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Irish Coffee: Kevin Garnett just doing his job 04.26.11 at 11:44 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

During the Celtics’ two days of rest before Wednesday’s practice, Kevin Garnett got a chance to contribute to his Anta blog, focusing on Games 3 and 4 of the Knicks sweep. Here are the highlights …

Yo yo yo! We’re moving on! Great energy [Sunday] afternoon!  Happy Easter to anyone who celebrates it! We needed to get this game, so we could have a couple of days to get our rest! With Miami losing, we don’t play until at least Sunday. Doc gave us two days off, so practice on Wednesday! Lots of treatment, recovery and catching up with video games.

The team played awesome! We got up early and started executing better. Baby [Glen Davis] and JO [Jermaine O’Neal] tightened down our defense, and Rondo made our offense go. Setting picks for the guys is my job, and as Doc says, “DO YOUR JOB!” Good picks get good shots for Ray [Allen] and P2 [Paul Pierce]. Friday’s game they went off!!!! Yesterday, the Knicks tried to stop them, which got me looks. I was able to make shots and get rebounds. Didn’t even realize that I had 20-plus points. Team win is the only thing that matters.

That’s by far the most praise Garnett has heaped on his team’s execution, especially on the defensive end — a good sign for Round 2. It’s also nice to see Doc Rivers borrowing the “do your job” line from Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Always loved that.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett
Adrian Wojnarowski on M&M: Leaving C’s would be difficult for Doc Rivers 04.25.11 at 2:43 pm ET
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Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports joined the Mut & Merloni show Monday afternoon to discuss the NBA playoffs and other Celtics items of interest. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Rajon Rondo put up huge numbers in the C’s first-round series sweep of the Knicks, and Wojnarowski said the point guard will again be tough for Boston’s opponent to handle in Round 2. “He’s Miami’s most difficult matchup,” Wojnarowski said. “They don’t have a guy to deal with him.”

The Heat, who need one more win to close out the 76ers, also appear to be at a disadvantage vs. the Celtics when it comes to bench play. “The question marks around Miami’s bench continue to be immense,” Wojnarowski said. “Mike Miller, who they had signed to be a key part of that team, he’s got issues with both thumbs. He can’t shoot the ball. And so, his minutes have diminished. They’re getting less and less from that bench. That’s why they thought about signing Eddy Curry. That’s the level of desperation they had with that group there. That’s where Boston’s supposed to have the advantage here.”

If Shaquille O’Neal can return and give the C’s some quality minutes to complement Jermaine O’Neal, that would give Boston another advantage. “We’ll see what happens with Shaq, if he comes back,” Wojnarowski said. “Because Jermaine O’Neal really established himself as a big part of this Celtics postseason run with the way he played. He probably won Game 2 for Boston. I think Doc said he did, and I agree with him. His ability to defend the rim and block shots. Now, if Shaq comes back ‘€” maybe Shaq comes off the bench, maybe Shaq starts ‘€” but Boston’s bench has shown some signs in that New York series of playing better.”

Added Wojnarowski: “Doc said it all along: They had to have one of the O’Neals play. And Jermaine has played better. He exceeded my expectations. ‘€¦ You saw him defending, rebounding and just his movement around the floor and getting out, really being a lot of places, his rotation on defense, getting back, showing on the pick and roll and then getting back and protecting the rim. He brings a very high basketball IQ. He’s a smart guy, a veteran guy. And I thought he played great in that series and was the difference for Boston.

“But listen, Shaq still commands a double team in the post offensively. He still can rebound the ball. He can’t move like Jermaine can and defend all over the floor defensively the way Jermaine has showed himself to do. But there’s still things that Shaq brings to them that are going to help them, not just against Miami.

“You know, it’s funny: They don’t need him against Miami in terms of, Miami doesn’t have great size. But what it is is, he gives you an advantage. He gives you an edge where they have trouble matching up, and guys still have to foul him or double him. And so, while you don’t need him to match up with one of their guys, you say, ‘Hey, we have an advantage with him playing.’ So, that’s why you want him to play.”

