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Football a Touchdown for Celtics Chemistry 10.12.09 at 12:26 am ET
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Just minutes after Kendrick Perkins rattled off his personal explanation of the Dallas Cowboys‘ supremacy, he was interrupted by Rasheed Wallace‘s cheers of retaliation.

With seconds left in regulation between Wallace’s favorite team, the Kansas City Chiefs, and Perkins’ hometown club, the Chiefs scored a touchdown to force overtime. It was enough to send Perkins back into the trainer’s room while Wallace gloated in the last-second comeback.

On Sunday afternoon the Celtics locker room became an NFL fan zone following their game against the Nets (recap).

‘€œEverybody has their own teams and they’re rooting for their hometown,’€ said Michael Sweetney while he watched the game from his locker. ‘€œEspecially with ‘Sheed with Kansas City, Perk with Dallas, Paul [Pierce] likes the Patriots, and I’m from D.C. so I’ve got the [Washington] Redskins, we all just get around and talk trash. It brings us together. We have a good time.’€

For the Celtics, following football is another experience to strengthen their team chemistry. Many of the players, including Glen Davis and Marquis Daniels, played in high school. Their passion for the sport now brings them together in the pros.

‘€œWe’re all football fans,’€ said Davis, a New Orleans Saints follower. ‘€œFootball’s an American sport. Every guy likes football, we like to talk about football, and everybody talks about athletes.’€

According to Daniels, this game is a common thread among many NBA players. The Orlando native, who is a fan of any Florida football team, recalls friendly rivalries among teammates when he played for the Mavericks and Pacers. In many cases a lost prediction would result in having to wear the opposition’s jersey.

Sweetney, however, has never played for a team where Sundays are so significant.

‘€œThis is my first team being around something like this, just the camaraderie, everything,’€ he said. ‘€œIt’s just something special right now. Like I told you before ‘€” and I’m not bad mouthing other teams ‘€“ the two teams I’ve been on [Bulls and Knicks], we’ve never done this. Guys enjoy each other, not just on the floor.’€

In that moment, Wallace enjoyed himself as he continued his celebration. Even though his initial outburst was directed at Perkins, Sweetney was not exempt from the cheers. As Sweetney explained, Wallace is a ‘€œtrue diehard fan’€ who would stick by the Chiefs even if they only won one game this season.

‘€œYeah, Sweet, say something now, Sweet!’€ Wallace jokingly yelled out.

‘€œI was talking trash to him all week,’€ Sweetney admitted, ‘€œand we lost today.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins, Marquis Daniels
Former Magic Notice Changes in Celtics 10.11.09 at 5:01 pm ET
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The last time Rafer Alston, Tony Battie, and Courtney Lee played against the Celtics, they sent the C’s packing for the summer. The trio were members of the Magic team that eliminated the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. This year they are in a different uniform and noticed the Cs have a different look as well.

Alston, Battie and Lee were traded from the Magic to the Nets over the summer as part of the Vince Carter deal. On Sunday they got their first take at the Celtics with their new team during preseason action at the TD Garden (recap here).

‘€œThey got a brand new season,’€ Battie said. ‘€œI mean, you look and [Kevin Garnett] is back and Rasheed [Wallace] is part of it. They got a great steal in getting Marquis Daniels, and you have those three additions coming back in the team. So, I think they’re the team to beat, definitely.’€

Last season a hobbled Celtics squad was outscored, outrebounded and burned from the 3-point line by the Magic. Without Garnett on the court and veterans Ray Allen and Paul Pierce overworked, the Celtics bench could not save the season. Now the additions of Wallace and Daniels give the team much-needed depth.

‘€œThey get their big guy back and then they add Rasheed Wallace in there now,’€ Alston said. ‘€œI think when you’re trying to take away a lot of their main guys, they have a lot of guys that can step up and stretch the defense or post up on the low block. They have a different dynamic to their team, especially from a defensive aspect for other teams.’€

Both Alston and Lee agree the series would have been completely different if the Celtics had so many weapons last season.

‘€œThey would’ve been a better team,’€ Lee said. ‘€œThey definitely would’ve been harder for a matchup because you can play Marquis at the 1 and you sub in Rasheed, so they keep a shooting big in at all times, so they definitely would have been better.’€

Said Alston: ‘€œI don’t think we would have been able to roam a lot off of a lot of their guys ‘€” [Rajon] Rondo, [Kendrick] Perkins, Big Baby [Glen Davis]. Those guys who really bring more scoring to the offense, especially from the bench standpoint.’€

The combination of a healthy Garnett and a revamped second unit has Alston noticing a difference in the 2009-10 Celtics. Although he isn’t as willing as Battie to name them the best in the Eastern Conference, he can’t deny the changes on the court.

