Boston Celtics: Miami Heat

Freeze Frame: Good to be Green

November, 10, 2013
11/10/13
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Headlines after the Celtics stunned the Heat 111-110 on Saturday night on Jeff Green's buzzer-beater:


Rapid Reaction: Celtics 111, Heat 110

November, 9, 2013
11/09/13
10:15
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Rapid reaction after the Boston Celtics defeated the Miami Heat 111-110 on Saturday night at AmericanAirlines Arena:

THE NITTY GRITTY
Wow. Jeff Green buried a game-winning 3-pointer from the corner over LeBron James as these young, scrappy Celtics won their third straight by taking down the two-time defending NBA champions on their home turf. Green scored a team-high 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting with five rebounds and two assists over 36 minutes. Gerald Wallace handed out a team-high seven assists off the bench, including a beautiful lob to find Green on a designed out-of-bounds play with 0.6 seconds remaining. Avery Bradley added 17 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter as Boston surged back from down seven with five minutes to play. James scored 11 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter and flirted with a triple-double (10 assists, 8 rebounds), but it wasn't enough for Miami.

TURNING POINT
The Celtics refused to go quietly. Miami pushed its lead as high as seven in the final frame after an old-fashioned three-point play by James. Bradley brought Boston back, hitting a 25-foot 3-pointer, then added a little running hook to make it 102-100 with 3:43 to play. The Celtics were still down two with 19 seconds to go with the ball when Olynyk missed a 16-foot bank shot while trying to lean in for a foul. Boston kept scrapping and two missed free throws by Dwyane Wade set up Boston's heroics.

OLYNYK'S FIRST START
Kelly Olynyk replaced fellow rookie Vitor Faverani in Boston's starting lineup and got off to a fast start. After stepping up to deter a Chris Bosh layup, Olynyk drilled his first NBA 3-pointer. He didn't have a great shooting night (3-of-9) but finished with seven points, eight rebounds and four assists over 22:45 and was on the floor for Boston's winner.

LOOSE BALLS
Brandon Bass picked up three fouls over the first 8½ minutes, and that limited him to 15 minutes of floor time overall, a big loss for Boston considering his defensive abilities against the likes of James. ... Faverani, shuffled to a reserve role, played only a short shift early in the second quarter. He was plus-8 over 2:41. ... Kris Humphries took those frontcourt minutes and responded by putting up nine points and five rebounds over 18:34. ... Jordan Crawford added 15 points over 28 minutes for Boston.

WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics have won three in a row, but none more impressive than this. Playing the second night of a back-to-back, and the fifth game in seven nights in five difference cities, Boston found a way to stun the champs, simply refusing to go away late in the game. Boston has essentially played seven close games this season and, after dropping the first four, has found a way to pull out the past three. The Celtics get a much-deserved day off Sunday before opening a three-game homestand with a visit from the Magic on Monday.

LeBron calls out ex-Celts over Ray Allen

October, 17, 2013
10/17/13
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NEW YORK -- Thursday night when they Heat face the Nets for the first time since Brooklyn's league-shaking summer trade, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade think some ex-Celtics on the Nets might owe the ex-Celtic on the Heat an apology.

A year ago there was a stream of vitriol from Boston aimed at Ray Allen after he chose to sign with the Heat in the offseason. Kevin Garnett said he lost Allen's number, Paul Pierce said he hadn't forgiven him and Doc Rivers implied Allen had an ego problem.

Now all three of them are also out of Boston, agreeing to go to teams seemingly on the brink of contention instead of sticking around for Boston's rebuilding project. Garnett waived his no-trade clause so he could go to Brooklyn in a package with Pierce after he agreed to the deal. Rivers engineered his own trade that allowed him to become the coach of the Los Angeles Clippers.

All have said in various ways that it was a tough decision but they wanted to move on to a better situation. That was essentially Allen's position in 2012 and James and Wade aren't afraid to hint at hypocrisy.

"I think the first thing I thought was, 'Wow, Ray got killed for leaving Boston and now these guys are leaving Boston,'" James said.

"I think it's OK, I didn't mind it. But there were a couple guys who basically (expletive) on Ray for leaving and now they're leaving. That's the nature of our business, man. I don't know what Boston was going through at the end of the day. I know Ray had to make the best decision for him and his family and his career. Doc, KG and Paul did that as well. You can't criticize someone who does something that's best for their family."

