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Defining Evan Turner

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Evan Turner continues to be a pleasant surprise at point guard.

It may look like it, but that’s not a declarative statement. It’s a thought that’s floated in many Celtics fans heads. It’s a string of words Mike Gorman lets fly about every other broadcast. It’s an idea that pops up and just kinda hangs there like a bubble. It’s real, but how tangible is it?

Turner had assembled some impressive stat lines. In January alone, he had 29 points, five rebounds and six assists in Chicago; 10, 10 and six against the Clippers; and 19, seven and seven against Golden State. He’s a bit of a Jack of all trades, master of none, which, on the spectrum of backhanded compliments, is pretty much the best one you can get. At the base level, Turner helps the Celtics in many areas—and on a team with guards that have trouble creating their own offense, Turner’s ability to penetrate and bang home a nifty little 14-foot jumper has real value. Read the rest of this entry »

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Game 44 Grades: T’Wolves 110, Celtics 98

Boston Celtics 98 FinalRecap | Box Score 110 Minnesota Timberwolves
Jared Sullinger, PF 34 MIN | 6-16 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | -22 +/-
Sully was really overmatched tonight; he had no idea what to do with either Pekovic or Dieng. The Bass-Sullinger pairing is much better than other options offensively, but they won’t beat above average frontlines like Minesota unless they max out on energy, and they did not have it tonight.

Brandon Bass, PF 22 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | -9 +/-
Same as Sully, but Bass gets a bump for scaring the bejeezus out of me with those dunks in the second.

Jae Crowder, SF 15 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -6 +/-
Remember when Crowder was the steal of the Rondo trade? I still think he’ll be fine, but it’s been a pretty up-and-down stretch lately, with more down.

Avery Bradley, PG 37 MIN | 5-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -17 +/-
Linking to Tom’s notebook from earlier today because it accurately describes my feelings on Avery, except tonight the shots weren’t even falling. Some good defense and ball-hawking in the first half was a bit of a consolation prize.

Evan Turner, SG 27 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -5 +/-
Turner hasn’t looked quite right for a few games – still a bit sloppy tonight, and he got torched by every man he was assigned to tonight. Not sure if it’s fatigue or the hand woes.

Gerald Wallace, SF 7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1 +/-
The “veteran presence” magic wasn’t quite there tonight.

Tayshaun Prince, SF 23 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +3 +/-
Continues to be unbelievably efficient. I have not been displeased with any of Prince’s performances in green. Which means he’ll probably be gone in a week.

Tyler Zeller, C 20 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -2 +/-
In general he was OK; Pekovic and Dieng are the sort of giants that he normally gets enveloped by, and tonight wasn’t as bad as usual. But it was still not great.

Phil Pressey, PG 9 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +3 +/-
I was pondering a better grade for Pressey – he had some quality plays out there tonight, and he helped the C’s briefly get back into the game – and then I remembered the last couple of shots he took and how much they hurt my brain.

Marcus Smart, PG 24 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-1 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | -6 +/-
The only player whose performance genuinely excited me tonight. A couple of boneheaded mistakes and missed rotations as is currently the norm for him, but other than that a pretty solid “Here’s Your Rising Star Showcase For You, Dingbats” game for Smart.

Marcus Thornton, SG 14 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | -4 +/-
I gotta say, the hot streaks have been few and far between for Marcus this year, but when he’s on he’s pretty fun to watch. Wish there were more 3′s, but what can you do.

James Young, SG 8 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +4 +/-
Average rookie play. *shrug*

Brad Stevens
Find a new flavor of Gatorade for halftime, Brad. But .500 ball and some really encouraging signs of improvement is about all we can ask for. Also got a kick out of the full court press while down 11 with a minute to go. Teaching moments!

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Game 44 Preview: Boston Celtics (16-27) @ Minnesota Timberwolves (7-37)

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Photo courtesy of @CSNNE

 

Tonight the Celtics finish their Western Conference road trip with a visit to the Target Center to face the Timberwolves. The Celtics defeated Minnesota 114-98 when the two met December 19th in Boston.

Last time around, Shabazz Muhammad led the Wolves with 26 points while Kelly Olynyk dropped 21 for the C’s. Both will miss tonight’s game due to injuries, and Muhammad joins a long list of disabled Timberwolves that includes Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, and Robbie Hummel.

