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Richardson: ‘Paul’s a great NBA player’ 04.27.10 at 11:10 pm ET
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Just a week ago, Quentin Richardson made his feelings toward Paul Pierce very clear.

“I don’t like them and they know it,” he said of Pierce and Kevin Garnett following their Game 1 altercation.

But on Tuesday, Richardson shared a different opinion after the Heat’s elimination in Game 5.

“Paul’s a great NBA player,” he told WEEI.com. “That’s the only opinion that really matters, his NBA game. He’s a good NBA player.”

Even though Richardson referred to Pierce as “an actress” in Game 1, he said he never knocked his talent. That’s something that, in spite of their differences on the court, Richardson cannot deny.

“I’ve always respected his game, never not,” he said. “I mean, he’s an All-Star, he’s a Finals MVP, he has his accolades, and he well deserves them. I take my hat off to him as a basketball player. Nothing will change that.”

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Fast Break: Celtics – Heat 04.23.10 at 10:03 pm ET
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There was nothing Dwyane Wade could do to stop it. Just seconds earlier, he had to be helped off the court after falling to the ground grabbing his knee following a 3-point attempt. As he sat on the sidelines, Paul Pierce ran the clock down, patiently waiting, and struck just as time expired. Pierce drained the game-winning buzzer-beater to give the Celtics a 100-98 victory and a commanding 3-0 series lead.

First Quarter: Wade scored 15 points (6-9 FG, 3-3 FT) in the first quarter alone to give the Heat a 29-27 lead over the Celtics. Although the C’s trailed, they fought a more balanced attack. Paul Pierce led the team with 9 points, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen had six apiece, and Kevin Garnett scored four. Defensively, Tony Allen, who contained Wade so well in Game 1, played just one minute during Wade’s performance in the first. The C’s were also outrebounded, 12-9.

Second Quarter: The first quarter was all Wade. In the second, he finally got some help. The Celtics jumped out on a 10-0 run over three minutes with Rondo leading the surge (he finished the half with a team-high 13 points).  But Quentin Richardson stopped the damage with a 3-pointer and the Heat began their comeback. The Celtics were then outscored 15-7 and trailed, 49-48, at halftime. Wade went scoreless in seven minutes in the second, but the Heat’s bench outscored the Celtics reserves 23-6 in the first half to give them the edge.

Third Quarter: The Heat had the edge in the first two quarters, but the Celtics claimed the third. The C’s outscored the Heat, 32-23, to take a 80-72 lead going into the fourth. The Celtics went on an 11-2 run in the final 1:39, which was capped off with 3-pointer from Pierce with 1.7 seconds to go. The Celtics turnaround has been a team effort — Allen (22 points), Pierce (21 points), Rondo (15 points), Garnett (12 points). Wade scored 13 in the quarter to lead all players with 28 points.

Fourth Quarter: The Celtics looked to put the game away as they got up by nine points. But it was Michael Beasley – not Wade – who dominated the fourth and got the Heat thisclose to a win. Beasley, who has struggled throughout the series, scored eight points in the fourth after scoring just eight in the first three quarters. The Heat went on a 16-6 run to reclaim the lead and the victory remained up for grabs until the very last second, literally.

Player of the Game: Pierce exemplified the meaning of a team captain and put the Celtics on his shoulders to hit the game-winning shot as time expired. He led the C’s with 32 points (11-23 FG, 4-10 3PG, 6-8 FT).

Turning Point: In what could be the turning point of the series, Wade injured his knee on a 3-point attempt. He fell to the ground and had to be helped off the court with 13 seconds left. There is no saying whether or not his presence on the court could have prevented Pierce from nailing the game-winner, but the potential of his injury has a major impact on Game 4 as the Heat face elimination on Sunday.

Up Next: The Celtics will fight to sweep the series on Sunday at 1pm in Game 4.

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Richardson won’t focus on crowd reaction 04.20.10 at 7:57 pm ET
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Quentin Richardson isn’t fooling himself — he doesn’t expect a warm response from the Garden crowd.

