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Celtics schedule vs. Heat

04.15.10 at 10:21 am ET
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The Celtics will open their first round series with the Heat on Saturday night at TD Garden. Doc Rivers was hoping for a Sunday start, but he got a bit of a break with their first round in that they will have two days off in between Games 2 and 3. After that it will be every other day.

The full schedule:

Game 1: Miami at Boston, April 17, 8 p.m.

Game 2: Miami at Boston, April 20, 8 p.m.

Game 3: Boston at Miami, April 23, 7 p.m.

Game 4: Boston at Miami, April 25, 1 p.m.

Game 5: Miami at Boston, April 27 Time TBD (if necessary)

Game 6: Boston at Miami, April 29, TBD (if necessary)

Game 7: Miami at Boston, May 1 TBD (if necessary)

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Doc Rivers press conference, 4/15

04.15.10 at 12:47 am ET
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BOSTON — Doc Rivers speaks to the media following the Celtics last regular season game of the 2010 season. The Celtics lost 106-95 to the Bucks and now will prepare to take on the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

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Unexpected Reunion for Davis and Lafayette

04.14.10 at 11:44 pm ET
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Glen Davis got a surprise when he arrived at TD Garden on Wednesday.

He entered the locker room and saw his childhood friend, Oliver Lafayette ‘€¦ in Celtics warmup gear?

‘€œI walked in and I was like, ‘€˜What’€™s up man?! Baton Rouge!”€ Davis exclaimed.

Davis and Lafayette have known each other since elementary school and played AAU basketball together in Louisiana. Unbeknown to Davis, Lafayette had recently signed with the Celtics. The former D-League standout received the call just two days ago while he was driving to Baton Rogue.

‘€œMy agent called me and told me Danny Ainge had called him. When he called me, I almost ran off the road driving,’€ Lafayette said before suiting up for his first Celtics game. ‘€œI had to pull over for like an hour or two. I had to regroup myself. I called my mother and told her the good news.’€

The 25-year-old guard came to the Celtics by way of Brown Mackie (Junior) College, the University of Houston, Erie BayHawks and Fort Wayne Mad Ants. He is thankful for his time in the NBA Development League, where he says the coaches gave him the green light to play ball.

‘€œMy coaches just taught me the game,’€ he said. ‘€œThey put the ball in my hand and let me go to work, learn how to read the defense and stuff like that.’€

This season Lafayette averaged 17.1 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.0 rebounds in 48 games for the Mad Ants, and ranked 10th in the league in steals. He was named NBDL Co-Performer of the Week after averaging 26.4 points, 8.0 assists, and 6.4 rebounds in his last seven games.

“He’€™s a scorer,” said Davis. “He’€™s a scoring point guard. He can play the point, he can play the one, play the two. He’€™s efficient with his jumpshot, playing defense, he’€™d be good for our team.”

The rookie made the most of his first opportunity with the Celtics in their 106-95 loss to the Bucks. He scored seven points (3-6 from the field, including 1-of-2 on threes), grabbed four rebounds, and dished two assists in 21 minutes. Davis believes it is time for Lafayette’€™s hard work to pay off.

‘€œHe’€™s a great guy, a wonderful player. I think he’€™s a great player, actually,’€ he said. ‘€œOliver, I’€™ve always though of like a late-bloomer as far as his opportunities. He played high school at Capitol High School ‘€¦ he went to [junior college], every time it was a late-bloomer. He went to University of Houston, played great over there, and now he’€™s just finally really getting his opportunity.”

Lafayette’€™s goal is to play well enough to earn a contract with the Celtics next season. In the meantime, he is trying to digest a whirlwind 48 hours that has taken him from the roads of Louisiana to the Garden parquet.

‘€œI can’€™t believe it myself right now,’€œ he said. ‘€œThis is a great opportunity, great guys, great team, and great players I’€™ve been looking up to my whole life.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Glen Davis, Oliver Lafayette,

Fast Break: Celtics – Bucks

04.14.10 at 10:22 pm ET
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On Fan Appreciation Night, Paul Pierce addressed the crowd ‘€¦ and then headed to the bench. He, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Kendrick Perkins sat out of Wednesday’€™s game against the Bucks. Rajon Rondo was the only starter to actually start and was joined by Marquis Daniels, Glen Davis, Michael Finley, and Rasheed Wallace.

The Celtics lost, 106-95, as they rested their players in preparation for the playoffs.

First quarter: The Celtics started the game 0-for-5 from the field before finishing the quarter shooting 8-for-19 (42%). The Bucks closed out the final three minutes of the quarter run and led 23-20 after 12 minutes. John Salmons led all players with 10 points; Rajon Rondo scored nine for the Celtics.

Second quarter: Luke Ridnour and Jerry Stackhouse combined for 24 points as the Bucks outscored the Celtics, 32-30, in the second quarter. Even though the Celtics shot a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range, they were edged slightly by the Bucks’€™ 62 percent field goal shooting. The C’€™s were also outrebounded, 10-6. At halftime, Bucks 55 – Celtoics 50.

Third quarter: The Bucks continued to top the Celtics, 33-28, behind a combined 16 points from Carlos Delfino and Ersan Ilyasova. Michael Finley scored 8 points off of perfect shooting (3-3 FG, 2-2 3PG). The Celtics, however, were outscored 17-6 in the final five minutes of the quarter.

Fourth quarter: The Celtics were edged, 18-17, in the final quarter. Rajon Rondo finished as the game’€™s leading scorer with 21 points and 15 assists in the loss. Stackhouse and Ridnour led the Bucks with 17 points. The Bucks outrebounded the Celtics, 41-34.

