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Adrian Wojnarowski on D&C: ‘No easy path back’ to contention for Celtics 04.29.13 at 9:04 am ET
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Adrian Wojnarowski

Adrian Wojnarowski

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the Celtics and the NBA playoffs.

The league’s two most successful franchises, the Celtics and Lakers, have become also-rans, and the future is not promising for either team.

“There’s no question there’s been a changing of the guard in the league,” Wojnarowski said. “You look at both teams, the Lakers and Boston, it’s going to be a while before either is in contention again. It’s hard to rebuild in this league, and it doesn’t happen quickly unless you draft LeBron [James] or Kevin Durant. It’s going to take a while, and I think both organizations have to face that reality, because we aren’t going to see these two in the finals again in the foreseeable future, that’s for sure.”

Wojnarowski said the the Celtics have a better front office than the Lakers and a more appealing coach in Doc Rivers, but the Lakers are more likely to return to prominence first because of the appeal of Los Angeles.

“If the Lakers have cap space, they’re always a team that’s going to attract the best player on the market,” Wojnarowski said. “I think Boston, as long as Doc is there and Doc is coaching, I think Boston is very attractive to players, more so to the elite players. But even then, Chris Paul didn’t want to come when they talked deals. It’s not LA.”

Wojnarowski said he thinks the Celtics will attempt to rebuild around Rajon Rondo, but they need some fortuitous moves to get out of the middle.

“That’s the worst place to be in the NBA — stuck in the middle,” Wojnarowski said. “You want to be really good or really bad. That’s the fear is you don’t want to get stuck in that middle place, because you can’t get out of it. You become Milwaukee, fighting for the eighth seed. You don’t want that.

“But I do think, though, the emergence of Jeff Green this year, you’ve seen that they can lean on him to do more and be a different kind of player. Listen, a year ago you didn’t know what his career was going to look like, with the heart ailment. And then this year you saw him become a much more explosive and reliable player. I think that’s a bonus for them. You look back at the Kendrick Perkins deal, and certainly it looks a lot better in hindsight than it did to people initially. But there’s no easy path back for them.”

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Heat stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh expected to play Friday vs. short-handed Celtics 04.12.13 at 12:29 pm ET
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Heat superstars Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are well aware of the Celtics' championship pedigree. (AP)

Heat superstars Dwyane Wade and LeBron James have been nursing ailments but should be in the lineup Friday. (AP)

Heat stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all have missed games recently due to injuries, illness or perhaps needed rest. However, all three are expected to be in the lineup Friday night when the Celtics pay a visit to Miami.

While James (strained right hamstring), Wade (right knee bone bruises) and Bosh (flu-like symptoms) are expected back, Shane Battier (assorted aches) and Udonis Haslem (sprained ankle) are out.

Wade has missed the past six games for the Heat, who already have clinched the top seed in the East.

“I’m feeling good,” Wade told The Associated Press on Thursday. “The toughest part is mentally more so than physically. I played two weeks with it and eventually I felt it getting a little worse and I said, ‘OK, I’ve got to shut it down.’ ”

The Celtics likely will be without Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (both with ankle soreness). Both are targeted to return for Saturday’s game against the Magic in Orlando.

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Irish Coffee: Why does LeBron James do stuff like this? 04.11.13 at 2:29 pm ET
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LBJ

Just when you’re thinking, “Hey, maybe LeBron James isn’t so bad after all,” he goes and pulls a stunt like this. Of all the weird stuff he’s done in the past, this might be the strangest. Guess he isn’t the total package after all.

Dude, you’re the best basketball player on the planet. We get it. You won the NBA title, and you’re probably going to win it again. Same goes for the MVP. But that doesn’t mean we want to see you in your spandex. Twice. By the way, was he really working out like that, or did he strip down to take the picture of himself? No wonder none of his teammates are in the gym working out with him. Seriously, I would’ve thought this was a joke if it wasn’t LeBron.

By the way, when’s the last time you saw Garnett tweeting a picture of himself working out? Over his dead body. I don’t know how he and Pierce let Doc talk them into not playing against this weirdo Friday night.

