Celtics fired up by trash-talking Suns

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Celtics fired up by trash-talking Suns

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON No one is ever going to mistake what exists between the Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns as a rivalry.

But one thing is very clear: These are two teams that don't like each other.

At all.

We saw that disdain on display in Boston's 115-103 win over the Suns on Wednesday night.

Even though the Celtics (44-15) dominated play most of the night, that didn't stop things from getting a bit chippy.

Usually it's the players you worry about with that stuff.

But on Wednesday, Boston's Kevin Garnett got into a spat spectacle with the Phoenix coaches.

"If you got a suit and tie on and actually can't play, I don't think you should be doing a lot of talking to the players on the floor," said Boston coach Doc Rivers

Garnett, who was whistled for a technical foul, delivered a postgame verbal jab at the Suns, who are currently ninth in the Western Conference standings.

When asked about his exchange with Suns coach Alvin Gentry, Garnett replied, "Alvin Gentry was asking me for tickets to the first round of the playoffs. I told him I'd hook him up, so that's what that was."

Garnett is in his 15th NBA season, and seen and done just about everything you can imagine on the floor.

But even he was a bit surprised by having a war of words with the opposing team's head coach.

"It's very uncommon," Garnett acknowledged. "But they're an uncommon team."

The fact that there was so much talking did not come as surprise to players like Rajon Rondo.

"We knew, coming in, to expect a little trash talk," Rondo said. "They beat us last time."

And in that loss, Garnett was ejected after picking up two technical fouls.

Also in that game, Garnett connected with a below-the-waist blow to Channing Frye, which prompted some harsh criticism from Gentry after the game.

Gentry said a number of things about Garnett, which included him losing some respect for Garnett because of Frye incident.

"I don't regret anything I say," Gentry said. "I've never had any regret from anything I say. The guy is a great player. He's going to be a Hall of Fame guy. Like I said, at that moment, everybody is a competitor. In the heat of the moment, I'm going to protect my guy and Doc Rivers is going to protect his."

But there was no shielding his Suns from the Garnett onslaught that awaited them.

Garnett had a season-high 28 points along with 11 rebounds, delivering the kind of emphatic domination that spoke volumes about how badly the C's wanted this one.

Making the dominant performance even more unexpected was it came in the first game back from a long road trip, the kind of game that usually trips up a team.

But the C's had the kind of focus that can make them a difficult team to beat, let alone compete with.

The Suns fell short on both of those fronts, as they fell behind by as many as 29 points before rallying to make the game relatively competitive.

However, Phoenix never really got close enough where the concern level takes a major spike.

"It was an intense game, but it wasn't," said Rondo. "We had a pretty good lead the entire game. They made a run at it, but the game . . . we had it in control the whole game."

And in a weird kind of way, Boston can thank the Suns to some degree for the victory.

All that in-game chatter seemed to fire up the C's.

"We were definitely alert," Rivers said. "You could see it in shoot-around. You know, it's rare that I say, 'Well, we're going to play well' before a game. Half the time when I say it, I'm wrong. So I was right today."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Watch live stream online of the Celtics Green vs White scrimmage

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Watch live stream online of the Celtics Green vs White scrimmage

Tonight at 7:00pm on CSN and CSNNE.com, the Boston Celtics play their annual Green vs White scrimmage at TD Garden. 

Our broadcast team of Mike Gorman, Tommy Heinsohn, Abby Chin, Brian Scalabrine, Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely bring you all the action from the scrimmage as we get our first look at the 2016 Boston Celtics.

Also, Wyc Grousbeck and Danny Ainge are scheduled to join us during the broadcast.

Thomas excited for reunion with Green

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Thomas excited for reunion with Green

WALTHAM, Mass. -- When the phone rang this summer, Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas had to do a double-take when he saw the name on the caller ID.

It was Gerald Green, his ex-teammate in Phoenix.

Although they only shared a locker room for 45 games in Phoenix, the two became quick friends.

On the court they developed instant chemistry while coming off the Suns bench. And that bond spilled off the court as Green would later spend time with Thomas in the Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. area in the summer months.

They were cool with each other, cool enough to where Thomas knew it wasn’t in Green’s nature to pick up the phone and call just to say hi.

“Gerald doesn’t call anybody,” Thomas said. “When he called I knew something was up.”

Green said Boston, the team that drafted him in 2006 straight out of high school, was interested in bringing him back for a second stint with the club.

“I tried to put my two cents in and he got here,” Thomas said.

There were several factors that led Green back to Boston, with a chance to reunite with Thomas being high on that list.

Green, already in Phoenix at the time the Suns signed Thomas in 2014, was impressed with the way the 5-9 guard carried himself.

“He was a genuine guy, came in really humble,” Green said. “I saw the talent was there. I knew he had the potential to be one of the best point guards in this league.”

Thomas certainly made a case for such lofty praise with how he performed last season, good enough to earn his first all-star selection.

What really stuck out to Green was that Thomas’ mentality and approach to the game was almost a carbon copy of his own.

“When we stepped on the court we had the same mentality,” Green said. “By any means necessary, get a bucket and play harder than the next team; just try and push the first team, make the first team better every day.”

Thomas was coming off the bench, showing lots of potential and promise that he could carry a heavier load if given an opportunity to do so.

He averaged 15.2 points, 3.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 25.7 minutes off the Suns bench in 46 games. Even more significant was that when Thomas did play for the Suns, they were 26-20.

In the games without him, they were just 13-23.

Green was admittedly disappointed they traded away Thomas, believing that season would have had a very different outcome had they not sent him to Boston.

And just like Green recognized Thomas’ skills and how much his team could have benefited from keeping him around, Thomas speaks in glowing terms about Green and what his return to Boston means for the team.

“We needed someone like him; a guy that could shoot the ball, a guy that could space the floor; instant scorer whether he starts or comes off the bench,” Thomas said. “Where the he starts or come off the bench. He’s going to really help us.”