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See You on SportsCenter 10.28.08 at 6:10 pm ET
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LeBron James just lay down a “Top 10″-worthy dunk over Paul Pierce. Thanks to the mega-microphones on the rim, it sounded about a million times louder than it actually was. James is only 4-for-10 from the field so going hard inside is his best bet right now.

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Back in Action 10.28.08 at 6:01 pm ET
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After a minor power outage, I’m back in action. Can’t say the same for the Celtics.

They are still trailing late in the second quarter, which is what will happen when your opponents shoot 50% from the field. Another problem – the Cavs have got to the line twice as often as the Celtics. And they are hitting their free throws too. It doesn’t help that the Cs are also ice cold from the arc, going 0-for-8 so far.

Double technicals were just called on Perk and Big Z … maybe that intensity will result in a Celtics run …

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West Happy for Celtics … Kind Of 10.28.08 at 5:21 pm ET
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Delonte West battled through a lot of ups and downs with the Boston Celtics. So it’s understandable that he felt hurt after being traded in the summer of 2007. The Celtics may have had a losing record, but nothing was as bad to him as playing on the Seattle SuperSonics.

After being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, West has seemed to find his niche. After publicly coping with a mood disorder and depression, he has settled into a routine to overcome his obstacles. Now it’s back to basketball, starting with a season opener back in his old digs.

So how does it feel to be back the Garden for a ring ceremony?

“It’s alright,” West said. “Right now all I can focus on is these 15 guys in this locker room and this coaching staff and what we have to do to win tonight.”

And how about his former teammates?

“I’m happy for the guys that I spent time with, putting the groundwork in,” he said. “Other than that, you know, that’s where the happiness stops.”

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Notes from Pregame Ceremonies 10.28.08 at 5:01 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics opened their pregame ceremonies with a video montage that chronicled the 2008 playoff run. By the time the clips reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Cavaliers had already headed back to the locker room as promised.

At the conclusion of the video, Celtics legends including John Havlicek, Bob Cousy, and Tommy Heinsohn carried the championship trophy to the court where they passed it off to Paul Pierce. The Celtics captain placed the trophy on a table surrounded by championship rings in the shape of the number 17.

Then came the ring ceremony.

The bench received theirs first, starting with Leon Powe. Tony Allen happily placed his on his pinky finger, as he vowed to do in a Celtics.com video. Eddie House garnered the loudest ovation of all the reserves. And as only Scot Pollard would, the free agent big man was late for his own introduction.

When it came time for the starters, the PA announcer’s voice cracked when introducing Kevin Garnett. But the most emotional recipient was, as expected, Pierce. He was noticeably teary-eyed as he received the ring he patiently waited10 years for.

Once all the players and staff had received their rings, the team raised the 17th banner to the rafters. It now sits comfortably next to the 1986 banner. Instead of U2′s “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” which the Cs used as battle music during the playoffs, “Beautiful Day” blared through the Garden.

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This Time Last Year: Bill Walker 10.28.08 at 10:48 am ET
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Life changed instantly for Bill Walker when his named was called this summer in the NBA Draft. Tonight the 21-year-old rookie from Kansas State will join the Boston Celtics to watch them raise the 17th banner to the rafters and receive their world champion rings. As Walker tells us, a ring ceremony is leaps and bounds from where he was this time last year …

Where were you on Opening Night last season?
I was in Manhattan, K-State, probably practicing. It’s about the same time but different levels. I think it’s harder here, though, preparing for a season than it was there.

Take me through the day leading up to your first game at Kansas State.
Get up, probably have class from 8 to 12, you go to study table, knock out all the homework. Usually I’d just go home, get dressed for pre-game, come in for shootaround, and I’d usually stay in the gym and wait for game time.

Must be nice not having study table this year.
It’s a relief but it’s a job now so that’s basically how I go about it. It’s an all day thing. I’m in here, shoot around, go home, rest up, and prepare for the game.

This season you don’t have to go back to a dorm either. How is it living away from campus?
It’s private, more personal. But I don’t know. I kind of miss just knocking on somebody’s door and starting up a conversation.

