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2014

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February 2014

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that forward Kevin Garnett underwent successful right knee arthroscopy and removal of posterior knee bone spurs today at the New England Baptist Hospital. The surgery was performed by Team Physician Dr. Brian McKeon and was assisted by Dr. Michael Belkin and Dr. John Richmond.

"After this successful surgery, Kevin can now begin to focus on rehabilitating his knee, returning to top physical shape and fully preparing for the 2009-10 season," Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge remarked.

Garnett appeared in 57 games this season for the Celtics averaging 15.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.11 steals and 1.19 blocks in 31.1 minutes per game. Garnett became the youngest player in NBA history to have played in 1,000 career games when he played against the Bulls on October 31, 2008 at the age of 32 years and 165 days. Garnett was named to the 2009 NBA All-Defense First Team for the second consecutive season and his 10th consecutive season of being named to either the First or Second Team. The Farragut Academy product was named to his 12th All-Star game this past season and his 12 appearances are second-most among active players behind only Shaquille O'Neal.

"I expect Kevin to return to active duty in full force and be that consummate two-way professional that he has shown all of us throughout his fantastic NBA career," Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers added.

Postgame Links

Magic 101, Celtics 82, FINAL: Recap | Box Score | Photos

Shorthanded Celtics Run out of Steam in Game 7

Pregame Media Access

We've nearly come full circle since the open, jovial locker room of Game 2 pregame, when Rajon Rondo gave one of his longest and most candid interviews of the season. Comparatively, the Game 5 locker room was a ghost town, but with everything on the line tonight, players flashed a uniform smile and joked with the media.

The atmosphere was especially surprising given the stakes of the evening, which Kendrick Perkins called stressful.

"Leading up to the game it's kind of stressful," Perkins said. "You got to think about every situation."

In the real-talk quote of the day, this was Perk's response to being asked if minutes have had any effect on the Celtics:

"I think we cool," he said.

Point blank, period?

As for Patrick Ewing's comments on the radio yesterday, when he guaranteed a Magic victory, Stan Van Gundy dismissed the story as banter between two old friends. The interviewer on the radio show was former Georgetown coach John Thompson.

Besides, guarantees didn't always work out so well for Ewing back in the New York days.

- Couper Moorhead

C's Are Energized and Ready For Series Finale

WALTHAM- That extra day of rest really got the Celtics itching to be on the court. A practice that began at 11 a.m. this morning and was schedule to end around 11:30 a.m. ran much later than expected. Media members were not let onto the court until after 12:30 p.m. Doc Rivers told reporters that it was nice to be able to hold a full practice, and that he couldn't remember the last time that actualy happened.

In addition to practice running late, more than half the team stayed after to get extra work in. All four baskets had players shooting on them, with Ray Allen trying to straighten out his shooting woes just a few feet away from the media herd. As always, Allen told the press that he's not worried about his shot and always thinks "the next one is going in."

Paul Pierce feels the same way about Allen's shooting. When he was asked about the troubles his teammate is going through on offense, Pierce pretty much laughed the reporter off and said he's not worried about Allen in the least bit. Pierce also talked about his personal experience in Game 7, noting that there is a heightened sense of urgency and how that plays a big role in his performance.

Rivers, Pierce and Allen all talked about the importance of playing this game in front of their home fans. Pierce has never played in a Game 7 on the road and is happy it's staying that way. He also pointed out that during his first Game 7, even though it was in his home arena, he struggled because he sat back and waited for things to happen. Now, he sees the final game as an opportunity to attack, and he plans on doing that tomorrow night.

- Marc D'Amico

Postgame Links

Celtics 75, Magic 83, FINAL: Recap | Box Score | Photos

Celtics Turn Over Game 6 | After Game 6 Slip, Perkins Delivers Real Talk

Pregame Media Access

ORLANDO - There was plenty to talk about tonight before Game 6 during media access. The guys seem in good spirits, and Tony Allen, who's always quick with a joke, had the line of the day. Eddie House started sneezing uncontrollably just as the access period began, leading T.A. to crack, "He's allergic to the media."

A former broadcaster, Doc Rivers is certainly not allergic to the media. He talked to the press for almost 10 minutes before Game 6, touching on topics ranging from how ready his team is, whether that fourth quarter shot in Game 5 actually hit the rim ("It definitely hit the rim"), the Celtics' player development over the last few seasons, and the Magic's finger-pointing in the Game 5 postgame presser.

Asked if his team could at least take comfort in the fact that they have two chances to eliminate the Magic and one of them will be at home, Rivers once again pointed out how shorthanded his team is, noting that his team is hurting.

"We're not good enough to do that. Due to injuries, we have to take every game extremely serious and play with a tremendous amount of focus," Doc Rivers said. "We're not going to just show up and out-talent anybody."

As for the Magic's squabbles in the media, Rivers downplayed their potential impact on Orlando heading into tonight's game.

"The worst time to interview a coach or an athlete is right after the game. In the past I've said some things that I wished I could pull back when I got home," Rivers said. "But a strong team can get through that."

We asked Doc what made him stick with Stephon Marbury given the struggles he's had since coming to Boston. Rivers has been saying repeatedly that Marbury would help the Celtics win a basketball game over the last few weeks, and Marbury's fourth-quarter outburst set the table for the Celtics' big comeback on Tuesday night.

"Honestly, I didn't have a lot of options. He was the option because he's the best ballhandler of the group," Rivers said. "We looked at our bench and said, 'who gives us the best chance to have a big game?', and it's Steph."

- Peter Stringer

Postgame Links

Magic 88, Celtics 92, FINAL: Recap | Box Score | Photos

Marbury Finally Makes His Mark | Experience, Ubuntu Keeps Celtics Afloat in Game 5

Pregame Media Access

Surprising next to nobody, the pregame locker room was a ghost town, with a few players moving between the training room and showers and a few howls coming from the adjacent workout room. Still, it set a quiet contrast to the locker room before Game 2, when Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo sat side-by-side in their lockers, talking to the media at length.

The only person who did speak was Doc Rivers, who said Brian Scalabrine was feeling better after a recent bout with illness and that Kendrick Perkins will play with his banged up shoulders -- which is nothing new for the big man.

"His injury is what it is. It's not going to improve," Rivers said. "He's going to play with it. Hell, he has to, we need him."

Perkins will also not have an MRI on the shoulder, partially because, as Rivers noted, you usually find bad things with an MRI.

Rivers also commented on the apology issued by Glen Davis for running into a young Orlando fan sitting courtside after his game-winning shot in Game 4.

"I'm glad he apologized for nothing, but I'm glad he did. It's just a classy move by Baby," Rivers said.

And those of you hoping to see increased minutes for any of the Celtics might want to hold those hopes in check.

"Right now I like our rotation," Rivers said. "We're just going to stay with that. We like it, it's gotten us where we're at. If we need other guys they'll be ready."

- Couper Moorhead

Postame Links

Celtics 95, Magic 94, FINAL: Recap | Box Score | Photos

Big Shot Baby Saves the Season | Baby's Amazing Game-Winner: Where Preparation Happens

Pregame Media Access

ORLANDO - It's not technically an elimination game, but if the Celtics lose Game 4 tonight in Orlando, they'll have dug themselves a deep 3-1 hole out of which few teams have ever climbed.

Coach Doc Rivers has always contended that he can't tell how his team is going to play based on anything he sees in pregame, and tonight's no different.

"I know they're going to come out and play, but you never have a sense of whether they're going to play well," Rivers said. "You believe that they're prepared. I'm sure Stan believes his team is prepared. Then you just go out and play."

One thing that's become very clear in the playoffs is that the Celtics just aren't the same superior defensive team that they were in the regular season, largely due to the absence of Kevin Garnett, who's tenacity and athleticism makes him one of the best pick-and-roll defenders in the league. As of late, the Celtics have been struggling to defend the set, which is only the bread-and-butter play of the National Basketball Association.

Asked if there were any adjustments for tonight, Rivers said, half-joking, that they needed to "keep people in front of us."

"A team can't shoot 59% against us," Rivers said. "If they do [again], we won't win."

With that in mind, the team may be coping with something of an identity crisis. While Boston still considers itself a defensive team, even Rivers is willing to admit that this team needs to prove it.

"We believe we're better than that. We keep saying it. But we haven't proven that," Rivers said. "That's on us and we have to prove that."

- Peter Stringer

Postame Links

Celtics 96, Magic 117, FINAL: Recap | Box Score | Photos

Magic Not Dying By Three

Pregame in Orlando

Most of the discussion in pregame with Doc was about what constitutes a "playoff foul".

According to Rivers, back in his day, "if you drove and dunked and then drove again, you were gonna get your lights knocked out. But you didn't react to it, you just got back up. The reaction is as much of the problem as the hard fouls."

A victim of several floorings, Rajon Rondo has gotten pretty used to it at this point. In last year's playoff run, the Hawks, Cavs and Pistons all made a point of making Rondo pay when he drove the lane. Similarly, the Bulls knocked him down early and often in their series. It stands to reason that the Magic will start doing it too.

Rivers said he doesn't think Rondo worries about getting hit, and in fact, he pointed out that Rondo's done a better job of "playing with speed" when attacking the rim. In fact, on his celebrated dunk, Rivers felt part of the reason the Magic didn't knock him down was that he just got to the hoop too fast.

Pierce Is Rested and Marbury Is Coaching

WALTHAM- Paul Pierce, dripping sweat off his chin after a personal workout on the court, joked about his 15-minute, three point performance last night.

With his teammates' performance, he could.

"That was pretty much the game plan," he said. "Go out there, hack away Paul, and let Eddie House come in and score 30, win by 20. Great game plan."

After the fact, with a win under the Celtics' belt, it was a joking matter. More than amusing, it may wind up being a great thing for the C's. Rivers said that he thinks "everybody's beat up" right now, but getting Pierce some extra rest heading into Game 3 and beyond has to be a positive, especially considering that it didn't hinder his team's performance in Game 2.

Although the team blew out Orlando with their captain watching from the sidelines, Doc Rivers knows that a performance like that is unlikely to happen again.

"We won a game with Paul obviously not playing a lot in the game," he said. "That's not anything we can count on game to game, we know that."

Pierce and Brian Scalabrine were the only players to speak with the media and both sessions were short and sweet. Scalabrine talked about being back on the court and contributing, but said what really matters is the team winning games.

Throughout the media session, in the far off corner of the gym, Stephon Marbury was serving as both mentor and coach to youngster J.R Giddens. Marbury was working one-on-one with the rookie to develop his face-up offensive moves and ball protection. Marbury showed examples of jab-steps to create space for jumpers and Giddens would mirror the move until Marbury felt he had perfected it.

Although the tone of the workout was serious, the two joked and laughed between reps. Who was it that said Marbury would be a cancer to this team?

Boston is set to take off for Orlando, where Games 3 and 4 will be played, at 3 p.m. this afternoon. Friday's Game 3 will be at 7 p.m. and broadcast on ESPN.

- Marc D'Amico

Postame Links

Recap | Box Score | Photos

Eddie House Shoots Magic Out the Door | C's Won't Back Down: Even Series 1-1

Pregame Media Access

Its been a weird night at the Garden so far, as pregame felt closer to training camp, access wise, than any playoff game so far. Stan Van Gundy spoke candidly with the media about his time spent as the men's basketball head coach at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, saying that his time spent in the college coaching system was some of the most enjoyable times of his career.

But before that, Van Gundy defended the defense of his starting shooting guard J.J. Redick: "There's always been a laser-like focus on his defense," Van Gundy said, adding that there's been a stigma attached to Redick, when in reality it's hard for anyone to defend the elite shooting guards, like Ray Allen, in this league. "When [Rondo] wants to be on the ball, he's unbelievable."

The other thing we don't see very often is Rajon Rondo -- named today to the All Defensive Second Team -- talking before the game, but tonight he sat down at his locker and talked at length, answering every question thrown at him.

Defensively, Doc Rivers said Rondo has "an ability to change the game at the point position," saying the impact is similar to that of New Orleans point guard Chris Paul.

There's been a ton of Fav 5's being thrown around this playoffs, so Rondo gave us his Top 4 quickest point guards in the league: Derrick Rose, T.J. Ford, Tony Parker and Devin Harris.

- Couper Moorhead

Postgame Links

Recap | Box Score | Photos

Magic Nearly Shoot Themselves Out of Game 1 | Don't Call It a Comeback: Game 1 Rally Falls Short

Pregame Media Access

Its Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals and the Garden is, quiet? After all the hoopla surrounding Game 7 of the "greatest first-round series ever", the media masses have actually reduced and the early-comers at their seats in the building are buzzing a little less.

We'll do a quick rundown of the pregame tidbits, sparse as they were:

-Stan Van Gundy on fatigue playing a factor in this series: "It's irrelevant."

-Van Gundy on the JJ Redick, Ray Allen matchup: "I don't know what to say about it, it's two guys out there guarding eachother . . . [Allen] put up 51 on [the Bulls], my guess is J.J. can probably hold him to that."

- Allen on good friend and former teammates Rashard Lewis: "I wish him well and I don't."

- Doc Rivers on Kendrick Perkins guarding Dwight Howard: "Perk's just got to play basketball. You can't play a game thinking, 'I've got to stay out of foul trouble.'"

- Rivers also said Perkins' shoulder, which he aggravated in Game 7 against Chicago, is sore, and it is also a concern given the center's history, but "he'll be fine".

- The matchup highlighted in most writer's series preview, on the Celtics side, was Glen Davis on Rashard Lewis. Lewis can do things most power forwards can't, but Rivers said he won't have Davis playing off him to prevent dribble penetration.

"We protect the three-point line, we always do, and that's not going to change."

- Couper Moorhead

Postgame Links

Recap | Box Score | Photos

Eddie Money: House Clutch in Clincher

Pregame Media Access

It's Game 7 and that means the Garden is buzzing with an energy reserved for the rarest of games. But as the tension increases, the less we see of the Celtics before the game. One player you should know not to expect by now, despite rampant speculation, is Kevin Garnett. Doc Rivers, as expected swatted down the rumors of him suiting up.

"I thought someone was going to report that they saw Bigfoot and Sasquatch next," Rivers said.

Ray Allen did speak to the media, though, and said you can know how far reaching this series has been based on comments he has received from senior citizens at the grocery store. One woman, who Allen said saw her twice at the store, even asked him, "Don't you have a nanny?"

"There are times when you're at home when you just got to get out of the house," Allen said.

- Couper Moorhead

Postgame Links

Celtics 127, Bulls 128, FINAL 3-0T: Recap | Box Score | Photos

C's Fall Short in Triple-OT, Will Host Game 7 | Allen Has Night to Remember | In a Sensational Series, Despite Loss, Game 6 a Classic

High Spirits in Waltham

WALTHAM- After a dramatic victory last night to give them a 3-2 series lead, the Boston Celtics were in high spirits today in Waltham. Not a whole lot of time on the court is scheduled, as practice will consist mainly of watching film, getting treatment and getting ready for the 3 p.m. flight to Chicago.

The Celtics managed to overcome an 11-point fourth quarter deficit with almost no bench production in addition to Ray Allen fouling out just halfway through the final period. Allen kidded that the referees must have given him all of Kendrick Perkins' fouls. Perkins, who finished with seven blocks and no fous Tuesday night, had been in foul trouble throughout the series.

"I took all [Perkins'] fouls," Allen jokingly said today. "They had to go somewhere. So I took all of them."

Paul Pierce is recovering from a kick to his left calf that resulted in a minor bruise but believes he'll be fine for tomorrow night's Game 6.

"I'm a little sore, but I'll use today to recover, get treatment, get a massage, rest, things like that, and I'll be ready for tomorrow," said Pierce.

The team seems to be extremely concentrated on closing out in Chicago tomorrow night, as both Allen, Pierce and Doc Rivers all mentioned that this is one of the most physically and mentally exhausting series they've ever been a part of.

After his media session, Ray Allen asked reporters what the odds were that he could make a shot from where he did his interview from, which was behind the baseline in the far corner of the gym. After some discussion, he decided that he should get three shots to make it. The first was well off and missed long. When the second left his hands, Allen and everyone else in the gym thought it was good, but it barely bounced out amid a few jeers. The third missed off the top of the backboard, and with that, Allen took off into the locker room.

Postgame Links

Recap | Box Score | Photos

Perkins, Rondo Play Their Roles in Game 5

Pregame Media Access

One hour before gametime, Ben Gordon, with a left strained hamstring, said he was 50-50 to play in tonight's Game 5. Fifty minutes before gametime, Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said the shooting guard was starting.

The idea, according to Del Negro, is that Gordon will give it a go and see if the hamstring loosens up. Gordon, however, said after testing the hamstring before the game, that he was having trouble changing directions and pushing off.

Doc Rivers, who nearly escaped his pregame press conference after a mere three questions, said the Celtics will go ahead assuming Gordon is 100% as long as he's on the court.

"I've seen some pretty good games from injured players in my time," Doc Rivers said. "We expect his best."

- Couper Moorhead

Postgame Links

Celtics 118, Bulls 121, FINAL 2-0T: Recap | Box Score | Photos

Bulls Win in Double-OT to Knot Series at 2-2 | Rondo Underrated No More

Early Morning, Cold Arena

CHICAGO - It's especially cold here in the United Center on a damp morning in the Windy City. And it was especially during pregame media access. Rajon Rondo, who's really been the story of this series (the KG injury notwithstanding), was once again the topic of pregame, with reporters asking Doc Rivers how the Bulls might scheme to stop him in Game 4, and secondly, if he spends every off-court waking hour with his feet in a bucket of ice.

Rivers said he expects some emphasis on stopping his point guard, but didn't sound too concerned

"He's seen most coverages. There's not a lot of tricks," Rivers said. "It's execution more than tricks."

As for Rondo, he spent pregame with his feet in ice and watching tape from Game 3.

- Peter Stringer

CHICAGO - The C's went through about 90 minutes of practice Saturday at DePaul University in preparation for Sunday's Game 4, and spirits were high among the troops. Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers were both in a joking mood, and the Coach was happy to report that everyone practiced -- and later joked that Rajon Rondo had to be carried off the floor again.

The talk around Chicago has been that Rajon Rondo is "taking over the series", but Rivers said he'd rather look at it as Rondo taking over his team rather than taking over a game.

"I just think Games 2 and 3, he was terrific," Rivers said. "[In] Game 1 he had points, Game 2 and 3 he ran the club and points came as well, but for us it's all about taking over our team, and when he does that, everybody gets something, and I think he's done a great job of that in the second and third game."

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo's feet have been a topic of discussion since Bill Walker and Phil Lynch carried him off the court on Thursday night, but players icing down after practice is nothing new.
Peter Stringer/Celtics.com

Rivers admitted that Derrick Rose's breakout performance may have had something to do with Rondo's big games in Game 2 and Game 3. "I think you always respond when another player plays well against you. But he responded in the professional way. He didn't respond but trying to go back at him and score, he responded by trying to run his team even better."

For Rondo's part, while both ankles were wrapped in ice, he walked off the practice court under his own power and stopped to pose for a picture with some DePaul students before boarding the bus.

As for Pierce, he talked about wanting to be more assertive in Game 3 from the get-go because he'd yet to put his "fingerprints" on the series.

- Peter Stringer

Celtics 107, Bulls 86, FINAL: Recap | Box Score | Photos

Celtics Crush Bulls, Grab 2-1 Series Lead | Pierce, C's Take Care of Business in Game 3 | Celtics Defense Keys Game 3 Victory

Scalabrine Cleared to Play

Finally some good news out of Waltham. Brian Scalabrine participated in his first full practice and is slated to return to the court tomorrow night. He has been out since February 23, when his concussion symptoms recurred.

Doc Rivers and Paul Pierce both noted how great Scal looked today, and he said himself that he feels much more comfortable than he did during his first comeback attempt in late February.

"I made countless mistakes on the defensive end (during the first comeback)," Scalabrine said. "I went through that game the other day and it was so uncharacteristic for me to do that. I feel much sharper now... I felt excellent today, I felt sharp. I felt like when it was time to make a decision, I was there and I made it quickly."

Other good news is that Rajon Rondo looks to be at full strength after his minor ankle sprain during Monday night's win. He participated in practice today without restrictions and was tossing balls off of the wall for highlight-reel dunks during stoppages of play. Rondo also stayed after for an extra shootaround session and did not show any signs of pain.

The Celtics are scheduled to fly to Chicago at 3 p.m. today.

- Marc D'Amico

Powe Tears ACL, Meniscus in Left Knee

It didn't sound good last night when Doc Rivers noted in his press conference that "it doesn't look good" for Leon Powe, and after Tuesday's film session in Waltham, Rivers told reporters that Powe had a torn ACL and torn meniscus and is done for the season.

"Leon has a ACL tear, meniscus, obviously out for the playoffs. Surgery will be determined when it's determined. Tough day, not for us, but for Leon," Rivers said.

With the C's already down a big man with Garnett sidelined, Rivers knows the C's are running short on bodies. But he was more concerned with Leon as a person and not as a basketball player. Powe's already had his share of knee injuries since college and he's at the end of his current NBA contract.

"He played 3 minutes with a torn ACL on the floor, says so much about Leon Powe the person. Forget the playoffs and all that stuff. That's just a tough injury for a kid who's done everything right. That just makes no sense."

Brian Scalabrine is supposed to practice Wednesday with hopes of playing on Thursday. But the Celtics won't be sure of his status until he goes through tomorrow's session.

Said Rivers, "I told our guys we need all hands on deck right now. That's what we're gonna have."

- Peter Stringer

Postgame Links

Bulls 115 Celtics 118 FINAL-: Recap | Box Score | Sider | Photos

Live Game Links

Live Scoreboard (7:00 p.m.) | Live Blog!

Pregame Media Access

Not a lot of hoops talk before the game today, which is a result of the combination of no players speaking to the media in Boston's locker room, playing the same team for the second time in three days and there having been a practice in Waltham yesterday for most reporters to get their questions answered.

Aside from Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro growing up a die-hard Celtics fan in Springfield and Doc Rivers hailing from Chicago -- which I'm sure you've heard at least once this series -- the main theme was the obvious one: How do you stop Derrick Rose?

Game-to-game adjustments can get a little overrated this time of year, and Del Negro pointed out that the Celtics aren't going to reinvent the wheel when it comes to getting the ball out of Rose's hands. The Bulls have seen most defensive looks over the course of the regular season -- though the Celtics might trap Rose more aggressively -- so as most Celtics said yesterday, it's just about them executing the same defense they've played so effectively all year.

- Couper Moorhead

Practice Links

Game 2 Preview

Everybody Has Their Night

Postgame Links

Bulls 105, Celtics 103 FINAL-OT: Recap | Box Score

Pregame Media Access

Let the Kevin Garnett conspiracy theories rest. Doc Rivers said before this afternoon's playoff game that he doesn't play the theories much attention, and he's actually getting a little bit tired of them. Cling to the "1 percent chance" he mentioned at practice Friday if you must, but Garnett is not a factor right now. Leon Powe and Glen Davis are, and they are in a very position entering this year's playoffs.

"Last year we had the ability to use [Davis] or Leon, and I thought that kind of drove them," Rivers said. "This year, there's nobody. They have to play. It's different for them. They know they are playing in this one, last year they didn't. It will be interesting to see if they can have the same sense of urgency."

Garnett will, however, be sitting on the bench during the game. While he's been out during the regular season, Garnett has watched home games from the Celtics locker room, with Rivers noting concerns about Garnett picking up technical fouls in a suit.

"He's fine with it," Rivers said. "I just know if we'll be comfortable, he'll be comfortable with it because it's something he's never done. I'm not worried. I'm worried about the guys in uniform, not the guys in suits and ties."

The other player on the injured list, Brian Scalabrine, will not play in Game 1 or 2, but if he can get through full-contact practices on Tuesday and Wednesday, he will be cleared to play in Game 3 in Chicago on Thursday.

- Couper Moorhead

Early Pregame

The postseason is here. And the Celtics have quite a challenge in front of them if they want to repeat. In case you've been living under a rock, here's an update: KG is out, but the C's are ready to press on and chase Banner 18.

As Stephon Marbury put it last night on his Twitter account, "Let's get ready for this journey - no one said repeating was going to be easy. Look up, don't look down if you want to raise Banner 18."

Bulls vs. Celtics First Round Preview | Celtics vs. Bulls - Photos | As Playoffs Arrive, Shorthanded Celtics Still Thinking Repeat | With KG Lost, C's Emphasize 'D'

Postgame Links

Wizards 108, Celtics 115, FINAL: Recap | Box Score

Pregame Media Access

The good news -- other than this game not meaning anything because the Celtics have the No. 2 seed locked up -- for tonight's matchup with the Washington Wizards? Neither Gilbert Arenas or Antawn Jamison will be playing.

The bad news? Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will be sitting in street clothes, while Rajon Rondo will play limited minutes (the first quarter and possibly the third).

And while there's not quite any ugly tidbits, the status of Kevin Garnett is far from definite. Doc Rivers couldn't guarantee that KG would be ready for Boston's first-round playoff matchup beginning Saturday, saying that the team will have to see how he is moving in the next two practices.

"We haven't seen him play. We don't know how it's going to chart out," Rivers said. "And if he does [play] we don't know how it's going to feel the next day.

"You have to prepare yourself for the worst and the best."

On the plus side:

"He probably won't be 100%, but I think his intensity will be 100%," Rivers said. "That's so important to our team. He has so much to give our team besides basketball when he's on the floor."

- Couper Moorhead

Postgame Links

Celtics 76, Cavaliers 107, FINAL: Recap | Box Score

Postgame Links

Heat 98, Celtics 105, FINAL: Recap | Box Score | Blog

Pregame Media Access

First things first, injuries. Leon Powe had a 30 minute workout today -- wearing a knee brace -- and said that afterward he didn't feel anything wrong with his sprained knee. Powe said he might practice Monday, but Doc Rivers said neither Powe nor Brian Scalabrine will play in Tuesday's matchup at Philadelphia. Kevin Garnett is possible for both Tuesday and Wednesday's games.

Have you ever wondered who would win a one-on-one matchup between Rivers and Rajon Rondo? Well today we got the answer and it was, anticlimactically, a tie.

Rondo said he "would have had a field day with Doc" and would have stripped him of the ball before Rivers could even get to the post to use his size advantage. Rivers, for his part, agreed, but also said the rules would inevitably decide the victor. Under today's no-hand checking rules, Rondo would emerge with the swagger, but under the rules of Rivers' era, 1983-96, it'd be all coach.

"I told Rondo that the whole key for him and I playing against each other are the rules," Rivers. "If you play with the rules that we played under, he didn't stand a chance. If you play with these rules, I didn't stand a chance."

The real question is how Rondo would fare against London streetball legend Stuart Tanner, who previously smoked Devin Harris on the blacktop.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

The Celtics.com Injury Update is back, now with day-by-day analysis. Brian Scalabrine is working out and will dress tonight, but will not play, according to Doc Rivers, who said Scal isn't getting in the game even if everyone fouls out. Kevin Garnett is in the house, as was Leon Powe, who ran at full speed today, making hard cuts, and based on his activity today he said he's 100% confident he'll be ready for the playoffs.

Here's what the next week looks like for the remaining three Celtics on the injury list:

Sunday at Cleveland: Everyone is making the trip, but none of the three is playing on Sunday.

Monday: Powe and Garnett might practice. Powe also said in pregame that Monday is his return date to practice.

Tuesday at Philadelphia: Similar to Tuesday, Powe and Garnett may play. No Scalabrine.

While Scalabrine doesn't appear to have game minutes in his immediate future, he was in fine form in the locker room tonight. A little backstory is needed, mostly that Scalabrine used to wage epic one-on-one battles with Sam Cassell whenever possible and now that he's healthy and Cassell is gone, Scal has nobody left to play. He did, however, have a suggestion

"What about Steph [Marbury] . . . he'd smoke me," Scalabrine said. "I gotta have someone that's slow. Sam was my perfect matchup."

- Couper Moorhead

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Pregame Media Access

The closer we get to the playoffs, the quieter the pregame media sessions get. Nothing new on the injury front, though Doc Rivers did say this about Leon Powe:

"I hope that obviously by the first round [he'll return], for sure. But we don't know the answer there either," Rivers said.

Even though he said the same thing before Wednesday's double-overtime thriller, Doc said Tony Allen will play tonight. Allen was checking in at the scorers table against Charlotte right before Eddie House started dropping treys, sending Allen back to his seat.

Rivers shared his thoughts on the trade of quarterback Jay Cutler to his hometown Chicago Bears:

"I think he's a very good player, but how he got there I don't really love," Rivers said.

Ray Allen, the Atlantic Division's winner of the NBA Sportsmanship Award, also spoke with the media on what the honor meant and, ironically, trash talking.

"I just play the game, and there are kids who look up to me and say, 'Hey I can do it the way he does it,'" he said.

"One thing I learned from MJ, he talked a lot of trash," Allen said. "But he talked trash, but he would come back down the floor and slap you on the butt or pick you up if you got knocked down. He was the ultra competitor."

- Couper Moorhead

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Pregame Media Access

If you stayed on the Celtics side of the ominous black hallway curtain separating the locker room doors, you would have no idea the Charlotte Bobcats were in the house tonight. With the playoffs looming, does it matter who's here anyway?

The big news is that Tony Allen will be playing tonight without a minutes limit. Originally, Allen hadn't expected to play before Friday at the earliest, but Doc Rivers said that once Allen received medical clearance from the doctors, there was no reason to keep him out of games. He will wear a small brace on his left thumb.

There was a smattering of questions lingering on the subject of Kevin Garnett's injury, but one stuck out. Asked if the Celtics could win a championship without KG at 100%, Rivers answered, without hesitation, yes.

- Couper Moorhead

Couper Moorhead will have all the news from pregame shortly...

KG Shutting Down for Now

Doc Rivers wasted little time in breaking the news today after practice. He told reporters that Kevin Garnett, who's still nursing a knee injury, would be shut down until his knee is healthy.

"After watching him move today, we're just going to shut him down," Rivers said. "It probably won't be for the year. He'll probably play by the end, last couple of games, or last three games. It's just not progressing the way we anticipated it would progress."

Garnett was not available after practice for comment, but his teammates were all talking about how guys had to step up for each other, and that they wanted to see the Big Ticket back on the floor, but wanted to see him get healthy first as the Celtics look to make another deep playoff run.

"I could tell he wasn't 100%, he was limping. But he's a warrior. I'd take a 70% KG in the playoffs, but we want him healthy," said teammate Kendrick Perkins.

Check CelticVision HD for interviews with Doc, Paul Pierce, Kendrick Perkins, Eddie House and Leon Powe.

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Thunder 84, Celtics 103, FINAL: Recap | Box Score

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Pregame Notebook

These days it's rare to hear questions in pregame that have nothing to do with injuries. But really, other than Orlando the other day, how much do specific opponents really matter in the waning days of the regular season? So without further ado, here are your Celtics.com injury updates, brought to you by hunters and gatherers.

Kevin Garnett: Not playing tonight with soreness in his knee. Doc Rivers said he doubts if KG plays this Wednesday but would call him likely for Friday. It all depends on how Garnett is moving in practice on Thursday.

Leon Powe: Powe is in the house tonight and will be watching from the locker room. He couldn't say much about the injury, but did mention that he had trouble moving laterally when he tried to play after banging knees with Ben Gordon. His timetable stands at 2-3 weeks since the injury, which was March 17.

Tony Allen: Allen is seeing a hand specialist tomorrow, when he could possibly get clearance for contact play. Despite some soreness in his left thumb, Allen wouldn't rule himself out for this Friday but said he would probably need two practices, which could come when the Celtics have four days off after Friday's game.

Brian Scalabrine: Since being cleared to bike and lift, Scal said he has been getting headaches in the mornings (post-concussive symptoms). He will see a specialist on April 1. Despite the setback, Scal was cracking jokes about why it's important for him to be at all home games.

"For me it's about getting out of the house. A man can only be home so long until he needs to go hunting and gathering," he said. "I have to go see my hunting brothers and we go out there and get some meat and bring it back to the village."

- Couper Moorhead

Game Preview

Rivers may again decide to give Glen Davis a start in place of Garnett as the Celtics face the lowly Thunder in the opener of a five-game homestand Sunday night.

Boston (55-19) isn't likely to earn the Eastern Conference's top seed, trailing Cleveland by five games with eight to play, but it's tied with Orlando for second place and could certainly use a healthy Garnett (knee) down the stretch.

But Rivers doesn't intend to rush the veteran back into the rotation. The Celtics need Garnett fresh to make a run at their second straight title.

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The Atlanta Hawks were the most surprising team to remind the Boston Celtics how difficult it is to win road playoff games last season.

But while the Celtics had home-court advantage throughout their run to a 17th championship last year, they're in danger of creating a more difficult road to their title defense.

One game after a loss dropped the team to third place in the Eastern Conference, Boston will visit the fourth-place Hawks as the latest elite foe in a brutal stretch of Atlanta's schedule.

Preview

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Doc Rivers says the defending champions can win anywhere and getting his banged up Boston Celtics (54-18) healthy for the playoffs is more important than homecourt advantage.

Orlando Magic (52-18) coach Stan Van Gundy believes homecourt advantage is crucial to postseason success.

The teams might get the chance to determine who is right on the court.

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Pregame Media Access

Tonight's probably the quietest pregame of the year, but we've still got injury updates for you. It shouldn't be as depressing this time around.

Kevin Garnett: Earlier reports were saying that KG would see his minutes increase tonight, but Doc said they are sticking with seven minutes per half tonight. Might it have something to do with the Clippers being in town?

Tony Allen: He'll see a hand specialist on March 29th. He's been doing strength and conditioning exercises every day.

Brian Scalabrine: He's begun biking and lifting.

Leon Powe: He's still out with a sprained knee. Doc said he can't do much of anything right now.

Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo: We're putting these two last because they are playing and aren't on any sort of minutes count, at least that we're aware of. Allen did say his elbow is still a little sore, though, and Rondo is wearing ankle braces on each foot as a precautionary measure.

- Couper Moorhead

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Game Preview

Kevin Garnett returned to the Boston Celtics' lineup in time to help them earn a key road victory in their latest contest.

KG is expected to play limited minutes again on Saturday night as the Celtics try for a third consecutive win when they visit the Memphis Grizzlies tonight at 8 p.m.

Playing 15 minutes in his first game since missing 13 with a knee injury, Garnett had 10 points and four rebounds in Boston's 80-77 victory at San Antonio on Friday. With Garnett's minutes limited by coach Doc Rivers, the Celtics (52-18) still managed to win despite their star sitting the entire fourth quarter.

NBA.com Preview

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Celtics 80, Spurs 77, FINAL: Recap | Box Score

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KG, Ray Considered Gametime Decisions

After the morning shootaround, the official status on Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen for tonight's tilt with the Spurs was "gametime decision."

Giddens Reassigned To Utah

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that they have reassigned rookie guard J.R. Giddens to their NBA Development League affiliate Utah Flash. This is the third time this season that Giddens has been assigned to Utah.

Giddens Reassigned To Utah Flash

Game Preview

Both of the last two NBA champions are hoping to make a run at another title this spring. But first, the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs need to get healthy.

It's unclear which of the clubs' banged-up stars will be in the lineup when they meet Friday night in San Antonio, but both the Celtics and Spurs are in need of a victory as they try to hold onto second place in their respective conferences.

San Antonio's Manu Ginobili and Boston's Kevin Garnett are the biggest names to miss considerable time recently for the two teams, with Ginobili out for the last 16 games with an ankle problem and Garnett missing the last 13 with a knee strain.

Preview

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Pregame Injury Update: Allen, Powe and D-Wade All Sitting Out

Another ugly night on the injury front, the least we can do is make the news as easily digestible as possible. But first, the good news is that Dwayne Wade will not be playing tonight. Mercy rule?

Ray Allen: Out with a hyperextended elbow. Day-to-Day but could miss the upcoming two-game road trip. Stephon Marbury will start in his place.

Rajon Rondo: Playing with a sprained ankle. While it's an injury that can linger, Doc said they would try to rest Rondo in April once the rest of the team is healthy.

Glen Davis: Will start, playing on a sprained ankle.

Leon Powe: Out with a sprained knee. Won't be back for two weeks.

Kevin Garnett: Out with a bruised knee. He will travel with the team to San Antonio and Memphis this weekend.

Brian Scalabrine: Out due to a concussion. Said he had a relapse (dizzy spell) last Wednesday but was cleared to get on the bike today. He will be re-evaluated in 12 days.

Tony Allen: Out with left thumb injury. He said he's about 2-3 weeks away.

Davis just about summed it all up by comparing the Celtics' training room to the T.V. show M.A.S.H.

- Couper Moorhead

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Celtics 121, Bulls 127, FINAL: Recap | Box Score

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Final Results: Recap | Box Score

Game Preview

Celtics at Bucks: NBA.com Preview

Doc Rivers updates the media on the status of his injured players in the latest video on CelticVision HD.

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Grizzlies 92, Celtics 102 Recap | Box Score

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Pregame Media Access

We've got a fairly unassuming game against a sub-.500 Western Conference opponent tonight, something the young Memphis Grizzlies might use to try to jump ahead early. Confirming earlier reports, Rajon Rondo is indeed back in the starting lineup, pushing Stephon Marbury -- who earlier admitted to not being quite there yet -- back to the second unit.

The most newsworthy nugget out of pregame is that Tony Allen will have the cast taken off his left thumb this Monday. Once the cast is removed, the timetable is 2-3 weeks of rehab before he can make his return. Allen, who was displeased with the aroma of the cast, has been running and pulling weight his wrist. According to him, everything is on track.

Former (well, sort of) Celtic Darius Miles is in the building, having stuck with the Grizzlies after a couple 10-day contracts, and he called his time in Boston during training camp a "blessing".

- Couper Moorhead

The Celtics will take Thursday off and regroup for a shootaround on Friday morning before they host the Memphis Grizzlies at the Garden.

Postgame Links

Celtics 99, Heat 107: Recap | Box Score

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Magic 86, Celtics 79: Recap | Box Score

Marbury Gets the Start

Doc Rivers told reporters in pregame access that Rajon Rondo's is "doubtful" with his sprained ankle suffered Friday night and that Stephon Marbury would likely start in his place. "That's tough, because he only knows three plays," Rivers quipped.

As for KG, Rivers said that next Sunday vs. Milwaukee would be the earliest the Big Ticket could likely return to action.

Pregame Media Access

On another quiet Sunday morning, the big news out of pregame is that Rajon Rondo is doubtful for this afternoon's game with a swollen ankle. He was listed as the starter up until 20 minutes before gametime on the various Garden systems, but now he's been replaced by Stephon Marbury, whom Rivers said will start if Rondo can't go.

As for Kevin Garnett, Rivers said that from speaking to him the earliest return date is next Sunday's game against Milwaukee at the earliest. But in prior conversations with team trainer Ed Lacerte, Rivers noted that it had appeared Garnett would be out longer than that.

Glen Davis' Flagrant 2 foul that got him ejected from Friday's game against Cleveland has been downgraded to a Flagrant 1. Davis is in the starting lineup today.

There's a behemoth named Dwight Howard in the house who was the subject of many questions in pregame; most of them were along the lines of "How do you guard him?"

"Just play behind him, make him score over the top, which is better than making him an athlete," Rivers said. "Try to make him a skill player."

Now the holder of the Celtics' record for consecutive free-throws made (72), Ray Allen talked at length about the art of the freebie in pregame. He's given similar interviews before, but it is impossible not to listen to a master talk about his craft. Among the best free-throw shooters he's been around, Allen named Chauncey Billups and Steve Nash.

- Couper Moorhead

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Pregame Media Access - KG Out Least Another Week

It shouldn't surprise anyone that we've got a conference-finals size media group tonight, which means a lot of irregulars asking regular questions. Most of the players went through the routine of saying that they are treating tonight's game the same as any regular season matchup, but with home-court consequences on the line it's clear that nothing about tonight is typical.

For starters, Doc Rivers was wearing a three-piece suit for the first time in recent memory, but what stood out was that the Cavaliers locker room was easily the loosest we've seen all season. The only team that approached the general good humor of tonight's visitors were the Portland Trail Blazers back in December, and that's by a wide margin. You could hear laughter down the hallway, and all media in attendance were treated to a LeBron James rendition of T.I.

The most newsworthy item to come out of pregame was that Kevin Garnett, who has begun running, will be out at least another week.

- Couper Moorhead

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Scal Out Until April, No News on KG

Doc Rivers told reporters that Brian Scalabrine will be out until April, but didn't have many details on Kevin Garnett's status.

"I don't even know if I am supposed to tell you this. Looks like he's gonna be out a month. I think the return date is April 1st. That's not a joke. I didn't get into the evaluations, but they did say out a month. I was hoping maybe a week out, but the good news is he'll be back in time for the playoffs. That's a good sign."

On the other hand, he didn't have much to say about Garnett.

"He's moving a little better. He's jogging now," Rivers said, noting that there's no target date for Garnett to return to practice or basketball activity.

The good news is, the team's schedule has finally provided some practice time. The team practiced both Monday and Tuesday before flying to New Jersey for Wednesday's matchup with the Nets.

"The guys needed it to fit in Mikki and Steph," Rivers said. "We've got a lot of practice days coming up and we can't have enough of them."

"It helped us to get out here and get a better understanding of what we're trying to do," Captain Paul Pierce said. "It's important that we execute and that everybody's on the same page."

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Pregame Media Access

Brian Scalabrine is back in the arena tonight and took the time for an impromptu media session. Doctors aren't able to do any tests until Scalabrine is non-symptomatic, so he won't know much until tomorrow at the earliest. Scal did say that it's 99% that he suffered a concussion on Feb. 23 against Denver, which would be the fifth concussion of his career. He admitted to being fairly unemotional about the ordeal, some of which stems from the uncertainty surrounding everything.

"Am I deep, deep down concerned about it? I mean, it's your career, it's your life, so yeah," Scalabrine said. "Hopefully the best will all work out.

"In my mind, I'm not discouraged. I'm thinking that I'll be back playing in a week. That's where my mind is. I'll know tomorrow, maybe we won't, then we'll know on Wednesday, or we'll know on Friday."

In the meantime, Scalabrine hasn't been able to do much anything at all.

"You can't do anything," he said. "You can't watch TV for more than 30 minutes. You can't read a book. You can't get on the Internet. I've been doing what we did back in the day, conversate. My wife's getting tired of talking to me, though."

- Couper Moorhead

Game Preview

The Boston Celtics have a new threat coming off the bench.

Stephon Marbury looked good in his Boston debut Friday night against Indiana, and Sunday afternoon he'll try to help his new team finish off a four-game season sweep of the visiting Pistons, who will likely again be missing Allen Iverson.

The addition of Marbury had been rumored for weeks, and it finally came to pass when he agreed to a buy-out with the New York Knicks and cleared waivers on Friday.

Preview |

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Pacers vs. Celtics (7:15 p.m.)

Pregame: Marbury Meets the Media

Everybody is in the house tonight for the introduction of Stephon Marbury as a Boston Celtic. Doc Rivers joined the recent signee for a pregame press conference, where they were all smiles.

Marbury has yet to play a game this season, and though he's been training all year, he doesn't know how long it will be until he's back into game shape. That doesn't mean he won't be playing, though, as Rivers made it clear that Marbury will be getting minutes tonight against the Pacers.

"If he screws up a play, it's because he doesn't know it," Rivers said. "I told him just to be free. Just play."

Apart from simply adding a former All-Star to the roster, Rivers said that Marbury will allow him to rest Paul Pierce and Ray Allen more. But the greatest benefactor of the move could be Eddie House, who will be able to play off the ball and become more of a shooter.

With the new arrivals comes new territory in the locker room. It appeared that Marbury took Sam Cassell's old locker, while Mikki Moore is in Patrick O'Bryant's spot.

Tony Allen gave an update on his rehab after left thumb surgery. He will have a cast on the hand for two more weeks, after which he will be doing strengthening exercises. The plan, Allen said, is to get four games under his belt before the playoffs begin.

- Couper Moorhead

Marbury Officially Signs with Celtics

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed free agent guard Stephon Marbury. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"We are very excited to have a player of Stephon's caliber joining our team. Our entire organization is confident in the belief that Stephon can play an important role in helping us to win another championship," said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations.

Marbury, a 6'2", 205lb guard, is entering his 13th season in the NBA and has posted career averages of 19.7 points and 7.8 assists per game. The former Georgia Tech product is third among all active players in assists with 6,396. The two time All-Star has averaged 20 or more points in a season seven times and has averaged eight or more assists nine times. During his career, Marbury has finished in the NBA's top 5 in assists five times, and has finished in the top 10 nine times.

Marbury will wear #8.

Game Preview

The Boston Celtics suffered a shocking defeat in the finale of their six-game road swing, but it was the loss of Kevin Garnett that was the team's most significant on the trip.

They're hoping an injury to Paul Pierce's thumb is much less of a concern.

The Celtics will hope to have Pierce in the lineup Friday night as they return home to face the Indiana Pacers, who have lost 11 of their last 12 on the road.

Pruitt Suspended

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that they have suspended guard Gabe Pruitt for two games for conduct detrimental to the team.

