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Preview: Boston Celtics vs. New Orleans Hornets

12.12.08 at 9:12 am ET
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On Friday night the Boston Celtics (21-2) will take on the New Orleans Hornets (12-6) at the TD BankNorth Garden. The Celtics return home with a 13-game winning streak and the best start in franchise history. Former Celtic James Posey will also return to the Garden to receive his championship ring. Tip-off is just after 8pm EST.

The Return of James Posey
Last season James Posey did everything he could to help the Celtics will the championship. Tonight he will do the same in hopes of snapping their winning streak. Posey wants to win, first and foremost, and all friendships will be cast aside once the clock starts.

‘€œIt’€™s much-deserved,’€ Paul Pierce said of Posey receiving his ring. ‘€œHim being part of the journey and the things we did last year, I’€™m always going to be happy for Pose. Pose is always going to be apart of what we did here, regardless of where he is and where he’€™s playing. I’€™m going to get a chance to see him, probably talk to him, give him a high-five or something, and then it’€™s play the game.’€

Rondo vs. Paul
Rajon Rondo has been playing the best basketball of his short career and will be tested against one of the premiere young point guards in the NBA. Chris Paul is averaging 20.5 points and a league-best 11.9 assists. He has recorded 15 double-doubles, second in the league to only Dwight Howard and the most by nearly 10 for all guards. Last season Rondo had success against Paul and the Hornets, though, averaging 20 points, 3 rebounds and 5.5 assists in two games.

In the last five games ‘€¦

Celtics: 111.6 ppg, +18.2 winning differential, 51.3% FG, 43.2% 3PG, 79.5% FT, 45.0 rpg, 25.0 ast
Hornets: 101.2 ppg, +7.4 winning differential, 47.1% FG, 52.0% 3PG, 89.0% FT, 40.4 rpg, 21.0 ast

Check back with WEEI’€™s Live Game Day Blog for the latest news and updates from the TD BankNorth Garden.

Rondo Struggles in Early All-Star Voting

12.11.08 at 11:37 am ET
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Despite his recent triple-double and the fact that most of the Eastern Conference has been Rondo’d this season, Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is struggling in early All-Star voting results.

On Thursday the first returns of the 2009 NBA All-Star ballots were announced, with Dwight Howard leading all votes (775,933) and Kobe Bryant leading the Western Conference (719,252). Kevin Garnett ranks fourth in the East (495,514) behind LeBron James (643,786) and Dwyane Wade (623,311).

Of the five Celtics starters on the ballot, Rondo is the only one not in top 10 voting at his position. Guard Gilbert Arenas, who has not played a game this season, has received nearly 65,000 votes. Below are the results for Eastern Conference voting: Read the rest of this entry »

Stevenson: KG is ‘Kind of Off’

12.11.08 at 7:15 am ET
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DeShawn Stevenson is one of the NBA’s biggest instigators, so he knows a good trash talker when he sees one. According to the Washington Wizards guard, Kevin Garnett is one of the best.

“Sometimes he’s talking to himself, other times he’s talking to other people, but he’s always talking,” Stevenson told the Washington Post. “Just talking. And that gets me going because I like talking too. It’s kind of scary the way he does it. He cusses at himself … If ya’ll could be on the court, you’d see what he says. He’s kind of off.”

Stevenson is prepared for Garnett’s intensity when the Wizards talk on the Celtics tonight in Washington. Last season the Wizards were one of the few teams who had the Celtics number and won the regular season series 3-1, including shocking back-to-back victories. In a case of role reversal, Stevenson says it’s the Wiz, not the defending world champions, who are the targets.

“We were talking a lot of smack, too, especially me (last season). So I know they’re going to be coming in here ready,” he said. “I know I’ve got a big target on my chest. Every time we played them it was a real talkative game and a real hard game, so they’re going to come in feeling that they owe us something.”

The league-leading Celtics (20-2) enter Thursday’s match up on a 12-game winning streak. The Wizards are 4-15 without Gilbert Arenas and have the worst record in the Eastern Conference. As for Garnett, he has a career average of 21.2 points and 11.1 per game against the Wizards.

All about the focus…

12.10.08 at 12:41 pm ET
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The last time they visited the nation’s capital, all the Celtics could focus on was being on the same stage with President Bush.

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Wednesday afternoon, as they boarded a plane for D.C. again, their focus was quite different.

