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Mr. Smith comes back to Boston 01.26.10 at 2:24 am ET
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BOSTON — For all the attention paid to the return of Marcus Camby to town as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, it’s easy to forget another former New England college star who came back on Monday night at TD Garden.

Craig Smith scored 2,349 points in his collegiate career at Boston College (2002-06), placing him second on the school’s career scoring list, trailing only Troy Bell.

In his senior season, he averaged 17.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.8 blocked shots as the Eagles reached the Sweet 16. There, they lost a heartbreaker to Villanova at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. He also attended Worcester Academy for a year as a post-graduate student before college.

When the time arrived to turn pro following his four years at BC, he was regarded as one of the most promising young power forwards in the draft. Yes, he was just 6-7 but he could rebound and proved he had a scorer’s mentality in college. Those factors were enough for the Timberwolves to take him in the second round (36th overall) in the 2006 NBA draft.

After two seasons in Minny, he was dealt this past summer, along with Sebastian Telfair and Mark Madsen to the Clippers in exchange for Quentin Richardson.

On Monday night, Smith scored 13 points in 21 minutes for the Clippers in a 95-89 loss to the Celtics.

‘€œCraig’€™s been giving us a lot of good work off the bench the last couple of weeks, and you know when we’€™re scoring down there, we’€™ve been going to him and he’€™s been able to deliver for us and we had a good mix,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “Like I said, hey, we had good inside opportunities, we got to the free throw line some, and we didn’€™t convert on some fast break opportunities and some wide open shots and that was the big difference for us.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Clippers, Craig Smith, NBA
About those wet spots 01.25.10 at 11:19 pm ET
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Before the game even started, the Clippers were not happy with the condition of the floor at TD Garden Monday night. After warmups, the players told coach Mike Dunleavy of their concern. The floor was slippery in spots, particularly under the basket in front of the Clippers bench.

“They brought the captains in,” Marcus Camby said. “They brought me, Paul [Pierce] and Kevin [Garnett] and Doc [Rivers] and Mike. It was very slippery out there. I thought it was just one area, but it was all over the floor. I think it was the ice, the humidity in the gym that combined to [cause it].”

The game was delayed for several minutes in the first quarter while the arena crew feverishly mopped the floor. The crew continued its work during timeouts and when the action was on the other end of the floor. According to Rivers, the game was close to being called at one point.

“You know, [referee] Joey [Crawford] was terrific,” Rivers said. “Mike and I came together. We, at that point, were very close. The next guy, if anybody slipped in the next two minutes, the game was over. And Joey was going to make that call. Mike said the same thing. We said almost simultaneously, ‘We can’t afford a guy to get injured on this floor.’ ”

(Click here to listen to Doc Rivers’ complete analysis of the wet floor.)

Camby was not happy with the way the situation was handled.

“Oh my goodness,” Camby said. “We were all slipping. It seemed like every Clipper was slipping, then when Ray Allen slips, they want to bring it in and address the issue. So that’€™s what we were chirping about. It was kind of dangerous out there for both teams.”

“Terrible,” was how Rasheed Wallace summed it up. “Terrible. I think it was condensation from it being a little warm outside and it was warm in the building with it still being winter. It made it a little slick out there. Had to play cautiously the whole game. You can’t put them brakes on when you want to because you don’t know if you’re going to slide. Saw a couple of guys slipping out there like Peggy Fleming. It’s part of it when you play in arenas that have ice under the floor.”

Read More: Ice, Peggy Fleming,
Fast Break: Celtics-Clippers 01.25.10 at 10:10 pm ET
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This was the Celtics team we have grown accustomed to watching over the last few seasons. The passing was crisp, the open man was found and the Celtics played from the inside out. It’s been several weeks since we’ve seen that Celtics team on a regular basis and they picked a perfect time to rediscover the formula.

The result was loads of wide-open looks and four starters scoring in double figures (Kendrick Perkins had nine points) in a 95-89 win over the Clippers Monday night at TD Garden. The Celtics also clamped down defensively, holding the Clippers to just 15 points in the third quarter. It was their second-straight win, their first winning streak since Jan. 6.

It wasn’t all peaches and cream, to quote a favorite Kevin Garnett saying. They played uninspired basketball in the first 12 minutes, turning the ball over six times and allowing four offensive rebounds.

