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Celtics stay loose at practice

01.16.10 at 2:32 pm ET
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WALTHAM — After losing to the Bulls on Thursday night, the Celtics stayed loose during Saturday’s open practice. The uplifting mood was good for the team.

“After losses, sometimes guys can be mad at each other a little bit,” said Kendrick Perkins. “Sometimes we need a little laughter in the gym, stuff like that. I think that helped us.”

First some news before the notes …

Rasheed Wallace (sore left foot)  is expected to play on Monday against the Mavericks. “Definitely, I’m going to go Monday,” he said after practice. “I’ve got one more [practice] to get under my belt. I’ll be fine.” Doc Rivers said the team will make a final decision after observing Wallace in practice on Sunday. Wallace, who has missed the last three games, is eager to shake the injury that has been bothering him for some time. “It happened a while ago,” he said. “I’ve been playing on it for two weeks. The last few minutes in the Toronto game last week, that sort of did it.”

– J.R Giddens and Bill Walker faced off in a slam dunk contest. Marquis Daniels and Wallace were the official judges, holding up their scores on dry-erase boards. Walker started off strong with a windmill dunk but it was Giddens who stole the show. “The between the legs one? A 10,” ranked Perkins. “That was alright, especially in practice.” Just alright? The dunk sent Eddie House running around the court and had Glen Davis rolling backward.

– House and Ray Allen took to the line for a free throw competition. The team’s top two free throw shooters were flawless despite desperate attempts from the Celtics to distract them. Rivers encouraged the crowd to make noise, Paul Pierce leaped under the basket as House and Allen squared up, the buzzer sounded, even Danny Ainge threw up shots to shake the pair. In the end, the duel ended in a tie without either player missing a free throw.

The Celtics will practice — think drills, not contests — on Sunday before taking on the Mavericks Monday night at 8pm in Boston.

Read More: Bill Walker, Boston Celtics, J.R. Giddens, Kendrick Perkins

Bulls catch C’s at a ‘good time’

01.15.10 at 12:28 am ET
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Time after time this season, opposing head coaches have complained about their teams not responding to the physical challenge that is the Boston Celtics on the parquet.

Chicago’s Vinny Del Negro, who will always be associated with blowing a 35-point lead at Sacramento earlier this season, didn’t have to worry about his team’s toughness on Thursday night.

They went toe-to-toe with the Celtics, the same team that eliminated them last spring and came away with their first win in Boston in six tries, 96-83.

Whether it was Boston playing its fourth game in five nights, whether it was the Celtics being without Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett again or whether it was just Chicago playing its best road game of the season, the Bulls walked out of TD Garden with a win that will last much longer in their memory banks than the loss will stick with the Green.

Afterward, both sides talked about Da Bulls taking it to Da C’s.

Kendrick Perkins said the Bulls were just hungrier.

Kendrick Perkins on the Bulls taking advantage of no KG and Sheed.

Vinny Del Negro said the Bulls caught the Celtics at a good time – for Chicago anyway.

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, NBA

Fast Break: Celtics vs. Bulls

01.14.10 at 10:49 pm ET
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BOSTON ‘€“ The last time the Bulls played in Boston, they were dealt an embarrassing 28-point loss. On Thursday night, they redeemed themselves. Despite being outscored by an average of 27 points in two losses to the C’s this season, the Bulls came out with the win, 96-83, at the TD Garden.

Player of the Game: Luol Deng immediately established himself as the leader of the Bulls, scoring 16 points in the first half alone. And it wasn’t just how many points Deng scored (25) that made a difference, it was how he scored them. He took smart shots (8-for-13 FG) and was nearly perfect at the line (9-for-10 FT).

Turning Point: The Celtics led just once the entire game, and even then it was a 2-0 advantage. They relinquished their lead less than two minutes into the first quarter and never got it back. Even though the Celtics starters got rest last night in their blowout against the Nets, they looked sluggish in the first half. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce shot a combined 4-for-14 while Allen shot 0-for-3 from three-point range.

– The anticipated match up between Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose was a non-factor for the first three quarters. Rose was benched with foul trouble early on and had been outscored 15-8 by Rondo … until the fourth quarter. As the Celtics tried to close in, Rose (17 points) propelled the the Bulls by both scoring and dishing the ball. His play-making skills gave his team the edge they needed to hold on.

– Despite playing with a swollen thumb, Glen Davis was one of the most aggressive Celtics on the boards. He grabbed eight rebounds ‘€“ he hardly made any of them look easy ‘€“ and blocked the pain to contribute an hustling performance.

Eddie House hit his first three-point shot since January 10 against the Raptors. He finished the game with 11 points (5-for6 FG, 1-for-2 FG).

– After playing back-to-back games, the Celtics will get a three-day rest before they play the Mavericks on Monday night.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls,

Davis wishes for superhero power

01.14.10 at 8:39 pm ET
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BOSTON — Here’s something for “Heroes” fans to ponder: If Glen Davis could pick one character to be, who would he choose?

The answer is a petite blonde cheerleader.

OK, OK, hear him out.

“I wish I was a ‘Hero.’ I wish I was Claire,” he said as he looked at his bandaged right hand. “Claire heals so she can never die. She just heals.”

That’s all Davis has been trying to do since breaking his right thumb in October. Last night he banged it during the game against the Nets, and today he had to repeatedly  ice it to keep the swelling down.

