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Van Gundy: Vermont to Lowell to the NBA 05.06.09 at 7:47 pm ET
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Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy has been criticized by some players for being too uptight on the bench during NBA.

He was anything but just 90 minutes before Game 2 of his team’s Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Celtics on Wednesday night at TD Banknorth Garden.

Van Gundy reflected on his first head coaching job, a Division 3 gig with Castleton State in Vermont, just two years out of the University of Vermont. He would move onto UMass-Lowell, where he coached for four years, and had the privilege of mentoring Leo Parent, the Division 2 player of the year in 1988.

“Leo Parent was the best Division 2 player in the nation,” Van Gundy said. “Even though it was tough at times, he could carry a team for his level, he was maybe the best player I’ve ever coach relative to the level he was playing on. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Leo Parent, Magic, UMass-Lowell
Game 2 pregame: Rajon Rondo 05.06.09 at 7:39 pm ET
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What was Rajon Rondo’s reaction to the news that he had been named to the NBA’s All Defensive Team Second Team? A shrug, basically. “I take pride in my defense,” he said. “It’s nice to be recognized.” It was his only individual goal, Rondo said, but still it didn’t really faze him, as almost nothing does. He did, however, advocate for Kendrick Perkins who did not get a spot on either the first or second team, despite receiving a first place vote. “I thought Perk should have been on one of those teams,” Rondo said.

A couple of other highlights from Rondo:

On gaining weight: He said that he weighs 179.2 pounds, up from 163 when he entered the league, which he attributes to growing up, working out with trainer Bryan Doo and eating healthy. Rondo said he spent more time in the weight room last summer than he has in the past. Rondo said that the trainers have told him he’s quicker than he was last year, but he doesn’t really believe it.

On the quickest players in the league: “Besides myself?” he asked. “Derrick Rose, T.J. Ford and Tony Parker. Oh, Devin Harris. He might be the quickest with the ball.”

On the place he got booed the most in college: “Kentucky.” Wait, you mean where you played in college? “Yup. Tough crowd. I guess I just played bad.”

On his game: “I haven’t shot the ball well. I’m still getting rebounds, still getting assists. I’m just missing shots. They’re the same shots I took in the first five games.”

Read More: Game 2, Rajon Rondo,
Lee warming up, not expected to play 05.06.09 at 6:02 pm ET
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Wearing a face mask to guard his fractured sinus, Magic guard Courtney Lee was shooting around prior to Game 2. It had been uncertain if Lee would travel to Boston. He is not expected to play on Wednesday night.

Garnett, Rondo receive All-Defensive honors 05.06.09 at 2:22 pm ET
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Celtics forward Kevin Garnett was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for the 2008-09 season. The former Defensive Player of the Year received 35 votes (13 First Team).

Rajon Rondo was named to the All-Defensive Second Team with 23 votes (4 First Team). Kendrick Perkins received four votes, including one First Team bid. Dwight Howard was the leading vote-getter.

2008-09 NBA ALL-DEFENSIVE FIRST TEAM

Dwight Howard, Orlando
Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
LeBron James, Cleveland
Chris Paul, New Orleans
Kevin Garnett, Boston

2008-09 NBA ALL-DEFENSIVE SECOND TEAM

Tim Duncan, San Antonio
Dwyane Wade, Miami
Rajon Rondo, Boston
Shane Battier, Houston
Ron Artest, Houston

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo,
Pierce: Two matches for Jasmina 05.06.09 at 11:36 am ET
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Earlier this year Paul Pierce joined the fight to find a life-saving bone marrow donor for Jasmina Anema, a six-year-old leukemia patient. Since Anema is adopted,  finding a donor match to combat the rare and deadly form of the disease was difficult. Pierce campaigned for blood drives in the Boston area and pleaded for help on his website, PaulPierce.net. Other athletes and celebrities, including Rihanna, Kelly Rowland, and New York Knick Chris Wilcox, also reached out to help. Nearly five months after she was hospitalized, two near-perfect matches have been found for Jasmina. Click here to read a message on Pierce’s site.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Paul Pierce,
Getting ready for Game 2 05.06.09 at 10:40 am ET
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Doc Rivers told the press yesterday that the Celtics Game 1 comeback was fool’s gold, and somewhere Stan Van Gundy is probably saying roughly the same thing to his Magic team about their 28-point lead. Moral victories are for Little League. All we know from Monday is that Orlando got its win and the Celtics have to get one back tonight.

