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Irish Coffee: Delonte West knows ‘it’s win or go home’ 05.10.11 at 11:30 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

This was supposed to be Delonte West‘s season of redemption. Instead, it’s been a season of frustration.

If anybody on this Celtics team could turn to excuses, it’s West, whose series of injuries this year has kept him from assuming the role everybody knew he was capable of fulfilling when healthy. He grew up balling on the playgrounds in the Greater Washington D.C. area, developing a toughness that has prepared him to take (and make) big shots in big moments, frustrate superstars like Dwyane Wade defensively and, of course, battle injury.

And now that West has finally found his groove — scoring at least 10 points in all four games against the Heat — it might be too late. Still, trailing 3-1 and heading back to Miami for Game 5, West isn’t playing the blame game.

“It’€™s win or go home,” West said after the 98-90 Game 4 defeat. “You gotta bring it. Everybody’€™s gotta bring it, or we might as well just get some seats down at the beach and stay down there. But that’€™s not our plan.”

West could’ve made excuses when he was suspended for the first 10 games of the season on weapons charges, but instead he took it as a learning experience. He could’ve made excuses when he broke his right wrist five games after returning from suspension. Or when he chipped a bone in his right ankle three games after returning from wrist surgery.  Or when he injured his shooting shoulder in Game 3 of these Eastern Conference semifinals. But he didn’t.

“It’€™s doing a lot better,” he said. “I had it taped up. They put some type of compression sleeve on it. It feels a lot better than [Sunday] and definitely better than when I hurt it the prior game. I ain’€™t got no excuses over here.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Delonte West, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James
Chris Bosh: ‘It’s not over until the last game is won’ at 12:36 am ET
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Prior to a crucial Game 4 between the Celtics and Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the TD Garden Jumbotron flashed Chris Bosh‘s notorious quote following his atrocious Game 3 performance: “My emotions got the best of me early on.”

Whatever Bosh did to harness them on Monday night, it worked.

“Before, the intensity of the crowd and my intensity that I was bringing, I was trying to control it too much instead of just letting it flow,” Bosh said after the Heat’s 98-90 overtime victory. “In this game, I tried to have the least amount of hesitation as possible. If I had an open shot, I was going to let it go. If the drive was open, I was going to take it. That gave me an aggressive mind-frame going in. It didn’t really happen very fast for me, but if I have a good aggressive frame of mind in the beginning usually things go OK.”

After totaling just five points on 2-of-8 shooting and two rebounds in 19 first-half minutes, Bosh made 6-of-9 shots after the break and grabbed 10 more boards for a total of 20 points and 12 rebounds — his second double-double of the series.

“Chris is a professional,” said Heat teammate Joel Anthony. “We didn’t have any doubt that he was going to come back after the last game. He responded well and answered anyone’s questions about how well he was going to play. He did it on the court. He played huge for us, and that’s what we knew he was going to come out and do.”

Meanwhile, after Garnett’s monster performance on Saturday cast a Shaquille O’Neal-sized shadow on Bosh’s six points and five rebounds in Game 3, the forgotten member of the Heat’s Big Three held KG to seven points on 1-of-10 shooting in Game 4.

Asked about Bosh’s turnaround, Garnett simply responded: “Next question.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Chris Bosh, Kevin Garnett, Miami Heat
Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett named First Team All-Defense 05.09.11 at 2:30 pm ET
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Kevin Garnett tied an NBA record with his ninth appearance on the NBA All-Defensive First Team, the league announced on Monday. Garnett’s teammate Rajon Rondo was also named to the First Team, drawing the second-most votes behind Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. This is Rondo’s second straight First-Team appearance. He made the Second Team in 2008-09.

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were also voted on to the First Team. It was also Bryant’s ninth First Team nod, which allowed him and Garnett to tie the all-time record for First Team appearances held by Michael Jordan and Gary Payton.

Former Celtic Tony Allen received enough votes for a Second Team nod along with Chris Paul, Andre Iguodala, Joakim Noah and Tyson Chandler.

