|Celtics need to walk a fine line||05.21.10 at 6:16 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Doc Rivers has told his team time and time again about ‘Old School’ NBA, especially as it relates to the playoffs.
But Saturday night, when his team takes to the floor against the desperate Orlando Magic, he doesn’t want his team to get caught up in what is likely to be a physical game with Dwight Howard and the Magic. He also doesn’t want his team to get pushed around either as the Magic try to come in and physically prove to the Celtics they haven’t checked out of the Eastern Conference finals, despite losing the first two games on home court.
“They should be feisty and we should be, too,” Rivers said following a high-spirited Friday practice, their final before Game 3. ” It’s the playoffs. It’s Game 3 and we’re trying to defend our home turf, now and they’re trying to take it away. There’s every reason it should be feisty and it will be and we should be feisty, too.
“Obviously, you want to always keep your head but that doesn’t mean to back down. That means you want to play with composure, play with intensity and you’ve got to play hard.”
Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins agreed with Rivers, saying they are expecting a ‘feisty’ Orlando Magic team for Game 3 Saturday night at TD Garden. The Celtics lead the Eastern Conference finals 2-0 and can take an overwhelming 3-0 lead with a win, a deficit no team has ever overcome in NBA playoff history.
“It could get feisty in there. You have to expect it,” said Pierce, who was still bearing a pair of scratch marks on his forehead above his left eye after being decked by Dwight Howard in the second quarter of Game 2 on Tuesday night.
“Doc always say the bigger man walks away,” added big man Kendrick Perkins, who will once again be assigned to Howard. “You just have to go out there and play, play Celtics basketball.”
|Happily humble Celtics reminded of task||05.20.10 at 4:39 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Everyone wanted to know the answer to one question on Thursday in Waltham. No, it wasn’t whether Paul Pierce’s tweet was real or not as everyone suspected it wasn’t his doing in the wake of Game 2.
The question everyone wanted the answer to was: Are the Celtics overconfident? After all, the Celtics are coming into Game 3 against Orlando at home after winning the first two games of the series on the road, something they have never accomplished in their glorious history.
As always, the introspective Ray Allen provided some interesting insight to the team’s psyche.
“Always, that’s human nature,” Allen said when asked if he understood the concern of overconfidence. “You think you have everything in the bag. You think you don’t have to put as much effort out there to do your job or get the same result that you got before. The same overpreparation, the same focus, the same mental approach we’ve taken to the whole playoffs has to continue.
“The only ‘over’ I want to be is prepared. It’s important that everybody does their job and knows we’ve done our job to get into this situation.”
Kevin Garnett said all the matters is what happens on the court – not when the microphones are on off of it.
“In my estimation, confidence is about what you go out and do versus talking about it,” Garnett said. “We haven’t really done anything but won two games. Now, it’s up to us to defend our home court. It’s important that we stay humble and understand that this is a long process and this is seven games.”
And the reason for the question was Paul Pierce proclaiming to a national TV audience following Boston’s Game 2 win in Orlando that the Celtics were coming home to “close it out.”
“I didn’t like it,” Rivers said. “I don’t mind the confidence part, that’s good, but we want to be humble and we haven’t achieved anything. I think that’s what he was trying to say but it just came out at the end. I wish they’d have taken the mic away the last couple of words but up until then, he was pretty good. We do have to go home and our fans will help us but we have to do it on the floor.
Rivers did not speak to Pierce individually since then but rather the entire team about the appropriate attitude going into Game 3 Saturday night in Boston.
“I talked to the team about it,” Rivers added. “He was part of the team. Unfortunately, I talked to the team, in the locker room, right after the game.”
‘We’ve done nothing’ is clearly the mantra these Celtics have adopted for the 2010 run to a title.
“We’ve done nothing,” Rivers repeated from his comments earlier Thursday to Dennis and Callahan. “We really haven’t. We’ve won two games. We’re up, 2-0. Again, we just have to keep playing. Orlando is the favorite for a reason. They were playing better than everybody in the playoffs for a reason and we can’t take our eye off of that.”
Rivers said it’s hard to keep the players from feeling good about themselves. And actually, he said, they have earned that right.
