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Celtics, Heat playing with desperation

04.27.10 at 6:59 pm ET
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It doesn’t matter which team has the 3-1 edge in the series — both the Celtics and Heat are playing with desperation.

The obvious desperation lies in the Heat locker room. Facing elimination, the team is not getting ahead of themselves and looking forward to a series swing. They are zoned in on a necessary win.

‘€œOh no, without a doubt this is a must win,’€ Quentin Richardson said. ‘€œThat’€™s the just reality of it. You win or you go home. Everyone knows that it’€™s a must win for us. But at the same time, that’€™s not putting any added pressure on us. That’€™s the situation. You go out and you play, and you play the game as hard as you can and you leave everything out there. ‘€œ

Even though the Celtics season is not on the line tonight, they are playing with the same sense of urgency as the Heat. They want to send the Heat home to Miami, not join them there for a Game 6.

‘€œWe want to finish. It’€™s all about finishing,’€ said Glen Davis. ‘€œWe have an opportunity to finish and we’€™ve got to go out there and take it. They’€™re not going to give it to us. It’€™s not going to be handed to us. They’€™re not going to just lay down, we already know that.’€

Both teams stressed the importance of jumping out first. Richardson said it is ‘€œkind of tricky’€ for a team to impose their will on the road and noted the Heat will have to battle against the energy from the Celtics home crowd. Davis said the Celtics have to attack from the jumpball and play 48 minutes of hard basketball.

Whether they are up 3-1 or down 1-3, the Celtics and the Heat view Game 5 the same way.

‘€œI think playoffs are about playing with desperation and urgency,’€œ said Ray Allen. ‘€œYou turn every switch you can in the playoffs to get a win, so I would expect both teams.’€

Wade’s D on Rondo ‘destructive’

04.27.10 at 6:39 pm ET
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One of the elements of Miami’s Game 4 win was the defense Dwyane Wade played on Rajon Rondo late in the game. Actually defense isn’t the right word. Wade was assigned the task of guarding Rondo, but he gave him such a wide berth that he was able to roam the passing lanes and help on anyone who wanted to take it to the basket.

This has been done numerous times before, of course, most notably by Kobe Bryant in the 2008 Finals.

In truth, the Celtics expected to see Wade guarding Rondo much earlier in the series. Doc Rivers hinted before the playoffs even began that he figured that’s the way Miami would go. Now that the Heat are down to their last chance, the Celtics figure that they will see a lot of it in Game 5.

“We thought we’d see it much earlier,” Rivers said before the game. “They’ve used it in the fourth quarter and they’ve done it in special situations [end of the game, shot clock, out of bounds plays, etc]. Wade is really destructive when he’s guarding Rondo. He’s like a free safety. A very good safety.”

The reason Miami doesn’t go this route on every possession is that they need Wade to carry the load on the offensive end, as well. Although it should be noted that trying to follow Ray Allen around all those picks is not a lot of fun either.

Rondo was asked after Game 2 if he was surprised that he hadn’t seen Wade on him more and he just shrugged. “They’€™re having maybe four guys guard me,” he said at the time. “Dorrell Wright, [Carlos] Arroyo, [Mario] Chalmers, Wade. I don’€™t really care who guards me.”

Rondo destroyed Arroyo in Game 4, and Chalmers hasn’t fared much better. Wade would be Miami’s best option, but can the Heat really ask him to be the best player on both ends of the floor? If they do, Rivers wants Rondo and Kendrick Perkins to cut to the basket at every opportunity. They key, Rivers said, is for Rondo to stay aggressive, even if he doesn’t have the ball in his hands.

Read More: Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo,

Return trip not in plan for C’s

04.27.10 at 2:01 pm ET
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WALTHAM — The next time Paul Pierce visits South Florida, he wants to be on a beach having fun in the sun.

To make sure he and his Celtics teammates avoid a working trip back on Thursday, they need to close out Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat in Game 5 at the Garden.

“There’s a lot of urgency,” Pierce said. “We don’t want to go to Miami. Hopefully the next time I go to Miami, I’ll be on vacation.”

While there was a lot of focus on the 46 points Wade put up in Game 4 on Sunday, on 16-of-24 shooting from the field, Pierce said it’s Wade’s supporting cast of Quentin Richardson and Michael Beasley that must be contained. And that starts with him.

“Other guys like [Carlos] Arroyo and Beasley can’t have big games for them,” Pierce said. “Wade is going to have the ball most of the time. You have to expect him [Wade] to have big numbers because of that. It’s the other guys definitely we have to shut down.”

While Arroyo was held to just six points in 21 minutes, Richardson and Beasley combined for 35 points while making a disturbing 13-of-27 shots from the field. That’s the stat that concerned coach Doc Rivers afterward and it’s what the Celtics must be aware of in Game 5 if they are to avoid the pain of getting on a plane Wednesday for South Florida.

Kevin Garnett had a slightly different take on what will be needed against the Heat. Garnett wants everyone to remember they can’t win the game by themselves.

“I thought, for the most part, everybody wanted to get this settled in Miami and we were trying to do it with one shot instead of one pass,” Garnett said. “We were one step late on a lot of rotations. They threw a zone at us and we were all out of whack with that.”