The voting was done by the 30 head coaches and coaches are not allowed for one of their players. Here’s the full breakdown:

2010-11 NBA ALL-DEFENSIVE FIRST TEAM

Position, Player, Team 1st 2nd Points

Center Dwight Howard, Orlando 27 2 56
Guard Rajon Rondo, Boston 16 7 39
Forward LeBron James, Miami 17 4 38
Guard Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers 13 7 33
Forward Kevin Garnett, Boston 15 3 33

2010-11 NBA ALL-DEFENSIVE SECOND TEAM

Position, Player, Team 1st 2nd Points

Guard Tony Allen, Memphis 7 9 23
Guard Chris Paul, New Orleans 6 6 18
Center Tyson Chandler, Dallas 3 11 17
Forward Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 5 5 15
Forward/Center Joakim Noah, Chicago 3 9 15

Read More: All Defense, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo,
Game 4 officials: Monty McCutchen, Tony Brothers, Derrick Stafford at 11:58 am ET
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The NBA announced the referee crew for Game 4 of the Celtics‘ playoff series with the Heat, and it consists of Monty McCutchen, Tony Brothers and Derrick Stafford. Rodney Mott is the alternate.

McCutchen was on the TD Garden court for the Celtics’ 87-85 comeback victory over the Knicks in Game 1 of the first round on April 17. That game featured a couple a couple of controversial calls that went the Celtics’ way. McCutchen called Carmelo Anthony for an offensive foul for pushing off Paul Pierce while trying to get room to receive the ball with 21 seconds left and the Knicks holding a one-point lead. Then, when Knicks guard Toney Douglas tripped over Kevin Garnett‘s leg on a screen while Ray Allen hit the game-winning shot, no foul was called.

In the last three playoff games McCutchen has officiated this postseason (Mavericks-Trail Blazers on April 28, Hawks-Bulls on May 2, Mavericks-Lakers on May 4), the visiting team has won.

Brothers has refereed four games this postseason, all wins by the home team. He officiated the Heat in the first round, a 97-91 victory over the 76ers on April 27 that ended that series in five games.

Stafford will be officiating a Celtics game for the first time this postseason. According to former referee Tim Donaghy, Stafford has had some issues with the Heat in past years. Donaghy wrote in his book about his gambling problems that Stafford “despised Heat coach Pat Riley” in reference to a 2007 game between the Heat and Knicks, although Donaghy’s assertion that Stafford was biased in that game was debunked by reporters’ analysis. Riley now is Miami’s team president.

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Stafford, Kevin Garnett, Monty McCutchen
Kevin Garnett’s blog: ‘You got a flash of what we got’ 05.08.11 at 2:37 pm ET
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After submitting his most dominant playoff game in a Celtics uniform, Kevin Garnett published an entry in his Anta blog. Here’s the entire post.

Fight night tonight! Big game tonight and props to my boy No. 9 [Rajon Rondo] fighting back from injury. Team was in sync and ball moved well. We got big stops when we needed it. P2 [Paul Pierce] fought through cramps tonight, so props to him as well. Thanks to ZICO [coconut water] for getting me through the fourth quarter! No cramps and felt good.

Having the Big Shamrock [Shaquille O’Neal] with us was big, and everyone played a role! If you watched the game, you got a flash of what we got left. Felt good and had on the new Antas!!!!

Keep believing in us and Reach higher.

Garnett’s 28 points in the 97-81 Game 3 victory against the Heat tied for his second-highest total in green — and best since the 2008 Eastern Conference semifinals. His 18 rebounds set a new high for his Celtics career. As he did in his blog, Garnett deflected praise to his teammates in his postgame press conference.

“I’ve been in a zone, and that wasn’t it,” he said. “Man, I’ve been in a zone, and that wasn’t it. I had a nice rhythm going. Guys looked for me. I had Rondo and Paul encouraging me. Like I said, I’ve got to continue to be aggressive. It gives us a force and another source of scoring. At the same time, I can’€™t lose my focus on trying to slow [Chris] Bosh down and making sure that that is even ground.”

Equally as impressive as his offensive output was Garnett’s defense. He held Bosh to six points on 1-of-6 shooting and five rebounds in 30 minutes of Game 3 action. The Heat forward had averaged a double-double and outplayed Garnett in the first two games.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Miami Heat, Paul Pierce
Kevin Garnett proves he is the modern-day Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at 1:00 am ET
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The doubters were out in force following Game 2 against the Heat when Kevin Garnett was held to six points and eight rebounds in over 37 minutes in a loss that put Boston in a 2-0 hole. This came after a fairly pedestrian 16 points and six rebounds in 37 minutes in a Game 1 loss.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra knew it was just a matter of time before Garnett exploded. Saturday night was that time – and specifically the third quarter. KG hit seven-of-eight shots from the field in scoring 14 of his game-high 28 in a 97-81 Game 3 win over the Heat.