“You don’t guard against it,” Rivers said. “You just keep focusing on execution and improving and getting ready. And each game is a single game. That’s been our speech through this playoff series, all of the series. Each game is a single game. Game 1 was an individual game. Game 2 was and Game 3 will be as well.”
Rivers is a big fan of the NFL. And Bill Belichick would be happy with the nugget he threw at his team on Thursday.
“As I told our guys, we have yet to beat Orlando on our home court this year and that’s something we have to have a focus on,” Rivers said of Orlando’s two wins in Boston this regular season.
“It won’t be easy but we earned this position and we should be happy with that. We earned getting up, 2-0 but we haven’t had the opportunity to defend our home court. We did our job there but we haven’t done our job at home. And as far as we’re concerned, until we do that, nothing has happened in this series.”
|Pierce happy Superman not grounded||at 2:56 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Paul Pierce said he was happy to hear that Dwight Howard was not getting suspended for Game 3 after his flagrant 1 foul in the second quarter of Game 2 that resulted in a pair of scratch marks on Pierce’s forehead above his left eye.
“My reaction to him not getting suspended is a good reaction because we want the team’s best,” Pierce said. “In order to be the best, you want to get their best. If they lose Dwight Howard, obviously they’re still a good team but that’s not the best team they put on the floor. We just want their best.”
The NBA announced Wednesday that Howard would not be disciplined for the hard foul that resulted in Pierce hitting the deck hard just before halftime on Tuesday night.
|Pierce’s daughter has his back||at 1:29 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Whenever the stuff hits the fan for an athlete, he can always turn to family for support.
And it’s no different if you’re a superstar captain of the 17-time world champion Boston Celtics. Paul Pierce was asked before practice on Thursday if he had heard any grief from teammates, coaches or anyone else for that matter, for telling ESPN after Boston’s Game 2 victory that the Celtics were coming home to ‘close it out’ against the Magic and Celtics fans wouldn’t let the home team not get the job done on their home court.
“Did I get any feedback? Haven’t gotten any feedback,” Pierce said. “Yesterday I was pretty much home with my daughter all day and she didn’t say anything.”
Two-year-old Prianna Lee Pierce and the Celtics are just hoping the Magic stay just as quiet as Game 3 is set for Saturday night at TD Garden, with C’s just two wins from their second trip to the NBA Finals in three seasons.
Before heading out to practice on Thursday for Game 3 of their series against the Magic, Paul Pierce denied disrespecting the Orlando Magic with a tweet following Boston’s Game 2 win on Tuesday.
“I think you guys [media] know more than me on that. I guess somebody said I said, ‘Break out the brooms.’ I’m not going to say that on the tweet,” Pierce said. “I think that’s pretty unprofessional. That’s not something I would say like that. I’ll probably talk some trash and say some things on the court I wouldn’t say here [to media] but I definitely didn’t say that.”
After a twitter post of ‘Anyone got a BROOM?’ from Pierce’s account, the Celtics captain denied it and said his account was hacked. Game 3 is set for Saturday night at TD Garden in Boston, with the Celtics leading the Eastern Conference finals, 2-0.
|NBA draft: What they’re saying about the C’s pick||at 12:20 pm ET|
The playoffs are in full swing, but after the ping pong balls were dropped Tuesday night in the NBA draft lottery, many teams now turn their focus to prospective players who can help them get to the next level. This year’s draft does not have a prototypical superstar, but there are more than a few potential stars to pick from.
The Celtics, although battling with Orlando right now for the right to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA finals, pick 19th overall in the June 24 draft. With an aging roster, the Celtics hope to land a player who can be productive for years to come.
On Wednesday, we gave you 10 candidates for selection by the Celtics. We’ve also bounced around the web to find out what other sites are predicting for the C’s. What we found is a variety of predictions, with Butler standout Gordon Hayward the only one to be budgeted to Boston by a few prognosticators.