The Celtics also had trouble putting the Clips away in the fourth quarter, but give Los Angeles’ other team credit: They came to play. Former Boston College star Craig Smith was a beast in the fourth quarter, scoring all 13 of his points in the final 12 minutes, but none down the stretch after Garnett picked him up.

Player of the Game: If Rajon Rondo wanted to make one last good impression before the All-Star teams are announced he certainly stated his case well with 16 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists. Like the rest of his teammates Rondo started slowly, but he picked his game up early in the second quarter. It was one of his finest performances in weeks.

Turning Point: With the Celtics trailing by nine points early in the second quarter Doc Rivers subbed out his second team for the starters. That was when Ray Allen got hot, scoring 10 quick points and knocking down a pair of 3-pointers. The Celtics didn’t retake the lead until early in the second half, but that’s when they began to build momentum

* Kevin Garnett looked strong taking the ball to the basket on a couple of occasions. On one drive he made former Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Camby look foolish with a pump fake before jamming over a defenseless Clipper.

* There was a lot of talk about Rondo’s defense before the game, but none of it seemed to bother him before, and during the game. Rondo spent most of the pregame watching video of Baron Davis and talking strategy with assistant coach Armond Hill. He put that into practice keeping Davis in check, holding him to 5-for-13 shooting.

* Things got heated late in the game with Garnett going strong with Smith, Ricky Davis jawing with Ray Allen and Kendrick Perkins and Baron Davis also going at it.

* Speaking of Ray Allen, he scored 10 of his 14 points during a key stretch of the second quarter. He finished with a pedestrian 5-for-14 shooting line, but his hot streak was a big reason the Celtics were able to get back in the game.

* Perkins had a huge rebounding night with 15 boards. Paul Pierce led the scoring with 22 points and was a perfect 11-for-11 from the line.

Read More: Celtics, Clippers, Fast Break,
Doc on Davis: ‘He’s not a bad kid’ 01.25.10 at 8:59 pm ET
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BOSTON — As WEEI.com’s Jessica Camerato reported, Glen Davis is trying to shake the “Big Baby” moniker that Shaquille O’Neal, among others, bestowed upon him at Louisiana State.

Actually, he’s dropping it altogether for “Uno Uno.”

While we wait to see how that goes over, one of the people who often used the “Big Baby” reference ‘€” Celtics coach Doc Rivers ‘€” believes there’s something more important to note about his biggest power forward off the bench.

“He’s young, that’s the one thing I keep saying about him,” Rivers said. “He has to grow up in front of a lot of people where most people his age don’t. He’s not a bad kid. We just have to give him time. Some you don’t, some you do and he’s one you do.

“The character and the ‘He’s not a bad kid’ part of it is the savior of it all.”

Rivers has shown support for Davis several several times this season. Whether it was the player’s fracas in an SUV the weekend before the season-opener in Cleveland that resulted in a broken thumb or the recent obscenity-laced tirade directed at a fan in Detroit that left Davis $25,000 lighter, Rivers has been there for his player.

Monday, as Davis searched for a new identity to go with his new image and moniker, Rivers was there for him again.

“I think we can all learn from his mistakes,” Rivers said. “I hope we can all learn from our mistakes and I think he can as well. Usually, his mistakes come from emotional [decisions]. Usually, his mistakes are nothing calculated.”

(Listen to Rivers explain his stance on Davis by clicking here.)

Read More: Big Baby, Celtics, Doc Rivers, Glen Davis
Doc: ‘Slight’ chance Daniels returns before break 01.25.10 at 7:21 pm ET
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BOSTON — Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before Monday’s game that Marquis Daniels could return before the All-Star break.

Monday was the 22nd straight game that Daniels missed following surgery on his left thumb. Initially, the Celtics didn’t anticipate his return until after the All-Star break, but if a checkup goes well on Tuesday, some basketball activities could be in the offing followed by practice, and then, games.

“We’ll find out more [Tuesday] about Marquis,” Rivers said. “We’re hoping first game after the All-Star break.

“There’s a slight chance he may be able to play by the New Orleans game [Feb. 10], which would be a huge benefit for him because he gets one game in before which helps him once we come out of break. We’re out of break on the West Coast, so we want to come out of break playing well.”

Meanwhile, Brian Scalabrine, who missed his second game on Monday with a separated right shoulder, is expected to miss a week.

He also will be re-evaluated on Tuesday.

Read More: Celtics, Marquis Daniels, NBA,
No more ‘Big Baby’ 01.25.10 at 7:14 pm ET
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It took a broken thumb and a $25,000 fine to convince Glen Davis to shed the identity he carried into the NBA.

