It was not as emotional a homecoming the second time around, but Paul Pierce was greeted with a standing ovation last night upon returning to the TD Garden for a second time as a member of the Brooklyn Nets.
After the game, Pierce held court with the Boston media and reflected on his time with Boston, Rajon Rondo and the possibility he could finish his career back in Beantown. Here are a few of the highlights via Chris Forsberg at ESPNBoston.com
On whether he could finish his career in Boston: “Yeah, why not? Maybe play for them, maybe work for them. Who knows what the future holds?”
On returning to Boston last night: “It’s always emotional when you step into this gym that you’ve spent your whole life playing in. The tribute last time made it so much more emotional and the cheers. But every time I come into this gym, because I always seen the fans and the people who have been around all these years, it’s always going to be emotional because you miss them since you’ve known them so long. Not at the same level it was last time, but it’s always going to be there.” Read the rest of this entry »
Plenty of ugly basketball plagued Boston’s 91-84 win over Brooklyn last night, but there were a couple of pretty incredible moments that broke up the combined 50+ turnovers nicely.
First, Kelly Olynyk did something filthy to Mason Plumlee, so here’s the play set to a Flo Rida song.
This is a move that only a confident player makes. If Plumlee is able to move his feet quickly enough, Olynyk gets caught up in an embarrassing situation. Instead, Plumlee gets put on a highlight reel watching Olynyk slither past him.
Chris Babb’s 10-day contract, signed on Feb. 28, runs out Sunday. If the Celtics don’t pick him up for another 10-day deal, he’ll be looking at a return to the D-League lifestyle — long bus trips, mediocre food and mostly empty arenas.
Fortunately for the rookie guard, he’s making a good impression, and he’s got a pretty strong supporter in his run for a second term.
“I hope like heck he’s back with us Monday,” Brad Stevens said after Boston’s 91-84 win over Brooklyn, in which Babb knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and defended like he doesn’t really feel like heading back north to Maine. “He’s a perfect fit for what we need. He’s not going to play 38 minutes a game, he’s going to come in, get open shots, hopefully knock those open shots down, play off other people, and be a feisty defender for us. He really is an outstanding defender for a young guy.” Read the rest of this entry »
Originally, I do not think the pun was intended, but let’s go with it. Although Kris Humphries is in his 10th year in the league, Brad Stevens has not handled his minutes with much consistency this season, and rightfully so. No one was sure how much production Humphries was going to be able to give the Celtics after being traded for the fourth time in his career. In addition, Stevens has been trying to get a handle on his lineups and whom he wants to keep for 2014-15.
Before we turned the calendar to 2014, Humphries was quietly one of the best Celtics this season. He was the only 2013-14 Celtic to play at least 100 minutes and have a positive plus/minus in the second half. In comparison, the C’s as a team had been outscored by four points per second half over the first couple of months of the season, but the big man out of Minnesota was a bright spot.
Then, in a matter of days, he went from a backup role to a minor ankle injury to the starting lineup. He missed the January 7 contest at Denver in which a hobbled Jared Sullinger committed two flagrant fouls (one of which was rescinded), but then started in place of Sullinger in the SEGABABA against the Clippers. That contest began a string of 10 consecutive starts for Humphries, the most he had in a row since 2012. He averaged just under a double-double during that 17-day stretch. See after the jump how his recent return to the lineup has been more difficult.
Currently, the Celtics have the fourth worst record in the NBA, trailing (leading?) the Lakers and Jazz by one game and the Knicks by 1.5, while leading (trailing?) Orlando by two games and Philadelphia by five.
The Celtics simply aren’t going to catch Philly at this point, in part because Boston’s April schedule is pretty favorable and in part because, frankly, the 76ers very well might not win another game for the rest of the season, let alone five. So even if Milwaukee went on a tear (HAHAHA) and the Magic won a few games accidentally and allowed Boston to nose its way past them (pretty unlikely), the Celtics aren’t going to finish with the worst record in the league.
That being said, it’s useful to note what the other teams’ chances are going to be in the lottery as well. Here’s a handy chart for your use as you await the results of the ping-pong balls on May 20. Read the rest of this entry »
Analysis: GM Danny Ainge isn’t as in love with this draft as much as the rest of the league, but he’ll still be stoked to land Parker here. Parker’s abilities as a scorer and rebounder could make him an immediate upgrade at the 3 while giving the Celtics more incentive to move Jeff Green this summer.
