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Fast Break: Celtics-Nets 01.13.10 at 10:05 pm ET
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At times this season the Celtics have struggled against mediocre teams. Fortunately for them the Nets aren’t mediocre. They’re awful. It’s been a long time since epic Nets failures of the past like Dennis Hopson and Dave Feitl roamed what is now called the Izod Center. Time and the Jason Kidd era may have made people forget that stretch of futility, but this year’s Nets seem determined to outdo even the worst of those teams

The final score was 111-87 but in truth the Celtics could have named the number because the Nets clearly didn’t want to be there. At one point in the second quarter after Brook Lopez had rebounded a missed free throw, Rajon Rondo snuck around behind Lopez and literally ripped the ball from his hands. Lopez outweighs Rondo by almost 100 pounds.

The Celtics will take any kind of win they can get right now, but it can’t be minimized that the Nets were an embarrassment.

Player of the Game: Paul Pierce/Rajon Rondo (tie). There is no rule that says we can’t have co-players of the game and while Pierce was scoring 24 points, Rondo was dishing out 14 assists. Pierce exposed the Nets lack of interior defense early when he went to the basket and dunked while three Nets watched. Rondo simply ran the team perfectly, while also keeping his teammates from trying to get their scoring averages all at once.

Turning Point: The opening tip. The Nets had no chance in this game and to the Celtics credit, they didn’t give them any either. Early in the game Ray Allen went up for a jump shot and there wasn’t a New Jersey defender within five feet of him. It’s one thing to be devoid of talent, it’s another to not compete.

* The NBA sent a curious mixed message with their decision to fine Doc Rivers $25,000 and also rescind the Flagrant 1 foul on Glen Davis from Monday night’s game against the Hawks. In effect Rivers was fined for protesting a call the league later overruled.

* Speaking of Davis, he scored 13 points for the second straight game, which seems like a solid step in the right direction. But late in the game he was fouled hard by newest Net Kris Humphries and it appeared to bother his surgically-repaired thumb.

* Tony Allen threw down an incredible one-handed alley-oop dunk off a pass from Paul Pierce in which he appeared to start his leap from behind the basket.

* Brian Scalabrine had another strong game, scoring 11 points and adding four points and four rebounds. Scalabrine has had a difficult season but if he can build on these last two games he might be able to get back on the right track.

* Bill Walker finally got some playing time and played well in six minutes of mop-up action. There has been a small outcry for Walker to get more minutes but barring any type of injury situation it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen this season. The knee surgery he underwent in training camp set him back and he has now fallen behind J.R. Giddens in the young-player derby, which is a dubious honor since Giddens doesn’t play much either.

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Doc Rivers Fined by NBA at 5:55 pm ET
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Boston Celtics Head Doc Rivers has been fined by the National Basketball Association. The NBA released the following statement:

Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers has been fined $25,000 for his conduct surrounding his ejection on Monday, January 11, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. The incident occurred with 6:16 remaining in the third quarter of Boston’s 102-96 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden in Boston.

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Preview: Celtics-Nets at 10:33 am ET
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In the aftermath of the loss to the Hawks Monday night, there were many conflicting emotions. Some players didn’t like how the game was called. Others expressed uncertainty about the was the team was handled once Doc Rivers was ejected. But one player refused to pay any of that any mind; Paul Pierce.

“We don’t make excuses,” Pierce said when asked about the officiating. When someone asked about four of the starters playing 40+ minutes, Pierce pointed out that the Hawks had done the same thing.

Pierce is the captain, and in pro sports the whole notion of the captain isn’t nearly as important as people like to think it is. But he is the public face of the franchise and the first person to respond to the media’s questions. In essence Pierce helps set the tone for how the press deals with the rest of the locker room. Pierce was stoic and measured in the face of adversity Monday night and added yet another layer to his leadership credentials.

CELTICS (26-10, 5-5 last 10)

Points Per Game: 100.7

Points Allowed: 93.8

Differential: +6.9 (First)

Offensive Efficiency: 109.1 (10th)

Defensive Efficiency: 101.6 (Third)

Pace: 91.8 (21st)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Brian Scalabrine, Kendrick Perkins

Injuries: Kevin Garnett (hyper-extended knee), Rasheed Wallace (foot) Marquis Daniels (thumb)

NETS (3-34, 1-9 last 10)

Points Per Game: 89.8

Points Allowed: 101.1

Differential: -11.4 (30th)

Offensive Efficiency: 97.3 (30th)

Defensive Efficiency: 109.6 (22nd)

Pace: 92.3 (18th)

Likely Starters: Devin Harris (questionable, wrist), Courtney Lee, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Yi Jianlian, Brook Lopez

Injuries: Harris. Read the rest of this entry »

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Doc on Tech: ‘That’s on me’ 01.11.10 at 11:51 pm ET
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Doc Rivers played the role of Bill Belichick on Monday night. He said responsibility for blowing his top and losing his cool while his team was losing the game was on him.

He admitted as much after his team dropped a 102-96 decision to the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden, a game that turned on a dime when the Celtics head coach was assessed consecutive technical fouls for arguing a flagrant foul on Glen Davis when he tried to stop Marvin Williams from a lay-up with 6:16 left in the third and the Celtics up, 67-57.

Afterward, Rivers said losing his cool just before his team lost the game was his responsibility.

Atlanta head coach Mike Woodson said Doc Rivers did what he felt he had to do.

Glen Davis said he was surprised he was called for a flagrant foul for taking out Marvin Williams on a drive to the basket.

Ray Allen didn’t feel it was a foul worthy of a flagrant call.

Allen said Rivers’ ejection was a terrible situation that turned the tide of the game.

Paul Pierce said, technicals aside, Celts didn’t do what was needed to win.

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Sore left foot sidelines Sheed for week at 11:40 pm ET
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The Celtics were without Rasheed Wallace for their game against Atlanta due to a sore left forefoot and could be without the big-man’s services for the next week, according to coach Doc Rivers.

“Looks like a week, maybe. It’s day-to-day but I would say maybe a week. Maybe less. It’s going to be day-to-day.” Rivers said, adding x-rays were negative on the player who was already filling in for another injured Celtic – Kevin Garnett.

The foot began bothering him Sunday night after Boston’s win in Toronto. The team decided to hold him out when it was determined he couldn’t push off.

The team was made aware of it shortly after Wallace came off the court following pregame warmups. Brian Scalabrine started in his place. In addition to Wallace, the Celtics were already without Garnett [right knee] and Marquis Daniels [left thumb].

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Doc tossed at 9:58 pm ET
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Doc Rivers was ejected from Monday’s game against Atlanta when he was assessed two consecutive technicals by veteran official Bennett Salvatore midway through the third quarter after officials whistled Glen Davis for a flagrant foul on Marvin Williams.

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No Sheed for the ATL at 7:27 pm ET
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The Celtics will be without Rasheed Wallace for their game against Atlanta. Kevin Garnett’s back-up is missing the game with a sore left forefoot.

Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said it wasn’t immediately known when he injured the foot and the team decided to hold him out when it was determined he couldn’t push off. The team was made aware of it shortly after Wallace came off the court following pregame warmups.

Brian Scalabrine started in his place. In addition to Wallace, the Celtics were already without Kevin Garnett [right knee] and Marquis Daniels [left thumb].

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