"I recognize that my behavior was inappropriate and accept the consequences of my actions as determined by the Celtics," said Pruitt.

Pruitt, a 6'4", 170lb guard, is in his second year with the Celtics and is averaging 2.3 points in 8.8 minutes per game this season. The former USC Trojan has appeared in 36 games for the Celtics this season.

Preview

Game Preview

Boston managed just fine with Kevin Garnett hurt in its first matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers last season. The veteran big man's absence isn't slowing the Celtics down now, either.

The Celtics look to win their third straight game since Garnett injured his knee as they kick off their season series with the lowly Clippers on Wednesday night.

Garnett will miss at least two weeks after straining a muscle in his right knee on an alley-oop in a loss to Utah on Thursday night. But Boston (46-12) has won two straight since then and was dominant in its last contest, routing Denver 114-76 on Monday night.

Game Preview

Scalabrine Headed Back To Boston

After taking an inadvertent shot to the back of the head that ended his night in Denver, Brian Scalabrine is on his way back to Boston and will meet with the Celtics' medical staff for some precautionary tests.

Celtics Sign Mikki Moore

BOSTON, MA - The Boston Celtics announced today that the club has signed free agent center/forward Mikki Moore. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Mikki's length, energy, skill and experience, along with his enthusiasm to come to Boston, will be a great boost for us." said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations.

Moore, a 7'0", 225lb center/forward, is in his 11th NBA season. Moore has posted career averages of 5.9 points and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 54.8 percent from the field. This is Moore's second stint with the Celtics after he spent a portion of the 2002-03 season with the team. The former Nebraska Cornhusker has posted career playoff averages of 10.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 15 games. He also shot 54.5 percent from the field in those 15 games.

Moore will wear #7.

Live Game Blog

We're trying something a little new tonight. Check in at 9:00 p.m. for a live game blog where readers can participate and share their thoughts on the game.

Live Game Blog (9:00 pm)

Game Preview

Kevin Garnett got a lot of the credit for turning the Boston Celtics from a last-place team to the NBA champions last season. As important as Garnett has been to their success, however, the Celtics have managed to find ways to win without him.

The Celtics look to remain undefeated without their injured All-Star power forward Monday night when they visit the Denver Nuggets, playing at home for the first time in nearly three weeks. Brian Scalabrine got the start in Garnett's place and had 14 points in the Celtics 128-108 win over Phoenix on Sunday.

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In-Game Updates

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 128, Suns 108, FINAL: The Celtics showed some toughness without KG, slowing down a potent Suns attack on their home floor, but their early offensive output from Rajon Rondo really put them in the driver's seat. The Celtics will face the Denver Nuggets tomorrow night as they continue their West Coast road trip.

Rondo finished with 32 points and 10 assists, while Ray Allen dropped 31.

Celtics 96, Suns 83, End of Third Quarter: The Celtics had pushed a 14-point halftime lead up to 21 at 80-59, but the Suns outscored the Celtics over the last 8:42 of the quarter to make it a ball game. Meanwhile, Rondo is getting into triple-double territory with 30 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Pierce came alive in the third, scoring eight of his 16 points in the period.

Celtics 68, Suns 54, Halftime: Rondo (8-11 FGs, 22 points, six assists) is having a nice birthday, getting wherever he wants to go against Steve Nash and company, blowing by defenders and finishing some tough shots at the cup. And Ray Allen (7-9 FGs, 21 points) is knocking down open shots, which is working out nicely since Paul Pierce is struggling from the field this afternoon.

Shaq has 13 to lead the Suns, and since Kendrick Perkins already has three fouls, the Suns may look to pound the ball inside to the Diesel, because the Celtics have been more effective with the running game today.

Celtics 38, Suns 33, End of First: The Suns have been dropping 140 points on everybody this week, but with 38 points in the first quarter, the Celtics are the ones who look like an offensive juggernaut. Ray Allen (14) and Rajon Rondo (12) have led the way for the Celtics, and this one is looking like a shootout.

Game Preview

The Phoenix Suns had no problem adjusting to life without Amare Stoudemire. The Boston Celtics are about to find out how they'll react to playing without Kevin Garnett.

Two teams missing their All-Star power forwards will square off Sunday afternoon in Phoenix, where the Suns figure to be hard-pressed to continue their string of 140-point games even with Garnett on the sidelines for the defensive-minded Celtics.

NBA.com Preview

Garnett To Miss 2-3 Weeks

Kevin Garnett was evaluated by Dr. Brian McKeon on Friday, and the word is he has a posterior muscle strain in the right knee. Garnett is expected to miss 2-3 weeks.

- Peter Stringer

Garnett Headed Back to Boston

3:30 p.m.: Kevin Garnett has left the Celtics in Phoenix, heading back to Boston where he'll meet with team physician Brian McKeon at New England Baptist Hospital on Saturday. He will miss the next three games.

KG's Statement

Kevin Garnett released the following statement through Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss:

"As you know I suffered an injury, a strain, to my right knee during the game, and I really don't have any comment about it. I will have the knee re-examined tomorrow (Friday) and we should have more information at that time. Obviously I would much rather be playing instead of providing this statement."

In-Game Updates

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 85, Jazz 90, Final: The Celtics were outscored 30-19 in the final stanza and lost 90-85 at EnergySolutions Arena tonight as they played the first of four road games after the All-Star Break. Paul Pierce finished with 20 points, but the team missed KG in the second half (strained right knee) after he left the game late in the second quarter.

Doc talked about playing without Garnett in the second half, noting that KG wanted to go but the team held him back. "He wanted to run but we have a long season and I'm not taking a risk by putting him on the floor," Rivers said. "We would have loved to have him [in the second half], obviously it probably would have made a difference tonight. Unless he's close to 100%, I'd rather have him healthy for the playoffs...that's how I look at it."

Celtics 66, Jazz 60, End of Third: The Celtics are holding the Jazz to just 33% on field goals, but the Jazz are getting to the line (19-23 FTs) and it's keeping them in the game. In the meantime, the Celtics need someone to step up and take over in the fourth. Paul Pierce has 13 points, but he's usually the guy who wants the rock in crunch time.

Garnett Update: (12:30 a.m.) KG was back out on the floor at the half trying to warm up for the third quarter under the watchful eye of Ed Lacerte. The official update from Celtics PR chief Jeff Twiss is that Garnett has a strained right knee and will not return tonight. He'll be re-evaluated in Phoenix on Friday.

Celtics 39, Jazz 38, Halftime: It's a defensive struggle in Utah, but the story of the night is that KG limped off the court with 1:08 left in the half with an apparent right leg, non-contact injury or cramp. No word at this point as to the actual nature of the injury.

Garnett had eight points, two rebounds and a block when he left. Pierce and Perkins also have eight apiece, while Deron Williams leads Utah with 10 points.

O'Bryant Dealt To Raptors in Three-Team Swap

The Boston Celtics announced today that the club has traded center Patrick O'Bryant to the Toronto Raptors as part of a three team trade also involving the Sacramento Kings. The Celtics acquire a future conditional second round draft pick from Sacramento. The Kings received guard Will Solomon from Toronto and cash considerations from Boston.

Press Release

Giddens Recalled from Utah

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that they have recalled rookie guard J.R. Giddens from their NBA Development League affiliate Utah Flash.

Press Release

Cassell Traded To Sacramento

Sam Cassell

BOSTON, MA, Feb. 17, 2009 - The Boston Celtics announced today that the club has traded guard Sam Cassell and cash considerations to the Sacramento Kings for a future conditional second round draft pick.

"Sam was an important piece of our championship team last season. His profound knowledge of the game and his infectious personality will be missed from our locker room. We wish Sam the best of luck." said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations.

Cassell, a 6'3", 193lb guard, is in his 16th NBA season. The former Florida State Seminole had yet to appear in a game for the Celtics this season. He averaged 4.5 points and 1.2 assists in 12.6 minutes per game during the 2008 NBA playoffs in which the Celtics won their NBA-record 17th title.

Post Ups from the Desert
Celtics.com's Peter Stringer will spend the weekend in the desert bringing All-Star 2009 back to Boston on the web.

In-Game Updates

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 99, Mavericks 92, FINAL: The Celtics looked left for dead in the first half, and when they fell behind by 15 in the second half, there wasn't much hope. But they rallied throughout the half, and when they started to get physical with the Mavericks, the game changed, Doc Rivers got tossed and Paul Pierce put on his cape again, dropping 18 of his 31 points in the fourth, while Rondo racked up 19 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists for his second career triple-double.

Tied at 91-91 with 1:28 to play after trailing by as many as 15, Pierce canned a spinning fadeaway over Deavan George with 1:12, then he drew the offensive foul by taking a Nowitzki elbow on a pivot move. Then he hit another fadeaway over George from the right elbow making it 95-91.

"I had a nice rhythm the whole fourth quarter," Pierce told TNT. "It was a big win for us."

Celtics 69, Mavericks 75, End of Third Quarter: KG and Dirk got into it in the post, each picking up techs but Garnett now has five fouls, and Doc Rivers got a pair of technicals to earn an ejection, leaving Associate Head Coach Tom Thibodeau to take over bench duties.

Rajon Rondo has recorded his second triple-double already, while Ray Allen has 15 points despite the sore right thumb, 12 of which came in the third.

Celtics 40, Mavericks 51, Halftime: The Celtics are struggling to execute on offense (and they've turned it over 10 times) despite Rajon Rondo stuffing the box score with an impressive 8 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists line at the break. Pierce is their leading scorer with 10 points, but at just 3/10 from the field he's had to work hard for that 10.

Meanwhile, Dirk Nowitzki already has 20 points at the half.

Celtics 17, Mavericks 21, End of First: The Celtics came out of the gate sluggish, with KG missing his first five shots, and they ended up on the business end of two shot clock violations in the first quarter.

Ray Allen got the start despite missing the second half of last night's win with a sprained right thumb, and he's 0/2 with two fouls, one turnover and just one point in the opening quarter.

Pregame

Ray Allen will make the start tonight in Dallas after leaving Wednesday night's game in New Orleans with "sprained" right thumb.

In-Game Updates

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 89, Hornets 77, Final: The C's clamped down on defense, Rajon Rondo started attacking the hoop and setting guys up, and the C's outscored the Hornets 25-13 over the last 12 minutes as the C's put the Hornets away in the fourth. Pierce finished with 30 points, while Eddie House sparked the run early in the fourth.

Celtics 64, Hornets 64, End of Third: The good news? Ray Allen's X-rays came back negative, and the official diagnosis is a sprained right thumb, according to team spokesman Jeff Twiss. The bad news? Allen hasn't returned to the game. On the other side, Peja Stojakovic was seen on the Hornet bench holding what appeared to be ice under a towl on his left shoulder.

Pierce dropped another 10 points in the quarter and leads all scorers with 28. He's 10/12 from the line.

Celtics 42, Hornets 44, Halftime: The Hornets are getting to the line, but it's Antonio Daniels who's handing out the assists rather than Chris Paul. But for the Celtics, it looks like they're going to be riding Paul Pierce tonight for any offense, as Ray Allen reportedly hyperextended his right thumb. Pierce had 15 of his game-high 18 in the first quarter.

As for defense, Doc Rivers can't be happy about allowing 48.4% shooting.

Celtics 23, Hornets 21, End of First: Paul Pierce is racking up the points in the first quarter, getting to the basket and knocking down his jumper, but the Hornets are shooting 60% from the field and the Celtics' seven-point lead is down to two.

Chris Paul made the start but hasn't had much of an impact. He's got 0 points and two fouls to his name. Meanwhile, with TA shelved with his thumb injury, Bill Walker got some early burn.

Live from Courtside

Recap | Box Score

Spurs 105, Celtics 99, FINAL: This one really slipped away in the last 45 seconds.

Manu Ginobili stole Ray Allen's inbound pass with 20 seconds to play and then drew a questionable clear path foul to allow the Spurs to take a 99-93 lead with 19 seconds to play, and the free throws basically finished the Celtics. Pierce airballed a three attempt, and the rebound bounced off Eddie House into the sideline, ending any hope of a dramatic comeback.

KG knocked down an 18 footer with 2:15 to play to make it 91-89, then created a steal and hit another jumper at 1:36 to make it 93-90. But after Bonner nailed a midrange jumper from the top of the key with 45 seconds to go, Garnett's elbow jumper rimmed out and Roger Mason's three put the Spurs up 95-93 with 20 seconds to play before Ginobili's steal turned the game into a free throw shooting contest for San Antonio.

We'll spare you the gory details, but the Celtics have now lost four games at the Garden and their record drops to 42-11.

- Peter Stringer

Spurs 74, Celtics 76, End of Third Quarter: The Celtics opened the quarter with a 14-2 run that got the crowd heated, but the Spurs took the hit and responded. Duncan slowed the run and silenced the building with a 15-foot bank shot while Matt Bonner (21 points, five in the quarter) continued to make sure people will remember his name.

Other than the big run, the Spurs have had an answer every time the Celtics begin to gather momentum, whether it's with a big three or a defensive stand. Both teams are shooting over 50% and have exactly 20 assists apiece. Most of the numbers are even, except the Spurs have hit seven from beyond the arc while the Celtics are 1-of-5 from deep.

Four Celtics are in double figures, led by Garnett's 17, while Duncan (20 points) and Ginobili (15) join Bonner to lead the Spurs.

- Couper Moorhead

Spurs 60, Celtics 52, Halftime: The Celtics are dominating the points in the paint battle (32-24), while the Spurs have moved the ball well and are knocking down their open jumpers. Matt Bonner, who played his high school ball in New Hampshire, is destroying the C's from downtown with his long-range marksmanship. He's the game's leading scorer with 16 points, and 14 of those came here in the second.

Tony Allen (8 points) is attacking the rim and scored six of the Celtics first 11 points of the second quarter. He's not dancing with the ball, as Doc frequently talks about, and that's a good thing.

- Peter Stringer

Spurs 22, Celtics 23, End of First Quarter: Both Parker and Rondo demonstrated their improved jumpers in the opening period, Parker hitting a trey in the left corner that the Celtics gave him an hour to shoot and Rondo hitting a mid-range jumper on a handoff from Perkins. Each guard also has an identical, weaving righty layup from the left side of the hoop, AKA the Gary Payton Classic. Rondo always seems to raise his game to another level when playing against an elite point guard, so keep your eye on him.

One thing that stands out about the Spurs is their patience in moving the ball. They are taking a lot of jumpers, but many have been open and that has spread the floor for Tim Duncan (eight points on 4-of-6 shooting).

The Celtics got what they needed from their starters. Ray Allen has nine points, Kevin Garnett has six boards and Rondo has five assists.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

It's typical of a Sunday morning game to be fairly quiet and today was no exception. There weren't too many juicy storylines coming out of pregame -- not surprising given the way both franchises handle themselves -- other than the obvious comparisons between each team's constructions.

Doc Rivers, who spent some time in San Antonio, gave David Robinson due credit for helping change the Spurs' locker room culture, but said the big change for the team was when Gregg Popovich took over as General Manager. About an hour before tipoff, Popovich came over to the Celtics' side of the curtain for a good-natured interruption of Rivers' media session -- the two clearly have a strong camaraderie.

One of the most obvious similarities is that each team follows a point guard who did not exactly carry the reputation of a sniper when they entered the league. Popovich said that if either Tony Parker or Rajon Rondo was a 40% three-point shooter, they would be absolutely unguardable. Rivers, though, emphasized that Parker's extended range did not come in a matter of months, but years.

"When Parker first came into the league, he was known as a non-shooter," Rivers said. "As his career has gone on he's improved his shot. He's all the way out to the three-point line now. It's really an example that it took years."

- Couper Moorhead

Live Game Updates

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 110, Knicks 100, FINAL: The Celtics offense erupted for 38 points in the fourth quarter, keyed by Ray Allen, who drilled 11 consecutive points, and the Celtics won pulling away. Paul Pierce finished with 26 points, while Eddie House hits some huge shots. Rajon Rondo also flirted with a triple double, posting 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Celtics 72, Knicks 76, End of Third Quarter: The Celtics are starting to show some of the wear and tear from last night's game with the Lakers, and defensive breakdowns have cost them some easy buckets for the Knicks. Can they tighten it up in the fourth?

Celtics 46, Knicks 47, Halftime: KG is a lot more active tonight, as we noted earlier, and his 11 points and seven rebounds is a refreshing sign. But neither team is heading for the basket right now, there's been a lot of whistles and some sloppy play.

Pierce (9 points) was back in the game early in the second and if his elbow/arm is bothering him now, he's not letting on any more.

Interestingly enough, the Knicks are shooting just 36% from the field but their three-point shooting is keeping them alive; they're 8/18 from beyond the arc.

Celtics 27, Knicks 26, End of First Quarter: The game started out with the run-and-gun D'Antoni style you'd expect, but the pace slowed considerably over the last four minutes of the quarter. The Knicks are jacking up threes, they've already hoisted 10 of them.

KG was more active defensively in the opening minutes than he was last night, but we're keeping an eye on Paul Pierce, who appeared to bang his right elbow on the defensive end late the period.

Live from Courtside

Recap | Box Score

Lakers 101, Celtics 101, End of Regulation: Kobe hit three pull-up three's late in the quarter to take a one-point lead. Pierce then tied it up after going 1-2 at the foul line and Bryant missed a go-ahead turnaround jumper. Boston had the last possession of the fourth, but the play turned into a scramble when Pierce's pass was tipped, forcing House to throw up a desperation heave that glanced off the left side of the rim.

In one of the odder calls in recent memory, KG fouled out with 4:22 remaining on a ticky-tack offensive foul. Garnett was posting up when Gasol tipped the ball away, and while in pursuit of the ball Garnett nudged Derek Fisher just enough to make the smaller man go down. I can't remember the last time a perennial All-Star fouled out of a game that early.

- Couper Moorhead

Lakers 77, Celtics 81, End of Third Quarter: Things got chippy after an initial Celtics run that opened the half. Rondo and Kobe each picked up a technical after exchanging words at midcourt (and Bryant pointed his finger at Rondo's face) and Perkins earned himself a loose-ball foul for getting too physical with Gasol. The teams traded buckets for the rest of the quarter after those fouls, with the biggest difference being eight missed free throws from L.A.

The Celtics played better across the board in the third, turning the ball over less (four TO's) and shooting a higher percentage, but nobody has given them a bigger lift than Eddie House. House was inexplicably left open for one baseline three and also hit a pull-up bank-shot to go with another trey. He's got 16 points off the bench.

- Couper Moorhead

Lakers 51, Celtics 52, End of Half: The Lakers went through a weird period where they kept running their offense through Derek Fisher, Luke Walton and Josh Powell. It's hardly a coincidence that during that period, behind Eddie House and Leon Powe, the Celtics ran off a 9-2 run which rescued them from a nine-point deficit.

KG tied things up at 44 with a monster jam on the break, but the Celtics couldn't overcome their own turnovers (nine) and gain a lead until the final seconds of the half when Rondo scored on a dump pass from Pierce. It would be a stretch to say the Celtics are playing well right now, which makes it all the more amazing that they still managed to get ahead.

Kobe leads all scorers with 13 but five Celtics have at least six points. Boston also has 10 second-chance points to L.A.'s two.

- Couper Moorhead

Lakers 23, Celtics 20, End of First Quarter: Kobe, with 10 points and three assists, came out and set the tone early. After a pair of early KG buckets, Kobe scored six of the Lakers' next eight points. The Celtics gave up two layups to Bryant, not to mention a dunk on the break, and Kobe also dished to Gasol for a jam when Rondo found himself on the seven-footer. Too much is coming too easy for the Lakers against this vaunted defense.

The good news is that Rajon Rondo is in attack mode. He is getting up the court so fast that the Lakers haven't had time to set their defense. Though he's shooting 1-of-5, Rondo has four assists and four boards. Just-named All-Star Ray Allen added seven points.

The Celtics only shot 34.8% from the field in the opening quarter.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

For a little perspective on the sheer amount of media here for tonight's clash, it's somewhere between the first and second round of last season's playoffs. And there's a bit too much gold and purple in the stands tonight.

For such a big game, there was nothing too outstanding coming out of pregame. Lamar Odom spoke for awhile, saying with his tongue in his cheek that someday it would be nice to win a championship and then "sail away on a white horse." Asked whether tonight was a chance for Game 6 revenge, Odom said simply that there is no revenge to be had until the Lakers meet the Celtics in a seven-game series.

At least Odom remembers Game 6. Phil Jackson has apparently developed a sudden case of amnesia when it comes to last June's celebration.

Interestingly, Doc Rivers said the Celtics didn't have to change much with regards to how they prepared after the Andrew Bynum injury. The biggest difference, he said, was that with Lamar Odom playing the four, the defense is much more spread out than with both Pau Gasol and Bynum's men ready to help in the middle.

- Couper Moorhead

Ray Allen Named To Replace Magic's Nelson at All-Star Game

Ray Allen Headed for Phoenix

After draining the game-winner in Philly on Tuesday night, Ray Allen learned on Thursday that he'll be replacing Orlando's Jameer Nelson on the Eastern Conference's All-Star team on Sunday, February 15. Allen will be making his ninth career All-Star appearance, and second for the Boston Celtics.

Allen dropped 28 points in last year's All-Star Game in New Orleans and was narrowly beaten out for the game's MVP Award by LeBron James.

- Peter Stringer

Celtics Keep 2009-10 Season Ticket Prices Flat

BOSTON - The 2008 World Champion Boston Celtics announced today that they will not increase season ticket holder loge and balcony ticket prices for the 2009-10 season. The Celtics have experienced enormous success over the last two seasons capturing the 2008 World Championship title, along with selling out 85 consecutive home games and doubling their season ticket holder account base.

Press Release

KG at Shootaround; Giddens Headed Back to Utah

13 players are present and accounted for at this morning's shootaround, including Kevin Garnett. Brian Scalabrine, still convalescing from multiple concussions, is not participating.

As for J.R. Giddens, he's heading back out West this morning for another assignment with the D-League Utah Flash.

No Practice, and No House in Three-Point Contest

After Tuesday night's dramatic win and a late arrival back in Boston at around 3:45 a.m., the Celtics did not practice Wednesday and will prepare for the Lakers during the morning shootaround on Thursday.

As for Eddie House, despite campaigning from Doc Rivers and Ray Allen, House will not be participating in the 2009 Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout. The NBA announced on Wednesday afternoon that Jason Kapono would defend his back-to-back titles in the shootout against Mike Bibby, Daequan Cook, Danny Granger, Rashard Lewis and Roger Mason.

Live Game Updates

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 100, Sixers 99, FINAL: Paul Pierce took things over down the stretch, heading to the basket, getting to the line (and drawing a few fouls that were never called, too), but his biggest play was finding Ray Allen in the left corner to set up a game-winning threeball with 0.5 to play. Allen's threeball at 30.5 seconds had previously tied the game at 97-97.

Glen Davis had a huge game, notching a double-double and setting the screen that freed up Ray on the last shot. The C's have now won 12 straight.

Celtics 69, Sixers 70, End of Third: The Celtics had some defensive mix-ups and trail by one heading into the fourth, as the Sixers have caught the C's sleeping on a few backdoor plays. Pierce and Rondo each have 20, while Iguodala and Miller have 18 apiece for Philly.

Neither team is getting much in the way of bench scoring.

Celtics 50, Sixers 49, Halftime: The Celtics led by as many as 15, but a 24-10 run over the first nine minutes of the second quarter gave the Sixers a brief 44-42 lead. The Sixers brought plenty of energy in the period, and it took the Celtics almost the entire quarter to match their intensity. And while Rondo was winning the point guard battle after the first, he's got six turnovers at the half.

They didn't seem to miss KG in the first quarter, but The Big Ticket was conspicuous by his absence in the second quarter, especially on the defensive end.

Celtics 32, Sixers 20, End of First Quarter: The Celtics are attacking the hoop and blowing by defenders, and they've run out to a 32-20 lead after the first period. Rajon Rondo was getting wherever he wanted to go against Andre Miller, and he had 10 first quarter points.

Tony Allen ended the first quarter with a loud thunder jam in the open court thanks to some suspect Philly defense. The only sour note for the Celtics: Leon Powe picked up two fouls in just three minutes, so the C's could end up thin in the front court with Garnett and Scalabrine watching on TV back home in Boston.

Game Preview

Paul Pierce made up for Kevin Garnett's absence to help the Boston Celtics keep their winning streak alive in their last game. Based on coach Doc Rivers' assessment of Garnett's condition, Pierce may not be done shouldering the team's offensive load.

With Garnett staying behind in Boston to miss his second consecutive game with an illness, Pierce and the Celtics go for their 12th straight victory Tuesday night when they visit the Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia 76ers.

Brian Scalabrine (concussion) also did not make the trip, but Tony Allen, who according to Rivers has also been sick, did travel to Philadelphia with the team on Monday.

Game Preview

Live Game Updates

Live Scoreboard (12:00 p.m.)

Timberwolves 101, Celtics 109, Final: Al Jefferson and the Wolves refused to be buried early like most other victims of the Celtics' 11-game winning streak, but in the end, the C's were too much for them, even without KG. Pierce finished with 36 points and really attacked the defense, showing his total game today. Now the C's move on to Philly to face the Sixers, and we hope to learn more about KG's status at tomorrow's practice in Waltham.

Timberwolves 73, Celtics 87, End of Third: The Celtics' scoring differential over their 10-game winning streak has been a ridiculous 15.7 points per game. While they led by as many as 21, Al Jefferson went off in the third quarter. He was simply operating on the Celtics in the post, throwing step-back jumpers, fade-away jumpers, straight up jumpers, turnaround jumpers and pretty much any other type of jumper you can name, scoring 14 of his 30 points in the period. The Wolves got the lead down to six points late in the third, when it was 77-71 with 2:16 to play, but the Celtics pushed back to 14 with a 10-2 run to close the quarter.

Timberwolves 44, Celtics 62, Halftime: Tony Allen gave the Celtics a nice lift in the second quarter, dropping 12 points in just nine minutes by attacking the hoop and getting to the line. Meanwhile, Paul Pierce is stepping it up with KG out, playing a complete game. He's got 15 points, five rebounds and five assists.

For the Wolves, Big Al has 16 points to lead all scorers and also six rebounds.

Timberwolves 24, Celtics 29, End of First Quarter: Big Baby Davis isn't doing much in the way of statistics to replace KG, but he's done a decent job of throwing his body around in the paint and covering ground on defense. He's not Garnett, but the effort is there. That said, on the offensive end, the Celtics look a little out of sync.

Paul Pierce (9) and Ray Allen are getting it done offensively, as is Kendrick Perkins (8 points, 5 rebounds), but they might be looking at playing big minutes this afternoon with KG and Scal (concussion) on the shelf.

McHale Gets Warm Welcome

Kevin McHale, the Timberwolves coach who won three championships with the Celtics, had his #32 retired and also agreed to trade Kevin Garnett to Boston, got a nice standing ovation in the moments before tipoff when he was shown on the jumbotron.

Pregame Media Access - KG Out Sick, Baby Gets Start

Doc Rivers told the media around 11:00 that Kevin Garnett is out sick and will miss today's game against Minnesota, and potentially Tuesday's game in Philadelphia as well.

"For Kevin not to play any game is unusual. For him to not play this game, he must be really sick," Rivers said. "We'll just have to make due."

For his part, Rivers was surprised that Garnett was unable to answer the bell today, given his warrior-like approach to the game.

"When they called me last night and told me he was sick, because it's Kevin, I didn't even change my game preparation," I probably should have, [but] I just assumed that if anybody's bigger than the flu, it's Kevin."

Catching Up with Big Al

I caught up with Big Al Jefferson during pregame as he was strapping on his sneakers, and he seemed to be taking the All-Star snub in stride.

"I was disappointed, but it's something I really can't control. But I'll just continue to work hard," Jefferson said.

Hard work is nothing new to Big Al. After a series of ankle injuries in his Boston days, Jefferson went into overdrive in the summer of 2006, changing his diet, shedding weight and working on his game to lay the foundation of what's certain to become an All-Star career.

"That summer got me on the road to where I am now," Jefferson said, noting that his summer routine hasn't really changed in the last few offseasons.

Live Game Updates

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 86, Pistons 78, FINAL: A dull and boring game got interesting in the fourth quarter when things turned physical midway through the period. Kendrick Perkins was tossed for a Flagrant 2 foul against Jason Maxiell under the basket, and the Celtics seemed to respond more than the Pistons. Kevin Garnett took over down the stretch, getting two big hoops late, and the Celtics won their 10th straight game and improved to 39-9.

Celtics 43, Pistons 41, Halftime: The Pistons lulled the Celtics into playing a slower pace, but the basket-attack from the first quarter has subsided and the Pistons are right on their heels after trailing by as many as 11 and shooting just 40%.

Pierce has 12, Garnett has 10, and Rondo has 8 points and 7 assists.

Celtics 23, Pistons 16, End of First Quarter: The Pistons just haven't been the same since swapping Chauncey Billups of Allen Iverson. AI's stats are way down this year, and he look's like he's lost a step. And the Pistons appear to be hurting at the box office as well; there's way too many empty seats at the Palace tonight.

KG is 4/5 with eight points, while Rondo has five assists.

Pierce Gets Nod; Allen, Rondo Stay Home

The NBA announced All-Star reserves tonight, and Paul Pierce will join Kevin Garnett as a Celtics representative on the Eastern Conference team. Guards Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, who were considered candidates for reserve spots, got the snub and will not participate, at least for now.

Should there be any injuries to and Eastern Conference players can not participate, Allen and Rondo would likely be among candidates to serve as injury replacements. Allen was named to last year's team as a replacement and made a serious run at All-Star MVP.

Pierce, who was selected to his 7th All-Star game, talked about what he enjoys about making the All-Star game after Thursday's practice in Waltham.

"The best part of All-Star Weekend for me is just enjoying the time off and enjoying the festivities and being around the players and making the team," Pierce said. "I've never attended All-Star unless I made it, so it's a good time I made the team and get to be a part of the festivities off the court with the Jam Session, with the kids and be amongst my peers and be recognized as one of the better players in the NBA."

- Peter Stringer

Live from Courtside

Recap | Box Score

Kings 100, Celtics 119, Final: Eddie House had quite a night, to the point where the Kings started doubling him and intentionally fouling to prevent him from taking another shot. House was 8/9 from three-point land and finished with 28 points to lead all scorers.

The C's are now 23-2 at home, and they've won nine games in a row.

Kings 78, Celtics 92, End of Third Quarter: The Kings are hanging around, and Paul Pierce has yet to hit a field goal. But he did crash into a courtside fan and douse him in beer.

Kings 49, Celtics 68, Halftime: The Celtics came out of the gates in the second quarter with a 25-9 run over the first seven minutes of the period. Tony Allen was a big part of it, going 4/4 with 8 points, 4 rebounds, a block and two assists. Eddie House continues to light it up, he has 16 off the bench. He's 4/4 from behind the arc and the Celtics bench is outscoring the Kings' reserves 34-10.

Kings 30, Celtics 28, End of First Period: Ray Allen and Kevin Martin spent the first few minutes playing cat-and-mouse, running each other off screens and trying to get open for mid-range jumpers and short-range pull-ups. But the pace clearly favored the Kings, who racked up 21 points in the first six minutes of the game.

Rajon Rondo was really attacking the hole, and he took nine shots, mostly layup attempts. And with Paul Pierce picking up three personals and a tech for good measure in the opening stanza, the C's may have to look at Rondo and Allen for more offense tonight.

Pregame Media Access

Concussions was the topic of the day during pregame, as reporters peppered Doc Rivers with questions about Brian Scalabrine's practice injury that's expected to keep him out of action for a while, potentially 7-10 days.

According to Rivers, he and trainer Ed Lacerte discuss every day who can go (in either practice or games) and who will sit, as Lacerte gives Rivers a list with checks and minuses next to each player's name. A check means a guy is good to go, a minus means that they sit.

While Rivers said that Tony Allen has had a plus next to his name for a few days now, he'll finally get the chance to suit up tonight after missing 11 games with an ankle injury. Rivers said he hopes to get "10 minutes" out of Allen, but seemed more concerned with how the combination of Big Baby and Leon Powe would replace Scalabrine in the front court. While Scalabrine's outside shooting ability allowed the Celtics to spread the floor, Rivers said his team will play more of an "inside, power post up game" with Davis and Powe.

- Peter Stringer

Scalabrine Suffers Concussion; TA Making Return?

A day after skipping practice thanks to taking a Dirk Nowitzki elbow to the face in Sunday's rout of the Mavericks, Brian Scalabrine was back on the practice court, only to sustain a concussion when he collided with Patrick O'Bryant under the basket in rebounding action.

"He went down hard and he was out. He couldn't get up. I just saw him go down," Rivers said of Scalabrine. "He's responding now but he doesn't feel great. It's a tough one because he's been playing great."

Scalabrine is expected to miss at least Wednesday night's game against the Sacramento Kings. The good news is, Tony Allen may be ready to rejoin the lineup after missing the last 11 games with an ankle injury, according to Head Coach Doc Rivers.

"He may have to play tomorrow. We don't want to throw him out there and have him play too much," Rivers said. "My concern with Tony, I don't want to bring him back unless he's going to come back and stay healthy."

- Peter Stringer

Recap | Box Score

Mavericks 100, Celtics 124, FINAL: Another 12 minute garbage-time. This game really was over at the half. Make it eight straight for the Celtics.

Mavericks 78, Celtics 103, End of Third: Well, the Mavs dropped 31 points in the third quarter. But the Celtics scored 29 and the lead is still at 25 heading into the final stanza. KG and Ray both have 23, Eddie House has 17 off the bench. Given the score, House will probably get a chance to run up his total.

Mavericks 47, Celtics 74, Halftime: We'll have to look up the last time the Celtics scored 74 points in a half. The C's are shooting 65% from the field and keeping Dirk at bay; he's just 2/112 with 7 points. Ray Allen has 20 of them, Eddie House has 11 and KG has 13. Gabe Pruitt's the only Celtic who touched the parquet and didn't score.

Mavericks 23, Celtics 38, End of First: KG took over the first quarter, posting guys up, draining jumpers, stealing inbound passes and anchoring the defense as usual. Up 13-12 with 5:41 to go, the Celtics ran off a 14-2 run, and Garnett had 11 points on 5/7 shooting to start the game. Brian Scalabrine's three with 1:11 to play made it 31-17 Celtics and was the first field goal from anyone not named Garnett, Allen or Pierce. Allen also has 11 of his own, but perhaps more important: Dirk Nowitzki is 0/7 from the field, looks a bit frustrated and has just two points.

Back from Florida; TA Still Out

After an off-day in Florida on Friday, the Celtics returned to the practice floor on Saturday in Waltham to prepare for the Dallas Mavericks, who stop in at the Garden at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Doc Rivers didn't have any news on the status of Tony Allen, who's been out since hurting his ankle on January 4 against the Knicks. But that probably points to Allen missing Sunday's game as well.

"I don't check. Eddie [Lacerte] will tell me when it's close. I don't need to get involved in the medical part," Rivers said.

Then again, given the agressive schedule the Celtics have endured already (at 36-9, they've played 45 games heading into Sunday), it's not surprising that the team's a little banged up.

"We've played so many more games than everyone else. We were just looking at the schedule, we have six back-to-backs left in the season. We've played 11 already. So it's just amazing what our team has gone through as far as the amount of games. We have the bruises just like everybody else," Rivers said.

As far as the up-and-down Mavericks (25-18, and 5-5 over their last 10 games) are concerned, Rivers said he's preparing his team for the "good Mavericks", and was gushing about Dirk Nowitzki.

"When they play well, they're really good," Rivers said. "[Nowitzki] makes big shots, he's a matchup nightmare every night. He's a tough guy to guard at the four because he's quicker than most fours and he's bigger than most threes. He still is a great three-point shooter but he's playing more on the post and in other areas now."

Kevin Garnett, who's something of a matchup nightmare of his own, seems to have been more active himself as of late. Rivers said KG's numbers have been up recently because the team is doing a better job of getting him the ball.

"We're doing a better job of finding him, our spacing's been better, and that makes Kevin better," Rivers said.

- Peter Stringer

Live Game Updates

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 90, Magic 80, FINAL: The C's kept Dwight Howard on lockdown, and he fouled out in the final minutes of the game. Meanwhile, Big Baby scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Celtics held off Orlando.

Celtics 65, Magic 54, End of Third: Dwight Howard has four fouls and the Celtics defense continues to complicate matters for the Magic. Their 54 points through three quarters is a season low, and they continue to shoot poorly from the field at just 34%. The Celtics' defense just won't budge.

The Celtics led by as many as 16 in the third, thanks to Paul Pierce, who has run his total up to 20 points. He's got eight rebounds as well.

Celtics 44, Magic 36, HALFTIME: The Celtics have done a decent job of keeping Dwight Howard from taking over, but Rashard Lewis is getting things done, with seven points and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, Hedo Turkoglu has 12 points to lead all scorers. But the C's have held the Magic to just 32% shooting. Their threes aren't falling (3/14) and the Celtics have an eight point lead.

Paul Pierce is just 4/9 from the field for his 11 points. Ray Allen has eight points but has also committed three of the Celtics' seven turnovers.

Celtics 24, Magic 19, End of First: Paul Pierce is doing the work early, scoring nine first quarter points.

KG Named To East All-Stars

Kevin Garnett will get the nod as a starter on the Eastern Conference team, according to the league's voting results, which were officially announced tonight on TNT.

Live Game Updates

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 98, Heat 83, FINAL: The Celtics win their sixth straight game on the strength of sharpshooting early from Eddie House (25 points) and late from Ray Allen (27 points). Meanwhile, KG, who's been a quiet force during this streak, had a quiet 16 and 13. Rondo also came up with 10 assists.

Celtics 78, Heat 64, End of Third: Miami's offense came alive, scoring 30 points in the quarter and they knocked down the lead to just 14 points. Thankfully, Eddie House (25 points; seven threes, tying a career-high) was back at it in the final minutes of the period, dropping five quick points to hold the Heat at bay.

Celtics 57, Heat 34, Halftime: Eddie House is making it rain, as he went 7/10 all in the second quarter, dropping 20 points in the period. The last time House scored 20 points in a game was October 21 in the preseason against the Knicks.

The C's extended their lead to 23 and this one might be over already.

Celtics 29, Heat 10, End of First Quarter: On paper, when you see a Wednesday night road game tucked ahead of a Thursday night TNT game against Orlando, you might worry about your team coming out flat in the first quarter on the first night. Unless your team is the Boston Celtics.

They've held the Heat to just 10 points and 22% shooting, and have quickly build a 19-point lead after the first. They're killing Miami on the glass, so if this game is gonna be competitive, the rumors about Dwyane Wade playing the best basketball of his career had better be true.

Ray Allen is 4/6 and has 12 points.

Live from Courtside

Recap | Box Score

Suns 87, Celtics 104, FINAL: Another 12-minute garbage-time...The Celtics win their fifth straight, and this team seems to be officially back on track.

Suns 58, Celtics 89, End of Third Quarter: This stopped being a competitive NBA game sometime during the second quarter, but it has since deteriorated into extended garbage time, even with the starters in. Other than an easy alley-oop jam for Shaq, the Celtics deserve credit for maintaining a relatively high level of defense. The Suns, though, have 19 turnovers, and a few steals are literally falling in the laps of Celtics.

This has been a somewhat odd game statistically. Phoenix only trails Boston 32-28 in points in the paint and is shooting an average 45%. But the Celtics have 26 assists on 38 made buckets and, coupled with just eight turnovers, their offensive execution has been overwhelmingly crisp.

- Couper Moorhead

Suns 34, Celtics 64, Halftime: Sometimes, a team on an extended road trip just doesn't show up. It looks like this is that game for the Suns. They've turned the ball over 15 times, they're not rebounding (and they gave up nine offensive rebounds), and they're down 30 at the break.

For all of the concerns about guarding Shaq, the Big Twitter hasn't really been a problem. He's got just 10 points.

- Peter Stringer

Suns 15, Celtics 30, End of First Quarter: All the changes made by the Suns over the last year were meant to improve the team's defense, but the Celtics came out blazing and never cooled off, shooting 58.3% from the field behind nine fast-break points.

Conventional wisdom might have told you that Kevin Garnett was at a severe disadvantage guarding the mammoth Shaq, but other than an early dunk conceded by KG, quickness won out -- and the same goes for the Rajon Rondo (eight points), Steve Nash (four points) matchup. Shaq has six points and two rebounds, while Garnett posted four points, six boards and an assist.

Whatever the Celtics are doing to keep the ball out of Amare Stoudemire's hands, it's working. Stoudemire only took one shot in the quarter.

- Couper Moorhead

Perk Still Out

No miracle return for Kendrick Perkins tonight, leaving Shaq -- who will be playing in a rare (for him) second night of a back-to-back -- duties to Kevin Garnett, Leon Powe, and Glen Davis, or, as Shaq called him, "my son." Perkins will make the upcoming trip to Miami and Orlando, but not Tony Allen, who will stay behind for treatment on his ankle.

Also not going on the team's flight tomorrow is Ray Allen, who is leaving after tonight's game for Washington D.C. and the Barack Obama inauguration. Doc Rivers said the Celtics will leave early in the morning and will have a room reserved to watch the ceremony, but he might prefer to watch by himself to preserve his own interpretation of the moment.

"I think some of the guys want to watch it in private, which I agree with. I don't want anyone else's interpretation when I'm listening," Rivers said. "Sam [Cassell] would talk over Barack's whole speech."

- Couper Moorhead

Live from Courtside

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 105, Nets 85, FINAL: Ray Allen finished with 25 points and the Celtics roll to their fourth straight win.

Celtics 83, Nets 63, End of Third: The Nets are at least trying to hang around and cut the lead to 20 heading into the fourth. Kevin Garnett is quietly having a nice game, scoring 12 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Ray Allen has 25 points while Scalabrine has 11. Rondo: 14 dimes.

Celtics 68, Nets 39, Halftime: Allen continues to light up the nets and the Nets, dropping 20 as the Celtics scored a season-high 68 points in the first half. Rondo is dissecting the New Jersey defense and has 12 assists.

Celtics 29, Nets 15, End of First: Ray Allen is torching the Nets in the first quarter, dropping 14 points on 5/8 shooting. The Celtics defense has been especially stingy, holding the Nets to just 2 points for the first 7 minutes of the game. Brian Scalabrine has seven points and is once again making a solid contribution in the starting lineup.

Game Preview

The Boston Celtics' best start in franchise history came to an abrupt end as the club struggled through two uncharacteristic weeks. With three straight wins over Atlantic Division rivals, however, Boston thinks it's back on track.

The Celtics look for their fourth consecutive victory within the division as they visit the New Jersey Nets on Saturday for the teams' second meeting in four days.

"I thought we had a really big bump in the road these last couple of weeks with consistency, something we didn't have a year ago," forward Paul Pierce said after scoring 22 points with five 3-pointers against the Nets (19-21). "Maybe it's something we needed to give us a gut check."

Game Preview

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Recap | Box Score

Nets 86, Celtics 118, FINAL: You've got to love Garbage Time. We got 12 minutes tonight, and 11 Celtics got in the books for the first time in a while. Sam Cassell was dressed as the 12th man and Rivers made it clear before the game that he won't be playing anytime soon.

The bad news? Eddie House appeared to injure himself in the final minute. We hope to have more info in postgame.

Nets 60, Celtics 88, End of Third Quarter: The Celtics stormed out of the locker room to start the half on a 15-5 run (they hit seven of their first nine shots) and quickly push their lead to 20 points just a few minutes into the third quarter. Paul Pierce dropped 18 points in the quarter on 5/5 shooting, and Rondo had 6 of his 12 assists in the period.

Before the game, when asked if playing the same opponent back-to-back in consecutive games was like a mini-playoff series, Rondo concurred with the assessment. If that's the case, and if the playoffs are all about adjustments, as you always hear, then Lawrence Frank has some serious adjusting to do before Saturday. Fortunately for New Jersey, he'll have plenty of time.

Nets 41, Celtics 51, Halftime: The Celtics lead 51-41 at the half, and KG (14) and Allen (10) are leading the way. Rajon Rondo (6 ast) is attacking the paint and distributing the rock, and the C's are shooting 53% from the floor.

Otherwise, it's been a sloppy game, with both teams turning the ball over on a regular basis. The Celtics' 12 turnovers is trumped by 13 for the Nets.

Nets 23, Celtics 30, End of First Period: Glen Davis' heave just before the buzzer put the Celtics up 30-23 after the first quarter, but it was Ray Allen and KG who had the offense chugging along. Each have eight points, while Pierce (3 assists) has been setting people up.

Vince Cater got a scare midway through the quarter when Brian Scalabrine collided with his right leg while diving for a loose ball, but after hopping off on one leg, he returned to the game.

Pregame Media Access

Tonight marks the halfway point of the season, and Doc Rivers likes where his team's at now that the four-game losing streak (and seven losses in nine games stretch) is behind his club.

"I feel good. Our young guys are improving. Our bench has been up and down, but it's shown improvement," Rivers said. "If before the year someone had said that your record is where it's at, I wouldn't complain about it."

