Boston Celtics: postgame notes

Notebook: Not what C's drew up

November, 8, 2012
11/08/12
12:27
AM ET


BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers admitted the 25-foot, step-back 3-pointer that Rajon Rondo hoisted at the end of the fourth quarter wasn't the ideal look Boston wanted with a chance to top the Wizards in regulation on Wednesday evening.

Rondo's bomb found the side of the rim and forced an extra session, where the Celtics emerged with a 100-94 triumph at TD Garden.

[+] EnlargeRajon Rondo
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesThings didn't always go as planned for Rajon Rondo and the Celtics, but they managed to get the win.
Rondo's 20-foot fadeaway jumper with 26 seconds to play proved to be a crucial bucket, but the Celtics were looking for Pierce on the elbow or Jason Terry on a flare to the corner, not Rondo's late-clock heave.

"The one that I called was the [isolation with 26 seconds], I wanted a 2-for-1," said Rivers. "I told him -- that was a bad execution too because he got forced to the sideline and that way he couldn’t go as quick as we wanted him to go. But I think it was 34 seconds, or whatever, so we felt like ‘Let’s go 2-for-1 here’ and it was a quick iso for him. And I told him to shoot it quick, the first one.

"The second one, it was bad execution again, honestly. It was a pin-down for Paul, [or] it was supposed to be. Paul, we wanted at the elbow and he was there, I thought Rondo could’ve thrown it to him, then JET [Terry] was coming off the weak side. I thought Rondo made up his mind to go for it. I’m fine with that, but I didn’t like the execution.”

Terry set a screen that forced the Wizards to switch rookie Bradley Beal onto Pierce, but Pierce didn't have much room as he tried to set up shop at his preferred spot on the right elbow. Terry got a screen from Garnett on the low blocks trying to flare to the wing, but with the clock low, Rondo elected for the 3-point shot.

Rondo spoke briefly with reporters before departing the Garden, but said only of the team's overall execution: "We played OK. We got stops when we needed to. Overall, it's all about the win and that's what we did tonight."

Read on for notes about KG's DVR analogy, JET's first flight, and Rivers' thoughts on former draft picks JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore:

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Notebook: Daniels preaches patience

November, 2, 2012
11/02/12
11:49
PM ET
AP Photo/Bob LeveroneMarquis Daniels with coach Doc Rivers during his time in Boston.
BOSTON -- If Marquis Daniels learned anything during his final season with the Boston Celtics, it's that coming back from a major offseason health scare is no easy task. It's part of the reason that he cautions fans here to give both Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox time as they work their way back from aortic surgeries.

"You want to perform at a high level but I wasn’t able to," admitted Daniels, who returned to TD Garden Friday night as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. He missed all five shots he took as part of a scoreless effort in Milwaukee's 99-88 triumph, but gushed with confidence about his potential now more than 18 months removed from a scary spine injury that nearly ended his career in 2011.

"I can understand that lot of people are expecting [players like Green] to come right out and shoot great," said Daniels. "There’s still those thoughts in your head: 'What if I get hurt?' or 'What if this happens?' I tried to find some way to channel that and be able to play through it. That first year coming off major surgery, it’s definitely not easy."

Daniels said he feels better and more confident entering the 2012-13 season. After three inconsistent and injury-plagued seasons with the Celtics, he's looking to make an impact as a veteran role player on a young team.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers showered him with praise for his attitude during his time with Boston.

"He was a great professional for us. He was terrific," said Rivers. "I talked to him yesterday, he we good for our team. He had a lot of guys in front of him, but he never complained about it. Last year in the playoffs, he hadn’t played in a while, but he came in and helped us win a game. That’s who you want, that’s the type of veteran you want."

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge admitted the team never truly entertained the idea of bringing Daniels back this season (this after three one-year stints with the squad), but saw his game progress last season as he worked his way back.

"I thought he got better as the season went on," said Ainge. "I think also, he wasn't really given a lot of opportunities to play. Doc really trusted him in the playoffs. We didn't practice hardly at all last year as most of you know. But I thought Marquis had a good training camp and a good exhibition season last year, so I'm not sure if it was the injury or just being out of sync."

Daniels said he keeps in touch with most of the players in the Celtics locker room and that bond is evident. When Daniels checked in at the start of the second quarter on Friday, he got a hug from Kevin Garnett (yes, the same guy who didn't even flinch when Ray Allen gave him a love tap the other night in Miami). You'll remember Garnett was one of the calming voices who talked to Daniels on the floor after his bruised spine injury in February 2011.

Read on for notes on when the rookies might head to Portland and the Red Claws' drafting a Celtics family member.

