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Why Doc Rivers is the ‘perfect coach’ for C’s 09.27.10 at 11:53 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Celtics head coach Doc Rivers believes he enters the season with the most talented group he’s ever coached, with more depth than the 2008 team that won the NBA title.

“You could make the case the 2008 team had more talent because they were younger. Kevin [Garnett] was at the peak of his health at that point so that has changed just a little bit. We’re hoping that all the guys on the bench are as good as their names. We don’t know that, either.”

One thing Rivers does know is the “O’Neal Brothers” – as he labeled the unrelated Shaquille and Jermaine on Monday – gives the Celtics as much in size as name recognition and the two will fight for the starting center’s job while Kendrick Perkins rehabs his right knee.”

Rivers has Delonte West on the bench. He has Nate Robinson on the bench. He Marquis Daniels on the bench. No team north of Miami can bring the depth to the court that the Celtics will bring this season.

“But I like the group as far as talent,” Rivers added. “A lot of the guys we’ve added, they’ve won. They’ve done a lot of winning if they haven’t been the winner [of the NBA title] and they are tough. A lot of them are tough guys, and I think that is good for our team.”

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said Monday he believes Rivers is the “perfect coach” for the veteran group of superstars he’s assembled to make another run at the franchise’s 18th NBA title. Rivers, Ainge and the rest of the Celtics spoke at Media Day about how ready and primed this group is to make it back to the promised land.

“Yeah, we’ll see about that, that’s for sure,” Rivers laughed when told what Ainge said. “We have a lot of personalities, there’s no doubt about that, probably more than we’ve ever had. Having said that, I also think this is the most talented group we’ve had, as far as deep, on the bench.”

The Celtics are trying to get back to the NBA Finals again next June for the third time in four seasons and avenge their Game 7 loss last June to the Lakers. The Celtics lead the Lakers 17 titles to 16.

Rivers went back with his coaching staff in August and made them all watch just how close they were to No. 18.

“I don’t think you ever get over it,” Rivers said. “I made my staff watch it. We watched it together about a month ago. So, I don’t think you ever get over it. Whenever I see anything [involving Game 7], they always show the damn celebration and all that. That’s not anything I want to watch. Hell, I’m not over Game 7 Celtics-Atlanta Hawks [1987], so I’m certainly not going to be over this.

“It does in some ways. It wants you to get it started again so you can get back there. So yeah, in that way it does. But other than that, you have to move forward. It has to push you a little bit. There’s no doubt.”

One thing Rivers did take from watching again was just how big a role the third-quarter injury to Paul Pierce played in the final devastating outcome.

“It’s easier to watch it the second time,” Rivers said. “It’s still emotional, it always will be. You watch it and you looked at all the opportunities you did have in that in that game. You saw some things you didn’t see. I didn’t realize the Paul injury was bigger, that little injury, was bigger than I thought it was during the game.

“I think [Celtics’ lead] was 12 when he went out. It was only a three-minute period, but when he came back in it was four or six and that was the game. That was in the third quarter and I thought that was the turning point in the game. Nothing in the fourth quarter was different than what I saw. It was more the third quarter I thought changed the game.

In the wake of Game 7 in the locker room, Rivers also admitted Monday that he thought that was it for this group together under his direction.

“Yeah, because I wasn’t sure of what I was going to do at that time,” he said. “I knew Rasheed [Wallace] wasn’t coming back, he told me that before the game. I was, at that time, leaning heavily toward not coming back. Yeah, in the locker room I actually thought that was going to be the last time, at that point, that I would see all these guys together.

“And even if I did come back, I knew it wouldn’t be the same team. I knew we were going to have to make changes. I knew at that time, and no one else knew, the extent of Perk’s injury so I knew he wouldn’t be back until late in next year.”

But he does get another chance to prove – as Pierce believes – that he’s one of the best coaches in the NBA.

Just how many games can this group win this regular season?

“How many games we play, 82? Ok,” Rivers laughed.

