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Doc on KG: He’ll play 04.15.09 at 9:45 pm ET
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Doc Rivers loves the character of this team — with or without Kevin Garnett. He made that much clear before the regular season finale Wednesday night

“Our resolve has stuck out to me,” Rivers said. “Thirteen or 14 games ago, when we lost in Orlando, I couldn’t read a paper or go online or see on TV that we’re seeing we’re the third seed.

“Everybody just assumed that’s where we would be and we’re the second seed. “We went through that stretch without Kevin and Leon (Powe) and Tony (Allen) and  (Brian Scalabrine) and we won games. We won 10 out of 11 to get it. I thought that said a helluva lot about our team,” Rivers added.

Of course, he would love to have No. 5 at the 4-spot come the opening of the playoffs this weekend at TD Banknorth Garden.

And of course, with Garnett expected to return to practice on Thursday in Waltham, most questions Wednesday night had to do with a certain sore right knee.

“It probably won’t be 100 percent but his intensity will be 100 percent and that’s so important to our team,” Rivers said of Garnett. “He has so much to give our basketball team when he’s on the floor and we feed off that.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
Powe expects to practice Monday 04.10.09 at 7:07 pm ET
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Leon Powe hasn’t played since spraining his knee on St. Patrick’s Day. He expects to return to practice on Monday, and he doesn’t want his teammates to go easy on him either.

‘€œOh no, no, no. I wouldn’t even practice. I wouldn’t even come to practice,’€ he said with a laugh prior to the Boston Celtics‘ game against the Miami Heat. ‘€œNo, don’t go easy on me. I want to go in there full speed. You’ve got to go at me so I can test it out.’€

Powe is making so much progress, in fact, that he said he is ‘€œvery much ahead of schedule.’€ He completed a 30-minute workout with assistant coach Clifford Ray on Friday, focusing on his legs with sliding, cutting, jumping, and post move drills.

But team doctors are still proceeding with caution. They have asked him to wear a brace as a preventative measure to avoid other players banging into his knee. Powe doesn’t like it ‘€“ taking it on and off is the worst part, he says ‘€“ but he knows it’s part of the recovery.

Head coach Doc Rivers still does not expect Powe to play before the playoffs.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Leon Powe,
Doc on shutting down Garnett 03.31.09 at 2:12 pm ET
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Doc Rivers began his briefing with reporters on Tuesday with the following statement about Kevin Garnett’s right knee.

“After watching him move today, we’re just going to shut him down,” Rivers said. “It probably won’t be for the year. He’ll probably play by the end, last couple of games, or last three games. It’s just not progressing the way we anticipated it would progress. So, instead of going back and forth, trying to get him run in practice and seeing he gets sore, it’s just not worth it.”

Garnett experienced continued soreness in the knee, first injured on Feb. 19 at Utah.

Here are some of the other quotes from Rivers on Tuesday:

Any second guessing on bring him back after 13 games: “We thought it was the right decision and the doctors thought it was the right decision. Again, I told you that I wasn’t going to play him until the doctors said, ‘play him.’ With half the people it’s fine and half it’s not. Unfortunately, he’s in the ‘not’ category right now.”

On working him out in practice before making Tuesday’s decision: “We assumed we were going to practice him and right now, we’re not even going to do that. We’re going to shut him down until the soreness goes away and the swelling goes away and then we bring him back up.”

On the seriousness of the injury: “We’re just going to shut him down until we feel like he’s ready. It’s nothing structural. It’s the same thing that it’s been. It’s just not reacting the same way we thought it would react. He didn’t react to the games we thought he would and he’s clearly not reacting to practice the way we thought he would.”

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Garnett, right knee
Garnett makes most of minutes 03.20.09 at 11:43 pm ET
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Perhaps more frustrating than an injured Kevin Garnett in street clothes is a restricted Garnett in uniform.

After missing the last 13 games with a strained knee, Garnett returned to the Boston Celtics starting lineup in Friday night’s win against the San Antonio Spurs. (RECAP HERE) As a precautionary measure, head coach Doc Rivers capped his minutes at just 15, leaving the Celtics without their big man down the stretch.

