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Rajon Rondo on All-Star: ‘To be loved by so many people … it’s a great feeling’

01.18.13 at 8:08 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo gives it up for Boston fans. (AP)

Rajon Rondo is very grateful to Celtics fans for his selection to the Eastern Conference All-Star squad on Thursday. Before Friday’s game he expressed his appreciation.

“It’s a great feeling, especially being named this way amongst your fans, so many votes,” Rondo said. “It’s humbling and it’s a grateful experience for me.

“To be loved by so many people rooting for me and wanting me to be a starter in the East, it’s a great feeling.”

Rondo garnered 924,180 votes, second only to Dwyane Wade. Rondo will team with Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Garnett on the starting five for the East on Feb. 17 in Houston.

This is Rondo’s fourth All-Star selection, being named each year since 2010.

Rondo said he will target KG in the post and is still hoping Paul Pierce makes it as a reserve.

“I’m a little bit biased but without Paul, we wouldn’t be where we are right now,” Rondo added. “He’s been Mr. Consistent and he’s brought it every night for us. He’s always carried the load or scoring, which we need at times, so I’d definitely consider Paul as well.”

His mission? To end a run of Western Conference dominance in the game.

“I’ll still try to run the show,” Rondo said. “I want to win this year. We haven’t won in a while … but we definitely want to win this year.”

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Avery Bradley (ribs) out as Leandro Barbosa starts

01.18.13 at 6:48 pm ET
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Avery Bradley

Avery Bradley will sit out Friday night’s game against the Bulls with sore ribs suffered in Wednesday’s loss to the Hornets. Leandro Barbosa will make his second start of the season in his place.

Friday’s starting five of Rajon Rondo, Barbosa, Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Paul Pierce marks the 11th different lineup coach Doc Rivers has used this season.

This is the first game Bradley has missed since missing the first 30 games as he recovered from shoulder surgeries. The team went 14-16 in his absence. With Bradley back, the Celtics are 6-2 and have improved their defense significantly. Bradley is averaging 8.1 points in eight games while the team has not allowed 100 points. The Celtics are allowing just 86.8 points in Bradley’s return.

For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

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Doc Rivers on Kevin Garnett as an All-Star: That’s ‘pretty cool’

01.18.13 at 6:43 pm ET
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Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said he was very happy for his players Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett to make the All-Star team. Before Friday’s game with the Bulls at TD Garden, Rivers said both were very worthy and deserving.

“I think it’s great,” Rivers said. “I think they both deserve it. It’s something Rondo, at this point of his life and age, really wants to do and make and probably Kevin wants the honor of it, especially with the fact Kevin didn’t make it last year and to make it this year is pretty cool.”

Rivers laughed when told that TNT NBA TV analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal said Garnett didn’t deserve to be starting on the Eastern squad in place of Tyson Chandler.

“I’ll let them talk,” Rivers added. “That’s fine. Kevin’s on it, right? That’s all that matters. There’s a lot of people that disagree with them.”

Rondo indicated before the game that he will target Garnett during the game in Houston, trying to feed him plenty of lobs to get him in the offense.

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Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo named All-Star starters

01.18.13 at 9:05 am ET
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Kevin Garnett

Celtics Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo earned starting spots in the NBA All-Star Game and will take the floor for the Eastern Conference alongside some bitter rivals: Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.

Garnett held off Heat forward Chris Bosh, who implored his Twitter followers to vote for him but fell about 25,000 votes short. Garnett ties Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal for second place all-time with 15 All-Star appearances (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has 19).

Bryant was the leading vote-getter, with 1,591,437, in earning his NBA-record 15th consecutive starting bid. He’ll be joined in the Western Conference lineup by Lakers teammate Dwight Howard, Clippers Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and Thunder star Kevin Durant.

Reserves will be announced next Thursday. The game is Feb. 17 in Houston.

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Celtics ‘monitoring’ Greg Oden’s comeback attempt

01.17.13 at 3:17 pm ET
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Greg Oden

In their everlasting search for frontcourt depth, “the Celtics are among the team’s monitoring” 2007 NBA draft No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden‘s comeback attempt, according to CBSSports.com columnist Ken Berger.

Plagued by a series of knee injuries, the 7-foot, 250-pound Oden played just 82 games in a Blazers uniform, the last of which was played on Dec. 5, 2009. Portland waived him in March 2012 after his third surgery in five years.

