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NBA Power Rankings 2/4

02.04.10 at 9:47 am ET
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1. (1): LeBron James won last season’s MVP, and he’s a better player this year. His 23-point first quarter against the Clippers was ridiculous. If he ever develops a turnaround or a 4-man’s post game, there will be no way of guarding him.

2. (2): Is there any LA fan who really believes Kobe is the best Laker ever? Really? He scores more than any Laker in history, and that makes him the best? Wow.

3. (3): The moral of the Chauncey Billups story: patience. By the time he was 25, he already had played for four teams. He’s an All-Star again this year. He always had what it took, he just didn’t have people who were willing to wait for it.

4. (8): Stan Van Gundy drives his players crazy, even after they had a heart-to-heart about him being a kinder, gentler coach. He may be annoying, but he knows what he’s doing. Put this roster in many other coaches’ hands and their win total goes down by five or six.

5. (7): The Jazz have talked about moving Carlos Boozer for as long as the Suns have talked about trading Amar’e Stoudemire. Would they do it now, playing this well?

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Ray to Rondo: ‘This could be your last shot’

02.04.10 at 12:34 am ET
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Ray Allen had a very simple message for his backcourt teammate before Wednesday’s game against Miami.

“I told [Rajon] Rondo earlier, I said this could be his last shot,” Allen said. “I told him, ‘You’ve got 10, 12-plus years left in the NBA, you’re making great money but this could be yours.

“I told him I went to the Eastern Conference finals in Milwaukee and the next year we just assumed we’re going to get back and we didn’t make the playoffs. So, it’s not guaranteed because you did it once or twice. It’s never guaranteed. So, we have to be very selfish about really wanting to be good now and really taking care of our bodies, making sure we hold each other accountable. And doing it in a good way.”

Allen and Rondo have been the focal point this week of trade rumors and locker room chemistry questions. But Allen made it clear following a 107-102 win over the Heat that he wants to go to battle with Rondo and the rest of the Celtics.

“Believe me, there’s not a better group of guys that I think are capable right now,” Allen said. “I’m not looking at our record (31-16), although our record is not too shabby. We have guys here, a roster than can win it.”

[Click here to hear what Allen had to say about wanting to stay with Rondo and his team]

More to the point, Allen sounded like a man who wants desperately to keep the relationships he’s forged over the last three seasons.

“All of these guys in this locker room are my brothers and I’m going to proceed forward that this could be it for all of us and we have to treat this season very specially and know that what comes out of it is what we want to come out of it, and that’s a championship,” he said.

Read More: Celtics, NBA, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen

Fast Break: Celtics vs. Heat

02.03.10 at 10:57 pm ET
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Without Paul Pierce in the lineup, the question facing the Celtics Wednesday night was, “Who will stop Dwyane Wade?” By the end of the game, the biggest question was, “Why couldn’t the Heat stop Rajon Rondo?”

Rondo recorded yet another double-double with 22 points and 14 assists. His efforts, combined with 23 points from Ray Allen, 14 from Kevin Garnett, and 13 from Kendrick Perkins, were enough to overshadow Wade’s 30-point, 13-assist performance.

The Celtics beat the Heat, 107-102, to improve to 31-16.

Player of the Game: With the Celtics without their leading scorer, Eddie House stepped up off the bench to score 16 points. House contributed one of his best overall performances of the season — 5-for-9 from the field, 2-for-4 on threes, 4-for-4 from the free-throw line, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. This spark helped fill the void left by Pierce.

Turning Point: After the Celtics saw their 1o-point lead shrink to 2, House scored five quick points to reclaim control of the game.

‘€¢With less than 40 seconds to go and the Celtics leading 97-94, Tony Allen stole the ball from Wade and drew a foul on the fast break. This put him at the line to push the Celtics lead up to five points and ice the win.

‘€¢The Celtics improved to 3-3 without Pierce this season.

‘€¢Both teams shot well in this game. The Celtics shot 49 percent while the Heat were consistent for 52 percent.

‘€¢None of the Heat starters grabbed more than five boards. Udonis Haslem lead them with 8 off the bench. The Celtics outrebounded them 41-31. Both teams scored 44 points in the paint.

‘€¢The C’s lead the regular season series with the Heat, 3-1.

Ray Allen: ‘Anything Can Happen’

02.03.10 at 10:32 pm ET
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Ray Allen has been around long enough to know anything is possible.

When Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge called a meeting with Allen, the veteran was appreciative of the organization’€™s efforts to keep him in the loop with the trading deadline approaching.

Even though Allen had disciplined himself to ignore the rumors, they are hard to avoid when an expiring contract has made him the focal point of rumors floating around the NBA circuit. The most talked-about report had Golden State interested in sending Monta Ellis to Boston in exchange for Allen.

Because of this, Ainge wanted to clear the air. He met with Allen and his family for half-an-hour at the Celtics training facility on Tuesday in Waltham.

