Post written by new CelticsHub contributor Jesse Alling
Boston might not be very good this year (although having a top 10 offense makes things much more interesting), but that doesn’t mean we can’t determine who should have use as a rotation fixture for when the playoffs do return. Some are an obvious yes (Rondo, Smart, Bradley), some a pretty clear no (poor Gerald Wallace, if he’s even still alive). James Young and Dwight Powell haven’t given enough of a sample size to make a case for either way, but they’ve at least shown flashes warranting a continued look in the preseason.
Kelly Olynyk is the one guy I’m really not sold on one way or the other. After watching him last year, this probably would have been my answer — I’m pretty sure he had more defensive three second violations than points — but the feel-good nature of the offense so far has given some new vigor to his potential outlook. It’s time to see what exactly he brings to the table and what needs to develop for him to be a viable rotation player on the future championship juggernaut developing in Boston.
You know when you go to a local gym for a pickup game, and there’s always one un-athletic guy who’s warming up and has some weird dribble or shot form or just looks awkward in general? You think to yourself, “What a scrub, I want to be on him all night.” Then you start playing, and the guy pulls out some weird crossover that completely breaks your ankles, and you get embarrassed and promise yourself you’ll never let that happen again. Except it does, and you can never figure out for the rest of the night how he keeps doing it, and it drives you bonkers. No? Maybe I’m just terrible at basketball. It’s entirely possible.
Jared Sullinger, PF31 MIN | 10-15 FG | 1-3 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 22 PTS | +611 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, 18 coming in the second half. On a team in dire need of finishers, Sully showed his willingness to step up to the plate last night during a dominating fourth quarter.
Jeff Green, SF38 MIN | 5-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +11Ugly shooting in the first half, but any time Jeff Green puts together a double-double, it’s worth doing cartwheels enough. Was a big part of Celtics improved defensive effort in the second half as well.
Kelly Olynyk, C25 MIN | 4-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | -5A decent bounceback after Monday’s stinker, but Philly’s athletic bigs wreaked havoc against him early on. Olynyk also continues to give up a few too many open jumpers that turn into turnovers afterwards. Still doing enough to keep his starting job for the time being.
Rajon Rondo, PG30 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 13 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 9 PTS | +7Everyone will rave about the 13 assists, but I’m more concerned about the turnover bug he is maintaining. Six turnovers in 30 minutes is inexcusable, even against an aggressive team like Philly. He was a big part of why C’s fell behind early in the first half, even though he helped make up for it with a strong fourth quarter.
Avery Bradley, PG28 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | 0Can someone on the coaching staff go over with Avery about why telegraphing cross-court passes are a bad idea?
Brandon Bass, PF32 MIN | 9-13 FG | 5-7 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 23 PTS | +19Kept the Celtics in the game in the first half. Helped win the game for them in the second half. Season-high in minutes, points and a stellar effort on the defensive end makes me wonder how much more of Bass we will see against imposing offenses in the next couple of weeks.
Tyler Zeller, C8 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 1 PTS | +2Athletic big men are just not a good matchup for Tyler. In the good news department, he didn’t do much damage to that 80 percent field goal shooting percentage!
Phil Pressey, PG13 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +6A nice spark of energy off the bench in the second half. He still looks like one of the fastest point guards in the league when you give him space and he actually found an opening to finish a layup against Philly’s D.
Marcus Thornton, SG20 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +11An efficient night for a guy who did his job scoring big off the bench. In an added bonus, he contributed three steals on the defensive end. Stevens has to find a way to keep giving him consistent minutes, even when Smart comes back.
Evan Turner, SG15 MIN | 0-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -2Poor Evan got booed all night, even though he wanted to stay in Philly instead of being traded to Indy. Sixers fans are the worst.
Pushed the right buttons on the bench by giving Bass and Thornton extended minutes.
The Celtics came into Wednesday night’s game needing a win, and there is no better team to do that against in the NBA right now besides the Philadelphia 76ers. You wouldn’t have guessed that though from the first 18 minutes of tonight’s game though. The Celtics were a turnover machine, couldn’t grab a defensive rebound and fell behind by as many as nine points against the winless Sixers, opening up the possibility that Boston may drop four(!) of their last five contests against Philly.
