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04/19/2012 - 12:18am
Pierce: Won't 'pop champagne' over division

Captain Paul Pierce led the Celtics Wednesday with 29 points and a career-high 14 assists in a 102-98 win over the Magic at TD Garden. It was a win that gave Boston its fifth consecutive Atlantic Division title. But Pierce reminded everyone afterward of what the final goal is for the team, a team that was two games under .500 at the All-Star break. 

"I'm not about to go pop champagne bottles or anything like that," Pierce said. "I know they do in baseball. I mean, it is a good accomplishment. The guys should recognize where we came from to what we are today. It's a good accomplishment I guess. But all we care about around here is a championship banner. I guess it's just a step towards the journey we are trying to go towards."

But Kevin Garnett took the chance to take a swipe at the naysayers who wrote the team off, giving them no chance of winning another division, let alone championship.

“You guys called us...

04/18/2012 - 11:30pm
Valentine: 'I was booing myself'

After the Red Sox' eighth loss of the season, Bobby Valentine explained his decision to leave in Franklin Morales in the eighth inning of the Sox' 6-3 defeat at the hands of the Rangers, Wednesday night at Fenway Park. 

With Texas clinging to a 3-2 lead heading into the eighth, Morales replaced starter Josh Beckett to start the eighth. After a fly out to starting the inning by Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton singled to right, moved to second on a pass ball, leading to an intentional walk to Adrian Beltre. Morales then walked Nelson Cruz to load the bases.

With Matt Albers warming up, Valentine chose to stick with Morales to face pinch-hitter Craig Gentry. The result was Gentry being struck in the foot with a Morales pitch, scoring a run. 

Mike Napoli, who had already homered earlier in the game, proceeded to drive in two more runs with a double off the left field wall. After one more intentional walk by Morales -- this one to...

04/18/2012 - 10:42pm
Division clincher: Pierce, C's win Atlantic

Playing without the injured trio of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus, Paul Pierce and Avery Bradley picked up the slack and led the Celtics to a 102-98 win over the Magic Wednesday night at TD Garden. The Celtics had to withstand a late Magic charge to clinch their fifth consecutive Atlantic Division crown, assuring them of no worse than a No. 4 seed in the upcoming Eastern Conference playoffs. One night after a season high 43 points in New York, Pierce finished with 29 points and a career-high 14 assists. Bradley had 23 and Bass added 21 for the Celtics. 

Former Celtics power forward Glen Davis stole the ball and dunked the ball with 31.6 seconds remaining to pull the Magic within two, 98-96, only to have Pierce rattle home the clinching shot as the shot clock expired with 7.6 seconds left. Pierce hit two free throws with 2.9 seconds left to ice it. 

Starting Sasha Pavlovic for the fifth time this year, the Celtics were...

04/18/2012 - 10:13pm
Napoli, Rangers too much for Red Sox

A brilliant start by Josh Beckett was spoiled by an even better one from Rangers counterpart Derek Holland and another huge night for slugger Mike Napoli, as Texas completed a two-game sweep in Boston with a 6-3 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Sox have now lost three straight.

Beckett logged seven innings and allowed three runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out a season-high seven. He featured a swing-and-miss cutter as well as his best fastball of the season, a pitch that ran from 91-94 mph. However, a familiar nemesis saddled Beckett with the loss. Up 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning, Beckett allowed a leadoff single to David Murphy and then left a 2-0 fastball up and in to Napoli. As he has done so many times in his career, the Rangers catcher turned on the pitch and crushed it, lining a ball into the back row of the Monster Seats to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead.

Beckett settled and retired the next 12 hitters he...

04/18/2012 - 7:52pm
Doc: Trading Allen would have been 'scary'

The Celtics almost had a deal for Memphis guard O.J. Mayo at the trade deadline that would have sent Ray Allen to the Grizzlies, Yahoo! Sports reported on Wednesday. The deal was so close that told Allen he was traded, and then had to tell him he wasn't after it fell through.

"If you lose Ray, that’s a scary moment," Doc Rivers said before the Celtics played the Magic. "I wouldn’t want to see Ray, Paul [Pierce] or Kevin [Garnett] ever move. That’s just how you are. Even if you got the best deal in the world you’d still be losing guys you have an attachment with. It would be scary for me."

Rivers said he didn't have to smooth over any hard feelings.

"Our guys are great," he said. "That’s the point. Afterward our guys were good and you just move forward. That’s what I love about this team."
Allen is out of the lineup again with a sore ankle and wasn...

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