Wade is slightly more diplomatic but it is clear this has been a topic of conversation in the Heat locker room in the wake of the trade that sent the two future Hall of Famers to Brooklyn in July.

"We all know the world, how it works. The biggest thing is Ray is happy (in Miami). If they're happy in Brooklyn then let them be happy," Wade said.

Hop HERE to read the full story.

C's hoping JET soars in playoffs

April, 13, 2013
4/13/13
3:45
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Jason Terry and the Celtics couldn't keep up with LeBron James and the Heat in Miami. Is there any postseason hope for JET to soar?

http://espn.go.com/boston/

Notebook: Green's elbow 'fine' after fall

April, 12, 2013
4/12/13
11:05
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MIAMI -- Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green joked that his left elbow is "still attached" after an awkward landing forced him from Friday's game against the Miami Heat early in the fourth quarter and downplayed the severity of the injury while noting he should be able to play Saturday night in Orlando.

"Any time you hit a nerve, it feels numb down the whole arm," said Green. "And it wouldn’t come back as fast I wanted to, because we were still playing. But I’m fine."

Green spilled hard to the floor after a powerful driving dunk -- one of three on the night -- with 10:03 to play in the fourth quarter and, falling backward on the baseline, his elbow took the brunt of the tumble. He was wincing in pain on the bench as trainer Ed Lacerte put a shooting sleeve over the injury, but Green soon retreated to the locker room and did not return.

Green finished with a team-high 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting with eight rebounds and two assists over 36:25.

"Birdman [Chris Andersen], he tried to run off [and] I felt his feet undercut mine," explained Green. "I know it wasn’t on purpose. It was just something, it was the first thing that hit. I’m cool, man."

Green, who was coming off consecutive tough shooting nights, was aggressive going at the hoop for much of the night (five of his seven misses came beyond the 3-point arc). On a night where the Celtics gave Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce rest for their sore ankles, getting Green back on track -- despite the injury scare -- was one of the biggest positives of the night.

"I thought Jeff was great. I really did," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "I thought he attacked early on. I thought they did a good job, after that, of clogging it up. I thought Jeff made plays and we missed shots and the more we missed, the more they could clog it up to take away his drives. I couldn’t have been happier with the first half of Jeff. That was terrific. And their adjustment was pack it in and make guys make shots, and we couldn’t make them for a while."

Read on for more notes, including Jason Terry's explanation of his technical foul; Doc's take on Rondo traveling in the postseason; and praise for old friend Ray Allen.

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: Heat 109, Celtics 101

April, 12, 2013
4/12/13
9:55
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Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsBoston's Jeff Green soars at Miami's Chris Andersen.
MIAMI -- Rapid reaction after the Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 109-101 on Friday night at AmericanAirlines Arena:

THE NITTY GRITTY
LeBron James scored 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting (mostly of the emphatic dunk variety) with 9 assists and 6 rebounds over 29 minutes, while Rashard Lewis scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting to spark Miami's bench effort (which also saw old friend Ray Allen score 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting). The Heat scorched Boston by connecting on 12-of-23 shooting beyond the 3-point arc. Jeff Green scored a team-high 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting with eight rebounds before departing the game with a bruised elbow. Courtney Lee got hot late to finish with 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting, while Jordan Crawford got off to a fast start, but went cold late while scoring 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting.

TURNING POINT
Despite allowing the Heat to shoot a ridiculous 84.2 percent in the second quarter (Miami made 16 of 19 shots), the Celtics were still hanging around in the third frame. Eight consecutive points by Crawford, including back-to-back 3-pointers, whittled Miami's lead to five, but the Heat responded with a 7-0 run, including a layup from Chris Bosh for a 72-60 lead with seven minutes to play in the frame. Boston never got closer than seven the rest of the way, with Lewis unleashing a 3-point barrage spanning the fourth quarter as the lead ballooned as high as 16 early in the final quarter.

SCOREBOARD WATCHING
The Hawks rallied to top the visiting Bucks on Friday night, which means Milwaukee will remain three games back of Boston with three games to go. The Celtics' magic number to secure the seventh seed dips to one; any win (or Milwaukee loss) over the final three games of the regular season ensures Boston won't be back here in Miami to open the playoffs next weekend.

