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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Marcus Smart upgraded to questionable for Game 5

Marcus Smart upgraded to questionable for Game 5

BOSTON –  Once considered a long shot to return by Game 7 of Boston’s first-round series with the Milwaukee Bucks, Marcus Smart may be on the floor as soon as Tuesday night's Game 5 matchup.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said there was no update on Smart following the team’s practice on Monday, but the team has since upgraded Smart's status to “questionable” for Game 5 – the first time he has been listed as anything other than “out” since he had his right thumb surgically repaired last month.

In the past couple of weeks, Smart has increased his workload and made it clear that he was inching closer to getting back on the floor possibly ahead of schedule. 

Prior to Boston’s Game 4 loss, Smart discussed his potential return. 

“I feel ready, I feel strong enough to get back out there,” Smart said at the time. “I’m just waiting for the OK.”

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It appears his most recent visit to the doctor went as planned with Smart now likely cleared to practice – and with that clearance, available to play. 

The return of Smart would be a huge plus for a Celtics team that has struggled mightily in this first-round series against Milwaukee from a defensive standpoint. 

During the regular season, Boston had a league-best defensive rating of 101.5. But against the Bucks, Boston’s defense has slipped to second-to-last among playoff teams which has heavily factored into the series now being tied at two games apiece. 

You can count Boston's Jaylen Brown among the Celtics eager to get Smart back into the fold. 

“When he gets in there he changes the whole game on defense,” Brown said. “He’s definitely missed so when he comes back that’ll make a lot of our jobs a whole lot easier.”

Stevens had similar sentiments about Smart. 

“Marcus is one of our most reliable players for the last four years,” Stevens said. “No question Marcus as been a huge part of us.”

Smart has appeared in 54 games for the Celtics this season, averaging 10.2 points, 4.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds while playing 29.9 minutes per game.

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Jaylen Brown's crucial flub in Game 4 was actually officiating error

Jaylen Brown's crucial flub in Game 4 was actually officiating error

BOSTON -- The NBA’s two-minute report on Boston’s Game 4 loss at Milwaukee revealed a trio of incorrect non-calls in the closing moments of play, two of which went against the Celtics in their 104-102 loss. 

With Boston ahead 100-99 with less than a minute to play, Jaylen Brown lost the ball on a driving lay-up attempt. 

No call was made on the play, one that Brown thought he was fouled on. 

The two-minute report confirmed “that (Khris) Middleton makes contact to Brown's arm that affects his driving shot attempt.”

Had the call been made, Brown would have gone to the free throw line with 43.5 seconds to play with the Celtics already ahead by one point. 

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But on the ensuing Milwaukee possession following the non-call, Malcolm Brogdon drained a 3-pointer that put the Bucks ahead 102-100.

With 47.9 seconds to play, the two-minute report also indicated that an offensive foul should have been called against Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two-minute report indicated that, “Antetokounmpo extends his arm and wards off (Semi) Ojeleye's arm, affecting his ability to contest the shot attempt.”

And with 1:14 to play, Antetokounmpo was fouled by Jayson Tatum although no call was made. On the play, the two-minute report says that, “Tatum clamps Antetokounmpo's arm and pushes him, affecting his (freedom of movement) and ability to receive the pass.

On the ensuing possession following the non-call, Tatum hit a jumper that put the Celtics ahead 100-99 with 52.4 seconds to play. 

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been asked about officiating quite a bit in the last few days. And his response in each instance remains relatively the same.

"I'm not going to ever say anything bad about referees because they have a really tough job," Stevens said. 

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