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Doc Rivers and Paul Pierce know this West Coast trip is big 01.26.11 at 10:15 am ET
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Every year, Doc Rivers takes a look at the schedule and he has the chance – along with the team – to petition the league for a change or two. And without fail, it always seems the Celtics try to get part of their two West Coast trips altered to help with rest on the road.

Last summer, he took one look at late January and thought to himself the first trip out West will be a real bear. They start Thursday in Portland, playing one day later – and one time zone backward – in Phoenix. Then they play an afternoon game 36 hours later back in LA against the Lakers before wrapping up next Wednesday in Sacramento.

Sure, they’re bonding experiences for the team but a little more time bonding and a little more rest would certainly be appreciated.

“I don’t really look forward to them but I know they’re coming,” Rivers said. “It’ll be a good one for us, tough teams, all tough in their buildings. The only thing I don’t like about this trip is the travel in games so quickly. Traveling to Portland and playing a game the next day is brutal.

“And then you fly backwards to Phoenix where you lose an hour and then you play LA in a one o’clock game. That’s a lot of games. We get our schedules before the season starts, before [public] gets them. We have a chance to change games. This is one trip we actually really tried to get changed. We just wanted another day. They said, ‘No.'”

Last season when the Celtics went out West in February to play the Kings, Lakers and Trail Blazers, they swept all three games before losing at Denver in the finale. Now, starting Thursday at the Rose Garden in Portland, they will play those three teams again with a trip to Phoenix thrown in as the second game of the four-game swing. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA, NBA West Coast road trip
A sleepless Kendrick Perkins wakes up some echoes at the Garden 01.25.11 at 11:22 pm ET
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Kendrick Perkins was the happiest person in the Garden on Tuesday night as he made a successful return to game action in 16 minutes of the Celtics‘ 112-95 romp over the Cavaliers. Perkins came in with 8:02 left in the first quarter to replace Semih Erden and played his first five minutes of the season.

Perkins – who had reconstructive ACL surgery on his right knee – scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds in his first game since injuring the knee in Game 6 of the NBA finals last June.

“I’ve got to play a few more games first. I surprised myself on a few plays today, just finishing, a couple rebounds, it felt real good,” he said. “I know I can do better, I could do more. I was mad at myself, I didn’t block any shots today. I was little winded and little off-key. I’ll get better.”

Perkins also admitted he was very tired after the game since he didn’t sleep on Monday night because he was so excited. He spent a good portion of the night in Waltham at the team’s practice facility.

“I didn’t sleep [Monday] night,” Perkins added. “I actually left the gym [Tuesday] morning about 1 o’clock and went to the gym [Monday] night at 10 so that’s probably why I’m tired right now.”

He certainly got the wake-up call when Doc Rivers called out “Perk!” after Semih Erden picked up two fouls in the first four minutes Tuesday.

‘€œI thought he was terrific,” Rivers said. “I thought as the game went on his timing got better. I thought defensively he was terrific from the start. Just communication, we were loud again defensively which was nice. You could hear him and Kevin [Garnett] barking orders defensively and that makes us really good.’€

Rivers is not expecting to throw Perk back into the starting lineup just because he felt good running up and down the court – and especially not against the likes of the Trail Blazers, Suns and Lakers.

‘€œIt’€™s the same, about the same amount of minutes,” Rivers said, referring to the 16 he played Tuesday. “He actually probably played one or two more minutes than we anticipated. He wanted to stay in. But I think that’€™ll be it for a while, between 16 and 18 minutes.’€

But the best compliment Rivers paid Perk was about his work ethic, the one trait that explains his remarkable return – like Wes Welker – just seven months after blowing out his ACL.

“That was awesome,” Rivers said of the 20-second standing ovation as Perkins made his way to the scorer’s table for the first time. “Listen, there’€™s people in the crowd that work hard every day, blue collar, and Perk identifies with all those people. If you are a guy that works 9-5, you’€™ve got to love Perk because that’€™s who he is.’€

And no, there were no references to feet by Perk in his post-game address to reporters. Well, at least he’s off on the right foot.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins
Welcome back, Kendrick Perkins 01.25.11 at 8:06 pm ET
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After missing the first 43 games of the season rehabbing a torn ACL in his right knee, Kendrick Perkins took the court for the first time with his Celtics teammates on Tuesday night as they played the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Perkins injured the knee in the first half of Game 6 of the 2010 NBA finals in Los Angeles as the Celtics – without their starting center and defensive, shot-blocking presence in the low post – lost Games 6 and 7, falling just short of a record-18th NBA title.

Three different players – Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal and Semih Erden – have started at center this season and while Perkins is coming off the bench, his return Tuesday certainly bolsters the depth at that position.

Shaq had started 17 straight and 33 overall before injuring his right hip on Friday against the Jazz. Erden has started the last two and now six overall. Jermaine O’Neal has started the remaining five times in the low post.

Doc Rivers would not commit to when Perk will eventually return to the starting lineup and until then, it’s likely to be Erden getting most of the minutes.

Perkins returned to game action with 8:02 left in the first quarter when Erden picked up two quick fouls. He lasted until 2:37 left, giving him five minutes, 25 seconds of continuous action. He collected a lay-up, missed a free throw, grabbed a rebound, dished out two assists and picked up a foul.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Jermaine O'Neal, Kendrick Perkins, NBA
What makes Ray Allen a 3-point shooting machine? Here’s a video clue 01.24.11 at 6:02 pm ET
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WALTHAM — There’s a reason Ray Allen is regarded as one of the best pure shooters in NBA history: Practice, and lots of it.

Allen’s regiment for shooting nearly matches the same for his conditioning. Allen will spend 45 minutes or longer following practice, just practicing catching and shooting from long range. He’ll usually shoot from both baselines, both wings and from the top of the key. (In the video, he is taking passes from Celtics assistant coach Tyronn Lue.)

