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Finley on D&H: C’s need to show respect 04.16.10 at 12:49 pm ET
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Michael Finley joined Dale & Holley on Friday to discuss the Celtics’ chances in the upcoming NBA playoffs. The Celtics have been floundering during the second half of the season, and Finley said the reason may have been because this team didn’t respect its opponents.

But he believes that will change come playoff time.

“We go into the games not respecting our opponent as much as we should, and as a result we end up losing those games,” said Finley, who has played in 21 games with Boston since being let go by San Antonio. “Coming into the playoffs I don’t think respecting our opponent is going to be a problem, because each opponent that we face is a worthy playoff- and championship-contending team. We got to come in with the right mindset. Hopefully we can generate some of the juice that the team had at the beginning of the season and carry it on throughout the playoffs.”

As a Western Conference lifer, Finley talked about playing in the Eastern Conference for the first time, Paul Pierce’s work ethic and how he and Doc Rivers have a long history together.

Following is a transcript. To listen, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

What would you say to young guys on the team who asked for advice about playoff basketball?

The intensity of the regular season is going to go up tremendously. Every possession offensively as well as defensively becomes important. You just don’t want to leave the game with regrets, because regrets usually are what sends teams home.

Does the playoff format actually make it easier for veteran players?

In a sense. The regular season is a lot of games. It’s 82 games with back-to-backs with limited rest. The postseason you have a little bit of more rest. You are only playing one team. The travel is limited, so for older guys that’s always a good thing. At the same time, with the intensity going up the way it does, it can be a little physically and mentally draining, too. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Dale & Holley, Michael Finley,
Transcript: Rivers on D&C 04.15.10 at 12:45 pm ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning. Following is a transcript. To listen, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Most coaches like to talk about how hot they are heading into the playoffs. But the Celtics have lost seven of 10, not exactly on a roll?

Yeah, and I don’€™t know if I’€™ve ever even used that. You want to have good rhythm and all that, but the playoffs are a new season, they’€™ve always been a new season, and that’€™s how you have to view them going in. You could have won 10 games in a row as we did two years ago, we were hot going in, and went into a seven-game series against Atlanta. So, it means a lot to say, but it is a new season.

David Stern isn’€™t pleased with coaches resting their players heading into then playoffs, is he?

I get that. I agree with part of that, more from the fans standpoint, families that come to games. There were families last night, I guess, who came to their first game ever. And to see Kevin [Garnett] and Ray [Allen] and Paul [Pierce] and everyone else, and they get there and they don’€™t play ‘€” that would be disappointing if I was a fan, that would be tough. But then, it’€™s the same fan who understands that listen ‘€” we want them to do well in the playoffs, we want them to be rested, we want them to be healthy. And, if that last game doesn’€™t have a lot of meaning, as a coach you have to do what’€™s best for the team and the whole picture. So it is a very tough situation. I was injured in the last game of the year as a player, and that will always stick with me.

Could you imagine if Paul had ruined his knee last night? They would have killed you.

Oh, last night, it wasn’€™t funny but it was funny. It was seven minutes left, and I had Oliver Lafayette at the table going in for [Rajon] Rondo, and there was no play stoppage. I couldn’€™t get the play to stop ‘€” it was one of those stretches where the game kept going on, and then finally I yelled out to Nate [Robinson], ‘€œFoul! Foul somebody!’€ And then [Brian Scalabrine] fouled, so Rondo comes in and on the next possession, Nate fouls. And he looks at me, ‘€œYou told me to foul!’€ Rondo’€™s already out! Read the rest of this entry »

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Heat or Bucks? 04.12.10 at 2:44 pm ET
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The Celtics find themselves in an interesting position with two games left in the regular season. They will play either Miami or Milwaukee in the first round of the playoffs and they have some control over the outcome, but not total control.

To review: The Celtics sit one game behind Atlanta for third in the Eastern Conference, but the C’s own the tiebreaker. The Heat and Bucks are tied for fifth, but the Bucks own the tiebreaker with Miami.

