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Celtics pregame: Avery Bradley, Jaylen Brown out through break, Brad Stevens makes Al Horford All-Star argument 02.15.17 at 7:50 pm ET
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Avery Bradley really wants to get back to playing.

But the Celtics want him 100 percent when the games really matter in April and May.

To that end, Bradley understands the Celtics being ultra-cautious with his sore right Achilles, which is just about fully healed.

That injury forced him to miss his 15th straight game Wednesday and will keep him out as well on Thursday night in Chicago. Bradley has played just once since Jan. 6.

“It’s frustrating,” Bradley said before Wednesday’s game against Philadelphia. “I guess it’s just part of the game and part of being smart. I want to play and play through it but the team advised me that this is not the time to take that risk right now and something potentially happen to my Achilles or a different injury.”

Bradley and the team are not just protecting against the existing injury but trying to make sure he doesn’t compensate unconsciously and injure something else.

“It was just a decision to make together and we felt like it’s the best one,” Bradley continued. “It’s feeling really good.”

But Bradley admitted he hasn’t worked on the court much lately and getting back in basketball shape will be key.

“I really haven’t done much,” he said. “I’ve been doing more conditioning and strengthening, upper body and lower body, just making sure I’m strong enough for when I do return. Now, we’re getting the basketball stuff in, so I’m hoping over the All-Star [break], I can play some basketball and be ready for the first game.”

Brad Stevens sounded much more cautious when asked about Bradley and Jaylen Brown (hip).

“Both guys are out for the next two games with the hope of doing some practice when we return,” Stevens said.

After Thursday’s game in Chicago, the Celtics are off for eight days, resuming their schedule in Toronto on Feb. 24 against the Serge Ibaka-revitalized Raptors.

All-Star push: Brad Stevens suddenly has an open roster spot on his Eastern Conference squad Sunday in New Orleans. Kevin Love is out at least six weeks with impending knee surgery. Stevens has no say in Love’s replacement but he has a natural suggestion should anyone ask.

Al Horford may not be putting up huge numbers (14.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 5.0 APG) but they are first, second and second respectively on a team that is just two games out of first place in the East. Expectations have been as big as Horford’s four-year, $113 million contract. But according to his coach, he’s been a big part of why the Celtics have risen to the top in the East.

“I always base my decision on who is really impacting winning, and I think that’s why Al would be a good choice,” Stevens said before Wednesday’s game. “I’m hopeful Al gets that call. It’s not our call. But there’s a lot of good players in this league. It doesn’t take anything away from anybody else. We certainly hope Al gets that call.”

If Stevens was being somewhat (understandably) understated in his praise of Horford, Sixers coach Brett Brown was not. He also said the Celtics have risen to the top but went even further in his praise of the man once coached by Brett Brown’s good friend Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta. Brown and Budenholzer coached together under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio. 

“You can’t even put a price tag on that. He was coached by a close friend of mine in Atlanta for a while,” Brown said of Horford’s days in Atlanta. “If you just go to the person, there’s a veteran class and there’s an elite mind, basketball mind, and then you can start talking about his actual game. So, what he does to a locker room, what he does from experience perspective and you take the unusual skill package in that he can bring you out and stretch the court.

“Even when you study the last time that we played here, Joel [Embiid] gets sucked in on a drive and they kick it to Al in the corner for a three, that’s an unusual match-up for a 7-foot-2 center. I think that Brad does a really good job, creative job on using Olynyk and Horford, especially, with how they can stretch the floor, and Amir [Johnson], letting Amir shoot corner threes. Kind of all over the place, off-the-court locker room stuff, I think it’s just a sensational acquisition and piece that they have made to legitimately look at them now as one of the elite teams in the East. It’s a wonderful building block, for sure.” 

The Celtics are 7-5 without Horford in the lineup this season.

