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Sounds of the game… Celtics 119, Warriors 111 11.27.08 at 10:11 am ET
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Maybe Stephen Jackson was onto something. He told our own Jessica Camerato that the Celtics deserve the respect he refused to give them last year. And after the game he said one reason he has changed his mind is the play of Rajon Rondo. The point guard’s teammates are also on board. Rondo led a dramatic 32-16 surge in the third quarter that left Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett calling for Rondo to get some All-Star love. The Rondo-for-All-Star push continues Friday night at the Garden as the 14-2 Celtics welcome the 7-8 Philadelphia 76ers.

Paul Pierce said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Rondo wind up on the Eastern Conference All-Star squad.

Rajon Rondo appreciated the thoughts from his captain.

Garnett said Rondo has a heart the size of Africa.

Rondo on his big third quarter.

Doc Rivers said the team got away with an offense-first mentality on Wednesday.

Rivers said he liked the team’s start.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Golden State Warriors, Kevin Garnett
Jackson: Celtics Earned My Respect 11.26.08 at 9:04 pm ET
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Last season on the night before Thanksgiving, Stephen Jackson scoffed at the hype surrounding the Boston Celtics. They were 9-1 at the time, including a 23-point blowout over the Golden State Warriors, but Jackson could care less.

“They won nine games. If you all want to hype up nine games so be it. I’m not,” he said at the time. “Like I said, they are just another NBA team just like everybody else. They’ll get praise when they win a championship.”

Exactly one year later, the now-defending champions came from behind the defeat the Warriors 119-111 in Boston. Jackson posted 30 points, six assists, and five rebounds, and looked like he was out for redemption.

So was he playing with a vengeance? His answer may surprise you.

“They definitely have my respect,” he said. “They have three great players and a great leader in (Rajon) Rondo. He definitely is a key to them winning games. Like I said, they have my respect now. If I said that year, I take it back. They’ve definitely earned it.”

The trio of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen have achieved the goal Jackson is working toward with Corey Maggette and the newly acquired Jamal Crawford. Now he is in the same situation and can appreciate what the Celtics accomplished last season.

“It’s hard to not respect them after the season they had,” Jackson said. “When you’re a team that signs three big guys and you haven’t won a championship, you have to earn the respect. And they’ve earned it.”

Read More: Corey Maggette, Jamal Crawford, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
Watch that temper… 11.25.08 at 1:28 pm ET
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Kendrick Perkins will never be compared to bad boys Ron Artest or Rasheed Wallace, at least if he can find a way from earning technical fouls as fast as he hauls in rebounds.

Perkins didn’t come into the season intending to become the NBA’s new bad boy. But if people want to draw that comparison after drawing eight technical fouls in the first 15 games of the season, then so be it.

“It doesn’t matter, they’re two great players in this league so I hope so,” Perkins said following Tuesday’s practice. “Nobody is getting under my skin. I really start all the problems. It’s not like they’re starting stuff with me. I pretty much start everything.”

One of those eight techs occurred with Jermaine O’Neal (below) in the Nov. 10 game against Toronto. 
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Celtics captain Paul Pierce is more than experienced in the ways of emotional warfare on the court.

“I use it to get in my opponents’ heads,” Pierce said Tuesday. “I don’t use it to start anything. I use it to frustrate my opponent, sort of what Larry Bird used to do in the day, Michael (Jordan), Gary Payton, these guys. I use it more as a tactic. I’m not trying to fight anybody. I do it in practice.”

Perkins, meanwhile, has always had a fierce but quiet demeanor on the court.

“I don’t really worry about it. It is what it is. They’re either going to like me or they’re not. I’m not saying anything to them. I’m just going to go out there and play my game. I’m an emotional guy but it’s not anything I can’t change. I can control it. It’s more getting into with (other players) than anything.”

Now, this season, opposing players have chosen to ride the Celtics big man to see if they can draw him into verbal, and sometimes, physical encounters that result in technical fouls.

Well, 15 games into the season, Perkins has eight. Under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, if you collect 16, you earn yourself a seat on the bench in civilian clothes for a game.

Not what Doc Rivers and the Celtics are looking for.

“Last year was more techs toward the refs,” said Perkins, who picked up his eighth T on Sunday, jabbing and jarring with Jose Calderon in Toronto. “This year is more getting into with people. I’ve just been trying to keep my head. Last game, I wasn’t trying to get a tech. I’m trying to get it overturned.”

But in fairness to Perkins, Rivers was quick to point out that he thinks at least two of the instances should be reviewed and repealed.

