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Finley settled in for the playoffs 04.28.10 at 11:56 pm ET
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Michael Finley had played in over 110 playoff games when he signed with the Celtics in March. Now he is putting his championship-winning experience to good use, both on the court and in the locker room.

“My role since I’ve been here really hasn’t changed. I can just be a little bit more vocal now that I’ve been here for a while,” Finley explained. “I just didn’t want to come here right away and be the loud mouth of the locker room. But now the guys feel a little more comfortable with me. I’m able to pull guys to the side, tell them different situations, especially in these playoff series that are important, not only to them, but to our team. And they’re listening and they’re being receptive, and that’s been good.”

The 37-year-old is happy to share the veteran wisdom he has accumulated over the last 15 years, and the C’s are just as happy to receive it.

“Mike is big,” said Ray Allen. “Most people don’t realize the things that he’s saying, just his advice, just some of the things that he says coming out of timeouts, coming to the bench. You can always tell he wants to win. Even though he came here later on in the season, he’s invested now in what we’re doing. So he’s always making sure, ‘Look for this, this is what’s going to go down,’ or, ‘Ray, you need to do this,’ or ‘Paul you need to make sure …’ So that’s great coming from the bench and you know that he’s fielding us more information so when we go out there, we’re prepared.”

On the court, Finley is fulfilling his role as a reserve who can come in and make timely plays. Even though he averaged less than three points per game in the first round, he shot an efficient 40 percent from both the field and 3-point range.

On the defensive end, he has picked off three steals in 44 minutes (Paul Pierce has three steals in 193 minutes), and is the only Celtic besides Marquis Daniels (who has played just six minutes) who has not committed a single turnover in the postseason.

Finley stays level-headed, regardless of the scoreboard. He has played in enough postseason games to understand how quickly momentum can change. His proven wisdom will be beneficial as the Celtics shift from eliminating the Heat in the first round to battling the Cavaliers in the second.

“It’s a playoffs series, and what I’ve learned over the years is, every game is different, every series is different,” Finley said. “Once you win one, the next one is even tougher. You’ve just got to stay humble in victory and don’t get too high with the highs and too lows with the lows. Just try to keep an even keel, especially emotionally.”

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Finley on D&H: C’s need to show respect 04.16.10 at 12:49 pm ET
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Michael Finley joined Dale & Holley on Friday to discuss the Celtics’ chances in the upcoming NBA playoffs. The Celtics have been floundering during the second half of the season, and Finley said the reason may have been because this team didn’t respect its opponents.

But he believes that will change come playoff time.

“We go into the games not respecting our opponent as much as we should, and as a result we end up losing those games,” said Finley, who has played in 21 games with Boston since being let go by San Antonio. “Coming into the playoffs I don’t think respecting our opponent is going to be a problem, because each opponent that we face is a worthy playoff- and championship-contending team. We got to come in with the right mindset. Hopefully we can generate some of the juice that the team had at the beginning of the season and carry it on throughout the playoffs.”

As a Western Conference lifer, Finley talked about playing in the Eastern Conference for the first time, Paul Pierce’s work ethic and how he and Doc Rivers have a long history together.

Following is a transcript. To listen, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

What would you say to young guys on the team who asked for advice about playoff basketball?

The intensity of the regular season is going to go up tremendously. Every possession offensively as well as defensively becomes important. You just don’t want to leave the game with regrets, because regrets usually are what sends teams home.

Does the playoff format actually make it easier for veteran players?

In a sense. The regular season is a lot of games. It’s 82 games with back-to-backs with limited rest. The postseason you have a little bit of more rest. You are only playing one team. The travel is limited, so for older guys that’s always a good thing. At the same time, with the intensity going up the way it does, it can be a little physically and mentally draining, too. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pop on Finley: ‘I don’t blame him’ 03.28.10 at 7:55 pm ET
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An hour or so before Michael Finley was set to play his old team, Gregg Popovich reflected on how it all went down. Finley had been dropped from the Spurs rotation and was looking at spending the rest of the season watching instead of playing. So, the veteran made the unusual decision to ask out of one of the best situations in the NBA.

The two talked it over in Popovich’s house where Finley made his request and they decided to part ways.

“I made a decision to play other people and we honored Michael’s request to seek another team,” Popovich said. “He asked and he decided to do it. And to do it the right way, to do it before the cut-off date so that he could go with a team that he could play with in the playoffs.”