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Read More: Al Horford, Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Kevin Love
LeBron James, Kevin Durant headline NBA All-Star Game starters 01.23.14 at 9:44 pm ET
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The NBA announced the starters for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game, and naturally leading MVP candidates LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the leading vote-getters for the Eastern and Western conferences, respectively.

The roster includes no Celtics, who are in danger of failing to produce an All-Star for the first time since 2007, when Paul Pierce suffered through an injury-plagued season, and only the 10th time in the game’s 63-year history.

Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green are the C’s only hopes for a spot when the voting from coaches reveals the final seven Eastern Conference All-Stars on Jan. 30, but neither is expected the make the roster (unless Rondo receives the sympathy vote for his fifth selection). Each received more than 100,000 fan votes  — well shy of a starting spot.

Old friends Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett edged out Rondo and Green in the fan voting for backcourt and frontcourt players, respectively, although Green received 26,006 more votes than Pierce. Here are your 2014 starters:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

LeBron James (1,416,419 votes)
Paul George (1,211,318)
Carmelo Anthony (935,702)
Dwyane Wade (929,542)
Kyrie Irving (860,221)

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Kevin Durant (1,396,294 votes)
Stephen Curry
(1,047,281)
Kobe Bryant (988,884)
Blake Griffin (688,466)
Kevin Love (661,246)

Bryant, who received his 16th All-Star bid despite participating in just six games this season, will likely be replaced in the starting West backcourt by Chris Paul (804,309 votes) due to the Lakers star’s knee injury.

Likewise, should Wade’s knee injury keep him from participating in his 10th All-Star Game, John Wall (393,129) would be the second starting guard alongside Irving in the East. Among the remaining healthy Eastern Conference guards, only Allen received more votes than Rondo, but his fate lies in the coaches’ hands now.

Read More: Kevin Durant, LeBron James, NBA, NBA All-Star Game
LeBron James thinks Paul Pierce got All-Star snubbed 01.24.13 at 8:14 pm ET
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Count Heat superstar LeBron James of all people as the first NBA player to count Celtics captain Paul Pierce among the Eastern Conference’s All-Star snubs. Pierce was left off the team for the first time since 2007, when he missed 35 games due to injury; the 35-year-old 10-time All-Star also made the East roster from 2002-06.

Did NBA coaches snub Paul Pierce by leaving him off the All-Star reserves?

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Read More: Boston Celtics, LeBron James, Miami Heat, NBA
Paul Pierce left off Eastern Conference All-Star squad at 7:43 pm ET
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For just the second time in 13 seasons, Paul Pierce did not earn a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star squad as the reserves were announced Thursday night on national television prior to the Celtics‘ game vs. the Knicks.

Pierce is leading the Celtics in scoring at 18.9 points per game and has started all 41 games for the Celtics, but that wasn’t enough to win a spot on the team. Pierce didn’t make it in 2007 when his season was shortened due to a stress reaction in his foot. The last time a healthy Pierce was left off the All-Star team was 2001, just his third season in the NBA.

Joining starters Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony are five first-time All-Stars, including Tyson Chandler (Knicks), Paul George (Pacers), Jrue Holiday (76ers), Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers) and Joakim Noah (Bulls). Miami’s Chris Bosh and Chicago’s Luol Deng, making his second consecutive All-Star appearance, round out the East reserves.

Joining Duncan as reserves in the West are LaMarcus Aldridge (Trail Blazers), James Harden (Rockets), David Lee (Warriors), Tony Parker (Spurs), Zach Randolph (Grizzlies) and Russell Westbrook (Thunder). It’€™s the first selection for Harden, in his first season with the Rockets. It’€™s the second All-Star nod for Lee, Randolph and Aldridge, while Westbrook earns his third consecutive trip to the All-Star Game. Parker is an All-Star for the fifth time in his career.

