The Cleveland Cavaliers have the best record in the NBA and the best player in the world on their roster.



PAUL FLANNERY

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Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined The Big Show on Wednesday and talked about his team's playoff hopes. The Celtics looked strong in a first-round win over the Heat after struggling for much of the regular season. "I think that the inconsistency is more a state of mind," Ainge said. "Everyone said we're going to turn the button on and off. I don't think we did that except in the course of each game. It was like we came out to play all the big games of the year and many others.

LeBron James insists that he is "healthy" and "looking forward" to a second-round battle with the Celtics despite having an MRI on his right elbow Monday afternoon. The results of the MRI revealed no structural damage.

 

The reigning league MVP struggled with elbow discomfort during the Cavaliers' first-round victory over the Bulls, leaving Game 4 to go to the locker room for treatment and taking a free throw left-handed in the final moments of Tuesday night's series-clincher.

 

Four of the Celtics ranked among the top 15 most popular NBA jerseys this season, while the Celtics ranked second in team merchandise, the league announced Wednesday.

 

Kevin Garnett (third), Paul Pierce (eighth), Nate Robinson (11th), and Rajon Rondo (15th) made the list, which was topped by Kobe Bryant. The Lakers earned the top spot for most popular team merchandise.

 

Ray Allen didn’t approach Game 5 against the Heat any differently than the rest of the games.

He arrived at TD Garden at 2:45 in the afternoon, just over four hours before tipoff. He followed his usual game-day routine — change clothes, stretch, shoot. Nothing more, nothing less.



JESSICA CAMERATO

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Glen Davis was speaking for the Celtics when he characterized the matchup with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers starting this Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland in the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

 

In the end, it doesn’t really matter how they got there. It doesn’t matter that the Celtics ended their series by TKO rather than the big haymaker finish that looked imminent early in the second half.



PAUL FLANNERY

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A week after proclaiming, "I don't like them and they know it," Quentin Richardson expressed a different opinion about Paul Pierce following the Celtics' elimination of the Heat in Game 5. “Paul’s a great NBA player,” he told WEEI.com. “That’s the only opinion that really matters, his NBA game. He’s a good NBA player.” Richardson also added, “I’ve always respected his game, never not. I mean, he’s an All-Star, he’s a Finals MVP, he has his accolades, and he well deserves them.

The Celtics will have three days to get ready for their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics will open the series at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday in Game 1, with Game 2 set for Monday night in Cleveland. 

 

The series then returns to Boston for Games 3 and 4 next week. Dates have not been finalized due to the uncertainty regarding the availability of TD Garden since the second round opponent for the Bruins has yet to be determined. 

 

Ray Allen drilled five of his six three-point attempts and scored a team-high 24 and Paul Pierce added 21 as the Celtics beat the Miami Heat, 96-86, Tuesday night at TD Garden to win their first-round series, 4-1. Allen made his first four shots of the second half as the Celtics built a 21-point lead in the third quarter. Rajon Rondo had 16 points and 12 assists.