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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

Celtics bond at Fenway

10.09.10 at 4:03 pm ET
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The fact that the Celtics gathered at Fenway Park on their off day for an impromptu softball game is perhaps less noteworthy than the identity of the organizer. That would be Rajon Rondo, who has been criticized at times for not knowing when to assert his authority as the team’s point guard in a room full of Hall of Famers.

“It was Rondo’€™s deal,” Doc Rivers said. “It was great. The Red Sox are great to us. They gave us the field and we went out and played.”

Paul Pierce called it “one of the best days of my life.” Kevin Garnett said it was, “a dream come true.”

No question, the Celtics are having a good time getting to know one another.

“We’€™re having a blast,” Garnett said. “We come in here and bust each other’€™s [butt.]. Doc he lets us be competitive and be who we are and then off the court we try to get to know each other. It just so happens that we got more people that Tweet more than anything on this team than anybody in the league. That’€™s why y’€™all know what’€™s going on in the locker room, but we’€™re having a good time. We work hard but also we play hard.”

The softball game followed movie night in Newport, assorted team dinners and a duck boat tour. One of Garnett’s tenets is that teams that know each other off the floor are better able to relate with one another when they’re working on the court.

“It certainly doesn’€™t hurt,” he said. “The more you do together, the more activities you have together, the more you get to know one another, the more one-on-one’€™s you have with each other. … You come together for this common goal, so far so good.”

Rondo was apparently voted the MVP of the game, while Jermaine O’Neal surprised everyone with his swing. As for Garnett, he played left in the shadow of Ted Williams, Yaz, Jim Rice and Manny Ramirez. Judging by his own description, Theo Epstein shouldn’t have him on speed dial.

“Danny [Ainge] hit a couple to me,” Garnett said. “Some I dropped, some I didn’€™t. Good day. 50-50. I’€™ll take it. It was fun day. Beautiful day at Fenway. Dream come true. I felt like I was 10 years old.”

Read More: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo,

Doc on Miami rumor: ‘I’m not going there’

10.09.10 at 3:42 pm ET
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Doc Rivers downplayed speculation that he would one day go to Miami to coach Pat Riley’s South Beach juggernaut. “I’€™m not getting into that.,” Rivers said Saturday after the Celtics concluded practice. “The only guy on [Riley’s] list is Erik [Spoelstra] and that’€™s the only guy that should be there. I’€™m not going there.”

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote that Rivers would be at the top of Riley’s list if he were to make a change. In the same piece, Rivers told Woj that he’s given thought to being a career Celtics coach.

“I’€™m year to year,” Rivers reiterated Saturday. “That’€™s how I am. The question asked is, where else would you rather go? And I don’€™t think there’€™s a better place than here. It’€™s a great set-up and it is phenomenal.”

Much of the basis for Rivers’ decision to return for the final season of his contract is his relationship with Celtics boss Danny Ainge. The coach has said often that he has a unique friendship with Ainge, and that’s not something coaches can find in every city.

“It’€™s the organization,” Rivers said. “You look at the Red Sox and see Theo [Epstein] and Terry [Francona] and they have a great relationship. It works. When you can get along it’€™s nice. You look around and there’€™s so many groups that’€™s them and us. Here it’€™s just us.

“Maybe because we went through hard times at the start. Not our relationship, but we weren’€™t winning a lot of games. When you endure that as a group, I think you clearly grow together. It’€™s amazing through that whole time I thought as a group, we got closer and that’€™s rare.”

His players are certainly glad that’s sticking around. Paul Pierce noted earlier in camp that Rivers’ decision to return was a key factor in his decision to re-sign, along with Ray Allen.

“He’€™s been able to coach a young team and he’€™s shown he can build a veteran team with a lot of personalities,” Pierce said. “That’€™s a difficult combination for a coach. I wouldn’€™t be surprised to see Doc here for another 20 years, and you might see me here too.”

Read More: Doc Rivers, Erik Spoelstra, Pat Riley, Paul Pierce

Shaquille O’Neal vs. Paris Hilton

10.08.10 at 3:06 pm ET
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I swear, the best stories always pop up around Shaquille O’Neal. This stuff just wouldn’t come up if he weren’t around. Anyhow, Shaq and Paris Hilton obviously both want Einstein, the world’s smallest horse, who resides in Gilmanton, N.H. Only they can’t have him.

