Archive for the ‘ Boston Celtics Blog ’ Category

Here’s what Boston.com has to say about the idea of the Boston Celtics trying to trade for Kawhi Leonard. Note that they aren’t actually attempting to acquire Leonard just yet. This is merely a discussion of a possibility:

Nope. Great player. Top 10 player. Not interested under these circumstances.

For starters, there are too many lingering questions. Did he quit on the Spurs? If so, why? And how do you reconcile that if you’re trading for him? San Antonio is supposed to be one of the most desirable situations in the league. What the heck happened there? Who is in his ear? And how did his injury play into it? Could he have played at the end of the season? Or was he seriously hurt? Is he completely over the quad injury, or does is this going to be an ongoing concern?

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Abdel Nader undergoes wrist surgery

Last Friday, June 8, Boston Celtics guard/forward Abdel Nader underwent a right wrist arthroscopy and ulnar osteotomy. The purpose of the surgery was to correct lingering issues stemming from a fracture he suffered way back in high school.

Nader should be able to return to basketball activities in around 2-3 months. The team thinks he’ll be at full strength for the start of training camp.

In the 2017-18 regular season, Nader played in 48 games and averaged 3.0 points in 10.9 minutes per outing.

In the 2018 playoffs, he played in 11 games, and averaged 1.1 points in 3.0 minutes per outing.

The 6-6, 230-pound Nader is 24 years old and was drafted 58th overall in the 2016 draft. He played college basketball at Iowa State.

The Celtics are oh-so-close to being an NBA Finals team. It almost happened this year, and absolutely could happen in 2019 if they play their cards right. Celtics moves in free agency this summer, even minor-looking moves, could make all the difference. A steal here, an offensive rebound there, a few role players stepping up, and the glory of the Finals is possible. Here’s the Boston Globe reporting on the 2018 Celtics free agency picture:

The Celtics have three unrestricted free agents in Shane Larkin, Greg Monroe and Aron Baynes. Larkin likely will procure a multiyear offer from another club as a backup point guard, substantially more than the $1.5 million he earned this season.

Monroe likely is gone. He was such a defensive liability and a poor finisher at the rim that Stevens couldn’t play him extensively during the playoffs…

The Celtics need to keep Baynes but they don’t own his Bird Rights, meaning bringing him back would occupy salary cap space and the Celtics likely won’t be able to compete with other offers from teams with cap space. Baynes proved he could be a starting center on a contending team, was durable despite getting into series of ghastly collisions this season, and was a decent midrange and improving 3-point shooter…

Marcus Smart is a restricted free agent, meaning the Celtics have the right to match any offer and they will allow Smart to fish out those offer sheets and determine whether they should match. Smart’s market value is difficult to determine because he’s an erratic offensive player who makes plays at critical moments.

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Celtics forward Gordon Hayward today underwent successful surgery to remove the plate and screws that were implanted following the broken fibula he suffered on October 17. Hayward’s ankle and fibula are both structurally sound, and the removal of the plate and screws was necessary as they were causing irritation to his peroneal tendons. He is scheduled to return to basketball activities in six to eight weeks, and is expected to be at full strength for the start of training camp.

Additionally, Celtics center Aron Baynesbunderwent successful nasal septoplasty surgery for a nasal fracture he suffered during Game 6 of Boston’s Eastern Conference Finals series against Cleveland. Baynes is expected to return to basketball activities in two to four weeks.

Like many Celtics, Marcus Smart struggled in yesterday’s Game 7 Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Cavs. But overall, Smart has been a key contributor on an excellent Boston squad. He hopes to stick around. Will it work out? Free agency is a complicated thing. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting:

In an ideal world, Marcus Smart expects a small scale version of Isaiah Thomas’ mythical Brinks truck to arrive when he becomes a restricted free agent this summer.

His comments to ESPN following the Celtics’ Game 7 loss to Cleveland revealed a player who believes he’s worth upwards of $12 million per year this summer. In a market that is once again expected to find most teams in a constricted state, the Celtics guard’s hopes may not match what he ultimately earns.

But based on his exit interview Monday with Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens, Smart said he feels good about his future as a Celtic.

“Danny emphasizes all the time how much he loves me as a player and emphasized how much they want me here. I want to be here, so that’s the plan right now,” said Smart. “I’ve been here four years. Boston’s all I know. The atmosphere that the city just gives off to you is remarkable. It’s ecstatic and it’s a good feeling. You want to feel that way.

