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Did Danny Ainge deny Leandro Barbosa’s trade request? 01.17.13 at 2:19 pm ET
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Leandro Barbosa

Celtics guard Leandro Barbosa asked Danny Ainge to be either traded or released, but the C’s president of basketball operations “will not let me go,” Barbosa told a Brazilian sports radio station (h/t CelticsBlog).

Here’s the rough Portuguese-to-English translation from Google Chrome:

“I will not lie to you: I tried to get out several times, but Danny Ainge does not want to let me go,” Barbosa told Bradesco Sports FM. “He’s a guy that admires my basketball skills for many years. I was supposed to have got a good contract with the Boston Celtics, but did not. He will not let me go.”

The fifth guard on the roster after Avery Bradley’s return to the backcourt, Barbosa’s 10.7 minutes and 4.9 points per game are both career lows, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers failed to bring the explosive scorer off the bench on Wednesday until it was too late in a game tailored for his instant offense.

“I should’ve played LB earlier when we were struggling for energy,” Rivers said after the 90-78 loss to the Hornets. “He’s an energy guy. It was easy [to say] now, obviously, but that’s what I’ll probably see when I watch the film.”

In the final 2:35 of the fourth quarter, Barbosa scored seven points on four shots. His 36-minute averages of 16.5 points (44.2 FG%, 39.3 3P%), 4.1 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals aren’t far off from 2006-07, when he won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year honor, and they’re superior across the board to fellow offensive-minded guard Jason Terry‘s 36-minute averages of 12.8 points (42.5 FG%, 36.1 3P%), 2.9 assists, 2.5 boards and 1.2 steals.

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Austin Rivers wouldn’t rule out Celtics in future at 1:53 am ET
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For the Celtics, facing the boy they watched grow into a top-10 NBA draft pick during his dad’s nine seasons in Boston, it was weird to finally see Austin Rivers looking back at them on the parquet in a Hornets uniform.

“It’s just a strange dynamic,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers after losing to his son, 90-78. “I didn’t enjoy it, honestly. I know it’s neat for everyone else, but as a father, I don’t know if I enjoyed that.”

“It was strange for everybody in here,” added Kevin Garnett. “If we didn’t feel old [before], we feel a little old [now], obviously, seeing a little kid that used to say absolutely nothing, dribble his ball and kind of be in his own little world to being a young man now in the league, trying to make something of himself, doing a good job of it, talking trash, running up and down, leading his team. It’s good. It’s good to see Austin doing real good.”

Garnett might have wanted to seem do a little worse, actually, since Austin’s eight points on 3-of-6 field goals — including a running layup during their momentum-stealing run in the second quarter — marked his best scoring and shooting night this month. His 23 minutes were more than he played in his previous three games combined.

Maybe that’s why it was the 20-year-old Rivers who felt the most comfortable in such a strange situation.

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Kevin Garnett: Anthony Davis ‘makes me look like a midget’ at 12:33 am ET
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From one athletic freak out of Chicago’s South Side to another, Kevin Garnett had high praise for Anthony Davis.

“That kid is long,” the aging Celtics superstar said of the Hornets rookie. “He makes me look like a midget, man. I was nothing like him. He’s a freak of nature. This kid’s going to be really good. He’s going to be really good.”

Apparently, Garnett hasn’t looked in a mirror lately. He’s officially listed at 6-foot-11, although he’s easily 7 feet, and various outlets list his wingspan at 7-foot-6. That would make him longer than the University of Kentucky product, who measured in at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan.

In an NBA career that’s spanned almost as many seasons (18) as the 19-year-old Davis has spent on this planet, Garnett only praises those few he deems worthy, and this year’s No. 1 overall pick received his stamp of approval.

Davis totaled 10 points on five shots, 10 boards and a pair of blocks in 27 minutes. He also helped force the Celtics into jump shot after jump shot, as New Orleans outscored the C’s 48-32 in the paint and 90-78 overall.

“We refused to go in the paint,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, whose team snapped a six-game winning streak and fell to 20-18. “We had an electric fence around the paint tonight. We just settled, I thought.”

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Doc Rivers on coaching against son Austin Rivers: ‘I didn’t enjoy it, honestly’ 01.16.13 at 11:50 pm ET
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Doc Rivers didn’t enjoy himself Wednesday. Not only did his Celtics see their six-game win streak end in a 90-78 loss to the Hornets at TD Garden, he had to coach against his son with incredible mixed emotions. Austin Rivers had eight points in 22 minutes off the New Orleans bench.

