Shorthanded Celtics fall to Nuggets, 89-75

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Shorthanded Celtics fall to Nuggets, 89-75

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

DENVER The Boston Celtics have got this playing short-handed thing down to a science.

Just when it seems that they can't possibly play with fewer bodies, you have games like Thursday night's in which the C's trotted out eight players -- no, make that nine when you throw in D-League call-up Chris Johnson.

The lack of bodies, courtesy of Danny Ainge trading away a third of the team's roster, eventually proved to be too big a hurdle for the Celtics to overcome as the Denver Nuggets pulled away in the game's closing minutes for an 89-75 win.

Paul Pierce led all Celtics with 17 points, but he did it on 7-for-18 shooting. Denver was led by Kenyon Martin's game-high 18 points.

For the better part of three quarters, the C's played an inspired brand of basketball, which was surprising when you consider how down in the dumps they were prior to tip-off.

The C's were clearly saddened by all of the trades, with the one making the most impact being Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson being shipped to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green (a former Celtics draft pick) and Nenad Krstic.

Boston also traded rookies Semih Erden and Luke Harangody to Cleveland for a future second-round pick. In addition, Marquis Daniels was traded to Sacramento along with cash, for a second-round pick.

It was indeed an emotionally draining day for the Celtics, who did not learn about the trades until shortly after the team's morning shoot-around.

Disappointed, the Celtics knew they had to move on regardless of how much it hurt to no longer play with guys that they had grown close to.

"It hurts. I ain't gonna lie," Perkins told CSNNE.com after learning that he was traded. "There's a lot of love in that locker room, for sure."

But that love only goes so far.

Because when all is said and done, the game's have to go on.

"At the end of the day, we gotta remember," said Boston's Delonte West. "We're professionals and this is part of the game."

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

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.”