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Doc Rivers: ‘Of course’ Celtics want to avoid Heat in playoffs.. ‘I’m not that dumb’ 04.06.13 at 1:39 am ET
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Not that there was much of a doubt to begin with but Doc Rivers made it very clear after Friday’s 97-91 loss to the Cavaliers (which snapped Cleveland’s 10-game losing streak) that he wants no part of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

Thanks to the Bucks loss in New York to the Knicks Friday night, the Celtics (39-37) are two games up in the loss column on Milwaukee for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with just six games left.

Does he pay attention to the standings?

“I do but I don’t,” Rivers said in his best hedging language. “I really don’t. I know we’re in the seventh spot. I know we want to stay out of the eighth spot.

So, Rivers is actually admitting he wants avoid the Heat?

“Of course we would,” Rivers admitted when asked that very question. “But if we play them, we’ll be ready. But of course we would. Listen, I’m not that dumb. I’m not the brightest guy but come on. Really, you would love to avoid anyone [like Miami]. Listen, no matter who we play, we’re going to play a tough team. It’s going to be New York, Indiana or Miami. There’s no cakewalk for us. It’s going to be hard.”

To Rivers point, the Celtics are 1-3 this year against New York, 1-2 against Miami and 2-0 against Indiana. The Celtics play the Heat next weekend in Miami and the Pacers at the Garden on April 16.

Rivers was asked if he’s going out of his way to avoid playing his stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to get them as physically ready for the playoffs as possible. But Rivers said trainer Ed Lacerte took that decision out of his hands just before Friday’s game.

“No, I wanted Paul to play [against Cleveland] but he couldn’t, honestly,” Rivers said. “I would’ve played him if he could have. But right [before game] when Eddie said Paul’s [ankle] was swollen, that was an easy decision.”

Celtics coach Doc Rivers admitted after Friday night’s 97-91 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden that he is watching the standings and wants to avoid finishing eighth in the Eastern conference and a first round match up with the defending world champion Miami Heat. Rivers however stressed that whoever the Celtics face if it’s the Indiana Pacers or New York Knicks, it will be a tough matchup.

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Pat Riley to Danny Ainge: ‘Shut the F— up and manage’ the Celtics 03.29.13 at 7:11 pm ET
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Miami Heat president Pat Riley didn’t take kindly to what his counterpart in Boston told WEEI on Thursday.

Danny Ainge told WEEI’s Salk & Holley he thought it bordered on embarrassing that LeBron James would complain about foul calls in Miami’s 27-game streak-ending loss to the Bulls Wednesday night.

Palm Beach Post columnist Ethan J. Skolnick was among the first to tweet Riley’s official reaction, delivered to the media by a team official: “Danny Ainge needs to shut the f— up and manage his own team. He was the biggest whiner going when he was playing and I know that because I coached against him.”

James was far more mild-mannered.

“I’m not surprised about anything that comes from Boston,” Skolnick tweeted.

Ainge delivered his response to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

“We’re both right,” Ainge said. “LeBron should stop complaining and I should manage my own team.”

Celtics coach Doc Rivers has his own unique perspective. He played for Pat Riley with the Knicks at the end of his career. He tells stories of how tough Riley was on his own players and their conditioning. Rivers also played against Ainge in the prime of his career, when Ainge was on the Celtics and Rivers was on the Celtics.

“Yeah, I think it’s funny,” Rivers said. “I think it’s very interesting. I can relate. It’s cool. I think they should duke it out.”

Does Friday’s exchange add anything to the Celtics-Heat rivalry?

“Not unless they’re playing,” Rivers said. “Really. I just think it’s just talk both ways. I’ll just let those two grown men handle their own grown men argument. I’m going to stay out of it. On a side note, it gives me a smile and it’s interesting. I think it’s fun. It’s a flashback.”

Rivers wasn’t about to pass judgement either way on the fouls called on James at the end of the game with the Bulls on Wednesday.

“I did see those fouls,” Rivers said, before being asked what he thought. “I don’t know. I’m going to stay out of it.”

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

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Ainge: ‘Embarrassing’ for LeBron to complain about officiating 03.28.13 at 5:54 pm ET
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Danny Ainge (AP)

Danny Ainge (AP)

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his weekly appearance with “Salk & Holley” Thursday afternoon on WEEI, and was asked for his take on LeBron James and the officiating in Wednesday’s game between the Heat and the Bulls, a contest where Miami’s 27-game win streak came to an end.

