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With four days off, Celtics talking about practice 01.07.12 at 1:11 am ET
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The Celtics just played their eighth game in 13 days, emerging with a 4-4 record, capped by their worst offensive performance of the season, and all Ray Allen can think about is the next one.

‘€œI just always like playing,’€ said Allen, whose 23 points on 11 shots were the lone bright spot in an 87-74 loss to the Pacers. ‘€œIt’€™s great to be able to practice, go over plays, talk about certain things and kind of reinstitute defensive philosophies and execution on offense, but you learn full tilt in game situations.”

Allen won’t get that chance until the C’s host the Maverick Wednesday. In the meantime, we talking about practice.

‘€œI know you guys are going to write a blog about how terrible we are offensively, but we just haven’€™t practiced,” said center Jermaine O’Neal. “There’€™s just no way you can run the guys when you’€™re playing every other day, because it’€™s going to effect us on game days. Now, we get a day off to rest our bodies and we’€™re back out working.

“We get a couple days to really bang bodies, to really run our sets,” added O’Neal. “We’€™ve been coming in and doing dummy drills and stuff like that so guys can get contact, but there’€™s nothing like competing — competing in practice, getting used to screens, holding guys off to get rebounds, rotations and all of that. Basically, we’€™ve had to talk our way through it. Sometimes you can get away with it, and sometimes you can’€™t. Tonight, we didn’€™t.’€

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Keyon Dooling
Irish Coffee: Kevin Garnett’s guide to being a Celtic 01.05.12 at 11:30 am ET
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I don’t know much about Kevin Garnett, but I do know this: If you haven’t earned his respect, your name won’t cross his lips. “You’re a nobody.” As Celtics rookie JaJuan Johnson said during the first week of training camp, he wasn’t sure if KG even knew his name. The future Hall of Famer only referred to him as “New” or “Rook.”

Conversely, if Garnett mentions you by name, you’re doing something right. In recent days, young Celtics Greg Stiemsma and Avery Bradley in particular have earned postgame praise from the 16-year veteran.

“I think what you’re seeing is opportunity for the young guys, starting with Greg, and now Avery’s getting a chance to play and taking advantage of it,” Garnett said after totaling 14 points and 12 boards in the C’s 89-70 trimming of the Nets. “I don’t root for young guys a lot, especially when they’re hard-headed and don’t like to listen. We’ve got a good group of guys here, and that includes our young guys. They’re a young group, full of enthusiasm, full of hope and promise and a lot of potential, but they’re good guys, and they work really, really hard.”

It’s no secret hard work goes a long way in Garnett’s book, and we all know KG is going to talk. All they have to do is listen to that team pitch he, his fellow Celtics veterans and coach Doc Rivers are selling, buy in and apply it.

“There are no I’s. There are no You’s. It’s a We. It’s an Our. It’s a They. It’s an Us,” said Garnett. “The first thing you have to have in here is that you have to understand what you’re coming into, understand that being a Celtic is bigger than anybody in this locker room. You’€™re carrying on tradition. You have to have a work ethic. You have to care about the next guy beside you. If you can’€™t and if you don’€™t, then you’€™re not here. It’€™s the culture here.’€

It’s that simple? Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Doc Rivers
Doc Rivers not pulling punches: We need to start fast 12.24.11 at 1:01 pm ET
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The Celtics tipoff their 66th season Sunday in New York, and never has it been more important to start fast.

Each team will have 66 games to get to the postseason. There is much less margin for error to find your rhythm, just ask Doc Rivers.

“I think you have to start fast and I think you have to stay fast,” Rivers said Friday, 48 hours before the season opener at Madison Square Garden. “Now, the calming down part, if we’re playing unbelievable, I’m going to calm them down. If we’re playing poorly, either way I’m going to leave that up to you guys.”

Rivers asked the media to keep everyone on a even keel, because he’ll be busy with other matters, like managing his team through a compressed schedule.

“If that does happen, I’m going to ask you guys, can you calm them down because I’m not going to notice,” Rivers said. “I really don’t notice when people are excited or not because I’m into the team, so you guys can watch that for me and report back.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA, New York Knicks
Jermaine O’Neal: Now, ‘I feel like I know what I’m doing’ at 12:30 am ET
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No one was more disappointed about the way last season ended in Miami than Jermaine O’Neal. He had just begun to find his legs in the playoffs, playing significant minutes and becoming a force after injuries to his left knee and left wrist caused him to miss 58 regular season games.

But now he’s healthy and ready to go. He says he hasn’t felt this good since finishing the 2009-10 season in Miami, when he played and started 70 games.

“I felt strong, I felt knowledgable about the system,” O’Neal said. “Now I feel comfortable with the guys and the guys felt comfortable with me. I think the coaching staff feel comfortable with me. Last year, no one knew what to expect since I wasn’t out there.”

Doc Rivers called him the “MVP of training camp” and believes the C’s will be getting the real O’Neal this season. O’Neal doesn’t want to disappoint.

“I think all of us want to do the job Doc expects us to do,” O’Neal said Friday. “I feel like we have enough size, enough mobility to play the style of game we want to play.”

O’Neal, if healthy, could be a huge difference-maker this season for the Celtics. He has average 14 points and just over seven rebounds a game and is considered one of the best defensive centers in the league when healthy.

“You talk about our size, there’s not many teams that have legitimately three or four seven-footers,” O’Neal said. “We have 6-10, 6-11, three or four of those guys who can really do a lot of different things. I think a lot of guys are just mentally focused on doing their jobs. If we do our jobs, we’ll be fine.”

