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Ainge: Tony Allen was waiting in the wings

05.21.09 at 1:07 am ET
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This week Celtics head coach Doc Rivers revealed Ray Allen played in the Eastern Conference Semifinals with a hamstring injury. But the Celtics had a back up plan if another one of their stars was sidelined.

‘€œNow if anything had happened to Ray, if Ray wasn’t able to go because of the hamstring injury, then Tony would have started and played,’€ Celtics president Danny Ainge told WEEI’s The Big Show.

Tony Allen has been waiting in the wings for an extended role his entire career. Like it has happened so many times before, his opportunity for playing time this season was cut short by injuries. Rather than replace the void left by James Posey, Allen suffered an ankle sprain, the flu, and torn ligaments in his thumb. He appeared in just 46 regular season games.

‘€œEvery time Tony had an opportunity to play significant minutes, he performed very well in that role over the last couple of years,’€ Ainge said of the five-year veteran. ‘€œIn a more limited role, and I think Tony had expectations of playing a 20 to 25 minute a game role going into the season, and you know with the injuries, that just didn’t pan out that way.’€

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Read More: Boston Celtics, eddie house, Tony Allen,

Ainge: We never question KG

05.21.09 at 12:11 am ET
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Kevin Garnett held out hope. The Boston Celtics front office held out hope. Even though the probability of playing seemed unlikely, a chance is still a chance. And for that, Celtics president Danny Ainge has no regrets on leaving the possibility of Garnett’s return open.

‘€œThere was some question if KG would be able to play at some point in the playoffs, and we had hope. And we still had hope for that, and it just didn’t turn out that way. But one thing that we can’t do, and one thing that we don’t do internally, is never question Kevin Garnett,’€ he told WEEI’s The Big Show. ‘€œI mean, Kevin Garnett for 12 years has never given anybody any reason to think he would not play if he could. The guy just doesn’t miss games.

‘€œBut the reality of it is, is there was still hope. I think there was a bit of hope in Kevin’s mind, there was hope in our minds, there was hope in Doc’s mind even though we knew that the possibility, that the stronger possibility existed that he probably wouldn’t play, there was a little bit of hope that he might be able to at some point. So I think second-guessing doesn’t do any good. It didn’t turn out, he wasn’t able to play, and we don’t really think that we’ve set ourselves that far back.’€

In retrospect, holding off surgery during the season may actually help Garnett’s recovery.

‘€œWe think the surgery now is fine. Anyway, Kevin’s gotten stronger, he’s been working extremely hard,’€ Ainge said. ‘€œAnd some people think the stronger your legs are when you get the surgery, the better prepared you are for your rehab anyways. So we’re not second-guessing any of that.’€

Garnett is slated for surgery next week.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett,

Report: KG to have surgery next week

05.19.09 at 8:37 pm ET
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The Boston Globe has reported Celtics president Danny Ainge said Kevin Garnett will have surgery on his knee next week. According to the Globe, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck expects Garnett to return next season at full strength. The Celtics had not set a date for surgery during the playoffs, leaving a small window open for the possibility of his return. Garnett injured his knee in February.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett,

Rivers: “We have to improve our team”

05.19.09 at 11:54 am ET
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Last summer the biggest question was simple: Will the Celtics re-sign James Posey? This summer, more than a third of the team could be affected by free agency.

On Tuesday, Doc Rivers discussed the future of the Celtics bench WEEI’€™s “Dennis & Callahan.” With the exception of Glen Davis, who replaced Kevin Garnett in the starting lineup, all of the Celtics free agents are reserves.

‘€œJust think this year if Kevin was healthy and Leon was healthy, that makes our bench 10 deep. ‘€¦ Those two guys being out really shortened our bench,’€ Rivers said. ‘€œBut we have to improve our team. There’€™s no doubt about that. We don’€™t have to make any changes, but definitely have to make some additions.’€

The Celtics will have to decide the futures of Davis, Leon Powe, Eddie House, Stephon Marbury, Mikki Moore, and Gabe Pruitt in the offseason. Davis (restricted) and Marbury (unrestricted) are poised to make the most money of the group. So who is more likely to return to Boston?

