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Setting the scene from Celtics-Heat Game 7, where Ray Allen has it over everyone 06.09.12 at 6:47 pm ET
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MIAMI — Welcome to Game 7.

It’s the seventh such Game 7 in the “Big Three plus Rondo” era. They are 4-2 in the previous six but of those six, only one came on the road. The 2010 Game 7 in the NBA finals in which, like this series, the Celtics were leading 3-2 but couldn’t close out in Game 6 when Kendrick Perkins went down.

In losing Game 6 to LeBron James and the Heat, the Celtics have put themselves in the position of fighting history.

There have been 110 Game 7s, and the home team is 88-22. The Celtics are 3-3, last winning on the road in 1974.

What’s even more improbable is a team winning both Game 5 and Game 7 on the road. The Celtics took a 3-2 series lead by winning in Miami last Tuesday. In the 110 seven-game series, only five times has the road team won both Games 5 and 7 – the 1968 and 1974 Celtics, the 1981 and 1995 Rockets and the 2005 Pacers all did the highly improbable.

On the Heat side, LeBron James is playing in his third Game 7 and everyone recalls the last one. He scored 45 points in a 98-91 loss to the Celtics at the Garden on May 18, 2008 in the Eastern semifinals. Before that, on May 21, 2006, James’ Cavaliers also lost to the Pistons in the Eastern semis.

Ray Allen will have more Game 7 experience than anyone on the floor Saturday night, playing in his ninth such contest. In addition to the six with the Celtics, he played in two with the Bucks in 2001, beating New Orleans in the Eastern semis before bowing out to Allen Iverson and the Sixers in the Eastern finals in Philadelphia.

Read More: 2012 Playoffs, Allen Iverson, Boston Celtics, Game 7
Celtics are talking about practice! 04.03.12 at 9:04 pm ET
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Boy, would Allen Iverson love these Celtics.

Thanks to the compressed schedule and their ridiculously long eight-game road trip of mid-March, Tuesday marked their first practice since the All-Star break. It also marked their last – at least of the regular season.

“We might be able to squeeze one more in but I think this is it,” Rivers said after their 90-minute session Tuesday.

Why?

The Celtics are about to embark on a stretch of 11 games in 15 days, including three straight on the road April 13-15. They’re in good shape in the division but how they make it through the next two weeks will go a along way toward determine how they stand up in the playoffs – and more to the point – how long.

“Rondo reminded me – or asked – ‘I think this is our first practice since the All-Star break’, which it was. I didn’t realize that. It’s good.”

What exactly did the Celtics get out of it?

“I don’t know,” Rivers admitted openly, as he always does. “We got some pick-and-roll coverages with the new guys, and when I say new guys, I mean all the new guys, I’m talking [Keyon Dooling], all the guys. I thought that helped a little bit but you need more than one practice, honestly. [Monday] we had a meeting. We could’ve gone over 50 things so we just have to cut everything out and work on some offense, very little, and a lot of defense.”

Overall, Rivers’ last comment on his veteran team’s conditioning might have been the most telling.

“My guess is we’re in average shape, along with every other team because I think you decondition during the season, I don’t think you get in better shape,” Rivers said. “I’ve always thought that. That’s where the practices come in, where you can run and get back into stuff. I will say this – our veterans especially, they do a phenomenal job on off days.

“If we’re in a hotel on the road, they’re running on the treadmill. They do a lot of extra work because I think they know their bodies and they are conditioned. I thought in the Miami game [Sunday], we went on that one spurt in the third quarter, there were four or five guys with their hands up, ready to come out, and we couldn’t take them all out at the same time. But that was because of the pace. That tells me we still have to get in a little better shape to play the way I think we should play.”

Read More: Allen Iverson, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA
Is Shaquille O’Neal Turkey-bound? 12.08.10 at 12:54 pm ET
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Boston Celtics' Shaquille O'Neal dunks during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010.

