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Sounds of the game… Celtics 119, Warriors 111 11.27.08 at 10:11 am ET
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Maybe Stephen Jackson was onto something. He told our own Jessica Camerato that the Celtics deserve the respect he refused to give them last year. And after the game he said one reason he has changed his mind is the play of Rajon Rondo. The point guard’s teammates are also on board. Rondo led a dramatic 32-16 surge in the third quarter that left Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett calling for Rondo to get some All-Star love. The Rondo-for-All-Star push continues Friday night at the Garden as the 14-2 Celtics welcome the 7-8 Philadelphia 76ers.

Paul Pierce said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Rondo wind up on the Eastern Conference All-Star squad.

Rajon Rondo appreciated the thoughts from his captain.

Garnett said Rondo has a heart the size of Africa.

Rondo on his big third quarter.

Doc Rivers said the team got away with an offense-first mentality on Wednesday.

Rivers said he liked the team’s start.

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Watch that temper… 11.25.08 at 1:28 pm ET
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Kendrick Perkins will never be compared to bad boys Ron Artest or Rasheed Wallace, at least if he can find a way from earning technical fouls as fast as he hauls in rebounds.

Perkins didn’t come into the season intending to become the NBA’s new bad boy. But if people want to draw that comparison after drawing eight technical fouls in the first 15 games of the season, then so be it.

“It doesn’t matter, they’re two great players in this league so I hope so,” Perkins said following Tuesday’s practice. “Nobody is getting under my skin. I really start all the problems. It’s not like they’re starting stuff with me. I pretty much start everything.”

One of those eight techs occurred with Jermaine O’Neal (below) in the Nov. 10 game against Toronto. 
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Celtics captain Paul Pierce is more than experienced in the ways of emotional warfare on the court.

“I use it to get in my opponents’ heads,” Pierce said Tuesday. “I don’t use it to start anything. I use it to frustrate my opponent, sort of what Larry Bird used to do in the day, Michael (Jordan), Gary Payton, these guys. I use it more as a tactic. I’m not trying to fight anybody. I do it in practice.”

Perkins, meanwhile, has always had a fierce but quiet demeanor on the court.

“I don’t really worry about it. It is what it is. They’re either going to like me or they’re not. I’m not saying anything to them. I’m just going to go out there and play my game. I’m an emotional guy but it’s not anything I can’t change. I can control it. It’s more getting into with (other players) than anything.”

Now, this season, opposing players have chosen to ride the Celtics big man to see if they can draw him into verbal, and sometimes, physical encounters that result in technical fouls.

Well, 15 games into the season, Perkins has eight. Under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, if you collect 16, you earn yourself a seat on the bench in civilian clothes for a game.

Not what Doc Rivers and the Celtics are looking for.

“Last year was more techs toward the refs,” said Perkins, who picked up his eighth T on Sunday, jabbing and jarring with Jose Calderon in Toronto. “This year is more getting into with people. I’ve just been trying to keep my head. Last game, I wasn’t trying to get a tech. I’m trying to get it overturned.”

But in fairness to Perkins, Rivers was quick to point out that he thinks at least two of the instances should be reviewed and repealed.

“I’m concerned,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, sounding somewhat worried about Perkins’ rep. “We’re sending a lot of the tapes to the league because a lot of the double-technicals are where someone saying something to him and he turns around and they get a double-tech. That’s, to me, where the officials have to do their job. I think it’s easy to say say, ‘double-technical’ instead of saying this guy started it. We’re going to try to get a couple of them rescinded. It won’t happen but we’re going to try.”

Rivers then had this message for Perk.

“You want them to be emotional but not be emotionally sabotaged,” Rivers said.

Perk wasn’t looking for any shelter on Tuesday, continuing his reputation on the team as a stand-up guy.

“I blame it on myself,” he said. “I’m a man. Nobody makes me do that. I do it on my own. It’s very hard because you’re emotional and you’re going to get into with sometimes, especially at the position I play, you’re going to bang with people a lot. It’s a lot of physical contact. It gets emotional at times.”

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Just ‘ridiculous’… 11.18.08 at 5:54 pm ET
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Celtics head coach Doc Rivers didn’t hold back when asked about the suspension that will leave him without his starting power forward Kevin Garnett against the New York Knicks.

“I was just surprised. I thought it was a ridiculous suspension, I really did,” Doc said. “Anybody who’s been around the game long enough, whether you’ve played it or not, you’ve got your head sideways and someone strikes you not once but twice, your reaction… your reflex is to flail. And I guess that constitutes a punch. Clearly, he’s not a good fighter if that’s the case if that’s a punch.

“It is what it is. There’s nothing you can do about it. We have to play tonight so we have to move forward.”

Garnett’s one-game sit-out for his flailing against Milwaukee’s Andrew Bogut will cost him $200,000.

Rivers then drew a comparison to the flagrant foul Shaquille O’Neal committed on Detroit’s Rodney Stuckey, which drew a $50,000 fine but no suspension.