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Read More: Adrian Wojnarowski, Doc Rivers, Jermaine O'Neal, Rajon Rondo
Doc Rivers’ son, Austin Rivers, named High School Player of the Year 04.21.11 at 1:35 pm ET
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Austin Rivers, the son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers, has been named the USA Today’s 2011 National High School Boy’s Basketball Player of Year.

Rivers, who is headed to Duke, averaged 28.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game for Winter Park (FL) High. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 20.2 points per game in helping lead the USA 18-Under National team to a win at the FIBA Americas U19 World Championships.

Read More: Austin Rivers, Doc Rivers,
Doc Rivers says the excuses are ‘all gone’ 04.15.11 at 5:17 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Celtics coach Doc Rivers is hoping Shaquille O’Neal returns to practice on Saturday after watching from the sidelines on Friday as the team began full-scale practice preparations for the Knicks Sunday night in Game 1 of their first-round series.

‘€œHe was doing good. He sat pretty well today, looked good over there,” Rivers said tongue-in-cheek. “It was terrific. He watched the entire practice.”

Rivers said the team is managing O’Neal’s calf injury as carefully as possible before letting him get back on the court.

“We knew that, we planned that,” Rivers added. “[Saturday] we’€™ll see what he can do. He did some of the walk-through stuff but I just don’€™t want to take a chance. We’€™ll find out [Saturday]. ‘€œHe’€™ll practice hopefully and then we’€™ll make a decision after that.’€

Delonte West (ankle) and Jermaine O’Neal both returned to full-scale practice on Friday and Rivers said both are ready to go for Sunday.

‘€œDelonte’€™s fine, everybody else is fine,” Rivers said. “We’€™re 100 percent except for Shaq. Everybody else is pretty good and that’€™s good.’€ ‘€œWe watched film for about an hour and a half [Thursday]. Then we walked through for another half-hour, 45 minutes but we didn’€™t do anything live.”

Friday was critical to Rivers because of the work accomplished in practice. Saturday figures to be even more significant.

“Today was a hard, long live practice. Everybody’€™s rested, every team is rested. There’€™s no excuses. It’€™s all gone. ‘€œIt was a good that they could get their mind set on one opponent and walk through the game plan. Today we got to do a lot of live stuff. [Saturday] we’€™re going to do even more live stuff.

‘€œWith this new group, we’€™ve never [practiced that hard]. The worst part of the trade was the timing of the trade and the schedule, it just didn’€™t mesh for us. We never had days off, we never had practice time and then we had the injuries. At least now, I’€™m cutting out literally half of our offensive playbook. I’€™ve made a choice to run a couple of things well than a lot of things average and poor and so that’€™s the route we’€™re going.’€

Read More: 2011 NBA Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, New York Knicks
Doc Rivers: Celtics are ready to ‘get back and finish the job’ 04.14.11 at 1:03 pm ET
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There’s no more time for sitting starters and there’s no more optional practices. Doc Rivers knows full well that while it may not be time to slam the foot on the accelerator, now is the time to start stepping down with more force.

On Thursday, following a 112-102 glorified exhibition win over the Knicks, Rivers began prep for the first-round playoffs series with the Knicks with film work. The hard practices are expected on Friday and Saturday – with or without Shaquille O’Neal.

‘€œI feel good that our team will be ready; I feel really good about that,” Rivers said. “This has been far more difficult in that regard because of the trades, the injuries, the late-season seven-out-of-eleven games. It’€™s just been ‘€“ that’€™s been extremely difficult. We lost our rhythm; had no practice to get it back, and then we had injuries.

“So, it’€™s great playing on Sunday, let me just put it that way. We’€™ll be ready.’€

As for Delonte West (ankle) and Shaq (calf), Rivers said this weekend of practice will tell a lot.

‘€œWell Delonte will be [ready] for sure, from everything I hear,” Rivers said. “Shaquille, I’€™d like to see him yesterday. We’€™ll just wait and see.’€

Obviously, this has been the most injury-riddled season for Celtics big men – or bigs as Doc loves to call them. And it’s started from camp and carried right through. Say this much, the C’s and Rivers and his coaching staff have had plenty of time this season to get ready to win without them.

