Celtics Notebook

Bibby knows his role

He’ll likely again be a villain at Garden

By Julian Benbow and Gary Washburn
Globe Staff / May 1, 2011

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MIAMI — Mike Bibby isn’t expecting flowers.

The last time the point guard saw the Celtics in the playoffs, he was a part of a Hawks team that terrified the championship-bound Celtics, taking them to seven games in their 2008 first-round series.

Noticing the shift in support for a team that won 66 games compared with the one that won just 24 the year before, Bibby called Celtics fans “fair-weather.’’

For two weeks, he made himself the biggest villain in the city. He’ll come back to Boston this week, and he’ll do it in a Miami Heat jersey, so he doesn’t expect a warm welcome.

“I don’t mind it,’’ he said. “If they’re paying attention to me, that means I’m doing something.’’

The first season after the Hawks series, Bibby was booed by the Garden crowd whenever he touched the ball. He still draws boos from the Boston fans.

He said the “fair weather’’ comment was more strategic than anything else. Bibby was one of just five players on that Hawks team with more than four years of NBA experience. Putting the heat on him took the pressure off a young team.

“I got my ways to do stuff, I like to keep those my ways,’’ he said. “A lot of those guys hadn’t played in a playoff series before me coming there. Everything happens for a reason. We took them to seven. It was good for all of them. It was good for us.’’

After being traded by the Hawks to the Wizards Feb. 23, Bibby quickly was bought out, then joined the Heat after they let go of Carlos Arroyo to add the veteran.

Bibby started 12 of the 22 regular-season games he played with the Heat. He started all five games against the 76ers in the first round, and coach Erik Spoelstra said he will continue to go with Bibby as the starter.

Team effort Dwyane Wade scored 46 points in a Game 4 victory over the Celtics last season in the first round of the playoffs. LeBron James scored 45 in a Game 7 loss to the Celtics in the second round of the 2008 postseason.

But the belief going into this series is that no one player will beat the Celtics.

“No one’s going to be able to beat Boston by themselves, even with an incredible individual performance,’’ Spoelstra said. “This has got to be a collective effort.’’

James, who learned in Cleveland that he couldn’t do it alone, agreed.

“It’s always a challenge playing against them,’’ James said. “When you talk about mentally strong, they’re one of the strongest teams that we have in this league because they’ve been through situation after situation after situation.

“In hostile environments. On the road. At home. Being down in the fourth quarter and up. They’ve been through every situation — together.’’

Rondo a key The book on defending Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is to give him as many jump shots as he wants, but Mario Chalmers said that watching the way Rondo shot the ball in the Knicks series, it’s not that simple anymore.

Rondo went 10 of 21 on mid-range shots in the Celtics’ first-round win. “He’s in the NBA for a reason,’’ Chalmers said.

Rondo averaged 7.5 points and 12 assists against the Heat during the regular season.

“We feel like he’s the key to their team,’’ said James. “As he goes, they go.’’

When the Heat assembled their Big Three, Chalmers was often compared to Rondo. He reached out to Rondo earlier in the year.

“We talked when he came down here,’’ Chalmers said. “He gave me some pointers, but now it’s the playoffs.’’

Rivers expects Miami to leave room for Rondo on the perimeter.

“I think you’ll see Chalmers and Bibby and LeBron and Wade on Rondo,’’ Rivers said. “I think they’ll go to the ‘Rondo defense,’ where they’re just helping off of him and trapping off of him. And how we handle that will be key in this series.’’

Frank Dell’Apa of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.

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