“But seriously, which Western Conference team has A) the assets to acquire Rondo and B) the interest in doing so? The upper echelon (Memphis, Golden State, San Antonio, LAC, OKC and Houston) doesn’t need him. The mid-levelers (Portland, Dallas, New Orleans) don’t need him.”
The past two games have been a real resurrection for Kelly Olynyk, who looked sapped of comfort and confidence for quite a while. Then he hung 30 on the Sixers and, two days later, dropped this down on Kyle O’Quinn’s skull.
Not Kyle O’Quinn’s proudest moment, if we are being honest.
Olynyk finished with 15 points, six boards and a surprisingly solid defensive effort against the Orlando Magic, as the Celtics cruised in the fourth quarter (!!!!) to a 109-92 win. Seven Celtics players finished with double-digit point totals, including Rajon Rondo who, seemingly unperturbed by the trade rumors that once again began swirling before the game, dished out 15 very sexy assists and scored 13 relatively efficient points. At some point, perhaps you become deaf to all the white noise.
Boston comes into tonight’s game against Orlando on a one-game win streak, though the Celtics’ blowout win against the Sixers Monday night was not the biggest news to come out of Philly. Instead, we learned that one Celtic may be some sort of messiah, or otherwise completely crazy. Presenting Our Savior, Evan Turner.
Divine or not, Turner kissed babies, signed autographs, and chipped in 12 points in his second return to Philadelphia on the year. He was also booed by the Sixers home crowd, which is a little unwarranted, but we can all understand their frustration.
Tonight’s game between the Magic and Celtics will feature two teams with unclear fates. Either could conceivably sneak into the playoffs or just as easily end up towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. Its far too early to tell, especially with all the trade speculation brewing. Read the rest of this entry »
The report, which also mentions that the Celtics continue to shop Jeff Green in trade talks, says that Boston’s renewed interest in dealing Rondo may very well indicate that Boston is looking to move up in the 2015 Tankathon, extending what is already beginning to look like a multi-year rebuild into something deeper and sadder (the “deeper and sadder” bit is me editorializing, not Woj).
I don’t need to tell you how often we’ve heard these rumors, how quickly they stir everybody up into a frothing mass of humanity (“RONDO SUCKS!” “RONDO IS THE GOAT!” “YOU SUCK!”), and how tired most of us are of listening to people complain about it. Instead, let’s take a look at three quick things this article might tell us.
Jared Sullinger, PF29 MIN | 2-10 FG | 0-2 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 5 PTS | -3The shooting slump remains intact, but that didn’t stop Sullinger from doing some damage on the glass.
Jeff Green, SF27 MIN | 4-8 FG | 5-8 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | +11Thought he played worse than his final line indicated. With that said, anytime you get 14 points from Green in an “off” game shows that he’s come a long way this year with his offensive consistency.
Tyler Zeller, C16 MIN | 1-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -13Fouled early and often during Boston’s ugly start to the game. After that, was glued to the bench for the majority of the next three quarters thanks to the Olynyk clinic.
Rajon Rondo, PG24 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 7 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | +6A couple ugly turnovers, but still pushing the ball and rebounding with reckless abandon. Didn’t mind him only taking 3 shots in this one after Olynyk caught fire.
Avery Bradley, PG31 MIN | 6-20 FG | 2-3 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +1Avery picked a good game to go 1-for-11 from the field. Shake off the rust all at once!
Brandon Bass, PF20 MIN | 6-9 FG | 2-5 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +23Classic Bass, just feasting on a inferior bench unit with efficiency. His defensive was nice as well.
Gerald Wallace, SF12 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +14Defensive intensity really picked up nicely when he came into the game in the first half. Just plays hard and smart, while knowing his role (no shot attempts).
Kelly Olynyk, C31 MIN | 12-17 FG | 3-3 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 30 PTS | +29His former career high came against Philly last year in April (28 points), so we at least know Olynyk can be an All-Star against a subpar front line. In all seriousness though, his hot streak at the end of the first quarter was Bird-esque. Fun to watch him show that kind of aggressiveness. His defense was stellar too all night.
Phil Pressey, PG20 MIN | 0-3 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +9He just breaths energy into the game when he comes in. Loved his speed and how he set up Olynyk for countless shots at the end of the first quarter. The jump shot still isn’t falling, but other than that, it’s great to see him keep the foot on the gas in games like this.
Evan Turner, SG27 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 12 PTS | +16Very impressive all-around line, as he continues to hear the boos for no good reason in Philly. Guess you can’t blame those guys for being miserable though.
Docked him for not starting Olynyk over Zeller at the start of the second half. Otherwise, no complaints after he leaned heavily on the bench all night.
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So far the Celtics have not taken advantage of their easier December schedule, but tonight they will have a serious opportunity to pick up a win. They’re up against the plebeians of the NBA, those hapless Sixers.
At 7-14, the Celtics are coming into tonight with their own three game losing streak. Their most recent loss came at home, embarrassingly at the hands of the dysfunctional Knicks.