“I’m concerned,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, sounding somewhat worried about Perkins’ rep. “We’re sending a lot of the tapes to the league because a lot of the double-technicals are where someone saying something to him and he turns around and they get a double-tech. That’s, to me, where the officials have to do their job. I think it’s easy to say say, ‘double-technical’ instead of saying this guy started it. We’re going to try to get a couple of them rescinded. It won’t happen but we’re going to try.”

Rivers then had this message for Perk.

“You want them to be emotional but not be emotionally sabotaged,” Rivers said.

Perk wasn’t looking for any shelter on Tuesday, continuing his reputation on the team as a stand-up guy.

“I blame it on myself,” he said. “I’m a man. Nobody makes me do that. I do it on my own. It’s very hard because you’re emotional and you’re going to get into with sometimes, especially at the position I play, you’re going to bang with people a lot. It’s a lot of physical contact. It gets emotional at times.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Double-technicals, Jermaine O'Neal
Sounds of the game… Celtics 98, Pistons 80 11.21.08 at 12:03 am ET
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The Celtics showed no mercy on the weary Detroit Pistons on Thursday night at TD Banknorth Garden, demolishing them, 98-80. The first quarter was a wake-up call as the Green fell behind 13-2 in the first three and a half minutes. But for the final three quarters, this one belonged entirely to the defending champs. Rajon Rondo looked better than he has all season, scoring 18 and controlling Allen Iverson and the tempo all night. This was the second time this season the 11-2 Celtics have owned Detroit, beating them 88-76 back on Nov. 9. There are 69 games remaining but it’s hard to imagine anyone in the East knocking the Celtics out of the top perch. Next up tonight, Kevin Garnett gets to actually play in his return to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves. Last year, he had to sit on the sidelines because of an injury.

Rajon Rondo on handling the Pistons.

Rondo said Garnett will be excited about his return to Minnesota.

Garnett on his return to Minnesota on Friday night.

Paul Pierce said Rondo was dominant Thursday night.

Doc Rivers explained why this was a great win.

Pistons coach Michael Curry said the Celtics showed why they’re a great team.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
Celtics-Pistons Game Blog: Second Quarter 11.20.08 at 6:53 pm ET
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SECOND QUARTER WRAP: The Celtics second unit was hot early in the second and pushed the lead up to 38-27. But the Pistons got physical and are within nine half. They’re looking to battle and the Celtics will have to come out hot in the third quarter to stave off a comeback.

Halftime Notes and Numbers:

  • Iverson leads all scorers with 12. Rondo and Tony Allen lead the Celtics with 9 apiece.
  • Both teams have 16 points in the paint and the rest of the stat lines are very similar.
  • The Pistons are outrebounding the Celtics 18-16 while the Celtics have one more assist, 11-10.

Paul has you covered after a entertaining halftime performance by the Bucket Boys.

– At the half, Celtics 49, Pistons 40

– Two days after saying KG is “crazier” than him on the court, Perk got T’ed up at the end of the second after Maxiell fouled Pierce at the hoop.

– There is talk of a heated relationship between UConn alums Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton, but few details are known. We’re getting a glimpse into that tonight with Hamilton knocking Allen over for an offensive foul. Hamilton had something to say about it as they ran down the court.

– A little kid dressed in an oversized Bill Walker jersey just won Sarah Brightman tickets in a tot-sized road race. What are the chances he has her songs on iTunes?

– The Celtics have their starters back on the court and the Pistons have all but Wallace out there.

– Both Ray Allen and House have missed free throws this quarter. It was House’s first miss of the season and Allen’s fourth.

Eddie House is feeling it. After Powe swatted away a Prince drive, House nailed a three on the fast break. He drained another trey on the next possession, prompting the Pistons to call a timeout down 38-27.

– Rip Hamilton completely faked out Tony Allen at the top of the key. TA has learned from his mistakes and didn’t get tricked into fouling him on the shot a la last season against Chauncey Billups.

– During a timeout the Celtics played their first “slow dance” of the year on the Jumbotron. It was a slo-mo of awesomely bad dance moves from the Garden set to the awesomely bad Lonestar ballad, “Amazed.”

– Now Aaron Afflalo is guarding Powe (??) … now Afflalo’s on the ground. Powe’s at the line shooting two.

– Scal for three. And the crowd goes wild.

– I was hoping for a physical match up between Powe and Maxiell considering the trouble the Pistons big man gave Perk last season. But Big Baby is on Maxiell and Powe has Prince. Powe should be able to back Prince down in the paint.