Luckily, a few things developed to ensure that ugliness wouldn’t happen. First and foremost, Brandon Bass kept the Celtics in the game with his aggressive offense (season-high 23 points) and strong defense in the early going. Marcus Thornton showed flashes of Eddie House, posting a season-high 13 points in just 20 minutes of action. Read the rest of this entry »
Tonight the Celtics are in Philadelphia to face the lowly 76ers. The Sixers are an Atlantic Division “rival” and are also still winless on the season. That makes tonight an important game for the Celtics’ moral and reputation around the league.
A win would snap the C’s losing streak and provide momentum heading into Friday’s game against the NBA’s best team, the Memphis Grizzlies. A loss tonight against the hapless Sixers could raise some red flags,.
Competitive vacuums aside, tonight’s game should be plenty exciting, at least if you are a Celtics fan. The Sixers are dead last in points per game, and are an incredible -16.9 on the season in point differential.
Horrible Hinkie and the Tanking Sixers?
It has been a rough few years for Sixers fans. Philadelphia does have promising talents in 2013 ROY Michael Carter-Williams,Nerlens Noel, and Joel Embiid. Likewise, they have followed the Celtics’ model and have stock-piled many draft picks for the coming years, including three second round picks in 2019. 2019? Yes, the Sixers are so committed to being bad now in exchange for being better later that they are willing to wait five years to reap the benefits of their misery. Read the rest of this entry »
If you’ve tuned in to WEEI or 98.5 the Sports Hub in the past few…OK, let me start over.
If you’ve EVER listened to WEEI or the Sports Hub, you’ve heard more than a fair share of outlandish trade ideas. Sports fans—and so as not to shirk blame, I count myself in that group—are often guilty of overvaluing their team’s players. They also tend to project a fantasy world onto reality by dreaming up situations in which collective bargaining agreements don’t exist, and other teams have no regard for their own success. I present the following example:
Felger: “Carl in Saugus, you’re on the line.”
Carl: “Hey, how’s it goin,’ fellas? First time, long time. I just wanna say, Mike from Woburn is an idiot. Second, Jack Edwards is the biggest HOMAH in the game. He makes TAWMY sound like Joe Buck in comparison. I don’t want to get stahted on Joe Buck, but, not for nothin,’ I hate that guy.
Lastly, regahding the Cs, Bryan Doo is the greatest strength and conditioning coach in the game. Tawm Thibodeau knows this. He’s worked with the guy. He’s also got a STAH player who can’t stay healthy. If the Bulls can get their hands on Doo, that solves that problem. The Celtics could package him with Phil Pressey, giving Chicago another quality gahd to back up Derrick Rose and get him ready for the playoffs. We give them that, I don’t see how we don’t get Joakim out of the deal.”
In the spirit of such asinine ideas, I’ve dreamed up my own Celtics trade ideas. The catch is, these deals actually work in the ESPN Trade Machine. They might get you laughed out of a GM office or two, but they’re halfway to legitimate, which is light years beyond what you normally hear. Read the rest of this entry »
Rather than giving our full attention to the post-game grades, let’s talk about the topic that briefly made Celtics Twitter melt down on itself yesterday — Rajon Rondo’s abysmal 2-for-10 performance at the free throw line. That performance included three consecutive misses that might have extended the game. Boston was down by four with two seconds left and would have needed to foul immediately even if Rondo had made all three, a situation that rarely ends successfully for the team trailing. Even so, the missed free throws did doom the Celtics, and the fans let Rondo (and the Celtics) know how they felt with a hearty chorus of boos as the team exited the floor.
I get why you are angry. You, just an ordinary shmuck with a pass to the local YMCA, can go 8-for-10 from the line when you are practicing. Plus, like, you always make it when you are shooting to get into a pickup game, so it’s not like you miss the pressure free throws. When you were 14, your JV coach told you your percentages needed to go up, so you spent an entire summer shooting free throw after free throw like a champ, and the next year, you went from 55 to 65 percent from the line. And that’s without all the fancy shooting coaches and psychologists these millionaires have at their disposal. Why couldn’t Rondo just stay a little later at practice and work on his free throws, smh. Why can’t he just put in some extra reps?
The Celtics are a young team. Learning how to finish games is going to be an ongoing process this year. We all know that, but it sure doesn’t making watching these games any less disheartening.