‘€œWe talked yesterday and he just wanted me to know that he hasn’€™t done anything or tried anything to seek out a trade,’€ Allen told prior to Wednesday’s Celtics-Heat game. ‘€œHe just, based off of what he feels that we’€™ve done for the organization on and off the floor, he was like I just owe it to you so that you know there’€™s nothing that’€™s been done on my behalf. It’€™s just teams inquiring, natural NBA business.’€

[Click here to hear what Ray Allen said about all of the rumors swirling and his meeting with Ainge.]

Ainge reiterated to WEEI’€™s Big Show on Wednesday that he has not had any conversations regarding a trade that would move Allen. He felt it was unlikely that the Celtics would find a deal that would help them with a title both this season and in the future. Their priority, Ainge said, is winning now.

And besides, they like having Allen on the court.

‘€œWe want Ray,’€ Ainge said. ‘€œWe think Ray is a huge part of our winning a championship this year.’€

Allen does not doubt the Celtics appreciation of his game and contributions to the Boston community. In addition to his Ray of Hope Foundation, the Allens became heavily involved with the Joslin Diabetes Center after their son Walker was diagnosed in 2008.

At the same time, there is a reality of the game. While Ainge said the Celtics have not actively sought out a trade nor have they been ‘€œanywhere near or had any discussion,’€ that does not mean they wouldn’€™t entertain talks either.

After 14 years in the league, Allen understands how it works.

‘€œI really understand that this is a business and I got traded when I was the least one to be traded when I was in Milwaukee. So anything can happen. Anything can happen,’€ Allen said. ‘€œThere’€™s nobody that’€™s really untouchable in this league, so I appreciated his candidness, letting me know and letting my wife know, and my boys were in the office running around. You always hate to see people do business behind your back and kind of not keep you alert, so it just spoke volumes of who he is and as a GM doing his job.

‘€œBut, you know, he still could. I don’€™t know. It depends on what is thrown out there. So it’€™s not that I worry about it. It’€™s a business. My job still has to be done the same.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Monta Ellis, Ray Allen,

Third Quarter Wrap: Celtics vs. Heat

02.03.10 at 10:07 pm ET
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The Celtics led by as many as seven points in the quarter, but every time they began to put some distance between them and Miami, the Heat came right back. With the score tied at 74-74, this game looks like it will go right down to the wire.

Rajon Rondo scored eight of his team-high 20 points in the quarter, while Dwyane Wade matched Rondo with eight of his own.

The action came midway through the quarter after Wade got knocked the floor on a long rebound. The Heat players felt that Kendrick Perkins had fouled Wade and Jermaine O’Neal and Rafer Alston got called for technicals.

Turnovers have once again been a problem for the Celtics. They have 14 after three quarters.

Read More: Celtics, Heat,

Second Quarter Wrap: Celtics vs. Heat

02.03.10 at 9:14 pm ET
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Second Quarter: Celtics 53 – Heat 51

The battle between the Celtics and Heat is still anyone’s game at the end of two quarters. The Celtics have a two-point lead at halftime thanks to a careless play by the Heat. Daequan Cook fouled Rajon Rondo (12 points) on long buzzer-beating three. Rondo nailed two of the free throws to break the tie.

Eddie House stepped up off the bench and scored nine points in 13 minutes. Dwyane Wade leads all players with 13 points and six assists. He has found his rhythm, shooting 5-for-6 from the field.

Daniels wants to re-sign with C’s

02.03.10 at 8:43 pm ET
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Marquis Daniels has seen enough to know that he likes where he is.

In spite of spending the majority of his one-year contract on the sidelines with a thumb injury, Daniels already knows he would like to re-sign with the Celtics this summer.

‘€œThe locker room is great, it’€™s a great atmosphere, the coaching staff, everything is good,’€ he told prior to the Celtics ‘€“ Heat game, despite a recent claim from Rajon Rondo that the team was having chemistry issues. ‘€œSo it’€™s something that I’€™d like to be part of. Hopefully it will work out. If not, then I have to deal with everything that happens.’€

Daniels likes the winning mentality of the Celtics community, from his teammates to the coaching staff, front office to the fans. The city’€™s winning tradition is something he would like to remain a part of.

At the same time, he has a very realistic outlook on his current situation. He knows what he can control and what is out of his hands. While he is eager to get back on the court (he has missed 27 games and hopes play before the All-Star break), he isn’€™t dwelling on the fact that he hasn’€™t been able to.

‘€œThere’€™s no frustrations. It’€™s part of the game,’€ he said. ‘€œI just go out there and play. I can’€™t worry about trying to do more than what you’€™re supposed to because that’€™s when you start playing bad and making things worse for yourself. I’€™ve just got to go out there and do what I do, and that’€™s playing defense, getting guys open, and doing my job. That’€™s the only thing I have to worry about.’€

Daniels won’€™t get caught up in the length of future contracts, either. So whether he is offered another one-year deal or something longer than that, he’€™ll stick with doing his job and let everyone else do their own.

‘€œI don’€™t think about stuff like that,’€ he said. ‘€œI worry about things that I can control, and that’€™s not one of them. I just go out there and play. I can control how I play when I get out there. As far as what someone wants to do, as far as deal-wise, I let my agent and the front office talk about that.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Marquis Daniels, Rajon Rondo,
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