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Monday notes: Doc Rivers says Brandon Bass played ‘the perfect game’ while the bench, not so much 04.22.13 at 2:17 pm ET
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NEW YORK — So what did the Celtics film session reveal on Sunday?

To Doc Rivers, it showed that Brandon Bass “played the perfect game” in the Game 1 loss. It showed that Jordan Crawford did a lot of positive things in his first career postseason game.

“I thought Brandon played the perfect game for us,” Rivers said. “I thought defensively, he guarded Melo [Carmelo Anthony] well. He took shots when he should have. He moved the ball because they were coming [on traps].”

And it showed that the team’s energy and effort was there.

It also showed one huge area of need – getting Kevin Garnett more involved in the right spots on the court so that the offense doesn’t go into hibernation like it did for the final 13 minutes on Saturday.

“It was good, it was good,” Rivers said. “The film never lies. It didn’t. I thought our guys were great. They saw what we could’ve done and didn’t do. I’m sure New York saw the same things. So, I expect them to have a great game [Tuesday] and I expect us to play better as well.”

After hitting his first two shots from the field, Garnett made just two of his final 10 shots and finished 4-of-12 with eight points.

“He could’ve gotten himself in better spots and that’s again on us, too,” Rivers said. “It’s never one thing, it’s both. We have to create them for him. Kevin can’t dribble or pass to himself. We have to create that for him but listen, they’re still very good defensively. They trap and get down there [on block]. Even if you get him deep, they’re still coming.”

Did film help Garnett himself?

“Yeah, actually it did,” Garnett said. “It was nice session. Obviously, we put some things in, dropped some things. We’ll go over that in practice.”

The mood of the team was good, led by its always-smiling head coach, who as Garnett was talking to Rivers, asked Rajon Rondo if he were going to take part in practice. Rondo – wearing a pair of stylish green beats – was doing what he has been doing for the last two weeks, shooting around with his team and taking in practice and offering insights as he rehabs his reconstructed right ACL.

Now, Rivers is trying to regroup his troops and remind them that there was a lot to be happy about in the first three quarters of Saturday’s loss to the Knicks.

One thing he made clear on Monday was that the energy Saturday was good, just not the execution.

“I’m always pleased with that,” Rivers said. “We played hard, and so did they. We have to play better. It’s like I told our guys, hard is great but hard and smart is more important.”

The perfect example of that was in the third quarter when Lee saved a ball with a behind-the-back pass. But he saved it under the basket the Celtics were defending and into the hands of the Knicks, who easily converted the layup.

“We made a lot of hard plays, even Courtney saves the ball inbounds, he was hustling so you give him an ‘A’ for effort and then the rest of the part is where you have to be smarter as a group. I thought we did a lot of that in the game [on Saturday].” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Carmelo Anthony, Doc Rivers
Paul Pierce on Kevin Garnett: ‘We’re not going anywhere without Kevin’s presence’ 04.07.13 at 10:16 pm ET
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Paul Pierce knows the value of Kevin Garnett – or more to the point – a healthy Kevin Garnett.

Pierce said the Celtics are going nowhere without Garnett at full strength going into the playoffs. Garnett scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds in 24 minutes in his first game back since injuring the ankle on March 22.

“I feel good because I know when we’re all out there and we’re on, we’re as tough as anybody in the East to beat, especially with Kevin’s presence,” Pierce said after Garnett scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds in 24 minutes.

“We’re not going anywhere without Kevin’s presence, just being honest with you. He’s a big part of what we try to do out there on offense and defense. We play through him a lot. He anchors the defense. It’s going to be important for him in these last few of games to get his legs back and get going.”

Pierce said it’s important for the Celtics to be playing their best ball going into the playoffs, pointing specifically to Brandon Bass, who led Boston with 20 points Sunday night.

‘€œIts good to be playing the best basketball at the right time, and right now is the right time going into the playoffs for some guys to get their confidence going and start having some big games,” Pierce said. “That’€™s going to be huge for us if he continues to play well going into the playoffs, and the great thing about it is he’€™s doing it all off of the hustle plays and off of ball movement. When you can do things like that without a play being called for you’€¦that’€™s beautiful.

