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Alston wanted to play for Celtics 02.05.10 at 12:44 am ET
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Earlier this season, there was speculation that the Celtics could make a move to acquire Rafer Alston after he was bought out by the Nets. The theory was that he could be a veteran backup to Rajon Rondo, the same role the Celtics had filled with Sam Cassell and Stephon Marbury the previous two seasons.

Turns out, it was actually the other way around. Rather than the Celtics going after Alston, Alston told his camp after the buyout that he would like to play in Boston. He is ‘€œpretty sure’€ the Celtics knew of his interest, but he never had a conversation with the organization.

‘€œI think it was my interest,’€ he told WEEI.com. ‘€œBut I don’€™t think Doc [Rivers] would have opposed it knowing that you can grab a guy that can give you minutes at backup point for this team, and who’€™s a willing passer and just a natural point guard. Then understand, I played for [assistant coach Tom] Thibodeau before in Houston. So I’€™d always had them on my mind before I came here.’€

The 33-year-old didn’€™t lose any time holding out for the C’€™s, though. The Heat scooped him up almost immediately after he cleared waivers in early January. Alston could not turn down the opportunity to start for a playoff contender, nor could he stress enough how happy he is on his new team: ‘€œI got blown away by coming here with the immediate option to play instead of waiting it out.’€

There is an element of surprise in Alston’€™s interest in the Celtics, though. He has been involved in some heated moments at TD Garden. Last season he slapped Eddie House in the head during the Eastern Conference semifinals as a member of the Magic. Just Wednesday night, he was issued a technical foul in the Celtics-Heat game.

But Alston says that has nothing to do with ill will. It’€™s about the competition.

‘€œI enjoy watching them on League Pass,’€ he admitted. ‘€œPlaying against them, I know it’€™s going to be a competitive game. We always chat at each other, but deep down I always care about each of the players in this league. So even if I did come, I hope they wouldn’€™t have taken the chatter back and forth that we all do against each other personally. Again, I have a great respect for the level of competition that they bring.’€

Alston also has a good understanding of the Celtics. He has faced them enough times over his career to see where he could have fit in. While he believes Rondo is more than qualified to run the floor himself ‘€” ‘€œHe’€™s an All-Star,’€ Alston said. ‘€œHe’€™s having a wonderful career.’€ ‘€” Alston thinks having a true point guard on the bench could have had its benefits, too.

‘€œNot back up but just complement, maybe get him [Rondo] some much-needed rest,’€ he explained. ‘€œSometimes there are nights that he’€™s out there giving 40 minutes, and get him some rest. And also, you’€™d help the second-unit guys. You can keep some guys in their natural positions. You can keep [Eddie] House in his natural position; you can keep [Marquis] Daniels in his natural position, guys that are flirting between playing shooting guard.

“That’€™s one thing that I learned in this game. If you can keep everyone at their natural and most comfortable position, them succeeding is a better percentage.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, eddie house, Miami Heat, Rafer Alston
Daniels feels like Forrest Gump 02.04.10 at 5:32 pm ET
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WALTHAM — When Marquis Daniels eventually returns to game action, he shouldn’t be that much out of breath.

That’s because the most versatile player on the roster has been put through a strict running program to make sure he’s in shape once his surgically repaired left thumb is ready for game action.

‘€œI think they did a good job of running me,” Daniels said. “I’€™ve turned into Forrest Gump a little bit. I’€™m glad to be back. It feels like the first day of school, very excited. I’€™m just ready to get back out there and play and be a part of the team and just feel more wanted out there. Hopefully, I can another good practice in and maybe [play] Sunday.’€

And while he wasn’t doing much running on Thursday in practice (see below), he was busy learning new plays that coach Doc Rivers has installed in his 27-game absence.

‘€œHe put a couple more sets in, but for the most part it’€™s pretty much the same thing. I just have to learn three positions, the point guard, the 2 and the 3. It’€™s coming along pretty simple, so hopefully I can pick them up by next practice.’€

That next practice will be Saturday, meaning it’s highly unlikely he plays ‘€” or is needed for that matter ‘€” against New Jersey on Friday. When he does, he wants to be sure his thumb is ready for a hit. If he can take a hit in practice, he believes he’ll be game-ready.

‘€œJust getting hit,” Daniels said Thursday. “Everything else is pretty much mental. I think my conditioning is OK. It’€™s not the best, but it’€™s the best it can be without playing basketball. Other than that, once I get that first hit on it, I think I’€™ll be OK.’€

Rivers spent nearly 30 minutes with Daniels and the second unit at the end of practice as he tries to help Daniels get back to speed in time for a possible weekend return to action.

