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Fast Break: Rockets 119, Celtics 114

04.02.10 at 10:28 pm ET
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It started off as a celebratory night for Rajon Rondo and ended in a disappointing overtime loss for the Celtics.

Rondo made Celtics history less than five minutes into the game when he broke Bob Cousy‘€™s 50-year-old single season assist record. He dished his 716th dime of the season, an alley-oop to Kevin Garnett, to set the mark. (Earlier in the season, Rondo passed Rick Fox for the franchise mark in single-season steals.)

The Celtics gave up an early 11-point lead to trail the Rockets, 32-30, after the first quarter. The Rockets closed the quarter on a 19-6 run, led by eight points in less than six minutes from Kyle Lowry. Paul Pierce, Kendrick Perkins and Aaron Brooks also scored eight in the quarter. The Celtics outshot the Rockets, 59 to 50 percent, but were outrebounded, 12-7.

The C’€™s trailed in the second quarter before Rondo sparked a comeback. Rondo leapt for a defensive rebound and threw an outlet pass as he lost his balance, which Pierce converted for a lay-in. On the next possession, he set up Perkins for a bucket. The C’€™s took the lead back on a dunk by Tony Allen. The Rockets fought back, though, to go up 57-53 at halftime.

The Celtics were led by Pierce in the third quarter. He scored 13 points off of perfect 4-for-4 shooting from the floor. Chase Budinger responded, however, with 10 for the Rockets. Both teams scored 30 points in the quarter and shot 61.1 percent (11-for-18 FG).

In an unexpected twist, the combination first/second/third unit of Rondo, Tony Allen, Michael Finley, Rasheed Wallace and Shelden Williams opened the fourth quarter on a 15-4 run to overcome a four-point deficit and reclaim the lead. But that would not last the entire 12 minutes. The Rockets slowly chipped away at the lead and tied it up, 109-109, with nine seconds left on an Aaron Brooks 3-pointer. Pierce missed the attempted game-winner as time expired.

In overtime, Tony Allen stepped in for Ray Allen and played with the first unit. The C’s jumped out on a 5-0 run but missed four consecutive shots, allowing the Rockets to get back in the game. The Celtics trailed the final 1:22 of overtime and lost their third straight game, 119-114. (Recap.)

Turning point: Down 117-114 with 13.7 seconds left in overtime, Michael Finley pulled up for a game-tying 3-pointer. But Kendrick Perkins was whistled for an offensive foul, giving the Rockets possession and, ultimately, the win.

Player of the game: Aaron Brooks led all scorers with 30 points, but rookie Chase Budinger put on a veteran performance against the Celtics. He shot 6-for-8 from 3-point range (including several clutch shots) and finished the game with 24 points.

– Ray Allen fouled out for the first time this season with 2:13 left in regulation. He fouled out three times last regular season. One of the games was against the Rockets.

– Playing for the first time in a week, Tony Allen propelled the Celtics bench. He posted 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in 28 minutes. Aside from his stat line, he was reliable while Ray Allen was sidelined with foul trouble.

– Paul Pierce (27 points) scored more than 26 points for the fifth time in nine games.

Doc’s 25-point plan for free speech

04.02.10 at 9:11 pm ET
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Doc Rivers is a man on a mission.

He wants every player and coach to be able to freely speak their mind without fear of retribution from Stu Jackson, the NBA’s chief officer in charge of behavior.

Jackson levied a fine of $25,000 on Friday to Kevin Garnett for his decision to give Michael Jordan a new middle name when referencing the breaks he thought Kevin Durant was getting from officials on Wednesday night.

Instead of the player paying it, he wants the people responsible to foot the bill.

“The next time that happens, I have a solution. Each one of you guys should pitch in a thousand dollars until we get to [fine total],” Rivers suggested, tongue-in-cheek we think.

The reason there’s some truth in what Rivers believes occurred last year when Rivers was docked $25,000 during the playoffs when he was asked during a press conference if he thought Kendrick Perkins was being targeted by officials.

But in all seriousness, Rivers shed some light on how the fines are administered. They are automatically deducted from a player or coach’s paycheck.

“If we had to write a check,they’d never get the money,” Rivers said, again joking we think.

Rivers also talked before the game about the progress of the second unit and how Nate Robinson, even when he isn’t scoring that much like Wednesday night, is still having a positive impact on the reserves.

Read More: Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, NBA

Halftime: Celtics – Rockets

04.02.10 at 8:41 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo made Celtics history less than five minutes into the game when he broke Bob Cousy’s 50-year-old single season assist record. Rondo dished his 716th dime of the season, an alley-oop to Kevin Garnett, to set the mark. (Earlier in the season, Rondo passed Rick Fox for the franchise mark in single-season steals.)

But back to the game. The Celtics gave up an early 11-point lead to trail the Rockets 32-30 after the first quarter. The Rockets closed the quarter on a 19-6 run, led by eight points in less than six minutes from Kyle Lowry. Paul Pierce, Kendrick Perkins, and Aaron Brooks also scored eight in the quarter. The Celtics outshot the Rockets, 59 percent to 50 percent, but were outrebounded, 12-7.

The C’s trailed in the second quarter before Rondo sparked a comeback. Rondo leapt for a defensive rebound and threw an outlet pass as he lost his balance, which Pierce connected for a lay-in. On the next possession, he set Perkins up for a bucket. The C’s took the lead back on a dunk by Tony Allen. The Rockets fought back, though, and are up 57-53 at halftime.

