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LeBron: Rondo has made ‘The Board’ 02.26.10 at 2:39 pm ET
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Before every game, NBA coaches and their assistants place the names of players to contain on a board as part of the game plan.

LeBron James said there was a time –  just two seasons ago when his Cavaliers came to Boston – that it was the big three and that was it.

But it’s obvious now that they need to add a fourth name: Rajon Rondo.

He showed why in the first quarter on Thursday night, with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor and six assists as the Celtics raced out to a 31-21 lead. James stopped short of saying Rondo has become the most important Celtic but not by much.

“I don’t know if I can say that,” James began. “When you scout for Boston, there are certain guys that make that board before the game, these type of guys you have to stop and he’s one of those guys.

“First couple of years here in Boston, he wasn’t on that board. He was fast point guard, you have to get back but other than that you didn’t talk about him, you didn’t talk about Rondo.”

[Click here to hear LeBron talk about Rondo.]

Rondo earned his first All-Star berth this winter and players like King James have taken note.

“Last year, he made a name for himself and he makes that board when you’re talking about, ‘This is what we’re doing again Paul, this is what we’re doing against Ray and this is what we’re doing against KG and this is what we’re doing against Rondo.’ When you make that board, you’re definitely a very good player.”

As for whether Rondo can get the Celtics back in gear and challenge the 45-14 Cavaliers, that remains to be seen. But James isn’t taking the Celtics lightly, even after a 20-point win on Thursday at TD Garden.

“They’re a very good team,” James said. “No one doubts Boston. No one who ever comes into this building or plays Boston on the road doubts that team. They have too many weapons, they’re too experienced. They have a good coach, a good coaching staff. No one ever doubts them and you better play well or they can embarrass you.”

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King James finally holds court in Boston at 1:20 am ET
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Before Thursday, LeBron James had pretty much mastered every opponent on every court in the NBA.

The lone exception was Boston. Including four games of the 2008 playoffs, the Celtics had beaten Cleveland nine straight on the parquet. And after one quarter, the Celtics certainly appeared headed for No. 10 with a 31-21 lead. But that’s when the Cavaliers, and specifically James and teammate Mo Williams, said enough was enough.

James had 36 and Williams canned four of his five 3-pointers in the second half as the Cavs ran away from the Celtics, 108-88, at TD Garden.

Afterward, he spoke to the great play of his team in the second half, what it was like to finally win in Boston and picking up the slack for the injured Shaquille O’Neal.

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Help defense on King James 02.25.10 at 8:57 pm ET
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Doc Rivers hinted before Thursday’s game with Cleveland that he planned to employ several different defensive strategies on LeBron James, including using one of his best big defenders on the big guard.

With Paul Pierce out for the second straight game with a sprained thumb and Marquis Daniels weakened with flu-like symptoms, Rivers was forced to get creative to come up with ways to defend the 6-8 swingman.

“Tony [Allen]is the other guy right now, and then Marcus [Landry] maybe, Scal maybe, maybe Kevin [Garnett],” Rivers said. “We’ll find that out. We don’t know what Marquis can give us so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

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How C’s-Cavs are different now at 1:00 pm ET
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WALTHAM — It seems much longer than four months when last the Celtics played the Cavaliers on opening night in Cleveland.

And for both teams – who meet tonight at TD Garden at 8 p.m. – the perspective has changed.

The Celtics went into Quicken Loans Arena on Oct. 27 and came away with a 95-89 win and served notice that they were intent on reclaiming their perch atop the Eastern Conference with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen back in full stride.

That night Pierce led a balanced attack with 23 points, overcoming a game-high 38 from LeBron James. But C’s coach Doc Rivers said beyond the final score, there’s not much to take from the result that night.

“Nah, they’re not the same team,” Rivers said. “We’re not the same team. We won. We can take that away from it but other than that, I think both teams have forgotten about that.”

Indeed. Since then, the two teams have taken different paths. The Cavs, after losing their first two and starting the season 3-3, have rebounded to claim the top spot in the East and the NBA at 44-14, despite a recent three-game skid.

[Click here to listen to Rivers explain how Cavaliers are different than opening night.]

The Celtics, who stood 23-5 following a Christmas Day win over Orlando, have battled injuries and inconsistency and stand 36-19, just ahead of fourth-place Atlanta by a game in the loss column.

Both teams made moves at the trading deadline to strengthen themselves. While the Celtics added firepower with Nate Robinson, Cleveland acquired more front court athleticism in Antawn Jamisoin, dealing away Zydrunas Ilgauskas. The Cavs lost their first three games following the trade with Jamison in the starting lineup before he scored 18 in Tuesday’s win over New Orleans.

“They are different, watching them on tape the last two games,” Rivers said. “The Jamison thing has changed them a little bit. It definitely makes it more difficult to guard them so we have to get ready for that.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Here come the Cavs 12.30.09 at 1:50 pm ET
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A small detail from Tuesday night’s NBA games. The Cleveland Cavaliers slipped past the Celtics by a half game for the best record in the Eastern Conference. At 23-7 the Celts are still up a game in the loss column (Cleveland’s 25-8) and hold a few percentage points if you want to get technical about it.

This isn’t about that. This is about how the Cavs are hitting their stride. Earlier in the season, when Cleveland was losing three of its first six, there were questions about how well Shaquille O’Neal was really going to fit alongside LeBron James, and if Delonte West could get his life back together, let alone his game.

Safe to say they’ve figured it out. The Cavs have won 10 of their last 11 with a road loss to the Mavs serving as the spoiler and it’s not just that they’ve been winning. They’ve been destroying teams. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sheed: NBA going soft 11.27.09 at 11:24 pm ET
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Rasheed Wallace has been in the NBA 15 years and he spoke after Friday’s game like a true veteran who thinks the league he loves has gone way too soft.

His rant began when asked about the technical assessed when he argued about a second-quarter foul called on him for running into Toronto’s Hedo Turkoglu.

“They gotta know that he’s a damn flopper,” Wallace said. “That’s all Turkododo do. Flopping shouldn’t get you no where. He acts like I shot him.”

Wallace said that’s a cheap way to play defense.

“That’s not basketball, man. that’s not defense. That’s garbage, what it is. I’m glad I don’t have too much of it left.”

Reminded that he has three years left on his contract didn’t hold back his lecture, adding that Paul Pierce did nothing wrong on his dunk over Chris Bosh early in the fourth quarter.

“This game is watered down, watered down with all that flopping [crap],” he said. “They’re setting rules on us to the point where you’re taunting if you dunk on somebody. Paul dunked it and then he didn’t say nothing but it’s a tech.

“Let the Golden Child do that or one of the NBA Without Border kids do that, it’s all fine and dandy.”

[Hear the audio by clicking here.]

For the record, Wallace confirmed that the ‘Golden Child’ he was referring to is indeed LeBron James.

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Doc: ‘We’re ready’ 10.23.09 at 3:26 pm ET
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WALTHAM  –  Celtics coach Doc Rivers put his team through a spirited workout on Friday afternoon at the team’s practice facility, four days before the team opens the season on Tuesday in Cleveland against LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

Rivers said following the practice that he senses his team is geared up and ready.

“I like where we’re at,” Rivers said. “I’m very happy where we’re at. We’re going to add things all year. We’re ready to play. Even if I didn’t add anything else all year, I think we’re ready to play an NBA game.”

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