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Rajon Rondo returns to the parquet

04.03.13 at 7:30 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo surprised some by returning to Celtics shootaround just a month and a half after ACL surgery on his right knee in February. Rondo did some light shooting and tested the right knee and a light shootaround before the Celtics game with the Detroit Pistons at TD Garden. Rondo is still expected to miss the rest of the season.

“It was great just having him around [at Wednesday’s shootaround],” coach Doc Rivers said. “He put his brace on and he just watched shootaround, but then he walked out — or limped out — on the floor and did whatever he did. But it’€™s just good just having him around. It’€™s good for him, too, probably.”

Rivers was asked – jokingly – if Rondo can dunk yet.

“Not yet. It’€™s coming. That’€™s next,” Rivers said.

Rondo tore his ACL on Jan. 25 in Atlanta and then had surgery in February and spent the the first part of his rehab with Dr. James Andrews in the Jacksonville area. Rondo returned to his Boston area home last week and has been spending time with the team ever since, attending a Celtics-Hawks game last Friday for the first time since the surgery. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he and the team are hopeful to have Rondo ready for the start of training camp in September.

Rondo also had some fun with two members of the Harlem Globetrotters in town for an exhibition. Thanks to the folks at CLNS Radio, here’s a sample of that.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Dr. James Andrews, NBA

Paul Pierce returns for Celtics, Kevin Garnett misses his seventh straight game

04.03.13 at 7:13 pm ET
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Doc Rivers announced an hour before tip-off that captain Paul Pierce would return from a one-game absence and would be available for the Celtics in their matchup against the Pistons.

Pierce missed Monday’s game in Minnesota for what the team termed personal reasons. Pierce has missed just two of Boston’s 75 games this season. Pierce was back in the lineup with Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox.

Rivers reiterated Wednesday that Monday’s absence and Wednesday’s uncertainty before the game had nothing to do with his right ankle.

Pierce had a wrap on his right ankle late in the fourth quarter against the Knicks on Sunday night but the team said it was just for maintenance and was not a serious injury.

As for Kevin Garnett, Rivers said the big man is working out on his own and testing his left foot. Inflammation in his left foot near the ankle caused him to miss his seventh straight game Wednesday night. The Celtics were 2-4 in the previous six.

“Honestly, I haven’€™t asked one question about [Garnett’s return],” Rivers said when asked about the end of the two-week timetable. “I don’€™t even know when two weeks is. Whenever it is, it’€™s probably coming up, and he’€™ll play.

“We have a lot of practice days coming up and Kevin’s been working out. He hasn’€™t lost all his conditioning, but you do lose some when you don’€™t play.”

The Celtics play Cleveland on Friday in the second game of a four-game homestand that will also see them play Washington and Brooklyn. Rivers said the off days in between the home games will allow for more practices that should help the team work Garnett back into game action, if willing and able.

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

Read More: Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett

Paul Pierce ‘game-time decision’ while Kevin Garnett misses shootaround

04.03.13 at 2:11 pm ET
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It could be another night without Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

Pierce, who missed just his second game of the season on Monday night due to personal reasons, is officially listed by the team as a “game-time decision” for tonight’s game against the Pistons. Pierce was spotted with an ice wrap on his right foot in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game in New York but the team said at the time it was simply maintenance and not a serious injury.

Garnett, who has missed the last six games with inflammation in his left foot, was not at Wednesday morning’s shootaround. Boston is just 2-4 in those six games.

Without the two stars, the Celtics (38-36) fell to the Timberwolves on Monday night in Minnesota. As a group, Celtics starters have struggled badly in their last two games. In a loss to the Knicks Sunday night, Brandon Bass, Avery Bradey and Chris Wilcox each scored two points. On Monday, Bradley led the way with 19 points but as a unit, the starters scored just 46 points in the 110-100 loss to the Wolves.

Tonight, the Celtics host the Detroit Pistons (25-50) at the Garden (7:30 p.m. tipoff). Despite their woeful record, the Pistons have beaten the Celtics in both previous meetings, scoring 103 points each time while shooting 50 percent from the field in each game. Detroit beat the Celtics 103-88 on Jan. 20 and 103-83 on Nov. 18.

