The Celtics are well-represented with Doc Rivers and four all-stars in town this weekend. And despite some speculation to the contrary (including some by Rivers himself), there’s not a whole lot of visible animosity between members of the Celtics and any of the other Eastern Conference All-Stars.
“It’s the one time that we’re not competing against one another, ” said Kevin Garnett, who was laughing and joking with Lebron James at the joint East-West practice Saturday morning. “This is my only chance to play with these guys. You tend to be more relaxed when you come out here.”
What the weekend’s not about is defense.
Even Garnett doesn’t expect much intensity in the main event tomorrow evening.
“I think offense is the priority here. The whole thing is to see how many points these two teams can put up. The fourth quarter is the only serious time. Then and only then will you see some defense.”
Ray Allen and Paul Pierce have been trash-talking each other all week in the Celtics locker room, looking for an edge in tonight’s three-point contest, which also features Kevin Durant, James Jones, Daniel Gibson and Dorell Wright.
Pierce admits he’s been trying to get into Allen’s head.
“If I want to beat Ray Allen, I gotta be almost perfect. He doesn’t crack under pressure. I gotta put something in his shoes. A rock, maybe.”
Allen appears to be the word-of-mouth favorite around Staples Center, based on his momentum from setting the all-time record for three-pointers made. He’s also shooting the highest percentage from the arc amongst tonight’s competitors:
- Ray Allen: .457
- Daniel Gibson: .443
- James Jones: .423
- Dorell Wright: .401
- Paul Pierce: .385
- Kevin Durant: . 338
Here’s a look back at the Paul Pierce performance that got him labelled (by himself, mind you) “one of the better shooters in NBA history.”
- Danny Ainge is in town and according to Rivers, very active on the trade front. Rivers said that he talks to Ainge “every other hour” with the belief that “We just gotta get another player.” As Brian discussed yesterday, Anthony Parker appears to be the prohibitive favorite, for better or worse.
- Kevin McHale ran rookie big men DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Pavors and Greg Monroe through a few post moves yesterday, imploring them all the way with calls of “Do you want to be a horse or a pony”? Seen later, McHale admitted that all three would need a few more sessions to reach the coveted “horse” status.
- Pierce expects changes are coming to all-star weekend: “You’ll probably see a change in our game in the near future [where the NBA will] let the players pick the teams.”
- The Truth has also been unimpressed with the Western Conference All-Stars’ efforts at hazing their first-time all-stars. With no first time all-stars in the East, he resorted to trying to trick Griffin and Russell Westbrook into singing for him. “The west captains need to step up,” said Pierce. “If they were on the east squad, they’d definitely be singing.”
- The Rookie-Sophomore game last night was essentially unwatchable, but for the saving grace of a dozen-or-so highlight dunks from, in particular, Cousins, Blake Griffin and James Harden. The crowd was late-arriving and as jazzed up about the free swag and prerecorded Kobe Bryant on the jumbotron as anything else.