Rivers would be just happy with 16 in the playoffs when it matters most.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA
Lakers fan put in jail for inciting parade riot by burning C’s jersey 07.09.10 at 9:36 am ET
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Twenty-three-year-old Lakers fan Steve Quintanilla was sentenced to nine months in jail Thursday after being accused of inciting a riot at the Lakers victory parade through the streets of Los Angeles last month. Prosecutors told the AP that Quintanilla, who plead no contest, started the riot when he began burning a Celtics jersey along the parade route. As a result of his actions, he will be forced to stay 90 days in jail on top of an additional six months for probation violations. In total, 45 people were arrested at the parade, and 10 have been charged with any kind of wrongdoing.

Read More: Los Angeles Lakers,
Aftermath of finals roundup 06.18.10 at 4:01 pm ET
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After the final buzzer sounded on Thursday night’€™s Game 7, the Celtics‘€™ improbable run at banner 18 ended as Kobe Bryant and the Lakers repeated to win their second consecutive title. Despite the NBA season coming to an end, storylines after the game flowed like the streamers and confetti in the Staples Center. Here’€™s a roundup of what national and local writers are saying after the finale of a classic series.

‘€“ Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote a column on this being Kobe Bryant’€™s most difficult title out of his five championships. After struggling in Game 7 and nearly shooting the Lakers out of the game, Bryant began to trust his teammates, especially in the fourth quarter, which brought him another ring.

‘€“ With his fifth ring, Bryant surpasses Magic Johnson as the greatest Laker of all time, writes Chris Broussard of ESPN. Magic, who has also won five championships, always won with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whereas Bryant has done it with and without Shaquille O’€™Neal, contends Broussard. Against other Lakers greats such as Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain, Bryant outranks them with his handful of rings.

‘€“ Though he coached a team to a championship for the 11th time in his career, Phil Jackson‘€™s future is uncertain. T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times writes that Jackson has no idea where or he’€™ll be next year and that his salary might be too rich for the Lakers.

‘€“ Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe feels that Pau Gasol and not Kobe Bryant is the true MVP of the finals. Ryan writes that Gasol was the real closer with his offensive rebound and basket in the final two minutes to cap off his 19-point, 18-rebound effort. While Bryant had some great performances in the series, it was Gasol who was the most consistent Laker.

‘€“ On the Boston side, Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports views a lot of changes on the way for the Celtics. The most uncertainty is with the decision coach Doc Rivers will have to make on whether or not to return. The 48-year-old could depart the Celtics to spend more time with his family in Orlando and watch his sons play basketball.

‘€“ Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston writes that despite being an unrestricted free agent this summer, Ray Allen still wants to return to the Celtics. The question will be how much is Boston willing to pay and will Allen take a discount to stick with a very close group? Forsberg feels that at 35, Allen is getting up in age and likely won’€™t see a contract more than two years.

‘€“ The most surprising piece of information that came out after Game 7 was the news that Rasheed Wallace could retire after only one year with the Celtics. Gary Dzen and Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe write that after the loss, Rivers revealed that Wallace might walk away from the game. Wallace struggled to get through Thursday night after experiencing cramps and strains as he filled in for the injured Kendrick Perkins at center. The 35-year-old has played in three finals and made four All-Star teams.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers,
Going from Gold to Green 05.31.10 at 2:51 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Tony Gaffney began his rookie season in purple and gold. This week he is headed back to the Staples Center, this time wearing green and white.

Gaffney, a Boston native, was signed to the Lakers training camp roster last summer after going undrafted out of the University of Massachusetts. He was the was the last player cut from training camp and went overseas to play in Israel before being signed by the Celtics in April.

It has been months since he returned to Los Angeles, and he’€™s thrilled to be arriving as a member of the Celtics.

‘€œI wouldn’€™t want to be going back any other way. I’€™m looking forward to it,’€ he said before the team flew out to California on Monday. ‘€œIt’€™s definitely unique, and having the two teams [that I’€™ve played for] be the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers makes it that much more special. Obviously they’€™re two top of the line, class A organizations, it’€™s no surprise as to why they are in the finals. Having gotten the chance to witness that and see it firsthand, to me this all makes sense.’€

Even though Gaffney has been on the inactive list during the postseason, he still can help the Celtics without being on the court. He learned the Lakers offense ‘€œfairly well’€ and was even praised by the organization for picking up the triangle offense so quickly. Gaffney would be happy to pass along his insight.

