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Take your pick, Celtics most unselfish team in NBA 10.27.12 at 9:43 am ET
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WALTHAM — The Celtics under Doc Rivers have made no secret about the key to their success on offense.

Set screens and picks, get your teammate open and the points will follow.

Kevin Garnett is the supreme example and symbol of this philosophy.

Watch Garnett away from the ball during a game and you’€™ll realize that one of his greatest skills is setting picks. But it’s not just Garnett now. New faces like Darko Milicic, Jared Sullinger and even Jason Terry have been brought in this season. And every single one of them understand the first principle of Celtics offense – do whatever necessary to get your teammate open.

‘€œThis is maybe the best pick-setting team,’€ Rivers said Friday, when asked where this team ranks in terms of setting screens and picks. ‘€œDarko loves to pick. Kevin is the best picker in the league. Jared is a good picker.

‘€œJET, surprisingly, if [he’s] not the best picker on the team, he’€™s right there with Kevin. He’€™s a small, but he loves setting picks. That’€™s what he did in Dallas with [Dirk Nowitzki], so we’€™re going to do it here for him.’€

Someone who was around last season is big man Chris Wilcox and he sees the value in having Garnett set such a strong, physical example.

‘€œKG shows us every day what we need to do,’€ said Wilcox. ‘€œSo all we’€™ve got to do is just follow his lead and everything else will fall into place. We’€™ve got to set picks. It’€™s going to open up everybody. We’€™ve got guys who can score, so our job is to get them open.’€

Sacrifice. It’s one of the cornerstones of the Doc Rivers era and one of the founding principles of Ubuntu. It appears this new group of Celtics team is ready to embrace the age-old concept heading into the season – a good sign for a team looking for a way to get past Miami in the East.

‘€œIt’€™s about sacrifice,’€ Terry insisted Friday after practice. ‘€œIt’€™s about giving up your body when you’€™re talking about setting picks. A lot of times you’€™re not going to benefit from it directly, but you’€™re going to get your teammate open, and that’€™s what Celtic basketball is all about.

‘€œWe’€™re the best pick-setting team in the league,’€ Terry proclaimed. ‘€œThat’€™s the goal, not only with the best in KG, but 1 through 5, whoever steps on the floor. We’€™ve made it an emphasis.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Chris Wilcox, Darko Milicic, Jason Terry
Jason Terry is actually learning to love practice 10.26.12 at 9:45 pm ET
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WALTHAM — No one is happier to have the season begin on Tuesday night in Miami than Jason Terry.

In the above video, Terry says Rajon Rondo has run him ragged while Doc Rivers has talked him into “loving practice” after spending most of his career hating it.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jason Terry, NBA
Doc Rivers is sick of talking about Ray Allen and other notes from Friday 10.26.12 at 9:25 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Doc Rivers will go with a rotation of starting lineups to start the season, the Celtics coach announced after practice Friday. Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are the certainties when healthy. Rivers said he will rotate Brandon Bass, Jeff Green and rookie Jared Sullinger in the other two spots, depending on various factors.

“Experience, size, it depends on the night,” Rivers said. “I don’t think we’re going to have one starting lineup this year. There’s three that I know of we’ll use. We can move it around.”

The Celtics featured a starting lineup of Rondo, Pierce, Garnett, Green and Bass in their preseason finale against the Sixers, with Sullinger and Courtney Lee seeing significant time as the first two players off the bench.

“We’re going to go the same. Early in year every year, I play 10 guys, whether we have a good 10 or not,” Rivers said with no hesitation. “Ten guys played last year because you have to get through the season, so it’ll be 10 this year for the most part.”

Meanwhile, Rivers said Friday afternoon after practice that he understands his players will be motivated to play the Heat and the Heat and Ray Allen will likely be motivated to play Boston in the season opener Tuesday night in Miami.

“I don’t mind that,” Rivers said. “I don’t think it’s Ray, honestly. I’ve said it before. There may be several guys who want to play against and Ray may want to play against several guys. This is not going to be a ‘Ray-versus-the-Celtics’ game. If it becomes that, we’re going to lose by a lot of points because as good as Ray is, I know of two guys for sure, probably three guys on that team that are a lot better on that team. If we’re focused on Ray, we’re going to lose by 40.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Chris Bosh, Doc Rivers, Dwyane Wade
Armond Hill: ‘What would happen if [Doc Rivers] gets thrown out’ 10.17.12 at 1:32 am ET
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When the second half began Tuesday night, Doc Rivers was no where to be found on the Celtics bench. As it turned out, there was no medical emergency. It was all pre-planned. Rivers told his longtime assistant Armond Hill he would be taking the reins in the second half. Why?

‘€œHe just came to me and said, ‘€˜Armond, you’€™re coaching the second half.’ He’€™s always said that as much as players are in training camp, so are the coaches. And so what would happen if he gets thrown out, something like that?’€

Rivers actually joked with reporters before the 97-96 preseason loss to the Nets at TD Garden that everyone should go home by nine o’clock in order to watch the debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. As it turned out, Rivers was in the locker room right about the same time as the debate began. But Hill insisted Rivers was actually watching the Celtics game since he knew every detail of what was going on in the game, including the Celtics losing a nine-point lead with 3:16 left in the fourth quarter.

‘€œI can only thank Doc for giving me the opportunity to coach,” Hill said. “That’€™s what we’€™re all here for. He’€™s taught me and I’€™ve been with him and he continues to teach me and he’€™s given me another opportunity.

