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Doc Rivers: ‘Silly’ to think Celtics might be better without Rajon Rondo 01.31.13 at 10:07 am ET
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Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan Show Thursday, the morning after the Celtics beat the Kings, 99-81, at TD Garden for their second straight win after six consecutive losses.

“In spurts, last night, we played well,” Rivers said of the victory over the struggling Kings, who beat the Celtics handily on December 30.. “The second quarter was as well as you can play. When you win games you would have to say, yeah, it’s going well.”

The Celtics are now 2-0 since losing Rajon Rondo for the season with an ACL tear in his right knee. A vocal minority have speculated that perhaps this team might be better off without the services of the All-Star point guard, a notion the coach dismissed quickly on Thursday.

“That’s silly,” Rivers said. “The bottom line is that you’d rather have him. But we do have other guys that can do different things. Having Courtney Lee and Avery [Bradley] gives you size at the guard spot. They are more physical guards so in that way that helps. Everybody does different things and that’s basically who we are now.”

Rivers was asked if other players might view the loss of Rondo as a chance for a greater opportunity to contribute to the team for the rest of this season.

“I don’t know, I just think more minutes helps anybody,” Rivers said. “We lost six games in a row and I thought it was time to start playing better. We did play well against Chicago, we just didn’t win a game. We played well against Atlanta and then lost the game. I thought we were starting to play better anyway, and that was with Rondo.”

With the February 21 trade deadline looming, there have been rumors that the Celtics might make a major trade that would signifiy the start of a rebuilding process for this franchise. Rivers, though, is hopeful that Danny Ainge doesn’t feel the need to make such a deal.

“I think Danny likes our team, I think he thinks we can be good with what we have and I think Danny is Danny. He’s got to do his job, he has to keep looking and see if he can help the team. But there’s been no talk about pulling the plug or anything like that. … We’re not out there searching.”

To hear the interview click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Celtics news visit weei.com/celtics.

Doc Rivers: KG didn’t make comment to Anthony 01.10.13 at 10:29 am ET
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Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday, the morning after the Celtics won their season-best fourth straight game after a 87-79 victory over the Suns. The Celtics are now 18-17 on the season and 4-1 since the return of Avery Bradley.

“I think we’re turing the corner, I think we’re playing better,” Rivers said. “I didn’t think we played great last night, but defensively we were really good because Phoenix is a really good offensive team. … But overall I like how we are trending.”

Jared Sullinger had an outstanding performance in the win over the Suns, scoring 12 points and establishing a career best with 16 rebounds, his second double-double of the season. Rivers was asked what has impressed him most about the rookie this season.

“He plays the game with a great temperament,” Rivers said. “He’s intense, but he doesn’t get too high or low with his emotions on the floor. He played for a coach, his dad was a coach and you can see the basketball IQ, he knows how to play, how to think the game. What he’s improved on is his consistent focus, and he plays beyond his years.”

Rajon Rondo was suspended for Monday’s win over the Knicks for making contact with official Rodney Mott in the third quarter of last Saturday’s game in Atlanta (he was also suspended, according to the NBA, for failing to cooperate with a league investigation of the incident). Rivers was asked if he felt the suspension — the fourth in 11 months for Rondo — was justified.

“He did something wrong, but he didn’t do enough to get suspended would be a better way of putting it,” Rivers said. “When you walk up on a ref you put yourself in a position to get a technical or be suspended. Now, you could see when you watch it, the official was walking toward him as he was walking toward the official. They just kind of ran into each other, it wasn’t as if Rondo bumped him.”

Hawks general manager Danny Ferry was fined $15,000 by the NBA for what was called “inappropriate interaction with game officials” after the Celtics game last Saturday. It has been reported that Ferry approached the officials after the game and handed them a DVD of the incident between Mott and Rondo.

“I don’t like it, but it’s his choice,” Rivers said of Ferry’s actions. “I just don’t like it, especially in a game like that, it wasn’t the reason they lost. To me, it’s sour grapes and I don’t like that.”

As for the fallout from the post-game controversy from Monday’s game against the Knicks, Rivers was quick to deny the now infamous story involving Kevin Garnett, Carmelo Anthony, La La Vazquez and a certain breakfast cereal.

