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Danny Ainge: Jeff Green ‘deserves to be on the court most minutes’

03.21.13 at 6:05 pm ET
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Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined Salk & Holley in his weekly Thursday afternoon appearance to face questions about his team’s tough losses to the Hornets and Heat, Jeff Green‘s (lack of) playing time and the NCAA tournament.

C’s coach Doc Rivers, who ripped his team’s performance in New Orleans, only played Green 26 minutes and resorted to another off-balanced Paul Pierce isolation jumper in the 87-86 loss. Even Ainge seemed to have questions about those decisions.

“I think Jeff is starting to prove and has proven to Doc that he deserves to be on the court most minutes of the game,” Ainge said. “Doc needs something off the bench, and I think he’€™s trying to figure all that out.

“And he will. He’€™s played Jeff at the 2 and the 3 and the 4 this year, and so I think that last night might’€™ve been a good opportunity for Jeff to play more at the 2. They had two big guys in there. They were killing us on the glass in the second half. I think in one stretch it was 27-9, and that just shows you lack of effort.”

Ainge stopped himself before including Green’s second-half performance as part of that lack of effort, but he did cite Brandon Bass‘ improved play in defense of Rivers’ decision and eventually blamed the loss on the backcourt.

“I think that last night maybe [we needed] some Jeff at the 2 guard,” said Ainge, who watched Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee combine for eight points in 39 combined minutes, “because our guard play was not good last night.’€

While Ainge commended Anthony Davis‘ effort in what he termed “a bad loss” — calling the Hornets rookie “a Spiderman” and “a young, athletic KG” — he also expressed disappointment in his team’s late-game execution.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Jeff Green, NBA

Doc Rivers: ‘We deserve everything we got. … We just don’t learn’

03.20.13 at 11:22 pm ET
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Doc Rivers has been here before, and has had way too much experience this year in trying to rip his team a new one after blowing a double-digit lead and losing to an inferior opponent.

As a matter of fact, the Celtics did exactly that against the same lowly Hornets team they lost to at the Garden back on Jan. 16. But that apparently wasn’t motivation enough as the C’s blew a 13-point lead in the third quarter and lost to New Orleans on an Anthony Davis tip-in of an Eric Gordon missed layup with 0.3 seconds left to lift the Hornets over the Celtics, 87-86, Wednesday night.

Rivers needed just one minute, 45 seconds to tear his team a new one after the loss.

‘€œWe messed the game up [with] our spirit,” Rivers began. “I thought we thought we were going to win the game when we got the lead.

‘€œI told our guys at halftime, you could see it in the middle of the second quarter. We went from being a solid, just good-looking basketball team, to ‘€˜Showtime.’€™ And I believe in the basketball gods. When you mess with the game, the game messes you up. I thought we deserved it, I really did.

‘€œI thought we activated them. I thought they were ready to go. You could just see it. We stopped making passes, we started dancing around, stopped defending, laughing. You could see our guys laughing and joking. I told our coaches, I said, ‘€˜The basketball gods will get us tonight at some point.’€™ And unfortunately, it did. So, I thought we deserve everything we got.

‘€œWe don’€™t learn because we’€™ve done this three or four times this year and we just don’€™t learn. It’€™s disappointing.”

Rivers was asked just one question: Is he surprised this kind of play is coming so late in the season?

“It doesn’€™t matter at the point of the season, it really doesn’€™t,” he said. “But, it does get old. You could just see it. And once you do it, you can’€™t turn it back on. But I thought once we activated them, you could see the difference in the speed, the way they were playing and the way we were playing in the fourth quarter. We were trying to say, ‘€˜Come on, now.’€™ And I was like, ‘€˜No, you can’€™t do it now. You turned it off and you turned them on.’€™ I thought they were in a great place at the end. But we were asleep and we deserved it. I thought we absolutely deserved to lose the game. Whether or not we won it or not, we deserved to lose the game.’€

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

Read More: Anthony Davis, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA

Stung again: Celtics blow 13-point second-half lead, lose to lowly Hornets

03.20.13 at 10:35 pm ET
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Anthony Davis – the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft last June – tipped in the go-ahead basket with 0.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter to allow the Hornets to nip the Celtics, 87-86, Wednesday night in New Orleans. The Hornets were able to sweep the season series with the Celtics this season. The Celtics could managed just 31 points in the second half and lost their second straight, with road games in Dallas and Memphis on tap for Friday and Saturday nights.

On the final play, Eric Gordon went right on Avery Bradley and drove to the basket. His layup went hard off the glass and the rim. Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green failed to box out Davis, who tipped in the miss. The play was reviewed on replay but was upheld. A final shot by Garnett was off the mark and wouldn’t have counted.

Paul Pierce scored a game-high 28 points while Garnett returned to action after a two-game absence to add 20 points. Green, who had 13 points in the first half, was held scoreless in the second half.