Pierce leads Boston this season, scoring 18.8 points per game and has been the top assist man since Rajon Rondo went down on Jan. 25.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Kevin Garnett, NBA

Doc Rivers: ‘I just want us to play the right way. Overall, I think we did that’

04.01.13 at 11:10 pm ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers put a silver lining on a 110-100 road loss to the Timberwolves Monday night at the Target Center. It was a game in which Rivers did not have four of his projected five starters, as Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jared Sullinger were out.

The latest addition was Pierce, who was not with the team Monday due to personal reasons. Rivers said before the game he expects Pierce to be ready to go on Wednesday at home against Detroit.

Still, Rivers thought his undermanned team played hard and handled adversity the right way, starting with a lineup of Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox.

‘€œI go into every game thinking we’€™re going to win the game,” Rivers said afterward. “We had our chances tonight. But I get it, too. I just want us to play the right way and do things our way. I think overall we did that.’€

The Celtics trailed for most of the game and never got closer than eight points in the fourth quarter against a Minnesota team that had 26 wins coming in and had lost to Boston 11 straight times dating back to Feb. 11, 2007, before Garnett arrived in Boston.

The Timberwolves took full advantage as 6-foot-11 Nikola Pekovic scored 29 points, including 15 in the first quarter and 21 in the first half.

‘€œI thought we played pretty hard,” Rivers said. “We had no one to deal with that big monster they had down there. I was kidding with Longo [defensive coach Mike Longabardi], we held him to about eight points in the second half after he had 21 in the first [half].

‘€œI thought our guys did everything I wanted them to do. One of the things I told them was that seven out of the last nine games, we’€™ve given up 100 points. We’€™ve proven we can score. We scored 100 tonight even without 50 points of our offense [in Garnett, Pierce and Rondo]. We’€™ll be able to score but, especially with all the new guys, learning the little things on our defense, there’€™s a we need a lot of work with them, and it showed tonight.’€

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett

Inside job: Nikola Pekovic, Dante Cunningham dominate as T’Wolves finally beat Celtics

04.01.13 at 10:21 pm ET
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Another road game. Another undermanned Celtics team. And another road loss.

The Celtics, playing without Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, were overpowered by Nikola Pekovic, Dante Cunningham and the Minnesota Timberwolves in a 110-100 loss at the Target Center Monday night. Pekovic took advantage of an undersized front court with a game-high 29 points while Cunningham added 19 points and five rebounds off the bench for Minnesota, which beat Boston for the first time in 12 meeting dating back to the pre-Garnett era in Boston.

The defenseless Celtics (38-36) fell for the second straight night and dropped their seventh in nine games. With Milwaukee beating Charlotte, the seventh-place Celtics are just 1.5 games ahead of the Bucks (one game in loss column) for eight-place. If Boston, which has eight games left, finishes eighth, they will face Miami in the first round.

What Monday’s game lacked in star power it made up for in offense from unexpected places.

The Celtics were without Garnett (left foot) and Pierce (personal reasons) while the Timberwolves were still without U.S. Olympic champion Kevin Love (broken hand).

The Timberwolves (27-46) turned to Pekovic and he responded with a huge opening quarter. The 27-year-old native of Montenegro scored 15 points as Minnesota dominated the paint and took a 27-25 lead after 12 minutes.

Since acquiring Garnett – the most accomplished player in Timberwolves history – after the 2006-07 season, the Celtics were 10-0 against Minnesota. Overall, the Celtics had won 11 straight against Minnesota dating back to Boston’s last loss, 109-107, on Feb. 11, 2007 in Minnesota.

Adding to Boston’s misery on the inside, big men Shav Randolph and Chris Wilcox each picked up three personal fouls. Courtney Lee’s three with 3:15 left in the second quarter tied the game, 45-45. But the Timberwolves came back with the next four points before Avery Bradley connected on a jumper as the game kept a quick tempo leading up to halftime. Bradley’s hit 6-of-8 in the first half and single-handedly kept Boston within range with 15 first half points. Bradley led the Celtics with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting.

