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Preview: Celtics vs. Hornets

02.10.10 at 10:09 am ET
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This marks the end of the unofficial first half of the regular season and the Celtics remain something of an enigma. Despite all their struggles over the last month and a half, the Celtics remain one of the top teams in the league according to all the best indicators–record, point differential, etc.

Since Christmas, however, the Celtics are just 10-12. That’s a significant chunk of the season in which they have played more like the Bulls then the Cavaliers, the latter of which has won 19 of 22 games during that same stretch.

Coming out of the All-Star break the Celtics go on a long west coast trip and will endure a March in which they play 17 games in 31 days. At the beginning of the season that looked like a good time to give their veteran players some rest before the playoffs. Now it looks like a survival test.

CELTICS (32-17, 5-5 last 10)

Points Per Game: 99.0

Points Allowed: 93.7

Differential: +5.3 (4th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.7 (13th)

Defensive Efficiency: 101.9 (1st)

Pace: 91.4 (22nd)

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

Injuries: Paul Pierce (Foot)

HORNETS (27-25, 4-6, last 10)

Points Per Game: 100.2

Points Allowed: 101.5

Differential: -1.3 (19th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.4 (14th)

Defensive Efficiency: 108.9 (20th)

Pace: 92.1 (19th)

Likely Starters: Darren Collison, Morris Peterson, Peja Stojakovic, David West, Emeka Okafor

Injuries: Chris Paul (Knee), Marcus Thornton (Back, questionable) Read the rest of this entry »

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Video: Doc Rivers addresses the press at practice

02.09.10 at 2:00 pm ET
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Doc: C’s ‘lean back too far on what they’ve done’

02.08.10 at 5:31 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Like everyone else, Doc Rivers has had his fill of his players saying they’re better than what they’ve been showing on the court of late.

‘€œI think when you have a veteran team, there are several pitfalls,” Rivers said following practice Monday. “One, you’€™re a veteran team. Two, we’€™ll turn it on. I don’€™t buy into that, never have. Three, leaning back on your past success. Your past success is no guarantee to future success. I think this team leans back too far on what they’€™ve done and we have to get to work on what we’€™re going to do and I think that’€™s what we have to do a better job of.’€

[Click here to hear Doc talk about his team.]

In the words of a famous football coach who coached the Patriots in the 1990s, ‘You are what your record says you are.’  For the Celtics, a 32-17 mark is good for third in the East behind Cleveland and Orlando.

He paraphrased Bill Parcells for his players on Monday before, during and after a practice.

‘€œEnough with the talk,” Rivers said. “That’€™s basically it. I had a Conga line in my office today. That’€™s great, though. Guys want to do the right thing. I don’€™t think we have bad guys on our team, I know we don’€™t. But we have to do [right things]. All we keep talking, ‘€˜You’€™re right and we’€™re going to do it,’€™ but we’€™re not doing it. That’€™s what we have to do.’€

Monday was a good first step in a process that figures more like a grind as the team faces road games in the next two weeks against the Hornets, Lakers, Trail Blazers and Nuggets.

‘€œThey responded with a great practice so that’€™s good,” Rivers said. “But we have to, we have to get back to work, that workman’€™s mentality. We have to get back to wanting to be the best defensive team in the NBA. We have to get back to executing better. We can’€™t just rely on guys coming back off injury. That has thrown us off a little bit because of lack of practice time and all that, but I think that’€™s becoming an excuse around here. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA

R-O-N-D-O to play H-O-R-S-E in D-A-L-L-A-S

02.08.10 at 4:44 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Celtics All-Star guard Rajon Rondo confirmed following Monday’s practice that he will be taking part in the HORSE competition at All-Star weekend in Dallas.

The guard said he will come up with some trick shots that only he can make in an effort to beat Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, the defending champion, and Sacramento’s Omri Casspi.

Last year, Durant beat Atlanta’s Joe Johnson and O.J. Mayo of Memphis for the title.

Read More: HORSE, Kevin Durant, NBA All-Star, Oklahoma City Thunder

Doc on Pierce for Weds: ‘Wait and see’

02.08.10 at 3:39 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Celtics captain Paul Pierce was pulled out of practice early on Monday after coach Doc Rivers felt his star didn’t look smooth on his strained left foot.

“Paul didn’t do a lot today,” Rivers said. “We actually pulled him out early. He was practicing and wasn’t moving very well so just took him out. He’s questionable. I think he’s going to play but right now we’ll wait and see.”

Marquis Daniels, meanwhile, looked good in practice after his first game back on Sunday following left thumb surgery. The team was forced to move up their departure to Tuesday morning in order to get into New Orleans ahead of the parade Tuesday afternoon for the Super Bowl winners.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, New Orleans Hornets, Paul Pierce

KG video: ‘It’s unpleasant’

02.07.10 at 7:10 pm ET
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Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett reacted to Sunday’s 96-89 loss to the Orlando Magic.

“It’s unpleasant,” Garnett said. “We don’t like that at all. Our goal is to establish home court and try to add that as an advantage and we really haven’t done that consistently, at least against good teams.”

Read More: Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Magic, NBA

Daniels fueled by adrenaline in return

02.07.10 at 6:58 pm ET
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All along, Marquis Daniels has said he didn’€™t want to play with any fear when he returned from his thumb injury.

More than two months have passed since Daniels underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. On Sunday against the Magic, he stayed true to his word.

Daniels was greeted by a standing ovation when he made his debut with 4.3 seconds left in the first quarter ‘€” ‘€œI appreciate that,’€ he said. ‘€œThank ya’€™ll. Thank you everybody.’€

Doc Rivers told Daniels he was looking for him to be aggressive, and Daniels listened. He shook off a careless foul he committed as Mickael Pietrus shot a 3, and had confidence in his own shot. He knocked down his first attempt (a turnaround jumper) just 46 seconds into the second quarter.

‘€œIt’€™s always a good feeling to make your first shot,’€ he said with a laugh. ‘€œThe basket started looking wider, so it was just a good feeling just to make the first one.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

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