Celtics outlast Bulls, 71-69

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Celtics outlast Bulls, 71-69

BOSTON Boston and Chicago pride themselves on being grind-it-out teams that like to keep the score relatively low.
But you have to wonder if both teams were thinking more about their next Mai Tai's during All-Star break than going into the break with some momentum that a quality win could provide.
There's low scoring and there was Wednesday's slugfest -- and we stress the word 'slug' because that's about as quick as both teams scored points -- that ultimately ended with the Celtics winning, 71-69.
Once again Boston's "defensive stopper" Jason Terry came up with a huge play defensively -- seriously! -- in the final seconds to preserve the Celtics win when he blocked a shot with just a few ticks remaining on the clock.
It was Terry's defense in the closing moments of Boston's triple overtime win over Denver that helped preserve the game for the Celtics (28-24), who head into the All-Star break having won eight of their last nine games.
But this game was about more than Terry's defense or that of any other player specifically.
It was a hard fought, down-to-the-wire battle that was either team's for the taking when it counted most.
And it was the kind of win that provides a much-needed jolt of confidence for the Celtics as they try to continue finding ways to win despite being significantly undermanned.
As has been the case throughout this recent run, the Celtics got big games from their big-game players in the closing moments.
Both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce had struggled most of the game with their shot-making, only to come alive in the fourth quarter.
Garnett had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the game, with eight of those points coming in the fourth quarter. His eight points in the fourth equaled the entire scoring output of the Celtics in the third quarter.
Pierce, who missed 10 of his first 11 shots, drilled a 3-pointer in the fourth that put the C's ahead 65-60.
Boston, which tallied its fewest points of the season, did not look like a team that would struggle to score considering how the game began.
After a slow start by both teams, the Celtics went on a 14-3 run to lead 20-9 in the first quarter.
Boston went into the second with a 24-15 lead, but the Bulls opened with a 17-6 run capped off by a 3-point play by Jimmy Butler to lead 32-30.
After a series of stops by both teams, Boston eventually went back ahead on a 3-pointer by Terry with 1:33 to play in the second quarter.
But the lead didn't last long as the Bulls took a slim 36-35 lead into the half.
The 11 points scored by the C's in the second quarter were a season-low that was previously 12 points, set against Milwaukee on Nov. 2.

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.”