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Ray Allen’s historic misses 04.25.10 at 7:01 pm ET
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MIAMI – Ray Allen missed three free throws in the span of 46 seconds in Game 4 against the Heat Sunday afternoon. Just how much of an aberration was it? The last time Allen missed that many was Dec. 26, 2006 when he was playing for the Sonics. Allen actually missed four in that game, but it has never happened in a Celtic uniform.

“I felt like I had a bad rhythm,” Allen said. “I missed one the last game and the ball looks on line and it catches the bad part of the rim. For me, I look at it as a fluke when it does that. Sometimes I’m just unlucky. I just got to get back in [the gym] and shoot a couple hundred. It’s just a part of the game. The ball goes and goes out. Obviously you want it to go in. Sometimes there’s just no explanation for it.”

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Pierce: It’s a must win 04.24.10 at 4:58 pm ET
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MIAMI – The Celtics elected not to hold practice Saturday afternoon after taking Game 3 from Miami on a dramatic buzzer-beater by Paul Pierce to take a 3-0 lead in their series, but don’t mistake that for over-confidence.

“I’m looking at it like it’s a 3-3 tie,” Pierce said. “It’s a must game for us. We want to be desperate for this win. We don’t want them coming back to Boston with any kind of confidence. You never know what can happen in this league. They’ve got a great player in [Dwyane] Wade and a team that played well down the stretch”

Ray Allen equated it to running a marathon.

“You don’t win anything if you get four in the first round,” he said. “Winning three games doesn’t mean anything either. You can’t go around and be fuzzy because you’ve won a couple of game. We have to make sure that we follow through because it is a process. It’s like running a marathon. You’re not done until you cross the finish line. So we have a finish line and we have to cross it.”

Kevin Garnett was asked if winning this series would give the Celtics some momentum going forward. Predictably, he did not bite.

“At this point right now, man, we’re focused on the Heat,” Garnett said. “We’re not looking past this game. I’m not even going to indulge in any of that conversation. The focus right now is trying to win this game in Miami.”

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C’s expect hostile environment 04.21.10 at 4:44 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Take a team that is playing for its playoff lives, add in a 29-point loss that their coach called “embarrassing,” sprinkle in some existing bad blood and the Celtics know that they will be walking into a frenzied arena Friday night for Game 3.

“Yeah, absolutely,” Doc Rivers said. “I told them that. Guys, at the end of the day all we’ve done is win two home games and Miami has yet to play a home game. That’s how they’re thinking for sure. Whether we won last by one, or whatever we won by, Game 3 is going to tough and we understand that.”

Kevin Garnett noted that when he traveled to Miami for the Eastern Conference Finals in 2006 to watch Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace play with the Pistons that the crowd was a factor.

“Just anticipating it being very hostile,” Garnett said. “Watching Chauncey and Rasheed play them, how hostile and how crazy that town can get when they’re behind their team. It’s what we’re anticipating.”

The Celtics were a very good road team this past season. They were tied with Cleveland for the best road record in the Eastern Conference at 26-15 and were one game behind Dallas’ league-best mark. They beat Cleveland, Orlando, the Lakers, San Antonio and Dallas all on the road, but that was the regular season.

“It’s great to know that you can win on the road, but again, Miami could care less about our regular season the road,” Rivers said. “And we could care less about it. We have to come ready to play. The playoffs are a different beast.”

“Regular season is regular season,” Garnett added. “I never mix the two, to be honest.”

Instead the Celtics said they take their lessons from past playoff experiences and specifically from their seven-game series with Atlanta two seasons ago. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kendrick Perkins/Ray Allen video at 3:12 am ET
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Kendrick Perkins and Ray Allen answered questions from reporters Tuesday night from the locker room following the Celtics’ 106-77 victory over the Heat.

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Allen’s high-flying dreams 04.11.10 at 11:27 pm ET
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Ray Allen has been having the same dream for years. He envisions it in his sleep and carries it with him on to the court.

“I always, I have this thing in my mind like sometimes when I’m sleeping I dream that I can fly,” he said. “When I’m playing basketball, it always tells myself that I’ve still got great legs, like I still have that lift in my legs. So when I get on the floor, you see a play, you see something happen, you just feel like you can take it, you can make a certain play happened based on getting up there to the basket.”

Allen doesn’t have wings in his dream. He isn’t a high-flying hero like Superman or Iron Man either. Instead he imagines things like soaring over an oncoming car or running with his friends in the air. It can even be as simple as making it home from a park in a single jump.

The dream has a deeper meaning for the 34-year-old than just being able to take flight. To him, it exemplifies the work ethic that he has committed himself to over his 14-year career.

“I’ve been having that for a long time,” Allen explained. “That’s why when I always wake up, it’s like a great feeling. You wake up and you just know, for me what I do, I get out on the floor and I just feel like I still have that. For me, it translates into my athleticism.”

Athleticism … and perhaps some competition, too? Being able to fly also means he can get places faster than those on foot. It’s another asset to put him ahead of the pack.