Finley ultimately signed with the Celtics where he is on way to earning a spot in the playoff rotation. Doc Rivers all but confirmed that he was leaning that way Friday night when he noted Finley’s shooting ability and veteran presence with the second unit.

Since leaving San Antonio, Finley has been nothing but complimentary about the Spurs and his time there. Popovich returned the favor Sunday night.

“Everybody asks about it and I was surprised when he asked that,” Popovich said. “I didn’t think that would be something that Michael Finley would ask to do. One has to be realistic and put oneself in [his] shoes. If you are toward the end of your career and somebody’s not going to play you and you still want to play more basketball, what’s wrong with asking to play elsewhere and trying to play as long as you possibly can?

“That’s what he did and I don’t blame him for that a lick,” Pop continued. “He’s one of the greatest guys I’ve ever coached, but he wanted to keep playing. He didn’t want to it there on the bench for the rest of the season. Nothing wrong with that. He wanted to play.”

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Finley just making ‘the most of it’ 03.15.10 at 11:26 pm ET
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When Danny Ainge decided to sign Michael Finley after the 37-year-old had been released by the San Antonio Spurs last week, Monday night was the kind of game the Celtics’ general manager had in mind.

Finley came off the bench and scored 15 points, matching Paul Pierce and Ray Allen for the team lead in Boston’s 119-93 demolition of Detroit at TD Garden.

Most impressive was how smooth Finley made it look. He missed just once in seven field goal attempts, making the most of his 13-plus minutes off the bench.

“I work out,” Finley said. “I try to work out every day where I have confidence in my game. Whenever my number is called, I just want to be prepared. Tonight was just an example of that. My teammates just got me in good positions to make plays and I just made the most of it.

“I’m still trying to find my way in. This team was a good one before I got here. I just want to come in and help them be a better team. If that’s possible, I’m all for it.”

On Sunday in Cleveland, the bench struggled mightily, with Glen Davis and Marquis Daniels held scoreless. On Monday, thanks to the early fire shown by Finley, the bench exploded for 61 points, including 13 for Davis and 11 for Daniels.

“It’s always good to win, especially coming off the performance we had in Cleveland,” Finley said. “It always good to get that winning taste back in your mouth and show each other what it takes to win ball games, despite the opponent.”

Celtics coach Doc Rivers has been pleasantly surprised by the boost Finley has provided to the likes of Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels and Glen Davis.

“Yeah, because I didn’t know what to expect, honestly,” Rivers said. “You know he hadn’t played a lot this year with San Antonio and he wasn’t making shots. I just don’t believe a guy can forget how to shoot. So we thought if we could get him in here and get him some looks, you know give him a chance to make some shots, they would go in. But, yeah, even his passing, just little things he does on the floor, he’s been great.”

Wallace had a simple message for Finley on Monday – keep it simple and I’ll find you on the court.

“I’ve seen it in college when he was at Wisconsin, and you know for the few teams he played with here in the league, I know what type of player Fin is,” ‘Sheed said. “That’s one thing I told him when he first came here, when were out there in that second unit, I’m going to swing you the ball, just basic basketball. I’m going to come over set the pick, you can either come off for the shot, drop it off, or just play basketball and make that next pass.”

More to the point, Finley, if he continues to play like he did Monday night, makes the Celtics’ bench that much more difficult to match up against come playoff time.

“It gives us another guy where you have to step up,” Wallace said. “And I say that from an offensive standpoint, you know guys will have to respect Fin’s jump shot and driving ability, and that pretty much leaves all the post players open for a one on one.”

“He’s a veteran,” added Daniels. “He’s a shooter. That’s something he does, it’s like riding a bike. He knows how to shoot the ball and he does it well.”

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Finley: Not going to ‘hurt what they already have’ 03.07.10 at 7:18 pm ET
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Looking at the big picture, it’s perfectly clear why Michael Finley is in a Celtics uniform today. After all, familiarity is a powerful thing.

Finley and his new head coach both hail from the Windy City, and it was in Chicago where their bond began in the late 1970s while Finley’s sister and Doc Rivers were at Proviso East High School.

“Well, me and Doc go way back,” Finley explained. “My sister was a cheerleader and he was the star basketball player at the high school games, and I used to sit under the basket and watch him play. That’s how far our relationship goes back. He’s always been a mentor for me, how to be a professional and how to be a man. He’s a role model for me and it goes way back, I’ve watched his career as a basketball player and as a coach, and it’s definitely an honor for me to play for him.”