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Postgame notes: King of the Hill

October, 16, 2012
10/16/12
11:28
PM ET


BOSTON -- Before the start of Tuesday's exhibition tilt against the Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers told reporters to leave early in order to watch the presidential debate, and he'd consider doing the same. It seemed like he was joking, but maybe he wasn't.

Rivers tossed the keys to the coaching car to assistant Armond Hill at halftime and remained in the locker room for the second half. If Rivers had the debate on, he had a second TV with the game nearby as Hill said he knew every detail.

And even though the Celtics' third-teamers coughed up a double-digit lead in the final minutes as the Nets emerged with a 97-96 triumph at TD Garden, it was a good learning experience for Hill.

"[Rivers] just came to me and said, 'Armond, you're coaching the second half,'" explained Hill. "He's always said that as much as players are in training camp, so are the coaches. And so what would happen if he gets thrown out? We have to be prepared."

The Celtics were up two coming out of halftime, but soon stretched their lead as high as 12 in the second half. That lead was still at nine with less than three minutes to go before the Nets rallied against a Boston lineup that featured Kris Joseph, Fab Melo, Rob Kurz, Micah Downs and Jason Collins.

Rivers told Hill that he should have kept a ball-handler on the floor with that unit as Boston rushed shots with a chance to take the clock down. But Courtney Lee was cramping and Hill let the younger players work through their struggles.

Boston still had a couple of chances to win the game and unofficial assistant coach Rajon Rondo grabbed the clipboard to draw up a final play. An inbounds lob gave Downs a chance to convert an alley-oop at the rim, but he couldn't get the shot off in traffic.

"We got what we were looking for," Rondo said. "I just can't really comment on it. I think you get fined for saying certain things as a coach, so I think the guys did a great job executing out of the timeout, and it just didn't come up."

Hill, who smoothly handled Rivers' postgame duties with the media, liked being thrown into the fire.

"I can only thank Doc for giving me the opportunity to coach," Hill said. "That's what we're all here for. He's taught me; I've been with him and he'll continue to teach me and he's given me another opportunity."

And what about Rondo? Does he have a future in coaching?

"He always says, 'I'll never be a coach,' but he has that instinct," Hill said. "He has a great basketball IQ, so I hope he does it."

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Postgame notes: Stumping for Stars

February, 4, 2012
2/04/12
2:05
AM ET
AP Photo/Matt SaylesBoston's Big Four at last year's All-Star festivities in Los Angeles.
BOSTON -- A collection of postgame news and notes after the Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 91-89 Sunday evening at TD Garden:

Quick links: Doc hits campaign trail | Rondo's (black and blue) return | Loose Balls

RIVERS WILL STUMP FOR (ALL-)STARS


Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he'll phone his Eastern Conference coaching brethren this week in hopes of earning a couple Boston guys a free trip to Orlando for the All-Star festivities later this month.

None of the five eligible Celtics landed among the East's All-Star starters based on fan vote (point guard Rajon Rondo was the team's top vote-getter and was a distant third behind Chicago's Derrick Rose and Miami's Dwyane Wade at the guard position). Now, the 30 NBA head coaches will vote for seven players from within their own conference (two guards, two forwards, a center, and two players regardless of position) to comprise the All-Star reserves.

Coaches cannot vote for their own player, hence why cell phones will be burning up this weekend with reserves set to be announced Thursday evening (before the Celtics and Lakers joust on TNT).

"I usually call [other coaches], all my friends -- so that’s usually one call," quipped Rivers. "No, I call guys. I always do, just to make sure. And they call you. Last year was just strange, really, I don’t know what it said, but I didn’t get a call from one coach last year asking me to vote for their player. I thought that was really unusual. This year I think you will get a ton of calls. This year is going to be a lot tougher. There's a lot of guys that are playing well."

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Postgame: KG showcases his range

February, 2, 2012
2/02/12
12:21
AM ET
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesKevin Garnett -- suddenly a 3-point threat?
BOSTON -- A collection of postgame news and notes after the Boston Celtics defeated the Toronto Raptors Wednesday evening at TD Garden:

Quick links: KG showcases his range | Pavlovic's role, confidence growing | Loose balls

KG SHOWCASES THE THREE-BALL


Move over, Ray Allen. There's a new 3-point threat in town.

Kevin Garnett punctuated a brilliant first-half shooting performance by the Celtics by splashing a 3-pointer from the right wing just before intermission, sending Boston into the break up 22 en route to a 100-64 triumph over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night at TD Garden.

It was Garnett's first triple of the season and only his fifth with the Celtics. Sure, he was only 4-for-29 with Boston entering Wednesday's game, but he's now perfect on the season.

So how is his form? We turned to Boston's resident 3-point pros in Allen and Paul Pierce.

