Stern gets his points on board
CHICAGO - Commissioner David Stern isn't going to cry for the injury-plagued champions of the NBA and doesn't believe the Celtics want his sympathy, either.
The Celtics are playing without star forward Kevin Garnett (right knee sprain), who is likely done for the season, and forward Leon Powe (left knee injury), who is done for the season.
Despite injury woes during the regular season, the Celtics won 62 games to earn the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Although Garnett's absence will play a big role in the Celtics' quest to repeat, Stern views the injuries as part of the game.
"Welcome to the league," said Stern prior to Game 3 of the Celtics-Bulls first-round series last night. "Something always happens and there is always someone looking to knock you off. Some teams get unlucky. The Celtics are here. They don't want my sympathy and I'm not going to give it to them."
On other topics:
"But I understand the question. When our broadcaster says, 'The dream matchup is . . . but there are great teams,' I call them up and say, 'Do me a favor, can you reverse that? How about saying there are great teams and whoever gets in it will be great?' 'You're right, David. I am sensitive to the issue, but it is what it is.' "
"I've been speaking to Danny through the Celtics," Stern said. "There was a meeting last week in New York and that morning he was hospitalized and we were getting like up to the minute [updates]."
"He's so quietly a great player that it's just a delight to watch and to listen to him and to see him grow during the year and get the leadership role during the playoffs," Stern said. "And to focus on Derrick and not the next coming of who from you-know-where, and to let him grow . . . the beauty of it is we have lots of it."
When asked about Hunter's comments, Stern said: "We have a good relationship. We represent our constituents the best we can. We'll be starting those discussions some time when the games aren't being played."
Marc J. Spears can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org