If things stay as they are the Celtics will open the first round with Milwaukee, but things are not likely to stay the same. That’s because Milwaukee hosts Atlanta tonight [Monday] and then travels to Boston for the regular-season finale Wednesday.

If Atlanta wins, the Hawks can just about wrap up third and almost guarantee a first-round matchup with the Bucks. If not, the whole thing becomes a jumble. The Heat play at Philly Monday and then host New Jersey Wednesday, so if the Bucks stumble Miami had a good chance to climb into fifth.

Which brings us back to the Celtics and whether they should have a preference in a first-round opponent. On the face of things, not really.

Milwaukee and Miami have identical records and have been two of the hottest teams down the stretch. Milwaukee has gone 21-7 since acquiring John Salmons at the trade deadline, while the Heat have won 16 of their last 20. Both are also strong defensive teams who rarely turn the ball over.

But that’s where the similarities stop. The Heat are incredibly reliant on the individual brilliance of Dwyane Wade who leads the team in points, assists and steals. He has also taken almost 500 more shots and free throws than any of his teammates.

The Bucks do not have nearly that kind of star power and they’re best player, Andrew Bogut, is injured and unavailable. Playing Milwaukee seems like the obvious choice, and indeed it may be (Zach Lowe at Celtics Hub makes a strong case here), but let’s examine both sides. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bucks, Celtics, Heat,
Doc on Sheed and Celts: Judge us in the playoffs 04.10.10 at 12:12 am ET
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Doc Rivers knows champions are made in the playoffs. So are reputations.

That’s why he’s asking everyone to hold judgement on Rasheed Wallace until they see what the Celtics and Wallace do in playoffs.

But that didn’t keep Rivers from acknowledging this has been a tough first season for Wallace to endure in Boston.

“Up and down,” Rivers said. “He’s had some good games, some bad games. Bottom line is, he’ll be judged, and our team will be judged, on how well we play in the playoffs. If he has a great playoff run, I don’t think anyone is going to say it was a disappointing Rasheed Wallace. If he has a great playoff run, I think people are going to say, ‘That’s what we brought him here for.’ I think somebody’s going to write that.

“If he has a poor one, then obviously, it’s going to go the other way.”

Rivers said he has moved on from the public argument the two had during the team’s win over Cleveland last Sunday.

“You know there’s going to be days like this and you just get through them and move on from them. I think we all have,” Rivers said before Friday’s game. “You still get back to the type of guy he is when the emotions aren’t around.”

That’s when Wallace did his typical walk back from shootaround to the locker room and teased Rivers with a ‘fire hazard’ comment as Rivers conducted his usual pre-game briefing outside the locker room.

“See what I mean,” Rivers said without missing a beat.

“When emotions aren’t around, he’s a good guy. That’s how you try to get back to it.”

Rivers also said before the game that it’s too early to be concerned with who the Celtics play in the playoffs, even with less than a week to go in the regular season.

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Eastern Conference, NBA playoffs
KG: ‘It doesn’t help when the crowd boos’ 04.09.10 at 11:54 pm ET
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A frustrated Kevin Garnett took exception with the boos that rained down on the parquet during Boston’s 106-96 loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday night.

“It’s just hard, especially when we get to the end of the first quarter and we are down, 30-17, and everybody starts to hit – not the panic button – but tries to pick it up in different ways and when it doesn’€™t come together or you miss some shots, and it doesn’€™t help when the crowd boos and all these other things then you have to grow tighter together,” Garnett said. “It’€™s not easy. We know this journey and duration in which we are traveling is not going to be an easy one, and tonight was a difficult one. I wouldn’€™t say we hang our heads but every individual is trying to figure out what to do and what they can do individually to try to pick it up.’€

The Celtics heard it from the TD Garden crowd as the Celtics fell behind by 28 in the second quarter.

“Well, I mean we are at home, we look for our fans to give energy, to give us a spark when the times are tough,” Garnett said. “It doesn’t help when the boos happen but we are a group of veterans and we are a group that is a real team. We aren’t fair weather.”