Talk about motivation

Talk about motivation

What do you miss the most about living with your college roommate, the Miami Heat’s Michael Beasley?
I always had something to laugh at in the morning. From something we did yesterday or something we were going to do that day, I always had somebody to laugh at.

How did living with a potential number one draft pick push you to compete?
Oh man, we competed at everything. On the basketball side, out of basketball, video games, we competed in every thing. Everything was a competition. It teaches you a lot about yourself though. Especially when you go up against somebody that’s just as competitive as you are and he’s skilled in the same manner you are, that really challenges you.

So who was the messy one and who was the clean one?
You know what they say about boys, (laughs) we’re not really neat at all.

How do you expect Opening Night at the Garden to compare to the excitement of your first game at Kansas State?
Especially playing for the Celtics just coming off of a world championship and they’re going to raise the banner and get their rings, you can’t get any better than that so I’m pretty lucky.

Click here for more on “YouTube” Bill Walker

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Celtics Promote, Extend Ainge 10.28.08 at 6:02 am ET
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Today the Boston Celtics announced they have promoted Danny Ainge to President of Basketball Operations. He formerly held the joint title of Executive Director of Basketball Operations and General Manager.

The organization has also extended Ainge’s contract. Update: Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com and WEEI.com has reported that the extension is through the 2011-2012 season. His previous contract would have expired after this season.

Last season Ainge was honored with the 2007-08 Executive of the Year award for transforming the Celtics from worst to first. Tonight he will receive his third world championship ring with the Celtics after winning two titles as a player in 1984 and 1986.

“Danny has been a key part of building our World Championship team and basketball program,” said Boston Celtics Managing Partner and Co-owner Stephen Pagliuca. “He represents all that is the best of Celtics Pride and we applaud his success.”

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Cassell: What to Expect Defending a Title 10.27.08 at 12:49 pm ET
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Sam Cassell is the only player on the Boston Celtics who knows how it feels to defend an NBA championship. Not only that, he also knows what it takes to win two consecutive titles. Nearly 15 years after going back-to-back with the Houston Rockets, Cassell explains what the Celtics should expect heading into Opening Night.

Cassell has championship experience

Cassell has championship experience ...

On playing as an NBA champion: These guys got a grasp of that early in preseason. Everyone’s going to be giving us their best shot. Every game is going to be a big game. Every game.

On controlling emotions from the ring ceremony to focus on the game: You don’t control them. You don’t control them but our game plan is defense. If our offense ain’t hitting, our defense is going to be hitting so that’s the thing we live and die by, our defense. There’s no excuse if our defense isn’t up to par, so you’ll see our defense up to par and if our offense is struggling our defense will have to win the game for us.

On being a target for 82 games: Our big guys understand that and that’s why when we practice, our second unit goes after our starting unit, fouling and going after them, trying to frustrate them. But they’ve been doing a hell of a job just keeping their composure and understanding what’s at stake. And what’s at stake is winning.

On the reception in opposing arenas: Oh we’re on top of the mountain. We’re the Celtics and the majority of places we play at, we’ll have a lot of fans there ourselves. Everybody loves the champion no matter who they are. We’ve got great guys on our team and people really enjoy the way we play the game of basketball. We play it, we don’t taunt, we play hard.

... and he wants to win again

... and he wants to win again

On repeating the same success with different players this season: First of all, we’ve got to have the basketball gods on our side. Injuries, course of the NBA season, they happen. But we’ve also got to understand that every night is going to be a dog fight for us. So we’ve got to bring the fight. If we do that we’ll be fine.

On convincing the new Celtics to buy in to the system: Well they’ve got to. We don’t have too many new guys on this ball club but they’ve got to. They’ve got to understand. I told the guys I had a great summer last summer. I had a wonderful summer being a champ. That’s what we want to get back to. Everyone on this team had probably the best summer of their NBA career. For me it was blast because where I came from and where I ended up at, I went from last to first in a matter of 48 hours.

On putting last season behind them: It’s forgotten. It’s forgotten. We haven’t done anything yet. It’s all over. Doc emphasizes that every day in practice that it’s all over. After one night we’re just the world champions, it’s just a title. So we’re trying to get that back again.

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