sneakers." Guess that doesn't bode well for the gyms in Paoli and Loogootee, does it? Bird, by the way, is a fan of the new ball. ``I think it feels great," he said. ``Then again, I'm not the one out there playing, so who cares what I think? But it has a new feel, which I like. We'll see what happens when the first guy dribbles it off his foot."

O-fer for Okafor
Charlotte's Emeka Okafor, who missed 56 games last season with a badly sprained ankle, submitted the following numbers in his first exhibition game: 0 points, 6 fouls, 3 rebounds, 2 turnovers, and 1 field goal attempt (which was blocked) in 9 minutes. This was the same guy who was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2005 and a member of the ill-constructed 2004 Olympic team in Athens. ``I'm not worried about it all," he said after the game. Hey, it's October. The games don't count, even if Dwight Howard went for 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks in the same game. Said Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff, ``Emeka has to get up and down. I don't know if he's been up and down other than training camp. The halfcourt stuff is good, and to work with the team is good, but you have to play 94 feet. He's aware he needs to play." The Bobcats were heartened by Adam Morrison's 19 points in the same game. Charlotte tomorrow will, for the third straight year, host the Cool School Field Trip, which features a 10 a.m. exhibition game against the Wizards. The crowd will consist of around 18,000 middle-school kids who were selected from roughly 100 schools in 15 counties. The kids have demonstrated an excellence in school work, character, and public service.

Rockets have shooters, anyway
Guess we'll have to wait for that promised, revved-up Houston offense. The Rockets, who GM Carroll Dawson says will be much more of an up-tempo team this season, managed 69 points in losing to Memphis in an exhibition game. By way of explanation, Houston went with a lineup in the second half that only the mothers of the following could love: Vassilis Spanoulis, John Lucas III, Steve Novak, Kelenna Azubuike, Kirk Snyder, Matt Haryasz, Scott Padgett, and Casey Jacobsen. That unit managed 20 points (9 in the third quarter) and blew a 12-point halftime lead. One Houston player to watch is Novak, who was selected in the second round of the 2006 draft and was promptly given a three-year deal worth almost $2.1 million, with the Rockets holding the option for Year 3. Novak was a 3-point shooting machine in college (Marquette) and no less an authority than Tracy McGrady has already slobbered over the rookie's pure stroke. ``He is the best shooter I've ever seen," McGrady said. ``I don't care if he can do anything else. He can shoot and I love the way he shoots. I don't care if he can't dribble, he can't rebound, can't play defense, that man can shoot the ball." Novak set a Marquette record with 354 3-pointers and hit 46.1 percent of his shots from the college version of international waters. The Rockets can use him. Houston ranked 27th in the league last season in 3-point shooting percentage.

European rookie awaits his fate
It was a tough introduction to European basketball for former Texas big man Brad Buckman. He was signed by Olimpia Larissa in the top Greek league, but his debut has been put on hold because of a failed drug test. Buckman, 22, apparently tested positive for amphetamines, which he said is because he has been taking medication to combat anxiety and a lack of concentration. (That sounds a lot like Ritalin, which thousands of kids Buckman's age and younger take for those same reasons.) Buckman will find out his penalty in the next 10 days or so. Two other players in Greece tested positive for marijuana.

10-15-2006, 08:25 PM

Bird still aches to feather his nest
By Steve Bulpett/ NBA Notes
Boston Herald Sports Reporter

Sunday, October 15, 2006 - Updated: 03:33 AM EST

When Larry Bird stood in a Conseco Fieldhouse hallway for a conversation last season, he didn’t look so good. Sure it’s hard on a big man when the years start piling on after a long and physically debilitating career, but it was clear the travails of his Pacers were having a visible effect on the Legend.

And it’s doubtful he’s looking any prettier after Stephen Jackson mixed a strip club fight with some small weapons fire.

‘‘I’ve never been around anything like this,” Bird said on Wednesday after Jackson was hit with felony charges. ‘‘It’s new to me, and it’s frustrating. Getting a phone call at 6 in the morning is not something I like.”

