Amir Johnson, PF19 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +13 +/-
Amir’s contributions were so quiet, I only noticed a few of them but — to no one’s surprise — he was a +13 while on the floor and was a rebound and a field goal away from a double-double. His back taps remain a staple of the Celtics offense.
A couple of late-game turnovers hurt Crowder’s grade, as well as a quiet night offensively. Sorry Bae. It’s only because you’ve given us so much reason to believe in you.
Jared Sullinger, C23 MIN | 10-13 FG | 1-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 21 PTS | +10 +/-
A highly efficient game for Jared Sullinger, who also managed to wrap himself up with DeMarcus Cousins at the end of the game in one of the more hilarious (and, for Boogie, enraging) no-calls of the day.
Look, you aren’t always going to be able stop a force of nature like DeMarcus Cousins, but if you counteract his contributions somewhat and give every ounce of effort you can on the defensive end, you deserve an A. Zeller played an excellent game (though he’s docked slightly for his four turnovers).
Kelly Olynyk, C17 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-4 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -12 +/-
An acceptable game with some nice plays for Kelly Olynyk, but man: After he knocked down that pair of 3-pointers near the end of the first half, it really felt like he was about go nuts against a Kings team that isn’t particularly well-equipped to deal with a stretch big man.
Marcus Smart, PG29 MIN | 3-9 FG | 2-6 3FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +1 +/-
As someone (I apologize, I don’t remember who) pointed out on Twitter: Does anyone get called for more fouls simply because he played defense that looked a little too good than Marcus Smart?
I’m not certain where “discovering exactly how to use Evan Turner” fits into Brad Stevens’ legacy, but it has to be pretty high. Turner’s ability to bob and weave around the mid-range area was key for long stretches on Sunday. Plus: Nine assists!
I have to imagine Celtics media is going to get angry Brad, despite the victory and the sparkling 31-22 record after a staggering 24 turnovers and 48 minutes of allowing an inferior (and combustible) Kings team to hang around.
It’s not really his fault, but like…what are we supposed to dock Overlord Stevens for?
Here’s an annotated list of 17 of my thoughts about that shot. 17, because clearly this win means the Celtics are going to add to Banner 17 this year (this may be an overreaction).
2. Avery Bradley is doing very well hitting his threes this year.
3. I also thought he was super-cold this game, but apparently he was 4-8 from deep? Must have been some of his shot selection to that point.
4. This play doesn’t even come to fruition without Marcus Smart fou- I mean, hustling past Mozgov to Evan Turner’s missed free throw and knocking it off two other Celtics and two other Cavaliers, including the one that was deflected off of was LeBron James. Read the rest of this entry »
The trade deadline is about two weeks away so as talk heat up across the league it’s worth doing a level set on where the Celtics sit in their team building process, and assess what some of their goals may be. After a few years of flipping pennies for nickels and quarters for dimes this season’s deadline priority is a little more traditional: Add talent now (but don’t sacrifice too much of the future).
This will be part one of the deadline preview and focused on the team’s general situation. Part two will look at our current players; part three will be everyone’s’ favorite game of naming possible targets and throwing out semi-lopsided trade proposals.
Current Cap Position
After a summer of squeezing every asset they could out of their rare position under the salary cap, Danny Ainge, Mike Zarren, and the Celtics front office now sit nearly $10M over the cap.
It’s possible that the Celtics will drop all the way down below the cap (more on that in Part 2) but the most likely scenario is that the Celtics will stay above the cap for the remainder of the season before dropping below next summer.Some of that cap overage is related to waived players like Perry Jones and small guarantees paid to camp invites eventually routed to Maine. There’s also a $2.275M hold on the books for Gigi Datome’s rights, in case you’re holding out hopes for a Bun Brothers run with Kelly Olynyk (and who isn’t?).
Editor’s Note: February is going to be an exciting month here at CelticsHub and not just because of the trade deadline. We’re going to be rolling out a number of new things on the site front, highlighted by some impressive new contributors. Today, we start with Ryan Bernardoni, who qualifies as one of the best Celtic analysts on the web in my book. If you aren’t familiar with his work, you will get a taste of it later today, but you can find out much more about him in his intro below. We are absolutely thrilled to have him aboard.
Hello, my name is Ryan and I’m a sports-obsessed inveterate follower of the Celtics, an amateur NBA capologist, and starting today a new contributor here at Celtics Hub. I’m looking forward to this new opportunity and to start a new conversation with you in the blog’s community.