"He doesn't shoot a lot of them, but if you look at a lot of the shots he takes, his heel is very close to that 3-point line anyway," Allen said. "When he caught the ball, I was on the side and I was not going to let me get me the ball because I was thinking, 'Shoot, he's very capable.' And I've seen him work on that shot [in practice], so it's not like [he can't make it]. He looked very comfortable when he did it. It wasn't out of his range."

Added Pierce: “I tell him all the time he should shoot more 3s. I see him take 3s all the time in practice and he knocks them down consistently. A lot of his long-range 2-pointers are almost near the 3[-point line], so it’s only one step back. I know that if he started taking them, maybe he would start making more of them. He has that kind of range."

It's easy to forget, but Garnett utilized the shot more often during the early days of his career. He's creeping up on 600 career 3-point attempts, though he's connected on a mere 169-of-597 (28.3 percent). Back during the 2001-02 season, Garnett put up a career-high 116 attempts, making 37 of them (31.9 percent). He often closes his practice workouts by going around the arc and routinely splashes a noteworthy amount of his 3-point attempts.

Even so, Doc Rivers would prefer Garnett stick to the 19-footers. Asked about making the 3-pointer Wednesday, Rivers playfully quipped, "That's the worst thing that could have happened."

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Postgame: O'Neal aims for Sunday return

January, 28, 2012
1/28/12
12:40
AM ET
BOSTON -- A collection of postgame news and notes after the Boston Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers 94-87 Friday night at TD Garden.

Quick links: O'Neal aims for Sunday return | Pietrus on flagrant/tech | Loose Balls

J.O. SLOWED BY LEFT KNEE BRUISE


CSN ScreenshotJermaine O'Neal suffered a left knee bruise taking this charge from Hedo Turkoglu Monday night.
Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal would probably understand if you cringed a bit when you saw "DNP - Sore Left Knee" next to his name in each of Boston's last two box scores. Yes, that's the same bothersome left knee that limited him to 24 regular-season games a year ago. But he swears the latest flareup has nothing to do with internal structure of his knee, but simply a bothersome bone bruise on the knee cap that flared up after Monday's win over Orlando.

O'Neal was scheduled to meet with team doctors Friday night to see if he required an MRI or any further testing, but was adamant that he would get in some court work on Saturday and planned to be back in the starting lineup Sunday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I just need one day to move around, which I’ll probably go work out and do some court stuff [Saturday]," said O'Neal. "I’m not going to be 100 percent, [but] I just need to be able to jump, move, slide -- stuff like that. Because, where the bruise is, it’s on the knee cap, which is difficult when you move around. All in all, Sunday’s the day for me to come back and play."

O'Neal said he endured the injury in the third quarter of Monday's win over the Orlando Magic when he took a charge from Hedo Turkoglu. It was one of three charges absorbed that night by O'Neal, who joked he's trying to work some incentives into his contract based on the number of offensive fouls drawn.

"I’m still negotiating right now with [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] on kickers," O'Neal joked. "They told me the other day that I’m second in the league in charges behind two guys that are tied for first. But I’m playing a lot less minutes; I’m playing like 20 minutes per game. I don’t think the league’s ever even seen that -- a guy that block shots and takes charges. It’s a tough job to do. But basketball is about giving up your body. You can’t stop because you don't want to be hurt. We are vulnerable to get hurt on any given play -- a charge or just running up and down the court. So, if that’s what this team needs, I’m going to do it."

O'Neal said the difficulty with the bone bruise is that he can't wear any additional protection over the left knee because of the cumbersome brace he already wears. But he also knows that his teammates are battling through bumps and bruises, and he just wants to get to the point where he's able to help the team on the floor.

"I’m not looking to be healthy, I’m looking to be effective," said O'Neal. "I’ll be back out there."

Fore more on the Celtics' injury woes, see our pregame notes HERE.

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Postgame notes: Big Baby's return

January, 24, 2012
1/24/12
12:52
AM ET


BOSTON -- A collection of postgame news and notes after the Boston Celtics defeated the Orlando Magic 87-56 Monday night at TD Garden:

Quick links: Big Baby's Return to Boston | Von Wafer too | Loose Balls


THE SKINNY ON BIG BABY'S TRIBUTE VIDEO


The Celtics toasted the contributions of old friend Glen Davis with a short-but-sweet video tribute during the first timeout in Monday's game.

So what did Davis think of the montage of some of his finest moments in green?

“I looked really big, like really fat," Davis said. "I was like, 'Wow, chubby.' I look a little more leaner now. But it was good. It’s always good to see things like that -- memories I can never forget. The fans showed love and I appreciate that.”

Davis' stat line might have been a little leaner than usual too, at least on the offensive end, where he chipped in 6 points on 2-of-9 shooting with 11 rebounds and 4 turnovers over 23:41 off the bench. After spending four years in Boston, Davis knew how dangerous the Celtics were despite their less-than-stellar record entering the game.

