|Banged up Celtics grind through knowing Lakers won’t have sympathy||02.09.11 at 2:42 pm ET|
They don’t care that the Celtics had just 10 players for practice Wednesday. They don’t care that Paul Pierce was home sick instead of gearing up for the rematch with the Lakers Thursday night at TD Garden. They don’t care that 38-year-old Shaquille O’Neal is nursing a sore right Achilles tendon that has forced him to miss the last three games.
They don’t care that Semih Erden is about to miss his second straight game with a right adductor strain. They don’t care that the Celtics don’t have a proven replacement for Marquis Daniels, who went down with a bruised spinal cord on Sunday afternoon.
“You come to play the game,” Rivers said. “We don’t worry about the body count. They’re not going to worry about the body count, I can guarantee you that. We’ll be read. We’ll be fine.”
All the Lakers care about is getting revenge for that 109-96 Celtics win on Jan. 30 at Staples Center.
The Celtics were reduced to 10 healthy players in practice on Wednesday.
On the bright side, Delonte West participated in his first full contact practice since his broken right wrist, suffered on Nov. 24 against New Jersey.
“We had 10,” Rivers said following Wednesday’s practice. “Paul’s is sick so he stayed at home. Semih is out, Shaq is out. Delonte practiced today but he won’t play [Thursday] or probably won’t play until after the break.”
Rivers said he does expect Pierce to play Thursday but not O’Neal or Erden. “I expect him to play,” Rivers said of Pierce. “He’s just not feeling good. We’ll see [Thursday]. I don’t expect Shaq, I don’t expect Semih. I don’t think [O’Neal] can go yet so we’re just going to wait until he gets healthy.”
Rivers said West was allowed to return but cautioned his players to try and use good judgment so that West’s right wrist wouldn’t be hit.
“We told [players] no reaching which is impossible with some of our guys but other than that, we got through it,” Rivers said.
|Paul Pierce joins Ray Allen in 3-point contest||02.08.11 at 2:20 pm ET|
Paul Pierce gets his wish. The defending champion in the 3-point contest, Pierce wanted to go head-to-head with teammate Ray Allen, who won the contest in 2001. The two Celtics will have serious competition. Joining them in the field are Daniel Gibson, James Jones, Dorrell Wright and for added star power, Kevin Durant.
While Durant is obviously a big name, his addition to the contest is a little curious as he’s shooting just 36 percent from 3-point range this season. Matt Bonner, who’s shooting over 50 percent on 3’s was passed over, as was Denver’s Arron Afflalo and New Jersey’s Anthony Morrow.
The contest has two rounds with the top three scorers advancing to the finals and will be held Saturday, Feb. 19 as part of All-Star weekend.
|Celtics show they are a band of ‘brothers,’ like in 2008||02.06.11 at 11:58 pm ET|
When Marquis Daniels went down early in the second quarter, it was like a vacuum sucked up every bit of noise and energy in the Garden. Players, coaches and fans all stood silent as Daniels was being tended to on the court as he lay motionless.
‘Honestly I didn’t really know what was up,” Celtics captain Paul Pierce said. “Obviously when you see guy lay down there for a sense of time you get worried and you pray and hope that he’s alright. When we came back to the locker room at half time I asked how he was doing and they said he was moving and doing pretty good. I guess he has some type of condition in his neck or spine that I don’t know about. Hopefully, you know, he can take some time off, hopefully if he can get back on the court but most importantly we’re more worried about his health.”
Daniels will be out for at least a month as doctors perform tests on his bruised spinal cord, a condition that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and team doctor Brian McKeon said afterward was preexisting before Daniels became a Celtic.
As for the current day Celtics, they turned a 24-17 deficit at the time of Daniels’ injury into a 91-80 demolition of the Magic.
‘I don’t know if it’s a coincidence that after Marquis went hurt that we kinda rallied together,” Pierce said. “I guess it seemed that way but I’m just glad that usually when you see a guy get injured that teams use that as an excuse and have a letdown and you know kind of go through the motions for the rest of the game worried about the guy that went down because your worried about him.”
Just like on Nov. 24, when the Celtics watched helplessly as Delonte West went down with an ugly fracture of his right wrist. The Celtics were down 40-36 after West’s lay-up with 2:48 left in the second quarter. Ironically, that night it was none other than Daniels who came into replace West.
The Celtics would win that game 89-83. On Sunday, it was Ray Allen‘s turn to take the place of a fallen teammate, as he came in with 11:01 left in the second quarter.
‘I was trying to process what just happened, and when I saw the way he hit the ground it was I just started thinking about any time I watched a football game, and I saw a guy on the ground, how their body just kind of didn’t respond to anything,” Allen said. “It looked like he got hit in the wrong spot where whatever happened to his body he just couldn’t move. And when I saw his face, it was the scariest feeling because it was almost like he couldn’t do anything. It’s the risk we always run, but for that moment it just seemed like ‘let me go to the hospital and let me do what I need to do to see that he’s all right’, cause basketball is the last thing on my mind.’
But once the game re-started, the Celtics were all business.
