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Irish Coffee: Kevin Garnett’s ‘goddamn bar fight’ 01.27.12 at 12:23 pm ET
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Three nights after holding the Magic to a record low 16 field goals in an 87-56 victory at the Garden, the Celtics dealt Dwight Howard & Co. another embarrassing blow in Orlando — storming back from 27 points to steal a 91-83 win in one of the 10 greatest comebacks in NBA history. And one of the great postgame interviews in history.

“It was a goddamn bar fight,” Celtics forward Kevin Garnett told TNT’s Craig Sager after the game. “A goddamn bar fight, man. It was a bar fight, Craig. Tonight was a bar fight, man. We knew they were going to come in with a lot of energy. Tonight was a bar fight. You ever been in a bar fight? Ask Charles [Barkley], he’s been in a bar fight. This is what it was tonight. We won in the second half. We came out with a lot of energy.”

At some point, KG remembered Sager was conducting an interview, so he allowed him to ask a couple questions.

We heard Doc Rivers say late in that third quarter, “This is not over yet.” Did you believe him?

“Since I’ve been here in Boston, Doc has never told me nothing that wasn’t true. We were in the Finals one time, we were down whatever it was, and he told us we could come back. And I believed him. And we did. So, tonight was no different.”

Does this victory mean even more than holding the Magic to 56 points on Monday?

“When you’re down and you fight back, you’ve got reason to be proud of yourself. That’s what this was. This was a Celtics win right here, man.”

Of course, Garnett proved a big part of that win, notching his second straight double-double and fifth of the season. More importantly, he helped hold All-NBA center Dwight Howard to fewer than 20 points.

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Irish Coffee: Dwight Howard ‘looks up to a team like Boston’ 01.24.12 at 2:23 pm ET
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If Magic All-NBA center Dwight Howard ever considered Boston as a free agent destination this summer, current Celtics center Jermaine O’Neal didn’t exactly roll out the welcome mat.

In the third quarter of Monday night’s Celtics victory, as Howard attempted to establish position in the paint and bumped O’Neal on the block, the latter stuck his finger in the former’s face and voiced his displeasure. The two bigs at dichotomous points in their careers were separated by teammates and each assessed technicals.

“That’s kind of crossing the line when somebody puts their hand in your face,” said Howard (18 points, 14 rebounds), who had four of his team’s NBA record low 16 field goals in the 87-56 loss. “I just put his hand out of my face. I didn’t run up on him. It’s basketball. We’re not MMA fighters. I don’t know why I got a tech, but I’m cool.”

O’Neal (6), Greg Stiemsma (5), Brandon Bass (4) and Kevin Garnett (2) combined for 17 personal fouls, sending Howard to the line 18 times (he made 10) in an attempt to minimize his sizable impact.

“You’re at his mercy to be honest,” said Garnett, who totaled 14 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and two blocks. “You have to do what we call dirty work early, which is to try to take him off his sweet spots, contest his shots. He’s strong, he’s very powerful and explosive. You’re at his mercy, man, seriously. I’m not about to sit up here in front of the cameras and give y’all defensive schemes and secrets, but different ways you play different guys.”

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Big Baby: ‘The only thing I know is that I got paid a little bit more money’ at 1:14 am ET
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There’s one important difference between Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins: Big Baby left on his own terms.

Davis didn’t profess his love for Boston in his postgame press conference the way Perk did. He wanted a change in scenery and an upgraded role, and Orlando offered that opportunity. Or so he thought.

“I’m in the same situation I was here — coming off the bench,” said a dejected Davis after losing to his former team, 87-56. “The only thing I know is that I got paid a little bit more money. Like I said, it’s a process and a system that I’ve got to get used to. I don’t know. I know what I’m supposed to do, but I don’t know yet. I’m still searching.”

As they did for fellow members of the 2007-08 NBA championship team Eddie House and Perkins before him, the Celtics gave Big Baby the video montage treatment. When the Garden crowd responded with a standing ovation, Davis flashed his signature smile and acknowledged the fans with a wave before returning to the Magic bench.

“It was good to remember all the memories that you had,” he said. “I looked really big, like really fat. I was like, ‘Wow, chubby.’ I look a little more leander now. But it was good. It’s always good to see things like that, memories I can never forget. The fans showed love, and I appreciate that.”

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Irish Coffee: Top 5 Big Baby Celtics moments 01.23.12 at 12:58 pm ET
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For the second time in five games, the Celtics welcome a member of the 2007-08 NBA championship team in an opposing uniform. Kendrick Perkins got a hero’s welcome when the Thunder visited Boston last week, so will Glen Davis get the same treatment when the Magic visit Monday night?

Davis had his share of moments, good and bad, during his four years in a Celtics uniform (remember how he broke his thumb?), culminating in a 32 percent shooting performance in last season’s five-game Eastern Conference semifinals loss to the Heat. In one last contribution to the Celtics, he agreed to a four-year, $26 million sign-and-trade deal after the NBA lockout that shipped him and Von Wafer to Orlando for Brandon Bass.

So far, at least, the Celtics got the best of that deal, as Bass only makes $4 million this season, although Wafer’s production on the Magic makes it closer than one might think. Take a look at their numbers through 15 games.

Bass: 11.5 PTS (48.1 FG%, 72.7 FT%), 6.4 REB, 0.7 BLK, 0.6 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.9 TO

Davis: 7.9 PTS (37.5 FG%, 73.3 FT%), 5.1 REB, 0.7 AST, 0.4 STL, 0.2 BLK, 1.3 TO
Wafer: 6.2 PTS (47.8 FG%, 46.7 3P%, 84.6 FT%), 1.3 REB, 0.8 AST, 0.2 STL, 1.1 TO

Regardless, Davis gave the Celtics more than they could have hoped for when they selected him with the 35th overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft, developing into one of the game’s top three Sixth Man Award contenders last season. If Eddie House got a tribute montage video, why shouldn’t Big Baby?

