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Chris Mannix on M&M: ‘More likely than not, the core of this [Celtics] team stays together’ 02.20.13 at 1:48 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, one day before the NBA trade deadline, to discuss rumors surrounding the Celtics. Mannix said the Celtics would be wise to do the deal reportedly discussed with the Clippers, but he’s not expecting it to happen.

“Boston was making a lot of those calls about [Kevin] Garnett to the Clippers,” Mannix said. “And the interest in the Clippers, I can tell you, it’s divided out there among the organization. The coaching staff, they want Kevin Garnett, because they want to win now. ‘€¦ Whereas the front office, I can tell you this, they’re not all that inclined to give up Eric Bledsoe, who is a potential 10-year starter in this league, and DeAndre Jordan, a sure-fire starter right now, for Kevin Garnett, who could potentially only be giving you a couple more months. Who knows what Kevin Garnett’s future is going to hold? To me, he’s always been on a series of one-year contracts.

“I think at the end of the day, when you throw in the no-trade clause that Kevin has, and you consider the fact that I have not heard a heck of a lot of significant interest surrounding Paul Pierce, I think more likely than not, the core of this team stays together.”

A report Tuesday night had the Clippers pulling out of trade talks. Mannix said he expects Celtics boss Danny Ainge would follow through if the deal is resuscitated.

“I think if the deal is there, he makes it,” Mannix said. “If he can get Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan for Kevin Garnett, you jump at it. I’ve heard some criticisms of this deal from the Boston side; I don’t get it. Has anyone not been watching Eric Bledsoe? As really the fourth guard on this Clippers team — third, I guess, when [Chauncey] Billups is injured — but really, he’s done a lot of things.”

Added Mannix: “You’re dealing with potential right now, because he hasn’t gotten the consistent minutes at the point guard spot because Chris Paul has been there for a couple of years now. But Eric Bledsoe is a guy that could potentially take over as a starting point guard for a team right away, and be an effective guy, be a guy that can score 15 points per game and give you seven, eight assists. Look at the way he’s played this year: He’s up to about 10 points per game. But more importantly, his field goal percentage is in the mid-40s right now, his 3-point percentage is in the low 30s. This is a guy that’s been improving every single year. So I think he’s a guy you would want to get.

“Same thing with DeAndre Jordan, who admittedly is a little bit overpaid, because Golden State threw that massive contract at him last year. But he’s someone that can be a starting center on your team for the next decade.

“And when you make a deal like that, all of a sudden there can be a domino effect. Now you can think about dealing Rajon Rondo next year, when he becomes healthy, because you have Eric Bledsoe already at the starter’s spot. You can trade Rondo for some starting quality pieces or some draft picks, and all of a sudden an old, aging team could suddenly be a fast, rebuilding team on the fly. I think that’s the way it would turn out.”

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Read More: Danny Ainge, DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard, Eric Bledsoe
False start: Celtics stumble in Denver to open second half 02.19.13 at 11:27 pm ET
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In their first game following the All-Star break, the Celtics couldn’t keep pace with the Nuggets in a 97-90 loss in Denver on Tuesday night.

Playing a Nuggets team that, at 23-3, is one of the most dominant at home in the NBA, the Celtics’ balanced offensive attack proved insufficient. After arriving at halftime with a 50-49 lead, the Celtics were outscored 29-20 in a game-changing third quarter, with the eight-point deficit entering the final period proving too much to overcome.

In defeat, the Celtics featured five scorers in double figures, led by Jeff Green‘s 20 points off the bench on 8-of-12 shooting. Avery Bradley chipped in with a season-high 17.

However, Paul Pierce struggled both from the floor (shooting 2-for-14 en route to 10 points) and with foul trouble, fouling out in the final seconds. The Nuggets attempted more than twice as many free throws as the Celtics (34 to 16).

The Nuggets were led by forward Danilo Gallinari, who had 26 points, and guard Ty Lawson, who had 24 points along with six rebounds and six assists.

Boston falls to 8-16 on the road with four games remaining on the current Western Conference swing. The Celtics are 28-25 on the season.

For a complete recap, click here.

