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Rivers on D&C: ‘You feel a responsibility’ to beat LA

05.31.10 at 11:02 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the NBA finals against the Lakers. Rivers said his players do not view themselves as underdogs. “We don’t think that way,” he said. “We don’t care what others think. We believed going into the playoff rounds that we could get here and win it. We thought we needed to be healthy, and we did get healthy. I don’t know how healthy we are now, but we’re getting closer again. That was key for us. We just believe that the 23-5 team was the real team, at the beginning of the season. The 27-27 the rest of the way was due to different circumstances that had nothing to do with basketball. And we believe that as a group.”

Rivers talked about the respect he has for the Celtics-Lakers rivalry. “It means a lot,” he said. “I know the history. I love the history of the game. To be part of it is huge for me, personally. But you feel a responsibility. You don’t want them to beat you. And that’s just the bottom line. Let’s say you were playing Phoenix. You still would want to win the world championship, obviously. But you’re playing the Lakers, and it’s like you’re thinking more about you want to beat them and less about wanting to win the title. And that’s probably good.”

Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

What is your schedule?

The schedule is we’re practicing at 11 o’clock. And then right after practice we’re jumping on a plane and flying out a day early — just with the time change and stuff. Then we’ll practice at UCLA tomorrow. Then we’ll have that league-mandated practice on Wednesday that I love so much.

Was that Nate Robinson’s 15 minutes of fame, or are we going to see more of Nate Robinson?

I think you’ll see more of him. It’s funny what you learn in losses. Nate Robinson didn’t play because we needed him in Game 6. Nate Robinson played because he played so well in Game 5, the game that Orlando beat us. It wasn’t the offensive end, it was the defensive end. He was doing all the things that we needed him to do, that we worked with him on. You could see that he had bought in. I remember turning to our bench early on and saying, “Hey, Nate’s going to help us.” I didn’t know he was going to do that, obviously, offensively or anything like that. If he can continue to do that, then yeah, he has a chance to help us. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Dennis & Callahan, Doc Rivers, Glen Davis

Report: Thibodeau in running for Bulls job

05.31.10 at 8:55 am ET
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Reports last week indicated that the Hornets were ready to offer their head coaching job to Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau, and a story by Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo!Sports late Sunday night says the team has begun contract discussions with Thibodeau’s representatives at Creative Artists Agency. However, a story out of Illinois’ Daily Herald Monday morning notes that the Bulls have interest in him as well, and multiple reports say that Thibodeau plans to remain in discussions for the Nets job.

Daily Herald reporter Mike McGraw writes that Thibodeau and former Trail Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks are the favorites in Chicago. But the story indicates that Lakers assistant Brian Shaw (a former Celtic) now is being pushed by LeBron James associate William Wesley, who previously was campaigning for John Calipari. The rumor is that James would be interested in playing the triangle offense made popular by Phil Jackson, and Shaw has spent five seasons alongside Jackson learning the intricacies of the offense.

A side note: Creative Artists Agency, with whom Thibodeau recently signed, also represents James and fellow high-profile free agents Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

The Yahoo!Sports report notes that Thibodeau risks losing out on the Hornets job if he decides to wait on the Bulls and/or Nets. Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams reportedly is the Hornets’ second choice, with some players, including star guard Chris Paul, said to prefer Williams.

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Hornets, LeBron James

NBA finals set to begin Thursday in LA

05.30.10 at 9:06 am ET
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The Celtics and Lakers will meet for second time in three years in the NBA finals. The two teams each won one game in their two meetings this season. Here is the complete NBA finals schedule. All games be televised on ABC and broadcast on the WEEI Sports Radio Network:

  • Game 1 – Thursday, June 3, Celtics at Lakers, 9 p.m.
  • Game 2 – Sunday, June 6, Celtics at Lakers, 8 p.m.
  • Game 3 – Tuesday, June 8, Lakers at Celtics, 9 p.m.
  • Game 4 – Thursday, June 10, Lakers at Celtics, 9 p.m.
  • Game 5 * Sunday, June 13, Lakers at Celtics, 8 p.m.
  • Game 6 * Tuesday, June 15, Celtics at Lakers, 9 p.m.
  • Game 7 * Thursday, June 17, Celtics at Lakers, 9 p.m.

