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Ray Allen, C’s knew what was coming 10.27.10 at 2:21 am ET
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The Heat played right into the hands of the Celtics all night long — and right into the teeth of their defense.

LeBron James finished with a game-high 31 points, but he, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined to make only 17-of-48 shots.

And Ray Allen, who defended Wade much of the night and held him to 4-of-16 shooting, explained exactly how the Celtics were able to defend Miami in an 88-80 win in the season-opener at TD Garden.

The Celtics knew coming in that with James and Wade, the Heat were going to run isolation plays all night to try and get their two scoring stars going.

“We had a great swarm,” Allen said. “Everybody was in position. We talked on defense. We knew every play they were running so when they ran it, [Rajon] Rondo was right there, there was no gap. There was nowhere for LeBron to go and then we were coming back out for the shooters. There was one stretch where we were letting those corner 3s [be taken] and we have to do a better job of letting them have those shots.”

Then there was this from Glen Davis, who along with Shaquille O’Neal was making life miserable in the paint for the Heat all night.

“We had seen every thing they run. and they run a lot of iso,” Davis said of isolation plays for James and Wade. “And the one thing about iso is you can guard that by throwing two or three guys at them.”

Miami, which made just 11-of-41 shots in the first half, finished the game shooting a measly 36.5 percent, connecting on 27-of-74 attempts. The two players primarily responsible for guarding James were Paul Pierce and Marquis Daniels. Allen was on Wade and Garnett drew Bosh.

“I thought we’re a defensive team that can score the basketball,” Kevin Garnett said. “Paul has his hands full, I have my hands full, Ray Allen had his hands full. Those three are going to be a force to be reckoned with. With know that. Very talented guys, but it’s not one, two, three individuals that make a team. It definitely sets the foundation.

“But for the most part every time we touch the floor it’s about getting better. I thought tonight we did just that. We’ve got a lot of room to improve, but it’s the first night, a lot of expectations on tonight. But for the most part I thought we were solid enough to win, and we want to be better at home. What a way to start the year, with a win at home.”

The Celtics will try to continue their “swarm” when they play their first road game of the year on Wednesday night in Cleveland, serving as the opposition in the Cavaliers’ first game without LeBron James.

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Bill Simmons on D&C: Heat ‘not ready’ to win Eastern Conference 10.26.10 at 4:17 pm ET
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Bill Simmons

Bill Simmons

Bill Simmons joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to discuss the Celtics’ heavily hyped season-opener against the Heat. Simmons talked about LeBron James and his new crew in Miami and how the Big Three in South Beach will fare this season.

He also talked about the Celtics’ chances for success in the 2010-11 season. Simmons said that Paul Pierce is the player the team could least afford to lose.

“Pierce is the guys who can guard the other small forward, the guy who can take over a little bit at the end of the game. I even think they could survive a Rondo injury. … Pierce is the guy who they’d really feel it.”

Below are some highlights from the interview. To listen to the full audio visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Do you buy into the corporate lie that the Celtics are telling, that the regular season really means more to them this year than it did last year, because hell, had they won five or six more games in the regular season, the seventh game [of the NBA finals] would have been in Boston last year?  Isn’t this an aging veteran team that just needs to get to the playoffs healthy?

That’s a good question, John Dennis. I don’t believe them. I do think the one difference between last year’s team and this year’s team is they have a bench. And when you have a bench, you can win games that maybe — last year’s team, the starters, they didn’t show up, the team was not going to win. And I think you’ll see when Delonte [West] comes back — I’ve got to say I was shocked by how good Delonte looked in the preseason. I thought out of everything I watched, that was the one thing I didn’t expect.

He just was bad last year. Obviously, it started out with him riding on a motorcycle with guns, and he got suspended and missed preseason and just was never what he was in 2008, when he was the second-best player on a team that almost bear the Celtics. I think that he is back to where he was, from what I saw. And when you see him and Nate [Robinson] come off the bench, I actually think that’s a backcourt that can swing a game for six, seven minutes. Then you throw in Big Baby [Glen Davis], who’s in fantastic shape. I’m not crazy about Jermaine O’Neal, obviously, but if he’s your 10th man, that’s not a terrible thing.

I just think the difference with last year vs. this year is Paul Pierce can go 5-for-19 in Detroit or Philly or wherever and they can still win the game because they have other guys.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Celtics practice what Doc preaches 10.23.10 at 4:08 pm ET
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Coach Perk?

