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First Quarter Wrap: Celtics vs. Nets

02.05.10 at 8:07 pm ET
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First quarter: Celtics 29 – Nets 25

The Celtics jumped out to a four-point lead over the Nets shooting 57 percent in the first quarter. The Nets shot slightly better at 59 percent, but the C’s maintained an advantage with nine rebounds and nine assists.

Ray Allen leads all players with nine points and Rajon Rondo chipped in with eight. Brook Lopez scored a team-high eight seven points for the Nets.

Doc on Pierce: Still ‘Day-to-day’

02.05.10 at 7:45 pm ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Paul Pierce continued his cardio workout on Friday but is still unsure whether the team’s captain will be able to return on Sunday for the showdown with the Orlando Magic at TD Garden.

“It’s day-to-day,” Rivers said of Pierce’s left mid-foot strain. “That’s about it, really. He’s moving around, shooting around a little bit. I don’t know yet.”

Marquis Daniels, meanwhile, will practice again on Saturday but Rivers said there’s still no guarantee he’ll be ready to play against Orlando. Rivers’ main concern is not the thumb but rather the ability of Daniels to run the team’s offensive sets that have been installed since he last played on Dec. 4.

“I’m not so sure about him on Sunday.” Rivers, whether Daniels will be prepared to return. “We’ll have to throw him in eventually.”

For Daniels, it’s his 28th straight game missed following ligament surgery on his left thumb.

[Click here to listen to Doc Rivers compare the 2010 Nets to the 24-win 2007 Celtics.]

Other pregame notes included Rivers’ thoughts on being the third-longest tenured coach with one team in the NBA behind Jerry Sloan [Utah] and Gregg Popovich [San Antonio].

“Really, I didn’t know that,” Rivers said. “That’s unbelievable. You Boston guys [media], I thought you were tough. That’s surprising. They’re some guys out there that clearly should be doing this a lot longer than me. You know how this league is – it’s a talent-based league. If you have enough of it and do your job with it, then you stay.

The pregame discussion ended with his thoughts on Sunday’s big game between Indianapolis and New Orleans.

Super Bowl predictions?,” Rivers said, repeating the question asked of him. “The Saints, what the [heck]. No reason for that. Maybe the reason is I’ve heard about Colts. I wondered if [the Colts] were playing anybody so I’m going with the other team.”

Read More: Celtics, Marquis Daniels, Paul Pierce,

Pierce officially in Three-Point Shootout

02.05.10 at 3:37 pm ET
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Paul Pierce is now officially among the field of six who will take part in the NBA Three-Point Shootout on Sat., Feb. 12, in Dallas. Pierce’s 46.7 percent from long range this year leads the group, though his 37.0 percent career rate from distance is the second worst among the six competitors, behind only 2009 champion Daequan Cook of the Heat.

No member of the Celtics has won since Larry Bird took each of the first three Three-Point Shootout titles, from 1986-88. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Channing Frye, Chauncey Billups, daequan cook, danilo gallinari

NBA: Official Three-Point Shootout Field

02.05.10 at 3:29 pm ET
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The NBA officially announced the  2010 Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout Field on Friday afternoon. Eddie House revealed that Pierce would be competing on Dale & Holley this past Thursday. Chauncey Billups of the Denver Nuggets joins Pierce to headline a field of six in this year’€™s Shootout. The event will  be held on Saturday,  Feb.  13,  at the American Airlines Center in Dallas as part of NBA All-Star  Saturday  Night. Pierce will hope to dethrone defending champion Daequan Cook of the Miami Heat.

Rounding  out  the field are Stephen  Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Danilo Gallinari of the New York Knicks and the Phoenix Suns‘€™ Channing Frye.

FOOT LOCKER THREE-POINT SHOOTOUT YEAR-BY-YEAR WINNERS

1986 – Larry Bird, Boston
1987 – Larry Bird, Boston
1988 – Larry Bird, Boston
1989 – Dale Ellis, Seattle
1990 – Craig Hodges, Chicago
1991 – Craig Hodges, Chicago
1992 – Craig Hodges, Chicago
1993 – Mark Price, Cleveland
1994 – Mark Price, Cleveland
1995 – Glen Rice, Miami
1996 – Tim Legler, Washington
1997 – Steve Kerr, Chicago
1998 – Jeff Hornacek, Utah
2000 – Jeff Hornacek, Utah
2001 – Ray Allen, Milwaukee
2002 – Peja Stojakovic, Sacramento
2003 – Peja Stojakovic, Sacramento
2004 – Voshon Lenard, Denver
2005 – Quentin Richardson, Phoenix
2006 – Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
2007 – Jason Kapono, Miami
2008 – Jason Kapono, Toronto
2009 – Daequan Cook, Miami

Read More: all star, NBA, Paul Pierce,

Preview: Celtics vs. Nets

02.05.10 at 9:35 am ET
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This, ladies and gentlemen, is the NBA version of the dreaded trap game. On the face of things, there is no conceivable reason why the Celtics should lose to the Nets. But when you factor in the absence of Paul Pierce, the nationally televised showdown with the Magic looming on Super Bowl Sunday and the fact that the All-Star beak is right around the corner, this is the kind of effort and focus game everyone has spent so much time talking about.

The Celtics are beginning to get on a nice little role. They’ve won two straight and should make it three against New Jersey. That would give them a chance to calm down all the rumors and innuendo, and there is nothing the veterans on this team like more than calm. A loss would bring all those distractions back into play.