Read More: Celtics, Kevin Garnett, NBA, Paul Pierce
Preview: Celtics-Wizards at 10:49 am ET
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It is now open season on Rasheed Wallace after Bill Simmons ripped him apart in an ESPN column. It’s convenient to blame all the Celtics woes on Wallace, who has not played well at all this season, and most of Simmon’s critique was completely fair.

The subtext to everything is that Wallace has somehow infected the Celtics with his own unique blend of overconfidence and laissez-faire attitude. That’s both impossible to prove and equally as difficult to disprove.

Wallace isn’t responsible for Ray Allen’s inconsistent shooting in the first half of the season, Kevin Garnett’s limited mobility or Paul Pierce’s long list of injuries. There are many reasons for the Celtics lackluster play and Wallace has certainly contributed to a lot of it with his beyond-awful 3-point shooting, shoddy rebounding and wayward attention to help-side defense

What we do know is that Wallace hasn’t left himself any wiggle room. The only way he escapes this season without any further damage to his reputation is if he plays lights out in the playoffs. The same could be said for the rest of the Celtics.

WIZARDS (24-54, 4-6 last 10)

Points Per Game: 96.0

Points Allowed: 100.9

Differential: -4.9 (26th)

Offensive Efficiency: 104.0 (25th)

Defensive Efficiency: 109.3 (18th)

Pace: 91.6 (21st)

Likely Starters: Shaun Livingston, Mike Miller, Nick Young, Fabricio Oberto, Andray Blatche

Injuries: Randy Foye (Wrist), Josh Howard (Knee), Quinton Ross (Back)

CELTICS (49-29, 5-5 last 10)

Points Per Game: 99.3

Points Allowed: 95.3

Differential: +4.0 (10th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.7 (15th)

Defensive Efficiency: 103.3 (4th)

Pace: 91.8 (20th)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Injuries: None. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fast Break: C’s right ship 04.07.10 at 9:30 pm ET
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No matter how much they insist that the regular season is meaningless from here on out, the Celtics needed a win Wednesday night against the Raptors. They needed one because of the way they played against the Knicks on Tuesday and they needed one because if they are going to go into the playoffs with any kind of momentum it has to start somewhere.

They might have needed a win, but that doesn’t mean they played like it. For two and a half quarters it was the same Celtics team we’ve seen over the last few weeks. They were fine offensively, but the defense lacked the ability or focus to get stops. That all changed late in the third quarter and the C’s were able to ride a strong effort from their reserves to a 115-104 win over Toronto.

They did it despite sitting Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins for major stretches of the second half. Michael Finley scored 14 points and had six rebounds in 23 minutes of action and Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis also checked in with 20+ minute evenings.

The Celtics had five players score in double figures, led by Rajon Rondo with 21 points and Kevin Garnett had 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting. They shot 56 percent and held the Raptors to under 50 percent shooting on the defensive end. It was a good win for the Celtics, and maybe even a necessary win.

Player of the Game: Rajon Rondo’s night started poorly but ended spectacularly. He had four turnovers in the first half, but didn’t commit another in the second. That was as big a factor in the win as his 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Turning Point: The Celtics were nursing a two-point lead midway through the third quarter when Doc Rivers went to his bench. The reserves pushed the lead to double-digits

* Sonny Weems had a career half for Toronto with 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting in the first 24 minutes, but he scored just four points the rest of the way.

* Ray Allen had 18 points, including a gorgeous behind the back move for a layup.

* Marquis Daniels and Nate Robinson both did not play rotation minutes again and Tony Allen was the nominal backup point guard.

* As expected, Chris Bosh did not play for the Raptors. He had surgery to repair a facial fracture after he caught an elbow from Cleveland’€™s Antawn Jamison in their game Tuesday. It is unlikely that Bosh will play again during the regular season. He will be a free agent this summer.

* It got worse for the Raptors as Hedo Turkoglu was inadvertently hit in the face by Tony Allen late in the first quarter and had to leave the game. He did not return and is listed as questionable with a nasal contusion.

Read More: Celtics, Fast Break, Raptors,
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