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Much needed practice for Celtics 05.16.09 at 1:32 pm ET
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WALTHAM – The Boston Celtics have not had more than one day off since a two-day lapse in between Games 3 and 4 against the Chicago Bulls. So Doc Rivers was relieved when the Celtics got another 48-hour break before Game 7 against the Orlando Magic. He put the team to work on Saturday.

“When you don’t practice you have slippage, and we’ve had a ton of slippage,” Rivers said after practice. “Our film today was all execution – things that you should be doing but when you don’t practice and work on everything, you slip a little bit. I think in Game 5 and 6 we had done that.”

Dissecting game film allowed the Celtics to see their mistakes, including 83 turnovers in the first six games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

“Execution is always key, down to the littlest thing,” Rivers said. “When you mess up one play and give up a three and you lose by two, that play in the first quarter counts just as much as something in the fourth. And so you just have to try to execute every single time and have great focus.”

One thing Rivers does not intend to adjust after Saturday’s practice is how they will stop Dwight Howard. The Celtics have had a solid plan since the first game and Rivers does not want to change it, just execute it more effectively.

“Not a thing, really,” he said. “We just have to hold our ground, dig a little more. A lot of those are offensive rebounds from dribble penetration. A lot of Howard’s baskets are not coming from just throwing the ball down to him in the post. It’s coming come guards and small forwards beating us off the dribble. Perk (Kendrick Perkins) does his job by going to help, and it frees up Howard’s ten offensive rebounds. Going into Game 1 we said the single most important thing for us was to stop dribble penetration. That has not changed at all.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Orlando Magic,
Did Howard learn to dominate? 05.15.09 at 1:05 pm ET
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One of the hottest topics in Game 6 was Dwight Howard’s ability to dominate. The Celtics had stopped him from doing it in the first five contests, but Howard was confident he could take over the paint. As he wrote on his blog, he thinks he accomplished his mission:

“I knew going into this game that if I wanted what I call touches that I had to crash the boards and dominate the game defensively and rebounding … I know that there are other ways to dominate a game than on scoring. My team needs me to be a beast in the lane for us to win. I tried to go after every ball last night and see if they could stop me.”

As for his decree of domination following Game 5, Howard has learned to prove it on the court, not at the podium:

“I guess if I learned anything the past few days after my comments in Game 5 it’s that I need to keep my mouth shut sometimes. Otis had me in his office and we talked about how there are better ways to deal with problems than I did. I’m still young, still learning and I’m going to make mistakes sometimes.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic,
Howard guarantees series win 05.14.09 at 9:03 am ET
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Just a day after calling out his coach, Dwight Howard is confident the Orlando Magic will beat the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

“We can’t give up hope,” Howard told reporters on Wednesday. “We’re in this series to win it. We are going to win this series.”

Howard criticized head coach Stan Van Gundy
following the Magic’s Game 5 loss. He questioned why he wasn’t being allowed to “dominate,” as he barely touched the ball down the stretch of their fourth quarter collapse. Howard and Van Gundy seemed to have reached a resolution.

“Getting the ball shouldn’t be a big issue for me,” Howard said. “There’s more ways to dominate the game than scoring. Me and coach, we talked about that. I just can’t let my frustrations get to the point where I’ll say anything.”

Game 6 will be played tonight in Orlando. The Celtics lead the series 3-2.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic,
LeBron wants to face Celtics? 05.13.09 at 3:13 pm ET
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When the Cleveland Cavaliers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals this week, LeBron James said he looks forward to playing either the Boston Celtics or the Orlando Magic in the next round.

Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer believes otherwise:

But the more he talked, the more it became obvious that if James and the rest of the Cavs had their choice, they would choose a rematch with the defending champion Celtics and not the Orlando Magic.

He said he’d seen every one of the Magic’s playoff games and talked about how difficult they are to defend with Dwight Howard and his strong shooters. But there was an edge when James discussed the Celtics.

“We know everything about Boston; we have a history with them,” James said.

James considers last season Game 7 one of the most challenging he has ever played. Then the NBA’s MVP left his desire for a rematch up to interpretation.

“I’m a competitor; I thrive on going against the best,” James said. “I love playing against the best. You make your answer out of that.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James,
Go inside Rondo’s home at 2:05 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo opens the doors to his home for his own version of Cribs. (Via RedsArmy)

Read More: Boston Celtics, Rajon Rondo,
Lewis expects big game from Allen 05.12.09 at 7:46 pm ET
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If there is one thing Rashard Lewis has learned about Ray Allen, it’s that he doesn’t stay cold for long.

“Man, that’s the thing. Ray may struggle but he’s always going to get back on his game the very next night,” Lewis told WEEI.com prior to Game 5. “Hopefully that’s not the situation tonight, but Ray’s a true professional. You can’t count him out. You never can count him out.”

Lewis would know. The two played nearly five years together on the Seattle SuperSonics. During that period Allen led the league twice in three-point shots made. He also ranked as one of the league’s top ten scorers in four consecutive seasons.

“I don’t care if he has a bad first half,” said Lewis. “He can go and get 20, 30 points in the second half alone, or he can have one big quarter and score 15, 20 points. That’s just the type of player he is, so you’ve just always got to pay attention to him regardless of if he’s missed his shots.”

Allen has missed his shots against the Magic. He is shooting 34% from the field in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, down from 45% in the previous round. More staggering, Allen has made only three of 24 attempts from long range.

Lewis doesn’t pay attention to the box scores. He knows Allen’s 0-for-5 three-point performance in Game 4 has no bearing on Tuesday night.

“I know he had a bad game last game. The thing that scares me about that is that we lost the last game by a buzzer beater and Ray didn’t play well,” Lewis said. “Tonight is going to be a night where both teams need to win and I’m sure he’s mentally ready to play and he’s going to come out shooting the ball, I think, well tonight because of the fact that this team needs him to win the ball club and he’s the key to their winning, so I’m sure he’s going to be ready to play.”

Whether or not Lewis is right will be determined in Game 5. Maybe once the series is over, Lewis can share his prediction with his friend.

“We speak to each other before and after the game, but it’s kind of hard to talk to each other when you keep competing against each other,” Lewis said. “I’m sure after this series is over that we’ll get back to being the good friends that we are.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Rashard Lewis, Ray Allen,
Father doesn’t need apology from Davis at 9:57 am ET
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The Orlando Sentinel has reported Ernest Provetti, the father at the center of the Big Baby shove drama, will not pursue his demand for an apology. Provetti told the Sentinel he “reacted emotionally and will back off.” The Celtics and the NBA have yet to respond to his email.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Glen Davis, Orlando Magic,
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