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Doc Rivers pregame on the Bucks again, ‘The Jasons’ lineup and Larry Sanders 12.21.12 at 7:40 pm ET
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Chris Wilcox (right thumb) and Leandro Barbosa (personal matter, not with the team) will be out for Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

With those two out, the Celtics recalled rookie forward Kris Joseph from the Maine Red Claws on Friday.

Other notes:

The Celtics are playing the Bucks for a fourth time in the first six weeks of the season, with Boston trailing the series 1-2. That could be a factor if the two are vying for playoff positioning late in the season. Boston stands 13-12 heading into the game while the Bucks are a half-game better at 13-11.

“What’€™s funny is, I don’€™t think any of the lineups have been the same on either team,” Rivers said. “It’s four new games every time we play them. It’€™s early, I tell you, I obviously don’€™t love that. I just think you should play a team in your conference late in the season. But we’€™re going to make it up, we’€™re going to play the Knicks four times after this.”

Doc Rivers will stick with “The Jasons” lineup featuring Jason Terry at shooting guard and Jason Collins at center for a second straight game.

“I’€™ve said this 100 times – the starting lineup is not as important as everyone thinks it is,” said Rivers. “I did that more from Kevin. In one way, just to get him some minutes at the 4 instead of the 5. And then, until Avery [Bradley] comes back, for Jason Terry to get a shot. But other than that, I did like it, because Jason — you don’€™t know which one, so I’€™ll let you figure it out — his talking was terrific, it helped Kevin. I hope you guys can figure that one out.”

Rivers said he did like the impact it had on Kevin Garnett, who had 12 points and six rebounds in 31 minutes of the win over Cleveland.

“He seemed like he had more energy,” Rivers said. “It’€™s one game, so it’€™s tough thing to look at. If we play well tonight — we’€™ll find out in a month what it does really. It looks like he had more energy, because he had another guy covering for him and he didn’€™t feel like he had to do everything on defense.”

Rivers compared Bucks shot-blocker and big man Larry Sanders to Thunder big Serge Ibaka: “We should probably stop shooting when he’€™s right there. That would probably help, because he always blocks your shot. It’€™s funny, he does it to everybody. I actually told my son, Austin, when they played the Bucks, I said, ‘€˜Hey Austin, be careful with Sanders, you get a step deep and he’€™ll get you.’€™ I think his first two shots were blocked, so I was thinking, ‘€˜Nothing changes. No one listens.’€™”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jason Collins, Jason Terry
Judging by this, Avery Bradley looks real close to returning 12.21.12 at 6:23 pm ET
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Celtics starting point guard Rajon Rondo, guard Avery Bradley, Kris Joseph and Courtney Lee play a game of 2-on-2 before Friday’s game between the Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden. Rondo and Bradley took turns guarding one another.

Bradley was cleared to return to contact practice Monday in Chicago and judging by this, he looks real close to returning. In this video, he shows why he is considered the best on-ball defender on the Celtics and one of the best in the NBA.

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Courtney Lee, Kris Joseph
Doc Rivers: ‘We still haven’t sustained a 48-minute game’ 12.19.12 at 11:39 pm ET
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At this point, Doc Rivers will take any victory, any way he can get them.

But even Wednesday night, what looked like a 20-point laugher late in the third quarter against a 5-21 team on the parquet turned into nail-biting time in a matter of six minutes.

The Celtics led 80-60 with just over three minutes left in the third. Then Rivers subbed his starters and turned to his bench. The unit that was very productive and active in the first half, fell apart, allowing the Cavs to start a 20-2 run that got them back in the game.

‘€œHonestly, our bench came in and didn’€™t give us a lift,” Rivers said. “And they were fantastic in the first half. We still haven’€™t sustained a 48 minute game; we had that one stretch. We have to get better. We had a 20-point lead, you sub in, and I think guys think when you have that lead it’€™s scoring time now. And it’€™s really defensive time; you’€™ve got to continue to get stops. Then you can score. And I thought we short-cutted that part of it.’€

The Celtics finished shooting 59.7 percent on the night and scored 103 points, thanks in large part to their captain Paul Pierce, who had 40. Did Pierce just get tired of losing?

