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All-Star Voting Update 12.25.08 at 7:06 pm ET
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On Christmas Day the second returns of the 2009 NBA All-Star Game ballots were announced. Dwight Howard continues to lead all votes while Rajon Rondo still struggles to crack the top 10 among all guards. Boston Celtics are bolded below in the Eastern Conference results:

Forwards: LeBron James (Clev) 1,259,764; Kevin Garnett (Bos) 905,506; Yi Jianlian (NJ) 762,162; Chris Bosh (Tor) 500,700; Paul Pierce (Bos) 313,474; Shawn Marion (Mia) 210,040; Hedo Turkoglu (Orl) 137,035; Danny Granger (Ind) 116,238; Josh Smith (Atl) 110,186; Michael Beasley (Mia) 100,257; Tayshaun Prince (Det) 98,262.

Guards: Dwyane Wade (Mia) 1,229,858; Allen Iverson (Det) 858,469; Vince Carter (NJ) 600,087; Ray Allen (Bos) 354,642; Devin Harris (NJ) 267,504; Gilbert Arenas (Wash) 205,223; Derrick Rose (Chi) 203,687; Luke Ridnour (Mil) 197,933; Jose Calderon (Tor) 193,715; Jameer Nelson (Orl) 174,081; Joe Johnson (Atl) 162,772.

Centers: Dwight Howard (Orl) 1,421,882; Samuel Dalembert (Phi) 232,733; Rasheed Wallace (Det) 163,279; Jermaine O’€™Neal (Tor) 147,534; Andrew Bogut (Mil) 112,708; Al Horford (Atl) 107,118; Ben Wallace (Clev) 89,809; Emeka Okafor (Char) 69,015; Zyrdrunas Ilgauskas (Cle) 60,970; Kendrick Perkins (Bos) 54,772; Brendan Haywood (Wash) 28,182.

Read More: Dwight Howard, Kendrick Perkins, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo
Sounds of the Game… Celtics 126, Bulls 108 12.20.08 at 10:32 am ET
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What makes a great team is when it can constantly find way to get better even when things are already going so well. Doc Rivers and staff worked with center Kendrick Perkins to work on setting better screens and picks, convincing him that this would lead to better seals under the basket and eventually more scoring opportunities for him. The result? Perk scored a career high 25 points on Friday night, second only to Ray Allen’s 27 as the C’s (yawn-yawn) dispatched of the Chicago Bulls 126-108 at TD Banknorth Garden. Now, the Celtics can match the team’s all-time winning streak mark of 18 on Sunday night against Quentin Richardson and the Knicks at home. If victorious against New York, the chance to break it comes on Tuesday against another arch-rival, the Philadelphia 76ers.

Doc Rivers on the good first and third quarters.

Rivers said Ray Allen is hitting his stride this year with the team.

Rivers jokes about Ray Allen’s 27 points.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were not surprised at the great crowd that showed up.

Garnett said the Celtics were locked in at the beginning of the game.

Rajon Rondo said the winning streak isn’t changing the Celtics.

Kendrick Perkins on the coaching staff working hard to keep team sharp.

Perkins looks forward to Knicks and Sixers.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett
73 or 34 in a row 12.19.08 at 7:42 pm ET
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Chicago, one of the most important bands of the 70s once wondered, 25 or 6 to 4. Sitting here at TD Banknorth Garden watching Chicago’s NBA entry offer precious little resistance to the Celtics, your intrepid reporter was inspired to re-work the question.

What is more likely, the Celtics winning 73 games in a season to break the 1997 Chicago Bulls all-time record or 34 straight wins to top the mark by the 1972 Los Angeles Lakers?

Would love to hear your comments and thoughts. Just Email Trags

This reporter is on record maintaining that as the Celtics are currently constituted, they will win 73 and set the new record. As for 34 straight, with a West Coast swing on the docket starting Christmas Day, that might be too much, even for these Celtics.

