|Celtics looking for bonding on trip||11.28.09 at 3:36 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Doc Rivers laughed when asked to characterize the upcoming road trip through Miami, Charlotte, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
“It’s an important trip because it’s four good teams, unfortunately all four teams are playing well,” Rivers said. “But that’s what you have to expect when you go out on the road.
Indeed, the four teams have a collective record of 32-28, with only Charlotte (6-9) under .500.
“This is a time where where you have to concentrate more,” Pierce said. “We understand what being a successful road team is about in the past. It will give us more focus time. I think we understand being on the road, we have to focus a lot more. You can’t play the way we’ve been playing at home on the road because you won’t get those wins.”
|The Book on ‘Kevin and Sheed’||at 2:19 pm ET|
WALTHAM — It doesn’t take long for Rasheed Wallace to make an impression. Ask Paul Pierce, who just one month into the regular season has already heard so many stories and jokes that he could pen a literary masterpiece.
“He’s an extension of Kevin [Garnett],” Pierce said with a laugh after Saturday’s practice. “Between the two you hear a lot of stories. It’s fun. I could write a 400-page book right now.”
Garnett and Wallace are seated next to each other in the Celtics locker room. So it is only fitting that the title of Pierce’s hypothetical book would include both of them.
“I’d keep it simple: Kevin and Sheed,” Pierce said, adding, “[The cover would] probably have them two face to face, smiling.”
|Sheed: NBA going soft||11.27.09 at 11:24 pm ET|
Rasheed Wallace has been in the NBA 15 years and he spoke after Friday’s game like a true veteran who thinks the league he loves has gone way too soft.
His rant began when asked about the technical assessed when he argued about a second-quarter foul called on him for running into Toronto’s Hedo Turkoglu.
“They gotta know that he’s a damn flopper,” Wallace said. “That’s all Turkododo do. Flopping shouldn’t get you no where. He acts like I shot him.”
Wallace said that’s a cheap way to play defense.
“That’s not basketball, man. that’s not defense. That’s garbage, what it is. I’m glad I don’t have too much of it left.”
Reminded that he has three years left on his contract didn’t hold back his lecture, adding that Paul Pierce did nothing wrong on his dunk over Chris Bosh early in the fourth quarter.
“This game is watered down, watered down with all that flopping [crap],” he said. “They’re setting rules on us to the point where you’re taunting if you dunk on somebody. Paul dunked it and then he didn’t say nothing but it’s a tech.
“Let the Golden Child do that or one of the NBA Without Border kids do that, it’s all fine and dandy.”
[Hear the audio by clicking here.]
For the record, Wallace confirmed that the ‘Golden Child’ he was referring to is indeed LeBron James.
|Turn up the volume: Pierce imposes his will||11.26.09 at 12:14 am ET|
|Doc: Pierce is our MVP||11.25.09 at 11:32 pm ET|
“He’s been MVP to me,” Rivers said. “Now only with his play, but all over. He was on guys in the second quarter and then at halftime about our play. He’s doing everything you ask him to do. He’s guarding guys, he’s rebounding, he’s making big shots, he’s taking charges. I mean, I don’t know what else. He can cook Thanksgiving dinner for someone and then he’ll be doing it all. He’s been terrific.”
With the Celtics up by two points and less than a minute to play, Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala got up a full head of steam and went straight to the basket. Iguodala is listed at 207 pounds, but at least 200 of that is muscle. Pierce stepped into the lane and took the contact.
“Well you know, it’s what we talk about,” Pierce said. “If the charge is there the coach wants us to step up and take the charge. That’s pretty much the only thing I could have done in that situation.”
Later in the game with the Celtics holding a three-point lead, Pierce and Rajon Rondo both executed the Celtics strategy to foul with less than 10 seconds remaining and not give the opponent a chance to tie the game.
“That’s something we talk about,” Pierce said. “That’s something we work on in practice. We were in that situation last year against the Bulls [in the playoffs] and Ben Gordon made a 3 and we should have fouled. That’s our strategy if it’s under 10 seconds that’s our strategy to foul.”
|Magic know formula to beat Celtics||11.21.09 at 12:05 am ET|
BOSTON ‘ It has been nearly a year since the Magic faced a healthy Celtics squad. On Friday they proved they can beat the Celtics with or without Kevin Garnett.
