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Fast Break: Celtics tame Raptors 10.10.10 at 8:42 pm ET
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Led by Nate Robinson‘s 13 points and the rest of the bench (again), the Celtics held off the Raptors, 91-87, to improve to 3-0 this preseason. Delonte West and Marquis Daniels also contributed 11 points apiece off the bench.

THREE THINGS THAT WENT RIGHT

1. Gutsy second-unit minutes: Playing the majority of minutes in the second half of a close game, the Celtics bench responded each time the Raptors starters tried to make a run. A monster dunk by Stephane Lasme, a corner 3-pointer from Daniels and a nifty double-clutch layup over a defender by Robinson all proved key moments down the stretch. If you’re Doc Rivers, you love knowing the bench guys can contribute important minutes if necessary.

2. Quick transition: The Celtics hauled down 36 defensive rebounds — as Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Luke Harangody and Semih Erden each grabbed at least five — and did a good job of looking for Rajon Rondo, West or Robinson running the floor. Some nice outlet passes (by Shaquille O’Neal in particular) led to a number of easy baskets offensively. The C’s did a nice job of passing all the way around, amassing 23 assists as a group (led by Rondo’s 7).

3. Setting the defensive tone early: In two of the Celtics three preseason games, they’ve held opponents to fewer than 20 points in the first quarter and 40 points in the half — building an early lead and dictating the tone from the tip. I’m sure Doc enjoyed Jermaine O’Neal fitting quickly in the team’s defensive mindset, blocking three shots in his first six minutes in a Celtics uniform.

THREE THINGS THAT WENT WRONG

2. Shaq’s foul trouble: In just 16:37 on the floor, Shaq picked up five fouls. While he has whistled for one of them for standing still as Jarrett Jack charged into him (kinda like a fly smacking into a windshield), that still spells trouble. With Kendrick Perkins sidelined, the C’s can’t afford to have one of the O’Neals consistently in foul trouble.

3. Too many turnovers: After committing 20 and 18 turnovers, respectively, against the 76ers and Nets in their first two preseason games, the Celtics again got careless with the ball, committing 22 turnovers. Rondo led the way with five giveaways, but the bigger crime was the nine turnovers from post players (Semih Erden 4, KG 3, J. O’Neal 2).

1. Guard the 3-pointer: The Raptors knocked down 5-of-11 3-pointers on the night, led by Leandro Barbosa, who knocked down a pair on fairly open looks as the Raptors took a brief second-half lead. While it may not have hurt them against the Raptors, giving open looks to teams like the Magic is only gonna hurt their chances. Guys rotating defensively need to push that extra mile to get out to the wings on those looks.

Read More: Delonte West, Jermaine O'Neal, Marquis Daniels, Nate Robinson
Camp report: Fighting through the injuries 10.04.10 at 4:09 pm ET
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As always with the Celtics, injuries and their effects will be a constant theme this season. It’s fitting then that only a week into camp, the team is already dealing with a couple of minor ailments.

Jermaine O’Neal injured his left hamstring at the end of Friday’s practice and will likely be held out for the rest of the week. Delonte West left practice Monday after suffering back spasms. Doc Rivers is a little more optimistic on West, saying that West could be day to day. One thing is certain: the Celtics are playing it safe.

“We cannot take a chance with that,” Rivers said.

The injuries, however minor, do allow for Rivers to begin tinkering with lineups. When practice opened to the media, Shaquille O’Neal was with the first team and Von Wafer and Semih Erden were working with the second unit.

“When you look at Shaq and Jermaine and think that they’€™re going to play 82 games healthy, that would be nice, but we have to be ready for them to miss a couple of games,” Rivers said. “That’€™s why like Luke [Harangody] and Semih are so important. They’€™re going to have to play.”

Jermaine O’Neal’s hamstring injury, which he does not believe is serious, comes at a difficult time because he was just getting comfortable with the new system.

“I’€™m not really concerned about it,” O’Neal said. “It’€™s the timing, being here with the guys getting that chemistry. I was just starting to get comfortable with the philosophies, what Doc wanted. That’€™s the most frustrating part about it. But I don’€™t have any doubt in my mind that I’€™ll be back fairly soon. There’€™s no substitution for it. You can study and look all you want. I felt like Wednesday, Thursday, Friday I was really starting to get comfortable and everything was starting to slow down.”

