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Friday, November 30, 2012
Quick hits from Danny Ainge

By Greg Payne

Rich Obrey/NBAE/Getty ImagesCeltics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
Quick hits after Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge's weekly appearance on Boston sports radio WEEI (93.7 FM) on Thursday afternoon.

* On the "soft" label Doc Rivers used after Wednesday's loss: "I see us as a not good rebounding team, and we're not big, and I think the thing that really hurts our rebounding is not just rebounding itself, but we're getting beat off the dribble too much, on the perimeter. And every time we get beat off the dribble, it takes one of our big guys to step up and it's 2-on-1 on the offensive glass, and when you take a team that's big like New Jersey, they really make you pay for that, because that's one of their strengths. ... So, I don't know, I'm not going to comment on whether they're soft. I will just say that we're not big, we're not strong, like a team like New Jersey, who's big and strong. We have to win in different ways."

* On whether Rajon Rondo getting himself tossed was beneficial: "Taking yourself out of the game, I don't think it's a fair trade off -- Rondo for Kris Humphries. I don't think that's helping your team. Ultimately that's what you have to do. I think that KG probably does appreciate it, and that's probably why KG sort of got back in there to try to help and rescue Rondo after it, because he knew he had come to his defense. So, I just think you can't do it in today's [game]. In old school basketball you were able to do those things. But in today's day in age, you just can't do that. Hopefully this is just another learning experience, not just for Rajon, but our whole team."

* On Celtics maintaining a consistent level of effort: "A frustrating thing that I've had with this team over the last two years, not just this year -- matter of fact it might be less this year than it was last year -- as we got off to a really bad start and we turned it on later in the year as we came together. And the year before we went all the way to Game 7 in the NBA Finals after going 27-27. So, I think that that's our pattern and that's frustrating, again, that we're on cruise control, and trying to turn it on when we think we have a chance to win and our fourth quarters are more intense than other parts of the game. Are we understanding how hard it is to win games in the game of basketball, in the NBA right now? You can't just show up to play, but you have to show up to win, and winning is much harder."

* On the inconsistent play of Jeff Green: "I think that there's a lot of things. I think Doc also mentioned -- at least he mentioned to me -- that they're trying to figure out how to best utilize Jeff, and a lot of it is on Jeff. But, Jeff's just been inconsistent. I think everybody's making too much out of this whole thing. Too much too soon. But, Jeff has not been consistent. He has not played consistent minutes, hasn't earned consistent minutes. But Jeff is a terrific talent, terrific player, and we think that he can give us a lot off the bench this year."

* On the drop-off the Celtics see when KG leaves the floor: "I think that there's a couple of issues here. It's not as simple as that. I think that when we start the game, often, I think the first six minutes of the game, our guys are always ready. They come out and play with energy and passion. And then when KG goes to the bench early in the first quarter, I see our energy level drop, and I don't think it's just because KG goes to the bench and someone comes in to replace him, or that player that's coming in to replace him is so much worse than KG. I think that we're not defending the ball as well anymore, like we did in the first segment. We're resting now. We're not defending the screen-and-rolls, we're not getting back and rebounding, and it's not just the matter of the drop-off of KG's talent. I think there's a lot more factors that go into play."

* On how the Celtics can control their emotional ups and downs: "Well, I think it comes from our best players. I think they've got to do it. They've got to be the leaders. ... I think that you're right, that's a tendency. Whenever you have veteran teams, I think that a tendency is to think you can do it by pacing yourself, as opposed to, like the younger players typically play with that energy and passion throughout the whole game."