Prior to Game 2 between the Celtics and Heat, Richardson admitted he anticipates a backlash from the Celtics fans for his involvement in Saturday’s altercation with Kevin Garnett, which resulted in Garnett’s suspension.

“Probably so,” he said, adding, “No for me, I’m going out and playing basketball, playing to help my team win. Everything else will be outside the lines. When I’m inside the lines playing basketball, that’ll be what I’m focused on.”

The Heat will be focused on a new-look Celtics without Garnett in the lineup. Even though Garnett’s absence leaves a void on the Celtics, the replacement of Glen Davis has its benefits.

“It obviously changes a lot but with them probably going with Big Baby in the starting lineup, you get a younger, healthier guy,” Richardson said. “So I don’t know. It definitely changes because [Garnett's] a huge part of their team, he’s an emotional leader, and at the same time he’s still Kevin Garnett. It obviously changes but they have a couple capable guys filling in in Rasheed (Wallace) and Davis.”

Regardless of whether Garnett or Davis are on the court for the Celtics, the Heat’s objective does not change. They look to accomplish their original goal of taking at least one game in Boston before heading home for Games 3 and 4.

“It’s just important for us to win tonight just to even up the series,” he said. “We want to go back to Miami 1-1 feeling good about ourselves and knowing that we’ve got two games on our home floor coming up.”

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Celtics land 19th pick in draft 04.16.10 at 6:54 pm ET
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While it’s uncertain what will happen over the next few weeks in the playoffs, there is some certainty with the Celtics in June:

They will have the 19th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

On Friday at the Board of Governors meeting in New York City, NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson conducted random drawings to determine the draft order among teams with identical regular-season records.

The Celtics (50-32) won a four-way tiebreaker with the Spurs, Thunder and Trail Blazers to land the 19th spot. The order is reversed in the second round, so the Celtics will have the 52nd pick.

There were a total of six tiebreakers conducted. Picks 1-14 will not be determined until the NBA Draft Lottery on May 18.

See the picks that have been determined so far:

Read the rest of this entry »

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A look back: Celtics vs. Heat 04.15.10 at 11:15 pm ET
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The Celtics and Heat will square off in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs on Saturday. The teams faced each other three times this season, with the Celtics sweeping the regular-season series. See how the Celtics got a 3-0 edge over the Heat heading into the postseason:

CELTICS 92, HEAT 85
Nov. 29, 2009, at Miami

How the Celtics won: Led by 24 points (11-12 FG) from Kevin Garnett, the Celtics starters led a balanced attack in this win over the Heat. Rajon Rondo (13 points, 11 assists) and Kendrick Perkins (14 points, 13 rebounds) recorded double-doubles; Paul Pierce added 15 points; and Ray Allen scored 11, including a key 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter. The C’s shut the Heat down from behind the arc (2-for-15). Michael Beasley was the only player to knock down a trey.

Wade watch: Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 27 points. He attempted 23 field goals, the same number as Garnett and Pierce combined. The Heat were also a team-low -14 with Wade on the court.

Key stat: Assists — Celtics 21, Heat 12

After the game: Celtics 13-4, Heat 9-7

The Three-Pointer: Garnett enjoys a run of near perfection

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Unexpected Reunion for Davis and Lafayette 04.14.10 at 11:44 pm ET
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Glen Davis got a surprise when he arrived at TD Garden on Wednesday.

He entered the locker room and saw his childhood friend, Oliver Lafayette … in Celtics warmup gear?

“I walked in and I was like, ‘What’s up man?! Baton Rouge!’” Davis exclaimed.

Davis and Lafayette have known each other since elementary school and played AAU basketball together in Louisiana. Unbeknown to Davis, Lafayette had recently signed with the Celtics. The former D-League standout received the call just two days ago while he was driving to Baton Rogue.