GREEN BRUISES ELBOW
Celtics forward Jeff Green suffered a bruised left elbow in the fourth quarter and did not return. Green was in a world of hurt after landing hard on his left arm after an emphatic dunk. He tried to tough it out on the bench, putting a shooting sleeve over the elbow, but soon retreated to the locker room with trainer Ed Lacerte.

WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics got a chance to give some role players extended run and, so long as Green's elbow injury isn't anything major, there were some positives to pluck from this one (Lee and Crawford had solid nights in spurts). Then again there were plenty of negatives, too (Jason Terry had another very quiet night; the 3-point defense was terrible; and defensive lapses were prevalent all over the floor -- though that could be expected at times without two starters). Boston expects to have Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett back on Saturday night when the Celtics wrap up a Floridian back-to-back against the Orlando Magic. Two days off loom after that before Boston completes its regular-season schedule with another back-to-back (the Pacers visit Tuesday before a trip to Toronto on Wednesday).

W2W4: Celtics vs. Heat (Game 79 of 82)

April, 12, 2013
4/12/13
10:00
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Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesCeltics vs. Heat loses some sizzle without Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce on the floor.
The Boston Celtics (40-38, 13-25 away) visit the Miami Heat (62-16, 34-4 home) on Friday night at AmericanAirlines Arena (7:30 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:

* EXHIBITION SEASON?: With their seventh-seeded fate all but sealed and playing the first night of a back-to-back, the Celtics will err on the side of caution and rest both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce due to ankle soreness. After missing Miami's last six games (and eight of 10), Dwyane Wade is expected to return for the Heat, but LeBron James and Chris Bosh remain game-time decisions [Update: At shootaround, the Heat confirmed that James and Wade will play, while Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem will get the night off). Even still, the Celtics-Heat rivalry will lack the usual pizazz on Friday night. For Boston, the absence of veterans leaves extended playing time for younger players looking to make late-season cases for playoff playing time. The Celtics won't be focused on the end result, but getting individual players going instead.

* GET GREEN BACK ON TRACK: Jeff Green exploded for 43 points when Miami visited Boston last month, helping to fuel his monster month of March. He's slipped into a mini funk the last two games, missing 18 of the 25 shots he's put up (while settling for perimeter shots instead of attacking the basket). Without Garnett and Pierce, Green will be called upon to shoulder the scoring load and will get a chance to get himself back on track.

* CAN HEAT SPARK TERRY?: Jason Terry has often noted how the mere sight of Miami's colors gets his competitive juices flowing. Maybe more than any other player, the Celtics need Terry to pick up his play in the postseason and give the bench a sustained offensive spark now that Green is running with the first unit. Terry hasn't reached double figures in scoring his last three games and seemed particularly frustrated with himself after Wednesday's loss to Brooklyn in which he was 1-for-7 shooting with four points over 25 minutes. Terry can make people forget about his regular-season inconsistencies with a strong postseason, but ramping up a bit at the finish line would likely aid that cause.

* WHICH GUARD WILL STEP UP?: The recent return of Garnett has brought out the best in both Shavlik Randolph and Chris Wilcox, both big men playing well in shorter minutes. But the Celtics are still waiting for one of their guards to make a case for a potential larger playoff role. Whether it's Courtney Lee, Jordan Crawford, or Terrence Williams, there's additional guard minutes available if one of those players wants to snatch them up with their play over the final four games of the regular season.

Pierce, KG out vs. Heat

April, 11, 2013
4/11/13
12:34
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The Boston Celtics announced Thursday that neither Paul Pierce nor Kevin Garnett will play in Friday's visit to the Miami Heat.

Both players traveled with the team Thursday for this brief two-game road trip, but neither will dress for the first night of a back-to-back in Miami due to sore ankles. Garnett sat out eight games due to left ankle inflammation before playing the last two contests for Boston; Pierce has missed two games recently due to sore ankles.

The Celtics are 0-3 in the three games that Pierce has missed this season.

Given that both Garnett and Pierce traveled to Miami, it's likely they could both be back in the lineup for Saturday's game in Orlando. The team officially lists them as day-to-day.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers lamented a need to rest bodies, but Boston appears resigned to settling for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and will rest players as much as possible.

