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Celtics notebook

Referees are following the new rules to a T

By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / October 8, 2010

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NEWARK — Paul Pierce, Nate Robinson, and Von Wafer were assessed technical fouls in last night’s 96-92 exhibition win over the Nets, making coach Doc Rivers’s tongue-in-cheek goal of setting the record for team technicals seem like a real possibility. While the Celtics’ play appeared to be in midseason form, Rivers said the techs were more the referees’ doing.

An emphasis on “respect for the game’’ now gives officials the right to quick triggers when it comes to calling technicals.

Pierce was hit with his in the first quarter for punching the air after seeing Rajon Rondo nosedive to the hardwood and not get a foul call from referee Tom Washington.

Referee Steve Javie tried to stop Pierce before he reacted, but it was too late.

“I didn’t realize,’’ Pierce said. “Steve Javie was like, ‘That’s the new rule.’ I was like, ‘Dang.’ But I mean, it’s something that a lot of players are going to get early technicals, but they’ll make the adjustment.

Robinson got his in the second quarter under similar circumstances. He agreed that players would get a lot of early techs getting used to the rules, but also figured that the referees would cut players slack as the season progressed.

“It’s going to be a lot of techs early, but as time goes on they’ll loosen up because it’s basketball,’’ Robinson said. “They’re not going to want to call fouls every time down or technicals every time down. But we’re going to play through it.’’

After being called for a technical in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s win over the 76ers, Wafer was whistled for another in the fourth last night, twice committing Rivers’s cardinal sin of fourth-quarter technicals.

“Don’t love it,’’ Rivers said. “I’m just going to stop there.’’

Nets taken down
Marquis Daniels answered a Jordan Farmar 3-pointer with a three of his own last night to put the Celtics up, 93-90. Robinson iced the result with a pair of free throws.

Pierce led the starters with 15 points in 18 minutes. Glen Davis scored a team-high 20 points in 28 minutes. Robinson had 17 off the bench, albeit on 3-of-11 shooting.

West exits early
Delonte West left the game in the third quarter after back spasms flared up for the second time this week.

West said he felt a pinch at halftime and was seen stretching before the start of the third quarter. He went up for a layup with 1:42 left in the third, and Rivers took him out of the game with 57.5 seconds left in the quarter. He never returned.

“It wasn’t bad,’’ Rivers said. “But I’m not going to take any chances.’’

West also left Monday’s practice early.

“It’s real minor,’’ West said. “Just muscles back there tightened up and I think they’re pinching a nerve maybe. It’s just real uncomfortable.’’

What do they know?
According to the annual survey of NBA general managers, the Lakers are favored to three-peat as champions, getting 63 percent of the votes (a GM can’t vote for his own team). The revamped Heat received 33.3 percent of the votes to win it all, while the Celtics, the defending Eastern Conference champions, got only 3.7 percent. Rivers said, “Somebody likes us, besides Danny [Ainge].’’ Rivers didn’t put much stock in the bosses’ opinions. “I don’t think we were picked last year, and the year we won it, we weren’t picked,’’ Rivers said. “We’ve proven them wrong once. I guess we proved them wrong last year. Let’s just keep proving them wrong.’’ The Celtics received 17.9 percent of the votes last year, same as the Cavaliers.

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