The Wolves come into tonight’s contest 22nd in points per game and dead last in points allowed.  A win tonight is surely within reach and would make the Celtics 4-2 on their road trip. Here are a few other things to look out for:

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Boston Celtics Morning Notebook: Avery Bradley’s Decisions, Marcus Smart’s Heartache & more

Avery Bradley is making $8 million per year essentially to play really solid wing defense, so it’s surprising how often we get bogged down talking about his offense. Bradley was excellent on Sunday against Golden State, so why don’t we have a screenshot and video breakdown of how he affected Steph Curry and why that was so impactful on the game?

There are a lot of reasons, but one of the most pertinent is that Bradley could be worth so much more than $8 million per year if his offense catches up to his defense. Celtics fans would love to believe that Danny Ainge nabbed a big financial break with Bradley, so his offense frequently takes on a larger narrative than his defense.

With that in mind, here’s the ever-brilliant Zach Lowe on Bradley in his latest column:

Bradley isn’t a bad pull-up shooter. He’s hit 34 percent of his pull-up jumpers this season, below average for a high-volume guy, but not disastrously so. There are just games when it feels like the long pull-up 2-pointer is the only off-the-bounce weapon Bradley trusts. He has some clean driving lanes coming off a screen, but he rarely takes them, short-circuiting chances to knife into the teeth of the defense.

Let’s head to the tape! Read the rest of this entry »

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Game 43 Grades: Boston Celtics 99, Utah Jazz 90

Boston Celtics 99 FinalRecap | Box Score 90 Utah Jazz
Jared Sullinger, PF 27 MIN | 4-10 FG | 3-3 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 12 PTS | +12 +/-
Uninteresting stat-line, but held his own against one of the toughest front-lines in the league. Great defensive rotations, some heady passes off the pick’n'roll, etc. Glad to see some consistency from Sully over this recent stretch.

Brandon Bass, PF 25 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -21 +/-
Death, taxes, and an efficient serving of points and boards for Bass. Some things just happen.

Jae Crowder, SF 16 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -5 +/-
Crowder played really good defense on Hayward in the first half. It was interesting to see him get the hook so quickly in the second, but things were going south in a hurry so I guess I can’t be that picky.

Avery Bradley, PG 29 MIN | 4-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +4 +/-
A lot of B-’s so far, but that’s what happens when you play wonderful and terrible for equal amounts of time. Second iffy shooting night in a row for AB, which is too bad. His defense continues to return to normal after a slow start to the year, and he held Exum in check all night.

Evan Turner, SG 21 MIN | 2-7 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +2 +/-
Wayyyyyyy too many sloppy plays from Turner in the first quarter, and the injury/re-aggravation of his hand injury didn’t help his cause. Just looked off tonight.

Gerald Wallace, SF 14 MIN | 0-0 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | +10 +/-
He was one of the primary catalysts for the defense that forced all those second quarter turnovers. I hope the young guys are watching him work professionally after all this time on the bench; he’s setting a great example.

Tayshaun Prince, SF 30 MIN | 7-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 19 PTS | +16 +/-
Has Prince made a poor decision since he’s arrived in Boston (other than not forcing a buyout har har har)? If he has, I can’t remember it. Pretty flawless game all around tonight.

Tyler Zeller, C 29 MIN | 6-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +15 +/-
Thrilled with the output, but Tyler has yet to show he can handle any semi-talented big on defense. For someone who plays center, this seems like it might be an issue going forward.

Marcus Smart, PG 29 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +7 +/-
First half: B+/A-, great off-ball playmaking, spot-on defense.
Second half: D+/C-, struggled to run the offense, gambled/helped too much on defense.Hedging it and moving on, glad to have him back.

Marcus Thornton, SG 19 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +5 +/-
First half: D+/C-, nonexistent
Second half: B+/A-, sparked the fourth quarter run that put the lead at a safer distance.Again, hedging it and moving on, although it was nice to see him have a good run of consecutive offensive plays in the 4th.

Brad Stevens
Third quarter was abysmal, but this team is showing improvement here and there every night, and going 3-1 in a 4-in-5 on a Western Conference swing is pretty stellar. Also, this team is STILL within reach of the playoffs. Who would’ve thought that after the Rondo trade?

