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No practice for weary Celts 05.01.09 at 9:38 am ET
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Not surprisingly, the Celtics will not practice on Friday after getting back in the middle of the night from Chicago following one of the most dramatic playoff games in NBA history. The next time the Celtics take the court will likely be a shootaround at their Waltham practice facility on Saturday morning.

The busiest part of the day for the Celtics may be at the ticket office as ducats for Saturday night’s Game 7 go on sale at 11 a.m. today. A limited number of tickets are available at Celtics.com, 1-800-NBA-4TIX or at the TD Banknorth Garden box office.

Game 7 between the Celtics and Bulls tips off at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Garden.

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Dwight Howard suspended 04.29.09 at 4:12 pm ET
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In a move that has some impact on the Celtics, the NBA suspended Orlando center Dwight Howard for throwing an elbow at Philadelphia’s Sam Delambert during Game 5 of their playoff series Tuesday night.

Howard was assigned a simple technical foul on the play and the Magic went on to win the game behind a monster effort from young Dwight–24 points and 24 rebounds. They now lead the series, 3-2. Game 6 is scheduled for Thursday night in Philly and the winner of the series gets the survivor of the Celtics-Bulls in the conference semifinals.

Delambert wasn’t the only victim of Howard’s wayward elbows. Magic rookie guard Courtney Lee also caught one in the chops and is also out of Game 6 with a fractured sinus. (Wasn’t everyone worried that Howard was too nice for the playoffs?)

Obviously the Celtics have their hands full and aren’t looking ahead to anything–except maybe for some Chicago deep dish–but it doesn’t hurt their long-term prospects if Orlando and Philly have to go the seven-game route. Also, if the Celtics are able to close out Chicago Thursday night, and Philly and Orlando go seven games, that would afford the C’s some much-needed rest.

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Doc fined $25K for defending Perkins at 1:36 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday he has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for suggesting that center Kendrick Perkins has been targeted by officials for setting illegal screens.

Rivers made the comments on Monday, one day after the Celtics lost 121-118 in double overtime to the Bulls in Chicago.

The team is leaving this afternoon for Chicago following a brief film session at their Waltham training facility. Game 6 is Thursday night in Chicago, with the Celtics leading the best-of-seven series, 3-2. A win sends them into the second round to face either Orlando or Philadelphia.

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Rondo to fans: We need you tonight 04.28.09 at 12:23 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Rajon Rondo is looking for a little help from some of the most loyal fans in the NBA.

Tonight, as the Celtics prepare to battle the Chicago Bulls in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference series at TD Banknorth Garden, Rondo and his mates will look to put that grueling double-overtime loss in Game 4 in Chicago behind them.

When you spend 3 hours, 33 minutes battling, only to lose and have to hop on a plane and play 48 hours later in playoff intensity, it’s understandable that you would look for a pick-me-up wherever you can find it.

“I think it’s important for us, to get the crowd in early,” Rondo said. “I think it’s very key. I think it’s one of the most important things besides us playing well tonight is for the crowd to be into it.”

The man who has averaged a triple-double in this series, with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, will be called upon to get the Celtics offense into high gear at the start.

“We look at it as a game we have to win,” Rondo said Tuesday morning. “We looked at Game 4 the same way. We could have separated the series if we had won Game 4 but we have to move on.”

Rondo has two triple-doubles in this series, in the Game 2 win, and the Game 4 loss. Celtics coach Doc Rivers would welcome another triple double but what he’s really looking for is  just a steady court presence.

“That would be great,” Rivers said of another triple-double. “His numbers are almost gaudy at times. We don’t expect those numbers, we just expect his solid play. Sometimes, even when he plays and has a great, solid numbers it doesn’t translate into number. But so far this series it has.”

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Doc on Garnett: There’s a chance, not a very good one at 11:35 am ET
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WALTHAM – Responding to a radio report by Reggie Miller to Dan Patrick that Kevin Garnett could return if the Celtics made it to the second round, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said this morning that Garnett is still out indefinitely with his sore right knee, adding, “Like I’ve said before, yeah, there’s a chance, it’s not a very good one,” Rivers said. “I guess you could report that and it’s correct but it’d be incorrect.”

Garnett has been reduced to a role of cheerleader during the series, spending most of his time on the Celtics bench while Leon Powe tore the ACL in his left knee in Game 2 and is lost for the playoffs.

Garnett will need surgery on bone spurs in his right knee that are not related to his tendinitis in the back of the same knee. Garnett is holding off on the procedure in the remote hope that he could return if the Celtics advance past the first round.

Meanwhile, no decision has been made on when to proceed with surgery on Powe’s knee.

The Celtics will once again be without Garnett and Leon Powe (left knee) tonight when they battle the Chicago Bulls in Game 5 of the first round Eastern Conference series, with the series tied, 2-2. Gametime is 7 p.m. at TD Banknorth Garden. For more, visit the Green Street blog.

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No avoiding Kobe vs. LeBron 04.24.09 at 5:21 pm ET
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Even though NBA Commissioner David Stern spoke out against the NBA’s inclination toward a Cleveland Cavaliers-Los Angeles Lakers Finals, there is no ignoring the Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James chatter during the playoffs. This weekend vitaminwater is launching an ad on ESPN hypothesizing about a match up between the two All-Stars. Fans can weigh in on Facebook at www.facebook.com/vitaminwater.

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NBA Weekend Playoff Guide at 4:11 pm ET
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Friday, April 24

(1) Cleveland Cavaliers @ (8) Detroit Pistons*
7:00pm EST, ESPN

(3) Orlando Magic @ (6) Philadelphia 76ers
8:00pm EST, ESPN2

(4) Portland Trail Blazers @ (5) Houston Rockets
9:30pm EST, ESPN

Saturday, April 25

(2) Denver Nuggets @ (7) New Orleans Hornets
1:00pm EST, ESPN

(3) San Antonio Spurs @ (6) Dallas Mavericks
4:00pm EST, TNT

(4) Atlanta Hawks @ (5) Miami Heat
6:30pm EST, TNT

(1) Los Angeles Lakers @ (8) Utah Jazz
9:00pm EST, ESPN

Sunday, April 26

(2) Boston Celtics @ (7) Chicago Bulls
1:00pm EST, ABC

(1) Cleveland Cavaliers @ (8) Detroit Pistons
3:30pm EST, ABC

(3) Orlando Magic @ (6) Philadelphia 76ers
6:30pm EST, TNT

(4) Portland Trail Blazers @ (5) Houston Rockets
9:00pm EST, TNT

* The Cavaliers (2-0) are the only team eligible to clinch a series victory this weekend.

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