Brooks leads all players with 17 points. Pierce has 14 for the Celtics. Rondo has a game-high seven assists.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Rajon Rondo,

Garnett fined for ‘Michael @#$% Jordan’ remark

04.02.10 at 1:51 pm ET
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The NBA fined Kevin Garnett $25,000 on Friday for his remark criticizing officials following a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

After Kevin Durant made all 15 free throws and the Celtics made just 13-of-17 at the line, Garnett said, “I thought we were playing Michael [expletive] Jordan the way he was getting the whistle. Durant damn near shot more free throws than our whole team for the game.”

Stu Jackson, NBA Vice President for Operations, made the announcement.

Read More: Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Michael Jordan, NBA

Preview: Celtics-Rockets

04.02.10 at 11:05 am ET
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When the month of March began the Celtics were coming off a loss to the Nets and looking at 17 games in 31 days and 10 of those 17 at home. This was a chance for them to reassert themselves at TD Garden as well as get some of their pride back after struggling through January and February.

The Celtics went 11-6 in March and 7-3 at home, which are both solid marks, but not particularly noteworthy. They swept the Texas teams, but blew a halftime lead in Utah. They beat the Nuggets, but lost by 21 to the Spurs. They handled sub-500 teams on their schedule, but got crushed by Memphis. And, once again, they couldn’t hang with the Cavaliers for 48 minutes.

Have the Celtics improved over the last month? Absolutely. Have they inspired any more confidence that they have a serious postseason run in them? Not really. They are still in fourth place in the East and ninth in point differential. They remain good, maybe even dangerous, but outside the ranks of the top contenders.

ROCKETS (37-37, 4-6 last 10)

Points Per Game: 101.5

Points Allowed: 101.9

Differential: -.4 (16th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.0 (17th)

Defensive Efficiency: 107.4 (16th)

Pace: 93.8 (8th)

Likely Starters: Aaron Brooks, , Trevor Ariza, Jermaine Taylor, Chuck Hayes, Luis Scola

Injuries: Yao Ming (Foot surgery), Shane Battier (Knee), Jared Jeffries (Achilles), Kevin Martin (Shoulder, questionable)

CELTICS (47-27, 6-4 last 10)

Points Per Game: 98.6

Points Allowed: 94.5

Differential: +4.1 (9th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.1 (16th)

Defensive Efficiency: 102.6 (2nd)

Pace: 91.7 (20th)

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

Injuries: Pierce (Shoulder, probable), Perkins (Knee, probable) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Preview, Rockets,

Doc’s three-point plan for success

04.01.10 at 5:23 pm ET
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Paul Pierce, on Thursday with WEEI’s Dale & Holley, might have said the Celtics are ‘built for the playoffs’ but his coach wants them to be a fine-tuned machine when they get there.

To that point, Doc Rivers outlined two areas he believes his team has improved since the All-Star break and one more he believes still needs work before the second season begins.

Rivers told reporters following Thursday’s practice that the team has cut down on its turnovers since the break and has done a better job of rebounding in recent games.

But the one area he still feels his team needs work on its weak-side defense. In other words, Rivers wants to see more green and white shirts flying to the open shooter and not allow wide open shots, especially from three-point range.

That was particularly evident on Wednesday when Jeff Green nailed back-to-back three-pointers in the final two minutes to seal Oklahoma City’s 109-104 win over the Celtics.

“Turnovers are going down but we’ve had the sporadic bad game,” Rivers said. “We’re rebounding better, we’ve had the sporadic bad game. And then there’s the weak-side defense.

“To me that’s the biggest concern, a guy is going to get beat off the dribble, that next guy being there to take the charge and the next guy being there to get his body in the way and then the next guy getting on that guy’s body. That’s the next step we have to make.”

Rivers also said his players were more upset with three free-throw discrepancy than he was.

“I thought we could’ve gone to the line more but I thought we could’ve been more aggressive going to the basket as well since we took a lot of threes,” Rivers said. “I thought they were complaining more they were playing good defense on some of those and they were playing good defense.”

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA,

Paul Pierce on D&H: Celtics ‘built for the playoffs’

04.01.10 at 2:56 pm ET
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Paul Pierce called in to Dale & Holley on Thursday to talk about the Celtics’ charge to the playoffs. Pierce said that he was happy that no major moves were done at the deadline to change the team and he sees this veteran squad being a team that can make moves in the postseason.

“I look at our and team and the struggles we have and I think we are more of a team that is built for the playoffs,” he said. “We have a number of guys who are in their 30s and I just think in the playoffs it becomes a half court game, and you only have to be better than four teams in the playoffs to win it all.”

Pierce also talked about where Rajon Rondo stacks up with the top point guards in the league, his future with the Celtics and why he is the Rodney Dangerfield of the NBA.

To read the transcript, look below. To listen, click here.

Kevin Garnett was a little upset after the game last night, wasn’€™t he?

He’€™s going to say how he feels.

That was a bogus call though, right?

Which one?

We were expecting make up calls, but they never came.

That’€™s just the nature of the game. Sometimes you get good calls, sometimes you get bad calls, and sometimes it’€™s the way it goes. I felt like I didn’€™t foul in a couple of cases but the refs saw it differently and a lot of times it’€™s judgment calls and what they think. There’€™s nothing you can really do about it.

The guys, like Kevin Durant, get the calls but they really don’€™t need the help.

Durant shoots 15 free throws and we shoot 17 for the game. That was the ball game with the discrepancy with the free throw shooting and that’€™s the way the game goes sometimes. You got to move on from it and you can’€™t let it bother you even though it hurts. Those types of games hurt. I was really frustrated after the game with how things went. But there’€™s nothing you can do, you just got to move on. Read the rest of this entry »

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