Finley said his familiarity with the organization, from general manager Danny Ainge to coach Doc Rivers and players Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, made Boston a good fit for him. He said he had talks with another “championship” caliber team before deciding on the Celtics.

“I’ve talked to Doc and Danny, and coach was very honest with me, which I respect that he doesn’t know how he is going to use me,” Finley said. “I have to respect that. I am coming to a situation, where the team is already established. They have put in ‘X’ amount of games, so for me to come in and try to establish a role would be crazy for me to even think that. But coach has put me in a situation at ease, where he doesn’t know, I don’t know, just when my situation comes just go out there and play hard and do what I can to help the team be a better one. I think that I am able to do that.”

There’s also another practical matter for Finley, who turned 37 on Saturday, the day he landed — literally — in Boston.

“It gave me an opportunity to challenge for a title,” Finley said. “All those things combined with the over history of Boston just drew me here.”

Finley, who suffered what he called a severe ankle injury in December, said he’s ready to play and will wear the No. 40. Rivers held him out of Sunday’s game against the Wizards as he just arrived in Boston Saturday night.

Finley was also honest about his less-than-ideal situation in San Antonio, which precipitated his release last week.

“This all happened within a week, a week or two span,” Finley admitted. “It was something that started as something little and I think it just erupted. I think both sides, myself and the Spurs organization, there was a mutual split. I have no hard feelings with them, it was just something they were willing to do, and I was man enough to be ready to make that move.

“It was frustrating because of the situation I was in at San Antonio, but I think all players at my age and that have been in the league as long as I have experience that. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t finish something that I had in San Antonio because the role was something that I really didn’t agree with. But here, hopefully the situation will be different, but you never know, it may be the same. But I’m happy with my situation now and I’m definitely going to make the most of it.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Meet Michael Finley 03.04.10 at 10:46 pm ET
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Proven veterans have become the norm on the Celtics, and Michael Finley looks to become the next one to add his playoff experience to the team. “It’s official now,” Finley told ESPN.com. “I’m soon to be a Celtic.” Finley has never played for an Eastern Conference team, but he comes to Boston with several links to the C’s. Here are a few quick facts to know about Finley:

Position: Guard-Forward
Height/Weight: 6-7, 225 pounds
Birthdate: March 6, 1973
NBA Experience: 15th season

Finley helped the Spurs capture the trophy in 2007

Finley helped the Spurs capture the trophy in 2007

Class of ’95: The Suns selected Finley with the 21st overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft. That year Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett were chosen with the fourth and fifth picks, respectively.

Before Beantown: Boston will be Finley’s first stint in the Eastern Conference. He played over a season for the Suns before being traded to the Mavericks as part of the Jason Kidd deal in 1996. He spent over eight years in Dallas, then signed with the Spurs as a free agent in 2005.

Most Recently: This season Finley played 25 games, including two starts, for the Spurs before being bought out on Monday. He averaged 3.7 points (38.1% FG, 31.7% 3PG) and 1.5 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game.

Title Run: In 2007, Finley won a championship with the Spurs. That postseason he posted 11.3 points in 26.9 minutes over 20 games. He also led the Spurs in three-point field goals and attempts (44-for-105). Finley has a career postseason average of 13.6 points (39.1% 3PG), 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists in 111 games.

Long-Range Momentum: Finley is averaging 37.4% from long range over his career. He currently ranks ninth among all active players in three-point field goals, trailing Paul Pierce by ten treys. He ranks eighth among all active players in three-point attempts. (Ray Allen is the leader in both categories.)

Major Minutes: He led the league in minutes in 1998, 2000, and 2001, averaging more than 41 per game in each of those seasons. He currently ranks fourth among all active players in total minutes played (37,683), behind only Jason Kidd, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kevin Garnett.

All-Star Accolades: Finley is a two-time NBA All-Star. He played on the Western Conference team in 2001 and 2002 with Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace.

Dunking Duel: Finley faced off against Ray Allen and former Celtic Chris Carr in the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest. He finished third in the finals that year. The previous year, Finley came in second place to Brent Barry.

School Ties: Finley attended the same high school as Celtics coach Doc Rivers, Proviso East HS in Maywood, Illinois. He played college basketball at the University of Wisconsin, the same school as recently acquired Marcus Landry.

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