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Mutombo couldn’t wait for Celtics 01.07.09 at 5:13 pm ET
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Dikembe Mutombo wanted to play for the Boston Celtics. The problem is, he wasn’t sure how much the Celtics wanted him to play for them. Mutombo was on the list of rumored possible mid-season acquisitions and the big man was on board to play with the champs. But the Celtics weren’t ready to commit and Mutombo, 42, didn’t feel like waiting around any longer.

Prior to Tuesday’s Celtics-Rockets game, he explained why he went back to Houston on New Year’s Eve:

“In the last minutes, especially on the 24th and 25th, I was feeling like I was not the only one in the picture no more that they were looking at,” he said. “It kind of discouraged me a little bit. I said ok, I have about seven organizations here that want me and this organization that I want to go to, I thought they wanted me but they’re looking at somebody else. Should I be on the waiting list or should I just go take another offer that was there on the table? And I think by having a talk that night with Yao and T-Mac and calling me on the phone saying, please come on man. We want you here. I was like ok. Let me just go be with guys who are talking to me who want me to be part of their family than wait for the organization who are waiting on their decision making. I think they were in between. They were looking at, I heard about Alonzo (Mourning), then I heard about Joe Smith, then I heard about P.J. Brown. I was like ok, I’m not going to be in the middle of this. I just have to walk away the way I want to walk. I wanted to come to your cold city, but they did not want me.”

This is Mutombo’s 18th season in the NBA. He has a career average of 9.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dikembe Mutombo, Houston Rockets, Tracy McGrady
Sounds of the game… Celtics-Rockets postgame 10.11.08 at 10:18 pm ET
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The Celtics beat the Houston Rockets, 90-89, when Gabe Pruitt banked in a jumper with 6.6 seconds remaining to improve to 2-1 in the preseason. But that was hardly the story of a game that featured Ron Artest driving Paul Pierce the floor on a drive to the basket in the first quarter, a Tracy McGrady elbow to the ribs of rookie Bill Walker and McGrady and Eddie House almost going at it after exchanging words in the second quarter.

Here’s what some of the Celtics had to say about not backing down afterward.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said they can’t back down.

Rivers said there are lessons to be learned from Bill Walker’s toughness.

Bill Walker said his confrontation with Tracy McGrady could have escalated.

Kevin Garnett was impressed with Walker’s composure.

Paul Pierce said Celtics must maintain composure.

Read More: Bill Walker, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Houston Rockets
McGrady Riles Up Celtics at 5:17 pm ET
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There is still a minute to go in the first quarter and more tension is ensuing.

As Bill Walker drove on Tracy McGrady, T-Mac appeared to push off on the rookie. Down at the basket, words were exchanged between Walker, McGrady, and Rafer Alston after McGrady gave Walker a one-handed shove that sent him to the ground. The players were separated and order seemed to be restored. Seconds later, McGrady and Eddie House became engaged in a heated conversation. Just as Pierce, who had recently returned to the game, separated the players, Walker came back to get in a few last words, only to be held back by Luis Scola. McGrady and House were charged with technical fouls.

Looks like J.R. Giddens was right when he said there are two sides to Bill Walker.

Read More: Bill Walker, Boston Celtics, eddie house, Houston Rockets
Battle Brewing in Manchester at 4:57 pm ET
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Paul Pierce asked for the match up and he got it.

With just under 7:30 to go in the first quarter, Pierce drove the lane against Ron Artest. Artest welcomed him at the basket with a blow to the shoulder. No foul was called and the Rockets scored on the fastbreak. Artest pumped his chest as Eddie House and Kendrick Perkins rose to their feet on the Celtics bench to vocalize their disagreement with the no-call.

Moments later, Garnett blocked a Rockets shot that sent the crowd into a frenzy. The noise escalated when Artest dealt a hard foul to Ray Allen that sent the Celtics guard sliding into the front row.

Pierce has left the game with a bruised right shoulder but is expected to return.

All this tension and there is still five minutes to go in the first quarter.

Read More: Boston Celtics, eddie house, Houston Rockets, Kendrick Perkins
Pierce Eager to Play against Artest at 4:49 pm ET
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At some point tonight Paul Pierce was led to believe that he wasn’t going to play against the Houston

Rockets. He had just worked up a sweat shooting around and was ready to go. Pierce muttered his frustrations as he hit the floor for push ups.

He didn’t just want to play basketball – he wanted to take on Ron Artest.

“I always want to play against Ron Artest,” Pierce said. “I think we both bring out the best in each other. I think he’s the best perimeter defender in the league.”

Turns out Pierce will play tonight, and more than he did on Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Doc Rivers expects the Big Three to play solid minutes in both halves, given that the team has the day off tomorrow.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Houston Rockets, Paul Pierce
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