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Doc Rivers: ‘I wish I had given [Kevin Garnett] the night off, too’ 03.12.13 at 10:22 pm ET
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Doc Rivers had no answers on Tuesday night in Charlotte for his team's performance. (AP)

Doc Rivers had no answers on Tuesday night in Charlotte for his team’s performance. (AP)

All of the talk before Tuesday’s game in Charlotte was the decision by Doc Rivers to give captain Paul Pierce his first night off of the season.

Midway through the disaster that was a 100-74 no-show loss to the Bobcats in North Carolina, Rivers was thinking he didn’t go far enough. Kevin Garnett played 20 minutes, but struggled badly again, going 2-for-10 from the field.

“Yeah, definitely, otherwise he’d been part of that,” Rivers said when asked if he thought he did the right thing in giving Pierce the night off. “What I was thinking was I wish I had given Kevin the night off, too, in the middle of the game. That would’ve been terrific because then we could’ve had two guys that got some rest.”

As for Garnett, who is 8-for-29 in losses to the Thunder and Bobcats, Rivers says it’s a matter of getting him better looks.

“We’ve got to get him a better rhythm,” said Rivers, who refuted speculation that Garnett was tired or injured. “He’s been in a [bad] way now for a while now and that’s more on us. We have to get him the right shots and we’re not do a very good job of that.”

Rivers said he could sense early that his team had the wrong approach with Pierce getting the night off.

“I just thought we approached the game with the wrong mentality,” Rivers said. “I thought we were really cool tonight and they were really hard. And then I thought everyone thought they were going to take up for Paul’s points instead of coming into the game with the right mentality. You grind games out, you move the ball, you defend.”

The Celtics clearly had no defensive answer for Gerald Henderson, who torched them for a career-high 35 points, including 21 in the first half.

“You could see it early on. Our guys thought we can trade baskets,” Rivers said. “They score, we can score right back on them but we couldn’t do that. We fouled a lot. We shot 50 percent in the first half and basically fouled every time down, it felt like. And Gerald Henderson looked at whoever was guarding him and said, ‘I’m better than you tonight,’ and proved that.”

Even though his team was outscored 51-28 in the second half, Rivers didn’t want to read too much into the second loss to coach Mike Dunlap and his Bobcats in a month.

“I just thought we laid an egg,” Rivers said. “I thought it was a by-product of the first half, honestly. It just carried over. We never could get it started. They played really hard. I tell you, every time I watch them, you look at their record, you have to give Mike a lot of credit, especially with the young guys. They played so hard and we, honestly, just couldn’t match how hard they played tonight for whatever reason. That’s on me. That’s disappointing that I couldn’t get that out of our guys. But we clearly did not.

“They were so much more competitive than us the entire night. It felt like we had a band-aid on the dam in the first half and then it came off, and they just blew it open.

“It’s one game. I’m not going to overdo it. Listen, we were awful tonight. Our spirit was awful, the way we played was awful but we also have to look at our team as a whole. We haven’t had a lot of nights like that. I’m not happy with the way the game went but overall, I like our team.”

For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

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No show: Doc Rivers gives Paul Pierce night off as C’s don’t show against Bobcats at 9:22 pm ET
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The Bobcats collapsed on Kevin Garnett and made life miserable on the Celtics all night. (AP)

The Bobcats collapsed on Kevin Garnett and made life miserable on the Celtics all night. (AP)

Gerald Henderson scored a career-high 35 points and Josh McRoberts dominated with 13 points and 10 rebounds as the lowly Charlotte Bobcats ended a 10-game losing streak with a 100-74 laugher over the Celtics Monday night at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte.

Playing without captain Paul Pierce, given the night off by coach Doc Rivers, the Celtics came out and played one of their most uninspired games of the season. Jeff Green got the start for Pierce and led the Celtics with 14 points. Kevin Garnett had another ice-cold game, finishing just 2-for-10 from the field and finishing with five points. Garnett, who is 8-for-29 in losses to the Thunder and Bobcats, will head into Wednesday’s game needing just five points to pass Jerry West for 15th place on the NBA all-time scoring list.

Similar to Garnett on Feb. 22 in Phoenix, Pierce – the team’s leading scorer – was given the night off after playing in Boston’s previous 62 games. Pierce, who has been battling a nerve problem in his neck, has also been averaging over six assists a game in the absence of Rajon Rondo.

Nowhere was the lack of effort more obvious than on the glass, where the Celtics were outrebounded by the Bobcats, 48-29.