‘€œI got to know some of the guys pretty well and I was in the gym early morning when Kobe (Bryant) was the first one in there working on his left-handed shots for an hour before practice,’€ he recalled. ‘€œBut if any of the guys ask me anything or need anything, I’€™ll be more than happy to help them out.’€œ

And while he has seen firsthand just how dangerous Bryant can be on the court, Gaffney believes it is another player who can do damage.

‘€œObviously I believe Pau (Gasol) and Kobe make that team go, but I think as Lamar goes, they go,’€ he said. ‘€œWhen he gets off and he’€™s doing what he’€™s capable of doing, they’€™re tough to beat. But we have a counter to that and we have probably the best defensive team in the league. And I think keeping Lamar Odom in check is going to be huge in this series and we’€™ll have to go from there.’€

Gaffney is confident the Celtics have the pieces to win it all. Even though he still has his Lakers jersey, it is a reminder of his journey that has led him back to the team he hopes will win it all.

‘€œI’€™m blessed to have been able to be part of both organizations,’€ he said, ‘€œAnd now have a chance to win it with the greatest organization in the NBA.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers
Celtics draft pick Erden helps Turkey in EuroBasket 09.12.09 at 9:36 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics 2008 second round draft pick Semih Erden has yet to play in an NBA game, but he has already defeated one of the Los Angeles Lakers. On Saturday he helped Turkey defeat Pau Gasol and the Spanish team in the EuroBasket 2009 Group F qualifying round.

The 6-11 center led the team with six rebounds and scored 11 points, including two free throws that secured Turkey’s 63-60 victory over Spain. He also contributed two rebounds, an alley-oop from Hedo Turkoglu, a block, and a steal in the final five minutes of the back-and-forth match up. Turkey remains undefeated (3-0) and plays Serbia on Monday.

Erden was selected by the Celtics with the 60th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He averaged 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds with Fenerbahce Ulker last season.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Hedo Turkoglu, Los Angeles Lakers, Pau Gasol
Bird’s favorite player is a Laker? 06.04.09 at 10:33 pm ET
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During halftime of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, ABC aired an interview between Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant in which Johnson revealed Larry Bird considers Bryant his favorite player. Turns out Bryant has a one-sided love-hate relationship with Bird.

Johnson: Larry Bird told me that Kobe Bryant is his favorite player. How do you respond to that?

Bryant: You know what? That makes me feel, that makes me feel great. You know, I hated Larry growing up. I did, I hated his guts. But I loved him as a player and his work ethic and his intensity, his tenacity and I wanted to be that way. And the funny thing is, I’ve never actually met Larry Bird.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, Los Angeles Lakers
Nuggets try to follow Celtics lead 05.25.09 at 6:32 pm ET
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Down 2-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals, the Denver Nuggests know beating the Los Angeles Lakers is possible. They look to the Boston Celtics as proof.

The Nuggets are studying gametape of the 2008 NBA Finals to understand how the Celtics defeated the Lakers, according to Sports Illustrated:

“Boston was so much more physical than they were,” Billups said. “They didn’t give up a lot of layups and they didn’t give up a lot in transition. We’re capable of doing those kinds of things. I can’t say that our team is as good defensively as Boston was last year, but we do have a pretty good defensive basketball team.”

The Celtics held Kobe Bryant to 25.7 points per game (40.5% FG, 32.1% 3PG) during the Finals. He is averaging 37.7 points (48.6% FG, 50.0% 3PG) in the first three games against the Nuggets. The Cs also handled Pau Gasol (14.7 ppg, 10.2 rpg), who is averaging 16.7 points and 14.0 rebounds in the Western Conference Finals.

One of the biggest difference in this year’s playoffs is the Lakers edge on offense. Last season the Celtics outshot them 43.0% to 34.7% from long range. They are outshooting the Nuggets 39.9% to 29.9% from behind the arc. The Celtics also outrebounded the Lakers by nearly five boards per game whereas the Lakers are grabbing nearly four more boards than the Nuggets.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers,
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