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Doc Rivers and Celtics: ‘Last year was last year… We don’t want a repeat of that’ 06.03.12 at 7:14 pm ET
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Try as they might, the national and local media was unsuccessful in the 45 hours since the end of Friday’s Boston’s win over the Heat in Game 3 to draw the Celtics in to comparing last year to this year against LeBron James and company.

“I don’t even remember last year, to be honest with you,” said Paul Pierce when asked about the details of the 4-1 loss to the Heat in the Eastern semifinals last year.

“I don’t, really,” Doc Rivers said when asked if he recalled Boston winning Game 3 in 2011 before losing a heart-breaker in Game 4 in overtime. “I know we lost. I think that’s the game Rondo got injured but I’m not even sure of that. Oh, it was Game 3. I don’t even remember. That tells you what I remember.”

Indeed, the inspired Celtics overcame the dislocation of Rajon Rondo‘s left elbow in a collision with Dwyane Wade in Game 3. They had a great chance to tie the series when Ray Allen drilled a three to put the Celtics up, 84-81, with 2:28 left. But James hit a three of his own 28 seconds later and James hit a jumper to put Miami up, 86-84. Pierce hit a jumper to tie it, 86-86, with 41 seconds left. After a James turnover, the Celtics had the last 19.5 seconds left to win it. They had to settle for a missed fadeaway from Pierce with 0.9 seconds remaining. ‘

In that game, Kevin Garnett had seven points and made just 1-of-10 from the field in 41 minutes. That cannot happen again for the Celtics to win Game 4, something they failed to do in 2011.

“We just want to be consistent in how we play,” Pierce said. “Last year was last year. It’s over with. We don’t want a repeat of that so we just have to be consistent in everything we’re trying to do. We’re going to continue to try and get him the ball, get as many as touches out of him as possible. We know that’s been working for us. So, when Kevin gets it going from the inside, it really opens up things for a lot of us on the perimeter.”

The Celtics would be outscored 12-4 in overtime in the game that would essentially seal Boston’s playoff fate in five games.

“We had opportunities,” Rivers reflected. “Clearly, we had a couple of great shots. I think we had a terrible possession now that I think about it before overtime. Our last possession [of regulation]. Thanks for bringing that up.”

Read More: 2012 Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Dwyane Wade
Celtics-Heat Game 4: All about adjustments at 2:10 pm ET
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WALTHAM — There’s little doubt the Heat will try to get Dwyane Wade more involved in Game 4 as they look to take a 3-1 series lead and have the chance to clinch the Eastern Conference finals at home on Tuesday in South Beach.

But to do that, they will have to solve what the Celtics have been throwing at them – namely double-teams and various switches on coverage. Let Paul Pierce explain:

“We tried to collapse on him when he has the ball,” Pierce said. “He does a lot of isolation from the top [of the circle] so we just try to sink in. We know how great he can be driving to the hole in the half-court. When he comes off the pick-and-roll, we want to trap him as much as possible. We don’t really want to get him going. We know they’re going to get the majority of opportunities between him and LeBron but he’s one of the guys we feel like we can kind of corral with Kevin and myself with the size advantage that we have.”

Do things change if Chris Bosh returns?

“We haven’t seen that,” Pierce added. “We’ll make our adjustments definitely if Bosh is out there playing. You can’t trap as much because he’s another perimeter threat, another scoring threat. We’ll have to see.

“Always in-game decisions and adjustments are important, especially when things don’t work out. That’s part of the game. When one thing isn’t going right, you have to make that adjustment. We figure we have to get to their shooters. They made a lot of 3-point shots in Game 2 so that’s something we had to make an adjustment to get to the shooters a little bit better. We did a better job at that. We did a better job of keeping them out of the paint and did a better job of keeping them off the free throw line. So, every game is different. When you realize your mistakes, that’s when the adjustments come in.”

As for attacking Miami’s defense, even with LeBron James and Wade on the court, Pierce says they have to keep attacking the low post.

“I think we have the size advantage with [Kevin Garnett] and [Brandon Bass], especially when they go small a lot,” Pierce said. “The emphasis is to try to get the ball in the paint as much as possible and if they collapse, find our shooters. That’s been the thing the whole season, we want to play inside-to-out as long as they’re good shots.

“I thought we just moved the ball a lot better. The ball didn’t stick. They’re a great defensive team and when the ball is sticking on one side of the floor and they’re loading up. I thought the ball really moved. We set harder screens, we cut a little bit better and that frees up everybody when we play that way.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Dwyane Wade
Paul Pierce: ‘We needed a team effort’ 06.02.12 at 3:08 am ET
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Yes, the Celtics had Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett all score at least 20 points Friday night in the 101-91 Game 3 win over the Heat. But Friday night’s must-have win over Miami had a much different feel.

