Archive for the ‘ Boston Celtics Blog ’ Category

Kemba Walker has had a bit of trouble during his NBA career when facing LeBron James teams. Here’s Boston.com reporting:

Kemba Walker finally did it. He finally defeated LeBron James.

The three-time All-Star was 0-28 in his career in his team’s games against James entering Monday night’s Lakers-Celtics matchup.

That changed Monday after the Celtics’ 139-107 win. Walker scored 20 points in the win and improved his all-time record against James to 1-28.

Walker was drafted first round in 2011, and played for the Charlotte Hornets all these years until 2019-20 when he became a Celtic. Which helps explain his longtime struggles against NBA teams with LeBron James on them. But still, that was a heck of a streak.

Congrats, Kemba. Today, you are a champion. Kinda.

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown and New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram have been named NBA Players of the Week, for games played December 23-29, 2019. With Brown as the Eastern conference Player of the Week and Ingram from the West.

It’s the first time in Brown’s four-year career he’s received Player of the Week honors.

Brown, 23, averaged a team-high 27.0 points on 62.2% shooting (57.9% 3-PT), 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steal over three games at Toronto and at home against Cleveland and Toronto. He was the only Eastern Conference competitor to produce at least 25.0 points on 60.0% shooting throughout the week.

The fourth-year forward reached the 30-point mark in both of Boston’s victories, including a career-high 34-point performance on 13-of-20 shooting (5-10 3-PT) against the Cavaliers on Dec. 27. Brown scored 30 points (76.9% FG) the previous game on Christmas Day in Toronto, marking the first time in his career he’s produced 30+ points in consecutive games.

Brown is the first Celtics player to receive Player of the Week honors since guard Isaiah Thomas did so in Feb. of 2017.

In 27 games this season (all starts), Brown is averaging 20.6 points (51.8% FG, 40.0% 3-PT), 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 33.6 minutes played. He’s one of four NBA players averaging at least 20.0 points on 51.0% shooting in 2019-20, joining Giannis Antetokounmpo, Karl-Anthony Towns and DeMar DeRozan.

Ingram helped lead New Orleans to a 4-0 week while averaging 25.3 points on .493 shooting from the floor, including .542 from three-point range and a perfect 1.000 from the free throw line, as well as 7.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.0 steals. The fourth-year pro finished the week ranked fourth in the NBA in total points scored (101), was one of four players to average at least 25.0 points while shooting over .450 from the field and over .500 from three-point range (of the four, Ingram held the highest FT%), and was one of just two players in the NBA to average at least 25.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.0 steals. Ingram led the Pelicans in scoring three out of their four games, and assists twice. On Christmas Day, Ingram connected on a career-high seven three-pointers at Denver, setting a new NBA Christmas Day record for three-point field goals by an individual.

Ingram becomes the eighth player in franchise history to earn Player of the Week honors, joining Baron Davis, Jamaal Magloire, Chris Paul, David West, Greivis Vasquez, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. It is the first time in Ingram’s career he has earned Player of the Week honors.

In 30 games this season, Ingram is averaging 25.3 points (10th in NBA), 7.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.0 steals.

Celtics backup center Vincent Poirier underwent surgery this morning to fix a fracture of the proximal phalanx on his right pinkie finger.

Poirier is expected to return to play in 4-6 weeks.

The Celtics are 17-7 so far this season. Poirier has played in just nine games, averaging 1.7 points in 4.9 minutes per outing.

Marcus Smart dealing with eye infection

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, one of the team’s most important players, is dealing with a lingering eye infection. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting:

The infection in the Celtics guard’s left eye that has kept him out of the team’s last three games has now spread to his right eye, coach Brad Stevens said after practice on Monday.

Smart wasn’t at the Celtics practice facility as the team returned Monday and it’s uncertain when he will be back. Either way, his status seems to be in jeopardy as the Celtics return to action on Wednesday night at Dallas.

“You’re worried about it but I was told this particular type of infection could be 7-10 days,” Stevens said Monday. “We’re at seven now.”