Allen enters Tuesday night’s game vs. Cleveland needing just 24 3-pointers to pass Reggie Miller (2,560) for first on the all-time list.

He is on pace for 180 this season, which would match his total in 2008, his first season in Boston. Now in his 15th season, Allen has led the NBA in 3-pointers three times in his career, each time passing the 200-mark for a season.

Allen set the all-time single-season NBA record for 3’s in a season when he drained 269 of them in 2005-06 with Seattle, two more than Dennis Scott with the Magic 10 years earlier.

This year, Allen is fifth in both 3-pointers made at 93 through 43 games and 3-point percentage at .452.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller
Doc Rivers doesn’t want his team taking anyone for granted – not even Cleveland 01.24.11 at 2:31 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Saturday night’s loss to the lowly Washington Wizards was the latest bad loss in a season filled with plenty of wins, according to Doc Rivers. The Celtics coach was asked to explain how his team could lose to a team like the Wizards, which came in with just 13 wins.

“Obviously, if you look at the whole season, it’s been a terrific season so far,” Rivers said following Monday’s practice. “But in that terrific season, we’ve had some bad losses, too. And I tell our guys that. Some of the teams that have beaten us are under .500 and those are tough losses for a team that shouldn’t lose those games. Moral lessons learned and we’ve just got to keep teaching them.”

The Celtics have lost 10 games and one of those losses came to the Cavaliers, one night after the C’s beat Miami in the season-opener. Cleveland comes to TD Garden on Tuesday having lost 16 straight and Rivers said he’s not taking them lightly, and doesn’t expect his players to, either.

“Cleveland beat us once already this year,” Rivers said. “For us, I rarely worry about the opponent, I worry about ourselves. When we play right, I think it gives us an excellent chance to win games. And when we don’t anyone can beat us and that’s been proven this year.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Doc Rivers, NBA
Shaquille O’Neal might miss time on West Coast trip with sore right hip 01.24.11 at 2:03 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Doc Rivers said it’s likely that Shaquille O’Neal will miss his second straight game on Tuesday night with a sore right hip. But the Celtics coach added, after O’Neal missed practice on Monday, that there’s a chance the 38-year-old center could miss part of the upcoming four-game West Coast trip to Portland, Phoenix, Los Angeles (Lakers) and Sacramento.

“[O’Neal] probably will not play [Tuesday] and maybe [return] on the West Coast trip but he may miss that trip,” Rivers said Monday. “We don’t know yet.”

The team doesn’t want O’Neal to play in back-to-back games and they would also rather not have him on the long flight to Portland. One scenario for O’Neal is to have him join the team in Phoenix for Friday’s game against the Suns.

O’Neal and Marquis Daniels (family issue) both missed practice on Monday. The Celtics host the Cavaliers on Tuesday at TD Garden. Cleveland has lost 16 straight while the Celtics are playing their last home game until Feb. 4 against Dallas.

Read More: Cleveland Cavaliers, Doc Rivers, Marquis Daniels, NBA
No passing fancy: C’s determined to show NBA ‘what basketball is like’ 01.22.11 at 11:35 am ET
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In a stat sheet filled with superlatives, the thing that shone for the Celtics like a neon sign could be found several columns over and several rows deep.

The Celtics had 31 assists on 37 baskets in Friday’s 110-86 dismantling of the Jazz at TD Garden to improve to an Eastern Conference-best 33-9. The most impressive part of the performance was that it wasn’t all Rajon Rondo. Yes, the Celtics point guard led the way with 12 dimes, but Marquis Daniels had six, Ray Allen had four and Kevin Garnett had three. Of the 11 players who dressed, only Paul Pierce and Semih Erden failed to register at least one helper.

From the opening tip, the Celtics were determined to spread the wealth. Shaquille O’Neal drew people to him in the paint as he usually does then found Pierce to his left on a cut to the basket for a lay-up 35 seconds in. The Celtics were off to the races.

That would be the first of 31 times one Celtic teammate found another for a field goal.

“It’€™s just a product of our work,” Pierce said. “Everyday we come in here and that’€™s what we work on. We work on making the passes, running our offense. Believing in one another, not caring who gets the credit. When you have a selfless group like this, that’€™s what happens.’€

The Jazz did their best early to keep up but as a team built on strength and power, the Celtics seemed determined to take advantage of that. Let KG explain:

“Typical stuff. We know a lot of the offense goes through their bigs,” Garnett began. “They lay a lot of high post, lot of movement. Everybody knows Jerry Sloan‘€™s system, he has been here for 30 years, 25-plus years. They are a physical team. We knew that we had to come out and not only meet their bigs’€™ physicality, but to be aggressive ourselves.

“I thought for the most part, we moved the ball. The things we worked on in practice the other day definitely showed and good showing by us. I liked the way we were forceful, physical. I thought we were firm. Again we moved the ball, everything we worked on and everything we have practiced up until this point was exemplified tonight.’€

Utah Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan pushed every button he could but the Celtics were too much for his team, which came in tied for first with Oklahoma City in the Northwest Division.

‘€œWell they showed us what basketball is like tonight,” Sloan said. “They came out and they played a terrific game, they took us out of our offense, we couldn’€™t do anything of what we were trying to do. I thought they were terrific passing the ball, and they made us turn the ball over way too many times, 21 turnovers for 26 points, it’€™s tough to beat anybody when you have that happen.

“But give them credit for how they came out and got after us. They were good in their offense getting the kind of shots they wanted and the kind that they can make. Doc was pretty generous not keeping his players out there, letting us breathe a little bit I guess.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Celtics, jerry sloan, Kevin Garnett
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