Celtics notebook

Through two games, fouls don’t seem fair

Doc Rivers is being diplomatic in his comments, but the disparity in fouls calls in this series has him agitated. Doc Rivers is being diplomatic in his comments, but the disparity in fouls calls in this series has him agitated. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
By Gary Washburn, Globe Staff and Duane Rankin, Globe Correspondent
May 6, 2010

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The Celtics are tied with the Cavaliers at 1-1 in this Eastern Conference semifinal series despite attempting 30 fewer free throws and playing through constant foul trouble.

Coach Doc Rivers did not want to complain publicly about the officiating, but he was distressed by the numbers. In the first halves, the Celtics have been whistled for 31 fouls to 12 for Cleveland; the Cavaliers went 19 minutes 26 seconds of Game 2 without a team foul.

Asked if he ever had seen a team go nearly 20 minutes without a team foul, Rivers said, “Nope.’’

Then he added, “Yeah, I did see it — it happened the other day.’’

“We have to be more aggressive offensively,’’ he said. “I think we have to attack more. We have to do a better job of moving our feet, I guess. So we have to attack more on offense.

“As well as we played, the low free throw attempts for us in the two games, we have to get to that line more.’’

Rivers was visibly angry about some calls and non-calls in both games and had a few choice words for official Ed Malloy at halftime of Game 2, when the Celtics had 16 fouls to Cleveland’s 4.

“We’re happy in a lot of ways defensively but the foul trouble is a concern,’’ he said.

Rondo honored
Rajon Rondo was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive team yesterday, the reward for a remarkable season in which he led the league in steals. Rondo received 50 points and 23 first-place votes, second only to Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Gerald Wallace joined Rondo and Howard on the first team. “This is something I’ve worked for the entire year,’’ said Rondo. “I think last year I made third team and I was trying to strive to get better and it was my goal to make the first team.’’ Kevin Garnett received five total votes, one first-place vote. The Defensive Player of the Year award is voted on by the media, the All-Defensive team by the coaches.

Talk to me
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said assistant coach Tim Thibodeau can interview for coaching positions during the playoffs. The Clippers and Hornets have asked for permission to speak with Thibodeau, and he also may be a candidate for the Bulls opening . . . Garnett has taken 41 shots in the series, 12 more than any other Celtic. He attempted 20 in the first game and 21 in the second. He attempted 20 shots in only one game during the regular season . . . With all the fuss Cleveland made about re-signing Zydrunas Ilgauskas after trading him to the Wizards, he has played just 5 minutes in the series . . . Rivers said he doesn’t like playing Rondo so many minutes (a whopping 87 of a possible 96), but there is a drop-off when he leaves the game. The Celtics were minus-9 in the six minutes he rested in Game 1 and were even in the three minutes he sat out in Game 2 . . . During an appearance on WEEI radio, Ainge said he hadn’t heard from the league about any discipline regarding his towel-throwing incident in Game 2, but he does regret doing it. “That was very unprofessional,’’ Ainge said. “I was having fun with the hecklers and the crowd sitting around me. You know what, there’s just no excuse.’’

No word on James
The Cavaliers didn’t provide any update on James’s injured right elbow. On Tuesday, they said James was scheduled to have an MRI this week, his third this postseason. The second MRI, taken late in April, revealed a strain and a bone bruise . . . Mo Williams isn’t letting his 1-of-9 shooting effort in Game 2 bring him down. “It’s not eating at me at all,’’ said the Cleveland guard. “It’s one game. I was 2 for 13 [against Chicago in Game 5], so I bounce back. I bounce back pretty easy.’’ Coach Mike Brown said Williams must play better if the Cavaliers are going to win the series. “That’s true,’’ Williams said. “As a unit and as a team, we have a lot of firepower and we have a lot of people that can step up and make plays. We just got to do a better job of making adjustments.’’ Asked how many of his nine shot attempts Monday were good looks, Williams replied, “None.’’ . . . Several Cavaliers participated in a pickup game at their practice facility yesterday. Lloyd Pierce, a player development coordinator who played for Santa Clara in the 1990s, played the role of Rondo for the scout team to help the Cavaliers prepare.

Gary Washburn reported from Waltham; he can be reached at; Duane Rankin reported from Independence, Ohio.

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