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Davis jumps into new role 02.03.09 at 11:28 pm ET
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While Ray Allen was the hero of the Boston Celtics dramatic win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, the Cs would not have been in striking distance if it weren’t for one player stepping up in Kevin Garnett’s absence. For the second straight game, Glen Davis has thrived in his role as the Celtics starting power forward.

(ESPN.com)

Davis shot 6-for-11 against the 76ers (ESPN.com)

Davis posted 12 points (6-11 FG) and 11 rebounds against the 76ers (RECAP HERE). Of his six field goals, only one came in the paint. On Sunday, he added 12 points (5-12 FG) and six rebounds against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Davis isn’t just attacking the hoop like a traditional big man. Big Baby is getting the job done with his jumper.

“I think it’s going to help my game tremendously,” Davis said recently. “If I can spread the floor for my team …  I can move up to the four, pick and roll to help out with Paul (Pierce), and hit the jumper. I kind of just train myself to be ready to hit that big shot.”

His preparation paid off when he hit knocked down a 17-footer with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter. The basket brought the Celtics back within three and sparked an 8-to-4 run to close out the game.

This season Davis has developed a knack for mid-range jumpers. Even though the majority of his baskets have come at the rim – his biggest responsibility is attacking the glass – he has been in the zone away from the paint. He entered Tuesday’s game shooting nearly 50% from just inside the arc and almost 40% from the top of the key. Davis has made it a point to fit his jumpshots into his training regimen.

(NBA.com)

(NBA.com)

“It doesn’t take that long [in practice],” he said. “I might go 30 minutes hard, just jumper, jumper, jumper, jumper, and get mine in for the day. I just try to do it every day.”

Davis’ shot has been a work in progress over the years, according to his childhood friend, Dallas Mavericks forward Brandon Bass. The two also played college basketball together at LSU. Bass has seen Davis transform from a banger to a finesse player. It’s a move that was necessary for the 6-foot-9 forward to adapt as an undersized big man in the NBA.

“He never had a bad jumpshot,” Bass said. “He always could shoot it, but he wasn’t necessarily a jumpshooter. He was more of a guy you could throw it to on the block and he could get you a bucket, or he’d eat the glass up and get an offensive rebound. When I left [LSU in 2005] he developed a jumpshot a little more.”

Garnett (flu) is expected to return for Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. While Davis won’t get as many looks off the bench, this extra playing time has helped his confidence with his shot. The skills are there; now it’s just a matter of showcasing them when given the opportunity.

“I feel like I always had the talent to do a lot of things,” Davis said. “It’s just all about working on them and doing them. But I always in college had flashes of myself taking the ball up the court, playing at a smaller position than the power forward and the center. So I know I can do it. It’s just about going out there and doing it and having confidence and working on it consistently.”

Read More: Big Baby, Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Glen Davis Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
Perkins ‘cool’ with call 02.02.09 at 12:24 am ET
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It’s only the first half of the season and Kendrick Perkins has already been whistled for nine technical fouls and a  Flagrant 2. His latest call against Jason Maxiell during Friday’s game against the Detroit Pistons earned him a $10,000 fine. But Perkins isn’t worried about developing a bad reputation around the league. If anything, he says, his early technicals helped the officials understand his game.

“I think it’s mostly gaining the respect from the referees, having a better relationship,” he said prior to the Boston Celtics game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. “So now when I get mad at a call they’re not just quick to jump on me. It’s more of a respect thing.”

Perkins has noticed the referees have eased up since he got called for his ninth T in early December.

“They let me get physical on the block as far as defending people,” he said. “So I think since I’ve calmed down – I haven’t got a technical in about 25 games – so I’ve been pretty cool.”

As for the Flagrant 2 against Maxiell, Perkins attests he was not aiming for his neck. He’ll accept the consequences, though, knowing it comes with the territory of going hard on the court.

“I think I’ve just got to keep going out there playing my game, being physical and just being smart at the same time,” he said. “There are a lot of hard fouls that I’ve given that aren’t flagrant, so it’s cool.”

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Sounds of the game… Celtics 109, Timberwolves 101 02.01.09 at 6:27 pm ET
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Who needs All-Star Kevin Garnett?