‘€œWell I don’€™t know. Whatever it was, it was great,” Rivers said. “It was efficient, though. A lot of open shots. A lot of ball movement down the stretch. He caught fire and created his own. For the most part, I just thought the ball movement was really good for our guys. We shoot 60 percent, basically; a lot of good things are happening. And then we hold a team to 40 or 41 percent, a lot of good things happen. I thought Jason Collins play with one point, two rebounds ‘€“ I thought he had a main impact on the game for us. Especially for Kevin (Kevin Garnett). I thought Kevin enjoyed playing with him.’€

A three-game losing streak ended Wednesday because the Celtics found some resiliency against a 5-21 team. Not pretty but Rivers will take it.

“I think [Pierce] and Kevin and (Rajon Rondo), they all took it to heart,” Rivers said. “They don’€™t like the way we’€™re playing, they believe we’€™re better than what we’€™re playing, but we haven’€™t done it. And at some point, you’€™ve got to stop talking about it. And Paul did that tonight.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Doc Rivers, NBA
Paul Pierce: ‘I think maybe I can play a little longer than anticipated’ 12.19.12 at 10:53 pm ET
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Celtics captain Paul Pierce had heard the whispers all season.

He had lost a step or two, didn’t have the explosion at the basket and … was getting old.

So, his answer Wednesday was to go out and score a season-high 40 points, including 6-of-7 from 3-point range, as the Celtics outlasted the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-91 Wednesday night at TD Garden. Pierce, at 35 years of age, became the oldest Celtics player ever with a 40-point game in regulation.

Afterward, Pierce was reminded of that fact and reflected on his 14-year career.

“I think maybe I can play a little longer than anticipated,” Pierce said. “Who knows?”

Larry Bird scored 49 points in a game when he was 35 years, 99 days old but that game was in double-overtime.

“Oh wow. Another one for the records, I guess,” Pierce said. “I’ve been here long enough. Maybe I’ll go for 50 now.”

But to Pierce, who questioned the team’s identity just 24 hours earlier after a loss in Chicago, Wednesday night was much more about a badly-needed win than his 40 points.

“It’€™s a make or miss league. Who knew I was going to come in and shoot the ball the way I did, but the one thing I could control was how hard I was going to play today and the effort I was going to put out,” Pierce said.

The Celtics fed off Pierce all night, building a 20-point lead late in the third and staving off the young, hungry Cavs when they cut it to two points midway through the fourth.

‘€œI think when you play like that it can be contagious,” he said. “Offensively, guys knocking down shots, and then other guys getting up in there and defending. Things can definitely be contagious. I know I think everybody definitely wanted to get off this slide that we’€™re on so it was a good win, it’€™s a start.

‘€œI feel like the last few games I’€™ve been shooting the ball a lot better, three or four games now. So I feeling like I’€™m really coming along where I’€™m starting to get into a good groove offensively. The way my shot’€™s going, picking my spots. So even before tonight I felt good.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Larry Bird, NBA, Paul Pierce
Doc Rivers goes extreme: Starts Jason Collins at center 12.19.12 at 7:37 pm ET
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After losing their third straight game Tuesday night in Chicago, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he would continue to search for answers to shake his team out of its early season funk. On Wednesday, he followed through, replacing Courtney Lee in the starting lineup with Jason Terry, who got only two shots in Tuesday’s 100-89 loss in Chicago.

“Nothing more, until Avery [Avery Bradley] comes back,” Rivers said of the decision. “Jet just doesn’t get involved unless [Rajon Rondo] is on the floor. It has nothing to do with anybody else, it’s more to do with getting Jet more involved.”

In a more drastic measure, Rivers said Jason Collins would take over the starting center role from Kevin Garnett in order to move Garnett back to his more natural spot of big forward. The move would mean Brandon Bass would come off the bench. Bass has started 21 of Boston’s 24 games this season, including the last 16 straight.

“Just because of his size,” Rivers said in explaining the move for the 7-foot, 255-pound big man. “[Coaching staff] has been talking about it a lot but just haven’t done it. We’ve just been trying to find ways of getting Kevin off the ‘5’ spot all game. Right now, even when we put the other guys in, the same [opposing players] are guarding him and the only way you can force the action is with Jason.”

If Rivers sticks with the new starting lineup, Celtics fans can expect to see Rondo and Terry in the backcourt until Avery Bradley returns in early January, with Garnett and Paul Pierce at the forward spots and Collins at center.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Jason Collins, Jason Terry
Doc Rivers rolls the dice with Rajon Rondo and gets away with one 12.13.12 at 1:55 am ET
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The final box score Wednesday night reads that Rajon Rondo played 52 minutes, 30 seconds of the 58 minutes of Boston’s 117-115 double-overtime win over Dallas.

