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Kevin Garnett talks Jared Sullinger but not Carmelo Anthony 01.09.13 at 11:34 pm ET
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Kevin Garnett thinks Jared Sullinger is playing like a “madman” on the glass. And that’s just what these Celtics need right now. On Wednesday night, the rookie out of Ohio State had 16 rebounds and 12 points and powered the Celtics to an 87-79 win over the Phoenix Suns at TD Garden.

What makes a great rebounder?

‘€œFirst off is effort,” Garnett began. “Anytime you’€™re playing defense, anytime youre stealing the ball, rebounding’€¦all that’€™s effort. Obviously his timing, body positioning, he has the perfect body for rebounding. He can take the pounding and bump a little bit and he has great anticipation when it comes to the ball, and he has great hands. Put all that in the pot, you got Jared Sullinger, that’€™s what makes him great.’€

Apparently, Sullinger has been paying close attention to Garnett when learning how to respond, using his words carefully and economically when asked about his secret to good rebounding.

‘€œYou gotta have a go get it attitude when it comes to rebounding and that’€™s what I have,” a confident Sullinger said.

Sullinger is just one part of a Celtics bench that carried the load Wednesday night, as Sullinger, Jason Terry and Jeff Green were all in double figures in scoring. But Garnett pointed out another member of the bench who shouldn’t be overlooked.

‘€œI think the combination of Courtney Lee and no disrespect to Rondo or any other guards we got, but Courtney Lee and Avery are impacting the game from a defensive stand point from the guard position where it all trickles down to all the forwards,” Garnett said. “When we see them up like that, we get up and then we up to what we call major pressure. Any time you can pressure the guards and take time off the shot clock, you put the other team into a panic and now they gotta go into a pic and roll versus some play the were gonna call on us.

‘€œI don’€™t know, you know. But they’€™ll definitely start to make some noise. I think Doc’€™s starting to understand the rotation he’€™s going with, and I think the rotation we are going with, he’€™s confident in it, and everybody kind of knows their niche right now.’€

But as for his thoughts on Carmelo Anthony and his one-game suspension for waiting outside the Celtics locker room and team bus to confront him after Monday’s game, Garnett had only this to say: “Okay, you all have a good night, okay?”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, Jared Sullinger, Kevin Garnett
Fast Break: Celtics extend win streak to four games at 9:54 pm ET
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Riding the best game of Jared Sullinger‘s young NBA career, the Celtics won a season-best fourth straight game, 87-79 against the Suns, and improved to 4-1 since Avery Bradley’s return on Jan. 2.

Sullinger (12 points) grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds to record the second double-double of his rookie season, as the C’s (18-17) climbed above .500 for the first time since Christmas Day.

In a balanced effort, Sullinger, Jeff Green (14 points), Jason Terry (13 points), Kevin Garnett (10 points), Bradley (9 points), Rajon Rondo (8 points, 8 assists), Paul Pierce (7 points, 7 rebounds), Brandon Bass (6 points, 5 rebounds) and Courtney Lee (6 points) all scored between 6-14 points.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Green machine: On back-to-back second-quarter possessions, Green threw down ferocious dunks on separate Suns to hand the Celtics a 38-33 lead and force a Phoenix timeout. The first came on a dribble drive over old friend Jermaine O’Neal, and he slammed the second on a fast break oop from Bradley over Michael Beasley.

Rotating schedule: Actually, the entire Celtics bench once again performed admirably. Green, Terry and Sullinger were the C’s three highest scorers as the reserves outscored their Suns counterparts 47-16. Bradley’s return has helped coach Doc Rivers find some consistency in his rotations, and the Celtics appear to be responding to their more clearly defined roles.

On the defense: The Celtics are slowly climbing the NBA’s defensive ranks. After allowing 98.1 points per game through December, the C’s have gave up an average of just 86.3 points in Bradley’s first four games back. In his fifth, the Suns didn’t reach 70 points until 4:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. Even lineups that contain Green and Terry, who aren’t exactly known for their defensive prowess, appear to be grasping the C’s defensive schemes.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Dudley do right: Quietly, Boston College product Jared Dudley has carved out a nice NBA career for himself. He’s averaging double-digit points for the third straight season, shooting 40.5 percent from 3-point range in his five-year career and dishing out a career-high 2.7 assists per game. Against the Celtics, he amassed 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, doing all the little things to keep the Suns in the game.

Bigs problem: It wasn’t a matter of whether the length of the Suns frontcourt would hurt the Celtics; it was a question of how much. The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Marcin Gortat and 6-foot-9, 245-pound Luis Scola entered the game averaging 24.5 points and 15.1 rebounds between them, and they combined to surpass both those numbers against the Celtics (28 points, 22 rebounds). In all, the Suns totaled 50 points in the paint.

Aunt Chippy: Whether the Celtics instigate it or not, there’s been some serious chippiness in their recent stretch of games. Two games after Rondo’s suspension for bumping a ref and two nights after Carmelo Anthony grew infuriated with Garnett, Rondo and Suns forward P.J. Tucker logged technicals and both Green and Courtney Lee took hard falls to the parquet floor. While some of their success can be attributed to the intensity, there’s a line between aggressiveness and overaggressiveness, and the Celtics have been riding it.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Jared Sullinger, NBA, Phoenix Suns
Avery Bradley happy NBA moving back to his hometown at 9:04 pm ET
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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, NBA, sacramento kings
Rajon Rondo on Carmelo Anthony: ‘People just get away with anything in this league’ at 7:56 pm ET
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Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony has been suspended for one game without pay by the NBA for confronting Celtics superstar Kevin Garnett in the arena tunnel, near the players’ locker rooms, and in the parking garage following the Celtics at Knicks game on Jan. 7. The announcement was made Wednesday by Stu Jackson, the NBA Executive Vice President Basketball Operations.

