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Irish Coffee: Five reasons not to panic about Celtics 03.25.13 at 3:00 pm ET
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Add Kevin Garnett and Courtney Lee to the list of walking Celtics wounded. While neither will join Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger on the season-ending injury manifest, only 13 games remain in the regular season, they’ve lost four straight and the goodwill built from a seven-game win streak without Rondo seems like ancient history.

So, is it finally time to bury the C’s this season? Not so fast. Here are five reasons not to panic about the current state of the Celtics, even if they only have 10 healthy bodies at this point.

They’re firmly entrenched in seventh place, even if they’re only two games up on the Bucks.

Even with Rondo, when the Celtics owned a 20-23 record and sat in eighth place, the best they could’ve hoped for was either a sixth or seventh seed and a chance to avoid the Heat until the Eastern Conference finals.

Well, Doc Rivers‘ Rondo-less charges play seven of their remaining 13 games at home, including a four-game stretch from April 3-10 that includes the Pistons, Cavaliers and Wizards. Not a brutal stretch by any measure. Meanwhile, the Bucks face the Thunder (twice), Lakers, Knicks, Heat, Hawks and Nuggets over their final 13 games — seven of which are on the road. As a result, a seventh seed seems to be the C’s most likely scenario.

Their road record isn’t as bad as it seems, even if they’re a putrid 12-23 away from home.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Jordan Crawford, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Kevin Garnett expected to miss ’4-5 games’ with foot injury, Courtney Lee likely to return at 12:39 pm ET
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Kevin Garnett will not have the chance to renew acquaintances with Carmelo Anthony on Tuesday. (AP)

Kevin Garnett will not have the chance to renew acquaintances with Carmelo Anthony on Tuesday. (AP)

WALTHAM — The Celtics are playing it safe with Kevin Garnett and hoping rest will be the answer to inflammation in his left ankle.

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge confirmed Monday that Garnett will be out for Tuesday’s game against the Knicks.

“Take a couple of Advil and give it some rest,” Ainge said. “Could he play [Tuesday]? Yeah but we’re not playing him [Tuesday]. The time frame, I don’t know but it’s not an ankle sprain but there’s inflammation in the ankle, sort of like an ankle sprain in unpredictability. So I think that it’s not longer than three weeks or it could be a week. I’ll guess two weeks just because we want to make sure he’s really ready. We need to get him fresh anyway.”

Doc Rivers said Garnett aggravated the injury against the Mavericks and the discomfort forced him to miss Saturday’s game in Memphis. He was sent back to Boston for an MRI.

In the meantime, Rivers said it’s likely that Garnett will miss at least “four to five games” with the injury.

“I think we’ll know more later,” Rivers said, referring to the MRI. “I would say doubtful for [Tuesday] but we’ll know more later. I don’t think Kevin is playing [Tuesday]. I’m almost positive of that but then what we want to make sure is that he’s going to be good soon.

“At the end of the day, I want him right, not half-right.”

Rivers said he doesn’t expect this to be a season-ending ailment.

“But can he miss four or five games? Yeah that’s probably possible,” Rivers said. “I don’t know that but to me [season-ending] is not a concern. He hurt his foot in that Dallas game. [It's not season-ending] unless something crazy happens in the MRI that I can tell you the first look, they didn’t see that. At the end of the day, he may miss some games.

“We’re going to err on the right side, whatever they decide. If they give me an option of you can play him every third game or give him two weeks rest, I can tell you right now I am going to say two weeks rest, if it’s my decision.”

Ainge later confirmed Rivers’ estimate, telling reporters at practice that the results of the MRI along with consultation with the team’s medical staff indicate that he’ll likely miss two weeks.

“I’ll guess two weeks, just because we want to make sure he’s really ready” said Ainge, who added that he thought Garnett originally injured the ankle against New Orleans last Wednesday.

“I think it happened in New Orleans game, it was just sore, just inflammation. A lot of things can cause inflammation. I think everyone has a little bit of inflammation this time of year. KG, we need to get him fresh anyway.”

On the bright side, Courtney Lee is expected to return from his sprained left ankle suffered in the final minute of Friday’s loss in Dallas.

Neither player took part in Monday’s practice, which included just 10 healthy Celtics.

Rivers said the Celtics will be forced to go with a smaller lineup that he says includes “no point guards” while the Knicks feature a lineup with two point guards in Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton, with Jason Kidd off the bench.

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

Read More: Boston Celtics, Courtney Lee, Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett
Shortfall: Celtics come up short again in loss to Mavericks, Courtney Lee injures left ankle 03.22.13 at 11:12 pm ET
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Jason Terry had his moments against his former team Friday night in Dallas. (AP)

Jason Terry had his moments against his former team Friday night in Dallas. (AP)

Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points and Brandan Wright added a team-high 23 – 16 above his season average – as the Dallas Mavericks handed the Celtics their third straight loss, 104-94, Friday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Celtics have lost five of seven and three straight for the first time since losing six in a row between Jan. 16-25.

Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass each scored 16 for the Celtics, who fell to 36-31 on the season. Adding to Boston’s misery was a left ankle injury to Courtney Lee, who rolled the ankle late in the fourth quarter. He had to be helped off the court and to the locker room and did not play in the final minute.

In his return to Dallas for the first time since signing with the Celtics as a free agent last summer, Jason Terry was held to eight points on 3-of-9 shooting. The appreciative Dallas crowd gave Terry a standing ovation when he checked into the game for the first time with 3:57 left in the first quarter. His former Mavericks teammates also applauded his returned on the Dallas bench.

The only Celtics player in double figures in the first half was Brandon Bass with 10 points. Boston had no answers for Vince Carter off the Dallas bench. Carter had 12 points in 12 minutes, a big reason the Mavericks were able to take a 55-44 halftime lead.

The Mavericks built their lead to as much as 14 twice in the second quarter.

Jordan Crawford hit a baseline three early in the third quarter and followed that up with a steal and reverse layup with 10:19 left in the fourth to cut Dallas’ lead down to six, 81-75. Crawford hit another tough shot – a baseline fadeaway – to keep the Celtics within six, 83-77, with just over nine minutes left.

But the Celtics couldn’t keep the Mavericks from responding and building the lead back to 11, 94-83, with three minutes left. Pierce hit a straightaway three with 2:59 left to cut the Dallas lead down to eight, 94-86. Green’s layup with 1:51 brought the Celtics within five, 97-92. The Celtics forced a missed shot by Carter but Knight got the rebound and kicked it to Carter, who then found O.J. Mayo, who knocked down the three to push the lead back to eight, 100-92, with 1:21 left.

Mayo then stole a pass on the next Celtics possession as the Celtics lost their third straight.

The road gets no easier on Saturday night, as the Celtics travel to Memphis to battle the Grizzlies. The Celtics return home for a Atlantic Division showdown with the Knicks on Tuesday night at the Garden.

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

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry
Stung again: Celtics blow 13-point second-half lead, lose to lowly Hornets 03.20.13 at 10:35 pm ET
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Paul Pierce and the Celtics blew past the Hornets in the first half before blowing the lead and the game in the second half. (AP)

Paul Pierce and the Celtics blew past the Hornets in the first half before blowing the lead and the game in the second half. (AP)

Anthony Davis – the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft last June – tipped in the go-ahead basket with 0.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter to allow the Hornets to nip the Celtics, 87-86, Wednesday night in New Orleans. The Hornets were able to sweep the season series with the Celtics this season. The Celtics could managed just 31 points in the second half and lost their second straight, with road games in Dallas and Memphis on tap for Friday and Saturday nights.

On the final play, Eric Gordon went right on Avery Bradley and drove to the basket. His layup went hard off the glass and the rim. Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green failed to box out Davis, who tipped in the miss. The play was reviewed on replay but was upheld. A final shot by Garnett was off the mark and wouldn’t have counted.

Paul Pierce scored a game-high 28 points while Garnett returned to action after a two-game absence to add 20 points. Green, who had 13 points in the first half, was held scoreless in the second half.

Green picked up where he left off Monday night, when he scored a career-high 43. Green hit 4-of-6 shots in the first 24 minutes, scoring 13 points from his more customary spot coming off the Boston bench.

Garnett, showing no rust or residual effect from his left leg injury and flulike symptoms, was 6-of-9 from the floor and had 14 points. Pierce added 12 points, as the Celtics used an 11-1 run to build the lead to 12 before settling for a 55-45 halftime lead. Boston shot a blazing 21-of-35 (60 percent) in the first half.

The third quarter was a brutal one for the Celtics. They scored just 12 points and turned the ball over seven times, allowing the Hornets to erase a 13-point lead.

Courtney Lee‘s midrange jumper broke a drought of nearly 4 1/2 minutes late in the third quarter and put an end to an 18-5 run that saw the Hornets come all the way back from a 60-47 Celtics advantage.

The Celtics’ ship continued to take on water in the first four minutes as Ryan Anderson hit a pair of free throws that made it 76-69 with 7:39 left. Anderson hit a jumper to build New Orleans’ lead to nine, 78-69, with 6:25 left.

The Celtics – at one point – were outrebounded 26-9 as the Hornets attacked at will in the paint.

But the Celtics responded with a 10-0 run, including four straight free throws by Pierce over a 20 second span. But Anderson responded with a three with Pierce dunk 3:14 tied the game at 81-81. The New Orleans defense collapsed on Garnett, who found Pierce with 2:34 left. Pierce drilled the three-ball to put the Celtics back up, 84-81.

With just under two minutes left, Brandon Bass followed his own miss and tipped it in to put Boston up, 86-81, finishing off a 17-5 run. Bass got another key offensive rebound on an Avery Bradley missed three with 50 seconds left.

Pierce was called for fouling Ryan Anderson on a baseline three attempt with 35.5 seconds left as Anderson had the chance to tie the game. But Anderson, an 85 percent free throw shooter, missed the first one before making the next two to draw the Hornets within one.

