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The Answer is done, what was the question?

04.03.09 at 8:00 pm ET
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The Pistons announced today that Allen Iverson would miss the rest of the season because of his ailing back. Left unsaid was that Iverson complained about his role coming off the bench.

This is what Iverson told reporters after playing 18 minutes in a dispiriting loss to the Cavs the other night:

“How many minutes did I play? It seemed way, way, way less than that. Eighteen minutes? Come on, man. I can play 18 minutes with my eyes closed and with a 100-pound truck on my back. It’s a bad feeling, man. I’m wondering what they rushed me back for? For that?

“It’s a bad time for me mentally.”

As a connoisseur of Iverson rants that one rates far below practice, we talkin’ bout practice, but ultimately sealed his legacy in Detroit. Iverson will be a free agent at the end of the year and while it’s hard to see him having a future in Detroit, it’s been something of an open question around the league if this is the last we will see of Iverson. As in ever.

The theory goes like this: As teams look to shed salary in uncertain economic times, it’s doubtful anyone will pay an inefficient shooting guard like Iverson the kind of money he has made in the past, and conversely, would Iverson even want to play for the veteran minimum?

Regardless, the Iverson move has some ramifications for the Celtics. The C’s entered play tonight as the No. 2 seed in the East and the Pistons entered at No.7, although obviously both spots could change in the final weeks. This was Doc Rivers‘ reaction to the news:

“I’ll leave that up to them,” he said. “We’ll try to keep our room clean. They’re different (as a team) because Iverson has the ball more, and without him, the ball moves more. But he scares you too.”

Credit Rivers with the correct diplomatic response, but the Pistons were 24-30 with Iverson in the lineup and 8-9 without him. It’s not like they morphed into the ’86 Celtics, in other words, but the Detroit of Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace is one that the current C’s certainly respect.

Tony Allen returns

04.03.09 at 7:59 pm ET
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With three minutes to go in the first quarter, Tony Allen took the court for the first time since February 8. Allen had been rehabbing from torn ligaments in his thumb that he suffered in practice. He was cleared to play on Wednesday night against the Charlotte Bobcats. He made it as far as the scorer’s table but never got into the game.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Tony Allen,

More boos for Bibby

04.03.09 at 7:51 pm ET
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Nope, Celtics fans still have not forgotten about Mike Bibby’s anti-Boston comments during last season’s playoffs. I’m waiting for the boos to die down, but six minutes into the game they are going strong. The only difference, everyone forgot their Bibby face:

Read More: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Mike Bibby,

More Twitter analysis

04.03.09 at 3:46 pm ET
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There is no ignoring the speculation and discussions surrounding Twitter. This week we posed the question of the Celtics, To Tweet or Not to Tweet? Today Athlete Interactive, an online sports marketing company, analyzed the implications of professional athletes using the social networking site:

“It’€™s not difficult to imagine any number of scenarios where an athlete’€™s instant access to the world backfires because of bad judgment or a simple mistweet: an athlete tweets a prediction that fails to come to pass; an athlete tweets during a game that he later is responsible for losing; an athlete tweets something he fails to recognize as offensive, and in seconds, irrevocably undoes years of work.”

Athlete Interactive represents Paul Pierce and Tyson Chandler, both who actively Tweet. Click here for the full article.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Paul Pierce, Twitter,

UConn can and will… Trags Take

04.03.09 at 3:03 pm ET
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National semifinal-Michigan State (30-6) vs. Connecticut (31-4), 6:07 p.m. ET, CBS-TV.

For a team that is a No. 2 seed playing on its virtual home court, the Michigan State Spartans sure seem like a considerable underdog against Connecticut in Saturday’s first national semifinal at Ford Field in Detroit. There’s good reason.

Michigan State fans, coaches and players need to travel just 85 miles to get to its destination on Saturday evening. And when they get there, there will be a tremendously gifted and motivated team that awaits them.

