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Paul Pierce on D&C: ‘I don’t think you ever forget’ Game 7 loss

10.13.10 at 9:40 am ET
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Celtics captain Paul Pierce sat down with Dennis & Callahan at C’s media day for an interview that aired Wednesday morning. Pierce said he’s still working on getting past the loss to the Lakers. “I still haven’t gotten over it,” he said. “You think about the what ifs and all of that. I don’t think you ever forget it.”

Pierce also talked about the upcoming season, the acquisition of Shaquille O’Neal, and LeBron James and the new-look Heat.

Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

How long does it take a competitive person like you to get over a seventh-game loss in the NBA [finals]? A week? A month? Ever?

I still haven’t gotten over it. It’s tough. Because you envision back, and saying, “If we could have done this different, that different in the game, it would have been a different outcome.” So, it’s hard. You think about the what ifs and all of that. I don’t think you ever forget it.

What’s the process? Do you go in your bedroom for a couple of days and sleep, and then don’t shave for a while, or don’t bathe, and then finally come out of the shell?

I didn’t talk to people for a long time. I didn’t watch any basketball for a long time. I sort of kind of did go into a shell. I didn’t want to leave the house. I didn’t even want to go out and eat for a while, because you just felt that bad about the loss. But then as I got back into the gym and working out, I just used it for motivation and just sort of loosened up from there.

Did you feel like last season was the final run this team was going to have? And are you surprised to look around and see the same crew back together, indeed with more big, old guys like Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal?

No, I wasn’t surprised at the run. We struggled a bit during the regular season at home. When I looked at our team from the beginning, I told people that we were more built for the playoffs that the regular season, because we didn’t have the up-and-down athletes, high-flyers that a lot of teams in the NBA have that can beat you in one game, on any given night. But when you have to break down a team and really scout them and put us in the playoffs, then I knew that we could be successful.

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Read More: LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Shaquille O'Neal,

Stephane Lasme’s added motivation

10.12.10 at 3:10 pm ET
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BOSTON — Surely, Von Wafer and Mario West are motivated to make the Celtics roster, but Stephane Lasme is playing for something more.

Training in Italy this summer for Russia’s Spartak Saint Petersburg squad, Lasme — a citizen of Gabon — was informed that if he didn’t return to the United States and land a year-long job, he could lose his residency.

“My wife and my baby are American,” the 27-year-old Lasme said after Sunday’s 91-87 win over the Raptors. “To get a chance to see them, I basically have to get a job here.”

Playing for teams in Serbia and Tel Aviv ever since he failed to make the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat in 2007-08, Lasme decided to return to the U.S., even if that meant a “big, big, big” pay cut.

“I had to make a choice between seeing my family or not seeing my family and taking that much money,” said the 6-foot-8, 220-pound former UMass forward. “For me, the choice is obvious. I’m gonna see my family.”

Even if Lasme fails to make the Celtics roster, he could stay relatively close to his wife Anastasia and 17-month-old Lily in Marlborough, Mass. A new NBA rule would allow the C’s to sign him — along with two other players — to their Developmental League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

“Even if I don’t make the team, I’m going to stay around,” said Lasme. “(Signing with the Red Claws) is an option that I’ve thought about with the new rule. Maine is not that far away from home.”

It’s appearing more and more likely that Lasme won’t have to worry about that. Wafer’s minutes have declined in each preseason game, and West has contributed little in two brief stints. Meanwhile, Lasme has made his presence felt, significantly.

After totaling 12 points and four boards in just seven minutes in the opener, he threw down a highlight-reel dunk over Andrea Bargnani in a key moment of Sunday night’s victory over the Raptors. He’s looked downright Leon Powe-esque, and that’s a good thing (remember 2008?).

“I like him a lot,” C’s head coach Doc Rivers said after the game. “I do. He just does everything. He has energy. He has a high basketball IQ. He’s athletic. He’s probably our most athletic player. … He has a great shot at making our team. He’s terrific.”