The Bobcats (14-50) entered the game with a 10-game losing streak, including seven straight by an average score of 14 points. They also ended the Celtics’ seven-game win streak on Feb. 11, making Boston one of just four teams to lose to the Bobcats twice this season. The Celtics will have their chance at revenge on Saturday night when they host Charlotte at TD Garden.

Henderson scored at will in the first half, as the son of the former Celtics guard scored 21 points and the Bobcats built a 49-46 lead. Henderson hit a jumper at the halftime buzzer to give Charlotte the three-point advantage.

The Celtics came out sluggishly in the third quarter and allowed Charlotte to open the second half on a 12-3 run. Garnett continued to be ice cold from the field, carrying over his performance from Sunday when he was 6-for-19 against the Thunder in Oklahoma City.

Down 20, 83-63, Rivers pulled the plug on Garnett with 10 minutes left. Shav Randolph and DJ White saw their first action in a Celtics uniform. The Celtics had a season-worst 27 field goals and scored just 28 points in the second half. Boston (34-29) was embarrassed 51-28 in the second half in losing their second straight game.

The Celtics return home to take on the Raptors on Wednesday night at TD Garden. For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

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Growing Up Green 07.16.09 at 9:34 pm ET
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LAS VEGAS – Most fans remember Gerald Henderson, Sr. as a hero for his iconic steal against James Worthy in the 1984 NBA Finals. Ask his son, though, and he’ll tell you his father was just like anyone else.

“Well, just like anybody in the [NBA], they’re regular people,” Gerald Henderson, Jr. said. “They have a different job than most people do, but they are regular people who go about their day, go to work every day, and work hard.”

This week Henderson (Charlotte Bobcats) and Austin Daye (Detroit Pistons) — the latter the  son of former Celtic Darren Daye — are trying to follow in the footsteps of their fathers at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. While the rookies are looking to establish their own careers, they are influenced by their fathers’ careers in Boston.

The elder Henderson donned green from 1979-1984 and won two titles along the way. His last-second steal and layup against the Lakers pushed the game into overtime and an eventual victory for Boston. For his son, playing for the Celtics was the most memorable stop in his father’s 13-year career.

“My dad played for a lot of teams, but his best years were in Boston,” he said, adding, “I grew up in Philly so the Sixers … I was all about the Sixers. But I watched his game tape. Like I said, those were his best years. I was real young when he was really playing, but my images of him are in Boston.”

The images are hard to miss, especially during the postseason. His father’s steal steal was voted No. 26 in the NBA’s top 60 greatest playoff moments. Henderson estimates he has seen the play “hundreds of times,” but it took a few years to realize the significance of that one play.

“They were celebrating maybe the ’84 championship and me and my family went back and a whole bunch of people recognized him and they were saying his name,” he recalled. “That’s when I kind of realized how important his play was to them winning the championship, and then also the city.”

Austin Daye also has a special memory of an iconic Celtics moment during his father’s two seasons in Boston. Ironically it was against the Pistons, the very team that drafted him.

“I remember Larry Bird’s steal and the layup,” he said of the memorable moment during the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals. “That’s one of the main things — him jumping up and down like a crazy man.”

Daye was impacted by his father’s time in Boston in a different way — he became a fan. Even though he was born just after Darren’s final season in 1988, Austin has followed the team from the West Coast and cheered for them during the 2008 Finals against the Lakers.

He even considers Paul Pierce to be one of his favorite players, and has incorporated some of the Truth’s game into his own repertoire.

“I’m considered a big guy but I do guard-like things,” he said. “So his game, I try to watch and get some things from, just the way he uses his body so well, stuff like that. He’s such a good player and his team is so good too.”

While Daye models his game after a current Celtic, Henderson is influenced by his father as he prepares for his first season with the Bobcats.

“I think a big thing is, he played really hard,” he said. “I try to bring it every time I go on the court.”

As for Daye, it isn’t necessarily what his father did on the court, but rather the support he offered away from the game.

“It’s a really special experience,” he said. “Not a lot of kids have an opportunity to come up with someone who’s always there for you. He was always there for me whenever I needed help, or if he needed to kick my butt. It was just a special experience and I’m going to cherish it until the day I die.”

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Welcome home Gerald Henderson 03.25.09 at 4:31 pm ET
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Gerald Henderson is hoping to have the same success in Boston that his dad did.

We chronicled his father’s most famous moment when he stole the ball from James Worthy in Game 2 of the 1984 NBA Finals. Now let’s hear it from the man himself. Assuming he can stay awake for the 10 p.m. tip-off, Gerald Henderson will start at point guard for Duke on Thursday night against Villanova.

There are several ironies at work here.

First is the fact that his game will be played in the home building of the Celtics but not on the parquet or with Celtics banners above him because of NCAA regulations, meaning he can’t pay tribute to one of the banners his father helped put up in the rafters.

