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May 2014

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February 2014

Posey Update

5:34 p.m. BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that forward James Posey is experiencing low back spasms as a result of a lumbar disc herniation confirmed by MRI today at New England Baptist Hospital. He is undergoing appropriate treatment by the medical staff and is listed as day-to-day. Posey sustained the injury during the second quarter of last night's game against the Denver Nuggets at the TD Banknorth Garden.

The Word from Waltham

WALTHAM - While Doc Rivers was taking questions about James Posey's MRI, Mr. Posey was actually laying on the table undergoing his MRI. The results obviously weren't available to him while he spoke, but Rivers didn't think Posey would be available for the next two games.

"He's doing an MRI. I would say very unlikely for this weekend, but of course he said if he feels good he's going to play. We'll see," Rivers said. "I kind of leave it up to him. If Eddie [Lacerte] thinks he can play, he's going to play. I don't complicate that a whole bunch. I use my judgment from the trainer first and then I move to the player."

"Of all the things you dont need to do with a bad back is lay in a hard, steel machine for an hour," Rivers said, chuckling. "That'll give you a bad back when you finish, but obviously you have to do it."

Rivers said Scot Pollard's DNP in Wednesday's game was just a case of the coach giving Pollard a break where the matchups allowed. He hinted that Pollard may get Friday night off as well, but added, "New Jersey stays big for the most part with Collins and Krstic, so we'll need him."

While some might think that Rivers was nitpicking when he criticized the team's fourth quarter performance in Wednesday night's rout of the Nuggets, the coach was resolute today that there's several things that need cleaning up.

"We had a lot of turnovers, we didn't call out some picks, I thought our pick-and-roll defense could improve. We have a lot of room to improve even though the score didn't say that. And then the whole end of the quarter, the fourth quarter was awful, we let them shoot 59%. We had to work on being trapped a little bit today. Most of the things we go through, it's the first time. Guys haven't gone through it as a group, so everything we do is first-time experience for the whole group," Rivers said.

9:50 p.m. 2:24 to play, the C's are up 113-84, and Gino, the virtual victory cigar, is dancing on the jumbotron. Shake-shake-shaking alongside him on the sideline? Ray Allen...

9:40 p.m. Up 110-80, the C's are flirting with history. The all-time Celtics record for field goal percentage in a game is 68%. With 5:21 remaining, they're shooting 67% (45-67) from the field. And in other news, a loud "SCAL-A-BRIN-E" chant has broken out in the Garden.

8:42 p.m. The rout is on at the half, as the C's lead 77-38 at the break. 72% shooting from the field is pretty ridiculous, but even more impressive is holding Denver to 38% from the field in the first half.

James Posey left the game with lower back spasms, and according to the injury report, he's doubtful to return. Meanwhile, Nene sprained his left thumb and will not return. Obviously, we'll be following up on Posey's status tomorrow at practice.

Pregame Media Access

7:10 p.m.: Ray Allen was talking about his pregame routine earlier. He likes to get to the arena about three hours before the game and shoots for about 20-30 minutes. He says he gets up about 250 shots, and joked that he typically drills about "247". We can't verify that number but we have no reason to doubt the man either, especially considering his 33 point outburst in Toronto.

George Karl was singing Rajon Rondo's praises in his pregame sesssion. He said he'd seen him in a Vegas summer camp last summer and said that of 50-60 players, Rondo was in the top five. "He's got the ability to go anywhere he wants on the court," Karl said.

Paul Pierce was asked about the rumored Allen Iverson trade from last season, and admitted "I never thought it would happen." That said, Pierce has also admitted he felt the same way about the KG trade....

Doc Rivers talked at length about his relationship with his father Grady. He called him a "tough guy" who served as a father figure to many of his friends who did not have one. He said Grady didn't travel much over the last 10 years or so, and probably only saw him coach one time in Boston, but that they talked regularly last season as Rivers struggled through the 24-win season. "He guided me a lot in basketball and in life," Rivers said.

Rivers also said he liked the team that the Nuggets have, and feels that because of the suspensions from the MSG brawl, in many ways this season is really the first year for Iverson and Anthony to play together.

Finally, I talked at length with Brian Scalabrine about what he does with pregame scouting reports and videos. While some guys like to watch League Pass and see their upcoming opponents games, Scal prefers the video edits he gets from the team's coaching staff and reading the scouting reports.

"There's three things I need to know," said Scalabrine, who's known as one of the more devoted video and scouting report junkies on the team. "Can a guy shoot, does he like to drive, and what which way [left or right] does he like to go to."

Interestingly enough, Scal said he's never watched a scouting edit of himself, but after I posed the idea to him, he said he may actually ask for one. "Maybe I could learn something from that..." Scalabrine said.

