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Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce return to help Celtics to rout of Magic

04.13.13 at 9:20 pm ET
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Evidently, even Jason Terry calling the Magic “terrible” couldn’t inspire lowly Orlando.

The Celtics guard had said, “Orlando is a team that, obviously you see them. I don’t want to give them any fuel, but they’re terrible.” He wasn’t wrong. Terry’s team trounced the Magic, 120-88, Saturday night in Orlando. It was the C’s eighth straight win over Orlando.

Helping the Celtics’ cause was the return of both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, both of which didn’t play the night before in Miami.

The duo got the Celtics off to a fast start, with the visitors never trailing. By the time halftime rolled around the C’s carried a 57-37 lead.

Garnett was economical in his return, going 7-of-8 from the floor on the way to scoring 14 points in just 18 minutes. He also grabbed nine rebounds. Pierce would play 26 minutes, scoring 12.

Courtney Lee led the Celtics off the bench, scoring 15 fourth-quarter points, finishing with 20 for the night. Jeff Green also chipped in with 17 points for the C’s, who finished shooting 59 percent from the floor.

For a complete recap, click here.

For more Celtics news, go to the team page at weei.com/celtics.

Three for all: Hot Heat beat short-handed Celtics, Jeff Green bruises left elbow

04.12.13 at 9:54 pm ET
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Jeff Green got off to a hot start before injuring himself early in the fourth quarter on a dunk. (AP)

Jeff Green got off to a hot start before injuring himself early in the fourth quarter on a dunk. (AP)

Miami shot 12-for-23 from 3-point range, led by three each from Ray Allen, Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers and Rashard Lewis, as the Heat beat the short-handed Celtics, 109-101, Friday night at American Airlines Arena.

The Celtics, who rested Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, suffered a scare in the fourth quarter when Jeff Green injured his left elbow bracing his fall after a dunk. He was diagnosed with a bruised left elbow and did not return.

“I don’t think it’s that bad, I honestly don’t,” Doc Rivers said after the game. “We’ll know more [Saturday]. He has an ice pack on it.”

Before the injury, Green led the Celtics with 25 points and eight rebounds. Jordan Crawford chipped in with 20 points for the Celtics, who fell to 40-39.

With Milwaukee losing in Atlanta, Boston needs one more win to clinch seventh, and will be assured of not finishing eighth and will avoid the Heat in the first round of the playoffs. But now, the Celtics will have practically no chance of catching the Hawks for sixth, as the Celtics trail Atlanta by three games in the loss column with three games remaining. Boston won the season series with the Hawks, 3-1.

Without Pierce and Garnett, Rivers went with a small starting lineup featuring Avery Bradley, Jordan Crawford, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green and Brandon Bass.

The Heat, on the other hand, played with their full compliment of starters, including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, resting only Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem.

And behind the aggressive play of Green, the Celtics shot out to a red-hot start. Green was 4-for-5 from the field, with three drives to the basket for layups. He finished the first quarter with eight points and six rebounds as the Celtics led 25-13. Boston shot 50 percent and led 27-17 after 12 minutes.

But the second quarter was a defensive disaster for Boston as Miami’s bench took over. The Heat shot an amazing 16-of-19 from the field, led by a bench powered by the 3-point shooting of Ray Allen. With Boston leading 34-23, Allen converted a layup with 9:23 left in the second. The layup was the first of eight straight points for Allen, who hit back-to-back threes to spark an 11-0 run that tied the game. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Jeff Green, Kevin Garnett, Miami Heat

Irish Coffee: Jordan Crawford’s Celtics career in 4 minutes

04.12.13 at 12:41 pm ET
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This video pretty much sums up Jordan Crawford‘s 24-game Celtics tenure. He’s been hit or miss. Mostly miss.

Crawford’s 39.3 field goal percentage and 29.0 3-point percentage reflect his career averages (39.9 FG%, 29.8 3P%), so the questions that followed him from Washington remain: Can Doc Rivers trust the 24-year-old shooting guard? Or has the Celtics coach’s decision to insert Jeff Green alongside Avery Bradley in the starting backcourt leave Crawford out of a guard rotation that also features Jason Terry and a struggling Courtney Lee?

The C’s haven’t won a single game when Crawford attempts more than 10 shots, and he’s taken double-digit shots in six of their last seven losses. They’re 12-6 when Crawford fires fewer than 10 shots. Likewise, the Celtics are 8-4 when Crawford plays fewer than 20 minutes and 4-8 when he plays more than 20. Maybe that’s why Rivers hasn’t trusted him with more than eight clutch minutes (within five with five minutes to go) since Feb. 22.

The good news? Crawford’s best production for the Celtics has come in the fourth quarter, when he’s shooting 47.2 percent from the field (34-72 FG), 40.0 percent from 3-point range (10-25 3P) and 88.0 percent from the free-throw line (22-25 FT). Then again, he’s committed 22 turnovers against 19 assists in the final 12 minutes of games — by far his most careless quarter (he owns a respectable 2.4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ration in quarters 1-3).

Meanwhile, he ranks 244th among defenders since coming to Boston, according to Synergy Sports. Add it all up, and it’s hard to argue Crawford deserves any more than emergency minutes in the playoffs.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Jordan Crawford, NBA,

Heat stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh expected to play Friday vs. short-handed Celtics

04.12.13 at 12:29 pm ET
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Heat superstars Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are well aware of the Celtics' championship pedigree. (AP)

Heat superstars Dwyane Wade and LeBron James have been nursing ailments but should be in the lineup Friday. (AP)

Heat stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all have missed games recently due to injuries, illness or perhaps needed rest. However, all three are expected to be in the lineup Friday night when the Celtics pay a visit to Miami.

