Archive for Boston Celtics


Posted in Basketball, Walter McCarty with tags , , on August 23, 2013 by hoopscoach

“Working for Rick Pitino taught me a lot. It really prepared me for how to prepare for opponents, how to scout games, how to teach and develop players, and how to speak and communicate with players, as well.  I think without those three years and that schooling, that education under Rick Pitino, I think this would have been a tough get.”

Twitter: @CoachFinamore


Posted in Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2013 by hoopscoach

As we sit back and watch both New York professional basketball teams in the NBA playoffs (Knicks-Celtics and Nets-Bulls) for some strange reason I thought back to the 1975-76 season.

The Nets defeated the Denver Nuggets that year 4-2 to win the ABA championship, their second ring in three years. The Nuggets, coached by Larry Brown had the best record in the league and were led by David Thompson, Dan Issel and Bobby Jones. But Julius Erving was too much for them in the finals; Doc averaged 37.7 PPG in the finals. Over in the NBA, the Celtics had captured the title beating the Phoenix Suns 4-2. It was the Celtics 13th ring.

Cowens and Doc on SI cover

75-76 was the ABA’s last season.

Their “swan song.”

The red white and ball was no more.

Four teams (Nets, Pacers, Nuggets and Spurs) joined the NBA on June 17th, 1976.

Or like my friend Glenn Thomas likes to say, “Suspended operations.”

There was talk of a possible game between the Nets and Celtics to determine the real champion.

No such luck, it never happened.

While researching for this entry, I found this piece of information from

After the 1974-75 regular season, the ABA Champion Kentucky Colonels formally challenged the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors to a “World Series of Basketball,” with the winner to take a $1 Million purse (to come from anticipated TV revenues). The NBA and the Warriors refused the challenge. Again, after the 1975-76 season, the ABA Champion New York Nets offered to play the NBA Champion Boston Celtics in a winner-take-all game, with the proceeds going to benefit the 1976 United States Olympic team. Predictably, the Celtics declined to participate.

In my neighborhood we had Celtics fans, Nets fans and Knicks fans.  My guy Jack Kelly from 7th avenue is one of the biggest Celtics fans around so I’m sure after he reads this entry, he’ll have something to say about the meeting that never took place. My good friend Kevin Molloy was a Celtics fan too. It was not hard to root for them. They played the game the right way.

The Celtics were fundamentally sound. They had Dave Cowens, Paul Silas and John Havlicek up front. “Hondo” was 36 at the time and nursing a sore foot. Boston had three players (Cowens, Hondo and Silas) make 1st team all-defense.

The Nets, coached by Kevin Loughery played a run and gun style led by the “Big 3″ in Julius Erving, Brian Taylor and John Williamson. People tend to forget that Larry Kenon and Billy Paultz were NOT on this Nets team.

Doc was incredible. He was the leading scorer that year and had captured his third straight league MVP.

When the merger took place Red Auerbach said that we’re going to see one of the greatest forwards to ever play this game. He was talking about Julie.

The backcourt battle between Jo-Jo White and Charlie Scott vs Taylor and Williamson would have been sweet.

Overall for the ABA, the players and teams did well in the NBA after the merger.

“The ABA was like the wild west, and Julius Erving, George Gervin, James Silas and all the other ABA stars were gunfighters. They are men of legend known to millions, but whose actual deeds were seen by few,” Bob Costas said in Terry Pluto’s fantastic book about the ABA.

The following season after the merger, the Portland Trailblazers won the NBA championship (thanks to Maurice Lucas). Their opponent in the finals was the 76ers (thanks to Doc), the Nuggets won the Midwest and the Spurs led the league in scoring. The Nets on the other hand were a mess. They had the worst record in the league at 22-60 but they did do something to make the NBA history books. In February they became the first NBA team ever to have an all-left-handed lineup: Tim Bassett, Al Skinner, Bubbles Hawkins, Dave Wohl and Kim Hughes.

Nets-Celtics in 76 would have been special.

So, who wins, Nets or Celtics?

Twitter: @CoachFinamore


Posted in Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2011 by hoopscoach

“There’s nothing worse in life than wasted talent.”

Robert DeNiro to his young son, Calogero in the film, ‘A Bronx Tale’


It’s been a while since we last spoke so I figured I’d hit you up. Hopefully you had a good night’s sleep last night.

I hope your stay these past few days in Dallas has been a good one; I’ve never been to Dallas so I don’t know what one does when they visit.  I do hope that you have spent some time in the gym, no make that, I hope you spent some extra time in the gym getting up some shots and lifting weights in the hotel gym.

