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Getting spoiled 04.02.09 at 12:21 am ET
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Does life get any better for Boston basketball fans?

Their NBA franchise is the defending world champion and bearing down on another high seed in the upcoming Eastern Conference playoffs.

TD Banknorth Garden just hosted one of the most memorable college basketball games in history, as Villanova edged Pittsburgh, 78-76, in the East Regional championship last Saturday.

And then there was Wednesday night. Celtics 111, Bobcats 109. Double-overtime. Best Celtics game of the season. Best game of the NBA season. Want proof?

Trailing by 12 with 6:01 to go, Eddie House drains the first of back-to-back threes to make it a six-point game. Trailing by eight with two minutes to go, the Celtics rally as Rajon Rondo hits a pair of free throws to force OT.

Ray Allen drains a three with 12.4 seconds to tie the game, 101-101, and force overtime No. 2, foreshadowing what was to come.

Allen makes a three late in double overtime for the lead. Former UConn star Emeka Okefor converts a layup to put Charlotte back on top. Allen airballs a three. All hope appears lost. But the Bobcats fail to get a shot off.

Then, with the Celtics needing just two to win and down 109-108, Paul Pierce drives into traffic and then dishes to a wide-open Allen on the right baseline. Allen launches another three and this time the ball finds nothing but net and the clock reads 2.1 seconds. 111-109 Boston. Read the rest of this entry »

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Celtics win 2OT thriller 04.01.09 at 10:29 pm ET
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Ray Allen’s three-pointer from the right baseline was the game-winner as the Celtics prevailed in double-overtime, 111-109, over the Charlotte Bobcats. Paul Pierce finished with a game-high 32 points as the Celtics won their 57th game.

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Ray Ray turns into Super Ray at 8:25 pm ET
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Ray Allen executed one of the best moves of the season midway through the second quarter and brought the sellout crowd at the Garden to its collective feet.

Starting at the left wing about 15 feet from the basket, he went behind his back on the dribble, undressing Juwan Howard and then with DeSagana Diop waiting to eat him up, Allen lofted a high-arcing shot off the glass and in. That was followed moments later by a slam dunk Mikki Moore as the Celtics went ahead 43-42 after trailing by as many as nine just minutes earlier.

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KG and Allen off to San Antonio 03.19.09 at 11:44 am ET
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Ray Allen (elbow) and Kevin Garnett (knee) are traveling to San Antonio with the Boston Celtics on their team charter, according to multiple reports. Garnett has not played since February 19 against the Utah Jazz. Allen sat out of Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat. The Celtics will play the Spurs on Friday night.

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Celtics are caught in the middle 03.15.09 at 3:28 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics knew securing homecourt would not be the only challenge in the second half of the season. They also have to fend off playoff-hungry teams that are staying alive one win at a time.

“Being the defending champ,” Ray Allen said prior to the All-Star Break, “Teams are in our building thinking this in an opportunity for us to beat this team. And if we can prove that we can beat this team, we can beat anybody and we’ll make it into the playoffs, and who knows from there. So we always have to be aware of what we possess.”

On Sunday afternoon, the Bucks affirmed that concern with an 86-77 win over the Celtics in Milwaukee. (RECAP HERE) With that victory, the Bucks reclaimed hold of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. This is not the last time the Celtics will be caught in the middle of a tug-of-war for a playoff berth.

March 17: @ Chicago Bulls (30-37)
Season: Celtics 2-0
The Celtics have not faced the Bulls since they added veterans Brad Miller and John Salmons, a move that recently helped them beat the New Orleans Hornets by 18 points. The Bulls lost hold of the eighth spot with the Bucks win over the Celtics, and there is there is no better place for them to get to take it back than on their home court. They have earned 20 of their 30 victories in Chicago, tied for sixth in home wins in the Eastern Conference.

April 1: vs. Charlotte Bobcats (28-38)
Season:
Tied 1-1
In spite of their record, the Bobcats have been a thorn in the Celtics side. Last year they beat the Celtics in Boston and this season snagged an overtime win in Charlotte. Even though the Bobcats have struggled with consistency, alternating winning and losing streaks, they step up their game against the Celtics. They’ll come to Boston with less than 10 games left in the regular season, an opportunity to bolster their playoff hopes.

April 8: vs. New Jersey Nets (28-37)
Season:
Celtics 3-0
The Celtics blew out the Nets twice without Kendrick Perkins and beat them again in March without Kevin Garnett. While Devin Harris and Vince Carter are backcourt threats, the Celtics already know how to win without their bigs. The Nets seemed to lack any motivation on their first trip to Boston in January. With a postseason berth on the line, they will stand no chance of making a push if they show up with the same level of energy in April.

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Power to the Powe 03.13.09 at 10:37 pm ET
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The name Gasol is like a four-letter word, plus exclamation, among Celtics fans.

On Friday night, the legend grew. As Leon Powe was destroying the Memphis Grizzlies with a monstrous 30-point, 11-rebound performance, Pau’s brother Marc was trash-talking with teammate Rudy Gay at the free throw line.

Ray Allen was a witness to it and heard every word loud and clear.

“Gasol and Rudy Gay were talking on the free throw line,” Allen said. “So (Gay) says, ‘You’ve got to guard Leon.’  (Gasol) says, ‘I don’t care about Leon, let him get 40.’ I looked at him and said, ‘You want him to get 40, he’ll get 40 on you, don’t sleep on him.’ And he goes, ‘As long as it’s not Pierce.’ I said, ‘If it’s 40, we’re still going to win.’ ”

And win the Celtics did, 102-92, over the Grizzlies at TD Banknorth Garden on Friday night. Powe was the biggest reason, with his career-high 30, 11 board, five blocks and three assists.

“So, the free throw line banter was pretty funny tonight,” Allen continued.

And no one was laughing harder than Powe, who reminded everyone at his locker afterward that he scored 41 in college with California.

He also was giving grief to the man who he’s replacing in the lineup, Kevin Garnett, who is still out another week with a strained right knee.

“Me and KG had a little friendly talk,” said Powe, who played a team-high 41 minutes. “I want KG to come back. My body is getting used to these 40 minutes (a game). But that’s our leader, man, and we miss him so we want to be at full strength. And once we’re at full strength, we’re going to be hard to stop.”

On Friday night, it was Powe who was unstoppable.

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Sounds of the game… Magic 86, Celtics 79 03.08.09 at 4:00 pm ET
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It was clear from the start that the Celtics missed Rajon Rondo. To a man, afterward, everyone was quick to give Stephon Marbury props for doing his best, but Marbury has only been in Green for nine days. It’s hard to expect someone, even of his talent, to just step in and replace Rondo, who did not dress with a sprained right ankle.

Marbury got his first start but the Celtics were out of rhythm from the start, falling behind by 20 in the first half and commiting 11 turnovers.

Ray Allen led a furious fourth-quarter comeback but it fell short in the end as his three-pointer to tie with 35 seconds remaining was off the mark and the Celtics fell, 86-79.

Marbury said these games right now are still practice for him.

Ray Allen said the team missed Rondo early.

Allen, with a game-high 32 points, tried to pick up the scoring slack.

Paul Pierce, with 16 points, talked about passing Robert Parish for third on the team’s all-time scoring list.

Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said the Celtics were able to get away with physical play on Dwight Howard, starting with Kendrick Perkins’ shoves in the back.

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