“Good Jeff Green” made an appearance tonight to the tune of 28 points, and his ridiculous tomahawk-and-1 with about 50 seconds left gave fans hope for what would’ve been a solid win. This was immediately followed by a Goran Dragic layup, a bad Avery Bradley pass that turned into another layup, and a missed Green 3, and that was that. Blech.
After a tough loss to the Cavs on Friday, the Celtics will be looking to end their two game losing streak at home tonight against the Phoenix Suns. The Suns come to town with their own 2 game losing streak, and tonight’s game should be full of intensity, excellent guard play, and lots of missed threes. I’ll explain.
Coming into tonight, the Celtics rank 4th in pace, while the Suns are just behind them at 6th. It goes without saying that both teams like to get out and push the ball. There were times during Friday’s loss to the Cavs where it looked as if the Celtics were very disinterested in running set plays, and both the Suns and the Celtics rank in the top 10 in fast-break points.
The Celtics’ transition defense is relatively decent (especially compared to the rest of their defense), and getting out and running will be an advantage, even against the Suns.
So Many Guards!
The Suns’ three-headed monster of Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, and Isaiah Thomas represents a unique challenge for the Celtics. I personally love Isaiah Thomas. He and I are both 5’8”, and so every time I see him play I feel hopeful and renewed. His highlights are always impressive, and its nice to be reminded that if Isaiah can dunk, I can probably dunk too, I think.
The Celtics lost both games against the Suns last season by an average margin of 6.5 points, and will need to find a way to shut down the guard party. My advice to them would be to let the Suns shoot the three while limiting their own.
…And So Many Bricks
The Suns and the Celtics rank 3rd and 4th in three points attempted per game this season. The Suns as a team make just 33.3% of their threes. The Celtics need to continue to work on improving their defense, and this would be a good game to relax on the perimeter.
The Celtics on the other hand, are shooting a paltry 30.0% from behind the three-point line, 28th in the league. To reiterate, the Celtics are 4th in 3-point attempts and nearly last in their ability to make those 3’s.
They say bad teams shoot threes, and while this may be true, there might be a right and a wrong way to take those threes. The Celtics currently lead the league in assists per game, however just 83.6% of their made 3’s come off of an assist. Compare that to the 97.6% mark from the World Champion Spurs, and a pattern emerges. In fact, the top three teams in assisted three-point makes are all perennial playoff contenders, the Spurs, Hawks, and Heat.
Correlation is not causation, but either way, the Celtics should either cool it with the threes or start hitting more of them.
I really do love the Suns. Last year they declined to tank and made it within one game of the highly contested Western Conference Playoffs. They were the Cinderellas that Celtics fans are hoping their team will become. The C’s will need to play fast but determined basketball tonight. Holding on to a lead has proved tough this season, and so all 48 minutes of tonight’s game will be important.
To no one’s surprise (with the possible exception of James Young), James Young and Dwight Powell were assigned to the Maine Red Claws this weekend, where they played the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Sunday. You can see the entire game here if you are interested, but if you — unlike me — have a life and you don’t feel like watching two hours and 12 minutes of D-League basketball on a Monday morning, we have you covered. Here’s a breakdown of Powell and Young’s respective performances.
The Celtics seem to want Powell to play a hybrid 3-4 type of position, which makes some sense given that A) Boston has plenty of power forwards and B) Powell isn’t strong enough yet to play center. The problem is that while Powell does have some of the skills that could translate to small forward (passing, an alleged jump shot, quickness and mobility), he looks miles and miles and miles more comfortable down low. That’s due to several things, but perhaps most importantly, Powell is at his most effective by far when he’s just trying to outwork people. Read the rest of this entry »
Comedian Patton Oswalt has a relatively famous bit about KFC’s Famous bowls — large mounds of mashed potatoes, fried chicken, corn and gravy — in which he pretends to order whatever is best on KFC’s menu.
“If there’s any way you could put my dinner in a blender and liquify it and then put it into a caulking gun and inject it into my femoral artery, that would be even better,” Oswalt says. “But I know you don’t have a lunch gun, so until you invent that, just make me a failure pile in a sadness bowl.”
“Failure pile in a sadness bowl” nicely sums up the Boston Celtics’ final play last night. Everything fell apart almost instantaneously before the officials even handed Kelly Olynyk the ball to make the inbounds pass, leaving us with a big, anticlimactic mound of failure and dripping over the sides of our sadness bowl.