One other random question… With Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, in attendance at the Garden taking in the game, who is in better shape, Bolt or Ray Allen? When the two shook hands just prior to the fourth quarter at the scorer’s table, it marked a meeting of two supremely conditioned athletes.

Then, following the game, Bolt entered the locker room for a personal chat with the team and coaching staff. There was this question posed… Who would win a race, Bolt or Rajon Rondo?

Doc Rivers, who was surprised at Bolt’s height, on the great debate.

Rajon Rondo told Bolt, ‘I’ll see you in 2012′.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Hussein Bolt, Rajon Rondo
Sounds of the Game… Celtics 100, Jazz 91 12.16.08 at 8:39 am ET
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The Green Machine rolled to their 15th straight win thanks to another All-Star-worthy performance from point guard Rajon Rondo. He poured in a career-high 25 points and was just a rebound and two assists shy of another triple-double. He also had the move of the night late in the fourth quarter when he drove to the basket, got turned around and threw threw the ball over his head. The ball banked off the glass and came down, sending the sellout crowd into a frenzy and sealing Boston’s 23rd win in 25 tries. The Celtics matched the NBA’s all-time best 25-game start. All three previous teams to start 23-2 have won the NBA championship. The last time the Celtics won 15 straight was during their franchise-record 18-game run in the 1981-82 season. Next up, the Atlanta Hawks on the road Wednesday night at Philips Arena.

Doc Rivers on the amazing Rajon Rondo and how ‘English’ on the ball helps his shot – sometimes.

Rivers said Rondo’s speed was the difference Monday because the Jazz didn’t guard him aggressively.

Rondo said he just tried to stay aggressive.

Rondo expects a battle from Atlanta Wednesday night.

Paul Pierce said Rondo is All-Star worthy.

Pierce expects playoff atmosphere Wednesday in the ATL.

Kevin Garnett gave it up for Rondo’s driving layup.

Utah coach Jerry Sloan said the Celtics let his team back in the game but his players were scared.

Read More: Boston Celtics, jerry sloan, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
Sounds of the game… Celtics 114, Pacers 86 12.04.08 at 12:30 am ET
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So, only 55 more wins until the Celtics set the all-time NBA record for wins in a season. That means the Celtics need to go 55-7 the rest of the way. Based on what we’ve seen so far this season, there’s no reason to think they can’t do it. The latest example came on Wednesday. As the Indiana Pacers showed of making a courageous run to stay in the game in the third quarter, Rajon Rondo reminded everyone that he just might be the MVP of the team, lighting it up for 16 points while handing out a career-best 17 assists. Just think, that’s MVP Rondo on the same team with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and vintage Ray Allen, who is tearing it up for the Green so far this season. Now you see why there are those who feel this team may be on the verge of something historic.

Rajon Rondo said driving the basketball has been the key to the offense.

Rondo said he was anxious to return from bloody lip after collision with Indiana’s T.J. Ford.

Rondo said Sam Cassell told him how close he was to triple-double in first half.

Ray Allen said Rondo is the catalyst of the team right now.

Allen said Rondo and he go hand-in-hand right now.

Kevin Garnett said it was like there were three Rondos on the court.

Indiana head coach Jim O’Brien’s team played the Lakers and Celtics on back-to-back nights. He can see a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals.

O’Brien said it was just a case of too much Rondo and no answers.

Read More: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo,
Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers 12.03.08 at 9:25 am ET
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On Wednesday night the Boston Celtics (17-2) will take on the Indiana Pacers (7-10) at the TD BankNorth Garden. The Pacers already upset the Celtics once this season and are riding the momentum of stunning the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. It will be up to the Celtics to halt this series of shockers.

