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NBA Finals notebook

Game 5 could be final home appearance for several Boston Celtics

Celtics Coach Doc Rivers, above, is among several key figures who could be headed out of Boston this summer. Ray Allen will be a free agent and Paul Pierce could decline the option on his contract.
Celtics Coach Doc Rivers, above, is among several key figures who could be headed out of Boston this summer. Ray Allen will be a free agent and Paul Pierce could decline the option on his contract. (Winslow Townson - AP)
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By Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 14, 2010

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics played their final home game of the season on Sunday, but Game 5 could have also represented the last time that several central characters from a three-year run that has included two NBA Finals appearances and one championship share the parquet floor.

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This summer, Ray Allen will become an unrestricted free agent; Paul Pierce holds the option to become a free agent by terminating the final year and $21.5 million on his contract; and Coach Doc Rivers has intimated that he could walk away from the final year of his deal, which pays him $5 million next season, to spend more time with his family.

Rivers danced around the question about his future plans. "Well, I don't know," Rivers said. "There's always a reason with the kids, so I don't give a timetable, number one. I just kind of get away. I know one thing you can't do is make a decision a week after a season. Whether you win or lose, you can't. You just can't. So you know, usually after Summer League is all over and a couple weeks after that, [Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge] and I sit down and just do what we do.

"So far as work, I'm still here," said Rivers, who has four children with his wife, Kristen. "But the kids are always -- that's the issue each year, do you want to see -- I've got to see them play at some point."

Pierce has spent his entire career in Boston and is likely to stay, whether he declines to opt out or signs a short extension. Rivers would also like to see Allen, a 14-year veteran shooting guard, return to keep the core intact. The coach said he doesn't worry that this could be the last run. "No, we don't talk about it at all, and I don't think this is, anyway," Rivers said. "I said that in the middle of the year. I think hopefully we can sign Ray back -- I think I can say that. If not, I just got fined."

Rajon Rondo said he isn't concerned about what's beyond the NBA Finals. "I don't really care. Whatever happens this summer happens," he said. "Right now is right now."

Back and forth

The first four games of this series were unpredictable, from Los Angeles's Pau Gasol overwhelming Kevin Garnett, to Allen catching fire from three-point range, to Derek Fisher's fourth-quarter takeover to Glen "Big Baby" Davis dominating inside. But no team had been able to build upon the momentum, with the teams failing to win consecutive games. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said the swings haven't surprised him. "I kind of anticipated this was going to be a back-and-forth series like this," he said. "It's a lot of teeter-totter here, despair and elation."

Rivers said: "It's two good teams, and so far, every time one team wins, it feels like, from a coaching standpoint, that the other team comes in with an edge, a mental edge. They're more focused."


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