If you know of me, it’s probably from /r/bostonceltics, the Celtics group on Reddit, where I’ve been a moderator and contributor for a number of years under the username /u/dangercart. I’m active on Twitter @dangercart where I regularly freak out during games and then calm down once they’re over. I also built and (sort of) maintain a fully functioning NBA salary cap calculator at roster-builder.com. Read the rest of this entry »
Amir Johnson, PF21 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +8 +/-Brought his lunch pail to the Garden, went to work, and then sat on the bench for a long while eating whatever it was he brought in that lunch pail. With Zeller cutting into his minutes for another game, Johnson’s presence wasn’t felt much past the first quarter, until he finally ripped off the sweats to help seal the win with under four minutes to go in the game.
Jae Crowder, SF31 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-3 3FG | 2-3 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | 0 +/-Crowder had very busy hands tonight, like a stenographer with the Micro Machines guy on the witness stand. (I give myself a C+ for that simile.) He couldn’t find his stroke from deep, but Crowder got some big buckets, including a beaut off a hesitation dribble in the third quarter.
Jared Sullinger, C18 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +9 +/-It was Drummond’s height versus Sullinger’s butt, and Sully made things difficult for the Pistons big man all night. Tonight was another Stickum game for Sullinger, as he grabbed some tough boards, had a great steal, a sick strip on Marcus Morris, and had two crazy catches on difficult passes for transition buckets. Sully also had five assists, a total he’s logged only three other times this season.
Avery Bradley, PG36 MIN | 7-15 FG | 1-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -8 +/-I’d call Bradley the Backdoor Bandit, if that wasn’t a terrible idea. Still, AB snuck behind the defense on three occasions for layups and a dunk. And he helped keep Caldwell-Pope and Johnson quiet offensively, which was needed as Detroit fought back late.
Isaiah Thomas, PG33 MIN | 7-17 FG | 2-4 3FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +14 +/-Thomas had a some pep in his step. (Or, rather, Thomas had pep in his step, per usual.) IT went for two tip dunks in the game, and he used the rest of the NO2 in his shoes to make important drives to the hoop, including a crucial and-1 with under three to play, just as Heinsohn was beginning to melt into a pool of sweat and anxiety.
Jonas Jerebko, PF13 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +2 +/-Jonas was outshone by his old running mate, as the hot-handed, dirt-stached Ersan Ilyasova looked like the version of Adam Morrison that actually succeeded in the NBA. Still, he was productive if uninspiring.
Tyler Zeller, C14 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -3 +/-Zeller has heard your Dwight Howard rumors, and he responds by dunking the basketball through the parquet and blocking shots into the third row. Now it’s time for Danny to strike while the Zeller stock is high!
Kelly Olynyk, C19 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-4 3FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +7 +/-I feel like Mike Gorman put a hex on Olynyk. Every time Gorman wonders aloud why KO hasn’t been invited to the three-point contest, Olynyk gets bricktastic. You’d think after all these years of jinxing free-throw shooters, Gorman would know the strength of his powers.
Marcus Smart, PG28 MIN | 4-10 FG | 4-7 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +9 +/-Marcus hit his first three attempts from long range, and subsequently starting feeling himself like a massage therapy student without a study partner. He went cold after that, but hit the big three to finish off the game in the fourth. Would have liked to see more defensive plays, but with Smart shooting well over 40 percent from three since Jan. 23, it’s hard to complain too much.
Evan Turner, SG26 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 3FG | 6-6 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -3 +/-ET was a consistent, steadying presence for the second unit, finding open guys and drilling midrangers. Some nice D from ET tonight, as well, as he found himself matched up with Morris for much of the night, and helped hold the Detroit PF to 4-17 from the field.
The D was stellar in the first half. In the third quarter, the Pistons started to gain momentum, but hey, what are you going to do when shooters absolutely refuse to miss three-pointers? There should be something Stevens can adjust for in fourth quarters, though, as his team got tight and put a scare in Celtics fans once again. Time for Smart to start massaging teammates on the bench!
The Celtics will continue to be linked with any and all possible trade scenarios right up until the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 19th, and Wednesday morning, it was reported that the C’s were interested in former All Star center Dwight Howard.
Elsewhere, there has been much speculation surrounding David Lee, who picked up his 12th straight DNP in New York on Monday. It remains to be seen whether Ainge will opt to keep the veteran big man for the long haul or help him find his way to a more established contender through a trade or buy out.
Amir Johnson, PF15 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -2 +/-Having Johnson on Porzingis for extended shifts doesn’t make much sense. Porzingis is primarily going to float around about 18 feet from the basket, setting screens, popping for jumpers and the like. You’d ideally want Johnson closer to the rim helping off on drives from the Knicks guards. Stevens recognized this and replaced Johnson with Olynyk early. It’s not the Celtics’ starting center played poorly––the matchup just didn’t make sense.
