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Allen expected to play with finger injury

12.19.09 at 3:18 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Ray Allen hyperextended his right finger during an open practice on Saturday. He seemed to jam his finger and left practice, but later returned to shoot free throws. He is expected to play on Sunday against the Timberwolves.

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WEEI Contest Winner Hits $50K Shot

12.19.09 at 2:12 am ET
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BOSTON – He never practiced the shot but it looked effortless when it went in.

On Friday night, WEEI Miller Lite 50 Grand Shootout contest winner Chris Miller drained a halfcourt shot worth $50,000 during the Celtics-76ers game.

‘€œGoing into it I wasn’t that nervous only because there was absolutely no chance of making that shot normally,’€ he said at halftime. ‘€œBut you know what? It wasn’t even that weird because I thought there was no chance of making it. So when I did make it, it was very cool.’€

The Quincy resident earned his opportunity after wining a series of shootout contests over the last four weeks. The final competition was held just prior to the Celtics game at the Harp. Hours later Miller donned a Kevin Garnett jersey and hit nothing but net.

‘€œI had a lot of people tell me how to do this,’€ he explained. ‘€œAll I was thinking about was getting my routine, so I didn’t change anything up, and making sure it’s long enough. It wasn’t quite as long as I wanted, I wanted it off the backboard, but it was just long enough and it was great.’€

Miller plans to put the money toward a down payment on a home.

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A Sheed-less Loss

12.18.09 at 11:01 pm ET
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BOSTON – The Celtics were rolling with an 11-point lead before it happened.

Rasheed Wallace got whistled for an offensive foul with just over six minutes left in the second quarter. He didn’t agree with the call. During a timeout less than a minute later he got slapped with a technical. And then another one. Wallace had to be restrained by assistant coach Tom Thibodeau as he was tossed with 5:35 to go in the first half.

“That definitely helps because he can spread the floor,” Elton Brand said of the ejection. “He’s a good player for them and he was posting up and scoring, absolutely.”

Wallace had posted five points and three rebounds in nine minutes before he was ejected. The 76ers took advantage of his absence and tied the Celtics with 13 points in the remainder of the quarter. Big man Marreese Speights scored five points in the last 2:20 alone.

After having a 31-20 advantage on the boards in the first half, the Celtics were outrebounded 25-15 in the second. Without Wallace, the second unit combined for just four rebounds in the entire game before losing 98-97. (Recap here)

His absence played a role in the Celtics loss, but that doesn’t mean they are putting it all on him.

“Sheed’s a big part of our team,” said Kevin Garnett. “Not only does he give us length and a great voice out there on defense and offense, but he’s a presence in the post, a presence on the outside, and knows how to play and shares the ball. But that’s no excuse. I mean he didn’t have anything to do with our energy. That’s just a team thing and we’ll get it right.”

Added Brian Scalabrine, “This is the kind of game where we will all look at ourselves in the mirror and say we all should have done better. We’re not blaming anyone else on this one. We should have won this game tonight.”

The Celtics will practice on Saturday and host the Timberwolves on Sunday evening.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brian Scalabrine, Elton Brand, Kevin Garnett

Fast Break: Celtics vs. 76ers

12.18.09 at 10:05 pm ET
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BOSTON – The Celtics led by as many as 15 points but slowly let the 76ers creep back into the game and could not come through down the stretch. They lost 98-97 on Friday night at the Garden.

Player of the Game: After much criticism that he was not the right fit for the 76ers, Elton Brand tipped in the game-winning shot with 7.7 seconds left. He scored a game-high 23 points.

Turning Point: The Celtics had an 11-point lead before Rasheed Wallace got ejected in the second quarter. After that their rebounding decreased and the 76ers got back into the game by crashing the boards.

– The Celtics outrebounded the 76ers 31-20 in the first half. In the second half the Sheed-less team was outrebounded 25-15.

Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, and Marreese Speights were engaged in a battle of the bigs. Perkins finished the night with 12 points, 16 rebounds, Garnett posted 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Speights contributed 17 points, 10 boards.

Tony Allen scored 10 points (4-7 FG) in the first half.  He played nearly 10 minutes in the second half but did not attempt a shot.

Ray Allen was honored prior to the game for scoring his 20,000th career point last week in Washington against the Wizards. Kevin Garnett presented him with the official game ball at halfcourt.

Daniels Injury Update

12.18.09 at 6:51 pm ET
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Marquis Daniels, who underwent surgery on December 9 to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb, had the stitches removed and received a new cast on Friday. He will be re-evaluated on January 8. Daniels continues to follow the 6-8 week timetable set after his surgery on December 9.

Daniels acknowledged surgery was the best decision, but admits he would have tried to play through the injury.

“I was going to try to play til the end of the season and get surgery at the end of the year,” he said prior to the Celtics-76ers game. “But I asked about the chances of it getting worse and permanent damage. We all felt it would be best just to get it done now.”

