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Irish Coffee: Top 5 reasons not to fear Knicks 02.22.11 at 2:59 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

As details of the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks from the Nuggets in a deal that involved 15 current and future NBA players leaked to the media, the man who led Syracuse University to the 2003 NCAA title as an 18-year-old appeared on TV in a pre-recorded interview with Conan O’Brien and stated that he’d indeed like to stay in Denver.

Whether Anthony’s answer was sincere makes little difference. The real question is this: Should the Knicks still want the NBA’s third-best small forward in a Nuggets uniform? Considering he likely would’ve joined New York this summer for less dollars anyway — and the Knicks wouldn’t have had to part with three of their best five players — the answer to that question in the long-term is Absolutely.

Here are the details of the Carmelo Anthony trade from the Knicks perspective …

Either way, the deal is done. So, that leaves another question: Should the Celtics, Heat or Bulls fear the Knicks at any point in the next four years? Here are the top five reasons they shouldn’t …

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets, NBA, New York Knicks
Irish Coffee: Celtics’ NBA All-Star Weekend in quotes 02.21.11 at 12:05 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Celtics Ray Allen and Paul Pierce may have lost to overlooked Heat forward James Jones in the final round of the 3-Point Contest, and more heralded Miami forward Lebron James (29 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) might have singlehandedly played Allen, Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo (28 points, 12 rebounds, 14 assists) even at the NBA All-Star Game, but all was not lost.

After sorting through all 29,562, 317 interviews from the All-Star festivities, I present the weekend in quotes …

Kevin Garnett (via USA Today): “I’m far from dirty. Dirty is like hate. Don’t use that word. I’m competitive, and I play hard, but don’t call me dirty. Just like if you dislike me, dislike me. ‘Hate’ is a very strong word, just like ‘dirty’ is a very strong word.”

Garnett (via CBS Sports): “All-Star weekend is a chance for all players to sit down and relax. Get to know one another. I don’€™t like the word ‘fraternizing’ and I don’€™t like the word ‘fronting’. It’€™s the one time that we get to socialize and be friendly, I don’€™t think it’€™s fronting, I think everybody is sort of in a relaxed state.”

Garnett (via NBA.com): “Look here, I don’€™t play for the Phoenix Suns. I could care less what Spike [Lee] or whoever else has to say about me. As long as Doc Rivers and my organization is happy with what I’€™m doing, I could care less. …

“If I’€™m playing against you, I’€™m not trying to be your friend. I’€™m out here to win. I’€™m just competitive. I go about this a certain way. Always have, always will. I don’€™t make any excuses about that or apologize for anything I’€™ve done. I carry myself in a well-fashioned manner. I respect the game first-off, respect the players that are in it. And I’€™m definitely not trying to hurt anybody — I don’€™t want to be hurt. I’€™m just out there playing hard and playing competitive. If that comes off as something else, then that’€™s your problem.”

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Read More: All-Star Game, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant
Irish Coffee: Too many minutes for Celtics to win it? 02.18.11 at 1:06 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

In my mind, seven teams could potentially win the 2011 NBA championship: the Celtics, Spurs, Lakers, Heat, Bulls, Mavericks and Thunder. Four of those teams — the C’s, Spurs, Lakers and Mavericks — have veteran-laden rotations, so which coaches are doing the best job this season of managing the minutes logged on their top players’ aging bodies before the All-Star break?

Let’s look at those four teams’ top six players, their ages and their minutes logged …

Boston Celtics
Average Age: 30.1 years
Average Games Played: 43.5
Average Minutes Per Game: 33.5 (8,746 total)
Percent of Team’s Total Minutes: 67.1

Rajon Rondo (24 years, 361 days): 1,622 minutes; 37.7 minutes per game
Ray Allen (35 years, 213 days): 1,948 min; 36.1 mpg
Paul Pierce (33 years, 128 days): 1,881 min; 34.8 mpg
Kevin Garnett (34 years, 275 days): 1,409 min; 31.3 mpg
Glen Davis (25 years, 48 days): 1,585 min; 29.4 mpg
Kendrick Perkins (26 years, 100 days): 301 min; 27.4 mpg

***

San Antonio Spurs
Average Age: 29.4
Average Games Played: 55.0
Average MPG: 29.0 (9,562 total)
Percent of Team’s Total Minutes: 70.8

Tony Parker (28 years, 277 days): 1,826 min; 32.6 mpg
Richard Jefferson (30 years, 242 days): 1,752 min; 31.3 mpg
Manu Ginobili (33 years, 205 days): 1,738 min; 31.0 mpg
Tim Duncan (34 years, 299 days): 1,609 min; 28.7 mpg
George Hill (24 years, 290 days): 1,393 min; 27.9 mpg
DeJuan Blair (21 years, 302 days): 1,244 min; 22.2 mpg

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Read More: Bill Russell, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA
NBA Power Rankings, 2/17 02.17.11 at 6:24 pm ET
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1. San Antonio (46-9): According to the New York Post, citing a waitress at Tao on 58th Street in New York City, Tony Parker “celebrated Valentine’s Day, a win over the Nets — and his divorce — by canoodling with a brunette.” When this is the biggest news about the Spurs for the week, it’s pretty clear they’re still the NBA’s No. 1 (regular-season) team and (somehow) still underrated.

