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All eyes on Paul Pierce 04.23.09 at 10:17 am ET
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The general consensus courtside Monday night was that something is up with Paul Pierce. “He looks old,” one scribe said. “He looks tired,” another offered. Longtime Chicago writer Sam Smith suggested that Pierce is hurt, not that there is any proof of any of those assertions.

This is what we do know about Pierce. After two games in this series he has played 87 of a possible 101 minutes and is shooting just 40 percent from the floor, and his efficiency numbers are dreadful.

He had a chance to win Game 1 with two late free throws, but missed the second and he has not “taken over” as he has so well throughout the season. We also know this: Pierce has outplayed his Chicago counterpart John Salmons, who definitely is hurt (strained groin), holding Salmons to 36 percent shooting.

This was Pierce after Game 2:

‘€œI just got to be patient. Let the game come to me. Sometimes I’€™m taking shots that aren’€™t there, but I’€™ll figure this thing out. At the end of the day it’€™s not about Paul Pierce. It’€™s about the Boston Celtics. I’€™ll do anything I can to help the ballclub win.’€

There is no question the Celtics, and Pierce especially, made a concerted effort to get Ray Allen the ball in the second half of Game 2. For good reason, as it turns out. So now we have seen Allen take over. We have seen Rajon Rondo take over. We have seen Big Baby Davis and Kendrick Perkins have monster games.

What we haven’t seen, not yet anyway, is Pierce do his thing. That concerns Salmons who told reporters yesterday:

“My mentality is always that this is an All-Star player, a Finals MVP player, who is one of those guys who can go off for 40 at any time. We have to continue to keep a hand in his face, try to make him take as many contested shots as possible. For the most part, we’ve been doing that.”

If the Celtics are going to survive this postseason, they are going to need the cold-eyed death stare Pierce to re-emerge. Game 3 wouldn’t be a bad time for it to return.

Read More: Celtics, John Salmons, Paul Pierce,
Buckle in for a wild ride 04.21.09 at 12:33 am ET
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Give Chicago’s Tyrus Thomas this much credit-he can appreciate a great series.

And that’s what we have in the first round battle between the Bulls and Celtics, tied 1-1, heading back to Chicago Thursday night for Game 3.

“They came out quick and gave us a quick punch and we knew we had to come back and answer,” Thomas said. following Boston’s 118-115 heart-pounding win over his Bulls. “We did a good job and it came down to the wire. If we play like that for the rest of the playoffs, we’re probably going to be here for a while.”

His former teammate at LSU had a similar take on how great a series this has already been.

“Last year, we went seven games with Atlanta, and we were the No. 1 seed,” said Celtics power forward Glen Davis, who finished with 26 on Monday night. “Playoffs is the playoffs. Intensity level goes up, execution goes up and teams want it.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, NBA playoffs, Paul Pierce
Bulls teach champs a lesson 04.18.09 at 6:00 pm ET
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It was the underdog Chicago Bulls with names like Rose, Thomas and Noah who taught a lesson on Saturday afternoon to the champion Celtics with names like Pierce, Ray Allen and Rondo. Bring your playoff intensity or else.

And the else in Game 1 was a 105-103 overtime loss at the hands of the Bulls at TD Banknorth Garden.

‘€œI think we lost the game in the first half,” Allen said. “Just going down the way we went, we just allowed the team to do whatever, we weren’€™t really the aggressor starting the game, and they started rolling, they were comfortable and they did what they wanted to do.’€

On Saturday, we really found out why Doc Rivers feared Derrick Rose all season. He diced up his defense to the tune of 36 points, matching Lew Alcindor’s mark on March 25, 1970 when he was with the Bucks.

Whether it was the emotion of the last two days with the Kevin Garnett and Danny Ainge news or simply a team that was tired, the Celtics came out flat on Saturday, something that can’t happen again on Monday night.

‘€œWe didn’€™t talk about it much,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Obviously, I hope that’€™s not what it was. It could be. I mean, who knows the emotions. You just think, first playoff game you’€™d be ready and up. And I just thought we kind of showed up and played the game. And then all of a sudden we got into a fight. And one thing I’€™d say about our guys, they join in. But at home you’€™re supposed to start it.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Derrick Rose, NBA playoffs
Rivers: If you only knew 04.17.09 at 2:30 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Doc Rivers was in understandable shock on Thursday morning.

