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Rajon Rondo suspended again by the NBA

01.07.13 at 5:12 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo has been suspended one game without pay for making contact with a game official and failure to cooperate with a league investigation, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President Basketball Operations. It is the second suspension for Rondo this season, after serving a two-game suspension for his shoving Kris Humphries on Nov. 28.

The latest incident involving official Rodney Mott occurred with 3:19 remaining in the third quarter of the Celtics’ 89-81 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night at Philips Arena. Rondo will serve his suspension tonight when the Celtics play the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

There’s a secondary angle to the story. Hawks GM Danny Ferry is being fined $15,000 for approaching the NBA referees and handing them a videotape of the incident after the game.

The league has a strict rule about players or team officials approaching a referee after the game, for any reason, so Ferry was hit with the fine by the league.

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

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Why did Celtics waive Kris Joseph, Jarvis Varnado?

01.06.13 at 9:29 pm ET
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Kris Joseph

The Celtics waived rookie forwards Kris Joseph and Jarvis Varnado on Sunday. But why?

The C’s second-round draft pick, Joseph appeared in mostly garbage time of six games for the Celtics, but he averaged 17.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 10 games for the Red Claws in the NBA Development League, so this transaction comes as a surprise.

Meanwhile, Varnado averaged just 1.2 points in 4.0 minutes over five appearances after signing from the D-League on Christmas Eve, and Fab Melo‘s emergence may have made him expendable.

The moves give the Celtics flexibility in two arenas:

1) Both Joseph and Varnado were playing on non-guaranteed contracts, and their waivers come prior to Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline to cut such players. After signing Jason Terry to the mid-level exception, the Celtics are forced to adhere to the NBA’s $74.3 million hard cap. These moves save the Celtics a few hundred thousand dollars, which doesn’t sound like much, but it opens the possibility of adding a veteran minimum talent like Kenyon Martin down the road.

2) The departures of Joseph and Varnado free up the team’s final two roster spots. Considering Danny Ainge‘s rumored interest in just about every big on the market, including DeMarcus Cousins and Marcin Gortat, the Celtics could take on additional players or slightly more dollars in a potential trade.

Either way, those roster spots won’t remain empty until June.

Read More: Boston Celtics, DeMarcus Cousins, Jarvis Varnado, Kris Joseph

Kevin Garnett: ‘This game was not some sort of foreplay’

01.05.13 at 10:09 am ET
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Kevin Garnett has a way with words unlike any other Celtic. He knows what to say and when to say it, especially to his teammates.

That showed Friday night after the Celtics disposed of the Pacers, 94-75, at TD Garden, a game in which he was ejected for a shot to the face of Tyler Hansbrough with just over eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.

“I was firm, I didn’t mean to get him in the face like that, I was actually trying to swipe the ball but it was a physical game and they called it the way it was, part of the game,” Garnett said of the “flagrant-2″ foul that earned him the rest of the night off.

Garnett and Doc Rivers have been pleading with the Celtics to stay true to the defensive principles that have been the cornerstone of the Celtics for the past five seasons. Friday night, Garnett had plenty of help on defense from Avery Bradley and Paul Pierce.

Was this type of ugly game, one that featured 107 missed shots, the kind of game that the Celtics need to play to get themselves out of the funk they’ve been in?

“This game was not some type of foreplay,” Garnett said. “I thought we came out firm and aggressive on both ends, but more importantly defensively. I thought we stayed sound for 48 minutes no matter who was in. Avery made a very very big impact on the game, I thought Paul’s defense was very energetic, and we followed those guys lead. You could tell from how we came into the locker room that we really needed this win.

“You know, since we’ve been in this funk, Doc’s been saying that through out this tough ordeal that we have to continue to play defense no matter what we’re doing. Offense cannot dictate defense. I feel like for the most part we did just that. Some nights you click, some nights you don’t, and tonight we just knew we needed to win to stop the bleeding and I feel like we went out and did it.”

The message to Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Jeff Green?

“There’s no perfect answer to this, there’s no perfect situations,” Garnett said. “Everyone has to accept their roles wholeheartedly and embrace it, and tonight I think we did. Being consistent with those roles is what we want to be, if we want to be anything of a good team, everyone is going to have to fill those roles. It was just a full team effort from a defensive standpoint.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Kevin Garnett, NBA

Avery Bradley: ‘It’s hard to beat us when we’re playing this way’

01.05.13 at 9:31 am ET
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This was the lineup and the effort Doc Rivers had been waiting for. But more to the point, this was the effort everyone had been expecting from the Celtics.