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And we’re back to this. LeBron James in a key playoff situation surrounded mostly by role players, while a key star or two are injured. In this case it’s one player, Kevin Love. Of course, the Celtics played this season without Gordon Hayward, and are now without Kyrie Irving. They’ve gotten extremely good play from guard Terry Rozier in Irving’s place, though. And Game 7 is in Boston. So, advantage Celtics. Except, the Cavs have LeBron. But the Celtics right now have looked like the better team. Especially when playing at home. So, advantage Celtics, still, right? But… LeBron… Anyway, enjoy the game, and here’s the Boston Herald reporting on K-Love:

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love was placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol Saturday and declared out for Sunday’s Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics.

The 8:30 p.m. game at TD Garden will determine the East’s representative in the NBA Finals, which open May 31 at the home of the West champion. The Rockets lead the defending champion Warriors 3-2 going into Saturday’s Game 6…

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said Love was flying with the team to Boston Saturday afternoon.

Love banged heads with Jayson Tatum with 6:58 left in the second quarter and went to the locker room to be evaluated.

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The headline isn’t a surprise — of course a player is going to generally say good or great things about his team’s fans — but it’s still fun to read the exact wording they use to do it. The Celtics are undefeated so far at home in these playoffs. Here’s Jaylen Brown discussing the home crowd, via NESN.com:

Jaylen Brown has said before that playing at home can be like having the best sixth man in the league, and the Celtics swingman doubled down Wednesday night after Boston defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-83 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals to take a 3-2 series lead.

“The energy level, we feed off the crowd,” Brown told reporters in Boston. “The crowd is like the best sixth man in the league, is what the tale says. So when we’re out there, we can definitely feel the energy the Garden is giving us. And we use it to do what we gotta do.”

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The Celtics lead the Cavs 2-1 in their Eastern Conference Finals series. Game 4 is tonight in Cleveland. Here’s Boston.com with a Celtics roster update:

Celtics backup point guard Shane Larkin took part in a lengthy individual workout with assistant coach Jay Larranaga after Sunday’s practice, his first since spraining his left shoulder in Boston’s May 7 loss to the 76ers in the conference semifinals. On Monday, Larkin said he made it through the session with minimal soreness. Although he remains sidelined in this conference final against the Cavaliers with no return date set, he believes he is “pretty close’’ to getting back on the court.

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Jaylen Brown annoyed by Game 3 effort

The Celtics played two great games vs the Cavaliers in their Eastern Conference Finals series. Then came Game 3. Here’s Boston.com reporting:

Celtics forward Jaylen Brown was unimpressed with his team’s — and his own — effort against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the conference finals.

“I thought it was embarrassing,” the 21-year-old said during a light practice at Quicken Loans Arena Sunday. “The way we came out, the way I played.”

Brown — who scored 13 and 14 points in the opening quarters of Games 1 and 2, respectively — finished with just 10 points in Game 3. The Cavaliers constituted a pointed effort to limit him, particularly during the first quarter.

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Must-win Game 3 for Cavs tonight

The Cavs, down 2-0 to the Celtics in their second round playoff series, face a must-win game in Cleveland tonight.

Well, mostly must-win.

Historically, it’s pretty must-win. But historically, few players like LeBron James have ever existed.

Boston has looked to us like the clearly superior basketball team in the first two games. However, they’ve regularly been better at home.

The Cavs in these playoffs have of course been led by LeBron (33.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 9.2 apg, 54% FG this postseason). But second-in-command Kevin Love (15.5 ppg, 10.3 rpg) is shooting just 40.2% in these playoffs. Kyle Korver at 10.2 ppg has been their third leading scorer, but next up is JR Smith who has hit at just a 37% FG clip.

And defensively, the entire team needs to step up.

But can they? The Cavs looked excellent in the final month of the regular season, but playoff intensity is other-level, and to be taken seriously as a team, they can’t just rely on LeBron.

Tonight’s Celtics at Cavs Game 3 is at 8:30pm ET on ESPN TV.

LeBron James arrives early for Game 2

Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals is tonight in Boston. The Celtics dominated the Cavaliers in Game 1, in somewhat alarming fashion — at least for Cavs fans. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal with the latest on LeBron James:

There have been times in the past when LeBron James was the first to arrive at shootaround, ready to work on his game virtually alone.

In 2017-18, the most frequent early arrivals have been J.R. Smith and Dwyane Wade, before he was traded on Feb. 8, along with rookies Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic.

But on Tuesday, James was on the court by himself, with only assistant coach Phil Handy and another staffer, working up a sweat at least half an hour before the rest of the Cavaliers walked in to TD Garden.

James might have had a goal in mind as he prepared for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics.