‘€œWhenever they have all their guys, they have a swagger,’€ he said. ‘€œWhen someone goes down they don’t have swagger no more. That’s just how they are.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Courtney Lee, Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins
Tony Allen makes unexpected return 10.09.09 at 10:41 pm ET
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Celtics guard Tony Allen made an unexpected return to the court Friday night against the Knicks (recap here). Before the game, coach Doc Rivers said Allen, who underwent right ankle surgery in June, would not play until Sunday against the Nets.

Allen credits strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo for his expedited comeback.

“He warmed me up pretty good, got to shoot a couple of jump shots, felt good on my landing,” Allen told WEEI.com after the game. “I just thought I’d give it a shot.”

Allen went scoreless (0-2 FG)  in eight minutes of play, contributing an assist and a steal while committing two turnovers and two fouls. He wasn’t playing for the box score, though. This was a test of his recovery.

“I felt good. I did some good things, I did some bad things. But most importantly, I just want to see how my ankle’s going to act tomorrow,” he said. “I got a little hands on deflections, my man couldn’t get past me, [but I] turned it over, being too aggressive, and didn’t let the game come to me are the bad things. But for the most part I was out there, I got up and down the court. Now I’ve got to see how it’s going to feel tomorrow when I wake up.”

For now, his anke bothers him. He soaked his foot in ice and noticeably favored it as he walked in the locker room after the game. But Allen is taking it one day at a time.

“It’s pretty sore right now but I can’t be [psychic Miss] Cleo in this situation to tell you how I’m going to be tomorrow,” he said. “So we’ll see what’s good. “

Read More: Boston Celtics, Tony Allen,
Garden Debut has New Vets Feeling Young Again at 10:26 pm ET
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Marquis Daniels is entering his seventh NBA season, and he can’t help but feel like it’s his first.

Daniels made his debut as a member of the Celtics at the TD Garden on Friday night against the Knicks (recap here) Even though Daniels had played in Boston several times, this game felt different.

‘€œI’m very excited. I told the guys the other day, I’m like, ‘I feel like a rookie,’ ‘€ Daniels said before the game. ‘€œI’m very excited to be playing here. I’ve played in here on the other team and I knew there’d be a big difference. The fans play a big role and they’re great.’€

Daniels was one of five Celtics who played their first games on the parquet as a member of the home team. Rasheed Wallace, Michael Sweetney, Shelden Williams and rookie Lester Hudson also made their Celtics debuts.

‘€œComing here is just a great moment,’€ said Sweetney, who had not played in the NBA since the 2006-07 season. ‘€œComing in the building was like, wow. But coming into this locker room and the history and just being on this team is just amazing.’€

Newcomers such as Williams point to the Celtics’ deep tradition as something they have never experienced in the NBA. Williams has played for the Hawks, Timberwolves and Kings over the course of his career.

‘€œIt’s a great feeling,’€ he said. ‘€œI know it’s not the same gym as the Boston Garden, but there’s still a lot of history here and in the city wearing green. It’s still a great feeling to be part of history.’€

With the titles and electricity of the TD Garden come high expectations for the upcoming season.

‘€œI’ve never been on a team at the beginning of the season and everybody says, ‘We’re going to make the playoffs,’ ‘€ Sweetney said. ‘€œBut this team has won championships, so it’s a different feeling surrounding it.’€

This has Daniels looking forward to the feeling he has wearing a Celtics uniform.

‘€œ[The difference with the Celtics is] just knowing that we have a chance to be real special and we have a chance to do great things,’€ he said. ‘€œThere are a lot of great, hard-working guys, great veterans, great franchise, coaches and everything. It’s going to be a great situation.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Lester Hudson, Marquis Daniels, Michael Sweetney
Returning Celtics hit the court in preseason opener 10.07.09 at 11:37 pm ET
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On Wednesday night, all eyes were on Kevin Garnett as he returned to the court for the first time in more than six months during the Celticspreseason opener against the Rockets in Hidalgo, Texas. Although Garnett’s playing time was limited, his knee injury looked out of mind when he drained the first shot of the game.

But Garnett was not the only player who returned to the Celtics looking to improve upon last season. Paul Pierce, Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis lost weight, Rajon Rondo bulked up, and Ray Allen claims to be in the best shape of his career. See how the members of the 2008-09 team fared as they began the 2009-10 season.