The Celtics caught a break when Green called timeout just before getting whistled for a five-second violation.

Pierce missed a 15-foot fallaway with 17.9 seconds left, giving New Orleans a chance to win the game in regulation.

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

Read More: Anthony Davis, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Heartbreaker: Jeff Green puts on show for the ages but Heat win 23rd straight 03.18.13 at 10:52 pm ET
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Jeff Green was an unstoppable force in the first half Monday, scoring 26 points against the Heat. (AP)

Jeff Green was an unstoppable force in the first half Monday, scoring 26 points against the Heat. (AP)

LeBron James rattled home the game-winning basket with 10.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter and finished with 37 points and had 12 assists to lead the Heat to their 23rd straight win, a 105-103 decision over the Celtics Monday night at a crazed TD Garden. The win streak is now alone as the second-longest in NBA history with only the 33-game streak of the Lakers in 1972 surpassing it.

The James shot spoiled one of the greatest single-game performances in Celtics history as Jeff Green finished with 43 points in a losing cause. In a season of unparalleled regular season drama, Green nearly single-handedly ended the second-longest winning streak in NBA history. Green, starting for Kevin Garnett, had a career high 43 points on 14-of-21 shooting.

The Celtics learned before the game they would not have Kevin Garnett in their quest to end Miami’s 22-game winning streak as the superstar was sent home by coach Doc Rivers with flu-like symptoms. Filling in was Green, making his third start of the season, and he put on one of the most spectacular single-game performances in Celtics history.

In a remarkably fast and furious first half, the Heat shot out to a 19-14 lead thanks to seven points from James. But Green led the Celtics on a stunning 17-0 run to end the quarter and put the Celtics up, 31-19, after 12 minutes.

Green and the Celtics continued their run in the second quarter, twice building the lead up to 17 points in the first three minutes of the period.

Green finished the first half with 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting in 20 minutes. The Celtics, as a team, were blazing hot in the first half, hitting 23-of-37 shots (62.2 percent) from the field.

The highlight of the surreal first half came with just under six minutes left. Dwyane Wade stole the ball from Jason Terry just before midcourt and fed Mario Chalmers. Norris Cole took the dish from Chalmers and lobbed a pass up near the rim and James, trailing the play, finished in authoritative style, dunking viciously over Terry, who tried in vain to block it. Terry was called for a foul and James for called for a technical for taunting Terry on the court.

Seconds later, Avery Bradley block Cole on a dunk attempt and that led to a Paul Piece 3-pointer in transition, sending the Garden crowd into pandemonium and putting the Celtics up 52-38. The Heat made a key run at the end of the half, outscoring Boston 15-6 to close to within six at halftime, 59-53. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwyane Wade, Jeff Green, Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett (sick, adductor) out against Heat at 6:54 pm ET
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The Celtics will not have Kevin Garnett available to stare down LeBron James and the Heat Monday. (AP)

The Celtics will not have Kevin Garnett available to stare down LeBron James and the Heat Monday. (AP)

The Celtics will not have Kevin Garnett available as they try to end the 22-game winning streak of the Heat on Monday night at TD Garden. The Celtics made the announcement just over an hour before their game against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat, who with a win on Monday night will establish sole possession of the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.

Doc Rivers confirmed the decision about 45 minutes before the game but said the actual reason for Garnett missing the game is not the adductor strain but rather flu-like symptoms. Garnett reported to the Garden for the game but was told by Rivers to go home and not play Monday. Rivers said Garnett would have played if he were not sick.

Rivers said Garnett will travel with the team as it begins a three-game road trip in New Orleans on Wednesday night.

Only the 1971-72 Lakers, with a 33-game streak, would have a longer one in league history.

Garnett suffered a strained adductor (groin) in his left leg last week and missed Saturday’s win over the Bobcats. This means the Celtics will not have Garnett or Jared Sullinger (back surgery) for their rematch of the double-overtime game won by the Celtics on Jan. 27 at the Garden. Both Garnett and Sullinger played in the game.

Garnett did not practice on Sunday and was not at the team’s shootaround Monday morning in Waltham.

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

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Miami Heat, NBA
Celtics: Kevin Garnett a game-time decision vs. Heat at 12:37 pm ET
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Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett

Celtics center Kevin Garnett is a game-time decision for Monday’s showdown against the Heat, according to the team’s media relations department.

Suffering from an adductor (groin) strain, Garnett sat out Saturday’s 105-88 blowout of the Bobcats, Sunday’s practice and Monday morning’s shootaround at the team’s practice facility in Waltham.

As a result, the C’s may face the daunting task of ending Miami’s 22-game win streak — on the five-year anniversary of halting the Rockets’ 22-game string — without the heart of their defense. The Celtics are riding an 11-game home winning streak that began against the Heat on Jan. 27, when news of Rajon Rondo‘s season-ending injury spread like wildfire throughout the Garden.

Miami has lost 10 straight regular-season games in Boston since April 6, 2007, including all five games during LeBron James‘ tenure.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Miami Heat, NBA
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