NBADraft.net has the C’s grabbing Luke Babbit, a 6-foot-8 small forward/power forward hybrid from Nevada. Touted as a highly skilled big man, Babbit possesses a strong 3-point touch as well as an impressive mid-range game. He averaged 21.9 points per game last season as a sophomore while shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc. He is described as a tweener, however, and will have a difficult time defending small forwards in the NBA.
The same site is predicting the C’s will draft Sherron Collins, a 5-11 point guard from Kansas, with their second selection, 52nd overall. Collins, who had a very successful career at Kansas ‘ winning a title his sophomore year ‘ will come into the league a bit raw. He is quick and elusive and has proven he can handle the ball when the game is on the line. Ultimately, he could be a good backup for Rondo, but cannot play any other positions. His size does not allow him to play 2 guard, so he would serve as a spark off the bench.
Yahoo!Sports has the Celtics taking Elliot Williams, a 6-5 shooting guard from Memphis who transferred from Duke. Even if they re-sign free agent Ray Allen, the C’s could stand to shore up their depth at guard. Although Yahoo! explains that Williams’ outside game needs some work, he could be a good addition to an already impressive backcourt.
MyNBADraft.com and TheHoopDoctors.com have the Celtics taking Hayward, the NCAA tournament standout from underdog Butler. Hayward averaged 15 points and eight rebounds a game last season while shooting 46 percent from the floor. HoopsWorld.com also has the C’s taking Hayward in the first round, then 6-5 SF/PF Marquis Blakely from Vermont in the second round. Read the rest of this entry »
|Ainge on The Big Show: Sheed lives for big games||at 6:53 am ET|
A day after the Celtics went up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference finals against Orlando, C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his weekly call to The Big Show on Wednesday afternoon to talk about Doc Rivers‘ strategy against the Magic, Rajon Rondo‘s emergence, Rasheed Wallace‘s strong postseason play, and the team’s recent dominance over the top two seeds in the East.
‘With each of these individuals on our team, I know what they are capable of doing and it’s taken a great performance out of each guy,’ Ainge said. ‘We’re getting a lot of contributions out of a lot of people right now and they’re all playing their best basketball of the year together. We’ll see what they’re capable of doing.’
A transcript of the interview follows. To hear the full interview, click on The Big Show audio on demand page.
How are you feeling right now?
I’m doing well. That was an exciting game last night.
Celtics analyst Cedric Maxwell said that the things going on in the stands reminded him of Philadelphia in the ‘80s. Was it that bad?
I heard of some incidents, but I didn’t see anything. Maxwell had a better view of that than I did.
There’s a story out that Marquis Daniels‘ father was tased during the game. Does the team have anything to say on that?
No, we won’t comment on that. I talked to Marquis after the game and I’m aware of the situation, but don’t know all the details.
It seems like playing single coverage has really tripped up Orlando and it’s allowed the Celtics to cover out on the perimeter.
Well, I didn’t think we did such a good job last night. We got the win, but Dwight [Howard] had his way inside. He was out of the game for a short period of time with foul trouble, and we made a little bit of a run. He’s still a very dominant force. The first game, I thought that he struggled, and the second game, I thought he dominated. Read the rest of this entry »
|Celtics first-round draft prospects||05.19.10 at 8:16 pm ET|
Prior to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night, 14 teams watched the ping pong balls determine their draft location in the NBA draft lottery, with the Wizards, 76ers and Nets grabbing the top three spots, respectively. Though the Celtics weren’t one of those teams, they will have their own pivotal decisions to make on June 24, regardless of the outcome of their playoff run.
Celtics president Danny Ainge has done fairly well in past drafts. When Ainge has had high picks to work with, he’s turned Al Jefferson and Jeff Green into Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and helped bring Boston a 17th banner. The Celtics also have had success with later picks such as Glen Davis (35th in 2007), Rajon Rondo (21st in 2006), Leon Powe (49th in 2006) and Tony Allen (25th in 2004). All of those picks (the first three of which technically were chosen by other teams but were part of draft-day trades) have been of some service to Boston and have worked out well compared to other late fliers.
Picking at No. 19 this year, Boston will need to rejuvenate its veteran roster and continue to find late steals. Here’s a list of 10 players the Celtics potentially could draft in the first round. Read the rest of this entry »
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