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Celtics-Magic Game Blog: Second Quarter 03.08.09 at 12:39 pm ET
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At the start of the second quarter … Magic 22, Celtics 15

- The Magic have scored 16 of their first 22 points in the paint. They’ve done more damage in the lane than the Celtics have done on the floor, and Howard has only played six minutes.

- This could be a big game for Gabe Pruitt. With only Marbury ahead of him at the PG, Pruitt has his first shot in a while to prove himself.  He has not played since February 25 against the Los Angeles Clippers. That night he was arrested for suspicion of DUI and served a team-imposed two-game suspension.

- Both teams are going heavy on the bigs. The Celtics have Kendrick Perkins and Mikki Moore going up against Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat.

- The Celtics have scored just two points in four minutes. And the faint boos have already begun.

- There have been 18 fouls called in the first 18 minutes of the game.

- Howard’s on the bench with three personal fouls. Now is the time for the Celtics to do some damage at the basket. The Cs also have an advantage with J.J. Redick guarding Ray Allen. Redick is not known for his defense.

- The Magic’s deal for Rafer Alston did not get much buzz at the trade deadline but this acquisition is a difference maker in this game. Alston brings quickness to the Magic that the Celtics are having trouble stopping without Rajon Rondo.

- Pierce’s dunk past Pietrus and Battie has the crowd on their feet. The harsh reality is, the Celtics are still down by nearly 20.

- At the half … Magic 51, Celtics 33

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwight Howard, J.J. Redick, Kendrick Perkins
Celtics-Cavs Game Blog: Second Quarter 03.06.09 at 8:39 pm ET
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At the start of the second quarter … Celtics 21, Cavaliers 19

- The Garden kicked off the second quarter with a trivia contest for playoff tickets, hosted by Greg Dickerson. The contest pitted a Celtics and Cavs fan against one another. Despite being spoon-fed the correct answers, the Celtics fans still got the first question wrong. Needless to say he was booed.

- On the court: Celtics – Powe/Moore/Marbury/Pierce/House … Cavs – Gibson/Williams/Szczerbiak/Hickson/Smith

- It’ll be interesting to see how the Celtics bigs handle Joe Smith and J.J. Hickson. Smith has a mid-range jumper that can pull defenders out of the paint. The rookie Hickson was working on turn-around bank shots before the game.

- Mikki Moore had his first crowd-rousing moment at the Garden when he dunked through a handful of Cavs off of a Marbury pass.

- At the timeout: Celtics Karaoke courtesy of Big Baby, Ray Allen, and Leon Powe. Davis busted out into a solo performance that sounded like Simon Cowell’s worst nightmare.

- Rondo was welcomed back into the game with a standing ovation. The Cavs have most of their starters back in the game looking for an offensive spark. So far they have come up cold in the second quarter. The Celtics have all five starters in the game.

- LeBron’s posing after every shot like it’s a game winner. He’s shooting 2-for-7.

- Mo Williams has the Cavs back in this game with eight quick points. At the half … Cetlics 45, Cavs 43

Read More: Big Baby, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Glen Davis
Celtics net win against former team 03.04.09 at 11:24 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics face the New Jersey Nets four times every regular season. Some members of the Celtics, however, are more familiar with this opponent than others. On Wednesday night, Eddie House, Stephon Marbury, and Mikki Moore returned to their old stomping grounds. (RECAP HERE) Not only do these players have ties to the Nets, they also had ties to the Celtics while playing in New Jersey.

Stephon Marbury: 1999-2001
Average with Nets: 23.0 points, 8.1 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 43.7 percent from the field

  • 1998-99: Traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he played with Kevin Garnett, to the Nets in part of a three-team deal that included former Celtic Sam Cassell. It only takes Marbury 31 games to establish himself as the Nets second-highest scorer that season.
  • 1999-2000: Leads the Nets in scoring (22.2 ppg) and assists (8.4 apg). Ranks 10th in the NBA in assists. Teammates with former Celtic Sherman Douglas.
  • 2000-2001: Marbury earns first All-Star appearance and represents the Eastern Conference with Ray Allen. Leads Nets in scoring (23.9 ppg) and assists (7.6 apg) once again.

March 4, 2009: Marbury is greeted at the IZOD Center with boos heard all the way back in Boston. He gives the Celtics a reliable ball handler off the bench, allowing the starters to take a breather, and finishes with four assists and two rebounds. Marbury commits only one turnover.