Marcus Thornton, Marcus Smart, and James Young are all out for tonight’s 7pm tip-off. The rest of the Celtics squad should be looking to play their best basketball, because losing to the Sixers would be another nail in the “The Celtics aren’t very good” coffin. Read the rest of this entry »
A quick programming note: Our apologies for the lack of grades from the Knicks game. The good news: Everybody who played gets participation credit! Good work, team. Way to thrive off someone else’s mediocrity.
Anyway, let’s talk about Jeff Green.
When I discuss Green with my dad or my friends, we mostly share the same opinion: He’s been surprisingly good this year. We see the 20 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, the career highs in both free throws per game (5.2) and free-throw percentage (85 percent), and we get excited about his future.
Green is one of the few Celtics for whom there is no downside whatsoever if he plays well. If Rondo plays well, he ups his value in free agency. If Sullinger and Olynyk play well, they might help win the Celtics out of a good draft pick. Don’t get me wrong: Boston certainly wants Rondo, Sullinger and Olynyk (and everyone else) to play as well as possible (and we should want the same, even if we are fully on board with another tanking season), but the give-and-take of a rebuilding team is incredibly complex.
But Green? As he demonstrated on Friday, a good game doesn’t necessarily lead to a tank-derailing win. It’s also aesthetically pleasing — Green’s swooping layups, emphatic dunks and smooth jumpers are fun to watch. Meanwhile, if he takes a big step forward this season, the Celtics have two attractive options: re-sign a 6’9 hyper-athletic small forward who took a big step forward, or let him walk in free agency and open up $9 million in cap space. Oh, and that free agency? If Green continues to play well, he will almost certainly get considerably more than $9 million, which means he might very well decline his player option after this year. Boston’s books could open up substantially as soon as this offseason.
This is where we stand as Celtics observers: One of the best players on the team is putting up career high totals, and we are forced to wonder about the cap situation rather than how he can help the team win. What a weird team.
Let’s take a closer look at Green, though: Why does he seem so much more effective this year? Can we even say with any certainty that he has been?
Green’s per-game production has been objectively better — he is averaging over three more points per game and nearly exactly the same number of minutes. His efficiency is up as well: Green’s true shooting percentage so far is a career-high 56.5 percent, which is a four-percent jump from last season.
When we look closer at Green’s statistics, there are a few holes to be poked in his game. My eye test says Green is shooting really well from 3-point range, but apparently I need glasses: He’s averaging just 31.8 percent behind the arc — his lowest total since 2010-11. Meanwhile, 33 percent of his shots are from deep. That’s both good and bad: The Celtics want him taking efficient shots, and generally 3-pointers have been efficient shots for Green, but they also want him attacking the rim and Green has a tendency to float around the 3-point line if he’s making shots from long range.
Once again, however, there’s good news: Green’s efficiency has spiked this season because he is attacking the hoop. Roughly 45 percent of his shots have come from within 10 feet, where he is shooting 61.1 percent. According to the NBA’s stat site, he’s shooting 50 percent from 5-9 feet from the basket. That’s an odd area to be efficient from, except that it confirms what we know about Green’s drives to the hoop — they often end a little earlier than drives by other players because Green is long, athletic and able to finish layups from further out than most players.
This is where the death of the every-man version of Synergy Sports hurts. I’d love to tell you what Jeff Green’s post-up numbers are, because again, he seems to be going to post-ups against smaller players more often this season. All we can go on is the eye test and his 61 percent shooting inside 10 feet. The latter is, of course, considerably more reliable than the former.
@Tom_NBA@CelticsHub Green in post via Synergy: team-high 52 plays finished, 1.077 ppp, 86th percentile. Accounts for ⅓ of Cs total posts. — Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) December 14, 2014
@Tom_NBA big improvement from last year so far. last year: 173 total post plays finished (3rd on team); 0.884 ppp, 62nd percentile.
There’s some room for improvement. Again, Green’s 3-point numbers might level out to his career average: 34.2 percent, and he could improve his shooting a bit from 10-16 feet. But Green is taking all the right shots. He’s firing up a career-low in long twos (from 16-23 feet), attacking the basket hard and getting to the free throw line. That’s a lot of things to like.
Green’s place on the team may be in question, but he’s clearly having a good season. Whether that continues, and what it means for his future with the Celtics if it does, remains to be seen.
Well we’ve officially passed the quarter mark on the season, and we’re starting to know a few things for sure. We know, for example, that the Celtics are still realizing their potential, with the kind of learning curve you might expect from a young team. We also know that Carmelo Anthony’s Knicks, on the other hand, are just bad. Historically bad.
Friday’s 7:30 tip off will be a chance for the Celtics to end their two game losing streak and try to rebuild momentum. Bleacher Report somehow has the Celtics making the playoffs, and if thats even a remote possibility, beating the lowly Knicks at home should not be an issue.
Just How Bad Are The Knicks?
