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Celtics to-do list 04.20.09 at 10:46 am ET
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Having had 48 hours or so to digest that kick in the head/wakeup call that was Game 1, the Celtics should know what they have to do tonight against the Bulls. Before we get there, a quick word about the opening weekend of the playoffs.

The Celts loss to Chicago wasn’t even close to the most surprising result of the Game 1’s. That would be the crush job the Rockets laid on Portland in the Rose City followed by the huge comeback by the Sixers against Orlando. You could even throw up the Hawks beatdown of Miami ahead of the C’s loss in the stunner category. Strange days, indeed.

OK, back to the Celtics. The gameplan is really quite simple, executing it might not be so easy.

1. It’s the playoffs, a little urgency please?

The slow starts have become something of an unfortunate trademark for the Celtics lately. Doc Rivers was mad at his team for making Chicago “comfortable” early on Saturday. The Celts need to make a statement in the first 12 minutes.

2. Make Derrick Rose shoot jumpers.

If the rookie can make 20-footers consistently then it might be game over, but the Celtics can not let him get into the paint like they did in Game 1. Either way, the rotations were slow and Rajon Rondo gambled way too much.

3. Get Ray Allen untracked.

Jess wrote about this yesterday. The corollary to that is the Celtics have to return to the ball-movement that has been their offensive trademark. Dribble, dribble, stand around plays right into Chicago’s hands.

4. The Kevin Garnett sideshow needs to stop.

We have reports of surgery, delaying surgery and (gasp!) KG dribbling. The Celtics have always been good about managing the news and the best way for this to happen is to put Garnett up at the podium and have him answer questions. He won’t like it, but it’s the best thing for everyone involved. Conspiracy theories flourish in a vacuum and that’s exactly what we have right now.

They call him ‘Big Cuddly’ 04.20.09 at 12:14 am ET
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Music can be used to get players in ‘€œthe zone.’€ Rasheed Wallace blares hip hop music through the Detroit Pistons locker room. Tony Allen shows off his rap skills before every Celtics game. And then there’s Glen Davis.

On any given night, Big Baby can be seen sauntering down the halls of the TD BankNorth Garden singing Jason Mraz or offering his own rendition of Celine Dion in the Celtics locker room. Davis has an explanation for his unexpected song choice.

‘€œI’m an emotional player and when I’m mad or I’m thinking mad, I’m not thinking at all,’€ Davis said. ‘€œBut when I’m smooth and I understand what’s going on, the rhythm of the game, I’m having fun, that’s the way I am.’€

Davis’ postseason playlist keeps him ‘€œsmooth’€ in high pressure situations. He lists ‘€œBubbly‘€ by Colbie Caillat along with ‘€œBeat It’€ and ‘€œBilly Jean’€ by Michael Jackson as his playoff favorites.

So what do his teammates say when he blurts out the latest pop hits?

‘€œNothing, they already know,’€ he said. ‘€œThey call me ‘Big Cuddly’ because I look like a big cuddly bear.’€

Read More: Big Baby, Boston Celtics, Glen Davis,
More minutes for Marbury? 04.19.09 at 3:23 pm ET
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Stephon Marbury played 10 minutes in the Celtics Game One loss to Chicago. Head coach Doc Rivers thinks that may not have been enough.

Marbury was scoreless after attempting just two shots. It wasn’t that he couldn’t get open, either. Marbury has been playing selflessly since joining the Celtics, often passing up his own looks.

“Steph’s going to be fine. He should have been more aggressive but I should have played him more,” Rivers said after practice on Sunday. “I don’t think I played Steph enough last night to get him going. I thought in the first half the second unit actually had a nice little rhythm going, and in the second half I didn’t play him as much.”

Marbury has a postseason career average of 18.4 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.7 rebounds in 41.1 minutes. Prior to this series, he played his last playoff game in 2004 with the New York Knicks.

Related Story: The Wait Ends for Marbury This Weekend

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Stephon Marbury,
Doc: Celtics have to get Ray open 04.19.09 at 3:00 pm ET
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The day after losing Game One in overtime to Chicago, the Celtics honed in on their mistakes with a lengthy film session. They focused on sticking with their game plan, taking away the Bulls transition game, and making the second pass. And after Ray Allen went 1-for-12 on Saturday, they focused on getting him the open shot.

“We’ve got to do a better job of getting Ray open. We didn’t set enough picks for Ray,” said Doc Rivers. “So we’ve got to get him open, give him more time. I think he had two good looks, one was late in the game, but even that, the pass was late. I told them that shooters have to have the ball in their rhythm and they have to have time. And I thought when our shooters were open, we didn’t get them the ball in time and we threw them off rhythm. And then a lot of times they were not open because we didn’t set good picks.”

