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Pierce out again, Daniels to start 02.25.10 at 7:34 pm ET
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Paul Pierce will miss his second straight game with a sprained right thumb while Marquis Daniels will start after missing Wednesday’s practice with flu-like symptoms. Doc Rivers made the announcement in his pre-game chat with reporters.

Read More: Cavaliers, Celtics, Marquis Daniels, NBA
How C’s-Cavs are different now at 1:00 pm ET
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WALTHAM — It seems much longer than four months when last the Celtics played the Cavaliers on opening night in Cleveland.

And for both teams – who meet tonight at TD Garden at 8 p.m. – the perspective has changed.

The Celtics went into Quicken Loans Arena on Oct. 27 and came away with a 95-89 win and served notice that they were intent on reclaiming their perch atop the Eastern Conference with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen back in full stride.

That night Pierce led a balanced attack with 23 points, overcoming a game-high 38 from LeBron James. But C’s coach Doc Rivers said beyond the final score, there’s not much to take from the result that night.

“Nah, they’re not the same team,” Rivers said. “We’re not the same team. We won. We can take that away from it but other than that, I think both teams have forgotten about that.”

Indeed. Since then, the two teams have taken different paths. The Cavs, after losing their first two and starting the season 3-3, have rebounded to claim the top spot in the East and the NBA at 44-14, despite a recent three-game skid.

[Click here to listen to Rivers explain how Cavaliers are different than opening night.]

The Celtics, who stood 23-5 following a Christmas Day win over Orlando, have battled injuries and inconsistency and stand 36-19, just ahead of fourth-place Atlanta by a game in the loss column.

Both teams made moves at the trading deadline to strengthen themselves. While the Celtics added firepower with Nate Robinson, Cleveland acquired more front court athleticism in Antawn Jamisoin, dealing away Zydrunas Ilgauskas. The Cavs lost their first three games following the trade with Jamison in the starting lineup before he scored 18 in Tuesday’s win over New Orleans.

“They are different, watching them on tape the last two games,” Rivers said. “The Jamison thing has changed them a little bit. It definitely makes it more difficult to guard them so we have to get ready for that.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Pierce, Daniels miss practice 02.24.10 at 4:04 pm ET
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WALTHAM — The Celtics will likely be without Paul Pierce when they take on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on Thursday night, according to Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

Pierce was kept out of practice on Wednesday to protect his injured right thumb while Marquis Daniels was sent home with flu-like symptoms.

“I’m not going to say definitely but most likely not [Thursday],” Rivers said. “We’ll just evaluate it day-to-day. I didn’t want him to take a chance of getting his thumb hit at all in practice so that if he did feel good [Thursday] but if not, we’ll just wait. We’re just going to go a game at a time with him.”

Asked if he were concerned that Pierce’s thumb was anything more than a sprain, Rivers said likely not. “I would know if it’s something else and it’s not,” he said.

Also missing practice on Wednesday was Daniels. “We sent Marquis home. He looked awful so we’ll see [Thursday] and if not I have no idea right now so we’ll figure it out,” Rivers said.

Read More: Cavaliers, Celtics, Marquis Daniels, NBA
Here come the Cavs 12.30.09 at 1:50 pm ET
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A small detail from Tuesday night’s NBA games. The Cleveland Cavaliers slipped past the Celtics by a half game for the best record in the Eastern Conference. At 23-7 the Celts are still up a game in the loss column (Cleveland’s 25-8) and hold a few percentage points if you want to get technical about it.

This isn’t about that. This is about how the Cavs are hitting their stride. Earlier in the season, when Cleveland was losing three of its first six, there were questions about how well Shaquille O’Neal was really going to fit alongside LeBron James, and if Delonte West could get his life back together, let alone his game.

Safe to say they’ve figured it out. The Cavs have won 10 of their last 11 with a road loss to the Mavs serving as the spoiler and it’s not just that they’ve been winning. They’ve been destroying teams. Read the rest of this entry »

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Doc on Shaq: ‘I was obviously wrong’ 11.06.09 at 8:05 pm ET
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One of the great traits of Celtics coach Doc Rivers is his brutal honesty.

He, like many others around the NBA, thought the Phoenix Suns hit a home run two seasons ago when they traded for Shaquille O’Neal, putting him alongside Amar’e Stoudemire and Steve Nash. Rivers just assumed the Suns would take off, challenge the Lakers and Nuggets for Western Conference supremacy.

Not so much. After a half-season in 2007-08, when they were eliminated in the first round, the Suns fell to 46-36 last season, not even good enough to qualify for the Western playoffs.