#15: Nik Stauskas
Analysis: Stauskas has proved to be one of the most lethal shooters in college basketball. He has a lightning-quick release and has also shown an ability to handle the ball and play point on occasion. With Rajon Rondo being a non-shooter and Avery Bradley being just an average one, adding Stauskas to the lineup gives the Celtics a serious floor-spacer.
From where I sit, the only way the draft could look any better for Boston would be if it picked up Doug McDermott with the 15th pick (Ford has McDermott going 14th to the Grizzlies, other mocks have him going even earlier). But Stauskas is obviously an incredible shooter, the kind of guard who can have a significant impact even in limited minutes (or perhaps less limited, depending on Avery Bradley’s contract situation).
Parker, meanwhile, might be Boston’s top pick even if the Celtics won the first or second pick. In Ford’s mock, Dante Exum was chosen third by the Magic, who are certainly in need of a point guard. Parker would likely make Jeff Green superfluous and would likely immediately become one of Boston’s top scorers. I’m not sure how much defense a lineup of Rondo/Stauskas/Parker/Sullinger/Olynyk would play, but it would certainly put up points in a hurry.
If the Celtics were able to make off with this particular bundle in June, this whole season might very well look a lot more worthwhile.
The Rajon Rondo birthdaygate situation appeared to come to a close last week. Danny Ainge told reporters the matter was closed, as did Brad Stevens and Rondo, but we never really found out the full details about the situation. Today, that changed. In an interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston,, the two hosts did a terrific job getting the Celtics’ president of basketball operations open up about the situation and reveal the full details about what happened. Here are a few highlights of the interview:
Did Rondo tell Ainge/Stevens he was staying in LA beforehand? “What happened was he stayed in [Los Angeles],” said Ainge. “He let [head coach] Brad [Stevens] know and he let me know that he was going to stay in L.A. an extra day, and we didn’t think that he should. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the concerns the anti-tanking crowd will often voice is the problem of a losing culture.
It’s a valid concern. Once acquired, a losing culture can be difficult to eradicate, especially if the best players on a team are young. Washington is a good example: For years, the Wizards toiled along with a significant amount of young talent (John Wall, JaVale McGee, Nick Young) but no real leadership to help direct it. As a result, the Wizards are just now coming out of a long stretch of futility.
As Boston’s losses continue to pile onto the lottery end of the scale, the question of tanking becomes a matter of definition: Are the Celtics tanking? Or did Danny Ainge simply assemble a roster likely to lose a lot of games? For their part, the players certainly seem to be taking the losses hard — something that can’t be said for teams given the mandate to lose often and by a lot. Read the rest of this entry »
Last Wednesday, Bill Simmons released a mailbag on Grantland containing a passage that would get most Celtics fans drooling like my dog being offered a bone.
Let’s say the Celtics lose the 2014 lottery and end up with a pick between no. 3 and no. 5. They could send that pick to Minny along with Atlanta’s first-rounder (probably ending up in the 13-to-18 range) and their 2015 Clippers pick for Love. And they could throw in Brandon Bass and Keith Bogans’s immediately waivable deal to make the contracts work.
This is too juicy to go undiscussed. One of our writers Tom Westerholm also writes for a Timberwolves-centric blog called Howlin’ T-Wolf, so he emailed one of his co-workers at HTW, Derek James. Derek is a Minnesota native who also contributes to the True Hoop site Hardwood Paroxysm. He and Tom discussed Kevin Love and whether the Celtics have the pieces to make a Love deal work. Thus the question is asked: Should the Celtics trade for Kevin Love?
Here’s part 2 of our discussion. In case you missed it, you can read part 1 of their discussion HERE
Tom Westerholm: You said “If I were the Timberwolves,” which is an interesting distinction. While I think you are correct about magic draft beans in theory, you and I aren’t NBA general managers (for some reason), and GMs have placed such an incredible premium on picks that I think Flip would probably be very interested in what Boston could offer. Read the rest of this entry »
Until Rajon Rondo was close to returning to action, Jeff Green’s disappearing actwas the main Boston basketball story this season. His leadership on and off the court leaves much to be desired and so has his play as the team’s No. 1 scoring option. In fact, his 16.8 points per game is on pace to be the lowest for a Celtics’ leading scorer since Dee Brown in 1993-94. Therefore, we know that the 27-year old forward out of Georgetown cannot consistently score without at least one running mate.
On Saturday, Green will start with Rondo for just the 15th time in his career and each of those games have come in the last month and a half. On Wednesday, they and Jerryd Bayless stopped the C’s five-game losing streak. In that 115-104 victory, Rondo connected with Green on some highlight plays. Read the rest of this entry »