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Third quarter wrap: Celtics-Blazers

02.20.10 at 12:36 am ET
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The defensive effort that the Celtics rode in the second quarter carried over to the third as they maintained a 73-61 lead despite struggling on offense. The Celtics scored just 17 points in the quarter, but they have held Portland to 34 percent shooting through three quarters.

Rajon Rondo and Rasheed Wallace both picked up technical fouls in the quarter. Wallace had his technical from Thursday night rescinded. Assuming he keeps this one, he now has 13 technical fouls this season. His 16th would trigger an automatic suspension.

Portland got two cheap points late in the quarter as Brian Scalabrine threw an errant inbounds pass under his own basket that was picked off by Jerryd Bayless, who then converted a layup.

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Halftime wrap: Celtics vs. Blazers

02.19.10 at 11:43 pm ET
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After a hot start offensively, the Celtics put the clamps down defensively, holding the Blazers to just three field goals in the quarter to take a 56-38 lead into halftime.

Portland scored just six points in the first six minutes of the quarter as the Celtics built a 45-31 lead with their second unit. The starters picked it up from there as Kevin Garnett knocked down his first 3-pointer of the season on a desperation heave as the shot clock expired. Garnett followed that with a length-of-the-floor layup off a feed from Rajon Rondo.

The Celtics physical defense got to the Blazers late in the half as Kendrick Perkins and Andre Miller became entangled under the basket. Perkins and Juwan Howard were assessed double technical fouls

Rondo capped off the quarter with a buzzer-beating 20-foot jump shot. He has eight points and nine assists, while Garnett leads all scorers with 13 points and seven rebounds.

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First quarter wrap: Celtics vs. Blazers

02.19.10 at 11:03 pm ET
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Playing the second night of a back-to-back the Celtics looked sharp. They made 14 of their first 18 shots and held Portland to 43 percent shooting en route to taking a 32-25 lead. Kevin Garnett started the game 4-for-4 for eight points and four rebound and Rajon Rondo dished out six assists in addition to six points.

Paul Pierce was a game-time decision, but was in the starting lineup as usual. Portland’s Brandon Roy, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, also started. The Blazers had new addition Marcus Camby in the starting lineup. New Celtics Nate Robinson did not play and will make his debut Sunday against the Nuggets.

Read More: Blazers, Celtics,

Ainge on Big Show: ‘I’m a fan’ of Robinson

02.19.10 at 8:24 pm ET
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Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge appeared on The Big Show Friday afternoon to discuss the NBA trade deadline and his team’s current performance.

Ainge praised the newest member of the Celtics, Nate Robinson, saying that he is “more of a scorer, and I think that’€™s what Doc wants him to be. That’€™s what he is good at and that’€™s what he should try to do.” Ainge said that the Celtics did not like giving up Eddie House in the deal, but that Robinson is “just a more dynamic player.”

After a rough stretch to close out the pre-All-Star Game schedule, the Celtics are 2-0, including Thursday night’s win over the Lakers. Ainge addressed some of the current issues on the team, including the health of Kevin Garnett and the play of Rasheed Wallace. On Wallace, Ainge said that his “biggest concern with Rasheed when we were looking at him this summer was that he didn’€™t come to play every night,” but he hopes he will give the C’s an edge in the playoffs.

He also talked about the health of Paul Pierce, and his place in history among the Boston greats. Ainge said that Pierce’s foot injury has healed, though his knee infection still causes some problems at times that leaves him  at “95 percent.” He said that Pierce’s sustained excellence put him in a class among some of the team’s all-time greats including Kevin McHale and John Havlicek, “outside of Bird and Russell.”

Below is a transcript of the interview. To listen, click here.

Were you happy with that game last night?

So what’s been going on when we’ve played the good teams over the last month ‘€” we have a 14-point lead at Orlando, an 11-point lead against the Lakers here at the Garden ‘€” so there have been a lot of good things going on. Our offense down the stretch, it seems like we quit moving. We are doing nothing but isolation basketball. We quit moving ‘€” it’s not fatigue, it’s not age. It’s more bad habits than it is anything to do with talent. We saw last night that Ray is not old, Ray [Allen] can play. Maybe he has been distracted the last few weeks. But here is the deal with Ray. One thing that’s lost, and that is why it was hard to move Ray considering our chances this year, is that Ray is having the best year of his career shooting the ball inside the three-point line. The only place he is struggling with his shot now is with the 3-pointer. His two-point shooting is the highest in his career and that doesn’t get noticed. Last night he made the spot up shot in transition which were huge and we are hopeful we can see more of that in the second half of the year.