* if necessary

Read More: Celtics, Lakers, NBA Finals,

NBA finals tickets on sale June 2

05.29.10 at 8:54 am ET
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Here’s the Celtics’ official press release concerning the sale of NBA finals tickets.

BOSTON ‘€“ The Boston Celtics announced today that a limited number of playoff tickets for Round 4, home games 1, 2 and 3 (Games 3, 4 and 5 of the series) at the TD Garden will go on sale Wednesday, June 2 at 11 a.m. There is a four (4) ticket limit per event on all seating areas and seats start at $40.

Game 3 is scheduled to be played on Tuesday, June 8, at 9 p.m., Game 4 on Thursday, June 10, at 9 p.m. and Game 5 on Sunday, June 13, at 8 p.m. The opponent is yet to be determined. Please visit Celtics.com for all the latest schedule information as it becomes available.

Celtics fans will be able to purchase on June 2 beginning at 11 a.m. by visiting Celtics.com, by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX (800-462-2849) or by visiting the TD Garden Box Office. Acceptable forms of payment for tickets are American Express and all other major credit cards and customers may also pay with cash at the TD Garden Box Office.

In the event that Game 5 (Round 4, home game 3) is not played, refunds will be done at the point of purchase. Fans purchasing online would be automatically refunded through Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster will refund the face value of each ticket, facility charge and per ticket service charge. All per order charges (order processing and any delivery charges) will not be refunded.

Fans interested in securing private suites for playoff games may do so by calling the Celtics Sales Office at 866-4CELTIX (866-423-5849). Private suites accommodate 18 fans and catering options are also available. For more information log onto www.celtics.com.

Read More: Celtics, NBA Finals, Tickets,

Why Nate Robinson was reason Celtics won

05.29.10 at 1:23 am ET
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Paul Pierce is undeniably the leading spokesman of these Celtics.

When he speaks, everyone who cares about the team listens.

In the moments following Boston’s second Eastern Conference title in three years, he gave credit to one player for helping the Celtics to get over the emotional hump of losing two straight games after having a 3-0 lead against the Magic.

“He really won the game for us,” Pierce told ESPN’s Doris Burke in the midst of a parquet celebration following the 96-84 triumph.

Why did the man who scored a game-high 31 points while grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing out five assists give so much credit to the man with the new tatoo on his throat? Because without him, the Celtics might have lost their swagger when Rajon Rondo took a hard first-quarter fall to the floor, courtesy Dwight Howard.

‘€œIt was huge, it was big,” Robinson said after scoring all 13 of his points in a furious second-quarter spurt. “I am just speechless right now. My teammates, we got the job done today.

‘€œJust do whatever coach asked. He asked me to play as much defense as I could. The best way that I knew how, and the offense is going to come. That’€™s something that comes naturally, just play the game for what it is and for the love of it. That’€™s what I went out there and did.’€

Robinson, who came to Boston in a much-talked about mid-season trade with the Knicks, didn’t even play in Games 1 and 2 of the series as Rondo was exerting his dominance. Coach Doc Rivers has always told his players to be prepared. Friday’s huge Game 6 stage was Robinson’s chance.

‘€œIt was a great opportunity,” Robinson said. “I thank God, I thank Doc, the fans for giving me so much energy and my teammates for believing. They always told me be ready, be ready you never know. Today was that day.

‘€œI mean just the opportunity to play. I got my chance today. I just showed that I could play the game of basketball.’€

And now Robinson gets his first chance to play on an even bigger stage: the NBA finals.