‘€œIt was good. Kevin healthy finally, im coming along’€¦so were gonna need these next few games to really prepare for the upcoming playoffs no matter who we play, and right now is the time for us to start hitting our stride.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Will Shav Randolph be a playoff factor for Celtics? 04.06.13 at 11:10 am ET
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With injury comes opportunity. It’s one of the oldest cliches in sports.

It’s also an interesting thought when considering the options in front of Doc Rivers as he tries to ready his Celtics for another playoff run.

Has the play of someone like unheralded power forward Shavlik Randolph opened Rivers’ eyes and those of the coaching staff enough to warrant serious consideration in the playoff rotation?

After a career-high 16 points and seven rebounds, providing the only real energy off the bench in Friday’s loss to Cleveland, Rivers was asked where Randolph fits in during the playoffs, when benches are shortened and playing time is at a premium.

‘€œI don’€™t know,” Rivers said. “He’€™s playing great. Just leave it at that; he’€™s just playing great basketball and we’€™re going to keep playing him.’€

‘€œI was just rolling to the basket and guys were finding me,” Randolph said. “It’€™s simple as that, I was getting good passes. Putting me in positions where I could finish around the rim. I wasn’€™t really making any tough shots. My teammates were finding me.’€

On the surface, that sounds like the coach is hedging his bets on whether there will be any time at all for the Duke product, considering if Kevin Garnett is healthy, Wilcox heads back to the bench and Rivers already has Brandon Bass already starting on the front court.

In eight games without Garnett, Randolph has averaged just over five points and 4.5 rebounds while playing about 13 minutes per game.

‘€œWell, it’€™s the mindset I’€™ve had probably for the past six or seven games,” Randolph said. “I know I’€™m going to get in there at some point. I just have to play as high energy as possible, you know come in with that second unit and make sure that the energy doesn’€™t drop off from the starting unit. You know that’€™s what I’€™ve tried to do since I got here.’€

He certainly didn’t get the benefit of the doubt on calls Friday night, when he fouled out with six minutes left.

‘€œYou know, just try to keep my composure,” he said. “In a game you’€™re not always going to agree with the calls, that’€™s just the nature of the game. You just got to keep playing. If you foul out, then you just try to cheer your teammates on. You know, that’€™s what I tried to do.’€

Does he think he’s shown enough on and off the court to warrant serious playing time in the playoffs?

“That’s a great question. All I know, is I’ll be ready, regardless. I’ll be ready to go in, regardless of what my role might be.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox, Duke
Ugly clincher: C’s finally beat Pistons, clinch playoff berth 04.03.13 at 10:09 pm ET
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Jeff Green scored a game-high 34 points and Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass each had 17 as the Celtics held off the Pistons, 98-93, Wednesday night at TD Garden. As it turned out, the Celtics clinched a spot in the playoffs by virtue of Philadelphia’s 88-83 loss in Charlotte as the fourth quarter was getting underway in Boston.

The Celtics snapped a two-game skid and improved to 39-36, maintaining their tenuous lead on Milwaukee for seventh in the Eastern Conference and out of a first-round encounter with the Miami Heat. With the Bucks losing at home to Minnesota, the Celtics now lead Milwaukee by 2.5 games for seventh in the East.

The Celtics won the game despite getting out-rebounded, 52-34, outscored in the paint, 58-28, and beaten in second-chance points, 26-7. Boston shot 50 percent on the night while holding the Pistons to 37 percent shooting, including 4-of-24 from 3-point range.

The Pistons had beaten Boston twice in their previous two meetings, scoring 103 points each time and winning by an average of 17 points a contest. Detroit shot 50 percent in each game in handing the Celtics two unexpected losses in Auburn Hills.

The Celtics appeared to be in for another long night against the bigger Pistons in the first quarter. Detroit jumped out to a six-point lead twice before settling for a 30-25 lead over Boston after 12 minutes.