‘€œBaby, it will probably come down to what he can get on the open market,’€ said Rivers. ‘€œWith Steph, it will probably come down to what we can get on the open market.’€

The ironic part is none of the Celtics free agents play the role the Celtics are most looking to fill. They still have not figured out how to account for the loss of Posey.

‘€œNumber one, the one spot no one talked about all year, was the small forward spot,’€ Rivers said. ‘€œWe need a small forward who can defend, who can make shots and give Paul (Pierce) a blow. I thought Paul, all year, had to guard the best guys all game. Whenever we took him out, we went small.

‘€œWe put Ray Allen in at small forward, which is a tough matchup. You could see it in the Orlando series. You were almost scared to take Paul off the floor because when you did, Ray Allen was now guarding the Terkoglus or the Rashard Lewises of the world. They went straight to the post, just like every other team did.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Glen Davis, Stephon Marbury,

Celtics injuries revealed

05.19.09 at 11:51 am ET
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If the Celtics looked banged up during the playoffs, that’€™s because they were.

‘€œRay Allen had a hamstring problem throughout the Orlando series that was not getting better,’€ Doc Rivers said on WEEI’€™s Dennis & Callahan Show. ‘€œPaul (Pierce) had some bone spurs that may need to be removed as well. (Kendrick Perkins) may have to have a procedure on his shoulder’€¦ In Ray’€™s case, I thought his hamstring was bothering him a lot. That could have had an effect on him (during the Magic series).’€

Allen averaged just over 11 points through the first six games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. He was a non-factor from behind the arc before regaining his touch in the Celtics Game 7 loss.

As for the most talked about injury on the Celtics, Rivers had little news to offer on Kevin Garnett, who turns 33 today.

‘€œI don’€™t think there will be much more (than reported),’€ he said. ‘€œI think it will be the strained tendon and the bone spur. What they started thinking at the end was that maybe the bone spur had something to do, maybe it started rubbing against the tendon and that’€™s what kept it inflamed. But they don’€™t know that. That’€™s just an assumption.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen,

Doc Rivers on Dennis & Callahan

05.19.09 at 10:01 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers offered a look back at the 2008-09 season, as well as a look ahead to his team’€™s needs going forward, during an interview with the Dennis & Callahan Show this morning. He admitted a sense of disappointment that his team did not have the opportunity to pursue another championship without a full complement of players.

‘€œThe only thing that bothers me about the way the postseason ended was, you look at Kevin (Garnett), you look at Leon (Powe) and you just say, ‘€˜Darn’€”we didn’€™t have a real chance to defend our title with our best stuff,’€™’€ said Rivers. ‘€œThat’€™s real tough for a coach and for a team.’€

Rivers addressed a number of topics during his interview, including ways in which the Celtics need to improve and his own coaching future. Among them:

WHETHER THE SURGERY ON KEVIN GARNETT’€™S KNEE MIGHT BE MORE FAR-REACHING THAN PREVIOUSLY SUGGESTED:

I don’€™t think there will be much more (than reported). I think it will be the strained tendon and the bone spur. What they started thinking at the end was that maybe the bone spur had something to do, maybe it started rubbing against the tendon and that’€™s what kept it inflamed. But they don’€™t know that. That’€™s just an assumption.

ON OTHER INJURIES THAT IMPACTED THE TEAM AND THAT MAY REQUIRE SURGERY

Ray Allen had a hamstring problem throughout the Orlando series that was not getting better. Paul had some bone spurs that may need to be removed as well. (Kendrick Perkins) may have to have a procedure on his shoulder’€¦ In Ray’€™s case, I thought his hamstring was bothering him a lot. That could have had an effect on him (during the Magic series).

ON THE TEAM’€™S NEED TO ADD DEPTH TO ITS BENCH THIS OFFSEASON

Just think this year if Kevin was healthy and Leon was healthy, that makes our bench 10 deep’€¦Those two guys being out really shortened our bench.