Not the Celtics on Super Sunday. When news of Garnett’s flu spread before the game, Paul Pierce knew it was time to step up his game, offensively. In his last three games against Dallas, Sacramento and Detroit, he has posted games of eight, eight and 20 points. Not exactly the stuff that All-Star reserves are made of.

But obviously, when Kevin Garnett, Eddie House and Rajon Rondo are picking up their fair share and more and blowing out the competition in the first half, Pierce has not needed to be THE guy.

But on Sunday, against old friends Al Jefferson (34 points), Ryan Gomes and a vastly improved Sebastian Telfair, he was THE guy, scoring a game-high 36 points from all different angles, including a clinching fadeaway with 2:24 remaining to put the pesky Timberwolves away and clinch Boston’s 11th straight win, improving the Green to 40-9.

Doc Rivers said Pierce had little choice BUT to pick up the slack for Kevin Garnett.

Rivers said the T’Wolves will be good soon.

Paul Pierce on picking up the scoring slack.

Pierce said he enjoyed watching Big Al, Gomes and Telfair return to Boston.

Al Jefferson said Minnesota killed itself early with turnovers.

Jefferson said the T’Wolves had their shot without KG in the lineup.

Minnesota coach Kevin McHale said his team was alseep in the first half.

McHale said the T’Wolves had some big boo-boos on defense.

Read More: Al Jefferson, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin McHale Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
More than trade bait 01.30.09 at 6:21 pm ET
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An NBA title with the Boston Celtics has made it easy to forget about Kevin Garnett’s days with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He is no longer the player who couldn’t win it all. Rather he is the champion who proved anything is possible.

Yet the former Celtics who were involved in the blockbuster deal are still known as ‘the guys traded for Garnett.’ It has been two seasons, though, since the move and now they are ready to make a name for themselves in Minnesota.

“We’re thankful for what [the Celtics] gave us but now we’ve got to set our own trends, set our own careers,” Ryan Gomes said in a telephone interview. “We’re not with the Celtics anymore. We know who they have and what they’ve accomplished, but now we’ve got to try to set other goals for ourself.”

Gomes, Al Jefferson, and Sebastian Telfair are the only remaining players on the Timberwolves from the 2007 trade. (Gerald Green and Theo Ratliff have signed with other teams.) Last season they finished 22-60, their worst record since the pre-Garnett era. In attempt to establish a new identity, the Timberwolves made off-season moves to acquire a highly-touted rookie and veteran shooter. Nonetheless they got off to an eight-game losing streak.

“What people should understand is that we had high expectations coming into this season, with the trade of Mike Miller and getting Kevin Love and Brian Cardinal and Rodney Carney,” explained Gomes. “We had high expectations and it didn’t work out for the first 35 games.”

The Timberwolves were 4-15 when head coach Randy Wittman was replaced by former VP of Basketball Operations Kevin McHale. Ironically it was a Celtic great who got the Timberwolves playing their own style of basketball. They headed into the new year hot off a five-game winning streak.

“In the beginning we did go through a rough time,” Gomes said. “Our schedule in the month of December was real tough and we were trying to find ourselves. But now we’ve found ourselves and I think that’s why we’re playing well. Everyone’s understanding their roles and fulfilling them, and I’d say that’s the most important thing. Whenever you have success that means everyone’s doing their part.”

Gomes points to a demoralizing loss as the source of their improved play. In December the Timberwolves (then 6-24) blew a 29-point lead in the third quarter to the Dallas Mavericks. In spite of losing, the Timberwolves gained confidence and momentum.

“We ended up losing that game and that was what turned it around,” said Gomes. “We had seen what we could become and where we were at, and then they took it away from us. They kept fighting and kept pushing through it and believing they could win, and I think that’s what we took out of it. We had a tough stretch where we lost 13 games in a row early in the season and that game showed that we can bounce back and we can make something of the season. There’s a lot more games to be played, and once that came in January we got off on the right foot and we’ve been rolling ever since.”

The Timberwolves are 9-3 since January 1, including upsets over the New Orleans Hornets and Phoenix Suns. They will look to continue their streak when they face the Celtics on Sunday in Boston. Their former teammates have taken notice.

“First of all, Big Al’s playing like an All-Star,” said Kendrick Perkins. “Second of all, Randy Foye has stepped his game up. Rodney Carney, the rookie (Kevin) Love, Sebastian (Telfair), they’re all playing well. Since coach Kevin McHale got the job, they’ve been playing well. They’re playing good defense and I’ve been watching them lately on TV, so they’ve been playing really well.”

