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Paul Pierce: Celtics ‘defense has got to come a lot faster’ 11.02.12 at 10:08 am ET
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WALTHAM — Paul Pierce, as captain of the Celtics, has a way of sending a clear message to his team.

That was evident during the TNT telecast of Tuesday night’s season-opening loss in Miami.

He was wearing a microphone and barking out calls on the floor and words of encouragement to Rajon Rondo when things weren’t always going well.

On Thursday, before the Celtics home opener tonight against the Bucks, he was barking out something else.

“The defense has got to come a lot faster, and that’s something that’s come a lot faster in the past than the offense,” Pierce said of Boston’s 120 points allowed in a 120-107 loss to the Heat. “I’m pretty surprised we scored 107 points, to tell you the truth. Usually, the defense, we pick it up pretty fast. We understand our schemes, our rotations. But I just think we have to understand the type of atmosphere it was going to be. Some of the guys have never been in that atmosphere before, first game, playing against the defending champs on the road. We have to pick up our intensity, understand the moment, understand where we’re at and understand the type of game it’s going to be and raise our game.”

Doc Rivers thought his coaching staff had too much time to prepare and filled their players’ minds with too much information.

“I think our on-ball defense was average because our help defense was worse,” Rivers said. “If everybody is up guarding their own man and there’s no help and guys see gaps [in the defense], they’re taking it. What really upset us, every key guy got every shot he wanted, where they wanted the whole, and that’s a bad defensive night.

“It was team wide. It was spread. Like I told them, from the coaching standpoint, I thought we had way too much time to prepare for it and we put way too much stuff in their head. I thought they were thinking more than playing on instinct. I told our coaches we share in that. We had them doing a couple of different things and that’s not who we are defensively.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Miami Heat, NBA
Who’s a dirtier player: Rajon Rondo or Dwyane Wade? 11.01.12 at 4:27 pm ET
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If it’s possible, Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade are fanning the flames of the Celtics-Heat rivalry even higher.

After Rondo wrapped his left arm around Wade’s collar in the waning seconds of a game already in Miami’s hand on Tuesday night, the Heat guard called his Boston counterpoint out for what he interpreted as “a punk play.”

“I got my kids watching so I stopped myself but it was a punk play by him,” said Wade. “He clotheslined me.”

He added: “I’m here to play basketball. If you want to do something else, then go do something else. Boxing, this is not it. I was glad I was able to stop myself in that very moment and move on from it. We’ll see next time we play.”

After C’s practice on Thursday, Rondo responded, recalling a certain play in Game 3 of the 2011 Eastern Conference semifinals, when Wade pulled him to the floor and dislocated his elbow.

‘€œI don’€™t think it was a hard foul,’€ said Rondo, referring to Tuesday’s flagrant-1 on Wade. “He sold it a little bit, and that’€™s basketball. They were up, he drove to the hole and I didn’€™t want to give up a layup. Simple as that. I didn’€™t yank him down or dirty plays that you’€™ve seen him play in the past, so that’€™s what it is.’€

Wade didn’t get whistled for a flagrant on Rondo two seasons ago, but that’s a different argument about superstar calls and whether the Celtics point guard fits that bill among NBA officials. As for which play was dirtier, it’s simple: Wade walked to the free throw line unharmed; Rondo walked off the floor clutching his arm in excruciating pain.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, NBA
Box and 1: Inside Celtics, Heat and ‘punk plays’ 10.31.12 at 4:32 pm ET
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Heat 120, Celtics 107: Observations about the box score from Game 1 of the C’s (0-1) 2012-13 NBA season.

– On seven shots, Ray Allen scored 19 points (2-3 3P, 7-8 FT) against his former team. Not good. Not good at all. Allen delivered his first dagger — a wide-open 3-pointer from the corner — 1:03 into his 30:35 on the floor thanks to a missed defensive assignment by Jason Terry. So much for Terry’s “Ray Allen who?” routine.

Doc Rivers (via ESPN.com): “You can live with LeBron [James] and [Dwyane] Wade making jump shots, but the first play I think Ray was on the floor, we leave him by himself in the corner. You’d think we would know better.”

Translation: “We made dumb plays on defense. That’s why we gave up 31 points in three consecutive quarters.”