“You’ve got a team out there that’s capable of winning games and we didn’t play to the level that we needed to play," he said. "They played harder than us. Every possession they played harder than us, and we lost. That’s what happens.”

The loss spoiled the homecoming for Davis, who was flipped to Orlando with Von Wafer in a sign-and-trade deal that brought back Brandon Bass. All Bass did Monday was chip in 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting with eight rebounds over 34:01 off the bench.

Informed before the game that Magic players thought he looked skinnier, Bass found it amusing.

"Probably because I've got this European shirt," he joked. "I've got the 1X [extra large] on, and they probably just haven't seen me in a long time. When you see someone every day, you can really tell that they've gotten bigger or smaller. If you haven't seen them for a while, you can't tell. I have gotten slimmer, but last year in Orlando I was like this size."

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Postgame: Bradley's winner lifts Green

December, 16, 2011
12/16/11
10:13
PM ET
Darren McCollester/NBAE via Getty ImagesThe Celtics returned to the TD Garden floor Friday night for a scrimmage.
BOSTON -- Quick hits after the Celtics engaged in an intrasquad scrimmage Friday at TD Garden:

Bradley delivers the winner


It was only a scrimmage, but Avery Bradley produced one of the biggest moments of his pro career when he splashed a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer lifting the Green team -- also featuring Marquis Daniels, JaJuan Johnson, Chris Wilcox, Keyon Dooling, and Greg Stiemsma -- over the White team -- featuring Ray Allen, Brandon Bass, Jermaine O'Neal, E'Twaun Moore, Rajon Rondo, Gilbert Brown, and Michael Sweetney -- 52-51.

The Green team, which trailed for much of the night, had pulled ahead with 5.1 seconds to play when Chris Wilcox put back a Bradley miss, but second-round draft pick E'Twaun Moore answered with a clutch 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds to play. Unfazed, Bradley got caught with the ball in a late audible and calmly drained the winner as teammate Paul Pierce -- who is nuring a sore right heel and, like Kevin Garnett (sore thumb) and Sasha Pavlovic (left wrist injury) did not participate in the scrimmage -- spilled onto the floor in celebration.

"It was actually supposed to be a lob," said Bradley. "So I wasn’t in it at all -- I was just a decoy. But I was open, [Dooling] passed it to me and I just shot it."

Asked the last time he had hit a game-winner, the 21-year-old Bradley said, "Oh, probably middle school."

Rivers loved how the final moments played out.

"I liked the ending," said Rivers. "I liked all the stuff -- the calls and all that stuff was good. You can see how people handle that and get over it. A lot of good things. I’m glad we did this. I wasn’t sure about it. But I’m glad we did this. It's so much better than having open practice where you’re doing a 3-point contest. I mean we actually got something out of this. This was really good."

The team treated the entire day like an actual game, including staying in the team hotel the night before, having shootaround at the Garden in the morning, and hosting pregame availability in the locker room.

Injury update: X-rays on KG's thumb negative


Rivers said Garnett injured his thumb during practice on Thursday and was held out as a precautionary measure. He is still expected to play during Sunday's exhibition opener in Toronto.

"He hurt his thumb [Thursday] in practice. X-rays were negative, which is good, but we just didn’t want to play him today," said Rivers. "He’ll play Sunday."

Rivers reaffirmed that Pierce will sit out Sunday's game, but expects him to rejoin practice soon after. Pavloivc got undercut in Wednesday's session and is nursing a wrist injury that further thins wing depth.

"Again, [X-rays were] negative [on Pavlovic]," said Rivers. "He’s just got to wait and let it heal. He’ll be back soon. But I don’t know if that means Sunday or not."

Rest before exhibition opener


Having gone hard since training camp opened last Friday night, and feeling the affects, especially with all the dinged-up bodies, Rivers said he'll ease up on his squad Saturday before trekking to Toronto for Sunday's preseason opener.

"They need a day," said Rivers. "So we’re going to come in and watch film -- not a practice. I don’t think they’re going to have a lot of days [of rest], so we just have to make hay somehow."

Rivers then cracked that he has no idea how to actually make hay, or where that expression came from.

Notebook: Paging, Glen Davis

May, 10, 2011
5/10/11
1:29
AM ET
BOSTON -- A collection of news and notes after the Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 98-90 in overtime of Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series Monday night at the TD Garden. The Heat lead the series, 3-1, as it shifts back to Miami:

The rundown: Where's Big Baby? | West picking up bench slack | Layup Line



Even after his best regular season in a Celtics uniform, Glen Davis entered the 2011 postseason with the reputation as a player that upped his performance in the playoffs. With Boston's season slipping away after Monday's loss, Boston is still waiting for Davis to show up. A fact that even he isn't even attempting to hide from.