Boston was manhandled in the paint in the first half. Pekovic scored 21 points in the first half, part of an effort that had Minnesota outscoring getting outscored 34-18 and allowing Minnesota to grab a 57-52 halftime lead.

The Timberwolves went on a 10-4 run midway thought the third to open their biggest lead, 80-66, before Jason Terry responded with a long two-point jumper. Terrence Williams followed that up with a baseline three to cut Minnesota’s lead down to nine, 80-71, with just over three minutes left in the third.

Randolph picked up his fifth foul seconds later but stayed in the game to give the Celtics some size in the paint. As the Celtics were making a run late in the third quarter, Jeff Green came up limping, holding his left hip. Green, who played the entire first half and the first six minutes of the third quarter before finally coming out for a breather, took a knee from Pekovic to the left thigh/hip area. Green stayed in the game and was part of a 12-4 run that cut Minnesota’s lead to six, 84-78, heading into the fourth. Green finished with just 10 points in 38 minutes.

With the Celtics defense forcing a near turnover, Derrick Williams hit a three to open the fourth quarter and push Minnesota’s lead back to nine.

Lee came in for Green with just over 10 minutes left as Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte tended to Green’s left hip. The T-Wolves went on a 7-0 run midway through the fourth that was capped by an Alexey Shved three with 7:45 left to put Minnesota up, 96-82. The Celtics could get no closer than eight the rest of the way.

The Celtics are off Tuesday before hosting the Pistons on Wednesday night at TD Garden. For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Dante Cunningham, Kevin Garnett

Paul Pierce (personal reasons) out against Timberwolves

04.01.13 at 8:06 pm ET
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Paul Pierce will not play Monday night against the Timberwolves in Minnesota due to personal reasons. Pierce was not with the team as they prepared for their second game in as many nights on a trip through New York and Minnesota.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers made the announcement prior to Boston’s game at the Target Center.

Pierce was spotted with an ice wrap on his right foot in the closing moments of Sunday night’s loss at Madison Square Garden. But Rivers told reporters before the game that his foot had nothing to do with the absence and that Pierce would return to the lineup on Wednesday against the Pistons at TD Garden.

Monday marks just the second game Pierce has missed this season in 74 contests. He leads the Celtics in scoring at 18.8 points per game in 72 games.

Courtney Lee took Pierce’s place in the lineup, giving the Celtics a starting lineup of Lee, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox.

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

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Paul Pierce,

Keyon Dooling signs with Memphis Grizzlies for playoff run

04.01.13 at 12:50 pm ET
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Keyon Dooling is heading back to action in the NBA. He is coming out of retirement but not with the Celtics.

The 32-year-old veteran guard has agreed to terms with the Memphis Grizzlies to help them in their playoff push in the Western Conference. Entering Monday, the Grizzlies are 49-24 and in a tight three-way race with Denver and the Clippers for third place in the highly competitive Western Conference.

Dooling made the announcement Monday on his Twitter page: “I am so honored to announce that I AM BACK! I am heading to officially sign w/ @MemGrizz and am looking forward to being back on the court!”

Dooling had been serving as a player development coordinator for the Celtics before accepting the offer to play with the Grizzlies on Monday. Dooling will be playing for his seventh NBA team since entering the NBA with the Clippers at the age of 20 in 2000. Dooling has averaged 7.0 points and 2.2 assists in 721 career games. He averaged 4.0 points and 1.1 assists in 46 games for the Celtics during the 66-game schedule in the 2011-12 season.

On Dec. 9, 2011, Dooling and a 2012 second-round pick were traded to Celtics in exchange for the draft rights to Albert Miralles. Then at the end of last season, Dooling re-signed with the Celtics.

But after being waived by the Celtics on Sept. 20, he decided to retire from the Celtics and accept a front office/coaching position with the team. Dooling thanked GM Danny Ainge and head coach Doc Rivers on Monday after announcing his return.

Dooling is also a former Vice President for the NBA Players Association.

Dooling will join former Celtics guard Tony Allen, who also welcomed him back to the NBA via his Twitter page.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Keyon Dooling
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