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All-Star love for Celtics

11.10.09 at 4:39 pm ET
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WALTHAM  —  The Celtics are regarded as one of the deepest teams in the NBA. That depth is well-represented as they placed six players on the NBA All-Star ballot that was released on Tuesday by the league.

Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo are the guards. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are on the ballot as forwards and Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace are on the Eastern ballot as centers.

The Celtics are the only team in the NBA with two centers on the ballot. The 2010 NBA All-Star Game will be played at brand new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington before an expected crowd of over 80,000 on Sunday, Feb. 14. That will be the largest group ever to see a live basketball game in the world.

The 120 players on the ballot – 60 from each conference – were chosen by a panel of six media members who cover the league on a regular basis.

Balloting will continue through Jan. 18.

Read More: Celtics, Dallas, NBA All-Star Game,

Doc on Kareem: we hope things work out

11.10.09 at 2:53 pm ET
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WALTHAM  —  When he came into the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks, Doc Rivers played against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and soon found out why the center was considered one of the best ever in the sport.

Following Tuesday’s practice, Rivers was informed that the Hall of Fame center has been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.

“Obviously, sad, Rivers said of his initial reaction. “Obviously, we hope things work out but that’s tough.”

The 62-year-old basketball legend, born Lew Alcindor, was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield in 1995, the first year of eligibility after his retirement in 1989.

Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA titles, including five as the post player for the Lakers during their dynasty of the 1980s.

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lakers

Scal not likely to play this week

11.10.09 at 2:29 pm ET
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WALTHAM  —  Brian Scalabrine watched Tuesday’s practice on the sideline, still slowed by back spasms that forced him to miss last Friday’s game against Phoenix.

“I don’t anticipate him playing this week but with the backs you just never know,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said following practice.

Scalabrine returned on Saturday night against the Nets and scored five points in 20 minutes off the bench, including a 3-pointer.

Read More: Brian Scalabrine, Celtics,

Celts get back to business

11.09.09 at 5:06 pm ET
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WALTHAM — The infamous stretch of eight games in 12 days is behind the Celtics, who now have a little bit of time to tighten the things that began to get away from them over the weekend.

“Defense and offense, we were slipping in both areas,” Doc Rivers said after a two-hour session Monday. “Defensively, our transition defense was starting to struggle. Our pick-and-roll defense was really slipping. That’€™s why you need practices. We still have new guys, down the stretch of games that’€™s when it really shows.”

A popular topic of conversation was the number of 3-pointers the Celtics have taken so far this season. Through eight games the C’s have taken 154 3-pointers, and Rivers suggested after the loss to Phoenix that he thought his team was searching for the 3-point line instead of attacking the middle of the Suns defense, where the Celtics had so much success.

Rivers, though, said several times that he didn’t mind the amount of 3’s his team was hoisting and he clarified the remarks he made at the end of the Phoenix game.

“I don’€™t mind the amount of 3’€™s we’€™re taking at all,” Rivers said. “What I don’€™t want is at the end of the game, is settling for them. I think we thought that we needed 3’s to get back in the game and we didn’€™t. We just needed to play. As far as the amount of 3’€™s we’€™re taking, I’€™m fine with that. They’€™re good shots for us.”

One player in particular has stood out for his willingness to shoot the long ball: Rasheed Wallace. Wallace has shot 75 times this season, and 50 of his attempts have been from beyond the arc, which even for him is a little much — particularly because he went 0-for-10 against Phoenix and New Jersey. Still, Rivers insisted that there was nothing wrong with Wallace’s role.

“I have no problem with it,” Rivers said. “We’€™re 7-1 and Rasheed is a big reason for that. Even when he misses, he’€™s taking a [center] and making them stand out by the 3-point line when Paul [Pierce] and Ray [Allen] are working down low, or Kevin [Garnett] or [Kendrick Perkins] or someone else. Obviously, we want to keep mixing it up and get him on the post and get Kevin on the post. His shooting is a big factor for us.”

A couple of things that are worth pointing out here:

1. The Celtics are averaging 19.3 3-point attempts per game, which ranks 12th in the NBA. In other words, the high volume of 3-point attempts is a league-wide trend.

2. The Celtics are making the 3’s at a rate of of just over 40 percent, which ranks fourth in the NBA.

3. They are holding teams to 32 percent shooting from 3-point range, which is tied for seventh.

So, the Celtics are making good use of the 3-point line, both offensively and defensively. There is ample evidence that suggests that teams that shoot more 3-pointers, and shoot them better, will win most of their games.