“We just have to let it play out,” Magic teammate Dwight Howard told the Orlando Sentinel. “He’s emotional. He might cry. We’ll make sure we bring a big pacifier.” It wouldn’t be the first time.

Without further ado, I give you the top five Glen “Big Baby” Davis moments in a Celtics uniform. Read the rest of this entry »

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Paul Pierce: ‘Of course’ I still want to retire a Celtic 01.21.12 at 12:59 am ET
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This isn’t the first time Celtics captain Paul Pierce‘s name has emerged in trade discussion. Prior to the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007, rumors consistently swirled that team president Danny Ainge would deal his star and enter full-blown rebuild mode. Flash forward five years, same story.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been down that road,” said Pierce, addressing the issue for the first time after the Celtics suffered their sixth loss in seven games, 79-71 at home to the Suns, “but I don’t think about it actually.”

In the midst of a 5-9 start and the first real signs that this might truly be the end of another Big Three era in Boston, Yahoo! Sports reported earlier this week that several contending teams made inquiries about Pierce’s potential availability before the March 15 trade deadline. Then CBSSports.com reported Friday that Ainge may be willing to wait 10 or more games before deciding to deal one of his three stars.

“It’s just obvious,” Ainge told WEEI’s Big Show on Thursday. “Of course if we get the opportunity to make a trade that will help our team, we’ll do it. I guess I was stating obvious answers and it became like a really big story. We’ve all known there’s a window for this group, so we’re constantly evaluating that and been evaluating it for the last couple of years. I don’t have anything on the books. I don’t have have anything imminent. There’s nothing out there that I’m actively doing. I’m being patient with this group of guys.”

As Pierce said, this isn’t his first rodeo. He’s seen teammates from Antoine Walker to Kendrick Perkins come and go. “I understand,” he said. “What the Celtics have done for me in my career, I’m more than happy. They’ve kept me this long, and I’ve been able to play in a lot of good situations. You’ve got to understand the business.”

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Irish Coffee: Celtics weekly report card, part deux 01.20.12 at 2:11 pm ET
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Forgive me Father Red, for it’s been two weeks since my last report card. As I’ve mentioned before, with 66 games crammed into 17 weeks, each seven-day stretch of this NBA season takes on the importance of an NFL week. As NFL writers are won’t to do, we’ll continue our (bi)weekly series of Celtics report cards. Since last marking period, when the Celtics had just won four straight, Doc Rivers and Co. have endured a five-game losing streak snapped Wednesday night against the mighty Raptors. That being said, let’s get to the grades.

MICKAEL PIETRUS: A
Last Grade: N/A

The Celtics desperately needed scoring and defense off the bench, and Pietrus has filled both roles better than cream fills a Hostess cupcake. Since debuting against the Mavericks, he’s averaged 8.2 points on 41 percent from beyond the arc in addition to snagging four steals against zero turnovers. In his last two games, he’s scored 26 points (7-13 3P), culminating in his first Celtics win and his rendition of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It.”

KEVIN GARNETT: B+
Last Grade: A-

Rivers wanted Garnett to take more shots, and KG listened, attempting 19 field goals in consecutive games. It worked one night (21 points at Pacers) and failed another (12 points vs. Thunder), which seems to be a running theme for Garnett 2.0, who just doesn’t have the same lift as the Timberwolves prototype. In all other aspects of his game, he’s lived up to his self-proclaimed “X-factor” role: “Whatever you need me to do, I’m gonna do.”

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Fast Break: Celtics snap losing streak, beat Raptors 01.18.12 at 9:56 pm ET
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The Celtics have been desperate for a strong start and they finally got one on Wednesday against Toronto, opening up a 21-7 lead and making nine of their first 16 shots. They rode that early lead through some rough patches in the second quarter and earned a much-needed 96-73 win over Toronto, snapping a five-game losing streak.

It wasn’t all good for the Celtics as Rajon Rondo was put on the ground by Linas Kleiza with a hard foul late in the third quarter. Rondo landed awkwardly on his right wrist and didn’t return to the game. Kleiza was originally assessed a Flagrant-2 foul on the play, but it was downgraded to a Flagrant-1 after a review.

The Celtics opened up a 29-14 lead in the first quarter and while they eventually cooled down, the Raptors didn’t have nearly enough offense to make up the ground with leading scorer Andrea Bargnani out of the lineup with a strained left calf. However the win came, the Celtics will take it. They’re back in action on Friday against the Suns.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Rajon Rondo didn’t get his first assist until the 6:01 mark of the third quarter, but it was hard to argue with his floor game. Rondo went to the basket repeatedly and made seven of his first eight shots. He also went to the free throw line seven times in the first half and made five.

Kevin Garnett came out aggressive with six points in the first four minutes and 10 points by halftime. Garnett finished with 15 points and seven rebounds and while he’s still having trouble finishing inside, this continued a run of stronger games for Garnett.

Paul Pierce only scored eight points but he had seven assists and four rebounds. With Rondo looking to score, Pierce played the role of facilitator and did it well.

– The Celtics hit the defensive glass and didn’t turn the ball over. A very good combination.

Mickael Pietrus and Brandon Bass formed an effective two-man bench, combing for all 19 points for the reserves prior to fourth quarter garbage time. Pietrus finished with 12 points, all on 3-pointers and Bass had 13 and nine rebounds.

WHAT WENT WRONG Read the rest of this entry »

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