NETS (4-44, 1-9 last 10)

Points Per Game: 90.0

Points Allowed: 101.7

Differential: -11.7 (30th)

Offensive Efficiency: 97.5 (30th)

Defensive Efficiency: 110.2 (27th)

Pace: 92.2 (17th)

Likely Starters: Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Yi Jianlian, Brook Lopez

Injuries: None

CELTICS (31-16, 4-6 last 10)

Points Per Game: 99.3

Points Allowed: 93.8

Differential: +5.6 (3rd)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.8 (13th)

Defensive Efficiency: 101.8 (1st)

Pace: 91.5 (22nd)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Tony Allen Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Injuries: Marquis Daniels (Thumb), Paul Pierce (Foot) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Nets, Preview,

Alston wanted to play for Celtics

02.05.10 at 12:44 am ET
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Earlier this season, there was speculation that the Celtics could make a move to acquire Rafer Alston after he was bought out by the Nets. The theory was that he could be a veteran backup to Rajon Rondo, the same role the Celtics had filled with Sam Cassell and Stephon Marbury the previous two seasons.

Turns out, it was actually the other way around. Rather than the Celtics going after Alston, Alston told his camp after the buyout that he would like to play in Boston. He is ‘€œpretty sure’€ the Celtics knew of his interest, but he never had a conversation with the organization.

‘€œI think it was my interest,’€ he told WEEI.com. ‘€œBut I don’€™t think Doc [Rivers] would have opposed it knowing that you can grab a guy that can give you minutes at backup point for this team, and who’€™s a willing passer and just a natural point guard. Then understand, I played for [assistant coach Tom] Thibodeau before in Houston. So I’€™d always had them on my mind before I came here.’€

The 33-year-old didn’€™t lose any time holding out for the C’€™s, though. The Heat scooped him up almost immediately after he cleared waivers in early January. Alston could not turn down the opportunity to start for a playoff contender, nor could he stress enough how happy he is on his new team: ‘€œI got blown away by coming here with the immediate option to play instead of waiting it out.’€

There is an element of surprise in Alston’€™s interest in the Celtics, though. He has been involved in some heated moments at TD Garden. Last season he slapped Eddie House in the head during the Eastern Conference semifinals as a member of the Magic. Just Wednesday night, he was issued a technical foul in the Celtics-Heat game.

But Alston says that has nothing to do with ill will. It’€™s about the competition.

‘€œI enjoy watching them on League Pass,’€ he admitted. ‘€œPlaying against them, I know it’€™s going to be a competitive game. We always chat at each other, but deep down I always care about each of the players in this league. So even if I did come, I hope they wouldn’€™t have taken the chatter back and forth that we all do against each other personally. Again, I have a great respect for the level of competition that they bring.’€

Alston also has a good understanding of the Celtics. He has faced them enough times over his career to see where he could have fit in. While he believes Rondo is more than qualified to run the floor himself ‘€” ‘€œHe’€™s an All-Star,’€ Alston said. ‘€œHe’€™s having a wonderful career.’€ ‘€” Alston thinks having a true point guard on the bench could have had its benefits, too.

‘€œNot back up but just complement, maybe get him [Rondo] some much-needed rest,’€ he explained. ‘€œSometimes there are nights that he’€™s out there giving 40 minutes, and get him some rest. And also, you’€™d help the second-unit guys. You can keep some guys in their natural positions. You can keep [Eddie] House in his natural position; you can keep [Marquis] Daniels in his natural position, guys that are flirting between playing shooting guard.

“That’€™s one thing that I learned in this game. If you can keep everyone at their natural and most comfortable position, them succeeding is a better percentage.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, eddie house, Miami Heat, Rafer Alston

Daniels feels like Forrest Gump

02.04.10 at 5:32 pm ET
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WALTHAM — When Marquis Daniels eventually returns to game action, he shouldn’t be that much out of breath.

That’s because the most versatile player on the roster has been put through a strict running program to make sure he’s in shape once his surgically repaired left thumb is ready for game action.

‘€œI think they did a good job of running me,” Daniels said. “I’€™ve turned into Forrest Gump a little bit. I’€™m glad to be back. It feels like the first day of school, very excited. I’€™m just ready to get back out there and play and be a part of the team and just feel more wanted out there. Hopefully, I can another good practice in and maybe [play] Sunday.’€

And while he wasn’t doing much running on Thursday in practice (see below), he was busy learning new plays that coach Doc Rivers has installed in his 27-game absence.

‘€œHe put a couple more sets in, but for the most part it’€™s pretty much the same thing. I just have to learn three positions, the point guard, the 2 and the 3. It’€™s coming along pretty simple, so hopefully I can pick them up by next practice.’€

That next practice will be Saturday, meaning it’s highly unlikely he plays ‘€” or is needed for that matter ‘€” against New Jersey on Friday. When he does, he wants to be sure his thumb is ready for a hit. If he can take a hit in practice, he believes he’ll be game-ready.

‘€œJust getting hit,” Daniels said Thursday. “Everything else is pretty much mental. I think my conditioning is OK. It’€™s not the best, but it’€™s the best it can be without playing basketball. Other than that, once I get that first hit on it, I think I’€™ll be OK.’€

Rivers spent nearly 30 minutes with Daniels and the second unit at the end of practice as he tries to help Daniels get back to speed in time for a possible weekend return to action.

After several days of shooting and basketball-related drills, Thursday marked Daniels’ first practice back with the team.

Daniels said the biggest hurdle for him will be taking a blow to the thumb, which was wrapped in white protective bandage for his first practice back.

‘€œIt wasn’€™t a great practice for him,” Rivers said. “We didn’€™t do a lot. We didn’€™t do really anything live, so it wasn’€™t a great practice for him. Just trying to get him some rhythm, which is good.’€

Rivers added that he doubts Daniels will be ready to play against New Jersey on Friday but more likely set for a Sunday return against Orlando.

Read More: Celtics, Marquis Daniels, NBA,
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