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Video: Doc Rivers addresses the press at practice 02.09.10 at 2:00 pm ET
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Fast Break: Celtics vs. Nets 02.05.10 at 10:01 pm ET
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The Celtics may have won the game, 96-87, but it wasn’t pretty. The Nets tested the C’s for the majority of the game and led, 73-72, heading into the fourth quarter.The Celtics allowed the Nets to shoot at an astonishingly high percentage in the first half (63.3 percent, compared to their league-worst season average of 42.2 percent). The C’s were also outplayed in the paint.

But the Celtics were carried by their backcourt and bench — a game-high 26 points from Ray Allen, 17 from Rajon Rondo, and a combined 30 from Rasheed Wallace, Eddie House and Glen Davis led the Celtics to avoid a humiliating loss against the worst team in the NBA.

Player of the game: Eddie House scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter and took back the game for the Celtics. House had shot 0-for-4 from the field, including 0-for-3 from 3-point range, heading into the final quarter.

Turning point: House hit a 3-pointer with nine minutes left in the game to put the Celtics up 77-75. The C’s forced a turnover on the next possession, and Bill Walker drew a foul to push the lead to four. This gave the C’s the edge and control over the ballgame.

- Ray Allen led a balanced attack throughout the game, scoring 11 points in the first half and another 15 in the second.

- Brook Lopez won the battle of the bigs against Kendrick Perkins. He posted 19 points and six rebounds in 41 minutes. Perkins scored six points and grabbed seven rebounds in 26 minutes.

- The Celtics committed a pair of careless turnovers down the stretch. They were called for a 24-second violation shortly followed by an eight-second violation. Earlier in the game, officials rescinded a fourth-quarter trey by House and ruled that a 24-second shot clock violation had occurred.

- The Celtics will face the Magic on Sunday in Boston. The Magic lost on Friday night to the Wizards.

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Ray to Bulls rumor swirls again 02.04.10 at 12:52 pm ET
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The Chicago Sun-Times put out the rumor that the Bulls and Celtics could get together on a deal that would send Ray Allen to Chicago for a package that includes Kirk Hinrich, Tyrus Thomas and Jerome James. That’s a deal that has been speculated about before, but it doesn’t seem like it would be a good match for the Celtics.

Thomas and James are both in the final years of their contracts. While James is essentially a non-factor, Thomas does have intriguing ability, but throughout his career he has been more potential than production. Hinrich is a player who has received lots of interest around the league because of his abilities and also because the Bulls would like to move his contract, which has two years left after this one, to create more cap space in the summer.

It has long been speculated that the Bulls will make a run at Chicago native Dwyane Wade. If they can clear Hinrich’s contract, they could have the space to go after two prime free agents.

Hinrich could help the Celtics, certainly. He is a solid playmaker and a good defender who can guard multiple positions. He is having a down shooting season, however, and would not be a viable replacement for Allen in that regard. The Celtics could get creative and try to work out a deal for Hinrich alone involving a combination of their other expiring contracts — Brian Scalabrine, Tony Allen, Eddie House, etc.–but probably not at the cost of Allen.

Doc Rivers had some interesting comments about this Thursday on his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan (click here for a full transcript).

“The thing that’s happening right now is everybody’s trying to give away their [expiring contracts] to those same teams and those same teams are trying to get a bargain,” Rivers said. “Eventually the trade stuff will end up, I don’t think with us, but around the league everybody’s trying to take advantage of everybody.”

In other words, the trade market has not yet fully taken shape. Teams are still in the feeling-out process. In regards to Allen, both Rivers and Danny Ainge have stated the team’s position, which is: They will listen to offers for Allen, but it will have to be a great deal for the Celtics for them to pull the trigger.

While the Hinrich rumor makes some sense in the abstract, it doesn’t appear to satisfy those requirements for the Celtics.

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Ray to Rondo: ‘This could be your last shot’ at 12:34 am ET
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Ray Allen (left) enjoys playing with Celtics teammates Rajon Rondo (right) and Paul Pierce and doesn't take it for granted. (AP)

Ray Allen (left) enjoys playing with Celtics teammates Rajon Rondo (right) and Paul Pierce (back) and doesn't take it for granted. (AP)

Ray Allen had a very simple message for his backcourt teammate before Wednesday’s game against Miami.

“I told [Rajon] Rondo earlier, I said this could be his last shot,” Allen said. “I told him, ‘You’ve got 10, 12-plus years left in the NBA, you’re making great money but this could be yours.

“I told him I went to the Eastern Conference finals in Milwaukee and the next year we just assumed we’re going to get back and we didn’t make the playoffs. So, it’s not guaranteed because you did it once or twice. It’s never guaranteed. So, we have to be very selfish about really wanting to be good now and really taking care of our bodies, making sure we hold each other accountable. And doing it in a good way.”

Allen and Rondo have been the focal point this week of trade rumors and locker room chemistry questions. But Allen made it clear following a 107-102 win over the Heat that he wants to go to battle with Rondo and the rest of the Celtics.

“Believe me, there’s not a better group of guys that I think are capable right now,” Allen said. “I’m not looking at our record (31-16), although our record is not too shabby. We have guys here, a roster than can win it.”

[Click here to hear what Allen had to say about wanting to stay with Rondo and his team]

More to the point, Allen sounded like a man who wants desperately to keep the relationships he’s forged over the last three seasons.

“All of these guys in this locker room are my brothers and I’m going to proceed forward that this could be it for all of us and we have to treat this season very specially and know that what comes out of it is what we want to come out of it, and that’s a championship,” he said.

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Ray Allen: ‘Anything Can Happen’ 02.03.10 at 10:32 pm ET
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Ray Allen has been around long enough to know anything is possible.

When Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge called a meeting with Allen, the veteran was appreciative of the organization’s efforts to keep him in the loop with the trading deadline approaching.

Even though Allen had disciplined himself to ignore the rumors, they are hard to avoid when an expiring contract has made him the focal point of rumors floating around the NBA circuit. The most talked-about report had Golden State interested in sending Monta Ellis to Boston in exchange for Allen.

Because of this, Ainge wanted to clear the air. He met with Allen and his family for half-an-hour at the Celtics training facility on Tuesday in Waltham.

“We talked yesterday and he just wanted me to know that he hasn’t done anything or tried anything to seek out a trade,” Allen told WEEI.com prior to Wednesday’s Celtics-Heat game. “He just, based off of what he feels that we’ve done for the organization on and off the floor, he was like I just owe it to you so that you know there’s nothing that’s been done on my behalf. It’s just teams inquiring, natural NBA business.”

[Click here to hear what Ray Allen said about all of the rumors swirling and his meeting with Ainge.]

Ainge reiterated to WEEI’s Big Show on Wednesday that he has not had any conversations regarding a trade that would move Allen. He felt it was unlikely that the Celtics would find a deal that would help them with a title both this season and in the future. Their priority, Ainge said, is winning now.

And besides, they like having Allen on the court.

“We want Ray,” Ainge said. “We think Ray is a huge part of our winning a championship this year.”

Allen does not doubt the Celtics appreciation of his game and contributions to the Boston community. In addition to his Ray of Hope Foundation, the Allens became heavily involved with the Joslin Diabetes Center after their son Walker was diagnosed in 2008.

At the same time, there is a reality of the game. While Ainge said the Celtics have not actively sought out a trade nor have they been “anywhere near or had any discussion,” that does not mean they wouldn’t entertain talks either.

After 14 years in the league, Allen understands how it works.

“I really understand that this is a business and I got traded when I was the least one to be traded when I was in Milwaukee. So anything can happen. Anything can happen,” Allen said. “There’s nobody that’s really untouchable in this league, so I appreciated his candidness, letting me know and letting my wife know, and my boys were in the office running around. You always hate to see people do business behind your back and kind of not keep you alert, so it just spoke volumes of who he is and as a GM doing his job.

“But, you know, he still could. I don’t know. It depends on what is thrown out there. So it’s not that I worry about it. It’s a business. My job still has to be done the same.”

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Ainge on The Big Show: Pierce, Allen, Rondo at 4:03 pm ET
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Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge went on the Big Show on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the state of the Celtics. Ainge dismissed as gross rumors any reports that the foot injury to Paul Pierce will keep the forward sidelined for anything more than a matter of days, said that he has not talked to any other clubs about a trade of Ray Allen, and addressed the recent comments of Rajon Rondo that there are “agendas maybe creeping in” that have affected the team negatively.

Does Paul Pierce have a broken foot?

What would be our motivation to say that he has a sprained foot if in fact his foot is broken? This is the same question we had last year. Why would we be hiding the rumors that were coming out that [Kevin Garnett] having a torn ACL? Why would we say that? What would be our motivation? I don’t get it.

You’re saying there is no broken foot?

There is no broken foot. He’s got a sprained mid-foot. The only question for us now is when are we going to play Paul. Are we going to give him two days off, four days off, six days off or try to give him four games before the All-Star break? Probably more than healing the foot but to heal everything and just let his body rest. Seriously you guys, I get these questions all day long and I don’t understand what would be our motivation trying to tell you something that is not there in regard to a broken foot or a sprained foot. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ian Thomsen on D&C: C’s need to adjust game 02.01.10 at 11:08 am ET
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Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen said Rajon Rondo is being asked to do too much for the Celtics. (AP)

Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen said Rajon Rondo is being asked to do too much for the Celtics. (AP)

Sports Illustrated NBA writer Ian Thomsen made an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the Celtics’ recent woes. He explored the team’s current struggles, whether the Big Three still has the legs to mount a championship run, whether the team might consider a major deal along the lines of a trade of Ray Allen or whether a move to acquire a player such as Kirk Hinrich of the Bulls could help the team to pull out of its current funk.

Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, click here.

How quickly is the window closing?

It’s going to close fast if they don’t make the adjustments they need to make. They aren’t themselves, and I’m talking about [Kevin] Garnett especially, and [Paul] Pierce a little bit, and even Ray Allen. They’re just going to need to adjust the way they play, to try to make the best of it while they get through this transition. If they still think they can win a championship, they can’t do it the way they are playing now. They have to sort of do a transitional style to get them to March and April with a chance to win it.

Meaning what? Get new people?

Garnett needs to be more of a center right now. He’s not himself. He’s not beating guys down the floor in transition. [Lakers coach] Phil Jackson brought that up yesterday. He needs to be more that post-up guy, play a little bit more inside, they can play the ball through him. He needs to figure out what he can do and do that. Because what he’s doing now isn’t very productive.

They’ve been outscored in the fourth quarter in 12 of their last 14 games. Is that age and injury?

It’s age and injury, and I really think they’re asking too much of Rajon Rondo in his [fourth] year to be doing so much, to be carrying them, playing a lot of minutes, and then to lead them in the fourth quarters the way he’s been having to do. I think he’s come a long way, he’s a terrific player, he’s going to be even better in a couple of years. But right now they’re asking too much of him.

A lot of it just doesn’t make sense. The team doesn’t make sense, when you look at the hierarchy. Think about two years ago. When you looked at the stats for the season, it just all made sense the way the shots were divvied out, the order of things. And they don’t have that order right now. Rondo’s a big part of the offense as a point guard who is not a great shooter. Really, it all just comes down to not having Garnett be himself, and he’s got to figure out some way to be productive right now.

Read the rest of this entry »

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