Tonight is Game 5 of the NBA championship. The series is tied at 2 games. Everyone will be watching, “All Eyes on Me” as they like to say.  It’s your last night in Dallas; the fans here, well I’m sure they are not very impressed with your performance, mainly your play in crunch time. The gang will all be in the house. Adrian Wojnarowski, Rachel NicholsGreg Doyel, Jason WhitlockMike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, Magic, JB and his brother Brent, Michael Wilbon, and Stu. Let’s not forget Jalen Rose, Tim Legler, Rick Kamla, Kevin McHale, Chris Mullin, Chris Weber, Steve Smith, Dennis Scott and Hannah Storm.  They will be watching your every move and ready with their comments.

Over the years I have been a fan of the way you play the game; I defend you when people criticize you. When you have a bad game, they all come out of the woodwork to go after you. They say you lack a low post move, they say you need a cross-over dribble, one guy even said you need an inside-out move. I laughed at that one.

They are all the haters… who cares what those people have to say, you’re the best player in the NBA.

Tonight you have a chance to put all your critics to sleep, for a couple of days anyway.  Actually I take that back, that’s impossible because no matter what you do tonight, they will find something you did wrong.

In the game of life we have self-help gurus that preach we shouldn’t worry about what other people think of us; who really cares, right?

But LeBron you owe it to your fans in Miami and to all your followers on Twitter around the Internet to come out tonight swinging, oops, I mean Ballin’…for a full 48 minutes!

You owe it to people like me who enjoy watching you play. You owe it to the families who spend a lot of money on your shoes and the kids who ask for a LeBron James jersey for Christmas. By the way, so much for that Q score/rating a few months ago right? They said you dropped on the popular chart. But you still have the #1 selling jersey in the league. LOL.

The minute you board the team bus at the hotel this afternoon until the final buzzer, you need to be ready to go. Your mind has to be right. What many players fail to realize is the game of basketball is more mental than physical, a lot more.

Better yet, if there are two buses departing for American Airlines Center, I challenge you to catch a cab with assistant coach Keith Askins before the first bus departs and be the first to arrive to the arena. Get dressed and head out to the court to get up some shots; take shots you will take in the game. Work on your drive to the basket. Take a few passes in the post, work on a drop step, or go middle with the shuffle dribble. This way we can hear Van Gundy mention on air during the telecast that you were the first one to the gym; Larry Bird and Ray Allen both fall into that category.

I really don’t care what the stats say the past few games, to me that doesn’t matter. I have watched you your entire NBA career, I know you can play; we all know you can play.

I witnessed game 5 of the 2007 playoffs against the Detroit Pistons when you scored 48 points. You scored 25 straight at one point late in the game; 29 of your team’s last 30! Most important, your team won in double-overtime. How soon they forget.

In May of 2010, I drove four hours to Cleveland to watch game 5 of the first round playoff series against the Boston Celtics.  I was in the house along with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, you know him well, he loves to write about you. Rachel Nichols of the Mothership was also in attendance that night, I’m sure you know her too, she seems to be ESPN’s beat reporter for you.  The three of us watched you lose that game 120-88.

Fans and media say you gave up, your fans boo’d you off the court. I drove home that night saying to myself, ‘wow the Cavaliers stink’. The next game you came out and hung a triple double (27 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists) on the Celtics despite losing the game and the series 4-2.

Basketball followers ripped you.

A couple of months later you decided to change your work address. You went from Cleveland to Miami. You let a lot of people down from your home State of Ohio. They were burning your jersey in the streets.

In the game of basketball everyone looks at how many points a player scores to determine their success; I don’t. Like some hoop purists, I look at rebounds, assists, free-throws attempted, deflections, turnovers and most of all, how much energy a guy plays with!

I look at passion, toughness and communication.

Is the player talking on defense, helping teammates, closing out on shooters.

I look for guys getting stops on defense; stopping the ball on the break, pressuring the dribbler/passer, denying their man the ball on the wing. I love to see guys draw charges, box out and dive on the floor for loose balls. I also look for players showing courage, taking and making big shots, whether it’s the beginning of the game or the closing seconds.

If you display these traits, you have played your heart out; the fans and media will adore you.

Can’t criticize that.

LeBron, you mentioned the other day, “I think it’s that time that I try to get myself going individually.”

Yeah, I’d say so too. But superstars don’t wait until game 5 of a best of seven championship series.

