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Coast To Coast

March 15, 2009|Mark Heisler

The sky isn't falling in Boston, but with Kevin Garnett's return pushed back and the Cavaliers 2 1/2 games ahead, it's thinking about it.

The Celtics say they'd rather be healthy than seeded No. 1. Actually, they'd rather be healthy and seeded No. 1 to miss Orlando, which is 4-2 against them over two seasons, in the second round.

Also, they may have won in Detroit and Staples Center last spring, but they're 0-6 in Cleveland the last two seasons.

Our rematch is sinking in the East

In Miami, Coach Doc Rivers said he hoped to limit his stars' minutes, "even in a time of crisis."

Paul Pierce and Ray Allen each wound up playing 40 and they lost, anyway.

New plan: Drop to No. 8, get healthy, knock out the Cavaliers in the first round and then rest up for the Lakers.

Attempted schadenfreude

Worse, the Cavaliers refused to lose.

Half of New England may have stayed up to watch when they trailed the Clippers by 19, before coming back to win . . . at 1 a.m. Boston time.

Celtics zealot (and Clippers season-ticket holder) Bill Simmons of ESPN captured the horror in a 3,963-word diatribe at Mike Dunleavy -- 100 column inches, almost an entire newspaper page, but no problem on the Internet, which is infinite, we think.

(If it isn't, Simmons will be the first to find out.)

"Imagine being trapped in one of those big hospital elevators with eight other people," he wrote. "One of them pulls his pants down. . . . "

That's as far as we'd better go with that one.

Simmons didn't even mention the Celtics angle. Maybe he thought he was running long.

Attempted suicide

Reggie Miller says some players actually feared former Indiana teammate Ron Artest, who once broke Michael Jordan's rib.

As Artest noted -- before talking trash to Kobe Bryant, who went on to outscore him, 37-11 -- Bryant isn't one.

"He's one of the only big names that doesn't back down," Artest said. "I cause a lot of players to back down. He's one of the only guys, even if he's playing bad, he'll still shoot it. That's why I respect him."

Those wacky Warriors

Coach Don Nelson now acknowledges advising Jamal Crawford to opt out, despite the two years at $19.5 million left on his deal.

Meanwhile, the rift widened with Monta Ellis, who recently went home to rest his sore ankle.

Wary of an attempt to void his contract after his moped accident, Ellis said he went to see his mother, who was sick.

Replied Nelson: "Monta complained three different times that he had soreness in his ankle. . . . He was supposed to see a doctor and come back. Then he went to visit his mother."

Mom may now be questioned by Warriors lawyers.

What recession?

The Cleveland Plain Dealer compared reserve center Lorenzen Wright's luggage to that of beat writer Brian Windhorst on the Cavaliers' six-day Western trip.

Windhorst brought everything he needed in a carry-on roller bag.

With his brother and two friends helping, Wright packed three suitcases -- one just for shoes -- bringing several suits with their own shirt, tie, belt and shoes, appropriate to the destination ("In L.A. I like to wear something flashier"), and 14 pairs of sunglasses.

Fortunately, it was a short trip.

-- Mark Heisler

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