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76ers minus two

11.25.09 at 7:54 pm ET
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The Sixers are without starting point guard Lou Williams and power forward Elton Brand for Wednesday night’s game with the Celtics.

Williams suffered a fractured jaw in their game Tuesday with Washington, while Brand has been struggling with a sore hamstring. Rookie Jrue Holiday will start in place of Williams and Jason Smith gets the nod for Brand.

Read More: 76ers, Elton Brand, Lou Williams,

NBA ref scandal re-opened

11.25.09 at 7:51 pm ET
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The NBA referee gambling scandal was rekindled on Wednesday night when a source indicated that 13 NBA officials had contact with a reputed gambler, according to a report by WHDH-TV.

“Well, I just hope it’s not true,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said minutes after the report broke in Boston. “That’s all I can say on it.”

Former NBA official Tim Donaghy served 15 months in federal prison for admitting he worked with gamblers to provide tips on NBA games. The source told 7News on Wednesday that gambler Jimmy ‘The Sheep’ Battista implicated 13 other officials.

The first game Battista and Donaghy bet on together was the Celtics-76ers game in Dec. 2006 — a game Donaghy officiated and one the Celtics covered with ease. The source says Battista is making these claims as he works to finalize a tell-all book deal.

Read More: NBA referees, Tim Donaghy,

No TA quite yet

11.25.09 at 7:45 pm ET
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After indicating that guard Tony Allen could be ready to face the Philadelphia 76ers, head coach Doc Rivers said on Wednesday that his defensive specialist still wasn’t quite ready to make his 2009 debut after injuring his left ankle in the preseason.

“I don’t have a clue when,” Rivers said. ‘No relapse. I really don’t Just not ready to play yet. It’s getting closer.”

Allen played in just one preseason game – on Oct. 9 against the Knicks – and hasn’t played in game action since.

Read More: Celtics, Tony Allen,

Celtics-76ers Preview

11.24.09 at 10:28 pm ET
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Philadelphia has been riddled with mediocrity all season. The Celtics are fighting with it right now.

At 7:30 p.m., the Celtics (10-4) will play host to the 76ers (5-9) in a collision of two teams that have been struggling of late ‘€“ though Philly’€™s struggles suggest more far-reaching problems than do Boston’€™s. Despite the skewed skill levels, records and anything else that might separate a 10th-place Philly team from a playoff-bound Boston club, Friday night’€™s game carries a decent amount of intrigue ‘€“ especially from the Boston perspective.

Of late, the Celtics have seemingly lost some of the swagger that they displayed during a 6-0 start. After dropping two straight to the Hawks and Pacers, Boston seemed to get back on track against Golden State in what was a pretty convincing win. But another slip-up against the Magic and an overtime buzzer-beating win against the 3-10 Knicks have made it appear that the Celtics are not in sync.

Center Kendrick Perkins attributed it to a lack of focus. But regardless of what’€™s been plaguing them, the Celtics need to improve ‘€“ and what better team to straighten things out against then the 76ers? Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 76ers, Andre Iguodala, Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett

Danny Ainge on The Big Show

11.24.09 at 6:09 pm ET
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Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations and GM Danny Ainge joined the Big Show on Tuesday to discuss the Celtics’ recent play, the development of Rajon Rondo, the three-point difficulties of Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett’s recovery from injury. To listen to the interview, visit the Big Show’s Audio On Demand page.

Do you think the team’€™s recent play has anything to do with the fact the players are getting older?

I don’€™t think so, no. I think our team has played well in a lot of scenarios and I just think that we haven’€™t been as consistent. But, shooting the ball accounts for a lot. We haven’€™t been hitting a lot of fairways but we have been hitting a lot of puts. Right now we are a shot of two shots away from winning these games and we have been shooting the ball very poorly from the outside.

You can’€™t be happy with the defense thus far though?

No, I have been happy with the defense we’€™ve played in a lot of the stretch but I think we get sloppy and we get lazy and we lose our focus a little bit. Defensively, statistically we were doing well defensively.

Two things that are worrying about Rondo: lack of defensive pressure at the point and that he is not breaking down the defense quite as much. Is this the same guy we saw last year?

I think he is playing better than last year. I think his defense is significantly better than last year. I think he is not getting to the line as much but I think part of that is that we are getting the ball inside more to our post players and not relying on his penetration as much but he is shooting a much better percentage than he did last year which says he is getting to the basket more, he is just not getting to the line more. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Rasheed Wallace

Tony Allen could return vs. Sixers

11.24.09 at 4:35 pm ET
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WALTHAM  —  Tony Allen might finally be given the go-ahead to make his 2009-10 debut.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said following Tuesday’s practice that Allen, a 27-year-old defensive specialist, might finally have enough confidence in his healed left ankle that he can play at full game speed.

“I think he’s very close, as close that he may play [Wednesday],” Rivers said. “But I don’t know the answer yet. Wait till [Wednesday] and see how he feels.

“Tony looked good today,” Rivers said. “I think with him, it’s going to be a confidence thing. [Monday], I didn’t think he looked good. Today, I thought he looked terrific. He was exploding to the basket.”

The Celtics could use his athleticism off the bench to match that of the young 76ers, pressuring their backcourt of Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala. Tony Allen played in just one preseason game, playing eight minutes against the Knicks on Oct. 9. He missed both shots from the floor and was held scoreless.

Read More: Celtics, Tony Allen,

Meet Marquis Daniels: Hockey Player

11.24.09 at 4:08 pm ET
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WALTHAM  —  Marquis Daniels knows the tough reputation of hockey players. They are the types who get 20 stitches after taking a puck to the face and miss one shift and are back on the ice.

So, when he was spotted again on Tuesday with heavy tape around his left [non-shooting] wrist, he made an appropriate cross-sport reference.

“It’s okay,” Daniels said with a smile. “I’m hockey player. I’m alright.”

Somewhere, Cam Neely is smiling. Or in Daniels’ case, Mario Lemieux. He knows who No. 66 was and what he did for hockey.

But ask him how he injured the wrist and Daniels struggles to remember.

“I don’t even know,” Daniels said after Tuesday’s practice. “I just realized it after the Indiana game. I was like something doesn’t feel right. You’re going to get it hit out here. That’s why I keep tape on it, to keep it protected. I can’t skate. I’m not going to try. I’m from Florida, I don’t even like ice.”

“I actually don’t know the answer,” his coach Doc Rivers added. “He hurt it, I think, all the way back in preseason if I’m not mistaken. He does bandage it more in practice than in the games. But lately, he’s going to that more in the games.  I don’t think it’s anything where he needs surgery or anything like that. But it must be bothering him some or he wouldn’t be wearing it.”

Daniels said he’s not worried that the wrist could limit his offensive punch.

“I shoot layups anyway so I’m okay,” he said, all the while smiling. “It’s nothing. I’m okay. I can play, I can run. I still have my legs. I can move. I’m alright.”

Daniels, who is averaging 6.3 points in 13 games, said it won’t keep him from fulfilling his role as one of the first players off the bench when the team takes on Philadelphia on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
Read More: Celtics, Marquis Daniels,
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