Read More: Celtics, Heat, Kevin Garnett, NBA playoffs

Maybe Wyc can help the C’s slow D-Wade

04.26.10 at 5:08 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Celtics coach Doc Rivers admitted on Monday that his team is not trying to stop Dwyane Wade from scoring, but he wants to see more urgency on defense. Wade scored 46 points and made 16-of-24 shots from the field as the Heat beat the Celtics, 101-92, in Game 4 in Miami on Sunday.

“If it were that easy, he wouldn’t be Dwyane Wade,” Rivers said. “If I can find a guy who can keep him in front of him, we’re signing him. Hopefully, Wyc [Grousbeck] has more money to give and we’re going to go get him. It’s going to be a team effort and one guy’s not guarding that guy.”

Rivers put his team through a two-hour session — split between video and on-court practice — on Monday. The Celtics host Miami on Tuesday at TD Garden, with a win sending Boston into the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Read More: Celtics, Dwayne Wade, Heat, Wyc Grousbeck

Allen finishes third for Sportsmanship Award

04.26.10 at 4:53 pm ET
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Ray Allen finished third in voting for the 2009-10 NBA Sportsmanship Award. The league announced Grant Hill as the winner of the Joe Dumars Trophy on Monday. Allen was the Atlantic Division winner and received 48 first place votes overall (Hill received 96). The NBA will make a $5,000 donation to Allen’€™s Ray of Hope Foundation on his behalf. Allen previously won the award in 2003 as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics.

Top 2009-10 voting results:

1. Grant Hill, Suns
2. Chauncey Billups, Nuggets
3. Ray Allen, Celtics
4. Antawn Jamison, Cavaliers
5. Al Horford, Hawks
6. Luis Scola, Rockets

Read More: Celtics, NBA, Ray Allen,

Ray Allen’s historic misses

04.25.10 at 7:01 pm ET
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MIAMI — Ray Allen missed three free throws in the span of 46 seconds in Game 4 against the Heat Sunday afternoon. Just how much of an aberration was it? The last time Allen missed that many was Dec. 26, 2006 when he was playing for the Sonics. Allen actually missed four in that game, but it has never happened in a Celtic uniform.

“I felt like I had a bad rhythm,” Allen said. “I missed one the last game and the ball looks on line and it catches the bad part of the rim. For me, I look at it as a fluke when it does that. Sometimes I’€™m just unlucky. I just got to get back in [the gym] and shoot a couple hundred. It’€™s just a part of the game. The ball goes and goes out. Obviously you want it to go in. Sometimes there’€™s just no explanation for it.”

Read More: Ray Allen,

Fast Break: Celtics – Heat

04.25.10 at 4:01 pm ET
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The Celtics were 12 minutes away from sweeping the Heat, but it took the Heat less than two minutes to reclaim the game. On Sunday the Heat beat the Celtics, 101-92, to force a Game 5 on Tuesday in Boston. The Celtics lead the series 3-1.

First Quarter: The Celtics committed nine turnovers and turned the first quarter over to the Heat. They trailed, 18-31, after 12 minutes. The Heat scored 16 points off of Celtics turnovers, the C’€™s first quarter total until Rajon Rondo scored a layup as time expired. Kevin Garnett hit the first basket of the game before the Heat went on a 10-0 run. Later in the quarter, they went on another 14-0 run. Dwyane Wade and Quentin Richardson combined for 27 points as the Heat shot 56.5 percent from the field. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with six points.

Second Quarter: The Celtics bounced back from a first quarter deficit with an 18-4 run to outscore the Heat, 25-18, in the second. They trailed 49-43 at halftime. Garnett led the Celtics with 10 points; Rondo scored nine. Ray Allen and Pierce were limited with three fouls apiece and combined for just 10 points. Wade only scored two points in the second quarter but continued to lead all players with 16. After committing nine turnovers in the first quarter, the Celtics committed just three in the second. Both teams grabbed 19 rebounds. The Celtics were 2-0 in this series when trailing at halftime.

Third Quarter: The C’€™s outscored the Heat, 30-19, in the third quarter to take a 77-71 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Allen tied the game 62-62 with a 3-pointer and Rondo gave the Celtics their first lead since 2-0 with a layin on the following possession. Rondo (20 points) scored 11 in the third quarter alone. Wade scored 11 points in the third (he led all players with 27 through three), but the rest of his team only chipped in 11 combined. The Celtics were 2-0 in this series when leading after three quarters.

Fourth Quarter: Wade scored eight points in the first 1:30 of the fourth quarter, setting the tone for a 19-point quarter. The Heat went on an 11-0 run and quickly regained control of the game, outscoring the Celtics 30-15 in the fourth.

Player of the Game: Wade scored 46 points — more than Allen and Pierce combined — to propel the Heat to their victory. His 19 points in the fourth quarter alone saved the Heat from elimination.

Turning point: Wade hit an 18-foot jumper just 15 seconds into the fourth quarter. He quickly followed it up with a pair of 3-pointers, eventually scoring 19 in the quarter. The Celtics were unable to stop Wade’€™s offensive explosion, erasing the possibility of a sweep.

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