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Ray: All game the whistle was battling me 04.29.09 at 1:17 am ET
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Now Ray Allen knows what it feels like to sit on the bench as someone else plays the hero.

Allen had — of course — been the hero in Game 2, nailing the game-winning three-pointer with 2.0 seconds left in regulation to lift the Celtics to a 1-1 series tie with the Bulls.

Allen was again “Johnny On the Spot” when he drained a three on Sunday afternoon in Chicago to force Game 4 to overtime.

But with 5:27 remaining in the fourth quarter, Allen was whistled for his sixth foul, running into a screen set by Brad Miller, of all people. Miller would have his own issues with the refs later.

“There’s been a lot of talk about Perk getting called for that same play but I was just trying to fight through and they called it on me,” said a frustrated Allen, who fouled out for just the second time in 72 playoff games and the first since June 15, 2008, a loss to the Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

And this time it would have to be someone else to the rescue. How ironic since Allen had just drained a long three from the right baseline to bring the Celtics to within three, 83-80, and it looked for all the world he was about to work his magic again.

That is until he got called for his sixth foul.

“I was extremely upset,” Allen said. “I was disappointed. I thought all game the whistle was battling me. But I didn’t want to be that isolated guy that was over on the sideline and pouting and worrying about himself. Of course, I was angry but we had to win the game. Those were the cards we were dealt so we had to figure out the best way, whether it was  Tony (Allen) Steph (Marbury) or Eddie (House), who was going to have to come in and do the job.”

It was Pierce who nailed back-to-back jumpers in overtime to put the Celtics up, 104-101, and then Pierce who hit the game-winner with 3.4 seconds to go in overtime.

“I guess now I know what it feels like to sit on the sideline and not be able to do anything and not have control,” Allen said. “For me, it was toughest feeling I’ve had to deal with. But Paul and Rondo came through for us. I figured as mad as I was, it wasn’t going to do us any good trying to figure out what happened in the game.”

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Pierce reveals favorite players to watch 04.26.09 at 2:17 pm ET
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During halftime of Game 4 between the Celtics and Bulls, ABC revealed Paul Pierce’s favorite five players to watch growing up:

1. Charles Barkley
2. Shaquille O’Neal
3. Magic Johnson
4. Michael Jordan
5. Dominique Wilkins

Click here to see Ray Allen’s favorite five shooters of all-time.

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Buckle in for a wild ride 04.21.09 at 12:33 am ET
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Give Chicago’s Tyrus Thomas this much credit-he can appreciate a great series.

And that’s what we have in the first round battle between the Bulls and Celtics, tied 1-1, heading back to Chicago Thursday night for Game 3.

“They came out quick and gave us a quick punch and we knew we had to come back and answer,” Thomas said. following Boston’s 118-115 heart-pounding win over his Bulls. “We did a good job and it came down to the wire. If we play like that for the rest of the playoffs, we’re probably going to be here for a while.”

His former teammate at LSU had a similar take on how great a series this has already been.

“Last year, we went seven games with Atlanta, and we were the No. 1 seed,” said Celtics power forward Glen Davis, who finished with 26 on Monday night. “Playoffs is the playoffs. Intensity level goes up, execution goes up and teams want it.” Read the rest of this entry »

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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.

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Postseason lessons learned the hard way 04.15.09 at 9:38 pm ET
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Last season, the Celtics realized the hard way that the playoffs are where “Game Sevens happen.” After 26 postseason games and two trips of the brink of elimination en route to their championship, the Celtics will enter this weekend against the Chicago Bulls with valuable lessons learned.

Check your swagger at the door
The Celtics looked indestructible in Boston … and then they hit the road. They failed to win in Atlanta and Cleveland before pulling out a victory in Detroit. Last season they were saved by homecourt advantage but this time around they have no choice but to win away from the Garden.

