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Doc: We’ll let Brad Miller make a big deal of it 04.29.09 at 2:44 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Doc Rivers stood by his starting point guard at a brief shootaround this afternoon prior to the team’s departure for Chicago and Game 6 on Thursday.

Rivers reiterated that he didn’t think that Rajon Rondo was trying to hurt Brad Miller when he committed a hard foul on him with 2.0 seconds remaining in overtime.

“I don’t think Rondo fouled to hurt him or anything like that,” Rivers said. “I thought Rondo was clearly trying to go for it and then couldn’t reach hiand then was just trying to grab anything he could grab. But Brad Miller clearly wants to make a big deal of that so we’ll let him.”

Read More: Brad Miller, Celtics, NBA playoffs, Rajon Rondo
Rondo’s foul: Flagrant, or not? at 12:47 pm ET
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With time winding down in Game 5, Brad Miller caught the Celtics in a frantic switch and drove hard to the basket. Trailing behind the play Rajon Rondo reached forward and made contact with Miller’s face, which did two things. It prevented Miller from dunking to tie the game and it also drew blood.

The Bulls protested after the play that it should have been a flagrant foul since, in their opinion, Rondo didn’t attempt to make play a play on the ball. The Celtics, obviously, contend that it was good hard playoff foul.

Naturally, opinion in Boston is of the latter interpretation, but they are up in arms, so to speak, about the play in Chicago.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Last night in Orlando, Dwight Howard clocked Philly’s Sam Delambert with an elbow. That, as True Hoop’s Henry Abbott points out should have resulted in an ejection.

Now the question becomes: What, if anything, will the NBA do about this?

Here’s a video with both plays (via True Hoop):

UPDATE: According to a report by ESPN’s Chris Sheridan, the NBA is reviewing both plays.

Here’s the flagrant foul interpretation from Sheridan:

“If Rondo’s foul is upgraded to a flagrant-category 1, he would be assessed one flagrant foul point. Players earn an automatic one-game suspension if they accumulate four flagrant foul points during the postseason. If the foul is upgraded to a flagrant-2, Rondo would be suspended for Game 6 in Chicago on Thursday night.”

UPDATE II: Howard was suspended for Game 6 and it appears that there will be no further action taken against Rondo.

Read More: Brad Miller, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo,
Doc: Celtics have to get Ray open 04.19.09 at 3:00 pm ET
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The day after losing Game One in overtime to Chicago, the Celtics honed in on their mistakes with a lengthy film session. They focused on sticking with their game plan, taking away the Bulls transition game, and making the second pass. And after Ray Allen went 1-for-12 on Saturday, they focused on getting him the open shot.

“We’ve got to do a better job of getting Ray open. We didn’t set enough picks for Ray,” said Doc Rivers. “So we’ve got to get him open, give him more time. I think he had two good looks, one was late in the game, but even that, the pass was late. I told them that shooters have to have the ball in their rhythm and they have to have time. And I thought when our shooters were open, we didn’t get them the ball in time and we threw them off rhythm. And then a lot of times they were not open because we didn’t set good picks.”

Rives stressed the importance of playing as a team, not being “the guy.” On Saturday, the Celtics dished 16 assists, nearly seven less than their season average.

“The way our team is built, especially now with KG out, we need to get out and break a little bit more, get Paul and Ray easy shots, get them to the free throw line, so that way their jumpshots will flow easier,” said Rajon Rondo.

Sunday’s practice wrapped with a three-pointer … by Ray Allen.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen,
Celtics-Magic Game Blog: Second Quarter 03.08.09 at 12:39 pm ET
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At the start of the second quarter … Magic 22, Celtics 15

- The Magic have scored 16 of their first 22 points in the paint. They’ve done more damage in the lane than the Celtics have done on the floor, and Howard has only played six minutes.

- This could be a big game for Gabe Pruitt. With only Marbury ahead of him at the PG, Pruitt has his first shot in a while to prove himself.  He has not played since February 25 against the Los Angeles Clippers. That night he was arrested for suspicion of DUI and served a team-imposed two-game suspension.

- Both teams are going heavy on the bigs. The Celtics have Kendrick Perkins and Mikki Moore going up against Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat.

- The Celtics have scored just two points in four minutes. And the faint boos have already begun.

- There have been 18 fouls called in the first 18 minutes of the game.

- Howard’s on the bench with three personal fouls. Now is the time for the Celtics to do some damage at the basket. The Cs also have an advantage with J.J. Redick guarding Ray Allen. Redick is not known for his defense.

- The Magic’s deal for Rafer Alston did not get much buzz at the trade deadline but this acquisition is a difference maker in this game. Alston brings quickness to the Magic that the Celtics are having trouble stopping without Rajon Rondo.

- Pierce’s dunk past Pietrus and Battie has the crowd on their feet. The harsh reality is, the Celtics are still down by nearly 20.

- At the half … Magic 51, Celtics 33

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwight Howard, J.J. Redick, Kendrick Perkins
Maxwell responds to Rondo rumor 03.01.09 at 4:45 pm ET
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The Internet has been buzzing with rumors of a heated conversation between Rajon Rondo and Boston Celtics radio broadcaster Cedric Maxwell. According to reports, Rondo shot harsh words at Maxwell in the Celtics locker room following Friday’s game against the Indiana Pacers. Maxwell cleared the air with WEEI.com during halftime of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Detroit Pistons.

