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Doc Rivers compares gay NBA player coming out to Jackie Robinson, and other practice notes 04.09.13 at 1:53 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Sometimes movies imitate real life. And sometimes, it’s the other way around.

With news last week that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban would welcome an openly gay player on his team and the coming out announcement by Magic Johnson‘s son, the subject has been a topic of discussion.

Doc Rivers was asked before Tuesday’s practice about the potential impact on the NBA if a player came out as openly gay. Rivers drew a comparison to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball and major professional sports in 1947.

“There’ll be a lot of talk about it and then I think it will go away,” Rivers said. “It’s [interesting]. As a team, I took the team to see ’42’ [on Monday]. There was a lot of talk and then all of a sudden, everybody starts playing. And I think the same thing will happen. So, that’s the way I look at it.”

Rivers also said there was much about the movie that reminded him of the ‘Ubuntu’ concept he brought in during the 2008 championship season.

“It was really good. It was fantastic,” Rivers said. “It was a great team message. It’s funny, you think race, but, really, it was more of a team message, when players on the Brooklyn Dodgers accepted Jackie. And a lot of it was because he was their teammate. Actually, one of the guys said that, he said, ‘What do you expect? I’m your teammate.’ And I just thought that was really a cool honor.”

Rivers was asked if his players knew the historical impact and the story behind Robinson’s MLB debut and breaking the color barrier.

“Yeah, I think a lot of players know the history,” Rivers said. “Some may not have, I don’t know that. But I always go by — I thought guys were at their full attention throughout the movie, and engaged, which I thought was really cool.”

Other practice notes:

  • Rivers said he has a plan in place for resting Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, both of whom participated in practice on Tuesday, prior to Wednesday’s game with Brooklyn.

    “Obviously, we have to take care of our position,” Rivers said. “But, for Kevin, rest is always important, and Paul as well. But, other than that, we’ve thought about (resting them), we’ve talked about it.”

  • University of Louisville product Terrence Williams celebrated his alma mater’s third national championship on Monday night by wearing a Cardinals jersey at practice.
  • Jared Sullinger, two months removed season-ending back surgery, was back on the practice court on Tuesday. But Sullinger was taking it easy. He was shooting free throws and working with assistant coaches before observing practice. Sullinger is expected to be ready for the starting of training camp in September.
  • Speaking of college, University of Miami Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga was at Celtics practice visiting with his son Jay, who is an assistant on Doc Rivers’ staff. Larranaga spent time talking to the coaching staff and Rivers as well before practice began.
  • There are too many lines for the next item. Rivers was asked if he heard the hilarious story of Cleveland Indians manager and good friend Terry Francona getting lost on his two-minute walk to Cleveland’s Progressive Field Monday for the Indians’ home opener.

    “Yeah, that’s a sad, sad thing,” Rivers laughed. “I’m so disappointed in Terry. I mean, getting lost going out to have a drink with me — I can see that. But getting lost going to the ballpark, my gosh. And he lives two blocks away, and he was walking! I didn’t know you could get lost walking. But, I guess you can.”

  • Read More: 42, Cleveland Indians, Dallas Mavericks, Doc Rivers
    Shortfall: Celtics come up short again in loss to Mavericks, Courtney Lee injures left ankle 03.22.13 at 11:12 pm ET
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    Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points and Brandan Wright added a team-high 23 – 16 above his season average – as the Dallas Mavericks handed the Celtics their third straight loss, 104-94, Friday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Celtics have lost five of seven and three straight for the first time since losing six in a row between Jan. 16-25.

    Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass each scored 16 for the Celtics, who fell to 36-31 on the season. Adding to Boston’s misery was a left ankle injury to Courtney Lee, who rolled the ankle late in the fourth quarter. He had to be helped off the court and to the locker room and did not play in the final minute.

    In his return to Dallas for the first time since signing with the Celtics as a free agent last summer, Jason Terry was held to eight points on 3-of-9 shooting. The appreciative Dallas crowd gave Terry a standing ovation when he checked into the game for the first time with 3:57 left in the first quarter. His former Mavericks teammates also applauded his returned on the Dallas bench.

    The only Celtics player in double figures in the first half was Brandon Bass with 10 points. Boston had no answers for Vince Carter off the Dallas bench. Carter had 12 points in 12 minutes, a big reason the Mavericks were able to take a 55-44 halftime lead.

    The Mavericks built their lead to as much as 14 twice in the second quarter.

