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Banged up Celtics grind through knowing Lakers won’t have sympathy 02.09.11 at 2:42 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Doc Rivers knows the Lakers could care less about the banged up Celtics.

They don’t care that the Celtics had just 10 players for practice Wednesday. They don’t care that Paul Pierce was home sick instead of gearing up for the rematch with the Lakers Thursday night at TD Garden. They don’t care that 38-year-old Shaquille O’Neal is nursing a sore right Achilles tendon that has forced him to miss the last three games.

They don’t care that Semih Erden is about to miss his second straight game with a right adductor strain. They don’t care that the Celtics don’t have a proven replacement for Marquis Daniels, who went down with a bruised spinal cord on Sunday afternoon.

“You come to play the game,” Rivers said. “We don’t worry about the body count. They’re not going to worry about the body count, I can guarantee you that. We’ll be read. We’ll be fine.”

All the Lakers care about is getting revenge for that 109-96 Celtics win on Jan. 30 at Staples Center.

The Celtics were reduced to 10 healthy players in practice on Wednesday.

On the bright side, Delonte West participated in his first full contact practice since his broken right wrist, suffered on Nov. 24 against New Jersey.

“We had 10,” Rivers said following Wednesday’s practice. “Paul’s is sick so he stayed at home. Semih is out, Shaq is out. Delonte practiced today but he won’t play [Thursday] or probably won’t play until after the break.”

Rivers said he does expect Pierce to play Thursday but not O’Neal or Erden. “I expect him to play,” Rivers said of Pierce. “He’s just not feeling good. We’ll see [Thursday]. I don’t expect Shaq, I don’t expect Semih. I don’t think [O’Neal] can go yet so we’re just going to wait until he gets healthy.”

Rivers said West was allowed to return but cautioned his players to try and use good judgment so that West’s right wrist wouldn’t be hit.

“We told [players] no reaching which is impossible with some of our guys but other than that, we got through it,” Rivers said.

Read More: Delonte West, Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Lakers, Marquis Daniels
Three-Pointer: Celtics show age before beauty 02.07.11 at 11:42 pm ET
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Even before the Celtics lost for the seventh time this season on the second night of back-to-back games, Rajon Rondo provided the perfect answer as to why.

‘€œWe’€™re old,’€ said Rondo, who at 24 is the youngest player on the roster outside of the last two guys on the bench, Avery Bradley and Luke Harangody.

The Celtics are indeed old, averaging 31.1 years of age. The good news is that with age comes experience. That’€™s 902 playoff games and 47 All-Star selections of experience. Generally, that means a lot of victories ‘€” just ask the 1997-98 Bulls, who at an average age of 31.6 were the oldest team in NBA history to capture a title, winning 62 games in the regular season and 15 of 21 playoff contests.

But with age also comes aching bodies. Shaquille and Jermaine O’€™Neal have a combined 14 feet and 550 pounds of bodies — logging a total of 66,669 minutes in their careers — that have translated into 47 missed games already this season. Their consistent absences from the lineup means when other injuries occur (i.e., Delonte West, Marquis Daniels and Semih Erden), Doc Rivers‘€™ bench looks like Norman Dale’€™s in ‘€œHoosiers’€ when he was forced to play Ollie.

Remarkably, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are defying their ages of 35, 34 and 33, respectively, as the only players on the Celtics’€™ roster to start 40 of the team’€™s 51 games. Still, that doesn’€™t mean their old legs aren’€™t tired on the second night of back-to-back games.

‘€œI think we have 13 losses, and I know seven of them have come on back-to-backs,’€ the Celtics coach told reporters after the C’€™s fell to 38-13 with a 94-89 loss to the Bobcats (click here for the complete recap). ‘€œAnd it’€™s the same script in five of them, where we win a decent game the day before, we come out, we kind of goof around and then all of a sudden you try to win it in the fourth. Well, then you don’€™t have anything left.’€

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Doc Rivers, Rajon Rondo
Doc Rivers: Rajon Rondo, Big Baby and other things that made the Celtics super on Sunday at 1:47 pm ET
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For many reasons, the first 12 minutes and 59 seconds didn’t start out very well for the Celtics on Sunday.

There was Orlando jumping out to a 12-2 lead as Dwight Howard dominated. There was Glen Davis leaving a mark in the parquet with the back of his head, suffering a bruised skull. But as he returned to the bench to start the second quarter, that paled in comparison to the bruise to the spinal cord of Marquis Daniels as he ran into the chest of Gilbert Arenas and fell suddenly to the floor.

Things were just completely out of whack. But then it was Rajon Rondo‘s time to take over the game. And did he ever. Immediately after kneeling to check on the well-being of Daniels, Rondo came out of the delay and drove to the basket for a lay-up exactly 20 seconds later that energized the crowd and – more importantly – his teammates. He was on his way to a season-high 26 points.

So, what was the difference in his point guard Sunday?

‘€œWell, after ‘€“ you mean after the first six minutes of horrendous basketball from our team?” Rivers replied rhetorically. It just looked like the first six minutes, we were there to play basketball but I thought they were really invested into the game. And you know, why that changed I don’€™t know, but it was good. We went to an open set which we rarely do. I just didn’€™t see us with any ‘€“ we didn’€™t have anything going.

“And Jameer [Nelson] picked up that one foul and we just decided to go basically open spread. And we told Rondo to get to the rim, and, you know, use his instincts. He’€™ll find open guys.’€

The Celtics went with a spread offense that allowed more lanes for Rondo to drive to the basket and create off the dribble.

