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Welcome to the Garden ...

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  April 4, 2010 09:44 AM

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lebron(celtics).JPG... where home-court takes on a couple meanings.

The Celitcs are just trying to establish an identity at home. It's been a tough year for the Celtics at the Garden as is, and now they're at the end of a six-game homestand needing to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers this afternoon just to break even. They're 23-15 at the house, playing better on the road (24-13), and after beating Denver and Sacramento to start the homestand, they're on a three-game slide.

The Cavaliers already wrapped up homecourt throughout the Eastern Conference, but with one more win they can lock it up through the Finals. They're the best home team in the league (34-4) and they're tough on the road as well (26-12).

"We still understand that homecourt is very important," Rivers said Saurday at practice. "It's amazing. We've played better on the road. I don't know if there are many teams like that. Having said that, you all know and we all know that home court is very important if you can get it in the playoffs."

Meanwhile, an awful break in Milwaukee may have shaken up the Eastern Conference playoff landscape. Andrew Bogut took a nasty fall in the Bucks' 107-98 win over the Suns, crashing to the hardwood, dislocating his elbow, spraining his wrist and breaking his right hand. He'll miss the remainder of the season.

Bucks coach Scott Skiles told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he'll have to use veteran Kurt Thomas more in Bogut's absence:

"If Bogues is out, obviously we're going to rely on Kurt more," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "He's played in 80 playoff games; he's played in the NBA Finals. He's got a lot of experience in this type of race right now."

Bogut was making a serious run at the league's most improved player award with his performance this season.

He averaged 15.9 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks in 68 games while shooting 51.7 percent from the field. Bogut developed a more fluid offensive game while becoming a major defensive presence with his improved shot-blocking ability. He ranked second to Orlando's Dwight Howard in shots blocked per game.

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