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Game 6: First quarter update 04.30.09 at 7:51 pm ET
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After one, the Celtics quest to finish the Bulls got off to a rough start, with Chicago using a 10-0 run to take an early 21-11 advantage and ultimately building a 37-26 lead. The big drama came at the end of the quarter when Rajon Rondo and Kirk Hinrich squared off. Rondo was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul, while Hinrich received a technical. The difference is huge. A Flagrant 2 would have led to Rondo’s ejection.

The refs are calling this one tight. Joakim Noah picked up two quick fouls, but the Celtics couldn’t capitalize because Kendrick Perkins also got two fouls–two more than Perk got in 48 minutes+ of Game 5. Ben Gordon and Brad Miller also picked up two fouls. Without Perkins in the middle, the Bulls attacked the inside of the C’s defense, and when they kicked the ball out John Salmons was there to make six of seven shots and score 16 points.

Ray Allen and Paul Pierce combined for 19 points and Brian Scalabrine came off the bench to score seven. The rest of the team was 0-for-5. The Bulls, meanwhile, shot 68 percent in the first quarter.

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Game 6,
Pierce: I’ll be ready for Game 6 04.29.09 at 2:43 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Paul Pierce admitted on Wednesday before leaving for Chicago that the grueling Game 5 on Tuesday night took a bit of a toll on him. He suffered a bruise when he was kicked in the left calf.

“I’m a little sore but I’ll use today to recover, get a message, rest and I’ll be ready for (Thursday),” Pierce said. “It’s nothing more than a light bruise on the calf muscle so some ice and stuff should be able to take care of it.”

The bruise clearly didn’t affect his late-game performance as he drilled three jumpers in the final 90 seconds of overtime to help lift the Celtics to a 106-104 win over the Bulls, and a 3-2 series lead.

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, NBA playoffs, Paul Pierce
All beat up and nothing to show for it at 12:46 am ET
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Brad Miller stood in front of his locker following Game 5 much the same way he stood at the free throw line with 2.0 seconds remaining in overtime-dazed and confused.

He had just been raked across the face by Rajon Rondo, who tried desperately to keep Miller from making the game-tying layup after Miller found a wide-0pen seam in the middle of the Celtics defense. From the top of the key to the basket, there was only green paint in the lane — until Rondo showed up at the last moment.

There were two things that had the Bulls livid. No flagrant foul on Rondo and no goaltending on Kendrick Perkins, who clearly hit the rim in attempting to block the shot but no call was made.

“It’s a play we’ve run,” Miller said. “Two or three guys went to bed and I understand why. It just left an opening just a tad.”

The fact that a flagrant wasn’t called was hardly shocking to Miller.

“We’ve got a lot of guys getting head shots this series, I mean a whole lot of them and it hasn’t been a flagrant,” Miller said. “We’ve had to shake off a lot of these high hits they’ve been putting on us.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brad Miller Rajon Rondo, Bulls, Celtics, NBA playoffs
Doc on Garnett: There’s a chance, not a very good one 04.28.09 at 11:35 am ET
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WALTHAM – Responding to a radio report by Reggie Miller to Dan Patrick that Kevin Garnett could return if the Celtics made it to the second round, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said this morning that Garnett is still out indefinitely with his sore right knee, adding, “Like I’ve said before, yeah, there’s a chance, it’s not a very good one,” Rivers said. “I guess you could report that and it’s correct but it’d be incorrect.”

Garnett has been reduced to a role of cheerleader during the series, spending most of his time on the Celtics bench while Leon Powe tore the ACL in his left knee in Game 2 and is lost for the playoffs.

Garnett will need surgery on bone spurs in his right knee that are not related to his tendinitis in the back of the same knee. Garnett is holding off on the procedure in the remote hope that he could return if the Celtics advance past the first round.

Meanwhile, no decision has been made on when to proceed with surgery on Powe’s knee.

The Celtics will once again be without Garnett and Leon Powe (left knee) tonight when they battle the Chicago Bulls in Game 5 of the first round Eastern Conference series, with the series tied, 2-2. Gametime is 7 p.m. at TD Banknorth Garden. For more, visit the Green Street blog.

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Garnett, NBA
Doc: Perkins is a target of officials 04.27.09 at 2:18 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Doc Rivers has said all year that his team has a target on its back. Now, he feels, there’s someone else taking aim.

After watching video of the two fouls called on Kendrick Perkins for two moving screens, in which there was little or no contact, Rivers let out a little of his frustration. Rivers was trying to give support to Perkins who was criticized for fouling out of Game 4 when his team didn’t have a big man to spare.

“I’ve got to say this about Perk,” Rivers began, “clearly, every game he’s been targeted for these moving screens. He gets them every game. He gets them called every game. Watching that tape last night, there two where he did move in the direction but there was zero contact on him. Brad Miller, on the other hand, is flying around. He’s laying guys out on screens and didn’t get one of those called. That bothers you.”

But Rivers also said that he would like Perkins to show some diplomacy on the court toward the officials.

“Perk does do it. Perk doesn’t help himself, which I’ve told him 100 times. When you do commit a foul, sometimes say, ‘Good call.’ And I know he’s never committed a foul and I probably whine as much as he does.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, NBA playoffs
Derrick Rose wins rookie honors 04.22.09 at 10:10 am ET
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This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but the Chicago Tribune is reporting this morning that Derrick Rose will be named NBA Rookie of the Year.

Rose joins Michael Jordan and Elton Brand as the other Bulls who have won the award, and despite the play of Russell Westbrook, the already-overrated OJ Mayo and New Jersey center Brook Lopez (see Kevin Pelton’s ballot), Rose was an absolute lock to win the award.

Here’s what else is happening in Chicago:

Vinny Del Negro is coming under fire for running out of timeouts. You may remember that the Bulls had to resort to a Tyrus Thomas heave from about 70-feet after Ray Allen’s 3-pointer, Monday night.

“People are going to second-guess and first-guess,” Del Negro said. “So what? I don’t care. I’m the coach. I will make the decisions. That’s the way it is.”

Joakim Noah: Voice of reason.

The always-awesome Kelly Dwyer broke down Game 2. Good stuff here.

Read More: Bulls, Derrick Rose,
Buckle in for a wild ride 04.21.09 at 12:33 am ET
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Give Chicago’s Tyrus Thomas this much credit-he can appreciate a great series.

And that’s what we have in the first round battle between the Bulls and Celtics, tied 1-1, heading back to Chicago Thursday night for Game 3.

“They came out quick and gave us a quick punch and we knew we had to come back and answer,” Thomas said. following Boston’s 118-115 heart-pounding win over his Bulls. “We did a good job and it came down to the wire. If we play like that for the rest of the playoffs, we’re probably going to be here for a while.”

His former teammate at LSU had a similar take on how great a series this has already been.

“Last year, we went seven games with Atlanta, and we were the No. 1 seed,” said Celtics power forward Glen Davis, who finished with 26 on Monday night. “Playoffs is the playoffs. Intensity level goes up, execution goes up and teams want it.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, NBA playoffs, Paul Pierce
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