Rivers termed O’Neal’s play “up and down,” through the first part of camp, which is understandable since he’s just beginning to process all the changes. “When you’€™re playing with a new team, you’€™re not playing, you’€™re thinking,” Rivers said. “But other than that I love what he was doing. He’€™s starting to make shots from the outside.”

The Celtics open their exhibition schedule Wednesday in Manchester, New Hampshire against the Sixers. O’Neal is almost certainly out for that game, while West is day to day.

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Read More: Delonte West, Jermaine O'Neal, Paul Pierce, Shaquille O'Neal
Rivers on D&C: ‘Let’s do it year to year’ 09.30.10 at 9:48 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show to talk about the upcoming season. Rivers discussed a number of topics, including the early odds that he wouldn’t be back in Boston after last season, and how the new additions will help the team.

“The last three years have been a joy,” Rivers said. “I’ve been allowed to coach. I’ve been allowed to tell them to do things. They’ve done them, and so when you get a group like that you want to extend that group. Now we’ve added some more guys; Shaq, Jermaine, and I’m hoping they’re the same way, and I think they will be.”

[To hear the full interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.]

Odds were that you wouldn’t be back as coach after last season. What changed in the offseason that made you want to come back?

Well, I just delayed it for a year. Honestly guys, I had shipped my car home, most of my clothes home, so at that point, you were right. The reason I kept saying I can’t a decision doing this in the year, is because it’s too emotional, number one, you’re too close to it. Getting away was good for me, it was good for my family.

We’re sitting around, and the two kids are in high school, and the first thing they said was, ‘Listen, this is not on us, number one. And you’re a coach, that’s what you do.’ My young one was the best, he actually said it. He said, ‘I can’t imagine you leaving the group that you have.’ He said I would feel awful about that if you left Kevin Garnett and that group.

And my wife thought the same thing, so that part of it was easy. And then the second part for me, was do you want to come back and do it? I love what I do, I love the guys that I coach, and you guys have been around this longer than me I’m going to say. You don’t get special groups a lot when you’re a coach, and you should try to extend it as long as you can.

The way Danny [Ainge] has lined things up, it seems players have been signed for two years for the most part. You’re just talking about one year.

Yeah, you know, I told Danny and them, I didn’t want to go through the extension and walk away. I said let’s just do it year to year. That’s what it’s going to be anyway. The risk is on me, really. It’s not them. You know, Wyc [Grousbeck] and the owners, they offered a long deal, and it wasn’t anything that I didn’t like, it was great. I just thought it would be right by them to not walk out of a deal. I thought it would be better to just do a year-to-year deal. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Doc Rivers, Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
Celtics practice report: O’Neals pass first test 09.28.10 at 5:51 pm ET
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NEWPORT, R.I. — It was hot inside Rodgers Recreation Center at Salve Regina University Tuesday, where the Celtics held their first practice of the 2010-11 season.

How hot?

“Way too warm, felt like the [Boston] Garden in the ’80s,” said Doc Rivers, who played in his share of summer playoff games vs. the Celtics during his years with the Hawks.

“It a little humid in here, a little warm,” said Jermaine O’Neal, who felt the players did a “pretty good” job dealing with the heat.

Rivers felt that the temperature inside the gym — best guess was somewhere in the low 90s — “didn’t help” the players during a three-plus hour session, but he wasn’t going to make excuses.

“I think that we’€™re not in great shape, personally,” said Rivers. “I don’€™t think that we’€™ve come back in the condition that we want. So we’€™re going to have to come back in better shape.”

— It was the first day as a member of the Celtics for both Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal. Rivers was pleased with the efforts of both.

“Shaq was great, actually. He looked fine,” said Rivers, who when asked about Jermaine O’Neal noted, “What did I see [from him]? He’s going to help us.

Both O’Neals were seen practicing with the first team [the media was allowed to watch the last 20 minutes or so of the session] but it was Shaquille O’Neal who spent some time with the second unit ‘€” “The White Team” ‘€” that also included Delonte West, Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels.