"But you know who knows all this stuff by heart? KG. He's knows like every guy's tendencies. Every guy in the league."

6:00 p.m.: The locker rooms are about to open. Be back shortly with a pregame update.

2:45 p.m.: We would have had an update for you about 45 minutes earlier, but if you decide to stick around to watch James Posey's post-practice shooting drills, you better find a comfortable seat. Posey spent time on stationary threes, catch-and-shoot threes, midrange shots and free throws after Tuesday's practice. We'll have more from Posey later this week.

Meanwhile, Doc Rivers was back in Waltham running practice after leaving the team Sunday morning upon learning of his father's death. He said it was good to be back around the team.

Rivers will be on the bench Wednesday and Friday night at the Garden, but isn't sure about Saturday night. The Rivers family is having a memorial service for Grady Rivers, Sr. in Maywood, IL on Saturday morning, and Coach Rivers is scheduled to fly out after Friday night's game and then meet the team in New Jersey Saturday evening for the game.

"Honestly, emotionally I don't know where I'm going to be at," Rivers admitted, understadably noting that he may not be up to coaching the game against the Nets. "It's good for me to be back, because when I sit around the office or by myself, it's not very good. Being around the guys is great."

Allen Chimes In

Ray Allen says he likes what he's seen so far with regard to the team's character in the first two games, but cautioned that it takes consistency for a team to truly build an identity, and that they have to do it both at home and on the road before he'll be convinced.

Still, the win in Toronto in a tight game was a step in the right direction.

"It was great to see us win a game like that where at the end of the day we just fought to stay alive and end up going to overtime and making the right plays down the stretch to win the game," Allen said. "We had [adversity] in the second game of the season. We all had to respond to it. And the first game of the season, Posey was out. I think we're ready, but we're not battle-tested yet."

Allen also noted that he's been asked several times about who would be taking the last shot in a close game, and he noted that the final play wasn't really designed for him, but that Paul Pierce made a nice play to get him the ball open in the corner.

"Paul had a shot at the end of [regulation], and if he made that shot we would have been home a lot earlier. You guys would have saw that one," Allen said, joking about the lost TV feed that blacked out his gamewinning three on the television broadcast. "Paul was the quarterback throwing the ball in (on Allen's gamewinner), so we just all have to be ready. Whoever has to knock that shot down and make that play, we'll celebrate a different individual every night."

"I'm sorry...Did I break your concentration?"

Basketball teams don't like distractions at practice, but after practice, lately it's been a different story.

When the team sets up for free throws as practice breaks, there seems to be a new game afoot between Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Eddie House. They'll take turns going to the free throw line while other three attempt to distract the shooter by any means possible without touching him.

Dancing, making faces, dribbling the ball, rolling it at his feet and staring at him are just a few of the tactics employed.

After an overtime tilt and the news that Doc Rivers' father passed away over the weekend, the Celtics cancelled Monday's practice and will reconvene on Tuesday at The Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint on Tuesday morning to prepare for Wednesday's tilt against the Denver Nuggets.

With the win on Sunday, the Celtics improved to 2-0, marking the team's first 2-0 start since the 2003-04 season...Ray Allen scored his 17,000th career point during overtime, while Paul Pierce moved up to 6th place (15,416 points) on the Celtics' all-time scoring list. He passed Sam Jones (15,411).

Allen on the last play of the game: "That is exactly how we drew it up. A lot has been said about this team and what's going to happen at the end of games and who is going to take that shot. It is a joy to be out there offensively and for the coach to be able to draw up a play and there are three options, Paul (Pierce) he had a shot if he threw it in and stepped back in. He caught me wide open and KG (Kevin Garnett) set a great pick, but even if I wasn't open, KG was under the basket. It was a great play."

Also of note, courtesy of the Raptors PR department: with 20 points in the extra session, the Celtics scored the most points ever recorded against the Raptors in an overtime session.

And after two games, the Celtics rank as the best defensive team in the league, at least along the lines of opponents' field goal percentage. The C's held the Wizards and Raptors, two offensive powerhouses, to a combined .359 field goal percentage. The C's rank third in points allowed at 89.0 PPG.

KG in the Huddle: Check out this exclusive video of Garnett in the huddle during Friday night's opener at the Garden.

2:00 p.m.: Practice just wrapped up here in Waltham. While everyone wanted to know what The Troika had to say about Opening Night, we were a little curious to see what Rajon Rondo, a little over a year removed from the NCAA environment, thought of the atmosphere last night.

