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Jared Sullinger: ‘We’re the Underground Railroads’ 01.10.13 at 12:57 am ET
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Jared Sullinger just graduated Kevin Garnett 101. Under the tutelage of his veteran mentor, the Celtics rookie has thrived on the court. Now it’s time for a new lesson: The Art of the Metaphor.

Over the years, we’ve been treated to KG’s lectures on everything from zoology to culinary arts to technology, so there’s no telling how he’ll grade this attempt at an historical metaphor from Sullinger.

“It’s a lot of hard work,” Sullinger said after recording the second double-double of his career (12 points, 16 rebounds) in an 87-79 win over the Suns, “but the train doesn’t stop here. We’ve got to keep going. We’ve got to make it to the next stop, after that the next stop, after that the next stop, so we’re the Underground Railroads.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jared Sullinger, Kevin Garnett
Jeff Green: ‘Just glad to be here, glad to be alive, glad to be playing basketball’ 01.09.13 at 11:51 pm ET
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Just one year ago Wednesday, Jeff Green went under the knife to repair the aortic valve in his heart. Doc Rivers thought his career was over and Green had to lay in a certain way on his hospital bed to make sure he healed correctly.

One year to the day later, he had three spectacular dunks and led a potent Boston bench with 14 points as the Celtics beat the Suns, 87-79, at TD Garden.

‘€œIt felt good. (long pause) I can’€™t put it into words,” Green said. “I mean it’€™s a wonderful day, I had a good game, I’€™m just glad to be here man. You know, I reflect a lot about what I’€™ve been through and it’€™s just a blessing and I’€™m glad to be here.’€

The Celtics couldn’t have done it without Green and Jared Sullinger leading the way.

‘€œWe’€™re just playing together. Things are starting to click, were just playing hard. Our main focus is defense. Defense defense defense.’€ KG’€™s been playing unbelievable with this energy, Countney, myself and Jet, everyone is playing unbelievable.

‘€œI don’€™t cry, but, it was. A year ago I had heart surgery. When I think about laying in the bed when I woke up from it, and to where I am now’€¦it’€™s a big deal to me. Like I said, I’€™m just glad to be here, glad to be alive, glad to be playing basketball.’€

Rivers wasn’t tearing up either but he was clearly happy for Green.

“It’€™s a good night,” Rivers said. “He got some dunks and looked good. And who would’€™ve thought it a year ago? So it’€™s really a ‘€“ I mean, the doctors, and all that ‘€“ but it’€™s really a testament to Jeff in general. The fact that he worked himself into the condition that he did; there had to be some kind of fear somewhere, because to work yourself into condition you have to use that muscle. So it’€™s just really cool that he’€™s playing, and he’€™s playing well of us.

“I was more concerned about Jeff’€™s health; I wasn’€™t thinking about basketball at all, I can tell you that. I didn’€™t, honestly, at that time I didn’€™t think he’€™d ever play. So the basketball part wasn’€™t even a concern. You know, the two things that bugged me the most, obviously, was his condition, was number one, and then the contract that was voided, because it had to be, legally. And I was thinking, ‘€˜Man, this kid’€™s worked his whole life to make a living,’€™ and now he’€™s signing the biggest deal of his life at that point and it’€™s gone. You know? And so now he’€™s back playing, doing well in all those areas, and I’€™m very happy for him. He deserves it.’€

What did Green think Wednesday looking back 12 months?

‘€œFirst time I stood up from surgery, the first time I walked, it was painful, but I had to make progress and take steps to get back on the court,” Green said. “Those are memories that Ill never forget. Anything between now and that first step, you know, it was a wonderful journey for myself and an unbelievable process that I went through.”

Does it push him every day?

‘€œOh, most definitely, because I never want to be back at that point, the way I felt when I woke up, I never want to feel that way again, taking 10 steps and getting tired’€¦I never want to feel that way again,” he said. “I’€™m gonna push myself to the limits and never be out of shape.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jeff Green, NBA
Avery Bradley: ‘It’s hard to beat us when we’re playing this way’ 01.05.13 at 9:31 am ET
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This was the lineup and the effort Doc Rivers had been waiting for. But more to the point, this was the effort everyone had been expecting from the Celtics.

Avery Bradley at the ‘2’ providing smothering defense with a cast of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo around him. Brandon Bass was even inserted back into the starting lineup Friday, giving the Celtics the lineup they had when they made their run at the end of last season.

The result was a 94-75 win over the Pacers in which defense was the main attraction and Bradley, according to Rivers, was the MVP.

