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Heartbreaker: Jeff Green puts on show for the ages but Heat win 23rd straight 03.18.13 at 10:52 pm ET
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Jeff Green was an unstoppable force in the first half Monday, scoring 26 points against the Heat. (AP)

Jeff Green was an unstoppable force in the first half Monday, scoring 26 points against the Heat. (AP)

LeBron James rattled home the game-winning basket with 10.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter and finished with 37 points and had 12 assists to lead the Heat to their 23rd straight win, a 105-103 decision over the Celtics Monday night at a crazed TD Garden. The win streak is now alone as the second-longest in NBA history with only the 33-game streak of the Lakers in 1972 surpassing it.

The James shot spoiled one of the greatest single-game performances in Celtics history as Jeff Green finished with 43 points in a losing cause. In a season of unparalleled regular season drama, Green nearly single-handedly ended the second-longest winning streak in NBA history. Green, starting for Kevin Garnett, had a career high 43 points on 14-of-21 shooting.

The Celtics learned before the game they would not have Kevin Garnett in their quest to end Miami’s 22-game winning streak as the superstar was sent home by coach Doc Rivers with flu-like symptoms. Filling in was Green, making his third start of the season, and he put on one of the most spectacular single-game performances in Celtics history.

In a remarkably fast and furious first half, the Heat shot out to a 19-14 lead thanks to seven points from James. But Green led the Celtics on a stunning 17-0 run to end the quarter and put the Celtics up, 31-19, after 12 minutes.

Green and the Celtics continued their run in the second quarter, twice building the lead up to 17 points in the first three minutes of the period.

Green finished the first half with 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting in 20 minutes. The Celtics, as a team, were blazing hot in the first half, hitting 23-of-37 shots (62.2 percent) from the field.

The highlight of the surreal first half came with just under six minutes left. Dwyane Wade stole the ball from Jason Terry just before midcourt and fed Mario Chalmers. Norris Cole took the dish from Chalmers and lobbed a pass up near the rim and James, trailing the play, finished in authoritative style, dunking viciously over Terry, who tried in vain to block it. Terry was called for a foul and James for called for a technical for taunting Terry on the court.

Seconds later, Avery Bradley block Cole on a dunk attempt and that led to a Paul Piece 3-pointer in transition, sending the Garden crowd into pandemonium and putting the Celtics up 52-38. The Heat made a key run at the end of the half, outscoring Boston 15-6 to close to within six at halftime, 59-53. Read the rest of this entry »

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LeBron James posterizes Jason Terry at 9:22 pm ET
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DeAndre Jordan now has competition for “dunk of the year” after what LeBron James did to Jason Terry in the second quarter of Monday’s game at TD Garden.

Terry was making his way up the court in transition when he was picked by Dwyane Wade, who flipped the ball under his arm to Mario Chalmers. Chalmers dished to Norris Cole under the basket who spotted James trailing the play and lobbed it up. This is what happend to Terry:

This was Jordan posterizing Brandon Knight of the Pistons back on March 10:

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Paul Pierce is not counting on Kevin Garnett for the Miami Heat showdown 03.17.13 at 10:35 am ET
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To Paul Pierce, Saturday night was good preparation for playing without Kevin Garnett. And the way the Celtics captain looks at it, he’s not expecting Garnett back on Monday when the competition gets tougher – a lot tougher.

“It was like, we just gotta step up and get the win,” Pierce said. “KG had another game where he didn’t play, we played quite well, everybody stepped up. That was my reaction [Saturday] morning when I found out he wasn’t playing.

“Right now, we don’t expect him to be back. Right now, that’s the mindset we have to take. If he’s back, that’s just an added bonus for us to play Miami. So, right now, as of today, we have to get in our minds that this is the team that will [play] against Miami and we have to get ready to play.”

The last time they played the Heat, they found out they were losing Rajon Rondo for the season with a torn ACL. They went out and beat LeBron James and the Heat in double-overtime. They then lost Jared Sullinger a week later.