Mikki Moore: 2003-2004, 2006-2007
Average with Nets: 9.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 60.9 percent from the field (2007 season only)

  • 2003-04: Moore signs with the Nets as a free agent in December of 2003. After appearing in just four games, he is waived the following month. Moore scores two points during this stint. During this time he is teammates with Celtics forward — and current next door neighbor in the locker room — Brian Scalabrine. That season the Nets went on to defeat Marbury and the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs.
  • 2006-07: Moore is traded back to the Nets by the Seattle SuperSonics (where he played with Ray Allen) in exchange for future draft pick. After bouncing around the league for almost ten years, Moore has a breakout season (9.8 ppgs, 5.1 rpg). He also leads the league in field goal percentage (60.9 percent from the field). Moore is teammates with Eddie House.

March 4, 2009: Despite leaving the Nets for a big money contract with the Sacramento Kings, Moore is still welcome in New Jersey. He looks comfortable on the court at the IZOD Center, scoring six points in 12 minutes. The seven-foot Moore also spreads the Nets defense with his mid-range jumper.

Eddie House: 2006-2007
Average with Nets: 8.4 points, 42.8 from the field

  • 2006-07: Signs as a free agent with the Nets in August of 2006. House is teammates with recently acquired Celtic Mikki Moore. He leads the Nets in three-point shooting (42.9 percent), ahead of Jason Kidd and Vince Carter, and ranks 10th in the league that season. The Nets lose in the second round of the playoffs to former Celtic Scot Pollard and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

March 4, 2009: House had been playing well against the Nets so far this season, averaging 11.5 points and shooting 60 percent from the field heading into Wednesday’s game. With Rajon Rondo in early foul trouble, he is the first one off the bench for the Celtics. House scores 10 points in 16 minutes, including 3-for-6 shooting from long-range. He also adds two rebounds and two steals.

(Brian Scalabrine played with the New Jersey Nets from 2001-2005. However he did not play on March 4 and is out for at least a month after suffering his third concussion.)

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brian Scalabrine, eddie house, Kevin Garnett
Passing Chemistry 101 02.27.09 at 10:48 pm ET
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Stephon Marbury wasted no time making his intentions known.

“I’m not looking to improve my game,” he said at his introductory press conference. “I’m coming here to try to help the Celtics win another championship.”

Wearing a Boston Celtics shirt with a handwritten number eight on the shamrock, Marbury addressed the media prior to Friday’s game against the Indiana Pacers. (RECAP HERE) He shrugged off talks of selfishness and expressed his willingness to do whatever is asked of him on the court.

Marbury said all the right things as the newest member of an organization driven by chemistry and teamwork.

“This is a very selfless team,” said Ray Allen. “We don’t care about individual accolades.”

Even though Marbury received a standing ovation in his first game, the skepticism of his team-first attitude is not going to go away overnight. He comes to Boston with the baggage of a tarnished reputation, one that isn’t forgotten by wearing a new uniform. The front office explained to Marbury how the team operates, a discussion which is protocol for every new player.

“We establish what the rules are, how we run things here, and how it’s about the team,” Celtics president Danny Ainge told WEEI’s Big Show. “We’ve established those rules with Steph. (Head coach) Doc (Rivers) and I had a good conversation with him this morning and I’ve had a handful of conversations with Steph about those things even before now, as the Knicks gave us permission to talk.”

Marbury wants to look ahead. And so do the Celtics.

“I’m not afraid of Steph, Doc’s not afraid of Steph, and it really comes down to Doc,” Ainge said. “I think Doc understands Steph and can manage him and that Steph will respect Doc, first and foremost.”

Last season Rivers coached five veteran first-year Celtics to a championship. He knows firsthand that a new environment can turn a vet’s career around.

“That was New York and wherever else. That has nothing to do with today and tomorrow,” Rivers said of concerns about Marbury. “I’ve always had an open mind with everyone who’s come in, and you know, we’ve done pretty well. Our locker room is very strong and we just have good people. And so, no, I’m not that concerned about that at all.”

The players are on board with personnel. After winning a title with a reconstructed team, the Celtics know that a midseason acquistion (think P.J. Brown) can be the missing piece to success.

“You’ve just got to welcome him in, make him feel like he’s at home. Other than that, just do things together off the court,” said Kendrick Perkins. “I think [adding so many new players last season] helped us a lot. We’ve just got to keep getting better and help these guys just keep improving as a team. I think we’ll get better as they get to play more games.”

The key to Marbury’s success with his new team is just that, playing as a team.