Read More: Celtics, Lakers, Magic, Nate Robinson

Five reasons why the Celtics won Game 6

05.28.10 at 11:22 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics are the 2010 Eastern Conference champions, beating the Orlando Magic 96-81 in Game 6 to advance to the NBA finals, where they will play the winner of the Suns-Lakers series, with Game 1 set for Thursday night.

It was a balanced scoring attack by the Celtics in the Friday night clincher, with Paul Pierce’s 31 points leading five players in double figures.

WHAT WENT RIGHT:

POINT GUARD PLAY

Rajon Rondo (12 first-quarter points) returing to his Sports Illustrated cover level of play was far from a shock (and what happened to the SI jinx?), but the stunner of the game — and the series — was the effort offered by Nate Robinson. A virtual non-factor since his arrival in Boston, in Game 6 Robinson was the player that Doc Rivers said would win them a game in this series. Robinson exploded in the second quarter, scoring 13 points. His defense was also a huge factor, as he harassed and frustrated Jameer Nelson.

The two Celtics point guards combined for 25 points, four assists and zero turnovers in the first half.

PAUL PIERCE: MVP OF THE SERIES

Remember the “What’s wrong with Pierce?” talk during the Cleveland series? Turns out it was probably just a matter of getting away from LeBron James. Pierce was terrific in these six games, averaging 24.3 points and dominating Vince Carter on both ends of the floor. The Celtics needed Pierce to be aggressive in Game 6 and he answered the call, hitting an aggression double double with 13 rebounds and 10 free-throw attempts.

WINNING THE BATTLE OF THE 3’S

The Magic rely on the 3-point shot perhaps more than any good team in NBA history. When they shoot it well (see Game 5) they are nearly impossible to beat. Stopping (or at the very least limiting) the triples was a must for the Celtics in Game 6. Mission accomplished, as Orlando converted on just 6-of-22 attempts. But the Celtics own 3-point shooting was superb on Thursday, hitting 45.5 percent (10-of-22) in the win. Ray Allen and Pierce combined to hit 7-of-12, and Robinson hit a trio of 3’s off the bench.

JAMEER NELSON: NON-FACTOR

The key for Orlando in Games 4 and 5, Nelson struggled mightily in his final game of the season, hitting just 5-of-14 shots. He was also unable (and at times, it seemed, unwilling) to penetrate and find open 3-point shooters or Howard for the lob-and-dunk. He simply could not match up with Rondo in the first or Robinson in the second (and was clearly rattled by Robinson’s emotion and trash talk.)

BIG BABY SHAKES IT OFF

No signs of post-concussion problems for Glen Davis, who brought his usual energy in his 17:23 on the court, scoring six points with seven rebounds. Big edge to the Celtics bench (19 points, 13 rebounds) in Game 6.

Halftime: Celtics-Magic

05.28.10 at 9:55 pm ET
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The Celtics could be just 24 minutes away from a trip to the NBA Finals, leading the Magic 55-42 at halftime of Game 6.

The biggest reason why the Celtics have been able to regain control of this series and play their best half of basketball in nearly a week?

The point guards.

That’s right, plural.

Rajon Rondo was brilliant in the first quarter (12 points, three rebounds, two assists,) but left the game after taking a hard fall late in the opening 12 minutes. In this series, no Rondo has usually meant a Magic run. But Nate Robinson — who had his moments in Game 5 — came off the bench and went absolutely crazy in the second quarter, scoring 13 points and disrupting Jameer Nelson with his defense. A shocking effort and immeasurable bonus for the Celtics, who were using Tony Allen as the backup point guard for most of the playoffs.

The two point guards combined to score 25 points with three assists, two steals and zero turnovers.

Paul Pierce had a solid first half, scoring 10 points.

Dwight Howard was strong again, scoring 13 points with five rounds before leaving with three fouls. Vince Carter resurfaced, chipping in with 13 points, all in the second quarter.

The Celtics led by as many as 21 points in the second quarter, but the Magic (led by Carter) finished the half on a 11-5 run to keep within striking distance.

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