Celtics Officially Waive Darko Milicic

According to the Celtics official website, the team officially waived backup center Darko Milicic so that he can go back home and care for his sick mother in Serbia.

“Darko has asked us to release him so he could deal with a personal matter,” said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. “The whole Celtics family wishes Darko and his family well.”

Milicic, a 7’0” center, averaged 2.6 points and 4.2 rebounds across 5 preseason and regular season games with the Celtics this year.

First off, I hope his mother gets better. That’s the most important thing. Family comes first.

With saying that, it’s too bad we never got to see him play more minutes. I know he’s the biggest bust in the history of the NBA, but let’s look at him as a role player. I would’ve loved to have seen what he could do to help this team. Now we’ll never know.

Milicic showed a lot of promise in the preseason. He could pass, rebound and play in the post. Right now the Celtics could use a another big guy to help cure their rebounding woes as it’s in a real pathetic state. We shall see what happens, but this open roster spot will lead to a lot of rumors and conversation among fans and the media.

Darko Milicic to Leave the Celtics

In an article for ESPN, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that backup center Darko Milicic will be leaving the team for the rest of the season so that he can take care of his sick mother in Serbia.

Milicic played in one game for the Celtics back on Nov. 2 during the team’s home opener against the Milwaukee Bucks. He played just five minutes, and had one rebound, two turnovers and one foul.

Rivers said that the team has known for a while that Milicic’s mother has been sick, but he never thought that he’d leave the Celtics to go and take care of her.

Rivers added that Milicic wasn’t himself since he got news about her her health.

Analysis

With Milicic leaving, this opens a roster spot for the team. Unfortunately, Rivers said the team isn’t in a rush to sign anyone. As Celtics’ fans know, that is hogwash. He’s obviously not going to come out and say he and Danny Ainge are going to sign someone. They will fill the spot, but it won’t just be anyone.

Right now this team can’t rebound. In fact, it’s more pathetic than last year. The free agent options for big men are slim pickings. Ainge could sign Chris Andersen or Kenyon Martin, but that’s it. A trade is possible, but most of the guys on the roster can’t be traded immediately because they were just signed.

Signing a point guard is also another option. Delonte West anyone? However, another guard on the roster isn’t needed right now.

The reality is, the roster spot that’s open is for someone who’ll occupy the bench. Milicic wasn’t getting minutes and unless a game changer comes in, that next person won’t be playing much either.

This situation will be interesting to follow between now and Christmas. If anyone comes in, it’ll be someone who can rebound.

Photo (cc) by k1k0.com and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

Happy 66th Birthday Jo Jo White

Another Celtics legend’s birthday has arrived. This time it’s for the clutch shooter Jo Jo White who turned 66 years old today.

For fans who don’t know him, White was a staple for the Celtics during the 1970s.

In 1969, the 6’3″ point guard was drafted out of the University of Kansas by legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach. He was part of the Kansas team that went up against Texas Western and their all-black starting lineup, which inspired the movie Glory Road. Kansas ended up losing a double overtime thriller to Texas Western, in the Midwest regional final (Texas Western went on to win the championship).

When White was drafted, Celtics’ legend Bill Russell was on his way out as player/coach. The 1970s would start off slow where the Celtics would miss the playoffs for two season. However the tide would start changing when White, along with Dave Cowens, and John Havlicek would lead the C’s to two championships during the 1974 and 1976 seasons.

During White’s career he made the All Star team seven straight seasons from 1971 to 1977. He would also finish in the top ten in assists for five consecutive seasons from 1972 to 1977.

However, the biggest moment in his career occurred during the 1976 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns. In Game 5, he scored 33 points in 60 minutes during a thrilling triple-overtime victory, which is considered by many fans and media personalities to be the greatest game in NBA history. His performance earned him the NBA Finals MVP award.

White’s career with the Celtics ended in 1979 when he was traded to the Golden State Warriors. His career officially ended in 1981 after he played several games for the Kansas City Kings.

In 1982, the Celtics retired his number 10 to the Boston Garden rafters to live forever among the team’s greats.

It’s also interesting to note that White isn’t in the Hall of Fame, but according to Basketball Reference, he has the highest Hall of Fame probability rate among players who played pre-1990.