The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will be played at the Toyota Center in Houston on Feb. 17.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, NBA All-Star Game, Paul Pierce
Doc Rivers on Kevin Garnett as an All-Star: That’s ‘pretty cool’ 01.18.13 at 6:43 pm ET
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Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said he was very happy for his players Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett to make the All-Star team. Before Friday’s game with the Bulls at TD Garden, Rivers said both were very worthy and deserving.

“I think it’s great,” Rivers said. “I think they both deserve it. It’s something Rondo, at this point of his life and age, really wants to do and make and probably Kevin wants the honor of it, especially with the fact Kevin didn’t make it last year and to make it this year is pretty cool.”

Rivers laughed when told that TNT NBA TV analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal said Garnett didn’t deserve to be starting on the Eastern squad in place of Tyson Chandler.

“I’ll let them talk,” Rivers added. “That’s fine. Kevin’s on it, right? That’s all that matters. There’s a lot of people that disagree with them.”

Rondo indicated before the game that he will target Garnett during the game in Houston, trying to feed him plenty of lobs to get him in the offense.

Read More: Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, NBA, NBA All-Star Game
Doc Rivers makes his case for 4 Celtics as All-Stars 02.03.11 at 4:04 pm ET
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WALTHAM — After getting snubbed by the fans and being left without a single All-Star starter, the Celtics could get their retribution when All-Star reserves are announced Thursday night.

The Celtics have four viable candidates in Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. By virtue of having the top record in the Eastern Conference, Doc Rivers will have the honor of coaching the East All-Stars on Feb. 20 in Los Angeles.

“I think I should get four guys on the roster,” Rivers said following practice Thursday. “If I don’t, I’d be very disappointed and if I do, I’ll just play them all together. That way we can run offense in the All-Star Game. That’d be a first.”

The Detroit Pistons had four All-Stars on the Eastern squad in 2006 but it is very rare for one team – no matter how good their record – to place four players on a team.

“If it happens, and let’s hope it happens, then my choice will be who will be the fifth, Some interesting combinations you can throw out,” said Rivers, before adding who he might throw out onto the court with his four players.

“Whoever is closest to free agency just so they can see how it would feel. I think it should happen. It’s clear. It’d be nice. You look at the four guys, all of them have really sacrificed their individual numbers for team wins and sometimes that’s held against them and I hope it’s not in this case.”

Read More: All Star reserves, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
Van Gundy won’t ‘bury’ Pierce, KG in All-Star Game 02.07.10 at 4:14 pm ET
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The temptation is there for Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy. As coach of the East in the NBA All-Star Game on Valentine’s Day, he knows he’ll have three Celtics at his beck and call. He would love to play them a lot, put a few more miles on their tires.

But with the two teams squaring off Sunday at the Garden, a week before the big game at Cowboys Stadium, he doesn’t see much point in wearing out Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo so Celtics coach Doc Rivers doesn’t have to worry too much.

“He’s got a better chance of me resting his guys because we don’t play him again. So, if we played him the week after the All-Star Game, they’d all go about 42 minutes,” Van Gundy joked before Sunday’s game. “But with us not playing them again, I can’t get much out of burying them.”

But seriously, Van Gundy has the challenge every coach in every sport has in an in-season All-Star Game. How do you manage players on competing teams in an exhibition game that means nothing in the standings?

“I would plan to get together with all of them, but particularly I know Paul and Kevin have had injury concerns and see where they are.”

[Click here to hear Van Gundy dish on the Celtics and the All-Star Game.]

So, in doing his homework, Van Gundy is consulting the Celtics ‘€” specifically assistant coach Mike Longabardi.

“I just told Michael Longbardi to make sure if Doc has concerns that he lets me know, too, ahead of time,” Van Gundy said.

“I’m not looking to hurt anybody, and at the same time, obviously, Kevin was voted into the game by the fans and Paul’s a perennial All-Star, so fans are going to want to see those guys, so you can’t play them five or six minutes. Particularly Kevin as a starter, he’s got to put in some minutes, but we’ll see where they are and where Doc is.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Magic, NBA All-Star Game
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