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Fast Break: Celtics vs. Raptors 01.10.10 at 3:52 pm ET
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The Celtics continued to dominate the Raptors with a 114-107 win on Sunday in Toronto. The C’€™s have won seven straight over the Raptors and have not lost to them since January 23, 2008.

Player of the Game: Two Celtics deserve recognition for this accolade. Rajon Rondo recorded a triple-double with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists. Rasheed Wallace contributed 29 points (9-12 FG, 5-7 3PG, 6-6 FT), the most he has scored in a Celtics uniform. Wallace also came up with a critical steal with a minute to go as the Raptors closed in by six.

Turning Point: The Celtics established their control early on in the game. They jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first 1:41 and got the entire team involved. Wallace, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kendrick Perkins all scored baskets; Pierce, Perkins, and Rondo grabbed a rebound, and Rondo dished four assists. Even though the Raptors went on runs late in the game to threaten the Celtics lead, this early advantage gave the C’€™s a cushion throughout the afternoon.

- All of the Celtics starters scored in double digits eight minutes into the third quarter. Pierce added 16 points in his second game back from a right knee infection.

- The Celtics held Hedo Turkoglu scoreless until 6:24 in the third. He finished the game with just five points (2-for-9 FG).

- Chris Bosh fouled out with ten seconds left in the game. He led all scorers with 31 points.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Rajon Rondo, Rasheed Wallace,
Hudson: I Learned A Lot at 1:22 am ET
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Consider it an accelerated learning program.

In less than seven months, Lester Hudson received a hands-on education from one of the most talented basketball organizations in the NBA. He practiced against future Hall of Famers, received coaching from former pros, and learned the ropes behind an emerging All-Star.

The rookie gained more knowledge in a few short months than some players do in an entire season.

Now Hudson, who was waived by the Celtics last Wednesday, looks forward to applying what he learned from the C’€™s on to the court for the Grizzlies. The Memphis native was claimed off of waivers by his hometown team on Friday.

‘€œI was very sad, very sad when the Celtics let me go,’€ he told WEEI.com in a telephone interview. ‘€œBut I’m very happy to play back in my hometown.’€

Hudson looks forward to sharing his experiences with the young Grizzlies squad, whose average age is 24 years old. Not only did he learn from veterans such as Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett, he also formed a close bond with one of the hottest young point guards in the league today.

‘€œI learned a lot from (Rajon) Rondo,’€ he said. ‘€œHe’s my best friend on the team I’d say, so I learned a lot. He’s a great point guard. I think he’ll be an All-Star this year, so it was great playing behind him, learning how he ran the floor, ran the offense, and got everyone in position. That was my biggest thing coming in as a point guard, learning how to run an NBA team, and he helped me out with that.’€

Hudson also received proven advice from the Celtics coaching staff. Both head coach Doc Rivers and director of basketball development Tyronn Lue are former NBA point guards. Hudson worked closely with Lue during practice.

‘€œIt was great having Ty Lue there,’€ he said. ‘€œHe was a great point guard in the NBA and he taught me how to be aggressive, coming off the pick-and-roll, stuff like that, just trying to make the plays for the other guys. He helped me out a lot.’€

Many of the Celtics have reached out to Hudson since he was waived, including Rondo and Marquis Daniels. Lue and assistant coach Mike Longabardi have contacted him as well.

Hudson does not harbor any ill will toward the team that selected him with the 58th pick in the 2009 NBA draft. He averaged just 4.4 minutes in 16 games for the Celtics and had also spent time in the D-League. Hudson understood the Celtics decision to waive him before they would have had to guarantee his contract.

‘€œThey said it was a hard decision,’€ he said. ‘€œThey didn’t want to do that, but they were trying to get some room for the team if they needed a veteran point guard to come in for the playoffs, and I understood that. They said I was going to be in the NBA and just keep working hard.’€

Hudson’€™s career in Boston may have been cut short, but he didn’€™t need long with the Celtics to gain invaluable lessons that he can share with his new teammates in Memphis.