Rivers also talked about Sam Cassell, who still hasn't played this season, and the coach all but said that he's keeping Cassell on ice to save him for the postseason. Asked if the downtime would hurt his chances of contributing, Rivers pointed out that P.J. Brown was able to play a key role for the Celtics down the stretch last year after not playing until February, and he thinks Cassell could do the same.

"He's looking at our offense every day, he knows our system. He's actually playing [in practice and before games] most every day. I'm not concerned by it at all," Rivers said. "At the end we'll find out if he can help us or not. I think he can. Right now I don't see the need."

Rivers noted that he's been pleased with the job Brian Scalabrine's done in the absence of Kendrick Perkins, who is shooting for Monday night's game against the Phoenix Suns as a return game. Rivers made it clear, though, the Perkins wouldn't play until Dr. Brian McKeon and Ed Lacerte assured him that he was ready to go, knowing that Perkins might try to man up a little too early and convince Rivers he could give it a go.

As for Scal, when Celtics.com suggested that he try the old "pull the chair" trick on Brook Lopez, he said he may actually dust off that move. So if you see it tonight, you know who to thank...

- Peter Stringer

Game Preview

Back-to-back wins against a sub-.500 and shorthanded Toronto team following losses in seven of nine games are one thing. Back-to-back wins against the second place team in your division would be an entirely different beast.

At the moment, the New Jersey Nets are not a threat to win the Atlantic Division, trailing the Boston Celtics by 11 games entering tonight's 7:30 p.m. contest at TD Banknorth Garden. But the Nets are still a likely first-round playoff opponent, and these first two matchups of the season could either afford a divisional foe another ounce of confidence or officially put the Celtics back on the title tracks.

Because for the first time in more than two weeks, the Celtics have consecutive wins to use as a foundation. And the last time they put together two wins in a row, they kept chugging along until they hit 19.

Game Preview

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Recap | Box Score

Raptors 109, Celtics 115, Final: Pierce made amends after missing a key free throw in the final minute of regulation by leading off overtime with back-to-back jumpers and scoring nine points in the period. He finished with 39 points, nine rebounds and four assists on 13-of-26 shooting. The Celtics scored 52 of their 113 points in the paint in thwarting the Raptors despite 16 points from Croatian superstar Roko Ukic.

- Couper Moorhead

Raptors 93, Celtics 93, End of Regulation: The Celtics turned up the defensive heat and they held the Raptors scoreless for nearly six minutes in the fourth. Pierce only had three points in the quarter, but he hit what seemed to be the clinching bucket until Bargnani nailed a three with 1.0 seconds left following a Pierce missed free throw. The Celtics had a crafty play coming out of a timeout but Rondo missed a reverse layup off Pierce's lob to force overtime.

- Couper Moorhead

Raptors 78, Celtics 74, End of Third Quarter: For awhile this looked like it was going to be one of those nights for the Celtics, one where just about any shot the Raptors could fathom was going to find net. Then Paul Pierce started doing his thing. With a little help from Brian Scalabrine (11 points), the Truth (27 points) dropped 14 in the third and put the crowd into a playoff frenzy.

The Raptors maintained their torrid shooting (53.8%) and have not backed down. Bargnani has 18 points while Chris Bosh (12 points) has mysteriously taken only seven shots. Kevin Garnett seems to be having something to do with that.

- Couper Moorhead

Raptors 54, Celtics 45, End of First Half: The Celtics' bench has taken its fair share of criticism this year, but they did a fine job keeping the team in the game. Leon Powe scored six straight points in the middle of the quarter and Glen Davis and Eddie House added three points apiece. The Celtics offense never evened out (41.5% shooting), though, and their defense has been a step behind Toronto attackers all night. Case in point: Roko Ukic has seven points.

While it's easy to say that the Raptors' 54.3% shooting will return to their 45.4% seasonal average on the road, their starters will be well rested after four bench players logged 12 or more minutes in the half.

The Celtics are taking care of the ball (three turnovers) and are doing much of their damage in the paint (24 points) compared to the Raptors (14 points inside). The Raptors are winning the rebounding battle, 23-16

- Couper Moorhead

Raptors 23, Celtics 19, End of First Quarter: Anybody expecting this to be a blowout with Jose Calderon and Jermaine O'Neal both sitting in Toronto will have to put away the victory bells for the time being. The Celtics have looked sloppy on offense, shooting 36.8% from the field, while the Raptors have been getting what they want.

Even Andrea Bargnani, hardly a ball-handling stalwart, drove by three Celtics at one point for an easy finger roll. Chris Bosh is pacing the Raptors will eight points while Paul Pierce leads the Celtics with seven.

- Couper Moorhead

Game Preview

The C's have now beaten the Raptors in seven of the last eight meetings and have won four straight at Air Canada Center, and the teams will meet again tonight at the TD Banknorth Garden in a rare home-at-home set.

Game Preview

Game Recap

The Celtics found the perfect opponent Sunday to snap out of their recent funk. Featuring flawless shooting from Ray Allen (36 points, 8 threes) and unrelenting defense by Kevin Garnett on Chris Bosh, Boston ended its four-game skid with a 94-88 road triumph over Atlantic Division-rival Toronto.

Sunday Win: Game Info | Box Score

Live Game Updates

Celtics 75, Raptors 55, End of Third: The Celtics defense is back, and Ray Allen continues to stroke it. Allen has 22 points, while Rondo has 14. But holding the Raptors to just 31% FGs has the Celtics enjoying a 20-point lead after three.

Celtics 54, Raptors 41, Halftime: The C's have held the Raptors to just 36% shooting in the first half, and Ray Allen's 17 is pacing the team. Brian Scalabrine has played some solid defense in his spot-start, but he's already picked up four personals.

Celtics 32, Raptors 20, End of First Quarter: Ray Allen is absolutely on fire, draining his first five shots, all threes. His 15 points and some nice defensive work has the Celtics up 12 after the first 12 minutes. Rondo has five assists.

Live Game Updates

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 83, Cavaliers 98, FINAL: The final score doesn't really tell the tale here. This one could have been an absolute blowout, and was over with four minutes to play. LeBron exploded for 38 points, and the Celtics couldn't buy a break tonight. They've lost seven of their last nine games since starting out 27-2, and they will try to snap their four-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon in Toronto.

Celtics 60, Cavaliers 72, End of Third Quarter: KG has 16 points and 14 rebounds, but LeBron is picking up steam and has 28 points.

Celtics 40, Celtics 49, Halftime: The Celtics have done a decent job of keeping James in check, despite the 9-point deficit. James is just 5/11 from the field, but he's had a few loud dunks. But for a team that prides itself on defense, the Celtics can't be happy about allowing 54% shooting.

The C's must be happy about the ball movement, they've got 16 assists on 18 hoops.

Celtics 23, Cavaliers 33, End of First Quarter: LBJ has 9 points and 4 assists, and all eight Cavs who've been on the floor have scored. The pace doesn't look good for the C's after the first period. Perkins has 9 points to lead the Celtics.

The Cavs shot 72% from the field in the first period, while the Celtics had 10 assists.

Game Preview

The Christmas Day loss to the Los Angeles Lakers was once the biggest game of the season. The Finals rematch marked the end of the good old times as the 19-game winning streak was snapped, but it remains the capper to a fantastic early-season run.

That was then.

Now the Boston Celtics are about to play the biggest game of a new season, one in which they are losers of six of their last eight games and the question -- ubiquitous during preseason -- is creeping through the winter air: Can they do it again?

Game Preview

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that they have recalled rookie guard J.R. Giddens and rookie forward Bill Walker from their NBA Development League affiliate Utah Flash.

Press Release

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Recap | Box Score

89-85 Rockets, FINAL: The Celtics are officially in a funk.

Despite heading into the fourth with a lead, the Celtics struggled to score in the final period. A Von Wafer three with 43.8 seconds gave the Rockets an 87-85 lead, and a Yao Ming "I'm taller than you are" shot from point-blank range put the Rockets up 89-85 with 12.9 seconds to play. The Celtics couldn't find the hoop on the next possession, and that was basically all she wrote.

Rockets 71, Celtics 74, End of Third Quarter: The Celtics came alive around the five-minute mark thanks to defense and the 13 third-quarter points of Paul Pierce. The Celtics are still shooting above 50% from the floor, which is impressive considering they only have 16 points in the paint to the Rockets' 32.

Kendrick Perkins picked up his fourth foul less than two minutes into the half and Glen Davis has done a fine job filling in with 12 points and one of the better pump-up jumbotron videos in recent memory.

- Couper Moorhead

Rockets 52, Celtics 49, HALFTIME: The Rockets turned up the heat on the defensive end, while Aaron Brooks wreaked havoc on the Celtics defense in the first half, scoring 13 points. Chuck Hayes and Brent Barry were also difference-makers, recording +13 rankings for the half.

The Celtics were just 7/19 from the field in the second quarter, while the Rockets shot 66% (12/18) and proved to be much more efficient by getting the ball inside. The Celtics are moving the ball, but the Houston defense is moving just as well.

KG's 14 points leads all scorers.

Rockets 22, Celtics 31, End of First Quarter: If you like jumpers, then this was the quarter for you. Whether it was turnarounds, pullups or catch-and-shoots, the Garden has been a shooters paradise tonight. Both teams have mustered a combined 12 points in the paint, while making 7-of-11 attempts from downtown. The Celtics however, are shooting 66.7% to the Rockets' 44.4%. It's not always the truth, but for now the numbers are telling the story.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are leading the Celtics with 10 and 11 points, respectively, while Yao Ming is maintaining the Rockets' buoyancy with 11 of his own.

The highlight of the game so far has been Von Wafer -- on his fifth team in four years -- rim-checking himself on a dunk attempt the Celtics had conceded the moment Wafer took off. Then came a flurry of 3's when Wafer come back with a trey after Ray Allen's triple, and Paul Pierce responded from beyond the arc.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access: Tony Allen Out Again

Tony Allen is a no-go tonight with a strained right ankle and may not play Friday at Cleveland. It's the "dog days" of the NBA season, Doc Rivers said, and just about everybody is beat up.

"At this point in the year, [Allen's] not really 100% or close to it," Rivers said. "I just don't see the urgency of throwing him out there. I would rather for him to get healthy and maybe by Monday he'll be fresh legs for us, which we'll need."

Compared to the injury woes of the Rockets over the last couple seasons, Rivers said, the Celtics' problems are just bruises by comparison.

Of note in the Rockets' locker room is the presence of Dikembe Mutombo, who just recently signed a contract with Houston after many teams showed interest -- Boston and San Antonio among them. In the end, Mutombo, who's been with Houston since 2004, said he didn't want to buy a house in a new city, nor did he want to wait and see which suitor would make him an offer when the Rockets had already extended their hand.

"Should I be on the waiting list or should I take the other offer that was there on the table?" Mutombo said, referencing other free-agent candidates looking to sign with a contender. "I was like 'OK, I'm not going to be in the middle of this. [I'm going to] walk away the way I want to walk.'"

- Couper Moorhead

Doc Rivers told reporters that Tony Allen would once again sit out tonight's game against the Rockets, after missing last night's game in Charlotte with a right ankle strain.

Live Game Updates

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 106, Bobcats 114, FINAL: The Celtics are outscored 17-9 in overtime and drop a 114-106 decision in Charlotte for their second straight loss and their 7th of the season.

Celtics 97, Bobcats 97, End of Regulation: Pierce hits a turnaround jumper over D.J. Augustin to tie the game at 97-97 with 3.4 seconds to play.

Celtics 72, Bobcats 72, End of Third: The Celtics finished the third quarter on fire over the last two minutes, with Eddie House capping the rally with a steal and layup to tie the game at 72-72.

Celtics 47, Bobcats 53, Halftime: The Bobcats are out and running and enjoy a six-point lead at halftime. The Bobcats have gotten to the free throw line and they're winning despite the Celtics shooting 49% from the field. But turnovers are killing the Celtics, they've given up the rock seven times to just one Charlotte turnover and the 'Cats have capitalized.

Ray Allen has 13 points at the break, while Wallace has 19 for Charlotte.

Celtics 23, Bobcats 28, End of First: The Bobcats have jumped out early here against the Celtics, who've turned it over four times. Gerald Wallace has 12 points in the period, while Ray Allen has eight for Boston.

Tony Allen Ankle Injury

The word from Charlotte is that Tony Allen did not participate in today's shootaround and may not play tonight against the Bobcats. He is officially considered "day-to-day" with a strained right ankle and will be evaluated by Dr. Brian McKeon tomorrow in Waltham.

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 88, Knicks 100, FINAL: The Celtics recent road woes continued as they fall to the Knicks at MSG. The Knicks stymied Boston's attack by keeping Rajon Rondo out of the paint and doubling down on KG. It apparently worked. Paul Pierce's 31 was not enough, and the Celtics lose on a night when both Cleveland and Orlando also dropped their games.

Celtics 68, Knicks 78, End of Third: The Celtics dug themselves a hole and will need a shot in the arm to take a win at MSG tonight.

>Kevin Garnett appeared to hurt his right calf after getting tangled up with a Knicks defender while making a nice behind-the-back pass to Perkins for the jam. We'll keep our eyes on that in the fourth quarter.

Celtics 53, Knicks 50, Halftime: The Celtics stepped up their efforts on defense in the second quarter, and they'll take a 53-50 lead into the half. KG's been doubled and tripled almost all night, but he has four blocks, while Pierce (15 points) and Ray Allen (12 points) are getting it done on the offensive end.

Al Harrington is lighting it up off the bench, scoring 20 of the Knicks' first 36 points. But three fouls took him out of the game late in the half and New York's attack stagnated significantly.

Celtics 24, Knicks 25, End of First: KG picked up 2 quick fouls while the Knicks shot 50% in the first quarter to build an early lead, but the Celtics had it down to a one-point lead after one. Paul Pierce did appear to knock knees with a defender on a jumper late in the quarter but seems to have shaken it off.

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Recap | Box Score

Wizards 83, Celtics 108, FINAL: Mercifully, this one is over. Short minutes for the starters is a good thing. And the bench got a chance to get some badly-needed flow on the offensive end. We'll take it.

Wizards 55, Celtics 86, End of Third: Boston continues to build the lead, now up to 31 points, and the quarter was capped by Rondo's behind-the-back assist to a wide open Ray Allen for a three in the quarter. It's another Garden Party in the making.

Wizards 34, Celtics 58, HALFTIME: The C's outscored Washington 30-20 in the second period, and defense is once again getting the job done. Pierce has 17 at the break, while Rondo has nine dimes.

Wizards 14, Celtics 28, End of First: Well, if you were expecting the Celtics to come out like a house of fire in the first quarter, you were right. They shot 63%, held the Wizards to just 32% and Paul Pierce (13 points, 5/5) and Rajon Rondo (seven assists) tore them apart in the opening frame.

Pregame

It's a new year, which means new features for Celtics.com. We've launched a live homepage scoreboard module, complete with a live Twitter feed of updates from the game.

You can get the scores and feed on the Celtics.com homepage, or start following the beta launch of the Celtics feed at the official Celtics Twitter feed.

Postgame Quotes

Referee Mike Callahan to a Pool Reporter on the missed Six Men on the Court call:
"If we would have caught the six men on the court before the made goal, then there would have been no score. We would have called a technical foul on Portland and stopped play. After the technical foul shot (by Boston), Portland would have inbounded the ball as they were in possession before the stoppage."

Celtics Coach Doc Rivers:
"Portland came in and wanted to be physical. I thought that was great for us because all they were doing was fouling in the first half. But in the second half, I thought they were the more physical team, especially on the glass. I said it before the game -- the key to the game was that if we rebounded that we'd win the game and if we didn't, we'd lose the game. I thought they absolutely destroyed us on the boards. Our bench had two rebounds -- the entire bench had two rebounds...it's very difficult to win [like that]."

Celtics Center Kendrick Perkins
"This ain't nothing to hang your head about, we need to just keep working...we beat them on our home court, so I figured the way they came out, they were physically, so obviously, Coach McMillian told them to get physical...they came out and played hard, nothing else to say."

Celtics Point Guard Rajon Rondo
"We just didn't execute down the stretch, we didn't take care of the ball and we lost our focus when we had those leads."

Live from Courtside

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 86, Blazers 91, Final: The Celtics kept themselves in this one thanks to Pierce, but the Blazers made all the big plays and carried most of the momentum through the second half. The difference was in the paint: 34-22 points in the paint advantage for Portland, and a 44-29 rebounding advantage.

The Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Miami Heat tonight so the Celtics' hold on the top spot in the conference is safe, but they are still heading back to Boston with a 1-3 road trip under their belts.

- Couper Moorhead

Celtics 64, Blazers 64, End of Third Quarter: The Blazers started taking control in the second quarter after Oden's shove of Ray Allen, and in tying this low-scoring affair up heading into the final quarter, it seems like they have it.

Paul Pierce (18 points) and Rajon Rondo (11 points, a three and seven assists) answered some of Portland's best shots, but the Celtics only have 14 points in the paint to the Blazers' 24. The Blazers also hold the rebounding advantage, 34-23.

Those stats might have something to do with Doc Rivers staying true to his words regarding Kevin Garnett's minutes. The Big Ticket has played just 27 minutes and was not in the game to begin the fourth.

- Couper Moorhead

Celtics 45, Blazers 40, End of First Half: It's unclear whether it was intentional or not, but midway through the quarter Oden drew a technical by giving Ray Allen a hefty bump out of bounds. There was some talking between the teams afterward and it marked a distinct momentum shift in the game. The Celtics started committing the same careless turnovers (nine total) that the Blazers were in the first quarter, and Portland capitalized.

Here's one way to show how much the Blazers are missing Brandon Roy: the two guys getting his minutes, Fernandez and Bayless, are a combined 1-of-9 from the field.

The half ended with one of the weirder plays of the season when the Blazers came out of a timeout with six players on the floor. With an extra man, Travis Outlaw got an easy dunk, but because the refs didn't see the infraction before the bucket, the basket was counted and the Blazers were called for a technical.

Steve Blake (13 points) keyed the big run from the Blazers with hot shooting from the top of the arc, but he was getting open shots after the Celtics were forced to collapse on Greg Oden, who, presence wise, is playing one of the better games of his short career.

- Couper Moorhead

Celtics 23, Blazers 13, End of First Quarter: The Blazers have come out with more energy than they did in Boston, but they are also handing the ball over on a silver platter -- they had six turnovers in the first quarter. Jerryd Bayless, getting the backup shooting guard minutes with Rudy Fernandez filling in for Brandon Roy, had his first pass picked off by Rajon Rondo, and later, another pass deflected right off the hands of Travis Outlaw and out of bounds.

It's worth noting that at least 11 of Boston's points have come from the same spot on the far left wing. The Celtics have also been trying to take advantage of the Blazers' transition defense like they did back east, but Portland has gotten back and knocked a few outlet passes away.

Greg Oden had a much better start this time around, hitting both a hook and a short jumper over Perkins and drawing a foul on the Celtics' big. Paul Pierce paces the Celtics with eight points.

- Couper Moorhead

Live from Courtside

Recap | Box Score

Kings 63, Celtics 108, FINAL: The Celtics' bench outscored the Kings 24-15 over the final 12 minutes to salt away the victory and flirt with a 50-point win. That said, a 45-point win is the Celtics largest margin of victory of the season.

Kings 48, Celtics 84, End of Third: The rout is on and it's already garbage time with a quarter to play. Kevin Garnett posted 21 points and 11 rebounds in just under 23 minutes of action, and given the score, he's likely done for the night. Ray Allen also has 19.

The Kings have yet to score 20 points in a quarter tonight; they scored 14 in the third after dropping just 17 in each of the first two periods.

Kings 34, Celtics 59, HALFTIME: The Celtics are pouring on the defense, trapping in the backcourt and keeping the paint locked down. The result? A 25-point halftime lead. Pierce (12) and Allen (13) are leading the way, while the Kings are shooting just 25%. And finally, the Celtics bench has become a factor, scoring 18 points in the half, led by eight points from Eddie House.

Kings 17, Celtics 23, End of First: Kendrick Perkins is back in the lineup and has made his presence felt in the first period, pulling down five rebounds while KG grabbed six of his own. And the defense was back where it belongs, too. The C's held the Kings to just 25% shooting in the first quarter.

Game Preview

The Boston Celtics got off to the best 29-game start in NBA history, but knew that historic run would be tested with their first significant road trip of the season.

So far, it couldn't be going any worse.

Losers of back-to-back games after winning 19 in a row, the Celtics will try to get back in the win column Sunday night when they visit the struggling Sacramento Kings.

NBA.com Preview

Live Game Updates

Recap | Box Score

99-89 Warriors, FINAL: This game turned around in the fourth quarter, as the Warriors outscored the Celtics 35-17 over the final 12 minutes to hand the Celtics their fourth loss of the year.

The Warriors' frenetic pace was too much for the Celtics tonight as Stephen Jackson dropped 28 points, and with Ray Allen fouling out and having really his first off-game of the year, the Celtics were missing a little punch in their game.

While Rajon Rondo neared a triple-double, the Celtics' defense didn't have a typical game as the Warriors shot a shade underneath 46%.

So after riding a winning streak for 19 games, the Celtics find themselves in the midst of a two-game losing streak. The last time the Celtics dropped two straight games was March 22-24, when they fell to New Orleans Hornets on the road and then came back to the Garden and lost to Philadelphia two nights later.

The Celtics have not won in Golden State since 2003.

72-64 Celtics, End of Third Quarter: The Celtics are letting the Warriors hang around, as Marco Bellinelli has 18 points and the Warriors crowd is starting to get into the game. Pierce has 20, while Rondo is on the verge of his second career triple-double.

51-39 Celtics, Halftime: Rajon Rondo is once again stuffing the stat sheet with a six-point, six-rebound and six-assist line at the half, while Paul Pierce is the Celtics' leading scorer with 13 points. Powe, in his homecoming to Oakland, was probably trying to do too much on the offensive end, and leads the team with nine attempts. He also has nine points to show for it, but also got a tongue-lashing from Doc Rivers on the sideline.

With Perk sidelined, KG appears to have stepped up his effort on the defensive end and has swatted three shots.

29-19 Celtics, End of First Quarter: With Leon Powe inserted into the starting lineup for Kendrick Perkins (left shoulder strain), the Celtics haven't been featuring their early post-up offense as usual, but he has been active on the boards. Paul Pierce is leading the way with 11 points for an offense that's clicking at a 70% rate.

Stephen Jackson, who dropped 30 points at the Garden on November 26, already has 11 himself, but given all of the injuries the Warriors have, it's not really clear who else could do the scoring anyway.

Perk Out, Leon Starts

Kendrick Perkins was a late scratch today after feeling the effects of a left shoulder injury sustained in yesterday's game in Los Angeles. He is officially considered day-to-day.

Celtics Quotes

Rajon Rondo's thoughts about the winning streak that ended:
"Nothing at all really, just try to start another one. We got Golden State tomorrow, give them (Lakers) credit, they played well tonight, and we just have to get ready for Golden State."

Rondo on Andrew Bynum's presence being a factor for the loss:
"For me none, I still try to attack the rim. He was a factor, he played well tonight but I think Gasol played well too. He made plays down the stretch."

Rondo on what ultimately lost the game for the Celtics: "Execution...execution. With two minutes to go we didn't execute down the stretch, we came out of the timeout and did not know what play to run and that just blew the game right there."

Celtics' Kendrick Perkins on the Lakers performance:
"They all made big shots at different times at the game. Kobe was Kobe tonight he made plays, Gasol made good plays down the stretch and big buckets. Lamar Odom at the end of the third knocked down two 3-pointers for them that kind of pushed it up and slowed our tempo down a little bit. Tonight they just out hustled us and worked harder I think. They were just hungrier than us. But we didn't shoot the ball extremely well, but that's not an excuse, our defense was breaking down and guys were missing coverages."

Perkins on getting their winning streak broken:
"You don't really care about the winning streak, you care about the win."

Celtics' Paul Pierce on his thought on the loss:
"You always want to get a win when you play a basketball game whether it's at home or on the road, but you know we lost to a team that played better than us tonight. Give them all the credit. We just have to play better down the stretch. I thought we were in the game most of them time but some points in the game we didn't execute and that was the difference in the ball game."

Pierce on his team's performance: "We just didn't execute like we wanted to. I thought we had some turnovers that we shouldn't have. Were usually a better team especially down the stretch even thought we turned the ball over a lot. Were usually a team that executes well when it comes to ball games but we didn't do it tonight."

Postgame Coverage

Recap | Box Score

Celtics Coach Doc Rivers on the Lakers' performance:
"They played great, give them credit. The game was physical. It really was well played. It was very sloppy but they were less sloppy at the end. They made their shots."

Rivers on tonight's showdown:
"It was great; two teams who have the best record in the NBA, both teams are doing well, the two teams that made it to the Finals last year. We wanted to win but this game doesn't change our minds on what we feel we can do. It was a fun game to be a part of. Good lesson for us. We have to give the Lakers their due, they won the game. We'll see them again."

Rivers on his team's performance:
"For a team that has been phenomenal down a stretch of games, I didn't think we were very good tonight. I think that we took early shots on the clock. There was two minutes and twenty seconds left and we're jacking threes up with contested shots. The one thing we haven't been is that. We've been as composed as any team that I've seen in a long time and I thought quite honestly that we lost it a little bit at the end.

Sometimes you want to win the game so bad, each guy starts taking what we call the hero shots. I thought that we had a boatload of hero shots down the stretch of the game."

Rivers on the bench's performance:
"The bench was phenomenal. Between the end of the third they came down four and left up one with that crazy shot that Rondo drove and the hook that was about fifteen seconds too late. That was a big call in the game and that was our bench guys, minus Rondo. I thought the bench was absolutely fantastic."

Doc Rivers on the impact of tonight on tomorrow's game:
"We lost tonight and we have to start a new streak but other than that. Like I said before the game was a big game. We play tomorrow and we're going to get in a tough atmosphere I'm not worried about the physical fatigue, I'm worried about the mental fatigue tomorrow."

Live Game Updates

Celtics 83, Lakers 92, FINAL: Tied at 81-81, the Celtics offense stagnated after Rajon Rondo (12 assists) collided with Pau Gasol and was shaken up. The Lakers then went on an 11-2 run to close the game, with Gasol's and-one layup and block of a deep Ray Allen three among the highlights for the Lakers.

The Lakers certainly hyped this game up, and released streamers after earning the win. We're awaiting postgame reaction from the Celtics on this one.

The 19-game winning streak is officially over.

Celtics 67, Lakers 71, End of Third Quarter: The Celtics managed to grab a brief lead in the third quarter after trailing by as many as 10 points, and despite the complete lack of bench production. But the Lakers' outside shooting and some defensive breakdowns on the part of the Celtics finds them trailing heading into the final stanza.

Celtics 45, Lakers 51, HALFTIME: Kobe Bryant has 16 at the half, while Garnett is 6/6 for 12 points, including a pair of alley-oop dunks. Rondo (7 assists) picked up another cheap foul and will have to be careful not to foul out in this one.

Celtics 24, Lakers 23, End of First Quarter: The Celtics shot 61% in the first quarter and were looking to push the pace early, but with Rajon Rondo picking up two quick personals in the first three minutes, Eddie House came in off the bench early and the C's offense slowed down. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant is shooting first and will presumably ask questions later; he's already taken eight shots and has 10 points in the period.

A stat to keep an eye on: The Celtics had six turnovers in the period.

Game Preview

Just in case the build-up to Christmas Day isn't big enough as it is, the Celtics and Lakers will stage a 2008 NBA Finals rematch -- and potentially a 2009 NBA Finals preview -- today at the Staples Center (5 p.m. EST).

Riding a new franchise record of 19 consecutive wins and holding the best record in the league at 27-2, the Celtics visit a Lakers team that's been positively fixated on this matchup since the start of the season.

Celtics.com Game Preview

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Recap | Box Score | The Streak

Celtics, FINAL: History was made here tonight at the TD Banknorth Garden as the Celtics won their 19th straight game, setting a new franchise record. KG and Rondo each finished with 18 points, and Gino came out with 2:32 left to play, several minutes after the "BEAT L.A.!" chants started.

For more on the historic streak, check out our game-by-game breakdown...

78-66 Celtics, End of Third Quarter: With a lead of as much as 18 points, the Celtics looked ready to pull away, but the Sixers rallied late in the third and it's a 12-point game heading into the final stanza. Garnett and Rondo have 18, and the C's are crashing the offensive glass. But this one should be interesting; it appears that if the Celtics are going to make history tonight, they'll have to earn it.

58-44 Celtics, Halftime: Rajon Rondo comes alive and the Celtics extend to a 14-point lead. Rondo had 12 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in the quarter. Meanwhile, the Sixers continue to lean on Iguodala and Andre Miller for their firepower.

29-25 Celtics, End of First Quarter: Andre Iguodala was lighting the C's up early but he picked up his second foul midway through the period and it slowed down the Sixers' attack. Meanwhile, Ray Allen and KG each have 8 points, the pace has slowed, and the Celts will start the second quarter with Allen and the bench.

Pregame Media Access

The winter storm may have officially passed, but it's still affecting basketball logistics in Boston. The Sixers' second team bus from their hotel still hadn't arrived when Doc Rivers was doing his pregame media address around 6:45, so only the Sixers personnel who'd taken the early bus were already at the arena.

One man who is at the arena but won't play tonight is Glen Davis, who is still feeling the effects of a concussion suffered in an automobile on Sunday during his commute to the Garden.

"He's still having headaches," said Celtics Coach Doc Rivers, who then joked, "That could be [because of] me."

With Baby on the shelf, Brian Scalabrine can expect to see more action tonight. And for those of you looking for the update on his one-on-one series with the-yet-to-be-activated Sam Cassell, Scal was reporting a 58-58 tie as of pregame tonight.

Scal says that the games help him get his feet warmed up, and playing against the smaller Cassell especially prepares him for his role as a defender, where he has to be versatile.

Oh yeah, and there's that whole 18-game winning streak. For the first time, Doc Rivers was talking about the potential of making team history, and was trying to recall some of the streaks he went on as a player with the Knicks and Spurs. But as he's said all year, making history for best starts and streaks isn't what the team set out to do. He reiterated the team's three goals, which are to win the World Championship, earn home court for the playoffs, and be a better team than last season.

In the immediate future, Rivers admitted that it's tough to keep the team focused on a game like tonight's when they had to pack up to be ready to depart for Los Angeles right after they finish here tonight.

"Well, it's tough, let's just be honest. The [Lakers] game has been built up before the season even started," Rivers said. "It's a Christmas Day game which is fun in some ways and not fun in other ways. But the travel part of it is tough. Guys have all their luggage here, and this is the only way we could do it."

The Celtics did not practice in Waltham today, but Glen Davis was evaluated by Dr. Brian McKeon today and was diagnosed with a concussion and a cervical strain resulting from his automobile accident. He is officially listed as day-to-day, but he is out for tomorrow's game against Philly.

Davis Released from the Hospital

According to P.R. chief Jeff Twiss, Glen Davis has been released from the hospital and will be re-evaluated by team physician Brian McKeon tomorrow. The Celtics will not practice tomorrow, and will regroup on Tuesday morning for a shootaround before facing the Philadelphia 76ers.

Live from Courtside

Recap | Box Score

124-105, Celtics: Rondo's 26 points does the job and the Celtics have won 18 straight.

In other news, this piece from last year about Rondo is probably worth revisiting: Surrounded by All-Stars, Rajon Rondo Is the Quiet, Confident Quarterback of the NBA's Best Team

Knicks 87, Celtics 98, End of Third: Rajon Rondo goes 9/9 in the third quarter (18 points in the quarter, 24 points overall) but the Knicks' threes have them hanging around. C's lead 98-87 after three, but have a huge edge in the paint, 54-20.

Knicks 58, Celtics 66, Halftime: Well, it looked like the Knicks would fold up the tent and get blown out, but they've continued to launch threes and shoot their way back into this game, while the C's offense predictably cooled, at least a little. Nate Robinson and Quentin Richardson are doing the damage for New York, dropping 37 between the two of them. Robinson scored all of his 17 points in the second quarter.

Knicks 21, Celtics 40, End of First: The Celtics offense connected on 18 of their 23 attempts from the field for a 40-point quarter, while the Knicks are content to run down the floor and hoist a three. While the Celtics are bound to cool off, the Knicks are likely to continue the run-and-gun attack.

Glen Davis in Minor Car Accident

Glen Davis is not at the TD Banknorth Garden this evening. He's at a local hospital after getting into a minor car accident on his way to the arena. Davis sustained a concussion and whiplash but the injuries are not considered serious. He's obviously out tonight, but will be considered day-to-day.

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Recap | Box Score

108-126 Celtics, FINAL: ...And the streak hits 17 games with no signs of slowing down, as the Celtics scored a season-high 126 points. While it wasn't quite a cake walk in the first half, the Bulls were a bit shorthanded and didn't have much beyond Luol Deng and a hobbled Derrick Rose in the third quarter.

Tony Allen's steal and windmill jam made it 110-89 with 8:43 to play pretty much ended this one, and only Ray Allen (27 to lead all scorers and 5/9 from three-point land) ended up playing more than 30 minutes tonight. So the C's should be nice and rested (barring any shoveling injuries) for the Knicks on Sunday night.

Bulls 82, Celtics 98The Bulls can't keep Rondo out of the paint, and Perk (a career-high 25 points) is loving it. The C's have a 50-20 points in the paint advantage and aren't working hard for many of their baskets. Hence, their 63% shooting through three periods.

Bulls 55, Celtics 57, HALFTIME: Rajon Rondo is up to his old tricks (10 assists), creating easy hoops by attacking the basket and riding the baseline with wide eyes. Kendrick Perkins has been dunking all over Chicago, and his 17 points lead all scorers. But the Bulls are right there thanks to their 5/10 three point shooting.

Rondo's not the only one passing; the Celtics have 25 field goals on 21 assists as a team.

Bulls 21, Celtics 31, End of First: Ray Allen led the way with 10 points, but Rajon Rondo is the catalyst again tonight, flying around and making things happen on the offensive end while the C's defense is swarming and held the Bulls to just 36% shooting...

Tough news for the Bulls, both Drew Gooden and Derrick Rose went down with injuries in the opening stanza; Rose hurt his right knee and may return, Gooden is out with an ankle sprain. And Kirk Hinrich is already on the shelf with a broken thumb, while Tyrus Thomas did not travel due to a concussion.

Pregame Media Access

With the threat of a snowstorm, many Celtics players spent the afternoon at a downtown Boston hotel rather than attempting to battle traffic from the suburbs.

Friday's Game Will Be Played

The Celtics did not practice Thursday, but are scheduled to have a shootaround Friday morning in Waltham.

The Chicago Bulls arrived in Boston around 5 p.m. on Thursday night, and Friday's game at the TD Banknorth Garden will be played regardless of weather conditions.

Pierce Expected To Play vs. Hawks

Word comes from the shootaround in Atlanta that Paul Pierce participated and is expected to play in tonight's game with the Hawks.

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Recap | Box Score

100-91 Celtics, FINAL: The streak lives on, as the Celtics win their 15th straight game and improve to 23-2.

Rajon Rondo (25 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists) was attacking the hoop all night, and while he was turning it over in the first half, he cleaned up his game in the second and finished with a near triple-double. Rondo's backwards, over-the-shoulder layup made it 97-89 with 47 seconds left basically sealed the deal.

Millsap was sensational for Utah, scoring 32 points and grabbing 10 rebounds before fouling out in the final minute of play.

Jazz 65, Celtics 69, End of Third Quarter: The Celtics came out of the break looking like they wanted to push the ball and the result was a 7-0 run. The aggressiveness held steady, but so did the stream of turnovers. Rondo has six giveaways, but he's also on triple-double watch with 11 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

The Jazz have quietly held their ground despite the beating they are taking on the boards, 40-22. Utah can thank its 26 points off 21 Celtics turnovers for the four-point spread at the end of the quarter, but oddly enough they have just two fast-break points.

Millsap is the high scorer with 23, but the Celtics have all five starters in double digits.

- Couper Moorhead

Jazz 43, Celtics 43, Halftime: It's been a sloppy game as both teams are turning it over. Rondo's been aggressive, but he's not taking care of the ball; witness his five turnovers contributing to Boston's 14. The Jazz have 11 of their own.

A Paul Millsap dunk at 3:37 mark tied it up at 37-37, and a goaltending violation against Kendrick Perkins put the Jazz up 39-37 marking a 23-9 Utah run. Millsap got 16 of his 18 points in the second period.

Perkins has been the star for the Celtics; he's got 12 points and 10 rebounds in the half.

- Peter Stringer

Jazz 16, Celtics 28, End of First Quarter: A refreshing 6:47 passed without a timeout to start the game, allowing both teams to settle into a rhythm. The extended run may have helped Deron Williams, who has three dimes and two layups after weaving through the defense. The Jazz scored five points after Brevin Knight replaced Williams late in the quarter.

Perkins and Garnett are making the most of Carlos Boozer's absence with a combined 16 points and 11 boards. The Celtics have 18 points in the paint and are dominating the Jazz on the glass, 13-6.

Garnett spent some time giving directions to Rondo off to the side between quarters, but Rondo's been doing well against the larger opponent in Williams with seven points and three assists.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

Even the Celtics can't escape the far-reaching grasp of Boston traffic. Due to an accident on I-93 North, Leon Powe and Kendrick Perkins both arrived late for the game and, as of 6:40 p.m., Rajon Rondo had yet to enter the locker room. Brian Scalabrine, who was also late, said, "Hey, that's life..."

Something else that's just been taken as a fact of life lately is the dismissal of NBA coaches. Reggie Theus was let go by the Sacramento Kings earlier today, becoming the sixth coaching casualty of the season. Doc Rivers fielded the usual questions about the trend, and gave the usual answers.

"I hope you guys can keep asking me about it," said a gainfully-employed Rivers. "I guess that's the silver lining."

If there is any coach in the league who's going nowhere, it's probably 20-year Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. Asked if he's frustrated with the injuries to Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, who's a no-go tonight -- Sloan showed no hesitation in saying, "No, that's part of basketball. You have to know that."

Eddie House will not be in the building tonight for personal reasons and Rivers said Gabe Pruitt will play in his place.

"I think he's earned it," Rivers said of Pruitt. "I think he's ready for it."

- Couper Moorhead

House To Miss Tonight's Game

Backup guard Eddie House will miss tonight's game due to personal reasons. He is expected to rejoin the team either Tuesday or Wednesday in Atlanta.

Game Preview

For all the good things that happened during the 2007-08 season, there remains one dreary day that the Boston Celtics remember: March 14.

That day the Celtics were, in Doc Rivers' words, "destroyed" while suffering their worst home loss of the season to the Utah Jazz, 110-92. The defeat snapped an 11-game Garden win streak in the process.

At 7:30 p.m. tonight, the Celtics (22-2) will put a 14-game streak on the line and memories will be ripe of what, at the time, Paul Pierce likened to a schoolyard bullying.

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C's Haven't Forgotten Tune Jazz Played on Them Last Year

The Celtics had Saturday off but regrouped in Waltham on Sunday afternoon to prepare for Monday night's game against the Utah Jazz, a team that blew out the Celtics at the Garden last season, something that's not lost on Doc Rivers.

"They didn't win the game, they destroyed us," Rivers said of the 110-92 defeat at the Garden last March. "Deron Williams had 18 free throws in that game, and whether he made the free throws or not, he totally dominated us in that game. They're one of those teams where if you don't play well, they're very difficult to beat."

With that in mind, the Celtics may have won 14 straight games, but that doesn't mean they're playing perfect basketball. Rivers felt the team's play has fluctuated between incredible and poor during the streak, and he thinks the team is probably "between those two" right now.

"I don't know if [in] the New Orleans game if we played bad, or if we were tired, or it was [the Hornets]. The good thing is that we're still winning games under those circumstances," Rivers said. "I asked them what our record was; half of them knew, half of them didn't, and I said, 'It doesn't matter what our record is. It's about us getting better.' The record has nothing to do with us. That's the mindset we've got to have through Game 82."

Is that a hard sell for a team that's 22-2?

"No...this is a very receptive group to coaching," Rivers said.

Check the audio archive for more from Doc Rivers, Rajon Rondo and a lengthy discussion with Paul Pierce about his foundation's new emphasis on combating childhood obesity and how his own weight loss over the summer played a roll in his charitable efforts.

Live from Courtside

Game Info: Recap | Box Score

94-82 Celtics, FINAL: Make it 14 in a row...

Speaking of 14, up 14 with 3:44 to play, the Celtics seemed to ease up, and Chris Paul needed just over a minute to cut the lead in half; an assist to West (dunk) and an and-one layup had the lead down to 89-82 with 2:37 to go.

But a give-and-go alley-oop with 1:43 to play made it 93-82, and Paul's offensive foul against Perkins effectively ended any threat.

Paul Pierce's 28 points led the Celtics, David West had 23 and 14 for New Orleans. They'll go for 15 on Monday against Utah.

Hornets 64, Celtics 69, End of Third: The Celtics used an 8-0 run spanning the middle of the quarter to pull away, and only thanks to the best efforts of Paul (12 assists) and David West (19 points) did the Hornets keep themselves very much alive.

After shooting poorly in the first quarter, the Celtics are now at 46.4% for the game. Some of this has to do with the Hornets defense slowing down after a hectic first half, but the Celtics are doing most of their damage in the paint (36 points) and haven't committed a turnover in the half.

The main thing Boston is doing to hold itself back from a double-digit lead is a 13-of-20 mark from the free-throw line.

- Couper Moorhead

Hornets 40, Celtics 39, HALFTIME: If the Celtics are going to keep the streak alive, they'll have to earn it tonight. The Hornets defense is swarming...yeah, I know, it's a cliche but it's appropriate here. They're buzzing around and disrupting the Celtics offense. Hence the 11 turnovers. They've also recorded seven offensive rebounds.

With both teams hovering around 40% shooting, there hasn't been a ton of offense. David West leads all scorers with 11 points; Pierce and KG have 10 apiece.

Did we mention how loud the building is tonight? Maybe Game Ops cranked up the volume, or maybe we just haven't been inside the Garden in a week, but man it's pretty deafening in here tonight. A Paul Pierce three and a Kendrick Perkins block on back-to-back possessions got the crowd really going, and a playoff-style "DE-FENSE" chant even started. And why not? The Celtics got stingy in the second period, as the Hornets hit just three of their first 12 field goals in the quarter until David West dunked on KG. Garnett responded with a nice up-and-under move right out of the Kevin McHale playbook.

- Peter Stringer

Hornets 21, Celtics 21, End of First Quarter: Chris Paul is getting the best of Rajon Rondo so far. Paul has five dimes and forced Rondo into two turnovers, one of which, an intercepted pass, preceded Doc Rivers taking Rondo out of the game at the 4:18 mark -- maybe the earliest he has come out of a home game all season.

Speaking of turnovers, the Celtics have given up 13 points off their seven giveaways. A late 7-0 run helped tie things up once the reserves came in, but the Hornets have been getting the easy buckets that Boston normally doesn't allow at home.

The Celtics are helping themselves with 14 rebounds, but they have also missed many of their inside attempts, the main reason they are shooting 36.8% from the field.

James Posey's first bucket was a leaning three-attempt that soared into the basket as the shotclock wound down. Shockingly, there were a few scattered boos coming out of the crowd, but they quieted fairly quickly.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

The media masses are in the building for tonight's nationally televised game and most of the Hornets were talking pregame, about, no surprisingly, former Celtic James Posey. Peja Stojakovic brought up all the little things that Posey does which don't show up on the stat sheet, while Tyson Chandler said that a championship-player like Posey was the missing piece for a Hornets team loaded with talent.

Recently acquired from the Washington Wizards, Antonio Daniels will be in uniform for his first game with the Hornets. Daniels, who said he will fit right into the pick-and-roll system of New Orleans, hasn't had any trouble fitting in with a contending team.

"We were 3-15 [in Washington]," Daniels said. "It's like, nah, nah, that was cool."

Two minor observations of the Hornets locker room: While most teams have a large fruit spread for the players, the Hornets were the first team I can remember seeing with a small bin full of candy bars -- mostly of the chocked-full-of-peanuts variety. Secondly, if you were wondering what opposing teams focus on when they come to the Garden, written in large letters on the white board was "GANG REBOUND!!!".

As for the Celtics, they apparently had a rough time flying in last night. Thankfully they got to see Posey before the game, and, according to Doc Rivers, received some of those world famous James Posey hugs. Doc also used the upcoming match up with Chris Paul to show how far Rajon Rondo has come as a point guard.

"This year they're calling it a matchup," Rivers said. "Last year they weren't saying anything."

- Couper Moorhead

James Posey on Receiving a Championship Ring from the Celtics

James Posey makes his return to the TD Banknorth Garden today, and during the Hornets shootaround this morning he told the media he was looking forward to getting his second championship ring. Posey won his first ring as a member of the Miami Heat.

"It's going to be emotional. Just coming here as far as what we were able to accomplish with this organization. It's known for winning and bringing titles and championships here. For us to be a part of that tradition, that history, it's going to mean a lot."

