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Tommy Heinsohn on M&M: Paul Pierce ‘just an outstanding guy to be around’ 01.27.14 at 1:28 pm ET
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Tom Heinsohn (AP)

Tom Heinsohn

CSNNE Celtics analyst Tommy Heinsohn talked with Mut & Merloni on Monday about the tributes for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett during Sunday’€™s game at TD Garden. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Heinsohn enjoyed the tributes for Garnett and Pierce, saying it exemplified what they and the team stood for.

“€œLast night with these two great players that brought a championship to Boston exhibited over their careers what the Celtics organization was and has been for many many years; full of spirit, teamwork, and accomplishment,”€ Heinsohn said.

Heinsohn recalled watching how Pierce grew not only as a player but as a person in his time with the Celtics.

“€œI’ve watched him grow as a person, as a player, accept all the challenges that anyone could hope to meet,”€ Heinsohn said. “Take the last shot at games, willingly. Really enjoyed being in that position, and the real tribute to him was when he was named captain and how he went about fulfilling that role. He was a very dedicated guy and worked at his craft all the time. Not just at the basketball end of it, but at the person side of it.”

Added Heinsohn: “He was around all those banners when he first came in, and I coached after the [Bill] Russell era and saw players come in and look up at the banners and the rafters and it became both a blessing and a curse. They feel privileged to play for the Celtics but they also know that they have to live up to the standards, and Paul Pierce certainly did that and recognized what those standards were. Just was an outstanding guy to be around.”

While Garnett was only a Celtic for six years, Heinsohn believes he always had the Celtic attitude and should have his number retired by the organization one day.

“He was totally focused,” Heinsohn said. “When he’€™d come out on the basketball court there was nothing else in his mind but winning a basketball game. And it wasn’t about him, it was about winning. He wasn’t there to score the most points or do anything else, he was there to be the supreme teammate, to excel in what he did best to help win a game and that embodied the Celtics spirit of the teams I played with and coached.”

Added Heinsohn: “€œWhen you see the impact he had on that team, he belongs up there. It was just at a chance that he ended up some place else, because he had the Celtic attitude as soon as he stepped on a basketball court in the NBA.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
Celtics keep on losing, this time falling short against lowly Orlando Magic 01.19.14 at 8:44 pm ET
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In the race to claim one of the NBA’€™s worst records, this would have been a good night for the Celtics. But for those hoping for some wins, the 93-91 loss to the Magic was about as demoralizing a game as this season has presented.

The Celtics lost for the 14th time in their last 16 tries, extending their road losing streak to nine straight.

This one, however, was more than just another defeat. This loss came at the hands of a team seemingly in worse shape than the Celts.

With the victory, the Magic snapped a 10-game losing streak. They had also dropped their last 10 meetings with the Celtics.

Orlando still claims the worst record in the NBA, standing at 11-30, while the Celtics drop to 14-28. Brad Stevens‘€™ club is now tied with Utah and Philadelphia for the league’€™s second worst mark.

The loss was sealed when Orlando’€™s Tobias Harris sunk two free throws after Kris Humphries was whistled for a loose ball foul with 10 seconds remaining.

Avery Bradley lost control of the ball while driving to the hoop as the buzzer sounded, ending the Celtics’€™ final chance.

In his second game back after recovering from knee surgery, Rajon Rondo scored six points in 21 minutes, going 3-of-10 from the field while dishing out four assists.

The Magic finished with five players in double-figures, with former Celtic Glen Davis recording 17 points and seven rebounds. Arron Afflalo led the hosts with 20 points and 13 rebounds.

Celtics guard Jerryd Bayless was forced from the game after spraining his right toe.

Click here for a complete box score.

Read More: Avery Bradley, Brad Stevens, Celtics, Glen Davis
Bounceback: Kelly Olynyk enjoys breakthrough game 01.18.14 at 1:15 am ET
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Kelly Olynyk

Kelly Olynyk

After the Celtics win against the Raptors on Wednesday night that featured a zero-point output from Kelly Olynyk, Boston owner Stephen Pagliuca approached the 7-footer at his locker.

Pagliuca wanted to instill confidence in the Gonzaga product whom the Celtics took in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft to offset the loss of Kevin Garnett. Olynyk’s lack of aggression was not limited to the Toronto game. His zero-point effort just capped off a rough stretch of play. From Jan. 2 to Jan. 15 (nine games), Olynyk averaged 14.5 minutes per game and 4.3 points per game on 39 percent shooting. His boss encouraged him to abandon his on-court reticence.

“€œ[He said] be confident, be aggressive, take shots when they’€™re there,” Olynyk said after Boston’€™s 107-104 loss to the Lakers on Friday.

Olynyk received that message and translated it to the court in a big way against the Lakers. He totaled a game-high and career-high 25 points, and tacked on seven assists and five rebounds.

“€œI thought he was good,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “[He] took advantage of some match ups in the interior and then also got his jump shot rolling.”

The timid, unaggressive Olynyk who has been prominent at times this year vanished against Los Angeles. He was efficient around the rim and creative with his passing from the top of the key. Olynyk made his only 3-pointer in the first half, but played more of a facilitating role, tallying five assists in the first 24 minutes of the game. But in the second half, the Lakers had no answer for the center, as he scorched their frontline for 16 points. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brad Stevens, Kelly Olynyk, Kevin Garnett, Stephen Pagliuca
Despite disappointing ending, Rajon Rondo’s return a success at 1:04 am ET
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Rajon Rondo had an eventful return to the court on Friday. (AP)

Rajon Rondo had an eventful return to the court on Friday. (AP)

Through 47 minutes and 59 seconds there was nothing to complain about regarding the debut of Rajon Rondo.

But it took just a second for that outlook to change.