A Turkish basketball team is reportedly attempting to lure away Shaquille O'Neal. (AP)

So, SLAM Magazine translated a Turkish newspaper story that claims the same team that recently signed Allen Iverson, Besiktas Cola Turka, is targeting Shaquille O’Neal

“Besiktas Cola Turka management has rolled up their sleeves to bring another NBA superstar to Istanbul. Besiktas fans and management, who are very pleased with the arrival of Allen Iverson, have now set their sights on luring Boston Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal overseas.”

According to the story, Iverson’s manager Gary Moore, who is also in “constant contact” with Shaq, “could be an intermediary in securing an agreement” for next season.

I, for one, am not buying it. Sure, this Turkish team might want Shaq on its team. Why wouldn’t they? It would mean millions of dollars in business for them. They probably want LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant to play for them, too.

But Shaq will be under contract for the Celtics next season, and his entire mantra since he arrived in Boston has revolved around getting a fifth — or even sixth — championship ring to cement his legacy. He can’t do that as a member of Besiktas Cola Turka.

UPDATE: Besiktas general manager Seref Yalcin is claiming that Shaq told him, “I want to be champion this season with Boston. But I’m coming to Turkey next year,” according to a website called Hoopsnotes.

Still not buying it. Shaq says al lot of things with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, and I’m guessing something got lost in translation here.

Read More: Allen Iverson, Boston Celtics, NBA, Shaquille O'Neal
Doc ‘has no problem’ with All-Star Iverson 01.24.10 at 2:05 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Celtics coach Doc Rivers is all for Rajon Rondo making the All-Star team. But he made it clear on Sunday that he has no beef with the fans who voted Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson one of the starting guards along with Miami’s Dwayne Wade for the upcoming All-Star Game in Arlington, Texas.

“The fans voted him,” Rivers said. “I have no problem with it. I disagree with the people who say that he should not play. I think he should play. I think the fans have said they want to see him play. It may be because of this year. It may be because of his career. He’s earned that through his career. If the fans want to see him, they want to see him.

“They don’t get a lot of them wrong when you think about it. Maybe every two or three years, one guy is on there that you think maybe shouldn’t be out of the 10 they put on. I don’t think it’s a bad thing.”

Does Rivers think Rondo could be distracted by the fact that All-Star reserves are announced on Thursday?

“The good news is that there will only be one game in that time frame,” Rivers said. “There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make it. That’s human nature, as long as you keep playing and doing your job. Like I’ve found and I’ve told him this and all of them this: When you do make it, it’s an honor, but the games don’t stop. You still have to prove yourself the next day and then you’re more of a target.”

That one game is Monday night when the Celtics try to make it two in a row at the TD Garden against the Los Angeles Clippers, the same team that beat them, 92-90, on Dec. 27 at Staples Center.

Read More: Allen Iverson, Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA All-Star
Iverson signs with Grizz 09.09.09 at 3:52 pm ET
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Allen Iverson is all a-twitter about signing with Memphis. This one isn’t really related Celtics-related (although I’m a little surprised the Celtics didn’t kick the tires on AI), but it’s an interesting development. And by interesting, I mean doomed to failure.

It’s been proven on two different occasions that not only has Iverson regressed as a player, but that teams are better off without him. Both Philly and Denver improved without Iverson on the roster and the fact that he was replaced by two steady point guards wasn’t lost on the rest of the NBA.

Still, if you’re like me, you think the NBA is a better place with Iverson in it, but why did it have to be Memphis? The feeling is that Memphis owner Michael Heisley thinks that Iverson can help fill the building with his star power. The problem with that line of thinking is that it’s been proven to be demonstrably false. Fans may come to see a visiting star player (and even that bump is rather negligible), but home fans have proven time and again that what they want to see is a winner, and it’s hard to see Iverson making a difference in the win column.

If the Grizzlies believe that their core group of players is Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, OJ Mayo and Marc Gasol (a debatable point, but still) then adding Iverson not only doesn’t help them get better but it may also detract from their young players’ development. The same can be said of wayward power forward Zach Randolph who was acquired from the Clippers in the offseason.