The Celtics are 17-7 this season. Smart has started 15 of 20 games played and is averaging 11.8 points and 4.6 assists per game, and is one of the team’s key defensive players.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

 

 

A post shared by Gordon Hayward (@gordonhayward) on

Gordon Hayward’s return date for the Boston Celtics is soon. Very soon. Possibly even tomorrow.

Here’s Boston.com reporting:

Celtics forward Gordon Hayward says he could return from his left fractured hand as early as Monday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Tomorrow is a possibility,” a smiling Hayward said Sunday at the Auerbach Center. “We’ll see how I feel when I wake up and go through shootaround.”

Hayward returned to practice Sunday for the first time since suffering the injury in the second quarter of a game against the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 9.

And here’s the Boston Herald:

And once he takes the court again, Hayward can do it with the knowledge that unless the screws in his hand start to bother him, he won’t have to have them removed. Instead, the greatest challenge now, beyond tolerance to pain whenever someone whacks him on the hand, is getting back into basketball shape.

The Celtics are 16-5 this season, which through Saturday’s games places them third best in the entire league.

Very few athletes are tough enough to become WWE wrestlers. But NBA players aren’t like most athletes.

TMZ.com reports the following:

Enes Kanter already has a sick retirement plan in place when his NBA career comes to an end … telling TMZ Sports he’s already in talks to join WWE full time!!!

Of course, the Boston Celtics star is no stranger to the squared circle — he VERY briefly held the 24/7 Championship at Monday Night Raw back in September, but then lost it moments later to R-Truth.

Kanter is listed at 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, which by wrestler standards places him on the lighter side when taking his height into account. But it’s still easy to visualize him as a future wrestler. And almost as importantly, it seems like he’d have a lot of fun and would put his heart into it. So here’s hoping it happens.

But for now, the Celtics center, still just 27 years old, has many NBA years left to play.

In a must-watch game of upper Eastern conference teams Wednesday, the Boston Celtics handed the Miami Heat a loss.

The Boston Herald had this to say:

Miami came in with a homewrecking reputation. The Heat was the first road team to win in Milwaukee and Toronto this year — the latter on Tuesday night.

And when the Celtics fell behind by 11 points in the second quarter last night, the locals appeared headed down a familiar path. Ultimately, they remain undefeated at home.

By the time Jaylen Brown had hit his sixth 3-pointer with just under six minutes left last night, though, the threat was cleared away. The Celtics beat Miami, 112-93, with the wing forward scoring a season-high 31 points — one shy of tying his career high. Brown also spent most of his night chasing and being chased by Miami’s Jimmy Butler.

The latter, who has led the Heat’s hot start, led both sides with 37 points and six 3-pointers.

The best East teams early this season have been the Bucks, followed in no particular order by the Raptors, Celtics, Sixers and Heat. Anytime any of these teams play each other is must-watch. And once the Pacers have Victor Oladipo back in action, they’ll be in that mix as well. They’re almost there right now.

The Miami Heat (15-5) visit the Boston Celtics (14-5) tonight in a game that definitely has our interest. Each team’s most recent game results are below.

THE MOST RECENT HEAT GAME

MIAMI HEAT 121, TORONTO RAPTORS 110 [OT] (12/3/19)

The Miami HEAT became the first team to get a win in Toronto this season after defeating the Raptors, 121-110, in overtime. Miami shot 54.2 percent from the field in the first as they took a nine-point, 32-23, lead after one. Toronto was able to cut the HEAT lead by four in the second as Miami held a five-point, 58-53, lead at the half. The Raptors shot 58.8 percent from the field in the third, again cutting the HEAT lead, this time to two, 83-81, entering the fourth quarter. Miami held their lead throughout the fourth until Toronto took a one-point, 108-107, lead with 43.2 seconds remaining. Jimmy Butler would hit 1-of-2 free throws on the HEAT’s next possession as each team missed their final shots, sending the game into overtime. Butler began overtime quickly scoring the first eight points as Miami went on to outscore the Raptors 13-2 in the quarter to take the, 121-100, victory. Butler finished with a 22-point, 13-rebound, 12-assist triple-double as Duncan Robinson scored 22 and Justise Winslow added 17 off the bench. Norman Powell led Toronto with 23.