Jae Crowder, SF28 MIN | 6-10 FG | 1-4 3FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | +1 +/-When Carmelo Anthony received the ball on his first isolation, Crowder stepped right up into his grill and got popped in the face by an elbow. Sometimes that initial blow deters players from deploying their aggressive brand of defense for the remainder of the evening, Not Crowder. Aside from a few silly fouls on jump shots, he locked Anthony down for most of the night.
Jared Sullinger, C17 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -3 +/-Lopez punked pretty much everyone on the offensive glass, but especially Sullinger, who just didn’t have the length to contain the 7-foot behemoth. Twice in a row on Knicks free throw trips, Lopez simply reached over the top of Sullinger––completely legal––for a second-chance opportunity.
Avery Bradley, PG30 MIN | 3-13 FG | 0-3 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +4 +/-OK, sure: He had a rough night from the floor. Let’s set that aside for a second. Bradley has been a lot more deliberate coming off pin-down screens since about mid-January, keeping the defender on his back, probing the helping big man, and reacting accordingly. He had a nice little floater in the first quarter today and a slick dump-off pass to Amir Johnson for a dunk in the third. Let’s see if this mini-trend continues.
Isaiah Thomas, PG37 MIN | 7-18 FG | 1-5 3FG | 5-5 FT | 5 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | +8 +/-Boston somehow ended up with Thomas guarding New York’s Arron Afflalo on a few possessions early in the first quarter. That’s a no-no. Thomas had no chance against Afflalo in the post, an area on the floor where he excels. On offense, though, the story was different. He finished around Lopez at the basket twice in the second quarter––how is that even possible?––and he had a sexy wraparound pass to Zeller in the third that pretty much summed up the Celtic guards’ brilliant interior passing tonight. One negative: He complains to the referees a little too much for my taste and, more importantly, for Stevens’ taste. The whining resulted in another technical foul tonight.
Jonas Jerebko, PF7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2 +/-I guess he sorta bottled up Derrick Williams, the Knicks’ offensive bench hub, in the first and second quarters. Still, if it weren’t for a bricked 3-pointer at the first quarter buzzer, Jerebko would have posted the rare “7 trillion.” Dodged a bullet there.
Tyler Zeller, C27 MIN | 8-13 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +11 +/-On his first play, Zeller set an illegal screen. Uh-oh. But then he quickly bounced back with his best offensive performance of the season, catching tricky interior passes and flipping in feathery layups. He was easily the best Boston big at keeping Lopez off the offensive glass, a huge problem in the first half.
Kelly Olynyk, C22 MIN | 5-8 FG | 1-3 3FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +7 +/-Olynyk picked up three fouls in his first four minutes of play in the first quarter but responded in the second half by pouring in 11 points. I swear Olynyk gets away with an average of three travelling violations per game, but he had some nice baskets on step-throughs tonight. He and Turner were the offensive bellwethers in crunch time this evening.
Marcus Smart, PG29 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-3 3FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +4 +/-Smart drew a charge as the weak side help defender on a semi-transition pick-and-roll in the first quarter. That takes unbelievable alertness and quickness––he had to beat the rolling big man to the spot earlier enough to stop his momentum, set his feet, and take the contact in the chest. He forced another turnover on a weak side rotation in the third quarter. The cherry on top was a basketball pick-six in the second quarter. Broke jumper or not, the dude’s a defensive animal.
Evan Turner, SG29 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +8 +/-Turner finished with class at the hoop over the trees in the second and third quarters. He buried two midrange jumpers out of a timeout midway through the fourth quarter to push Boston’s lead back up to eight after they’d let the Knicks creep back and Stevens ran the offense through him down the stretch.
David Lee, PFDNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | 3FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-$15 million David Lee is the consummate pro. Here, just check this out: https://vine.co/v/iJehegFPIBU
Stevens very quickly brought in Olynyk for Johnson to pull away an oak tree (Porzingis) that was, for whatever reason, planted in the paint. The move made the Celtics a little more dynamic on offense without having to sacrifice too much on defense––Porzingis can’t yet Olynyk off the bounce. Stevens pulled the right strings, and the lineups made sense. It took a little while to yank Sullinger for good, but at least it wasn’t too late.
One Thing We Saw
The Celtics on shot 38.6 percent and didn’t hit a 3-pointer in the first half, and they were still only trailing by a deuce heading into the locker room. That’s what having the league’s second-best defense will do for you.
The Celtics split a pair of games with the Magic over the weekend, and Jae Crowder suffered a shin injury during Sunday’s loss in Orlando.
The Latest on Crowder
Although Jae finished Sunday’s game having logged 25 minutes, he apparently suffered a right shin injury at some point during the 3rd quarter. According the Boston Herald, Crowder believes he was kicked in the shin. Although Crowder himself called the injury a bruise, team trainer Ed Lacerte had concerns it may be a strain.
