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Ugly clincher: C’s finally beat Pistons, clinch playoff berth 04.03.13 at 10:09 pm ET
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Paul Pierce helped keep the Pistons at arms length for most of the night in his return to action Wednesday. (AP)

Paul Pierce helped keep the Pistons at arms length for most of the night in his return to action Wednesday. (AP)

Jeff Green scored a game-high 34 points and Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass each had 17 as the Celtics held off the Pistons, 98-93, Wednesday night at TD Garden. As it turned out, the Celtics clinched a spot in the playoffs by virtue of Philadelphia’s 88-83 loss in Charlotte as the fourth quarter was getting underway in Boston.

The Celtics snapped a two-game skid and improved to 39-36, maintaining their tenuous lead on Milwaukee for seventh in the Eastern Conference and out of a first-round encounter with the Miami Heat. With the Bucks losing at home to Minnesota, the Celtics now lead Milwaukee by 2.5 games for seventh in the East.

The Celtics won the game despite getting out-rebounded, 52-34, outscored in the paint, 58-28, and beaten in second-chance points, 26-7. Boston shot 50 percent on the night while holding the Pistons to 37 percent shooting, including 4-of-24 from 3-point range.

The Pistons had beaten Boston twice in their previous two meetings, scoring 103 points each time and winning by an average of 17 points a contest. Detroit shot 50 percent in each game in handing the Celtics two unexpected losses in Auburn Hills.

The Celtics appeared to be in for another long night against the bigger Pistons in the first quarter. Detroit jumped out to a six-point lead twice before settling for a 30-25 lead over Boston after 12 minutes.

Thanks to eight of his team-leading 23 points in the second, the Celtics outscored the Pistons, 29-14, and took a 54-44 lead to the locker room at halftime.

The Celtics built their lead to 18, 70-52, on two Bass free throws with 5:37 left in the third. They led by 18, 74-56, on a Chris Wilcox layup with 3:50 left in the quarter. But the Celtics fell asleep the rest of the period, allowing the Pistons to score the final 11 points of the period and cut the lead to 74-67 heading into the fourth.

Two Brandon Knight free throws with 9:21 left cut Boston’s lead to three, 79-76.

Charlie Villanueava blew a layup with eight minutes left that would have cut the lead to one. The Pistons threw away another fast break chance with 7:22 left and Pierce came down and hit a jumper to put Boston back up five, 83-78, with seven minutes left. Villanueva, the University of Connecticut product, gave the Celtics a chance to avoid another embarrassing loss. Villanueva was 2-for-17 from the field and missed all eight 3-point attempts.

Green’s jumper with 4:55 left put Boston up, 89-80. His put-back slam dunk of a Jason Terry missed jumper with 3:36 brought the crowd to their feet and put Boston ahead, 91-83. A technical on the Celtics bench and a two Greg Munroe free throws cut the lead down to four, 91-87, with three minutes left but Green answered with an 18-foot jumper with 2:56 left.

Jonas Jerebko gave Detroit new life with a three with 2:29 left, as the Pistons pulled within 93-90. Knight, infamous for getting dunked on by DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers, blew a wide open layup with just under two minutes left that would’ve drawn the Pistons within one.

Green’s third trey of the night from the left baseline put Boston up 96-91 with just 45.3 seconds left. Rodney Stuckey passed on a wide-open, game-tying three with 20 seconds left, instead deferring to Villanueva, who missed his seventh triple attempt of the night.

The Celtics continue their four-game homestand on Friday night at the Garden with a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. For more from Mike Petraglia and Ben Rohrbach from the Garden, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

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Danny Ainge on Big Show: Trades being discussed, coaches ‘wish’ their players were like Kevin Garnett 02.10.11 at 6:14 pm ET
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Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his weekly appearance on The Big Show Thursday, discussing the team’s potential activity in the the trade market, Ray Allen‘s forthcoming record, and Kendrick Perkins‘ future with the team.

With Marquis Daniels having gone down with a bruised spinal cord in Sunday’s game after a collision with Gilbert Arenas, Ainge admitted that the team is more likely to make calls than simply field them.

“We’re having conversations,” Ainge said. “I think the Marquis incident makes us a little bit more proactive rather than just receiving calls and seeing what else might be a possibility to back up Paul [Pierce] or Ray [Allen] in the playoffs.”

With recent focus being placed on whether Kevin Garnett is a dirty player, Ainge suggested that teams and players throughout the league — including the ones Garnett has robbed the right way — would be happy to have him.

Alvin Gentry wishes that Channing Frye played like Kevin Garnett, would give anything if Channing Frye played with the passion and the heart and the intensity and the work ethic of Kevin Garnett,” Ainge said.

“I think that John Kuester wishes that Charlie Villanueva played with the passion and the intensity and had the work ethic and character of Kevin Garnett. That’s all I’ll say about that.”

