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UMass Media Relations 10.08.08 at 4:58 pm ET
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Sorry for the lack of posts, but a nice gentleman from the Mullins Center event staff just informed me that I, and a few of my media colleagues had to vacate our seats on press row because UMass awesomely sold them. Now, no one likes to hear the press complain about these things, but yeesh, this is incredibly bush league. Way to go UMass. Ok, we’ll get back to the game here in a minute.

Rotations 10.08.08 at 4:39 pm ET
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With 2:30 or so left in the first quarter, the Celtics have a completely new five on the floor. The lineup: Eddie House, Tony Allen, Darius Mles, Leon Powe and Baby Davis. Take it for what it’s worth, but that would seem to be the likely second unit for Doc Rivers this season.

Play was ragged on the offensive end, but Allen just blocked Wilie Green’s 3-pointer at the buzzer. That is exactly what the Celtics need from Allen this season.

First Impressions: Patrick O’Bryant 10.08.08 at 4:31 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo just pulled out his show the ball make the other guy look silly move to finish off a layup and a 16-4 run. The Celtics look ridiculously good right now. Of particular interest is Patrick O’Bryant who is in the starting lineup for Kendrick Perkins.

O’Bryant has generated some buzz during training camp, and at first glance he’s athletic and active, which is exactly what the C’s need coming off the bench. He’s an interesting kid. He was largely unknown before a strong NCAA Tournament run at Bradley put him on the radar screen. The Warriors took him in the lottery and then never played him, which happens a lot with players like that.

Before the game, Armond Hill was talking about how O’Bryant is working with Clifford Ray and getting a feel for how the Celtics want their big men to play. You get the sense that he’s got a long way to go, but he’s getting there. File O’Bryant under: intriguing.

Of Dunks and Frat Boys 10.08.08 at 4:14 pm ET
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Darius Miles, JR Giddens and Bill Walker put on a decent dunking exhibition during warmups. Got to give D-Miles top honors. There’s a decent crowd on hand tonight and they’re pretty jacked up, especially a vocal collection of backward-baseball hat wearing dudes. Brian Scalabrine gave them some dap.

Odd thing, the Sixers are actually the “home” team tonight but there’s not much Philly love at the Mullins Center. Since the Sixers are the home club, it fell to Louis Williams to say thanks to the crowd. He got a nice hand anyway.

Let the record show that the Celtics first basket as defending champs was drained by Kevin Garnett.

Live From Amherst 10.08.08 at 3:59 pm ET
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Greetings from scenic UMass. Who’s ready for some preseason hoops? The big news is that coach Doc Rivers is not with the team tonight. He is back in Orlando to attend a hearing regarding the high school eligibility of Adam Jones. The Rivers family recently became guardians of Jones who plays on the same AAU team as Doc’s son, Austin. Armond Hill (and Tom Thibodeau) is are running the team tonight in Doc’s absence, but don’t expect too much to change. The starters are expected to play about 24 minutes and expect everyone to get some run.

Sam Cassell is also not with the team tonight. He is in Baltimore attending to a family matter. It’s a good opportunity for Gabe Pruitt to show what he can do. The team seems high on Pruitt, the second-year guard from USC. I’ll be offering some thoughts and observations all night long, so check back early and often.

The Celtics Schedule: November 10.03.08 at 4:20 pm ET
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Welcome to the blog. I’ll be checking in with the C’s on Wednesday when they play the Sixers out at U-Mass, so to fill the gap, let’s take a look at the first month of the real schedule. After opening the NBA season in prime time against the Cavs on Oct. 26, the Celtics are scheduled to have six back-to-backs and four three-in-four game stretches. That’s arduous, but not impossible.

Interestingly, two of their three games with the Pistons are set for November (Nov. 9 at the Palace, and Nov. 20 at the Garden), and they don’t meet again until March. There are also two games with Toronto, one with Atlanta, and one with what should be a much-improved Philly team.

Two other games of note: On. Nov. 5, the C’s go to Oklahoma City to play the Clay Bennett’s. I’ll be curious to see how fans in other cities react to the (ugh) Thunder, after the franchise was shamelessly stolen from the good people of Seattle.

Years ago, in another lifetime, I spent a decent amount of time in the city of Olympia, home of Evergreen State College. A friend of mine was finishing up her degree in, I kid you not, touring with Phish. We stopped off in a grimy pizza shop decorated with posters of the late 70’s Sonic teams. You haven’t lived until you’ve enjoyed a slice under a life-size cutout of Jack Sikma.

The Sonics were Seattle. In the criminally underrated Gen-X classic, Singles there’s a memorable scene when Steve Dunne and Linda Stevens are getting it on for the first time. Linda dreamily asks Steve, “What are you thinking about right now? ” Steve, of course, is thinking about Xavier McDaniel who advises him on his next bedroom move. Now that’s having a connection with your team.

The other interesting matchup is a trip to the Target Center to play the Timberwolves on Nov. 21. You probably recall that Kevin Garnett was injured during last year’s trip to ‘Sota. Garnett received a hero’s welcome, but then, he wasn’t in uniform. It’s probably best for KG’s sanity to get this one out of the way early.

The November breakdown:

18 Games (counting two in October)

10 Home/8 Away

8 games against playoff teams including rematches with Atlanta, Cleveland, and Detroit

4 National Telecasts, two on ESPN, two on TNT

Longest Road Trip: Nov. 1-5 (Indiana, Houston, OKC)

Longest Homestand: Nov. 10-14 (Toronto, Atlanta, Denver)

Toughest Week: Nov. 9-15 (Road games at Detroit and Milwaukee on both ends of the homestand)

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