Pierce says the Celtics have the kind of team that can handle adversity because of the leadership at the top, starting with coach Doc Rivers.

“That comes from the top, coaches and trickles down through the veteran players, just to ensure everybody is focused and understanding that regardless what kind of adversity we go through, we still have to go out there and we have a job to do,” Pierce said. “Go to practice every day and help us win as many basketball games as we can.”

Rivers summed up Garnett’s availability for Monday this way: “If he’s healthy, he’ll play. If he’s not, he won’t.”

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Doc Rivers: Paul Pierce is ‘going to play for a long time if he wants to’ at 10:07 am ET
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There was no Kevin Garnett on the floor Saturday night due to a left adductor (groin) strain. Rajon Rondo is gone for the season, and has been gone for seven weeks now.

So with captain Paul Pierce again left to be the man to keep things together, that’s exactly what he did in a fashion so routine, it was a thing of beauty to his coach.

Pierce was as efficient as ever, scoring 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting in just 23 minutes, adding eight assists and six rebounds in a 115-88 win over the Charlotte Bobcats at TD Garden.

“He’s always been underrated,” Doc Rivers said. “I think he’s been underrated his whole career. I underrated him. When I coached in Orlando every time he scored I mean, I was so upset because I thought this slow, non-athletic guy, you look at him, you think. ‘How the hell was he scoring on you?’ And then when you coach him you realize he’s not slow, he plays at a slow pace. He’s athletic as heck, he’s stronger than most small forwards in the league, and he just surprises you with his fundamentals. You know he’s so fundamentally sound he actually looks un-athletic. And it’s a heck of a compliment to a player.

“He just plays to what he feels. He’s a professional scorer, he really is. He just knows how to play basketball. I think every young kid should watch him play because he can do it above the rim but he chooses not to. He’s just so fundamentally sound with his footwork, it’s just really nice to watch.

“I think he’s going to be able to play for a long time if he wants to. He can get his shot off. He plays at a great pace.”

Pierce led all five starters in double figures, as the Celtics proved picking up the slack for Garnett was truly a team effort. He pointed to a play Pierce ran several times in the first half that had different teammates involved.

“Yeah, we ran a play that just kind of matured into that,” Rivers said. “First time he came off I think he got Brandon (Bass), the second time he got the picker, then he just – the same play just kept building and building. I love – we call it ‘feed the pig’.”

For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

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Green Night: With no Kevin Garnett, C’s find a way to blow out Bobcats 03.16.13 at 9:50 pm ET
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With Kevin Garnett out, Chris Wilcox helped the Celtics get a hand up on the Bobcats Saturday night in Boston. (AP)

With Kevin Garnett out, Chris Wilcox helped the Celtics get a hand up on the Bobcats Saturday night in Boston. (AP)

With Kevin Garnett sitting out with a strained adductor (groin) in his left leg, all five starters managed to score in double figures as the Celtics exacted revenge on the Charlotte Bobcats with a 105-88 laugher Saturday night at TD Garden. The Celtics avenged their 100-74 loss on Tuesday night in Charlotte, when Doc Rivers gave Paul Pierce the night off.

On Saturday night, Pierce scored a very efficient 14 points on 4-for-7 shooting from the field, adding eight assists and six rebounds as the Celtics pulled away in the second half for the blowout win, their 11th straight at home. The Celtics improved to 36-29 while the Bobcats fell to a league-worst 14-52, with two of those 14 coming against Boston. Gerald Henderson, who had a career-high 35 points in Tuesday’s game, finished with just 16.

The Celtics hit 10-of-14 from three-point range, led by a perfect 3-for-3 from Jason Terry, who finished with a team-leading 15 points. Avery Bradley had 13 while Jeff Green, starting for Garnett, had 10 on 5-of-9 shooting. The Celtics, out-rebounded 48-29 in Tuesday’s loss, picked it up on the glass, beating Charlotte on the boards 42-35.

Leading 40-39 late in the second quarter, the Celtics went on a 10-4 spurt to close the half, as Pierce scored the final six points of the run.