Rives stressed the importance of playing as a team, not being “the guy.” On Saturday, the Celtics dished 16 assists, nearly seven less than their season average.

“The way our team is built, especially now with KG out, we need to get out and break a little bit more, get Paul and Ray easy shots, get them to the free throw line, so that way their jumpshots will flow easier,” said Rajon Rondo.

Sunday’s practice wrapped with a three-pointer … by Ray Allen.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen,
Doc: We did it as much they did 04.18.09 at 6:44 pm ET
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Doc Rivers was one disappointed coach Saturday afternoon.

Disappointed if for no other reason than his veteran team, the defending champions, looked like the nervous bunch trying to win a game as individuals and the young Chicago Bulls looked the aggressors led by a rookie.

In other words, the Bulls played with no fear in the house of the champions and the champs looked fear-stricken by Derrick Rose.

‘€œWell, the playoffs have begun, and we’€™re down 0-1,” said the Celtics coach. “Put our self in a hole.  And honestly, guys, I thought we did it as much as they did it.  But give them credit.  (Derrick) Rose tonight was absolutely fantastic.’€

‘€œI thought early on the first half ‘€“ first of all we had no defensive energy ‘€“ I mean, to think that we worked on transition ‘€˜D’€™ for two days and the first play of the game (Joakim) Noah gets a dunk ‘€“ now, that was extremely disappointing.  I thought we fought in the second half better, but I thought we allowed them to get comfortable on our home court in the first half.  And I told our guys that.  I said, ‘€˜Yeah, second half was great. But you let a young team get very comfortable on you in the first half and then you had to deal with them the rest of the game.’€™  Didn’€™t matter what we did, in my opinion in the second half.  They were going to keep coming at you.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Doc Rivers, NBA playoffs,
Bulls teach champs a lesson 04.18.09 at 6:00 pm ET
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It was the underdog Chicago Bulls with names like Rose, Thomas and Noah who taught a lesson on Saturday afternoon to the champion Celtics with names like Pierce, Ray Allen and Rondo. Bring your playoff intensity or else.

And the else in Game 1 was a 105-103 overtime loss at the hands of the Bulls at TD Banknorth Garden.

‘€œI think we lost the game in the first half,” Allen said. “Just going down the way we went, we just allowed the team to do whatever, we weren’€™t really the aggressor starting the game, and they started rolling, they were comfortable and they did what they wanted to do.’€

On Saturday, we really found out why Doc Rivers feared Derrick Rose all season. He diced up his defense to the tune of 36 points, matching Lew Alcindor’s mark on March 25, 1970 when he was with the Bucks.

Whether it was the emotion of the last two days with the Kevin Garnett and Danny Ainge news or simply a team that was tired, the Celtics came out flat on Saturday, something that can’t happen again on Monday night.

‘€œWe didn’€™t talk about it much,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Obviously, I hope that’€™s not what it was. It could be. I mean, who knows the emotions. You just think, first playoff game you’€™d be ready and up. And I just thought we kind of showed up and played the game. And then all of a sudden we got into a fight. And one thing I’€™d say about our guys, they join in. But at home you’€™re supposed to start it.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Derrick Rose, NBA playoffs
The most unlikely contenders 04.18.09 at 5:47 pm ET
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If someone had told Mikki Moore in February that three members of the Sacramento Kings would face each other in the first round of the playoffs, he never would have believed them.

“[It would have taken] a sign from God [to convince me],” Moore laughed prior to Game One of the Celtics-Bulls series. “No, all of us knew that our careers weren’t going to end in Sac, but we didn’t know it was going to happen this fast. But by the blessings of God, we got out of there. ”

The Kings were 11-44 and on a six-game losing streak when Moore was waived on February 19, setting him free to sign with the Boston Celtics. Just a day earlier, they had traded Brad Miller and John Salmons to the Chicago Bulls. The Kings finished the season 17-65 while the trio are continuing theirs in the playoffs.

“It’s a crazy league and things work out crazy sometimes,” said Salmons. ” I’m happy for Mikki that he landed on his feet. He was in a tough situation in Sac from the beginning of the year and being on a good team now, he’s got a great opportunity.”

Moore is happy for his former teammates, too. That is, off the court.

“I’m happy for both him and Brad, just to be able to have another chance to be successful, for them to be able to redeem themselves after another bad season in Sac,” he said. “Those are my brothers and everything, but once the ball’s up in the air, I can’t think of that.”

Read More: Brad Miller, John Salmons, Mikki Moore,
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