Green picked up where he left off Monday night, when he scored a career-high 43. Green hit 4-of-6 shots in the first 24 minutes, scoring 13 points from his more customary spot coming off the Boston bench.

Garnett, showing no rust or residual effect from his left leg injury and flulike symptoms, was 6-of-9 from the floor and had 14 points. Pierce added 12 points, as the Celtics used an 11-1 run to build the lead to 12 before settling for a 55-45 halftime lead. Boston shot a blazing 21-of-35 (60 percent) in the first half.

The third quarter was a brutal one for the Celtics. They scored just 12 points and turned the ball over seven times, allowing the Hornets to erase a 13-point lead.

Courtney Lee‘s midrange jumper broke a drought of nearly 4 1/2 minutes late in the third quarter and put an end to an 18-5 run that saw the Hornets come all the way back from a 60-47 Celtics advantage.

The Celtics’ ship continued to take on water in the first four minutes as Ryan Anderson hit a pair of free throws that made it 76-69 with 7:39 left. Anderson hit a jumper to build New Orleans’ lead to nine, 78-69, with 6:25 left.

The Celtics – at one point – were outrebounded 26-9 as the Hornets attacked at will in the paint.

But the Celtics responded with a 10-0 run, including four straight free throws by Pierce over a 20 second span. But Anderson responded with a three with Pierce dunk 3:14 tied the game at 81-81. The New Orleans defense collapsed on Garnett, who found Pierce with 2:34 left. Pierce drilled the three-ball to put the Celtics back up, 84-81.

With just under two minutes left, Brandon Bass followed his own miss and tipped it in to put Boston up, 86-81, finishing off a 17-5 run. Bass got another key offensive rebound on an Avery Bradley missed three with 50 seconds left.

Pierce was called for fouling Ryan Anderson on a baseline three attempt with 35.5 seconds left as Anderson had the chance to tie the game. But Anderson, an 85 percent free throw shooter, missed the first one before making the next two to draw the Hornets within one.

The Celtics caught a break when Green called timeout just before getting whistled for a five-second violation.

Pierce missed a 15-foot fallaway with 17.9 seconds left, giving New Orleans a chance to win the game in regulation.

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

Read More: Anthony Davis, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, NBA

Celtics sign D.J. White for remainder of season

03.20.13 at 2:33 pm ET
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The Celtics have signed D.J. White for the remainder of the season.

White averaged 2.8 points and 1.5 rebounds in just 6.8 minutes over four appearances since originally arriving in Boston from China on Feb. 28. The two sides reached a deal before the C’s had to part ways with the 6-foot-9, 250-pound big man upon completing the maximum of two 10-day contracts.

The Celtics announced “a multi-year contract” with White, and while terms of the deal were not disclosed, it’s likely the team owns an option for the 2013-14 season — much like the contract Terrence Williams signed earlier this month.

The next domino to fall should be Shavlik Randolph, whose second 10-day contract expires on Thursday. Randolph made the trip to New Orleans for the opener of the C’s three-game road trip, indicating the Celtics expect to reach a similar agreement with the journeyman forward.

Read More: Boston Celtics, D.J. White, NBA, Shavlik Randolph

LeBron James ‘glad’ dunk came against Jason Terry

03.20.13 at 2:14 pm ET
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By now, you’ve seen LeBron Jamesmonster dunk over Jason Terry that will probably go up against DeAndre Jordan‘s posterization of Brandon Knight for the NBA’s Dunk of the Year. Well, apparently so has LeBron.

“I’ve had a chance to [review] it, and it was one of my better ones,” James told ESPN.com two days after Miami’s 105-103 victory in Boston. “The fact that it happened to J.T. made it that much sweeter. Because we all know J.T. and he talks too much sometimes. And I’m glad it happened to him.”

The beef began when Terry’s Mavericks defeated LeBron’s Heat for the 2011 NBA title. It continued on the eve of Monday’s Celtics-Heat battle, when Terry declared in his diary: “I know ways to beat them,” and, “The blueprint is right here before us and we know it.” Strong words from the 6-foot-2, 180-pound C’s guard.

Then again, so were LeBron’s in the immediate aftermath of earning a taunting technical for standing over Terry like Godzilla over his own carnage. “I seen him down there,” James said Monday. “I guess he didn’t see me.”

Pretty sure he saw LeBron, who stands six inches taller and weighs 70 pounds more than Terry.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Jason Terry, LeBron James, Miami Heat

Donny Marshall on M&M: ‘I did not have a problem’ with Paul Pierce’s last shot

03.19.13 at 1:37 pm ET
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Donny Marshall of CSNNE joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to discuss Jeff Green‘s monster game vs. the Heat, Paul Pierce‘s final shot, and how to try to guard LeBron James.

In the Celtics‘ 105-103 loss to the Heat on Monday night, Green scored a career-high 43 points. In two of the games that Kevin Garnett has missed due to injury, Green has started and stepped up big time, combining for 74 points.