“I know what’s being reported did not happen. I know that as a fact,” said Rivers. “You know how this works, a guy does something crazy like Carmelo did, and the way to get of trouble is to say someone else said this. It happens all the time. And what bugs me about this is that this is not a Kevin Garnett issue. And it was made into one and it shouldn’t have been made into one.”

To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Celtics news, visit weei.com/celtics.

Reports: Carmelo Anthony confronts Kevin Garnett after game 01.08.13 at 6:25 am ET
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According to a report on ESPNNewYork.com, Carmelo Anthony approached the Celtics locker room on Monday at Madison Square Garden moments after the Celtics 102-96 win over the Knicks. Building security and New York City police officers were called upon later as Anthony attempted to approach Kevin Garnett near the Celtics’ team bus, sources told ESPNNewYork.com.

Anthony was evidently still angry after being involved in an exchange of elbow-throwing with Garnett in the fourth quarter, actions that led to technical fouls for both players. After the game, Anthony walked off the floor and out of the tunnel that visiting teams use, instead of exiting out of the Knicks’ tunnel. A source told ESPNNewYork.com that Anthony approached the Celtics’ locker room and was screaming, though it wasn’t known if the screaming was directed at Garnett.

A video at CSNNE.com shows Anthony waiting for Garnett near the Celtics’ team bus. A shouting match between the two reportedly ensued, with Knicks coach Mike Woodson coming to the scene to take Anthony away.

Anthony refused to speak to the media after the game, and Garnett downplayed the incident.

“Listen, heat of the battle, man. Guys go back and forth. He’s trying to get his team to go, I’m trying to get my team to go, both teams are colliding, not to mention that it’s the Knicks and the Celtics,” Garnett said. “Just what it is, man.”

For more Celtics news visit weei.com/celtics.

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Danny Ainge in The Big Show: ‘I was not trying to trade Rajon Rondo’ 01.06.12 at 8:27 am ET
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Danny Ainge (AP)

In his weekly interview with WEEI’s The Big Show, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge discussed the surprising start to Greg Stiemsma’s career, the maturation process of Rajon Rondo and a possible debut date for Mickael Pietrus.

Stiemsma, a 26-year-old former Defensive Player of the Year in the D-League for Sioux Falls Skyforce, has emerged as a legitimate NBA center early in his career. Ainge was asked about Stiemsma’s performance.

“He’s played very well from the first day of training camp,” said Ainge of Stiemsma, who is averaging 4.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in his first five NBA games. “He’s been a positive influence on our team, our coaches have really liked him, he earned their respect right away. He’s been good.”

Ainge was asked if he was ever concerned that Rondo would be at all affected by the rumors that had the point guard potentially being swapped for Chris Paul.

“I sat down with Rondo when he got back into town, when the lockout ended, and I just told him the truth of what was going on. And that was it,” Ainge said. “I’ve had conversations since, told him exactly what was happening. … I was not trying to trade Rajon Rondo. There’s a big difference between trying to acquire a player and trying to trade a player. Rondo knows what I was trying to do, and he knows I wasn’t shopping him around and trying to trade him, as has been reported. There’s a big difference.”

As for Rondo’s early-season performance (15.3 points per game, league-best 10.7 assists per game), Ainge credits the point guard’s work ethic during the lockout.

“I think that that he was very motivated, we had received reports all summer how hard he was working this offseason,” said Ainge. “He showed up in great shape and he came out of the gates playing fantastic basketball for us, and he had a great training camp and he has the right mindset when he goes out on the court.”

Ainge also told Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley that Mickael Pietrus (knee surgery) could debut for the Celtics next Wednesday vs. the Mavericks at the Garden.

To hear the interview click on The Big Show audio on demand page. For more Celtics news visit weei.com/celtics.

Could the third time be the charm for Larry Brown and the Celtics? 07.25.11 at 7:12 am ET
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With Lawrence Frank on his way to Detroit, could Larry Brown take his place next to Doc Rivers?

With Lawrence Frank on his way to Detroit, could Larry Brown take his place next to Doc Rivers?

Larry Brown is 70 years old. He’s the only coach in history to win an NCAA title and NBA title as a head coach. He’s the only coach in history to take eight teams to the NBA playoffs. He’s been in the Hall of Fame for nine years. There is literally nothing left to prove.

