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Doc Rivers: ‘Emotionally, it could go either way’ 04.20.13 at 2:47 pm ET
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NEW YORK — Doc Rivers admitted before Game 1 Saturday that his team didn’t have the best of practices on Friday at Columbia University, on the eve of the team’s first postseason game this year.

He also was very understanding of the players wanting to follow the events going on 200 miles away in Boston.

“[Friday] was a strange day,” Rivers said. “You’€™re going to practice and you hear guys on the phone and literally everyone is calling home, yelling or you could hear them saying, ‘€˜Stay in the house!’€™ And we’€™re going to practice and I even told our staff, we’€™re going to make a lot of mistakes in practice today. There’€™s no way their focus is where it should be. And you felt that going into practice. And, honestly, we were right, practice played out that way.

“So I don’€™t know. Thank gosh it’€™s over, in that regards. It was good to see everybody in the city happy, hugging and rejoicing. And I’€™m sure our players had a chance to exhale, because their families are still back there. [Rajon Rondo] was supposed to join us yesterday, and he couldn’€™t even get out. He was locked in and had to stay in himself. What does that do for us today, I have no idea? I think, emotionally, it could go either way.”

Rivers and his staff are ready to handle the situation, good or bad, during the course of the game.

“Hopefully we can figure out a way, if it’€™s not going the right way, to gather them right and get it back,” Rivers said. “Thank gosh it’€™s a four-quarter game because I’€™m always worried about any team, even if it wasn’€™t for this, being too emotionally high at the beginning of a game. Because you still have to finish the game. We’€™ll see.”

Speaking of Rondo, after being locked down on Friday, the injured point guard made his way down to the Big Apple on Saturday and is with the team for the start of the playoffs. Rivers definitely likes him around the team.

“I want him around,” Rivers said. “He’€™s a good mind. He’€™s a great, great mind. And he knows the game. He’€™s a smart kid. People have no idea his IQ, they really don’€™t. It’€™s funny right now, even after our shootaround, he’€™s into it.”

With Pablo Prigioni [sprained ankle] is out for the Knicks, Chris Copeland moves into the staring lineup. The Knicks will go with a starting backcourt of Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert, to go along with Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA, NBA playoffs
Doc Rivers: ‘You’re angry when you think about it because you love your city’ 04.16.13 at 12:08 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Instead of playing a game Tuesday night, the Celtics held practice and reacted to Monday’s Boston Marathon tragedy.

Among those most affected was Jeff Green. The Celtics player, like his coach, live in Boston and very close to the epicenter of Monday’s two explosions on Boylston Street near the finish line.

Green said before Tuesday’s practice that he understood completely the NBA’s decision to cancel Tuesday’s home game against the Pacers at the Garden.

“Everybody has got to be safe,” Green said. “I think it was right to cancel the game out of respect for the families affected.”

Celtics coach Doc Rivers also lives in the Back Bay. He was headed into Boston after Monday’s practice in Waltham to watch the Marathon. He said

“I always go down after practice and watch [the Boston Marathon]. I was on my way,” Rivers said. “I had gotten out of the [Prudential] tunnel when the bomb exploded.

“I thought the spirit of Boston was incredible last night. If you’re part of the city, this country, it’s going to be on your mind. This city has an amazing amount spirit. You’re angry, too, when you think about it because you love your city. That bothers you.”

The game against the Pacers was canceled and will not be rescheduled. The Celtics will finish their 81-game schedule on Wednesday night in Toronto and then open the first round of the playoffs this weekend in New York’s Madison Square Garden against the Knicks.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Boston Marathon, Doc Rivers, Indiana Pacers
NBA cancels Celtics-Pacers Tuesday night at the Garden, will not be re-scheduled 04.15.13 at 8:46 pm ET
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The Celtics are the latest Boston team to announce they are canceling an event due to the Boston Marathon tragedy Monday afternoon.

The NBA issued the following release Monday night:

The National Basketball Association game scheduled for Tuesday, April 16 between the Indiana Pacers and the Boston Celtics at TD Garden has been canceled. The game will not be rescheduled.

The NBA expresses its sympathy to all those affected by the tragedy in Boston earlier today.

This means that the Celtics will play an 81-game schedule and their season will conclude Wednesday night in Toronto against the Raptors before they open the playoffs this weekend in New York at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Boston Marathon Tragedy, Indiana Pacers, NBA
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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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
Doc Rivers: ‘Obviously, we want to play Miami’ just not early in playoffs 04.11.13 at 12:15 am ET
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Five days earlier, after a loss to the Cavaliers at TD Garden, Doc Rivers said, “Of course we would… I’m not that dumb” when asked if the Celtics would like to avoid the defending champs who have raced through the NBA this season, on the way to the league’s best mark.