‘€œI can tell them just to work hard,’€ he said. ‘€œBecause that’s why [the Celtics are] one of the best in the NBA right now.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Lester Hudson, Rajon Rondo,
Rivers explains ‘The Play’ 01.07.10 at 4:02 pm ET
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A day after the Celtics forced overtime with an inbound alley-oop layin from Paul Pierce to Rajon Rondo, Celtics fans are still buzzing about ‘€œThe Play.’€ It took less than a second to execute, but it’€™s sure to be talked about the rest of the season.

On Thursday, Doc Rivers explained the keys to this offensive strategy on WEEI’€™s Dennis & Callahan show.

Picking the passer:
After running through the play in practice, Rivers knew Pierce was the right man for the role.

‘€œWe ran it once, might have been last year or two years ago, and it didn’€™t work. It worked to the point that Rondo was open and we threw the pass off mark. It actually went into overtime. We work on that play occasionally, like once every 10 practices. Paul is the only guy that can make the pass. Every time we use someone else it’€™s a bad pass. But it was good that all those guys were there.’€

‘€œThe good thing with Paul, because he is such a threat as a player, they rarely put a big on him. A lot of time, like what we did in Golden State where we put the two bigs on the ball, teams don’€™t want to do that just in case there is enough time for Paul to come back and get the ball. They usually put his guy on him and that’€™s why we use him.’€

Watching the clock: Six-tenths of a second may not seem like a lot of time to pull of a daring shot, but it was more than enough for the Celtics.

‘€œWe’€™ve done it with 0.4 because it’€™s just a tap. Even at 0.3 you have a chance.’€

Selecting the secret weapon: The Heat were caught off guard when Pierce lobbed the ball to the smallest guy on the team.

‘€œRondo is usually the best guy to do it, because he’€™s the guy that no one thinks you are going to do it with. That’€™s what we try to choose. Ray [Allen] is the other guy, surprisingly, because no one thinks you are going to throw a lob pass to Ray, either. So, it’€™s usually one of those two guys.’€

Testing the guinea pigs:
Rivers had stumped his own players in practice to ensure it could work against their opponents.

‘€œWe just disguise it. It’€™s the same play that you could run like 10 different ways and we just give it different formations. That’€™s what we do in practice.’€

For more on ‘€œThe Play,’€ read the entire transcript or listen to the complete audio interview.

Read More: Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo,
Doc Rivers on D&C at 12:24 pm ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show on Thursday morning. He discussed Wednesday night’s dramatic victory over the Heat in overtime, the case for Rajon Rondo as an All-Star and the issue of guns in the NBA, which was highlighted by the indefinite suspension of Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas.

A transcript of the interview is below. To listen to the complete interview, click here.

Where would last night’s victory rate?

Because of the way it finished it would rate high. Obviously there was a time where I thought we had it. Then it looked like we had lost it, and then we stole it back. Because of all that it ranks pretty high. Especially with all the guys coming back off of injury and still missing guys. There have been so many disruptions with our team right now, to have enough continuity to win a game has been great for all of our guys.

Was last night’s game all about overcoming human nature or giving into human nature?

I think so. They played hard on that last play. They did everything they were supposed to do. I was just happy with our guys, because when we called the timeout, it took me 15 seconds to get them in the huddle because they were so down. Once we drew up the play you could see them come back. They had the focus and just to execute the play and for it to work. Whenever anything works it looks great, because it takes so many moving parts for that stuff to happen. So, I thought we had good focus.

Have you used that play in the past and did it work?

We ran it once, might have been last year or two years ago, and it didn’€™t work. It worked to the point that Rondo was open and we threw the pass off the mark. It actually went into overtime. We work on that play occasionally, like once every 10 practices. Paul [Pierce] is the only guy that can make the pass, every time we use someone else it’€™s a bad pass. But it was good that all those guys were there.

What if there is less time than 0.6 seconds? Does it require all 0.6 seconds to get that up?

