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Sobe Kobe… 02.05.09 at 1:43 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics are not in awe of Kobe Bryant.

That simple message was delivered at Thursday morning’s shoot-around here in Waltham, mere hours before they take on the reigning NBA MVP and his Lakers on the parquet of the TD Banknorth Garden.

That, and we’re not changing what we do just for Kobe.

“We just play him,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers announced. “We don’t have any Kobe rules or anything like that. We play our defense every night. We literally don’t change our style. Rarely, we may change them for a possession here or there, but you just try to keep him in front of you and wish for the best of luck because he’s tough. If it were easy to defend him, he wouldn’t be Kobe.”

Yes, Pau Gasol is starting to emerge as a scoring force alongside Kobe as they pick up the slack for their injured big man Andrew Bynum.

“They’re a good basketball team,” Rivers said. “They’re no different. Obviously, they miss Bynum’s length but they’re going to get through the regular season and get him back for the playoffs and they’ll be fine. Kobe has clearly picked it up the last couple of games but so has Gasol. Gasol has had 31 points the last couple of games himself.”

Yes, Kobe has gone off for a combined 97 points against the 21-27 Knicks and the 19-32 Raptors this week.

“We didn’t play in any of those games that we know of,” Rivers keenly observed. “We can’t do anything about that. That’s the way we always look at that. Let’s hope he doesn’t score 97 tonight. That would be very important for us trying to win this game, I can tell you that.”

Ask Rajon Rondo and the Celtics point guard is quick (and right) to point out that the Knicks have just as much to do with the 61 Kobe scored on Monday at MSG as anything else.

“He’s a great player,” Rondo said. “Sixty-one doesn’t happen all the time in the league but a lot of great scorers go off at times. That was transistion game he played against the Knicks. LeBron had 52 last night. That’s just the style (the Knicks) play.”

And yes, the Los Angeles Lakers come to town tonight with a Western Conference-best 39-9 mark, winners of four straight, playing on the same court they suffered their most humiliating loss in franchise history, that 39-point quit job last June in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

“I’m sure they’ve seen it enough,” Rivers said. “I’m sure no one’s run that on TV at all. Well, they should be. Why wouldn’t they be? They’ll be up for the game. We’ll be up for the game.”

Therein lies the key difference between the Celtics and the Lakers. The Lakers are all about superstars, albeit great scoring superstars, but individuals nonetheless. The Celtics, during their second double-digit winning streak of the season, have built their dominance around defense.

Yes, the Celtics are weakened a little by the flu bug that has run through Kevin Garnett and the rest of the team.

“He felt strong,” Rivers said of Garnett at this morning’s shootaround in Waltham. “He’s fine. We’ll find out tonight. It’s easy to feel strong in a shoot-around but when you’re running up and down the floor when you haven’t done it, that’s a different story. I think there are six guys on Z-Paks, probably all due to Kevin, who knows.”

Z-Paks, for those who didn’t go to medical or pharmaceutical school, are antibiotics given to help those fighting off viruses.

The Celtics will want to be at full strength as they try to ward off Kobe and the Lakers.

Read More: Andrew Bynum, Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
Celtics-Raptors Game Blog Second Quarter 11.10.08 at 6:15 pm ET
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Ok so that wasn’t pretty. The Celtics are down 48-36 at the end of the first half and are basically getting beat by one player … Jermaine O’Neal. JO has 19 points and eight rebounds in just 17 minutes. Next in line is Joey Graham with eight points and Chris Bosh has six. The Celtics have not had an answer for JO on either end of the court. Kevin Garnett has 11 points and 4 defensive rebounds while Perk is scoreless with one board. If the Celtics are going to get back into this game, they are going to have to step up their low post game to counter JO’s assault. Adding insult to injury, the Celtics are shooting 32%.

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Read More: Big Baby, Celtics, Chris Bosh, eddie house
Halftime Notes and Numbers 10.31.08 at 6:17 pm ET
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At the half … Celtics 49, Bulls 31

  • Kevin Garnett leads all scorers with 16 points. Derrick Rose leads the Bulls with 10.
  • The Celtics outscored the Bulls 30-12 in the paint.
  • The Celtics also outrebounded the Bulls 27-23. KG pulled down seven boards.
  • Tyrus Thomas and Luol Deng shot a combined 2-for-17.
  • Leon Powe scored seven points in seven minutes off the bench. Ben Gordon was scoreless in nearly 12 minutes as a reserve.
Read More: Ben Gordon, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose
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