Read More: Jeff Green, Paul Pierce,
Report: Clippers put Kevin Garnett trade talks with Celtics on hold at 10:46 pm ET
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According to Yahoo! Sports, the Clippers have halted talks with the Celtics regarding a deal that would send Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles and DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe to Boston.

The report states that the Celtics are “eager to continue the conversation on the deal,” but it is unclear if the Clippers will move forward with any trade unless star point guard Chris Paul pushes Los Angeles to complete such a transaction.

The Celtics also reportedly won’t consider any other combination of players for Garnett, focusing solely on Jordan and Bledsoe.

Sources told Yahoo! Sports that if the Celtics do trade Garnett, they would also move Paul Pierce, with the report suggesting the Celts captain might be included in a deal for Atlanta’s Josh Smith.

For more Celtics news, go to the team page at weei.com/celtics.

Read More: Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe, Josh Smith
Pinched nerve has plagued Paul Pierce for 2 months 02.14.13 at 12:55 am ET
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Paul Pierce confirmed what Celtics president Danny Ainge divulged to the viewing public while sitting down with broadcasters Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn during the second quarter of Wednesday night’s 71-69 victory against the Bulls: The C’s captain has played with a pinched nerve in his neck since December.

“It’s getting better,” Pierce said in response to the injury inquiry. “It’s something that’s been bothering me probably for like the last two months. It’s getting better, though. The last couple weeks have been better than it has been.”

Pierce struggled mightily in January, shooting 39.9 percent from the field (28.9 3P%) for the month, but he’s emerged once again as the C’s leader in the two weeks since Rajon Rondo‘s season-ending ACL injury.

During the C’s 8-1 stretch in their last nine games, Pierce has still struggled with his shot (39.0 FG%) — including a 2-of-12 performance in the win over Chicago — although his 39.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc and a boatload of clutch shots have helped assuage any concerns about his health. At 35 years old, Pierce has averaged a ridiculous 16.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists in 36.6 minutes a night since Rondo’s injury.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Paul Pierce,
Paul Pierce: ‘This is the type of win that can give us confidence to move forward’ 02.11.13 at 1:19 am ET
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Celtics captain Paul Pierce did it yet again on Sunday night with a triple-double scoring 27 points with 14 rebounds and 14 assists in 54 minutes of action as the Celtics outlasted the Denver Nuggets 118-114 in a triple overtime thriller at TD Garden.

‘€œIt was a good win, man. It was hard fought, we’€™re playing against one of the hottest in the league, on our home court,” Pierce said. “It’€™s definitely a satisfying win. When you come out and we looked bleak, especially in the overtimes, this was a great game to be a part of. It was a great win against a quality ball club, not to say the other teams weren’€™t quality teams we played, but you know, this is the type of win that can give us confidence to move forward.’€

Pierce hit game-tying three with time running out on their six-game win streak at the end of double-overtime before Jason Terry and Kevin Garnett took over in triple-overtime. The three that rattled home with 5.2 seconds left in double-overtime, sending the Garden crowd into pandemonium.

‘€œWell, the original play was Pierce coming off pick-and-roll, if he can get a three off, get it,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “If not, Jet [Jason Terry]. Then it was broken and Paul just made a play. I mean, that’€™s what great players do. I would love to tell you I had something to do with it. I was sitting just like the fans playing, ‘€˜Please, Lord, Paul make a shot.’€™ Once he got below 11 ‘€“ originally we were going to go for a quick two ‘€“ once he got under the 11-second mark I was yelling, ‘€˜We have to take a three now.’€™’€

Pierce said once the Celtics got the game into triple-overtime, it was time for Garnett to take over.

‘€œThat was part of the plan,” Pierce said. “We wanted to get him on the block, we wanted to get it to him on the spots where he can take the shot. That was a big part of the plan. We felt like he had the advantage, wasn’€™t going to it enough, but we just tried to keep going to him, keep wearing out the matchup, he made three quick baskets in that last overtime, Jason hits a big shot, and that’€™s what you gotta do. A lot of different guys stepped up for us tonight. Jeff Green in the first overtime was huge. Two huge shots at the end of regulation and one in overtime, so it’s got to be a team effort. Avery’€™s defense’€¦I mean it was a combination of everybody and that’€™s what its gonna take for us to move forward.”

Garnett hit Boston’s first three shots of the third extra period before Terry’s three gave the Celtics the lead for good.