“My game is real limited,” Shaq said when asked if he preferred to start or come off the bench. “I know to look for [Kevin] Garnett and to look for my shooters. I’ve always played with great big men and great shooters, so it’s no different.

“I’m not going to be playing 30-40 minutes a game, just 20-30.”

Jermaine O’Neal didn’t seem concerned about the starter/reserve situation, either.

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Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jermaine O'Neal, Shaquille O'Neal
Agent: Wallace is retiring 08.09.10 at 2:28 pm ET
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According to a blog post at boston.com, the agent for Rasheed Wallace confirmed that the veteran plans to retire. New Celtic Shaquille O’Neal fueled speculation that Wallace might change his mind and play in 2010-11, but apparently the persuading from Shaq and fellow Celtics newcomer Jermaine O’Neal did not work.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge reportedly has been using Wallace’s contract as trade bait, as Ainge has said all along that Wallace would not return to the team.

Read More: Jermaine O'Neal, Rasheed Wallace, Shaquille O'Neal,
Look back: Shaq, Celtics teammates before 08.04.10 at 11:45 pm ET
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When Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal suit up for the Celtics next season, there will be some familiarity with their new teammates on the court. Both played with Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the 2004 and 2005 NBA All-Star Games.

In 2004, Pierce (Celtics) and Jermaine O’Neal (Pacers) represented the East while Garnett (Timberwolves), Allen (SuperSonics), and Shaquille O’Neal (Lakers) played for the West. Shaq (24 points, 11 rebounds) took home MVP honors as the West won, 136-132, in Los Angeles.

The following year, Shaquille O’Neal changed conferences and joined Pierce and Jermaine O’Neal on the East team as a member of the Heat. Garnett and Allen played for the West. Allen led all players with 17 points and Jermaine O’Neal tied MVP Allen Iverson with 15 for the East. The East won, 125-115, in Denver.

Check out the video of Garnett and Shaq from the 2004 All-Star Game:

Read More: Boston Celtics, Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
Catching up with Glen Davis 07.16.10 at 12:53 am ET
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LAS VEGAS — WEEI.com caught up with Glen Davis while he is training with Joe Abunassar at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas. He talked about the Celtics‘ upcoming season, free agent moves, and a new trio in South Beach.

Optimistic Outlook: ‘€œI think we’€™re going to do well [next season]. We have a lot of pieces back. With Ray Allen being back, I’€™m really happy he came back. I’€™m also happy that Paul [Pierce] came back. We have KG and then we just added Jermaine O’€™Neal. There’€™s a lot of other pieces that we need to put together, but I think Danny [Ainge] and the front office are going to make sure we have the team, the players, and it’€™s all about just gelling together and making sure it happens.’€

‘€œFamily’€ Reunion: ‘€œIt was great. To see [Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen] come back means a lot. Especially what it means to them, and that’€™s what it’€™s all about. We’€™re family. Everybody knows that. We’€™ve been together, we’€™ve been through the ups and downs. We’€™ve been through the trenches and we’€™ve just got to make sure we do what we have to do.’€

Shrek and Donkey 2.0? ‘€œI love Nate [Robinson]. He brings a whole realm to the team that most players can’€™t bring. I just hope that he finds a place to play, and if it’€™s not with us, that [stinks], but if it’€™s with us that’€™s great. I would love to play with Nate.’€

A Big Help: ‘€œI’€™ve known Jermaine [O'€™Neal] since I was in college. He’€™s a great player. He’€™s done a lot of things in the NBA, he’€™s an All-Star-caliber player, he’€™s been on that level before. He’€™s a great post up guy. You can always learn something from him, so I’€™m glad he’€™s on our team and he can definitely help us.’€

No Sweating the Heat: ‘€œThey have a Big Three, we have a Big Three. We have players that are capable of making big shots and playing big minutes; they have players that are capable of doing all that. So I’€™m not really worried about the Miami Heat. They still have to put the team together and make it gel. And that’€™s what it’€™s all about — chemistry — and it takes more than three players to win a championship. And everybody knows that. So there’€™s no worrying. We’€™re just ready to play.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Glen Davis, Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett
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