"I don’t love being in that situation, honestly, I’d love not to be, but that’s the situation we’re in," Rivers said after Wednesday's loss to the Nets.

For C's, every possession counts

March, 19, 2013
3/19/13
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The Celtics knew going into Monday's showdown with the Miami Heat that they couldn't afford to turn the ball over, but that knowledge alone wasn't enough to prevent them from doing it.

Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY SportsPaul Pierce and the Celtics couldn't always keep their handle on the ball on Monday night.
Boston committed 21 turnovers in Monday's 105-103 loss -- one off their season-high -- and the Heat happily converted those into 24 points. In a game in which the Celtics led by as may as 17 at one point -- and by 13 in the fourth quarter -- the miscues that resulted in the ball switching sides stuck out most to the losing party.

"We've just got to take our time," said Paul Pierce, who registered a team-high seven turnovers. "I thought we tried to force things, got a little anxious at times, and that's their game. The Miami Heat, they force turnovers, they get easy buckets, and you can't really do that against them because they're so good in transition and finishing. We gave up (24) points off our turnovers, that's devastating, especially against the best team in the NBA."

Both halves saw Boston equally guilty of errors -- the C's committed 11 of their 21 miscues over the first 24 minutes (good for 14 Miami points) and the final 10 in the second half. Knowing they lent a helping hand to 24 of Miami's points didn't sit well with the veterans afterward.

"Well, we're disappointed, obviously," Jason Terry said. "You have a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, you've got to get the job done. And so, we had a lot of mistakes that we made offensively and defensively that are correctable errors. So, we've just got to get back in here and grind."

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: Heat 105, Celtics 103

March, 18, 2013
3/18/13
10:55
PM ET
Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY SportsLeBron James didn't like the way things started for the Heat in Boston.
BOSTON -- Rapid reaction after the Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 105-103 on Monday night at TD Garden:

THE NITTY GRITTY
LeBron James scored a team-high 37 points on 16-of-29 shooting, producing a pair of clutch buckets over the final 81 seconds as Miami rallied from a 17-point deficit to push its winning streak to 23 games, which is the second-longest single-season streak in league history. James added 12 assists and seven rebounds while flirting with a triple-double and the Heat snapped both their 10-game losing streak in Boston and the Celtics' 11-game home winning streak. James' exploits spoiled a monster night for Jeff Green, who scored a career-high 43 points on 14-of-21 shooting (5-of-7 beyond the 3-point arc) and was relentless attacking the basket. Paul Pierce added 17 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists for Boston.

CAN'T PUT MIAMI AWAY
Green turned the first half into his personal layup line, erupting for 26 points over the first two quarters while helping Boston open that 17-point cushion (fueled by a 17-0 run to close out the first quarter, the Celtics were up 12 after one frame). But Miami clawed back and an 8-0 run to start the second half pushed the Heat out front 61-59, setting up a game of chase. Boston kept trying to pull away, but the Heat rallied each time. Despite trailing by 13 with 8:27 to go, Miami stormed back again and a 3-pointer from Mario Chalmers with 2:40 to play put the Heat out front 101-100. But things were just getting interesting.

TURNING POINT
Avery Bradley answered Chalmers' triple with one of his own from the left corner to put Boston up 103-101 with 1:49 to play. A James putback of his own miss tied the game at 103 with 1:21 to go and, after both teams failed to break the deadlock, James hit a low-shot clock jumper over Green with 10.5 ticks to play for a 105-103 lead. Green's drive got stripped out of bounds and Pierce missed a 23-foot fadeaway in the closing moments as Miami hung on.

TURNOVER POINT
The Celtics were their own worst enemy for much of the night, committing 21 turnovers that led to 24 Miami points. When playing the Heat, coaches always stress the need to limit live-ball turnovers and Boston got burnt with its carelessness.

SO MANY HIGHLIGHTS
Good luck to whoever is cutting up these highlights in Bristol, Conn., tonight. In the first two quarters alone: Courtney Lee broke Bosh's ankles with a little crossover move that led to a jumper; James "Brandon-Knighted" Jason Terry (only mildly tamer than DeAndre Jordan's alley-oop slam over Brandon Knight); Bradley produced a chase-down block on Norris Cole that led to a Pierce 3-pointer in transition and nearly blew the roof off the Garden.