The Celtics went up nine points in the first half and early third quarter, only to have the Bobcats respond. But leading 59-53, Green converted a layup that started a 16-4 run that put the game away. The Celtics led 83-66 heading into the fourth.

The Celtics scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter, capped off by slam dunks from Chris Wilcox and Shav Randolph as the Celtics led, 92-66. The Bobcats made things somewhat interesting with a three-point barrage as part of a 20-7 run that cut the lead to 13 with 3:35 left.

The Celtics will practice on St. Patrick’s Day Sunday in preparation for LeBron James and the Miami Heat Monday night at TD Garden.

For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

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Doc Rivers on Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett: ‘They’re old as hell’ 03.15.13 at 5:38 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Doc Rivers knows the Bobcats have had the number of the last two times they’ve met, including a 26-point blowout on Tuesday night in Charlotte.

So don’t expect the Celtics to look beyond the lowly Bobcats on Saturday night in advance of their showdown with the Heat Monday night at TD Garden.

“No matter what our excuses are, they beat us two games,” Rivers said. “One game they beat us soundly and one game we kinda sputtered down the stretch. And no matter what you say to them, they’ve beat us twice. They are going to have great confidence against us. When you beat a team, they don’t care about the excuses, they know they beat you and that makes them a better team the next time they play you. When they beat you again, that makes them even a better team the next time you play them. So [Saturday] they are going to play great, and we have to expect that and we have to try to beat them playing great.”

The two players expected to lead the Celtics Saturday night in their revenge match are Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who have been the talk of the town this week after both reached scoring milestones on Wednesday and Garnett explained afterward how close the two were growing up.

Why is this story so special?

“That’s only because they’re old as hell,” Rivers answered with hearty laugh. “The only way you can reach those milestones together is you have to hang around a lonnnnng time. It is cool. I was joking but it does seem like every night one of those two does pass some kind of record. I think now we create some sort of new record to pass but it is awesome. They have that picture together, it’s a neat picture when they were 15.”

Meanwhile, Rivers was asked about how Rajon Rondo might fit into Celtics plans down the road and if he’s thought of changing his offense when Rondo is ready to return at the start of next season. Rivers said he’ll let Celtics GM Danny Ainge worry about most of that.

“I don’t think about it much,” Rivers said. “Again, you know how I am, when guys go down, there’s nothing we can do about it. I have given next year zero thought, I’m hoping Danny will do a better job of that than me — that’s his job. But I don’t think about that much at all.”

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Paul Pierce on Miami Heat: ‘I hope they lose every game rest of the season’ at 4:40 pm ET
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Call it bulletin board material. Call it being honest. Or just call it bringing some life to a mid-March meeting. But Jason Terry certainly added some pizazz to Monday night’s matchup between the Celtics and Miami Heat at TD Garden.

Terry was asked what he thought of Miami’s 20-game winning streak heading into this week, just the fourth of 20 or more in NBA history.

“Not really impressed with it or anything that they do,” said Terry, who faced and beat the Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals. “So, for me, it’s more about what our team is doing and how we’re coming together as a unit.”

Terry’s words add a more flare to a rivalry that dates back to last year’s seven-game Eastern Conference finals, the Ray Allen signing over the summer and a double-overtime Boston win over Miami on Jan. 27 without Rajon Rondo.

Paul Pierce gives the Heat a little more credit for their accomplishment.

“It’s rare when you’ve got a team that plays so well to be able to do that,” Pierce said. “It’s hard not to keep track of it. Anytime you go to NBA.com or ESPN.com, it’s going to be right there. It’s very impressive what they’re doing. It is what it is. But I think they don’t care about the winning streak. All that matters to them, just like us. We had a winning streak 19-games. It would’ve been better if we won the championship. winning streak but it didn’t matter. We didn’t win the championship.

“I really don’t even care. I hope they lose every game the rest of the season. I just worry about what this team does.”

Added Doc Rivers: “I don’t really care. We’re going to play them one way or another, whether they have a streak or coming off a loss. We’ll be ready, I’m sure they will be.”

For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

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