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Celtics notebook

Ainge, staff preparing for pre-draft camp

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Marc J. Spears
Globe Staff / May 23, 2008

General manager Danny Ainge and his scouting staff will be rooting on the Celtics from Orlando, Fla., during part of the Eastern Conference finals.

The NBA pre-draft camp is Tuesday through Friday. The Celtics have the 30th pick in the first round and the 30th and last in the second. The draft is June 26. Ainge, assistant GM Dave Wohl, assistant director of basketball operations Leo Papile, director of international scouting Ryan McDonough, and brain doctor Jon Niednagel are expected to represent the team in Orlando. About 70 NBA prospects are expected to play.

"There is a really good chance a player we draft will be in Orlando this year," Ainge said. "Last year, it was a long shot we'd find a player in Orlando. This year, both picks could be in Orlando. You never know. That's why I'll probably be in Orlando instead of [at some playoff games]. We will watch a lot of this Detroit series on TV."

If the Celtics make the NBA Finals, Ainge and his staff could miss some games while they work out prospects at the Celtics' Waltham training facility. Ainge said about 50 players will be worked out, and scheduling is in the works.

"We've worked out that many before," Ainge said. "We've worked out more. We've worked out 75-80 before. Now the window's a little bit shorter. We're in the process of confirming dates, workouts."

Ainge said there are no plans to share workouts with other teams to reduce costs. The Celtics won't have a summer league team, but tentatively have rookie and free agent camps in Waltham scheduled July 3-7.

Pick your poison

Sam Cassell did not play in the first two games of the series and Eddie House was scoreless in seven minutes last night. Coach Doc Rivers was asked about choosing between the two. "You know how you guys are," said Rivers. "If Sam is not playing well, play Eddie. If Eddie is not playing well, play Sam. Either way, you're a dunce. I think on the road Sam's experience would help. We'll see."

Community assist

Kevin Garnett was awarded the NBA Community Assist Award for April. He received the David Robinson Plaque and $5,000 for a charity of his choice.

Garnett donated more than 600 Celtics tickets to Boston Public School students during April through his "Big Ticket Challenge." The program encourages local at-risk students to excel in school with a reward of attending a Celtics game and meeting the 11-time All-Star. More than 1,000 kids signed a commitment to improve their school performance through the program and were encouraged to follow Garnett's personal mantra: "Anything worth having is worth working for."

Buyers beware

Demand for Celtics apparel and memorabilia is on the rise.

Counterfeiters have converged on the Boston market, hawking knockoffs to potential customers. The illegal sale of sports merchandise has been an ongoing issue in the NBA.

During the playoffs and through the Finals, the NBA will be working closely with local authorities responsible for enforcing laws prohibiting the sale of counterfeit league, team, and event merchandise.

"As the Celtics continue to win and advance through the playoffs, their merchandise becomes more popular among basketball fans and counterfeiters alike," said Ayala Deutsch, senior vice president and chief intellectual property counsel for the NBA.

To avoid purchasing counterfeit items, Deutsch urges customers to identify merchandise as "genuine" or "official," as authorized by the NBA. She also recommended shopping at the Celtics' official team store or other NBA-authorized retail locations rather than buying from street vendors or flea markets.

Hamilton fined

The Detroit News reported Richard Hamilton was fined by the NBA for his flagrant foul on Garnett in the fourth quarter of Game 1.

Hamilton apparently had no idea.

"Fine?" he said. "What fine?"

He didn't say much else about the foul, which happened after Garnett swatted his shot. The Pistons were down 12 and Hamilton was angry because a foul was not called on Garnett. In chasing Paul Pierce, Hamilton got tangled up with Garnett and caught him in the face with an elbow.

"It's instinct," Rivers said. "It was flagrant. I can tell you that. We thought that at the time. Rip's a good guy. It's an emotional game and that kind of stuff happens. It's just part of the game. No big deal."

Game 5 tickets

The Celtics announced that a limited amount of tickets for Wednesday's Game 5 will go on sale today at 11 a.m., with a two-ticket limit per customer. Tickets may be purchased at the TD Banknorth Garden box office, a Ticketmaster outlet, by visiting celtics.com, or by calling 1-800-4NBATIX.

Julian Benbow and Christopher L. Gasper of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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