2. Dallas (39-16): The Mavericks are 37-9 with Dirk Nowitzki in the lineup — and 18-7 against teams above .500. That’s pretty good. Not surprisingly, owner Mark Cuban told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram his team has all the pieces in place for a title run. While they’re certainly playing better than the Lakers — and even the Celtics — right now, I’m still not buying them as contenders.

3. Boston (40-14): With Glen Davis as the sole healthy member of their projected second unit — and even he suffered a bruised noggin — the Celtics finished 2-2 against the Mavericks, Magic, Lakers and Heat in the span of nine days. The win over the Heat was truly significant; no matter who earns the East’s No. 1 seed the C’s cemented themselves as the clear favorites in the conference.

4. Miami (41-15): Sure, the Heat are 38-10 (.792 winning percentage) with Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all in the lineup. Still, even with all three of those guys on the floor, they’re only 11-8 (.579) against teams above the .500 mark. Oh, and they’re 0-4 against the two other teams vying for Eastern Conference supremacy. I’d say that’s a concern.

5. Chicago (37-16): Under Tom Thibodeau‘s tutelage, the Bulls have gone from 11th place in points allowed per 100 possessions last season to second place this year — without defensive stalwart Joakim Noah at center since Dec. 15. The booby prize for finishing second in the East is not only a Game 7 on the road in the conference finals but also a semifinals matchup with Chicago.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA
Glen Davis, Von Wafer give Celtics just enough reserve in the tank 02.14.11 at 10:18 am ET
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Simply put, without a great performance from Glen Davis and Von Wafer, the Celtics lose to the Heat Sunday and are in the midst of a three-game losing streak.

Instead, Davis had 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting – with one very embarrassing miss – and Wafer was 4-for-5 and had his most important game as a Celtic with 10 points, including a pair of huge 3’s in an 85-82 win over the Heat.

Forget the fact that the Celtics leap-frogged the Heat back into first in the Eastern Conference. Sunday was significant if for no other reason than the Celtics had every reason – and excuse – to lose this game.

Paul Pierceas we found out after the game – was really banged up and it showed as he missed all 10 shots from the field. Rajon Rondo turned in another all-world performance in 43 minutes of action but Doc Rivers couldn’t really rely on Nate Robinson who played just five minutes. And Avery Bradley played the final nine seconds of the first quarter.

That left it up to Davis and Wafer.

With the Celtics up 71-61, Wafer nailed a 3-ball for the Celtics’ final points of the third. He also gave the C’s their first three points of the fourth on another jumper from long range.

Davis’ big moment came even later. With 6.3 seconds remaining, Davis was fouled by LeBron James, who had just missed 1-of-2 free throws that could’ve tied the game. Instead, Davis had a chance to put the C’s up three, where a 3-pointer wouldn’t beat them.

He drained both, even with some talking going on in front of him from the Heat.

‘€œYou want to be in those positions,” Davis said. “That’€™s why you practice so hard, that’€™s why you get in the condition.

‘€œWe’€™re just trying to play the game like it’€™s supposed to be played. You know these are two of the best teams in the NBA. We got a lot of things to accomplish, getting over injuries, just trying to get better every day. We have 31 games left, we need to go out there and try to play 31 perfect games until the post-season starts.”

The more serious Wafer said there was an important message behind Sunday’s win.

‘€œIt says that we shouldn’€™t have lost the last two games,” Wafer said of the losses to the Bobcats and Lakers. “It’€™s kind of frustrating, but it’€™s already done so we just have to move on and work with what we got.’€

Rivers was just happy his team found a way with the team missing Daniels, both O’Neals, Delonte West, Robinson and a banged-up captain in Pierce.

“The bench won the game in the first half,” Rivers said of his team’s seven-point deficit in the first quarter. “They got us back into it. You know, it was amazing watching the two units play; the first unit was kind of dragging, obviously, and I thought all of them except for Rondo ‘€“ and then the second unit comes in and we don’€™t change anything; they just ‘€“ everything was quicker, harder, more desperate. And they made things happen.