“You know, it was strange,” Rivers said. “It was funny, the one time he did something, I was about to say something and I didn’t say it – I caught myself – I forgot he was on the other team. Other than that, it’s just a strange dynamic. I didn’t enjoy it, honestly. I know it’s neat for everyone else, but as a father, I don’t know if I enjoyed that.”

Did his eye keep drifting to Austin?

“No, you detach from it, but you do see him,” the coach acknowledged. “I mean, you see your son run by you down the floor. I mean, that’s just different. The one time he made the layup in front of our bench and run right by you, you know I’m used to like, ‘Keep going!” and instead I’m yelling at my guy for letting him get to the basket. So it’s just different. George Karl this summer, we were laughing, and he said, ‘It’s going to be strange’ and he said, ‘your guy’s going to play more.’ And he was right.”

When Rivers got knocked to the floor by Paul Pierce at the end of the third quarter, Rivers said he didn’t fear for his son at all. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even flinch.

“No, I don’t,” Rivers said. “That’s one thing my kids know with me; when you go to the floor I don’t flinch. ‘Get the hell up.’ They all laugh at that, because that’s how I’ve always been. I never flinch. My wife would run out there; I’m not going out there. I mean, get the hell up.”

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Fast Break: Austin Rivers wins bragging rights over Doc at 10:29 pm ET
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Austin Rivers scored just eight points in 22 minutes against the Celtics, but he walked out of TD Garden with bragging rights against his father. C’s coach Doc Rivers watched as his team blew an early double-digit lead and snapped a six-game winning streak in a 90-78 loss to the Hornets.

Five Hornets (12-27) reached double figures, led by Robin Lopez‘s 17 points, and New Orleans won the rebound battle, 47-33. Greivis Vasquez (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Anthony Davis each had double-doubles.

Kevin Garnett‘s 15 points led the Celtics. Paul Pierce (10 rebounds) and Jason Terry each scored 12. Rajon Rondo had 11 assists but just seven points.

WHAT WENT WRONG

First-half lapse: Mainly behind the starting five, the Celtics built a 21-10 lead in the game’s first nine minutes. Mainly against the C’s reserves, the Hornets slowly chipped away until a four-minute stretch midway through the second quarter, when the Celtics committed four turnovers and missed three jumpers. That’s when the young New Orleans squad snatched their first lead of the game, eventually taking a 44-43 advantage into halftime.

Painting a poor picture: The Hornets’ first lead, 33-32, came after a pair of layups from Greivis Vasquez and Austin Rivers and a Jason Smith dunk. That was quickly followed by an Al-Farouq Aminu dunk. The point? The Celtics allowed a whole lotta points in the paint (48 to be exact), and 22 of those first 33 points came in the key.

Too many freebies: Doc Rivers doesn’t want to see his team give up more than 14 turnovers, and he definitely doesn’t want them to allow more than 14 points off those giveaways. They turned the ball over 15 times, gifting the Hornets 21 points. Garnett, Rondo and Pierce were the biggest culprits, committing 10 between them. Of course, the C’s 6-of-16 free throw shooting didn’t help, either.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Bass first: It’s been five games since Brandon Bass last scored 10 points, and after his first half, he seemed prepared to snap out of the drought. Bass made four of his first five shots, including a trio of jumpers, to score nine points by the break, but he attempted just one shot after the half and failed to reach double figures. He’s already lost minutes to Jared Sullinger, and he’ll need more stretches like he had in the game’s opening 24 minutes in order to keep Chris Wilcox from taking even more.

Terry time: Likewise, Terry reached double digits after his first scoreless game of the season on Monday night. His performance was the lone bright spot off the bench, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as he scored 10 of his 12 points on 4-for-4 shooting in the third quarter to keep the Celtics within five … against the Hornets.

3-point defense: The Celtics held New Orleans to just 2-for-17 shooting from beyond the arc, including 1-of-5 by former Magic sharpshooter Ryan Anderson. It might’ve helped had the C’s shot better than 4-for-18 from 3.

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Celtics stung by Hornets in an upset at 10:22 pm ET
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Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, right, hugs his son, New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Austin Rivers. (AP)

In a game that was billed as the father-son contest, it was a twin brother who spoiled the night for the Celtics and put an end to their season-high six-game winning streak. Robin Lopez – the twin of Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez – scored 17 points while Al-Farouq Aminu added 16 points and eight rebounds to lead the Hornets to a 90-78 win over the Celtics Wednesday night at TD Garden. The Hornets pounded the Celtics on the glass, 48-33, and outscored them, 48-32, in the paint.

