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Ref assignments for Game 6

04.30.09 at 3:45 pm ET
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As part of the NBA’s new transparency in the wake of the Tim Donaghy fiasco, the league has been posting referee assignments in advance of games. Here’s the crew for Game 6 in Chicago:

Joey Crawford

Ed Malloy

Derrick Stafford

Crawford is known throughout the league as the official you most want to have if you’re on the road in a big game, although San Antonio would probably disagree. (He also once threatened to give me a technical in a media 3-0n-3 tournament but that’s neither here nor there. I’m telling you, it was a charge.)

Read More: Celtics, refs,

Celtics among most popular jerseys

04.30.09 at 9:59 am ET
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The Big Three were  a big draw in merchandise sales this season. Kevin Garnett (#4), Paul Pierce (#7), and Ray Allen (#12) ranked among the top 15 most popular NBA jerseys for the 2008-09 season, based on sales at the NBA Store in New York City and online at www.NBAStore.com. Kobe Bryant ranked number one. The Celtics, who ranked first in team sales last season, dropped to second behind the Lakers.

Top  15  Most  Popular NBA Jerseys:
1. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
2. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets
4. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
5. Allen Iverson, Detroit Pistons
6. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
7. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
8. Nate Robinson, New York Knicks
9. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
10. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
11. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
12. Ray Allen, Boston Celtics
13. Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
14. Shaquille O’€™Neal, Phoenix Suns
15. Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

Top 10 Most Popular Team Merchandise:
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Boston Celtics
3. New York Knicks
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Chicago Bulls
6. New Orleans Hornets
7. Phoenix Suns
8. Miami Heat
9. Detroit Pistons
10. San Antonio Spurs

Read More: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen,

Marbury opens up on E:60

04.29.09 at 11:25 pm ET
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On this week’s episode of ESPN’s E:60, Lisa Salters sat down with Stephon Marbury for an in-depth look back at his road to the Boston Celtics. Marbury opens up about the highs and lows of his 13-year NBA career, including leaving Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves, returning home to the New York Knicks and the turmoil that ensued, the impact of his father’s death, and signing with the world champions.

On 2009 NBA season:
Everything that I went through this year, it was tough. It was like being in jail. Then to end up in this situation, it’s like you go from hell to being in heaven.

On demanding a trade from the Timberwolves in 1998:
I don’t want to tell you that I’ma stay, I’ma stay, I’ma stay here, and then when it’s time to re-sign, then I leave and then ya’ll stuck and then ya’ll don’t have a point guard. So I was looking out for the franchise and I was trying to do the honorable thing. [Salters: Why didn’t you want to stay?] I just wanted to, I wanted to move, move on. You know I wanted to leave Minnesota. I didn’t want to live there.

On joining the Knicks in 2004:
That was one of the happiest times of my life. [Salters: Why?] Because I got an opportunity to go back home. I got an opportunity to play for the team that I idolized. I felt like going home was gonna be perfect for me.

On Knicks sexual harassment case:
I wasn’t proud of the things that I did. Not at all. You know it wasn’t the right thing, you know. I made a mistake, I’m human. And I asked for forgiveness, I apologized. There wasn’t nothing else I could do.

On death of father, who suffered heart attack during Knicks game unbeknown to Marbury:
I basically lost my mind when my father died. You know, going to the psychiatrist was the best thing that I ever did. You know growing up, growing up in the projects you think you go to a psychiatrist, people are gonna think you’re crazy. No. You’re crazy if you don’t go. I had post traumatic stress from different things that was going on. [Salters: Was it diagnosed as post traumatic stress?] Yeah. He told me, he was like you’re a mess right now, basically.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, ESPN, Stephon Marbury,

No punishment for Rondo

04.29.09 at 4:37 pm ET
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According to the Boston Globe, an NBA official has confirmed Celtics guard Rajon Rondo will not face further action in response to his Game 5 foul on Brad Miller. The Bulls had argued Rondo committed a flagrant foul in the closing seconds of overtime. The Celtics and Bulls will play Game 6 on Thursday night in Chicago.

The league did hand down on punishment, though, on Wednesday. Dwight Howard was suspended for Game 6 of the Magic-76ers series for elbowing Samuel Dalembert in the face.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Miller, Rajon Rondo,

Dwight Howard suspended

04.29.09 at 4:12 pm ET
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In a move that has some impact on the Celtics, the NBA suspended Orlando center Dwight Howard for throwing an elbow at Philadelphia’s Sam Delambert during Game 5 of their playoff series Tuesday night.

Howard was assigned a simple technical foul on the play and the Magic went on to win the game behind a monster effort from young Dwight–24 points and 24 rebounds. They now lead the series, 3-2. Game 6 is scheduled for Thursday night in Philly and the winner of the series gets the survivor of the Celtics-Bulls in the conference semifinals.

Delambert wasn’t the only victim of Howard’s wayward elbows. Magic rookie guard Courtney Lee also caught one in the chops and is also out of Game 6 with a fractured sinus. (Wasn’t everyone worried that Howard was too nice for the playoffs?)

Obviously the Celtics have their hands full and aren’t looking ahead to anything–except maybe for some Chicago deep dish–but it doesn’t hurt their long-term prospects if Orlando and Philly have to go the seven-game route. Also, if the Celtics are able to close out Chicago Thursday night, and Philly and Orlando go seven games, that would afford the C’s some much-needed rest.

Read More: Dwight Howard, NBA,

Doc: We’ll let Brad Miller make a big deal of it

04.29.09 at 2:44 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Doc Rivers stood by his starting point guard at a brief shootaround this afternoon prior to the team’s departure for Chicago and Game 6 on Thursday.

Rivers reiterated that he didn’t think that Rajon Rondo was trying to hurt Brad Miller when he committed a hard foul on him with 2.0 seconds remaining in overtime.

“I don’t think Rondo fouled to hurt him or anything like that,” Rivers said. “I thought Rondo was clearly trying to go for it and then couldn’t reach hiand then was just trying to grab anything he could grab. But Brad Miller clearly wants to make a big deal of that so we’ll let him.”

Read More: Brad Miller, Celtics, NBA playoffs, Rajon Rondo

Pierce: I’ll be ready for Game 6

04.29.09 at 2:43 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Paul Pierce admitted on Wednesday before leaving for Chicago that the grueling Game 5 on Tuesday night took a bit of a toll on him. He suffered a bruise when he was kicked in the left calf.

“I’m a little sore but I’ll use today to recover, get a message, rest and I’ll be ready for (Thursday),” Pierce said. “It’s nothing more than a light bruise on the calf muscle so some ice and stuff should be able to take care of it.”

The bruise clearly didn’t affect his late-game performance as he drilled three jumpers in the final 90 seconds of overtime to help lift the Celtics to a 106-104 win over the Bulls, and a 3-2 series lead.

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, NBA playoffs, Paul Pierce
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