Coach Perk? (AP)

The Celtics went through a hard practice at Waltham Saturday. This was a different sort of workout than the one they endured Friday, which stretched out past three hours. As the curtain lifted, they were going through a scrimmage, complete with refs and all the intensity you would expect from a regular season game.

“It was the best practice we’ve had in a while,” Doc Rivers said. “It was good to see. Following yesterday’s fiasco of a practice, I thought today was phenomenal.”

But what really stood out was the sight of Kendrick Perkins, whiteboard in hand, drawing up a play for the second team (usually referred to as the White Team for their jerseys, as opposed to the starters, who wear green). The play was for Von Wafer to come off a back pick, but it didn’t go according to plan.

“We needed a 3 at the time,” coach Perk explained. “We were down six. So I went with a Doc play. We didn’t execute it right.”

This whole exercise was by design. It’s something Rivers learned from Mike Fratello when he played for him in Atlanta. “I saw  something during the game,” Rivers said. “We came into the huddle and I said we’ve got to run this. We did it and we won the game, but that was the last time he let me do it.”

Rivers has tried this out with his players at various times — Gabe Pruitt called up a game-winner a few years back — and the benefits work both ways.

“You see a lot when you’re hurt and on the sidelines,” Perkins said. “You put yourself in the coach’s shoes and see what they’re going through. I’m just trying to install it in my head so when I get in there I won’t make the same mistakes.”

“You learn a lot,” Rivers said. “You see what they’re thinking. You see who they think should take the shots. Who they think can make plays. What they learn is they get frustrated when guys don’t execute. That’s how I feel the whole game. It’s good learning tool for everybody.”

Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen usually take the honors for the Green Team, Rivers said, while Perkins, Glen Davis and Delonte West often take charge of the White Team. So who calls the best plays?

“Ray,” Rivers said. “Because it’s always for him. Rondo and Ray are pretty darn good.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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Kevin Garnett on Celtic pride, Beverly Cleary at 3:29 pm ET
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Beverly Cleary as inspiration.

Beverly Cleary as inspiration.

You never know what you’re going to get from Kevin Garnett in an interview setting. Some days he might be terse. Other days he may be expansive. On Saturday after the C’s went through practice, KG was in a chatty mood.

The subject was Celtic pride, and more specifically, the standard that he, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were able to instill with the team when they joined forces in 2007.

“We’ve done a good job of policing ourselves, making sure the standard that we’ve built,” Garnett said. “I can’t speak on other franchises other than one that I played with, but I know that when you come in here and you look up and see all the retired numbers and banners and see the dedication and the sweat and tears that have been poured into this club, that’s a responsibility.”

Wanting to keep the conversation going, I mentioned that when veterans come to the Celtics, they find that attitude refreshing. That was when KG dropped a reference to noted children’s author Beverly Cleary.

“Think about it,” Garnett said. “You’re a writer. If you looked up to Beverly Cleary and different writers who were monumental and whatever it is that inspired you, and you come into their office or to their desk or type at their typewriter, if you have any kind of passion, I don’t know you personally, but if you have any kind of passion about something and you were able to put yourself in their place while they were writing their stories, then you would feel that. It’s no different from basketball. It’s a very prideful thing. It’s a very honorable thing.”

For the record, your correspondent is more of a F. Scott Fitzgerald man, but point taken.

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KG: Celtics-Heat definitely a ‘soap opera’ 10.19.10 at 8:50 pm ET
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Ray Allen has always had a special way with words.

He knows exactly how to say something with a smile and deliver the right tone and most importantly – the right message.

His message following Tuesday night’s intrasquad “Green-White” scrimmage at TD Garden was: Everyone knows we’re a team. Everyone wants to find out if Miami is, too.

“I believe so because there’s never been an opening game that has been more heavily anticipated,” Allen said. “I do believe that people are definitely excited to see them more than they’re excited about about seeing us. Truly they know, as a team, what we represent. The two teams are Eastern Conference powerhouses. It’s going to be a game.”

That game will be played next Tuesday night at TD Garden as LeBron James makes his official debut with the Heat, along with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

“I think with the anticipation [after] our exiting the finals last year and then with the new additions to Miami, they overly hyped the game,” Kevin Garnett added. “Yeah, I can see this has a lot of episodes, a lot of drama, if you will. It will have a lot of soap opera feel to it. Days of Our Lives, Another World, Santa Barbara.

