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Ray Allen: ‘The ball needed to go in’ 01.23.10 at 12:27 am ET
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Ray Allen said the key to overcome his sluggish night from the field and the free throw line was keeping mentally focused.

And that seemed a might tall order considering he had missed 11-of-13 shots before the biggest shot he took of the night. It came with 41.3 seconds remaining in overtime and the Trail Blazers leading, 95-93.

“I knew I was close,” Allen said. “There wasn’t anything wrong with my form or my mechanics. It was just the ball needed to go in. I had a shot where I hit the glass [on bank shot] and it just kinda hit the glass and rolled off and it was like, ‘Geez.’ It just wasn’t working for me.

“Mentally, I had to whatever I could to help this team win and just be prepared because you never know when that ball drifts in your direction and you’ve got to be ready to shoot.”

The fact that the shot found the bottom of the basket surprised no one. After all, he was due. And less than a minute earlier, he nearly had a shot rattle home but it ‘toilet bowled’ out as Allen himself described it.

To hear Allen talk about his night, click here.

Paul Pierce said everyone should realize Ray Allen is one of the best shooters ever, second only to Pierce himself.

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KG speaks: ‘Old 76 Pinto got banged up’ 01.22.10 at 11:55 pm ET
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Garnett said he had more in common with this '76 Pinto than just the green.

Old School: Garnett and a '76 Pinto.

Kevin Garnett was in a jovial mood following his first game since Dec. 28.

And for good reason. He just passed the first significant test of his right knee, which was hyperextended during the ill-fated West Coast road trip.

He had 13 points, two rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes.

After the Celtics finally found a way to dispatch of the short-handed Trail Blazers, 98-95, in overtime, Garnett spoke about how he felt.

To hear Garnett, who was born in May 1976, compare himself to a ’76 Pinto and talk about how he felt, click here.

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KG on his Celtics: ‘It’s accountability, man’ 01.21.10 at 1:33 pm ET
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WALTHAM  –  If Kevin Garnett is indeed cleared to play Friday against Portland by the Celtics’ medical staff and head coach Doc Rivers, the team might be getting the kick in the pants a lot of observers – including their head coach feel they need.

There’s no reading between the lines necessary when interpreting Garnett’s comments about what’s been missing, especially in a team that has blown double-digit first-half leads on their way to losses to Dallas and Detroit this week.

“Slippage man, some of the hardest games are between 30 and 55 of the season and those are the grind games and at this stage, we have to grind all these out,” Garnett said. “It’s a good time for everybody to be coming back and coming back strong.

“It’s accountability, man. I’m telling you, our defense is built off grit and effort. You either you can do it or you don’t want to do it. The man behind you having your back, that’s what it is, nothing more, nothing less than that.”

[Listen to the Celtics' world according to KG by clicking here]

While not playing, Garnett sees the second-half defensive breakdowns everyone else watching the Celtics has witnessed during their 4-5 month of January so far.

“Our defense is built off of trust,” he said. “It isn’t necessarily an assignment but it is a type of defense in which we hold each other accountable. Whatever the defense the calls for, for one person to do his job, the natural reaction is for his teammate to be there to help him and then so on and so on.” Read the rest of this entry »

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NBA Power Rankings, 1/21 at 9:22 am ET
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Los Angeles Lakers1. LA Lakers (2): It’s going to be hard for someone to knock the Lakers from this perch going forward. Of all the elite teams, they’ve looked the hungriest all year. I have no idea what’s driving Kobe Bryant — the rings, Shaquille O’Neal, the Next Michael Jordan comparisons — but he’s been an incredibly determined player the entire season.

Cleveland Cavaliers2. Cleveland (1): Speaking of Shaq, he volunteered the legs of Kobe, LeBron James and Vince Carter to raise money for Haitian relief. I wonder if it ever occurred to ShaqStimulus that with his massive contract (and endorsements) he’s also well-positioned to do what he’s asking of others.

Dallas Mavericks3. Dallas (4): Dirk Nowitzki was an innocent bystander when Rasheed Wallace and the NBA both lost their minds. Wallace, after running into foul trouble against Dirk, said the officials don’t like to see tough D played against the big man. So the league fined him 35 grand. Silly on both counts. Wallace has to admit that Dirk is a tough matchup, and the NBA has to stop being so insecure about criticism. Thirty-five grand for a comment like that? Come on.

Atlanta Hawks4. Atlanta (7): As scary a team as you’ll see in the Eastern Conference. Before, the Hawks’ weakness was obvious: no bench. I see a team with few weaknesses now, and plenty of confidence — especially when playing the Celtics.

Denver Nuggets5. Denver (9): The Nuggets are a great team when Chauncey Billups is healthy. Carmelo Anthony certainly can hold his own without Billups, but he’s a much more dangerous player with him on the floor.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Rasheed Wallace fined by NBA 01.20.10 at 3:01 pm ET
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The NBA just released a statement to the press that Rasheed Wallace has been fined $35,000 for publicly criticizing game officials. The fine was a result of Wallace’s comments after the Celtics’ 99-90 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, January 18th.

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KG at practice but C’s still have work to do 01.19.10 at 5:52 pm ET
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WALTHAM  –  While the head coach and captain were very happy to see Kevin Garnett back at practice on Tuesday afternoon, they tempered their enthusiasm with a heavy dose of reality.

The Celtics have a lot of work to do, even when their defensive MVP returns to game action.

“He looked real fluid,” Paul Pierce said. “He got up and down the court, got him the ball in the post. It’ll be a positive to get him back whenver he comes back. We don’t know if that’s going to be tomorrow, later in the week or whenever. But it just good to have him out there, his presence. You feel it and you see it when he’s out on the court.

“We ain’t thinking about that but definitely we know we’re going to better when Kevin comes back, obviously. He makes a better team on both ends of the court. We have to take care of responsibilities while he’s out. If he’s going to play the next game or not, we still have to go out there and turn this thing around going into the All-Star break.”

Then there’s Doc Rivers’ attitude.

“When Kevin gets back, we still have to grow as a team,” Rivers said. “The way I look at it, with him out, our growth has been stunted. When he comes back, it’ll continue our growth. It’s not the answer yet. We still have to grow as a team.”

While Garnett looked terrific, his conditioning wasn’t. And that came as no surprise to Rivers, who reiterated time and time again, KG will NOT return to game action Wednesday in Detroit.

“He actually looked really good,” Rivers added. “He played well. His conditioning was awful. That’s why I stopped [practice] because he was going well. I didn’t want to take him to the next step yet. He’ll do some running [Wednesday]. We may do something Thursday, or not, and then Friday, we’ll see.”

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KG: ‘Felt good to be back with the guys’ at 3:06 pm ET
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WALTHAM  –  For the first time since being sidelined by a hyperextended right knee, Kevin Garnett returned to full practice on Tuesday. He took part in session, running up and down the court without a noticeable limp.

“It felt good,” Garnett said. “It felt good to be back with the guys today.”

Head coach Doc Rivers said he will not allow Garnett to play on Wednesday night in Detroit when the team plays the Pistons but rather keep him on track for a Friday return when the Celtics host Portland.

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