“Both. I think it’s more of my competition,” Allen said. “If you think about the ability to train yourself to go work out or to go do something that’s going to give you greater stamina or endurance, that’s what I think it is, is you’ve got to start from somewhere. Like sitting around, you see some guy on TV bench pressing and he has muscles on every part of his body. Most people see that and say man I’ve got to go work out. Like where does your motivation come from? I think that’s partly the competition factor, like I need to get shots up, I need to go get on the treadmill.”

As Allen dreams of winning another NBA championship this postseason, his dreams of flying continue to serve as subconscious motivation.

“It just always, for some reason, it just gives me great confidence when I wake up,” he said. “It’s like my body feels great. That’s kind of the translation that I make when I wake up. I’m like I feel great, my legs feel great, and now I’m going to work out and get that strength that I need.”

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Celtics struggle with Allen’s unexpected absence on the court 04.03.10 at 12:05 am ET
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The Celtics have played without the Big Three this season. Kevin Garnett missed 10 games with a hyperextended knee, Pierce was sidelined for another 10 games with a variety of knee, foot, and thumb ailments, and Ray Allen sat out a night with back spasms.

But it is perhaps more challenging when one of these players is unexpectedly kept off the court. On Friday, the Celtics intended on having Allen for four quarters against the Rockets. Instead, foul trouble allowed him to play just 16 minutes. He picked up two fouls in the first quarter alone and had five going into the fourth. With 2:13 left in regulation and the Celtics up, 104-101, Allen fouled out for the first time all season.

The Celtics missed their sharpshooter in a loss decided by just five points, 119-114,  in overtime.

“Ray was in foul trouble the entire game,” said Doc Rivers. “That hurt us down the stretch, clearly, because it took away so many options and it took away space.”

The outcome could have been different if the Celtics hit free throws, Garnett pointed out. The C’s shot just 65 percent from the line (24-for-37) while the Rockets were a consistent 89.3 percent (25-for-28). Allen, the team’s best free throw shooter at 90.6 percent on the season, made it to the line just once. Because of foul trouble, he was forced to watch his team struggle from the same place he has had so much success.

“Any time you miss Paul or Ray or anybody who is in our starting five, it’s a big blow to us,” said Garnett. “Obviously free throws were a big key tonight. If we make or we only miss about four or five of them, we’d win the game by a pretty decent margin. But every game it’s going to be something. But any time you lose a big piece of your offense or anyone in your starting lineup, it’s a big blow.

“Not having Ray in the game, not just for free throw purposes but for offensive attention, he draws a lot of attention on offense. It gets a lot of guys easy shots and different looks and stuff. And with him not in there was big.”

The Celtics will look forward to having Allen, who is averaging 15.9 points per game, back on the court when they face the Cavaliers on Sunday.

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One year later: The tweet that impacted the NBA 03.15.10 at 11:22 pm ET
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One year ago Monday, then-Milwaukee forward Charlie Villanueva entered the locker room during halftime of the Bucks-Celtics game. He logged into Twitter and posted the following tweet:

@CV31: In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We’re playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up.

Those hundred-something characters opened the virtual book on social networking in the NBA. His midgame tweet was frowned upon, and it created a ripple effect: Before the start of this season, a league-wide policy was enacted. Among its guidelines included the restriction of cell phones and other communication devices 45 minutes before the game and prohibited it during halftime.

A year later, Villanueva, now a member of the Pistons, is still surprised by the impact.

“It’s funny, because Twitter wasn’t really that big of a deal, like nobody really knew too much about it,“ he told WEEI.com following Monday’s Pistons-Celtics game. “I didn’t know it was going to get that much attention. I just did it, fun for the fans and whatnot, and the next day it just blew up. The media just took it and ran with it.

“Obviously I didn’t mean for it to get that much attention, but hey, it put my name out there even more,” he added with a laugh.

As of Monday night, Villanueva had 73,685 followers. It is a huge jump from his following a year ago. In an instant, he went from a Twitter novice to one of the early faces of social media in the NBA.

“It was crazy because I had just started, too,” he said. “I probably had like 2,000 followers at first. It was probably a couple of months old, two or three months old, my account. After that, it rose to like 13,000 in two or three days. It was ridiculous. Ever since, it’s just been picking up.”

Villanueva has turned a potential negative into a positive by taking advantage of the benefits of social networking. He has raised awareness for charitable organizations, held contests for his followers to win game tickets, and spread well wishes to friends and fans alike.

“There are a lot of opportunities,” he explained. “You get to meet a lot of people. It’s very important for networking, just opportunities come abound, appearances, they can just work directly with you instead of going through a third party.”

Twitter has become the norm for many NBA players. On the Celtics, Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) has over 1.5 million followers, Ray Allen (@greenRAYn20) has nearly 25,000, and Shelden Williams (@SheldenWilliams) is a frequent tweeter with over 10,000 followers.

Now a seasoned vet, Villanueva has some advice for his fellow NBA athletes who are starting out in the world of social networking.

“What the fans want to see is you being straight up and interacting with them as well,“ he suggested. “Showing pictures as well, they want to see what’s going on, what an NBA player does on a day-to-day basis.”

Tweeting has become something Villanueva does on a day-to-day basis. Except during halftime, of course.

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