What Went Wrong
On November 1 the Pacers defeated the Celtics 95-79 in Indiana. It was the Celtics first loss of the season, quickly proving their championship didn’t make them immortal. The Pacers jumped out to a 10-point first quarter lead and went up by as many as 25 in the fourth. The Celtics looked sloppy on the road (24 turnovers) and were off the mark all night (34.6% FG, 4-for-20 3PG, 60% FT). Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce‘s combined 33 points and 24 rebounds were not enough. Kendrick Perkins went scoreless while Rajon Rondo hit just one basket. Danny Granger scored 20 points, Marquis Daniels posted 13 points and 11 boards, and T.J. Ford contributed 19 points. When asked to explain the 18-point loss, Garnett told the media, “I don’t even know what to call it.”

In the Last Five Games …
The Celtics have the offensive edge over the Pacers, stretching their margin of victory up to 14.2 points per game over the last five contests while the Pacers have been losing by an average of 4.4 points. Their offense is back on pace with their defense (51.4% FG, 40.3% 3PG) as the Pacers have ranked in the bottom half of the league (43.8% FG, 34.8% 3PG). But in spite of the Celtics stifling D, the Pacers are the best rebounding team in the NBA and average nearly 10 more boards (49.0 to 40.0 rpg). The Pacers have also been the better ball handling team (23.0 to 21.8 apg) as of late despite Rajon Rondo‘s impressive play.

More than Meets the Eye
The Pacers 7-10 record is deceiving. This team has individual talent and has proved they can be threatening when playing together. Danny Granger is one of the hottest players in the league today and he and Paul Pierce will challenge each other on the perimeter all night. Force him behind the arc, though, and the Celtics could stifle his game. He is shooting just 24% from long range on no days rest. The Pacers traded Jermaine O’Neal for T.J. Ford this summer for backcourt leadership. Ford is just as dangerous as Ray Allen from the line and is capable of dropping 20 points on any given night. Troy Murphy (11.0 ppg, 11.8 rpg) will challenge the Celtics on the glass as one of the league’s underrated big men. Marquis Daniels is also having a breakout season (16.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg) after recovering from a foot injury.

Hitting the Bench
While Jeff Foster and Jarrett Jack have been reliable for the Pacers off the bench, the Celtics reserves have the advantage. The Cs bench is filled with championship winners whereas the Pacers bench includes inexperienced rookies and unproven journeymen. Tony Allen has been explosive at the basket and scored 14 points in the first game against the Pacers. After suffering their first loss in Indy, the Celtics starters will look to come out swinging and that intensity will trickle down the bench.

Check back tonight for WEEI’s Live Celtics Game Day Blog from the TD BankNorth Garden.

Read More: Celtics, Danny Granger, Jeff Foster, Kendrick Perkins
Sounds of the game… Celtics 107, Magic 88 12.02.08 at 9:36 am ET
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Doc Rivers called Monday night’s game a ‘free speech night’… a game in which he doesn’t have to say a word to his team about its significance. Such was the case as the Celtics took on yet another ‘would-be challenger’ to their Eastern Conference reign. And the Orlando Magic found out what Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Toronto have already realized, knocking the Celtics off the throne won’t be easy. And did you hear what the Magic said??? Listen to the comments below. Dwight Howard and Anthony Johnson were all about giving respect but also wanted people to remember they were without their backcourt of Jameer Nelson and Mickael Pietrus. Doc Rivers acknowledged as much but the Celtics also took Orlando’s best punch in the second quarter before blowing them off the court in the second half – doing exactly what championship teams do that have dreams of repeating.

Doc Rivers was happy with the balance.

Rivers didn’t have to say a word to his team on ‘free speech’ night.

Rivers jokes about the eight technical fouls called in the game.

Paul Pierce on his 17-point third quarter.

Orlando’s Dwight Howard gave it up to the Celtics, on this night at least.

Orlando guard Anthony Johnson said the Celtics smacked them but he wants to see how they would fare against Boston at full strength.

Johnson said they will remember this game.

Read More: Anthony Johnson, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Dwight Howard
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