“You never know what’s in front of you as far as your basketball career,” he said. “That’s why you just play as hard as you can and do the best that you can.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins
Who is Mikki Moore? 02.24.09 at 7:31 pm ET
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On Tuesday the Boston Celtics signed free agent big man Mikki Moore. In just a matter of days since being waived by the Sacramento Kings, he had become one of the hottest players on the market. But it wasn’t that long ago that Moore was known for being a journeyman rather than a contributor on a championship-defending team. So who is Mikki Moore?

Full name: Clinton Renard Moore

Born: November 4, 1975

Hometown: Orangeburg, South Carolina

High School: Blacksburg HS, Blacksburg, SC
(Fast Fact: Celtics guard Ray Allen attended Hillcrest HS in Dalzell, SC. Moore and Allen are two of six players currently in the NBA to attend high school in that state.)

College: University of Nebraska (1997)

What’s in a name? The nickname Mikki (pronounced “Mikey”) was given to Moore as a kid because he liked to eat Life cereal. He also goes by “Snake” for his love of reptiles.
(Fast fact: Former Celtic James Posey goes by the nickname “Mike” to his friends and family)

He looks familiar: Moore signed a 10-day contract with the Celtics in 2003. He picked up six fouls in three games, but never scored a basket.

League leader: In 2007, Moore led the league in field goal percentage (.609). The following season he led the league in personal fouls (310).
(Fast fact: Former Celtics center Robert Parish was called for 310 fouls in the 1981 season. He only ranked 10th in the NBA.)

Lucky # 7: Moore will be the first player to wear number seven since Al Jefferson. Tom Gugliotta wore it prior to Big Al in 2005.

Lending a helping hand: Moore’s goal is to touch every community he plays in. He founded the Moore Love Foundation in his home state of South Carolina and bussed 600 children to a Charlotte Bobcats game. As a member of the Detroit Pistons, Moore helped knock down and rebuild homes in drug-infested neighborhoods. He also distributed Thanksgiving turkeys with the Utah Jazz, among other initiatives.

Moore’s Road (Back) to Boston

  • June, 1997: Undrafted in NBA Draft
  • September 30, 1997: Signed as a free agent by the Minnesota Timberwolves
  • October 28, 1997: Waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves
  • 1998-99: Played nine games for Papagou of the Greek League
  • 1998-99: Played remainder of the season for the Fort Wayne Fury of the Continental Basketball Association
  • January 21, 1999: Signed as a free agent by the Minnesota Timberwolves
  • January 27, 1999: Waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves
  • January 29, 1999: Signed as a free agent by the Detroit Pistons
  • February 18, 1999: Waived by the Detroit Pistons
  • October 5, 1999: Signed as a free agent by the Detroit Pistons
  • August 5, 2002: Waived by the Detroit Pistons
  • October 3, 2002: Signed as a free agent by the San Antonio Spurs
  • October 24, 2002: Waived by the San Antonio Spurs
  • 2002-03, 2003-04: Played for the Roanoke Dazzle of the NBA Development League
  • January 6, 2003: Signed by the Boston Celtics to a 10-day contract
  • April 14, 2003: Signed by the Atlanta Hawks for the remainder of the season
  • September 27, 2003: Signed as a free agent by the Seattle SuperSonics
  • October 21, 2003: Waived by the Seattle SuperSonics
  • December 22, 2003: Signed as a free agent by the New Jersey Nets
  • January 7, 2004: Waived by the New Jersey Nets
  • January 28, 2004: Signed by the Utah Jazz to the first of two consecutive 10-day contracts
  • March 4, 2004: Signed by the Utah Jazz for the remainder of the season
  • August 20, 2004: Signed as a free agent by the Los Angeles Clippers
  • August 31, 2005: Signed as a free agent by the Seattle SuperSonics
  • July 7, 2006: Traded by the Seattle SuperSonics to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2009 NBA Draft
  • July 13, 2007: Signed as a free agent by the Sacramento Kings
  • February 19, 2009: Waived by Sacramento Kings
  • February 24, 2009: Signed as a free agent by the Boston Celtics
Read More: Boston Celtics, James Posey, Kevin Garnett, Mikki Moore
Backcourt steps up 02.22.09 at 6:57 pm ET
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Shaquille O’Neal was supposed to be a problem for the Boston Celtics. He was supposed to push around their little big men and have the Celtics counting down the days until Kevin Garnett returned from his knee injury. But it was one of the smallest guys on the court who caused the biggest problems. Led by Rajon Rondo, the Celtics backcourt dominated the Phoenix Suns. (RECAP HERE)

No jumper? Rondo scored a career-high 32 points against the Suns. (ESPN.com)

No jumper? Rondo scored a career-high 32 points against the Suns. (ESPN.com)

Rajon Rondo
32 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, 13-18 FG, 1-1 3PG, 5-9 FT, 3 STL

On his 23rd birthday, Rondo made 35-year-old Steve Nash look about ten years older. The Suns had no way of stopping Rondo, not even O’Neal’s presence made a difference — Rondo scored however and from wherever he pleased. The absence of Garnett creates more opportunities for him to take his jumpshot, and judging by his shot chart, there is little need to question whether or not he has developed one.