“They took the banners down. They took them down,” Henderson said with some genuine remorse. ” It’s pretty nice to be playing in Boston, where my dad had his best years as a pro. It’s pretty cool to be playing in the same place as him. I’m sure he’ll have fun coming back here and hopefully watching me having some of the same success that he had.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Trags Take… Nova and Duke 03.24.09 at 12:13 pm ET
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East Regional Semifinal-No.3 Villanova vs. No. 2 Duke, approx. 9:57 p.m. Thursday, Ch. 4

Memo to Villanova coach Jay Wright: If you’re leading by two late on Thursday night with say, 18 seconds left, your players better know exactly where Duke’s Gerald Henderson is on the parquet floor. If you don’t, this can happen. Just ask Henderson’s dad.

Everyone in Boston remembers that moment in 1984 when the Celtics were trailing 113-111, and down 1-0 to the Lakers in the NBA Finals. The Celtics won the game in overtime and then won the title in seven.

As Harvey Araton of the New York Times points out, the ghost of the old man’s steal will be out in the building next to the parking lot where the old one used to stand, the old Boston Garden. James Worthy can’t help but think what would’ve been if his lazy pass didn’t find its way into Henderson’s hands that fateful night.

Jay Wright: Dressed for Success.

Jay Wright: Dressed for Success.

Fast forward an unbelievable 25 years to this weekend’s East Regionals in Boston. One team has three national championships and one of the most successful coaches in the history of college sports on the sidelines.

The other team has a long and rich basketball tradition, including a 1985 NCAA title, with the best dressed coach in the history of college sports on its sidelines.

And so you have Mike Krzyzewski’s No. 2 seed Duke Blue Devils (30-6) against Jay Wright’s No. 3 Villanova Wildcats (28-7) going up against each other in the late, late nightcap on Thursday at TD Banknorth Garden. And for the record, Coach K is 833-273 all time and 760-214 in 29 seasons with the Blue Devils. Jay Wright is 176-89 at Villanova in eight seasons and has guided the Wildcats to the Sweet 16 in four of the past five seasons.

Villanova is trying to get back to the Elite 8 for the second time in four seasons and back to the Final Four for the first time since winning it all in 1985.

Whenever one speaks of Duke and Regional Finals the discussion starts with the most dramatic shot ever made in Regional Finals history. The date was March 28, 1992 and the scene was Philadelphia’s Spectrum, which just hosted its final basketball game ever two weeks ago. Duke was trailing Kentucky in the East Regional Final, 103-102, with 2.1 seconds remaining.

I know, enough of the trips down memory lane.

The Road to Boston:

Villanova: Beat No. 14 American, 80-67. Beat No. 6 UCLA, 89-69.

Duke: Beat No. 15 Binghamton, 86-62. Beat No. 7 Texas, 74-69.

Players to watch:

Villanova: Dante Cunningham, Corey Stokes, Corey Fisher and Scottie Reynolds. At 6-8, 230 pounds, Cunningham has been the stabilizing force for the Wildcats down low. Averages 16.8 points a game. Undersized as a center, his athleticism works wonders. He has an underrated jump shot which makes him very dangerous. Swingman Corey Stokes averages just 9.7 points a game but delivers at 42.8 percent rate from three-point range. Corey Fisher has emerged as a court leader in this tournament, taking some big weight off the shoulders of Scottie Reynolds. Together, Fisher and Reynolds form one of the quickest and pressure-oriented backcourt tandems left in the tournament.

Duke: Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler. Henderson is the key to this young, some would say over-achieving bunch of Blue Devils. He quarterbacks the offense, scores at 16.8 points per game clip and obviously has the pedigree of a winner under pressure with his dad. He can rebound for a 6-4 guard, grabbing nearly five a game. Took over for Greg Paulus as starting point guard. Scheyer can shoot the three from the other side of midcourt. Exaggerating, but only a little. Singler, at 6-8, 235 pounds, draws the assignment of containing Cunningham. He leads the team in rebounding but that could be a challenge against this Villanova group.

Trags Final Take: Villanova learned a lesson against American in the first round. Don’t get into three-point shooting contests with teams that live on the perimeter. They were down 14 early in the second half before that hit home. Have a similiar lapse of memory here, and it’s nighty-nite. But Villanova knows that Cunningham is having a great tournament and spark plug Scottie Reynolds has yet to really get involved with his trademark dribble penetration. Gerald Henderson, Sr. got it done on the parquet in 1984 but Villanova and their three-guard set finds a way to contain his son.

Villanova 78, Duke 71

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