Avery Bradley at the ’2′ providing smothering defense with a cast of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo around him. Brandon Bass was even inserted back into the starting lineup Friday, giving the Celtics the lineup they had when they made their run at the end of last season.

The result was a 94-75 win over the Pacers in which defense was the main attraction and Bradley, according to Rivers, was the MVP.

“Avery was 3-for-11 and he may have been the most valuable player tonight because his defensive pressure, just on the ball, it made them take so much time to get into their sets and when they got in their sets it wasn’t the right spot,” Rivers said. “They had to go in places they didn’t want to, and it allowed our entire defense to be dominant. And so Rondo was part of it as well. Where I was real happy with Rondo was in the second and third especially. His speed he played on offense, where he attacked the basket and made things happen, that’s a good sign for us.”

The Celtics held the Pacers to 27-of-85 shooting (31.8 percent). They held Indiana to 75 points, the fewest they’ve allowed all season. Bradley was in the face of Lance Stephenson all night, holding him to 1-for-6 from the floor.

“That’s what I try to bring every night,” Bradley said. “I try to bring that intensity on the defensive end but that’s my role, to be the energy when I come into the game. I just try to make it hard on the opponent every single night, and that’s all I did tonight. It means nothing to me, it just means that I’m taking steps forward, and next game I gotta continue to get better and better.

“We’ve been making steps forward on that defensive end and offensive end and everything’s starting to come together as a team and we just gotta continue to keep taking steps forward and we’ll be the team that we want to be from the beginning of the year” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA

Paul Pierce: Celtics can beat any team in the East

01.05.13 at 1:09 am ET
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When the Grizzlies briefly knocked the Celtics out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, handing them a fourth straight loss and their eighth in the last 10, many buried the C’s. Just like they did the 2010 and 2012 versions. Even some of members of the team questioned their contender status. But this isn’t Paul Pierce‘s first rodeo.

“I was telling the guys before the game, you know, I told them to look at the East,” said the Celtics captain, who totaled 13 points, six rebounds and five assists in his team’s dismantling of the Pacers that lifted them back into the eighth spot in the conference. “There’s not one team out there that we feel like we can’t beat.

“You’ve got a couple of elite teams out there — San Antonio, Oklahoma City — and I was telling them how well we played against Oklahoma City. There’s no reason that we can’t play well against everybody like that. If you look at the elite teams, and we’re able to compete with them, then why can’t we compete with the other teams are coming here, like the Milwaukees, like the [Pacers], like the Grizzlies. I just want to keep the confidence going in the locker room and help them understand that when we want to, we can be this type of team.”

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, NBA, Paul Pierce

Tyler Hansbrough: Kevin Garnett ‘just hit me in my face’

01.05.13 at 12:20 am ET
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On the Celtics PR staff’s quote sheets, the first sentence in Kevin Garnett‘s post-ejection press conference reads: “This game was not about foreplay.” There’s a chance he said “floor plan,” but foreplay seems more appropriate.

After being pushed around in four embarrassing blowout losses, the C’s finally fought back. Maybe a little too hard, as Garnett decked Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough across the face midway through the fourth quarter of a lopsided victory of their own, earning a flagrant-2 foul and an early trip to the massage table.

“He just hit me in my face,” said Hansbrough, who scored a game-high 19 points. “I went to the basket and took a blow to the head. I didn’t really see the replay. I’ve got nothing to say about it. It is what it is.”

“I was firm,” countered KG (18 points, 7 rebounds). “I didn’t mean to get him in the face like that. I was actually trying to swipe the ball, but it was a physical game, and they called it that way. It was part of the game.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Kevin Garnett, NBA

Kevin Garnett, Celtics lay smackdown on Pacers

01.04.13 at 9:53 pm ET
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Kevin Garnett was ejected after a flagrant-2 foul on Tyler Hansbrough, and unless you came to watch him dance during Gino Time, it didn’t even matter. The Celtics ended a four-game losing streak with a resounding 94-75 victory against the Pacers.

Combined with the Thunder’s blowout of the 76ers, the Celtics (15-17) leapfrogged Philadelphia (15-19) into the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Garnett totaled 18 points and seven rebounds before his ejection.

Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo combined for a triple-double (31 points, 12 assists, 11 rebounds) while Courtney Lee (13 points) and Jared Sullinger (10 rebounds) showed positive signs. Here’s what else happened.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Courtney Lee, Indiana Pacers, Kevin Garnett
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