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Doc Rivers hesitantly starts Jared Sullinger in desperate move to shake up his Celtics 01.27.13 at 12:39 pm ET
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Doc Rivers admitted Sunday morning that’s he’s desperate to shake up his struggling Celtics.

And sometimes that means making moves you don’t want to make.

Sunday, Rivers took Jared Sullinger out of his comfort zone off the bench and placed him in the starting lineup to add some energy to a team that has lost six straight.

“More because Jared is playing well,” Rivers said. “Honestly, I don’t love it because I worry about our bench. Our bench has been off the charts and that may affect them. But we’re doing it because he’s been playing so well.”

Sullinger has hit a speed bump in his last two games, being held scoreless in the double-overtime game against the Hawks Friday night and scoring just seven points with three rebounds in 15 minutes Thursday against the Knicks.

Rivers said he didn’t make the move just to give the team a spark against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

“Not much,” Rivers said. “Just the way our starters were playing, I thought our lineup needed a shaking up. I’m really doing it cautiously because I just think at some point our starters will find themselves. The one thing I always worry about is our bench. Our bench has been off the charts. The one thing about the Atlanta game, it was a six-point [lead] when they came in and it was 27 points when they left. You don’t hear that a lot from a bench.”

“We just took the game for granted.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jared Sullinger, Miami Heat
Ray Allen warms up before Sunday’s game 01.27.13 at 11:52 am ET
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Heat sharpshooter Ray Allen warms up before Sunday’s game with the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Sunday marks Allen’s return to Boston for the first time since signing as a free-agent with the world champion Heat last summer.

Allen admitted that he doesn’t expect the reception in the Garden to be very warm when he takes the parquet for the first time since signing with Miami.

Allen had 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 31 minutes against the Celtics in the season opener on Oct. 30 in Miami. That was the game most-famously remembered for the cold shoulder Kevin Garnett gave Allen when Allen checked in for the first time in the first quarter.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, NBA, Ray Allen
Rajon Rondo: When a triple-double is ‘irrelevant’ 01.25.13 at 11:18 am ET
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Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo says the Celtics simply did not execute down the stretch in their 89-86 loss to the New York Knicks Thursday night at TD Garden.

Rondo had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, his 27th career triple-double and fourth the season. But that couldn’t prevent Boston from suffering its fifth straight loss, 89-86, to the Knicks Thursday, dropping to 20-22 on the season.

“It wipes it out. It’s kind of irrelevant. You score 40 or 50 points, you lose, you lose. All that matters is Ws and Ls.

“I like our group, I like our guys,” Rondo insisted. “We have a group of guys that listen. Right now, we’re not getting it done. It’s like night and day. We won six in a row and we were clicking on all cylinders. But now, it’s not all five guys at one time throughout the game for 48 minutes. We go through stretches where we’re not scoring the ball and our defense is lacking as well. We just have to pick it up collectively as a team, and individually as well.”

Rondo was asked about Ray Allen coming back to Boston on Sunday and Paul Pierce not making the All-Star team Eastern Conference reserves. The answer was the same.

“We’re not worried about that,” Rondo said. “We’re worried about Atlanta.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, NBA, Paul Pierce
Doc Rivers: ‘If I saw that effort every night, I’d be very happy’ 01.25.13 at 10:58 am ET
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The message could not have been more clear from Doc Rivers.

Even in a loss, the energy and fight needs to be there if the Celtics are to get back on track and make a second-half run to the playoffs.

“If I saw that effort every night,” Rivers said, ‘I’d be very happy.”

He wasn’t happy with the fact his team lost its fifth straight after winning six in a row. He wasn’t happy with his team’s execution down the stretch. But he was satisfied with making life tough on Carmelo Anthony again, especially in the first half 26 minutes, when they held him to 4-for-15 shooting from the floor.

He was happy with the fact that his team trailed 80-70 with eight minutes left and made a charge to make it a two-point game.

He says the signed are there.

‘€œWe missed a lot of open shots,” Rivers said of his Celtics, who finished shooting 40 percent. “But I don’€™t think it’€™s pressing; I just think we’€™re missing shots. [At the end] those were just two turnovers. Overall, you look at the whole total, we had 12 turnovers. That doesn’€™t sound like pressing.”

Paul Pierce had another miserable night from the floor, making just 6-of-15 shots. He had a key turnover with 7.1 seconds left as the Celtics were trying to tie the game but that’s not what really bothered Rivers. It was the play with a minute left and the Celtics down five. A bad pass from Jason Terry and a golden opportunity to cut into the lead with under a minute left went by the boards.