"I've been nowhere to be found this whole playoffs," sighed Davis. "I need to find myself."

He's got about 48 hours. The Celtics need to win three straight to prolong their season and an uptick in production from Davis would go a long way starting in Wednesday's Game 5. After watching his minutes get thinned in Saturday's Game 3 triumph, Davis logged 16:37 during Monday's Game 4 and emerged with little to show for that time on the floor. He misfired on three of the four shots he put up and finished with four points, no rebounds, and a turnover.

"I need to ask somebody [where Davis' game is]. I don't know, I don't know where I'm at," said Davis. "This is my time of year. This is my type. This is what I do. This is what I've been doing all this year, all my years of playing with the Celtics, [the] playoffs have always been when I've played best. It's not showing right now."

Davis averaged 7.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per game during the playoffs last season. He even won games for Boston during that run to the NBA Finals (see the Shrek & Donkey Game vs. the Lakers). But after averaging a career-best 11.7 points and 4.2 rebounds over 29.5 minutes per game during the regular season, Davis' production has dipped dramatically this postseason.

Entering Monday's action, Davis was averaging 4.9 points and 4.3 rebounds over 22.6 minutes per game.

"Glen wasn't in that [first-round] series [vs. the Knicks], either; Just one game," said Davis. Asked where the real Davis went, Big Baby just shrugged and offered: "I don't know. [But I've] got to find it. I've got to find it."

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Notebook: KG in a non-zone zone

May, 8, 2011
5/08/11
1:58
AM ET
BOSTON -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics defeated the Miami Heat 97-81 Saturday night in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series at the TD Garden:

The rundown: KG's Best Playoff Effort in Boston? | Shaq's Return | Layup Line



Celtics forward Kevin Garnett contends he wasn't in a zone Saturday night. The Heat might argue otherwise.

Garnett put together arguably his finest playoff performance in a Boston uniform, connecting on 13-of-20 field goals for 28 points with 18 rebounds over 37 minutes, 47 seconds of action. Garnett produced half of those points in a pivotal third quarter in which Boston rallied from a two-point halftime deficit and built a double-digit cushion it maintained to the finish line.

During the Big Three era, only twice has Garnett topped his 28-point outing (33 points vs. Detroit in 2008; 32 points vs. Atlanta in 2008) and only once has he registered as many field goals (13 vs. Cleveland in 2008). The rebounds are a Big Three-era high for Garnett and his most in a playoff game since hauling in 19 against the Lakers in May of 2004).

But again, he wasn't in a zone.

"I was aggressive," said Garnett. "I won’t call it a zone. I’ve been in a zone and that wasn’t it. Man, I’ve been in a zone and that wasn’t it. I had a nice rhythm going. Guys looked for me. I had [Rajon Rondo] and Paul [Pierce] encouraging me. I’ve got to continue to be aggressive. It gives us a force and another source of scoring. At the same time, I can’t lose my focus on trying to slow [Chris] Bosh down and making sure that that is even ground. I’ve got to make sure that my focus is defense first and then being a post presence, or whatever I need to be, for this series."

Bosh finished 1-of-6 shooting for six points with five rebounds over 30:15. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Bosh woke up with a pinched nerve in his neck, but it might have actually come from watching many of Garnett's 20 attempts sail over him and through the twine.

Garnett was so locked in, coach Doc Rivers blatantly called plays for him even when Garnett didn't want the ball.

"It was funny, you could tell he needed a break with the two minutes left [in the third quarter]," said Rivers. "And I know his run. His head’s bobbing; you could just see it. And I called a punch -- a post play for him -- and he called it off and tried to call a movement play. So I called it back. And I went right back [to the post play] and said, ‘No, we’re going to the post -- to you.’ And Kevin’s nuts because, when he scored, he’s running down the court [screaming], ‘Get the ball to me!’ And I’m laughing. I said, ‘Yeah, that’s what we’re trying to do.’"

Asked to sum up Garnett's performance, Spoelstra said: "Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That’s what it reminds me of. He’s too proud of a player, talk about an MVP, one of the best players in this league, as soon as he stepped on the court as a rookie 14 years ago. For the revisionists out there, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, when everyone threw dirt on him in the Finals against Boston, he came out the next night and had 37 [points] and 15 [rebounds]. And while all this fuel was going on the last three days, I was cringing because you know this is a proud [Celtics team], and you knew they would have a response, which is fine. If we’re going to go where we want to go to, we have to outplay them when they are at their best."

And when KG is in a zone -- or, if you believe him, even when he's not -- Boston is at their best.

--SHAQ OVERSHADOWED IN RETURN TO GAME ACTION--

Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal returned to action for the first time in over a month and provided two points and two fouls over 8:29. Better yet for Boston, he didn't aggravate the right calf/Achilles injury that has limited him to 5 minutes since Feb. 1, and Rivers expressed optimism that he'd be fine moving forward.