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Avery Bradley in Year Five: Is He Making Strides?

AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhThe following is a post written by guest CelticsHub contributor Jordan Greer

Avery Bradley seemed ready for a breakout season. In 2013-14, he averaged a career-high 14.9 points per game in a significantly larger role on a rebuilding team. He signed a four-year deal in July of last year worth $32 million, a sign of confidence in his abilities from Danny Ainge and the Celtics front office.

While the contract is not a bad one and will be relatively cheap as the salary cap expands under a new TV deal, Boston has not gotten the consistent production out of its shooting guard that it would like. Of course, not all of this is on Bradley. It’s difficult to maintain a certain level of play when you aren’t sure who will be sitting next to you on the bench from week to week.

Bradley’s teammates on the floor make a big impact on his effectiveness offensively. He is not a major creator off the dribble, and he takes a ton of catch-and-shoot jumpers or one-dribble pull-ups. This means he relies on good passes for much of his scoring.

Of the 213 field goals Bradley has made this season, 158 of them were assisted shots (74 percent). Break it down further to his 58 made three-pointers, and 54 from behind the arc were assisted (93 percent). Read the rest of this entry »

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Grades: Golden State Warriors 114, Boston Celtics 111

Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Boston Celtics 111 Final
Recap | Box Score
114 Golden State Warriors
Brandon Bass, PF 30 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-3 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | 0 +/-

Another decent showcase for Bass, although at this point, it’s hard to imagine any team is unaware of what he brings to the table. Spoiler alert: It’s mid-range shooting and some defense/rebounding.

Jared Sullinger, PF 30 MIN | 9-17 FG | 7-9 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 26 PTS | 0 +/-

Are you one of the people who would like to see Sullinger play more in the paint? If so, you probably enjoyed tonight’s game, since Sully bruised his way to an efficient 26 points. Take away his 3-point attempts, and he would have finished a sterling 8-for-12 from the field. Excellent stuff.

Jae Crowder, SF 21 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -1 +/-

Crowder contributed on the defensive end, but not enough to raise his grade to B-levels.

Avery Bradley, PG 32 MIN | 5-16 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | 0 +/-

Throw out the inefficient shooting — Bradley gets an A- for being the defender most responsible for Steph Curry’s relatively quiet night.

Evan Turner, SG 32 MIN | 7-12 FG | 4-6 FT | 7 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 19 PTS | -5 +/-

I realize my grading has been overwhelmingly positive so far, but I’m sorry, look at that stat line. It’s packed, efficient and generally solid — a player working within his own skill level.

Gerald Wallace, SF 12 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -2 +/-

Wallace played primarily power forward and scored three layups around the rim, which were his first three field goals since December 12. That’s about all I have to say about that.

Tayshaun Prince, SF 19 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -7 +/-

A relatively low-impact 19 minutes.

Tyler Zeller, C 21 MIN | 6-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +1 +/-

Zeller’s shooting percentages have dipped, but they are still well above 50 percent.

Phil Pressey, PG 16 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | 0 +/-

I liked what I saw from Pressey, and not just in an ironic “Oh, get Phil some minutes!” kind of way. He’s got confidence in his jumper, and he made some really nice passes. Overall, he did what he needed to do in his role off the bench.

James Young, SG 15 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | +4 +/-

Young’s one field goal — a 3-pointer — looked really good, and I love his stroke, but he looks out of his element in NBA games so far. Bright future, though.

Marcus Thornton, SG 14 MIN | 1-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -5 +/-

Buckets was not particularly buckets-y tonight.

Brad Stevens

Stevens game-planned well for Curry and Thompson as long-range shooters, which resulted in roughly 9,000 floaters for Thompson. Such is life. The Celtics fought to the final buzzer, and even though they never really had a chance, you have to give them (and their coach) credit for being game to try.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.

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Game 42 Preview: Boston Celtics (15-26) @ Golden State Warriors (35-6)

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Photo courtesy of @Warriors_Spain

The Celtics have officially hit the midway point in the season. To celebrate, they’ll by facing the league’s number one team, and on the road no less.

Boston is riding a two-game win streak, picking up W’s in consecutive wire to wire games. Halfway through the season, Boston is 11 games below .500 but just two games out of the playoffs.