“The play before [Pierce’s turnover] is what I was more disappointed in,” Rivers said. “I didn’€™t think we executed that great. That was supposed to be a hand-off to Paul coming off, and they got their hand in on the ball. And I had my three best shooters with Jet, Paul, and Kevin (Garnett) involved, and it just didn’€™t work out.

“It’€™s frustrating to lose when you give effort, because you’€™ve got to keep convincing your guys if you play that way every night, you’€™re going to make more shots than that. And you’€™re going to win a lot of games. But right now they’€™re sitting there thinking, ‘€˜We lost.’€™ So, they know it. They know with that effort you’€™re going to win most nights.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA, New York Knicks
Wasted chance: Knicks beat Celtics despite triple-double from Rajon Rondo 01.24.13 at 10:35 pm ET
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Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points to lead the Knicks over the Celtics, 89-86, Thursday night at TD Garden. Rajon Rondo had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in collecting his 27th career triple-double and his fourth this season for the Celtics, who lost their fifth straight. The Celtics lost five straight twice last season before rallying at the end of the season for a 37-29 record and the Atlantic Division title.

They might not be as lucky this season, as the Atlantic-leading Knicks improved to 26-14, seven games ahead of the 20-22 Celtics in the division.

There were no war of words or trash-talking incidents between Kevin Garnett and Anthony, who greeted each other with a fist-pound at the beginning of the game. Anthony even helped Garnett up from the floor after Garnett hit the deck early in the third quarter.

The Celtics managed a 24-20 lead after one quarter, despite shooting just 10-of-26 (38.5 percent) from the field. The Knicks started the second quarter on fire, opening on a 9-0 run and scoring 11 of the first 12 points in the period to take a 31-25 lead. But the Celtics answered as Paul Pierce started to dominate.

The Celtics went on a 15-3 run to take a 40-34 lead. The Knicks rebounded and managed a 50-48 halftime lead on a pair of free throws with 7.1 seconds left by Amar’e Stoudemire. Rondo missed a layup just before the buzzer that would’ve tied the game. Still Doc Rivers pounded his fist in the air and appeared happy with his team’s effort.

Rivers was particularly pleased with the fact that the Celtics held Anthony to just 4-for-13 shooting in the first 24 minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett, KG
Doc Rivers reiterates: ‘I have to figure out a way’ 01.24.13 at 8:10 pm ET
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Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said before Thursday night’s game with the Knicks that he still believes his team has what it takes to overcome the doldrums that have seen his team lose four straight after winning six in a row.

Rivers was asked if he had any changes in store for a big weekend of basketball that includes the Knicks, Hawks and Heat on Sunday.

“Let’s hope we don’t [have to make changes],’ Rivers said. “If we start playing better then you don’t, obviously. If you don’t [start playing better], then we have to do something at some point. Again, I think we have what we need in the locker room. I’m just not getting it out of them and I have to figure out a better way of getting it out of them.”

Rivers also said he hopes his team is inspired by the Kevin GarnettCarmelo Anthony incident the last time the two teams met in New York, a 102-96 Boston win. Anthony was held to 20 points on 6-of-26 shooting from the field.

After getting into a confrontation late in the fourth quarter, Anthony tried to meet with Garnett in front of the Celtics locker room and then in front of the Celtics team bus before Madison Square Garden security and police intervened.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
Paul Pierce left off Eastern Conference All-Star squad 01.24.13 at 7:43 pm ET
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For just the second time in 13 seasons, Paul Pierce did not earn a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star squad as the reserves were announced Thursday night on national television prior to the Celtics‘ game vs. the Knicks.

Pierce is leading the Celtics in scoring at 18.9 points per game and has started all 41 games for the Celtics, but that wasn’t enough to win a spot on the team. Pierce didn’t make it in 2007 when his season was shortened due to a stress reaction in his foot. The last time a healthy Pierce was left off the All-Star team was 2001, just his third season in the NBA.

Joining starters Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony are five first-time All-Stars, including Tyson Chandler (Knicks), Paul George (Pacers), Jrue Holiday (76ers), Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers) and Joakim Noah (Bulls). Miami’s Chris Bosh and Chicago’s Luol Deng, making his second consecutive All-Star appearance, round out the East reserves.

Joining Duncan as reserves in the West are LaMarcus Aldridge (Trail Blazers), James Harden (Rockets), David Lee (Warriors), Tony Parker (Spurs), Zach Randolph (Grizzlies) and Russell Westbrook (Thunder). It’€™s the first selection for Harden, in his first season with the Rockets. It’€™s the second All-Star nod for Lee, Randolph and Aldridge, while Westbrook earns his third consecutive trip to the All-Star Game. Parker is an All-Star for the fifth time in his career.

The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will be played at the Toyota Center in Houston on Feb. 17.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, NBA All-Star Game, Paul Pierce
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