Here is a video of White making a game winning shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during Game 1 of the 1977 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals:

Picture is from the author of this blog’s personal media library. Some rights reserved.

Digital Technology is Changing the Way News is Viewed

Listening to Michael Maness speak about the rise of online technology and the demise of newspapers during a presentation at Northeastern University was interesting and painful to hear.

Most of what he said was nothing new. Everyone knows that social media is going to play a major role in breaking news in the future. However, before I give a few thoughts on Maness and social media, I do have an issue with robots getting integrated into the sports writing world.

Over the last several years, Northwestern University has been developing robots that have the ability to write sports stories based on information it’s given. In an age where people are struggling for jobs, Maness seemed excited about the technology and prospects of robots taking over in writing sports news stories.

For me personally, and as a lover of sports, it hurts to see that a field I want to work in could be disappearing right before my eyes. I’m sure the robots will help newspapers as they’ll save editors from hiring a sportswriter to write basic game stories, but there’s more to this development.

The problem is that sports are intimate and emotional.

They require a human element to write a compelling game story. Fans and readers not only like to read about the stats, and what happened over the course of the game, but they want to know how the players felt. How did he or she work towards accomplishing a particular feat such as home run title? Only a writer tied into a team over the course of a season can really understand that. In fact, most sportswriters have an approach or connection to a team that many people don’t have. Fans want to read about their thoughts and analysis of what happened.

Think about it this way. The 2004 postseason run that the Red Sox went on was so emotional and epic that no robot could ever write about the events that transpired. The sportswriters in Boston such as Dan Shaughnessy and Bob Ryan waited since birth to see the Red Sox win the World Series. In the end, the game stories they wrote were among some of the best stories ever written in Boston sports history.

Robots don’t have the knowledge, the full ability, the emotion, the understanding and the love of sports to write stories that’ll intrigue readers. Maybe one day they will, but hopefully not anytime soon.

The robot story examples that Maness showed just seemed like boring recaps that a newspaper would use to fill up blank space. What serious sports fan would want to read that. Robots can do the basics, but it’ll be a matter of time before they can write and do a lot more.

I think newspapers need to tread very carefully when it comes to robots. They may seem like a good idea, but there’s always two sides to a story and more that meets the eye. Let real writers who’ve worked hard and have the knowledge write all sports stories.

As far as other digital technology goes, everything else Maness said isn’t new news to me. Interactive and social media is slowly taking over what the idea of a news story once was. News isn’t going away, it’s just getting told differently.

He said that people today get news in ways that were once seen as impossible. Facebook and Twitter are probably the most widely used websites on the planet. Since they’re used a lot, it’s only fitting that news is broken through them. Stories are broken through platforms such as Twitter because it’ll reach more people. In fact, most news organizations have a presence on both social media giants, and usually break important stories so readers can comment on them.

I also found it fascinating how much people value visual designs. Through his research, Maness discovered that the better the layout, the more credible the news site is. In other words, if the site is a legitimate news organization with an amateur layout, then why should people take it seriously? If that organization doesn’t want to adjust to the times, then they obviously aren’t that serious in reporting news. That’s the feeling people might get, so in order to get eyeballs onto a webpage, the site has to be revamped. It needs to be user-friendly, interactive and not boring.

People crave information minute by minute, and they want to be able to decipher it in the easiest way possible. If it looks boring or is hard to understand, they’ll move on and find another way to get news.

Maness had some interesting facts and takes on digital technology. He is right about news changing, but it’s only changing in the way it’s presented. There’s always going to be story, and always an audience willing to read one. With news easier to access than ever before, news organizations have a chance to embrace digital technology and to stand head and shoulders above their competition. Like the military, media outlets have to adapt to a situation in order to survive. It’s the only way they’re going to remain relevant in this digital age.

That’s unless robots take over and we’re all screwed.

Digital Media Project and the Celtics

For my final project, I’m going to try and interview Jeff Clark and some of his staff from celticsblog.com, a website that’s associated with SB Nation. They’re big on blogging, posting pictures and videos, and chatting about the Celtics. In fact, blogging is what made them real popular.

What I did was send out an email to them and hope that they get back to me. They also don’t have a contact number, so that’s the only way to get a hold of them. If CelticsBlog doesn’t work, I’m going to contact redsarmy.com. That site is similar, except they’re part of the blogging website called Yardbarker. My ideas for the project are the same for each website.

