Celtics notebook

Miami put on full-court press

Marbury instead selected Boston

By Marc J. Spears
Globe Staff / March 12, 2009
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MIAMI - While the option of playing in a warm-weather city with Dwyane Wade was enticing, the allure of competing for a title with the Celtics was more inviting for Stephon Marbury.

Before he was bought out of his contract by the Knicks, the Celtics and Heat were rumored to have the strongest interest in Marbury. Once Marbury became a free agent, he said Wade and Heat president Pat Riley made a sales pitch to bring him to Miami. While the two-time All-Star appreciated the interest, he opted for Boston, signing a $1.3 million contract for the rest of the season.

"I just felt like that the direction I wanted to go in, winning a championship was important," Marbury said. "I knew that there was an interest for a while [in Miami]. It wasn't something that came about at the last minute when there was talks about me getting out of my deal. Before I was able to get out of my deal, they were interested."

Wade and Marbury were teammates on the United States Olympic team that won the bronze medal in Athens in 2004. The two have remained friends, and Wade often called to check up on Marbury during the soap opera that was his final months with the Knicks.

"We've always had a relationship," said Wade. "I wasn't playing GM. We talked about a lot of different things. Of course, we all knew that Boston was a strong thing."

Said Marbury, "We spoke. I told him it was more about business than anything. That was really it. We spoke about the possibility of coming [to Miami]."

When asked if the Celtics considered the Heat competition for Marbury, coach Doc Rivers said, "We knew there was competition. We just didn't know who it was. We did feel confident that we had him. But I also felt confident that I had a lot of players that never came our way. I thought we had [Antonio ] McDyess this [season], I thought we had Joe Smith, and [neither] of them are here. So you can't take anything for granted in our league."

Said Heat coach Eric Spoelstra, "[Marbury] went pretty quickly to the Celtics. It wasn't much of an issue. They were always probably in the lead."

Frustration grows
Marbury and Mikki Moore are frustrated about their slow starts with their new team, including in last night's loss to the Heat.

Marbury was scoreless on 0-for-6 shooting and had 4 assists, 2 steals, and 2 turnovers in 24 minutes in his second start with the Celtics. In six games, he is averaging 2.3 points while shooting 25.9 percent.

"I thought I was a little bit more aggressive today," said Marbury. "I just have to give it rhythm and some timing. It's all legs. My game is all legs and just getting back into the flow."

Moore was scoreless on three shots, with four rebounds and five fouls in 18 minutes. He is averaging 3.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 13.7 minutes in seven games with the Celtics.

"I feel like a couple of my mistakes cost us the game," said Moore. "I didn't get over on defense. Wade got a 3-point play. I missed a couple other [defensive] assignments, and then I missed my jump shot. To me, I think that's a 5-point swing during crunch time. It's very frustrating, but I've got to pull through it."

Wait and see
Rookie Heat forward Michael Beasley believes his former Kansas State teammate, seldom-used Celtics rookie forward Bill Walker, will dazzle once he gets an opportunity. "It's been hard for him," Beasley said. "I talk to him. But he has to keep pushing. He's a great player. A great athlete. The sky is the limit for him. He's 6-5, 6-6, 240 pounds. But he moves like he's 215 and jumps like he's 190 pounds. There's a lot you don't know about Bill. Bill's a 3-point shooter. There's a lot to his game that the world hasn't seen yet and is yet to come. Once everyone sees what he can do, it's going to be something special." Walker scored 8 points last night in 14 minutes . . . Rivers said surgery has never been considered for injured forward Kevin Garnett, who has been out since Feb. 19 with a sprained right knee and is expected to miss at least another week.

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