Celtics Set New Franchise Mark

Celtics 122, Wizards 88, FINAL: Ray Allen had 13 of his 22 points in the first quarter to put the C's up big in the first 12 minutes, and they never looked back, notching a 122-88 win to put them atop the NBA with a 21-2 record, the fastest start in team history.

Game Info: Recap | Box Score

Big Three Among Leaders in All-Star Balloting

The first returns came back from All-Star balloting, and Kevin Garnett (495,514) is second among Eastern Conference forwards in the voting, trailing Cleveland's LeBron James (643,786). NBA Finals MVP Paul Pierce (153,512) ranks fifth among Eastern Conference forwards, while sharpshooter Ray Allen (174,155) is fourth among the East guards.

Center Kendrick Perkins faces a considerable uphill battle. His 24,777 votes place him ninth among Eastern Conference centers; Dwight Howard is the league's leading overall vote-getter at 775,933.

Rajon Rondo did not appear in the league-leaders for votes announced this afternoon on NBA.com.

Check CelticVision HD for comments from Tony Allen, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce about the Celtics red-hot 20-2 start and the prospect of setting a new franchise record for the team's best start to a season in history.

After winning their 12th straight game, the Celtics will take Monday off and are expected to return to the practice floor on Tuesday in Waltham.

In-Game Coverage

Live Scoreboard

Celtics 55, Pacers 57, Halftime: Ray Allen leads the Celtics with 14 points, but Marquis Daniels leads all scorers with 20 points, including a buzzer-beating half-court heave to put Indiana up at the end of the half.

T.A. Active and Available

Tony Allen, who missed the Celtics' last two games with a mild right ankle sprain, will be dressed and available for duty tonight against the Pacers.

The Celtics didn't practice on Saturday, but they had an afternoon flight to Indiana ahead of tomorrow night's 6 p.m. tilt with the Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse, where they'll try to extend their current winning streak to 12 games and their NBA-best 19-2 record to 20-2. The Celtics suffered their only road loss of the year in Indiana at the beginning of November.

Meanwhile, you can check out the Celtics.com Media Download, where we talked to Marc Spears about Rajon Rondo's coming-out party, the Celtics bench, and what's going on around the Atlantic Division in New York, Toronto and Philly.

Live from Courtside

Live Scoreboard

Blazers 78, Celtics 93, FINAL: The Blazers put together a run and forced the Celtics to bring their starters back into the game in the fourth, but couldn't get the margin below 11 points. That's 11 straight for the C's, and it's their first 11-game streak since 1986.

Blazers 51, Celtics 74, End of Third Quarter: Put it this way, it took the Blazers five minutes to score their first field goal of the quarter. That's this game in a nutshell. Seems that in all the talk of the Blazers possibly making a statement tonight, people forgot the Celtics could do exactly the same thing. And they are.

The Celtics have 36 points in the paint, 22 fast break points and a Rajon Rondo three at the buzzer, while the Blazers are shooting 37% from the field, and their transition defense is getting beat over and over again. School is in session.

- Couper Moorhead

Blazers 36, Celtics 49, End of Second Quarter: The bench did Leon Powe proud and held the lead, then the veterans simply out-hustled the young bucks and took control of the game. While the Blazers had been making the Celtics work in the half-court, there were at least four occasions when Rondo or Allen beat the entire Portland team back on defense for layups. As a result, the Celtics hold a 28-18 scoring advantage in the paint, and have 13 fast-break points. The closed the half on a 14-0 run over the last four minutes of the half.

The Celtics put the kind of clamps down on defense that can take a young team out of the game, and after making more than half of their shots in the first quarter, the Blazers are now at 40.5% from the field. The Blazers have too many weapons to count them out, but unless Nate McMillan can light a fire under them at halftime, it looks like it's the Celtics game to lose.

Blazers 21, Celtics 24, End of First Quarter: The Blazers are playing the Celtics dead even right now, as most relevant stat categories are close. Portland's defense looked strong until Ray Allen (10 points) was mysteriously left wide open for a three, and a layup on which Allen beat everybody back keyed a quarter-ending 5-0 run.

LaMarcus Aldridge is pacing Portland with six points, and his matchup with KG is one to keep an eye on. Rajon Rondo has been running through the center of the Blazers' defense and finding open players, which is always a good sign. Both teams are shooting above 50%. Portland is known as a deep team so it will be important for the Boston bench to do its job in the second period.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

All is calm on the Celtics front, as a relaxed Ray Allen mused about concerts -- he has to pass up on the occasional Jay-Z gig because he can't bring his kids to them, and prefers the concerts of bands he grew up with -- while Doc kept things short. Tony Allen, who's out tonight, would have to be doing very well to play on Sunday, Rivers said.

The Celtics coach went on to say that he thinks Greg Oden will become a dominant player. For those who still wonder what life with Oden would be like despite that shiny new trophy, it's worth noting that Rivers has hardly given it a few seconds of thought.

The visitors' locker room felt noticeably different than when the veteran teams like the Pistons or Magic are in town. The vibes best compare to what the Atlanta Hawks were like after taking a couple playoff games down in Atlanta and returned to Boston with the series unexpectedly tied.

There's a large locker to the far left that a team's star -- LeBron James, for example -- usually occupies. Instead, Brandon Roy, Portland's only All-Star, had his gear in the same spot that Ben Wallace did for Cleveland last year back in the right corner. Nearby, Travis Outlaw entertained Martell Webster and Rudy Fernandez with some of his best dance moves. The Blazers may be young, but they don't seem phased by the champs.

- Couper Moorhead

No Practice for T.A. Today

Not much to report from a short practice in Waltham. Tony Allen (right ankle) did not participate in today's session, which leads us to believe he may not be active again Friday against the visiting Portland Trailblazers.

In the meantime, Brian Scalabrine, who's been staying sharp by playing one-on-one against Sam Cassell after practice and before games, and Gabe Pruitt (who appears to be joining the Scal-Cassell fray) are the logical candidates for extra minutes. Coach Doc Rivers dismissed the idea of calling up J.R. Giddens or Bill Walker from the D-League for some short-term relief (by D-League rule, players can be called up at any time, but can only be sent down three times per season), which would indicate that their assignments are being viewed in the long term.

Speaking of the long term, no one knows it better than Greg Oden after he missed his entire rookie year due to knee surgery and is now finally getting a chance to show what he can do on the NBA circuit. Oden did make the trip to Boston last year, and he's larger than life in person up close when he's giving interviews, so we'd expect he'll have a rather large presence on the court as well.

Doc Rivers, like everyone else, is expecting big things from the big man who was once the apple of many eyes, the Celtics' included, in the 2007 NBA Draft.

"They're bringing him along, and he's going to be a dominant defensive player in our league," Rivers said of Oden. "I think right now defensively he's still learning the timing of the game, the speed of the game and the craftiness of veterans. But he'll get all of that."

Friday night's matchup also pits teams with two of the league's longest winning streaks against each other, so something's gotta give. The Celtics have won 10 straight games while the Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers have each won six consecutive games as of Thursday morning.

- Peter Stringer

Check the Audio Archive for interviews with Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins, Sam Cassell and Rajon Rondo.

Live from Courtside

Recap | Box Score

114-96 Celtics, FINAL: Make it 10 straight for the C-Train. Rondo finished off his first career triple-double in impressive fashion, racking up 17 assists, 13 rebounds to go with his three steals. In the process, he managed to overshadow Ray Allen's season-high 31 points. Allen's been filling it up, averaging 22.6 PPG over his last six games, and he's hit 23 of his last 41 threes over that time, for a blistering 56% from behind the arc.

Pacers 73, Celtics 88, End of Third Quarter: The third-quarter run trend is officially on, and for that matter, so is the rout. The Celtics have locked down on defense and the Pacers have gone cold, resulting in a 31-22 scoring advantage for Boston in the period.

Expect plenty of Rondo stories to invade the Web tomorrow, as he completed his first career triple-double less than two minutes into the quarter. Following a Celtics miss, Rondo (13 points, 12 assists, 10 boards so far) rebounded the ball and dished to KG for the bucket and the foul, all in one fluid motion. Just around 100 more to go to tie Jason Kidd's career mark.

Rondo did have 11 boards and 12 assists to go with five points against San Antonio last season.

It seems that as Danny Granger goes, so go the Pacers. He didn't score a point in the third.

- Couper Moorhead

Pacers 51, Celtics 57, HALFTIME: Rajon Rondo's been the story for the last two weeks and he's basically maturing in front of our eyes. After 6 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists in the first quarter, Rondo has a near-triple-double at the half, posting 10 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists in just 21 minutes, and he's yet to turn over the basketball.

Yet despite Rondo's impressive line, the Pacers are right there with the Celtics, and this should be a good one down the stretch. The C's have had some big third quarters of late, so keep your eyes on how the boys come out to start the half.

Pacers 27, Celtics 28, End of First Quarter: Doc Rivers can't be pleased with the 14 points in the paint his team has given up, but with 16 of their own under the bucket, the Celtics are giving just as much as they get.

Seven second-chance points and Ray Allen's healthy start (13 points) kept the Celtics close in the early going despite efficient shooting from the Pacers. But a 7-0 run late in the quarter, and the evening out of the percentages, returned command to the home team. Danny Granger started out hot (nine points) as he was left open on a couple defensive rotations, but the moment he left the game, the Pacers offense stagnated.

- Couper Moorhead

T.A. Out Tonight

Tony Allen is a confirmed no-go for tonight, and it didn't even come down to a doctor's decision. TA tested his sprained right ankle with leg lifts and step ups before the game, and said he ruled himself out. The results of a precautionary MRI should be out by tomorrow, and Doc Rivers said team doctor Ed Lacerte hopes Allen will be back by Sunday's rematch with the Pacers. But that doesn't rule him out for Friday, Rivers said.

Jim O'Brien was reluctant to read too much into Indiana's wins over the Celtics and Lakers, saying they caught Boston just after the emotional high of the banner raising, and the Lakers on their first trip East. Still, there have been plenty of teams that haven't been able to take advantage of either team on the road, so give the Pacers credit.

While O'Brien is a former Celtics coach, there's one guy on his roster that Rivers wishes was a current Celtics player. Potential All-Star Danny Granger was yanked out of Danny Ainge's grasp in the 2005 NBA Draft, selected by Indiana just ahead of Boston, which took Gerald Green with the 18th pick.

"Danny was a guy we wanted," Rivers said. "We thought he'd be just perfect for our team. When it got to that pick, we saw it was Granger or Gerald Green, we were about to get one or the other. Obviously Granger so far has turned out to be better, but Gerald's a lot younger and there's still time for him. But it would have been nice."

And, answering a burning question for some intrepid media members, Rivers said that Granger reminds him of a cross between the Orlando Magic's Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis.

It was reported about forty-five minutes ago that Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell was fired. Just as with the end of the last regular season, when teams were making personnel decisions, the move provided Rivers with a reminder of the nature of his job.

"You win, you get to stay a little bit," Rivers said. "[You] lose, you hope Danny Ainge is on your side."

- Couper Moorhead

A Dish Best Served Lukewarm?

The Celtics aren't calling Wednesday night's game at the Garden against the Indiana Pacers a "revenge game", but they're well aware that the Pacers are one of just two teams who've blemished their 17-2 record.

"We absolutely struggled against them on both ends of the floor," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said after Tuesday's practice. "We've got to play our game and can't worry as much about what other teams are doing. We've got to keep trying to correct what we're not doing and do it better."

They're also well aware of the Pacers' young star, Danny Granger, who scored 20 points and had his two front teeth knocked out while diving for a loose ball in the Pacers' November 1 victory over the Celtics at Conseco Fieldhouse.

"Granger has turned out to be a star. He's a terrific basketball player," Rivers said, noting that the Celtics had eyes on him in the NBA Draft a few years ago. "We knew about him, but no one knew he was going to be this good, this quick."

Celtics captain Paul Pierce, who's an admitted League Pass junkie and has seen plenty of Granger on TV, also works out in the summertime against Granger and really likes his game after seeing it up close and personal.

I've been watching him develop as a player, and he's playing at an All-Star level this year," Pierce said of Granger, who's averaging just over 24 PPG and 5 RPG, while shooting a shade under 47% from the field. "He's their best player, he's doing a lot of things for them this year, and he should probably make the All-Star team this year."

You can listen to the full interviews with Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo in the Celtics.com Audio Archive.

- Peter Stringer

Live from Courtside

Game Info | Box Score

107-88 Celtics, FINAL: The Celtics' bench did the job here in the fourth quarter. Celtics reserves scored 14 of the Celtics first 18 fourth quarter points, keeping the game in hand for the starters to finish off down the stretch. Also of note, Perk picked up technical foul #9 of the season while arguing for a goaltending call that he'd actually already gotten whistled in his favor. Details.

Rondo had another impressive outing, scoring 16 point to go with 16 dimes. The Celtics improve to 17-2; the Magic drop to 13-5. Not bad.

Magic 65, Celtics 77, End of Third Quarter: Other than a Ray Allen three midway through the quarter, the Celtics haven't needed any drama as they methodically pulled away from the Magic. No fancy stats will describe the difference better than this: the Celtics are shooting 55.6% from the field, the Magic just 39%. That's what they call defense, and the lack thereof.

Once he stopped attempting 15-foot bank shots (clearly a work in progress), Howard got going with seven points in the third. It forced a quick double-take, but the box don't lie: Paul Pierce had 17 points in the quarter.

The only things keeping the Magic in the game are 17 second-chance points and 24 from Rashard Lewis. Orlando hasn't scored a single fast-break bucket.

- Couper Moorhead

Magic 46, Celtics 48, HALFTIME: The Celtics' 15 point lead has all but evaporated thanks to the work of volume-shooter Rashard Lewis. Lewis is 6/13 with 18 points, and while he's shooting just 41% from the field this season, he's getting it done tonight. Meanwhile, Dwight Howard has been contained by Perkins, and "Superman" is just 2/7 for seven points. But the story for the Magic might be the work of an old friend, the oft-injured Tony Battie, who has seven points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench.

Ray Allen, who's been on fire over his last five games coming into tonight, is once again stroking the ball. He's got 14 to lead the Celtics.

Cassell Ejected: Sam Cassell hasn't played a minute all season, and it definitely won't happen tonight. Bob Delaney ejected Cassell for apparently arguing a loose-ball foul call against Kendrick Perkins from the bench with 4:40 to play in the half.

Tony Allen Injury update: Tony Allen went down awkwardly early in the second quarter and went back to the locker room followed by team physician Brian McKeon. The update from PR chief Jeff Twiss is a "right ankle sprain, will return"...

- Peter Stringer

Magic 18, Celtics 28, End of First Quarter: The Celtics couldn't have asked for things to be going much better. They are holding the Magic to 26.1% shooting from the field, in part because they are allowing Anthony Johnson to take open jumpers along the baseline. The Magic are doing the same to Rondo -- giving this the feel of a playoff game, at least from a technical standpoint -- but he's converted on 4-of-7 so far.

Looks like Doc has Kendrick Perkins on the Dwight Howard rotation, having left the game right after the Magic center, and the two are engaging in a bona fide duel. Backing up his quasi-fighting words before the game, Perkins is getting the best of Howard, holding him to 0-of-4 shooting. The Celtics have been swarming Howard whenever he puts the ball on the floor, and the lack of easy buckets would make Zaza Pachulia proud.

Stan Van Gundy got called for a technical foul following a Magic defensive three-second call midway through the quarter. That in itself was not unusual, except that Van Gundy was yelling loud enough that it was the ref in the far corner of the court that assessed the tech. Howard ended up walking over to calm his coach down.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

Even with the Eastern Conference's third-place team in the Garden tonight, the Celtics locker room maintained its regular-season calm that set in following the initial fervor of November's national TV victory laps. And even with Dwight Howard about to try and bring his gaudy numbers to the parquet, Kendrick Perkins maintained his cool that, really, he always has before tipoff.

Perk said he hasn't watched Howard this year, shaking his head when asked if he had even watched him on film, and said he just goes by what Doc tells him to do. Asked what his impression was of Howard after the Magic center won a gold medal in Beijing, the always-quotable Perkins responded:

"What's his impression of me after I won a ring?" Perkins said. "I don't watch people like that. I'm not a fan of everybody."

Perkins did concede that Howard is a good challenge, but added that he plays Kevin Garnett every day in practice, and Howard doesn't have a better post game than KG.

The other news was Doc winning his fourth Eastern Conference Coach of the Month award. Doc predictably shrugged it off and said it doesn't mean much, other than that his players made more shots and got more stops than the other teams. There are plenty of great coaches that haven't had good talent, he said.

One of Doc's "good" talents took the time to explain what makes him a good coach.

"I can tell that he's not lost what he knew as a player," Ray Allen said. "He understands how to manage who we are as players, [and] at the same time make sure he gets the best out of us...make sure we get the proper rest. But at the same time, he knows how to push buttons.

"He has the perfect balance of it all."

- Couper Moorhead

Rivers Named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month

BOSTON - Boston Celtics Head Coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers was named NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for the month of November. This marks the fourth time in Rivers' career that he has been named Coach of the Month.

Press Release: Doc Rivers Named NBA Coach of the Month

Live Game Coverage

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 89, Bobcats 84, FINAL: The C's defense came alive down the stretch, and Kendrick Perkins finished his night nicely. His dunk at 77-77 gave the Celtics a 79-77 lead and they never looked back. He finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, including one against Raymond Felton in the final minutes to help secure the victory. Six Celtics scored in double figures, with Pierce leading the way with 19 points. Rajon Rondo handed out nine assists.

The Celtics move to an Eastern Conference best 16-2 and open their three-game homestand Monday night against Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic at the Garden. Orlando also won tonight, 110-96 over the Indiana Pacers, who come to Boston on Wednesday night.

"I loved what we did tonight. You could see we were on empty tonight. Think about playing six back-to-backs in one month, with this being the sixth," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said. "There were a lot of jump shots hitting the front of the rim, but they just found a way so I'm really proud of them."

Celtics captain Paul Pierce says that playing so many back-to-backs early in the season will pay off down the road when the Celtics gear up for the postseason.

"These back-to-back games can be pretty tough, but we are grinding them out," Pierce said. "These back-to-back games get us prepared for the playoffs. I'm just glad we are able to get them done."

Celtics 66, Bobcats 62, End of Third: Richardson and Wallace each have 15 points for the Bobcats, who are keeping it close in a low scoring affair.

Celtics 45, Bobcats 43, Halftime: The Bobcats turned the ball over 10 times in the second quarter, including three straight on their last three possessions of the half, and the Celtics rallied to take a 45-43 lead into the locker room. While KG is clearly struggling (he's 1-for-6 from the field for just four points), Tony Allen and Paul Pierce each have nine to lead the Celtics.

The Celtics' vaunted defense hasn't quite been up to speed tonight, so we'll see if they can clamp down in the second half to salt this one away. Gerald Wallace got two of his 12 points on a crazy one-handed slam right down the middle of the Celtics D, something you rarely see with this team. Looked like a rare communication problem on the pick-and-roll at the top of the key.

Celtics 17, Bobcats 22, End of First: Last we checked, it was the Celtics who won in a blowout and the Bobcats who played into overtime last night, but the C's starters look a little fatigued and the team only shot a shade under 39% for the quarter while the Bobcats are just over 52% in the first quarter. Jason Richardson, who had the huge game against the Celtics at the Garden last season, leads Charlotte with six points while Paul Pierce has six for Boston.

Early Pregame Update

Gabe Pruitt (sick) did not join the team in Charlotte for tonight's game, but he will joining J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker on the inactive list, as they are on assignment with the Utah Flash in the D-League.

Speaking of Giddens and Walker, both had big games last night for the Flash, and Giddens' baseline jumper with just under a second to play sealed the victory for the Flash over the Austin Toros Friday night and capped his 19-point, 12-rebound night. Walker was also solid, scoring 23 points and had eight rebounds, and also assisted on the Giddens game-winner.

Live from Courtside

Game Info | Box Score

102-78 Celtics, Final: The fourth was essentially 12 minutes of garbage time. And that's good news since the starters got some well-earned rest; only Ray Allen played more than 30 minutes.

The Celtics have a 7 p.m. game in Charlotte tomorrow night.

Sixers 47, Celtics 73, End of Third: Maybe we should just say "End of Game", because this one is over. Ray Allen did the early damage, going 6/8 in the period by draining a handful of wide-open jumpers. And once again, Rajon Rondo had a huge third quarter. Rondo dished eight of his 12 assists in the quarter, his prettiest being an alley oop (and one) to KG that made it 73-47, brought the house down and all but ended this one.

Sixers 28, Celtics 46, Halftime: The Celtics started the quarter with an 11-0 run over the first 3:30 of the quarter, jumping ahead 33-16. After that, they were willing to trade hoops but refused to give any ground and took an 18-point lead into halftime. No Celtics player is in double-figures, but everybody who's been in the game not named Brian Scalabrine has got in the book for Boston.

Garnett, Perkins and Ray Allen all have eight points apiece for the Celtics; Brand's 12 points leads the Sixers.

Sixers 16, Celtics 22, End of First Quarter: The C's came out of the gates playing some active, suffocating defense in the opening minutes, holding the Sixers to just 2-of-their-first-9. Rajon Rondo was pinballing around the floor, and the Celtics really seemed to be disrupting the Philly offense. Meanwhile, 14 of the Celtics 22 points came in the paint, continuing the trend from Wednesday night against Golden State.

Elton Brand did get it going for the Sixers, scoring 10 points in the opening stanza.

Pregame Media Access

Most of today's pregame chatter concerned Allen Iverson missing practice -- not a game, practice -- yesterday in Detroit. The Celtics, for what it's worth, did not have any practice scheduled, and according to Ray Allen, that's what many Celtics were thankful for yesterday.

Check the Audio Archive for pregame remarks from Allen, Paul Pierce and Head Coach Doc Rivers.

Early Pregame

The Celtics will try to match the intensity the Boston Bruins brought to the Garden this afternoon in their 7-2 in over the Islanders when they play the second half of a rare Bruins/Celtics double-header tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The locker room is just about to open, so we'll have pregame notes just before tipoff at 7:30 p.m.

No Practice

The Celtics are off today to enjoy the holiday, and they will return to the court Friday night when the Philadelphia 76ers come to the TD Banknorth Garden.

Live from Courtside

Game Recap | Box Score

Warriors 111, Celtics 119, FINAL: Rondo turned it around in the third, and the frantic fourth quarter kept the Celtics ahead as they continued to score in the paint and get to the free throw line. Tony Allen played out the fourth quarter in place of Kendrick Perkins as KG played center to match up with the Warrior small size and fast pace. Garnett, Pierce, Allen and Rondo all had 20-plus in the victory.

Warriors 83, Celtics 86, End of Third Quarter: And the Celtics are back on top. Rajon Rondo basically took the game over in the third quarter. Doc always says that Rondo's at his best when he's pushing the ball up the floor rather than walking it up, and the third quarter was proof positive. Rondo scored 16 of his 20 points and had six rebounds in the third quarter. And most of those buckets came in the paint as the C's scored 24 of their 50 points in the paint.

Rondo's third-quarter line is even more impressive when you throw in his pair of steals and an assist in the period. And in case you wondering he's yet to turn over the ball all night.

Warriors 67, Celtics 54, Halftime: Wow. Well things sure turned around quickly in a second quarter that kept P.A. guy Eddie Palladino busy. The Warriors outscored the Celtics 39-19 in the period, with Corey Maggette doing quite a bit of damage by himself, scoring 11 of his 17 points. Stephen Jackson and Jamal Crawford each chipped in six of their own as well. Overall, the Warriors were 12-for-19 from the field, while the Celtics started the period 1-for-their-first 11, and finished just 5-for-20 on field goals.

Remember all of those points in the paint in the first quarter? It's been largely jumpshots in the second quarter.

Doc Rivers can't be happy with the turn of events, and he's already picked up a technical. We'll see what happens, but the Celtics probably want to slow down the pace in the third quarter rather than continuing to run-and-gun with the Warriors.

Warriors 28, Celtics 35, End of First: One quarter of basketball tells you all you need to know about the Golden State Warriors. They don't waste any time on the shotclock, shooting the first available look. And it seems the Celtics felt compelled to run with them tonight. Ray Allen and KG already each have 10 points, and Pierce isn't far behind with 7. Stephen Jackson, who's anything but gun shy, has 12 for the Warriors.

The surprising thing about this game? Points in the paint. You figured the Warriors would be a jumpshooting team, but 14 of their 28 came in the paint, while 18 of the Celtics' 35 where in the lane as well. And both teams, predictably, are shooting over 50% from the field.

Moment of Silence

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the moment of silence tonight for Helen Heinsohn, better known to Celtics fans as the Redhead in Needham. The wife of Tommy Heinsohn, Helen passed away this week after a protracted battle with cancer. Helen was a Garden fixture, attending virtually every Celtics home game alongside her husband.

Pregame Media Access

It was a pretty quiet pregame tonight, with very little chatter going on in the locker room, and Doc Rivers kept his remarks brief. He said there's no news regarding tapes featuring Kendrick Perkins picking up technicals, something they've apparently sent to the league.

"No...when you send film they never really respond, unless they're gonna do something," Rivers said. "We're just trying to notify them when it does happen [so they will] watch it in the future, more than the past."

Truth be told, Rivers was probably more concerned about the Golden State Warriors and getting home to Orlando after the game tonight to taste his mother's stuffing (according to Rivers, it's called "dressing") for Thanksgiving.

As for the Warriors and their new acquisition Jamal Crawford, who was just at the Garden last Tuesday with the Knicks before the trade, Rivers says Crawford is a perfect fit for Golden State.

"He plays exactly the way they play. I think it's a really good move for them," Rivers said. "It's a great move for him. I don't know if players, when they get traded, see that right away."

One move that the jury's still out on is Patrick O'Bryant's arrival in Boston, topical tonight since his former team is in the house. When asked about O'Bryant's progress, Rivers said that he's "coming along."

"He's working hard. He's a great kid. Early in the year, in the preseason, we were really on him about the tempo of his work. Him and Clifford Ray have been together far more than Patrick would probably like," Rivers said, chuckling. "But it's been great for him, and in the few practices we've had, you can see the improvement."

This Talk Might Not Be Cheap

It's good to be king, but when you're on top of the mountain, everyone is looking to knock you down. And if they can't do it by beating you, they might try baiting you. That seems to be what Kendrick Perkins and the 13-2 Celtics are finding out, even though Perk says it's the champs themselves who typically start the chatter.

"We initiate a lot of the noise. That's just how we are. We've been like that since last year. That's just how we play," said Perkins, who leads the NBA with eight technical fouls. "Guys are trying to get at us so we're going to get at them first."

Perkins has been assessed eight technical fouls in just 15 games, but that's a number that coach Doc Rivers thinks is inflated by referees assigning double-technicals when two players get engaged in trash talk. While he doesn't expect any of Perkins' techs to be rescinded by the league, Rivers did say the Celtics will be sending tapes of the incidents to the NBA for review.

"A lot of the double-technicals where someone's saying something to him, and he turns around and they give him a double-tech, that to me is where the officials have to do their job," Rivers said. "I think it's easy to just say 'double-technical' instead of saying, 'this guy started it, we're just going to give you a tech.'"

The concern for the Celtics is that when a player is a assessed his 16th technical of the season, he is automatically suspended a game by the NBA. Perkins is well aware of the rule.

"I'm an emotional guy, but it's not anything I can't change. I can control it," Perkins said. "I blame it on myself. I'm a man. Nobody makes me do that."

Perkins insists that he can control himself and turn off the talking if he must. But he did say that he thinks that talking trash gives his team an edge, and Paul Pierce told reporters that it's just as much a part of his game as it was for Larry Bird, one of the undisputed kings of NBA trash talk.

"I use it to get in my opponent's head," Pierce said. "Sorta like what Larry Bird used to do in the day and Michael [Jordan] did. I use it more as a tactic. I'm not out there trying to fight anybody or cause any commotion. It's nothing personal against the other guy. I like everybody in the NBA."

As long as it's directed the right way and revolves around the game, Rivers, who played against Jordan, Bird and Magic, doesn't mind his team talking a little trash. After all, they are the champs.

"You want [them] to be emotional, but you don't want to have what we call emotional sabotage," Rivers said. "If our players are talking, it should be about, 'We're going to beat you, we're going to win.' There's nothing wrong with that. When it gets personal, then there's something wrong with that."

- Peter Stringer

The Celtics will have Monday off and return to the practice floor on Tuesday morning before facing the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night at the Garden.

The Celtics once again demonstrated why they are the reigning powers of the Atlantic Division.

Ray Allen registered 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and Kevin Garnett posted 15 points as Boston cruised past host Toronto, 118-103, on Sunday for its fifth straight triumph.

The C's, who defeated the Raptors earlier this season in dramatic fashion when Paul Pierce led a furious fourth-quarter comeback, never trailed in this one as they improved to 6-1 on the road.

Game Info | Box Score

Video Highlights

After Friday night's 95-78 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Celtics spent the night in Minneapolis and had an afternoon flight to Toronto. There is no practice today due to the early afternoon start tomorrow in Toronto.

KG returns to Minnesota to play in his first game at the Target Center as a member of the Boston Celtics after spending 12 years with the Timberwolves. Garnett did not play in the game last season due to an abdominal injury he suffered, ironically enough, against the Wolves in a January 25 win at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Game Preview

Walker Joins Giddens in Utah

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that they have assigned rookie forward Bill Walker to their NBA Development League affiliate Utah Flash. Walker is the team's second assignment to the NBA Development League this season.

Celtics Assign Walker to Utah Flash

Live from Courtside

Game Info | Box Score

98-80 Celtics, Final: Gino finally came out with 52 seconds to play, but he really should have been dancing at the eight minutes to play mark. The Celtics bench tipped off the fourth quarter with a quick 9-2 run in the first 4:00 of the quarter to quell any designs the Pistons may have had on making a run.

This was the first win at home that reminded us of the way it was in the Garden last year. Falling behind 13-2 notwithstanding, the C's dominated this one basically from wire to wire. Basically, they pulled off a 96-67 run over the last 40 minutes of the game.

Pistons 57, Celtics 77, End of Third: Rajon Rondo has been the story of the third quarter, driving to the hoop and dishing off to teammates for some great open looks at the basket. He played the entire third quarter, and he's chiefly responsible for the Celtics extending a nine-point halftime lead into a 20-point edge at the end of three. Rondo scored nine points and had four assists in the period (18 and 8 for the game to this point on 7/11 shooting), and that could easily be a double-double if a few more shots went down.

This is one of those NBA games where the home team quietly pulls away. Turnovers tell much of the story; the Celtics had just seven to the Pistons' 15. Let's see how the bench does to start off the fourth quarter. Speaking of which, Gabe Pruitt was on the floor to start the third.

Kendrick Perkins also helped the Celtics on the glass, coming up with five rebounds in the period.

Pistons 40, Celtics 49, Halftime: It's fair to say that the Celtics bench probably loves seeing "DET" on the schedule. With Tony Allen going for a repeat performance (nine points) after scoring 23 in his last outing against Detroit, the Boston subs have put up 21 points compared to six (all Jason Maxiell) from the Pistons.

Most of the hustle stats are close, but the Pistons have committed 10 turnovers to the Celtics' six. Detroit hasn't been able to get into any sort of offensive rhythm since Stuckey came in, and it's clear that he and Iverson have yet to chisel out how they should play together.

Both teams have been lights out from downtown, with the Celtics holding the edge (5-of-7) over the Pistons (3-of-5). Eddie House accounted for two of those, hitting back-to-back bombs after missing his first free throw of the year on a technical freebie. House is now 13-of-14. Luckily, Gabe Pruitt is still 1-of-1.

Looks like Ray Allen's free-throw fundamentals talk before the game was more pertinent than we thought, as the Celtics are 8-of-15 from the line.

- Couper Moorhead

Pistons 21, Celtics 21, End of First Quarter: The Pistons jumped out to a 13-2 lead (yup, another slow start), but the Celtics countered with a 12-1 run of their own behind six consecutive points from Rajon Rondo. Rondo has nine points in the quarter, including the rare pull-up three.

Early signs are that this is not the Pistons team of eleven days ago. Their ball movement was fluid and rather than the passive Allen Iverson we saw trying too hard to fit in, he came out looking like he wanted to drop 30. That all changed when Rodney Stuckey came in to play point, pushing Iverson to off-guard. With Stuckey at the helm, the Pistons committed three straight turnovers and needed a couple bailout shots from Rasheed Wallace on other possessions.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

It's Allen Iverson's first visit to the Garden in a Pistons uniform tonight, and now that the Celtics are starting to see teams for the second go-round, there was plenty of straight hoops talk before the game (as opposed to philosophical ramblings about the effect of offseason moves).

Pistons coach Michael Curry called the Celtics' double-digit smackdown two Sundays ago a "dizzy spell" for his squad, and said they've used that game to address their weaknesses. With the Pistons going 4-1 since playing Boston, it appears as though Doc Rivers' warning that they will improve as the season progressed was spot on.

"It's not just Allen [Iverson] getting used to them, it's them getting used to Allen," Rivers said before the game, adding that Rasheed Wallace (14.2 points per game, up 1.5 from last year) has been helped the most from the Pistons' increase in tempo. "I think he's benefited the most from it, especially in transition. You have to load to the ball with Allen coming up with the floor, and to do that you have to load off of Rasheed.

"I was yelling 'Get back' the entire game and I hadn't done that in the previous years playing Detroit," Rivers added. "It worried me, even in that game. I was laughing with [coach Tom Thibodeau] after the game, I said, "I don't think I've said that 20 times in the past and the whole game I was just screaming getting back."

Though not having much to do with tonight's game, Ray Allen spoke at length about the keys to becoming a good free-throw shooter -- which he doesn't think he became until playing under Jim Calhoun at UConn (81% his final year). Asked whether he could help Rajon Rondo, who's shooting 53.5% from the line, Allen said he could but that it's up to Rondo to ask.

- Couper Moorhead

Early Pregame

Game Preview | Buy Tickets

If you haven't seen it already, check out CelticVision HD for video interviews with Coach Rivers, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett as they talk about Allen Iverson and the new-look Pistons. While it seems like we've been calling every other team the "new-look" [plug-in-a-team-name-here], the Pistons are probably the most dramatically different, relevant and successful since their deal for The Answer.

Tonight's game will be on TNT, which means a late 8 p.m. start and a late-night finish as well. Since the C's will be hitting the road for Minnesota after the game, it should be a brief postgame as the C's will be trying to get on the plane as soon as possible.

Holy Cross Honors C's Legends

Apparently, Holy Cross doesn't retire just anyone's jersey. Either that or there's a 50-year waiting period. Whatever the reason for the delay, the Cross raised Tommy Heinsohn's #24 (class of '56), Bob Cousy's #17 (1950) and Togo Palazzi's #22 to the rafters along with George Kaftan's #12 in a halftime ceremony at the November 16 game between the Crusaders and St. Joseph's in Worcester, MA. All four men later played for the Boston Celtics.

- Peter Stringer

Live from Courtside

Game Info | Box Score

110-101 Celtics, FINAL: This one was close, as the Knicks had cut the Celtics lead to 4 points with 2:06 remaining on a Duhon three and a Chandler put-back. They came into the game averaging just over 28 three-point attempts a night, so it should surprise no one that they hoisted 29 bombs Tuesday night.

But the shot of the night honors go to Brian Scalabrine, who drilled a three from the corner with 1:14 to play to put the Celtics up 107-99 and effectively smothered any run the Knicks could conceivably make.

We'll have more in postgame...

- Peter Stringer

Knicks, 77, Celtics, 89, End of Third Quarter: This is hardly a blowout, but Celtics never looked anything less than in control this quarter. The Knicks' field goal percentage has dropped to 43.8%, while the Celtics are hovering over 60%, mostly because they have been pounding the paint.

Ray Allen had six early points, but Rondo and Perkins carried the Celtics offensively in the quarter, scoring nine points apiece. Scalabrine also got into the action, hitting jumpers on consecutive possessions that were, to say the least, crowd pleasing.

For this to be a game, it looks like the Knicks are going to have to shoot their way back into it.

- Couper Moorhead

Knicks 47, Celtics 56, Halftime: The Celtics cranked up the defense in the second quarter holding the Knicks to just 6 of 19 from the field, and they quickly turned a two-point deficit at the end of the first into an eight-point lead thanks to their 19-9 run over the first 5:50 of the quarter. They finished the half up nine points, thanks in large part to Leon Powe, who continued to get it done on the offensive end, scoring 8 points in the quarter (14 overall).

The C's are dominating inside while the Knicks hoist jumper after jumper. The C's hit 10 of their first 13 shots in the period by pounding the ball inside and they're enjoying a 34-12 points in the paint edge.

Powe and Zach Randolph tied up under the basket and were both assessed technicals, but there didn't appear to be any suspension worthy conduct in the exchange. Given that Powe spent the pregame telling reporters how tough it is to stay under control when physical altercations start brewing, hats off to him for keeping his head on a night where the C's couldn't afford to lose any more manpower.

Knicks 28, Celtics 26, End of First: For awhile it looked as though the Celtics' (somewhat) slow starts would continue, but they've done a strong job controlling the tempo and the paint.

The Knicks aren't quite the Phoenix Suns, but they are putting up plenty of treys, hitting on 3-of-8. Quentin Richardson had nine early points, and yes, if you were wondering, he still does the double-fist head pound. Wilson Chandler has 10 points, but mostly on mid-range jumpers, and the Knicks as a team are shooting 52.2% from the field. With most of the Knicks' attempts coming from outside the paint, and the Celtics allowing less than 40% shooting from opponents all season, you'd expect that number to fall.

Scalabrine was solid if unspectacular (which is what Doc was going for) in his Garnett fill-in role, getting an assist and taking a charge before coming out for Leon Powe, who had six points in the quarter.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

The New York Knicks are tonight's opponent, but with regard to the questions before the game, it could be anyone. The story of the day, of course, is the one-game suspension of Kevin Garnett for a hit on Andrew Bogut in Saturday's contest against the Milwaukee Bucks. Brian Scalabrine will start in Garnett's place, leaving the second unit intact.

The Celtics didn't find the suspension particularly agreeable, with Doc Rivers calling it "ridiculous", Kendrick Perkins saying that it was "kind of messed up", and Leon Powe saying simply that, if it were up to him, he wouldn't have suspended KG.

"It just happens, it's the game of basketball," Powe said of the hits underneath the basket.

The quote of pregame, as is becoming habit, belonged to Perkins. Asked whether he had learned anything from Garnett about keeping his composure and limiting fouls, Perkins stared into the media huddle before offering this gem:

"KG, he's crazier than me," Perkins said. "What do you want me to say? If I said anything else I'd be lying to you."

As for Garnett's reaction to the suspension, he is not allowed in the arena tonight, and according to Doc, not even allowed to buy a ticket. He was at the team's shootaround this morning, though, and Powe said the Big Ticket had very little to say other than, "Good luck, guys."

- Couper Moorhead

Early Pregame

Doc Rivers isn't pleased with the NBA's one-game suspension of Kevin Garnett stemming from a league review of his altercation with Andrew Bogut in the fourth quarter of Saturday night's overtime win over the Bucks. Rivers called it "ridiculous".

Brian Scalabrine, first off the bench Saturday night, will get the start in KG's place as expected, so as to not disrupt the cohesion of the second unit.

Couper Moorhead will have more from tonight's pregame media access.

- Peter Stringer

Rested C's Ready for Knicks

With their eight-games-in-twelve-days stretch behind them, the Celtics, now 9-2, caught their breath a little bit with a well-earned day off after beating Milwaukee in overtime Saturday night. The team returned to the practice floor Monday for a long practice, and they'll be ready to go against the visiting Knicks at the Garden tomorrow night.

As for what to expect from the Knicks (6-4), Doc likes what he's seen from Mike D'Antoni's new-look New York team and figures that the Celtics defense, despite its top-three ranking in points allowed (89.7, third) and field goal defense (39.6, first), will have to be on top of its game to get the win.

"They're putting a ton of points on the board so we're going to have to have a hell of a defensive night," Rivers said.

Jamal Crawford, who's spent most of his first seven seasons in the NBA as a secondary scorer, has become the Knicks go-to guy on the offensive end over the last year or so, and he's averaging a career-high 21.3 points per game in his first 10 games this season.

Crawford has been lethal from three-point land to start this season, shooting it at 46% from behind the line, and he's opening eyes as the Knicks seem to be taking well to D'Antoni's run-and-gun system.

"Crawford has been very good for a long time. He's a great scorer," Rivers said. "He can score off the dribble, he can score off the catch. When he has big games it makes it very difficult to beat New York."

Check the Audio Archive (right column) for audio from today's practice from Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and Brian Scalabrine.

Giddens Headed for D-League

J.R. Giddens has yet to see the floor in a regular season game, and it was becoming clear that he'd have a hard time just getting on the floor in practice, let alone crack the rotation on this championship team. So Giddens stayed behind Friday night as the Celtics left for Milwaukee, and he'll be reporting to the Utah Flash this week.

Press Release: Celtics Assign Giddens to Utah Flash

Game Info | Box Score

Live from Courtside

94-85 Nuggets, FINAL: The Celtics suffered their first home loss tonight, and they were just killed in the paint along the way (42-20 on points in the paint). They also gave up almost 50% shooting and simply looked like a tired team that's played too many games in a short period.

Their end-of-the-third lead evaporated, and they had to play catch-up again in the fourth quarter. Despite Ray Allen tying the game at 82 with 4:17 to play, the Celtics gave up a 12-2 run over the next 2:30 minutes, and that was all she wrote.

Also worth keeping your eye on: Kendrick Perkins, who's had a history of shoulder problems, appeared to hurt his left shoulder in a wrestling match for the ball at center court. He didn't initially come out of the game, but was not on the floor in the final minute when the Celtics, trailing by 10, went to their gunners lineup.

64-65 Celtics, End of Third Quarter: And just like that, the C-Train is back on the tracks. Paul Pierce dropped 12 of his 19 points in the period, and the C's rallied from 15 points down to take a one-point lead into the final quarter. They trailed 59-44 with 8:37 left in the quarter, but put together a 21-5 run to take the lead.

Not much from the bench tonight. Non-starters have contributed just six points; five of those belong to Eddie House.

48-42 Nuggets, Halftime: Um, yeah, what happened? Ray still has 18, but the Celtics were outscored 25-7 over the first nine minutes of the quarter, and found themselves behind by six at the half. The C's shot just 5/18 in the stanza while Denver was 11/21.

The C's are getting killed in the paint, 26-14, and their jumpers aren't falling, either.

23-29 Celtics, End of First Quarter: Ray Allen has it going early for the Celtics, dropping 18 points in the quarter and finishing the period with a pair of three-point shots. He's 6/7 from the field, and leads all scorers. Heck, he nearly outscored the Nuggets.

Chauncey Billups, whose physical brand of basketball and size is a matchup problem for Rajon Rondo, has nine points to lead the Nuggets. But Carmelo Anthony (1/5) has been kept wrapped up in his nine minutes of action.

Live Scoreboard

Live from Courtside

Hawks 102, Celtics 103, Final: Paul Pierce does it again. The Hawks put their best foot forward tonight, and they even appeared to have the game won after a Marvin Williams three from the corner, but Pierce (34 points) hit the back breaker with 0.5 seconds left over the outstretched arms of Al Horford to make the Celtics 8-1.

For such a tightly contested game -- one that got close to playoff level -- the final play was decidedly simple.

"The last play was drawn up, get the ball to Paul Pierce, get the hell out of the way," Kevin Garnett (25 points, 12 boards) said. "Superman's in the booth. Let's go home. That was the play and if you don't believe that ask Doc Rivers and he'll say the same exact thing."

There wasn't any need to ask that question. Most Celtics credited the Hawks for their improved defense, but keep in mind that despite what you may be thinking based on a few exchanges between the two teams, this isn't quite a heated rivalry.

"The things that stick out is that they're a lot more defensively sound than they were a year ago," Garnett said. "It's entertaining, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a rivalry."

- Couper Moorhead

Hawks 77, Celtics 76, End of Third Quarter: In previous years, the Hawks might've folded after that mighty run by the Celtics in the second quarter, but this team is proving that the seven-game playoff series was no fluke.

Eight Hawks' three-pointers and 10 second quarter points from Kevin Garnett are preventing either team from taking control. Meanwhile, Flip Murray has a quiet 14 off the bench. The Celtics are still shooting just 42%, so, as Doc would say, the shooting odds are in their favor for the final stanza.

Zaza Pachulia will not be returning in the second half after suffering a sore shoulder (AC joint). Someone else will have to remind the Hawks that really, "nothing easy."

-Couper Moorhead

Hawks 51, Celtics 51, End of Half: Big Baby went back to the locker room midway through the quarter. No official word yet, but it looked like he did something to his lower back. Either way, he's available for the second half.

For awhile, this appeared to be the slow start that finally caught up with the Celtics. The worst of it came after a backcourt turnover from the Celtics became an open second-chance layup when nobody hustled back, putting them at a 16-point deficit. But whatever Doc said in the ensuing timeout put the team into playoff mode, and defense took over.

Not that there wasn't any offense. With the Hawks barely mustering a decent offensive possession, the Celtics ran off an 18-2 run to tie things up at 46, highlighted by a handful of and-ones. By the time Rondo lobbed the ball to Garnett for a monster jam, the Hawks' body language was spelling d-e-f-l-a-t-i-o-n.

