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As the Heat rises, Celtics fall

The Times' Mark Heisler goes coast to coast in the NBA.

March 19, 2011
  • Boston Coach Doc Rivers has not been at a loss for words during the Celtics' recent struggles.
Boston Coach Doc Rivers has not been at a loss for words during the Celtics'… (Stephan Savoia / Associated…)

Down but not quite out

Looks as if the Miami Heat worked out its issues with big teams, last shots and being crybabies, huh?

Of course, when someone goes up, someone goes down...

Meet the Boston Celtics!

After losing at home to the Clippers last week, Boston Coach Doc Rivers noted, "No one cried, we're OK."

By the time they lost back to back to the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets, Doc had cranked the spin up so high, press people were toppling over.

"It doesn't bother me unless they're going to start to have back-to-backs in the playoffs," Rivers said.

With their 41/2-game lead over Chicago gone and a harder schedule (games in New York, San Antonio, Chicago and Miami), if there are no back-to-backs in the playoffs, there may be more games on the road.

Wait till Perk's back — Oh, sorry

So why did the Celtics trade Kendrick Perkins for Nenad Krstic and Jeff Green again?

If General Manager Danny Ainge was playing Red Auerbach, rebuilding while contending, he was counting on injured Shaquille O'Neal, whose return date was just pushed back by Rivers to "Don't expect him any time soon."

With Krstic, they're no longer huge and physical as Rajon Rondo, Perkins' little buddy, skulks around.

With Perkins saying Rivers told him he fought the deal, Doc confirmed stopping one version.

Calling it "the most difficult thing I've had to do since I've been in the league," Rivers said, "We all decided to make the trade, but for me, it hurt."

It has only begun to hurt.


Be Careful What You Wish For Award: New York's Carmelo Anthony, who torpedoed Denver's West power, is hurt by teammates rejoicing at going 9-3, as when eight of them got double figures and J.R. Smith said, "I think we can count on one hand how many times that happened before the trade."... Melo: "I really think they kind of don't want me to have success in New York, the way I look at it."... If so, they're kind of getting their wish with the Knicks a disappointing 7-7.... "It's great they [fans] care," said Coach Mike D'Antoni of local fans. "Take some Prozac or something. We're pedaling as fast as we can pedal."

While ownership ponders the fate of the Sacramento/Los Angeles Kings of Anaheim, there's a blank wall on what was once Arco Arena with the old lettering gone and Power Balance holding off putting up its name.... The Sacramento Bee reported the team filed for trademark protection for new names including "Anaheim Royals of Southern California" and "Orange County Royals."... Wrote NBA Confidential's Sam Amick, "You can practically hear the moving vans rolling in. The reading of tea leaves has never been so easy."

Heat Index: LeBron James, laughing at the suggestion they need to finish 14-0 after losing in Oklahoma City: "What is this, March Madness? That's a March Madness question, you've got to win out to win the whole thing."... There's no such thing as a joke (cont.): Before Dwight Howard said Kobe Bryant was the All-Star he'd most like to play with, James was asked the same question at last season's All-Star game. "Chris Bosh," said LeBron.

— Mark Heisler

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