“From what I understand, [in] last night’s game, KG was in [Green's] ear as well before, telling him to be that guy that he was,” Marshall said. “Your shots are going to be different obviously when KG comes back. He’s not Carmelo [Anthony] by any means. He’s not going to take 20, 25 shots, and it may make it easier for Jeff when KG comes back. If I’m a wing player, I throw the ball into KG, I know heads are going to turn. If they don’t go double-team when KG is playing well, they’re still going to have to respect him. That means now it’s my opportunity, my job to cut to the basket, to move without the basketball, and KG is such a great passer that Jeff Green I think will still get that quality shot. … At times, you have to be selfish for your team, meaning you may have to take those shots. You may have to take different risks when you’re out there, and that’s how you, I think, gain the respect of your teammates and also let them know that, ‘OK, I’m here to help you,’ and not just put everything on Paul [Pierce] and KG.”

With Green’s excellent play of late, Doc Rivers may have some thinking to do when Garnett returns. For most of the season, Green has come off of the bench, with players like Brandon Bass getting the starting nod.

“They tried to bring Brandon off the bench and I just don’t think his personality is fit for coming off the bench,” Marshall said. “I don’t think he’s one of those ‘go get it’ guys. You don’t run anything for him in the post. If you think about where most of his shots come from, they come off drive, draw and kick to that little 16-, 14-foot area. So, Brandon Bass is not going to be one of those guys that you’re going to showcase off the bench. So, I don’t know how you go about bringing him off the bench. I think you almost have to keep them in there and keep some semblance of interior with Bass on the floor.”

With the Heat’s two-point victory, they now have the second-longest winning streak in NBA history at 23 games. With seven seconds left, Pierce attempted a fadeaway 3-pointer that clanked off the rim, all but ensuring the Heat win.

“If that shot goes in and it’s Terrence Williams or somebody you’re like, ‘Still probably not a great shot and he got lucky,’ Marshall said. “If Pierce makes that shot, we’re like, ‘There’s Pierce. That’s his legacy, that’s what he does.’ LeBron James to me is not as good a defender as everyone wants him to be. … You have a situation in LeBron James that people think, ‘Oh, great defender. [Pierce] had to get that shot off quick.’ I really don’t believe laterally that LeBron is that great a defender. There are better defenders in the NBA, but he’s so big and so explosive that if Pierce catches that, pump fakes, I don’t think LeBron goes for it. If he does, Pierce is probably going to take one dribble and step back. That’s what he does. … The shot was a little early, but I did not have a problem with that shot because of who took it, and really what the situation was.”

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Read More: Brandon Bass, Donny Marshall, Dwyane Wade, Jeff Green

Dwyane Wade: ‘There’s some dislike’ among Heat, Celtics

03.19.13 at 1:00 pm ET
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The celebration in the Heat locker room could be heard from the hallway after Miami’s 105-103 win over the Celtics on Monday night, which seemed strange — considering the absences of Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett — until Dwyane Wade reminded everyone his team doesn’t like Boston all that much.

“It’€™s a Celtics-Heat game,” said Wade, who scored 16 points in 36 minutes, mostly against Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee. “It’€™s always like that, man. Whether it’€™s the first game of the year or the last game of the year, it’€™s always like that. No matter who’€™s on the court, no matter who’€™s playing, it’€™s going to be a battle, and here they’€™ve beat us in those games. Tonight, we were able to pull it out, and it just shows the growth of our team.

“We know we’re getting the best from Boston every time we play them,” he added. “There’€™s a dislike there. It’€™s a different focus, especially here in this building.”

Conversely, the Garden crowd apparently focused its ire on former Celtics star turned Heat role player Ray Allen.

“Nobody pulled punches for me today,” said Allen, who scored six points in 30 minutes. “I heard some pretty brutal things in the building today, and people really let me know how they felt. I don’€™t go into it with any expectation, but I’€™m on the other team, so they’€™re going to say whatever they can and whatever they think they need to say.”

Maybe that’s why Allen pretended Celtics-Heat isn’t a rivalry in the aftermath of yet another memorable meeting.

“When I played here, our rivals were the Lakers, Pistons and New York,” said Allen. “That’€™s deep-seeded. It comes from a lot of basketball, and we’€™ll see how the years go to determine if that’€™s the case.”

OK, then. So, I guess those 20 games and 980 minutes of basketball between the two teams over the past three seasons have just been all in good fun. I don’t remember Rondo laughing when Wade dislocated his elbow, when Paul Pierce head-butted James Jones, when LeBron James laughed in Garnett’s face or when KG ignored Allen’s return to Boston. It’s kind of a touchy subject, especially if you ask LeBron.

‘€œWhy does it always have to be, ‘€˜They gave us a war’€™?” said James. “There’€™s never us giving anybody else a war, huh? That’€™s how y’€™all like it? That’€™s all that matters is the win. That’€™s all that matters.’€

For more on the rivalry — and that’s exactly what it is — read this column: “James, Heat don’t scare Celtics.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Miami Heat
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