    Jordan Crawford hit a baseline three early in the third quarter and followed that up with a steal and reverse layup with 10:19 left in the fourth to cut Dallas’ lead down to six, 81-75. Crawford hit another tough shot – a baseline fadeaway – to keep the Celtics within six, 83-77, with just over nine minutes left.

    But the Celtics couldn’t keep the Mavericks from responding and building the lead back to 11, 94-83, with three minutes left. Pierce hit a straightaway three with 2:59 left to cut the Dallas lead down to eight, 94-86. Green’s layup with 1:51 brought the Celtics within five, 97-92. The Celtics forced a missed shot by Carter but Knight got the rebound and kicked it to Carter, who then found O.J. Mayo, who knocked down the three to push the lead back to eight, 100-92, with 1:21 left.

    Mayo then stole a pass on the next Celtics possession as the Celtics lost their third straight.

    The road gets no easier on Saturday night, as the Celtics travel to Memphis to battle the Grizzlies. The Celtics return home for a Atlantic Division showdown with the Knicks on Tuesday night at the Garden.

    For more, visit the Celtics team page at

    Read More: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry
    O.J. Mayo: ‘Would’ve been an honor to play’ for Celtics 12.13.12 at 1:14 am ET
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    This past April, Celtics analyst Donny Marshall claimed O.J. Mayo‘s refusal to play for the Celtics led to the collapse of a deal with the Grizzlies that would have brought him to Boston last season in exchange for Ray Allen and a draft pick. “Mayo basically said, ‘I don’t care about banners,'” announced Marshall.

    After losing to the Celtics in double overtime on Wednesday, the current Mavericks guard denied that accusation, referencing his lack of veto power without a no-trade clause and affirming he would’ve welcomed the deal to Boston.

    “I was in a good situation in Memphis at the time,” said Mayo. “Obviously, Boston is a big-time organization as well. Great players. It would’€™ve been an honor to play with KG [Kevin Garnett], [Paul] Pierce and [Rajon] Rondo. It would’€™ve been great to play with those guys and with [Celtics coach] Doc [Rivers].”

    Instead, Mayo blamed the deal’s failure on an internal debate between C’s players and the front office over Allen’s future.

    “I was pretty much set to come here and something fell through at the very last second,” said Mayo, who collected 24 points (10-19 FG), six rebounds, three assists and two steals in Wednesday night’s loss to the Celtics. “A couple of the guys wanted to keep Ray, and management wanted to make the trade.

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    Read More: Boston Celtics, Courtney Lee, Dallas Mavericks, Jason Terry
    Fast Break: Paul Pierce, Celtics outlast Mavericks in double OT 12.12.12 at 11:28 pm ET
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    After Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce each missed potential game-winnters to end regulation and the first overtime, they combined for 10-of-12 points in the second OT as the Celtics outlasted the Mavericks, 117-115. Courtney Lee scored the other two, a pair of free throws that kept an O.J. Mayo 3-pointer at the buzzer from forcing a third overtime.

    Pierce finished with a season-high 34 points, Rondo missed his second triple-double in three games by a single rebound (16 points, 15 assists, 9 rebounds) and four other Celtics reached double figures: Kevin Garnett (16 points), Jeff Green (15 points), Jason Terry (10 points) and Chris Wilcox (10 points).

    In a wild final two minutes of regulation, Derek Fisher‘s 3-pointer gave the Mavericks their first lead, 95-94 with 1:47 to play in the fourth quarter. A Pierce jumper briefly gave the Celtics the lead back, but O.J. Mayo made 1-of-2 free throws to force a tie. That resulted in a seven-second span in which Rondo poked the ball loose from Mayo with 6.9 seconds left and got his shot blocked by Fisher as time expired on the other end.

    Likewise, in the first overtime, Pierce and Garnett each drilled go-ahead jump shots in the final minute, but Shawn Marion (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Mayo (team-high 21 points) answered on both occasions. And the unimaginative Pierce elbow jumper failed as the clock ran out on OT No. 1.

    A Pierce triple to begin the second overtime gave the Celtics the lead for good, as they held off every run the Mavericks had left in them, including a Vince Carter trey that brought them within one in the final minute.

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    Read More: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, NBA, Paul Pierce
    Doc Rivers: Expecting word on Avery Bradley at 8:13 pm ET
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    Before Wednesday’s game with the Mavericks, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers talks about his team playing better defense, Avery Bradley and Boston’s improved defense handing the high powered Mavericks. Rivers acknowledged that he expects to hear something on Bradley’s availability at practice soon.