Austin Rivers, the son of Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, entered the game late in the first quarter, played 22 minutes and scored eight points. His highlight was drawing a foul on Paul Pierce with 0.4 seconds left in the third quarter. He made one of two free throws while the crowd booed.

Kevin Garnett had 15 points while Pierce had 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Celtics, who fell to 20-18 on the season. The Hornets, who were just 6-13 on the road coming in, improve to 13-26.

For the second straight night, the Celtics jumped out in front of an inferior opponent and appeared to be in for an easy night. But for a second straight night, the Celtics went mysteriously cold at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half, allowing the Hornets back in the game.

The Celtics opened up a 21-10 lead in the first quarter as Brandon Bass had seven points in the opening period as the Celtics took a 25-20 into the second quarter. But the Celtics went cold in the second quarter and were dominated on the board by rookie Anthony Davis and the Aminu. With the Celtics leading 29-22, New Orleans went on a 16-3 run to take the lead. The Celtics responded to take the lead on a Pierce three with 28 seconds left in the half. But Ryan Anderson answered with his own 3-pointer to give the Hornets a 44-43 lead at the half.

The Celtics were ice cold to open the third, as New Orleans went on a 8-0 run to open the period to build a 52-43 lead. Pierce finally ended the drought when he hit an 11-foot turnaround with 8:16 left in the third. New Orleans, behind Aminu and Robin Lopez, built their lead to 12 twice, leading 61-49 when Jason Terry sparked a 7-0 run with a jumper and a three.

The Celtics, who trailed 68-63 after three, closed to within three in the fourth quarter but could get no closer and faded down the stretch.

The Celtics conclude their season-long five-game homestand on Friday when they host the Bulls at 7 p.m. at TD Garden. For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

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Austin Rivers: ‘My father’s gone through stuff 100 times worse’ at 8:19 pm ET
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It has been a predictably difficult transition from the college game to the NBA game for rookie Austin Rivers. The Hornets rookie is shooting just 32.8 percent from the field after getting off to a hot start in the first month of the season. He’s coming off the bench for the 12-26 Hornets.

But all he had to do was look across the floor at the Celtics bench for inspiration. Rivers was in the building when his dad’s Celtics beat the Lakers in Game 6 in 2008 to claim their 17th world championship. It had extra special meaning for him.

“When they won versus LA. I saw the emotion on my dads face,” Austin Rivers said of Doc Rivers. “That was probably one of the happiest times I’ve ever felt for someone else. I was so proud and so happy just becaue Ive seen my father go through season where he’s only one 15 game, 20 games, and I’ve seen people come to the stands saying ‘fire Doc’….you wanna talk about a tough time? You think I’m having a tough time…my father’s gone through stuff 100 times worse, and look where he’s at now. To have someone in my corner who has been through all that, I know if he can do it, I gotta work hard and I can do it too.”

Doc has given Austin plenty of advice over the years and now is no different.

“Just to never let times or situations change the way you play or what you do best,” the rookie said. “I think that’s something I really need to work on is going out there and doing what I do best, and not trying to be somebody I’m not. I think when I do that I play a lot better, so that’s the main thing hes really focused with me on, lately in the past couple weeks, so that’s what I’m gonna continue to work on.

“I talk to him just about every day, or every other day, and we have been talking the past couple. You know I haven’t really been playing well and haven’t played my best the past four or five games, so I’ve got to go out there and play my game and be confident in myself. When you go out there and try to do things you’ve never done before, ever, its not going to work for you, especially in this league. So I’ve just got to go out there and be confident and have fun and stop thinking too much. You know, if you go out there and give it your all and do what you do, and things don’t go well, that’s life, that’s basketball. But I know they will turn around, so that’s what I’ve got to do, I’ve got to go play basketball and have fun.”

Has he thought about what will happen when he first checks into game?

“I think ill probably just check into the game,” Rivers said. “It’s not just another game. People can say that, but it’s not. I’m just going to go in there and try to play, well I’m gonna play and have fun. I know there will be free throws where I might say something to him, just like I would do with other coaches I know in the league…and just have fun with this man, just go iut there and compete and just play has hard as I can, because those guys in the other locker room, there’s gonna come after us, especially me probably. So I’ve got to go out there and be ready and just have fun with this.”

Other highlights from the Austin Rivers press conference before Wednesday’s game: Read the rest of this entry »

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