"Shaq came out of it good," said Rivers, who previously raved about Shaq's defensive effort over a near-four-minute stretch in the second half. "I thought Shaq had a big impact in the second half, just his presence."

Allow Jeff Green to elaborate: “[When] you have a big body down there, guys don’t go down there, and I think that alone speaks for itself. When you have Shaq down there protecting the hole, guys are going to be afraid to go down there. As long as he’s there, we’re allowed to put more pressure on the guys around the perimeter.”

Added Delonte West: "Well, [Shaq] just brought himself. The things that he does, doesn’t always show up in the box scores. The little side conversations he has with Jeff, or how he keeps [Glen Davis] motivated. The starters, for them to come off the floor and have a guy waiting for them that they respect and trust his knowledge, he does so much for us that doesn’t show up in the box score.”

--LAYUP LINE: CHAMPIONSHIP-CALIBER RESPONSE; INJURY ROUNDUP--

* Spoelstra on Boston's inspired play: "That was a championship-caliber response. No other real way to put it. They came out and played extremely hard. They played harder than us and played more efficiently than us. And they’ve earned that pedigree with the battles and the wars that they’ve been in the last four years, where we are trying to get to. We’re trying to take down a champion and it will be one of the toughest things we have to do collectively."

* Miami guard Dwyane Wade defended his part in Rondo suffering a dislocated elbow as the two chased a third-quarter loose ball: "It’s a physical game, the game of basketball is a physical game. I’m not a dirty player, it’s physical. Everyone falls to the ground, everyone gets hurt, people get up.”

* Rivers has no desire to watch the game tape of Rondo's elbow injury: "I still haven’t seen it," he said. "I’ve heard that I don’t want to see it. I’ve never seen the [Joe] Theismann injury, and I don’t plan on seeing this one. But I’ve heard it was not the prettiest thing, and probably it helped me, honestly, that I didn’t see it, because if I had, from what I hear, it would’ve been tough to put him back in the game.”

* Rivers on injury concerns moving forward: "[Pierce] it was just cramps [with his left foot after spilling into the baseline cameramen in the second half]. Delonte {West] is a major concern, [because the] shoulder could be worse than what we thought. We’ll see.” West took a more optimistic approach on his bruised left shoulder: "It's alright. Still lingering, but nothing that should hold me out."

* Spoelstra on potential starting lineup adjustments: "I will evaluate everything, A to Z." ... Bosh on how he pinched a nerve in his neck: "I woke up.”
MIAMI -- A collection of news and notes after the Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 102-91 Tuesday night in Game 2 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series at American Airlines Arena. Miami leads the series, 2-0:

The rundown: Injury update on Pierce, Rondo | Green quiet after 1st | Layup Line



Three Boston Celtics starters battled injuries in the Game 2 loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, though none appear serious enough to jeopardize their availability for Saturday’s Game 3.

Captain Paul Pierce suffered a strained left Achilles that forced him to the locker room midway through the first quarter, Ray Allen needed to be taken to the locker room for a spell with a bruised chest after getting elbowed by LeBron James and Rajon Rondo battled through a tight back that wouldn't loosen up for much of the game.

TNT ScreenshotCeltics guard Rajon Rondo with a wrap on before the start of the second half.
“It was a circus going on at the one point,” coach Doc Rivers said after the game. “Ray needed to be taken to the locker room [in the second quarter], Paul was coming out of the locker room, Rondo was asking to come out, almost simultaneously. It was sketchy.”

With three days off before Saturday's Game 3, the injuries don't appear to be a concern for the Celtics, who plan to rest Wednesday before getting back on the court Thursday.

"I'm day-to-day right now," said Pierce, who returned to the game in the second quarter after getting treatment. "We're just going to see how it feels the next couple of days. When you strain your Achilles, every step is like a slight, little pain in there. But it actually loosened up when I got back in there, got up and down a few times, and it really didn't affect me the rest of the game."

Pierce finished with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting with five rebounds over 32:32.

"I don’t think anybody's ever 100 percent at this time of year. It's just part of the game,” Said Allen, who had 7 points on 2 of 7 shooting over 34 minutes. “It's been a long year, you just deal with it. Whatever ails you I'm sure [the Heat] have the same issues, everybody has them. You use the off days to get your body better.”

Rondo wore a wrap around his lower back before the game and during intermission to keep his back from tightening up. He said after Tuesday's loss that he was fine, and even though Rivers told the media that Rondo asked to come out because of the back early in the fourth quarter, Rondo said it was due to fatigue. He did get some assistance while being stretched out on the baseline during the break.

"No, I was tired at the time," Rondo said. Asked about the wrap he noted, "I was just trying to stay warm."

