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Wednesday, May 7th, 2008 at 12:40 pm  |  76 responses

SLAM 119 Cover: The Celtics Ride Again

71% Percent Cover Jinx Free!

By Khalid Salaam

I enjoy great defense. Always have. Probably because I was the guy on the court who played D too serious and disrupted the fun of a random Sat afternoon pick-up game. Since I’ve never had a great handle and was a average passer in order for me to stay on the court I had to block shots and get steals and body up and play D (basically my game is like Bruce Bowen or James Posey). So I’ve always appreciated it. That’s why this Celtics team was a team I liked and watched when I wasn’t watching the Sixers or Hornets. This years Celtics team plays great defense or at least did last night. Their 1st rd series with the Hawks damn near threw a monkey wrench in the game but they and we (meaning SLAM. We couldn’t have another playoffs cover fiasco like last year) survived.

Before I forget I want to give a shout-out to SLAM contributor Jonathan Evans, who assisted me greatly in this story. It’s a team story and with any story like this there are so many people to talk to and so many quotes to transcribe that your initial message can get lost. I talked to almost every player and Coach Rivers and they all seem really motivated. We discussed offensive sets a little but I wanted to stay on defense, just talking about the mentality they have and the system they utilize. Not saying this is the greatest defensive team of all time or anything (that’s the second three-peat Bulls. If not all time then at least of our generation) but the way they play is so hard, so exhaustive that I just get into it. Around the office today the consensus is that last nights slugfest between the Celtics and Cavs was an ugly, bad played game. I disagree.

It was played with intensity and there were few open shots or easy drives to the basket. I don’t think there was even 1 dunk last night was there? Z, Ben Wallace and Joe Smith had the paint on lock last night. That joint was like a road block. Plus Bron was shutting down Pierce like he was a rookie. On the other side, Posey played Lebron hard, KG was guarding the paint with energy (and even had some late game offensive heroics) and Perk was just putting a body on anything that moved. I don’t often like pretty boy ball and last night was one of those NFC East, 10-7 defensive battles. Last night was the reason why I wanted to do this Celtic piece and why I was excited to see them play like this in the postseason. They needed to play like this in a close game to validate themselves and create the momentum to play great D for the rest of the playoffs. In the story I tried to capture the psychology of the team and I feel confident I did that. Go check it out and tell me how you feel, I appreciate the feedback whether positive or negative. Also gotta shout out Lang for coming up with maybe his best story headline ever.

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  • Young Chris #3

    Hell yeah!

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    I enjoyed the intensity of the game as well. Sure, there were guys missing shots, Ray Allen putting up a donut for the first time in 11 years, but it had good intensity and energy.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    1, Also like Bruce Bowen, Khalid kicks people whenever things aren’t going his way. Used to do that sh*t all the time while I was trying to edit his stories.
    2, LeBron playing defense? Sure you jest.
    3, The cover looks great. Where’s my damn copies Susan?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Ryan if your boy played defense like that all the time then maybe i’d say he’s better than kobe.

  • j rich

    so if the celtics win it, do they get 2 straight covers?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    No, there’s still 1 more issue before we do the Finals issue.

  • WhaHuh

    Pierce was guarding Bron on the other end, they guarded each other equally. LeBron actually got called for charges :0

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Nice to see an article about The Glyde is in the mix.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    When pierce was on the floor he did but remember he was in foul trouble so he wasn’t on the floor as much. posey was on him when he subbed in for pierce

  • JOE

    ATL WOULD HAVE WON IF THIS WAS POSTED LAST WEEK!

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    No doubt, Eboy. And it’s by Russ! Good stuff, Khalid. Also: Melissa did a sick job on this cover in my opinion.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Why does Ray Allen look like he is smirking?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Thanks for reminding me Ben. Melissa, you’re the greatest…

  • je

    thanks for the shout out khalid.

  • Vanilla Thunder

    KG definitely had some dunks, I think Perkins too.

  • Tuomas

    Nothing wrong with playing good D. Nothing wrong with jinxing the Celts either.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Russ would be the obvious choice for an old school piece. Can’t wait for the read.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    khalid’s love for D reminded me that i enjoyed the pistons/spurs slugfest Finals quite a bit in 2005.

  • namik

    Ray Allen looks like KG’s underfed dog in that picture. I don’t like the celtics so I don’t like the cover because I can bet it’ll be the same s*** they’ve stuck to all season. But Chris Paul, Josh Smith and Manu are promising signs on the cover.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    I was at the Pistons/Spurs finals that year, game 5 is probably the best game i’ve ever attended

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    Khalid, was that the one where horry inexplicably took off and hammered it on whoever? i thought he was gonna fall and break into pieces when he stretched out for the dunk.