Ray Allen
31 points, 4 rebounds, 10-15 FG, 4-8 3PG, 7-8 FT

It’s no secret that Allen can’t be left alone on the arc. On Sunday he couldn’t be left alone, period. Allen spread the Suns defense with a balanced attack of long and mid-range shots. Allen was on his mark, hitting 10 field goals and scoring 30 points for the first time since January 11 against the Toronto Raptors. He also set a new franchise record with 72 consecutive free throws made, passing Larry Bird’s previous mark of 71.

Paul Pierce
26 points, 6 rebounds, 8-17 FG, 10-10 FT

The Celtics couldn’t score 128 points without Pierce making an impact. Pierce struggled in the first half (1-8 FG), so when his shot didn’t fall he got to the line (6-6 FT). Then he turned it on in the second half to score 18 points in 22 minutes. The captain played a team-high 44 minutes and by the end of the game had gone to the line 10 times. The Celtics improved to 12-3 when Pierce attempts at least 10 free throws.

The Celtics will travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets on Monday night.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Phoenix Suns
Twelve minutes to make it count 02.08.09 at 5:40 pm ET
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Ray Allen knew what to expect days before playing the San Antonio Spurs.

“It comes down to a fourth-quarter battle,” he said on Friday. “They’re not going to come in and make small mistakes. They’re going to operate their offense. Defensively they’re going to know what they’ve got to do.”

Allen was exactly right. On Sunday, the Celtics entered the fourth quarter with a two-point lead and were outscored 31-23 by the Spurs. They lost 105-99 (RECAP HERE). It was the second time in two games the defending champs fell in the final 12 minutes. Last week they started the fourth quarter up by four on the Los Angeles Lakers before losing 110-109 in overtime.

“When you play the top teams in the league it comes down to the little things,” said Paul Pierce. “And I just thought last couple of games at home it was one or two-point games. It’s the little things — defensive transition late in the game, covering for one another, one possession. It’s like the playoffs, one play can kill you. Every possession counts and we got to understand that when we play against the top tier teams like the San Antonio Spurs and the Lakers.”

The Celtics have hit cold streaks in their last two losses. Up six with eight minutes to go against the Lakers, the C’s failed to build on their lead. The Lakers went on an 11-5 run during a five minute stretch to tie it up, eventually winning in OT.

On Sunday the Celtics allowed an 11-4 Spurs run in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. Later in the game they watched a 93-90 lead slip away to a 101-93 deficit.

“You’ve got to get stops, everybody’s got to be on the same page,” said Kendrick Perkins. “Besides getting stops, on the offense you’ve got to execute, you’ve got to throw the extra pass when guys are open. Usually a team like San Antonio, you can’t beat them with the dribble. You’ve got to beat them with the pass. You can’t turn the ball over at all against San Antonio. So I just thought in stretches we played together and stretches we didn’t move the ball and that was the key.”

The Celtics have allowed a total of 215 points in their last two games at home. It is an overwhelming difference for a team who has held their opponents to just 92 points per game over the season. Nonetheless, head coach Doc Rivers was able to see a silver lining in the losses.

“Well it tells me that we’re really good, because we’ve not played with our A-game, as Tiger Woods would say, I guess,” he said. “And we still had a chance to win both. Both games we had the lead and gave it up. Gave up points, which is not like us. In a sick way I guess I’d rather be down and not be able to score than up and give up baskets, because we’re a defensive team. But we clearly have to improve. Our bench has to be more consistent. They gave up an 8-1 run to start the fourth. You know, that hurts you. It’s tough to recover from that.”

The Celtics will have two days to regroup before facing the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday. They are aware of their mistakes; now it is a matter of fixing them.

“In general, you can’t turn the ball over,” Allen said. “You have to execute on both ends down the floor in the fourth quarter.”

The Celtics know what to expect down the stretch. Lucky for them, there’s another 12 minutes to prove they can take care of business.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins, LA Lakers
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