Instead of just seven points from the bench (as was the case Wednesday), the Celtics watched as four players combined for 19 points, led by Marquis Daniels, who scored nine in nearly 20 minutes of action. Michael Pietrus also played nearly 20 minutes while Keyon Dooling played 17, Ryan Hollins played six and Greg Stiemsma played three.

‘€œIt was huge,” said Pierce, who scored 23 in 40 minutes. “We needed a team effort. Guys on the bench, they are registered professional. Marquis hasn’€™t really played a lot for us in this series, but when his name was called upon he was ready. That’€™s what being a professional is all about. Every day he comes in, gets his work in. [Doc Rivers] called upon him tonight, he did a tremendous job guarding Lebron. He even contributed on the offensive end and that was huge for us. The bench was tremendous tonight. We needed everything.’€

Pierce also sent a message similar to the 2004 Red Sox. The Heat have never lost a series leading 2-0. The Celtics are trying to buck the odds by winning a series down, 0-2.

‘€œWe’€™ve been able to bounce back,” Pierce said. “We know we’re capable. We’ve got to take it one game at a time. We’€™re not going to lose confidence being down 2-0. We don’€™t look at the statistics. We don’€™t look at the records. Records are made to be broken. You know, usually they say being down 2-0, what happens, but we don’€™t believe in that stuff. We’re just going to take it one game at a time. Hopefully hold down our home court Game 4, and see what happens when we come back from Miami.’€

Friday’s win guarantees there will be a Game 5 in Miami on Tuesday. A win Sunday night will guarantee a Game 6 back in Boston next Thursday. So, how important is Game 4?

‘€œEvery game is important,” Pierce said. “Definitely you want to defend your home court. You don’€™t want to get in a situation where you go down 3-1 and then they have two games left at home. It doesn’€™t really figure in your chances. You’€™re not the favorite anymore. Hopefully, the crowd come back with that same energy for us in a couple days and we’€™ll take Game 4.

‘€œIt feels good. Especially after we felt like we had a chance at Game 2-how we let it slip in our hands- so it’€™s good to come back home and get a quality win.’€

Read More: 2012 Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, NBA playoffs
Kevin Garnett: ‘At this point, it’s desperation, desperation basketball’ at 1:39 am ET
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An inspired and fired up Kevin Garnett let everyone know exactly how proud he was of the Celtics fan base that supported the team Friday night in their 101-91 win over the Heat Friday night at TD Garden in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Celtics avoided falling behind 3-0 in the series and could tie the series on Sunday with another home-court win.

‘€œIt’€™s whatever, it’€™s desperation,” Garnett said. “You know, at this point it’s desperation, desperation basketball. Next game, Game 4, it’s going to be even more. You have to anticipate them making adjustments, were going to make some adjustments. But the tenacity, the desperation has to be there. We’re playing at home, we have to give it our all out and it will be out. The jungle was rockin’€™ tonight. I want to thank all the fans who came out. The [expletive] jungle was rockin’€™ tonight! I loved it. [Expletive] loved it.’€

Garnett led the Celtics on the court as well as emotionally, scoring 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds and helping the Celtics dominate the Heat in the paint, 58-46.

“KG is a difficult match’€‘up for a lot of guys, period,” said LeBron James. “He started off really well. I think he had 12 points in the first quarter and got them off to a good start. That’s part of the reason why they had 58 points in the paint. He opened up a lot for not only himself but for his teammates as well. And he’s definitely a threat down there, and he made some huge shots.”

But Garnett, who had seven points in the opening quarter for the Celtics, repeated the mantra of desperation, something the Celtics came out with from the opening tip.

‘€œDesperation game, to be honest,” Garnett reiterated. “And we played like it too. You don’€™t want to be down 3-0 to a team like this. Very very good team, very talented team, well coached team. I feel like we played desperation basketball.

“I feel like these games at home, have to be nothing less than that. These are desperation games and we have to play them like that.’€

Read More: 2012 Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, KG
Celtics shootaround notes for Game 3: Extra time for KG and Ray 06.01.12 at 1:08 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Marquis Daniels is fully aware that the Celtics bench scored just seven of Boston’s 111 points in Wednesday’s Game 2 loss to the Heat.