– When the Celtics signed Leandro Barbosa two weeks ago, Rivers already understood what his newest backcourt ingredient brought to the recipe: Instant offense. Directions are simple: If trailing by double digits late, insert Barbosa. And results are appetizing: 16 points (6-8 FG, 3-3 3P) and a 19-point lead trimmed to two.

Rivers (via Celtics.com): ‘€œIf you get in a scoring contest and Barbosa’€™s on the floor, you’€™re going to feel pretty good about it,’€ said Rivers. ‘€œBecause that’€™s how he’€™s played. That’€™s how he’€™s used to playing.’€

Translation: “I trust veterans. Barbosa is a veteran. Therefore, I trust Barbosa.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, NBA
Leandro Barbosa gives Doc Rivers a ‘feel-good’ moment in loss at 3:56 pm ET
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No one saw this coming this quick.

Leandro Barbosa was signed on Oct. 18 as another scoring threat off the bench who is also capable of handling the ball when Rondo is not on the floor.

On Tuesday night, it was not Jason Terry, Jared Sullinger or Jeff Green who was big off the Celtics bench. All three frankly struggled. It was Barbosa – the Brazilian beast – who exploded for 16 points in 16 minutes, making six of his eight shots from the floor and running with Rondo in the fast break.

“He was terrific,” Doc Rivers said. “If you get into a scoring contest and Barbosa’s on the floor, you’re going to feel pretty good about it. that’s how he’s played, that’s how he’s used to playing. I love him, the way he attacks. He’s clearly not scared of the moment. He bailed us out. We got back in that game down the stretch and it was because Barbosa was on the floor.”

Indeed, Barbosa entered the game with 16.1 seconds left in the third quarter and played the entire fourth quarter, leading the Celtics from 19 points down to just a four-point deficit, 111-107, with two minutes left. Barbosa scored all 16 of his points in the final quarter, making quite the impression.

And it also creates quite the decision for Rivers to consider. Green played 18 minutes in the first three quarters but when Kevin Garnett came in for Green with 7:06 left in the fourth quarter, making just three free throws and missing all four field goal attempts. Terry wasn’t much better on this night, going 2-for-7 from the field with eight points in 28 minutes.

But read between the lines in what Rivers said about Terry and apply it to the bench overall, and you get an idea of the patience Rivers plans to apply early in the season while he finds the right mixes and matches off the bench.

“Not great but there’s 81 more,” Rivers said. “He’ll make up for it.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Leandro Barbosa, Miami Heat
Poll: What exactly did Tuesday night in Miami prove? at 2:57 pm ET
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What did you take away from Tuesday night in Miami

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Miami Heat
Fast Break: Ray Allen, Heat set Celtics ablaze 10.30.12 at 10:49 pm ET
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Just as we last saw them, the Celtics left Miami wondering how in the hell they’ll beat the Heat.

Only this time, Ray Allen reigned jumpers for the home team. After watching his new teammates receive their NBA championship rings as part of the opening night festivities, Allen scored 19 points in a 120-107 win against his old ones. Fellow fresh face Rashard Lewis (10 points) inflicted some pain as well, and LeBron James (26 points, 10 rebounds), Dwyane Wade (29 points) and Chris Bosh (19 points, 10 rebounds) did their usual damage.

Celtics captain Paul Pierce registered a team-high 23 points, Rajon Rondo (20 points, 13 assists, 7 rebounds and 1 flagrant foul) and Brandon Bass (15 points, 11 rebounds) recorded double-doubles, and Leandro Barbosa (16 points) reached double figures off the bench, but the defense couldn’t cool Miami on the other end — even after a 16-3 run cut the lead to two late in the fourth quarter. Here’s what else happened:

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Miami Heat, NBA
Kevin Garnett gives Ray Allen the cold shoulder at 9:05 pm ET
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Just before coming in and making his debut for the Miami Heat to a standing ovation at American Airlines Arena, Ray Allen went over to the Celtics bench to shake hands with Doc Rivers and assistants Kevin Eastman and Armond Hill.

The look from Hill was chilly but nothing compared to when he tried going around Eastman and tap old teammate Kevin Garnett on the left shoulder. Garnett didn’t budge as the above .GIF from www.gifulmination.com shows.

See video of the incident below:

Read More: Armond Hill, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Eastman
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