With Boston trailing by three points in the waning moments, Rondo hoisted a 3-pointer that would have sent the game into overtime at the buzzer. But his shot clanked off the rim, and Boston fell 107-104 at the Garden.

‘€”Just came up a little bit short, but I was glad he had the ball,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after the game.

Still, there were plenty of positive takeaways from Rondo’s first game since last January — starting with the fact that he changed the dynamic of the team before the opening tip. Stevens, unbeknownst to Rondo, bestowed captainship upon Rondo before the start of the game. Rondo is the 15th Celtic captain, following Pierce, who reigned from 2003-2013.

“€œI never told him — I mean, maybe it’€™s something I should have done,” Stevens said. ‘”But I think it’€™s something you earn through your effort, through your leadership, through your involvement in the community.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Avery Bradley, Brad Stevens, Doc Rivers, Jared Sullinger
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo starting against Lakers 01.17.14 at 7:25 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo got the start at point guard in his much-anticipated return to the court on Friday night against the Lakers.

Celtics (14-26) coach Brad Stevens confirmed Rondo’s return to reporters before the 7:30 tip-off at the Garden.

Rondo has been sidelined since Jan. 25, 2013 with a torn ACL he suffered in a regular season game versus the Hawks.

Undrafted rookie Phil Pressey started his first career game at point guard in the Celtics‘ 88-83 win on Wednesday night that snapped a nine-game losing streak. Pressey briefly took over for the starting duties for the traded Jordan Crawford.

Rondo averaged 13.7 points, 11.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game in 38 games last season.

Read More: Brad Stevens, Jordan Crawford, Phil Pressey, Rajon Rondo
Phil Pressey makes first career start, leads Celtics to victory 01.16.14 at 12:24 am ET
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Phil Pressey made his first start with the Celtics on Wednesday. (AP)

Phil Pressey made his first start with the Celtics on Wednesday. (AP)

A few minutes into the third quarter, Phil Pressey jetted around a pick-and-roll, confidently rose for an 18-foot jump shot and connected. But before he could celebrate a whistle sounded: A Boston foul nullified Pressey’€™s first points as a Celtic starter.

“I felt like that really was going to get me goin. When I finally hit one, it felt good,” Pressey said with a smile after Wednesday night’€™s game.

Pressey never scored those elusive first two points, but with Boston’€™s 10-game losing streak snapped in the team’€™s 88-83 win over the Raptors, he can now boast about his 1-0 record as a starting point guard in the NBA.

The undrafted rookie free agent’€™s 0-for-5 shooting line and zero points were not indicative of the impact he made on the game. Pressey dished out a career-high 10 assists and did not commit a single turnover in 26 minutes of play — also a career-high.

“I thought he was absolutely terrific,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

Pressey liked the 10 dimes, but not as much as the zero turnovers.

“I know if I take care of the ball, I know I’€™m giving my team an opportunity to get more shots up. That’€™s what I pride myself on,” Pressey said.

The Celtics‘€™ thinness at the guard position necessitated Pressey’€™s insertion into the lineup. (Starting point guard Jordan Crawford and reserve guard MarShon Brooks were dealt to the Warriors, Rajon Rondo is still out, and Keith Bogans indefinitely left the team for personal reasons).

Pressey said he was alerted of his promotion in shootaround. Yet the suddenness of the promotion was not alarming.

“The guys embraced me from the start, like I’€™ve been there from day one, so it was very easy for me to step in and help my team out,” Pressey said.

Pressey started off slowly, but he helped spark a 6-0 run to end the half that put Boston ahead 45-41. With under one minute left, Pressey and Jared Sullinger executed a pick-and-roll that culminated with Sullinger canning a long running jumper. Pressey then pick-pocketed Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry and set off in transition where he found a trailing Avery Bradley with a smooth behind-the-back pass for an easy layup. Then Pressey collected a Raptors miss and alertly sent an outlet pass to Bradley, who had leaked ahead of the field. Bradley was fouled and made both free throws.

Pressey helped extend Boston’€™s lead to 17 with three assists in the third quarter.

“I thought when things got tough, he got tough,” Stevens said.

And things got tough in the fourth quarter. The Celtics blew their massive lead, and suddenly found themselves nursing a three-point advantage in the waning moments. But Pressey helped weather the storm and Boston eked out the win.

“To his credit, I thought he pulled guys in and together instead of when something doesn’€™t go our way we’€™re not together,” Stevens said.

There’€™s speculation that Rondo will return on Friday against the Lakers. But Boston hopes to ease Rondo back into action, and Pressey’€™s strong outing suggests that he’€™ll continue to see big minutes until Rondo’€™s healthy.

Read More: Avery Bradley, Brad Stevens, Jared Sullinger, Jordan Crawford
Rajon Rondo’s Celtics return coming ‘sooner rather than later’ 01.13.14 at 9:52 pm ET
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With the Celtics mired in a losing streak and spiraling down the standings, Rajon Rondo‘s return can’t come soon enough, and it doesn’t appear the All-Star point guard is all that far off from playing for the first time since his ACL injury.

“I get the impression it’€™s sooner rather than later,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters prior to playing the Rockets.

While Stevens, Rondo and the Celtics are avoiding any strict timeline, the coach didn’t rule out a return this week. “I think you could say possibly,” he said.

Yahoo’s Marc Spears reported that the Rondo was targeting Friday’s game against the Lakers as his comeback night. The Celtics also face the Heat on Jan. 21 before hosting Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and the Nets on the 26th — on ESPN, no less, and we all know how Rondo enjoys national TV audiences.

Rondo added to the speculation when he sent out a tweet Monday night reading “29,233,380 secs.” That’s the amount of time from his surgery on Feb. 13 to tipoff for Friday’s game.

 

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, NBA, Rajon Rondo
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