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Celtics-Hornets Game Blog: First Quarter

12.12.08 at 6:03 pm ET
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We are live at the Garden for tonight’s game between the Celtics and the New Orleans Hornets. As I type, James Posey is getting his championship ring and huge applause. Doc Rivers just said a few nice things and the players came out at center court to greet Pose.

Truly a nice moment.

Ok, on to tonight’s game where there are subplots galore. Who will prevail in the Rajon Rondo Chris Paul matchup. Will Hilton Armstrong be able to hold down the middle with Tyson Chandler out? Will the Celtics be able to match the 1985-86 team with their 14th straight win?

Let’s find out together, shall we… Read the rest of this entry »

Posey to Receive Ring Before Game

12.12.08 at 5:31 pm ET
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Former Celtic James Posey will receive his championship ring at 8pm tonight, just prior to the New Orleans Hornets introductions. Posey, who does not talk to the media pregame, answered questions during the morning shootaround.

“It’s going to feel real good,” said Posey, who received his first ring with the Miami Heat in 2006. “What we accomplished last year as a team, it’s something special you can’t take away.”

Both the Celtics and Hornets agree Posey’s second ring is well deserved. As expected, the Hornets are benefiting from his veteran experience as much as the Celtics did.

“From the very beginning he’s been vocal and a leader,” said Peja Stojakovic. “He does things that most people don’t see that the stat sheet doesn’t show … He’s been a very, very big lift for us.”

Kobe Gets Low

12.12.08 at 12:30 pm ET
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Kobe Bryant would rather wear short shoes than short shorts. After going showing off some leg against the Boston Celtics last year, Kobe Bryant is getting low in time for the Los Angeles Lakers first match up against the Boston Celtics this season. This week Nike unveiled the new Zoom Kobe IV Cut, a low top basketball shoe. The sneaker, inspired by soccer cleats, will be 20% lighter than the average basketball shoe. It is designed to enable sharper cuts while returning energy to the foot. Bryant will debut the shoe this month and they will hit the shelves in the United States in February 2009.

In other Western Conference news … Former Celtics training camp invitee Darius Miles has been working out with the Los Angeles Clippers. According to the LA Times, the Clips will wait until after January to make a decision … In addition to Sasha Vujacic‘s refusal to wear green during the holiday season, the Lakers are using the Celtics as a measuring stick for their success. “We’ll beat the good teams,” Bryant told the LA Daily News. “It’s Boston that’s our barometer. That’s the team that beat us. They’re the standard. They’re the benchmark. That’s the team that beat us, so that’s how it’s going to be.”

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.

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