While James (strained right hamstring), Wade (right knee bone bruises) and Bosh (flu-like symptoms) are expected back, Shane Battier (assorted aches) and Udonis Haslem (sprained ankle) are out.

Wade has missed the past six games for the Heat, who already have clinched the top seed in the East.

“I’m feeling good,” Wade told The Associated Press on Thursday. “The toughest part is mentally more so than physically. I played two weeks with it and eventually I felt it getting a little worse and I said, ‘OK, I’ve got to shut it down.’ ”

The Celtics likely will be without Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (both with ankle soreness). Both are targeted to return for Saturday’s game against the Magic in Orlando.

Read More: Dwyane Wade, LeBron James,

Danny Ainge: Walking boot for KG ‘just precautionary’

04.11.13 at 5:23 pm ET
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Danny Ainge (AP)

Danny Ainge (AP)

Making his weekly appearance on “Salk & Holley” Thursday afternoon, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge discussed a number of topics, including the sight of Kevin Garnett in a walking boot at the end of Wednesday’s night’s loss to the Nets. Ainge was asked if Garnett was indeed at 100 percent, what would the logic be behind him wearing a walking boot:

“Well, you know, so first of all, there’s no such thing as 100 percent for anybody, right now,” Ainge said. “But KG, you can see how well he’s moving on the court. Last night, he didn’t have one of his better games on the court, but he was moving very well. You could see him defense laterally and he was rebounding and he was very active. The walking boot is just precautionary. It’s just … some guys keep ice on their legs after every game — sometimes, their legs are sore, sometimes, they’re not. They do it as a precautionary thing.

“The walking boot … he has some inflammation in his foot, so every time he stops playing, he has the walking boot on. He doesn’t wear it all the time, but he just wears it after games to make sure his foot isn’t moving any more than it needs to. So it’s just precautionary right now.”

Ainge also expressed confidence that based in part what the 2010 team was able to accomplish in the postseason, he feels good about where this team is as the 2013 playoffs loom.

“I know what our guys are made of. I know how they’ve stepped up in the past,” he said. “There’s been year’s where we …. what was in 2010, when we finished the season 27-27 in the last 54 games? I was not real confidence going in, but I was in awe of watching our team play its best basketball it’s played in the KG era in that stretch — against Cleveland who had the leading record in the league and against Orlando who had the second-best record in the East. I was in awe of what they were able to step up and do.

“In order to do that, you have to have guys playing on all cylinders. I think the good news is that our team is getting healthier. Unfortunately, Rondo and Barbosa and Sully aren’t coming back. But I feel like KG is moving well and I think Paul is getting better and moving well. By the time the playoffs roll around, I think we’ll be in good shape.”

Here are some of the other highlights of his Q&A:

Has Pat Riley contacted you lately? Were you surprised at his statement?

“Well, I don’t want to get much into that. It’s old news — boring. Nobody cares.”

Were you surprised he responded at all?

“Yeah, I think so. Just because I don’t think that … we live in a world in the media where sound bytes are used. I think that … you can blow things out of proportion. But yeah. I was a little surprised. But I don’t really care.”

Is the Lakers-Celtics thing still a thing with Pat Riley? The Boston Garden stories, the lack of air conditioning and all that stuff? Is that the reason for the anger?

“I have no idea. I have no idea. It was only speculation.”

Do you still think of the rivalry today?

“Absolutely not. Never. Never once crosses my mind. They were great times and great rivalries with great players. I never had any hatred toward those players. I had a great deal of respect for those teams. I thought the 80s Celtics and the 80s Lakers were two of the best teams in the history of the game. It was a fun time.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Danny Ainge,

Irish Coffee: Why does LeBron James do stuff like this?

04.11.13 at 2:29 pm ET
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LBJ

Just when you’re thinking, “Hey, maybe LeBron James isn’t so bad after all,” he goes and pulls a stunt like this. Of all the weird stuff he’s done in the past, this might be the strangest. Guess he isn’t the total package after all.

Dude, you’re the best basketball player on the planet. We get it. You won the NBA title, and you’re probably going to win it again. Same goes for the MVP. But that doesn’t mean we want to see you in your spandex. Twice. By the way, was he really working out like that, or did he strip down to take the picture of himself? No wonder none of his teammates are in the gym working out with him. Seriously, I would’ve thought this was a joke if it wasn’t LeBron.

By the way, when’s the last time you saw Garnett tweeting a picture of himself working out? Over his dead body. I don’t know how he and Pierce let Doc talk them into not playing against this weirdo Friday night.

Read More: LeBron James, Miami Heat, NBA,

Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce (ankles) won’t face Heat

04.11.13 at 12:59 pm ET
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Aging Celtics stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will both rest their ailing left ankles against the Heat on Friday.

Both will travel to Miami and neither has been ruled out the Magic in Orlando on Saturday. After Wednesday’s loss to the Nets, Garnett and Pierce each left the decision about rest up to Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

“Whatever Doc wants me to do,” said Garnett.

“I’m going to leave that up to the coach,” said Pierce. “I think practice time is good for us. I think playing together is good for us. But that’s up to the coaching staff, what they say and best preparing us going forward in the playoffs.”

With four games remaining, the Celtics lead the Bucks by three games for the seventh seed. The C’s play three of their final four games on the road, hosting a Pacers squad that has an outside shot at the No. 2 seed between this weekend’s trip to Florida and the regular-season finale in Toronto.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee travels to Atlanta on Friday and Charlotte on Saturday before hosting the Nuggets and visiting Oklahoma City next week. The Bucks own the tiebreaker against the Celtics, so any combination of C’s wins or Milwaukee losses adding up to two clinches the right to avoid Miami until the Eastern Conference finals.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Miami Heat, NBA
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