The Celtics coach had just told WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan that the C’s would be without their emotional leader and shutdown defender, Kevin Garnett, likely for the playoffs. And he had just found out that his boss and one of his closest friends in the game, Danny Ainge, had just suffered a heart attack.

So he could certainly be forgiven when he said on Friday that he couldn’t remember which came first.

“We make the Kevin decision and then literally, the next thing follows,” Rivers retold. “I don’t remember which was first. It was just not a good period. When someone calls you and says, ‘A guy had a heart attack.’ They should follow. It scares the hell out of you, because they stop. And it’s the pause is what killed me because obviously you think the worst but he’s lucky. And that’s good.”

But good was about the last thing you would call Thursday for anyone associated with the Celtics.

“It was awful,” Rivers said. “Someone said it didn’t look like I wasn’t giving the Kevin thing a lot of thought at the time and I said that’s because you didn’t know what was going through my mind at the time.

“At that time, he was going into surgery,” Rivers continued. “You’re scared, you’re worried. So it hit hard for that, it hit me hard because he’s my friend and it hit me hard because he’s my age. It was scary for me and for everybody but when you know somebody like I know Danny, it just really tugs at you.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers
Doc’s orders: Ainge told to stay away from Garden at 1:59 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Celtics coach Doc Rivers said on Friday that he has exchanged text messages with his boss, Danny Ainge, the Celtics GM, who suffered a mild heart attack on Thursday morning and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital.

Rivers said following practice Friday that Ainge is doing much better and that doctors have instructed him to stay away from the first two games of the playoff series with Chicago, which begins 12:30 p.m. Saturday at TD Banknorth Garden.

“I hope not,” Rivers said when asked if Ainge would try to fight the orders. “Knowing Danny, I wouldn’t be shocked. I know (Saturday) he will not be, I’m positive of that. And he shouldn’t be at Monday’s (game). I know there’s doctor’s orders, and not mine but the real doctors have told him he can’t come but I’ve never known Danny to really listen. I wouldn’t be shocked but he shouldn’t be there. He shouldn’t watch probably.”

Read More: Ainge, Celtics, heart attack, NBA
Big Baby to Ticket Stub at 1:34 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Glen Davis has just struck nickname gold.

On Friday, he was asked if he was ready to help assume the huge shoes of Kevin Garnett, who is out with a sore right knee.

“I thrive at situations like that, being the underdog,” Davis began. “No, I’m not KG, I’m not at all. I’m Big Baby from LSU, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I’m not the Big Ticket, I’m the Ticket Stub.”

And he was far from done there.

“Don’t count the Ticket Stub out,” he added. “You might need the ticket to get into the game but you leave with the ticket stub because you’ll never forget this game. You’ll need it as a souvenir.”

Nicknames won’t beat the Chicago Bulls. Good defense will. And Davis, the likely starting replacement for Garnett, said he’s more than ready to accept the challenge of helping to contain the Bulls, especially in the paint, where Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Friday the series will be won.

“I am ready, I am excited, I am ready to embrace this opportunity,” Davis said. “You don’t get opportunities like this. This does not come. A second-year guy coming off the bench. Last year, coming off the bench, getting an opportunity to start and be a player in the playoffs, having a chance to go to The Finals and the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s unbelievable.”

Maybe it’s time to believe in Big Baby. The Celtics do.

Read More: Big Baby, Bulls, Celtics, kg injury
Ainge still resting comfortably at 11:35 am ET
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WALTHAM – There has been no update so far today on the condition of Danny Ainge, who was reported to be resting comfortably after suffering a mild heart attack on Thursday morning. Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said the team had not heard anything new from his family on Friday.

WCVB-TV first reported that Ainge had 100 percent blockage in an artery, which was treated with the insertion of a stent at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Jeff Goodman of WEEI.com and Foxsports.com confirmed the report through Ainge’s son Austin that the Celtics’ Vice President of Basketball Operations suffered a heart attack and is resting comfortably after being taken to the hospital early Thursday morning.

The team issued this statement on Ainge’s condition on Thursday evening: “Danny Ainge is recovering at Massachusetts General Hospital after having a minor heart attack. He is recovering nicely.  Mr. Ainge is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days.”

Meanwhile, the team began practice at 11 this morning in Waltham in a final preparation for Game 1 of their series with Chicago on Saturday afternoon at 12:30 at TD Banknorth Garden.

Read More: Celtics, Danny Ainge, NBA,
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