“There are no circumstances in which it is acceptable for a player to confront an opponent after a game,” Jackson said in a statement. “Carmelo Anthony attempted to engage with Kevin Garnett multiple times after Monday’s game and therefore a suspension was warranted.”

The Celtics had different reactions to the suspension.

“I get suspended for a phone hang-up and people just get away with anything in his league,” said a tongue-in-cheek Rajon Rondo, who was suspended one-game for allegedly bumping official Rodney Mott on Saturday in Atlanta and being “unresponsive” to a league inquiry on Monday. “Oh, my goodness, so that’s the same thing huh? The rep I’ve earned, I’ll have to deal with it.”

Coach Doc Rivers had a different take on the Melo suspension.

“I don’t believe guys should ever be suspended,” Rivers said. “It’s not a surprise. [Teams] get in trouble for sitting players and then you suspend players; it’s the same thing. If you’re a fan, you’re not happy with that.”

Anthony will serve his suspension on Thursday when the Knicks play the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett, New York Knicks
Videos: How Carmelo Anthony-Kevin Garnett feud unfolds during quintessential Celtics-Knicks battle 01.08.13 at 7:47 am ET
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Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony barked at each other throughout Monday night’s 102-96 Celtics victory against the rival Knicks, and for once KG didn’t appear to be the instigator. Instead, Anthony pushed and prodded Garnett every chance he got, stormed through the visiting tunnel towards the Celtics locker room after the game and eventually waited by the C’s team bus to confront his fellow All-Star.

Between the whistles, the referees did a poor job controlling the escalating feud. On the play preceding their double technicals, Garnett and Anthony exchange shoves for what seems like a lifetime directly in front of referee Violet Palmer, and as my wife said upon her first Dick Bavetta sighting, “Is he even alive?”

As Anthony’s Knicks teammate Marcus Camby said of Garnett, “He talks a lot, but that’€™s pretty much to pump himself up. He’€™s been doing that so long that it’€™s amazing how guys still succumb to it.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Why did Celtics waive Kris Joseph, Jarvis Varnado? 01.06.13 at 9:29 pm ET
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The Celtics waived rookie forwards Kris Joseph and Jarvis Varnado on Sunday. But why?

The C’s second-round draft pick, Joseph appeared in mostly garbage time of six games for the Celtics, but he averaged 17.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 10 games for the Red Claws in the NBA Development League, so this transaction comes as a surprise.

Meanwhile, Varnado averaged just 1.2 points in 4.0 minutes over five appearances after signing from the D-League on Christmas Eve, and Fab Melo‘s emergence may have made him expendable.

The moves give the Celtics flexibility in two arenas:

1) Both Joseph and Varnado were playing on non-guaranteed contracts, and their waivers come prior to Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline to cut such players. After signing Jason Terry to the mid-level exception, the Celtics are forced to adhere to the NBA’s $74.3 million hard cap. These moves save the Celtics a few hundred thousand dollars, which doesn’t sound like much, but it opens the possibility of adding a veteran minimum talent like Kenyon Martin down the road.

2) The departures of Joseph and Varnado free up the team’s final two roster spots. Considering Danny Ainge‘s rumored interest in just about every big on the market, including DeMarcus Cousins and Marcin Gortat, the Celtics could take on additional players or slightly more dollars in a potential trade.

Either way, those roster spots won’t remain empty until June.

Read More: Boston Celtics, DeMarcus Cousins, Jarvis Varnado, Kris Joseph
Kevin Garnett: ‘This game was not some sort of foreplay’ 01.05.13 at 10:09 am ET
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Kevin Garnett has a way with words unlike any other Celtic. He knows what to say and when to say it, especially to his teammates.

That showed Friday night after the Celtics disposed of the Pacers, 94-75, at TD Garden, a game in which he was ejected for a shot to the face of Tyler Hansbrough with just over eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.

‘€œI was firm, I didn’€™t mean to get him in the face like that, I was actually trying to swipe the ball but it was a physical game and they called it the way it was, part of the game,” Garnett said of the “flagrant-2” foul that earned him the rest of the night off.

Garnett and Doc Rivers have been pleading with the Celtics to stay true to the defensive principles that have been the cornerstone of the Celtics for the past five seasons. Friday night, Garnett had plenty of help on defense from Avery Bradley and Paul Pierce.

Was this type of ugly game, one that featured 107 missed shots, the kind of game that the Celtics need to play to get themselves out of the funk they’ve been in?

‘€œThis game was not some type of foreplay,” Garnett said. “I thought we came out firm and aggressive on both ends, but more importantly defensively. I thought we stayed sound for 48 minutes no matter who was in. Avery made a very very big impact on the game, I thought Paul’s defense was very energetic, and we followed those guys lead. You could tell from how we came into the locker room that we really needed this win.

‘€œYou know, since we’€™ve been in this funk, Doc’€™s been saying that through out this tough ordeal that we have to continue to play defense no matter what we’€™re doing. Offense cannot dictate defense. I feel like for the most part we did just that. Some nights you click, some nights you don’€™t, and tonight we just knew we needed to win to stop the bleeding and I feel like we went out and did it.’€

The message to Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Jeff Green?

‘€œThere’€™s no perfect answer to this, there’€™s no perfect situations,” Garnett said. “Everyone has to accept their roles wholeheartedly and embrace it, and tonight I think we did. Being consistent with those roles is what we want to be, if we want to be anything of a good team, everyone is going to have to fill those roles. It was just a full team effort from a defensive standpoint.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Kevin Garnett, NBA
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