To his credit, Solomon Jones tried to rekindle his team with a brief standoff with Perkins after a hard foul, but things dispersed quickly and Perkins shared some choice words with the Hawks' bench.

Stats-wise, Ray Allen has 15 points, Pierce has 11 and the Celtics are winning the battle in the paint with an 18-12 scoring advantage and four more rebounds than the Hawks. Both teams had their spells of sloppiness with 11 turnovers apiece.

-Couper Moorhead

Hawks 31, Celtics 24, End of First: It's becoming a theme. The Celtics are off to yet another slow start and fell behind early, 13-7, and spent the rest of the first quarter trying to catch up. And once again, the Celtics defense just didn't arrive in time for tip off. A Flip Murray three at the horn gave the Hawks their seven-point first quarter lead.

Al Horford had a huge game in Chicago, but he picked up two quick fouls in the first four minutes of the game, and with Josh Smith already out of action with the high ankle sprain, the Hawks suddenly found themselves missing a huge chunk of their interior defense.

We're looking for carryovers from the playoffs series, but so far there hasn't been much in the way of physicality.

- Peter Stringer

Pregame Media Access

Pretty quiet before tonight's game with the Atlanta Hawks -- who got into Boston at 2:30 a.m. -- especially compared to last year's playoff series when Mike Bibby and Kendrick Perkins had a brief war of the words in the days leading up to Game 2.

After Bibby called Boston fans "fair weather fans" following a practice last April, Perkins responded by saying, "I mean, coming off a 2-for-10 night shooting, he would say something like that." By gametime, Bibby was questioning Perk's tough streak while the Celtics center said that he wasn't losing any sleep over anything Bibby had to say. Bibby shot 2-of-7 that night and was booed every time he touched the ball while Perkins posted a solid eight points and nine boards as the Celtics won by 19.

Tonight, a reserved Bibby stayed on the topic of the Hawks' unbeaten standing, while most words out of Perk's mouth were off-key lyrics.

Both Bibby and Hawks' coach Mike Woodson credited their seven-game series with the Celtics for the team's play, and defensive effort.

"It was huge," Woodson said of the series. "You couldn't draw it up any better. It left a great taste in these guys mouth in terms of their direction."

Asked whether tonight was more about them or the Celtics, Woodson said it's got to be about his squad because they are still trying to take what the Celtics have. If you haven't already, get used to hearing that.

- Couper Moorhead

Live Scoreboard

Live from Courtside

Celtics 94, Raptors 87, Final: Only two words are needed to describe that fourth quarter: Paul Pierce. After a first half marred by easy misses, Pierce scored 22 of his 36 points in the fourth, including back-to-back threes that kept the Celtics within one. The lead ping-ponged back and forth over the next few minutes before Pierce's turnaround jumper gave the Celtics the lead for good. Then, Celtics defense took over and that was all she wrote.

Credit the fans for their great sense of the moment, too. But one thing to take away from this win is that Pierce played 46 minutes and both Garnett and Ray Allen played over 35, and there are three games left to play this week.

- Couper Moorhead

Raptors 65, Celtics 59, End of Third Quarter:The Celtics starters progressively built up steam throughout the quarter, eventually forcing a run-stopping timeout from Sam Mitchell after a KG jumper and Pierce three brought the C's within eight. From that point on, the crowd's pulse doubled and the Big Three took over.

Garnett has been a madman, at one point even picking up Jose Calderon at half court. On a Chris Bosh post up, Garnett pushed him so much that three dribbles later, Bosh was three feet further out. The Big Ticket has 19 points and nine boards, and the Celtics have taken the points in the paint advantage, 22-20.

Of the starters, only Kendrick Perkins came out of the game (4 fouls), so it's up to the bench to keep the run going.

- Couper Moorhead

Raptors 48, Celtics 36, Halftime: At least for the first half, the Celtics' reserves won't be the heroes they were against the Pistons last night. In the first five minutes of the quarter, the bench was outscored 9-4.

Reports out of Toronto in the days leading up to this game were that Jermaine O'Neal was struggling with his new role next to Chris Bosh, but he's been playing at a different level than everyone else on the floor. And it's not just open jumpers he's hitting -- O'Neal fed a cutting Jason Kapono for a layup, and on one post up, he left Kendrick Perkins in the dust with a baseline spin move. O'Neal has 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, with eight boards and two assists.

As for the Celtics, their half can best be summed up by a pair of missed layups by Paul Pierce (9 points), one after completely blowing by his defender. They are getting the shots they want, despite some solid Toronto defense, but the shots just aren't falling. Garnett kept the team from falling into more of a hole with nine second-quarter points (11 overall), but 32.4% shooting from the team isn't going to beat this division opponent. While chances are that the percentages return closer to the norm, the Celtics will have to clean up the boards (the Raptors hold a 25-18 advantage) to get themselves back in this one.

Raptors 23, Celtics 18, End of First Quarter: The story of the game so far has been Jermaine O'Neal, who's got his retro shoes on as he looks more like the Indiana Pacers, All-Star version of himself. O'Neal has 10 points (5-of-10 shooting) on a number of turnaround jumpers in the lane over both Perkins and Garnett, as well as an alley-oop courtesy Jose Calderon.

The starters had a slow start on the offensive half of the court and the shots still aren't falling. The Celtics are shooting 5-of-16 from the floor and are being outscored 10-4 in the paint. The Raptors also hold a 5-0 advantage on second chance points.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

The top two teams in the Atlantic Division are facing off tonight, and as you can imagine, there's a few more members of the media around then there was for the Milwaukee Bucks barnburner.

Rajon Rondo had a bag of ice wrapped around his right elbow in the locker room, because, as Doc Rivers put it, he "twisted his body." Rondo said he just landed on the elbow against the Pistons, but you can't be too surprised he's icing anything given the way teams have been putting him on the floor.

Tony Allen spent some time with reporters after scoring 23 points against the Pistons last night, and anytime someone mentioned him being "back" from the pair of knee surgeries, Allen quickly announced that he's still not there. He's got the quickness to get by defenders, he said, but that explosiveness to rise up at the rim isn't back yet. As for a percentage for Allen's health, he took a few moments to come up with 82 percent.

If you ask most NBA fans over thirty who they think the coolest player of all time was, Walt "Clyde" Frazier would surely be one of the first names out of their mouths. If you want a less trendy, dark horse pick for that discussion, though, throw out Raptors' coach Sam Mitchell, who's voice alone is keeping cool alive.

Asked whether he was surprised the Celtics have picked up where they left off last year, Mitchell, a former teammate of Garnett's with the Timberwolves, gave a few incredulous looks around the media huddle before responding.

"Unless someone kidnapped Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett over the summer..." Mitchell said. "Three future hall of famers, getting their first taste of glory, and they gonna let up? I don't know about human nature, but I know about athletes, and athletes that are said to be the best, they don't let up. The more they win, it becomes a drug."

-Couper Moorhead

Early Pregame Report

After blowing the Pistons out at the Palace, the Celtics return home for their first Atlantic Division game of the year, hosting the Toronto Raptors.

In the house tonight watching from the seats: Dino Radja, who played three seasons with the Celtics in the mid-90s. Radja posted career averages of 16.7 points and 8.4 rebounds.

Couper Moorhead will have more from Doc's pregame presser just before tipoff...

Celtics 88, Pistons 76, FINAL: It wasn't as close as the final score indicates, as the Celtics defense just devoured the Pistons from bell-to-bell. Winning their fourth straight game, the Celtics made it clear that they're still the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

Tony Allen had an impressive outing, scoring 23 points in 27 minutes, going 11/16 from the field and getting almost everything on layups. Given that Paul Pierce (seven points) and Kevin Garnett (eight points) went a combined 7/25 from the field, TA gave the Celtics a much-needed lift from the bench.

"I just took advantage of what the defense gave me. Coach said, 'Just attack', and that's what I did," Tony Allen said.

Ray Allen, who had 17 to lead the starters, liked what he saw from TA and the rest of the reserves.

"All the players around those guys stepped up and made plays," Ray Allen said of the bench. "The second unit has come in and competed. Those guys keep giving us the energy and the sky's the limit for them."

Tony Allen noted that the bench understands its role.

"We're supposed to come in with energy. We've got to be that lift for the starters if they're not getting it done early," Tony Allen said.

Coach Doc Rivers echoed those sentiments, calling the team's defense "the best of the year, by far", noting that his guys had active hands and were getting up into the Pistons' bodies. But again, Rivers emphasized that the play of his bench was instrumental in tonight's win.

"Our bench has been phenomenal. The last three or four games, our bench has been the reason we won," Rivers said. "They do all of the little things that as a group make them a good group. There's no one guy who can carry them, but when they played the way they've played, it makes them a very good basketball team."

69-49 Celtics, End of Third: The Pistons didn't draw any closer in the third, despite Tayshaun Prince taking the scoring lead with 21 points. Iverson scored just two points in the quarter. Meanwhile, the Pistons have to be concerned about Rodney Stuckey, who had trouble leaving the floor at halftime and his status at this point is unknown.

47-29 Celtics, Halftime: The Celtics defense absolutely overwhelmed the Pistons in the second quarter, and as a result, the Celtics outscored them 30-10 in the period to build a 47-29 halftime edge that had the locals booing the Pistons off the floor.

Allen Iverson's presence (8 points) has really messed up the Pistons' chemistry and it's clear that the Pistons will need some time to get their offense together. The Pistons, shooting just 25% from the field, did not score a field goal in the last 7:33 of the half. Meanwhile, with Pierce riding the pine (three fouls), Tony Allen played 13 minutes and scored a game-high 13 points in the half.

Rajon Rondo continues to be a target for opposing teams trying to intimidate him with some stiff shots, whether it was Rasheed Wallace's blind backcourt pick or a few hard hits on Rondo's drives.

17-19 Pistons, End of First Quarter: If you were expecting a defensive struggle, this first quarter certainly didn't disappoint. It took a full three minutes before either team could get on the board. But the news of the first quarter is three personals on Paul Pierce, the last of which was laughable and drew technicals on Pierce and Doc Rivers.

The Celtics staged an open practice Saturday at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint today for New England Baptist Hospital, one of the team's official sponsors, and while it was a brief session, the team sharpened up on some training camp drills before catching a 3 p.m. flight to Michigan for their big game against Allen Iverson and the new-look Detroit Pistons Sunday night.

Check CelticVision HD for interviews with Doc Rivers and Ray Allen from today's session.

Recap | Box Score | Perkins, Pierce Come Up Big vs. Bucks

89-101 Celtics, FINAL: Soctt Skiles summed it up in his postgame address. "They pretty much owned us [in the paint] from beginning to end," Skiles said of the Celtics win over the Bucks Friday night at the Garden. Despite Milwaukee jumping out to a 25-12 lead to start the game, and shooting somewhere around 70% from the field, the Celtics put the clamps down and returned to the defensive form that made them champs last season. By game's end, the Bucks had shot under 40%, and the Celtics had the game tied up with a few minutes to play.

Given the team's recent travel woes, lack of rest and practice, a sloppy start didn't surprise anyone on the Celtics bench. But you really can't argue with the team's subsequent recovery.

"We were concerned with the start," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said. "That's I was just trying to burn, you know, minutes, get the game going for them. I didn't want to sub any of them out. [I] just thought it was a good way of getting them running."

Once the running started, it never really stopped. The Celtics outscored the Bucks 24-10 in fast break points, and in the paint, the 60-36 edge was even more dominant. In the middle of it all? Kendrick Perkins, who posted a career-high seven blocks in just 24 minutes. The last time he blocked seven shots? How about all of his senior year at Clifton J. Ozen High School, according to the averages, when he was good for 7.8 swats per game. Sure, it was easier back then, but with 15 blocks over his last three games, recently he's been making it look easier in the pros too.

Not one to blow his own horn, Perk said he's not out there looking for the block, and besides, he had some amends to make; he had five turnovers.

"I was messing up so bad on the offensive end that I had to make it up on the defensive end," Perkins said. "As long as I keep protecting the paint, [the blocks] will come."

Fourth Quarter: Back-to-back hoops from TA and Rondo made it 82-72 with 10:23 to play, and the Celtics slipped into cruise control from there on. Gino came out with the C's up 97-83 with 2:44 to play. Early? Perhaps...Bill Walker got his first taste of PT in garbage time and even got his first regular season bucket of his NBA career.

As for Kendrick Perkins, his seven blocks is a career-high. KG had his own 7-swat game last year, and the last Celtics player to block eight was Kevin McHale, who did it to the Sacramento Kings in the old Boston Garden in 1987.

70-75 Celtics, End of Third: The Celtics can't seem to pull away from the Bucks, despite Perkins blocking three more shots in the third. They're just 4/14 from three point land, but they do have 22 assists on 29 field goals.

47-55 Celtics, HALFTIME: The Celtics really came alive in the second quarter, mounting a 19-7 run over the last six minutes of the half to jump out to a 55-47 advantage. A KG fast-break dunk put the C's up 44-42 and they haven't looked back.

Kendrick Perkins, who had a huge game Tuesday night in Houston, blocked four shots in the first half as the CEltics dominated the paint. How about a 38-12 points in the paint advantage? Impressive.

30-23 Bucks, End of First: Not a lot of defense to be seen in the first quarter. For most of the first, the Bucks were hovering around 70% from the field as they built a 25-12 lead. When the Celtics D came to life, an 8-0 run got the C's back into the game and it was 30-23 at the end of the quarter. The C's did come up with four blocks in the first period.

Pregame Update

The Michael Redd-less (high ankle sprain) Milwaukee Bucks are in the house tonight, the first Celtics opponent in a brutal stretch which features six games in the next eight days, book ended by the boys in purple. With little time to catch their breath over that period, Doc Rivers said the team's only practice will be tomorrow, which will be open for a Celtics sponsor.

"We're going to have what I guess you'd call a practice tomorrow," Rivers said. "We don't see a decent practice until December, because of the [schedule]."

The talk in the Celtics room circulated around Rajon Rondo and his free-throw shooting woes thus far this season. Despite making 100 shots from the stripe a day this summer, usually out of 110, according to Rondo, he's shooting an Olden Polynice-esque 13-of-33 (39%) in the Celtics' first five games.

"I don't know what the story is; if I knew I'd definitely try to improve it," Rondo said. "I'm going to continue to try and get fouled and attack the rim. I'm not going to shy away from getting fouled because I have to make them eventually. I need to make them, especially being a point guard."

Many of Rondo's trips to freebie-land have been preceded by a hard hit underneath the bucket, which he acknowledged, saying that it may be the adrenaline rush contributing to the erratic nature of his shots.

"For some reason, it's just not going in right now. Some are long, some are short, but I'll get a rhythm," he said. "Once I get a rhythm, I'll lock in."

To counteract that, Rondo said Sam Cassell told him to focus on taking a breath before he shoots and even to stop and tie his shoes to buy some time. While he hasn't had the chance to try this yet, fortunately Rondo's laces are always loose so as not to cut off circulation in his feet.

- Couper Moorhead

Live Game Update

96-83 Celtics, FINAL: The Big Three all came up big Wednesday night, with each guy flirting with a double-double. Paul Pierce, despite playing with a sprained hand, led the way with 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Ray Allen had 18 and nine boards while KG chipped in 17 and eight rebounds.

"I got a little sprained hand I suffered last night," Pierce said of the minor injury. "I haven't been shooting the ball well, but I'm going to keep shooting until I get out of the slump."

While the Celtics fell behind early in the first quarter, the C's made the rally in the second period when the reserves took the floor.

"I really thought the second unit did a good job," Pierce said. "They played with energy, took the lead and we never looked back."

Heralded second-year player Kevin Durant finished with 17 points, but he disappeared for most of the second and third quarter and if that's the case, it could be a long, long year for the Thunder.

The Celtics, meanwhile, improved to 4-1 and will return home Friday night to host the 3-2 Milwaukee Bucks at the Garden.

70-55 Celtics, End of Third: The C's started to pull away from a young Thunder team in the third quarter, outscoring them 19-11 behind strong play from Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. Allen struggled early but started finding the groove and scored 10 of his 14 points in the third, while Rondo has nine assists and some nice plays on the defensive end.

The Celtics have clamped down on defense, coming up with nine steals and holding Oklahoma City to just 34% shooting.

51-44 Celtics, Halftime: The Celtics tipped off the second quarter by jumping out on a 25-7 run, while the Thunder went just 1-for-their-first-16 in the period. Leon Powe made his impression felt, leading the Celtics with 11 points at the half and some typical hard-nosed rebounding under the basket.

Delays have plagued the game, from net issues to floor moisture that had ball boys mopping up with towels between baskets late in the half.

29-21 Thunder, End of First: So far we're pretty even statistically, but a high-energy 11-3 Thunder run to end the quarter has Oklahoma City up 29-21 after the first. Ray Allen continues his fine play with four points, four rebounds and a pair of assists.

Live Game Update

103-99 Celtics, FINAL: The Celtics (3-1) get a nice win in Texas, as Kendrick Perkins and Ray Allen both had huge nights. Allen dropped 29 points before fouling out on a questionable call. Perk, playing in front of family and friends, owned Yao on both ends of the floor as the Celtics controlled the paint and the tempo of most of this game.

Allen did most of his damage against Tracy McGrady, who looked more than a step or two slow and failed to stay with Allen on the defensive end. Allen ran McGrady against picks most of the night, Reggie Miller style, before the Rockets finally switched up to put Artest on Allen in the waning minutes.

"It looked like Tracy was hobbled a little bit and we took advantage of it," Allen said. "The guys set some great screens and I got some good looks."

If anyone knows how to attack McGrady (not too mention knows his injury history), it would be Doc Rivers, who coached him with the Orlando Magic.

"Once [Allen] gets it going he's very difficult to stop," Rivers said. "I'm sure [McGrady's] not 100% yet."

All five starters scored in double figures for the Celtics, who visit Oklahoma City tomorrow night.

81-78 Celtics, End of Third: Rondo continues to play well, controlling the pace in a back-and-forth game in which the referees have been reluctant to blow the whistle despite some physical play. Perkins is having himself a nice night and has 15 points on 7/8 shooting.

Despite shooting 54% from the field through three periods, the C's have just a three-point lead.

58-53 Celtics, Halftime: After building a 16-point lead early in the second quarter, the Celtics endured a 20-7 Rockets run over 4:30 when the score went from a 43-27 edge to a 50-47 deficit. But the C's closed out the half strong and took a five-point lead into the half. Ray Allen has 12 points and four assists, while Perk and KG continue to work the glass.

Garnett, however, is having another rough shooting night, going just 2/10 in the half as his midrange jumper just wont go down. Ron Artest (9 points, 4 rebounds) has played well for the Rockets.

28-22 Celtics, End of First: The Celtics scored 14 of their 28 first quarter points on either dunks or layups, and the Houston defense, which coming into this game was among the best in the league, was nonexistent. The Celtics also out-rebounded the Rockets 16-9 in the opening stanza. Yao Ming picking up two quick fouls certainly didn't help the Houston cause.

Rajon Rondo led all scorers with 10 points in the quarter.

Bill Walker Activated

Live Scoreboard

7:31 p.m.: Rookie Bill Walker has been activated for tonight's game, while reserve center Patrick O'Bryant will not dress tonight for the Celtics' game against the Rockets in Houston.

Walker, if you remember, got into it with Tracy McGrady during the Celtics preseason game against Houston in Manchester, NH.

Live Game Coverage

95-79 Pacers, FINAL: A 12-0 too-little, too-late run by the bench wasn't nearly enough, and the Celtics fall for the first time this season to start their three-game roadie. KG had 18 points and 14 rebounds but still didn't look like himself.

The only thing uglier than the Celtics' 24 turnovers tonight? Danny Granger's new $60 million smile. Granger lost his two front teeth diving for a loose ball, and now we know what he wants for Christmas.

Doc Rivers won't use the 4 a.m. arrival as an excuse, but when everyone looks a step slow and you turn it over that many times, the travel woes have to have played a role.

69-58 Pacers, End of Third Quarter: The turnovers continue to kill the Celtics. Twenty one turnovers and counting is making it tough to make any sort of sustained run to chip away at Indiana's double-digit lead. Paul Pierce is attacking the basket more, and it might be one of those nights where the Truth has to put the team on his back.

48-41 Pacers, Halftime: The Celtics got as close as three points, but the Pacers riding Granger and T.J. Ford and the emotion of their opening night. But 14 turnovers is crazy for a half, and the Celtics will have to clean it up in the second half to get the win tonight. Five guys have committed at least more than one turnover here in the first half.

Given their 33% shooting, their isn't much to point to on the positive side for the C's, but Tony Allen did provide a nice lift off the bench with eight points.

27-17 Pacers, End of First Quarter: Danny Granger's 11 points are highlighted by an up-and-under scoop shot that you'll be seeing on the highlights tonight. The Pacers are looking to shoot at the first available opportunity, and so far it's working. The C's (8 turnovers) look a little sluggish, but a 4 a.m. arrival in Indianapolis will do that.

Live Scoreboard

Postgame Coverage

Celtics vs. Bulls: Recap | Box Score | Highlights

After Rough Opener, KG Rebounds in Game 1K

Live Game Coverage

96-80 Celtics, FINAL: Make it 2-0 for the C's, officially, after a game that was largely over after the first quarter. Pierce played 35 minutes, but KG and Ray Allen had light duty in making short work of the Bulls. A very professional win for the Celtics tonight.

70-54 Celtics, End of Third: Kendrick Perkins fouled out in just 21 minutes on opening night, and he's already got five personals through three quarters. Smoke 'em if you've got 'em, Perk...

With a comfortable lead and a game tomorrow night in Indiana (the Pacers' home opener), look for the starters to rest most of the fourth if possible. Garnett has 18/10, while Rondo has 14 and six dimes.

49-31 Celtics, Halftime: After a terrible shooting night on Tuesday (5-15), KG, playing in his 1,000th career game, has hit 7/10 for 16 points and seven rebounds, both game highs. And the paint dominance continues; the C's have a 30-12 edge in the lane.

And speaking of terrible shooting, the Bulls can't hit the ocean or the broad side of the proverbial barn. They're just 10/45 from the field. Tyrus Thomas is a brutal 1/10.

24-13 Celtics, End of 1st Quarter: By popular demand, live game updates are back. The Celtics dominated the paint here in the first quarter, as Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett all but marking their territory by posting eight points and seven rebounds between the both of them. The Celtics defense was tenacious, holding the Bulls to just 17% shooting and forcing seven turnovers. Offensively, the C's overwhelmed Chicago in the paint, 16-4.

Live Scoreboard

Pregame Locker Room

The Chicago Bulls are in the house with this summer's No. 1 draft pick, point guard Derrick Rose. But despite the attention the rookie is receiving, the man of the day is the Celtics third-year point Rajon Rondo, whose rookie contract option was just picked up by the team earlier today.

In one of his more candid conversations with the media, Rondo talked about being happy with the team's no-brainer, and who wouldn't be, he said, having won a championship and returning the following year with the same team and a chance to repeat.

"I don't take anything for granted, but winning a championship helps," he said.

Asked about the possibility of being a Celtics' lifer, Rondo kept his head about him and commented on the business that, in the end, basketball is and will always be.

"You never know, it's a business," Rondo said after a pause. "Kevin [Garnett] was in Minnesota, I think 13 years, and he's in Boston now. So you never can say you want to be in one place throughout your entire career because, you know, General Managers can change, coaches can change, you never know what can happen."

But that's far along down the road, and Rondo knows he has a good thing going and wants to do what's best for himself and for the team.

"I love the organization right now, we're winning, that's what it's all about," he said.

- Couper Moorhead

Early Pregame

The locker room is about to open. With news of Rajon Rondo's option being exercised, we hope to catch up with him before tonight's game to get his thoughts...

Rondo Option Exercised

BOSTON, MA - The Boston Celtics announced today that the club has exercised the fourth year option on guard Rajon Rondo. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cavs Set Physical Tone for C's Opponents

The ceremonies are over, the rings have been handed out, and the Celtics withstood their own sluggish start to get an opening night win against Cleveland Tuesday night. You couldn't ask for much more. So with all of that out of the way, the grind officially begins. Next up: the 1-0 Chicago Bulls, led by rookie head coach Vinny Del Negro and a standout rookie point guard, Derrick Rose.

"[The Bulls are] much improved. I was really impressed watching them the other night. Rose, he didn't have a great game, but you can already see that he's going to be a great player. He's already controlling that team, they're running at a better speed. His decision-making is what stood out," Rivers said of Rose, who finished with a not-too-shabby 11 points and nine assists (and four turnovers) in the Bulls' 108-95 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. "They're going to be a good opponent."

While the Bulls probably aren't as good as the Cavs on paper, they're not likely to play as physical a brand of basketball. The Cavs, with a seven-game playoff loss still fresh in their mind, seemed determined to push the Celtics around, and seemed to take particular interest in sending Rajon Rondo to the floor whenever he went to the bucket.

"I told him, 'It's nice to go to the foul line, it's better to go to the foul line shooting one.' You know what I mean? He took some hits and if he did that all year, that would be a concern," Rivers said. "You want him going at that speed all year and you want him getting to the basket without contact as much as possible, but this is a physical game."

To that end, Paul Pierce is expecting teams to try to lay the lumber on them every night.

"When you're the champs, teams are gunning for you. They're gonna try to find an edge. That's the way it is when you're trying to unseat the champs in any sport," Pierce said. "We've got to be ready to take everybody's best punch."

After Tuesday night's opening night victory over the Cavaliers, the Celtics will have Wednesday off before regrouping for practice on Thursday ahead of Friday's game against the Chicago Bulls.

Postgame Recap

BOSTON - Paul Pierce exploded for 27 points and the Celtics capped a special night in style with Tuesday's 90-85 season-opening win over the Cavaliers at The Garden. Rajon Rondo had 14 points and six assists, while Leon Powe added 13 points as five C's finished in double figures.

The World Champion Celtics turned the page on their storybook turnaround Tuesday night when they handed out rings, and raised their 17th banner to the rafters.

Celtics vs. Cavs: Recap | Box Score | Ring Ceremony Video

Emotional Pierce Keeps C's in Check

More: C's Eye Repeat | Player Forecast | Ainge Promoted

Pregame Media Access

Lots of familiar faces at the Garden tonight with most national media outlets covering the game. The timing of the ring ceremony is throwing everybody off their routine, but Doc Rivers said there's no better distraction for which a team could ask.

If you find yourself wondering where LeBron and the Cavaliers are during the ceremony -- through the build up in your tear ducts, of course -- they've elected to stay in the locker room during the lengthy presentation.

Not that there's any hard feelings from the Celtics.

"First of all, I didn't know they were invited," Rivers said, laughing. "Number two, we're still going to have it. Because [LeBron's] not going to come, we're not going to cancel it. And number three, I wouldn't want to be there either."

"It's long, and secondly, they're giving us something that we want."

Much has been made of the Celtics carrying a shiny new target on their backs after topping the Lakers last summer, but Rivers said the team has actually gone through of bit of that before. This time, however, they've actually done something to deserve it.

"We were the beneficiary last year of being on every [magazine] cover and teams attacked us for that," Rivers said. "Because we hadn't won. I thought that they took that personally, you know, 'who're these guys, they haven't won anything.'"

The team just came out for warm ups, and for a moment it sounded like the playoffs last season. The arena isn't even full yet.

- Couper Moorhead

Opening Night Coverage

if you haven't checked CelticVision HD already, check out Paul and Doc talking about the challenge of repeating as NBA Champions, and what they expect from tonight's banner and ring ceremonies. By the way, tip off is at 8:00 p.m., but fans should be in their seats for a 7:30 ceremony. Be there early!

Couper Moorhead has today's game preview, while Peter Stringer checks in with a feature on the challenge of repeating that runs in the latest edition of Parquet, available exclusively at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Check CelticVision HD for updates from Waltham including interviews with Coach Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Sam Cassell.

All 15 players, including rookie J.R. Giddens (bruised left hip, day-to-day) went through Sunday's practice at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint in Waltham on Sunday, and the troops will meet again at 11 a.m. on Monday morning for a final day of practice before Tuesday's season opener against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Celtics.com will have complete coverage from Monday's session...

The word from PR chief Jeff Twiss is that "everyone busted it pretty good today" in Waltham. One minor note, J.R. Giddens has a bruised left hip and is listed as day-to-day.

After two days off, Coach Doc Rivers called Friday's practice, "sloppy, as expected." That said, sloppiness didn't stop the troops from playing hard.

Rivers said that in the next four days, the team needs to get "on the same page" and get it's timing down to where the team is "game-ready instead of preseason ready."

"We've got to understand it's gonna be 82 games of being attacked every night," Rivers said.

Check CelticVision HD for interviews with Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. KG was especially candid today talking about his legendary intensity and how it rubs off on his teammates.

After completing their exhibition season at 6-2 with a 101-90 victory over the New York Knicks, the Celtics will have two days off before returning to practice in Waltham on Friday.

Celtics Waive Darius Miles

BOSTON, MA - The Boston Celtics announced today that the club has requested waivers on forward Darius Miles. The training camp roster now stands at 15.

Darius was a model citizen during his time here in Boston. He showed that he still has a lot of basketball left in him," said Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations/General Manger Danny Ainge.

Miles signed as a free agent on August 22, 2008. The 6'9", 235-pound forward appeared in six preseason games, averaging 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds in 10.4 minutes per game.

Rondo Sits, Pruitt Starts

Rajon Rondo's ankle sprain may have been mild, but it's enough to keep him out of today's preseason game against the New Jersey Nets. Rondo told reporters before Sunday's tilt that he could play if he needed to (i.e. if it were the regular season, he'd be suiting up) and hopes to practice Monday and play in Tuesday night's exhibition finale against the New York Knicks at MSG.

Check the Audio Archive for Doc Rivers' pregame interview.

Celtics vs. Nets: Live Scoreboard

After sitting last night, the Big Three are expected to play big minutes, more like regular season minutes, in their preseason TD Banknorth Garden debut tonight against the Knicks.

Big Three Sit While TA Drops 32 on Nets

Doc Rivers may have given Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett the night off, but Tony Allen was hard at work Thursday night, scorching the Nets for 32 points, 22 of which came in the first half.

"During the summer I worked on just taking what the defense gives me and putting pressure on the defense when I can," Allen said after the win. "I'm just trying to get better, game after game."

Meanwhile, Eddie House (21 points and five threes) and Brian Scalabrine (11 points and some solid defense) had nice games in the win as well. Despite House lighting it up, he was more annoyed with himself after the game for the shots he missed late (including two free throws down the stretch) and a key turnover rather than celebrating his hot shooting in the early goings.

"That's a bad shooting night at the end of the game," House said.

Check CelticVision HD for the highlights from the Meadowlands.

Wallace Out, Pavlovic Doubtful for Tilt in Pittsburgh

The Celtics meet the Cavaliers in Pittsburgh, PA tonight, and the word from the Cavs is that Ben Wallace did not travel with the team for tonight's game, while swingman Sasha Pavlovic is listed as doubtful for tonight's game with a right ankle sprain.

Perk Practices, Aims To Play in Pittsburgh

WALTHAM - Kendrick Perkins got his first taste of a full-contact practice since returning from shoulder surgery, and the Celtics brass were curious to see how he'd respond to taking some hits on the shoulder, it turned out that Perkins was the one delivering the blows on Monday.

"Perk looked good. He fouled a couple of people hard. Hit a couple of people with elbows. I saw three or four people grabbing their face today and I said, 'Oh, Perk must be back.' So that's what he does. He was good," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said.

With one practice under his belt, Perkins will give it a go Tuesday night in Pittsburgh when the Celtics meet the Cavs again in another exhibition contest. The Celtics edged Cleveland on Friday night in Providence, RI.

"I don't know how much. I haven't talked to Eddie [Lacerte] yet," Rivers said.

"It was pretty good. I felt alright. My conditioning's a little off," Perkins said, also noting that his timing around the basket was a bit off as well. "I made it through today healthy and I'm just gonna keep building from here."

One guy who actually looked banged up was Leon Powe, who had his hand bent back the wrong way when he got tangled up covering a pick-and-roll Friday night in Providence. "My hand was stuck in a jersey, and he went that way, and I went the other way and it took my hand and bent it all the way back," Powe said.

As Powe talked about his hand, Brian Scalabrine was running through extended shooting drills with Ray Allen.

And finally, both birthday boys Doc Rivers and Paul Pierce enjoyed a serenade from rookies and new staff today. Rivers is 47, Pierce turned 31.

Check the Audio Archive for sound from Doc, Perk and Powe at today's practice...

Technical Difficulties...

Celtics.com has been experiencing technical difficulties over the weekend associated with the NBA.com relaunch. Please bear with us as a few bugs are ironed out.

C's Win Another Nailbiter in Physical Contest

It may be preseason, but don't tell the Celtics they aren't allowed to play exciting basketball in October. A night after Bill Walker preserved a win by slapping the ball away at the buzzer, Gabe Pruitt canned a midrange jumper off the glass (he insisted after the game that, yes, indeed, he WAS aiming for the backboard) with six seconds to play that became the game-winner as the Celtics beat the Houston Rockets 90-89 in Manchester, NH.

After the game, the C's locker room was rocking to the sound of loud rap music. Big Baby, clad in nothing but a towel, danced his way from the shower to his locker while his teammates chanted and egged him on, while reporters just took in the celebration.

When things finally settled down, and reporters huddled around Gabe Pruitt, KG and other vets were all over him. "Look at Gabe getting the media attention!" shouted KG, forcing Pruitt to hold back a grin as he tried to remain serious and finish his interview.

"I got a couple of good looks early, and that got me going," Pruitt said. For the last shot, it just felt good when I released it. It just happened to bank in."

As for the rest of the game, it was certainly chippy. Bill Walker took a nasty elbow from Tracy McGrady, one which was seemingly unprovoked. "[I was] just cutting hard, and I guess he didn't like the force I was cutting with. He tried to elbow me, so I guess we just got tangled up. I don't know what his problem was. I was cutting."

Eddie House and McGrady would later pick up technicals for continuing the conversation. Later in the game, Ron Artest and Paul Pierce played each other pretty physical. According to Doc Rivers, the Celtics have to be ready for teams to come after them. After all, they're the champs.

"Every game's been chippy so far. When you win it, people are going to attack you. You cant back down, but you have to be able to function through that stuff. I thought we did OK with it," Rivers said. "They're gonna get attacked, people are gonna talk trash. You've just gotta play through it all, no matter what happens."

Celtics Edge Cavs as Allen Erupts for 25

The biggest question heading into this season was who will replace James Posey. But the question is quickly becoming, "Is Tony Allen the answer?"

Before the game, Allen was telling reporters that "Tony Allen isn't a story this year...Tony Allen fitting into the this team is a story." But despite downplaying his importance, he outplayed just about everyone on the court, Olympic gold medallist LeBron James (15 points) included.

Allen dropped 25 points, got to the line 16 times, grabbed four rebounds and handed out three assists in Friday night's 96-94 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Providence, RI. Allen was attacking the basket, went six-of-seven from the field and knocked down some outside shots as well, and played one heck of a ballgame.

"He attacks off the dribble, he's aggressive and he's tough to guard," Rivers said of Allen, who had just 11 in Wednesday's exhibition opener.

As for Allen, he was pretty nonchalant about the whole thing. While his teammates razzed him for doing postgame interviews as they were on the way out the door, Allen maintained he was just "taking what the defense gave me" and "staying within the offense."

And for a guy who claimed at one point before last season that he thought he had a chance to be a part of the "Big Four", Allen was showing for the first time on the court that his time may have come. "I know it's the Big Three, but there are no Big I's and little yous," Allen said Friday.

The Celtics will stay over in Providence and then head for Manchester, NH tomorrow for a Saturday night date with Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets. Unless something changes, according to Rivers, the Big Three will play some minutes tomorrow night, it's just unclear how many. And Sam Cassell, who missed Wednesday's game in Amherst and was in street clothes for tonight's tilt, is expected to play in the Queen City against the Rockets.

Different Vantage Point for Rivers as Spectator

Doc Rivers didn't get to see the Celtics' first preseason game up close and personal from the sideline, but he did get to watch it live on TV, which was something of a new experience for the coach.

"I was able to watch a lot. I made it home right towards the end of the first quarter and I was able to watch the rest on TV," Rivers said, noting that he could have arrived at the game after it started but opted against it so that he wouldn't be a distraction to his team. "[It's a] different vantage point from your house. The first eight minutes of the game was terrific, defensively and offensively. After that, I thought the game got sloppy."

Rivers also enjoyed Bill Walker's loud slam over Theo Ratliff, and while he cautioned that Celtics fans have gotten excited over young athletic players who could slam but never really panned out (um, remember Gerald Green?), the coach isn't worried about Walker flaming out given his competitive nature and all-around game.

"The dunk was nice, obviously because it was a dunk and he got on SportsCenter," Rivers said. "I thought he played under control. My favorite play was toward the end, he got the post play and scored with a minute and a half left."

Check CelticVision HD for more from Coach Rivers and a brief interview with Walker as well.

Doc Handles Personal Issues, Thibodeau Handles Team, Media

Celtics 92, Sixers 98 - With Doc Rivers back in Orlando tending to personal matters, defensive guru Tom Thibodeau was at the helm for the Celtics' opening exhibition game, a 98-92 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in Amherst, MA on the campus of UMASS.

While the team took the L thanks to poor execution by the reserves down the stretch, there were some positives to take out of their preseason debut. Patrick O'Bryant (10 points and eight rebounds) looked solid, especially in the first half, working under the glass and showing some nice post moves on the offensive end. Thibodeau admitted that it appeared O'Bryant "ran out of gas" in the second half. While Rajon Rondo and the Big 3 played about 17 minutes each, Doc Rivers had made it known that he didn't expect his stars to play long against the Sixers.

That said, the starters did stake the Celtics to a quick 16-4 lead to open the game, and the intensity resembled the same fire they displayed in last year's exhibition opener against the Raptors in Rome.

Rookie Bill Walker, who raised eyebrows in Newport last week with relentless, aggressive basket attacks, helped close out the first half with a pair of dunks, the first of which was a sweet alley-oop, and the second an absolute facial for old friend (should we emphasize "old"?) Theo Ratliff.

The Celtics will practice tomorrow in Waltham before bussing to Providence, RI to face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night, then invading ManchVegas (Manchester, NH) on Saturday night, when Yao Ming, Ron Artest, former Celtics-executive-turned-GM Daryl Morey and the Houston Rockets face the 17-Time NBA Champions.

Back To Work in Waltham

WALTHAM - After a day off and an early departure from Newport, the boys were back in town at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint prepping for Wednesday night's exhibition opener in Amherst, MA against the Philadelphia 76ers. Technically, the tilt at UMASS is considered a road-game, but given the proximity to Boston, it's kind of like an extra home game for the 17-Time World Champions.

If you're heading to Amherst and hoping to see The Big Three, Doc Rivers has some advice for you: "Get there early."

"I don't know what it is, but it won't be a lot," Rivers said on Tuesday of the number of minutes he's planning for Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett through the first 5-6 preseason games. "It's almost like the end of the [regular season] last year, where we played them, but we didn't play them a lot."

Along those lines, a safe bet would be for the starters to play the first 6-8 minutes of the game, and possibly some time in the second half.

One guy who won't be seen at all in Amherst is Sam Cassell, who left Tuesday's practice early to head home to Baltimore to tend to family issues. And while Kendrick Perkins will probably make the trip, he isn't expected to play in the first five preseason games, according to Rivers' comments last week.

Rivers said throughout camp that he wasn't going to play his stars big minutes in the preseason, so that means extended auditions for the rookies and young guys on the New England barnstorming tour. Rivers said on Sunday that the first week of training camp is too small a sample size to truly gauge where the rookies are at to this point, so it stands to reason that he'll have a much better idea after they get their feet wet in this week's exhibition games in Amherst, MA, Providence, RI and Manchester, NH.

Early Departure

NEWPORT - After a week in Newport, Doc Rivers decided to bring the team back to Boston and give the boys Monday off, rather than keep them here for the final scheduled day. With the first preseason game on Wednesday night (technically a road game in Amherst, MA) against the Philadelphia 76ers, a little time off is probably a good thing. The team will leave Newport on a 5 p.m. bus back to Waltham.

Rivers said that Newport was a great location for camp, and suggested that if the team were to establish a permanent training camp location for future seasons, Newport would certainly be a candidate.

We'll have video from Doc and more on today's final session in Newport later this afternoon. In the meantime, we've got to start packing...

- Peter Stringer

Open Scrimmage at Salve

9:00 p.m. - The Celtics staged an open scrimmage for NBA TV and the students and faculty of Salve Regina University Saturday night, and the green team (starters, veterans) overcame an early 9-0 run by the white team to earn a 47-40 decision after 30 minutes of play. Box scores weren't available for the contest, but by our calculations, Eddie House (unofficially) had 16 points to lead the White Team (reserves and rookies) while Ray Allen was in double-figures for the Green team (starters and veterans).

Scal Beats the Buzzer

2:37 p.m. - The attitude here is upbeat, and guys are cheering each other on. You couldn't ask for much more camp kumbaya (actually, we're still calling it "Ubuntu", come to think of it) than the Celtics are getting here at Salve Regina. Yesterday, Paul Pierce was handing out more chest bumps than Eddie House's son did in the postseason. And today, it was high-fives all around as Brian Scalabrine drained the game-winning threeball at the end of the final scrimmage game of this morning's practice session.

"We drew it up for Scal," Coach Doc Rivers said, noting that Ray Allen, who delivered the pass to Scalabrine, was the decoy on the play and it worked to perfection. "The entire team knew they'd go for Ray."

"Then ending was perfect. It was a lot of end-of-game situations," Rivers said of Friday's session.

Scalabrine wasn't the only one who had a strong session. According to Rivers, Darius Miles had perhaps his best practice of camp, despite thinking yesterday that he might need the day off.

Instead, Miles gave it a go and felt good.

"I'm used to four or five days of two-a-days," Miles said. "My first couple of days in Portland, we didn't have a day off until December."

The Celtics will have tomorrow morning off, and will practice tomorrow night in front of lucky Salve Regina students who won a raffle, as well as some school faculty and donors.

Another One-and-Done for C's; Walker Impressing

2:08 p.m.: The original training camp schedule called for two-a-days all week, but Doc Rivers now thinks that going hard for one long session is better in the long run than doubling-down on workouts each day.

"If I beat three guys, we had to practice this afternoon. We'll have to go to the videotape," Rivers said, laughing about the footrace at the end of practice in which he sprinted against the team with an evening session cancellation hanging in the balance. "We didn't do a lot of doubles last year. We couldn't, it took an hour to get there [in Rome]. We're going three hours, two-and-a-half hours, [so] we don't need to do doubles."

What stood out to Rivers today was the play of rookie Bill Walker, who has been attacking the basket relentlessly in the last few days of scrimmage. Walker has finished at the rim with a few loud dunks already, not to mention a coast-to-coast finger roll toward the end of Tuesday's morning session.

"Billy Walker is playing extremely well right now. J.R. [Giddens] has to catch up. But he'll get there," Rivers said, noting that it's tough for the rookies to not be in awe of their All-Star teammates. "[Walker] attacks the basket as you saw today, and we're telling him it's a competition. They're your teammates, and it's a competition. I thought today, [Walker] came to play basketball and not be a spectator."

On the other hand, Rivers said that Giddens is still spectating. "Everything's new for him. J.R.'s at that point where all young guys get at; he's thinking instead of playing," Rivers said. "That doesn't go away for a while, so that doesn't concern us at all."

The good news is, help is on the way. Ray Allen spent several minutes with Giddens after practice handing out pointers from things he observed in the scrimmage, and Paul Pierce had a similar chat with Walker while others were handling media interviews.

Ray Allen and J.R. Giddens

Ray Allen gives J.R. Giddens a little mentoring after Thursday's practice at Salve Regina.
Peter Stringer/Celtics.com

Speaking of the Big Three, Rivers also noted that despite their heavy playing time in the exhibition season last year, you won't be seeing as much of Pierce, Allen and Kevin Garnett in the preseason this time around.

"Not as much as last year. Last year, we didn't know each other," Rivers said. "Early on, they won't play as much. The last two games, they'll play a lot."

Rajon Rondo hasn't stopped making passes in training camp. In fact, he's even delivering perfect spirals to his teammates. With practice over, a football emerged, and Rondo and Ray Allen decided to work on their go patterns. Rondo, of course, once dreamed of playing in the NFL before eventually finding his way to basketball. Check CelticVision HD this afternoon for some behind the scenes footage of their impromptu football game.

Also, look for more video updates from Rivers, Pierce and Tony Allen later this afternoon.

Morning Session Underway

11:02 a.m.: Word from the sidelines at Salve is that the team is having a "spirited" practice this morning. We'll have more when the morning session wraps up; look for an update around 2 p.m. or so.

Night Session Cancelled

5:30 p.m.: After two days of hard practicing, Doc Rivers gave his guys the night off from a scheduled 6-8 p.m. practice. They'll return to the practice floor at Salve Regina tomorrow morning.