At one time Iverson was the complete package in terms of being a star player and a cultural phenomenon, but those days are mostly over. It would have been nice to see if he could have convened a third act in which AI became a kind of elder statesman on a good team, but that wouldn’t have been really Iverson would it?

Read More: Allen Iverson, Memphis, NBA,
The Revitilization of Rajon Rondo 11.20.08 at 10:10 pm ET
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It was early in the game and Rajon Rondo found himself driving to the basket with a clear lane to the hoop. His options: Finish the move and take it strong, or pass it out for a jump shot. As he has several times this year Rondo elected to exercise Option Two–pass it out to the perimeter. The decision elicited audible gasps from the Garden crowd, disappointment really, and a missed jump shot. That’s not what getting Rondo’d is all about.

But the most picked over, scrutinized and dissected player on the Celtics roster does not lack for confidence, and the next time Rondo found himself in the same position (clear path, decision time), Rondo elected for Option One: Take it strong to the goal.

Again and again Thursday night against the Pistons, Rondo took it strong to the basket en route to an 18-point, eight-assist performance that stands as his best game of the young season in a 98-80 win over Detroit. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Allen Iverson, Celtics, Chauncey Billups, Kevin Garnett
Celtics-Pistons Game Blog: Second Quarter at 6:53 pm ET
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SECOND QUARTER WRAP: The Celtics second unit was hot early in the second and pushed the lead up to 38-27. But the Pistons got physical and are within nine half. They’re looking to battle and the Celtics will have to come out hot in the third quarter to stave off a comeback.

Halftime Notes and Numbers:

  • Iverson leads all scorers with 12. Rondo and Tony Allen lead the Celtics with 9 apiece.
  • Both teams have 16 points in the paint and the rest of the stat lines are very similar.
  • The Pistons are outrebounding the Celtics 18-16 while the Celtics have one more assist, 11-10.

Paul has you covered after a entertaining halftime performance by the Bucket Boys.

- At the half, Celtics 49, Pistons 40

- Two days after saying KG is “crazier” than him on the court, Perk got T’ed up at the end of the second after Maxiell fouled Pierce at the hoop.

- There is talk of a heated relationship between UConn alums Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton, but few details are known. We’re getting a glimpse into that tonight with Hamilton knocking Allen over for an offensive foul. Hamilton had something to say about it as they ran down the court.

- A little kid dressed in an oversized Bill Walker jersey just won Sarah Brightman tickets in a tot-sized road race. What are the chances he has her songs on iTunes?

- The Celtics have their starters back on the court and the Pistons have all but Wallace out there.

- Both Ray Allen and House have missed free throws this quarter. It was House’s first miss of the season and Allen’s fourth.

- Eddie House is feeling it. After Powe swatted away a Prince drive, House nailed a three on the fast break. He drained another trey on the next possession, prompting the Pistons to call a timeout down 38-27.

- Rip Hamilton completely faked out Tony Allen at the top of the key. TA has learned from his mistakes and didn’t get tricked into fouling him on the shot a la last season against Chauncey Billups.

- During a timeout the Celtics played their first “slow dance” of the year on the Jumbotron. It was a slo-mo of awesomely bad dance moves from the Garden set to the awesomely bad Lonestar ballad, “Amazed.”

- Now Aaron Afflalo is guarding Powe (??) … now Afflalo’s on the ground. Powe’s at the line shooting two.

- Scal for three. And the crowd goes wild.

- I was hoping for a physical match up between Powe and Maxiell considering the trouble the Pistons big man gave Perk last season. But Big Baby is on Maxiell and Powe has Prince. Powe should be able to back Prince down in the paint.

- For the first time in a while, Doc is going with an entire second unit. Usually he leaves PIerce or Ray Allen on the court with the reserves, but now he’s giving the lineup of Scal, Powe, Davis, Tony Allen, and House a look. Michael Curry’s going with Iverson, Stuckey, Prince, Afflalo, and Wallace.

- After another slow start, the Celtics enter the second quarter tied 21-21 with the Pistons.

Read More: Allen Iverson, Arron Afflalo, Celtics, eddie house
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