“I thought in a role-reversal they showed the first unit how we were going to have to win this game. And then I thought our first unit took it from there. But Von and Baby were absolutely huge for us and terrific.’€

No discussion of Sunday’s game and Davis would be complete without mentioning what happened with 10:30 left in the second quarter. Davis, who played remarkable defense all day, stole the ball from Dwyane Wade and his reward was an open court to go to the basket for an easy two – except for the fact that he left the floor on the wrong foot and missed the lay-up/dunk in front of gasping crowd. Whoops.

‘€œThat was just what it was,” Davis smiling in very good humor. “I missed it, I went up the wrong way too. I can’€™t wait to see it on ESPN Not Top 10 that was a classic one. I was laughing. I’€™m glad it happened cause it kind of got me going in the game’€

And may have just helped the Celtics register the most significant win of the season.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwyane Wade, Glen Davis, LeBron James
Rajon Rondo gets inside the heads of the Heat 02.13.11 at 7:24 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo may be a guard but he certainly is getting accustomed to being in the center of the action.

The Celtics trailed, 43-39, at halftime and looked tired, even to coach Doc Rivers. Rondo knew something had to change and fast if the C’s were to avoid a third straight loss.

“D-West talked to me coming out of halftime and couple of guys told me to try and up the tempo and the only way I could do that was by pressuring the ball,” Rondo said.

Even if it meant picking up LeBron James at midcourt. And he did. And the Celtics responded with a 20-3 run that gave them the lead they never relinquished.

“I was just trying to cut the head of the horse, just wanted to change the tempo of the game,” Rondo added.

Rondo had a triple-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and Kevin Garnett added 19 points as the Celtics won for the third time in as many tries against King LeBron and the Heat, 85-82, Sunday afternoon at TD Garden.

So Doc, whose brilliant idea was it?

“It was Rondo’€™s idea,” Rivers said. “Really what it was, was that we just ‘€“ I told him to pressure the ball, and he took that whoever brought it up. I didn’€™t mean that. He took it that way and then I stayed with it. He actually during a time-out thought we were going to switch back, and when I didn’€™t say anything he was surprised. Because I liked it.

“Sometimes you go off the book and today was clearly that. That match-up made no sense, honestly. And it hurt us a couple times. The only thing I saw honestly is that it gave us life. Because he was trying so hard and working so hard, I just sort of force everybody else to join in. And even [Assistant Coach] Lawrence [Frank] was like ‘€˜We can’€™t do this!’€™ And I said, ‘€˜You’€™re right, but we’€™re just going to keep doing it.’€™ And it was good for us.’€

The Celtics, who scored just 11 points in the fourth quarter, reclaimed first in the Eastern Conference by a half-game over the Heat, improving to 39-14 while the Heat fell to 39-15. With a chance to tie the game, James missed the front end of a pair of free throws with 12.5 seconds remaining and Mike Miller missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer just before the buzzer.

The Celtics had six players in double figures but captain Paul Pierce was not one of them. He missed all 10 shots and finished with just one point in 39 minutes. The Celtics shot just 30 percent in the opening quarter and 37 percent in the first half, and trailed 43-39 at the half. But Boston outscored Miami, 20-3, to open the third quarter and take command of the game.

The third quarter also featured some playoff-brand physical play and frustration from the the Heat. After Zydrunas Ilguaskas set a devastating screen on Rondo, who immediately got up. Moments later, Garnett got retribution with a clean pick on Mike Miller. But Dwyane Wade took exception and threw an elbow at Garnett. Wade was whistled for a flagrant foul and the two teams had to be separated.

The Celtics are off until Wednesday when they host the Nets in the final game before the All-Star break.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Delonte West, Doc Rivers, Miami Heat
Paul Pierce to have MRI on left foot Monday, right hand is also hurting at 6:08 pm ET
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After missing all 10 shots from the field on Sunday, an ailing Paul Pierce said he will have an MRI on his aching left foot on Monday to determine the extent of the injury. Pierce also aggravated his sprained right hand, which he first injured Saturday in practice.

“I sprained my hand yesterday in practice, it got hit today and then just have to get my foot checked out tomorrow, going to get an MRI on it and go from there.”

Despite scoring just one point, Pierce played 40 minutes and the Celtics beat the Heat for the third time in as many tries this season, 85-82.

‘€œIt was tough, you know right now, just battling a couple minor injuries to my hand and my foot,” Pierce said after his least productive game of the season. “So I think that really explains my tentativeness and my off-shooting today. I told Doc that I really didn’€™t have it today but I just tried to grind it out and thank goodness we came out with a win.’€

Asked when he injured it, Pierce said, “it happened about a week ago, actually.”

Pierce, who missed Wednesday’s practice home sick with flu-like symptoms, said he wasn’t sick on Sunday.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, NBA, Paul Pierce
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