But Larry Brown still wants to coach. And it’s easy for you and me to wonder what it is exactly that makes a 70-year-old man with tens of millions of dollars and an already cemented place in history want to get on a plane and fly to Milwaukee on a Tuesday in February, but we see it all the time. It never ends — Don Nelson is 71 years old, lives about three yards from the ocean in Hawaii and is hoping to get back into the mix as the coach of the Timberwolves, who have won a total of 32 games in the last two seasons.

Since being resigned to resignation (pretty sure he wasn’t going to be offered an extension by MJ) last December after a mediocre two-plus years in Charlotte, which followed his bizarre one-year disaster with the Knicks, Brown hasn’t been seen a serious candidate for any NBA head-coaching gigs and has even been dismissed when trying to land a job in college (Brown was interested in UNLV, Missouri, Oklahoma and Penn State openings but was never viewed as a legitimate candidate for any of those jobs).

So now — with thanks to a report from the very great Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports — it appears that Brown would very much be happy to give up leading man status and take on a juicy character part as lead assistant coach and de facto defensive coordinator under Doc Rivers.

Assuming that Lawrence Frank is indeed going to get the Pistons job — which strikes me as a sure way to end up as a color analyst on NBA TV in 2013 — the Celtics are going to need to fill the Tom Thibodeau/Frank role. And why not Brown, universally recognized as one of the top defensive minds of his (or any, really) generation? And, hey, didn’t Larry Brown coach one Glenn Rivers with the Clippers in 1992? It almost makes too much sense not to happen, right?

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Don’t blame the Kendrick Perkins trade for 2-0 hole and other off-day thoughts 05.04.11 at 10:36 pm ET
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Chris Bosh averaged a double-double in the two wins in Miami. (AP)

I’m going to steal from the great Paul Flannery and take his Three-Pointer gimmick for a spin. Stealing from Paul has turned into the norm, unfortunately, as the best Celtics beat writer in town had his computer and all his luggage stolen from the trunk of his car while having lunch (at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Factory — I know) before Game 2 in Miami on Tuesday. He’s OK, though (turns out it’s much easier to fly when all you have to carry is a CVS bag), and will be ready to go for Game 3.

But will the Celtics? Here’s three thoughts still kicking around after the first of three off-days …

(Oh, one more Flannery item before we get started. Bill Russell, as you have no doubt heard by now, will finally get a statue in his honor. Clearly the suggestion from President Obama that it was time for Boston to put up a Russell statue is the major reason why it happened, but it was Paul’s terrific column in Boston magazine last November that got the conversation started.)

1. Here’s why the Celtics are down 2-0 to the Heat: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have a total of 147 points through two games. Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett have a total of 87. That’s it. Not the refs, not Kendrick Perkins, not James Jones outscoring the Celtics’ bench by himself in Game 1.

Nope, if the Celtics are going to find a way to get back to Miami at 2-2 — which is a must for any chance to win this series — Allen/Pierce/Garnett have to give you more than we saw in Game 1 and Game 2. Allen was very good in Game 1, a non-factor in Game 2. Pierce was terrible in Game 1, hurt and terrible again in Game 2. Garnett had a six-minute stretch in the third quarter of Game 2 where he made five consecutive field goals. Other than that he’s 6-of-24 through two games.

Listen, no one thought Pierce or Allen was going to outplay LeBron or Wade in this series, and Garnett was probably a slight edge over Bosh. But for these three guys — particularly Allen and Pierce — to have been so dominated in Miami is troubling at best. In the four regular season games between the two teams the Miami Big Three averaged a total of 56.6 points per game, the Boston Big Three 54.1. Now that’s deceiving — Wade only averaged 12.8 per game, not fair to expect that — but the Pierce/Allen/Garnett trio simply have to match their regular-season output or this series will be over in four or five games.