Rondo finished with a team-high 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting with 12 assists and 6 rebounds over 41:42. According to ESPN Stats and Info, it was the eighth career playoff game that he's scored 20+ points and dished out 10+ assists.

What's more, Rondo scored or assisted on 52.7 percent of the Celtics' points (48-of-91) in Game 2, and the Celtics were 12-of-19 shooting (63.2 percent) off Rondo passes. Off all other passes, Boston was a mere 15-of-44 shooting (34.1 percent).

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MIAMI -- A collection of news and notes after the Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 99-90 in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series Sunday at American Airlines Arena:

The rundown: Allen stays hot for C's | Doc happy for Thibs | Layup Line



The rest of his teammates might have looked like they were shaking a week's worth of rust, but Ray Allen picked up right where he left off after a first-round sweep of the New York Knicks.

Allen connected on 9-of-13 shots, including five 3-pointers, while pouring in a team-high 25 points over nearly 39 minutes of action. Four of those 3-pointers came in the second half as Allen tried to sneak Boston back into the game, but the ejection of Paul Pierce left Allen with a tough load to shoulder as the Celtics struggled offensively at times.

Boston shot a mere 25 percent in the first quarter (5-of-20 overall) and 35.9 percent (14 of 39) for the first half while digging a 15-point halftime hole.

"We look at the things we didn't do offensively," said Allen. "We didn't execute, or take our time, or have patience. Then it just snowballs. We had less than 40 points at the half. With the caliber of scorers we have, it's crazy for us to have only that many points [at the half]."

Kevin Garnett labored through 3-of-9 shooting with only six points, while Pierce missed eight of the 14 shots he put up before being ejected with seven minutes remaining. Boston's bench chipped in 23 points on 6-of-23 shooting (26.1 percent) and was outscored by Miami reserve James Jones (25 points) alone.

"I thought we were way too aggressive," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "We were too eager to score on the first pass early on. I told our guys that [the Heat were] an athletic team and you're not going to beat them with the dribble. I just thought early on we were so eager to score -- we call it 'being thirsty' -- that we never got to the second pass and we never got to the second option. I thought we were very easy to guard. We scored 90 points and we didn't have a great offensive night."

Through five postseason games, Allen is hooting a sizzling 59.7 percent (40 of 67), including 64.7 percent beyond the arc (22 of 34).

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Notebook: Getting off the bench

April, 24, 2011
4/24/11
11:53
PM ET
NEW YORK -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 101-89 in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series Sunday at Madison Square Garden to complete a 4-0 series sweep:

The rundown: Bench Gets Warmer | Still Cleaning the Glass | Layup Line



It was an 11-foot baseline jumper, like maybe 100 others he's made this season (and countless more in practice). But as Glen Davis splashed a wide-open look less than seven minutes into the first quarter Sunday, he smiled as he glanced briefly at the Boston bench, where coach Doc Rivers was emphatically cheering the play.

Davis and his Boston bench brethren have been mired in a postseason slump that has forced the Celtics to lean heavily on their starters. Under the microscope, every open look is magnified when it clangs off the rim, but you could almost feel the collective sigh of relief as Davis' jumper ripped through the twine.

Soon after, fellow reserve big man Nenad Krstic checked into the game. Despite his own struggles in limited time, Krstic grabbed a rebound, blocked a shot, produced his first bucket of the postseason (an emphatic two-handed baseline jam) and poked the ball loose, leading to a Paul Pierce steal -- all within his first 75 seconds on the floor -- as confidence became contagious with the reserves.

After combining for a mere 33 points on 14-of-47 shooting (29.8 percent) over the first three games of the postseason, Boston's bench combined for 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting (55.5 percent) on Sunday. Davis highlighted the effort with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting, giving the reserves something to build off.

"I don't think I had even made a jump shot this series yet," Davis joked. "To get it going in the closing game, it's a big game.

"We were due for a game to help our team win. [The starters], just doing what they do, they can't carry us all the time. Sometimes they might miss shots, sometimes things might not flow the way they want them to flow, and we've got to be the guys to use their energy and make sure we get up there."

Maybe most encouraging was the way the bench maintained an early lead for Boston, something it failed to do in the first three games against the Knicks. The Celtics kept at least three bench players on the court during a near nine-minute stint spanning into the second quarter in which a five-point lead built by the starters grew to nine before the first unit returned to the floor.

The secret?

"Just played a little bit harder," said Jeff Green, who missed five of the seven shots he put up but chipped in five points and seven rebounds over 16:45 in a solid effort. "That's about it. I think that's what we needed to do. [Delonte] West came in and gave us some big minutes, myself, [Glen Davis] played tremendous today. It was just the effort that we needed to put forth today. It had to be another notch up."