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The 2018 Eastern Conference Finals begin shortly, and the Celtics are making a starting lineup change, moving useful role-playing Aron Baynes to the bench and starting Marcus Morris.

While Baynes is more of a center, Morris is clearly a forward. The move, we speculate, is to allow Morris to help guard LeBron James, either fully or as a help defender alongside rookie Jayson Tatum. If we had to guess, Morris will likely guard James. And then Tatum shifting to him when Morris sits.

We’ll soon find out. Game 1 starts at 3:30pm ET on ABC television.

Their No. 2 seed tells us the Celtics are exactly where they’re supposed to be. Reality is infinitely more rewarding.

On Wednesday night, the C’s booked passage to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year, and it wasn’t easy.

The Philadelphia 76ers took them to the final seconds, but Jayson Tatum’s layup with 22 seconds broke the night’s final tie before Marcus Smart intercepted the final desperation pass that secured Boston’s 114-112 victory.

WEEI.com

Brad Stevens inserted Brown into the starting lineup for Marcus Smart and it immediately paid off. Brown went 3-for-3 with six points and a block in the first three minutes of the game, helping Boston get out to an early 8-6 lead. The 76ers answered quickly, though, going on a 10-7 run, thanks to a strong start from Ben Simmons, to take a three-point lead with four minutes remaining in the opening frame.

With a minute left, Tatum drove down the lane and missed a layup, but Smart grabbed the rebound and put it back to tie the game. After a 76ers turnover, Smart shot a bullet pass to Tatum down low for two, giving the C’s a two-point lead with 18.8 seconds to play.

The Sixers fed the ball to Embiid on the ensuing possession, but he missed the shot and the ball went out of bounds to Boston. The Celtics closed it out at the free-throw line.

NESN.com

They were supposed to be the dependable and consistent forces in times like this. They were supposed to be the ones who could keep their cool in pressure situations. But on Wednesday night in Boston, in a win-or-go-home game, Redick, Belinelli, and Ilyasova were ineffective more often than not.

Redick hit a deep three with 3.8 seconds left to play, bringing the Sixers within one point of the Celtics, giving them a glimmer of hope at the end. But he missed two wide-open shots earlier in the fourth quarter that could have given the Sixers some breathing room.

One shot in particular, when the Sixers were leading by 109-107 with just over a minute to play, Redick found himself completely in the open, and it didn’t go down.

Phillynews.com

The Boston Celtics closed out the Eastern Conference semifinal, four games to one, with a 114-112 victory over the Sixers in Game 5 on Wednesday night at TD Garden. Boston will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference finals for the second straight year. Game 1 is expected to be 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

On this night, the Sixers couldn’t overcome their Achilles’ heels — turnovers and missed opportunities.

They committed 17 turnovers in the game and four in the fourth quarter. Joel Embiid also missed an opportunity to knot the score with 12.5 seconds left. That forced the Sixers to put the Celtics on the foul line and they didn’t panic, making 3 of 4 down the stretch to win the game.

Philadelphia Inquirer

The Celtics have a 1-0 second round playoff series lead against the Sixers. Game 2 is Thursday in Boston. The Celtics were quite impressive in Game 1, getting huge performances from Al Horford, Jayson Tatum and a guy by the name of Terry Rozier. The team won’t have Kyrie Irving in these playoffs, but they do hope to get shooting guard Jaylen Brown back soon. They’re being careful, though. Here’s the Boston Herald:

The Celtics continue to practice extreme caution with Jaylen Brown, who tested his strained hamstring during a workout before Wednesday’s practice.

Though Brown will check his leg again during tomorrow morning’s shootaround, he continues to be listed as doubtful for Game 2 tomorrow night against Philadelphia.

And the reason, especially with a balky hamstring, is clear. Brad Stevens doesn’t want his star two guard risking re-injury while chasing the likes of Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick and Marco Belinelli – all very active wing players in their own ways.

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Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga acknowledged Thursday that he interviewed with the Knicks for their coaching vacancy last week.

Larranaga, who is Brad Stevens’ lead assistant, said the interview with the Knicks took place in Milwaukee between Games 3 and 4 of the Celtics’ first-round series with the Bucks.

“They’re in the middle of their process. We’re in the middle of our process,” Larranaga told reporters at the morning shootaround in Milwaukee before Thursday night’s Game 6.

NY Newsday

“Obviously they’re in the middle of their process,’’ Larranaga said. “We’re in the middle of our process. I appreciated them coming out here. Obviously all my focus is on the Milwaukee Bucks.’’