“As far as at the end, I put all the guys in and I didn’€™t have any point guards in. But, once I explained that Courtney [Courtney Lee] was cramping up a little bit, he understood. So we just played them. But we still had chances and I thought we shot quick, too quick, when we had a seven-and eight-point lead. But it’€™s all a learning experience.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Armond Hill, Barack Obama, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets
Jeff Green: Heart surgery ‘made me realize life is short’ 09.29.12 at 1:57 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Jeff Green knew he was ready to come back when he was playing a pickup basketball game at his alma mater.

He told those in the game, “When I get the ball, I’m going to drive to the lane and I want you to hit me.”

Sure enough, they tested Green, making contact with his chest in the area of his heart where he had surgery last January to fix a faulty aortic valve.

“I wasn’t worried at all,” Green said. “When I got hit, I got hit right in the area where I had the surgery and it didn’t affect me at all. I think that is what got me through the rest of the summer as far as confidence and being able to build on what I’ve been trying to do. It was mind-boggling to go through it. First time, I was very winded but it felt very good to be back out there.”

Now for Green, it’s onto the business of getting back into the Celtics system, something he thinks will come quickly.

“I don’t think it will take me long at all, with me being around the team last year,” Green said. “I’ve been here since beginning of September and I’ve had talks with Doc and assistant coaches just to figure out different schemes on the floor. Just to put it [to work] on the floor, maybe a day.”

As far as what the surgery experience taught him, Green said he has more perspective now.

“It made me appreciate the little things,” Green said. “When I had the surgery, I couldn’t move, couldn’t do a crunch, couldn’t turn left or right so it made me appreciate life itself and all the little things. Definitely helped me open my eyes and made me realize life is short and you have to enjoy every moment of it.”

Green and Chris Wilcox both had surgeries on their hearts last season. “I call him my scar buddy,” Green said with his trademark wide smile.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Chris Wilcox, Georgetown, Jeff Green
Jason Terry: I’m the JET (not Ray Allen) and “I like to fly” 09.29.12 at 1:30 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Veteran guard Jason Terry was prepared Friday at Celtics media day to handle the question he knew was coming – how does it feel to be replacing Ray Allen?

“Who?,” the 35-year-old Terry said with a straight face. “No, we’re two different players and hopefully, I’ll bring something that Ray didn’t and some of the things that he did. Obviously, Ray was a great player for this franchise for years, brought them a championship in ’08. But, again, our games are totally different. He’s 6-5 and I’m 6-2, but I am “The Jet” and I like to fly so we’ll see what happens. A lot of those comparisons will be thrown out there but we’re two totally different players.

“For me, my job, it doesn’t change. I’ll be thrust into the sixth-man role. But hey, I’m on one of the best. It is what it is, and I take pride in it. It’s something every team needs, that spark, that energy off the bench and that’s what I’m here to do. Anything other than that, I won’t be doing my job. I don’t want to let these guys down. KG has already talked to me about what it means for him to win another championship, [Rajon Rondo] tells me every day what it means to win another one. And Paul Pierce, he’s looking great and he’s in great shape and condition. They know, they’re champions.”

Terry said he’s been inspired by the veterans like Rondo, Pierce and Kevin Garnett to be a leader for the bench.

“So now, for me as a veteran player, it’s [my job] to help these young guys, those guys we’re going to need off the bench, be the leader for them and help them understand what it’s going to mean to win a championship,” he said. “There is no other goal. The goal is to win a championship and I believe this year we have the talent, the coaching staff, the fans to get the job done. We believe it, we believe it to a man that we will win.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Jason Terry, JET, NBA
Rajon Rondo: Kevin Garnett ‘will be a big reason’ Celtics content for title 09.28.12 at 8:07 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Kevin Garnett has taught Rajon Rondo how to be a leader.

That much was obvious two weeks ago when Rondo took it upon himself to invite Celtics players out to Los Angeles for a pick-up game/workout and a friendly game of flag-football. The reason? Team bonding.

Rondo made it clear Friday at Celtics media day how big of an impact Garnett has had on him in his career. Rondo said after losing Game 7 of the Eastern finals to the Heat in Miami, the first thing he did when he got on the bus was to ask Garnett if he were coming back.

“I can probably say Kevin is my closest friend on the team,” Rondo began. “Kevin always wants to see me do well. From Day 1, I think my second year when he first came in, he told me he would be disappointed if I wasn’t the MVP of the league one day, if I wasn’t considered one of the best point guards one day so he’s always pushed me and expected more out of me than a lot of people did. He’s always showed me how to become a better person each day. Whenever I mess up, Kevin’s always the one who tells me you should do this, or conduct yourself this way or handle it that way.

“He’s been kind of like a big brother/mentor and he’s always wanted the best for me so that’s how we sort of gravitated toward each other. Obviously, off the court, we have a lot of things in common. We share the same interests in a lot of things. He’s been like a big brother to me. The way he goes about the game, the way he approaches the game. He’s a future hall of famer, I consider one of the greatest players to ever play the game who’s been in front of me. So, he’s inspired me to work hard, come in every day, come in get extra shots, taking care of my body, getting proper rest, getting massages, getting treatment and getting stretching. This is how to have longevity in the NBA. He’s played for 17 years and only two or three players can say that in this era.”

As for those who doubt whether a 36-year-old Kevin Garnett can be productive, Rondo said Friday he knows better.

“I don’t take it personal because I’m not him but I kind of laugh when people say he’s old or he doesn’t do this or he can’t do that because if you know the game of basketball, it’s one thing but when you play with Kevin, he does so many little things that don’t show up in the stat book,” Rondo said. “When you play with another big guy that isn’t Kevin Garnett, you know what you’re missing out there on the floor. Obviously, in the playoffs he had a great run. If you look at the stats, the plus-minus when Kevin was on and off the floor, there was a big difference. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, KG, Media Day
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