“Avery was 3-for-11 and he may have been the most valuable player tonight because his defensive pressure, just on the ball, it made them take so much time to get into their sets and when they got in their sets it wasn’€™t the right spot,” Rivers said. “They had to go in places they didn’€™t want to, and it allowed our entire defense to be dominant. And so Rondo was part of it as well. Where I was real happy with Rondo was in the second and third especially. His speed he played on offense, where he attacked the basket and made things happen, that’€™s a good sign for us.’€

The Celtics held the Pacers to 27-of-85 shooting (31.8 percent). They held Indiana to 75 points, the fewest they’ve allowed all season. Bradley was in the face of Lance Stephenson all night, holding him to 1-for-6 from the floor.

‘€œThat’€™s what I try to bring every night,” Bradley said. “I try to bring that intensity on the defensive end but that’€™s my role, to be the energy when I come into the game. I just try to make it hard on the opponent every single night, and that’€™s all I did tonight. It means nothing to me, it just means that I’€™m taking steps forward, and next game I gotta continue to get better and better.

‘€œWe’€™ve been making steps forward on that defensive end and offensive end and everything’€™s starting to come together as a team and we just gotta continue to keep taking steps forward and we’€™ll be the team that we want to be from the beginning of the year’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA
Avery Bradley’s philosophy: ‘Defense is just effort’ 01.03.13 at 9:38 am ET
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Even if his jump shot isn’t back yet, the Celtics really need Avery Bradley‘s attitude.

“Defense is just effort,” he said after his return from double shoulder surgery. “If you give effort, you can never have a bad defensive game. That’s how I think of it. You play as hard as you can. That’s all you have to do.”

Outside of Kevin Garnett and possibly Jason Collins, it’s hard to say there’s anybody else on the Celtics who offers a consistent effort on the defensive end every night. Just ask Tony Allen. Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce often conserve themselves for the offensive end, Courtney Lee hasn’t come as advertised defensively and nobody else on the C’s roster has developed much of a defensive reputation, unless you include Fab Melo, who started the season falling into a folding chair and currently suffers from a concussion after walking into a doorway.

In addition to being the NBA’s worst rebounding team, the Celtics rank in the middle of the pack in almost every defensive statistical category after ranking among the top five teams in defensive rating every season since 2008.

“Every team has its up and downs,” said Bradley, who scored four points on six shots during Wednesday night’s loss to the Grizzlies. “The best teams are the ones that can go through the adversity and overcome it. With the veteran leadership we have, I feel like we’€™re going to overcome it. We’ve just got to keep improving.”

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jason Terry
Doc Rivers on Avery Bradley, Rajon Rondo and Wednesday pregame notes 01.02.13 at 8:03 pm ET
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Doc Rivers announced before Wednesday’s game that Rajon Rondo had been cleared to play and would start with Avery Bradley in the Celtics backcourt as the team looks for a defensive spark to turn around its three-game losing streak.

Rondo suffered a bruised right hip against the Clippers on Thursday and missed Saturday’s game against the Warriors before returning on Sunday in the loss to the Kings. Rondo sat out Tuesday’s practice before working out two hours before Wednesday’s game against the Grizzlies and getting cleared to play.

Meanwhile, Bradley is making his season debut after surgery on both shoulders in the offseason. Rivers said before the game there would be no minutes limitations on Bradley in his first appearance of the season.

“I just think the quicker we get to our lineup, the better,” Rivers said. “We’re going to get to it anyway, so why wait?”

“If he’s hurting us, we take him out; if he’s playing well, we let him play,” said Rivers. “I think it’ll be vision, but listen, we gotta play with some kind of pace, offensively and defensively, obviously. So it’ll be pretty easy to see.”

Rivers said he hasn’t paid attention to reports that Bradley will be the key to a turnaround.

“I haven’t paid too much attention to all this stuff. Is he [Bill] Russell yet? Or [Bob] Cousy? I don’t know,” Rivers said. “If that’s what [media has] made him, and if he lives up to that, then I’m good with that. I hope everyone’s right.”

Can Bradley make the rest of the Celtics better defenders?

“If you take one great defensive player and you put him on a team, the team is going to be a better defensive team,” Rivers added. “And as important as bigs are, I’ve always thought, especially if it’s a guard that applies pressure, that kinda fuels energy. You see it and it’s hard for you not to do it. You got this guy doing it and then, what, are you not going to do anything? It clearly helps. Again, because this is his first game this year, the other players have a 30-game advantage on him as far as timing and stuff, as far as running their stuff. I’m not looking for the world today or tomorrow, even in a week. But it’s going to come.”