Player of the Game: Rondo thrived in his role as the only member of the starting lineup to play. He posted 21 points (7-14 FG) and 15 assists.

Turning point: The Bucks had the edge from tipoff when four of the five Celtics starters did not take the court.

– Oliver Lafayette made his Celtics debut. He scored 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.

– The Celtics outscored the Bucks, 44-28, in the paint.

– The C’€™s also outscored the Bucks, 15-5, on fastbreak points.

Report: Rivers leaning towards leaving Celtics after season

04.14.10 at 12:06 pm ET
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Sources have told the Boston Herald that Celtics coach Doc Rivers is leaning toward not coming back next season.

“Part of it is true,” Rivers told the Herald on Tuesday. “Every year I sit down in the middle of the summer and I have a family discussion. We talk about what we want to do. That’s nothing new, but every year it gets stronger and stronger. And I think people are making common sense reads. I’ve got three seniors next year, two in college and one in high school. That’s important to me.”

Rivers’ son, Jeremiah, plays on Indiana University’s basketball team. His other son, Austin, will be a high school senior and is acknowledged as one of the top prep basketball players in the country. Rivers’ daughter, Callie, is a volleyball standout at the University of Florida.

Rivers suggested a year ago that he might leave the coaching ranks for a while in an effort to spend time with his family and “re-energize.” Speaking on the Dennis & Callahan Show last May 19, Rivers said that he contemplates a “sabbatical” from his profession.

“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,” Rivers said after the 2008-09 season. “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.”

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Fast Break: Celtics – Bulls

04.13.10 at 11:10 pm ET
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Doc Rivers eyed rest for his team while the Bulls had no time to slow down.

The Celtics weren’t ready to take the night off — the starters wanted to play and they still had a shot at stealing the third spot in the East — but Rivers wanted to keep an eye on Kevin Garnett’s minutes, in particular. The Bulls, on the other hand, needed a win as they tried to snag the eighth spot from the Raptors.

Both teams had something to play for, but only one could come out with the win. On Tuesday night in Chicago, it was the Bulls, 101-93.

The game began with bruises and foul trouble. Paul Pierce was sidelined less than minutes into the game with two quick fouls. Minutes later, Garnett had to receive three stitches above his left eye after being accidentally elbowed at the basket. Even though neither player returned in the first quarter, the Celtics took a 20-17 lead. The Bulls fought back in the second quarter to outscore the Celtics, 27-21, and take a three-point lead at halftime.

The Celtics led by one after three quarters, but the fourth belonged to the Bulls. They jumped out on a 14-4 run to take an 81-72 lead with less than five minute go to. Even though the C’s pushed back within four, Derrick Rose scored 17 points in the quarter to secure a necessary win for his team. The Celtics locked into the fourth seed with the loss.

Rose and Kirk Hinrich combined for 69 points; Paul Pierce and Ray Allen combined for 53. Rajon Rondo struggled, shooting 2-for-10 (4 points).

Player of the game: Derrick Rose scored a career-high 39 points (17 in the fourth quarter alone). He shot 15-for-22 from the field and connected on a fastbreak dunk that is sure to make the highlight reels.

Turning Point:As the Celtics tried to fight back in the fourth quarter, a defensive rebound slipped out of Rasheed Wallace’s hands … and into the Bulls basket. The mishap did more than put two points on the board for the Bulls – it also brought the crowd into the game for their home team.

Tony Allen (fever) did not play. Marquis Daniels got the nod in his absence and scored 7 points in 16 minutes.

Brian Scalabrine (shoulder) was also out.

– The Celtics will wrap up the regular season at home on Wednesday against the Bucks.

Heat or Bucks?

04.12.10 at 2:44 pm ET
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The Celtics find themselves in an interesting position with two games left in the regular season. They will play either Miami or Milwaukee in the first round of the playoffs and they have some control over the outcome, but not total control.

To review: The Celtics sit one game behind Atlanta for third in the Eastern Conference, but the C’s own the tiebreaker. The Heat and Bucks are tied for fifth, but the Bucks own the tiebreaker with Miami.

If things stay as they are the Celtics will open the first round with Milwaukee, but things are not likely to stay the same. That’s because Milwaukee hosts Atlanta tonight [Monday] and then travels to Boston for the regular-season finale Wednesday.

If Atlanta wins, the Hawks can just about wrap up third and almost guarantee a first-round matchup with the Bucks. If not, the whole thing becomes a jumble. The Heat play at Philly Monday and then host New Jersey Wednesday, so if the Bucks stumble Miami had a good chance to climb into fifth.

Which brings us back to the Celtics and whether they should have a preference in a first-round opponent. On the face of things, not really.

Milwaukee and Miami have identical records and have been two of the hottest teams down the stretch. Milwaukee has gone 21-7 since acquiring John Salmons at the trade deadline, while the Heat have won 16 of their last 20. Both are also strong defensive teams who rarely turn the ball over.

But that’s where the similarities stop. The Heat are incredibly reliant on the individual brilliance of Dwyane Wade who leads the team in points, assists and steals. He has also taken almost 500 more shots and free throws than any of his teammates.

The Bucks do not have nearly that kind of star power and they’re best player, Andrew Bogut, is injured and unavailable. Playing Milwaukee seems like the obvious choice, and indeed it may be (Zach Lowe at Celtics Hub makes a strong case here), but let’s examine both sides. Read the rest of this entry »

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