‘€œWell it really depends on the game,” Rivers said. “I want him to be aggressive every game. We’€™re not going to run spread every game because it doesn’€™t make a lot of sense every night. We’€™d like to match up with him, especially Jameer wanted to stay on the floor because of his fouls, but that is how we want him to take the ball to the basket.

“Whenever he does go, we want him to go with power and speed and be willing to get fouled. And I thought over everything that was it. Obviously he made great shots and all that. I just liked the fact that he had no problem if he got fouled.’€

Then there were the 21 missed 3-pointers by the Magic, who missed 61-of-93 shots. After the Celtics allowed the Mavericks to beat them on 8-of-17 shooting from long range, Rivers realized early his team was committed to not allowing that again.

Rivers asked for prayers for Davis and Semih Erden, who drew the assignment of guarding Dwight Howard when Kendrick Perkins was forced to the bench to rest. Those prayers were essentially answered in the form of a 91-80 win. Yes, Howard ate up Big Baby, Perkins and Erden for 22 points in the first half. But he had just six points in the second half as the Celtics put on the defense clamps, led by Davis’ ball denial in the post.

‘€œPhenomenal,” Rivers said of the effort. “Great defense. I think any time you lose a game where you think you broke your principals and defensively you were not right, then the next time you play if you’€™re a defensive team, you’€™re probably going to have a good defensive effort. And I thought we did that. I said this with Baby and Perk, it was a test for them.

“It was tough because we were going to leave them on an island and Dwight had it going early. And we just kept telling them, ‘€˜We’€™re doing the right thing. Just keep doing it.’€™ And that was tough for them, and the fact that they stayed with it and stayed on it was good.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis
Delonte West shows TD Garden crowd he’s getting closer 02.04.11 at 7:32 pm ET
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Delonte West keeps progressing in his attempt to return from a broken right wrist. One day after he went through a full shootaround and skeleton practice with the Celtics on Thursday at their practice facility, he warmed up on the TD Garden floor, showing everyone he can catch with his right hand and shoot with his left.

“He didn’t practice,” coach Doc Rivers said on Thursday. “He just did the shootaround and the shooting and that’s about it.”

But Rivers acknowledged it was significant that West could take part in catch-and-shooting drills without any protection whatsoever on his wrist, broken on Nov. 24 in home game vs. New Jersey.

“That’s nice. He did run through all of our skeleton stuff so obviously, the next step will be him going through a practice,” said Rivers before adding that there is still no specific timetable for West to return to game action. “I have no idea. No time soon I don’t think but I’m not sure.”

Meanwhile, with Shaquille O’Neal out Friday and likely Sunday vs. the Magic, Kendrick Perkins was thrust into the starting lineup on Friday against the Mavericks, a little sooner than the All-Star break timetable Rivers orginally expected.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Delonte West, Doc Rivers
Four Celtics headed for All-Star Game 02.03.11 at 7:13 pm ET
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Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo were all named to the 2011 NBA All-Star Game on Thursday night, joining head coach Doc Rivers on the Eastern Conference team. It’s the ninth time in NBA history that four teammates have been named to one squad, and the first since 2006 when the Pistons had four. The Celtics have done it three times ‘€” 1953, 1962 and 1975.

Read More: Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo
Doc Rivers keeping it real on Delonte West and his quick progress on a broken wrist at 4:20 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Delonte West took another significant step in his attempt to return from a broken right wrist when he went through a full shootaround and skeleton practice with the Celtics on Thursday at their practice facility.

“He didn’t practice,” coach Doc Rivers said. “He just did the shootaround and the shooting and that’s about it.”

But Rivers acknowledged it was significant that West could take part in catch-and-shooting drills without any protection whatsoever on his wrist, broken on Nov. 24 in home game vs. New Jersey.

“That’s nice. He did run through all of our skeleton stuff so obviously, the next step will be him going through a practice,” said Rivers before adding that there is still no specific timetable for West to return to game action. “I have no idea. No time soon I don’t think but I’m not sure.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Delonte West, Doc Rivers, NBA
Doc Rivers makes his case for 4 Celtics as All-Stars at 4:04 pm ET
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WALTHAM — After getting snubbed by the fans and being left without a single All-Star starter, the Celtics could get their retribution when All-Star reserves are announced Thursday night.

The Celtics have four viable candidates in Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. By virtue of having the top record in the Eastern Conference, Doc Rivers will have the honor of coaching the East All-Stars on Feb. 20 in Los Angeles.

“I think I should get four guys on the roster,” Rivers said following practice Thursday. “If I don’t, I’d be very disappointed and if I do, I’ll just play them all together. That way we can run offense in the All-Star Game. That’d be a first.”

The Detroit Pistons had four All-Stars on the Eastern squad in 2006 but it is very rare for one team – no matter how good their record – to place four players on a team.

“If it happens, and let’s hope it happens, then my choice will be who will be the fifth, Some interesting combinations you can throw out,” said Rivers, before adding who he might throw out onto the court with his four players.

“Whoever is closest to free agency just so they can see how it would feel. I think it should happen. It’s clear. It’d be nice. You look at the four guys, all of them have really sacrificed their individual numbers for team wins and sometimes that’s held against them and I hope it’s not in this case.”

Read More: All Star reserves, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
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