Boston.com

Jaylen Brown scores 21 first quarter points vs Wizards

Jaylen Brown is going to be a very important player for the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs, and he showed why Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards.

Brown dropped 21 points in the first quarter with most of his damage coming from the 3-point line, where he connected on five of seven attempts. He also shot 4-for-4 from the free throw line, while adding three steals and a rebound.

NESN

Celtics sign Jonathan Gibson

The Boston Celtics signed guard Jonathan Gibson today.

Gibson’s lone NBA experience came last season in 2016-17, when he averaged 6.2 points (36.8% FG, 33.3% 3-PT, 72.4% FT), 1.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 13.6 minutes played in 17 games with the Dallas Mavericks.

Gibson (6-2, 185 lbs.) comes to the Celtics after having spent this basketball season competing internationally with the Qingdao Double Star Eagles of the Chinese Basketball Association, where he averaged 33.7 points on 44.6% shooting (37.4% 3-PT, 82.8% FT) to go along with 6.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 38 games (27 starts). The California native ranked fourth in the CBA in scoring, while his 3.9 three-point field goals per game ranked sixth.

The Celtics were able to sign Gibson after the league granted the team a hardship roster spot, following injuries to other Celtics players.

A four-year New Mexico State University product from 2006-07 to 2009-10, Gibson will wear No. 60 for the Celtics.

Here’s what the Boston Celtics say about Kyrie Irving’s knee procedure:

Celtics guard Kyrie Irving today underwent a minimally-invasive procedure to remove a tension wire in his left knee. The wire was originally placed as part of the surgical repair of a fractured patella sustained during the 2015 NBA Finals. While removal of the wire should relieve irritation it was causing in Irving’s patellar tendon, the fractured patella has fully healed and Irving’s knee has been found to be completely structurally sound. Irving is expected to return to basketball activities in 3-6 weeks.

Like a ton of NBA players who can defy gravity, Jaylen Brown is extremely athletic. Sometimes, the ability to fly high in the air can result in a scary crash landing. His fall Thursday was frightening. Fortunately, hours later, Brown mostly seems alright, though an official diagnosis from the team will likely come tomorrow. Here’s WEEI reporting:

Celtics guard Jaylen Brown left the floor under his own power and waved to the fans after suffering a brutal fall onto his head and neck following a breakaway dunk in Thursday’s victory over the Timberwolves.

Brown remained on the floor as a hush fell over the arena after throwing down a dunk with 1:31 left in the third quarter while being fouled. He attempted to hang onto the rim to catch himself, but lost his grip and fell with his body parallel to the floor. Celtics teammates prayed nearby as Brown’s body seized up and he appeared dazed virtually to the point of unconsciousness.

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And here’s the Boston Herald:

Brown went down hard after the jam with 1:31 left in the period. He was fouled on the play by Andrew Wiggins and appeared to grasp the rim for an extra beat. His momentum carried his lower body forward, and he came down on his back, neck and head.

Al Horford immediately rushed over and made sure Brown stayed down until help arrived. Marcus Smart kneeled in seeming prayer on the sideline by the C’s bench. A stretcher was wheeled out while the crowd remained quiet. Brown eventually stood and was able to walk to the Celts dressing room as the crowd erupted in applause.

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Celtics sign Greg Monroe

The Boston Celtics’ signing of center Greg Monroe became official today.

Multiple reports say it’s a one-year contract worth $5 million.

Waived by the Suns on February 1 after being acquired by via a trade with the Bucks on Nov. 7, Monroe is averaging 10.4 points (60.1% FG), 7.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 21.8 minutes in 25 games (14 starts) this season. The New Orleans, LA native recorded 11.3 points on 62.6% shooting and 8.0 rebounds in addition to his six double-doubles in 20 games with the Suns.

Originally drafted by Detroit with the seventh overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Monroe has produced career averages of 13.9 points (51.4% FG, 70.4% FT), 8.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 29.3 minutes in 563 games (415 starts) with the Pistons, Bucks and Suns.

Monroe recorded a scoring average of at least 15.0 points in five consecutive seasons from 2011-12 to 2015-16, making him one of five NBA centers to accomplish that feat during the same timeframe (Aldridge, Bosh, Cousins, B. Lopez). He has finished each of his last six seasons with a scoring average in double figures.

A two-year collegiate standout at Georgetown University, Monroe hauled in a career-best 10.2 rebounds in 69 games for Detroit in 2014-15 in what stands as his only NBA season with a double-double average (15.9 ppg).

Monroe will wear no. 55 for the Celtics.

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