Ray Allen: “Those three series that we played, we were up 2-0 and I think losing that first game in the other team’s building, you almost have too much swagger going into a building. I think Doc said it last year, ‘If you show up thinking wearing the green is going to be good enough, that’s when you end up losing.’ And I think that’s what happened to us. That preparation that we have at home has to carry over on the road, so it has to be even more intense and we have to be even better. So that’s where we don’t look at ourselves as targets. We look at other teams that we have to beat because now we have to go in Cleveland and win.”

Take care of your body
Postseason schedules can be unforgiving, especially when they involve cross-country trips that put players in different time zones from day to day. It is easy to get rundown, and one of the most important tasks a player has is staying healthy during the playoffs.

Glen Davis: “You’ve just got to get your rest, basically. You can’t do things like going out, staying out late nights. You have to make sure you’re ready to perform. Get a lot of treatment if you’re hurt, eat right most definitely, and the most important thing is sleep. So if you just stay focused on that because you can’t do anything about the traveling, you’ve got to work around it.”

Avoid the hype
Aside from basketball analysis, personal stories are often highlighted during the playoffs. During the NBA Finals, Leon Powe captivated a nation when ABC told the tales of his troubled childhood. Powe had to avoid the instant spotlight to stay focused on the task at hand.

Leon Powe: “I tried to block everything out, especially during our playoff run because I had the story, I had a lot of family members calling me about the story, about this, about that, what are you doing, can I come over. No, no. I wasn’t having any of that because I wanted to keep my head and keep my focus on the game … I think I just do a good job of doing that because I keep my focus on the game and know what I’m here for. I’m here to play basketball. Whatever else is going on around me, that can wait because you’ve got a job to do and go out there and prepare for a game and prepare to win the series.”

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Pierce, Ray get the night off at 8:58 pm ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers was true to his word that Paul Pierce and Ray Allen would sit out tonight’s season finale against the Washington Wizards at TD Banknorth Garden.

Pierce was officially designated “inactive” while Ray Allen was active as each team is only allowed to deactivate three players a game. Allen was also in a suit next to Pierce on the bench.

Rivers added that Rajon Rondo will start the game but play only limited minutes, “definitely the first (quarter) and maybe the third (quarter)”  as the team gets ready to take on either Philadelphia or Chicago in the first round of the playoffs this weekend.

Rivers threw out a starting lineup of Rondo, Marbury, Perkins, Powe and Tony Allen, who started at the three spot.

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Allen to file grievance for suspension at 7:22 pm ET
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Celtics guard Ray Allen will file a grievance with the NBA in response to his suspension for elbowing Cleveland Cavaliers big man Anderson Varejao in the groin on Sunday. He sat out Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

“I talked to Stu Jackson (Executive Vice President, NBA Basketball Operations) and he really didn’t give me a great explanation, or one that I thought rationalized why I was suspended out of the game and there was no infraction on the other guy,” he said prior to Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards. “I felt as though it was unjust but I can’t do anything about it.”

Allen’s strict pregame routine was interrupted around 12:30pm on Tuesday afternoon by the news of his suspension. He had just finished ironing his suit and was getting ready to order room service when he got the word that he could not play. The explanation — and interruption — did not sit well with him.

“He (Jackson) said that it looked like I hit him in the groin and that hitting a player in the groin is an automatic suspension,” Allen said. “And I told him I wasn’t, if you could tell by my body language — and I didn’t see the play until the game last night — but from what I was told, I didn’t land where you said I landed because if the guy didn’t cringe or he didn’t bowl over, obviously I didn’t hit him. It was just my reaction being thrown to the ground. And I told him, I said that if somebody’s on you for a rebound, the first thing you do is throw your elbows up. That’s just how you protect yourself. It wasn’t intentional.”

The suspension comes a week after being presented with the Red Auerbach Award, which exemplifies what it means to be a Boston Celtic.

Allen pointed out, “I said, ‘My track record is of one that hasn’t been intentional to do anything of that nature, so I thought all of those things should have been taken into account and obviously they weren’t.”

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