“I just want more consistency from our league. I think they have to look at things differently,” Rivers said. “I just looked at the Shaq thing, and I hate to call out Shaq, but that was a hard foul, where a guy was suspended in the air and comes down on his face and he gets $50,000 and Kevin gets $200,000 and misses a game. Those two things don’t go together and we have to pay the price.”

Brian Scalabrine got his first start of the season, taking Garnett’s place in the lineup.

“You don’t replace Kevin Garnett. Everyone just has to pitch in and do a little bit more,” Rivers said.

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Pregame: Scal to Start against Knicks at 5:12 pm ET
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Brian Scalabrine will get the start on Tuesday night against the New York Knicks in place of the suspended Kevin Garnett. Doc Rivers went with Scal to keep in second unit in tact. This will be just the 51st start of Scal’s eight-year career and 28th with the Celtics.

Garnett’s suspension was the hot topic before the game for both teams. Rivers cited Shaquille O’Neal’s recent fine in comparison to Garnett’s punishment. “I was just surprised. I’m not going to get into this long because I thought it was a ridiculous suspension. I really did,” he said. Rivers also pointed out that KG isn’t even allowed in the building tonight.

Inside the Celtics locker room Garnett’s teammates were cautious when giving their opinion of the ruling.

“Ya’ll want me to say something bad, huh?” Kendrick Perkins said with a smile before adding, “I don’t know, it’s kind of crazy. But you know it’s something we’ve got to deal with. I think he’s handling it well but what can we do about it?”

Said Leon Powe,  “Well I can’t really say but, you know, I wouldn’t have suspended him for that. But it’s the league and there are rules so whatever they decide, we’ve got to roll with. So now we’ve got to go out there with KG but we’ve got to still be a team and we’ve still got to go out there and fight and play together.”

As for the Knicks, they are looking to take advantage of the defensive void on the Celtics. “KG is pretty much the anchor defensively,” said Jamal Crawford. “He really gets after it defensively but they’re still a good defensive team without KG. But with him, he just takes them to a different level. It’ll be a lot of similar things that we were going to do before but you make minor adjustments.”

Paul and I will be bringing out the latest live from the TD BankNorth Garden, so tune in during the game for all the most up-to-date information.

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Sounds of the game… Nuggets 94, Celtics 85 11.15.08 at 2:49 pm ET
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Call it fatigue. Call it sluggishness, or being outplayed or a combination all three. But the Denver Nuggets showed the Celtics Friday night that they are human on their home court. They hadn’t lost at home in the regular season since last March 26 to Philadelphia, a string of 11 straight wins on the parquet. But that changed when the Nuggets closed the game with a 10-1 run. Now the focus is on the Bucks in Milwaukee, where the Celtics are right now, trying to make sure one bad night doesn’t turn into two.

Denver coach George Karl said his team played with the eye of the tiger.

Chauncey Billups said the Nuggets didn’t panic when the Celtics when they made their runs or made big plays like when Kevin Garnett slammed one home to tie the game at 82-82 with three minutes left.

Ray Allen, who scored 18 of his game-high 26 in the first quarter, said the Green has to do a better job with the little details to make sure losses like Friday don’t happen again.

Kevin Garnett said the Celtics were just a step slow.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers really doesn’t want to use fatigue as an excuse.

Rivers said falling behind finally burned Celtics.

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Welcome to the Garden 11.14.08 at 5:26 pm ET
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Welcome to the TD BankNorth Garden where Paul and I have you covered as the Boston Celtics take on the Denver Nuggets.

This is the Celtics first look at Chauncey Billups in his new uniform since the Allen Iverson trade. Doc Rivers called Billups “terrific,” noting his size (6’3″) and basketball IQ. He also praised how clutch Billups has been over his career in down the stretch, something the Celtics know a thing or two about after this week’s buzzer-beating wins.

Another Nugget who is big at his position is Carmelo Anthony. Before the game Melo talked about his counterpart Paul Pierce, calling him one of the best players in the league. “I respect his game a lot, especially on this team right now,” Anthony said. Pierce is averaging 35 points over the last two games.

Patrick O’Bryant will be activated tonight for the Celtics, with Rivers saying he’s earned it in practice. For the Nuggets, Steven Hunter underwent arthroscoping surgery today and will be out a minimum of 12 weeks.

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Sounds of the game… Celtics 103, Hawks 102 11.13.08 at 7:09 am ET
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Let’s hope that Wednesday night was just the beginning… the beginning of what could be the best rivalry this year in the Eastern Conference. Anyone attending the Cs encounter with the Atlanta Hawks could tell almost immediately that these Hawks, who nearly dashed the Celtics’ hopes last spring in the first round, are no fluke. And those same Celtics fans who were shocked when Marvin Williams hit a three-pointer with 7.4 seconds were were overjoyed when Paul Pierce’s rainbow fell through with half a second to go, handing Atlanta their first loss in seven games and improving Boston to 8-1.

Paul Pierce describes the winning shot.

Pierce said Atlanta is certainly legit.

Kevin Garnett said make way for Superman on the last play.

Doc Rivers said he kidded with Pierce about the actual execution of the final play.

Rivers said it was a great win.

Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said you have to give it up for Pierce and the Celtics.

Woodson said the Celtics have helped his team grow up a lot.

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