Doc Praises O'Bryant

The boys went pretty hard again Wednesday morning, and earned high praise from Coach Doc Rivers for their intensity.

"We had a great practice today. The end was sloppy, I didn't like that part of it, but the first two hours, [we had] great focus. The execution was tremendous," Rivers said. "For a second day practice, it's one of the better ones I've been around."

On the flipside, Kevin Garnett told reporters that he didn't feel he himself had a good practice in colorful terms that we won't print here. But he agreed with his coach that overall, today's session was intense.

"I'm never happy with my performance. But that's me [looking] for perfection," Garnett said. As for the team? "[There was] a lot of hard work, diving on the floor, Doc was talking trash, it was a great day today."

Rivers said he was impressed with Patrick O'Bryant's effort today, and for the second straight day while Kendrick Perkins is unavailable for contact, O'Bryant got the nod with the first unit.

"Patrick had a hell of a practice. He was great today," Rivers said, noting that if he figures out how to play alongside Garnett, "things could be pretty good for him."

Check CelticVision HD for today's video interviews with Doc, Paul, Ray and Kevin, and a little behind the scenes footage of Paul describing his first day of practice at Kansas, and how it relates to CSN sideline reporter Greg Dickerson's attire yesterday. This is the kind of stuff that goes on when practice wraps.

Morning Update

First off, Couper Moorhead checked in with Darius Miles, who's hungry to make his comeback with the Celtics.

Meanwhile, we'll have more updates from today's morning session this afternoon. And to be clear, training camp practices, like all Celtics practices, are closed to the public. Thankfully, Celtics.com has you covered.

NEWPORT, RI - The Celtics started off camp with a hard three-hour practice this morning at Salve Regina, and while Coach Doc Rivers said it was apparent that the team's conditioning needs some work, he liked his team's energy and thinks that they have a leg up with so many returning players who already know his system.

"I thought our guys came with the right energy," Rivers said of the morning session, which ended right around 1 p.m. "It's different from last year. A lot of our guys can pick up stuff quicker. The guys returning [know our stuff]."

One guy who knows the stuff but can't show it is Kendrick Perkins, who's still restricted to non-contact drills only, and spent the end of Monday morning's session watching teammates scrimmage. Perkins got some extra midrange shooting in at the end of the session, but according to Rivers, he isn't expected to really take part in any of the training camp or play in at least the first four exhibition games.

"Hopefully I can get back into the contact work. I did all the drill work today," said Perkins, who told reporters he expected to wait another week or so before he could resume contact activity. "Just waiting on the doctor's orders."

With Perk on the shelf, newcomer Patrick O'Bryant got the nod to play with the green team alongside Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo.

"Patrick gets to play with the starters all practice. That can't hurt a guy like him. He's the only other tall guy," Rivers said, noting that while the media's been talking about Posey's departure, he's more concerned with the absence of P.J. Brown. "Patrick has a chance to take that role."

As for the Posey role, Darius Miles is hoping to compete with Tony Allen for those minutes, and Rivers liked what he saw out of Miles this morning, even if it was brief. But given that he's been all but out of the league for the past two seasons, Rivers will take what he can get.

"I thought by mid-practice he was spent, but he fought through it and played," Rivers said of Miles, who he says has "great instincts and feel" for the game.

Evening practice sessions are closed, so barring any major news, the next update will be tomorrow afternoon. Check the Audio Archive for sound bites from Doc, Paul and Ray.

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that they have re-signed guard Sam Cassell. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cassell, a 6'3", 195 pound guard, is a veteran of 15 NBA seasons. Cassell won his third NBA title as a member of the Celtics last season after signing mid-season from the L.A. Clippers. Cassell averaged 7.6 points and 2.1 assists in 17 regular season games with the Celtics last season and finished the season with combined averages of 11.2 points and 3.9 assists per game. The 2003-04 All-Star scored 20 or more points 10 times last season including a season-high 35 points against the Indiana Pacers on November 7. He scored a high of 22 points with the Celtics against the Knicks on April 14.

Media Day is upon us today, as the Celtics will smile for the cameras and talk to every outlet under the sun before embarking on the voyage to Newport, Rhode Island for their 2008-09 Training Camp.

Celtics.com will have complete coverage tonight from Waltham, with photos, video and more.

Individual game tickets for each Celtics home game are on sale Friday, September 26 at 10 a.m.

Fans will be able to purchase tickets online at Celtics.com, by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX, or by visiting the TD Banknorth Garden Box Office or any Ticketmaster outlet. Due to overwhelming demand, fans are strongly encouraged to order early to increase their chances of securing tickets.

Buy Tickets: Tickets on Sale at 10 a.m.

BOSTON - Individual game tickets for each Celtics home game will go on sale Friday, September 26 at 10 a.m. Fans will be able to purchase tickets online at Celtics.com, by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX, or by visiting the TD Banknorth Garden Box Office or any Ticketmaster outlet. Due to overwhelming demand, fans are strongly encouraged to order early to increase their chances of securing tickets. Random number distribution will begin at approximately 9 a.m. at the TD Banknorth Garden Box Office for fans choosing to purchase at that location.

For the second consecutive season, the Celtics have capped season ticket sales on loge and balcony levels and have now started a waiting list for fans desiring to purchase season tickets.

Press Release: Celtics Individual Game Tickets On Sale Friday at 10 a.m.

AUGUSTA, ME - Governor John E. Baldacci announced today that 2008 World Champion Celtics players Tony Allen, Leon Powe, and Brian Scalabrine will accompany the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy to the rally being held in Portland on Wednesday September 24, presented by TD Banknorth. Also joining the trophy at events in Portland and Orono will be Celtics legend JoJo White and Team President Rich Gotham.

"I am pleased to roll out the 'green' carpet in the State of Maine for 2008 World Champions Tony Allen, Leon Powe, and Brian Scalabrine. These three players handled themselves with great class and dignity on the court all year and have earned the respect of their peers and fans alike. It is an honor to have them in Portland," Governor Baldacci said. "It is also exciting to welcome JoJo White to our State. He is a basketball great who had a tremendous career with a legendary NBA franchise."

"We are really looking forward to celebrating a day of Celtic Pride and sharing the 2008 NBA Championship trophy with our many loyal Celtics fans in Maine," Celtics Team President Rich Gotham said.

"TD Banknorth is proud to be an official partner of the 2008 World Champions and thrilled to bring the trophy to its home base of Portland, Maine," President and Senior Commercial Lender for TD Banknorth Maine Larry World said.

The NBA Championship Trophy will first be on display to the general public at The Expo in Portland. Doors will open at 10:30 a.m. with events scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. Following a short rally at noon, fans will be invited to see the trophy from 12 - 2 p.m.

From 4:30 - 6:30 p.m., the trophy will be on display at the Alfond Arena on the University of Maine campus in Orono.

In addition to the current players, members of the Celtics front office are expected to join the entourage for the rally in Portland. Members of the Celtics Dancers and the team's mascot, Lucky the Leprechaun, will be accompanying Celtics legend JoJo White to both events.

Governor Baldacci previously announced that September 24, 2008 will be proclaimed Boston Celtics Day throughout the State of Maine in honor of the visit.

Mainers are encouraged to bring a camera to both events for photos with the trophy and Celtics personnel. Both events are free and open to the public.

Red Auerbach was born on September 20, 1917, so on what would be his 81st birthday, Celtics.com takes another look back at his legacy. We're guessing that somewhere, the legendary coach and patriarch enjoyed #17 this year.

Remembering Red Auerbach

It was a busy day for the Celtics in Washington, D.C. on Friday, as the team flew in just after 12 p.m., toured the White House and then were honored by President Bush in a special ceremony. The team got the red carpet treatment upon arrival, getting a special exception to fly the team charter into Reagan National Airport and then bussing right onto the grounds of the White House just outside the East Wing.

Upon arrival, the team took a private tour of the White House. Players, coaches and staff visited the famous Green Room and Red Room, as well as the Cross Hall, and even posed for exclusive pictures where cameras typically aren't allowed. Hey, it's good to be the champs.

The visit with the President capped an incredible 2007-08 campaign, and the details of the Celtics' remarkable one-year turn-around certainly weren't lost on the Commander in Chief.

"It's amazing how sports works, isn't it? At the beginning of last season, few would have predicted how this season would have ended," the President remarked. "After all, the Celtics had finished with the second worst record in the NBA. And the two-decade championship drought was pretty likely to continue -- at least that's what the experts said. There's a lot of experts in life these days..."

After Bush's address, Paul Pierce and company presented the President with an autographed team ball and a personalized Celtics jersey, and then pledged a donation of $100,000 to the Red Cross for Hurricane Ike relief. A meet and greet in the State Dining Room with a few senators, some servicemen and servicewomen and even a few lucky fans followed.

"We started the season at the Vatican and ended at the White House," quipped Vice President of Media Relations Jeff Twiss on the bus ride back from the White House. "That's pretty neat."

The Celtics practice facility in Waltham has been buzzing the last few weeks with players getting in workouts on and off the basketball court. With 12 guys in today, there's plenty to report. We caught up with Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and rookie Bill Walker to see how their offseason's are coming along with training camp in Newport, RI just a few weeks away on September 30.

Also of note today: Balfour, who will be producing the Celtics championship bling, was in Waltham after the workouts to size players and coaches for their championship rings.

Peter Stringer has more from Waltham with a full story and video interviews with Pierce and Allen.

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that they have extended the contract of Head Coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"We are pleased to be able to extend Doc's contract. Doc molded a championship team last season through his leadership and we are confident that he is the man to lead this franchise on the court now and in the future," said Danny Ainge, Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations/General Manager.

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed 2008 first round draft pick J.R. Giddens. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Giddens, a 6'5", 215-pound guard from the University of New Mexico was selected with the 30th overall pick. He is the first player from the University of New Mexico to have been drafted by the Celtics. The former Lobo shared Mountain West Conference Co-Player of the Year honors as a senior when he averaged 16.3 points and a league-leading 8.8 rebounds in 33 games played. Giddens earned First Team All-Conference honors as a senior and earned Honorable Mention All-MWC honors as a junior. Giddens transferred to New Mexico after his sophomore season at the University of Kansas. The 23 year-old was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Week a record five times during his senior season.

Danny Ainge was busy on Friday, signing a pair of forwards to round out the Celtics roster. Ainge reached deals with second round draft pick Bill Walker, and free agent forward Darius Miles.

"Darius has been in twice for workouts with us and has impressed us with his progress, health, and attitude," said Danny Ainge, Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations/General Manager. "Darius will have the next couple of months to prove to myself and Coach Rivers that he can help us win."

Ainge was also excited about officially sealing the deal with Walker, whom the Celtics acquired from the Washington Wizards on draft night. Walker has spent much of his summer working on rehabbing an injured knee that he hurt during draft workouts.

"Bill's hard work and skill development this summer has given us the belief that he can be in our short-term plans as well as our long-term plans," Ainge said.

Press Releases: Darius Miles | Bill Walker

The NBA officially released its schedule at noon on August 6, and the World Champion Boston Celtics will tip off the action on Tuesday, October 28 when they host LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Garden.

Other highlights include an NBA Finals rematch on Christmas Day with Kobe and the Lakers in Los Angeles, Kevin Garnett's return to Minnesota on November 21, and a Sunday afternoon showdown on March 1 with the Detroit Pistons.

Regular season tickets will go on sale on Friday, September 26, 2008.

Celtics Schedule: List View Schedule | Printable PDF

Ticket Access: Premium Seating | Club Green

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have re-signed guards Tony Allen and Eddie House. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tony Allen Release | Eddie House Release

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed free agent center Patrick O'Bryant. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

O'Bryant, a 7'0", 249lbs center, has appeared in 40 career games for the Golden State Warriors posting averages of 1.7 points and 1.3 rebounds per game. The former Bradley Brave played in eight games for the Bakersfield Jam of the Development League last season with averages of 16.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game. The ninth overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft netted a career-high 10 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on November 16, 2007.

O'Bryant is slated to meet the Boston media in Waltham on Thursday morning at The Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint at 11:30 a.m.

Official Press Release

Free agent forward James Posey was among the attendees at the Celtics' Championship DVD release party at the TD Banknorth Garden on Monday night, and he was peppered with questions about his free agent status by media members and fans alike. Posey, for his part, said few words, and the words he did say, he repeated several times.

"It is what it is," Posey said of his situation. "You just gonna take it one day at a time and that's how you go about it."

Is he any closer to making a decision about where he'll play next year?

"Ah, I'm taking it one day at a time. That's my approach," Posey said. "At the end of the day both sides are gonna do what's best for themselves and that's just how it ends up."

Posey compared the free agency process to college recruiting, saying that everything was speculation and talk.

"You just sit back and wait and see what happens," Posey said. "I just take it one day at a time and in due time, things will happen."

In the meantime, Posey can expect to start hearing from Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, both of whom said Monday night that they intended to campaign for Posey to return to Boston for next season.

Reserve point guard Eddie House, also a free agent this summer, told reporters on Monday night that he'd like to return to the Celtics, but feels he's due a raise and some security after winning a championship this season.

BOSTON - Paul Pierce talked to a few reporters on Monday at his annual summer basketball camp at Basketball City just around the corner from the TD Banknorth Garden on Monday, and said that he'll be getting an MRI on his knee but doesn't expect to have to undergo surgery.

Pierce said the knee is still sore, but is getting better, and noted that he's been treating his injury "like a sprain that normally takes three-four weeks."

"I've still got some soreness in it, so hopefully it's nothing major requiring surgery," Pierce said. "I plan on getting in there this week, getting the treatment and the MRI and making sure I take care of my body. I doubt if I need any surgery. It's getting better and better. I'm gonna get the MRI just to take the extra precaution but I don't see any surgery in my future and I just plan on getting treatment until it's all the way healed."

In the meantime, Pierce said he and his teammates have been soaking up the love since winning the Celtics 17th World Championship.

"It feels good now, man, truthfully, knowing your the best. You feel the love when you're out in the public," Pierce said. "It's kind of hard on the people out in L.A., they're happy [for me] but they're sorry because they're from there. But it's what it is, the Boston Celtics are World Champs."

Pierce said he's already been re-watching some of the Finals games and reliving the glory of his first NBA title.

"When you win it, you don't understand the magnitude of it and the significance of it until you get a chance to watch it," Pierce said. "Some of the stuff I was out there doing, I couldn't believe it myself."

And now that he's finally reached the top of the mountain, Pierce has no designs on coming down next year.

"The craziest thing about this is, I'm happy that we won it, and I'm kind of coming down off it again, but last week I've been thinking, 'We've got to do this again', you know? And that's what's going to motivate me next year. You get a taste of it and you want more."

Along those lines, Pierce is already planning his offseason workout schedule, and said he plans to be in the Boston area for most of the summer to get that done. This week, his while his camp is in session in Boston, Pierce plans to spend some time doing some "light bike riding" at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint in Waltham.

"As far as stuff with the basketball, I plan on really getting into it after I get back from the ESPY Awards," Pierce said.

You can watch the entire Pierce interview on Celtics.com. Check it out on the CelticVision HD page.

WALTHAM - Glen Davis certainly had a memorable rookie year with the World Champion Boston Celtics, but after a little bit of celebration in the Bahamas, he's ready to get back to work and spend his summer in tropical Waltham, Massachusetts.

"I'm gonna live at the gym," Davis told reporters on Wednesday. "I ain't going anywhere. I'll be up here probably eight weeks. We don't start until September 30 so I want to be at a point eight weeks from now and then cruise to September 30."

The goal for Davis, in his own words? "Just maintain my conditioning, maintain my body, be fit and ready to play."

Peter Stringer has more with Big Baby, while Couper Moorhead checks in on Gabe Pruitt...

Perkins, Walker Have Successful Surgeries

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that center Kendrick Perkins and second round draft pick Bill Walker both had successful surgical procedures today at New England Baptist Hospital. Perkins underwent arthroscopic left shoulder surgery while Walker underwent arthroscopic right knee surgery. Both surgeries were preformed by Team Physician Dr. Brian McKeon and was assisted by Dr. Alan Curtis and Dr. John Richmond. No timetable has been set for their return.

Free Agent Camp Numerical Roster

11 Davis, Glen
13 Pruitt, Gabe
60 Brown, Bobby
62 Cook, Omar
63 Shakur, Mustafa
67 Mays, James
68 Hawkins, David
69 Butch, Brian
70 Anderson, Alan
71 Basden, Eddie
72 Gaines, Charles
73 Morris, Randolph
74 Noel, David
75 Roberts, Lawrence
76 Pettway, Aaron
79 Covile, Ryvon

Celtics roster players under contract denoted in bold.

Erden Going Back Overseas; Giddens and Walker Hope To Stick

Just days after being drafted by the 2008 World Champions, J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker and Semih Erden made their official Celtics debut at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint in Waltham on Tuesday afternoon.

All three players met the press along with Executive Director of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ainge, and while Erden said he'll be returning overseas to play out the final year of his contract, Giddens and Walker talked about being excited to join the Celtics and what it will take for them to earn a roster spot at training camp in October.

Celtics.com has you covered with reaction from Giddens, Walker and Erden, as well as Ainge.

More: Video Interviews with Ainge and the Rookies

Giddens, Walker and Erden To Meet Media in Waltham Tuesday

The Celtics' 2008 NBA Draft picks, J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker and Semih Erden, will have an informal meeting with the media in Waltham Tuesday afternoon at the Sports Authority Training Center in Waltham. Celtics.com will have complete coverage following their availability.

Doc Giddy To Grab Giddens at #30

Admittedly -- and understandably -- Doc Rivers was not fully prepared for the 2008 NBA Draft following the Celtics' title run. So Danny Ainge made it easy on him, handing Rivers four scouting tapes following the Rolling Rally.

The subject of one ended up being selected by the Celtics with the 30th pick of the draft: 6'5" guard J.R. Giddens, senior from the University of New Mexico. Giddens had just worked out for the Celtics the day before the draft, and it didn't take much to sell Rivers.

C's Swap for Kansas State's Walker, Grab Turkish Center

The Celtics stayed aggressive on draft day, trading for the draft rights to No. 47 pick Bill Walker from the Washington Wizards in exchange for cash considerations.

With the final selection in the draft the Celtics took center Semih Erden from Turkey.

Giddens, Rivers Meet Media

Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers and first-round pick J.R. Giddens met the Boston media tonight. Rivers talked with reporters in person in the visitor's locker room at the TD Banknorth Garden while Giddens talked to the press via conference call in the Garden press room.

You can hear both interviews in the Audio Archive.

C's Take Giddens at #30

The Celtics select New Mexico senior guard J.R. Giddens with the #30 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.

Giddens averaged 16.3 PPG and 8.8 RPG last season while shooting 52% from the floor. Giddens shared Mountain West Conference Co-Player of the Year honors as a senior. He also earned First Team All-Conference honors.

Pre-Draft Media Availability

Doc Rivers met with the Boston media about 30 minutes before the Draft began, and you can listen to the interview in the Audio Archive.

Pre-Draft Report

After last season's 24-win campaign, the Celtics were expected to pick at the top of the draft and hope for a franchise savior. But after a Draft Lottery disappointment, which turned out to be the best thing that could happen to the team, Danny Ainge started wheeling and dealing and laid the foundation for Banner 17.

Tonight in the 2008 NBA Draft (7 p.m., ESPN) the Celtics pick dead last in the first and second rounds, and the stakes are decidedly lower. But given Ainge's history of unearthing impact players late in the draft (Does the name Leon Powe ring a bell?), the Celtics are hoping to find some young talent that can help the team down the road.

Pierce Throws Out First Pitch

FENWAY PARK - Despite a massive (and quick) downpour that struck the Fenway neighborhood as soon as their Duck Boats took the field, the Celtics weren't about to let a little precipitation preempt their second parade in two days.

The 2008 NBA Champions -- man, is that cool to type or what? -- were introduced at Fenway Park Friday night before the Red Sox took on the St. Louis Cardinals, whom coincidentally, the Sox beat in 2004 for their 86-year-drought-breaking World Series title.

The C's rode three Duck Boats and carried four Larry O'Brien trophies onto the field for a trip around the warning track before ducking back under the bleachers to take cover from the rain. Minutes earlier, as they loaded up the boats and turned around on Lansdowne Street, the team was serenaded by lucky fans who happened to be just arriving at the park minutes before the first pitch. Players posed for photos and reached out for high fives before riding through the gates and onto the field at Fenway.

Paul Pierce was scheduled to throw out the first pitch just before 7 p.m. -- something he envied teammates Kevin Garnett (who took the mound last season on August 2, 2007) and Ray Allen for doing last summer since they did the honors before he ever did. Finally, after an hour-plus rain delay, The Truth and the Celtics charged back out onto the field and then Pierce took the mound flanked by teammates and the four golden trophies.

Clearly amped up by chants of "M-V-P" from the Fenway Faithful, Pierce was hopping up and down on the mound before toeing the rubber. After taking a deep breath, Pierce shook off Sox catcher Jason Varitek not once, but twice, only to deliver a pitch that was out of the zone, up and away, to the point that Varitek couldn't even control the delivery.

Perhaps he should have stuck with Tek's call afterall...

Either way, Pierce had a great laugh about it, while teammates enjoyed it as well. Coach Doc Rivers delivered the ceremonial "Play Ball" declaration, and the Red Sox, clad in Celtics green jerseys for the occasion, took the field for their game with the Cardinals.

Hornets 21, Celtics 21, End of First Quarter: Chris Paul is getting the best of Rajon Rondo so far. Paul has five dimes and forced Rondo into two turnovers, one of which, an intercepted pass, preceded Doc Rivers taking Rondo out of the game at the 4:18 mark -- maybe the earliest he has come out of a home game all season.

Speaking of turnovers, the Celtics have given up 13 points off their seven giveaways. A late 7-0 run helped tie things up once the reserves came in, but the Hornets have been getting the easy buckets that Boston normally doesn't allow at home.

The Celtics are helping themselves with 14 rebounds, but they have also missed many of their inside attempts, the main reason they are shooting 36.8% from the field.

James Posey's first bucket was a leaning three-attempt that soared into the basket as the shotclock wound down. Shockingly, there were a few scattered boos coming out of the crowd, but they quieted fairly quickly.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

The media masses are in the building for tonight's nationally televised game and most of the Hornets were talking pregame, about, unsurprisingly, former Celtic James Posey. Peja Stojakovic brought up all the little things that Posey does which don't show up on the stat sheet, while Tyson Chandler said that a championship-player like Posey was the missing piece for a Hornets team loaded with talent.

Recently acquired from the Washington Wizards, Antonio Daniels will be in uniform for his first game with the Hornets. Daniels, who said he will fit right into the pick-and-roll system of New Orleans, hasn't had any trouble fitting in with a contending team.

"We were 3-15 [in Washington]," Daniels said. "It's like, nah, nah, that was cool."

Two minor observations of the Hornets locker room: While most teams have a large fruit spread for the players, the Hornets were the first team I can remember seeing with a small bin full of candy bars -- mostly of the chocked-full-of-peanuts variety. Secondly, if you were wondering what opposing teams focus on when they come to the Garden, written in large letters on the white board was "GANG REBOUND!!!".

As for the Celtics, they apparently had a rough time flying in last night. Thankfully they got to see Posey before the game, and, according to Doc Rivers, received some of those world famous James Posey hugs. Doc also used the upcoming matchup with Chris Paul to show how far Rajon Rondo has come as a point guard.

"This year they're calling it a matchup," Rivers said. "Last year they weren't saying anything."

- Couper Moorhead

James Posey on Receiving a Championship Ring from the Celtics

James Posey makes his return to the TD Banknorth Garden today, and during the Hornets shootaround this morning he told the media he was looking forward to getting his second championship ring. Posey won his first ring as a member of the Miami Heat.

"It's going to be emotional. Just coming here as far as what we were able to accomplish with this organization. It's known for winning and bringing titles and championships here. For us to be a part of that tradition, that history, it's going to mean a lot."

Celtics Set New Franchise Mark

Celtics 122, Wizards 88, FINAL: Ray Allen had 13 of his 22 points in the first quarter to put the C's up big in the first 12 minutes, and they never looked back, notching a 122-88 win to put them atop the NBA with a 21-2 record, the fastest start in team history.

Game Info: Recap | Box Score

Big Three Among Leaders in All-Star Balloting

The first returns came back from All-Star balloting, and Kevin Garnett (495,514) is second among Eastern Conference forwards in the voting, trailing Cleveland's LeBron James (643,786). NBA Finals MVP Paul Pierce (153,512) ranks fifth among Eastern Conference forwards, while sharpshooter Ray Allen (174,155) is fourth among the East guards.

Center Kendrick Perkins faces a considerable uphill battle. His 24,777 votes place him ninth among Eastern Conference centers; Dwight Howard is the league's leading overall vote-getter at 775,933.

Rajon Rondo did not appear in the league-leaders for votes announced this afternoon on NBA.com.

Check CelticVision HD for comments from Tony Allen, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce about the Celtics red-hot 20-2 start and the prospect of setting a new franchise record for the team's best start to a season in history.

After winning their 12th straight game, the Celtics will take Monday off and are expected to return to the practice floor on Tuesday in Waltham.

In-Game Coverage

Live Scoreboard

Celtics 55, Pacers 57, Halftime: Ray Allen leads the Celtics with 14 points, but Marquis Daniels leads all scorers with 20 points, including a buzzer-beating half-court heave to put Indiana up at the end of the half.

T.A. Active and Available

Tony Allen, who missed the Celtics' last two games with a mild right ankle sprain, will be dressed and available for duty tonight against the Pacers.

The Celtics didn't practice on Saturday, but they had an afternoon flight to Indiana ahead of tomorrow night's 6 p.m. tilt with the Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse, where they'll try to extend their current winning streak to 12 games and their NBA-best 19-2 record to 20-2. The Celtics suffered their only road loss of the year in Indiana at the beginning of November.

Meanwhile, you can check out the Celtics.com Media Download, where we talked to Marc Spears about Rajon Rondo's coming-out party, the Celtics bench, and what's going on around the Atlantic Division in New York, Toronto and Philly.

Live from Courtside

Live Scoreboard

Blazers 78, Celtics 93, FINAL: The Blazers put together a run and forced the Celtics to bring their starters back into the game in the fourth, but couldn't get the margin below 11 points. That's 11 straight for the C's, and it's their first 11-game streak since 1986.

Blazers 51, Celtics 74, End of Third Quarter: Put it this way, it took the Blazers five minutes to score their first field goal of the quarter. That's this game in a nutshell. Seems that in all the talk of the Blazers possibly making a statement tonight, people forgot the Celtics could do exactly the same thing. And they are.

The Celtics have 36 points in the paint, 22 fast break points and a Rajon Rondo three at the buzzer, while the Blazers are shooting 37% from the field, and their transition defense is getting beat over and over again. School is in session.

- Couper Moorhead

Blazers 36, Celtics 49, End of Second Quarter: The bench did Leon Powe proud and held the lead, then the veterans simply out-hustled the young bucks and took control of the game. While the Blazers had been making the Celtics work in the half-court, there were at least four occasions when Rondo or Allen beat the entire Portland team back on defense for layups. As a result, the Celtics hold a 28-18 scoring advantage in the paint, and have 13 fast-break points. The closed the half on a 14-0 run over the last four minutes of the half.

The Celtics put the kind of clamps down on defense that can take a young team out of the game, and after making more than half of their shots in the first quarter, the Blazers are now at 40.5% from the field. The Blazers have too many weapons to count them out, but unless Nate McMillan can light a fire under them at halftime, it looks like it's the Celtics game to lose.

Blazers 21, Celtics 24, End of First Quarter: The Blazers are playing the Celtics dead even right now, as most relevant stat categories are close. Portland's defense looked strong until Ray Allen (10 points) was mysteriously left wide open for a three, and a layup on which Allen beat everybody back keyed a quarter-ending 5-0 run.

LaMarcus Aldridge is pacing Portland with six points, and his matchup with KG is one to keep an eye on. Rajon Rondo has been running through the center of the Blazers' defense and finding open players, which is always a good sign. Both teams are shooting above 50%. Portland is known as a deep team so it will be important for the Boston bench to do its job in the second period.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

All is calm on the Celtics front, as a relaxed Ray Allen mused about concerts -- he has to pass up on the occasional Jay-Z gig because he can't bring his kids to them, and prefers the concerts of bands he grew up with -- while Doc kept things short. Tony Allen, who's out tonight, would have to be doing very well to play on Sunday, Rivers said.

The Celtics coach went on to say that he thinks Greg Oden will become a dominant player. For those who still wonder what life with Oden would be like despite that shiny new trophy, it's worth noting that Rivers has hardly given it a few seconds of thought.

The visitors' locker room felt noticeably different than when the veteran teams like the Pistons or Magic are in town. The vibes best compare to what the Atlanta Hawks were like after taking a couple playoff games down in Atlanta and returned to Boston with the series unexpectedly tied.

There's a large locker to the far left that a team's star -- LeBron James, for example -- usually occupies. Instead, Brandon Roy, Portland's only All-Star, had his gear in the same spot that Ben Wallace did for Cleveland last year back in the right corner. Nearby, Travis Outlaw entertained Martell Webster and Rudy Fernandez with some of his best dance moves. The Blazers may be young, but they don't seem phased by the champs.

- Couper Moorhead

No Practice for T.A. Today

Not much to report from a short practice in Waltham. Tony Allen (right ankle) did not participate in today's session, which leads us to believe he may not be active again Friday against the visiting Portland Trailblazers.

In the meantime, Brian Scalabrine, who's been staying sharp by playing one-on-one against Sam Cassell after practice and before games, and Gabe Pruitt (who appears to be joining the Scal-Cassell fray) are the logical candidates for extra minutes. Coach Doc Rivers dismissed the idea of calling up J.R. Giddens or Bill Walker from the D-League for some short-term relief (by D-League rule, players can be called up at any time, but can only be sent down three times per season), which would indicate that their assignments are being viewed in the long term.

Speaking of the long term, no one knows it better than Greg Oden after he missed his entire rookie year due to knee surgery and is now finally getting a chance to show what he can do on the NBA circuit. Oden did make the trip to Boston last year, and he's larger than life in person up close when he's giving interviews, so we'd expect he'll have a rather large presence on the court as well.

Doc Rivers, like everyone else, is expecting big things from the big man who was once the apple of many eyes, the Celtics' included, in the 2007 NBA Draft.

"They're bringing him along, and he's going to be a dominant defensive player in our league," Rivers said of Oden. "I think right now defensively he's still learning the timing of the game, the speed of the game and the craftiness of veterans. But he'll get all of that."

Friday night's matchup also pits teams with two of the league's longest winning streaks against each other, so something's gotta give. The Celtics have won 10 straight games while the Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers have each won six consecutive games as of Thursday morning.

- Peter Stringer

Check the Audio Archive for interviews with Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins, Sam Cassell and Rajon Rondo.

Live from Courtside

Recap | Box Score

114-96 Celtics, FINAL: Make it 10 straight for the C-Train. Rondo finished off his first career triple-double in impressive fashion, racking up 17 assists, 13 rebounds to go with his three steals. In the process, he managed to overshadow Ray Allen's season-high 31 points. Allen's been filling it up, averaging 22.6 PPG over his last six games, and he's hit 23 of his last 41 threes over that time, for a blistering 56% from behind the arc.

Pacers 73, Celtics 88, End of Third Quarter: The third-quarter run trend is officially on, and for that matter, so is the rout. The Celtics have locked down on defense and the Pacers have gone cold, resulting in a 31-22 scoring advantage for Boston in the period.

Expect plenty of Rondo stories to invade the Web tomorrow, as he completed his first career triple-double less than two minutes into the quarter. Following a Celtics miss, Rondo (13 points, 12 assists, 10 boards so far) rebounded the ball and dished to KG for the bucket and the foul, all in one fluid motion. Just around 100 more to go to tie Jason Kidd's career mark.

Rondo did have 11 boards and 12 assists to go with five points against San Antonio last season.

It seems that as Danny Granger goes, so go the Pacers. He didn't score a point in the third.

- Couper Moorhead

Pacers 51, Celtics 57, HALFTIME: Rajon Rondo's been the story for the last two weeks and he's basically maturing in front of our eyes. After 6 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists in the first quarter, Rondo has a near-triple-double at the half, posting 10 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists in just 21 minutes, and he's yet to turn over the basketball.

Yet despite Rondo's impressive line, the Pacers are right there with the Celtics, and this should be a good one down the stretch. The C's have had some big third quarters of late, so keep your eyes on how the boys come out to start the half.

Pacers 27, Celtics 28, End of First Quarter: Doc Rivers can't be pleased with the 14 points in the paint his team has given up, but with 16 of their own under the bucket, the Celtics are giving just as much as they get.

Seven second-chance points and Ray Allen's healthy start (13 points) kept the Celtics close in the early going despite efficient shooting from the Pacers. But a 7-0 run late in the quarter, and the evening out of the percentages, returned command to the home team. Danny Granger started out hot (nine points) as he was left open on a couple defensive rotations, but the moment he left the game, the Pacers offense stagnated.

- Couper Moorhead

T.A. Out Tonight

Tony Allen is a confirmed no-go for tonight, and it didn't even come down to a doctor's decision. TA tested his sprained right ankle with leg lifts and step ups before the game, and said he ruled himself out. The results of a precautionary MRI should be out by tomorrow, and Doc Rivers said team doctor Ed Lacerte hopes Allen will be back by Sunday's rematch with the Pacers. But that doesn't rule him out for Friday, Rivers said.

Jim O'Brien was reluctant to read too much into Indiana's wins over the Celtics and Lakers, saying they caught Boston just after the emotional high of the banner raising, and the Lakers on their first trip East. Still, there have been plenty of teams that haven't been able to take advantage of either team on the road, so give the Pacers credit.

While O'Brien is a former Celtics coach, there's one guy on his roster that Rivers wishes was a current Celtics player. Potential All-Star Danny Granger was yanked out of Danny Ainge's grasp in the 2005 NBA Draft, selected by Indiana just ahead of Boston, which took Gerald Green with the 18th pick.

"Danny was a guy we wanted," Rivers said. "We thought he'd be just perfect for our team. When it got to that pick, we saw it was Granger or Gerald Green, we were about to get one or the other. Obviously Granger so far has turned out to be better, but Gerald's a lot younger and there's still time for him. But it would have been nice."

And, answering a burning question for some intrepid media members, Rivers said that Granger reminds him of a cross between the Orlando Magic's Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis.

It was reported about forty-five minutes ago that Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell was fired. Just as with the end of the last regular season, when teams were making personnel decisions, the move provided Rivers with a reminder of the nature of his job.

"You win, you get to stay a little bit," Rivers said. "[You] lose, you hope Danny Ainge is on your side."

- Couper Moorhead

A Dish Best Served Lukewarm?

The Celtics aren't calling Wednesday night's game at the Garden against the Indiana Pacers a "revenge game", but they're well aware that the Pacers are one of just two teams who've blemished their 17-2 record.

"We absolutely struggled against them on both ends of the floor," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said after Tuesday's practice. "We've got to play our game and can't worry as much about what other teams are doing. We've got to keep trying to correct what we're not doing and do it better."

They're also well aware of the Pacers' young star, Danny Granger, who scored 20 points and had his two front teeth knocked out while diving for a loose ball in the Pacers' November 1 victory over the Celtics at Conseco Fieldhouse.

"Granger has turned out to be a star. He's a terrific basketball player," Rivers said, noting that the Celtics had eyes on him in the NBA Draft a few years ago. "We knew about him, but no one knew he was going to be this good, this quick."

Celtics captain Paul Pierce, who's an admitted League Pass junkie and has seen plenty of Granger on TV, also works out in the summertime against Granger and really likes his game after seeing it up close and personal.

I've been watching him develop as a player, and he's playing at an All-Star level this year," Pierce said of Granger, who's averaging just over 24 PPG and 5 RPG, while shooting a shade under 47% from the field. "He's their best player, he's doing a lot of things for them this year, and he should probably make the All-Star team this year."

You can listen to the full interviews with Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo in the Celtics.com Audio Archive.

- Peter Stringer

Live from Courtside

Game Info | Box Score

107-88 Celtics, FINAL: The Celtics' bench did the job here in the fourth quarter. Celtics reserves scored 14 of the Celtics first 18 fourth quarter points, keeping the game in hand for the starters to finish off down the stretch. Also of note, Perk picked up technical foul #9 of the season while arguing for a goaltending call that he'd actually already gotten whistled in his favor. Details.

Rondo had another impressive outing, scoring 16 point to go with 16 dimes. The Celtics improve to 17-2; the Magic drop to 13-5. Not bad.

Magic 65, Celtics 77, End of Third Quarter: Other than a Ray Allen three midway through the quarter, the Celtics haven't needed any drama as they methodically pulled away from the Magic. No fancy stats will describe the difference better than this: the Celtics are shooting 55.6% from the field, the Magic just 39%. That's what they call defense, and the lack thereof.

Once he stopped attempting 15-foot bank shots (clearly a work in progress), Howard got going with seven points in the third. It forced a quick double-take, but the box don't lie: Paul Pierce had 17 points in the quarter.

The only things keeping the Magic in the game are 17 second-chance points and 24 from Rashard Lewis. Orlando hasn't scored a single fast-break bucket.

- Couper Moorhead

Magic 46, Celtics 48, HALFTIME: The Celtics' 15 point lead has all but evaporated thanks to the work of volume-shooter Rashard Lewis. Lewis is 6/13 with 18 points, and while he's shooting just 41% from the field this season, he's getting it done tonight. Meanwhile, Dwight Howard has been contained by Perkins, and "Superman" is just 2/7 for seven points. But the story for the Magic might be the work of an old friend, the oft-injured Tony Battie, who has seven points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench.

Ray Allen, who's been on fire over his last five games coming into tonight, is once again stroking the ball. He's got 14 to lead the Celtics.

Cassell Ejected: Sam Cassell hasn't played a minute all season, and it definitely won't happen tonight. Bob Delaney ejected Cassell for apparently arguing a loose-ball foul call against Kendrick Perkins from the bench with 4:40 to play in the half.

Tony Allen Injury update: Tony Allen went down awkwardly early in the second quarter and went back to the locker room followed by team physician Brian McKeon. The update from PR chief Jeff Twiss is a "right ankle sprain, will return"...

- Peter Stringer

Magic 18, Celtics 28, End of First Quarter: The Celtics couldn't have asked for things to be going much better. They are holding the Magic to 26.1% shooting from the field, in part because they are allowing Anthony Johnson to take open jumpers along the baseline. The Magic are doing the same to Rondo -- giving this the feel of a playoff game, at least from a technical standpoint -- but he's converted on 4-of-7 so far.

Looks like Doc has Kendrick Perkins on the Dwight Howard rotation, having left the game right after the Magic center, and the two are engaging in a bona fide duel. Backing up his quasi-fighting words before the game, Perkins is getting the best of Howard, holding him to 0-of-4 shooting. The Celtics have been swarming Howard whenever he puts the ball on the floor, and the lack of easy buckets would make Zaza Pachulia proud.

Stan Van Gundy got called for a technical foul following a Magic defensive three-second call midway through the quarter. That in itself was not unusual, except that Van Gundy was yelling loud enough that it was the ref in the far corner of the court that assessed the tech. Howard ended up walking over to calm his coach down.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

Even with the Eastern Conference's third-place team in the Garden tonight, the Celtics locker room maintained its regular-season calm that set in following the initial fervor of November's national TV victory laps. And even with Dwight Howard about to try and bring his gaudy numbers to the parquet, Kendrick Perkins maintained his cool that, really, he always has before tipoff.

Perk said he hasn't watched Howard this year, shaking his head when asked if he had even watched him on film, and said he just goes by what Doc tells him to do. Asked what his impression was of Howard after the Magic center won a gold medal in Beijing, the always-quotable Perkins responded:

"What's his impression of me after I won a ring?" Perkins said. "I don't watch people like that. I'm not a fan of everybody."

Perkins did concede that Howard is a good challenge, but added that he plays Kevin Garnett every day in practice, and Howard doesn't have a better post game than KG.

The other news was Doc winning his fourth Eastern Conference Coach of the Month award. Doc predictably shrugged it off and said it doesn't mean much, other than that his players made more shots and got more stops than the other teams. There are plenty of great coaches that haven't had good talent, he said.

One of Doc's "good" talents took the time to explain what makes him a good coach.

"I can tell that he's not lost what he knew as a player," Ray Allen said. "He understands how to manage who we are as players, [and] at the same time make sure he gets the best out of us...make sure we get the proper rest. But at the same time, he knows how to push buttons.

"He has the perfect balance of it all."

- Couper Moorhead

Rivers Named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month

BOSTON - Boston Celtics Head Coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers was named NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for the month of November. This marks the fourth time in Rivers' career that he has been named Coach of the Month.

Press Release: Doc Rivers Named NBA Coach of the Month

Live Game Coverage

Recap | Box Score

Celtics 89, Bobcats 84, FINAL: The C's defense came alive down the stretch, and Kendrick Perkins finished his night nicely. His dunk at 77-77 gave the Celtics a 79-77 lead and they never looked back. He finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, including one against Raymond Felton in the final minutes to help secure the victory. Six Celtics scored in double figures, with Pierce leading the way with 19 points. Rajon Rondo handed out nine assists.

The Celtics move to an Eastern Conference best 16-2 and open their three-game homestand Monday night against Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic at the Garden. Orlando also won tonight, 110-96 over the Indiana Pacers, who come to Boston on Wednesday night.

"I loved what we did tonight. You could see we were on empty tonight. Think about playing six back-to-backs in one month, with this being the sixth," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said. "There were a lot of jump shots hitting the front of the rim, but they just found a way so I'm really proud of them."

Celtics captain Paul Pierce says that playing so many back-to-backs early in the season will pay off down the road when the Celtics gear up for the postseason.

"These back-to-back games can be pretty tough, but we are grinding them out," Pierce said. "These back-to-back games get us prepared for the playoffs. I'm just glad we are able to get them done."

Celtics 66, Bobcats 62, End of Third: Richardson and Wallace each have 15 points for the Bobcats, who are keeping it close in a low scoring affair.

Celtics 45, Bobcats 43, Halftime: The Bobcats turned the ball over 10 times in the second quarter, including three straight on their last three possessions of the half, and the Celtics rallied to take a 45-43 lead into the locker room. While KG is clearly struggling (he's 1-for-6 from the field for just four points), Tony Allen and Paul Pierce each have nine to lead the Celtics.

The Celtics' vaunted defense hasn't quite been up to speed tonight, so we'll see if they can clamp down in the second half to salt this one away. Gerald Wallace got two of his 12 points on a crazy one-handed slam right down the middle of the Celtics D, something you rarely see with this team. Looked like a rare communication problem on the pick-and-roll at the top of the key.

Celtics 17, Bobcats 22, End of First: Last we checked, it was the Celtics who won in a blowout and the Bobcats who played into overtime last night, but the C's starters look a little fatigued and the team only shot a shade under 39% for the quarter while the Bobcats are just over 52% in the first quarter. Jason Richardson, who had the huge game against the Celtics at the Garden last season, leads Charlotte with six points while Paul Pierce has six for Boston.

Early Pregame Update

Gabe Pruitt (sick) did not join the team in Charlotte for tonight's game, but he will joining J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker on the inactive list, as they are on assignment with the Utah Flash in the D-League.

Speaking of Giddens and Walker, both had big games last night for the Flash, and Giddens' baseline jumper with just under a second to play sealed the victory for the Flash over the Austin Toros Friday night and capped his 19-point, 12-rebound night. Walker was also solid, scoring 23 points and had eight rebounds, and also assisted on the Giddens game-winner.

Live from Courtside

Game Info | Box Score

102-78 Celtics, Final: The fourth was essentially 12 minutes of garbage time. And that's good news since the starters got some well-earned rest; only Ray Allen played more than 30 minutes.

The Celtics have a 7 p.m. game in Charlotte tomorrow night.

Sixers 47, Celtics 73, End of Third: Maybe we should just say "End of Game", because this one is over. Ray Allen did the early damage, going 6/8 in the period by draining a handful of wide-open jumpers. And once again, Rajon Rondo had a huge third quarter. Rondo dished eight of his 12 assists in the quarter, his prettiest being an alley oop (and one) to KG that made it 73-47, brought the house down and all but ended this one.

Sixers 28, Celtics 46, Halftime: The Celtics started the quarter with an 11-0 run over the first 3:30 of the quarter, jumping ahead 33-16. After that, they were willing to trade hoops but refused to give any ground and took an 18-point lead into halftime. No Celtics player is in double-figures, but everybody who's been in the game not named Brian Scalabrine has got in the book for Boston.

Garnett, Perkins and Ray Allen all have eight points apiece for the Celtics; Brand's 12 points leads the Sixers.

Sixers 16, Celtics 22, End of First Quarter: The C's came out of the gates playing some active, suffocating defense in the opening minutes, holding the Sixers to just 2-of-their-first-9. Rajon Rondo was pinballing around the floor, and the Celtics really seemed to be disrupting the Philly offense. Meanwhile, 14 of the Celtics 22 points came in the paint, continuing the trend from Wednesday night against Golden State.