Read More: Avery Bradley, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Boston Celtics
Doc Rivers pregame on the Bucks again, ‘The Jasons’ lineup and Larry Sanders 12.21.12 at 7:40 pm ET
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Chris Wilcox (right thumb) and Leandro Barbosa (personal matter, not with the team) will be out for Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

With those two out, the Celtics recalled rookie forward Kris Joseph from the Maine Red Claws on Friday.

Other notes:

The Celtics are playing the Bucks for a fourth time in the first six weeks of the season, with Boston trailing the series 1-2. That could be a factor if the two are vying for playoff positioning late in the season. Boston stands 13-12 heading into the game while the Bucks are a half-game better at 13-11.

“What’€™s funny is, I don’€™t think any of the lineups have been the same on either team,” Rivers said. “It’s four new games every time we play them. It’€™s early, I tell you, I obviously don’€™t love that. I just think you should play a team in your conference late in the season. But we’€™re going to make it up, we’€™re going to play the Knicks four times after this.”

Doc Rivers will stick with “The Jasons” lineup featuring Jason Terry at shooting guard and Jason Collins at center for a second straight game.

“I’€™ve said this 100 times – the starting lineup is not as important as everyone thinks it is,” said Rivers. “I did that more from Kevin. In one way, just to get him some minutes at the 4 instead of the 5. And then, until Avery [Bradley] comes back, for Jason Terry to get a shot. But other than that, I did like it, because Jason — you don’€™t know which one, so I’€™ll let you figure it out — his talking was terrific, it helped Kevin. I hope you guys can figure that one out.”

Rivers said he did like the impact it had on Kevin Garnett, who had 12 points and six rebounds in 31 minutes of the win over Cleveland.

“He seemed like he had more energy,” Rivers said. “It’€™s one game, so it’€™s tough thing to look at. If we play well tonight — we’€™ll find out in a month what it does really. It looks like he had more energy, because he had another guy covering for him and he didn’€™t feel like he had to do everything on defense.”

Rivers compared Bucks shot-blocker and big man Larry Sanders to Thunder big Serge Ibaka: “We should probably stop shooting when he’€™s right there. That would probably help, because he always blocks your shot. It’€™s funny, he does it to everybody. I actually told my son, Austin, when they played the Bucks, I said, ‘€˜Hey Austin, be careful with Sanders, you get a step deep and he’€™ll get you.’€™ I think his first two shots were blocked, so I was thinking, ‘€˜Nothing changes. No one listens.’€™”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jason Collins, Jason Terry
Irish Coffee: A brief Kevin Garnett lesson on chemistry and evolution 12.20.12 at 10:44 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers rolled out his sixth different lineup in 25 games when he again flip-flopped Jason Terry and Courtney Lee while inserting Jason Collins into the spot normally reserved for Brandon Bass alongside mainstays Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Wednesday night’s victory against the Cavaliers.

While the C’s ended a three-game losing streak, Garnett didn’t exactly sound pleased with the constant change.

“It’s a process,” said KG. “Chemistry is something else. It’s not something that’s just going to happen. I think it’s just something that’s going to evolve. The quicker, the better, with this lineup thing, so we can establish who we are and what we’re going to be. Doc has a vision of what he wants, and until he has it this is what it’s gonna be.”

Here’s how those six lineups have performed this season (record-wise): plus-minus per 82games.com.

  • Rondo, Terry, Pierce, Bass, Garnett (9-4): plus-35 in 197.0 minutes
  • Rondo, Lee, Pierce, Bass, Garnett (0-5): minus-9 in 57.9 minutes
  • Rondo, Lee, Pierce, Jared Sullinger, Garnett (2-1): plus-13 in 33.9 minutes
  • Terry, Lee, Pierce, Bass, Garnett (1-1): plus-16 in 39.1 minutes
  • Leandro Barbosa, Terry, Pierce, Bass, Garnett (0-1): sample size too small
  • Rondo, Terry, Pierce, Bass, Collins (1-0): sample size too small

One thing we know for sure is that Lee shouldn’t be starting. The only reason Rivers inserted him back into the lineup in Chicago was to get Terry readjusted to playing off the bench, but the former Sixth Man of the Year attempted just two shots against the Bulls, so the Celtics should keep starting him until Avery Bradley‘s return.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
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