Celtics hang on to beat Heat, 85-82


Celtics hang on to beat Heat, 85-82

By A.Sherrod Blakely

BOSTON There was man-to-man, zone, double-teaming, tilting . . . you name the defense, and there was a very good chance the Boston Celtics implored it at some point againt the Miami Heat.

At times, it was a masterpiece.

Other times, it looked sloppy and disjointed.

But it achieved the only thing the Celtics were looking for against the Heat - a victory.

The C's, about as short-handed as we've seen them this season, put together a strong third quarter of play that propelled them to an 85-82 win.

It got close at the end. Miami trailed 83-81 when LeBron James was fouled with 12.5 seconds to play.

James, a 76.4 percent free-throw shooter this season, missed the first one as the Garden faithful jeered him with no mercy as the shot rimmed in and out of the basket.

He made the second free throw that cut the C's lead in half.

Moments later, Glen Davis was at the free throw line with 6.3 seconds remaining.

A 75 percent free throw shooter, Davis calmly sank both free throws.

Following a Heat time-out, Miami 3-pointer specialist Mike Miller had a great look that hit the back of the rim before rolling out. Dwyane Wade's attempted tip-in was off as well as the Celtics somehow came away with the victory.

"To gut this out was great," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

As limited as the C's were, Rivers said they were close to having even fewer players available moments before tip-off.

Nate Robinson, who was questionable coming into the game with a bruised right knee, told Rivers about five minutes before tip-off that he wasn't going to play.

"And then came up later and said he wanted to give it a go," Rivers said.

Paul Pierce was another player whose status was in doubt, according to Rivers.

"Paul said before the game he felt awful," Rivers said.

It showed in his play.

Pierce scored just one point against the Heat, missing all 10 of his shots from the field. After the game, Pierce said he sprained his hand in practice on Saturday and was having foot issues as well, adding that he planned to have an MRI on his left foot Monday.

"And so, you know, we literally were thinking at one point, 'We're not going to have enough bodies to play this game,' " Rivers said.

As it turned out, the C's had more than enough bodies to get the job done against a Miami team that continues to come up short against the Celtics - even when the Celtics were about as short-handed as they have been all season.

"We're disappointed," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "We did not play to our potential. It could have swung either way, but we weren't able to get over that hump."

With the win, the Celtics (39-14) not only regained their spot atop the Eastern Conference standings, but they also locked up the season series with the Heat (39-15) by beating them for the third time in as many meetings this season.

Injuries limited Boston to suiting up just 10 players.

To a man, every one of them who saw action contributed in some fashion to the victory.

Kendrick Perkins, often the forgotten man in the Celtics starting five, had a season-high 15 points while logging 30-plus minutes for the fifth straight game.

Rajon Rondo tallied his third triple-double of the season, finishing with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Boston's bench came up with a slew of big plays, as Glen Davis (16 points) and Von Wafer (10) combined for 26 points which was more than enough to outscore Miami's second unit which totaled just eight points.

Now that the Celtics have won all three meetings, you have to wonder if the C's success is starting to get into the heads of the Heat players.

"It's a good win and if there's a mental message, I don't know what it would be," Rivers said. "They're pretty tough over there. So, I hope there is; I just don't think there is."

Miami's Dwyane Wade sees it as just another obstacle in the Heat's path toward becoming the championship-caliber team many expect them to be.

"This is classic, typical, bigger brothers, you got to get over it," Wade said. "I've been through it before; LeBron's been through it before with the Pistons. You look down the line, everyone has been through it, MJ went through it with the Pistons back in the day. You got to get over the hump, and we're getting close and close but we're not there yet, so we continue to learn from it."