‘It’s very important especially when they are full strength to show you that we’re still a good team,’ Rashard Lewis told WEEI.com after the Magic’s 83-78 victory (Recap). ‘You know they’re a great team. This is only one game, it’s early in the season and I definitely would not count them out at all. Every time we play the Boston Celtics it’s going to be a tough, tough game.’
The Celtics were 0-2 last regular season against the Magic without Garnett and were eliminated from the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the Magic without him. But the truth is, the Magic have held their own against the Celtics in recent years. They improved to 5-3 against the Cs since the 2007-08 regular season.
‘I think the biggest thing playing their team is not allowing them to get a lot of second chance points, hold them to one shot, and then run,’ said Dwight Howard.
The Celtics actually outshot the Magic 87-to-70 from the floor, but the Magic shot 10-for-22 from three-point range while Celtics were a mere 2-for-19. Vince Carter attempted 29 field goals — ‘All of them weren’t open, I’ll be the first to tell you that,’ he said with a laugh — the same number as Ray Allen and Paul Pierce combined. Stifling the Celtics offense was a must-do for the Magic.
‘You’ve got to play defense,’ said Lewis. ‘I think every time we play this team we really buckle down on the defensive end and we try to take their main guys out ‘ Ray Allen at the three-point line, and we try to crowd Paul Pierce and make other guys beat us. Tonight I think we did a good job of that.’
The Celtics lost their lead just three minutes into the first quarter, and the Magic held off a 17-12 fourth quarter run after Rasheed Wallace tied the game at 78 apiece. Lewis said his team regained their composure after coach Stan Van Gundy called a timeout and buckled down, realizing how easily the Celtics can fight back from a double-digit deficit. The Magic diminished the Celtics homecourt advantage and held on in the TD Garden’s playoff atmosphere.
‘We’re not going to do that [back down] to anybody,’ said Jason Williams. ‘I mean, we feel that we’re just as good as anybody else. So if we come out and do what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to win more times than not.’
On Friday night, like they have so many times in recent games against the Celtics, the Magic came out on top. Neither team can read too much into this victory, though. While the Magic know how to beat the Celtics, but they also know either team is capable of winning at any time.
‘I don’t want to say we got their number because anything can happen on any given night,’ said Lewis. ‘Tonight the ball kind of bounced our way and towards the end of the game we were able to get away. It’s not like we blew them out. We won by like four points so it could have easily gone the other way.’
|Magic: Can’t Afford to Foul Rondo||11.20.09 at 7:46 pm ET|
BOSTON — Even though Rajon Rondo enters Friday’s game shooting a mere 25 percent from the free throw line, the Magic are not going to give him extra trips to the charity stripe. Just because free throws have been a weakness for Rondo this season that doesn’t mean the same is true for his teammates.
‘With their team you don’t want to foul unnecessarily,’ said Anthony Johnson. ‘Even though maybe he’s not shooting well, Paul Pierce, KG, all the other guys, they’re going to draw fouls.’
In spite of Rondo’s struggle (4-16 FG), the Celtics are still in the middle of the pack around the league. Ray Allen is ranked eighth in the NBA (89.3%) while Shelden Williams and Pierce are both shooting better than 80 percent.
‘If you waste your fouls on Rondo, it’s going to help them as a team get into the bonus and it’s going to give those guys free points,’ Johnson said. ‘So as much as possible we want to keep them off the line, including him, and try to make them make tough shots over the top of us.’
The Magic have a lot more to worry about with Rondo than just free throws. They are without starting point guard Jameer Nelson (knee) and will depend on veterans Johnson and Jason Williams to contain Rondo.
“He’s a guy that plays with a lot of energy offensively and defensively so you’ve got to always keep him in front of you, don’t allow him to really dictate the tempo with his ball pressure and just putting pressure on our defense getting into the paint,” said Johnson. “So we’re going to have to keep him in front of us and not let him orchestrate and make all the big plays.”