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Isaiah Thomas: I Want to Be The Best Little Guy to Ever Play Basketball

Isiah Thomas; Lou WilliamsCeltics point guard Isaiah Thomas was back in town on Boston to take part in a back-to-school community event in Roslindale in conjunction with the Celtics organization. The speedy guard has been active on the court this summer after undergoing minor surgery on his wrist back at the early stages of the offseason. Back healthy for his first full season in Boston, the 5-foot-9 guard is committed to make a bigger name for himself on an improved roster.

What kind of heights is he shooting for? Our buddy Jay King of Masslive.com has the impressive goal for Thomas:

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Thomas has a long way to go but reaching those lofty standards, but the drive from the fifth-year player is impressive nonetheless. That motivation should continue to work wonders under Brad Stevens’ guidance, even though it will be tough to reach those goals if the head coach elects to keep bringing him in off the bench.  

That wasn’t the only item of note from the Thomas media availability, as the veteran gave his two cents on a number of topics surrounding the Cs this offseason. Read the rest of this entry »

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Isaiah Thomas Faces Off With Floyd Mayweather in Basketball

Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 2.06.18 PMIsaiah Thomas and Floyd Mayweather have a friendship that goes back about five years. Mayweather has bought Thomas a Bentley, cheered him on in Vegas Summer League and been an admirer of the speedster’s court skills.

Showtime All-Access Sports is going behind the scenes with Mayweather for his upcoming fight and allowed us to get a glimpse of this Thomas/Mayweather friendship up close. The pair hit the court together for some pickup basketball, and the amount of defense being played in these clips would probably make Brad Stevens squirm.

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Still, it’s an interesting look into their relationship and the amount of trash both guys like to playfully talk to each other. Needless to say, you can guess which player comes out on top in the end. You can watch the video after the jump Read the rest of this entry »

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An Ode To Tommy Heinsohn

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Tommy Heinsohn is a Boston icon, and has been with the C’s ever since the team drafted him way back in 1956. As a player, as a coach, and now as a broadcaster, Heinsohn has embodied the Celtics way and his legend grows by the year. His continued presence in the Boston basketball community is a testament to the beauty and brotherhood of the NBA, and for Celtics fans across the country he is an integral part of the experience of being a fan. Today is Heinsohn’s 81st birthday, and it’s worth taking some time to say thanks.

Tommy The Player

Heinsohn was an important part of those amazing Celtics teams that dominated the league in the 50’s and 60’s, and lead the team in scoring three times in his career. Heinsohn averaged north of 18 points per game over the course of 654 games. Heinsohn is also a former Olympic gold medal winner and a six time NBA All-Star.

As a rookie in 1957,  Heinsohn was named to the NBA All-Star game and beat out teammate Bill Russell for Rookie of the Year after averaging an unbelievable 37.6 points per game and  27.0 rebounds, the highest yearly averages of his career. The Celtics would go on to win their first ever NBA championship that season, and Heinsohn’s 37 points in Game 7 helped the Celtics to a 125-123 double-overtime victory.

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Heinsohn eventually won a total of 8 World Championships as a member of the Celtics, and in fact, only Bill Russell and Sam Jones have won more NBA titles as a player. He was an aggressive and confident player, earning the nickname “Tommy Gun”. Said former teammate Bob Cousey,  “Sure, he takes a few bad shots now and then, but over the long haul the confident player is the one who takes the initiative and wins games for you.”

Off the court, Tommy was the NBA Player’s Association’s second ever president, and was instrumental in the league’s adoption of Free Agency following the 1964 All-Star Game. Heinsohn’s number 15 was retired by the Celtics in 1965, a testament to his legacy in Boston and around the league. In 1986, Heinsohn was named to the Naismith Hall of Fame. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kelly Olynyk Suffers Knee Injury, Sullinger’s Future, And More

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August is probably the slowest month on the NBA calendar, and fans are usually left day-dreaming of potential blockbuster trades. Boston’s roster and rotation are far from defined, and of course there is plenty to speculate over, but with international basketball in full swing, and the window for extending contracts closing quickly, there’s plenty to discuss.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Celtics Summer Forecast: Training Camp Questions

hi-res-172884194_crop_northThe Celtics summer forecast is back on ESPNBoston thanks to our friend Chris Forsberg to help pass the dog days of August, and we’ll be tackling a number of intriguing questions this year for this complex roster. The 15-part series will run for every weekday through the end of August and into the early parts of September, with the bloggers panel projecting everything from win-loss projections, possible trades, roster cuts and much more.

While I urge you to head over to ESPNBoston.com to check out the series daily on the Celtics blog there, here’s a recap of some of the questions I have tackled so far, along with the rest of the crew.

How many games will the Celtics win during the 2015-16 regular season?

