Celtics

Celtics finding success going through Garnett, Bass

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Celtics finding success going through Garnett, Bass

BOSTON -- Even with his nagging injury, the Philadelphia 76ers have not backed off of Ray Allen during the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

He has faced double teams and intense pressure when the ball is in his hands in spite of the fact that he is already hampered by his ankle. The 76ers have done the same to Paul Pierce, who is also battling a knee injury.

As a result of defensive efforts and health challenges, Allen is averaging just 8.4 points per game while shooting 42.1 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from long range. Pierce scored just seven points in Game 2 of the series, averaging 17.0 points (38.6 FG, 36.8 3PG) overall.

With Allen and Pierce limited offensively, the Celtics have turned their bigs in what Allen dubbed a Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett series.

Garnett posted double-doubles in the first three games of the series and is averaging 20.0 points and 10.6 rebounds. In the Celtics Game 5 victory on Monday, Bass scored a postseason career-high 27 points, including 22 in the second half.

They just are doing everything they can to me and Paul to keep us from having any impact on the offensive end, Allen said after Game 5. Typical defensive stunts they typically make, theyre not making it so what were trying to do -- me more so than anybody, trying to put me in good positions where guys can utilize their lack of help coming off my man.

Anywhere Im on the floor, theres always a gap, so were trying to utilize that. With Paul, theyre double-teaming, both of us theyre double-teaming, and pick-and-rolls. Thats where Kevins wide open, Brandons wide open, and (Rajon) Rondo can get in those gaps. We cant hold on to the ball. We have to make those quick passes and we allow the next guy to be a playmaker.

As the Celtics look to wrap up the series in Game 6 on Wednesday in Philadelphia, the veteran squad understands it doesnt matter who scores as long as they get the win. Their offense starts with their defense, a foundation the entire squad is committed to.

We dont worry about the offensive end- we create it with the defense, said Allen. Here in this particular situation, were not really worried about whos scoring, whos doing whatever on the floor. Its just, lets win the game. We know our plays, we know the sequence of plays we need to run.

With that, right now this is a Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett series. Rondo understands it. Me and Paul understand it. Were making whatever plays we need to make to get those guys shots and they end up being the playmakers. Theyve done a great job of it.

Kyrie practices, expected to be back Sunday

Kyrie practices, expected to be back Sunday

WALTHAM, Mass. – Kyrie Irving was able to participate in all of Celtics practice on Saturday and is expected to be back on the floor when the C's host the Orlando Magic on Sunday.

Irving did not play in an 89-80 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday because of soreness in his left shoulder.

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He will continue to receive treatments for the shoulder, “but I’m just ready to go back out there and play,” Irving said. “I’ve had a few days to reset and do the things needed to put myself in a great position to go out there and play.”

Irving said earlier that the shoulder had been bothering him for a couple weeks and an overtime loss to New Orleans on Tuesday didn’t help matters.

Still just 25 but recently named to his fifth All-Star team, Irving’s return could not come at a better time for the Celtics.

Boston (34-12) has the best record in the Eastern Conference, but the C's are riding a two-game losing streak, which is only the third time this season they've lost back-to-back games.

Arguably Boston’s biggest issue in the loss to the Sixers was an offense that struggled in several phases.

Not having Irving available certainly made matters worse, but there were a number of elements of play that with Irving or not, coach Brad Stevens recognizes his team must make a significant improvement in if they are to remain among the top teams in the NBA.

Stevens talked extensively after the loss and again on Saturday about the team not playing hard enough on offense.

“I don’t want to take away from the teams we’re playing against. They’re really guarding us hard,” Stevens said. “But we’ve got to execute harder. The one thing that’s pretty obvious in person and when you watch on film, is we just didn’t play hard enough on offense which is kind of unique. That’s the way I felt.”

Irving said there needs to be an increase in emphasis on their offense, which would make the game easier for everyone.

“Our spacing, our cutting … just playing the game kind of within the game, understanding our talents and where we can make the game easier,” Irving said. “We have very unique talents on this team. When you’re trying to put that together and guys are coming back into the lineup and getting their rhythm still and guys are in and out sometimes … big picture, down the stretch, we’re going to need everyone to be on the same page.”

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Celtics sign Jarrell Eddie to 10-day contract

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Celtics sign Jarrell Eddie to 10-day contract

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics have signed Jarell Eddie to a 10-day contract.

The 6-foot-7 forward, who has spent two seasons in the NBA with Washington and Phoenix, has appeared in 31 NBA games.

More recently, he played with the Gatorade League’s Windy City Bulls. Appearing in 10 games, Eddie, 26, averaged 17.2 points while shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 50.7 percent from 3-point range along with 4.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists.

He will wear jersey No. 9.