We’€™ve done it with 0.4 because it’€™s just a tap. Even at 0.3 you have a chance. Rondo is usually the best guy to do it, because he’€™s the guy that no one thinks you are going to do it with. That’€™s what we try to choose. Ray [Allen] is the other guy, surprisingly, because no one thinks you are going to throw a lob pass to Ray, either. So, it’€™s usually one of those two guys.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Doc Rivers, gilbert arenas, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett
Fast Break: Celtics vs. Heat 01.06.10 at 10:50 pm ET
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The Celtics overcame a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Heat, 112-106, in dramatic fashion on the road in overtime. This game wasn’t pretty — the Celtics committed 24 turnovers while the Heat attempted 98 shots — but the C’s fended off 44 points from Dwayne Wade to get the win.

Player of the Game: Kudos to Paul Pierce for perfectly executing the game-tying alley-oop to Rajon Rondo, but this award goes to the recipient of the pass. Not only did Rondo send the Celtics into overtime, he led them in the final five minutes. Rondo finished with a team-high 25 points.

Turning Point: After Wade hit a pair of game-tying free throws, the Celtics had an opportunity to hit the game-winner with 5.5 seconds left. Wade stole the ball from Ray Allen at halfcourt and slammed the go-ahead bucket to put the Heat up, 101-99, with 0.6 seconds to go. The Celtics responded with one of the best plays of the season ‘€“ an inbound alley-oop from Pierce to Rondo as time expired to force overtime.

- Pierce posted 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in his return from a knee infection.

- The Celtics committed 24 turnovers to just 11 by the Heat.

- Free throws were a huge deciding factor in this game. The Celtics shot 33-for-41; the Heat shot 20-for-27.

- Rasheed Wallace played a stretch in the fourth quarter with five fouls. He eventually fouled out fighting for a rebounds with Udonis Haslem, and the Celtics bench quickly stepped in front of him on the sidelines to prevent him from arguing the call.

- After getting his first NBA start last weekend, J.R. Giddens did not play on Wednesday.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo,
Pierce and Rondo practice 01.05.10 at 3:24 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Where to begin with the Celtics injury situation Tuesday? Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce were on the floor taking part in practice. Kendrick Perkins and Eddie House were home with the flu. Just for good measure, injured swing man Marquis Daniels was spotted sweating through a treadmill workout while the team practiced and Kevin Garnett is definitely not playing on the road trip.

“Yeah,” Doc Rivers said to the media as they tried to sort through where to begin their questions. “The circus continues.”

The good news is that Pierce and Rondo both took part in most of the practice session Tuesday and it seems likely that they will both play Wednesday against Miami, although Pierce looks like the safer bet right now.

“They looked all right,” Rivers said. “Paul looked good. Rondo, you really couldn’€™t tell. He didn’€™t do much. So we’€™ll see tomorrow. I think he’€™s going to go but I wouldn’€™t write that down in pen for sure. Paul probably will go tomorrow it looks like, so that would help us a lot. Getting one of those guys back I’€™d be very happy and if we got both back it would be absolutely fantastic.”

Rondo left without talking to reporters for the second straight day although he did tell Yahoo!’s Marc Spears that he expects to play against the Heat. Pierce did talk and he said that while he’s not 100 percent, he’s feeling confident about returning to the court. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen,
Tony Allen’s learning curve 01.04.10 at 4:46 pm ET
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WALTHAM – It is one the great paradoxes of Tony Allen’s career that his biggest problem –besides staying healthy — is turnovers, while his greatest strength is his versatility, which allows him to play multiple positions including, yes, point guard.

When Allen returned from his latest ankle ailment, Doc Rivers tried to make things simple, telling him to cut down on his turnovers and focus on playing defense. That was it. Now with Rajon Rondo hobbled by a hamstring injury, Allen is taking over the reins at the point where he will handle the ball much more than he did before and where things get decidedly more complicated.

One of Rivers great strengths as a game coach is putting his players in a position to succeed, and to that end he had Ray Allen bring the ball up the floor against the Raptors on occasion. But with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett also out of the lineup, Rivers can’t afford to have his best scoring option get bogged down in running the team, so the job falls to Tony Allen. It is, as he said, a learning experience. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Tony Allen,
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