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Ainge: Celtics had interest in big trades

02.19.10 at 5:31 pm ET
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Appearing a guest on The Big Show Friday afternoon, Danny Ainge indicated that the Celtics had discussions about acquiring Amar’e Stoudemire from Phoenix and Kevin Martin from Sacramento.

“We did talk about getting Stoudemire,” Ainge said. “I got a sense [Phoenix wasn’t] getting the things they wanted. I think they would have moved him, but I think they like Amare. He’s a terrific player and they didn’t get what they wanted.”

Ainge also said he had discussions with the Kings about Martin and made an attempt to maneuver in the mega trade between the Knicks, Rockets and Kings that resulted in Martin going to Houston and Tracy McGrady to New York.

The deal for Nate Robinson was done several days ago, Ainge said, but he and the Knicks wanted to wait to see about other deals before finalizing the trade. On Robinson, Ainge said: “I’m fan of him as a person and I’m a fan of him as a player. I liked Eddie. We really liked Eddie House. But Nate as a player is just a more dynamic player.”

Ainge also said the technical foul that was assessed to Rasheed Wallace Thursday night against the Lakers had been rescinded by the league.

Read More: Danny Ainge, The Big Show, Trade rumors,

Fast Break: Celtics vs. Lakers

02.19.10 at 1:26 am ET
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Danny Ainge made his trade deadline move and, all things considered, it was a relatively minor one. He effectively traded Eddie House for Nate Robinson and while it will give the second unit a different look, it doesn’t do a lot to alter the makeup of this team.

The Celtics hopes will still rise and fall primarily upon the health and effectiveness of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. To that end Allen looked positively rejuvenated and Garnett looked like the 2007 version of himself in an emotional 87-86 victory over the Lakers Thursday night in Los Angeles.

The Big Three will get at least one more chance to see if they can win a championship together. That’s what they have been asking for the last few weeks and now that the final decision has been made there can be no more excuses. It’s on them to turn it around in the final 30 games and through the playoffs.

Turning Point: For three quarters the Celtics controlled the matchup, but when the Lakers made their inevitable run to start the fourth quarter and turned a nine-point deficit into a four-point lead, the Celtics had a decision to make. They could retreat into a shell, as they have done so often the last few weeks, or they could stand and fight. They chose to fight.

Player of the Game: Ray Allen. It’s dangerous to read too much into a player’s one-game performance but Allen resembled the dangerous outside shooter that he’s been known for being throughout his career. He made his first four shots and finished with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Was he more relaxed after the trade deadline passed? Who knows for sure, but if this is the Allen the Celtics can get night in and night out for the rest of the season, it will go a long way toward making them a serious contender again.

* The game was physical throughout with several big dunks and a few minor staredowns. Ron Artest and Pierce continued their rivalry, Garnett and Lamar Odom exchanged words after a jump ball and Kendrick Perkins and Andrew Bynum battled under the glass.

* The officials let the two teams play for the most and both sides wanted calls in the final seconds of the game. Doc Rivers could be seen asking the refs, “That wasn’t a foul?” after Pierce drove to the basket. On the other end, the Lakers though Allen fouled Derek Fisher’s last-second shot.

* Rasheed Wallace missed nine of his first 10 shots and picked up a technical foul when he tangled with Pau Gasol at midcourt. After several solid outings, it was not a good night for Wallace.

* Kobe Bryant didn’t play for the Lakers. He is battling an assortment of injuries but it’s his ankle that seems to be giving him the most trouble.

* Robinson and Marcus Landry, the other player acquired from the Knicks in exchange for House, J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker did not play. The Celtics had only 11 players in uniform and lost Tony Allen with an ankle injury, but Doc Rivers stayed with a tight rotation throughout.

* All five started scored in double figures.

* Once again Rondo was on the floor for the final offensive possession. The play involved Pierce and Garnett in a high pick and roll, but without House, expect to see more of that.

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Third quarter wrap: Celtics vs. Lakers

02.19.10 at 12:44 am ET
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What third quarter problems?

The Celtics came out for the second half and played the kind of inspired basketball that has been missing lately in taking a 76-69 lead. Ray Allen continued to stay hot (10-for-12, 24 points), Kevin Garnett was energetic and aggressive in going to the basket on pick and rolls and Kendrick Perkins provided the emphasis with a huge slam.

The concern for the Celtics remains the offensive boards where Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest  repeatedly burned them for second-chance points.

Another concern is foul trouble as Garnett picked up his fourth foul early in the quarter and gave way to Rasheed Wallace who is in the midst of a 1-for-9 shooting night. Wallace also picked up a technical foul after he tangled with Pau Gasol at halfcourt.

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