THE MOST RECENT CELTICS GAME

BOSTON 113, NEW YORK 104 – Madison Square Garden, New York, NY (12/1/19)

The Celtics turned up the defense in the fourth quarter as they came from behind to beat the Knicks 113-104 at MSG…Jayson Tatum scored a game-high 30 points to go along with a career-high seven assists while Jaylen Brown added 28 points and five boards…Kemba Walker picked up his first double-double with 16 points and 10 assists while Enes Kanter also added a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds…The Knicks were led by Julius Randle and his 26 points and five rebounds while Dennis Smith Jr. added 17 points and seven assists off the bench.

Kemba Walker set to return for Celtics

 

View this post on Instagram

 

 

 

A post shared by Kemba Walker (@_kw15) on

The Celtics are close to getting guard Kemba Walker (neck sprain) back in action. The team today listed him as “probable” for tomorrow’s home game in Boston against the Brooklyn Nets.

At 12-4, the Celtics are tied this season with the Heat and Raptors for the Eastern conference’s second best record, behind the 14-3 Bucks.

Although Kemba Walker is a point guard, his primary role on Boston has been that of a scorer. He leads the team in points per game at 21.1 PPG, and is second on the team in assists per game at 4.7 APG (Marcus Smart is first at 5.1 APG).

An observation that for now we will pretend is a totally random thing to mention right now: Celtics team success this season has come more from defense than offense.

We’ll be watching the team in the coming weeks specifically to see who creates scoring opportunities for others.

In the meantime, Walker is fitting in, and the team is winning.

This blog entry pulled you in all sorts of directions. We know.

 

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

 

 

 

A post shared by Gordon Hayward (@gordonhayward) on

There is some news on Celtics forward Gordon Hayward, though it does not indicate any sort of change in the timing of his eventual return from injury.

According to the Boston Herald, “nothing’s changed with his timeline — Gordon Hayward is still expected to be out until late December as he recovers from left hand surgery — but the Celtics forward shot around following yesterday’s practice without any protection on the hand.”

The Celtics are 11-4 this season, and have lost two straight games. They received fortunate news regarding guard Kemba Walker, who suffered what appeared to be a potentially scary injury but wound up merely being day-to-day. The team’s next game is tomorrow at home against the Sacramento Kings.

Playing on the road in Denver, the Celtics lost Kemba Walker to injury, and also lost 96-92 to the Nuggets.

Walker was taken off the court on a stretcher, taken to a hospital, diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms, but fortunately was quickly released and cleared to return with the team for their trip back home to Boston.

The Celtics say Walker will be re-evaluated tomorrow.

According to Boston.com, “the injury occurred with three minutes left in the second quarter when Walker hit his head against teammate Semi Ojeleye’s chest when going after a loose ball.”

The Celtics are already without forward Gordon Hayward, who is missing extended time due to a hand injury. But it sounds like they will hopefully have Walker back in action soon.

The next Celtics game is Monday in Boston against the Sacramento Kings.

The Celtics are a disappointing 11-10 so far this season. Not the start that was expected of them. Fortunately, it’s a long season, and if as the playoffs approach they start playing more like they contender they have the ability to be, October and November’s results will mostly be forgotten about. One bright spot so far has been the play of Marcus Morris. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting:

In the realm of predictions, perhaps only Marcus Morris could see this happening.

The Celtics forward, who became irreplaceable over the first 21 games this season as an off-the-bench scorer, has also emerged as the Celtics’ best two-way player.

And after Monday’s win in New Orleans, when the additions of Morris and Marcus Smart to the starting lineup helped galvanize one of the team’s few impressive performances this season, he may be part of a new-look starting lineup.

“May,” because when Jaylen Brown returns from back trouble (he’s expected to be a scratch tonight against Cleveland) there’s a chance Brad Stevens returns to his former rotation. The Celtics coach is clearly still weighing various rotational possibilities.