Since taking over the franchise, Bird has had to work around the Palace brawl, Ron Artest’s work stoppage and the resultant inability to put the team he wants on the floor.

Still he doesn’t regret his decision to go home to Indiana after a three-year retirement.

‘‘Never,” Bird said. ‘‘Never. I got back for one reason. In high school, I couldn’t win a championship. At Indiana State, we couldn’t win it. As a coach I couldn’t win it. I just want to see this franchise have a chance to get back to the Finals and have an opportunity to win one.”

It’s still amazing that Bird never assumed a major front office position in the one place he did win, but the ownership situation never seemed to be right for him in Boston. There was the fear by one group that Bird might publicly go against its budget constraints and have the power with the fans to pull it off.

Is N.J. Carter Country?

Want to know another reason why the Celtics were so happy to lock up Paul Pierce with a contract extension? You know, beside the fact that he’s, uh, pretty good? Keep an eye on New Jersey and Vince Carter.

Carter is scheduled to make $16.3 million in the 2007-08 season, but, like the pre-extension Pierce, he can opt out of that year and become an unrestricted free agent. Carter is saying all the right things, but one never knows what can happen between now and next June 30.

‘‘I love it here,” he said. ‘‘I don’t see why (I wouldn’t stay), because it’s a wonderful opportunity to play with these guys. We’ll see what happens.”

The two sides have chatted about an extension, but nothing is yet done. So what happens if the Nets have a rough year and Carter’s home-area Orlando Magic make him a nice offer? And what if his reported marital problems alter his desire to stay in Jersey?

Those are uncertainties the C’s don’t have to face with Pierce. . . .

Speaking of Orlando, it was hard to keep track of all the Magic injuries following just one week of camp. And Grant Hill wasn’t even a part of the discussion.

Some in Central Florida are wondering if the J.J. Redick pick will ever bear fruit. He sat out for three months this summer with a herniated disc, and shortly after beginning to play again around Labor Day he suffered a small plantar fascia tear in his left foot. He practiced three times in camp before he broke down and was fitted with a walking cast. If all goes well, Redick will be back at practice late this week.

Elsewhere, a head-to-head meeting between Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard resulted in a concussion and nine stitches for the former and six stitches for the latter. Old friend Tony Battie has been out with a sore knee, Trevor Ariza has a bruised foot and Carlos Arroyo has a strained oblique muscle.

Time to enlarge the trainer’s room, eh?

Hard to argue with that

In a move to be celebrated by coaches who want to see their teams get back on defense and referees seeking quieter nights, the NBA is introducing a so-called no-tolerance policy with regard to player whining. Persistent arguing about calls - even if the words don’t cross the language line - will now be cause for a technical.

‘‘The thought process is that we have the best athletes in the world playing a spectacular game as well as it’s ever been played,” NBA commissioner David Stern said. ‘‘In my view, it detracts from it when a small handful spend their time negotiating and slowing the game down, at least in the perception of the fans, by engaging in an enterprise which is not productive. Because in my 22 years, I don’t think any call or non-call has been reversed because a player complained.

‘‘So all it does is show what I would say a less attractive side to the greatest athletes in the world, and coaches don’t mind this result because it means that player will get back on defense rather than stay down to argue about a call that he didn’t get on offense. So it’s long overdue.”

The commissioner is interested in the league maintaining the tempo it has worked so hard to create with rules changes.

‘‘In our sport, I think (arguing over calls and non-calls) detracts from these extraordinarily gifted, well-conditioned, intense athletes playing the game at a pace that some couldn’t ever imagine,” Stern said. ‘‘I love it. I love the game. This is what we’re about. This is why we had such a great year last year. It was about the game and we are intent upon focusing people upon the game because whenever that happens, we always win.”

Wallace’s No. 1 fan back

Now that Ben Wallace has been traded to Chicago, his older brother David will again be able to go to his home games. David was in the stands at the Palace during the infamous Piston-Pacer battle and wound up involved in the fray. He was charged in the melee and was subsequently barred from attending games at The Palace.