Doc Rivers said he could see Rondo’s minutes getting up there, especially toward the end of regulation and gambled by leaving him in the game, hoping the Celtics could hold onto their lead with four minutes left.

‘€œWell I thought we started walking the ball up the floor,” Rivers said. “I thought our tempo changed in the fourth quarter. You know, it’€™s funny: they went small, we went small, you would think your tempo would increase. We actually went the other way. I thought the biggest mistake I made, actually, is keeping Rondo in that long.

“I thought I took the gamble, and sometimes it’€™s a good one sometimes it’€™s a bad one and I didn’€™t think this was a good one. I just thought he got tired. You know, I didn’€™t give them that normal rest two minutes before the fourth and let him get some rest. I mean obviously I didn’€™t anticipate a double overtime game. But I thought that had an impact on him and on his speed in the game. I told our guys with like four minutes left ‘€“ my coaches, because then it was too late ‘€“ I said, ‘€˜This was not a good decision.’€™ And that decision could’€™ve hurt us.’€

But it didn’t cost the Celtics – in part – because Rondo and the Celtics forced 28 turnovers against the Mavericks, leading to 34 points.

‘€œWell, we’€™ve been trapping,” Rivers said. “I’€™ve been talking about it a lot and over the past seven games it’€™s been paying dividends for us. It’€™s been terrific. I told our guys, we also broke our own record with deflections. So we had ‘€“ I don’€™t know what the number was now ‘€“ but we had 100 deflections it felt like, we had 27 turnovers, because we couldn’€™t make a shot.

“You know, I didn’€™t like our shots that we got down the stretch. But overall we had a lot of good shots and they just wasn’€™t going in. So we won a game where a team shot 51 percent, and the other team, us, shot 43 percent. That was happening to us earlier in the year if you remember; we lost a couple games where it was the exact opposite. So, when you get more possessions like that, you give yourself a chance to win the game. I told the guys I was proud of them; I thought we made some mistakes that later in the year we can’€™t make down the stretch of games: the foul to give, didn’€™t call a time out, pass the ball so we couldn’€™t advance it before the first overtime. Those are plays that can’€™t happen. But through all those mistakes we still won the game, so as a coach we’€™ll take that.’€

Kevin Garnett had 40 minutes himself in the marathon.

‘€œHe held up, and fortunately we are taking [Thursday] off,” Rivers said. “Whenever you have an 8 o’clock game you’€™re taking the day off anyway. So, you know, I don’€™t want that but it had to happen tonight.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Paul Pierce: Celtics 2OT win ‘just comes down to mental toughness’ 12.13.12 at 1:39 am ET
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There were many times over the course of the two overtimes Wednesday night where Paul Pierce felt drained.

Five times in the final two minutes of regulation, the Celtics took the lead only to have the Mavericks respond with either O.J. Mayo or Darren Collison.

Pierce played 44 minutes and scored 34 points and led the charge in the second overtime as the Celtics finally put away the Mavericks, 117-115.

How did Pierce, at the age of 35, manage to dig deep as the game went past the three-hour mark?

‘€œI think it just comes down to mental toughness,” Pierce said. “You get an edge out there,. You see the score go up, then you see a tie score, then the tendency is to get down, so you just have to really maintain a mental edge and just stay positive and know that you are gonna pull through. These types of long games, these types of marathon games can be really draining on you, I like the way we pulled through.’€

‘€œThis is a good win, especially with the huge road trip coming up. Our defense was kind of up and down throughout most of the night, but the positive part is we turned them over. We allowed them to shoot a high percentage, it says a lot about how this team has grown when you can win games like this.’€

Despite 44 minutes of action, Pierce said he felt energized because he could sense the kill.

‘€œI felt good, I felt like this is our chance,” he said. “We didn’€™t want to let this one get away. Especially with a huge road trip coming up this is a big win for us. Dallas is one of those sneaky teams, you don’€™t really know what to expect from them night in and night out. They have so many good players, a lot of them that can beat you, a lot of them that can play well’€¦For us to go double overtime and show some resiliency it was great.

‘€œI’€™m caught into the game. When the game is tight, the type of game that was going on tonight I’€™m really caught up in the game, not really thinking about my minutes. That’€™s the coach, he’€™s watching the game, seeing the floor game, seeing how I’€™m playing, seeing how I’€™m defending. If he sees I’€™m still playing at a high level he’€™s going to leave me out there.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Paul Pierce,
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