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Celtics ‘monitoring’ Greg Oden’s comeback attempt

01.17.13 at 3:17 pm ET
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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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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 Bradleys 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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Read More: Boston Celtics, Leandro Barbosa, NBA,

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.

Austin Rivers wouldn’t rule out Celtics in future

01.17.13 at 1:53 am ET
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For the Celtics, facing the boy they watched grow into a top-10 NBA draft pick during his dad’s nine seasons in Boston, it was weird to finally see Austin Rivers looking back at them on the parquet in a Hornets uniform.

“It’s just a strange dynamic,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers after losing to his son, 90-78. “I didn’t enjoy it, honestly. I know it’s neat for everyone else, but as a father, I don’t know if I enjoyed that.’€

“It was strange for everybody in here,” added Kevin Garnett. “If we didn’€™t feel old [before], we feel a little old [now], obviously, seeing a little kid that used to say absolutely nothing, dribble his ball and kind of be in his own little world to being a young man now in the league, trying to make something of himself, doing a good job of it, talking trash, running up and down, leading his team. It’s good. It’s good to see Austin doing real good.”

Garnett might have wanted to seem do a little worse, actually, since Austin’s eight points on 3-of-6 field goals — including a running layup during their momentum-stealing run in the second quarter — marked his best scoring and shooting night this month. His 23 minutes were more than he played in his previous three games combined.

Maybe that’s why it was the 20-year-old Rivers who felt the most comfortable in such a strange situation.

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Read More: Austin Rivers, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA

Kevin Garnett: Anthony Davis ‘makes me look like a midget’

01.17.13 at 12:33 am ET
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From one athletic freak out of Chicago’s South Side to another, Kevin Garnett had high praise for Anthony Davis.

“That kid is long,” the aging Celtics superstar said of the Hornets rookie. “He makes me look like a midget, man. I was nothing like him. He’s a freak of nature. This kid’s going to be really good. He’s going to be really good.”

Apparently, Garnett hasn’t looked in a mirror lately. He’s officially listed at 6-foot-11, although he’s easily 7 feet, and various outlets list his wingspan at 7-foot-6. That would make him longer than the University of Kentucky product, who measured in at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan.

In an NBA career that’s spanned almost as many seasons (18) as the 19-year-old Davis has spent on this planet, Garnett only praises those few he deems worthy, and this year’s No. 1 overall pick received his stamp of approval.

Davis totaled 10 points on five shots, 10 boards and a pair of blocks in 27 minutes. He also helped force the Celtics into jump shot after jump shot, as New Orleans outscored the C’s 48-32 in the paint and 90-78 overall.

“We refused to go in the paint,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, whose team snapped a six-game winning streak and fell to 20-18. “We had an electric fence around the paint tonight. We just settled, I thought.”

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

Doc Rivers on coaching against son Austin Rivers: ‘I didn’t enjoy it, honestly’

01.16.13 at 11:50 pm ET
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Doc Rivers didn’t enjoy himself Wednesday. Not only did his Celtics see their six-game win streak end in a 90-78 loss to the Hornets at TD Garden, he had to coach against his son with incredible mixed emotions. Austin Rivers had eight points in 22 minutes off the New Orleans bench.

‘€œYou know, it was strange,” Rivers said. “It was funny, the one time he did something, I was about to say something and I didn’€™t say it ‘€“ I caught myself ‘€“ I forgot he was on the other team. Other than that, it’€™s just a strange dynamic. I didn’€™t enjoy it, honestly. I know it’€™s neat for everyone else, but as a father, I don’€™t know if I enjoyed that.’€

Did his eye keep drifting to Austin?

‘€œNo, you detach from it, but you do see him,” the coach acknowledged. “I mean, you see your son run by you down the floor. I mean, that’€™s just different. The one time he made the layup in front of our bench and run right by you, you know I’€™m used to like, ‘€˜Keep going!’€ and instead I’€™m yelling at my guy for letting him get to the basket. So it’€™s just different. George Karl this summer, we were laughing, and he said, ‘€˜It’€™s going to be strange’€™ and he said, ‘€˜your guy’€™s going to play more.’€™ And he was right.’€

When Rivers got knocked to the floor by Paul Pierce at the end of the third quarter, Rivers said he didn’t fear for his son at all. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even flinch.

‘€œNo, I don’€™t,” Rivers said. “That’€™s one thing my kids know with me; when you go to the floor I don’€™t flinch. ‘€˜Get the hell up.’€™ They all laugh at that, because that’€™s how I’€™ve always been. I never flinch. My wife would run out there; I’€™m not going out there. I mean, get the hell up.’€

Read More: Austin Rivers, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA

Fast Break: Austin Rivers wins bragging rights over Doc

01.16.13 at 10:29 pm ET
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Austin Rivers scored just eight points in 22 minutes against the Celtics, but he walked out of TD Garden with bragging rights against his father. C’s coach Doc Rivers watched as his team blew an early double-digit lead and snapped a six-game winning streak in a 90-78 loss to the Hornets.

Five Hornets (12-27) reached double figures, led by Robin Lopez‘s 17 points, and New Orleans won the rebound battle, 47-33. Greivis Vasquez (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Anthony Davis each had double-doubles.

Kevin Garnett‘s 15 points led the Celtics. Paul Pierce (10 rebounds) and Jason Terry each scored 12. Rajon Rondo had 11 assists but just seven points.

WHAT WENT WRONG

First-half lapse: Mainly behind the starting five, the Celtics built a 21-10 lead in the game’s first nine minutes. Mainly against the C’s reserves, the Hornets slowly chipped away until a four-minute stretch midway through the second quarter, when the Celtics committed four turnovers and missed three jumpers. That’s when the young New Orleans squad snatched their first lead of the game, eventually taking a 44-43 advantage into halftime.

Painting a poor picture: The Hornets’ first lead, 33-32, came after a pair of layups from Greivis Vasquez and Austin Rivers and a Jason Smith dunk. That was quickly followed by an Al-Farouq Aminu dunk. The point? The Celtics allowed a whole lotta points in the paint (48 to be exact), and 22 of those first 33 points came in the key.

Too many freebies: Doc Rivers doesn’t want to see his team give up more than 14 turnovers, and he definitely doesn’t want them to allow more than 14 points off those giveaways. They turned the ball over 15 times, gifting the Hornets 21 points. Garnett, Rondo and Pierce were the biggest culprits, committing 10 between them. Of course, the C’s 6-of-16 free throw shooting didn’t help, either.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Bass first: It’s been five games since Brandon Bass last scored 10 points, and after his first half, he seemed prepared to snap out of the drought. Bass made four of his first five shots, including a trio of jumpers, to score nine points by the break, but he attempted just one shot after the half and failed to reach double figures. He’s already lost minutes to Jared Sullinger, and he’ll need more stretches like he had in the game’s opening 24 minutes in order to keep Chris Wilcox from taking even more.

Terry time: Likewise, Terry reached double digits after his first scoreless game of the season on Monday night. His performance was the lone bright spot off the bench, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as he scored 10 of his 12 points on 4-for-4 shooting in the third quarter to keep the Celtics within five … against the Hornets.

3-point defense: The Celtics held New Orleans to just 2-for-17 shooting from beyond the arc, including 1-of-5 by former Magic sharpshooter Ryan Anderson. It might’ve helped had the C’s shot better than 4-for-18 from 3.

Read More: Austin Rivers, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA
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