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The Celtics caught lightning in a bottle to finish out the 2014-15 season with a 24-12 record, so some regression in an improved Eastern Conference has to be expected. Boston did, however, make notable upgrades in the frontcourt and should benefit from some continuity on the roster in Year 3 of the Stevens era. A six-win jump from last year’s 40-42 season is a realistic expectation as long as team’s core pieces in the backcourt remain healthy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Celtics Release Schedule for 2015-16 Season

hi-res-172884194_crop_northAfter a long wait than usual, the Celtics release schedule for 2015-16 season was unveiled on Wednesday night, featuring a host of intriguing matchups on the slate. A quick rundown of a few of the particulars:

  • 19 back-to-backs
  • 7 National TV appearances (5 ESPN, 2 TNT)
  • One visit to Mexico City for a neutral site game against the Kings in December
  • One instance of four games in five nights
  • No Christmas day game

We’ll have full analysis of the schedule on the way, but for now you can check out the full slate after the jump Read the rest of this entry »

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What Do the Celtics Do with Evan Turner?

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The doldrums of the NBA offseason are happening in all their raucous glory. With that in mind, we’re going to spend this week taking an early glance at what the rotation might look like in the coming season and guess what each player is going to do in their assumed roles.

But before we do that, we need to talk about Evan Turner.

He had a nice redemption season last year after completely bottoming out in Indiana. The initial thought on his signing was the team was ready to nosedive to the bottom, and bringing in Turner was basically Ainge shrugging and going, “Eh, why not?” Maybe he padded his stats a bit and the team could move him for more picks, maybe he just flamed out, who knew. If he became the locker room cancer people assumed he was in Indiana, the team could just move on without a fuss. It was a very low risk gamble.

Turner turned out be a much bigger surprise than many thought was possible, including myself. Coach Stevens turned him into something of a point forward, an idea most people scoffed at initially (again, including myself, I was not very accurate on my Turner projections), but proved to be a necessity, especially with Rondo on the move.

Marcus Smart wasn’t quite ready to be the primary ballhandler, and no one else on the team really could, so Turner stepped in and did an admirable job. He proved adept at getting into the paint and causing havoc for opposing defenses, finding open shooters on kick-outs most of the time. His actual ballhandling would give fans fits, but somehow he would find a way to get the job done. He and Isaiah Thomas were the only real offensive creators on the team, and there would have been no hope of even sniffing the playoffs without him. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pat Connaughton Was Nearly a Boston Celtic

ainge2It’s always fun to root for the hometown kid. It happened fairly recently with Lou Merloni and the Red Sox, and it almost happened on draft night to Pat Connaughton in the second round of the NBA Draft with the Boston Celtics.

Danny Ainge has been tight with Connaughton as the young man grew up, and his son Crew even played with Connaughton on the AAU circuit so it’s fair to say the Celtics had better intel on the Notre Dame swingman than any other player in the NBA Draft this year.

After being brought in for a workout in Waltham, Connaughton was on the board for the Celtics at No. 33 to snatch up. NBA.com’s Ian Thomsen catches us up on what happened from there, quoting Ainge as saying as he “really, really close” to drafting the dual-sport star.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Comparing the Celtics Rebuild Model to Other Teams and Looking At The Offseason

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 11.56.00 AMThe Celtics rebuild has been moving along at a solid pace in the last couple seasons, but it’s only one formula in a league that has many different paths to the postseason Old friend Zach Lowe of Grantland had a intriguing look at construction process of the Charlotte Hornets this past week in the last couple years, including details on an enticing offer that Boston made on draft night for the No. 9 overall pick.

I joined Tim McKone on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston to discuss the article, as well as the reported offer that Boston made for Justise Winslow (who the Celtics would have selected at No.9). We also took a closer look at the Celtics more recent moves, roster composition and who we expect to be in the rotation at the start of the season.

You can list to the full podcast below or download the mp3 for future listening.

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ESPN Lists Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson Contracts as Some of Summer’s Best Deals

CI2MJwsWoAECGsaThe Celtics did not make any blockbuster moves this summer, just solid upgrades in the frontcourt with Amir Johnson and David Lee, while bringing back key figures in the team’s second-half turnaround. The decisions have brought a wide range of reactions around the league, but Stephen Ilardi lists the Celtics as one of  his free agency winners largely based on the contracts of Crowder and Johnson.

Here’s an excerpt of that analysis over at ESPN:

Most notably, Boston signed big man Amir Johnson — a perennial RPM darling — to a two-year, $24 million contract after Toronto decided they could live without his elite offensive efficiency (60.3 true shooting percentage) and cagey interior defense. On the strength of his sterling +3.90 Predictive RPM, Johnson is expected to generate nearly $16 million in surplus value for the Celts over the next two seasons. Read the rest of this entry »

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