  • B. Long

    Pretty sure ESPN already did this cover but way to be original guys.

  • namik

    It was Rip Hamilton. And he did come out looking like he dislocated his shoulder. It was one of the most out-of-the-blue dunks I have ever seen, especially considering the culprit.

  • Tuomas

    I enjoyed the 2004 finals a bit more. Might have something to do with only Detroit doing the slugging. Khalid, wasn’t game 5 of 2005 the Horry bomb game? That hurt some.

  • Tuomas

    Btw Namik, I think the last dunk of Reggie’s career was more out-of-the-blue.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    yeah that horry dunk was nuts. and b.long, read the story and then comment

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    B. Long, pretty much everyone did this cover in the preseason. We did KG at that point, which I actually thought was pretty original. But the Celtics’ great regular season maintained their relevance and there was no way our publisher was letting us go all year without putting these three on the cover.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Dude didn’t really deserve a response, Ben. Better to talk about him like he’s not here. Sap him of his very existence!

  • Mark Z

    Nice! Thank you SLAM. Hopefully the C’s will remain jinx-free…

  • B. Long

    Damn Ryan, Lebron sucking last night got you on the rag again? I just thought CP3 or a Gasol cover would be more appropriate.

  • http://www.slamonline.com willieg

    HORNETS DESERVE A COVER

  • http://Slamonline.com O

    Lebron’s my man, but he got shut down last night. It was sad. If he would’ve made just two of the numerous shots he missed then the game would’ve been different. On a side note, y’all should let me interview Nate Robinson, Ron Artest and every other player’s who done started some sh*t on the court. Call it the Live Wires feature. That would be gangsta.

  • Ryan

    Why the celtics?!?!?These guys barely escaped round 1 going to game 7 against the HAWKS!

  • Ryan

    Why the celtics?!?!?These guys barely escaped round 1 going to game 7 against the HAWKS!

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    btw, was the Stern Q+A like talking to those pre-recorded teleprompt?

  • jk_light

    Khalid sucks!
    If your team is down by one, last possesion, you see Khalid open on the wing. Would you feel good with him taking an 18 footer and the game on the line?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    jk is it a playoff game? the Finals? The exact context is important for me to give a definitive answer.

  • casey

    really? the celtics again? don’t get me wrong, I think they’re a great team and they play well…but how about a more deserving team/player. What about Chris Paul and his turn around Hornets? What about their GREAT defensive game against the Spurs? The defending champs are down 0-2 against the “baby team”. Why don’t we pay attention to that? Oh, is it because it’s a dynasty being ripped apart by the team that is considered the youngest in the playoffs? Ok, I understand. Nice choice anyway.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    The freaks come out at night, and the mouth-breathing commenters come out in mid-afternoon.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Because the team with the best regular-season record and three Hall of Famers on its roster is a HORRIBLE choice for the cover of a basketball magazine that comes out in the middle of the NBA playoffs. What WERE you thinking, Ben?

  • Boston Baller

    I stated a few weeks ago on this very site that The Celtics were for real and they needed a cover. Thank you for the cover and I hope you now know that they are for real regardless of the Hawks series. Now they know they can win a 7th game.

    Ray didn’t score but he only took 4 shots. We are not worried.

    ps. When will DJ get into The Hall of Fame?

  • Boston Baller

    Oh yeah…The jinx can’t happen b/c of Lucky the Leprechaun.

    Our defense will get better as the series goes on. If we continue to get in position the refs will be forced to call mor charges on Lebron. He dips that big shoulder all the time.

    The Green for #17

  • Diesel

    Ron Artest gets a story? Is there anything new to ever report on this guy? You should just have a running classified in each ish “Crazy, selfish, overestimator of self worth seeks new team that needs a defender. Seriously, this time I’ve changed and am willing to play well with others. The last time I completely ruined a team I was traded to was the last time. Honest”

  • Gary

    Hey guess im a big Slam magazine fan great cover….So can anyone tell me who got on the SLAM-UPS this issue?????

  • B. Long

    @Ryan Jones: You think Ray Allen is a H.O.Fer? P-Double is even questionable. As far as I’m (and most of the basketball watching world) concerned KG is the only sure H.O.Fer on that roster.

  • FLUXLAND

    Who are these commentators trying to steal my thunder? Please leave all stupid and ignorant comments up to me, thanks! Jones, handle this, Sir!

  • The Answer

    Who won the sure shot contest?

  • David

    Am I the only one that hopes O’s gangsta article comes true?

  • http://slamonline.com Melissa Brennan

    Thanks boys, as much as I’d like to take credit for the design on this one it was actually my man S.Goggi’s first SLAM cover. I agree with you though. Looks GREAT!