However this game had a different result than the last time Garnett returned from a lengthy absence:

February 19, 2008 vs. Denver Nuggets

Last season Garnett was sidelined for nine games in January/February with an abdominal strain . After going 7-2 without Garnett, the Celtics dropped the first three games with KG back in the lineup. His return was spoiled by a 124-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets following the All-Star break. Garnett scored just 4 points (2-7 FG) in 27 minutes and committed four turnovers. After the game Rivers deemed Garnett’s performance ‘€œnot very good’€ and thought he looked ‘€œrusty.’€ Garnett bounced back the following night, posting 17 points and 15 rebounds in the Celtics two-point loss to the Golden State Warriors.

March 20, 2009 vs. San Antonio Spurs

Garnett had been averaging more than 32 minutes per game before suffering his knee injury in February. Knowing his playing time would be limited, Garnett came out aggressive in his return. He attempted his first shot 15 seconds into the game and finished the night with 10 points (5-9 FG) in just 15 minutes. He also grabbed four rebounds. Unlike his return last season, Rivers was full of compliments for Garnett this time around. ‘€œHe was playing terrific right before we took him out,’€ he said after the game.

The Celtics intend to limit Garnett’s minutes on Saturday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett,
Big Baby gets ‘paroled’ 03.18.09 at 7:31 pm ET
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Glen Davis was asked about seven different ways if he was returning from his ankle injury because of all the other injuries that the team has suffered recently, but he wouldn’t bite. “I’m coming back because I can play,” he said.

But then somebody asked him what it was going to feel like to get back out on the court. “It’s like jail,” he said. “I’m ready to get out. Let me out! I’m ready for parole.”

His return is a big relief for Doc Rivers who admitted he had no idea what he can expect from Baby tonight. “We haven’t seen him play,” Rivers said. “So I’m going to start him.” Then the coach laughed . What else could he do?

Baby is off to strong start tonight with four points and three rebounds through the first nine minutes, but the most important number for him is one, as in fouls. With only three big men in uniform (Davis, Kendrick Perkins and Mikki Moore) none of them can afford to be in any kind of foul trouble.

Read More: Doc Rivers, Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins,
Rivers concedes conference race at 7:15 pm ET
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There are 14 games left in the Celtics regular season, and while it is not within the realm of the likely that they will catch Cleveland in the Eastern Conference race, it is also not outside the realm of the possible that it could happen. Still, it was a little jarring to hear Doc Rivers say, unprompted, that, “we’re not going to catch Cleveland,” as he did before Wednesday night’s tip with Miami.

It was less than two weeks ago, after all, when the Celtics put on such a galvanizing show in beating the Cavs. But then Rajon Rondo got hurt, Big Baby got hurt, Leon Powe got hurt and finally Ray Allen got hurt. “We’ve earned the record that we have,” Rivers said. “We’re not going to catch Cleveland but we have a chance to hold on to that second spot.”

That’s all it is now, a chance. The C’s entered play tonight a half game ahead of Orlando and tied in the loss column for second place, a development that has been as a quick as it has been inevitable. The starting five last night included a player who joined the team at the beginning of the month, two guys who have missed time with injuries and Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins. The bench is even more bare as it has Eddie House and Mikki Moore and three guys who don’t play much, if at all.

Not that it’s going to get better anytime soon. Kevin Garnett is not a sure thing to return this weekend by any stretch of the imagination and Allen is “day to day.” Whether Big Baby has anything to give also remains to be seen.

“If we can get through this week somehow and be in striking distance of the second seed,” Rivers said. “That would be great.”

Read More: Cavs, Celtics, Doc Rivers,
Trags Take… A method to the madness 03.16.09 at 2:02 pm ET
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It is a scientific fact.

The middle of March has become the least productive time of year in corporate America. Even in these times of economic volatility and stress where’s there’s more pressure to produce, you can almost bet that every office has a pool of predictions as to who is going to advance in the NCAA Men’s Division I basketball championship.

And you can bet people are emailing, facebooking, texting and generally trash-talking each other’s teams, star players and of course, picks.

I might as well get in on the act. So here goes.