“Shaq would have to arm-wrestle Paris Hilton for him,” the horse’s owner, Charlie Cantrell, told the New Hampshire Union Leader. “We’ve been contacted by so many people, but he’s not for sale. He’s priceless.”

Now, I’m positive Paris has no idea who Einstein is. Shaq, on the other hand, probably does. In fact, he’s probably called himself The Big Einstein at some point his career.  Of course, I have to make the obvious joke: Why would Shaq want the world’s smallest horse, when he already has a rather small, self-proclaimed donkey (Nate Robinson) on his own team? And … scene.

Read More: Nate Robinson, Paris Hilton, Shaquille O'Neal,

Irish Coffee: Big ‘Swoll’ Baby; NBA goes Euro

10.08.10 at 9:48 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Um, Ok, Big Baby, whatever you say. Is it just me, or is anybody else confused as to what Glen Davis is saying here to NBA TV …

“Everybody on the East Coast watch out. We’re coming. Working hard on the elliptical. Get a nice burn before practice. Get rid of some of this body fat. They ain’t gonna call me Big Baby no more. They gonna call me Big ‘Swoll’ Baby.”

I’m not gonna lie, I actually had to consult UrbanDictionary.com on this one. They define “swoll” as “to be muscular, jacked, strong, etc.” (I also love their use of it in a sentence: “Man, I’m mo swoll than AC Slater“).

So, to get this straight, Davis no longer wanted to be called Big Baby, so last season he suggested Uno Uno, and now he wants to be called Big Swoll Baby. I think I’ve got it now.

The buffer Davis led all Celtics scorers with 20 points in last night’s 96-92 preseason victory against the Nets. Once again, the C’s second unit looked sharp, as Nate Robinson added 17 points and Delonte West scored 12 before leaving in the third quarter with discomfort in his lower back.

If you’ll recall, West missed Monday’s practice with lower back spasms. Not to worry, he stressed.

“I came in at halftime and felt my lower back pinching,” West told ESPN.com. “It’s real minor, but the muscle back there was tightening up and I think the tension was pinching the nerve, maybe. It was real uncomfortable. You saw me out there stretching before I went in for the third quarter, I just couldn’t move the way I wanted to. It’s just precautionary.”

LAKERS NO LONGER WORLD CHAMPIONS

NBA Commissioner David Stern made a bold prediction yesterday: “We’re going to have, really, our most successful season. … I think you’re going to be getting to see some of the greatest basketball ever played.” He made the statement prior to a game between Euroleague champ FC Barcelona and the NBA champion Lakers.

The Spanish team actually defeated the Lakers, 92-88, adding fire to the debate: Should the NBA champs face off against the Euroleague champs in a battle for world domination?

Stern: “I would guess that we will be in continued discussions with our friends at the Euroleague about an expansion of this possibility.”

Euroleague CEO Jordi Bertomeu: “To us, it is something we would like to happen. We would like it because that would mean that we would have met the circumstances, both sporting and economic, to make a game like that possible. We can only hope and expect, and I do, that with the work of our clubs and teams, those conditions will be met. In the event that those conditions are met, and continuing the same collaborations we have had so far between the Euroleague and the NBA, I am sure such a game would be a possibility.”

ESPN.com asked Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant if Barcelona could compete in the NBA over the course of an 82-game season, and their answers differed:

Jackson: “They’re not up to the competition that we face night in and night out. But that’s not taking anything away from them. The physicality of our game, the size of our players, those are things that night in and night out are very difficult to contest.”

Bryant: “I think they execute extremely well, they know each other extremely well, they move the ball extremely well and that’s what you’re looking for. In the NBA, teams that do that are few and far in between, teams that play together as a unit. You see a lot of isolation game; you see a lot of guys going one-on-one. They do a great job moving the ball, they do a great job helping each other defensively, so I disagree, but, what do I know?”

Bryant hit just 2-of-15 shots in the loss to Barcelona. As we all know, failing to perform in championship games is nothing new to Kobe. Remember his 6-for-24 performance in the final game of the 2010 NBA Finals? Of course. How could you forget?

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Read More: Amare Stoudemire, Danny Ainge, David Stern, Glen Davis
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