“it seemed like the complete opposite and I think we kind of fed off of it and it was kind of like let’s do this for Quis kinda, Pierce added. ” I mean that’s what I saw you know it just seemed like our energy went up because I was on the bench at the time and I was watching and it just seemed like that’s what started the run so we’re happy that he’s okay and unfortunately he probably gave us the spark. Thanks Quis, hope you’re doing good buddy.’
‘Well this is a very close knit team. I mean, this is one of the closer teams, it kind of reminds me of the team in 08. It’s like when Marquis goes down it’s like your brother, when Delonte goes down it’s like your brother,” Pierce said. “If you ever have a family member and something ever happens to them you don’t feel right. And we’re around each other so much; plane, bus, we even go to each other’s houses so it’s like we created this bond with one another and when something bad happens to him we all feel for him but the rest of us try and rally together and that’s what you kind of saw in those two injuries.’
Of course, everyone remembers how 2008 ended. As long as Daniels is healthy, the Celtics wouldn’t mind history repeating itself.
|Ray Allen to partcipate in 3-point contest||02.05.11 at 4:28 pm ET|
Ray Allen told reporters Friday night that he had agreed to take part in the 3-point contest as part of All-Star weekend. The other competitors have not been named yet, but it is assumed that one of them will be defending champ Paul Pierce.
The captain made a plea on Twitter to face off against Allen this year, which would add a little spice to a competition generally thought of as the appetizer to the Slam Dunk contest.
Allen won the title back in 2001 and has made five appearances over the years, but not since 2006. He’s also closing in on the all-time 3-point mark, needing just five to pass Reggie Miller for the most made 3’s in NBA history. Allen has embraced the chase and said that he hopes to do it at the Garden.
“Actually, I truly am enjoying it,” he said Friday night. “This is a moment I’ve never experienced before. I don’t know how many people can experience this type of moment.”
|Irish Coffee: Celtics’ Top 10 NBA All-Star performances||02.04.11 at 1:14 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
5. PAUL PIERCE sunk all five money balls in the final round of the 2010 NBA 3-Point Shootout. Neither Stephen Curry or Chauncy Billups could match Pierce, and the Celtics captain took home the title.
4. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL (as a member of the Lakers) recorded 24 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks to lead the West to a 136-132 win over the East and capture 2004 NBA All-Star Game MVP honors. Also the 2000 and 2009 All-Star Game MVP, O’Neal announced in his postgame interview, “Can you dig it?”
3. RAY ALLEN (as a member of the Bucks) outdueled Peja Stojakovic for the 2001 NBA 3-Point Shootout championship. Entering the final rack, Allen needed to make 3-of-5 to tie. He made four.
1. KEVIN GARNETT (as a member of the Timberwolves) outperformed Michael Jordan in the Bulls legend’s final NBA All-Star Game in 2003. Amassing the most points in an All-Star contest since Jordan’s 40 in 1988, Garnett totaled 37 points, nine rebounds, five steals and three assists to lead the West to a 155-145 double-overtime victory against the East, capturing MVP honors in the process.
“The All-Star Game is not about individual,” said Garnett. “It’s totally a group effort. It’s a time for you to share stories, good times, emotional times with your teammates.”
Given the Celtics’ storied history in NBA All-Star Games ever since Ed Macauley captured MVP honors with 20 points and six rebounds in the league’s first-ever All-Star competition, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also provide the top-five All-Star Weekend performances by former Celtics …
|Doc Rivers plan for his four All-Stars||at 12:19 am ET|
Before the announcement that the Celtics would have four All-Stars was made official, Doc Rivers joked that he would play the four of them together with whatever player was closest to free agency, “Just so they could see how it feels.” So, get ready Dwight Howard to run with Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
For only the ninth time in NBA history, one team will have four representatives in the All-Star Game. Not surprisingly, the Celtics have done it more than any other teams (four), but to underscore how rare an achievement it actually is, no Celtics team has done it since 1975 when Paul Silas, JoJo White, John Havlicek and Dave Cowens all went together.
“I think it says that the coaches in the league recognize team basketball,” Rivers said.
The team aspect is what has come to define the 2010-11 Celtics. Pierce, Allen and Garnett each average between 11-13 shots per game and 15-19 points. That no one player dominates the scoring is what makes them so successful. An opposing team can try to take one of them out of the equation, but that just opens the door for one of the others.
The Celtics shoot the highest percentage in the league and have the third most assists. Those two things are not a coincidence. Without Rondo to operate the machine they often sputter. Rondo may not be the “best point guard in the NBA,” but he may be the one who can run the Celtics better than anyone else.
If one of them is out, it alters the chemistry just enough to make the Celtics slightly less menacing. “That’s what makes it so difficult,” Rivers said when asked which one was the hardest to replace. “Any one guy that’s out, it hurts our team. We’re so together as a group. There’s not one guy ‘ one guy out affects the entire team.”
The Celtics are where they are with the best record in the Eastern Conference because they have learned how to adjust with one of them is injured. But their championship credentials rely on having them all together.
|Four Celtics headed for All-Star Game||02.03.11 at 7:13 pm ET|
Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo were all named to the 2011 NBA All-Star Game on Thursday night, joining head coach Doc Rivers on the Eastern Conference team. It’s the ninth time in NBA history that four teammates have been named to one squad, and the first since 2006 when the Pistons had four. The Celtics have done it three times ‘ 1953, 1962 and 1975.
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