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Turn up the volume: C’s not living in past 10.23.09 at 5:25 pm ET
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WALTHAM  –  Before this season ever starts, nearly everyone in a Celtics uniform wants to make one thing clear. This is NOT 2008.

On Friday, the Celtics held a two-hour practice before going home to get clean and ready for their team dinner Friday night in Boston.

Here’s what a number of them had to say about this year, comparisons to two seasons ago and other miscellaneous items.

Paul Pierce said the team is plenty motivated this season.

Pierce said he hasn’t heard any ‘experts’ picking the Celtics.

Doc Rivers said there’s only one set of expectations that matter.

Rivers said he likes where the team is at.

Kevin Garnett said he likes what he saw in the preseason.

Garnett said Tuesday in Cleveland against LeBron and Shaq will be exciting.

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C’s going with later practices, shootarounds at 4:54 pm ET
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WALTHAM  –  If Doc Rivers and Paul Pierce want later practices to make sure players get their rest, then Kevin Garnett is totally fine with it.

This year, the Celtics are likely to do away with many shootarounds on the day of a game and move practices to a slightly later start in the day so that players can sleep in and be well-rested for games.

“Later practices are alright,” Kevin Garnett said on Friday. “It is what it is. Whatever Doc wants. It’s not my cup of tea but whatever the Captain wants that’s what it is.”

Garnett is a notorious early riser and has a reputation of functioning on little or no sleep, especially following road trips. Garnett, like Junior Seau with the Patriots, is known for getting to work early in the morning, getting warmed up and ready to go with practice.

Now, he’s likely going to be able to sleep in, at least a little.

“I don’t sleep anyway,” Garnett said. “It’s good. You’ve got to find good in everything so if that means I get to sleep until 8:30 or 9 [a.m.], then so be it.”

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KG on knee questions: ‘That [stuff] is getting old’ at 3:57 pm ET
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WALTHAM  –  Kevin Garnett reached his breaking point on Friday afternoon with questions about whether he is physically ready and back to 100 percent following surgery last May to remove bone spurs behind his right knee.

“Next question,” he answered when asked.

But the question was asked moments later, in a different way.

“I just told you. That [stuff] is getting old, now. That [stuff] getting real old. You’re going to have to sit in your offices and come up with some new questions. Drink a little more beer now or whatever gets you going to come up with your questions.”

Told that he’s likely going to hear that same question all season long, Garnett replied, “You’re going to get the same answer, alright?”

Eddie House drew a comparison to another famous New England athlete returning from a knee injury.

“I’m very happy he’s back, he’s moving well,” House said. “He’s even taken a few blows to the spot where he had the surgery and he bounced back up. It’s kind of like the Tom Brady effect. At first, he’s kind of ginger. He doesn’t really know until he gets hit a couple of times. ‘I can plant, I can throw.’ Like Kevin, now he can catch lobs, can plant, step-backs. He’s doing everything Kevin Garnett does.”

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Celtics Bench Falls to Knicks 10.20.09 at 10:41 pm ET
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The Celtics and Knicks entered Tuesday’s game with the same goal: to win. But the two teams had different underlying objectives. For the Knicks, it was about getting a victory from their starting unit. For the Celtics, it was about developing the bench in what looks to be the Big Three’s final game of the preseason.

Despite losing, 108-103 (recap here), Doc Rivers told the media after the game there were plenty of things for him to be pleased with, including the development of the second unit. Below are numbers and notes from Tuesday’s game:

