Celtics

Paul Pierce on Ray Allen: 'We hugged, talked about it and it’s over with'

Paul Pierce on Ray Allen: 'We hugged, talked about it and it’s over with'

BOSTON – It was a sight Boston Celtics fans thought they might never see again: Paul Pierce with Ray Allen, side by side, seemingly happy.
 
“I just saw he left for Miami, our rival, and got mad at that,” Pierce said during an exclusive interview with CSN.
 
Allen’s departure to the Heat in 2012 would bother Pierce for years, leading to what became an icy relationship that’s finally showing signs of thawing out.
 
The two were part of a celebrity basketball game in China, a chance encounter that seems to have provided a second chance of sorts to rekindle a friendship that has been anything but that for years.

LISTEN TO A. SHERROD BLAKELY'S FULL INTERVIEW WITH PAUL PIERCE


 
And the timing could not be any better with this being the 10-year anniversary of their 2008 title run, an occasion that will be recognized at some point this season by the Celtics.
 
Pierce said he knew at some point, whatever issues he and his teammates had with Allen would have to be buried.
 
“I said, even months ago, ‘we gotta come together at some point,’” Pierce said. “We gotta let it go at some point. I figure if it’s gonna happen, maybe I’ll be the one, the mediator.
 
Pierce added, “It left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth, no doubt. But at some point, you have to grow out of it. We’re out of the game now as far as me and Kevin [Garnett] and Ray. I’m over it. It happened then. It was a long time ago. But at the end of the day you have to realize, Ray helped this become what it was when we were here.”
 
The trio led one of the greatest turnarounds in NBA history, leading Boston to its 17th NBA title and a 66-16 regular season record after the Celtics won just 24 games the season prior.

Pierce hasn’t had a chance to talk with Garnett and Rajon Rondo yet about burying the hatchet with Allen, but he’s confident they’ll warm up to the idea.
 
“Eventually we get over things and move on, just like in relationships, good and bad relationships do,” Pierce said. “We hugged, talked about it and it’s over with.”

 
But those memories will come to life this season as fans, the franchise and the media reminisce over that magical season that helped catapult Pierce from one of the better Celtics players into a franchise legend.
 
Because as Pierce found out during his 15 seasons in Boston, good players come and go but those who win championships become immortals in the eyes of Celtics Nation.
 
“I’m just happy I could leave a legacy behind,” said Pierce who ranks among the franchise’s top-5 leaders in several categories. “I had spent 15 years here and to put a championship (banner up) with a team that drafted you, that doesn’t happen very often. So, it means a lot to me. I was able to be part of something for this generation to talk about. The kids today, hear the stories from their parents about Larry Bird and Kevin McHale and how with us winning a championship, a newer generation will have something to hang their hat on too. If we didn’t win a championship, there wouldn’t be nothing to talk about. I’m happy to give this generation something to hang their hat on.”
 
And that title run, regardless of how the players involved feel about one another, will always be remembered as the Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen restoring the luster and shine of the most storied franchise in NBA history.
 
“We’re going to be linked together for life, whether we like it or not,” Pierce said. “Eventually we have to let go.”

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Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

BOSTON – With all the changes the Celtics went through over the summer, seeing more rookies on the floor this season was a given.
 
But six?
 
Yes, only three games into the season and the Celtics have played more rookies than any team under fifth-year coach Brad Stevens.

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And in the 102-92 victory at Philadelphia on Friday night, the Celtics (1-2) played almost as many first-year players (five) as veterans (six).
 
The youth movement here in Boston has been sped up a bit by the season-ending injury to Gordon Hayward, compounded by a left ankle sprain to Marcus Smart that Smart said won’t keep him out any more than Friday night in Philly.

Even if Smart is back in the Celtics lineup Tuesday night against New York, that doesn’t change the fact that Boston will continue to need rookies to step up and contribute going forward as they did on Friday.
 
And while there’s an old adage about experience being the greatest teacher, Boston’s youngsters are going to have to fast-forward past some of those on-the-floor growing pains for the Celtics to stay among the top teams in the East.
 
“Everybody talks about young players having to learn by going through experience,” said Stevens. “Why don’t we just watch film and learn? Learn from things we can control and in the interim, let’s beat the age thing. Let’s not talk about the age thing. Let’s talk about how we can be better at what we can control and how we can learn and grow every day and expedite the learning curve.
 
Stevens added, “because they are going to get opportunities all the way down the line, let’s not focus on trying to learn from experience; let’s focus on learning from every day and see if we can get a little bit better every day.”
 
The one rookie who has had no problem adjusting to the NBA game early on has been Jayson Tatum.
 
Selected with the third overall pick last June, Tatum has been among the NBA's most productive rookies in this first week of the season.
 
Tatum’s 35.3 minutes played per game is tops among all rookies. His 12.3 points and 9.0 rebounds rank seventh and fourth among his first-year brethren.
 
Stevens loves what he has seen thus far from Tatum, but believes he’s capable of making an even greater impact sooner rather than later.
 
“I like him to shoot it on the catch more,” Stevens said. “Because he has tremendous touch. When he shoots it in rhythm with confidence, the ball finds the net. He’s one of those guys; he’s a natural scorer. But his ability to read the game … he’s very intelligent. It’s been more evident on the defensive end. He’s gonna pick his spots offensively now. But we want him to be aggressive and first and foremost, be a threat to shoot it every time he catches it.
 
Stevens added, “I guess it should feel pretty good when you’re 19 years old and your coach is begging you to shoot it.”
 
How quickly Tatum and the rest of Boston’s youngsters grow into the roles they will be asked to play this season can do nothing but help the Celtics adapt to what has already been a season with major changes needing to be made.
 
“You saw [against Philadelphia], we had Shane [Larkin], we had Guerschon [Yabusele], we had guys coming in that played the game at a high level and we need them to contribute,” said Boston’s Kyrie Irving. “For me to see that and witness that, it makes me nothing but proud and happy to have teammates that are ready to play. It’s not always going to look perfect because we’re still gaining knowledge about one another. But as long as we’re out there competing, having each other’s backs, that’s all that matters.”
 

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for his inappropriate language with a fan

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Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for his inappropriate language with a fan

BOSTON – As expected, the NBA has fined Celtics guard Kyrie Irving $25,000 for using “inappropriate language” toward a fan at the Friday night game in Philadelphia.
 
The incident occurred at halftime as Irving and his teammates were heading to the locker room, trailing by four. Boston went on to win 102-92 for their first victory of the season.
 
A fan yelled, “Hey, where’s LeBron?” to which Irving replied with a lewd suggestion to the yeller.
 
The Celtics practiced on Saturday with Irving addressing the incident.

When asked if he had any regrets about the incident, Irving replied, “Hell no. Man enough to record it on video, that’s on him. I’m glad he got his ad name out there, and his five seconds of fame and it’s gone viral. That’s social media platform we live on.
 
Irving added, “I take full responsibility for what I said. You move on.”
 
When asked about the incident on Saturday, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he had not seen the video but was aware of it.
 
“People make mistakes; hopefully learn from them and move on,” Stevens said. “There’s a right and wrong. And if you’re in the wrong you have to own up to it and that’s that.”

It was the second such fine levied by the league in as many days. 

New Orleans center DeMarcus Cousins was fined $25,000 for "inappropriate language" toward a fan when the Pelicans lost 103-91 at Memphis on Wednesday.