Thanks to eight of his team-leading 23 points in the second, the Celtics outscored the Pistons, 29-14, and took a 54-44 lead to the locker room at halftime.

The Celtics built their lead to 18, 70-52, on two Bass free throws with 5:37 left in the third. They led by 18, 74-56, on a Chris Wilcox layup with 3:50 left in the quarter. But the Celtics fell asleep the rest of the period, allowing the Pistons to score the final 11 points of the period and cut the lead to 74-67 heading into the fourth.

Two Brandon Knight free throws with 9:21 left cut Boston’s lead to three, 79-76.

Charlie Villanueava blew a layup with eight minutes left that would have cut the lead to one. The Pistons threw away another fast break chance with 7:22 left and Pierce came down and hit a jumper to put Boston back up five, 83-78, with seven minutes left. Villanueva, the University of Connecticut product, gave the Celtics a chance to avoid another embarrassing loss. Villanueva was 2-for-17 from the field and missed all eight 3-point attempts.

Green’s jumper with 4:55 left put Boston up, 89-80. His put-back slam dunk of a Jason Terry missed jumper with 3:36 brought the crowd to their feet and put Boston ahead, 91-83. A technical on the Celtics bench and a two Greg Munroe free throws cut the lead down to four, 91-87, with three minutes left but Green answered with an 18-foot jumper with 2:56 left.

Jonas Jerebko gave Detroit new life with a three with 2:29 left, as the Pistons pulled within 93-90. Knight, infamous for getting dunked on by DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers, blew a wide open layup with just under two minutes left that would’ve drawn the Pistons within one.

Green’s third trey of the night from the left baseline put Boston up 96-91 with just 45.3 seconds left. Rodney Stuckey passed on a wide-open, game-tying three with 20 seconds left, instead deferring to Villanueva, who missed his seventh triple attempt of the night.

The Celtics continue their four-game homestand on Friday night at the Garden with a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. For more from Mike Petraglia and Ben Rohrbach from the Garden, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Brandon Knight, Charlie Villanueva
Donny Marshall on M&M: ‘I did not have a problem’ with Paul Pierce’s last shot 03.19.13 at 1:37 pm ET
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Donny Marshall of CSNNE joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to discuss Jeff Green‘s monster game vs. the Heat, Paul Pierce‘s final shot, and how to try to guard LeBron James.

In the Celtics‘ 105-103 loss to the Heat on Monday night, Green scored a career-high 43 points. In two of the games that Kevin Garnett has missed due to injury, Green has started and stepped up big time, combining for 74 points.

“From what I understand, [in] last night’s game, KG was in [Green’s] ear as well before, telling him to be that guy that he was,” Marshall said. “Your shots are going to be different obviously when KG comes back. He’s not Carmelo [Anthony] by any means. He’s not going to take 20, 25 shots, and it may make it easier for Jeff when KG comes back. If I’m a wing player, I throw the ball into KG, I know heads are going to turn. If they don’t go double-team when KG is playing well, they’re still going to have to respect him. That means now it’s my opportunity, my job to cut to the basket, to move without the basketball, and KG is such a great passer that Jeff Green I think will still get that quality shot. … At times, you have to be selfish for your team, meaning you may have to take those shots. You may have to take different risks when you’re out there, and that’s how you, I think, gain the respect of your teammates and also let them know that, ‘OK, I’m here to help you,’ and not just put everything on Paul [Pierce] and KG.”

With Green’s excellent play of late, Doc Rivers may have some thinking to do when Garnett returns. For most of the season, Green has come off of the bench, with players like Brandon Bass getting the starting nod.

“They tried to bring Brandon off the bench and I just don’t think his personality is fit for coming off the bench,” Marshall said. “I don’t think he’s one of those ‘go get it’ guys. You don’t run anything for him in the post. If you think about where most of his shots come from, they come off drive, draw and kick to that little 16-, 14-foot area. So, Brandon Bass is not going to be one of those guys that you’re going to showcase off the bench. So, I don’t know how you go about bringing him off the bench. I think you almost have to keep them in there and keep some semblance of interior with Bass on the floor.”

