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Irish Coffee: Breaking down Celtics vs. Knicks 04.19.13 at 3:25 pm ET
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It’s only fitting that Boston and New York will meet again in a playoff series.

An underlying respect between the two cities rose to the surface this week, when the Yankees honored Red Sox Nation with a “United We Stand” sign outside their Stadium and sang Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” inside. Bound further now by more than a rivalry, we can only hope sports provide the same small distraction and healing power in Boston that they did in New York City after Sept. 11, 2001.

As we did during Wednesday’s emotional National Anthem at the Bruins game, let’s attempt to welcome that distraction and healing power in the aftermath of the cowardly Boston Marathon bombings and ensuing manhunt by previewing the first-round NBA playoff series between the Celtics and Knicks.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett

CENTER

Kevin Garnett (29.7 MIN, 14.8 PTS, 7.8 REB, 2.3 AST, 1.1 STL, 0.9 BLK)
Vs. Tyson Chandler (32.8 MIN, 10.4 PTS, 10.7 REB, 1.1 BLK, 0.9 AST, 0.6 STL)

The two erstwhile Defensive Players of the Year have each served as anchors of NBA title teams and enter this series dealing with recent injuries. While Chandler (neck) has relative youth and superior rebounding on his side, Garnett (ankle) is a more versatile offensive threat, illustrating a far wider shooting range and facilitating at a higher rate. There’s a reason one’s a future Hall of Famer and the other made his first All-Star roster this winter.

Slight advantage: Celtics

POWER FORWARD

Brandon Bass (27.6 MIN, 8.7 PTS, 5.2 REB, 1.0 AST, 0.8 BLK, 0.5 STL)
Vs. Carmelo Anthony (37.0 MIN, 28.7 PTS, 6.9 REB, 2.6 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.5 BLK)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Knicks vs. Celtics: NBA playoffs 1st round schedule 04.18.13 at 10:07 am ET
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The NBA released the full schedule for the first-round playoff series between the Celtics and Knicks.

Game 1: Celtics at Knicks on Saturday (3 p.m., ABC)
Game 2: Celtics at Knicks on Tuesday (8 p.m., TNT)
Game 3: Knicks at Celtics on April 26 (8 p.m., ESPN)
Game 4: Knicks at Celtics on April 28 (1 p.m., ABC)
Game 5: Celtics at Knicks on May 1 (TBD, if necessary)
Game 6: Knicks at Celtics on May 3 (TBD, if necessary)
Game 7: Celtics at Knicks on May 5 (TBD, if necessary)

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Doc Rivers: ‘You’re angry when you think about it because you love your city’ 04.16.13 at 12:08 pm ET
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Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

WALTHAM — Instead of playing a game Tuesday night, the Celtics held practice and reacted to Monday’s Boston Marathon tragedy.

Among those most affected was Jeff Green. The Celtics player, like his coach, live in Boston and very close to the epicenter of Monday’s two explosions on Boylston Street near the finish line.

Green said before Tuesday’s practice that he understood completely the NBA’s decision to cancel Tuesday’s home game against the Pacers at the Garden.

“Everybody has got to be safe,” Green said. “I think it was right to cancel the game out of respect for the families affected.”

Celtics coach Doc Rivers also lives in the Back Bay. He was headed into Boston after Monday’s practice in Waltham to watch the Marathon. He said

“I always go down after practice and watch [the Boston Marathon]. I was on my way,” Rivers said. “I had gotten out of the [Prudential] tunnel when the bomb exploded.

“I thought the spirit of Boston was incredible last night. If you’re part of the city, this country, it’s going to be on your mind. This city has an amazing amount spirit. You’re angry, too, when you think about it because you love your city. That bothers you.”

The game against the Pacers was canceled and will not be rescheduled. The Celtics will finish their 81-game schedule on Wednesday night in Toronto and then open the first round of the playoffs this weekend in New York’s Madison Square Garden against the Knicks.

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NBA cancels Celtics-Pacers Tuesday night at the Garden, will not be re-scheduled 04.15.13 at 8:46 pm ET
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The Celtics are the latest Boston team to announce they are canceling an event due to the Boston Marathon tragedy Monday afternoon.

The NBA issued the following release Monday night:

The National Basketball Association game scheduled for Tuesday, April 16 between the Indiana Pacers and the Boston Celtics at TD Garden has been canceled. The game will not be rescheduled.

The NBA expresses its sympathy to all those affected by the tragedy in Boston earlier today.

This means that the Celtics will play an 81-game schedule and their season will conclude Wednesday night in Toronto against the Raptors before they open the playoffs this weekend in New York at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks.