With just under 40 games left on their regular season schedule, the Timberwolves are nine games out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference. A postseason berth is a longshot, but Gomes doesn’t mind waiting. Even if their time doesn’t come this season he is confident it’s only a matter of time before the Timberwolves establish themselves as a playoff contender.

“I think the Timberwolves are a team on the rise and this year is not over,” Gomes said. “We’ve got a lot of games to play and if we play the way we’ve played this month for the rest of the season, who knows where we’ll be. Hopefully we can maybe sneak in the playoffs and if not we could be right there. Next year should be our breakout year to take what we did this year and carry it over next year from the beginning and have a successful season. So the Timberwolves should be a team that teams should be worried about in the West and in the East because of the way we’ve been playing lately.”

Read More: Al Jefferson, Boston Celtics, Gerald Green, Kevin McHale Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
A closer look at House’s streak at 12:58 am ET
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Eddie House has been unstoppable from behind the arc, knocking down eight three-pointers against the Sacramento Kings this week. So just how well is House playing? It’s the best basketball of his nine-year career.

Game- High 3PG Made (Regular season)
08-09: 8
07-08: 5 (2x)
06-07: 5
05-06: 7
04-05: 3 (3x)
03-04: 3 (4x)
02-03: 4
01-02: 4 (2x)
00-01: 2 (3x)

3PG % when making 5+ treys
08-09: 70.9%
07-08: 66.7%
06-07: 50.0%
05-06: 60.0%

House isn’t just topping his personal bests. He and Ray Allen are the only two players this season to hit eight three-pointers in a single game. He is also shooting better this season than those who once ruled from behind the arc.

2008-09 Game-High 3PG among the past five seasons’ leaders
Ray Allen: 8
Quentin Richardson: 7
Raja Bell: 6
Peja Stojakovic: 6
Jason Richardson: 4
Kyle Korver: 3
Gilbert Arenas: N/A

For more on House’s streak, listen to Sounds of the Game.

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Scal speaks… 01.28.09 at 8:19 pm ET
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The Celtics are 6-0 this season when Brian Scalabrine starts. Scalabrine has his own fanclubs on Facebook that were trying to get him on the Eastern Conference All-Star team in Phoenix. Every time he touches the ball at the Garden is cause for a standing ovation and a personal chant of “Scal-uh-breen-ee”

But now, thanks to poor Patrick O’Bryant, those chants will be silenced over the next 7-10 days as the best red-head basketball player ever to hail from the University of Southern California recovers from his second concussion in a week, suffered when he took an elbow from O’Bryant during practice Tuesday.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers gave the prognosis for Scalabrine prior to Wednesday’s game.

But Scalabrine was healthy enough to talk before Wednesday’s game. And here’s what he had to say about getting his bell rung.

Scalabrine said he’s feeling it after getting his bell run at practice on Tuesday.

Scalabrine said he’s not sure exactly when he’ll be ready to return.

Doc Rivers updated Scal’s condition before the game Wednesday.

Meanwhile, there continues to be speculation that the Celtics could wind up with as many as four All-Stars when the reserves are announced on Thursday. Garnett is already in the starting lineup, while Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo are all getting consideration for reserve status.

Rivers said four all-stars would be nice.

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Celtics commit to Marbury? 01.26.09 at 8:38 am ET
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The New York Post has reported that the Boston Celtics have made a verbal commitment to Stephon Marbury. Marbury, who is still under contract with the New York Knicks, said the Celtics are one of two teams who have expressed interest in him.

The banished Stephon Marbury acknowledged for the first time yesterday he has a verbal commitment from the Celtics – and accused the Knicks of not accepting his latest buyout offer because they don’t want him winning a championship in Boston.

WEEI.com first reported in December that the Celtics were interested in Marbury.

UPDATE: Citing a source close to the situation, the Boston Herald has reported the Celtics have not made a guarantee to Marbury.

The source went on to say the two sides have spoken (the Knicks gave Marbury permission to talk with other clubs) and that the Celts would definitely like to add him under the right circumstances.

Celtic director of basketball operations Danny Ainge had no comment on the Marbury situation, but the club is not prepared to give him major playing time.

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