  • B. Long

    Ditto David.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Tanny

    @B.Long, do you seriously not think that the second best three-point shooter in history (Ray Allen if you thought it was Brian Scalabrine) is a hall of famer then you must be out of your mind.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    My bad, Stephen; I know you killed the feature layout but I forgot you did the cover, too. Diesel, Ron Artest’s “story” is actually much more entertaining, albeit a lot shorter than a normal feature. Let’s just say the “author” is Sam Rubenstein.

  • Marley

    YA I WANNA KNOW WHOSE ON THE SLAM UPS POSTER TOO!!

  • kevingarnett

    actually i had like 10 dunks last night khalid

  • T.J

    Man, I was really hoping for a Hawks cover but I guess it’ll have to wait even LONGER….

  • richard

    when is it out in the shops?

  • B. Long

    @Tanny: Ray Allen is a role player who has tried to be the man on his team for most of his career. Yes, he is a fantastic three point shooter but not much else going for him.

  • Tuomas

    Yeah, role players generally average between 22 and 26ppg for eight year spans. They don’t do it for just bad teams either, going to the playoffs in three of those and once soooo close to finals. HOF isn’t for me to decide, actually I’m not sure anyone knows who decides it. That’s just a bullsh*t institution anyway. Dick Vitale and anyone who ever coached international women’s teams in, Artis Gilmore out. Nice. Wouldn’t mind if Allen eventually got in though.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Ray Allen will get there…or my names not Glen Rice.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    I think it looks like KG and Ray are both smirking a bit….makes Px2 expression seem a little pretentious….but anywho…who cares they’ll be in the finals against the NewORLEANS mob anyway…
    ^_^

  • youngmuggsy

    i hope you asked some difficult questions in the david stern q nd a

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    B. Long! You are my new favorite commenter! Ray Allen is a career 21 ppg score and one of the best pure shooters in NBA history He’s also an eight-time All-Star. He’s also got a clean rap sheet and is widely considered one of the NBA’s true gentlemen, which may seem corny, but don’t for a second think that doesn’t matter. He’s also one of the most agreeable guys for the media to deal with, and don’t think that doesn’t matter, either (keep in mind who gets to vote). Arguing not which guys should or shouldn’t be in but which guys DO get in, Ray Allen will be in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Also: Paul Pierce? 10 years worth of 23, 6 and 4 (and being team captain for most of that stretch) for the League’s most storied franchise? Six All-Star bids, and probably a few more to come? The Hall will by DYING to put another Celtic in after all these years, especially if Paul stays a Celtic lifer, as he seems likely to. Assuming he manages to get a ring before he’s done, and his numbers don’t drop off the chart, he’s in.
    Feel free to find me in 10 years and tell me if I got either of these wrong.

  • John D

    [Marv Albert] YESSSSS! [/Marv Albert]

  • John D

    Now I just hope you didn’t jinx them.

  • http://www.kb24.com kobe24bryant

    Mr. MVP is gonna to win his 4th ring
    bye boston

  • feezy24

    bandwagon jumpers…

  • B. Long

    @Ryan Jones: I’ll give you Paul because I respect his game,intensity,and if he wins a ring he deserves it but you and I both know that there are alot more deserving players of this generation than Ray Allen. He may get in because he smiles big and grants interviews to every tool in the media but when your team has never really had any real expectations until this year there aren’t alot of hard questions to answer. You probably think Vince Carter belongs in the HOF too.

  • Andrew

    SLAM, Arent you about 8 months late on this cover??? YOu could have at least put the in their sexy 2nd road jersey…

  • Young Chris #3

    B. Long should be banned from commenting.

  • Froggiestyle

    Let the jinx begin ;>P

  • rashaan

    this issue looks crazy. cant wait 2 get it in the mail.

  • Tavrich

    this ish looks sweet but afterwards u guys need to make 1 of kevin durant. He is rookie of the year and a phenomenom he is crazy do it

  • DR34

    Is it just my magazine or is there not an end to the Drexler article?

  • IB_BUGGN_413BK

    #1 ALL SEASON LONG-OVERDUE PROPZ-EVERY COVER COULD’VE HAD THA BOSTON 3 PARTY ALL SEASON~AND STILL SOLD OUT~I CAN’T WAIT 2 C #17-& THA HATERZ CAN’T STAND IT…. . … I’M OUT LIKE THA FLAKERZ & TOBY IN 08/86…. . … YA BOY BUGGN~413BK aka/DAT BOSTON BASTID

  • IB_BUGGN_413BK

    P.S…. . … KG OR BRON BRON SHOULD’VE GOT MVP~DPLOY IS A COP OUT!!!! ! !!! ~YA BOY BUGGN~413BK/ DAT BOSTON BASTID

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