Capturing Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors after averaging 13.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.1 blocks as a senior, Lasme concluded his college career as UMass’ all-time shot-blocking leader, over Marcus Camby. Since then, he’s added to his game, and if the Celtics keep him around, he’ll get to show off the skills he learned in Europe over the last two years.

“I’ve had a couple of good coaches who have tried to develop my game in the summer, and I think it’s worked out pretty good,” said Lasme. “I’ve worked a lot on my ball-handling and shooting. I know I haven’t shot the ball (from the outside) yet, but I’ve worked a lot on those two aspects. The more I play, the more I’m going to get a chance to show that.”

In all likelihood, he’ll get that chance.

Read More: Doc Rivers, Mario West, Stephane Lasme, Von Wafer

Irish Coffee: Ron Artest guarantees title

10.12.10 at 9:15 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Ron Artest is pretty confident the Lakers will repeat as NBA champions. He practically guaranteed it in a recent Tweet, claiming he’ll give away his second ring to whoever writes the best essay “on how we can make America better” (he’s already scheduled to auction off his 2009-10 championship ring to benefit mental-health causes).

Where does this competition rank in prestige among essay contests? It probably falls somewhere between the Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contest and the John F. Kennedy library’s Profile in Courage Essay Contest, right? Artest, after all, is the same guy who wrote such lyrical poetry as “Booty Wooty” …

Now I might be quick to get a tech,
But I keep my girls in check,
Punch ’em in the neck
With the utmost respect.

Talk about making America a better place, huh? Hypocrisy at its finest.

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Read More: Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Ron Artest, Shaquille O'Neal

Practice report: The Celtic way

10.11.10 at 3:42 pm ET
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It was a half hour or so after practice had concluded and Kevin Garnett was finished with his customary individual workout. As he looked up from his own efforts, Garnett saw Semih Erden going through the paces on pick and roll defense. Garnett called over to assistant coach Kevin Eastman and asked him to, “get Luke,” as in Harangody, the Celtics other rookie big man.

Dripping with sweat and slightly out of breath, Garnett gathered the two together and began a tutorial as only Garnett can. He wanted them to talk loud. No, louder. Let there be no doubt which way they were showing, Garnett told them in no uncertain terms.

Erden had been too quiet on Sunday against the Raptors, and in one instance he let Rajon Rondo get steamrolled by a screen. The lesson took no more than 10 minutes and left little time for pleasantries or niceties. That’s just fine with Harangody who relishes this kind of attention from Garnett.

“He’€™s not really yelling,” Harangody said after the Raptors game. “He’€™s teaching. I like that, to be honest.”

“He helps the ones he likes,” Doc Rivers said. “Kevin is great. Kevin tries to help every big in here. If that big doesn’€™t listen to him one time, he’€™ll never speak to him again. Literally one time. That has happened a couple of times. Those two guys that he did that to are no longer here and that may be one of the reasons. That’€™s Kevin, when you talk about the Celtic Way, whatever that is, just say Kevin Garnett, and you’€™re pretty much there. Everything he does and says is about the team.”

Garnett’s little demonstration was a perfect example of the “Celtic Way,” for lack of a better phrase. It has been standard operating procedure around this team since Garnett arrived with Ray Allen and set about with Rivers and Paul Pierce “changing the culture,” to use another over-worked cliche.

“It’s not for everyone,” Rivers said. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Kevin Garnett, Luke Harangody, Nate Robinson, Semih Erden

Reggie Evans: Chris Bosh will use Paul Pierce dunk as ‘ammunition’

10.10.10 at 10:28 pm ET
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Talking after his team’s 91-87 preseason loss to the Celtics on Sunday night at TD Garden, Toronto forward Reggie Evans suggested that his former teammate, Chris Bosh, would be using the motivation derived from being kicked by Paul Pierce during dunk in the midst of a Nov. 27 game last year at the Garden when Bosh’s new team, the Heat, face off with the Celts in the teams’ season-opener.

“Me knowing Chris, I know he’s got that game penciled in based on what happened last year with the Paul Pierce dunk, with the kick and stuff,” Evans said. “Knowing him, when he has so much ammunition on a team, I know he’s looking forward to that game. He may deny it, but I’m pretty sure he’s looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun to watch.”