Not that they are expected to carry the team but Daniels knows more will be expected in Game 3 at the Garden. And it’s not necessarily the scoring but the energy level off the bench that has to be there. Daniels, Keyon Dooling and Mickael Pietrus are among those who could be vital in assuring Rajon Rondo doesn’t have to play the entire game like he did in Game 2.

“We just have to do what’s needed,” Daniels said at Friday morning’s shootaround. “Rondo obviously had a great game last game. If those guys [starters] continue to play well, we basically have to come in and do what we usually do, get some stops here and there, play good defense and knock down open shots.

“A little more here and there, and we’ll be OK.”

Pietrus led the bench in minutes with 28 on Wednesday, while Dooling added 15. Greg Stiemsma played just five minutes after picking up four quick fouls and Ryan Hollins, Daniels, Sasha Pavlovic and E’Twaun Moore all played under two minutes.

Daniels said the team’s focus is right where it needs to be, down 0-2 in the series to the heavily-favored Heat.

“We’re focused,” he said. “We’re going to go out and do what we need to do. We looked at film and got prepared so I think we’ll be ready.”

The focus was evident among most of the Celtics, who left after the shootaround to get their rest. However, Ray Allen stayed behind to work with assistants Ty Lue and Michael Longabardi while Kevin Garnett worked with assistant Jamie Young on mid-range and 3-point shooting, along with free throws.

Normally, both Allen and Garnett leave immediately after the shootaround, which focuses on half-court sets. Friday morning was different.

All Celtics were accounted for and present at Friday’s shootaround.

The Celtics will also look to take advantage of home court, where they’re 6-1 in the playoffs so far.

“It’s going to help a lot,” Daniels said. “Our crowd is going to be into it. It’s going to be a lot more intense. We’re going to come out focused and ready to play.

“Just stay consistent, come out and keep giving the energy where it’s needed, keep giving those guys their breaks and make sure we don’t fall off anywhere,” Daniels said. “We’re a veteran ball club so we don’t let too much get to us. You hate losing, obviously, but we’re going to come in focused and hopefully, we can get this one.”

Read More: 2012 Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Miami Heat
Malcom Huckaby praises Eric Spoelstra on D&C at 10:26 am ET
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Former Boston College guard Malcolm Huckaby, who was signed to a one-year deal by the Heat in 1996-97, joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday and offered his opinion of Heat coach Eric Spoelstra. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Huckaby recalled working with Spoelstra during his time as a member of the Heat, when Spoelstra was a video coordinator for the team.

‘€œWhen I was playing down there in 1996-97, the assistant coaches really didn’€™t get the type of credit they do today in terms of helping guys develop and how valuable they are to the head coaches,’€ Huckaby said. ‘€œHe and Stan Van Gundy, who was also an assistant down there at the time, these guys would function on about three hours of sleep.

‘€œWe would come back and, prior to moving into the American Airlines arena, we had a practice facility and these guys literally would sleep there overnight.’€

Huckaby went on to discuss Spoelstra’€™s role in the development of Dwyane Wade, who quickly developed into a star partly due to Spoelstra’€™s coaching.

‘€œObviously, everybody knows that Dwyane Wade is a great slasher, a guy who can get to the hole and is very explosive,’€ Huckaby said. ‘€œBut the thing I think has improved in his game is his consistency of his jumper. He credits Eric Spoelstra for that.’€

Wade made headlines for confronting Spoelstra during a timeout in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Huckaby said he does not see that as a current issue between the two though, as both Wade and Spoelstra appear to have moved on.

‘€œNobody wants to see that happen, in particular when it’€™s your star player going up against any coach, whether it’€™s a veteran coach or a young coach,’€ Huckaby said. ‘€œIt happens, they have moved on, and they have rebounded pretty quickly from that the way Wade came back afterwards and had a pretty good game in that Indiana series. I think that is kind of in the rearview mirror for them right now.’€

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Read More: Eric Spoelstra, Malcolm Huckaby, Miami Heat,
Irish Coffee: Celtics, Heat, fouls, free throws & facts 05.31.12 at 9:43 am ET
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Let’s take a page out of Doc Rivers‘ book and tread lightly on this matter. Two nights after declaring his technical foul — one of five called on the Celtics as a team — “the worst I’ve ever had,” the coach took umbrage with the officiating in their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Heat once again.

“It is what it is,” he said in the aftermath of a stomach-punch, 115-111 overtime loss. “LeBron James took 24 free throws tonight and our team took 29. Paul Pierce fouled out of a game where he was attacking the basket.”

You can’t get fined if you stick with the facts. You can’t come across as blaming the referees if you shoot straight. At least that’s the hope. Here are 15 more facts about the Game 2 officiating. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James
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