Celtics look to improve offensive rebounding

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Celtics look to improve offensive rebounding

MIAMI Every season brings about a different incarnation of Boston Celtics basketball.

But poor rebounding, especially on the offensive boards, has been a constant in recent years.

Based on the team's play in the season opener, that may be about to change.

For all of the late-game gaffes and missteps taken by the Celtics in their 106-104 loss to the New York Knicks on Christmas Day, one of the more glaring positives that they can take from the loss was the job they did on the offensive glass.

Boston, a card-carrying member of the cellar dweller club when it comes to offensive rebounds, snatched 13 offensive rebounds in the loss.

It was a far cry from how this team has fared on the offensive glass in recent years.

The Celtics have been the worst offensive-rebounding team each of the last two seasons, averaging 7.8 last year and 8.7 during the 2009-2010 season.

Under Doc Rivers, the C's have never finished any better than 15th (2006-2007 season) in this category.

Because the Celtics have been so consistently weak in this area, there has been a perception that this is something that Rivers doesn't stress.

Not true, he says.

"We always wanted to do that," Rivers said. "That's been one of the most misunderstood things about us. We've always told our bigs, 'If you're under the basket and we shoot, how about going to get it?' "

The biggest difference is that the Celtics now have players who have not just the ability to offensive rebound, but also the desire.

Brandon Bass understands his role with the C's involves being a factor offensively.

That involves not only scoring when he has the ball, but also creating multiple scoring opportunities for himself and the Celtics.

He did just that on Sunday as he tallied a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds -- five of which were offensive boards.

"I just wanted to come out and contribute in any way I can," Bass said.

As far as his offensive rebounding prowess against the Knicks -- his five offensive boards were just two short of tying his career high -- Bass said, "You have them nights where the ball just goes your way, I guess. I was just trying to help us out, and rebounding was that area."

And that's a change the Celtics would be more than happy to embrace moving forward.

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.”