Elton Brand did get it going for the Sixers, scoring 10 points in the opening stanza.

Pregame Media Access

Most of today's pregame chatter concerned Allen Iverson missing practice -- not a game, practice -- yesterday in Detroit. The Celtics, for what it's worth, did not have any practice scheduled, and according to Ray Allen, that's what many Celtics were thankful for yesterday.

Check the Audio Archive for pregame remarks from Allen, Paul Pierce and Head Coach Doc Rivers.

Early Pregame

The Celtics will try to match the intensity the Boston Bruins brought to the Garden this afternoon in their 7-2 in over the Islanders when they play the second half of a rare Bruins/Celtics double-header tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The locker room is just about to open, so we'll have pregame notes just before tipoff at 7:30 p.m.

No Practice

The Celtics are off today to enjoy the holiday, and they will return to the court Friday night when the Philadelphia 76ers come to the TD Banknorth Garden.

Live from Courtside

Game Recap | Box Score

Warriors 111, Celtics 119, FINAL: Rondo turned it around in the third, and the frantic fourth quarter kept the Celtics ahead as they continued to score in the paint and get to the free throw line. Tony Allen played out the fourth quarter in place of Kendrick Perkins as KG played center to match up with the Warrior small size and fast pace. Garnett, Pierce, Allen and Rondo all had 20-plus in the victory.

Warriors 83, Celtics 86, End of Third Quarter: And the Celtics are back on top. Rajon Rondo basically took the game over in the third quarter. Doc always says that Rondo's at his best when he's pushing the ball up the floor rather than walking it up, and the third quarter was proof positive. Rondo scored 16 of his 20 points and had six rebounds in the third quarter. And most of those buckets came in the paint as the C's scored 24 of their 50 points in the paint.

Rondo's third-quarter line is even more impressive when you throw in his pair of steals and an assist in the period. And in case you wondering he's yet to turn over the ball all night.

Warriors 67, Celtics 54, Halftime: Wow. Well things sure turned around quickly in a second quarter that kept P.A. guy Eddie Palladino busy. The Warriors outscored the Celtics 39-19 in the period, with Corey Maggette doing quite a bit of damage by himself, scoring 11 of his 17 points. Stephen Jackson and Jamal Crawford each chipped in six of their own as well. Overall, the Warriors were 12-for-19 from the field, while the Celtics started the period 1-for-their-first 11, and finished just 5-for-20 on field goals.

Remember all of those points in the paint in the first quarter? It's been largely jumpshots in the second quarter.

Doc Rivers can't be happy with the turn of events, and he's already picked up a technical. We'll see what happens, but the Celtics probably want to slow down the pace in the third quarter rather than continuing to run-and-gun with the Warriors.

Warriors 28, Celtics 35, End of First: One quarter of basketball tells you all you need to know about the Golden State Warriors. They don't waste any time on the shotclock, shooting the first available look. And it seems the Celtics felt compelled to run with them tonight. Ray Allen and KG already each have 10 points, and Pierce isn't far behind with 7. Stephen Jackson, who's anything but gun shy, has 12 for the Warriors.

The surprising thing about this game? Points in the paint. You figured the Warriors would be a jumpshooting team, but 14 of their 28 came in the paint, while 18 of the Celtics' 35 where in the lane as well. And both teams, predictably, are shooting over 50% from the field.

Moment of Silence

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the moment of silence tonight for Helen Heinsohn, better known to Celtics fans as the Redhead in Needham. The wife of Tommy Heinsohn, Helen passed away this week after a protracted battle with cancer. Helen was a Garden fixture, attending virtually every Celtics home game alongside her husband.

Pregame Media Access

It was a pretty quiet pregame tonight, with very little chatter going on in the locker room, and Doc Rivers kept his remarks brief. He said there's no news regarding tapes featuring Kendrick Perkins picking up technicals, something they've apparently sent to the league.

"No...when you send film they never really respond, unless they're gonna do something," Rivers said. "We're just trying to notify them when it does happen [so they will] watch it in the future, more than the past."

Truth be told, Rivers was probably more concerned about the Golden State Warriors and getting home to Orlando after the game tonight to taste his mother's stuffing (according to Rivers, it's called "dressing") for Thanksgiving.

As for the Warriors and their new acquisition Jamal Crawford, who was just at the Garden last Tuesday with the Knicks before the trade, Rivers says Crawford is a perfect fit for Golden State.

"He plays exactly the way they play. I think it's a really good move for them," Rivers said. "It's a great move for him. I don't know if players, when they get traded, see that right away."

One move that the jury's still out on is Patrick O'Bryant's arrival in Boston, topical tonight since his former team is in the house. When asked about O'Bryant's progress, Rivers said that he's "coming along."

"He's working hard. He's a great kid. Early in the year, in the preseason, we were really on him about the tempo of his work. Him and Clifford Ray have been together far more than Patrick would probably like," Rivers said, chuckling. "But it's been great for him, and in the few practices we've had, you can see the improvement."

This Talk Might Not Be Cheap

It's good to be king, but when you're on top of the mountain, everyone is looking to knock you down. And if they can't do it by beating you, they might try baiting you. That seems to be what Kendrick Perkins and the 13-2 Celtics are finding out, even though Perk says it's the champs themselves who typically start the chatter.

"We initiate a lot of the noise. That's just how we are. We've been like that since last year. That's just how we play," said Perkins, who leads the NBA with eight technical fouls. "Guys are trying to get at us so we're going to get at them first."

Perkins has been assessed eight technical fouls in just 15 games, but that's a number that coach Doc Rivers thinks is inflated by referees assigning double-technicals when two players get engaged in trash talk. While he doesn't expect any of Perkins' techs to be rescinded by the league, Rivers did say the Celtics will be sending tapes of the incidents to the NBA for review.

"A lot of the double-technicals where someone's saying something to him, and he turns around and they give him a double-tech, that to me is where the officials have to do their job," Rivers said. "I think it's easy to just say 'double-technical' instead of saying, 'this guy started it, we're just going to give you a tech.'"

The concern for the Celtics is that when a player is a assessed his 16th technical of the season, he is automatically suspended a game by the NBA. Perkins is well aware of the rule.

"I'm an emotional guy, but it's not anything I can't change. I can control it," Perkins said. "I blame it on myself. I'm a man. Nobody makes me do that."

Perkins insists that he can control himself and turn off the talking if he must. But he did say that he thinks that talking trash gives his team an edge, and Paul Pierce told reporters that it's just as much a part of his game as it was for Larry Bird, one of the undisputed kings of NBA trash talk.

"I use it to get in my opponent's head," Pierce said. "Sorta like what Larry Bird used to do in the day and Michael [Jordan] did. I use it more as a tactic. I'm not out there trying to fight anybody or cause any commotion. It's nothing personal against the other guy. I like everybody in the NBA."

As long as it's directed the right way and revolves around the game, Rivers, who played against Jordan, Bird and Magic, doesn't mind his team talking a little trash. After all, they are the champs.

"You want [them] to be emotional, but you don't want to have what we call emotional sabotage," Rivers said. "If our players are talking, it should be about, 'We're going to beat you, we're going to win.' There's nothing wrong with that. When it gets personal, then there's something wrong with that."

- Peter Stringer

The Celtics will have Monday off and return to the practice floor on Tuesday morning before facing the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night at the Garden.

The Celtics once again demonstrated why they are the reigning powers of the Atlantic Division.

Ray Allen registered 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and Kevin Garnett posted 15 points as Boston cruised past host Toronto, 118-103, on Sunday for its fifth straight triumph.

The C's, who defeated the Raptors earlier this season in dramatic fashion when Paul Pierce led a furious fourth-quarter comeback, never trailed in this one as they improved to 6-1 on the road.

Game Info | Box Score

Video Highlights

After Friday night's 95-78 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Celtics spent the night in Minneapolis and had an afternoon flight to Toronto. There is no practice today due to the early afternoon start tomorrow in Toronto.

KG returns to Minnesota to play in his first game at the Target Center as a member of the Boston Celtics after spending 12 years with the Timberwolves. Garnett did not play in the game last season due to an abdominal injury he suffered, ironically enough, against the Wolves in a January 25 win at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Game Preview

Walker Joins Giddens in Utah

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that they have assigned rookie forward Bill Walker to their NBA Development League affiliate Utah Flash. Walker is the team's second assignment to the NBA Development League this season.

Celtics Assign Walker to Utah Flash

Live from Courtside

Game Info | Box Score

98-80 Celtics, Final: Gino finally came out with 52 seconds to play, but he really should have been dancing at the eight minutes to play mark. The Celtics bench tipped off the fourth quarter with a quick 9-2 run in the first 4:00 of the quarter to quell any designs the Pistons may have had on making a run.

This was the first win at home that reminded us of the way it was in the Garden last year. Falling behind 13-2 notwithstanding, the C's dominated this one basically from wire to wire. Basically, they pulled off a 96-67 run over the last 40 minutes of the game.

Pistons 57, Celtics 77, End of Third: Rajon Rondo has been the story of the third quarter, driving to the hoop and dishing off to teammates for some great open looks at the basket. He played the entire third quarter, and he's chiefly responsible for the Celtics extending a nine-point halftime lead into a 20-point edge at the end of three. Rondo scored nine points and had four assists in the period (18 and 8 for the game to this point on 7/11 shooting), and that could easily be a double-double if a few more shots went down.

This is one of those NBA games where the home team quietly pulls away. Turnovers tell much of the story; the Celtics had just seven to the Pistons' 15. Let's see how the bench does to start off the fourth quarter. Speaking of which, Gabe Pruitt was on the floor to start the third.

Kendrick Perkins also helped the Celtics on the glass, coming up with five rebounds in the period.

Pistons 40, Celtics 49, Halftime: It's fair to say that the Celtics bench probably loves seeing "DET" on the schedule. With Tony Allen going for a repeat performance (nine points) after scoring 23 in his last outing against Detroit, the Boston subs have put up 21 points compared to six (all Jason Maxiell) from the Pistons.

Most of the hustle stats are close, but the Pistons have committed 10 turnovers to the Celtics' six. Detroit hasn't been able to get into any sort of offensive rhythm since Stuckey came in, and it's clear that he and Iverson have yet to chisel out how they should play together.

Both teams have been lights out from downtown, with the Celtics holding the edge (5-of-7) over the Pistons (3-of-5). Eddie House accounted for two of those, hitting back-to-back bombs after missing his first free throw of the year on a technical freebie. House is now 13-of-14. Luckily, Gabe Pruitt is still 1-of-1.

Looks like Ray Allen's free-throw fundamentals talk before the game was more pertinent than we thought, as the Celtics are 8-of-15 from the line.

- Couper Moorhead

Pistons 21, Celtics 21, End of First Quarter: The Pistons jumped out to a 13-2 lead (yup, another slow start), but the Celtics countered with a 12-1 run of their own behind six consecutive points from Rajon Rondo. Rondo has nine points in the quarter, including the rare pullup three.

Early signs are that this is not the Pistons team of eleven days ago. Their ball movement was fluid and rather than the passive Allen Iverson we saw trying too hard to fit in, he came out looking like he wanted to drop 30. That all changed when Rodney Stuckey came in to play point, pushing Iverson to off-guard. With Stuckey at the helm, the Pistons committed three straight turnovers and needed a couple bailout shots from Rasheed Wallace on other possessions.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

It's Allen Iverson's first visit to the Garden in a Pistons uniform tonight, and now that the Celtics are starting to see teams for the second go-round, there was plenty of straight hoops talk before the game (as opposed to philosophical ramblings about the effect of offseason moves).

Pistons coach Michael Curry called the Celtics' double-digit smackdown two Sundays ago a "dizzy spell" for his squad, and said they've used that game to address their weaknesses. With the Pistons going 4-1 since playing Boston, it appears as though Doc Rivers' warning that they will improve as the season progressed was spot on.

"It's not just Allen [Iverson] getting used to them, it's them getting used to Allen," Rivers said before the game, adding that Rasheed Wallace (14.2 points per game, up 1.5 from last year) has been helped the most from the Pistons' increase in tempo. "I think he's benefited the most from it, especially in transition. You have to load to the ball with Allen coming up with the floor, and to do that you have to load off of Rasheed.

"I was yelling 'Get back' the entire game and I hadn't done that in the previous years playing Detroit," Rivers added. "It worried me, even in that game. I was laughing with [coach Tom Thibodeau] after the game, I said, "I don't think I've said that 20 times in the past and the whole game I was just screaming getting back."

Though not having much to do with tonight's game, Ray Allen spoke at length about the keys to becoming a good free-throw shooter -- which he doesn't think he became until playing under Jim Calhoun at UConn (81% his final year). Asked whether he could help Rajon Rondo, who's shooting 53.5% from the line, Allen said he could but that it's up to Rondo to ask.

- Couper Moorhead

Early Pregame

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If you haven't seen it already, check out CelticVision HD for video interviews with Coach Rivers, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett as they talk about Allen Iverson and the new-look Pistons. While it seems like we've been calling every other team the "new-look" [plug-in-a-team-name-here], the Pistons are probably the most dramatically different, relevant and successful since their deal for The Answer.

Tonight's game will be on TNT, which means a late 8 p.m. start and a late-night finish as well. Since the C's will be hitting the road for Minnesota after the game, it should be a brief postgame as the C's will be trying to get on the plane as soon as possible.

Holy Cross Honors C's Legends

Apparently, Holy Cross doesn't retire just anyone's jersey. Either that or there's a 50-year waiting period. Whatever the reason for the delay, the Cross raised Tommy Heinsohn's #24 (class of '56), Bob Cousy's #17 (1950) and Togo Palazzi's #22 to the rafters along with George Kaftan's #12 in a halftime ceremony at the November 16 game between the Crusaders and St. Joseph's in Worcester, MA. All four men later played for the Boston Celtics.

- Peter Stringer

Live from Courtside

Game Info | Box Score

110-101 Celtics, FINAL: This one was close, as the Knicks had cut the Celtics lead to 4 points with 2:06 remaining on a Duhon three and a Chandler put-back. They came into the game averaging just over 28 three-point attempts a night, so it should surprise no one that they hoisted 29 bombs Tuesday night.

But the shot of the night honors go to Brian Scalabrine, who drilled a three from the corner with 1:14 to play to put the Celtics up 107-99 and effectively smothered any run the Knicks could conceivably make.

We'll have more in postgame...

- Peter Stringer

Knicks, 77, Celtics, 89, End of Third Quarter: This is hardly a blowout, but Celtics never looked anything less than in control this quarter. The Knicks' field goal percentage has dropped to 43.8%, while the Celtics are hovering over 60%, mostly because they have been pounding the paint.

Ray Allen had six early points, but Rondo and Perkins carried the Celtics offensively in the quarter, scoring nine points apiece. Scalabrine also got into the action, hitting jumpers on consecutive possessions that were, to say the least, crowd pleasing.

For this to be a game, it looks like the Knicks are going to have to shoot their way back into it.

- Couper Moorhead

Knicks 47, Celtics 56, Halftime: The Celtics cranked up the defense in the second quarter holding the Knicks to just 6 of 19 from the field, and they quickly turned a two-point deficit at the end of the first into an eight-point lead thanks to their 19-9 run over the first 5:50 of the quarter. They finished the half up nine points, thanks in large part to Leon Powe, who continued to get it done on the offensive end, scoring 8 points in the quarter (14 overall).

The C's are dominating inside while the Knicks hoist jumper after jumper. The C's hit 10 of their first 13 shots in the period by pounding the ball inside and they're enjoying a 34-12 points in the paint edge.

Powe and Zach Randolph tied up under the basket and were both assessed technicals, but there didn't appear to be any suspension worthy conduct in the exchange. Given that Powe spent the pregame telling reporters how tough it is to stay under control when physical altercations start brewing, hats off to him for keeping his head on a night where the C's couldn't afford to lose any more manpower.

Knicks 28, Celtics 26, End of First: For awhile it looked as though the Celtics' (somewhat) slow starts would continue, but they've done a strong job controlling the tempo and the paint.

The Knicks aren't quite the Phoenix Suns, but they are putting up plenty of treys, hitting on 3-of-8. Quentin Richardson had nine early points, and yes, if you were wondering, he still does the double-fist head pound. Wilson Chandler has 10 points, but mostly on mid-range jumpers, and the Knicks as a team are shooting 52.2% from the field. With most of the Knicks' attempts coming from outside the paint, and the Celtics allowing less than 40% shooting from opponents all season, you'd expect that number to fall.

Scalabrine was solid if unspectacular (which is what Doc was going for) in his Garnett fill-in role, getting an assist and taking a charge before coming out for Leon Powe, who had six points in the quarter.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

The New York Knicks are tonight's opponent, but with regard to the questions before the game, it could be anyone. The story of the day, of course, is the one-game suspension of Kevin Garnett for a hit on Andrew Bogut in Saturday's contest against the Milwaukee Bucks. Brian Scalabrine will start in Garnett's place, leaving the second unit intact.

The Celtics didn't find the suspension particularly agreeable, with Doc Rivers calling it "ridiculous", Kendrick Perkins saying that it was "kind of messed up", and Leon Powe saying simply that, if it were up to him, he wouldn't have suspended KG.

"It just happens, it's the game of basketball," Powe said of the hits underneath the basket.

The quote of pregame, as is becoming habit, belonged to Perkins. Asked whether he had learned anything from Garnett about keeping his composure and limiting fouls, Perkins stared into the media huddle before offering this gem:

"KG, he's crazier than me," Perkins said. "What do you want me to say? If I said anything else I'd be lying to you."

As for Garnett's reaction to the suspension, he is not allowed in the arena tonight, and according to Doc, not even allowed to buy a ticket. He was at the team's shootaround this morning, though, and Powe said the Big Ticket had very little to say other than, "Good luck, guys."

- Couper Moorhead

Early Pregame

Doc Rivers isn't pleased with the NBA's one-game suspension of Kevin Garnett stemming from a league review of his altercation with Andrew Bogut in the fourth quarter of Saturday night's overtime win over the Bucks. Rivers called it "ridiculous".

Brian Scalabrine, first off the bench Saturday night, will get the start in KG's place as expected, so as to not disrupt the cohesion of the second unit.

Couper Moorhead will have more from tonight's pregame media access.

- Peter Stringer

Rested C's Ready for Knicks

With their eight-games-in-twelve-days stretch behind them, the Celtics, now 9-2, caught their breath a little bit with a well-earned day off after beating Milwaukee in overtime Saturday night. The team returned to the practice floor Monday for a long practice, and they'll be ready to go against the visiting Knicks at the Garden tomorrow night.

As for what to expect from the Knicks (6-4), Doc likes what he's seen from Mike D'Antoni's new-look New York team and figures that the Celtics defense, despite its top-three ranking in points allowed (89.7, third) and field goal defense (39.6, first), will have to be on top of its game to get the win.

"They're putting a ton of points on the board so we're going to have to have a hell of a defensive night," Rivers said.

Jamal Crawford, who's spent most of his first seven seasons in the NBA as a secondary scorer, has become the Knicks go-to guy on the offensive end over the last year or so, and he's averaging a career-high 21.3 points per game in his first 10 games this season.

Crawford has been lethal from three-point land to start this season, shooting it at 46% from behind the line, and he's opening eyes as the Knicks seem to be taking well to D'Antoni's run-and-gun system.

"Crawford has been very good for a long time. He's a great scorer," Rivers said. "He can score off the dribble, he can score off the catch. When he has big games it makes it very difficult to beat New York."

Check the Audio Archive (right column) for audio from today's practice from Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and Brian Scalabrine.

Giddens Headed for D-League

J.R. Giddens has yet to see the floor in a regular season game, and it was becoming clear that he'd have a hard time just getting on the floor in practice, let alone crack the rotation on this championship team. So Giddens stayed behind Friday night as the Celtics left for Milwaukee, and he'll be reporting to the Utah Flash this week.

Press Release: Celtics Assign Giddens to Utah Flash

Game Info | Box Score

Live from Courtside

94-85 Nuggets, FINAL: The Celtics suffered their first home loss tonight, and they were just killed in the paint along the way (42-20 on points in the paint). They also gave up almost 50% shooting and simply looked like a tired team that's played too many games in a short period.

Their end-of-the-third lead evaporated, and they had to play catch-up again in the fourth quarter. Despite Ray Allen tying the game at 82 with 4:17 to play, the Celtics gave up a 12-2 run over the next 2:30 minutes, and that was all she wrote.

Also worth keeping your eye on: Kendrick Perkins, who's had a history of shoulder problems, appeared to hurt his left shoulder in a wrestling match for the ball at center court. He didn't initially come out of the game, but was not on the floor in the final minute when the Celtics, trailing by 10, went to their gunners lineup.

64-65 Celtics, End of Third Quarter: And just like that, the C-Train is back on the tracks. Paul Pierce dropped 12 of his 19 points in the period, and the C's rallied from 15 points down to take a one-point lead into the final quarter. They trailed 59-44 with 8:37 left in the quarter, but put together a 21-5 run to take the lead.

Not much from the bench tonight. Non-starters have contributed just six points; five of those belong to Eddie House.

48-42 Nuggets, Halftime: Um, yeah, what happened? Ray still has 18, but the Celtics were outscored 25-7 over the first nine minutes of the quarter, and found themselves behind by six at the half. The C's shot just 5/18 in the stanza while Denver was 11/21.

The C's are getting killed in the paint, 26-14, and their jumpers aren't falling, either.

23-29 Celtics, End of First Quarter: Ray Allen has it going early for the Celtics, dropping 18 points in the quarter and finishing the period with a pair of three-point shots. He's 6/7 from the field, and leads all scorers. Heck, he nearly outscored the Nuggets.

Chauncey Billups, whose physical brand of basketball and size is a matchup problem for Rajon Rondo, has nine points to lead the Nuggets. But Carmelo Anthony (1/5) has been kept wrapped up in his nine minutes of action.

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Hawks 102, Celtics 103, Final: Paul Pierce does it again. The Hawks put their best foot forward tonight, and they even appeared to have the game won after a Marvin Williams three from the corner, but Pierce (34 points) hit the backbreaker with 0.5 seconds left over the outstretched arms of Al Horford to make the Celtics 8-1.

For such a tightly contested game -- one that got close to playoff level -- the final play was decidedly simple.

"The last play was drawn up, get the ball to Paul Pierce, get the hell out of the way," Kevin Garnett (25 points, 12 boards) said. "Superman's in the booth. Let's go home. That was the play and if you don't believe that ask Doc Rivers and he'll say the same exact thing."

There wasn't any need to ask that question. Most Celtics credited the Hawks for their improved defense, but keep in mind that despite what you may be thinking based on a few exchanges between the two teams, this isn't quite a heated rivalry.

"The things that stick out is that they're a lot more defensively sound than they were a year ago," Garnett said. "It's entertaining, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a rivalry."

- Couper Moorhead

Hawks 77, Celtics 76, End of Third Quarter: In previous years, the Hawks might've folded after that mighty run by the Celtics in the second quarter, but this team is proving that the seven-game playoff series was no fluke.

Eight Hawks' three-pointers and 10 second quarter points from Kevin Garnett are preventing either team from taking control. Meanwhile, Flip Murray has a quiet 14 off the bench. The Celtics are still shooting just 42%, so, as Doc would say, the shooting odds are in their favor for the final stanza.

Zaza Pachulia will not be returning in the second half after suffering a sore shoulder (AC joint). Someone else will have to remind the Hawks that really, "nothing easy."

-Couper Moorhead

Hawks 51, Celtics 51, End of Half: Big Baby went back to the locker room midway through the quarter. No official word yet, but it looked like he did something to his lower back. Either way, he's available for the second half.

For awhile, this appeared to be the slow start that finally caught up with the Celtics. The worst of it came after a backcourt turnover from the Celtics became an open second-chance layup when nobody hustled back, putting them at a 16-point deficit. But whatever Doc said in the ensuing timeout put the team into playoff mode, and defense took over.

Not that there wasn't any offense. With the Hawks barely mustering a decent offensive possession, the Celtics ran off an 18-2 run to tie things up at 46, highlighted by a handful of and-ones. By the time Rondo lobbed the ball to Garnett for a monster jam, the Hawks' body language was spelling d-e-f-l-a-t-i-o-n.

To his credit, Solomon Jones tried to rekindle his team with a brief standoff with Perkins after a hard foul, but things dispersed quickly and Perkins shared some choice words with the Hawks' bench.

Stats-wise, Ray Allen has 15 points, Pierce has 11 and the Celtics are winning the battle in the paint with an 18-12 scoring advantage and four more rebounds than the Hawks. Both teams had their spells of sloppiness with 11 turnovers apiece.

-Couper Moorhead

Hawks 31, Celtics 24, End of First: It's becoming a theme. The Celtics are off to yet another slow start and fell behind early, 13-7, and spent the rest of the first quarter trying to catch up. And once again, the Celtics defense just didn't arrive in time for tip off. A Flip Murray three at the horn gave the Hawks their seven-point first quarter lead.

Al Horford had a huge game in Chicago, but he picked up two quick fouls in the first four minutes of the game, and with Josh Smith already out of action with the high ankle sprain, the Hawks suddenly found themselves missing a huge chunk of their interior defense.

We're looking for carry-overs from the playoffs series, but so far there hasn't been much in the way of physicality.

- Peter Stringer

Pregame Media Access

Pretty quiet before tonight's game with the Atlanta Hawks -- who got into Boston at 2:30 a.m. -- especially compared to last year's playoff series when Mike Bibby and Kendrick Perkins had a brief war of the words in the days leading up to Game 2.

After Bibby called Boston fans "fair weather fans" following a practice last April, Perkins responded by saying, "I mean, coming off a 2-for-10 night shooting, he would say something like that." By gametime, Bibby was questioning Perk's tough streak while the Celtics center said that he wasn't losing any sleep over anything Bibby had to say. Bibby shot 2-of-7 that night and was booed every time he touched the ball while Perkins posted a solid eight points and nine boards as the Celtics won by 19.

Tonight, a reserved Bibby stayed on the topic of the Hawks' unbeaten standing, while most words out of Perk's mouth were off-key lyrics.

Both Bibby and Hawks' coach Mike Woodson credited their seven-game series with the Celtics for the team's play, and defensive effort.

"It was huge," Woodson said of the series. "You couldn't draw it up any better. It left a great taste in these guys mouth in terms of their direction."

Asked whether tonight was more about them or the Celtics, Woodson said it's got to be about his squad because they are still trying to take what the Celtics have. If you haven't already, get used to hearing that.

- Couper Moorhead

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Celtics 94, Raptors 87, Final: Only two words are needed to describe that fourth quarter: Paul Pierce. After a first half marred by easy misses, Pierce scored 22 of his 36 points in the fourth, including back-to-back threes that kept the Celtics within one. The lead ping-ponged back and forth over the next few minutes before Pierce's turnaround jumper gave the Celtics the lead for good. Then, Celtics defense took over and that was all she wrote.

Credit the fans for their great sense of the moment, too. But one thing to take away from this win is that Pierce played 46 minutes and both Garnett and Ray Allen played over 35, and there are three games left to play this week.

- Couper Moorhead

Raptors 65, Celtics 59, End of Third Quarter:The Celtics starters progressively built up steam throughout the quarter, eventually forcing a run-stopping timeout from Sam Mitchell after a KG jumper and Pierce three brought the C's within eight. From that point on, the crowd's pulse doubled and the Big Three took over.

Garnett has been a madman, at one point even picking up Jose Calderon at half court. On a Chris Bosh post up, Garnett pushed him so much that three dribbles later, Bosh was three feet further out. The Big Ticket has 19 points and nine boards, and the Celtics have taken the points in the paint advantage, 22-20.

Of the starters, only Kendrick Perkins came out of the game (4 fouls), so it's up to the bench to keep the run going.

- Couper Moorhead

Raptors 48, Celtics 36, Halftime: At least for the first half, the Celtics' reserves won't be the heroes they were against the Pistons last night. In the first five minutes of the quarter, the bench was outscored 9-4.

Reports out of Toronto in the days leading up to this game were that Jermaine O'Neal was struggling with his new role next to Chris Bosh, but he's been playing at a different level than everyone else on the floor. And it's not just open jumpers he's hitting -- O'Neal fed a cutting Jason Kapono for a layup, and on one post up, he left Kendrick Perkins in the dust with a baseline spin move. O'Neal has 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, with eight boards and two assists.

As for the Celtics, their half can best be summed up by a pair of missed layups by Paul Pierce (9 points), one after completely blowing by his defender. They are getting the shots they want, despite some solid Toronto defense, but the shots just aren't falling. Garnett kept the team from falling into more of a hole with nine second-quarter points (11 overall), but 32.4% shooting from the team isn't going to beat this division opponent. While chances are that the percentages return closer to the norm, the Celtics will have to clean up the boards (the Raptors hold a 25-18 advantage) to get themselves back in this one.

Raptors 23, Celtics 18, End of First Quarter: The story of the game so far has been Jermaine O'Neal, who's got his retro shoes on as he looks more like the Indiana Pacers, All-Star version of himself. O'Neal has 10 points (5-of-10 shooting) on a number of turnaround jumpers in the lane over both Perkins and Garnett, as well as an alley-oop courtesy Jose Calderon.

The starters had a slow start on the offensive half of the court and the shots still aren't falling. The Celtics are shooting 5-of-16 from the floor and are being outscored 10-4 in the paint. The Raptors also hold a 5-0 advantage on second chance points.

- Couper Moorhead

Pregame Media Access

The top two teams in the Atlantic Division are facing off tonight, and as you can imagine, there's a few more members of the media around then there was for the Milwaukee Bucks barnburner.

Rajon Rondo had a bag of ice wrapped around his right elbow in the locker room, because, as Doc Rivers put it, he "twisted his body." Rondo said he just landed on the elbow against the Pistons, but you can't be too surprised he's icing anything given the way teams have been putting him on the floor.

Tony Allen spent some time with reporters after scoring 23 points against the Pistons last night, and anytime someone mentioned him being "back" from the pair of knee surgeries, Allen quickly announced that he's still not there. He's got the quickness to get by defenders, he said, but that explosiveness to rise up at the rim isn't back yet. As for a percentage for Allen's health, he took a few moments to come up with 82 percent.

If you ask most NBA fans over thirty who they think the coolest player of all time was, Walt "Clyde" Frazier would surely be one of the first names out of their mouths. If you want a less trendy, darkhorse pick for that discussion, though, throw out Raptors' coach Sam Mitchell, who's voice alone is keeping cool alive.

Asked whether he was surprised the Celtics have picked up where they left off last year, Mitchell, a former teammate of Garnett's with the Timberwolves, gave a few incredulous looks around the media huddle before responding.

"Unless someone kidnapped Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett over the summer..." Mitchell said. "Three future hall of famers, getting their first taste of glory, and they gonna let up? I don't know about human nature, but I know about athletes, and athletes that are said to be the best, they don't let up. The more they win, it becomes a drug."

-Couper Moorhead

Early Pregame Report

After blowing the Pistons out at the Palace, the Celtics return home for their first Atlantic Division game of the year, hosting the Toronto Raptors.

In the house tonight watching from the seats: Dino Radja, who played three seasons with the Celtics in the mid-90s. Radja posted career averages of 16.7 points and 8.4 rebounds.

Couper Moorhead will have more from Doc's pregame presser just before tipoff...

Celtics 88, Pistons 76, FINAL: It wasn't as close as the final score indicates, as the Celtics defense just devoured the Pistons from bell-to-bell. Winning their fourth straight game, the Celtics made it clear that they're still the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

Tony Allen had an impressive outing, scoring 23 points in 27 minutes, going 11/16 from the field and getting almost everything on layups. Given that Paul Pierce (seven points) and Kevin Garnett (eight points) went a combined 7/25 from the field, TA gave the Celtics a much-needed lift from the bench.

"I just took advantage of what the defense gave me. Coach said, 'Just attack', and that's what I did," Tony Allen said.

Ray Allen, who had 17 to lead the starters, liked what he saw from TA and the rest of the reserves.

"All the players around those guys stepped up and made plays," Ray Allen said of the bench. "The second unit has come in and competed. Those guys keep giving us the energy and the sky's the limit for them."

Tony Allen noted that the bench understands its role.

"We're supposed to come in with energy. We've got to be that lift for the starters if they're not getting it done early," Tony Allen said.

Coach Doc Rivers echoed those sentiments, calling the team's defense "the best of the year, by far", noting that his guys had active hands and were getting up into the Pistons' bodies. But again, Rivers emphasized that the play of his bench was instrumental in tonight's win.

"Our bench has been phenomenal. The last three or four games, our bench has been the reason we won," Rivers said. "They do all of the little things that as a group make them a good group. There's no one guy who can carry them, but when they played the way they've played, it makes them a very good basketball team."

69-49 Celtics, End of Third: The Pistons didn't draw any closer in the third, despite Tayshaun Prince taking the scoring lead with 21 points. Iverson scored just two points in the quarter. Meanwhile, the Pistons have to be concerned about Rodney Stuckey, who had trouble leaving the floor at halftime and his status at this point is unknown.

47-29 Celtics, Halftime: The Celtics defense absolutely overwhelmed the Pistons in the second quarter, and as a result, the Celtics outscored them 30-10 in the period to build a 47-29 halftime edge that had the locals booing the Pistons off the floor.

Allen Iverson's presence (8 points) has really messed up the Pistons' chemistry and it's clear that the Pistons will need some time to get their offense together. The Pistons, shooting just 25% from the field, did not score a field goal in the last 7:33 of the half. Meanwhile, with Pierce riding the pine (three fouls), Tony Allen played 13 minutes and scored a game-high 13 points in the half.

Rajon Rondo continues to be a target for opposing teams trying to intimidate him with some stiff shots, whether it was Rasheed Wallace's blind backcourt pick or a few hard hits on Rondo's drives.

17-19 Pistons, End of First Quarter: If you were expecting a defensive struggle, this first quarter certainly didn't disappoint. It took a full three minutes before either team could get on the board. But the news of the first quarter is three personals on Paul Pierce, the last of which was laughable and drew techincals on Pierce and Doc Rivers.

The Celtics staged an open practice Saturday at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint today for New England Baptist Hospital, one of the team's official sponsors, and while it was a brief session, the team sharpened up on some training camp drills before catching a 3 p.m. flight to Michigan for their big game against Allen Iverson and the new-look Detroit Pistons Sunday night.

Check CelticVision HD for interviews with Doc Rivers and Ray Allen from today's sesssion.

Recap | Box Score | Perkins, Pierce Come Up Big vs. Bucks

89-101 Celtics, FINAL: Soctt Skiles summed it up in his postagme address. "They pretty much owned us [in the paint] from beginning to end," Skiles saif of the Celtics win over the Bucks Friday night at the Garden. Despite Milwaukee jumping out to a 25-12 lead to start the game, and shooting somewhere around 70% from the field, the Celtics put the clamps down and returned to the defensive form that made them champs last season. By game's end, the Bucks had shot under 40%, and the Celtics had the game tied up with a few minutes to play.

Given the team's recent travel woes, lack of rest and practice, a sloppy start didn't surprise anyone on the Celtics bench. But you really can't argue with the team's subsequent recovery.

"We were concerned with the start," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said. "That's I was just trying to burn, you know, minutes, get the game going for them. I didn't want to sub any of them out. [I] just thought it was a good way of getting them running."

Once the running started, it never really stopped. The Celtics outscored the Bucks 24-10 in fast break points, and in the paint, the 60-36 edge was even more dominant. In the middle of it all? Kendrick Perkins, who posted a career-high seven blocks in just 24 minutes. The last time he blocked seven shots? How about all of his senior year at Clifton J. Ozen High School, according to the averages, when he was good for 7.8 swats per game. Sure, it was easier back then, but with 15 blocks over his last three games, recently he's been making it look easier in the pros too.

Not one to blow his own horn, Perk said he's not out there looking for the block, and besides, he had some amends to make; he had five turnovers.

"I was messing up so bad on the offensive end that I had to make it up on the defensive end," Perkins said. "As long as I keep protecting the paint, [the blocks] will come."

Fourth Quarter: Back-to-back hoops from TA and Rondo made it 82-72 with 10:23 to play, and the Celtics slipped into cruise control from there on. Gino came out with the C's up 97-83 with 2:44 to play. Early? Perhaps...Bill Walker got his first taste of PT in garbage time and even got his first regular season bucket of his NBA career.

As for Kendrick Perkins, his seven blocks is a career-high. KG had his own 7-swat game last year, and the last Celtics player to block eight was Kevin McHale, who did it to the Sacramento Kings in the old Boston Garden in 1987.

70-75 Celtics, End of Third: The Celtics can't seem to pull away from the Bucks, despite Perkins blocking three more shots in the third. They're just 4/14 from three point land, but they do have 22 assists on 29 field goals.

47-55 Celtics, HALFTIME: The Celtics really came alive in the second quarter, mounting a 19-7 run over the last six minutes of the half to jump out to a 55-47 advantage. A KG fast-break dunk put the C's up 44-42 and they haven't looked back.

Kendrick Perkins, who had a huge game Tuesday night in Houston, blocked four shots in the first half as the CEltics dominated the paint. How about a 38-12 points in the paint advantage? Impressive.

30-23 Bucks, End of First: Not a lot of defense to be seen in the first quarter. For most of the first, the Bucks were hovering around 70% from the field as they built a 25-12 lead. When the Celtics D came to life, an 8-0 run got the C's back into the game and it was 30-23 at the end of the quarter. The C's did come up with four blocks in the first period.

Pregame Update

The Michael Redd-less (high ankle sprain) Milwaukee Bucks are in the house tonight, the first Celtics opponent in a brutal stretch which features six games in the next eight days, bookended by the boys in purple. With little time to catch their breath over that period, Doc Rivers said the team's only practice will be tomorrow, which will be open for a Celtics sponsor.

"We're going to have what I guess you'd call a practice tomorrow," Rivers said. "We don't see a decent practice until December, because of the [schedule]."

The talk in the Celtics room circulated around Rajon Rondo and his free-throw shooting woes thus far this season. Despite making 100 shots from the stripe a day this summer, usually out of 110, according to Rondo, he's shooting an Olden Polynice-esque 13-of-33 (39%) in the Celtics' first five games.

"I don't know what the story is; if I knew I'd definitely try to improve it," Rondo said. "I'm going to continue to try and get fouled and attack the rim. I'm not going to shy away from getting fouled because I have to make them eventually. I need to make them, especially being a point guard."

Many of Rondo's trips to freebie-land have been preceded by a hard hit underneath the bucket, which he acknowledged, saying that it may be the adrenaline rush contributing to the erratic nature of his shots.

"For some reason, it's just not going in right now. Some are long, some are short, but I'll get a rhythm," he said. "Once I get a rhythm, I'll lock in."

To counteract that, Rondo said Sam Cassell told him to focus on taking a breath before he shoots and even to stop and tie his shoes to buy some time. While he hasn't had the chance to try this yet, fortunately Rondo's laces are always loose so as not to cut off circulation in his feet.

- Couper Moorhead

Live Game Update

96-83 Celtics, FINAL: The Big Three all came up big Wednesday night, with each guy flirting with a double-double. Paul Pierce, despite playing with a sprained hand, led the way with 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Ray Allen had 18 and nine boards while KG chipped in 17 and eight rebounds.

"I got a little sprained hand I suffered last night," Pierce said of the minor injury. "I haven't been shooting the ball well, but I'm going to keep shooting until I get out of the slump."

While the Celtics fell behind early in the first quarter, the C's made the rally in the second period when the reserves took the floor.

"I really thought the second unit did a good job," Pierce said. "They played with energy, took the lead and we never looked back."

Heralded second-year player Kevin Durant finished with 17 points, but he disappeared for most of the second and third quarter and if that's the case, it could be a long, long year for the Thunder.

The Celtics, meanwhile, improved to 4-1 and will return home Friday night to host the 3-2 Milwaukee Bucks at the Garden.

70-55 Celtics, End of Third: The C's started to pull away from a young Thunder team in the third quarter, outscoring them 19-11 behind strong play from Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. Allen struggled early but started finding the groove and socred 10 of his 14 points in the third, while Rondo has nine assists and some nice plays on the defensive end.

The Celtics have clamped down on defense, coming up with nine steals and holding Oklahoma City to just 34% shooting.

51-44 Celtics, Halftime: The Celtics tipped off the second quarter by jumping out on a 25-7 run, while the Thunder went just 1-for-their-first-16 in the period. Leon Powe made his impression felt, leading the Celtics with 11 points at the half and some typical hard-nosed rebounding under the basket.

Delays have plagued the game, from net issues to floor moisture that had ball boys mopping up with towels between baskets late in the half.

29-21 Thunder, End of First: So far we're pretty even statistically, but a high-energy 11-3 Thunder run to end the quarter has Oklahoma City up 29-21 after the first. Ray Allen continues his fine play with four points, four rebounds and a pair of assists.

Live Game Update

103-99 Celtics, FINAL: The Celtics (3-1) get a nice win in Texas, as Kendrick Perkins and Ray Allen both had huge nights. Allen dropped 29 points before fouling out on a questionable call. Perk, playing in front of family and friends, owned Yao on both ends of the floor as the Celtics controlled the paint and the tempo of most of this game.

Allen did most of his daamage against Tracy McGrady, who looked more than a step or two slow and failed to stay with Allen on the defensive end. Allen ran McGrady against picks most of the night, Reggie Miller style, before the Rockets finally switched up to put Artest on Allen in the waning minutes.

"It looked like Tracy was hobbled a little bit and we took advantage of it," Allen said. "The guys set some great screens and I got some good looks."

If anyone knows how to attack McGrady (not too mention knows his injury history), it would be Doc Rivers, who coached him with the Orlando Magic.

"Once [Allen] gets it going he's very difficult to stop," Rivers said. "I'm sure [McGrady's] not 100% yet."

All five starters scored in double figures for the Celtics, who visit Oklahoma City tomorrow night.

81-78 Celtics, End of Third: Rondo continues to play well, controlling the pace in a back-and-forth game in which the referees have been reluctant to blow the whistle despite some physical play. Perkins is having himself a nice night and has 15 points on 7/8 shooting.

Despite shooting 54% from the field through three periods, the C's have just a three-point lead.

58-53 Celtics, Halftime: After building a 16-point lead early in the second quarter, the Celtics endured a 20-7 Rockets run over 4:30 when the score went from a 43-27 edge to a 50-47 deficit. But the C's closed out the half strong and took a five-point lead into the half. Ray Allen has 12 points and four assists, while Perk and KG continue to work the glass.

Garnett, however, is having another rough shooting night, going just 2/10 in the half as his midrange jumper just wont go down. Ron Artest (9 points, 4 rebounds) has played well for the Rockets.

28-22 Celtics, End of First: The Celtics scored 14 of their 28 first quarter points on either dunks or layups, and the Houston defense, which coming into this game was among the best in the league, was non-existant. The Celtics also out-rebounded the Rockets 16-9 in the opening stanza. Yao Ming picking up two quick fouls certainly didn't help the Houston cause.

Rajon Rondo led all scorers with 10 points in the quarter.

Bill Walker Activated

Live Scoreboard

7:31 p.m.: Rookie Bill Walker has been activated for tonight's game, while reserve center Patrick O'Bryant will not dress tonight for the Celtics' game against the Rockets in Houston.

Walker, if you remember, got into it with Tracy McGrady during the Celtics preseason game against Houston in Manchester, NH.

Live Game Coverage

95-79 Pacers, FINAL: A 12-0 too-little, too-late run by the bench wasn't nearly enough, and the Celtics fall for the first time this season to start their three-game roadie. KG had 18 points and 14 rebounds but still didn't look like himself.

The only thing uglier than the Celtics' 24 turnovers tonight? Danny Granger's new $60 million smile. Granger lost his two front teeth diving for a loose ball, and now we know what he wants for Christmas.

Doc Rivers won't use the 4 a.m. arrival as an excuse, but when everyone looks a step slow and you turn it over that many times, the travel woes have to have played a role.

69-58 Pacers, End of Third Quarter: The turnovers continue to kill the Celtics. Twenty one turnovers and counting is making it tough to make any sort of sustained run to chip away at Indiana's double-digit lead. Paul Pierce is attacking the basket more, and it might be one of those nights where the Truth has to put the team on his back.

48-41 Pacers, Halftime: The Celtics got as close as three points, but the Pacers riding Granger and T.J. Ford and the emotion of their opening night. But 14 turnovers is crazy for a half, and the Celtics will have to clean it up in the second half to get the win tonight. Five guys have committed at least more than one turnover here in the first half.

Given their 33% shooting, their isn't much to point to on the positive side for the C's, but Tony Allen did provide a nice lift off the bench with eight points.

27-17 Pacers, End of First Quarter: Danny Granger's 11 points are highlighted by an up-and-under scoop shot that you'll be seeing on the highlights tonight. The Pacers are looking to shoot at the first available opportunity, and so far it's working. The C's (8 turnovers) look a little sluggish, but a 4 a.m. arrival in Indianapolis will do that.

Live Scoreboard

Postgame Coverage

Celtics vs. Bulls: Recap | Box Score | Highlights

After Rough Opener, KG Rebounds in Game 1K

Live Game Coverage

96-80 Celtics, FINAL: Make it 2-0 for the C's, officially, after a game that was largely over after the first quarter. Pierce played 35 minutes, but KG and Ray Allen had light duty in making short work of the Bulls. A very professional win for the Celtics tonight.

