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Much needed practice for Celtics 05.16.09 at 1:32 pm ET
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WALTHAM – The Boston Celtics have not had more than one day off since a two-day lapse in between Games 3 and 4 against the Chicago Bulls. So Doc Rivers was relieved when the Celtics got another 48-hour break before Game 7 against the Orlando Magic. He put the team to work on Saturday.

‘€œWhen you don’t practice you have slippage, and we’ve had a ton of slippage,’€ Rivers said after practice. ‘€œOur film today was all execution ‘€“ things that you should be doing but when you don’t practice and work on everything, you slip a little bit. I think in Game 5 and 6 we had done that.’€

Dissecting game film allowed the Celtics to see their mistakes, including 83 turnovers in the first six games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

‘€œExecution is always key, down to the littlest thing,’€ Rivers said. ‘€œWhen you mess up one play and give up a three and you lose by two, that play in the first quarter counts just as much as something in the fourth. And so you just have to try to execute every single time and have great focus.’€

One thing Rivers does not intend to adjust after Saturday’s practice is how they will stop Dwight Howard. The Celtics have had a solid plan since the first game and Rivers does not want to change it, just execute it more effectively.

‘€œNot a thing, really,’€ he said. ‘€œWe just have to hold our ground, dig a little more. A lot of those are offensive rebounds from dribble penetration. A lot of Howard’s baskets are not coming from just throwing the ball down to him in the post. It’s coming come guards and small forwards beating us off the dribble. Perk (Kendrick Perkins) does his job by going to help, and it frees up Howard’s ten offensive rebounds. Going into Game 1 we said the single most important thing for us was to stop dribble penetration. That has not changed at all.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Orlando Magic,
Did Howard learn to dominate? 05.15.09 at 1:05 pm ET
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One of the hottest topics in Game 6 was Dwight Howard’s ability to dominate. The Celtics had stopped him from doing it in the first five contests, but Howard was confident he could take over the paint. As he wrote on his blog, he thinks he accomplished his mission:

“I knew going into this game that if I wanted what I call touches that I had to crash the boards and dominate the game defensively and rebounding … I know that there are other ways to dominate a game than on scoring. My team needs me to be a beast in the lane for us to win. I tried to go after every ball last night and see if they could stop me.”

As for his decree of domination following Game 5, Howard has learned to prove it on the court, not at the podium:

“I guess if I learned anything the past few days after my comments in Game 5 it’€™s that I need to keep my mouth shut sometimes. Otis had me in his office and we talked about how there are better ways to deal with problems than I did. I’€™m still young, still learning and I’€™m going to make mistakes sometimes.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic,
Allen at a loss 05.15.09 at 1:33 am ET
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ORLANDO – The good news for Ray Allen is that, win or lose on Sunday night in Game 7, he has seen the last of Amway Arena until next season.

After his three games there this series, he’s probably hoping he never plays there again.

In the three road games, Allen went 11-for-37 from the field while missing ALL 17 of his three point attempts.

“I try to sit back and let the game develop and let it come to me,” Allen said in the wake of the Game 6 loss at Amway Arena. “And time after time, you just sit back and wait and it never really does. I just try to find a way to have an impact out there. Offensively, you keep fighting it, fighting it and try to get to the free throw line. For the most part, I do things to try and make other guys better like setting screens and occupy my guy.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Game 6, Game 7, Magic
Rondo: “I guess we just choked” 05.14.09 at 11:39 pm ET
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ORLANDO – Rajon Rondo didn’t mince words following a bitter 83-75 loss to the Orlando Magic that has forced Game 7 Sunday night at TD Banknorth Garden.

“We didn’t run out of gas,” Rondo said. “I guess we just choked. We turned the ball over and things did not go our way. We did not get stops. We turned the ball over and things did not go our way. We did not get stops. Turnovers led to a lot of points. We did not get to the free throw line like we wanted to. We only got there 13 times. We were not the more aggressive team tonight. They fought back and stuck with it. We did not get the punch out.”

Rondo pointed to the lack of execution in the second half as one big reason for blowing a 10-point third quarter lead.

“We did not get any rhythm at all and that caused some turnovers,” Rondo added. “They capitalized off our turnovers.”

The Celtics committed 22 turnovers, leading to 29 points. Orlando turned it over 10 times and Boston scored just three points off Magic miscues the whole night.

Read More: Celtics, Magic, Rajon Rondo,
Game 6: Final wrap 05.14.09 at 10:06 pm ET
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It’s all over at Amway Arena where the Celtics failed to score in the final three minutes and 46 seconds in an 83-75 loss to the Orlando Magic, setting up a Game 7 back in Boston Sunday night. The Celtics lost despite holding the Magic to 36 percent shooting, and despite Orlando shooting just 17-for-31 from the free throw line.

It was another difficult night for Ray Allen who was 2-for-11 from the field and missed a couple of wide-open looks. One game after calling out his coach for not getting enough touches, Dwight Howard was immense with 23 points and 22 rebounds.

Pierce to the rescue 05.14.09 at 9:34 pm ET
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ORLANDO – Call it a Pierce rally.

With his team down 72-67, the Celtics captain began a personal run, hitting a jumper at 6:00. Then another 30 seconds later and when he drained a long jumper from just inside the three-line at 4:48, the Celtics had recaptured the lead, 73-72. This time, it was his turn to fist pump the crowd, which he did.

Read More: Celtics, Magic, NBA playoffs,
tempers tempers 05.14.09 at 9:24 pm ET
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ORLANDO – You can sense the urgency picking up. The Celtics want to end the series and the Magic want a Game  7 on Sunday night in Boston.

No better example of the heightened intensity than the verbal sparring between Stephon Marbury and Hedo Turkoglu following a foul with 10:24 remaining in the fourth. Both were assessed technicals as each got in the face of the other.

Nothing more transpired as Magic coach Stan Van Gundy came racing onto the court to to protect his three-point gunner who has missed all three of his long-range shots.

At 8:38, the Magic took their first lead of game. 66-64, when Rashard Lewis drove to the basket for a bucket. But Boston reclaimed at 8:11 on another Rondo three as shot clock expires again.

The crowd is finally alive and expect them to be on their feet for the rest of the game as the Magic took a 70-67 lead wtih 6:52 remaining. Rashard Lewis is finally figuring out that no one can contain him if he gets to the basket as his driving layup with 6:34 left gave the Magic their biggest lead, 72-67.

Read More: Celtics Magic NBA Playoffs,
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