When Boston's bench plays like it did Sunday, allowing the starters even the tiniest of breaks, Boston's entire play goes up a notch.

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Notebook: C's called for boarding

April, 23, 2011
4/23/11
2:25
AM ET
NEW YORK -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 113-96 in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Friday night at Madison Square Garden:

The rundown: C's tighten up on glass | Layup Line: Pierce & MSG, No changes on D



After allowing the Knicks to haul in a whopping 20 offensive rebounds in Game 2, controlling the glass was a focus for the Celtics in Game 3 and Boston responded by producing a 43-33 edge (matching its +10 effort from Game 1).

Highlighted by 12 rebounds from Kevin Garnett and 11 more from Rajon Rondo (as part of his sixth career postseason triple-double), the Celtics not only won the rebounding war, but turned 13 offensive caroms into 23 second-chance points. The Knicks still converted 12 offensive rebounds into 15 second-chance points, but it wasn't nearly as egregious as Tuesday night in Boston.

“[Offensive rebounding] wasn’t a focus," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "We got them because we spread them out a little bit. More importantly, we didn’t allow [New York offensive rebounds] because we weren’t in bad help positions. The only thing we did was what we should have done: If you are going to go [help on defense], you go, but you get back to a body. There was no change. We simply did what we should be doing."

It didn't hurt Boston's cause that Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were on fire shooting the ball, limiting the amount of available rebounds for the Knicks. And the Celtics surely learned their lesson in Game 2.

"We said that [defensive rebounding was] the emphasis of the day going into the practice yesterday," said Pierce, "We've got to hit them first. When we looked up at the board, we saw minus-[16] on the rebounds and minus-11 on the free throws [attempts in Game 2]. That's the advantage [the Knicks] had in the last game, so we wanted to really make an emphasis of putting bodies on people, boxing out."

Added Garnett: "One of the things we worked on in practice is rebounding better off the help. We are a help defensive team, but our second effort has to be a lot more valid and I thought tonight we did just that. I also thought there are times when, usually the ball hits the rim, you sort of sit there and watch. Tonight, we got bodies on bodies and were able to get some rebounds."

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BOSTON -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 87-85 in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Sunday night at TD Garden:

The rundown: Pierce's Defense Gets Offensive | Chaos on Final Play | Layup Line



Celtics captain Paul Pierce's biggest contribution in Sunday's win? It might have been his ability to sell an offensive foul on Carmelo Anthony that set into motion Boston's late-game heroics.

With the Knicks out front by a point with 21 seconds to go, Pierce got tangled with Anthony as the New York swingman attempted to establish position to receive a pass. Referees tagged Anthony with his fifth foul, an eyebrow-raising call at the late-game stage, and Ray Allen drilled the decisive 3-pointer at the other end off a Pierce feed.

"I don’t know if he drew it, but he took it," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of Pierce's role on Anthony's offensive infraction. "And it was the right call. Heck of a call to make, but it was the right call. I mean, it was clear. And I give Paul a lot of credit. I give Paul credit in the second half -- Billy Walker and Carmelo in the first half, they got every shot, everything they wanted. In the second half, it went away. And I thought it was due to Paul.”

Over in the visitors' locker room, the Knicks weren't so sure it was an obvious offensive foul call.

“Well, in my eyes, obviously I’m biased, but I thought it was a tough call," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said, going on to comment on the Kevin Garnett screen that helped free Ray Allen for the winning shot with 11.6 seconds to play. "And I thought the [no] call [when] Toney [Douglas] went flying trying to chase Ray Allen was a tough no-call. Those things happen. I’m not happy about it, but it happens."

Anthony expressed frustration over the call and downplayed Pierce's impact in shutting him down in the second half.

"As far as that offensive foul goes, what I thought and what they called were two different things," Anthony said. "So it is what it is, he called it and it’s over with.

"As far as Paul Pierce, the matchup, I don’t think he did anything out of the ordinary or special tonight as far as defending me. I think the Celtics, they was themselves, they load the paint up. Every time I caught it, they loaded the side up, they shifted court. I missed some shots I normally make. I’m not too concerned about my individual performance or anything like that."

Pierce finished with 6-of-16 shooting with 18 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and 4 turnovers over 39:21. Anthony overcame constant foul trouble to chip in 15 points on 5-of-18 shooting with 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 5 turnovers (maybe none as important as the late-game offensive foul) over 33:39.

The big difference? Anthony finished with only three points in the second half on 1-of-11 shooting, missing all five 3-pointers he put up. Pierce chipped in nine points on each side of intermission, generating seven fourth-quarter points and one monster assist in the final frame.

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SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jared Sullinger
PTS AST STL MIN
14.1 2.2 0.7 28.8
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsE. Turner 4.4
StealsM. Smart 1.1
BlocksK. Olynyk 0.7