But there are a few left-over pieces from Monday that have been the talk of the town, so let’s dive in.

1. Should Brian Scalabrine start?

Short answer, no. You’ve heard this a thousand times before, but it’s not who starts it’s who finishes in the NBA. Also the fact that Scalabrine can spell Paul Pierce, Big Baby Davis or even Kendrick Perkins in a pinch makes him much more valuable coming off the bench.

The Celtics have a tough matchup with Rashard Lewis. They know it. Lewis knows it. Even the dude behind the basket with the chicken on his head knows it. Scalabrine did a good job in the second half by “doing his dirty work early,” as he said. And by that he meant keeping Lewis from his preferred spot on the floor before he gets the ball. Scal will play. He’ll probably play a lot, but his versatility makes him a better option coming in off the bench.

2. What’s up with Ray Allen?

Not much. Sometimes you just have to give credit to the defensive scheme, and the Magic paid a lot of attention to the Celtics perimeter shooters. ESPN’s David Thorpe nicely captures a moment when J.J. Redick raced to find Eddie House after the Celtics grabbed an offensive board before the ball could be swung back to House.

Allen said after the game that he didn’t get a lot of rhythm shots, which had a lot to do with Orlando’s defense. Look for the Celtics to run him off the usual double screens and work extra hard to get him some space.

3. Will Rajon Rondo attack?

He has to. All the Celtics have to. One of two things will happen when they drive hard to the basket and encounter Dwight Howard. He will either send their shot into the third row or he’ll get in foul trouble.

The Celtics took 26 free throws in Game 1 and all of them came in the second half. It wasn’t the officiating either, as Rivers noted after the game. They were much more aggressive in the final 24 minutes, and if there is a carryover from the comeback it should be the knowledge that they won’t beat the Magic taking jump shots.

4. Will McLovin make an appearance?

I honestly don’t know, but if you haven’t seen this photo yet on Ball Don’t Lie, you’re missing out.

Read More: Celtics, Game 2, Magic,
Kenny Smith: Why Rondo can’t be dared to shoot 05.06.09 at 12:04 am ET
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Rajon Rondo had a breakout performance in the first round of the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls. 19.4 points per game weren’t too shabby for a player once considered hampered by a jumpshot. As TNT analyst Kenny Smith explained on WEEI’s Dale & Holley show, he believes Rondo’s early struggles away from the basket have become an advantage for him.

Said Smith, “Well I always thought that when I was playing as a player, I thought that when you played against guys who you thought really couldn’t shoot from the outside and you backed up off of them, I thought that played to his advantage because then one, you gave him passing lanes, two you gave him the ability to take up the space and come at you and put you on your heels, and three how does a guy practice when he really doesn’t shoot the ball well by himself? They feed him the ball and no one’s there. So you’re actually feeding into the things he’s good at and then you make him a stronger player. And I think that teams at times have made him really, really good and then all of a sudden he starts to play good and he becomes great … I think now he’s gotten to a point where he understands how to do this and play at this level. But I really think a lot of times teams play into his hands because they give him shots that dare him to shoot and no one gets to this point in this league, especially at the point where Rondo is, and you can dare him to shoot and they’re not going to make it.’€

Rondo scored 14 points against the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Game 2 will be played on Wednesday night in Boston.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kenny Smith, Rajon Rondo,
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