“I was obviously wrong,” Rivers said. “I didn’t that was a bad match with Shaq and Stoudamire.”

But the Suns could never optimize O’Neal’s presence with Nash and Stoudamire and the Suns let O’Neal go to Cleveland this past off season. The more nimble, athletic 6-11 Channing Frye has taken O’Neal’s spot and is averaging 14.6 points in Phoenix’s 4-1 start to this season.

“I thought you had one post guy and Stoudamire is more off the post than on the post so I thought it was a good combination but it just didn’t work out for whatever reason,” Rivers added. “It’s good to see Channing Frye play well. I’ve always been pretty high on him as a player. I think he’s another great example, a litle like Shelden [Williams], guys who take a little time to find their way and I guess he’s found his way.”

Read More: Cavaliers, Celtics, NBA, Shaquille O'Neal
Fast break: A quick take on Celtics-Cavs 10.27.09 at 10:20 pm ET
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CLEVELAND  —  More than anything Tuesday night, the Celtics showed they can take the best an opponent has to offer and respond strong.

Not just any opponent on any court. The Celtics beat the Cavaliers, 95-89, on the home floor of one of the teams that’s expected to challenge Boston for Eastern Conference supremacy.

‘€¢ Player of the game: Paul Pierce. His jumper in the final minute cemented a 23-point virtuoso performance for the captain and Boston’s first win of the season. He added 11 rebounds for good measure. Runner up: Rajon Rondo ‘€” On a night when Danny Ainge said he continues to talk with Rondo’s agent on a new deal, Rondo set the tempo. With chaos swirling around the team in the wake of the Glen Davis debacle and a double-digit deficit early, Rondo restored order on the court.

‘€¢ Turning point of the game: LeBron James gave the Celtics a gift when a Boston turnover with 4.7 seconds left in the third put the ball in his hands. He drove past Rasheed Wallace and had an easy lay-up, but the ball rimmed out and that seemed to give the Celtics a big reprieve. It also kept the crowd from exploding. Runner-up ‘€” With 5:32 to go in the fourth. James hit one of two free throws to cut the C’s lead to four, 80-76, but Kendrick Perkins converts a three-point play to answer.

‘€¢ The Celtics fell behind early by 14 twice, 19-5 and 21-7, but they closed the gap to 28-21 after one. Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels and Shelden Williams, filling in for Glen Davis, all played significant minutes in the first quarter as the Celtics found their legs.

‘€¢ The Celtics turned up the defensive pressure in the second quarter. The team preached in the preseason that they will go only as far as their defense takes them, and it showed in the second, where they went from a seven-point deficit to a six-point lead, 51-45. They held the Cavs to 5-of-16 shooting from the floor. More impressive than the 31 percent they held the Cavs to from the field was the fact that Cleveland could only manage five field goals on their home court.

‘€¢ Thanks in large part to the above, the C’s completely took the raucous Q crowd out of the game until a LeBron James three with two minutes remaining in the third.

‘€¢ Bench belief. With the Celtics holding onto a seven-point lead heading into the fourth, the Celtics took the court with Wallace, Daniels, Eddie House and Shelden Williams. Those four joined Ray Allen as Doc Rivers was able to rest his big guns. Wallace hit a big jumper from the right wing to extend the lead to nine with 11:25 remaining. Daniels drilled a three moments later and the lead was an even 10.

‘€¢ The Celtics took advantage of Cavalier play. Twice in the final two minutes, the Cavaliers turned the ball over and twice they forced up quick three-pointers trailing by just six when a two-pointer would have been the better play. Isn’t this why they got Shaq?

‘€¢ James got his. LeBron finished with 38 points and eight assists but just four rebounds.

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Turn up the volume: C’s not living in past 10.23.09 at 5:25 pm ET
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WALTHAM  —  Before this season ever starts, nearly everyone in a Celtics uniform wants to make one thing clear. This is NOT 2008.

On Friday, the Celtics held a two-hour practice before going home to get clean and ready for their team dinner Friday night in Boston.

Here’s what a number of them had to say about this year, comparisons to two seasons ago and other miscellaneous items.

Paul Pierce said the team is plenty motivated this season.

Pierce said he hasn’t heard any ‘experts’ picking the Celtics.

Doc Rivers said there’s only one set of expectations that matter.

Rivers said he likes where the team is at.

Kevin Garnett said he likes what he saw in the preseason.

Garnett said Tuesday in Cleveland against LeBron and Shaq will be exciting.

Read More: Cavaliers, Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
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