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Bulls teach champs a lesson 04.18.09 at 6:00 pm ET
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It was the underdog Chicago Bulls with names like Rose, Thomas and Noah who taught a lesson on Saturday afternoon to the champion Celtics with names like Pierce, Ray Allen and Rondo. Bring your playoff intensity or else.

And the else in Game 1 was a 105-103 overtime loss at the hands of the Bulls at TD Banknorth Garden.

“I think we lost the game in the first half,” Allen said. “Just going down the way we went, we just allowed the team to do whatever, we weren’t really the aggressor starting the game, and they started rolling, they were comfortable and they did what they wanted to do.”

On Saturday, we really found out why Doc Rivers feared Derrick Rose all season. He diced up his defense to the tune of 36 points, matching Lew Alcindor’s mark on March 25, 1970 when he was with the Bucks.

Whether it was the emotion of the last two days with the Kevin Garnett and Danny Ainge news or simply a team that was tired, the Celtics came out flat on Saturday, something that can’t happen again on Monday night.

“We didn’t talk about it much,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Obviously, I hope that’s not what it was. It could be. I mean, who knows the emotions. You just think, first playoff game you’d be ready and up. And I just thought we kind of showed up and played the game. And then all of a sudden we got into a fight. And one thing I’d say about our guys, they join in. But at home you’re supposed to start it.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Derrick Rose, NBA playoffs
Pierce breaks Twitter mark 04.17.09 at 5:08 pm ET
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It took Celtics captain Paul Pierce just 20 days to break the 100,000 follower mark on Twitter. Pierce sent his first tweet on March 28 about enjoying the weather in Boston on a day off from practice. Since then he has given away Celtics tickets, spread the word for a potentially-life saving blood drive, and promoted a postseason ticket raffle. Follow Pierce (paulpierce34) on Twitter here.

Related story: To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Read More: Boston Celtics, Paul Pierce,
Rivers: If you only knew at 2:30 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Doc Rivers was in understandable shock on Thursday morning.

The Celtics coach had just told WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan that the C’s would be without their emotional leader and shutdown defender, Kevin Garnett, likely for the playoffs. And he had just found out that his boss and one of his closest friends in the game, Danny Ainge, had just suffered a heart attack.

So he could certainly be forgiven when he said on Friday that he couldn’t remember which came first.

“We make the Kevin decision and then literally, the next thing follows,” Rivers retold. “I don’t remember which was first. It was just not a good period. When someone calls you and says, ‘A guy had a heart attack.’ They should follow. It scares the hell out of you, because they stop. And it’s the pause is what killed me because obviously you think the worst but he’s lucky. And that’s good.”

But good was about the last thing you would call Thursday for anyone associated with the Celtics.

“It was awful,” Rivers said. “Someone said it didn’t look like I wasn’t giving the Kevin thing a lot of thought at the time and I said that’s because you didn’t know what was going through my mind at the time.

“At that time, he was going into surgery,” Rivers continued. “You’re scared, you’re worried. So it hit hard for that, it hit me hard because he’s my friend and it hit me hard because he’s my age. It was scary for me and for everybody but when you know somebody like I know Danny, it just really tugs at you.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers
Pierce, Ray get the night off 04.15.09 at 8:58 pm ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers was true to his word that Paul Pierce and Ray Allen would sit out tonight’s season finale against the Washington Wizards at TD Banknorth Garden.

Pierce was officially designated “inactive” while Ray Allen was active as each team is only allowed to deactivate three players a game. Allen was also in a suit next to Pierce on the bench.

Rivers added that Rajon Rondo will start the game but play only limited minutes, “definitely the first (quarter) and maybe the third (quarter)”  as the team gets ready to take on either Philadelphia or Chicago in the first round of the playoffs this weekend.

Rivers threw out a starting lineup of Rondo, Marbury, Perkins, Powe and Tony Allen, who started at the three spot.

Read More: Celtics, NBA, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen
Time to step it up at 8:18 pm ET
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Wearing a tan suit with a orange shirt, tie and handkerchief, Paul Pierce address the crowd on Fan Appreciation Night at TD Banknorth Garden prior to the regular season finale with the Washington Wizards.

Pierce thanked the crowd for making the arena a true home court advantage and “one of the toughest” buildings for opponents to come away with a victory.

But he also had another message for the crowd, which came to its feet as he took the mic on Lucky the Leprechaun at midcourt.

“This is the time of year you expect us to step it up,” Pierce said. “We also need you fans to step up”

Pierce was inactive for the season finale.

Read More: Celtics, NBA, Paul Pierce, playoffs
Celtics riding momentum to Cleveland 04.10.09 at 11:31 pm ET
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When the Boston Celtics arrived in Cleveland in January, they had just dropped their third consecutive game and were in the middle of their longest losing streak since last season. The following game, the Cavaliers blew them out by 15 points.

But thanks to a grind-it-out victory over the Miami Heat on Friday night in Boston, the Celtics are riding the momentum of a six-game winning streak into Sunday’s game in Cleveland. (Click here for a recap) They will try to make a dent in the Cavs’ four-game lead of the top spot, and while head coach Doc Rivers conceded the number one seed weeks ago, the Celtics are looking to build on their two-game lead over the Orlando Magic for the second spot.

“Every game is a big game for us,” said Paul Pierce. “We’re trying to lock up the number two seed. I think Cleveland locked up the number one seed tonight, so we’re trying to lock up the number two seed. So every game is big for us. We’re only [two] games in front of Orlando, so these last three games we feel like we have to win them all.”

With less than a week left in the regular season, the Celtics have to tackle Sunday’s game as if it were a Game Seven situation. The Cavaliers are sure to as they battle against the Los Angeles Lakers for the number one overall seed.

“Everybody we play from here on out is basically trying to achieve something,” said Tony Allen. “So each game is playoff-like. We’re going in there with a clear focus that we need to win just as badly as they do because they’re competing with L.A. We’ve got to take it as a must-win game that we need because we’ve got goals that we need to achieve too. It’s going to be a tough fight.”

The Celtics will turn to their bench to help carry the team without Kevin Garnett. Friday’s win against the Heat was a confidence-booster for the reserves.

“You play a little looser. You play with a little more confidence,” said Mikki Moore of playing on a winning streak. “But we just have to concentrate on the defensive end. We’re pretty sound on the offensive ends. As long as we don’t have too many turnovers and we play solid defense, we’re alright.”

As for Ray Allen, he is simply looking forward to putting a blemish on the Cavaliers’ near-perfect 38-1 home record.

“They take care of what they have to take care of, we take care of what we have to take care of,” he said. “I think we know where we stand, but as a team it will be a great win on the road for us and that’s what we’re looking forward to.”

The Celtics and Cavaliers will face off at 3:30pm EST on Easter Sunday.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen,
Pierce Playoff Ticket Giveaway at 5:56 pm ET
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Paul Pierce has been in the giving mood lately, offering up tickets to Boston Celtics fans on several occasions. This time he is running a contest on his website (www.paulpierce.net)  for a chance to watch the Celtics second home playoff game in his private suite. The winner will be given 12 tickets and a $500 food and beverage credit. It costs $10 to enter — $2 for five chances to win. The deadline and drawing is Friday, April 17. Click here for more details.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Paul Pierce,
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