With the Heat’s two-point victory, they now have the second-longest winning streak in NBA history at 23 games. With seven seconds left, Pierce attempted a fadeaway 3-pointer that clanked off the rim, all but ensuring the Heat win.

“If that shot goes in and it’s Terrence Williams or somebody you’re like, ‘Still probably not a great shot and he got lucky,’ Marshall said. “If Pierce makes that shot, we’re like, ‘There’s Pierce. That’s his legacy, that’s what he does.’ LeBron James to me is not as good a defender as everyone wants him to be. … You have a situation in LeBron James that people think, ‘Oh, great defender. [Pierce] had to get that shot off quick.’ I really don’t believe laterally that LeBron is that great a defender. There are better defenders in the NBA, but he’s so big and so explosive that if Pierce catches that, pump fakes, I don’t think LeBron goes for it. If he does, Pierce is probably going to take one dribble and step back. That’s what he does. … The shot was a little early, but I did not have a problem with that shot because of who took it, and really what the situation was.”

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Read More: Brandon Bass, Donny Marshall, Dwyane Wade, Jeff Green
Trade rumor: Celtics ‘salivating’ over landing Hawks’ Josh Smith for Jeff Green, Brandon Bass 02.16.13 at 9:39 am ET
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The Celtics “would be receptive” to trading both Jeff Green and Brandon Bass for Hawks forward Josh Smith, according to longtime Bucks beat reporter Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times.

The Nets and Bucks are also reportedly interested, but “for a few weeks now” the Celtics have been “salivating” over the possibility of landing Rajon Rondo‘s Oak Hill Academy teammate, according to the report.

Read More: 2013 NBA Trade Deadline, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass
Fast Break: Celtics win ugly entering All-Star break 02.13.13 at 10:00 pm ET
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Thanks to another all-out effort by the few healthy players left on the roster, the Celtics outlasted the visiting Bulls 71-69 to win ugly, earning their eighth victory in nine tries since the first of the injury dominoes fell two weeks ago.

The Celtics (28-24) equaled their highest point above .500 as four C’s reached double digits, led remarkably by Brandon Bass (14 points, 9 rebounds). Kevin Garnett (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Paul Pierce (8-6-6) scored the C’s final nine points as they held off a Chicago charge to close the final quarter.

The Celtics’ 19 combined points in the second and third quarters marked the team’s lowest point total in consecutive quarters of a game during the shot clock era, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Likewise, their 71 total points was the third-lowest point total in a C’s victory since the inception of the shot clock.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Defense: The Celtics held the Bulls to 15 points in the first quarter and 13 in the third. Chicago’s five starters — Luol Deng (4-10 FG), Carlos Boozer (5-14 FG), Joakim Noah (3-8 FG), Richard Hamilton (1-6 FG) and Nate Robinson (2-7) — shot a combined 33.3 percent. It’s a good thing, because the C’s actually shot worse until …

Heart beats: As they’ve done since the injuries to Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa, the Celtics never quit. Playing their third game in four nights, shooting miserably and trailing by as many as seven in the first few minutes of the final quarter, the C’s found life. Capped by back-to-back buckets from Jason Terry (12 points) and Jeff Green (8 points) off the bench — both assisted by Garnett — the Celtics put together a 12-0 run, holding the Bulls scoreless for a stretch of 5:44 midway through the fourth quarter and capturing a 59-54 lead.

Bass finishing: In desperate need of offensive help, the Celtics found an unlikely hero. Beginning to emerge from a season-long funk, Bass scored his highest total (14) since Nov. 28. He also grabbed more rebounds (9) than he has since Nov. 25. Bass and Garnett combined for 26 points and 20 rebounds, forming a formidable frontcourt that limited a sizable advantage by the bigger Bulls, who got 27 rebounds from Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Chicago Bulls, Kevin Garnett
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