‘€œKareem Abdul-Jabbar. That’€™s what it reminds me of,” Spoelstra beamed afterward. “He’€™s too proud of a player, talk about an MVP, one of the best players in this league, as soon as he stepped on the court as a rookie 14 years ago.”

Garnett added 18 rebounds to go with his 28 points on 13-of-20 shooting in 38 minutes.

‘€œI thought tonight I was just a lot more poised,” Garnett said. “Just as a unit, as a team we had a lot more energy. I felt like I’€™ve been nonexistent pretty much offensively in this series. Tonight was a little more focused on offense versus defense. I thought I did a good job of balancing out to be honest. I looked for my shot to be honest. They weren’€™t bringing a double team so I just took my opportunities and I was aggressive. That’€™s what I’€™ve got to be like for the rest of these series if not the whole playoffs.’€

Still – to Spoelstra – he couldn’t help but think of Kareem when he saw KG Saturday night dismantle his team.

“For the revisionist out there, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar when everyone threw dirt on him in the finals against Boston, he came out the next night and had 37 [points] and 15 [rebounds],” Spoelstra said of Kareem’s 1985 Game 2 performance that helped the Lakers beat the Celtics in six. For the record, Kareem had 30 points, 17 rebounds, eight assists, one steal and three blocks in a 109-102 win at Boston Garden.

“And while all this fuel was going on the last three days, I was cringing because you know this is a proud group, and you knew they would have a response which is fine. If we’€™re going to go where we want to go to, we have to outplay them when they are at their best. They’€™re going to be at their best, and we feel that our best game is good enough, and we were not at our best game tonight certainly, you have to give them credit.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 NBA Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Erik Spoelstra, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Speaking with the Enemy: Celtics vs. Heat 05.06.11 at 2:36 pm ET
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In advance of Saturday night’s Game 3 between the Celtics and Heat at the TD Garden (8 p.m.), we caught up with David Dwork at the ‘€œPeninsula is Mightier‘€ blog. He answered our six most pressing questions as the C’s attempt to climb their way out of a 2-0 hole …

How confident are Miami fans with this 2-0 lead against the Celtics?

I think that Heat fans are feeling pretty good after taking the first two games of the series. Considering our history against the Celtics over the past several years I think it’s safe to say that while there is some obvious confidence that comes with a 2-0 series lead, Miami fans are certainly wary of how quickly things can change. Heat fans do know, however, after watching this team grow and improve throughout the course of the season, that if they continue to play well and don’€™t fall into a funk, Miami should win this series.

Who gets credit for the Heat playing their best basketball at the right time?

No one person gets the credit for the Heat playing as well as they are. The team as a whole has been working extremely hard since training camp to get acclimated to playing with one another, learning the offensive playbook and defensive system that Erik Spoelstra and his coaching staff put together — and doing it on the fly during the season, regardless of whether it was during practice, home games or on the road in very hostile environments. This has been a total team effort, and they all equally deserve credit.

Will Miami’s role players (i.e., James Jones & Joel Anthony) be this productive all series?

Joel Anthony has been playing this role all season, and as he has done over the past few years he is only going to continue to get better. Whether it be in the starting lineup or coming off the bench, Anthony has been a defensive monster for Miami. Blocking shots and shutting down the painted area is what he has become known for, but his help defense is what has really gotten my attention in the postseason. Also, while he has a very limited offensive game, his hard work during practice and in the video room combined with his non-stop hustle has him suddenly setting picks like a seasoned veteran.  He has quietly become an all-around defensive specialist and has earned the fans respect, getting chants of M-V-P.

Other role players such as James Jones, Mario Chalmers and even Mike Miller are finding ways to produce for the Heat and give them solid minutes on both ends of the floor. All three have shown they can hit big outside shots, but on this team you earn your stripes playing defense and that is where they have really stepped up their game.

What’s the difference between the Dwyane Wade we’re seeing now and the one that struggled against the Celtics in the regular season?

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James
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