Back on Feb. 1, when they lost at home to eventual NIT champ Penn State, it seemed a lot longer than 85 miles to Destination Detroit. But this team is coached by Tom Izzo and he never lets his team lose focus or confidence. And he didn’t this time either. They regrouped and, except for a loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten semifinals, the Spartans have been on a mission, winning 10 of their last 11 and playing their best basketball in the NCAAs, reaching the Final Four for the fifth time in 11 seasons.

Their opponent, the Connecticut Huskies haven’t been short on storylines. But certainly, thanks to some ace journalism from Yahoo!, it’s been the wrong kind. Coach Jim Calhoun is once again the lightning rod of a program that is back to the Final Four for the third time since 1999. The last two trips have resulted in titles.

The tournament for UConn began with their coach in a Philadelphia hospital and continued the next weekend with allegations of serious recruiting violations. But the Huskies aren’t playing like there’s another shoe to drop. They’ve taken care of business, playing like a family that has come together in the worst of times. Throw in the best talent this side of Chapel Hill and you have a practically unbeatable combination. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Connecticut, March Madness, Michigan State,

Forest for the trees

04.03.09 at 12:54 pm ET
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The standings, like every other statistical number in sports, don’t lie.

And the standings are telling the Celtics that second seed in the East, and guaranteed home court advantage in the second round, are there for the taking in the final six games of the season.

Heading into tonight’s game with Atlanta, the Celtics lead the Magic by a game for second place in the East. Both teams have 19 losses with Boston ahead by two wins, 57-55. So Orlando has two games in hand on Boston but the Celtics have fate in their own hands for the time being.

What does all that really mean to Doc Rivers as he tries to get Paul Pierce and Ray Allen some rest in the last two weeks?

“It’s human nature and obviously, we want it,” Rivers said at Friday morning’s shootaround. “Don’t get me wrong, I really would like to get the second seed but I don’t worry about it a lot but the bottom line is you’ve just got to play and you’ve got to control your own destiny and whatever happens, happens.”

In other words, don’t expect to see Pierce and Allen playing 45 minutes, or even 40 for that matter, just to get the number one seed.

His younger players like Glen Davis and Rajon Rondo will have the chance to carry the load, especially with Kevin Garnett out for another week.

“We just try to go out there and play the game how it’s supposed to be played,” Davis said. “We can’t worry about what the other teams are doing. We’ve just got to go out there and make sure we do what we need to do to go where we need to go. No matter where we are in the playoffs, we feel like we can compete with anybody and that’s just the way we feel.”

“First is probably out of reach even though Cleveland lost yesterday, we’re still 4 1/2 games out with eight to play,” Rondo added. “We’re not looking ahead to who we’re going to play in the first round but definitely, if we make it to the second round, we want to have home court advantage.”

Read More: Big Baby Davis, Boston Celtics, NBA,

Time for TA

04.03.09 at 11:38 am ET
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Doc Rivers began his briefing with reporters this morning at shootaround in Waltham by declaring that Kevin Garnett is going to return to action tonight against the Atlanta Hawks.

“Kevin is going to play tonight and that’s April Fools a couple of days late,” Rivers said before quickly qualifying as a joke.

While Garnett is still out, Tony Allen could see his first action since spraining his left thumb in early February. Allen made it to the scorer’s table in the fourth quarter but never entered the game on Wednesday against Charlotte.

“We are going to try and ease Tony in,” Rivers said, indicating that tonight would likely be a chance for Allen to return to action. “It was game situation and Eddie (House) had it going. They stayed small, which is unusual for them. They usually go big and they stayed small. They had (D.J.) Augustine and (Raymond) Felton in a lot together and that allowed us to keep Eddie on the floor, and that was good for us because the way he was shooting we wanted to keep him on the floor.”

The other bonus of House’s playing time the other night was it allowed Rivers to rest Paul Pierce and Ray Allen for big minutes in the fourth quarter.

“Think about it, we went two overtimes and Paul and Ray still only played 47 and 48 minutes, and that’s with an extra 10 minutes added to it,” Rivers said. “Thank goodness we got them that rest because I don’t know if the overtimes would have worked out.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Paul Pierce,
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