Five teams I love in this tournament:

1. Louisville. Rick Pitino knows what this time of year is about. His team was a machine at the Big East Tournament. They won 19 of 21 games this year in the best basketball conference in the country. Any questions?

2. Memphis. Yes they play in the Memphis Athletic Conference, also known as Conference USA, where they have won an amazing 61 straight games. Only Kentucky’s string of 64 versus SEC teams between 1945-50 is better. And they are on a 25-game winning streak. They ARE athletic enough to knock of No. 1 UConn in the West, if of course, they hit those pesky free throws.

3. North Carolina. Assuming Ty Lawson’s toe isn’t an issue, there’s ZERO reason to think he and Tyler Hansbrough won’t lead the Heels back to the Final Four in Detroit.

4. Villanova. These Wildcats are eight deep and it’s a quality eight. That is vital at tournament time because if one or two stars are off, someone needs to pick up the slack. As long as Scottie Reynolds doesn’t go 1-on-5 too often, they should advance to Boston.

5. Xavier. This team lost Josh Duncan, Drew Lavender and Stanley Burrell and everyone figured a step back was in order. All they did was reload with C.J. Anderson, B.J. Raymond and Derrick Brown. One of the most athletic teams in the tournament.

Five teams I wouldn’t bank on heading to the Motor City:

1. Syracuse. Great story. Seven overtimes. Two Big East Tourney wins, including a victory in arguably the most epic (certainly not greatest) college basketball game of all time. What does that get you? A No. 3 seed in the same South bracket as Oklahoma, North Carolina and Gonzaga and 15 sets of tired legs. Don’t be shocked if No. 14 Stephen F. Austin pulls the upset.

2. Wake Forest. Way too up-and-down from January on. Team looked like they were going to compete for a No. 1 seed and challenge UNC for ACC supremacy when they were ranked No. 1 early on. They lost at home to Virginia Tech when they were top-ranked and haven’t been the same since.

3. Boston College. They have been truly one of the fascinating stories of the college season. Al Skinner may not receive the national coach of the year but NO ONE did more to deserve it. He took a group that was picked to finish in the lower third of the ACC and rallied them to beat unbeaten and No. 1 North Carolina. Yes, we know who they lost to just days later but they also beat Duke and should have beaten them in the ACC tourney. But the fact is, they are bracketed with Michigan State, and Louisville in the Midwest, that is if they get by red-hot USC.

4. Duke. Why the hate for the ACC, Trags? Well, if you watched Duke lose at B.C. and you watched the game on Friday night at the Georgia Dome, you realize how flawed the Blue Devils are. If you don’t let Jon Scheyer kill you, you stand a really good chance of doing what VCU did in 2007.

5. Marquette. Sorry Doc Rivers. Another great early-season story. Then Dominic James broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. Season over. Jerel McNeal is a fabulously talented player, who can score from anywhere on the court and led a ferocious comeback against Villanova in the Big East Tournament. But there aren’t enough big bodies who score to sustain him in this highly intense environment.

Trags Final Four Take:

Louisville over Memphis in one national semifinal.

Villanova over North Carolina in the other.

Trags Final Take:

Louisville over Villanova.

Also of note:

The US Basketball Writers of America announced their All-Americans on Monday:

First Team
DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh, F, 6-7, 265, So., Pittsburgh, Pa.
Stephen Curry, Davidson, G, 6-3, 185, Jr., Charlotte, N.C.
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma, F, 6-10, 251, So., Oklahoma City, Okla.
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina, F, 6-9, 250, Sr., Poplar Bluff, Mo.
James Harden, Arizona State, G, 6-5, 218, So., Los Angeles, Calif.

Second Team

Sherron Collins, Kansas, G, 5-11, 200, Jr., Chicago, Ill.
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame, F, 6-8, 255, Jr., Schererville, Ind.
Jodie Meeks, Kentucky, G, 6-4, 208, Jr., Norcross, Ga.
Jeff Teague, Wake Forest, G, 6-2, 180, So., Indianapolis, Ind.
Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut, C, 7-3, 263, Jr., Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Read More: Calipari, Doc Rivers, Louisville, Memphis
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