The Warriors, on the other hand, are cruising through their 2014-15 campaign on the continued rise of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and NBA champion turned head coach Steve Kerr. With a fast paced, team first mentality, Golden State is one of the better teams the NBA has seen in quite some time. Here we go.

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Game 41 Grades: Celtics 100, Nuggets 99

Boston Celtics 100 FinalRecap | Box Score 99 Denver Nuggets
Jared Sullinger, PF 29 MIN | 5-13 FG | 4-8 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | +2 +/-

Solid night for Sully, and he really shot the ball well. Hard to overlook going 0-4 from three and 17 offensive rebounds for the Nuggets, though.

Brandon Bass, PF 35 MIN | 5-12 FG | 7-8 FT | 9 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | -8 +/-

Scored six points early, and in his second consecutive start, Bass provided consistency and stability for the Celtics. Also his second consecutive game with 5 assists; there were numerous “Brandon Pass” tweets.

Jae Crowder, SF 22 MIN | 3-3 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +4 +/-

Crowder was a bit of a ghost early in the game but really impacted the second half. He did his best work on the defensive end, not to mention knocked in 2 from beyond the arc.

Avery Bradley, PG 30 MIN | 7-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | +2 +/-

AB had two monster threes in the fourth and sank a fadeaway jumper late in the shot clock to put the Celtics up one with 25 seconds left. 63% from the field, 80% from three, and 6 rebounds, all from someone who the Nuggets announcers repeatedly said “can’t shoot”. No, I didn’t watch the game illegally online…

Evan Turner, SG 28 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-2 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -10 +/-

With the Celtics up 1 and fourteen seconds to play, Turner missed two straight free throws, nearly costing Boston the game. Still, 10 points and 6 assists in 27 minutes is certainly solid. The Evan Turner Point Guard Show has been good tv as of late.

Gerald Wallace, SF 8 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +4 +/-

Crash knows what he’s doing on defense, and even if he didn’t fill the stat sheet, he ended up a +4.

Tayshaun Prince, SF 17 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +1 +/-

Prince played good D on Jameer Nelson during the final play, picked up 2 blocks on the night, and like Gerald Wallace, executed the way you would expect him too. Nothing flashy, but solid none the less.

Tyler Zeller, C 23 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +6 +/-

50% from the field and six boards for TZ is especially encouraging because it looks as if he’s regained his footing after a bit of a slump early this month. That being said, he’s not off the hook for the 17 Denver offensive rebounds, either.

Phil Pressey, PG 16 MIN | 1-4 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +5 +/-

Pressey was aggressive, I’ll give him that, but he was a little too restless on defense. He ended up playing 16 minutes, likely because of Marcus Smart’s 5 personal fouls, and not because he played particularly well.

Marcus Smart, PG 14 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | 0 +/-

Smart had a really nice stretch at the close of the third where he passed the ball well while running a very convincing pick and roll. Still, outside of that he was a bit of a non factor for this one.

Marcus Thornton, SG 18 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -1 +/-

Sort of a shoulder shrug kind of game for Thornton. Nothing memorable, and not much to show for considering he got a good amount of burn. There’s always next game.

Brad Stevens

Coach Stevens wasn’t down in the trenches, but I’m going to pin some of the blame for that whole 17 offensive rebounds thing on the Coach. Few people could have predicted such good play from Jameer Nelson, and really the Celtics played well wire to wire.

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Game 41 Preview: Boston Celtics (14-26) @ Denver Nuggets (18-24)

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Photo courtesy of @Winnibet

 

Late last night the Celtics pulled out an impressive win in Portland behind the late game heroics of Evan Turner. ET’s pocket three ball was the cherry on top of a solid outing for Boston. Among other things, they held a very good Trail Blazers team to just 88 points.

(To see how the final moments were played out, we’ve got you covered).

The Celtics were slated to face yet another of the West’s deadly point guards, heading to Denver to take on Ty Lawson and the Nuggets. As of 1:20am friday morning, however, none other than Jameer Nelson will likely get the start for Denver. We’ll discuss.

The Nuggets are a bit of an enigma for me. I know how deep the West is, and logically I can understand that its sort of a “this conference ain’t big enough for the 12 of us” sort of thing. That being said, Denver has serious talent and a good head coach in Brian Shaw. Shouldn’t they be better? We’ll discuss that too.

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