“Me and Rondo were talking about a card game where he and I had played,” he said. “That’s what we were talking about and we were poking fun at each other. It wasn’t any argument that we had at all.”

Maxwell told Rondo about the rumors. Both he and the Celtics point guard laughed at the reality of their conversation.

“The words were, ‘You played the wrong card the other day when we were playing in the card game,’” Maxwell said. “That’s what that was.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cedric Maxwell, Rajon Rondo,
Backcourt steps up 02.22.09 at 6:57 pm ET
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Shaquille O’Neal was supposed to be a problem for the Boston Celtics. He was supposed to push around their little big men and have the Celtics counting down the days until Kevin Garnett returned from his knee injury. But it was one of the smallest guys on the court who caused the biggest problems. Led by Rajon Rondo, the Celtics backcourt dominated the Phoenix Suns. (RECAP HERE)

Rajon Rondo
32 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, 13-18 FG, 1-1 3PG, 5-9 FT, 3 STL

On his 23rd birthday, Rondo made 35-year-old Steve Nash look about ten years older. The Suns had no way of stopping Rondo, not even O’Neal’s presence made a difference — Rondo scored however and from wherever he pleased. The absence of Garnett creates more opportunities for him to take his jumpshot, and judging by his shot chart, there is little need to question whether or not he has developed one.

Ray Allen
31 points, 4 rebounds, 10-15 FG, 4-8 3PG, 7-8 FT

It’s no secret that Allen can’t be left alone on the arc. On Sunday he couldn’t be left alone, period. Allen spread the Suns defense with a balanced attack of long and mid-range shots. Allen was on his mark, hitting 10 field goals and scoring 30 points for the first time since January 11 against the Toronto Raptors. He also set a new franchise record with 72 consecutive free throws made, passing Larry Bird’s previous mark of 71.

Paul Pierce
26 points, 6 rebounds, 8-17 FG, 10-10 FT

The Celtics couldn’t score 128 points without Pierce making an impact. Pierce struggled in the first half (1-8 FG), so when his shot didn’t fall he got to the line (6-6 FT). Then he turned it on in the second half to score 18 points in 22 minutes. The captain played a team-high 44 minutes and by the end of the game had gone to the line 10 times. The Celtics improved to 12-3 when Pierce attempts at least 10 free throws.

The Celtics will travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets on Monday night.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Phoenix Suns
Sobe Kobe… 02.05.09 at 1:43 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics are not in awe of Kobe Bryant.

That simple message was delivered at Thursday morning’s shoot-around here in Waltham, mere hours before they take on the reigning NBA MVP and his Lakers on the parquet of the TD Banknorth Garden.

That, and we’re not changing what we do just for Kobe.

“We just play him,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers announced. “We don’t have any Kobe rules or anything like that. We play our defense every night. We literally don’t change our style. Rarely, we may change them for a possession here or there, but you just try to keep him in front of you and wish for the best of luck because he’s tough. If it were easy to defend him, he wouldn’t be Kobe.”

Yes, Pau Gasol is starting to emerge as a scoring force alongside Kobe as they pick up the slack for their injured big man Andrew Bynum.

“They’re a good basketball team,” Rivers said. “They’re no different. Obviously, they miss Bynum’s length but they’re going to get through the regular season and get him back for the playoffs and they’ll be fine. Kobe has clearly picked it up the last couple of games but so has Gasol. Gasol has had 31 points the last couple of games himself.”

Yes, Kobe has gone off for a combined 97 points against the 21-27 Knicks and the 19-32 Raptors this week.

“We didn’t play in any of those games that we know of,” Rivers keenly observed. “We can’t do anything about that. That’s the way we always look at that. Let’s hope he doesn’t score 97 tonight. That would be very important for us trying to win this game, I can tell you that.”

Ask Rajon Rondo and the Celtics point guard is quick (and right) to point out that the Knicks have just as much to do with the 61 Kobe scored on Monday at MSG as anything else.

“He’s a great player,” Rondo said. “Sixty-one doesn’t happen all the time in the league but a lot of great scorers go off at times. That was transistion game he played against the Knicks. LeBron had 52 last night. That’s just the style (the Knicks) play.”

And yes, the Los Angeles Lakers come to town tonight with a Western Conference-best 39-9 mark, winners of four straight, playing on the same court they suffered their most humiliating loss in franchise history, that 39-point quit job last June in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

“I’m sure they’ve seen it enough,” Rivers said. “I’m sure no one’s run that on TV at all. Well, they should be. Why wouldn’t they be? They’ll be up for the game. We’ll be up for the game.”

Therein lies the key difference between the Celtics and the Lakers. The Lakers are all about superstars, albeit great scoring superstars, but individuals nonetheless. The Celtics, during their second double-digit winning streak of the season, have built their dominance around defense.

Yes, the Celtics are weakened a little by the flu bug that has run through Kevin Garnett and the rest of the team.

“He felt strong,” Rivers said of Garnett at this morning’s shootaround in Waltham. “He’s fine. We’ll find out tonight. It’s easy to feel strong in a shoot-around but when you’re running up and down the floor when you haven’t done it, that’s a different story. I think there are six guys on Z-Paks, probably all due to Kevin, who knows.”

Z-Paks, for those who didn’t go to medical or pharmaceutical school, are antibiotics given to help those fighting off viruses.

The Celtics will want to be at full strength as they try to ward off Kobe and the Lakers.

Read More: Andrew Bynum, Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
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