– For the first time in a while, Doc is going with an entire second unit. Usually he leaves PIerce or Ray Allen on the court with the reserves, but now he’s giving the lineup of Scal, Powe, Davis, Tony Allen, and House a look. Michael Curry’s going with Iverson, Stuckey, Prince, Afflalo, and Wallace.

– After another slow start, the Celtics enter the second quarter tied 21-21 with the Pistons.

Read More: Allen Iverson, Arron Afflalo, Celtics, eddie house
Richardson Still Unimpressed by Celtics 11.18.08 at 8:56 pm ET
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This time last year Quentin Richardson wasn’t buying into the hype surrounding the Big Three. To him, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett were just another handful of players who hadn’t won a championship. Despite their hot start to the 2008 season, Richardson wasn’t in awe.

“It’s not that big a deal to us,” the New York Knicks forward told the New York Post last year. “It’s like the media makes more of The Big Three and all of them. We’re not in awe of them. They ain’t won no championships. They have a good record right now, but that don’t matter.”

At the time, Pierce shrugged it off.

“You know what? I really don’t get caught up in all that talk,” Pierce said. “He’s going to say what he’s going to say to try to motivate his team. We don’t need to be motivated. We’re a self-motivated team and we’re going to go out there and take care of business.”

Fast forward 12 months. The Knicks faced off against the Celtics on Tuesday night in Boston for a heated battle that included plenty of trash-talking and technical fouls to go around. This time the Knicks were playing the defending NBA champions. This time … was no different than the last for Richardson.

‘€œI think a few of those guys know they can’€™t just say anything to us,” he said following the Celtics tension-filled 110-101 victory. “I’€™m just real curious to see what those guys will be saying if we weren’€™t in a basketball league and didn’€™t have referees. I mean it wouldn’€™t be the same story. I mean they are the World Champions and rah-rah-rah, but the tough part I don’€™t factor. I come from a neighborhood where you can say what you want to say, but til you do something, it don’€™t mean nothing. Some of those guys are happy to get a ring, but you ain’€™t been in the league long enough to talk to people like that. I don’€™t have a lot of respect for that. Like I said, I’€™d be curious to hear what they have to say in a different setting, I’€™d be very curious to see that.’€

A year later, Pierce is still shrugging off Richardson’s rants.

‘€œWe just have to keep our composure,” the Celtics captain said. “The Knicks try to get you to play their game with the talking and the small ball. We can’€™t get caught up in the way they’€™re playing. We have to play our game and take advantage of what we do out there well.’€

Don’t expect this to be the last heard from Richardson. The Celtics and Knicks will see each other again three times this season. Next up, December 21 at the Garden.

Read More: Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Knicks, Paul Pierce
Celtics Know How to Beat Knicks without Garnett 11.17.08 at 7:11 pm ET
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On Tuesday night the Boston Celtics will take on the New York Knicks without Kevin Garnett as he serves a one-game suspension for his conduct on Saturday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Garnett was penalized without pay for striking Andrew Bogut in the face in the fourth quarter of the Celtics 102-97 overtime win. Bogut’s foul on Garnett was also upgraded to a Flagrant Foul Penalty One on Monday.

This isn’t the first time the team has been without KG since acquiring him nearly 16 months ago. Last season Garnett sat out nine games with an abdominal strain that he suffered on a game-saving play against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Celtics went 7-2 during that stretch.

This isn’t the first time the team will take on the Knicks without KG either. Last February 13 the Celtics defeated them 111-103 at Madison Square Garden.

So how did the Celtics get it done without Garnett?

(I know, I know, beating the Knicks isn’t earth shattering but the Celtics still have to make adjustments.)

That night Paul Pierce and Ray Allen combined for 45 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists. The duo hit 17-of-18 from the free throw line (Allen missed one). Rajon Rondo also shot 64% from the field to score 18 points. Garnett wasn’t the only starter out of the lineup that night. Kendrick Perkins was sidelined as well, so Leon Powe and Brian Scalabrine got the starts in their place. Powe chipped in 18 points while Scal lasted just under three minutes before James Posey took over.

On the defensive end, they limited the Knicks to 29% three-point shooting and held them to 20 assists (the Celtics dished 29). The Cs also blocked six shots to the Knicks zero.

The Celtics turned to their bench to get it done last time and Tuesday night will be no different.

Read More: Andrew Bogut, Brian Scalabrine, Celtics, James Posey
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