After several days of shooting and basketball-related drills, Thursday marked Daniels’ first practice back with the team.

Daniels said the biggest hurdle for him will be taking a blow to the thumb, which was wrapped in white protective bandage for his first practice back.

‘€œIt wasn’€™t a great practice for him,” Rivers said. “We didn’€™t do a lot. We didn’€™t do really anything live, so it wasn’€™t a great practice for him. Just trying to get him some rhythm, which is good.’€

Rivers added that he doubts Daniels will be ready to play against New Jersey on Friday but more likely set for a Sunday return against Orlando.

Read More: Celtics, Marquis Daniels, NBA,
Pierce on injury: ‘It’s not the end of the world’ 02.04.10 at 4:22 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Paul Pierce spoke on Thursday for the first time since being diagnosed with a left mid-foot sprain that forced him to miss Wednesday night’s game against Miami and will likely keep him out of action against New Jersey on Friday night.

But the All-Star forward said he has reason to think he might be back by Sunday when the team takes on the Orlando Magic at TD Garden.

‘€œI can walk on it,” Pierce said. “It’€™s just a basic mid-foot sprain. It’€™s not the end of the world. I’€™ve had worse injuries, to tell you the truth. And the good thing about it is I didn’€™t have to go into a boot. I’€™m still walking around on it. It’€™s just about the pain going away. It’€™s a sprain but it’€™s not the worst sprain I’€™ve ever had.’€

Pierce said he definitely plans on taking part in the All-Star 3-point shooting contest and is hopeful for the All-Star Game itself on Feb. 14 at Cowboys Stadium.

[Click here to hear a humble Pierce explain why he’s planning on going ahead with the All-Star 3-point contest.]

‘€œThe foot is getting better every day,” Pierce added. “I’€™m just doing the necessary treatments to get back on the court as soon as possible. Going by how it feels. The good thing about it over the last couple of days it’€™s gotten better every day so I’€™m just taking it a day at a time until I know it’€™s right.

‘€œIt’€™s tough but I know at this point in my career and understanding my body, I know the most important thing for me right now is just to get healthy. As a younger player I might have pushed it too much and who knows if I might have made the injury even worse. Right now at this age I have to take care of my body and do what’€™s right and right now the right thing is to get rest.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 3-point shooting contest, Celtics, NBA, NBA All-Star Game
Bill Walker chosen for D-League dunk contest 02.04.10 at 2:46 pm ET
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Celtics forward Bill Walker was selected for the NBA D-League’s slam dunk competition on Feb. 12. The 22-year-old, who has shown an ability to produce highlight-reel dunks, has played in just seven NBA games this season while averaging 0.9 points per game. He has averaged 17.4 points per contest in nine D-League games for the Maine Red Claws.

To take part, he would have be assigned to the D-League team. It’s possible that the Celtics would leave that choice up to him. Walker has family in West Virginia and indicated Thursday he would prefer spending time with them over the break.

Joining Walker on the roster for the D-League’s skills competition is Red Claws teammate Trey Gilder, who is a member of the Memphis Grizzlies organization. Gilder will take part in the Shooting Stars competition.

Here is the press release detailing the skills competition:

NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2010 ‘€“ The NBA Development League Dream Factory Friday Night presented by Haier, an innovative skills competition modeled after the popular NBA All-Star Saturday Night, returns for the third consecutive year to Center Court at NBA Jam Session presented by adidas on Friday, Feb. 12, at 10:00 p.m. ET, and will stream live on NBA.com from 10-11p.m. ET. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Walker, dunk contest, Maine Red Claws, trey gilder
Eddie House on D&H: Rondo, Pierce and 3’s 02.04.10 at 1:46 pm ET
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Celtics guard Eddie House joined the guys on Dale & Holley to talk about the All-Star 3-point contest, the Celtics’ recent struggles and Rajon Rondo’s maturity.

I’€™m hoping you could give us some news ‘€” that you’€™re going to take part in the 3-point contest?

No, I haven’€™t got an invite. I think Paul’€™s actually going to be the one representing the Celtics in the contest, so I hope all’€™s well with that and I hope he gets a win.

You should have been in last year, in your hometown ‘€” could you imagine a final in Phoenix between you and Mike Bibby?