In the game — a physical affair that saw the Bulls try and get physical with the Heat, including one hard shot from Kirk Heinrich on James — James was hit with a flagrant foul 1 for a shot he put on Chicago’s Carlos Boozer. After the game, the Miami star unleashed on the officials, saying he was just trying to defend himself.

“It’s been happening all year, and I’ve been able to keep my cool and try to tell [Heat coach Erik Spoelstra], ‘Let’s not worry about it,’ ” James told reporters. “But it is getting to me a little bit. Every time I try to defend myself, I’ve got to face the consequences of a flagrant or a technical foul or whatever the case may be. It’s tough. It’s very tough.”

“I think the referees got the calls right. I don’t think it was a hard foul,” Ainge said of the mixups involving James and Heinrich, as well as another one involving James and Taj Gibson. “I think the one involving LeBron against Boozer, that was flagrant. I think the officials got it right.

“I think that it’s almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating,” Ainge added.

For more Celtics coverage, check out weei.com/celtics.

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Jason Terry on M&M: Celtics will see Heat in postseason, ‘and it’s going to be be fireworks’ 03.22.13 at 2:24 pm ET
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Jason Terry

Jason Terry

Celtics guard Jason Terry spoke with Mut & Merloni on Friday afternoon from Dallas, where he’s preparing to play against his former team, and talked about the C’s mindset following Wednesday’s disappointing loss as well as his reaction to the LeBron James dunk that made Terry fodder on the Internet.

“I’m going to be fired up,” Terry said of Friday night’s matchup against the Mavericks. “This is a big game for us — not only for me, but for our team. We dropped one in New Orleans, we definitely shouldn’t have lost to them. We’ve got to get back and get things rolling.”

Terry said coach Doc Rivers stressed the need for better focus following Wednesday’s 87-86 loss to the Hornets.

“It’s all about learning at this point, learning how to close and finish ballgames,” Terry said. “Especially when you’re up 10, 15 points. You have to keep it going. We kind of went into cruise control mode. We got lackluster, especially with our execution. We just don’t have that luxury. Rajon Rondo‘s not coming back. So we have to do it by committee and we all have to take ownership and take pride in executing and finishing games, on both ends of the floor.

“We’ve learned from that, we watched a lot of film, and Doc ripped us a new one today in shootaround. So, just expect us to bounce back tonight and be more efficient when we do get the lead.”

Terry was posterized by James in Monday’s loss to the Heat. James later said he enjoyed the dunk because of his personal rivalry with trash-talking Terry. The dunk earned legendary status on the Internet.

“[The way] social media is today, it’s just unbelievable,” Terry said. “But I will say, I did get a kick out of the one when I was in a coffin, laying in the coffin, and the pallbearers were [Kevin Garnett] and Paul Pierce. That was hilarious. It’s all in fun, it’s all in the spirit of the sport.

“But I’ll tell you right now, I would love to see Miami in the playoffs, because the road to the championship goes through the champion. We’re fired up. We love that matchup.”

Terry said his issue is more with the Heat than LeBron. Terry’s Mavericks lost to the Heat in the 2006 NBA finals and got revenge in the 2011 rematch.

“It’s just the Miami Heat,” Terry said. “Is it the red and black? Maybe. I hate that color. I just don’t like them. … It goes back to ’05-06. It doesn’t matter who’s in those Miami Heat uniforms. … [The Mavericks were] up 2-0 and [the Heat] come back and win four straight games and you lose the NBA finals. So, LeBron inherited something bigger than the matchup of he and I. It’s about the Miami Heat and that organization. He picked his poison.

“They put him on me to shut me down in the NBA finals in 2011 and he couldn’t get the job done. Hopefully he’ll have another chance this year in the Eastern Conference finals or wherever we match up. But I’m telling you right now, I love us, I love the way we’re built. We miss Rondo, we miss [Jared] Sullinger, but with this team we have, we have a chance.”

Added Terry: “You know at some point — I don’t want to say that it’s fixed — I think it’s going to happen. We are going to see them, and it’s going to be fireworks.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics.

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