The Celtics are 20-2 and once again on top of the NBA world. But listen to them at practice and they realize that they are the only people who can keep them there.

“It’s not hard at all, especially when you’re ultimate goal is to win a championship, the focus is there everyday,” Paul Pierce said. “Just because we’re veterans, we don’t have any letdowns. We check everybody, we check on one another and when we see one guy have slippage, we pick them up. That’s what this team is all about.”

Pierce added that the Celtics have a very good system of checks and balances on each other to keep the focus where it needs to be.

Coach Doc Rivers has found ways to keep his team sharp.

As well as the Celtics know themselves, the Wizards are wondering who they are. They completed a stunning comeback on Tuesday night, coming from 15 points down to beat the Detroit Pistons going away. But still, at 4-15, the Wizards are a mess. Coaching journeyman Ed Tapscott took over for Eddie Jordan following the team’s 1-10 start without the injured Gilbert Arenas available.

In an effort to get more scoring depth, the Wizards pulled off a three-way trade on Wednesday, a deal that should have former Celtic Mike James available for Thursday’s contest.

If the Celtics can handle Caron Butler, they stand a very good chance of improving to 21-2 with the James Posey-Chris Paul-led Hornets up next on Friday at the Garden.

Read More: Boston Celtics, James Posey, Paul Pierce,

Posey Excited for Return to Boston

12.10.08 at 8:17 am ET
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Former Boston Celtic James Posey is one of the newest NBA players to join the Blogosphere. Posey, now a member of the New Orleans Hornets, is sharing his thoughts on the Hornets.com blog, “Pose Knows.” In his most recent edition, he discusses returning to Boston this Friday to receive his championship ring and what playing for the Celtics meant to him.

So on Friday the team will be traveling up to Boston to take on my former team, the Celtics. I’€™m really excited for the trip; I’€™m going to be getting my championship ring. That’€™s the reason why I play this game, why we all play this game: to have an opportunity to win a championship. It really meant a lot to me to have a chance to win a title in Boston, because of all the tradition surrounding the franchise. It’€™s pretty surreal to now be associated with and mentioned in the same breath as Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Larry Bird, and the list goes on and on. To be thought of as a player on that team when people look up and see the banner that reads ‘€œBOSTON CELTICS 2008 WORLD CHAMPIONS,’€ that’€™s something really special. It will be good to see all my former teammates as well. I keep in touch with KG (Kevin Garnett) and Sam (Cassell) all the time, and Doc (Rivers) and I text message each other all the time too.

Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo also has his own blog on YardBarker.com.

Celtics Top Eastern Conference Attendance

12.10.08 at 6:48 am ET
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No wonder why it’s so hard to get Celtics tickets these days. The Cs have the highest total attendance in the Eastern Conference through December 8, according to data on SportsBusiness Daily. For the second consecutive season, the Celtics are averaging a sold out crowd of 18,624. This ranks them first in total attendance after 13 home games and sixth in average attendance, due to the capacity of the TD BankNorth Garden.

The Detroit Pistons have the highest average attendance (22,076) and the Indiana Pacers have seen the most growth since last season (+15.7%). The Atlanta Hawks, who packed the house against the Celtics in the playoffs, are up nearly 11% in average attendance, while the Miami Heat are down 16%. Even though the Philadelphia 76ers (+12.0%) are one of the fastest growing draws, they are filling less than 70% of their total capacity. On average, the Eastern Conference is averaging the same attendance as last season (+0.9%).

Top Celtics Turned Coaches

12.09.08 at 8:45 am ET
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This week Kevin McHale returned to the bench as the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He is the 27th former Boston Celtic to trade in his jersey for a clipboard and coach in the NBA. Here is a look Celtics-turned-head coaches who found success calling the plays (in alphabetical order):

Danny Ainge: Led the Phoenix Suns to a 136-90 record (.602) over three-plus seasons as head coach. He found success in the regular season but failed to make it out of the first round of the playoffs (3-9). That’s all a distant memory since building a world champion Boston Celtics squad in 2008.

Larry Bird: Returned to Indiana in 1997 to coach the Pacers for three seasons (147-67, .687). Reached the Eastern Conference Finals each season and made it to the 2000 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers (32-20 postseason). Three years after stepping down as head coach, he returned to the Pacers front office as Team President. Read the rest of this entry »

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