I heard what Scottie Pippen said about you and Michael Jordan last week, I didn’t agree with him but as always, we like to find the next Jordan.  Bron, no one will ever be Jordan, it’s impossible.

Just be you, forget wanting to be the greatest player of all-time; or as Mark Jackson would say, ‘Do you’.

Anyone who has ever picked up a ball, laced up their sneakers and played the game knows two people can’t score at once. I’d like to see you crash the offensive boards when a teammate shoots. I’d like to see you cut to the basket, set a ball screen or even screen away to get a teammate open. How about going into the post and posting up on the block?

I once heard Jon Stewart describe the great Bruce Springsteen’s performance while on stage: “Bruce empty’s his tank.”

If you don’t know what that means, hit me back.

By the way before I forget, the thing that separates Jordan from everyone else, killer instinct. His willingness to do anything possible to win. Michael would rip your heart out.  In case you didn’t realize this, in 6 NBA championships that MJ played in, he won them all, 6 for 6.  Most impressive?  He was named MVP in all 6 series’.

In closing, I found this quote from you on your performance after that unbelievable Pistons playoff game just a few years ago, “Why should I be surprised? I was making a lot of great moves. They are definitely a great defensive team, but I was determined to attack.”

LBJ, I am surprised that your play in this series has gone south. I hope you are determined to be on the attack tonight. It’s the finals, the chance that many players don’t get.

My guy Danny Wetzel, a fantastic writer typed a great article on you today at, click here and you can read it for yourself. A line in the piece jumped out at me,

This is no longer about promise or potential. This is the time to stand and deliver.

Good luck Bron, we’ll all be watching.


Coach Finamore

Follow me on Twitter: @CoachFinamore


Posted in Basketball with tags , , on November 8, 2010 by hoopscoach

I watched the Boston Celtics and the OKC Thunder last night…The Celtics are not satisified, this I can tell you.  They put a spanking on the Thunder in OKC.

Day 72 – Are you Done?

How good do you really want to be?

Do you like where your skill level is at the moment?

A satisfied player makes no progress.

Once you think you are one of the better players and stop working hard, you’re doomed.  Because someone is always working.

You will not progress if you slack off.

The progressive player doesn’t stop getting better.

You determine your own success.

Never lose sight of your goal.

-Coach Finamore

Follow me on Twitter: @CoachFinamore


Posted in Basketball with tags , , , , on November 3, 2010 by hoopscoach

Last night I watched the Celtics beat up on the Pistons.  One big reason, they seemed to have more energy.

Day 67 – Bring the Juice

After the game Pistons head coach John Kuester said, “every day we write on the practice plan, ‘bring the juice’, I bring the juice every day”.

Do you as a player come to every workout juiced up?

Are you giving all you have on the defensive end? Are you training hard?

Bring the juice, each and every day you step on the floor.

“I feel a lot less talented than a lot of the guys I play against and I know that most of them are a lot taller.  To be effective, I’ve got to use my speed all the time – I’ve got to out-hustle them.”

-Dave Cowens

-Coach Finamore

Follow me on Twitter: @CoachFinamore


Posted in Basketball with tags , , , , , on October 27, 2010 by hoopscoach

The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics tipped off the 2010-11 NBA season last night. Today, in our 90 Day Basketball Improvement Plan I discuss playing time.

Day 63 – M.P.G.’S

Last night LeBron James played 42 minutes in the Heat’s 88-80 loss at Boston.

To me, he needed to play 48 minutes.

Yes, I said 48 minutes.  The whole entire game!

That is of course, if he gets into foul trouble or gets injured he comes out of the game.

I know for a fact the 6’8″ 270 pound extraordinary athlete from Akron, Ohio did not need to get any splinters last night at the Boston Garden.

In the 4th quarter, with 9:07 to go in the game the Heat were down 65-61 (this after scoring 9 points in the entire first quarter). James was replaced by D-Wade… At the 7:23 mark, James checked back in the game with the Heat now down 9. Did he really need that rest?


I don’t care what anyone says…you stay on the floor until you can’t go; especially in a huge game like last night. (Yes, I said HUGE game)

Mateen Cleaves, formerly of Michigan State University once said, ‘leave it all on the court.”

First game of the season at the age of 25, you don’t need a rest.

During the 1961-62 season, Wilt Chamberlain played 48.5 minutes per game for a whole season; look it up. And just so you know, an NBA game is 48 minutes long. But wait, there’s more.  During that entire season, Wilt only rested for 8 minutes total!

-Coach Finamore

Follow me on Twitter: @CoachFinamore


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