“My grandmother was a big, big soap opera fan so it was either go outside or sit in there with her so I know that schedule quite well.”

The Celtics and Miami Heat are getting ready to open the season next Tuesday night at TD Garden in one of the most anticipated regular season games in NBA history.

Allen played Tuesday for the Green squad, which captured a 38-31 victory in an enhanced practice before season ticket holders and VIPs. The Celtics conclude their preseason Wednesday night against New Jersey at the Garden before opening the NBA season next Tuesday against the Heat, also at TD Garden.

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Player’s union plans legal challenge to techs 10.14.10 at 9:33 pm ET
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Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBA player’s union, said in a statement that the union would mount a legal challenge against the league’s crackdown on technical fouls. Hunter added that the players were not consulted about the rule change before it was implemented.

Here’s the statement:

“We have not seen any increase in the level of ‘complaining’ to the officials and we believe that players as a whole have demonstrated appropriate behavior toward the officials. Worse yet, to the extent the harsher treatment from the referees leads to a stifling of the players’ passion and exuberance for their work, we fear these changes may actually harm our product. The changes were made without proper consultation with the Players Association, and we intend to file an appropriate legal challenge.””

The union’s move comes on the heels of Kevin Garnett’s ejection Wednesday during the Celtics exhibition game with the Knicks. Garnett was issued two quick technical fouls just before the end of the first half.

(For more on Garnett’s ejection and how the new rules affect the Celtics, click here).

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Technically speaking, Celtics need to adjust at 9:58 am ET
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Kendrick Perkins discusses a technical foul with the referees during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals in Orlando. (AP)

Kendrick Perkins discusses a technical foul with the referees during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals in Orlando. (AP)

Kevin Garnett picked up two technical fouls in a matter of seconds Wednesday night and was ejected before the end of the first half in the Celtics exhibition game with the Knicks. Moments earlier, Jermaine O’Neal picked up his own technical foul. According to O’Neal, he was trying to get a clarification on an offensive foul that had been whistled against him.

The Knicks’ Timofey Mozgov got one later for saying something in Russian.

The Celtics have racked up nine technicals in five preseason games under the NBA’s new harsher guidelines for issuing technicals. Among the areas of emphasis as spelled out by True Hoop:

• Players making aggressive gestures, such as air punches, anywhere on the court.

• Demonstrative disagreement, such as when a player incredulously raises his hands, or smacks his own arm to demonstrate how he was fouled.

• Running directly at an official to complain about a call.

• Excessive inquiries about a call, even in a civilized tone.

Additionally, the NBA has also doubled the amount of fines for getting T’s. It will now cost players and coaches $2,000 for each of the first five, $3,000 each for the next five, $4,000 each for 11-15 and $5,000 for any above 15 and players are also subject to a one-game suspension for every two over 15 technicals.

The NBA stopped short of calling this new stricter enforcement the Rasheed Wallace Rule, but they may have had him and Kendrick Perkins in mind. The Celtics have been the NBA’s most T’d up team two years running. (The number of technicals actually went down last season with Sheed).

2009-10: 107 (First)

2008-09: 117 (First)

2007-08: 97 (Second, Indiana was first)

The year before Garnett joined the Celtics, they ranked 22nd with 65 technicals. That’s not all on Garnett obviously, but with his addition the Celtics became an attacking, nasty, defensive-minded team. The T’s naturally followed from there.

The NBA tried to crackdown on players in 2006-07 and it didn’t take, so there is a natural inclination to believe that the new stricter guidelines won’t last this time either. There have been minor flare-ups around the league this preseason, but Wednesday night’s action may be the tipping point because it involved a player of Garnett’s stature and it happened in New York with the eyes of the basketball media watching.

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski sliced and diced the league this morning.

It’s safe to assume that there will be much discussion about the new technical rules before the start of the regular season, but it’s hard to imagine the NBA will back down, at least not publicly. The league has been holding off the record seminars before preseason games with reporters to discuss the new rules, but issuing technicals is still, and always has been, a subjective matter.

To that end, Doc Rivers told reporters Wednesday night that his team would simply have to adjust. “Listen,” Rivers said. “The rules are the rules and we have to have more discipline.”

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