Celtics leave Milan in style with 105-75 victory

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Celtics leave Milan in style with 105-75 victory

MILAN - Rajon Rondo making shots - jumpers actually. A bench that scores more than 20 points in the first half. Jared Sullinger going into full-blown rebounding mode.

The Boston Celtics are tough to compete with, let alone defeat when that happens.

EA7 Emporio Armani found this out the hard way as the C's defense limited them to just 11 second-quarter points and the Celtics pulled away for a 105-75 win.

Leading the Celtics from the game's outset was Rajon Rondo.

Every season, Rondo tries to bring a little something more to the floor.

There were signs last season that his jumper - clearly the weakest part of his game - had improved.

On Sunday, Rondo delivered a near-flawless first half, making all seven of his field goal attempts along with dishing out two assists. He finished with 17 points and six assists.

To see Rondo knock down shots was not that big a surprise, but the starting lineup Celtics head coach Doc Rivers went with was a bit unexpected.

Joining Boston's new Big Three - Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce - in the starting lineup was rookie Jared Sullinger and Jason Terry in for Brandon Bass and Courtney Lee, respectively.

The lineup change seemed to work for all involved.

Sullinger got a chance to work with the starters, something C's coach Doc Rivers identified as something he wanted to do following Boston's loss on Friday.

Lee, who struggled in his first game for the Celtics, bounced back with nine points in the first half, the first two being on a powerful, one-handed dunk. Bass (4 points on 2-for-2 shooting, 5 rebounds) also had a strong start as the Celtics head back home with a split during its two-game European tour.

Terry had a solid game with 11 points. Even more impressive was the C's being 29 when he was on the floor. Boston also got a nice performance from Darko Milicic who had two points, nine rebounds and a game-high four blocked shots.

Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

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Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

After the Clippers were elminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, a disappointed Paul Pierce told ESPN that he was "50-50" about retirement. 

In a video after Portland's Game 6 victory posted on oregonlive.com, the former Celtics captain said his "heart is broken" by another playoff elimination. 

Pierce signed a a three-year, $10 million contract to return home (he grew up in Inglewood, Calif.) and play for his old coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.  He'll be 39 next season and coming off the worst season of his career. Pierce averaged 6.1 points, 36 percent shooting and 18 minutes a game, all career lows.

How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

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How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

WALTHAM, Mass. -- This past season, Isaiah Thomas took a major step forward to becoming more than just a solid NBA player, but one of the game’s best.
 
He knows he won’t stay among the elite for long if he doesn’t make some changes with the most notable being to his diet.
 
“I do not eat good,” Thomas acknowledged following his exit interview this week. “I eat like a young guy, a young guy who got a little bit of money, fast food every day. But I’m definitely going to change.”
 
The change becomes necessary not only in light of how the season ended for him and the Celtics, but also for his long-term goals, which include playing in the NBA until he’s at least 40 years old.
 
“I’m not that old but the greatest players took care of their bodies the best,” Thomas said.
 
Among those cited by Thomas who excelled at taking care of their bodies was former Celtic Ray Allen.
 
But Thomas was quick to add that he won’t go to the lengths that Allen did in maintaining good health.
 
“Because he’s a little crazy with that,” quipped Thomas. “I just want to play at a high level for a long time, like Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant. You have to take care of your body. That’s half the battle of performing out there on the floor.
 
Thomas added, “This is a big summer for me to start doing that.”
 
Eating right is just part of the transformation process for Thomas.
 
He’ll also modify is offseason workouts to include some work in the boxing ring with long time friend Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
 
“I’m definitely work with him a few times, get my conditioning right, probably train, do some boxing stuff on the side, just to get in that type of shape,” Thomas said. “You get in that type of shape you won’t get tired on the basketball floor. This summer is big for me, transforming my body, getting into the best shape possible and coming back and having another all-star year.”
 
For the Celtics to improve upon this past season, they will need Thomas to continue elevating his play as well as the play of those around him.
 
It is that latter point that was among the many reasons Boston’s season is over. No matter what he did, those around him could not step their game up to a level needed in order to get past the Atlanta Hawks.
 
Chalk it up to another lesson learned for Thomas.
 
“You can’t do it on your own,” Thomas said. “There’s no way you can do it on your own. Nobody can do it on your own; and how hard it is to win playoff games, a playoff series. It’s not easy.”
 
And when you come up short, for Thomas is created an uneasiness that he never wants to experience again.
 
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to not have this feeling again,” he said. “It really hurt me. I’m going to use that as motivation to continue to get better and to work on my flaws and make those into my strengths. I promise you’ll I’ll be back better than ever next year.”