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

Celtics break ground on new practice facility


Celtics break ground on new practice facility

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- When it comes to finding ways to attract the best talent, colleges and universities often seek to upgrade their training facilities as an enticement to prospective players.
So why should it be any different at the pro level?
The Boston Celtics had a groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning for The Auerbach Center at New Balance Headquarters.
“When you think he was hired in 1966 and they’re still honoring him, it’s very humbling,” said Randy Auerbach, Red’s daughter.
New Balance officials echoed similar sentiments about the legendary Red Auerbach, the architect of arguably the greatest dynasty in professional basketball.
“Red Auerbach was a true entrepreneur whose passion for winning and dedication to the sport of basketball and the Boston Celtics was equally matched with his commitment to people and his local community,” said Jim Davis, Chairman and Owner at New Balance.  “New Balance is extremely proud to join with the Boston Celtics in honoring his professional achievements and personal values through ‘Red’s House’ at our Boston world headquarters.”
Celtics president Rich Gotham cited several benefits to moving the team to a state-of-the-art practice facility closer to Boston.
Among the reasons given was the potential for the practice facility to be a potential enticement for free agents.
“Players spend more time in the practice facility than they do in the arena they play in certainly, and maybe more than they do at home,” Gotham said. “So having a place where they feel comfortable, a place where they want to spend time to improve themselves across the board … it’s all coming together in a pretty big way. The best players know it’s integral to their success that make sure that support is there, that infrastructure is there. So when we’re out talking to a player, we’re going to be talking about this practice facility we’re building. Because we do think it’s an important part of our story.”
Some of the features of the new practice facility will include:
·  Two state-of-the-art parquet floor basketball courts where the team will practice
·  Leading edge audio-visual technology throughout the facility
·  Expanded strength and conditioning, training, and recovery facilities
·  Best-in-class locker rooms and players’ lounge
·  Physical therapy areas including hydrotherapy pools
·  Sports science and nutrition facilities
·  Expanded media work room, press conference and broadcast facilities
·  A flexible hospitality area designed for community relations activities, partner gatherings and other guest events
·  Work space for the team’s coaching and basketball front office staffs
While the facility will have all the bells and whistles you would come to expect in a new facility, Gotham said there will be a balance of sorts struck between that and the franchise’s longstanding history.
“What will be clear is it will be … at that intersection of, which is a strange intersection, of innovation but honoring our tradition,” Gotham said. “This will be a building that’s state-of-the-art, moving forward. But at the same time, I think one of the things we’re lucky to have is this treasure trove of great guys who came before us who left great wisdom and great quotes. You can see a lot of that built in. Coach Stevens is big on having motivational phrases around for the guys to see every single day when they come in for practice. If those come from Red Auerbach and Bill Russell, all the better. You’ll see us incorporating those kind of things.”   

Celtics waive R.J. Hunter as James Young makes roster


Celtics waive R.J. Hunter as James Young makes roster

BOSTON – One way or another, R.J. Hunter or James Young was not going to be a Boston Celtic by the end of the day Monday.
The Celtics made their choice by waiving Hunter just hours before the NBA deadline to trim their roster down to 15 players.
Hunter began to show signs of coming around near the end of training camp, but his improved play would eventually be too little too late.

This is certainly good news for Young, who like Hunter, made it clear that he wanted to remain with the Celtics. But it by no means should be seen as a victory for Young who is entering his third NBA season.
The 21-year-old is now part of the 15-man roster, but it still doesn’t address the issue of him playing better to where the Celtics might actually use him with some degree of regularity.
If not for Kelly Olynyk’s shoulder injury, which will keep him out of action until next month, there was a decent chance that Young would begin the season on the inactive roster. But to Young’s credit, he showed a level of dedication to the game that the Celtics had not seen before. He spent most of this past summer in Boston working on his game, trying to get physically stronger. During the preseason, his level of commitment to improving was noticeable as well.
And when he did get a chance to play in the preseason, he did a lot of little things really well, showing the kind of improvement that ultimately put him a leg up on Hunter whom the Celtics drafted last year with the 28th overall pick.
If Hunter isn’t claimed, he becomes an unrestricted free agent who can then sign with any team of his choosing. Do not be surprised if Hunter is claimed off waivers by a team which then assigns him to their Development League affiliate, similar to what the Celtics did with Ryan Kelly over the weekend.