Boston and New York split their season series last year, and both teams come into tonight with losing records. That being said, the Celtics have had an extremely tough early schedule, and last night’s game is their only loss against a really bad team. (I’m excluding the loss to the Durantless/Westbrookless Thunder because they still had Steven Adams) (Tables on planes??)
New York meanwhile, is struggling mightily under rookie coach Derek Fisher.The Knicks have compiled quite a few bad losses, falling to Detroit, Minnesota, Utah, Charlotte and Brooklyn twice this year. Under new President and Triangle Offense aficionado Phil Jackson, this season of Knicks basketball was supposed to be different.
It was to be the rise of unselfishness, the realization of Melo’s true ceiling, and the resurgence of A’mare Stoudemire. Instead it has been same old Melo and the same old Knicks. Here’s a rough diagram of the Triangle Offense from Melo’s perspective.
Even Dennis Rodman weighed in on the Knicks’ poor start. Said The Worm, “I learned [the triangle offense] in probably 15 minutes when I was in Chicago…Its not that difficult. Its a Triangle.”
Carmelo Anthony has reportedly been dealing with an injured left knee all season and he is out for tonight’s game. Melo also sat out Wednesday’s Knicks-Spurs game do to soreness, a game which saw the Knicks extend their losing streak to 10 games. Surgery is said to be neither imminent nor off the table
The Knicks will have to rely on A’mare and JR Smith to score the basketball without Melo, and now Gary Washburn is reporting even Smith is doubtful for tonight. The Celtics have climbed to a respectable 17th in defensive rating, according to NBA.com, while the Knicks are 27th. Beating the Knicks sans Melo should be a breeze for the Celtics. (I hope).
Don’t expect much on the defensive end from either team tonight. I can only imagine it will be raining threes, and the Celtics better run all over the Knicks; They’re first in pace while the Knicks are 29th.
It would be a real treat for Celtics fans if Melo could have play tonight. Not only would he have left Jeff Green completely unguarded, but he would have made preparing to play the Knicks that much easier. Let Melo get his, and just guard everyone else.
A win tonight will wash away the stench of Wednesday night’s debacle, and now that the Nets are supposedly blowing things up, I’m hoping the Celtics can stay competitive. Use their acquired Nets’ picks to bring in lottery talent while continuing to build from within. If the Nets really do pull the trigger, the C’s can become buyers at the deadline, and make a return to the playoffs, maybe even this season.
But for now, they should just try to beat the Knicks.
The following is a post written by guest CelticsHub contributor Harrison Chase
Brandon Bass seems to be a fan favorite here at Celtic’s Hub, and for good reason. He is a seasoned veteran, a hard working power forward, who would be a valuable second-unit player on a playoff team, but for now is just a potential chip. He is also having a very good year so far (despite getting fewer and fewer minutes as Zeller transitions into the starting lineup, pushing Olynyk to the bench) and for those reasons I have decided to spend an entire column breaking down him game. (And yes, another reason for this piece may or may not be that he retweeted another writer here and I trying to get him to do the same for me). I will look at the three areas for which the SportVu data provides greater insight: shooting, rim protection, and rebounding.
The SportVu data provides insight on six categories of shots: drives, close shots, pull up 2s, pull up 3s, catch-and-shoot 2s, and catch-and-shoot 3s. While these shot types do not cover every type of shot, they cover most, and so I will restrict my analysis to these. I can use the same type of calculations I used to see how many rebounds “above average” Sullinger contributed to find out how many points above average a player contributes on each type of shot
It should come as no surprise that Bass is a midrange monster. He excels at catch-and shoot 2s, and is also solidly above average at pull up 2s. Again, that should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched a Celtic’s game this season. His midrange jumper, a shot perhaps a little over maligned by the analytics community, is consistently of one the Celtic’s best offensive opportunities. He ranks first on the team in catch-and-shoot 2s, and third in pull up 2s. Read the rest of this entry »
Last night, James Young fell to the ground in obvious pain during Maine’s D-League win over Delaware. After the game, he was spotted wearing a sling, immobilizing his shoulder. The injury was diagnosed as a “shoulder subluxation.”
“They’re doing more tests to see the extent of the injury,” Brad Stevens said after Thurday’s practice. “Those can be very, very short-term things or they can be a little bit longer. That’s the extent of what I know.”
So we aren’t sure yet what the extent of the injury. Instead, let’s talk about exactly what happened to Young. Ordinarily, I would write something like “I’m not a doctor, so I don’t have any real knowledge of this injury,” but this time, I do have extensive knowledge. My shoulder has subluxed (is that the right verb?) more times than I can count — it’s the kind of injury that gets progressively more likely to occur the more frequently it happens.
In layman’s terms, because I am a layman, a subluxated shoulder is really similar to a dislocated one, except that the shoulder doesn’t go completely out of place. In other words, you experience essentially the same pain as a dislocated shoulder (I’m told), but you can snap the shoulder back into place with the right movements. Read the rest of this entry »