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Doc: Suspend the ‘agitator’ too 04.19.10 at 4:56 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Doc Rivers said he understood the NBA’s decision to suspend Kevin Garnett for Game 2 of the Celtics playoff series with Miami, but he also offered another solution: suspend the agitator, in this case Miami’s Quentin Richardson.

Garnett was suspended for throwing an elbow at Richardson late in Game 1 after Paul Pierce went down to the ground near Miami’s bench. After the game Garnett said, “Q was talking nonsense.” Richardson didn’t back down after the game either, saying, in effect, that Pierce was faking an injury and that both Pierce and Garnett were “actresses.”

Pierce and Richardson have had dust-ups before although no one seems to know what’s at the root cause of their dispute.

“We all kind of knew [Garnett would be suspended],” Rivers said after practice Monday.  “The only statement I’ll make on the whole thing is I accept Kevin being suspended. I think if you’re going to go to the letter of law you kind of knew how it was going to go, but I think if you really want to stop fights, you’ve got to suspend the agitators too. Right now the agitator gets fined and the retaliator gets suspended in all these instances. Until they stop the agitator and suspend them both you’re going to continue to have these things. It only benefits the agitator. I think this stuff in the playoffs will continue to happen until the league says, you know what, we’re going to suspend both of you. If we are really trying to clean up this stuff, I think that’s the right way to do it.”

For his part Garnett said he accepted the decision, but that he wanted it to be known that he support his teammates.

“Obviously I want all this to be over with, but the message here whoever it is, my teammates, Doc Rivers, anyone in this organization, I want them to know that I got their backs,” Garnett said. “That’s what [the NBA] had to do to set a tone and I respect that.”

Asked about Richardson’s role as an agitator, Garnett said, “You know how that goes, the person who instigates something is not the one that usually gets the penalty, but it’s over.”

Rivers defended Garnett’s actions, saying it was an emotional moment.

“It’s easy for me in a suit and tie to say walk away,” Rivers said. “It’s an emotional game. It’s 47 minutes into the game, you’re exhausted, you’re emotional, your best player [Paul Pierce] is lying on the floor, hurt you think, and then all this stuff happens. Whether Q said it, it doesn’t matter, it is emotional. You can remind them a thousand times, you really can. Having said that if you’re in scrum and somebody’s grabbing you to say just walk away, it’s tough to do. We have to move on.”

“It’s hard,” Rivers continued, “because you don’t want to lose Kevin Garnett, period. He is our most important player. But he’s not going to be there and there’s nothing I can do about it now. In Q’s defense, I don’t think he wanted it to happen. It happens.”

Garnett can’t be in the Garden for Game 2 and he said he would probably be at Danny Ainge’s house.

“Very difficult,” Garnett said. “Danny Ainge is planning on having me over his house to watch the game. It will be an experience. Danny talks through the whole damn game.”

Garnett also had one last dig at Chicago’s Joakim Noah, who called Garnett a “dirty player.”

“Tell Joakim Noah to keep it in Cleveland and worry about Shaq,” Garnett said as he was leaving the practice court.

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Time to call on Big Baby 04.18.10 at 8:06 pm ET
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Now that the NBA has decided to suspend Kevin Garnett for Game 2 of the Celtics series with the Heat, Doc Rivers has a decision to make. If form holds from this season, Rasheed Wallace will get the call to start for Garnett.

Wallace has started every game that Garnett has missed due to injury or coach-ordered rest, but now is not the time to play it safe. Rivers should start Glen Davis instead.

Davis overcame a shaky first half in Game 1 to put together a solid eight point, eight rebound effort with almost all of that production coming in a decisive second-half Celtic run. Wallace didn’t play poorly, but Davis was a difference-maker. Starting Davis would be a reward for his inspired play and also better utilize Wallace’s versatility to play both the four and five spots.

Davis filled in admirably for Garnett during last year’s playoff run, and might be a better match up for Miami’s Michael Beasley, a young, athletic forward. Additionally Shelden Williams, who has played well when given an opportunity, should also see some playing time.

The Celtics managed to win Game 1 despite playing uninspired basketball for 30 minutes Saturday night. It wasn’t until Tony Allen and Davis came in off the bench that the momentum changed as the Celtics erased a 14-point deficit.

“Tony and Baby changed the game defensively for us,” Rivers said after the game. “Baby came in and was sensational and I thought Tony was great.”

Rivers has already gone against the grain once in this series. Midway through the fourth quarter when he brought Paul Pierce back into the game, he had Pierce replace Ray Allen and elected to let Tony Allen stay on the court. Rivers would do well to continue rewarding the players who play with energy in this series by starting Davis in Game 2.

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Garnett suspended for Game 2 04.18.10 at 7:50 pm ET
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The NBA has suspended Kevin Garnett for Game 2 of the Celtics playoff series with Miami Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Garnett was involved in an altercation with Miami’s Quentin Richardson near the Heat bench with 40 seconds remaining in Game 1 when he threw an elbow at Richardson’s jaw. Garnett received two technical fouls and was ejected. Richardson was also fined $25,000 by the league.

After the game, Richardson sounded off on Garnett and Paul Pierce, saying, “I don’t like them and they know it.” Richardson and Pierce have a history of bad blood.

On Sunday, Garnett called Richardson’s comments, “classless,” and said he had no regrets for how he handled the incident.

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Defending D Wade 04.16.10 at 5:25 pm ET
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WALTHAM – In three games against the Celtics this season, Dwyane Wade scored 101 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and dished out 26 assists. The Celtics won all three games.

However, if they are going win four over the next two weeks they know they have to do a better job of defending Wade.