Ainge said his words aren’t a shot at the players, but more a statement regarding what Garnett brings to a team.

“I’m not dissing on Charlie for any other the players,” Ainge noted. “I’m saying that Kevin Garnett is one of the most coachable, hard-woking players that I’ve ever been around in the NBA, especially as a star.”

Ainge cited more of attention being paid on the part of the media as a reason as to why many have questioned Garnett this year.

“Everything’s blown out of proportion,” Ainge said. “Kevin Garnett’s a great player on a great team. He talks and he plays hard. There’s nothing else to it than that.”

Allen could break Reggie Miller‘s record of 2,560 career 3-pointers with a pair of treys Thursday against the Lakers.

“I think this record of Ray’s is significant because I think it will last a long, long time,” Ainge said.

“I think he’s going to set a record of over 3,000 3-pointers and I think that’s just unbelievable.”

Perkins has told media outlets recently that he has declined a contract extension offered to him by the team. Ainge shed light on the situation.

“Perk was offered a contract that we can offer,” Ainge said. “Under the collective bargaining agreement there’s only a certain about of money we can offer Perk, and we offered him that contract. Understandably, Perk’s not interested in that contract.

Ainge noted that the team “can’t offer him a nickel more than we’ve offered him” and that the situation has “been explained to him” by both Ainge and Perkins’ agent.

Read More: Alvin Gentry, Channing Frye, Charlie Villanueva, Danny Ainge Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
The Three-Pointer: The knee, or not the knee is the Kevin Garnett question 12.30.10 at 12:31 am ET
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The Celtics' training staff attends to Kevin Garnett after he dropped to the floor. (AP)

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

It’s fitting that the adage — Murphy’s law — came from an Irishman, as it probably crossed the mind of every Celtics fan who watched as Kevin Garnett crumpled to the floor in agony late in the first quarter of his team’s 104-92 loss to the Pistons in Detroit on Wednesday night.

It certainly entered Doc Rivers’ thoughts.

“I thought it was his knee the way he did it — the knee or the Achilles,” Rivers told reporters in Detroit. “You’ve heard me say it before: Injuries when nobody’s around, to me, are always the severe ones. There was no one around when he grabbed it, so I thought it was a bad one. Let’s just hope it’s not. I don’t think it is, but we’ll find out later.”

It looked like the knee as Garnett limped up the floor to commit a foul on Tayshaun Prince and stop the clock. It definitely looked like the knee as trainer Ed Lacerte rubbed Garnett’s leg on the bench. And it had to be the knee when replays looked eerily similar to Garnett’s season-ending injury in 2009.

But Garnett hobbled to the training room on his own accord, the first sign that it wasn’t, in fact, the knee. Later, he walked gingerly (but better) to undergo X-rays that eventually revealed no fractures.

During the game, the Celtics were quick to calm the nerves of their fans, their coach and even their players, as the team stressed that Garnett suffered “a lower left leg injury” — not a knee or ankle issue.

After the game, the C’s claimed that tests revealed no structural damage to the knee, and Garnett most likely injured his calf muscle. That noise you’re hearing is the collective sigh of relief from those same Boston fans, coaches and players.

“I don’t think it’s bad, so I’m not that concerned,” added Rivers. “He’s going to miss games, probably. I don’t know how many. I don’t think it will be that long, but, listen, it happens.”

Watching Garnett hop on one leg, it wasn’t a few games most Celtics observers were concerned about. It was another promising season that had appeared to go up in flames before what can now only be termed as “good news” came from the Celtics’ organization.

Which raises another Irish law, Coughlin’s, from the 1988 classic film “Cocktail”: “Anything else is always something better.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Kevin Garnett on D&H: ‘I’m not speaking to nobodies’ like Charlie Villanueva 11.18.10 at 12:29 pm ET
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Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett

As part of WEEI’s Celtics Thursday, forward Kevin Garnett joined the Dale & Holley show to talk about his resurgence this season. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Garnett has returned to form after struggling for much of last season following knee surgery in May 2009.

“Rest is everything,” Garnett said. “And being healthy is another thing. I don’t like speaking about my own personal health, because everybody in the league has something they’re dealing with, and I was no different from it. Obviously, you can see the difference in the play. I have a little pep in my step, I’ve got a little bounce in my hop. And it feels good.

“A lot of times last year I was playing subpar guys, man, and they were getting by me, doing different things to where I knew that if I was 100 percent, no way that some of those things were happening. To be honest, I’m blessed. It’s something I have to deal with every day. But you can see the difference. You can see the difference. The confidence is there. When you get hurt — one of the things I’ve never had to battle was dealing with health issues to where it damages and messes with your confidence. I’m a very confident person. I would be lying if I said it didn’t test me. But it made me a stronger person mentally.”