But after Wednesday’s loss to the Nets, he made a clarifying statement when informed that Milwaukee lost, reducing Boston’s magic number to 1 for clinching seventh-seed and not finishing eighth, which would result in a first-round meeting with Miami.

‘€œThat’€™s good,” Rivers said. “Obviously, we want to play Miami. We do. We just would not like to play them early. I mean, we would love to avoid Miami in the first round and then play them; that would mean we’€™re doing very well. So, we clearly want to play Miami. We just want to delay it a little bit if we can.’€

Now that it appears all but certain the Celtics (40-38) will finish in seventh place in the Eastern conference, they will likely draw the Knicks in the first round. The Celtics playoff spot was all but locked in at seventh Wednesday night when they lost to the Brooklyn Nets at home but the Milwaukee Bucks (37-41) also lost on the road in Orlando. The Bucks and Celtics each have four games remaining.

Atlanta (44-36) moved two games ahead of Boston in the loss column for sixth place with a win in Philadelphia.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Miami Heat, NBA
Net loss: Up and down Celtics left in the dust in loss to Nets 04.10.13 at 10:35 pm ET
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Deron Williams scored 29 points Brook Lopez added 21 as the Brooklyn Nets beat the Celtics, 101-93, Wednesday night at TD Garden. Paul Pierce had 23 to lead the Celtics, who fell to 40-38 on the season. In his second game back from an inflamed left ankle, Kevin Garnett rebounded from a 1-for-6 first half to finish with 11 points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes.

With the loss, the Celtics appear locked in for the seventh-seed and a first-round match up with the Knicks as the sixth-seed Hawks beat the Sixers in Philadelphia to move two games ahead of the Celtics in the loss column. With the Bucks’ loss in Orlando, Boston is still three games up in the loss column on eighth place Milwaukee. The Celtics and Bucks each have four games left.

The Nets improved to 46-32 and are all but locked in at the No. 4 seed heading into the playoffs.

In a game the Celtics showed little defensive intensity, the first quarter started out with great promise. The Celtics shot out to a 17-9 lead, highlighted by a dunk from Brandon Bass over Brook Lopez with six minutes left in the opening quarter. Brandon Bass led the Celtics with eight points in the first quarter but the Nets outscored the Celtics, 13-4, in the last six minutes of the quarter to take a 22-21 lead after 12 minutes. Boston finished the first quarter shooting just 9-of-23 from the field.

Boston’s defense in the second quarter was leaky, as the Nets made two-thirds of their shots from the floor, finishing the period 12-of-18. Williams had 11 of his 27 points in the quarter as the Nets took command of the game with a 53-43 halftime lead.

Another telling sign of how the Celtics were dominated on the inside was the lack of free throws. With Boston’s offensive generated almost exclusively from the perimeter, the Celtics didn’t get to the free throw line until 8:22 left in the third quarter, when Pierce hit a free throw to complete a 3-point play.

There were signs of life in the third quarter as Jeff Green drilled a three with 4:29 left to cut Brooklyn’s lead to 11, 68-57. Then, Shav Randolph drew a charge on Brook Lopez. After two Pierce free throws cut the lead under 10, Lopez hit a five-foot bank shot to stem the Boston tide. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Deron Williams, NBA
Doc Rivers: ‘We need to have as much versatility as possible going into the playoffs’ 04.10.13 at 8:59 pm ET
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To Doc Rivers, the key to playoff success will be outmaneuvering his opponent. Given the fact that he’s going to be facing either the Knicks or Pacers in the first round, he’s going to need as many options as possible.

Thus, with Paul Pierce and Jeff Green finding their rhythm heading into the playoffs, this gives Rivers and his staff another bullet in the holster.

“I like the ability to have that lineup and other lineups instead of just having this ‘small lineup’ with Jeff at the 4,” Rivers said. “We want to have three lineups ‘€“ Jeff at the 2, Jeff at the 3, Jeff at the 4. Or if you want to call Paul the 2, I don’€™t care who you call the 2. I just think it gives us more versatility.

Wednesday against the Nets, Rivers featured the lineup (Pierce, Green, Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley) that’s likely going to start the playoffs, of course barring another in an seemingly unending avalanche of injuries.

“This lineup is good,” Rivers said. “It’€™s important because it gives us a third lineup, because there’€™s one lineup we can’€™t go to, and that’€™s the very big lineup, like two 7-footers. We’€™re not going to be able to do that. We need to have as much versatility as possible going into the playoffs to play multiple styles.”

Before Wednesday at the Garden, the Celtics and Nets hadn’t met since Boston’s cakewalk on Christmas Day when the Celtics beat the Nets, 93-76. A game later, Avery Johnson was fired and PJ Carlesimo was promoted to head coach. The Nets are 31-18 since. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Doc Rivers, John Stockton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin Garnett
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