“We’ve won the games but he’s been way too successful,” Doc Rivers said. “If he’s that successful in this playoff series it’s going to be a tough series. It’s not that he’s scoring 33.7, it’s that he’s shot over 50 percent. It’s that he shot 32 free throws. He’d had low turnovers and he’s had high assists. Other than that, I don’t know what else you want him to do. If he does all that then it will be one tough series for us.”

This is nothing new for the Celtics. Their entire scheme against the Magic, for example, is predicated on matching up Kendrick Perkins on Dwight Howard without help. If he scores 50 points that’s fine with the Celtics, provided the other Magic players don’t go off on their own.

But Wade is a different task because everything revolves around him.

“It’s a tough matchup,” Rivers said. “If it was easy he wouldn’t be Dwyane Wade. I think he’s a great offensive player, but what he’s really improved on is getting everyone else involved, as well.  That’s the tough part. He’s a great ballhandling guard, he’s strong and he can pass.”

The Celtics said all the usual things about making Wade work harder for his shots, but it seems clear that they intend to devote a team-wide effort to try to neutralize him. That, and a healthy dose of Tony Allen.

“Try to contain him, just keep him off the foul line,” Tony Allen said. “If you can do that and have your help-side bigs and your help-side guards alert when he’s driving, I think it will be more of a team concept than one-on-one.”

Ray Allen is likely to start the game on Wade, and while it would be nice if he returned the favor and spent his time on the defensive end chasing Ray Allen around the numerous picks the Celtics set for him, that probably won’t be the case.

“If [Wade] guards [Rajon] Rondo, we probably anticipate that he will, then you still have to chase Rondo,” Rivers said. “Even though you use guys on Rondo so you can be the rover, that’s still work.”

Interestingly, Rondo will be matched up with Carlos Arroyo and Mario Chalmers who are more perimeter-oriented and thus he can help try to wreak havoc with his weakside ball-hawking skills, provided he can also recover in time to disrupt the shooters. “I think Rondo is the key to this series,” Kendrick Perkins said.

There will also be an onus on the big men, who will be tasked with stepping into the driving lanes when Wade goes to the basket.

“You have to show team defense first,” Perkins said. “Obviously he’s going to make plays. You can’t worry about if he’s making tough shots, make him work and all that, but at the same time it’s all about your pride.”

However they defend him, they know it won’t be easy.

“He’s quick, he’s aggressive and he’s a big guard,” Tony Allen said. “Therefore, that makes him Dwyane Wade.”

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Sheed: I got to be me 04.16.10 at 4:52 pm ET
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WALTHAM – As the playoffs dawn, Rasheed Wallace finds himself in a familiar position: maligned.

He has been the subject of negative columns and painted as a divisive figure in the Celtics locker room, but Wallace is not backing down.

“I’m going to be me,” he said. “Half the people like me and half the people don’t. I’m not out here to please the fans or whatever, I’m here to win a title. Some of the fans are mad at me, some of the fans cheer for me, I can’t worry about that. I’m going to go out there and do what I’ve got to do.”

Statistically, Wallace had the worst season of his career. He shot just 28 percent from 3-point range and his rebounding totals left much to be desired. He acknowledged that when he was asked how he felt about his season.

“So-so, nothing to write home about,” he said. “But I’m not worried about it. It was a down season coming into a new offense, so I’m not worried about it. I’m not making no excuses on how I shot the ball. I know I had a bad year shooting, but it’s part of it.”

But that doesn’t mean he will change to appease his critics.

“I’ve been in this game too long to play my game depending on what the fans say,” he said. “When I first got to Portland they didn’t like me. When I first got to Detroit, they didn’t like me. When I first got here they didn’t like me. It’s nothing new. I can’t focus my game on what the fans think.”

Still, Wallace expressed confidence that he and the Celtics will be ready to play when the playoffs start Saturday night.

“I know how we’ll play,” Wallace said. “Bottom line. My confidence level is high. Our confidence level is real high right now. I know how we’ll come out here and play.”

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Flu bug bites Rondo 04.16.10 at 4:43 pm ET
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WALTHAM – When the curtain lifted on the Celtics practice sessions yesterday there was one player missing. Rajon Rondo is the latest victim of the flu that has swept through the team recently. He took part in film session and a walkthrough and then the team sent him home.

Doc Rivers said that he expects Rondo will play, but he added, “I don’t know how he’s going to feel.”

Rivers said he had been throwing up and was sent to the hospital for IV work.

Rondo is just the latest Celtic to become ill. Tony Allen missed the last two games with the flu and Glen Davis was also sick earlier in the week.

Allen, who will have a big hand in defending Dwyane Wade, said he is feeling better.

“I feel good today,” he said. “I was a little winded, but I expected that. Tomorrow should be a little better.”

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Celtics schedule vs. Heat 04.15.10 at 10:21 am ET
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The Celtics will open their first round series with the Heat on Saturday night at TD Garden. Doc Rivers was hoping for a Sunday start, but he got a bit of a break with their first round in that they will have two days off in between Games 2 and 3. After that it will be every other day.

The full schedule:

Game 1: Miami at Boston, April 17, 8 p.m.

Game 2: Miami at Boston, April 20, 8 p.m.

Game 3: Boston at Miami, April 23, 7 p.m.

Game 4: Boston at Miami, April 25, 1 p.m.

Game 5: Miami at Boston, April 27 Time TBD (if necessary)

Game 6: Boston at Miami, April 29, TBD (if necessary)

Game 7: Miami at Boston, May 1 TBD (if necessary)

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