Last week, ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein reported several teams, including the Heat, have already shown interest in signing Oden this winter with the hope of bringing him to training camp this fall. The Spurs and Cavaliers also appear to be in the mix for the former Ohio State star, CBSSports.com said.

Oden’s appeal is obvious. He’s a 7-footer who averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 22.1 minutes per game in his limited NBA action. The Celtics can’t offer more money than either the Heat or Spurs, but Jared Sullinger apparently has a relationship despite playing for the Buckeyes five years apart.

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Did Danny Ainge deny Leandro Barbosa’s trade request?

01.17.13 at 2:19 pm ET
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Leandro Barbosa

Celtics guard Leandro Barbosa asked Danny Ainge to be either traded or released, but the C’s president of basketball operations “will not let me go,” Barbosa told a Brazilian sports radio station (h/t CelticsBlog).

Here’s the rough Portuguese-to-English translation from Google Chrome:

“I will not lie to you: I tried to get out several times, but Danny Ainge does not want to let me go,” Barbosa told Bradesco Sports FM. “He’s a guy that admires my basketball skills for many years. I was supposed to have got a good contract with the Boston Celtics, but did not. He will not let me go.”

The fifth guard on the roster after Avery Bradley’s return to the backcourt, Barbosa’s 10.7 minutes and 4.9 points per game are both career lows, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers failed to bring the explosive scorer off the bench on Wednesday until it was too late in a game tailored for his instant offense.

“I should’ve played LB earlier when we were struggling for energy,” Rivers said after the 90-78 loss to the Hornets. “He’s an energy guy. It was easy [to say] now, obviously, but that’s what I’ll probably see when I watch the film.”

In the final 2:35 of the fourth quarter, Barbosa scored seven points on four shots. His 36-minute averages of 16.5 points (44.2 FG%, 39.3 3P%), 4.1 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals aren’t far off from 2006-07, when he won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year honor, and they’re superior across the board to fellow offensive-minded guard Jason Terry‘s 36-minute averages of 12.8 points (42.5 FG%, 36.1 3P%), 2.9 assists, 2.5 boards and 1.2 steals.

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Doc Rivers: Rajon Rondo ‘really’ wants spot on All-Star Team

01.17.13 at 10:30 am ET
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Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan Show, the morning after the Celtics had their season-best six-game winning streak snapped at TD Garden in a 90-78 loss to the Hornets, who entered the game with a 12-26 record on the season.

“I thought we dropped our guard with the way we practiced the day before,” Rivers said when asked if he thought the Celtics were overconfident against the struggling Hornets. “I thought we were very relaxed, just a lot of those things. I thought the Austin [Rivers] thing had an impact on some of our guys, because they know him. It was one of those nights when we couldn’t make a shot but we never took a shot in the paint, everything was a jump shot and we took the easy way out the entire night.”

Rivers coached against the son, Austin, for the first time on Wednesday night, and the rookie played well, scoring eight points in 22 minutes. Rivers was asked to describe his feelings during the game as he watched his son for the first time in an NBA game.

“You’re competing against your son and it’s just a different dynamic,” Rivers said. “You always want your son to do well, but I never go into a game wanting any player on the other team to do well. That’s the dynamic that’s just so different, it was difficult but after that it was a game and we didn’t play very well and that was disappointing.”

Austin Rivers was the 10th pick of the 2012 draft, 11 picks before the Celtics made their first selection. If Rivers had somehow slipped to the 21st spot, would the Celtics have selected him?

“We would have taken him,” Rivers said. “Danny [Ainge] wanted him from the beginning, so that would not have been hard for us. After watching him play this year, I don’t think that would have been that hard. I think he’s going to be a really good player, I just think it’s going to take some time to get comfortable and to play at his speed. But he’s a guy, as you saw last night, that can get his shot and get to the basket and that’s something we need so we would have taken him.”

The starting lineups for the NBA All-Star Game will be announced on Thursday, and both Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett have a good chance of landing spots in that lineup for the Eastern Conference. Rivers was asked if making the All-Star team was a source of motivation for Rondo (who has played in the last three All-Star Games but has never started) or Garnett (a 13-time All-Star).

“I think Rondo really wants it, young players really want to be on the All-Star team,” Rivers said. “Kevin, I would say, he enjoyed the break last year, he went home to Malibu and had a great time and he would enjoy doing that again. But I think it would be an honor for him, at this age to make the All-Star team is amazing.”

To hear the interview click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Celtics news visit weei.com/celtics.

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