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Scal strikes again 11.12.09 at 2:49 pm ET
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WALTHAM  –  Paul Pierce was sporting a bandage on the right side of his face after getting hit by an inadvertent elbow from Brian Scalabrine during Thursday’s practice.

“It went great,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “He elbowed one guy in the head and hit another guy so he’s back. Scal’s back.”

Pierce, who sustained only a minor scratch after a struggle for a loose ball, wasn’t the only victim of Scalabrine’s physicality in practice as J.R. Giddens got hit on the top of the head.

None of the injuries are expected to force any players to miss Friday’s game against Atlanta. Scalabrine returned to practice after back spasms forced him to miss two of the last three games.

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Turn up the volume: C’s practice makes perfect at 1:17 am ET
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So this is why Doc Rivers and his coaching staff were so happy to have two solid days of practice this week.

The Celtics more prepared to take a final exam than the Utah Jazz did to take a pop quiz as the C’s systematically took apart the Jazz, 105-86, at TD Garden.

The Celtics held the Jazz to 37-of-79 shooting for 46.8 percent. But most impressively, they forced Utah, a team that prides itself on execution, to commit 21 turnovers.

Apparently the Celtics were listening when the coaches, starting with defensive guru Tom Thibodeau, preached about staying ready for the pick-and-roll and not letting Utah’s big men of Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur get easy baskets underneath.

Afterward, the Celtics were appreciative of their coaches’ preparation, as was head coach Doc Rivers.

Rivers said his team executed from the very beginning, thanks to the preparation.

Rasheed Wallace said it all about preparation by the coaching staff.

Wallace said the Celtics got back to the basics on Wednesday.

Paul Pierce said there was no doubt that the three days helped.

Pierce said the Celtics looked a lot sharper after their practice.

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No Scal again 11.11.09 at 7:30 pm ET
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For the second time in three games, Brian Scalabrine will not be available to the Celtics because of a bad back.

Scalabrine was one of three inactives for tonight’s game against Utah at the Garden. Tony Allen [right ankle] and Glen Davis [right thumb] are also scratched.

Bill Walker [right knee], who returned this week to practice, is in uniform for the first time this season.

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Williams to play against C’s at 7:11 pm ET
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Utah’s starting point guard Deron Williams [right calf] will play tonight against the Celtics.

Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan made the announcement 90 minutes before tip-off.

“I’ll let out trainer let me know where he is in the game. That’s what we usually do when a player’s been out, make sure we don’t cause any problems and screw him up in any way,” Sloan explained.

Williams has played in all seven games for the Jazz this season, averaging 21.4 points and 10.7 assists. He suffered the calf strain in Utah’s win on Monday night in New York against the Knicks.

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Doc: ‘I understand and appreciate the day’ at 7:01 pm ET
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Every Veterans Day has special meaning to Glenn ‘Doc’ Rivers.

His late father, Grady Alexander Rivers, was in the Army and he carries that memory with him now.

“I think a lot of kids look at this day as a day off,” Rivers said before Wednesday’s game. “My dad was a veteran, so I do understand the day and I appreciate the day.”

So with that inspiration in mind, he’ll take the chance to remind his team before the game with the Jazz about why today is important.

“Today, and I do it all the time, but I’ll share some veterans’ stories,” Rivers said. “I’m going to ask the guys if they even know what day it is because a lot of people don’t. If it’s a certain day, like Martin Luther King Day, or any of these days I think it’s a good for us to bring it up. It’s not just a basketball game. I always think it’s important to bring it up.”

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Sheed: Don’t sleep on the Jazz 11.10.09 at 4:47 pm ET
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WALTHAM  –  Rasheed Wallace can read the standings just like everyone else.

He sees that the Utah Jazz are off to a 3-4 start out West. He also sees the likes of Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur on the box score. Throw in the sharp-shooting Andrei Kirilenko and he knows his 7-1 Celtics will have their hands full when they take the court on Wednesday night at TD Garden.

“They’re a good team,” Wallace said. “Everyone is sleeping on them coming out of the West. I think they have the talent to beat the Lakers, talent to beat the Spurs. Can’t sleep on them, in my opinion. You can’t sleep on them at all. They have a good point guard, good big men, good swing men and good coach. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us.”

Ever since the days of Stockton and Malone, the Jazz under Jerry Sloan have mastered the pick-and-roll as well as anyone in the sport.

“That’s Sloan’s calling card,” Wallace said after Tuesday’s practice preparing for just that. “Just look at Mailman [Karl Malone], just look at [Jeff] Hornacek, of course [John] Stockton. Just some of the guys they’ve had. That’s what they do to a ‘T’.

“That’s what they’re know for, their execution. Their power play, so to speak, where you dump it down from the corner. That’s something Sloan has re-written the book on, the pick and roll. And you definitely have to give them their credit.”

Sloan, who was just inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sept. 11, knows what he wants on the court at all times. And opposing players like Wallace know what to expect.

“Of course, he’s always going to have a big who can shoot, he’s always a point guard who can handle and drop it off to that big and still shoot, i.e. like Stockton did,” Wallace said. “It’s definitely not going to be a cakewalk. It’s definitely going to be a challenge.”

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All-Star love for Celtics at 4:39 pm ET
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WALTHAM  –  The Celtics are regarded as one of the deepest teams in the NBA. That depth is well-represented as they placed six players on the NBA All-Star ballot that was released on Tuesday by the league.

Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo are the guards. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are on the ballot as forwards and Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace are on the Eastern ballot as centers.

The Celtics are the only team in the NBA with two centers on the ballot. The 2010 NBA All-Star Game will be played at brand new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington before an expected crowd of over 80,000 on Sunday, Feb. 14. That will be the largest group ever to see a live basketball game in the world.

The 120 players on the ballot – 60 from each conference – were chosen by a panel of six media members who cover the league on a regular basis.

Balloting will continue through Jan. 18.

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