‘‘Now he can come to the United Center,” Ben Wallace said. ‘‘He had to do a little community service, got that all out of the way. I think it was good for him - good for everybody - that things worked out the way they did.”

So why did Ben Wallace get involved in the brawl?

‘‘Because (Artest) told me he was going to hit me, and he did it,” Wallace said. ‘‘That was just one of those things. It happened in the heat of the battle.” . . .

Can’t wait to ask John Havlicek about Rajon Rondo. Hondo on Rondo. Perfect. . . .

The Celtics are doing more to change their game night entertainment package than just adding dancing girls. They have let go director of game operations Joe Bivona after two years manning the microphone in the stands. . . .

Nobody wins unless everybody wins.

10-15-2006, 09:15 PM
Here is an article on Croshere


Posted on Sun, Oct. 15, 2006

Croshere wants to be his own man

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

MILWAUKEE -- When the Mavericks traded for Austin Croshere this summer, it wasn't generally understood that he was coming to town to replace Keith Van Horn.

However, no one has actually told him that.

"But," Croshere said, "obviously if you look at the roster that they had last year and the makeup of the team last year compared to this year, I think the idea was for me to come in, and the roles would be comparable [to the one Van Horn occupied]."

After acquiring Croshere, the Mavs decided not to re-sign Van Horn, a free agent who is leaning toward retirement. Nevertheless, while there are some striking similarities between Croshere and Van Horn, there also are some startling differences.

"Van was bigger and a different type of forward," coach Avery Johnson said. "He could play some [center] for you against certain [centers].

"Croshere is a little bit smaller. He's a little bit more active, and he's a little more of a [power forward-small forward] while Van Horn [6-foot-11] was more of a [power forward-center]."

For his part, Croshere would prefer not to be compared to his predecessor.

"I don't feel comfortable getting into comparing myself to a guy that was here last year," he said. "But I'm a competitive player and can bring veteran experience to the team and really do anything the coach asks of me."

In some ways, this is a year of transition for Croshere. The 6-foot-9, 242-pounder spent his first nine seasons with the Indiana Pacers before coming to the Mavs in a trade for Marquis Daniels during the off-season.

But Croshere said getting accustomed to a new city, new teammates and a new system hasn't been all that difficult.

"One thing I always noticed in Indiana was when you brought new guys in, they really fit in really quickly," he said. "This is a business, and things move forward.

"I'm sure Indiana is fine without me, and I really feel like Dallas and my teammates here kind of welcomed me with open arms."

After the Mavericks' first three preseason games, Croshere is averaging 6.0 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 30.4 percent from the field. He is 1-of-6 on 3-point field goal attempts.

"He's just trying to get adjusted to what we're doing," Johnson said. "Once we can get him to just play basketball and not worry about what spots to be in -- when he can instinctively get to those spots -- he's going to adjust really well.

"But it's still a learning process."

While leaving a Pacers franchise that's recently been making headlines for all the wrong reasons, Croshere is happy he wasn't shipped to one of the NBA's lower-tier teams.

"I'm very fortunate to have been traded to a great organization and a winning team," he said. "There's not much more you can ask for."


10-15-2006, 10:12 PM
Good article on Greene, pretty much sums it up. He's really going to help us this year, I know it.

10-15-2006, 10:20 PM
Good article on Greene, pretty much sums it up. He's really going to help us this year, I know it.

I agree, he's what we need.

Another catalyst in the win over NJ was the play of Maceo Baston. I remember watching him at Michigan, and he was pretty good but nothing spectacular, even now he's got room to improve but he's definitely a game changer.

I like the way Bird said Greene, like Granger, just comes in does his job and keeps his mouth shut. You noticed he didn't mention JO!

Yo, JO, like Dr. Evil says, ZIP IT!! :D

10-15-2006, 10:31 PM
Peck, you better get on the phone and tell Avery that Cro can play the 5 better than Van Horn ever could.