“I know this is a big deal all of a sudden here about 3-point attempts,” Rivers said.  “I’€™m not upset at all. I like what we’€™re doing. We’€™re causing teams miserable problems because we’€™re spreading the floor.”

NOTES: Bill Walker practiced for the first time since undergoing knee surgery, while Brian Scalabrine sat out the sessions. Scalabrine was a DNP on Friday because of back spasms, but he suited up on Saturday while Marquis Daniels was away tending to a personal matter.

Walker still has a ways to go before he can get a chance at cracking the end of the rotation, but it does appear that his rehab is right on schedule, which is a good sign for the second-year forward, who has flashed interesting potential in his limited minutes.

“We didn’€™t hold him back at all,” Rivers said. “He was fine. I don’€™t know what his schedule was. I’€™m assuming it’€™s about on schedule because [trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] told me a week ago this is the day he’€™s going to practice.”

Read More: Bill Walker, Celtics, Rasheed Wallace,

Celtics to play with the animals

11.08.09 at 10:54 pm ET
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On Tuesday, November 10 the Celtics will get up close with the animals. Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis, J.R. Giddens, and Bill Walker with read with children from the Franklin Park Tenants Association and then play with exotic animals from Curious Creatures at the State Room in Boston. These animals include a baby alligator, flying squirrel, and bearded dragon. The event is part of the Read to Achieve program, supported by Kia Motors and ReadBoston.

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Fast break: Celtics-Nets

11.07.09 at 9:56 pm ET
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This was a classic trap game for the Celtics. On the second day of a back-to-back and facing their eighth game in 12 days to open the season, this was an obvious letdown game for them on the calendar.

The Nets were also missing seven players due to a variety of injuries, including the swine flu for Chris Douglas-Roberts, and the Izod Center was half-empty. Add that all up and you have a recipe for a potential disaster.

The Celtics almost fell into the trap, but were able to put it together in the fourth quarter in an 86-76 victory, which gives them the best record in the NBA at 7-1.

Player of the game: Paul Pierce. Until the fourth quarter Pierce and Rajon Rondo were the only two Celtics doing anything offensively. Rondo was able to get his game going with steals on the defensive end, but Pierce got it done in the halfcourt. He also stepped in front of a rampaging Brook Lopez and took a charge.

It wasn’t a vintage Pierce game, but 16 points and seven assists looked pretty sweet in what was an otherwise ugly boxscore.

Turning point: The Celtics trailed by two points entering the fourth quarter and Pierce was on the bench with foul trouble. They needed someone to step up and make a shot and that someone was Brian Scalabrine, who knocked down two to give them a lead they never relinquished.

Scalabrine missed Friday night’s game with Phoenix because of back trouble, but the Celtics needed him to give it a go without Marquis Daniels (personal reasons) in the lineup.

* The Nets had just eight healthy players available for the game, which is the NBA minimum. They are without Courtney Lee, Devin Harris, Keyon Dolling, Jarvis Hayes, Yi Jianlin, Tony Battie and Chris Douglas-Roberts.

* With Daniels out, JR Giddens had a chance to play some meaningful minutes. Giddens lasted only two minutes before getting pulled.

* Ray Allen was on his way to another bad shooting night, but he turned it on in the fourth quarter making four straight shots.

* Rasheed Wallace missed all four of his 3-pointers and he is now 0-for-10 from distance in his last two games. But unlike Friday night’s game with Phoenix, he also went down into the post where he was able to operate effectively. He also came up with a handful of big defensive plays in the fourth quarter.

Read More: Celtics, Fast Break, Nets,

Baby: ‘No football for me’

11.06.09 at 11:13 pm ET
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Glen Davis wants to make one thing very, very clear. He has no intention of playing in the NFL.

“No football for me,” the injured power forward said, while leaving the Garden wearing a Cincinnati Reds baseball cap. “Put that on the record.”

We assume he’s not considering baseball either.

Earlier this week, Davis told ESPN The Magazine that he wanted to try pro football after his NBA career.

He was kidded about it before Friday’s game by several Celtics, including Tony Allen and general manager Danny Ainge.

Read More: Big Baby, Glen Davis, NBA, nfl
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