But now, Davis wants a new nickname. He wants to leave Big Baby behind.

‘€œI’€™m not a Big Baby anymore,’€ he said. ‘€œ I’€™m not feeling that anymore. You got that? No more Big Baby.’€

So what does he have in mind?

‘€œCall me ‘€˜Uno Uno!’€™ Yeah, I like that,’€ he exclaimed after a reporter suggested the moniker. ‘€œ’€˜Uno Uno,’€™ that’€™s my new name.’€

Big Baby represents a past from which Davis wants to move on. It’€™s a past that includes fighting in a car during the preseason and yelling obscenities at a fan just last week. He appreciates the opportunities he has been given by the Celtics organization and never wants to revert back to the player who had to be granted second ‘€“ and third ‘€“ chances.

‘€œBeing Big Baby, I just realized throughout my life I’€™ve been called Big Baby, and throughout my life I’€™ve been going through different changes. So really, I’€™m not Big Baby,’€ he explained. ‘€œYou know, it’€™s like I’€™m in a cocoon and now I’€™m coming out as a different player and as a different person also. Basically just the fact that the new person is growth, so you want to shed that Big Baby off. You want to be perceived as something else, not the past.’€

To Rivers, Davis’€™ personality has nothing to do with the name he goes by. Regardless of whether or not he is Big Baby or Uno Uno, he is still a young player who is learning his way in the league. Davis asked that fans believe he is not a bad person or a troublemaker, and Rivers echoed his request.

‘€œHe’€™s young, that’€™s the one thing I keep saying about him,’€ he said. ‘€œHe has to grow up in front of a lot of people where most people his age don’€™t. He’€™s not a bad kid. We just have to give him time. Some you don’€™t, some you do and he’€™s one you do.’€

So while Davis figures out who he is and who he is going to become in the NBA, he is turning to his veteran teammates for advice along the way.

‘€œI look up to a lot of these players on this team and Ray Allen gave me some great advice,’€ he said. ‘€œThe 26-year-old man has to think for the 36-year-old man. The 36-year-old man has to think for the 46-year-old man. So every decision I make is more than just today.’€

Read More: Big Baby, Celtics, Glen Davis, NBA
Marcus Camby all grown up 01.25.10 at 10:41 am ET
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WALTHAM — Marcus Camby has come a long way from his days at the University of Massachusetts.

He is no longer just a lanky, talented big man in the middle. He is widely regarded as one of  the best defensive post players in the league.

Camby led the John Calipari-coached Minutemen to the 1996 Final Four and was the second overall pick in the first round by the Toronto Raptors. And yes, he showed signs of dominating his Atlantic-10 competition. And yes, he set the career record with 43 blocked shots in 11 NCAA tourney games.

But then trouble hit. Following his junior season, the Hartford native was tied to two sports agents, a scandal that eventually led to the NCAA stripping UMass of its Final Four appearance in its record books. He had no future left at UMass and declared for the NBA draft as a junior.

After two seasons in Toronto, he led the Knicks to the NBA Finals against the Spurs in 1999. But that was his highlight as he played four seasons in New York before being dealt to Denver. He spent six seasons in the Rockies, earning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award in 2007. Another trade in the summer of 2008 landed him in Los Angeles, where he’s now in his second season with the Clippers.

Camby, who turns 36 on March 22, is one of the best defenders in the best basketball league in the world. A close look at the numbers shows that.

He is third in the NBA in the rebounding, grabbing 12.0 boards per contest. He has been in double figures in eight of 11 games this month, including 20 or more rebounds twice.

In a Jan. 20 win over the Bulls, Camby pulled down 25 rebounds. Exactly a week earlier, he had 20 rebounds in a loss at Memphis.

Then on Sunday, in a win over the Wizards in Washington, Camby had 19 rebounds while showing he is also one of the best shot-blockers in the game (see below).

But listen to Doc Rivers and he’ll tell you that Camby also can get it done on the offensive side.

“We say he’s overlooked, but it was three years ago, he was Defensive Player of the Year,” Rivers said. “So, he’s not that overlooked. Where I think people sleep on him is he is a far better offensive player than you think because he can make that little elbow jump shot.”

The Celtics won’t be overlooking No. 23 when he steps on the “Red Auerbach Parquet” at TD Garden.

Read More: Celtics, Clippers, Marcus Camby, NBA
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