O’Neal could never get on track last season, battling injuries and splitting practice time with Shaquille O’Neal and Glen Davis as the Celtics desperately searched for an answer in the low post. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jermaine O'Neal, Miami Heat
Keyon Dooling wants his 2-year-old son ‘to play ball like Rajon Rondo’ 12.22.11 at 10:46 am ET
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Keyon Dooling has been around long enough to let his eyes tell him what he sees while blocking out all the noise.

He’s heard all of the chatter about the limitations with Rajon Rondo (whom he calls Ray) and his jump shot. But from what he’s seen so far, up close and personal, he’s been impressed.

“I think it’s just a matter of confidence with Ray,” Dooling said of Rondo, not Ray Allen. “I think because he’s got good mechanics and he knows when to shoot. It’s just all about his confidence. He’s fun to watch.”

As a matter of fact, he’s been so enamored with Rondo that he wants his two-year-old son to model his play not after daddy but daddy’s teammate.

“I was telling him earlier that I’ve got a two-year-old son and I want him to play ball like Rondo,” Dooling said. “So, I think Ray’s going to be very important to our championship run this year.”

As for his own play, he was scoreless in 15 minutes while handing out four assists. He considers himself a “Rondo-like” leader of the second unit, and he was disappointed that the second unit let a double-digit lead slip in the second half Wednesday in the preseason finale.

“I think if you look at us, I think the thing that is apparent or obvious is that our defense is ahead of our offense,” Dooling said. “We had a spurt with our second unit that was very disappointing. So, we’ll go back to the drawing board. We’ll be in practice a little bit earlier than the rest of the guys and we’ll try and continue to build our continuity with the second unit.”

Helping along the way is, of course, head coach Doc Rivers, who pulled Dooling aside several times during a break in the action to talk over things.

“It’s been fantastic,” Dooling said after Wednesday’s scrimmage. “Doc has been great so far. I’m a guy who sits back and I just watch him, watch him work, I watch him when he’s thinking of a play, staring into space, when he’s writing down on the board what he’s saying, how’s he motivating all the guys. Doc’s a guy I just want to sponge off and learn as much as I can.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Keyon Dooling, NBA
The legend of Greg Stiemsma, Celtics player at large at 10:24 am ET
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As Celtics training camp invitee Greg Stiemsma‘s buckets started to pile up Wednesday night against the Raptors, so too did his potential nicknames. “Stiemroller” or “McStiemy” were just two of the many batted around.

Regardless, one thing is for certain: Stiemsma made a name for himself in Boston, as the Garden crowd grew louder and louder with each of his seven points (3-8 FG), five rebounds and two blocks.

“It was fun,” Stiemsma said of the fan reaction. “It’€™s fun to have those guys behind you. I know Boston is a great sports town. They love their Celtics. I’€™m just having fun out there and trying to stick around for as long as I can.”

Indeed, just how long Stiemsma sticks around remains to be seen. The Celtics could make final roster cuts as soon as Thursday, and coach Doc Rivers suggested the C’s would leave the 15th spot open for a potential free agent signing. Draft picks JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore should make the roster out of camp, so that leaves one open spot to be filled by Stiemsma, Gilbert Brown, Michael Sweetney or Jamal Sampson.

“I just hope I showed I belong, that I can play at this level and that I can help this team,” said the 6-foot-11, 260-pound Stiemsma. “Whether it’€™s three- or four-minute stretches or whatever it may be, in practice, whatever it is, I feel like I can step in and help them out.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Greg Stiemsma, NBA
Doc Rivers on Rajon Rondo: ‘We want him to just shoot it, don’t care how many times’ at 12:59 am ET
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While Jermaine O’Neal was off getting his in-game massage, Doc Rivers was making the following observation about Rajon Rondo: the Celtics need him to shoot and score if they are going anywhere this season.

Rondo certainly didn’t disappoint in his preseason finale, making the first two jumpers he attempted on his way to 6-of-10 shooting and a team-high 17 points as the Celtics beat the Raptors, 81-73, Wednesday night.

Rondo started off strong from the floor, something Rivers is looking for this season.

‘€œYeah, yeah, we want him to just shoot it; I don’€™t care how many times he shoots,” Rivers said. “What I did like more than his jump shot was that he got to the foul line, I think six times in the first half. That’€™s ‘€“ we need that.’€

Speaking of scoring, something the Celtics are going to need lots of if Paul Pierce is sidelined with a heel problem, Kevin Garnett posted up several times in the first quarter as well as spotting up high in the Celtics offense and passing to an open teammate down in the paint.

‘€œWell he looks good,” Rivers said. “He looked ‘€“ the first couple of days he was out of synch a little bit, but now he looks great. His jumper looks good again, he’€™s aggressive. I like the fact that he looks more aggressive offensively, which we need him to be. He needs to be ‘€“ he needs to score more this year for us. And I don’€™t care where it’€™s from. The purists are saying on the post. I don’€™t care if the ball goes in, it still counts as the same. Where he gets it from ‘€“ he just has to be more aggressive offensively for us.’€

As for the Celtics bench, it looked strong at times, led by the new Big Baby, Brandon Bass.

‘€œYou pretty much ‘€“ I got a good feel,” Rivers said. “The good news is we’€™ve had a lot of practices. You would’€™ve hoped a couple of guys, honestly, separated themselves, and they didn’€™t. But hey, listen, we’€™re going to just throw them out there and hopefully someone separates themselves when the game ‘€“ season starts. We may have to do a couple of positions by committee.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, NBA
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