More: Full article

The Celtics are a modest 7-5 so far this season and look like they have a way to go in their quest to become an NBA Finals contender. It’s early in the season so there’s no reason to panic. One key young Celtics that certainly should improve as the season progresses is Jayson Tatum, who through 12 games played is shooting just 40.3% FG. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting:

Jayson Tatum facing tougher defense this season

Asked about the way opponents are guarding him differently this season, Jayson Tatum is understated but direct.

“They’re not giving me as much space this year,” the Celtics forward said this week.

Intensified attention was a given for Tatum after having quite possibly the best year by a Celtics rookie since Paul Pierce.

Pierce fought his way through by becoming one of the best in the NBA at scoring through contact. Tatum, who admits he’s getting bounced around a bit, is learning how to adjust to more physical play now.

Full Article

There was no real reason to expect Kyrie Irving to leave the Celtics as a free agent next summer. He’s got a great role. An excellent team. A young squad that should keep getting better. And right now, the team has just as clear a path to the NBA Finals as his LeBron James-led Cavs squad did.

Kyrie wanting out of Cleveland was a surprise, too. But there’s no reason to expect the same in regard to Boston. And now he’s said so himself, not in those exact words, but close enough. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting:

The annual Celtics season ticketholder fan fest is a generally fun affair, notable mainly for skills contests among the players.

But Kyrie Irving made Thursday night’s event something that will be spoken of for years. While the All-Star guard has been hinting strongly since he returned to town for training camp that he will be remaining with the club when he opts out of his contract next summer, he went a loud step further during a panel discussion on the parquet floor.

Rising from his chair, microphone in hand, Irving told the crowd, “If you’ll have me back, I plan on re-signing here next year.”

Evidently, it wasn’t such a spur of the moment remark. Irving told team officials he planned on making the statement tonight, though he saved it for the larger crowd after an earlier media session backstage.

The Celtics are must-watch these days, because they’re an excellent team, fun to watch, and also to see how they work Gordon Hayward into the mix.

The 2018-19 NBA preseason began Friday, with a Hornets victory over the Celtics. Some quotes on the game:

Charlotte Observer: “Jeremy Lamb says his dream growing up was to be an NBA starter. That didn’t look plausible based on most of his pro career to date, but he sure made a case in the Charlotte Hornets’ first exhibition. Lamb, starting at shooting guard, hit three of his five 3-pointers, finishing with 15 points and looking generally impressive in the Hornets’ 104-97 victory over the Boston Celtics at the Smith Center on North Carolina’s campus.”

The Observer on Celtics guard Kyrie Irving: “The Celtics’ point guard looked sharp in his first game back since a knee procedure in March that ended his season.”

Boston Herald: “Gordon Hayward’s first game in roughly a year had predictable rust, and the equally expected self-critique by the Celtics forward when it was all over. But forget about the warts and the Celtics’ 104-97 loss to Charlotte in their exhibition season opener in the Dean Smith Center. He was playing again. “It definitely was (a small victory),” Hayward said after scoring 10 points in 22 front-loaded minutes. “I’ve been through a lot this last year. Just to be out there in front of the fans and playing with my teammates – there were moments last year when I definitely was not able to do that. Definitely a win.”

Marcus Smart out for Celtics tonight

Preseason is a warmup period. Many stars play sparingly. Plenty of players suffer very minor bumps and bruises and wind up sitting out more than probably necessary, just to be on the safe side. But personal tragedy, which Marcus Smart recently suffered, as his mother recently passed away, can of course happen at any time. Here’s the Boston Globe:

The Celtics will begin their preseason without guard Marcus Smart, who did not make the trip with his teammates to North Carolina and will miss Friday’s opener because of what the team called personal reasons.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Smart is expected back with the team Saturday or for Sunday’s game against Charlotte and that Smart is physically healthy. Smart, 24, is still grieving following the death of his mother, Camellia, on Sept. 16 and admitted moving on from her passing has been difficult.

Preseason begins tonight, with the Celtics facing the Hornets.