"Honestly, there's like 25,000 at Rupp Arena in Kentucky every night, but the fans were great last night," Rondo said. "When I'm out there I focus on doing what I do best, intangibles and making my teammates better. I don't really see anybody, or hear anybody. I try to stay focused and do my job."

Rondo's job is mostly predicated on making sure that Pierce, Garnett and Allen get the ball. And when the ball rotates back to him 15 feet from the hoop on the baseline, he knows he needs to take that shot and keep defenses honest.

"Not necessarily make it," Rondo said. "You're gonna make some, you're gonna miss some, but I'm going to take it with confidence and let the opposing team know that I'm going to take that shot this year."

Doc Rivers isn't as much concerned with Rondo making the shot as he is with him making a good decision with the ball in that situation.

"You don't have to take the shot. You can make a play," Rivers said. "He's going to have to mix it up on when it's a shot that he has to take, when it's a play that you can still make. I thought he did a pretty good job. He got a travel one time, but he's going to get better, not only as the year goes on, but as the years go on."

Doc's Diagnosis

"I was really nervous about last night's game. One, we hadn't played and they had. We hadn't played in a long time and we were getting stale in practice. When you practice that many days in a row. Then, not having Posey and Scal's foot, I'm thinking going into that game, no Posey, probably no Scal, and we haven't played in a week. I think as a coach sometimes you conjure up things, but that was a realistic fear. And the first five minutes of the game was how I thought we would play. We couldn't make a shot and were going too fast. Thank God they were too."

Paul Pierce had a strong game with the second unit in last night's game, and we asked if Paul will have a permanent role in that second unit, or if Garnett and/or Allen would expect to see time with the reserves as well.

"It probably will be Paul most of the time. Sometimes it will change, but for the most part it will probably be Paul. He knows he's the go-to guy, and they understand that which is really nice. I thought last year with our young team, they didn't understand at times. This team, they knew it, and they got it to him through our offense in the right spots. It got Eddie House open shots, and Tony driving lanes. Obviously, you would change the rotation if Paul got into foul trouble, then you would keep Kevin out with that group."

Rivers also said that with Kevin Garnett in the fold, he doesn't expect to double team many bigs this year, including Chris Bosh on Sunday.

"I don't ever want to double any big this year. That's our goal. Whether we can get away with it or not, we'll see. Having Kevin helps. We have two very good defenders at the big spots. So we're not double teaming any bigs. The smalls are the ones in this league at the three spot who you may have to double-team some nights."

10:41 a.m.: The team has a noon practice and 3:00 p.m. flight to Toronto today. We'll have an update from Waltham later this afternoon after practice wraps up.

8:03 p.m.: It's lineup time and the crowd is hot. Apparently they've read Gilbert's blog.

Red Auerbach Parquet

Celtics legends were on hand to unveil the newly named Red Auerbach Parquet before Friday's opener at the Garden.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty

8:09 p.m. We're underway and this place is loud. Think 2002 loud, and honestly, probably louder. The Red Auerbach Parquet dedication was special, and Paul was getting choked up as he thanked the fans for sticking with him for "10 long years, through the good times and the bad."

Also in attendance tonight: Red Sox ownership and Tim Wakefield, Manny Delcarmen, Clay Buckholz and Jacoby Ellsbury, as well as Bob Kraft and a handful of Patriots.

7:25 p.m.: Here's the recap from the locker room and Doc's junket....

Paul Pierce told reporters that he didn't even think about today being a game day when he woke up, but he did say he's been itching to play after watching teams play on TV for the last two days. Pierce noted that he's been answering the "same questions" all week and joked that reporters had "nothing to talk about tonight." He later did a quick interview with ESPN Radio's Dr. Jack Ramsey.

A hot topic is tonight's tribute to Red Auerbach. Said Pierce, "The whole Celtics Pride thing started with Red Auerbach" and he added that even though he's passed on, "Red's always going to be here."

Doc Rivers had some unique perspective on Red. "They would not be talking about bringing it back to the glory days" without what Red brought to the Boston Celtics. He also talked about what it was like to be able to pick up the phone and call Red, or be on the receiving end of one of Red's calls.

"The things I would ask about wouldn't be about X's and O's, they were about dealing with human beings," Rivers said.

6:22 p.m.: It's about 10 minutes before the Celtics locker room opens up, and there's a palpable buzz in the air, as fans are just starting to file into the building. About half of the Wizards are out on the floor for warmups right now. Gilbert, he of the November 2 guarantee (although I read he's now sort of backing off that) was out extra early practicing his long-range shooting...

All 14 players went through shootaround in Waltham on Friday. We'll be back with details from Doc Rivers' pregame address later on.

Peter Stringer covers the team for Celtics.com. You can send him .