The addition of Shaquille O’Neal to the roster brought a unique personality to Boston. The high-intensity Garnett was asked if he agreed that Shaq has lightened the mood in the locker room.

“Unfortunately, I do [agree],” Garnett said. “I don’t like my mood to be lightened too much, man. I like to have an edge. When I take the floor, I like to be a certain way. I don’t do well when I’m giddy and kind of light. I do well when I’m dark and sort of concentrated. When I’m locked in, I look at myself as a threat. I don’t want to be too lighthearted when I go out there. Shaq is the opposite. He likes things light. He likes to keep you laughing. He likes the mood to be light.

“I think from [Doc Rivers'] perspective — or anybody’s perspective — they tend to think that I’m too intense at times. And I can understand that. But hey, man, this is my makeup. This is who I am. This is what I’ve been for a long time. It’s gotten me to this point. Like anybody else’s personality it’s who they are. This is my makeup. This is who I am.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Kevin Garnett on Charlie Villanueva: ‘He’s a nobody’ 11.06.10 at 1:12 am ET
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Kevin Garnett said he is tired of talking about his run-in with Detroit’s Charlie Villanueva on Tuesday in Boston’s win over the Pistons. Villanueva accused Garnett, via twitter, of calling him a cancer patient during a trash-talking session on the court. Garnett spent Wednesday trying to diffuse the situation, claiming there was a misunderstanding and he simply called the Pistons big man a ‘cancer’ to his team and the NBA.

Friday, Garnett said he’s done talking about it.

“He’s a nobody,” Garnett said. “I’m not paying attention to nobodies any more.”

It has been quite the emotional week for Garnett, who also got into a shoving match with Andrew Bogut the next night in a home-court win over Milwaukee.

Read More: Andrew Bogut, Boston Celtics, Charlie Villanueva, Detroit Pistons Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
Ray Allen on Twitter & NBA: ‘It’s a very fragile world’ 11.03.10 at 8:42 pm ET
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Not that this is news but Ray Allen is no Kevin Garnett. He admitted as much before Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee when asked his take on “Twitter War” between KG and Charlie Villanueva.

“I don’t want a mic on those guys in the NFL and I don’t want a mic on these guys in the NBA,” Allen said. “You have the opportunity to hear some things that maybe you don’t want to hear or some kids don’t need to hear but that’s the heat of the battle, that’s in competition. I’ve never been a trash-talker. I believe in close competition you can find something you can beat your guy at. Most guys know when they’re beat and I’m not a pound-on-my-chest player and never have been.

“If I just made a three or a dunk, whatever it may be, I think everybody saw it. I don’t need to draw more attention to it.”

Allen said the first he heard of the ‘Twitter war’ between Villanueva and Garnett was while he was on his way to Wednesday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Allen said athletes have to be careful what they say on and off the court and now on-line.

“It’s a very fragile world that we live in now,” Allen said. “You almost have to have people around you to protect everything that you say and do and somebody has to watch you. As athletes, I think we have to be more responsible.”

Villanueva, via his Twitter page after Tuesday’s game in Detroit, accused Garnett of calling him a ‘cancer patient’ while Garnett said in a statement Wednesday that it was a misunderstanding and and that he called Villanueva a ‘cancer’ to his team. Allen said he believes athletes are under a spotlight that’s getting hotter and hotter.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Charlie Villanueva, Detroit Pistons, Kevin Garnett Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
Doc Rivers backs Kevin Garnett’s version at 7:59 pm ET
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Doc Rivers (AP)

Doc Rivers (AP)

Doc Rivers said he was standing next to Kevin Garnett when he said whatever it was that he said to Charlie Villanueva Tuesday night and the coach stands by his player’s account. “I’m not going to go off on a tangent on this whole thing,” Rivers said before the C’s played the Bucks. “I actually heard what Kevin said. I was standing right there. What he released is what he said. I’m going to leave it at that.”

Villanueva wrote on his Twitter account: “KG called me a cancer patient.”

Garnett responded in a statement: “My comment to Charlie Villanueva was in fact ‘You are cancerous to your team and our league.’”

Rivers didn’t care for the way Villanueva handled the situation. “I used to play and I can’t imagine us running and talking about what was said,’ Rivers said. He then joked, “Larry [Bird] has said some terrible stuff to me and I’m still hurt by it. There are times when guys do cross the line, but you get over that too. I don’t think talking about what guys said during the game… I just don’t find a place for it.”

Rivers acknowledged that he’s uncomfortable with Twitter and the Celtics have a roster full of players who actively tweet.

“What we try to tell them is it’s your life and have fun and all that, but what goes on [with] the team stays on the team,” Rivers said. “I think so far they’ve been pretty good with it, but this is a new generation and we’re going to continue to have problems with this until we figure it out.”

Read More: Charlie Villanueva, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Larry Bird Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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