“My agent called me and told me Danny Ainge had called him. When he called me, I almost ran off the road driving,” Lafayette said before suiting up for his first Celtics game. “I had to pull over for like an hour or two. I had to regroup myself. I called my mother and told her the good news.”

The 25-year-old guard came to the Celtics by way of Brown Mackie (Junior) College, the University of Houston, Erie BayHawks and Fort Wayne Mad Ants. He is thankful for his time in the NBA Development League, where he says the coaches gave him the green light to play ball.

“My coaches just taught me the game,” he said. “They put the ball in my hand and let me go to work, learn how to read the defense and stuff like that.”

This season Lafayette averaged 17.1 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.0 rebounds in 48 games for the Mad Ants, and ranked 10th in the league in steals. He was named NBDL Co-Performer of the Week after averaging 26.4 points, 8.0 assists, and 6.4 rebounds in his last seven games.

“He’s a scorer,” said Davis. “He’s a scoring point guard. He can play the point, he can play the one, play the two. He’s efficient with his jumpshot, playing defense, he’d be good for our team.”

The rookie made the most of his first opportunity with the Celtics in their 106-95 loss to the Bucks. He scored seven points (3-6 from the field, including 1-of-2 on threes), grabbed four rebounds, and dished two assists in 21 minutes. Davis believes it is time for Lafayette’s hard work to pay off.

“He’s a great guy, a wonderful player. I think he’s a great player, actually,” he said. “Oliver, I’ve always though of like a late-bloomer as far as his opportunities. He played high school at Capitol High School … he went to [junior college], every time it was a late-bloomer. He went to University of Houston, played great over there, and now he’s just finally really getting his opportunity.”

Lafayette’s goal is to play well enough to earn a contract with the Celtics next season. In the meantime, he is trying to digest a whirlwind 48 hours that has taken him from the roads of Louisiana to the Garden parquet.

“I can’t believe it myself right now,“ he said. “This is a great opportunity, great guys, great team, and great players I’ve been looking up to my whole life.”

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Allen’s high-flying dreams 04.11.10 at 11:27 pm ET
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Ray Allen has been having the same dream for years. He envisions it in his sleep and carries it with him on to the court.

“I always, I have this thing in my mind like sometimes when I’m sleeping I dream that I can fly,” he said. “When I’m playing basketball, it always tells myself that I’ve still got great legs, like I still have that lift in my legs. So when I get on the floor, you see a play, you see something happen, you just feel like you can take it, you can make a certain play happened based on getting up there to the basket.”

Allen doesn’t have wings in his dream. He isn’t a high-flying hero like Superman or Iron Man either. Instead he imagines things like soaring over an oncoming car or running with his friends in the air. It can even be as simple as making it home from a park in a single jump.

The dream has a deeper meaning for the 34-year-old than just being able to take flight. To him, it exemplifies the work ethic that he has committed himself to over his 14-year career.

“I’ve been having that for a long time,” Allen explained. “That’s why when I always wake up, it’s like a great feeling. You wake up and you just know, for me what I do, I get out on the floor and I just feel like I still have that. For me, it translates into my athleticism.”

Athleticism … and perhaps some competition, too? Being able to fly also means he can get places faster than those on foot. It’s another asset to put him ahead of the pack.

“Both. I think it’s more of my competition,” Allen said. “If you think about the ability to train yourself to go work out or to go do something that’s going to give you greater stamina or endurance, that’s what I think it is, is you’ve got to start from somewhere. Like sitting around, you see some guy on TV bench pressing and he has muscles on every part of his body. Most people see that and say man I’ve got to go work out. Like where does your motivation come from? I think that’s partly the competition factor, like I need to get shots up, I need to go get on the treadmill.”

As Allen dreams of winning another NBA championship this postseason, his dreams of flying continue to serve as subconscious motivation.

“It just always, for some reason, it just gives me great confidence when I wake up,” he said. “It’s like my body feels great. That’s kind of the translation that I make when I wake up. I’m like I feel great, my legs feel great, and now I’m going to work out and get that strength that I need.”

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