That would have been a lot of fun, but at the end of the day, that’€™s not my main goal, to get in the 3-point contest. Mine is to make sure my 3-point percentage is steadily on the way up, and I’€™m helping the team get wins ‘€” that’€™s what it’€™s about. My job is to do whatever I can to get wins and get a few loose rebounds or make the next pass so somebody else can make the wide open shot, or if it’€™s me to take the shot or hit a 3 or 2, whatever I have to do to get a win, that’€™s what my focus is. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: eddie house, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo,
Ray to Bulls rumor swirls again 02.04.10 at 12:52 pm ET
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The Chicago Sun-Times put out the rumor that the Bulls and Celtics could get together on a deal that would send Ray Allen to Chicago for a package that includes Kirk Hinrich, Tyrus Thomas and Jerome James. That’s a deal that has been speculated about before, but it doesn’t seem like it would be a good match for the Celtics.

Thomas and James are both in the final years of their contracts. While James is essentially a non-factor, Thomas does have intriguing ability, but throughout his career he has been more potential than production. Hinrich is a player who has received lots of interest around the league because of his abilities and also because the Bulls would like to move his contract, which has two years left after this one, to create more cap space in the summer.

It has long been speculated that the Bulls will make a run at Chicago native Dwyane Wade. If they can clear Hinrich’s contract, they could have the space to go after two prime free agents.

Hinrich could help the Celtics, certainly. He is a solid playmaker and a good defender who can guard multiple positions. He is having a down shooting season, however, and would not be a viable replacement for Allen in that regard. The Celtics could get creative and try to work out a deal for Hinrich alone involving a combination of their other expiring contracts — Brian Scalabrine, Tony Allen, Eddie House, etc.–but probably not at the cost of Allen.

Doc Rivers had some interesting comments about this Thursday on his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan (click here for a full transcript).

“The thing that’€™s happening right now is everybody’€™s trying to give away their [expiring contracts] to those same teams and those same teams are trying to get a bargain,” Rivers said. “Eventually the trade stuff will end up, I don’€™t think with us, but around the league everybody’€™s trying to take advantage of everybody.”

In other words, the trade market has not yet fully taken shape. Teams are still in the feeling-out process. In regards to Allen, both Rivers and Danny Ainge have stated the team’s position, which is: They will listen to offers for Allen, but it will have to be a great deal for the Celtics for them to pull the trigger.

While the Hinrich rumor makes some sense in the abstract, it doesn’t appear to satisfy those requirements for the Celtics.

Read More: Kirk Hinrich, Ray Allen, Trade rumors,
Rivers on D&C: ‘I’ll take us against anybody’ 02.04.10 at 10:38 am ET
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Doc Rivers joined the guys on Dennis & Callahan to talk about Rajon Rondo’s comments, whether he’ll ask Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to sit out the All-Star Game and which team he likes in the Super Bowl.

Compared to Christmas Day when you beat Orlando and now when you’re struggling, give us an overview of where you are?

We didn’t play well in January. We had some pretty special circumstances, and so I don’t take my eye off of that. You lose Paul Pierce going out west and you lose Kevin Garnett out west, it’s tough to win. So I keep that in perspective. I also understand that we’ve lost two games not playing great basketball to two of the best teams in the league by one final shot. So, the way I look at it, I like our team a lot. And, if we can get healthy, which I think we will at some point, I’ll take us against anybody.

Can you project or assume that this team will get healthy?

It is. It’s not like our injuries, minus Kevin … our injuries could happen to anybody playing basketball. [Nineteen-year-old] Brandon Jennings, if someone falls on his ankle the way someone fell on Paul Pierce’s ankle, he’s going to be injured. That’s just part of the game. That has nothing to do with Paul Pierce’s age. That has to do with Paul Pierce getting in the wrong spot at the wrong time. You know, it happens. But I do think we will get healthy and I think we’ll be OK.

What do you make of Rajon Rondo’s assertion that there are too many agendas creeping in?

I think Rondo was repeating, and I said it [Wednesday], basically what I told the team about three weeks ago. It was almost exactly my speech to the team. The agendas that we were talking about was more focus agendas. We are heading into the All-Star break, guys are focused on making the All-Star team. Guys are focused on going on the break, it’s just too much stuff. Not enough thought about basketball.

Did it hurt you on the floor?

I think it bothers every team. I was making a statement that this is the dog days. It happens to every team. You look at all the team during that stretch, you struggle a little bit. When we were going through that, with the injuries that were happening at the same time, my point was we need better focus to get through this. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: D & C, Doc Rivers,
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