Evans explained that Bosh never said anything about the play, but suggested that it wouldn’t be a big leap of faith to suggest that the new Heat forward is using that play to prepare for the Oct. 26 showdown at the Garden.

“Anybody would take that personally,” Evans said. “Getting kicked on a dunk, who wouldn’t take that personally? The thing about it is that Chris never said anything about it out of his own mouth, but Chris, with his competitive nature, I could see how he would be looking forward to playing him again.

“It’s just like Kobe Bryant losing to Boston in the Finals. He remembers that. That goes for any athlete, who has a competitive nature and genuinely loves the game. It will definitely be fun to watch.”

In 25 career games against the Celtics, Bosh is averaging 20.2 points per game. For more on the Celtics, see the team page at weei.com/celtics.

Read More: Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce,

Shaquille O’Neal still wants a mini horse

10.10.10 at 9:46 pm ET
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If he can’t have Einstein, the world’s smallest horse, Shaquille O’Neal still wants a miniature horse of his own. After his first home game in a Celtics uniform, he confirmed his interest in acquiring Einstein (“I asked about it”) but said he didn’t make any official offer for the New Hampshire horse, as Paris Hilton did. He didn’t seem too disappointed that Einstein wasn’t up for sale, as long as he can still land a mini horse elsewhere.

Read More: Paris Hilton, Shaquille O'Neal,

Fast Break: Celtics tame Raptors

10.10.10 at 8:42 pm ET
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Led by Nate Robinson‘s 13 points and the rest of the bench (again), the Celtics held off the Raptors, 91-87, to improve to 3-0 this preseason. Delonte West and Marquis Daniels also contributed 11 points apiece off the bench.

THREE THINGS THAT WENT RIGHT

1. Gutsy second-unit minutes: Playing the majority of minutes in the second half of a close game, the Celtics bench responded each time the Raptors starters tried to make a run. A monster dunk by Stephane Lasme, a corner 3-pointer from Daniels and a nifty double-clutch layup over a defender by Robinson all proved key moments down the stretch. If you’re Doc Rivers, you love knowing the bench guys can contribute important minutes if necessary.

2. Quick transition: The Celtics hauled down 36 defensive rebounds — as Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Luke Harangody and Semih Erden each grabbed at least five — and did a good job of looking for Rajon Rondo, West or Robinson running the floor. Some nice outlet passes (by Shaquille O’Neal in particular) led to a number of easy baskets offensively. The C’s did a nice job of passing all the way around, amassing 23 assists as a group (led by Rondo’s 7).

3. Setting the defensive tone early: In two of the Celtics three preseason games, they’ve held opponents to fewer than 20 points in the first quarter and 40 points in the half — building an early lead and dictating the tone from the tip. I’m sure Doc enjoyed Jermaine O’Neal fitting quickly in the team’s defensive mindset, blocking three shots in his first six minutes in a Celtics uniform.

THREE THINGS THAT WENT WRONG

2. Shaq’s foul trouble: In just 16:37 on the floor, Shaq picked up five fouls. While he has whistled for one of them for standing still as Jarrett Jack charged into him (kinda like a fly smacking into a windshield), that still spells trouble. With Kendrick Perkins sidelined, the C’s can’t afford to have one of the O’Neals consistently in foul trouble.

3. Too many turnovers: After committing 20 and 18 turnovers, respectively, against the 76ers and Nets in their first two preseason games, the Celtics again got careless with the ball, committing 22 turnovers. Rondo led the way with five giveaways, but the bigger crime was the nine turnovers from post players (Semih Erden 4, KG 3, J. O’Neal 2).

1. Guard the 3-pointer: The Raptors knocked down 5-of-11 3-pointers on the night, led by Leandro Barbosa, who knocked down a pair on fairly open looks as the Raptors took a brief second-half lead. While it may not have hurt them against the Raptors, giving open looks to teams like the Magic is only gonna hurt their chances. Guys rotating defensively need to push that extra mile to get out to the wings on those looks.

Read More: Delonte West, Jermaine O'Neal, Marquis Daniels, Nate Robinson
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