Kyrie Irving focusing on staying healthy

Yes, every pro athlete tries to stay healthy. That’s probably your first reaction to the headline. But it’s not that simple, obviously. NBA players are paid to give their all. And in the playoffs, more than that. Sure, players take it slightly “easier” in the regular season than the postseason, but nothing about playing pro basketball is easy. And now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here’s the Boston Herald reporting on Kyrie Irving:

There’s a lot of miles in those 26-year-old legs, and as such the Celtics guard is tweaking his pre-game routine – most mundane, but all geared to readiness.

“It’s figuring out what works best for you,” said Irving. “My routine has been pretty much the same for eight straight years, but now it’s time to do things to better suit my body.”

Health has always been a major consideration for Irving. He’s never played a full NBA season, with only three times when Irving played 70 or more regular season games. His high-usage mark was a 75-game season in 2014-15.

Last season’s travails limited him to 60 games, so now’s the time to make adjustments.

The Celtics are the clear East favorite entering the 2018-19 season, and Irving remains a big key to their success.

NBA preseason action begins tonight with Celtics vs Hornets as the lone matchup. The Celtics remain built around Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford, with support from Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart, Aron Baynes and Terry Rozier. The Hornets are built around Kemba Walker, aging new addition Tony Parker, Jeremy Lamb, Nicolas Batum, and a big supporting cast, some of which will have to emerge as leaders for the Hornets to go anywhere. Here’s the Boston Herald with some notes on key Celtics items to watch:

Having gotten to see Gordon Hayward for all of five minutes and 15 seconds last season before he suffered an horrific lower leg injury, it will be interesting to see how he’s moving in the first game with brighter lights and referees and a crowd…

Kyrie Irving’s season-ending surgery wasn’t as traumatic in nature as Hayward’s injury. And, by all accounts, he’s been just fine physically in camp and in the pickup games that preceded it. What we’re interested in more is how he runs the show…

In that it won’t be a regular game rotation, it will be hard to get a handle on how Stevens will use his bigs. But if Al Horford is going to play mainly at center, we’ll be curious to see how Aron Baynes and Daniel Theis are able to find their respective grooves…

Even with being such a high draft pick (third overall), Jayson Tatum still had a better than expected rookie season. Now he’s had time to catch his breath and put in offseason work that included time with Kobe Bryant. His mates all say he’s demonstrably better, and even with the limited looks that come in the preseason, we’re looking forward to seeing it.

Full article

Danny Ainge discusses Kyrie Irving

Entering the 2018-19 season (preseason starts Friday!) the Celtics are the clear East favorites to reach the NBA Finals. But, the games must still be played. Nothing is automatic. A big thing for Boston is getting a healthy Kyrie Irving back in action, alongside of course Gordon Hayward, who missed roughly 99.9% of last season and is now good to go. Here’s Danny Ainge discussing Irving, as reported by the Boston Herald:

As for what he’s looking forward to most with Irving back from his knee maintenance issues that necessitated a second surgery when an infection was found, Ainge said, “I think just having Kyrie’s leadership around the whole year, having him be on the court. He did a lot of good things, like texting the players. He was the biggest cheerleader for Jaylen (Brown) and Jayson (Tatum) and Terry (Rozier) and Marcus (Smart/Morris) and all those guys last year when he wasn’t playing.

“But just having him on the court at the end of games is the thing I’m looking most forward to and having a guy that can beat switches and make shots and make lots of plays. He’s a very special player.”

Ainge is getting no additional pleasure from the fact Irving is talking more about his future in Boston beyond this season in recent interviews. This after being fairly coy about his plans after he does as expected and opts out of his deal next summer to sign a more lucrative and lengthy contract.

Full article

Klay Thompson impressed by Celtics

Every once in a while, an NBA player on a good team will actually name other good teams when asked. Not always. But here’s Boston.com reporting what Warriors SG Klay Thompson had to say:

The Celtics aren’t the only ones who like the team they’ve built in Boston.

Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson is a fan, too.

“I like the team out East in Boston,” Thompson told ESPN during Warriors media day on Monday. “They’ve got a very nice young team. One through five, man, they’ve got a team that kind of mirrors ours, as far as their length, guys who can shoot and play defense, and an unselfish way about things. So, I think that they are going to be a team to reckon with.”

Full article

Basketball blog