• Quote of the day definitely goes to Rajon Rondo, who has this to say about the Brad Miller flagrant foul (via the Globe’s Frank Dell’Apa):
“The hit was softer than I expected,’’ Rondo said. “I knew I was going to get hit, going back to last year. It wasn’t as hard as it seemed. I think he tried to go for my face but he hit me in my nose.
“But I’ve been hit harder. You just know, you’ve got a feeling. It didn’t hurt, I was just focusing on trying to make a free throw, honestly. I wasn’t mad or anything, that’s part of the game. I’ve been hit way harder. Next time we play them I’m still going to drive whether it’s him whether it’s [Joachim] Noah or anybody. It could be Shaq[O’Neal]. I’m still going to drive that’s what I do.’’
This is awesome in so many ways. Hopefully this Miller-Rondo thing is now over.
• Paul Pierce addressed his upcoming “free agency” (I use quote marks because there’s no way he’s walking away from a $21.5M player option) with the Globe’s Gary Washburn. Nothing new, but always fun to hear the greatest Celtic since Bird recognizes the importance of being the greatest Celtic since Bird:
“It probably wouldn’t even look right, me in another uniform at this point,’’ Pierce said yesterday morning at the United Center before the Celtics’ 106-80 win over the Chicago Bulls. “It’s probably like seeing Kobe [Bryant] in another uniform or Tim Duncan in another uniform. It probably wouldn’t look right.’’
No worries Celtics fans, Pierce is not relishing the possibility of free agency. He is rarely asked about the rather obscure opt-out clause, but it might be time for the organization to respond and give Pierce the career security he desires and ensures that he finishes a Celtic.
“Like I said, I want to retire a Celtic, I kept that no secret and it will all play out, depending how many years I want to play,’’ he said. “I am sure that Danny [Ainge] and Doc [Rivers], as long as these guys are here, ownership, I am sure they want me to stay also.’’
You can never rule out a washed-up Pierce playing a season in some NBA purgatory city when he’s 39 or something. It has happened with too many star players. But Pierce is going to be in Boston for every relevant game of his career.
One other interesting note from the Pierce piece:
Of the 29 players taken in the first round of the 1998 draft, 17 are no longer in the NBA.
Let’s take a look at those 17 guys, after the jump.
The list of 1998 draftees who have not played a minute in the NBA this season: Michael Olowokandi (#1); Raef LaFrentz (#3); Robert Traylor (#6); Bonzi Wells (#11); Michael Doleac (#12); Keon Clark (#13); Michael Dickerson (#14); Matt Harpring (#15); Bryce Drew (#16); Mirsad Turkan (#18); Pat Garrity (#19); Roshown McLeod (#20); Tyronn Lue (#23); Felipe Lopez (#24); Sam Jacobson (#26); Vladimir Stepania (#27); Corey Benjamin (#28).
Pierce will probably go down as the 2nd-best guy from this draft, behind only Dirk Nowitzki (selected #9 by the Bucks and traded to Dallas immediately for Tractor Traylor). I will not even listen to people who argue that Vince Carter has had a better career than Pierce.
• Also via Dell’Apa in the Globe, Doc has something to say about Tony Allen!
“It’s going to take time,” Rivers said. “He’s going to look great in a game and bad in a game at the same time. We just have to get through it and be patient with him.”
I’d settle for TA looking just “decent” instead of flip-flopping between great and horrible. And I don’t care how great you might look for half of the minutes you’re in the game; if you’re turning the ball over on 27.3 percent of the possessions on which you try and do something with it (and that is TA’s current turnover rate), you are hurting the team.
• The Herald has a nice segment of its Sunday notebook devoted to Ray Allen’s methods of keeping in touch with his children, particularly his diabetic son, Walker:
“The beautiful thing is iChat,” the Celtics guard said of his primary mode of communication with his family while on the road.
“When I got on the bus the other day I linked in and they had a computer in the kitchen, so they can see me on the bus when I’m traveling,” he said. “At least they can see me and that I’m working and I’m going to be home soon.”
You know what’s great about this quote? That Ray labels basketball as “working.” That’s the way he approaches the game, and a lot of guys would do well to approach it that way.
Here’s more of Ray discussing the upcoming Christmas road trip:
This time Allen will make the trip with the knowledge that Walker has a short memory.
“I think he forgot,” Allen said. “Right now his long-term memory is good, but his short-term memory, I don’t know. Even when he got back home he forgot some of the toys in the toy room that he had. He thought he had new toys in the house, and they were just his old toys.
“I think he forgot, but I know he knows what he’s dealing with, and he knows what he has to do different from his brother, and if he doesn’t feel well he’ll tell you.
“Sometimes he’ll play with you, because last night he said he had to (vomit), and he didn’t. So I said, ‘OK, if you have to (vomit) then let’s get to the nursery,’ and then he said, ‘I didn’t.’
“He’s learning the complexities of being a child and getting what he wants. That’s how I know he’s got his wits about him.”
I don’t feel this way about many famous people, but I’d really like to meet Ray Allen someday and have a conversation with him. About whatever. It doesn’t have to be basketball.
• Speaking of non-basketball issues, Pierce discusses the financial troubles of his longtime running mate, Antoine Walker. (Via the same Globe piece above):
“I haven’t had a chance to talk to Antoine, man,’’ he said. “Guys, especially young guys who haven’t been in the league that long, [have to] use those type of things as examples, especially when life expectancy of an NBA player doesn’t last long. It could end quick. Hopefully we can use the players in the past whose careers have been shortened one way or another, just learn to appreciate it a little bit better. There’s going to be life after basketball because there’s not a long life span of a career playing basketball.’’
I just feel sad about what has happened to Antoine Walker.
• Finally, Bill Doyle in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette is a bit worried about the C’s bench without Marquis Daniels. He rightfully notes that Shelden Williams’ production has dropped after a nice start, but I think it’s too early to say things like this:
Early this season, Daniels insisted, “A lot of the guys on this second team could be starters on any other team.” Now that Daniels is hurt, only Wallace could start for most NBA teams. This bench may not even be as deep as Boston’s two years ago when House, Allen, Davis, James Posey, Leon Powe and P.J. Brown all contributed.
Glen Davis and Tony Allen contributed next to nothing to the C’s ’08 title run. If this season’s full bench is healthy, it should be the best of the New Big Three era.