    Bradley told reporters before Wednesday’s game that his right shoulder is feeling better to the point where he can see practicing soon if he gets the go-ahead from trainer Ed Lacerte and the Celtics medical staff.

    “I hope to start practicing next week,” Bradley said. “Shoulders feel strong.”

    Bradley had his right shoulder repaired in July, two months after surgery on his left shoulder that ended his playoff season in the Eastern semifinals against Philadelphia.

    “He’s shooting and running,” Rivers said. “He’s doing skeleton work with us on the floor. So my assumption is eventually someone will tell me something or [media] will. I’m open to either one. I really don’t know. I haven’t heard a projection and I haven’t asked so I really don’t know.”

    Rivers also explained a bit of NBA procedural logistics that explained why Fab Melo (strained quadriceps) was recalled by the Celtics for a non-game day before being sent back out today to the Maine Red Claws of the D-League.

    “He was injured so the new [CBA] rules are that if you bring him back [from D-League for medical treatment], you have to activate him,” Rivers said. “We had to activate him because he was with us.”

    Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Doc Rivers
    Celtics scouting report: Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo at 12:31 pm ET
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    If Celtics coach Doc Rivers is really “the Bill Belichick of basketball,” as Jason Terry claimed, then he’s planning to stop every opponent’s most dangerous weapon. Against the Mavericks on Wednesday night, that’s O.J. Mayo.

    The fifth-year guard has averaged career highs across the board, including 20.8 points (48.7 FG%, 50.3 3P%), 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 34.9 minutes per game, leading Dirk Nowitzki-less Dallas to a surprising 11-10 start.

    “O.J. Mayo’€™s playing off the charts,” said Rivers. “He’€™s shooting above 50 from the 3. What’€™s impressive with him, they’€™re running a lot of isos, and he’€™s guarded taking 3’€™s. That’€™s scary when you say a guy is guarded taking 3’€™s and he’€™s making over 50 percent of them. And he’€™s really their catalyst.”

    After the NCAA vacated his brief USC career over improper benefits, Mayo played his first four NBA seasons for the Grizzlies. That roller-coaster ride began with a runner-up finish to Derrick Rose in the 2008-09 Rookie of the Year voting and ended with a sprinkling of votes for last season’s Sixth Man of the Year honor, but also featured an in-flight fight with Tony Allen over a gambling debt and a 10-game suspension for using a banned substance.

    “His work ethic has definitely changed,” said Celtics guard Jason Terry. “If you hear coming out of their locker room what he’€™s done differently, he’€™s brought better work habits. He’€™s been there at night, and he’€™s coming early before the games, so I think that’€™s carrying over for him. He’s always been a great talent, but there’€™s been questions about his work ethic. Obviously, this year he’€™s put the work in, and it’€™s starting to show.”

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    Read More: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Jason Terry, NBA
    Jason Terry doesn’t miss this Mavericks team 12.11.12 at 5:43 pm ET
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    WALTHAM — As we learned earlier this season, on the eve of every Celtics game, Jason Terry sleeps in a pair of shorts worn by someone from the next night’s opponent. Thankfully, on Tuesday night, he won’t have to bribe a locker room attendant to get a pair of Mavericks shorts.

    “I’m wearing my own,” said the former Dallas star. “The ones from the championship.”

    After the NBA lockout, as Mavericks management allowed pieces of that 2010 title team to sign elsewhere, Terry voiced his displeasure about not getting the band back together, and he left for Boston as a result a year later. He wanted to compete for another championship, and Dallas got worse. In the infancy of this season, Terry said of last year’s Mavericks, “It never jelled. It never happened. That’€™s why we were out in the first round.”

    “They’€™ve got the same team name, but it’€™s not the same team,” he added after Tuesday’s practice. “Obviously, that was last year. We didn’€™t have the same team, or we’€™d probably still be there. It’€™s a totally different ballclub.”

    So, when Terry faces his former employer, he won’t see his old team on the other bench. Gone are key contributors Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd. Dirk Nowitzki (knee) hasn’t suited up yet this season, and Shawn Marion (groin) remains a game-time decision after missing the previous two games.

    “Those are the guys I won a championship with,” said Terry, “and they’€™re not there. … Maybe if Tyson Chandler was over there or Jason Kidd was over there, then there would be something extra special, but honestly it’€™s not.”

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    Read More: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Jason Terry, NBA
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