  • Managing Minutes: None of the Celtics starters played over 30 minutes. In fact they only combined for 130 minutes, compared to the Knicks starters with 157. Final counts for the starting five: Rajon Rondo (27), Ray Allen (30), Kevin Garnett (24), Paul Pierce (26), Kendrick Perkins (23).
  • More than the Second Unit: Rivers added Brian Scalabrine and J.R. Giddens to the mix with Eddie House, Marquis Daniels, and Rasheed Wallace in the fourth quarter. Scalabrine and Giddens came into the game down 98-90 and were part of an 11-1 Celtics run.
  • Getting Chippy: Preseason action got heated in the second quarter as the Celtics and Knicks exchanged flagrant fouls in a matter of a minute. First House was whistled for a flagrant against Jared Jeffries, which sent Jeffries to the ground. (House did help him to his feet.) Nate Robinson followed up with a push that sent Rondo into the scorers table. Garnett was also called for a technical foul in the third quarter.
  • Three’s Not Company: Last season the Celtics were hampered by the Magic’s long-range shooting during the Eastern Conference Semifinals. On Tuesday they faced the same challenge as the Knicks shot 13-for-36 (36.1%),  compared to the Celtics 6-for-24 (25.0%). The Knicks’ missed their fair amount of three-pointers, but at the end of the game they still put 39 points on the board from behind the arc.

The Celtics will take on the Cavaliers on the road on Wednesday night. Don’t expect to see Pierce, Allen, or Garnett on the court for the final game of the preseason. Catch their regular season debuts in Cleveland next Tuesday.

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Fun With Numbers at 9:43 am ET
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There are a couple of very different sets of numbers that caught my eye this morning.

First, is the postseason data from 82games.com, which shows that Rajon Rondo was the Celtics best player in the playoffs last season, and by a fairly wide margin. There are a couple of other observations we can make from the data. Among them:

1. The Celtics really missed Kevin Garnett. Compare the 2008-09 playoff numbers with the 2007-08 numbers and not only will Garnett’s Roland Rating (a simple explanation is here) jump right off the page, but so will the effect he had on his teammates …

2. Particularly Paul Pierce. The Captain shot much worse in 2008-09 then in 2007-08 and had a significantly lower percentage of assists leading to his shots, which speaks to ball movement, which is one of Garnett’s most underrated offensive contributions. There were a number of theories for Pierce’s sub-par postseason, but a simple reason may have been that he just had to do too much and work too hard to get his shot off without KG.

3. The bench was really bad, especially Stephon Marbury. There was also no depth. Of the players who did play, Eddie House was the biggest contributor among the reserves (no surprise), but that was about it.

Moving on, the fine fellows at basketball-reference.com have put up a huge amount of preseason data (hat tip to Henry Abbott at True Hoop), and from that we can see that the Celtics most efficient offensive player has been Mike Sweetney (!)

We can also see that Garnett and Rasheed Wallace have been killing it defensively. Of possibly greater importance, the Celtics have also played the best team defense in the NBA, which is nice. You can waste hours of your life playing with this stuff, but as Abbott and everyone else pointed out, there’s only a week left until the games start to really count, which is the best number of all.

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Celtics to Host Annual Shamrock Gala 10.19.09 at 3:28 pm ET
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On Friday, October 23 the Celtics will host their annual Shamrock Gala to benefit the Shamrock Foundation. The event, which will be held at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel from 6:00pm-9:30pm, will include a discussion with the team hosted by WEEI’s Glenn Ordway. Those scheduled to attend include:

  • Celtics All-Stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, members of the 2009-2010 Boston Celtics team, and coaching staff
  • Head coach Doc Rivers
  • Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge
  • Celtics Co-owners Wyc Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca and Robert Epstein
  • Celtics Legends John Havlicek, Bob Cousy, JoJo White, Cedric Maxwell and Dana Barros

This year’s auction items will include a trip for two (including airfare, dinner, and accommodations) to be on the set of “Entourage” in Los Angeles, courtesy of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation. All proceeds will benefit the Celtics Shamrock Foundation, which currently partners with Perkins School for the Blind, Boston Children’s, Horizons for Homeless Children, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC), and Berklee College of Music.

Tables for the Gala can be purchased by contacting Rebekah Splaine at 617-854-8090.

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Garnett joins new adidas campaign 10.14.09 at 10:03 pm ET
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Kevin Garnett has joined Dwight Howard,  Derrick Rose,  Chauncey Billups, Tim Duncan, Tracy McGrady, and Josh Smith for adidas’ “It’s On Me for My Brotherhood” 2009-10 season campaign. Check out the new advertisement below and click here for more videos.

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