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Third quarter wrap: Celtics vs. Pacers

03.12.10 at 9:27 pm ET
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There was no let up in the Celtics in the third quarter on this night. The Celtics led 67-47 at the break and expanded their lead to as many as 25 in the third quarter, taking a 98-78 lead into the final 12 minutes.

Paul Pierce had another seven points in the quarter and leads the Celtics with 20 while Rajon Rondo has 16 points and 11 assists. Former Georgetown star Roy Hibbert is marking his alma mater’s 23-point thrashing of Marquette in the Big East Tournament with a big night. He has 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field to lead Indiana.

The entire second unit, which began the Celtics’ roll on this night late in the first quarter, finished out the third with Michael Finley, Glen Davis, Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels and Nate Robinson looking like a smooth functioning unit.

This is the type of rest Doc Rivers would like to give his starters. Up 20 points and cruising late in the second half.

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Second quarter wrap: Celtics vs. Pacers

03.12.10 at 8:47 pm ET
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So, this is why the Celtics traded for Nate Robinson.

He was Vinny Johnson, Vinny DelNegro and Vinny from New York all in one action-packed second quarter. Robinson, playing his most dominant minutes since being acquired from the Knicks at the trading deadline, filled it up in the second quarter with nine of his 12 points as the Celtics outscored Indiana by 14 to take a 67-47 halftime lead. Their 38 points were the most in the second quarter this season.

Robinson drilled all three of his 3-point attempts and has four for the game. Paul Pierce leads the Celtics with 13 on 5-of-7 shooting and Rajon Rondo has 10. No wonder, the fans gave the C’s a standing ovation as they headed to the locker room. No boos tonight.

The other notable result of the quarter featured one of the better performances by the second unit in recent memory. The Celtics led 24-23 when the second unit came on late in the first quarter. They left the starters with a 45-32 advantage.

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Celtics trying to get in shape

03.12.10 at 8:14 pm ET
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Doc Rivers admitted before Friday’s game that he may have given his team too much of a break this season from practice and is thinking of increasing the frequency and intensity of practice as the season winds down.

“I would say I have probably balanced on the wrong side in some ways,” Rivers said. “Obviously, the rest was important but I do think we have to practice more and get more conditioning in. This late in the year, you rarely hear that but I think we’re one of the teams that have to actually do it.”

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Doc on Pierce, KG: C’s need them at ‘their peak’

03.12.10 at 8:13 pm ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he is thinking of sitting Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, having them miss games and practice more to help them find their rhythm and conditioning as the playoffs approach.

“If that means working more in practice and missing games, then that’s what we have to do,” Rivers said. “Let’s just be honest, if they’re not at their peak, it’s going to be very tough for us to do anything. We have to have them playing at their peak.”

Pierce has been recovering from an injured left foot, while Garnett has continued to deal with his injured right knee. Yet both players indicated a strong desire following Friday’s game to continue playing and not occasionally sit out games along the lines of what Rivers suggested.

‘€œI’€™m not really feeling that idea, but hey, this is the ‘Doc Rivers Show’ and we are just guests on it,” Garnett said. “So whatever he feels is best, you know Paul and I, I think I speak for both of us we don’€™t really feel that.”

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First Quarter Wrap: Celtics vs. Pacers

03.12.10 at 8:09 pm ET
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After scoring just 12 points in the first quarter against the Grizzlies, the Celtics more than doubled that point total against the Pacers. They lead 29-23 after the first 12 minutes.

The Celtics offense has been fueled by Rajon Rondo, who leads all players with 10 points (4-6 FG). Nate Robinson provided the high energy play of the quarter when he picked off a bad pass and nailed a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left. This put the Celtics up by six and got the crowd on their feet.

Troy Murphy leads the Pacers with 7 points.

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Perkins on D&H: C’s need ‘sense of urgency’

03.11.10 at 1:38 pm ET
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Celtics center Kendrick Perkins made an appearance on the Dale & Holley show Thursday morning (listen to the interview here) to talk about the Celtics’ struggles, which were painfully evident in Wednesday night’s blowout loss at home to the Grizzlies. Perkins addressed the team’s home woes. “I don’t think we feel like we have a sense of urgency,” he said. “On the road, you can feel the urgency and focus before the game. [At home], guys are talking more in the locker room. … You can just tell it’s a different kind of focus.”

Asked about the boos from the home crowd Wednesday night, Perkins said he was surprised they started so early, in the first quarter, but that it didn’t bother him. “Not really. I think we deserved to get booed last night,” he said. “We didn’t give our best performance last night. We’ve got to do a better job.”

Asked if he felt the team could coast through the regular season and then turn it on for the playoffs, Perkins said: “No, I don’t think. I feel like we have 19 games left. We’ve got to get it going, sooner or later, before we get into the playoffs.”

Perkins talked about his troubles dealing with officials and getting technical fouls. “In the past two years a lot of my T’s have been complaining to the refs or talking bad to the refs,” he said. “This year a lot of my T’s have been getting tangled up under the basket. I’ve been trying to avoid getting them.” The center said he has tried to develop a better relationship with the refs but fears that his intense demeanor may give off the wrong vibe. “[Magic center] Dwight Howard, he can smile on the court. I’m not that type of person,” Perkins said. “I may have a frown, but I’m not frowning at [the officials].”

Rivers on D&C: ‘We deserved’ boos

03.11.10 at 9:53 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the Celtics’ embarrassing loss to the Grizzlies the night before (listen to the interview here).

Asked if his team quit, Rivers said it didn’t start out that way, but that’s how it ended up. “I thought they gave in as the game went on. Yeah, there’s no doubt, you can call it ‘quit’ or whatever,” Rivers said. “But I don’t think they mailed it in when they showed up. If you look at the first eight minutes of that game, I thought we competed. We missed every shot, every wide-open shot. … When things went bad, I didn’t think we had a lot of resolve to fight it last night, and that was obvious, But when you watch the beginning of the game, the ball was moving. We missed wide-open shot after wide-open shot after wide-open shot. … What bothered me about it was as we missed shots we hung our heads more and more.” Added Rivers: “On the [defensive] end is where the breakdowns came. As the game got worse, our fight got less, and that bothers me.”

Rivers said he was most disturbed by the fact that at halftime the Grizzlies had a much higher shooting percentage than the Celtics and, on top of that, managed to get more offensive rebounds in fewer opportunities. “That’s an effort category for us,” Rivers said. “And clearly, it didn’t show.”

Rivers said his team earned the boos that rained down upon them from the TD Garden crowd. “Yeah, that was pretty good, and we deserved it,” he said. “Listen, I’m not a fan of booing anything. … But that was frustrating for the fans as well. I always think you support your team good or bad, but last night was so bad ‘€” and it’s rare where I’d say this ‘€” I had no problem with it at all.”

Asked if there was an explanation for the team’s home woes, Rivers said: “No, there isn’t. That’s a tough one to explain. We have played at times ‘€” we’ve been more comfortable on the road, which is unusual. … We just haven’t played well, bottom line.”

Asked if he planned a display of anger, such as breaking a clipboard, to inspire his team, Rivers said he would only do so if needed, downplaying its impact. “Listen, that is so overrated it’s ridiculous,” he said.

Rivers said the team is focused on getting Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett healthy and back into the flow of things before the playoffs roll around. “We have 19 games to get them right. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “Our best players have to be great for us to be a great team. And we have to figure out over these next [19] games whatever the best way is to get them there. If that means sitting them down for two weeks, we’ll do that. If that means playing them even though they may not play well, and maybe struggle through it, but get them more rhythm, then we’re going to do that. … That’s the key to our season. We have to get them right.”

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