WHAT IT MEANS
On the five-year anniversary of Boston snapping Houston's 22-game winning streak, the Kevin Garnett-less Celtics couldn't play streak busters again. What they did prove yet again is that they can hang with the defending champs, and Monday's entertaining battle will leave most clamoring for a playoff series between these teams. Boston drops to 36-30 and slides back a bit on the Eastern Conference playoff ladder. One more regular-season battle looms in Miami on April 12. The Celtics head out on a three-game road trip with stops in New Orleans, Dallas and Memphis.

Pregame: KG (illness) out vs. Heat

March, 18, 2013
3/18/13
7:37
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BOSTON -- Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett will sit out Monday's visit from the Miami Heat due to illness, according to coach Doc Rivers.

Garnett, who has been held out of basketball activities for the past two days due to a left adductor strain, is now also battling the flu and that, Rivers said, more than the injury is what will keep him off the court against the rival Heat.

Jeff Green starts in his place for the Celtics.

"[Garnett is] sick, really. It’s not the injury," said Rivers. "He just has a terrible flu or whatever and, with the injury, we just felt the combination -- it was too much to play."

Garnett didn't go through the team's shootaround on Monday morning, but was still listed as a game-time decision. Rivers got a look at him when he arrived at the arena and determined he wasn't fit for action.

"He's in [the trainer's room] now. Right when I looked at him, I said, ‘You’re not playing,'" said Rivers. "He wanted to play, and even [team trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] came to get me, to tell him not to play."

Would Garnett have played if not for the illness?

"Yeah, he would have played," admitted Rivers.

Even though Rivers has preached a desire for health and rest over wins and playoff seeding, he said the team would have preferred to have Garnett on the floor for Monday's game.

"You want Kevin on the floor," said Rivers. "I guess it gives him more rest, and maybe that will help too."

Rivers said he expects Garnett to be on the team's flight Tuesday afternoon for the start of a three-game road trip in New Orleans on Wednesday.

W2W4: Celtics vs. Heat (Game 66 of 82)

March, 18, 2013
3/18/13
10:00
AM ET
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesCan Paul Pierce and the Celtics get past the Miami Heat on Monday?
The Boston Celtics (36-29, 24-9 home) host the Miami Heat (51-14, 21-11 away) on Monday night at TD Garden (ESPN, 8 p.m.) Here's what to watch for:

* STREAK vs. STREAK: You might have heard about this 22-game winning streak the Miami Heat are on (it's drawn a few headlines). The Celtics counter with an 11-game home winning streak. Something has to give. The Heat can move into sole possession of the second-longest single-season winning streak in league history with a victory. The Celtics ended the Houston Rockets' 22-game winning streak during the 2007-08 season exactly five years ago today.

* HOW HAVE HEAT CHANGED?: Celtics coach Doc Rivers offered the scouting report on how the Heat have changed since Boston beat them in late January (one of Miami's last losses before this current streak). "They are just better at what they do," said Rivers. "I don’t think they’ve changed much. They’ve played the same way all year. They spread the floor, they attack. I think, defensively, is where they’ve really gotten a lot better over this stretch. Everybody is doing everything great for them right now. LeBron [James] is playing on a different level and [Dwyane] Wade is healthy now. I think that’s the biggest difference from when you saw them earlier in the year; Wade’s a different player. LeBron’s been the same, he’s been dominant. But now Wade is being dominant as well and everybody else is just feeding off of that."

* CHAMPIONSHIP SWAGGER: Here's one big difference Rivers has noticed in the Heat this season: They are playing with a new level of confidence, especially James after getting that elusive ring last season. "He has a championship swagger now," said Rivers. "And he’s always been the best player, now he’s the best player with confidence -- if that makes any sense. It makes him great; I’m happy for him. I just want to beat them. But he’s gone through a lot, he’s paid his dues if you want to say, now he’s a champion. Now it’s our job to try to knock that off of him." Hop HERE to read how Jeff Green will approach the defensive assignment after helping to contain James last time out.

* LIMIT THE CORNER 3: Ray Allen's presence will be a friendly reminder for Boston to limit the corner 3-pointer. According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Heat entered Sunday's action with 234 corner triples this season -- second most in the league behind only Houston. The Celtics own the best 3-point defense in the league since Avery Bradley returned in early January as opponents have shot a mere 30.2 percent from beyond the arc over the past 35 games.