A Chocolate Lover’s Dream Can Be Found on Beacon Hill

Finding delicious handmade chocolate and truffles in Boston isn’t easy, especially if you’re a tourist or a college student who has a chocolate craving, and is new to the city. So the question is, where can you go to get some?

Luckily for you, there’s a nice little chocolate shop nestled in the historic Beacon Hill neighborhood, just minutes from the Boston Common called, fittingly enough, Beacon Hill Chocolates.

Truffles and fine chocolate always have many different mouth-watering flavors, but Beacon Hill Chocolates has a distinct difference from the average chocolate shop.

“Our artisan chocolate is imported from all over the world,” said Ariana Barber, Boston resident and manager at Beacon Hill Chocolates. “We aren’t limited to what we can come up with.”

She said their chocolate currently comes from France, Belgium and all over New England. Inside one of BHC pamphlets, they have a listing of their different chocolates, which says “every chocolate is hand-selected for its excellence in quality, flavor and beauty.”

Customers have a plentiful choice to pick out over 60 different flavored truffles. The hard part is trying to pick out a few, because they all look so delicious.

“Right now our most popular chocolates are the salted caramels,” Barber said. “Each of them comes in either milk or dark chocolate, and is sprinkled with a bit of salt.”

To see how good these chocolates were, I bought a box of six. They were all delicious, but I’ll highlight a few really good ones.

The first one I tried was the salted caramel dipped in milk chocolate. I’m not a fan of mixing salt with chocolate, but this was an exception. The caramel was very chewy and soft, and the chocolate was very sweet. The added salt could be tasted too, and I found it to be perfect and quite satisfying.

As a fan of mint, I really enjoyed their mint pie truffle. It was very minty, and you could taste the small pieces of Oreo cookies that were layered underneath the chocolate. I had to buy a few of these.

Finally, my favorite chocolate was the root beer float. As a huge fan of root beer floats, I’ll try almost anything that tastes like root beer. This chocolate has a milk chocolate shell, with ganache that’s made with real root beer. A truly delicious flavor.


Address: 91 Charles St., Boston, Ma 02114

Telephone: (617)725-1900
Store Hours: Mon. to Sat. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sun. 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
E-Mail: inquiry@beaconhillchocolates.com                                                               Website: www.beaconhillchocolates.com                                                                 Directions: Closest T stop is at Park Street. From there, take a short walk through the Boston Common to Beacon St. Walk along Beacon St., and Charles St. is on the right.

Price Range: Truffles start at $2 ea. Boxed truffle sets range from $14-$60. Keepsake gift boxes are available too, which range from $18-$60 depending on the amount of chocolates.                                                                                                   

Celtics Get Thumped by the Bucks at Home Opener 99-88

This game was another stinker.

No urgency, horrible defense, too many turnovers, no rebounding, bad shooting and early foul trouble. The complete recipe for a disaster, and it was all against a bad Milwaukee Bucks team.

Inexcusable loss.

For a team that prides itself on defense, tonight it was non-existent. When Kevin Garnett is in full control of what’s going on in the defensive end, then the Celtics have a good chance in winning. But that was nowhere to be found tonight. The Celtics were eaten alive by the fast and talented backcourt combination of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. It was the second straight game where the defense looked lost. Obviously, the new guys are still learning, but the display over the last two games has been atrocious. The learning curve has been pretty slow.

Rebounding is still a joke. It has been for a few years now. Five guys stand around while James Franco’s twin Ersan Ilyasova pulls down 11 rebounds, including four offensive ones, is unacceptable. I know the Celtics like to get into transition after an offensive possession, but watching them get beat on the boards is painful. Teams that don’t rebound, don’t win championships. Ask Bill Russell about how important rebounding is.

The offense was just as bad as the defense. There was no urgency at all in pushing the ball, and that led to turnovers and bad shots. It was Jekyll and Hyde for the offense all night.

The Celtics shot just 30 percent in the first half, including a pathetic 28.3 percent in the second quarter. When the first half finished they were down by 16, and with just a few minutes left in the fourth quarter, they were down by 22. The Celtics did come back in the second half by shooting 61 percent, but the defense and poor decision-making in general killed them.

Let’s look at some individual performances.