70-54 Celtics, End of Third: Kendrick Perkins fouled out in just 21 minutes on opening night, and he's already got five personals through three quarters. Smoke 'em if you've got 'em, Perk...

With a comfortable lead and a game tomorrow night in Indiana (the Pacers' home opener), look for the starters to rest most of the fourth if possible. Garnett has 18/10, while Rondo has 14 and six dimes.

49-31 Celtics, Halftime: After a terrible shooting night on Tuesday (5-15), KG, playing in his 1,000th career game, has hit 7/10 for 16 points and seven rebounds, both game highs. And the paint dominance continues; the C's have a 30-12 edge in the lane.

And speaking of terrible shooting, the Bulls can't hit the ocean or the broad side of the proverbial barn. They're just 10/45 from the field. Tyrus Thomas is a brutal 1/10.

24-13 Celtics, End of 1st Quarter: By popular demand, live game updates are back. The Celtics dominated the paint here in the first quarter, as Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett all but marking their territory by posting eight points and seven rebounds between the both of them. The Celtics defense was tenacious, holding the Bulls to just 17% shootin and forcing seven turnovers. Offensively, the C's overwhelmed Chicago in the paint, 16-4.

Live Scoreboard

Pregame Locker Room

The Chicago Bulls are in the house with this summer's No. 1 draft pick, point guard Derrick Rose. But despite the attention the rookie is receiving, the man of the day is the Celtics third-year point Rajon Rondo, whose rookie contract option was just picked up by the team earlier today.

In one of his more candid conversations with the media, Rondo talked about being happy with the team's no-brainer, and who wouldn't be, he said, having won a championship and returning the following year with the same team and a chance to repeat.

"I don't take anything for granted, but winning a championship helps," he said.

Asked about the possibility of being a Celtics' lifer, Rondo kept his head about him and commented on the business that, in the end, basketball is and will always be.

"You never know, it's a business," Rondo said after a pause. "Kevin [Garnett] was in Minnesota, I think 13 years, and he's in Boston now. So you never can say you want to be in one place throughout your entire career because, you know, General Managers can change, coaches can change, you never know what can happen."

But that's far along down the road, and Rondo knows he has a good thing going and wants to do what's best for himself and for the team.

"I love the organization right now, we're winning, that's what it's all about," he said.

- Couper Moorhead

Early Pregame

The locker room is about to open. With news of Rajon Rondo's option being exercised, we hope to catch up with him before tonight's game to get his thoughts...

Rondo Option Exercised

BOSTON, MA - The Boston Celtics announced today that the club has exercised the fourth year option on guard Rajon Rondo. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cavs Set Physical Tone for C's Opponents

The ceremonies are over, the rings have been handed out, and the Celtics withstood their own sluggish start to get an opening night win against Cleveland Tuesday night. You couldn't ask for much more. So with all of that out of the way, the grind officially begins. Next up: the 1-0 Chicago Bulls, led by rookie head coach Vinny Del Negro and a standout rookie point guard, Derrick Rose.

"[The Bulls are] much improved. I was really impressed watching them the other night. Rose, he didn't have a great game, but you can already see that he's going to be a great player. He's already controlling that team, they're running at a better speed. His decision-making is what stood out," Rivers said of Rose, who finished with a not-too-shabby 11 points and nine assists (and four turnovers) in the Bulls' 108-95 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. "They're going to be a good opponent."

While the Bulls probably aren't as good as the Cavs on paper, they're not likely to play as physical a brand of basketball. The Cavs, with a seven-game playoff loss still fresh in their mind, seemed determined to push the Celtics around, and seemed to take particular interest in sending Rajon Rondo to the floor whenever he went to the bucket.

"I told him, 'It's nice to go to the foul line, it's better to go to the foul line shooting one.' You know what I mean? He took some hits and if he did that all year, that would be a concern," Rivers said. "You want him going at that speed all year and you want him getting to the basket without contact as much as possible, but this is a physical game."

To that end, Paul Pierce is expecting teams to try to lay the lumber on them every night.

"When you're the champs, teams are gunning for you. They're gonna try to find an edge. That's the way it is when you're trying to unseat the champs in any sport," Pierce said. "We've got to be ready to take everybody's best punch."

After Tuesday night's opening night victory over the Cavaliers, the Celtics will have Wednesday off before regrouping for practice on Thursday ahead of Friday's game against the Chicago Bulls.

Postgame Recap

BOSTON - Paul Pierce exploded for 27 points and the Celtics capped a special night in style with Tuesday's 90-85 season-opening win over the Cavaliers at The Garden. Rajon Rondo had 14 points and six assists, while Leon Powe added 13 points as five C's finished in double figures.

The World Champion Celtics turned the page on their storybook turnaround Tuesday night when they handed out rings, and raised their 17th banner to the rafters.

Celtics vs. Cavs: Recap | Box Score | Ring Ceremony Video

Emotional Pierce Keeps C's in Check

More: C's Eye Repeat | Player Forecast | Ainge Promoted

Pregame Media Access

Lots of familiar faces at the Garden tonight with most national media outlets covering the game. The timing of the ring ceremony is throwing everybody off their routine, but Doc Rivers said there's no better distraction for which a team could ask.

If you find yourself wondering where LeBron and the Cavaliers are during the ceremony -- through the build up in your tear ducts, of course -- they've elected to stay in the locker room during the lengthy presentation.

Not that there's any hard feelings from the Celtics.

"First of all, I didn't know they were invited," Rivers said, laughing. "Number two, we're still going to have it. Because [LeBron's] not going to come, we're not going to cancel it. And number three, I wouldn't want to be there either."

"It's long, and secondly, they're giving us something that we want."

Much has been made of the Celtics carrying a shiny new target on their backs after topping the Lakers last summer, but Rivers said the team has actually gone through of bit of that before. This time, however, they've actually done something to deserve it.

"We were the beneficiary last year of being on every [magazine] cover and teams attacked us for that," Rivers said. "Because we hadn't won. I thought that they took that personally, you know, 'who're these guys, they haven't won anything.'"

The team just came out for warmups, and for a moment it sounded like the playoffs last season. The arena isn't even full yet.

- Couper Moorhead

Opening Night Coverage

if you haven't checked CelticVision HD already, check out Paul and Doc talking about the challenge of repeating as NBA Champions, and what they expect from tonight's banner and ring ceremonies. By the way, tip off is at 8:00 p.m., but fans should be in their seats for a 7:30 ceremony. Be there early!

Couper Moorhead has today's game preview, while Peter Stringer checks in with a feature on the challenge of repeating that runs in the latest edition of Parquet, available exclusively at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Check CelticVision HD for updates from Waltham including interviews with Coach Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Sam Cassell.

All 15 players, including rookie J.R. Giddens (bruised left hip, day-to-day) went through Sunday's practice at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint in Waltham on Sunday, and the troops will meet again at 11 a.m. on Monday morning for a final day of practice before Tuesday's season opener against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Celtics.com will have complete coverage from Monday's session...

The word from PR chief Jeff Twiss is that "everyone busted it pretty good today" in Waltham. One minor note, J.R. Giddens has a bruised left hip and is listed as day-to-day.

After two days off, Coach Doc Rivers called Friday's practice, "sloppy, as expected." That said, sloppiness didn't stop the troops from playing hard.

Rivers said that in the next four days, the team needs to get "on the same page" and get it's timing down to where the team is "game-ready instead of preseason ready."

"We've got to understand it's gonna be 82 games of being attacked every night," Rivers said.

Check CelticVision HD for interviews with Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. KG was especially candid today talking about his legendary intensity and how it rubs off on his teammates.

After completing their exhibition season at 6-2 with a 101-90 victory over the New York Knicks, the Celtics will have two days off before returning to practice in Waltham on Friday.

Celtics Waive Darius Miles

BOSTON, MA - The Boston Celtics announced today that the club has requested waivers on forward Darius Miles. The training camp roster now stands at 15.

Darius was a model citizen during his time here in Boston. He showed that he still has a lot of basketball left in him," said Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations/General Manger Danny Ainge.

Miles signed as a free agent on August 22, 2008. The 6'9", 235-pound forward appeared in six preseason games, averaging 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds in 10.4 minutes per game.

Rondo Sits, Pruitt Starts

Rajon Rondo's ankle sprain may have been mild, but it's enough to keep him out of today's preseason game against the New Jersey Nets. Rondo told reporters before Sunday's tilt that he could play if he needed to (i.e. if it were the regular season, he'd be suiting up) and hopes to practice Monday and play in Tuesday night's exhibition finale against the New York Knicks at MSG.

Check the Audio Archive for Doc Rivers' pregame interview.

Celtics vs. Nets: Live Scoreboard

After sitting last night, the Big Three are expected to play big minutes, more like regular season minutes, in their preseason TD Banknorth Garden debut tonight against the Knicks.

Big Three Sit While TA Drops 32 on Nets

Doc Rivers may have given Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett the night off, but Tony Allen was hard at work Thursday night, scorching the Nets for 32 points, 22 of which came in the first half.

"During the summer I worked on just taking what the defense gives me and putting pressure on the defense when I can," Allen said after the win. "I'm just trying to get better, game after game."

Meanwhile, Eddie House (21 points and five threes) and Brian Scalabrine (11 points and some solid defense) had nice games in the win as well. Despite House lighting it up, he was more annoyed with himself after the game for the shots he missed late (including two free throws down the stretch) and a key turnover rather than celebrating his hot shooting in the early goings.

"That's a bad shooting night at the end of the game," House said.

Check CelticVision HD for the highlights from the Meadowlands.

Wallace Out, Pavlovic Doubtful for Tilt in Pittsburgh

The Celtics meet the Cavaliers in Pittsburgh, PA tonight, and the word from the Cavs is that Ben Wallace did not travel with the team for tonight's game, while swingman Sasha Pavlovic is listed as doubtful for tonight's game with a right ankle sprain.

Perk Practices, Aims To Play in Pittsburgh

WALTHAM - Kendrick Perkins got his first taste of a full-contact practice since returning from shoulder surgery, and the Celtics brass were curious to see how he'd respond to taking some hits on the shoulder, it turned out that Perkins was the one delivering the blows on Monday.

"Perk looked good. He fouled a couple of people hard. Hit a couple of people with elbows. I saw three or four people grabbing their face today and I said, 'Oh, Perk must be back.' So that's what he does. He was good," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said.

With one practice under his belt, Perkins will give it a go Tuesday night in Pittsburgh when the Celtics meet the Cavs again in another exhibition contest. The Celtics edged Cleveland on Friday night in Providence, RI.

"I don't know how much. I haven't talked to Eddie [Lacerte] yet," Rivers said.

"It was pretty good. I felt alright. My conditioning's a little off," Perkins said, also noting that his timing around the basket was a bit off as well. "I made it through today healthy and I'm just gonna keep building from here."

One guy who actually looked banged up was Leon Powe, who had his hand bent back the wrong way when he got tangled up covering a pick-and-roll Friday night in Providence. "My hand was stuck in a jersey, and he went that way, and I went the other way and it took my hand and bent it all the way back," Powe said.

As Powe talked about his hand, Brian Scalabrine was running through extended shooting drills with Ray Allen.

And finally, both birthday boys Doc Rivers and Paul Pierce enjoyed a serenade from rookies and new staff today. Rivers is 47, Pierce turned 31.

Check the Audio Archive for sound from Doc, Perk and Powe at today's practice...

Technical Difficulties...

Celtics.com has been experiencing technical difficulties over the weekend associated with the NBA.com relaunch. Please bear with us as a few bugs are ironed out.

C's Win Another Nailbiter in Physical Contest

It may be preseason, but don't tell the Celtics they aren't allowed to play exciting basketball in October. A night after Bill Walker preserved a win by slapping the ball away at the buzzer, Gabe Pruitt canned a midrange jumper off the glass (he insisted after the game that, yes, indeed, he WAS aiming for the backboard) with six seconds to play that became the game-winner as the Celtics beat the Houston Rockets 90-89 in Manchester, NH.

After the game, the C's locker room was rocking to the sound of loud rap music. Big Baby, clad in nothing but a towel, danced his way from the shower to his locker while his teammates chanted and egged him on, while reporters just took in the celebration.

When things finally settled down, and reporters huddled around Gabe Pruitt, KG and other vets were all over him. "Look at Gabe getting the media attention!" shouted KG, forcing Pruitt to hold back a grin as he tried to remain serious and finish his interview.

"I got a couple of good looks early, and that got me going," Pruitt said. For the last shot, it just felt good when I released it. It just happened to bank in."

As for the rest of the game, it was certainly chippy. Bill Walker took a nasty elbow from Tracy McGrady, one which was seemingly unprovoked. "[I was] just cutting hard, and I guess he didn't like the force I was cutting with. He tried to elbow me, so I guess we just got tangled up. I don't know what his problem was. I was cutting."

Eddie House and McGrady would later pick up technicals for continuing the conversation. Later in the game, Ron Artest and Paul Pierce played each other pretty physical. According to Doc Rivers, the Celtics have to be ready for teams to come after them. After all, they're the champs.

"Every game's been chippy so far. When you win it, people are going to attack you. You cant back down, but you have to be able to function through that stuff. I thought we did OK with it," Rivers said. "They're gonna get attacked, people are gonna talk trash. You've just gotta play through it all, no matter what happens."

Celtics Edge Cavs as Allen Erupts for 25

The biggest question heading into this season was who will replace James Posey. But the question is quickly becoming, "Is Tony Allen the answer?"

Before the game, Allen was telling reporters that "Tony Allen isn't a story this year...Tony Allen fitting into the this team is a story." But despite downplaying his importance, he outplayed just about everyone on the court, Olympic gold medalist LeBron James (15 points) included.

Allen dropped 25 points, got to the line 16 times, grabbed four rebounds and handed out three assists in Friday night's 96-94 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Providence, RI. Allen was attacking the basket, went six-of-seven from the field and knocked down some outside shots as well, and played one heck of a ballgame.

"He attacks off the dribble, he's aggressive and he's tough to guard," Rivers said of Allen, who had just 11 in Wednesday's exhibition opener.

As for Allen, he was pretty nonchalant about the whole thing. While his teammates razzed him for doing postgame interviews as they were on the way out the door, Allen maintained he was just "taking what the defense gave me" and "staying within the offense."

And for a guy who claimed at one point before last season that he thought he had a chance to be a part of the "Big Four", Allen was showing for the first time on the court that his time may have come. "I know it's the Big Three, but there are no Big I's and little yous," Allen said Friday.

The Celtics will stay over in Providence and then head for Manchester, NH tomorrow for a Saturday night date with Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets. Unless something changes, according to Rivers, the Big Three will play some minutes tomorrow night, it's just unclear how many. And Sam Cassell, who missed Wednesday's game in Amherst and was in street clothes for tonight's tilt, is expected to play in the Queen City against the Rockets.

Different Vantage Point for Rivers as Spectator

Doc Rivers didn't get to see the Celtics' first preseason game up close and personal from the sideline, but he did get to watch it live on TV, which was something of a new experience for the coach.

"I was able to watch a lot. I made it home right towards the end of the first quarter and I was able to watch the rest on TV," Rivers said, noting that he could have arrived at the game after it started but opted against it so that he wouldn't be a distraction to his team. "[It's a] different vantage point from your house. The first eight minutes of the game was terrific, defensively and offensively. After that, I thought the game got sloppy."

Rivers also enjoyed Bill Walker's loud slam over Theo Ratliff, and while he cautioned that Celtics fans have gotten excited over young athletic players who could slam but never really panned out (um, remember Gerald Green?), the coach isn't worried about Walker flaming out given his competitive nature and all-around game.

"The dunk was nice, obviously because it was a dunk and he got on SportsCenter," Rivers said. "I thought he played under control. My favorite play was toward the end, he got the post play and scored with a minute and a half left."

Check CelticVision HD for more from Coach Rivers and a brief interview with Walker as well.

Doc Handles Personal Issues, Thibodeau Handles Team, Media

Celtics 92, Sixers 98 - With Doc Rivers back in Orlando tending to personal matters, defensive guru Tom Thibodeau was at the helm for the Celtics' opening exhibition game, a 98-92 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in Amherst, MA on the campus of UMASS.

While the team took the L thanks to poor execution by the reserves down the stretch, there were some positives to take out of their preseason debut. Patrick O'Bryant (10 points and eight rebounds) looked solid, especially in the first half, working under the glass and showing some nice post moves on the offensive end. Thibodeau admitted that it appeared O'Bryant "ran out of gas" in the second half. While Rajon Rondo and the Big 3 played about 17 minutes each, Doc Rivers had made it known that he didn't expect his stars to play long against the Sixers.

That said, the starters did stake the Celtics to a quick 16-4 lead to open the game, and the intensity resembled the same fire they displayed in last year's exhibition opener against the Raptors in Rome.

Rookie Bill Walker, who raised eyebrows in Newport last week with relentless, agressive basket attacks, helped close out the first half with a pair of dunks, the first of which was a sweet alley-oop, and the second an absolute facial for old friend (should we emphasize "old"?) Theo Ratliff.

The Celtics will practice tomorrow in Waltham before bussing to Providence, RI to face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night, then invading ManchVegas (Manchester, NH) on Saturday night, when Yao Ming, Ron Artest, former Celtics-executive-turned-GM Daryl Morey and the Houston Rockets face the 17-Time NBA Champions.

Back To Work in Waltham

WALTHAM - After a day off and an early departure from Newport, the boys were back in town at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint prepping for Wednesday night's exhibition opener in Amherst, MA against the Philadelphia 76ers. Technically, the tilt at UMASS is considered a road-game, but given the proximity to Boston, it's kind of like an extra home game for the 17-Time World Champions.

If you're heading to Amherst and hoping to see The Big Three, Doc Rivers has some advice for you: "Get there early."

"I don't know what it is, but it won't be a lot," Rivers said on Tuesday of the number of minutes he's planning for Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett through the first 5-6 preseason games. "It's almost like the end of the [regular season] last year, where we played them, but we didn't play them a lot."

Along those lines, a safe bet would be for the starters to play the first 6-8 minutes of the game, and possibly some time in the second half.

One guy who won't be seen at all in Amherst is Sam Cassell, who left Tuesday's practice early to head home to Baltimore to tend to family issues. And while Kendrick Perkins will probably make the trip, he isn't expected to play in the first five preseason games, according to Rivers' comments last week.

Rivers said throughout camp that he wasn't going to play his stars big minutes in the preseason, so that means extended auditions for the rookies and young guys on the New England barnstorming tour. Rivers said on Sunday that the first week of training camp is too small a sample size to truly gauge where the rookies are at to this point, so it stands to reason that he'll have a much better idea after they get their feet wet in this week's exhibition games in Amherst, MA, Providence, RI and Manchester, NH.

Early Departure

NEWPORT - After a week in Newport, Doc Rivers decided to bring the team back to Boston and give the boys Monday off, rather than keep them here for the final scheduled day. With the first preseason game on Wednesday night (technically a road game in Amherst, MA) against the Philadelphia 76ers, a little time off is probably a good thing. The team will leave Newport on a 5 p.m. bus back to Waltham.

Rivers said that Newport was a great location for camp, and suggested that if the team were to establish a permament training camp location for future seasons, Newport would certainly be a candidate.

We'll have video from Doc and more on today's final session in Newport later this afternoon. In the meantime, we've got to start packing...

- Peter Stringer

Open Scrimmage at Salve

9:00 p.m. - The Celtics staged an open scrimmage for NBA TV and the students and faculty of Salve Regina University Saturday night, and the green team (starters, veterans) overcame an early 9-0 run by the white team to earn a 47-40 decision after 30 minutes of play. Box scores weren't available for the contest, but by our calculations, Eddie House (unofficially) had 16 points to lead the White Team (reserves and rookies) while Ray Allen was in double-figures for the Green team (starters and veterans).

Scal Beats the Buzzer

2:37 p.m. - The attitude here is upbeat, and guys are cheering each other on. You couldn't ask for much more camp kumbaya (actually, we're still calling it "Ubuntu", come to think of it) than the Celtics are getting here at Salve Regina. Yesterday, Paul Pierce was handing out more chest bumps than Eddie House's son did in the postseason. And today, it was high-fives all around as Brian Scalabrine drained the game-winning threeball at the end of the final scrimmage game of this morning's practice session.

"We drew it up for Scal," Coach Doc Rivers said, noting that Ray Allen, who delivered the pass to Scalabrine, was the decoy on the play and it worked to perfection. "The entire team knew they'd go for Ray."

"Then ending was perfect. It was a lot of end-of-game situations," Rivers said of Friday's session.

Scalabrine wasn't the only one who had a strong session. According to Rivers, Darius Miles had perhaps his best practice of camp, despite thinking yesterday that he might need the day off.

Instead, Miles gave it a go and felt good.

"I'm used to four or five days of two-a-days," Miles said. "My first couple of days in Portland, we didn't have a day off until December."

The Celtics will have tomorrow morning off, and will practice tomorrow night in front of lucky Salve Regina students who won a raffle, as well as some school faculty and donors.

Another One-and-Done for C's; Walker Impressing

2:08 p.m.: The original training camp schedule called for two-a-days all week, but Doc Rivers now thinks that going hard for one long session is better in the long run than doubling-down on workouts each day.

"If I beat three guys, we had to practice this afternoon. We'll have to go to the videotape," Rivers said, laughing about the footrace at the end of practice in which he sprinted against the team with an evening session cancellation hanging in the balance. "We didn't do a lot of doubles last year. We couldn't, it took an hour to get there [in Rome]. We're going three hours, two-and-a-half hours, [so] we don't need to do doubles."

What stood out to Rivers today was the play of rookie Bill Walker, who has been attacking the basket relentlessly in the last few days of scrimmage. Walker has finished at the rim with a few loud dunks already, not to mention a coast-to-coast finger roll toward the end of Tuesday's morning session.

"Billy Walker is playing extremely well right now. J.R. [Giddens] has to catch up. But he'll get there," Rivers said, noting that it's tough for the rookies to not be in awe of their All-Star teammates. "[Walker] attacks the basket as you saw today, and we're telling him it's a competition. They're your teammates, and it's a competition. I thought today, [Walker] came to play basketball and not be a spectator."

On the other hand, Rivers said that Giddens is still spectating. "Everything's new for him. J.R.'s at that point where all young guys get at; he's thinking instead of playing," Rivers said. "That doesn't go away for a while, so that doesn't concern us at all."

The good news is, help is on the way. Ray Allen spent several minutes with Giddens after practice handing out pointers from things he observed in the scrimmage, and Paul Pierce had a similar chat with Walker while others were handling media interviews.

Ray Allen and J.R. Giddens

Ray Allen gives J.R. Giddens a little mentoring after Thursday's practice at Salve Regina.
Peter Stringer/Celtics.com

Speaking of the Big Three, Rivers also noted that despite their heavy playing time in the exhibition season last year, you won't be seeing as much of Pierce, Allen and Kevin Garnett in the preseason this time around.

"Not as much as last year. Last year, we didn't know each other," Rivers said. "Early on, they won't play as much. The last two games, they'll play a lot."

Rajon Rondo hasn't stopped making passes in training camp. In fact, he's even delivering perfect spirals to his teammates. With practice over, a football emerged, and Rondo and Ray Allen decided to work on their go patterns. Rondo, of course, once dreamed of playing in the NFL before eventually finding his way to basketball. Check CelticVision HD this afternoon for some behind the scenes footage of their impromptu football game.

Also, look for more video updates from Rivers, Pierce and Tony Allen later this afternoon.

Morning Session Underway

11:02 a.m.: Word from the sidelines at Salve is that the team is having a "spirited" practice this morning. We'll have more when the morning session wraps up; look for an update around 2 p.m. or so.

Night Session Cancelled

5:30 p.m.: After two days of hard practicing, Doc Rivers gave his guys the night off from a scheduled 6-8 p.m. practice. They'll return to the practice floor at Salve Regina tomorrow morning.

Doc Praises O'Bryant

The boys went pretty hard again Wednesday morning, and earned high praise from Coach Doc Rivers for their intensity.

"We had a great practice today. The end was sloppy, I didn't like that part of it, but the first two hours, [we had] great focus. The execution was tremendous," Rivers said. "For a second day practice, it's one of the better ones I've been around."

On the flipside, Kevin Garnett told reporters that he didn't feel he himself had a good practice in colorful terms that we won't print here. But he agreed with his coach that overall, today's session was intense.

"I'm never happy with my performance. But that's me [looking] for perfection," Garnett said. As for the team? "[There was] a lot of hard work, diving on the floor, Doc was talking trash, it was a great day today."

Rivers said he was impressed with Patrick O'Bryant's effort today, and for the second straight day while Kendrick Perkins is unavailable for contact, O'Bryant got the nod with the first unit.

"Patrick had a hell of a practice. He was great today," Rivers said, noting that if he figures out how to play alongside Garnett, "things could be pretty good for him."

Check CelticsVision HD for today's video interviews with Doc, Paul, Ray and Kevin, and a little behind the scenes footage of Paul describing his first day of practice at Kansas, and how it relates to CSN sideline reporter Greg Dickerson's attire yesterday. This is the kind of stuff that goes on when practice wraps.

Morning Update

First off, Couper Moorhead checked in with Darius Miles, who's hungry to make his comeback with the Celtics.

Meanwhile, we'll have more updates from today's morning session this afternoon. And to be clear, training camp practices, like all Celtics practices, are closed to the public. Thankfully, Celtics.com has you covered.

NEWPORT, RI - The Celtics started off camp with a hard three-hour practice this morning at Salve Regina, and while Coach Doc Rivers said it was apparent that the team's conditioning needs some work, he liked his team's energy and thinks that they have a leg up with so many returning players who already know his system.

"I thought our guys came with the right energy," Rivers said of the morning session, which ended right around 1 p.m.. "It's different from last year. A lot of our guys can pick up stuff quicker. The guys returning [know our stuff]."

One guy who knows the stuff but can't show it is Kendrick Perkins, who's still restricted to non-contact drills only, and spent the end of Monday morning's session watching teammates scrimmage. Perkins got some extra midrange shooting in at the end of the session, but according to Rivers, he isn't expected to really take part in any of the training camp or play in at least the first four exhibition games.

"Hopefully I can get back into the contact work. I did all the drill work today," said Perkins, who told reporters he expected to wait another week or so before he could resume contact activity. "Just waiting on the doctor's orders."

With Perk on the shelf, newcomer Patrick O'Bryant got the nod to play with the green team alongside Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo.

"Patrick gets to play with the starters all practice. That can't hurt a guy like him. He's the only other tall guy," Rivers said, noting that while the media's been talking about Posey's departure, he's more concerned with the absence of P.J. Brown. "Patrick has a chance to take that role."

As for the Posey role, Darius Miles is hoping to compete with Tony Allen for those minutes, and Rivers liked what he saw out of Miles this morning, even if it was brief. But given that he's been all but out of the league for the past two seasons, Rivers will take what he can get.

"I thought by mid-practice he was spent, but he fought through it and played," Rivers said of Miles, who he says has "great instincts and feel" for the game.

Evening practice sessions are closed, so barring any major news, the next update will be tomorrow afternoon. Check the Audio Archive for soundbites from Doc, Paul and Ray.

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that they have re-signed guard Sam Cassell. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cassell, a 6'3", 195 pound guard, is a veteran of 15 NBA seasons. Cassell won his third NBA title as a member of the Celtics last season after signing mid-season from the L.A. Clippers. Cassell averaged 7.6 points and 2.1 assists in 17 regular season games with the Celtics last season and finished the season with combined averages of 11.2 points and 3.9 assists per game. The 2003-04 All-Star scored 20 or more points 10 times last season including a season-high 35 points against the Indiana Pacers on November 7. He scored a high of 22 points with the Celtics against the Knicks on April 14.

Media Day is upon us today, as the Celtics will smile for the cameras and talk to every outlet under the sun before embarking on the voyage to Newport, Rhode Island for their 2008-09 Training Camp.

Celtics.com will have complete coverage tonight from Waltham, with photos, video and more.

Individual game tickets for each Celtics home game are on sale Friday, September 26 at 10 a.m.

Fans will be able to purchase tickets online at Celtics.com, by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX, or by visiting the TD Banknorth Garden Box Office or any Ticketmaster outlet. Due to overwhelming demand, fans are strongly encouraged to order early to increase their chances of securing tickets.

Buy Tickets: Tickets on Sale at 10 a.m.

BOSTON - Individual game tickets for each Celtics home game will go on sale Friday, September 26 at 10 a.m. Fans will be able to purchase tickets online at Celtics.com, by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX, or by visiting the TD Banknorth Garden Box Office or any Ticketmaster outlet. Due to overwhelming demand, fans are strongly encouraged to order early to increase their chances of securing tickets. Random number distribution will begin at approximately 9 a.m. at the TD Banknorth Garden Box Office for fans choosing to purchase at that location.

For the second consecutive season, the Celtics have capped season ticket sales on loge and balcony levels and have now started a waiting list for fans desiring to purchase season tickets.

Press Release: Celtics Individual Game Tickets On Sale Friday at 10 a.m.

AUGUSTA, ME - Governor John E. Baldacci announced today that 2008 World Champion Celtics players Tony Allen, Leon Powe, and Brian Scalabrine will accompany the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy to the rally being held in Portland on Wednesday September 24, presented by TD Banknorth. Also joining the trophy at events in Portland and Orono will be Celtics legend JoJo White and Team President Rich Gotham.

"I am pleased to roll out the 'green' carpet in the State of Maine for 2008 World Champions Tony Allen, Leon Powe, and Brian Scalabrine. These three players handled themselves with great class and dignity on the court all year and have earned the respect of their peers and fans alike. It is an honor to have them in Portland," Governor Baldacci said. "It is also exciting to welcome JoJo White to our State. He is a basketball great who had a tremendous career with a legendary NBA franchise."

"We are really looking forward to celebrating a day of Celtic Pride and sharing the 2008 NBA Championship trophy with our many loyal Celtics fans in Maine," Celtics Team President Rich Gotham said.

"TD Banknorth is proud to be an official partner of the 2008 World Champions and thrilled to bring the trophy to its home base of Portland, Maine," President and Senior Commercial Lender for TD Banknorth Maine Larry Wold said.

The NBA Championship Trophy will first be on display to the general public at The Expo in Portland. Doors will open at 10:30 a.m. with events scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. Following a short rally at noon, fans will be invited to see the trophy from 12 - 2 p.m.

From 4:30 - 6:30 p.m., the trophy will be on display at the Alfond Arena on the University of Maine campus in Orono.

In addition to the current players, members of the Celtics front office are expected to join the entourage for the rally in Portland. Members of the Celtics Dancers and the team's mascot, Lucky the Leprechaun, will be accompanying Celtics legend JoJo White to both events.

Governor Baldacci previously announced that September 24, 2008 will be proclaimed Boston Celtics Day throughout the State of Maine in honor of the visit.

Mainers are encouraged to bring a camera to both events for photos with the trophy and Celtics personnel. Both events are free and open to the public.

Red Auerbach was born on September 20, 1917, so on what would be his 81st birthday, Celtics.com takes another look back at his legacy. We're guessing that somewhere, the legendary coach and patriarch enjoyed #17 this year.

Remembering Red Auerbach

It was a busy day for the Celtics in Washington, D.C. on Friday, as the team flew in just after 12 p.m., toured the White House and then were honored by President Bush in a special ceremony. The team got the red carpet treatment upon arrival, getting a special exception to fly the team charter into Reagan National Airport and then bussing right onto the grounds of the White House just outside the East Wing.

Upon arrival, the team took a private tour of the White House. Players, coaches and staff visited the famous Green Room and Red Room, as well as the Cross Hall, and even posed for exclusive pictures where cameras typically aren't allowed. Hey, it's good to be the champs.

The visit with the President capped an incredible 2007-08 campaign, and the details of the Celtics' remarkable one-year turn-around certainly weren't lost on the Commander in Chief.

"It's amazing how sports works, isn't it? At the beginning of last season, few would have predicted how this season would have ended," the President remarked. "After all, the Celtics had finished with the second worst record in the NBA. And the two-decade championship drought was pretty likely to continue -- at least that's what the experts said. There's a lot of experts in life these days..."

After Bush's address, Paul Pierce and company presented the President with an autographed team ball and a personalized Celtics jersey, and then pledged a donation of $100,000 to the Red Cross for Hurricane Ike relief. A meet and greet in the State Dining Room with a few senators, some servicemen and servicewomen and even a few lucky fans followed.

"We started the season at the Vatican and ended at the White House," quipped Vice President of Media Relations Jeff Twiss on the bus ride back from the White House. "That's pretty neat."

The Celtics practice facility in Waltham has been buzzing the last few weeks with players getting in workouts on and off the basketball court. With 12 guys in today, there's plenty to report. We caught up with Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and rookie Bill Walker to see how their offseasons are coming along with training camp in Newport, RI just a few weeks away on September 30.

Also of note today: Balfour, who will be producing the Celtics championship bling, was in Waltham after the workouts to size players and coaches for their championship rings.

Peter Stringer has more from Waltham with a full story and video interviews with Pierce and Allen.

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that they have extended the contract of Head Coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"We are pleased to be able to extend Doc's contract. Doc molded a championship team last season through his leadership and we are confident that he is the man to lead this franchise on the court now and in the future," said Danny Ainge, Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations/General Manager.

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed 2008 first round draft pick J.R. Giddens. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Giddens, a 6'5", 215-pound guard from the University of New Mexico was selected with the 30th overall pick. He is the first player from the University of New Mexico to have been drafted by the Celtics. The former Lobo shared Mountain West Conference Co-Player of the Year honors as a senior when he averaged 16.3 points and a league-leading 8.8 rebounds in 33 games played. Giddens earned First Team All-Conference honors as a senior and earned Honorable Mention All-MWC honors as a junior. Giddens transferred to New Mexico after his sophomore season at the University of Kansas. The 23 year-old was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Week a record five times during his senior season.

Danny Ainge was busy on Friday, signing a pair of forwards to round out the Celtics roster. Ainge reached deals with second round draft pick Bill Walker, and free agent forward Darius Miles.

"Darius has been in twice for workouts with us and has impressed us with his progress, health, and attitude," said Danny Ainge, Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations/General Manager. "Darius will have the next couple of months to prove to myself and Coach Rivers that he can help us win."

Ainge was also excited about officially sealing the deal with Walker, whom the Celtics acquired from the Washington Wizards on draft night. Walker has spent much of his summer working on rehabing an injured knee that he hurt during draft workouts.

"Bill's hard work and skill development this summer has given us the belief that he can be in our short-term plans as well as our long-term plans," Ainge said.

Press Releases: Darius Miles | Bill Walker

The NBA officially released its schedule at noon on August 6, and the World Champion Boston Celtics will tip off the action on Tuesday, October 28 when they host LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Garden.

Other highlights include an NBA Finals rematch on Christmas Day with Kobe and the Lakers in Los Angeles, Kevin Garnett's return to Minnesota on November 21, and a Sunday afternoon showdown on March 1 with the Detroit Pistons.

Regular season tickets will go on sale on Friday, September 26, 2008.

Celtics Schedule: List View Schedule | Printable PDF

Ticket Access: Premium Seating | Club Green

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have re-signed guards Tony Allen and Eddie House. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tony Allen Release | Eddie House Release

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed free agent center Patrick O'Bryant. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

O'Bryant, a 7'0", 249lbs center, has appeared in 40 career games for the Golden State Warriors posting averages of 1.7 points and 1.3 rebounds per game. The former Bradley Brave played in eight games for the Bakersfield Jam of the Development League last season with averages of 16.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game. The ninth overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft netted a career-high 10 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on November 16, 2007.

O'Bryant is slated to meet the Boston media in Waltham on Thursday morning at The Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint at 11:30 a.m.

Official Press Release

Free agent forward James Posey was among the attendees at the Celtics' Championship DVD release party at the TD Banknorth Garden on Monday night, and he was peppered with questions about his free agent status by media members and fans alike. Posey, for his part, said few words, and the words he did say, he repeated several times.

"It is what it is," Posey said of his situation. "You just gonna take it one day at a time and that's how you go about it."

Is he any closer to making a decision about where he'll play next year?

"Ah, I'm taking it one day at a time. That's my approach," Posey said. "At the end of the day both sides are gonna do what's best for themselves and that's just how it ends up."

Posey compared the free agency process to college recruiting, saying that everything was speculation and talk.

"You just sit back and wait and see what happens," Posey said. "I just take it one day at a time and in due time, things will happen."

In the meantime, Posey can expect to start hearing from Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, both of whom said Monday night that they intended to campaign for Posey to return to Boston for next season.

Reserve point guard Eddie House, also a free agent this summer, told reporters on Monday night that he'd like to return to the Celtics, but feels he's due a raise and some security after winning a championship this season.

BOSTON - Paul Pierce talked to a few reporters on Monday at his annual summer basketball camp at Basketball City just around the corner from the TD Banknorth Garden on Monday, and said that he'll be getting an MRI on his knee but doesn't expect to have to undergo surgery.

Pierce said the knee is still sore, but is getting better, and noted that he's been treating his injury "like a sprain that normally takes three-four weeks."

"I've still got some soreness in it, so hopefully it's nothing major requiring surgery," Pierce said. "I plan on getting in there this week, getting the treatment and the MRI and making sure I take care of my body. I doubt if I need any surgery. It's getting better and better. I'm gonna get the MRI just to take the extra precaution but I don't see any surgery in my future and I just plan on getting treatment until it's all the way healed."

In the meantime, Pierce said he and his teammates have been soaking up the love since winning the Celtics 17th World Championship.

"It feels good now, man, truthfully, knowing your the best. You feel the love when you're out in the public," Pierce said. "It's kind of hard on the people out in L.A., they're happy [for me] but they're sorry because they're from there. But it's what it is, the Boston Celtics are World Champs."

Pierce said he's already been re-watching some of the Finals games and reliving the glory of his first NBA title.

"When you win it, you don't understand the magnitude of it and the significance of it until you get a chance to watch it," Pierce said. "Some of the stuff I was out there doing, I couldn't believe it myself."

And now that he's finally reached the top of the mountain, Pierce has no designs on coming down next year.

"The craziest thing about this is, I'm happy that we won it, and I'm kind of coming down off it again, but last week I've been thinking, 'We've got to do this again', you know? And that's what's going to motivate me next year. You get a taste of it and you want more."

Along those lines, Pierce is already planning his offseason workout schedule, and said he plans to be in the Boston area for most of the summer to get that done. This week, his while his camp is in session in Boston, Pierce plans to spend some time doing some "light bike riding" at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint in Waltham.

"As far as stuff with the basketball, I plan on really getting into it after I get back from the ESPY Awards," Pierce said.

You can watch the entire Pierce interview on Celtics.com. Check it out on the CelticVision HD page.

WALTHAM - Glen Davis certainly had a memorable rookie year with the World Champion Boston Celtics, but after a little bit of celebration in the Bahamas, he's ready to get back to work and spend his summer in tropical Waltham, Massachusetts.

"I'm gonna live at the gym," Davis told reporters on Wednesday. "I ain't going anywhere. I'll be up here probably eight weeks. We don't start until September 30 so I want to be at a point eight weeks from now and then cruise to September 30."

The goal for Davis, in his own words? "Just maintain my conditioning, maintain my body, be fit and ready to play."

Peter Stringer has more with Big Baby, while Couper Moorhead checks in on Gabe Pruitt...

Perkins, Walker Have Successful Surgeries

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics announced today that center Kendrick Perkins and second round draft pick Bill Walker both had successful surgical procedures today at New England Baptist Hospital. Perkins underwent arthroscopic left shoulder surgery while Walker underwent arthroscopic right knee surgery. Both surgeries were preformed by Team Physician Dr. Brian McKeon and was assisted by Dr. Alan Curtis and Dr. John Richmond. No timetable has been set for their return.

Free Agent Camp Numerical Roster

11 Davis, Glen
13 Pruitt, Gabe
60 Brown, Bobby
62 Cook, Omar
63 Shakur, Mustafa
67 Mays, James
68 Hawkins, David
69 Butch, Brian
70 Anderson, Alan
71 Basden, Eddie
72 Gaines, Charles
73 Morris, Randolph
74 Noel, David
75 Roberts, Lawrence
76 Pettway, Aaron
79 Covile, Ryvon

Celtics roster players under contract denoted in bold.

Erden Going Back Overseas; Giddens and Walker Hope To Stick

Just days after being drafted by the 2008 World Champions, J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker and Semih Erden made their official Celtics debut at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint in Waltham on Tuesday afternoon.

All three players met the press along with Executive Director of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ainge, and while Erden said he'll be returning overseas to play out the final year of his contract, Giddens and Walker talked about being excited to join the Celtics and what it will take for them to earn a roster spot at training camp in October.

Celtics.com has you covered with reaction from Giddens, Walker and Erden, as well as Ainge.

More: Video Interviews with Ainge and the Rookies

Giddens, Walker and Erden To Meet Media in Waltham Tuesday

The Celtics' 2008 NBA Draft picks, J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker and Semih Erden, will have an informal meeting with the media in Waltham Tuesday afternoon at the Sports Authority Training Center in Waltham. Celtics.com will have complete coverage following their availability.

Doc Giddy To Grab Giddens at #30

Admittedly -- and understandably -- Doc Rivers was not fully prepared for the 2008 NBA Draft following the Celtics' title run. So Danny Ainge made it easy on him, handing Rivers four scouting tapes following the Rolling Rally.

The subject of one ended up being selected by the Celtics with the 30th pick of the draft: 6'5" guard J.R. Giddens, senior from the University of New Mexico. Giddens had just worked out for the Celtics the day before the draft, and it didn't take much to sell Rivers.

C's Swap for Kansas State's Walker, Grab Turkish Center

The Celtics stayed aggressive on draft day, trading for the draft rights to No. 47 pick Bill Walker from the Washington Wizards in exchange for cash considerations.

With the final selection in the draft the Celtics took center Semih Erden from Turkey.

Giddens, Rivers Meet Media

Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers and first-round pick J.R. Giddens met the Boston media tonight. Rivers talked with reporters in person in the visitor's locker room at the TD Banknorth Garden while Giddens talked to the press via conference call in the Garden press room.

You can hear both interviews in the Audio Archive.

C's Take Giddens at #30

The Celtics select New Mexico senior guard J.R. Giddens with the #30 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.

Giddens averaged 16.3 PPG and 8.8 RPG last season while shooting 52% from the floor. Giddens shared Mountain West Conference Co-Player of the Year honors as a senior. He also earned First Team All-Conference honors.

Pre-Draft Media Availability

Doc Rivers met with the Boston media about 30 minutes before the Draft began, and you can listen to the interview in the Audio Archive.

Pre-Draft Report

After last season's 24-win campaign, the Celtics were expected to pick at the top of the draft and hope for a franchise savior. But after a Draft Lottery disappointment, which turned out to be the best thing that could happen to the team, Danny Ainge started wheeling and dealing and laid the foundation for Banner 17.

Tonight in the 2008 NBA Draft (7 p.m., ESPN) the Celtics pick dead last in the first and second rounds, and the stakes are decidedly lower. But given Ainge's history of unearthing impact players late in the draft (Does the name Leon Powe ring a bell?), the Celtics are hoping to find some young talent that can help the team down the road.

Pierce Throws Out First Pitch

FENWAY PARK - Despite a massive (and quick) downpour that struck the Fenway neighborhood as soon as their Duck Boats took the field, the Celtics weren't about to let a little precipitation preempt their second parade in two days.

The 2008 NBA Champions -- man, is that cool to type or what? -- were introduced at Fenway Park Friday night before the Red Sox took on the St. Louis Cardinals, whom coincidentally, the Sox beat in 2004 for their 86-year-drought-breaking World Series title.

The C's rode three Duck Boats and carried four Larry O'Brien trophies onto the field for a trip around the warning track before ducking back under the bleachers to take cover from the rain. Minutes earlier, as they loaded up the boats and turned around on Lansdowne Street, the team was serenaded by lucky fans who happened to be just arriving at the park minutes before the first pitch. Players posed for photos and reached out for high fives before riding through the gates and onto the field at Fenway.

Paul Pierce was scheduled to throw out the first pitch just before 7 p.m. -- something he envied teammates Kevin Garnett (who took the mound last season on August 2, 2007) and Ray Allen for doing last summer since they did the honors before he ever did. Finally, after an hour-plus rain delay, The Truth and the Celtics charged back out onto the field and then Pierce took the mound flanked by teammates and the four golden trophies.

Clearly amped up by chants of "M-V-P" from the Fenway Faithful, Pierce was hopping up and down on the mound before toeing the rubber. After taking a deep breath, Pierce shook off Sox catcher Jason Varitek not once, but twice, only to deliver a pitch that was out of the zone, up and away, to the point that Varitek couldn't even control the delivery.

Perhaps he should have stuck with Tek's call afterall...

Either way, Pierce had a great laugh about it, while teammates enjoyed it as well. Coach Doc Rivers delivered the ceremonial "Play Ball" declaration, and the Red Sox, clad in Celtics green jerseys for the occasion, took the field for their game with the Cardinals.