Kevin Garnett
Last game: March 25 vs. Orlando Magic
17 minutes, 4 points (2-5 FG), 8 rebounds, 1 assist
Preseason opener: 13 minutes, 6 points (2-6 FG), 5 rebounds, 1 assist

Paul Pierce
Last game: May 17 vs. Orlando Magic
39 minutes, 16 points (4-13 FG), 7-10 FT, 2 rebounds, 3 assists
Preseason opener: 16 minutes, 8 points (2-6 FG), 4-4 FT, 1 rebound, 0 assist

Ray Allen
Last game: May 17 vs. Orlando Magic
41 minutes, 23 points (9-18 FG), 3-6 3PG, 4 rebounds, 3 assists
Preseason opener: 17 minutes, 8 points (3-6 FG), 0-2 3PG, 2 rebounds, 1 assist

Rajon Rondo
Last game: May 17 vs. Orlando Magic
37 minutes, 10 points (4-10 FG), 2-2 FT, 6 rebounds, 10 assists
Preseason opener: 17 minutes, 7 points (1-4 FG), 5-8 FT, 1 rebound, 3 assists

Kendrick Perkins
Last game: May 17 vs. Orlando Magic
39 minutes, 8 points (3-11 FG), 15 rebounds, 2 blocks
Preseason opener: 14 minutes, 3 points (1-2 FG), 3 rebounds, 2 blocks

Glen Davis
Last game: May 17 vs. Orlando Magic
31 minutes, 13 points (4-7 FG), 4 rebounds
Preseason opener: 23 minutes, 9 points (3-6 FG), 4 rebounds

Eddie House
Last game: May 17 vs. Orlando Magic
17 minutes, 2 points (1-3 FG), 0-1 3PG, 0 assists
Preseason opener: 21 minutes, 9 points (3-6 FG), 1-2 3PG, 0 assists

Brian Scalabrine
Last game: May 17 vs. Orlando Magic
13 minutes, 2 points (1-5 FG), 1 rebound, 2 assists
Preaseason opener: 18 minutes, 4 points (1-2 FG), 2 rebounds, 0 assists

J.R. Giddens
Last game: March 6 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
1 minute, 0 points (0-0 FG), 1 rebound, 1 steal
Preseason opener: 13 minutes, 1 point (0-1 FG), 1 rebound, 0 steals

Tony Allen (ankle) did not play against the Rockets. Visit WEEI.com’s Green Street for live coverage from the TD Garden on Friday night as the Celtics take on the Knicks in their preseason home-opener.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brian Scalabrine, eddie house, Glen Davis
NBA GMs Pick Celtics as Best Defensive Team at 11:29 am ET
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A survey of NBA General Managers on NBA.com revealed the more than 60 percent of the execs believe the Los Angeles Lakers will win it all again this season. That doesn’t mean, though, the Boston Celtics were not recognized.

The Cs were predicted to win the Eastern Conference, earning 50 percent of the votes. They also received 100 percent of votes to win the Atlantic Division.

Which team will win the Eastern Conference?
Boston Celtics     50.0%
Cleveland Cavaliers     42.9%
Orlando Magic     7.1%

Over 60 percent of GMs selected the Celtics as the best defensive team in the 2009-10 season. Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo each received votes for individual defensive categories. Rondo tied Kobe Bryant with the most votes for best ball-on-ball defender.

Best defensive team:
Boston     60.7%
San Antonio     32.1%
L.A. Lakers     7.1%

Best defensive player:
Dwight Howard, Orlando     46.4%
Kevin Garnett, Boston     17.9%
Ron Artest, L.A. Lakers 17.9%

Best on-the-ball defender:
Rajon Rondo, Boston     25.0%
Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers     25.0%
Ron Artest, L.A. Lakers     17.9%

Best interior defender:
Dwight Howard, Orlando     64.3%
Kevin Garnett, Boston     32.1%

Best perimeter defender:
Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers     34.5%
Shane Battier, Houston     24.1%
Ron Artest, L.A. Lakers     20.7%
Rajon Rondo, Boston     6.9%

On an individual basis, Garnett received the second-most votes (20.7%) for best power forward behind Tim Duncan. Ray Allen also received votes for best shooting guard.

Click here for complete results on NBA.com. General Managers were not allowed to vote for their own team.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen
Rivers: “I think Rajon Rondo will be a lifetime Celtic” 10.06.09 at 11:25 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics have until the end of the month to decide whether to extend Rajon Rondo‘s contract or let the point guard become a restricted free agent next summer. Doc Rivers, however, has a strong feeling Rondo will be back … for a while.

On Tuesday he told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Show:

“I think Rajon Rondo will be a lifetime Celtic. I really do. I think this process he’€™s gone through is the process all players go through at times. The maturity process is another thing that all players go through. I don’€™t think he’€™s behind in that department at all. I just think he’€™s young and he’€™s growing. So, I never had a black mark against him. For maturity issues, that’€™s part of his process of growing up, and he’€™s doing that. He’€™s been as good as anyone. In camp thus far he’€™s doing everything we ask him to do ‘€” and he usually does. I would be very surprised if he’€™s not a lifetime Celtic.”

Click here for a complete transcript of Rivers’ interview.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Rajon Rondo,
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