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Three for all: Hot Heat beat short-handed Celtics, Jeff Green bruises left elbow 04.12.13 at 9:54 pm ET
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Jeff Green got off to a hot start before injuring himself early in the fourth quarter on a dunk. (AP)

Jeff Green got off to a hot start before injuring himself early in the fourth quarter on a dunk. (AP)

Miami shot 12-for-23 from 3-point range, led by three each from Ray Allen, Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers and Rashard Lewis, as the Heat beat the short-handed Celtics, 109-101, Friday night at American Airlines Arena.

The Celtics, who rested Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, suffered a scare in the fourth quarter when Jeff Green injured his left elbow bracing his fall after a dunk. He was diagnosed with a bruised left elbow and did not return.

“I don’t think it’s that bad, I honestly don’t,” Doc Rivers said after the game. “We’ll know more [Saturday]. He has an ice pack on it.”

Before the injury, Green led the Celtics with 25 points and eight rebounds. Jordan Crawford chipped in with 20 points for the Celtics, who fell to 40-39.

With Milwaukee losing in Atlanta, Boston needs one more win to clinch seventh, and will be assured of not finishing eighth and will avoid the Heat in the first round of the playoffs. But now, the Celtics will have practically no chance of catching the Hawks for sixth, as the Celtics trail Atlanta by three games in the loss column with three games remaining. Boston won the season series with the Hawks, 3-1.

Without Pierce and Garnett, Rivers went with a small starting lineup featuring Avery Bradley, Jordan Crawford, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green and Brandon Bass.

The Heat, on the other hand, played with their full compliment of starters, including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, resting only Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem.

And behind the aggressive play of Green, the Celtics shot out to a red-hot start. Green was 4-for-5 from the field, with three drives to the basket for layups. He finished the first quarter with eight points and six rebounds as the Celtics led 25-13. Boston shot 50 percent and led 27-17 after 12 minutes.

But the second quarter was a defensive disaster for Boston as Miami’s bench took over. The Heat shot an amazing 16-of-19 from the field, led by a bench powered by the 3-point shooting of Ray Allen. With Boston leading 34-23, Allen converted a layup with 9:23 left in the second. The layup was the first of eight straight points for Allen, who hit back-to-back threes to spark an 11-0 run that tied the game. Read the rest of this entry »

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Irish Coffee: Jordan Crawford’s Celtics career in 4 minutes at 12:41 pm ET
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This video pretty much sums up Jordan Crawford‘s 24-game Celtics tenure. He’s been hit or miss. Mostly miss.

Crawford’s 39.3 field goal percentage and 29.0 3-point percentage reflect his career averages (39.9 FG%, 29.8 3P%), so the questions that followed him from Washington remain: Can Doc Rivers trust the 24-year-old shooting guard? Or has the Celtics coach’s decision to insert Jeff Green alongside Avery Bradley in the starting backcourt leave Crawford out of a guard rotation that also features Jason Terry and a struggling Courtney Lee?

The C’s haven’t won a single game when Crawford attempts more than 10 shots, and he’s taken double-digit shots in six of their last seven losses. They’re 12-6 when Crawford fires fewer than 10 shots. Likewise, the Celtics are 8-4 when Crawford plays fewer than 20 minutes and 4-8 when he plays more than 20. Maybe that’s why Rivers hasn’t trusted him with more than eight clutch minutes (within five with five minutes to go) since Feb. 22.

The good news? Crawford’s best production for the Celtics has come in the fourth quarter, when he’s shooting 47.2 percent from the field (34-72 FG), 40.0 percent from 3-point range (10-25 3P) and 88.0 percent from the free-throw line (22-25 FT). Then again, he’s committed 22 turnovers against 19 assists in the final 12 minutes of games — by far his most careless quarter (he owns a respectable 2.4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ration in quarters 1-3).

Meanwhile, he ranks 244th among defenders since coming to Boston, according to Synergy Sports. Add it all up, and it’s hard to argue Crawford deserves any more than emergency minutes in the playoffs.

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Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce (ankles) won’t face Heat 04.11.13 at 12:59 pm ET
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Aging Celtics stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will both rest their ailing left ankles against the Heat on Friday.

Both will travel to Miami and neither has been ruled out the Magic in Orlando on Saturday. After Wednesday’s loss to the Nets, Garnett and Pierce each left the decision about rest up to Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

“Whatever Doc wants me to do,” said Garnett.

“I’m going to leave that up to the coach,” said Pierce. “I think practice time is good for us. I think playing together is good for us. But that’s up to the coaching staff, what they say and best preparing us going forward in the playoffs.”

With four games remaining, the Celtics lead the Bucks by three games for the seventh seed. The C’s play three of their final four games on the road, hosting a Pacers squad that has an outside shot at the No. 2 seed between this weekend’s trip to Florida and the regular-season finale in Toronto.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee travels to Atlanta on Friday and Charlotte on Saturday before hosting the Nuggets and visiting Oklahoma City next week. The Bucks own the tiebreaker against the Celtics, so any combination of C’s wins or Milwaukee losses adding up to two clinches the right to avoid Miami until the Eastern Conference finals.

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