Crowder was unsure whether the injury would sideline him on Tuesday when the Celtics play the Knicks at MSG. “It’s really sore right now,” he said of the injury.
On Monday, Crowder was kept out of practice because of the injury.
#NEBHInjuryReport: Jae Crowder bruised his right shin and will not practice today in NYC.
Amir Johnson, PF27 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -9 +/-A typical box score line from Johnson at this point. Solid D, sporadic offense and a decent job filling the glass.
Jae Crowder, SF25 MIN | 2-8 FG | 1-6 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -14 +/-One of the worst scoring outputs we’ve seen from Crowder in weeks. Given how good he’s been during the months of December and January, he was due for one of these. The important thing is for them not to become too commonplace again.
Jared Sullinger, C18 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-1 3FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | 0 +/-Didn’t get much of a chance with Stevens electing to spread the floor with shooters for much of the second half. In related news, he also was the only starter without a negative plus/minus.
Avery Bradley, PG39 MIN | 8-21 FG | 3-12 3FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | -2 +/-Plenty of shots, but far too many of them came early in the shot clock in the second half as the Magic went on a big scoring run to erase a big second half edge by Boston.
Isaiah Thomas, PG32 MIN | 7-16 FG | 5-9 3FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 23 PTS | -14 +/-No letup for this guy after his All-Star selection so far. The 3-point numbers continue to climb which is encouraging progress after his slow start. Like Bradley, you could argue he was a little too aggressive with his shot selection in the first half.
Jonas Jerebko, PF19 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-4 3FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +10 +/-The 3-ball continues to be hit at about a 50 percent clip for the last two months as his early season woes continue to be a distant memory.
Kelly Olynyk, C25 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-5 3FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +5 +/-Still fairly aggressive with his shot, but failed to execute. Orlando’s athletic bigs also gave him plenty of trouble throughout the night.
Marcus Smart, PG28 MIN | 8-16 FG | 5-9 3FG | 5-5 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 26 PTS | -2 +/-Almost single handedly willed the Celtics comeback to fruition in the game’s final minutes with his 3-point barrage. After a rusty return from injury, he appears to be reverting to his rookie form (about league average) from deep.
Evan Turner, SG27 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +1 +/-Downgraded for a foolish ejection in the game’s closing moments that sealed Boston’s fate as they faced a 9-point deficit.
Amir Johnson, PF21 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 3FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -4 +/-The Celtics are getting steady play on the back line from the big man right now and with the rest of the offense humming, that’s really all they need from him.
Jae Crowder, SF27 MIN | 6-11 FG | 3-6 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +2 +/-Tobias Harris had a rough shooting night with Crowder draped all over him and the 26-year-old managed to hit some timely 3s throughout the contest before the bench broke the game open.
Jared Sullinger, C21 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 3FG | 1-1 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -4 +/-He kept the Celtics offense afloat during a miserable start to the game by both teams. Took advantage of Aaron Gordon in the post and kept his shooting range inside the arc.
Avery Bradley, PG33 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-4 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +19 +/-An ugly shooting night, but the thing that is more encouraging to me about nights like this is the fact Bradley isn’t taking 15 shots when his jumper is off. There are more weapons around the Celtics offense now so Bradley isn’t afraid to take a back seat to them when he doesn’t have it going.
Isaiah Thomas, PG27 MIN | 5-14 FG | 0-3 3FG | 4-4 FT | 0 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 14 PTS | +4 +/-He was focused more on his pass than his shot after earning the All-Star nod and getting a nice surprise visit from good friend Floyd Mayweather.
Jonas Jerebko, PF22 MIN | 4-4 FG | 3-3 3FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +16 +/-You don’t see a perfect line in 22 minutes of action too often, but the Swede took care of business on that front Friday night. The double-double was an added bonus as well, as Jerebko is finally morphing into the spark he was for much of the team’s strong second half turnaround.
Kelly Olynyk, C20 MIN | 7-12 FG | 1-2 3FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +29 +/-Took the game over in the first few minutes of the fourth quarter by scoring nine straight points to put the game out of reach. His terrific 3-point shooting is really creating ample driving opportunities and he’s been very comfortable in attacking in those situations.
Marcus Smart, PG28 MIN | 5-9 FG | 3-5 3FG | 3-5 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +24 +/-The defense is always there, but when the 3-point shot is falling, look out. That’s an encouraging trend this week as he tries to snap out of a season-long shooting slump from downtown.
Evan Turner, SG25 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 3FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | +25 +/-Turner has been very fun to watch in the past few games as he’s given up on being an outside shooter and strictly focused on his in-between game and ball distribution. The chemistry between him and Smart is clear and it’s helping to create an imposing bench unit for this group right now.
With the way this roster is playing right now, Brad can just put his feet up for a little while and enjoy the ride while the hot shooting lasts.