Avery Bradley, Mickael Pietrus, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen

Celtics don’t expect to make big move at trade deadline

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The rumors swirling around the Boston Celtics are of radical changes — Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have all had their names come up in trade scenarios — but in the end it may all be a lot of words with no action. Well, it is an election year, we should expect a lot of that.

Boston’s brass doesn’t expect to make a big move and are not close to getting a deal done soon.

That is what GM Danny Ainge told ESPNBoston.com.

“Nothing is even close. As of right now we have nothing close to happening,” Ainge said on Boston sports radio station WEEI. “It’s not from a lack of trying. Not necessarily to make major changes but to make small changes at least.

“But we still have a long time before March 15 to see if we can do something to help our team.”

Doc Rivers told A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com that he doesn’t expect a shakeup.

“I don’t expect anything big to come down,” Rivers said. “I wouldn’t be shocked if nothing came down, to be honest.”

For a variety of reasons — from Dwight Howard creating a trade bottleneck to GMs being busy scouting college games this week and next — it is likely trades that do come down will be pushed up against the March 15 deadline. That day may be crazy. And the Celtics might be part of the show.

But right now, the waters look peaceful off Boston Harbor.

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.

DeAndre Jordan dunks on Marcus Smart before Smart knows what’s happening (video)

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Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.