“Bone healed nicely, that’s what the doctor said,” he said. “So hopefully it won’t break.”

Davis will continue to play through the pain. He already has made up his mind to do so.

“In the words of Danny Ainge, back in those days, this ain’t nothing,” he said.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Glen Davis,

Doc’s encouraging report on Sheed, KG

01.14.10 at 7:44 pm ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he is ‘hopeful’ that Rasheed Wallace can return from a sore left forefoot next Monday when the team hosts Dallas at TD Garden. Entering Thursday’s game with Chicago, Wallace had missed the last two games and was able to work out before the game.

Meanwhile, Rivers said there’s an ‘outside chance’ Kevin Garnett could return on Jan. 22 against Portland. Garnett has been out since Dec. 22 with a hyperextended right knee.

Doc Rivers said before the game that the Celtics need to continue with their ‘amazing’ focus if they’re to get through this stretch without KG and Sheed.

Rivers reiterated that guard Marquis Daniels won’t be ready until after the All-Star break following surgery on his left thumb.

Glen Davis played Thursday night with a minor injury of his own as he banged his thumb in Wednesday’s blowout win over New Jersey. The thumb was swollen following the game but he treated it and was cleared to play in the game against the Bulls.

Read More: Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace,

NBA Power Rankings, 1/14

01.14.10 at 9:32 am ET
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1. Cleveland (7): The Cavaliers‘ improvement has very little to do with the addition of Shaquille O’Neal (who looks slower than ever). It’s about what we all knew it would be about: the talent and urgency of LeBron James. This is his last year in his home state, and he’s playing like he wants to make it memorable.

2. LA Lakers (2): The Lakers, along with the Celtics and Spurs and other smart teams, are basically playing chess right now. They know if they show up and give a decent effort, they’ll win three out of every four. So it’s more about pacing themselves for June than anything else.

3. Boston (1): Doc Rivers was fined 25 grand for arguing an awful call against the Hawks. He took it too far, and his team often takes it too far, but NBA officiating is generally atrocious. Why not encourage more former players to transition to officiating? I’m not saying Hall of Famers such as Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and John Stockton would be interested, but the journeymen (like current refs Leon Wood and Haywood Workman) would eat it up.

4. Dallas (5): Dirk Nowitzki lost me a couple years ago. The 67-win team that lost in Round 1 put me in a bad place, and I didn’t think I’d ever come back. Well, he’s got me back now. I don’t care what the numbers say: He’s playing the best ball of his career.

5. Orlando (3): Of all the elite teams in the league, the Magic are easily the most inconsistent. My guess is that they’ve got a couple guys on the roster griping about minutes. As crazy as it sounds, I’ll bet they make a trading deadline move that will actually result in shortening their rotation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: power rankings,

Fast Break: Celtics-Nets

01.13.10 at 10:05 pm ET
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At times this season the Celtics have struggled against mediocre teams. Fortunately for them the Nets aren’t mediocre. They’re awful. It’s been a long time since epic Nets failures of the past like Dennis Hopson and Dave Feitl roamed what is now called the Izod Center. Time and the Jason Kidd era may have made people forget that stretch of futility, but this year’s Nets seem determined to outdo even the worst of those teams

The final score was 111-87 but in truth the Celtics could have named the number because the Nets clearly didn’t want to be there. At one point in the second quarter after Brook Lopez had rebounded a missed free throw, Rajon Rondo snuck around behind Lopez and literally ripped the ball from his hands. Lopez outweighs Rondo by almost 100 pounds.

The Celtics will take any kind of win they can get right now, but it can’t be minimized that the Nets were an embarrassment.

Player of the Game: Paul Pierce/Rajon Rondo (tie). There is no rule that says we can’t have co-players of the game and while Pierce was scoring 24 points, Rondo was dishing out 14 assists. Pierce exposed the Nets lack of interior defense early when he went to the basket and dunked while three Nets watched. Rondo simply ran the team perfectly, while also keeping his teammates from trying to get their scoring averages all at once.

Turning Point: The opening tip. The Nets had no chance in this game and to the Celtics credit, they didn’t give them any either. Early in the game Ray Allen went up for a jump shot and there wasn’t a New Jersey defender within five feet of him. It’s one thing to be devoid of talent, it’s another to not compete.

* The NBA sent a curious mixed message with their decision to fine Doc Rivers $25,000 and also rescind the Flagrant 1 foul on Glen Davis from Monday night’s game against the Hawks. In effect Rivers was fined for protesting a call the league later overruled.

* Speaking of Davis, he scored 13 points for the second straight game, which seems like a solid step in the right direction. But late in the game he was fouled hard by newest Net Kris Humphries and it appeared to bother his surgically-repaired thumb.

* Tony Allen threw down an incredible one-handed alley-oop dunk off a pass from Paul Pierce in which he appeared to start his leap from behind the basket.

* Brian Scalabrine had another strong game, scoring 11 points and adding four points and four rebounds. Scalabrine has had a difficult season but if he can build on these last two games he might be able to get back on the right track.

* Bill Walker finally got some playing time and played well in six minutes of mop-up action. There has been a small outcry for Walker to get more minutes but barring any type of injury situation it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen this season. The knee surgery he underwent in training camp set him back and he has now fallen behind J.R. Giddens in the young-player derby, which is a dubious honor since Giddens doesn’t play much either.

Read More: Celtics, Fast Break, Nets,
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