Daniels said the injury, which he believes may have began in his wrist, was affecting his overall game, from shooting to dribbling to rebounding. Doc Rivers picked up on it, too.

“It’s funny, if I hadn’t blown the whistle and told him to walk off the court, he might still be playing,” Rivers said, adding, “It wasn’t hard [to decide], it was so obvious.”

Daniels hopes to travel with the team for their Christmas Day game in his hometown of Orlando and their upcoming West Coast road trip.

In the meantime, he is learning how to adjust with the cast. He has trouble tying his shoes — he just leaves them tied when he takes them off now — and found it difficult to sleep.

But Daniels’ biggest adjustment may have nothing to do with his injury. It’s the frigid Boston weather.

Celtics-Sixers Preview

12.18.09 at 11:37 am ET
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What a wonderful thing hindsight can be. In the summer of 2007, the Celtics traded most of their accumulated young talent and assets to acquire Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. This bold action by Danny Ainge has obviously proved to be brilliant thanks to a championship and two-plus years of contention. It seems obvious now, but at the time there was concern that Ainge had given away the store for a couple of vets with a lot of mileage on their odometers, even vets whose final destination was the Hall of Fame.

In the summer of 2008, new Sixers general manager Ed Stefansi thought he had also pulled off a brilliant coup by signing free agent Elton Brand to a massive five-year contract. It seemed obvious then that adding an automatic low-post scorer to a young, athletic, perimeter-oriented team would be a difference-maker. Less then two years in, Stefanski’s power play has proven dubious at best, and franchise-wrecking at worst.

So dubious that Stefanski was compelled to hire Allen Iverson for one last go-round in a desperate attempt to boost attendance. After a sold-out debut, the fans have stayed away and Iverson is hurt after playing too many minutes too fast. Now the Sixers are just another bad NBA team with too many bad contracts and no direction.

CELTICS (20-4, 10-0 last 10)

Points Per Game: 100.8

Points Allowed: 91.2

Differential: +9.6 (First)

Offensive Efficiency: 110.0 (Ninth)

Defensive Efficiency: 99.4 (First)

Pace: 91.3 (24th)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Injuries: Marquis Daniels (wrist), Glen Davis (thumb)

SIXERS (6-19, 1-9 last 10)

Points Per Game: 97.2

Points Allowed: 101.6

Differential: – 4.4 (26th)

Offensive Efficiency: 106. 7 (17th)

Defensive Efficiency: 111.4 (28th)

Pace: 90.8 (27th)

Likely Starters: Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand, Sam Delambert

Injuries: Allen Iverson (knee), Lou Williams (jaw)

Key Matchup: Allen and Pierce vs. Iguodala and Young

One of the side effects of the Brand signing is that Iguodala was forced to slide down to the off-guard position and Young to the small forward spot. During their short time together, Iguodala and Young have proven far more capable as forwards, albeit undersized forwards. Brand changed that dynamic and while it’s not his fault that his general manager didn’t understand his own team’s dynamic, it has proven to be an ill fit. Still, Iguodala and Young are a tough matchup for whoever draws the assignment.

Celtics in a Paragraph: The regular season is a process. A long, slow, drawn-out process. Right now the Celtics are playing their best basketball of the season, and have a nice stretch of spread-out home games to continue their winning ways before embarking on a west coast road trip with a stopover in Orlando on Christmas Day. Until then their enemy is the process.

Sixers in a Paragraph: For all that is wrong with Philly, there is one thing they do well and that one thing has proven to be the Celtics Achilles heel — offensive rebounding. Keep the Sixers off the offensive glass and there isn’t much left in their bag of tricks. Philly racked up 12 offensive rebounds in its last meeting with the Celtics, which helped the Sixers stay in the game until Rondo took over in the fourth quarter.

What to Watch For: In one of the more bizarre subplots of the NBA season, three of the Celtics four losses have come at home on Friday nights. It’s not much to go on if you’re the Sixers, but it beats hoping Holiday can keep up with Rondo.

Read More: Celtics, Preview, Sixers,

Allen to host Giving Tree event

12.17.09 at 5:20 pm ET
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On Saturday, December 19 Ray Allen will be participating in a Giving Tree event at the Natick Collection.

Beginning at 10am, shoppers may select an ornament from the tree, located in the Infinity Pool Court. Each ornament includes the wish list of a child from the Boys and Girls Club of Boston’€™s Jordan Club in Chelsea and the Boston Centers for Youth and Families.

Allen will sign autographs for Giving Tree shoppers from 4pm to 6pm to show his appreciation of their generosity.

‘€œNot only am I trying to give back, I’m encouraging people to give back,’€ Allen said. ‘€œAnd people are doing it, it’s not like it’s for me, but it’s a way to help. We’ve all been that child that hasn’t gotten what we wanted for Christmas. So if we can try to step into the community and try to find kids and try to make their wishes come true, the giving part is the best part of the holidays. I like to be on that end of it.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Ray Allen,
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