C's aim to cool the Heat

March, 17, 2013
3/17/13
10:10
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The Miami Heat won't be the only team with an impressive winning streak when they visit the Boston Celtics on Monday night:

http://espn.go.com/boston/

Practice: KG is '50/50' vs. Heat

March, 17, 2013
3/17/13
12:45
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WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett will not practice Sunday and coach Doc Rivers deemed him "50/50 at best" to suit up for Monday's showdown with the Miami Heat.

Garnett is battling a left adductor strain that flared on Friday and kept him out of Saturday's win over the Charlotte Bobcats. Rivers said the team will reevaluate Garnett on Monday depending on what he's able to do leading up to the game.

"We don’t know what he’s going to do [Monday]," Rivers said. "My guess is he’s 50/50 at best."

Asked if there was any long-term concern with Garnett, Rivers downplayed the injury.

"Probably a 1 on a scale to 10," Rivers said of his concern level. "Even if he misses a couple of games, it’s not an injury that’s a big deal. I’m not that concerned by it."

Rivers later said he didn't believe Garnett had undergone an MRI because the injury does not appear that severe.

"Again, I don’t think it’s that serious," Rivers said. "It’s just at the point of the year where you’re just not going to play him if he’s not feeling great."

Celtics guard Jason Terry said the team has to be prepared if Garnett isn't on the floor, but is hopeful he'll be able to suit up.

"You can’t think about it,” Terry said of what the team’s mindset would be if Garnett can’t go. “He's not there, so it's not going to help you to think about him.

“But would we love to have him? Yes sir, no question. The best big man, to me, in league history. So when we're missing him we've just got to do it collectively, especially on the defensive end. When you're that small, you have to rebound as a group."

Rivers said the Celtics expect to use a lot of one-big lineups regardless of Garnett's availability, staying small to match up with the Heat.

"With or without Kevin, it’ll be a lot of one big on the floor against them," Rivers said. "With Kevin that means Kevin is the one big, then you can bringing Brandon [Bass] in and out. Without him, that stretches it."

Read on for a few more notes from pre-practice access:

(Read full post)



WALTHAM, Mass. -- Allow Jason Terry to tell you what he thinks of the Miami Heat's 20-game winning streak.

"Not really impressed with it or anything that they do," said Terry, who of course has a history with Miami from his Dallas days when the two teams met in the 2011 Finals. "So, for me, it's more about what our team is doing and how we're coming together as a unit."

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty ImagesThe Celtics don't really care about Miami's 20-game winning streak.
Silly as it may sound, Terry suggested the Celtics are more concerned with earning some revenge from the bottom-dwelling Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday than the expansive winning streak the East-leading Heat might be carrying when the visit TD Garden on Monday.

With two more wins before Monday's game, the Heat will be tied for the second longest win streak in NBA history (22 games by the 2007-08 Houston Rockets) when they visit Boston. Ironically, it was this Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce core on the floor when the Celtics snapped the Rockets' streak on March 18, 2008 -- five years to the day of the Miami-Boston matchup.

Asked if he wants the Heat to still be carrying that streak on Monday, Pierce offered, "I really don’t even care. I hope they lose every game the rest of the season. I just worry about what this team does."

That said, Pierce admits you can't avoid the hype around Miami's streak.

"It’s rare when you’ve got a team that plays so well to be able to do that," said Pierce. "It’s hard not to keep track of it. Anytime you go to NBA.com or ESPN.com, it’s going to be right there. It’s very impressive what they’re doing. It is what it is. But I think they don’t care about the winning streak."

The Celtics put together a 19-game winning streak early in the 2008-09 campaign coming off their title season. The Heat are in a similar position, which isn't lost on Boston coach Doc Rivers.

"It’s impressive, it’s really impressive," said Rivers. "The year after we won it, I think we won [19] in a row, right before Kevin went down [with a season-ending knee injury], and it’s hard to do -- for a lot of reasons. But it’s harder to do for a defending champ, because every night is the other team’s biggest game. And the fact that they are doing it under those circumstances, is pretty impressive."

But Rivers maintained the company line about the streak.

"I don’t really care," he said. "We’re going to play them one way or another, whether they have a streak, or coming off a loss. We’ll be ready, I'm sure they will be."

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9