‘€œRoles expand,” Pierce said. “I know what im capable of, but when you have a guy like Rondo, not as much is needed from you because you have another guy who can do so many things also. So I think with him out the roles gonna change. I’€™m gonna be more of a facilitator for this ball club, and you know it’s got to come from not only me, its gotta come from a number of guys. You see other guys being able to step up, we were scoring more. So it’€™s not only me, its everybody whose roles change, and has to do more with the injuries that we have.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, NBA, Paul Pierce
Jason Terry: ‘My gut tells me to keep shooting’ 02.10.13 at 10:43 pm ET
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Jason Terry hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:33 remaining in triple overtime to leave the Celtics to a 118-114 win over the Denver Nuggets Sunday night at TD Garden. The Celtics won their seventh straight with a thrilling victory while ending Denver’s nine game winning streak.

After missing six straight threes, Terry wasn’t about to turn down another chance at coming through for his team. He took a pass from Paul Pierce and hit a triple with 1:33 left in triple-overtime to give the Celtics a lead they would not relinquish.

‘€œWell shooters shoot, and the looks they were giving me were great ones,” Terry said. “I’ve got to admit, JaVale McGee is a huge target to shoot over, so a lot of those shots were over him and they were short but my instinct, my gut tells me to keep shooting. Paul Pierce did a hell of a job drawing defenders all night long and I just knew if I got a clean, clean look uncontested, I was going to knock it down.’€

Pierce said after the game that Terry promised he would make his next 3-point attempt.

“No question. I told him and whoever else wanted to listen ‘€“ that’€™s just my motto, that’€™s how I’€™ve been,” Terry said. “In a game like that it’€™s just so mentally draining ‘€“ you have to stay into it. Defensively we continued to get stops but not only was Paul Pierce’€™s shot tremendous but I thought Kevin Garnett I mean, the man’€™s 50-years old. For him to make those shots that he made when we direly needed them was tremendous for us.’€

As for his steal at the end of the third overtime on Andre Miller, a play Pierce called the “biggest” of the game, Terry said right place, right time.

‘€œThat was just individual defense,” Terry said. “Mano-a-mano. I know Andre, we came in at the same time together. Many battles. He wants to get right, he got right. I cut him off, he exposed the ball, I got the strip, and I was able to knock it out.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Jason Terry, JET
The cold truth: Paul Pierce leads Celtics to 7th straight in epic fashion at 9:15 pm ET
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The two hottest teams in the NBA rewarded hearty New England basketball fans with the game of the year in professional basketball. In a game with countless ebbs and flows, the Celtics outlasted the Nuggets, 118-114, in triple overtime Sunday night at TD Garden, earning their season-high seventh straight win in the process. The Celtics also ended Denver’s nine-game win streak, with Rajon Rondo in attendance.

In 54 spectacular minutes, Paul Pierce finished with a triple double, scoring 27 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing 14 assists. But with a chance to tie the game, his second free throw rattled in and out with 32.5 seconds left in double overtime. Ty Lawson hit jumper to put Denver up three. Pierce came down and drained a 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left to send the game into triple overtime.

After missing six straight 3-pointers, Jason Terry drilled a straightaway trey with 1:33 left in triple OT to put the Celtics up 116-113. Terry finished with 26 points off the bench. Sunday marked Boston’s ninth overtime game this season, matching a franchise record for a season (1950-51 and 1953-54). Kevin Garnett was big on the boards in 47 minutes, hauling in 18 rebounds to go with 20 points.

The Celtics were 3.6 seconds from their seventh straight win when the officials overturned a Nuggets turnover out of bounds under the Celtics basket. Given a second chance, Lawson hit the game-tying layup off the glass to send the game into overtime.

There were very few empty seats in TD Garden as Celtics fans braved the elements and lack of public transportation to get to the game just 24 hours after a state of emergency was lifted in the wake of the “Nemo” blizzard.

The Nuggets entered the game with an NBA-best nine-game winning streak, beating the Cavaliers Saturday night. The Nuggets (104.8) entered the game as the third-highest-scoring team in the NBA, with only the Thunder (106.6) and Rockets (106.0) scoring more per game.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Jason Terry, JET
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