2. I know he scowls a lot, and looks exactly the way you want a center to look, and his team is still in the playoffs so you get to that blast of nostalgia when you watch him every couple of nights, but if Kendrick Perkins was on the Celtics this series would still be two-zip, Miami. Hard to digest for the “Heart and Soul of the Defense” flag-wavers, but it’s true. Kendrick Perkins is averaging 4.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in the playoffs (by the way, if you do a Google search on “4.4 points per game” the first match is Alexander Johnson’s Wikipedia page. Johnson played 102 games in two NBA seasons, averaging his 4.4 points. He’s now with the Sioux City Skyforce of the D-League).

And the notion that Perkins would be a threat in the middle with his defense against Wade and James doesn’t have any statistical backing. Perkins is averaging 0.6 blocks per game in the playoffs, and Oklahoma City has allowed at least 100 points in both games of the Memphis series. And Perkins was on the court last year in the first round against the Heat when Wade averaged 33.2 points.

Jermaine O’Neal has been a better player than Perkins in this postseason (6.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.6 blocks) in seven fewer minutes per game. And let’s take it easy with the intangibles angle. Much is being made now about Perkins “teaching” the Thunder how to win. It’s easy to be an intangibles guy on a team with Westbrook and Durant — if Perkins has been traded to Minnesota who would never hear from him again. This isn’t fair to Perkins — who was a solid role player for team that needed him — but he isn’t a good enough player to swing a playoff series.

3. Even down 2-0, even with the injuries to Allen, Rondo, Pierce and Shaq, this will be the best chance this team will have to beat the Heat in a playoff series. Think about it: Miami is only going to get better. Wade and James are right in the middle of their primes and are two of the three or four best players in the world, and Bosh is a 17-9 guy also in his prime. Think those three are going to get worse or better after playing together for a full season? There isn’t much cap room for Miami, but the lure of winning plus the city itself should mean a decent pool of veterans to pick from each year. The Celtics are where the late 80′s Celtics were — enough talent to win but maybe too many miles on the tires. And once little brother gets past the bully — think Celtics over 76ers, Pistons over Celtics and Bulls over Pistons — it almost never reverts back.

What to watch for in Game 2: More Kevin Garnett and hello to Joey Crawford 05.03.11 at 11:46 am ET
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MIAMI — Tough to imagine this Celtics team winning 4-of-5 against the Heat, a team that did win 28 games on the road this season, so here are three things to watch for in a Game 2 that is really close to must-win territory …

(1). Doc Rivers made it clear on Monday that the Celtics are going to get Kevin Garnett (3-of-9, six points in Game 1) more involved in the offense in Game 2. They went to Garnett on Chris Bosh early — in fact on each of the Celtics’ first two possessions — but failed to continue to focus on a matchup that the Celtics feel is an advantageous one.

“Kevin is one of our featured scorers and I didn’t think we did a good job with him at all,” Rivers told the media Monday. “We got Bosh on an early foul, and then we went seven straight plays before we decided to look back to that spot. That’s not like us to do that. That was a mistake.”

Garnett isn’t ever going to take 25 shots — just isn’t that kind of player, we are talking about someone who averaged just 11.6 per game during the regular season — but the Celtics would probably like to see him somewhere close to the 16 shots he attempted in both Game 2 and Game 4 of the Knicks series.

(2). James Jones isn’t going to score 25 points again on Tuesday night. Statistically, we recognize it as an outlier. He averaged just 5.9 points during the regular season with one 20-point game (Oct. 27). But Rivers wants the Miami swingman to work a lot harder to find his shots in Game 2.

“The fact that he took seven 3-pointers without taking a dribble, when you think about it, that’s poor defense,” Rivers said. “You’ve still got to make them and that’s where you give James all the credit, he’s an excellent shooter and he made them. But to give a shooter seven 3-pointers and without having to put the ball on the floor one time, that’s tough for to handle.”

(3). The Joey Factor. After a Game 1 that was described by Rivers as “chippy” — featuring five technical fouls, a flagrant foul and an ejection — here comes Joey Crawford and his quick whistle on Tuesday night. Crawford — the lead official in Game 7 of last year’s Celtics-Lakers series — is about as old-school as it gets, which can be a good or  bad thing, depending on the situation (let us not forget his was also suspended indefinitely in 2007 after allegedly challenging Tim Duncan to a fight) . Expect a very tight game to be called, and Crawford will be happy to hand out technical fouls if he feels it might help temper potential altercations between the two teams.

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