There was the rehabbing Kendrick Perkins in camp and early in the season. There was the conditioning of Jermaine O’Neal. There was the knee/hip/Achilles/calf of Shaq. And the brief injury scares to Glen Davis and Perkins’ replacement Nenad Krstic. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 NBA Playoffs, Amare Stoudemire, Boston Celtics, Delonte West
Irish Coffee: Celtics weary, even on rest 04.12.11 at 11:44 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Mercifully, the Celtics have no more back-to-back games. After recording an 8-11 record in 19 back-to-backs this year — including a 2-8 record in their last 10 — the C’s won’t be playing on consecutive nights in the playoffs. So, just how much better are the Celtics with one or more days rest?

Before we attempt to answer that, it’s important to consider these three things:

  • 1) The Celtics have allowed an NBA-best 91.0 points per game, and even in back-to-back games they held opponents to an average of 92.3 points, which still would’ve ranked third in the league this year.
  • 2) The Celtics scored 96.3 points per game, ranking 24th out of 30 NBA teams. In back-to-backs, they averaged just 91.6 points a game, which would’ve ranked last in the league this season.
  • 3) While the 2011 NBA Playoff schedule hasn’t been released yet, in their 24 playoff games last season the Celtics played 14 on one day rest, six on two days rest and four on three or more days rest.
  • 4) The Celtics will go as far as the Big Four take them. Plain and simple. And considering Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo are the only C’s to play 30-plus minutes a night, they’re in need of the most rest.

Now, let’s compare the Big Four’s performances on one, two, three or more days rest as opposed to their numbers in back-to-back games. How significant is their improvement with fresher legs (individual bests in bold)?

PAUL PIERCE

  • Totals (80 games): 34.7 min, 18.9 pts, 49.7 fg%, 37.4 3p%, 86.0 ft%, 5.4 reb, 3.3 apg, 2.1 to
  • 0 days rest (18 games): 35.7 min, 19.0 pts, 46.4 fg%, 41.4 3p%, 88.9 ft%, 5.9 reb, 3.2 apg, 2.3 to
  • 1 day rest (42 games): 34.0 min, 18.9 pts, 50.5 fg%, 36.3 3p%, 83.4 ft%, 5.2 reb, 3.0 apg, 2.2 to
  • 2 days rest (14 games): 36.4 min, 17.6 pts, 47.0 fg%, 26.3 3p%, 87.0 ft%, 5.1 reb, 4.2 apg, 2.1 to
  • 3+ days rest (5 games): 31.6 min, 22.0 pts, 61.2 fg%, 57.1 3p%, 94.1 ft%, 4.8 reb, 3.2 apg, 1.2 to

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Carlos Arroyo, Danny Granger, Delonte West
Irish Coffee: Kevin Garnett frustrated but confident 04.06.11 at 1:10 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

It’s been almost two weeks since Celtics forward Kevin Garnett posted on his Anta blog, and he’s just as disheartened about the team’s performance in back-to-back games as he has been all season. It’s roughly the 10,000th time he’s raised the concern, and the C’s have two more back-to-backs over the next five days. The highlights:

  • On the Celtics: “Frustration is definitely setting in for some of the guys, but we’€™ll meet and get it together.”
  • On Jermaine O’Neal: I “so was pumped to have him back with us.”
  • On Shaquille O’Neal: “The BIG Diesel was back! It was great to have him back and seeing him ball. He was killin it, then he pulled up! Damn, hurt again! That sucks! Keep rooting for him to get right!!!”
  • On the Spurs: It “was like a playoff game. We ‘hit’ each other back and forth, and both teams took the shots. Rondo was super intense and brought it! Great TEAM effort and body feeling good. The guys got me in the right spot to make shots, so I had to knock them down. Great energy in the locker room.”
  • On the Hawks: The “bad part was the back-to-back in Atlanta. We started out Ok, but then started to get out of what we do. We weren’t getting stops and taking early shots.”
  • On the stretch run: “This time of year we are trying to get ready for the playoffs, but it’€™s tough to get rest when we have seven games in the next 10 days! We gotta finish strong, so we can get right for the playoffs.”

As coach Doc Rivers has reiterated another 10,001 times, the Celtics won’t be playing any back-to-backs in the playoffs — where the team has pulled ahead of the Heat for the East’s No. 2 seed and within a game of the Lakers for homecourt in the NBA Finals.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett
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