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No practice for weary Celts 05.01.09 at 9:38 am ET
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Not surprisingly, the Celtics will not practice on Friday after getting back in the middle of the night from Chicago following one of the most dramatic playoff games in NBA history. The next time the Celtics take the court will likely be a shootaround at their Waltham practice facility on Saturday morning.

The busiest part of the day for the Celtics may be at the ticket office as ducats for Saturday night’s Game 7 go on sale at 11 a.m. today. A limited number of tickets are available at Celtics.com, 1-800-NBA-4TIX or at the TD Banknorth Garden box office.

Game 7 between the Celtics and Bulls tips off at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Garden.

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Game 6: First quarter update 04.30.09 at 7:51 pm ET
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After one, the Celtics quest to finish the Bulls got off to a rough start, with Chicago using a 10-0 run to take an early 21-11 advantage and ultimately building a 37-26 lead. The big drama came at the end of the quarter when Rajon Rondo and Kirk Hinrich squared off. Rondo was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul, while Hinrich received a technical. The difference is huge. A Flagrant 2 would have led to Rondo’s ejection.

The refs are calling this one tight. Joakim Noah picked up two quick fouls, but the Celtics couldn’t capitalize because Kendrick Perkins also got two fouls–two more than Perk got in 48 minutes+ of Game 5. Ben Gordon and Brad Miller also picked up two fouls. Without Perkins in the middle, the Bulls attacked the inside of the C’s defense, and when they kicked the ball out John Salmons was there to make six of seven shots and score 16 points.

Ray Allen and Paul Pierce combined for 19 points and Brian Scalabrine came off the bench to score seven. The rest of the team was 0-for-5. The Bulls, meanwhile, shot 68 percent in the first quarter.

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Ref assignments for Game 6 at 3:45 pm ET
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As part of the NBA’s new transparency in the wake of the Tim Donaghy fiasco, the league has been posting referee assignments in advance of games. Here’s the crew for Game 6 in Chicago:

Joey Crawford

Ed Malloy

Derrick Stafford

Crawford is known throughout the league as the official you most want to have if you’re on the road in a big game, although San Antonio would probably disagree. (He also once threatened to give me a technical in a media 3-0n-3 tournament but that’s neither here nor there. I’m telling you, it was a charge.)

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Doc: We’ll let Brad Miller make a big deal of it 04.29.09 at 2:44 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Doc Rivers stood by his starting point guard at a brief shootaround this afternoon prior to the team’s departure for Chicago and Game 6 on Thursday.

Rivers reiterated that he didn’t think that Rajon Rondo was trying to hurt Brad Miller when he committed a hard foul on him with 2.0 seconds remaining in overtime.

“I don’t think Rondo fouled to hurt him or anything like that,” Rivers said. “I thought Rondo was clearly trying to go for it and then couldn’t reach hiand then was just trying to grab anything he could grab. But Brad Miller clearly wants to make a big deal of that so we’ll let him.”

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Pierce: I’ll be ready for Game 6 at 2:43 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Paul Pierce admitted on Wednesday before leaving for Chicago that the grueling Game 5 on Tuesday night took a bit of a toll on him. He suffered a bruise when he was kicked in the left calf.

“I’m a little sore but I’ll use today to recover, get a message, rest and I’ll be ready for (Thursday),” Pierce said. “It’s nothing more than a light bruise on the calf muscle so some ice and stuff should be able to take care of it.”

The bruise clearly didn’t affect his late-game performance as he drilled three jumpers in the final 90 seconds of overtime to help lift the Celtics to a 106-104 win over the Bulls, and a 3-2 series lead.

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Doc fined $25K for defending Perkins at 1:36 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday he has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for suggesting that center Kendrick Perkins has been targeted by officials for setting illegal screens.

Rivers made the comments on Monday, one day after the Celtics lost 121-118 in double overtime to the Bulls in Chicago.

The team is leaving this afternoon for Chicago following a brief film session at their Waltham training facility. Game 6 is Thursday night in Chicago, with the Celtics leading the best-of-seven series, 3-2. A win sends them into the second round to face either Orlando or Philadelphia.

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Ray: All game the whistle was battling me at 1:17 am ET
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Now Ray Allen knows what it feels like to sit on the bench as someone else plays the hero.

Allen had — of course — been the hero in Game 2, nailing the game-winning three-pointer with 2.0 seconds left in regulation to lift the Celtics to a 1-1 series tie with the Bulls.

Allen was again “Johnny On the Spot” when he drained a three on Sunday afternoon in Chicago to force Game 4 to overtime.

But with 5:27 remaining in the fourth quarter, Allen was whistled for his sixth foul, running into a screen set by Brad Miller, of all people. Miller would have his own issues with the refs later.

“There’s been a lot of talk about Perk getting called for that same play but I was just trying to fight through and they called it on me,” said a frustrated Allen, who fouled out for just the second time in 72 playoff games and the first since June 15, 2008, a loss to the Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

And this time it would have to be someone else to the rescue. How ironic since Allen had just drained a long three from the right baseline to bring the Celtics to within three, 83-80, and it looked for all the world he was about to work his magic again.

That is until he got called for his sixth foul.

“I was extremely upset,” Allen said. “I was disappointed. I thought all game the whistle was battling me. But I didn’t want to be that isolated guy that was over on the sideline and pouting and worrying about himself. Of course, I was angry but we had to win the game. Those were the cards we were dealt so we had to figure out the best way, whether it was  Tony (Allen) Steph (Marbury) or Eddie (House), who was going to have to come in and do the job.”

It was Pierce who nailed back-to-back jumpers in overtime to put the Celtics up, 104-101, and then Pierce who hit the game-winner with 3.4 seconds to go in overtime.

“I guess now I know what it feels like to sit on the sideline and not be able to do anything and not have control,” Allen said. “For me, it was toughest feeling I’ve had to deal with. But Paul and Rondo came through for us. I figured as mad as I was, it wasn’t going to do us any good trying to figure out what happened in the game.”

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