But we have to improve our team. There’€™s no doubt about that. We don’€™t have to make any changes, but definitely have to make some additions.

No. 1, the one spot no one talked about all year, was the small forward spot. We need a small forward who can defend, who can make shots and give Paul (Pierce) a blow. I thought Paul, all year, had to guard the best guys all game. Whenever we took him out, we went small. We put Ray Allen in at small forward, which is a tough matchup. You could see it in the Orlando series. You were almost scared to take Paul off the floor because when you did, Ray Allen was now guarding the Terkoglus or the Rashard Lewises of the world. They went straight to the post, just like every other team did.

ON THE IMPACT OF KEVIN GARNETT’€™S DEFENSIVE ABSENCE ON THE REST OF THE TEAM

We didn’€™t run out of gas in the playoffs. We ran out of gas trying to get to the playoffs in a lot of ways. Every game was different and harder once Kevin left. Our defense suffered. (Rivers noted that opponents averaged 88 points per game against the Celtics last postseason, and 102 points per game this year.) I don’€™t think much more needs to be said about our defense, and how important Kevin Garnett is.

HOW MANY 15- TO 18-FOOT JUMPERS SHOULD RONDO TAKE THIS OFFSEASON?

He can’€™t take enough, obviously. I thought the series changed when Orlando decided that they basically weren’€™t going to play Rondo anymore. It’€™s very difficult for him to be effective from that point on. Obviously, he did on the rebounding side of things for us, but as far as creating plays, that not only hurt Rondo, but that hurt Paul and Ray as well, because they were using his man to double-team.
That’€™s a shot he’€™s going to have to make. We knew that. We knew that two years ago. It made it easier for them to do that because Kevin wasn’€™t out on the floor. When you have three other shooters out on the floor, it’€™s not as easy.

DO YOU REASSESS YOUR OWN FUTURE AT THIS TIME OF YEAR?

I do it every year. I have every intention of coming back, but I would be lying to you if I said that every year, I didn’€™t sit back over the last couple, with the family. We sit back and we think, ‘€˜What do we need to do, and what do I need to do?’€™ I just try to gauge it on how my kids are doing and if they’€™re happy. I’€™m sure there will be a day or some time when I’€™ll say no, I’€™ve got to stay and do family things. But I have every intention of coming back.
I love coaching. I see myself coaching a long time. But I also see myself as a coach who will take a break to re-energize. I believe in that. I love, what’€™s the analogy? A teacher taking a sabbatical and coming back. I clearly will do that someday. In the next two or three years, I think that has to happen. I just think it’€™s good for a coach to do that. It makes him a better coach.

WHO IS MORE LIKELY TO RETURN: MARBURY OR DAVIS?

Baby, it will probably come down to what he can get on the open market. With Steph, it will probably come down to what we can get on the open market.

WILL TOM THIBODEAU BE BACK?

I hope he’€™s not back…(The 76ers job) will be a tough one to get. Tom’€™s not a good guy ‘€“ he’€™s a great guy. And he’€™s a terrific coach. So I’€™m really pulling for him.

WHO WILL WIN THE TITLE?

I don’€™t know. Honestly, I can tell you I really don’€™t care.

Read More: Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, ray allen kevin garnett,

Report: Thibodeau to interview with Sixers

05.18.09 at 4:16 pm ET
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The Boston Globe is reporting that Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau will interview with the Philadelphia 76ers for their vacant head coaching job.

Thibodeau has earned praise from all corners for his work with the Celtics defense during his two years with the team. He was given free reign by head coach Doc Rivers to implement his defensive system, which he brought with him from his time as Jeff Van Gundy’s assistant with the Knicks and Rockets.

The Sixers fired Mo Cheeks halfway through the season and interim coach Tony DiLeo stepped down after a first-round loss to the Magic, and it has already been a messy off-season for the Sixers. Free agents to be Andre Miller and Theo Ratliff skipped the team’s final meeting and Ratliff took shots at DiLeo after their Game 6 loss to the Magic.

For a team looking for discipline and a defensive identity, Thibodeau would seem like an ideal choice.

Read More: Tom Thibodeau,
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