The floor general Rajon Rondo had just three assists in the first half. As a leader, it’s his job to get the ball into the hands of his shooters and to make defenses work on every possession. That didn’t happen. By the time Rondo turned it on in the second half, where he had eights assist, it was too late.

Part of the reason Rondo had a bad night was probably to due to Paul Pierce’s ineffectiveness. He was pretty much useless tonight. Pierce had three fouls, two turnovers, and two points in just 10 minutes during the first half.

This reminds me, what is going on with Pierce’s shooting recently. It has been atrocious. He has chucked up some horrible shots recently. Has he morphed into Antoine Walker or something? What gives. I know he was injured last year, but his shooting in the first few games this year have been reminiscent of last year. A year ago, his shooting percentage was .443, down from .497 the year before. Let’s hope age isn’t taking over his body.

With him gone, Jeff Green took his place and he didn’t look to good either.

Green did play better than he did against the Miami Heat a few nights ago, but he still sucked. I don’t know why, but he has a hard time handling a pass and getting into the paint. Green was doing that during the preseason, but after all that was just the preseason. In 27 minutes, he scored just 11 points. Out of those 11 points, seven came in the third quarter where he made all three shots, including a 3-pointer. Overall, for someone who needed to redeem himself after that stinker in Miami, he failed.

Garnett did alright on offense. Nothing to write home about. Under Garnett’s standards, he sucked.

He struggled making easy shots under the basket in the first half, but scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half. I wouldn’t worry about Garnett.

Basketball’s favorite whipping boy Darko Milicic played in his first game with the Celtics, and it was quite forgettable. He looked like a lost little boy looking for his puppy tonight. In just over four minutes, he had two turnovers, a foul, a rebound and a missed shot. That was all in the first half too. Doc Rivers never let him leave the bench after that.

Looking at Jason Terry, he too had a Jekyll and Hyde game. He played only nine minutes in the first half and struggled where he missed his only two shots. In the fourth quarter alone, Terry made all four of his shots including two 3-pointers in all 12 minutes of play. Pretty impressive. Like everyone else though, there was too much inconsistency and when he started to heat up, it was too little and too late.

Despite Terry’s inconsistencies, I’m wondering if he should start over Courtney Lee, who was brutal tonight too. In 33 minutes, he scored just seven points and had three turnovers. One of the turnovers was an ugly pass that was intercepted by Jennings, who took the steal and blew past the Celtics up the court for an easy basket. In fact, that was one of six steals Jennings had in the game too.

I was also disappointed in Rivers tonight. Usually I agree with most of what he does, but not tonight. I never thought I’d see the day that he’d give a rookie more minutes than a veteran. In this case, we’re talking about Jared Sullinger, the young and talented power forward who so far has looked overmatched against the competition. Don’t get me wrong, I think Sullinger will turn out to be a very good player, but I think there’s too much pressure on the rookie. Tonight, he played in 18 minutes. That’s more than double the minutes that Milicic and Chris Wilcox received combined. One of the veterans should’ve gotten more of Sullinger’s minutes. Wilcox has been aching to play, and letting Milicic play just four minutes doesn’t cut it. If Rivers is just going to yank a player like that out of a game for below average basketball and not play him again, they might as well release him.

Oh, Leandro Barbosa went back to being irrelevant too.

If there was a bright side to the game, it’d have to be Brandon Bass. He didn’t have a game like he did against Miami, but he played extremely hard. Bass had 10 points, six rebounds and three uncanny assists. He did struggle on the defensive side like everyone else. Help and rotating defensive schemes that involved him broke down. Jennings and Ellis were able to blow past him for easy scores.

It was also nice to see Wilcox back after his season was cut short last year due to a heart irregularity, which required heart surgery in the offseason. He scored two points.

Overall, the Bucks are a bad team and the Celtics should’ve won. They know it, you know it and I know it. Next up is the Washington Wizards. They’re probably worse than the Bucks. Beating them shouldn’t be an issue for the Celtics, but after tonight’s performance, who knows. One thing for sure is that the defense needs to shape up quick. Rebounding has to be better and defensive needs to pick it up if they want to win. No more allowing 120 or 99 points. The Celtics are better then that. The offense needs to get on the same page and show some urgency too. Consistency, consistency, consistency is the important factor if they want to win.