Tag: Brad Stevens

Celtics Show no Fight in Blowout to Toronto

With a month and a half left in the regular season the Boston Celtics continue to sit in the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, they’ve dropped three straight and lost five out of their last 10 games. Last night was no different, the Toronto Raptors blew Boston out of their home court 118-95, at one point the Raptors were in complete control up 30.

The season has been repetitive up to this point, where the team wins a couple of games in a row and looks like they finally turned the corner on their inconsistent play. Instead of turning the page Boston somehow returns to their old ways and go on a losing streak, where it seems that the players don’t like each other.

Who do we Blame for the Celtics season?

We can point the finger at Brad Stevens for not switching up the lineups when the team goes through these losing moments, we can blame Kyrie Irving for his lack of leadership or we can point at Terry Rozier for his awful play off the bench. Regardless of whose to blame, this Celtics team with so much depth should not be in this position.

Some of it could be the injury to back-up center, Aron Baynes, who’s been sidelined due to a foot contusion. From late December until mid-January Baynes missed 13 games because of a fractured hand injury, he appeared in just nine games before going down again. With Baynes our, the Celtics lack a true big man off the bench once Al Horford takes a breather. Daniel Theis, Guerschon Yabusele and banged up Robert Williams get exposed inside against the opposing big men.

Toronto’s big men of Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam were just to much to handle for Boston’s undersized bigs. Gasol finished with five points, five rebound and eight assists, Ibaka had 14 points and Siakam killed Boston with 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting and eight rebounds.

Irving Confident in Team heading into the Postseason

Irving made headlines on Sunday after the Celtics loss to the Chicago Bulls where he said he doesn’t believe anyone can beat Boston four out of seven games. “Like I said, I don’t get frustrated about this stuff anymore. It’s just part of the regular season. In the playoffs, when we can plan for a team, prepare for a team, I still don’t see anybody beating us in seven games,” said Irving.

Irving believes that once the playoffs comes around the Celtics will be a whole different team then what they’re showing. “No, we’ll be fine,” Irving then added, “Because I’m here.” He of all players has the right to be this confident based on his history of coming up big when the pressure is on. Irving hit one of the most clutch shots in Finals history against the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, which secured the Cleveland Cavaliers first championship.

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Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks Face Off For An Eastern Conference Heavy-Weight Match-Up

With the All-Star break now behind us the race for playoff positioning has begun. Teams in the playoff picture are heading into the final stretch with a winning mentality as the last month and a half of the regular season begins. It starts tonight as two of the favorites to make it out of the East in the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics face-off.

The Bucks currently hold the best record in the league at 43-14, while the Celtics are tied at the fourth seed with Philadelphia at 37-21.

Nikola Mirotic make Bucks debut

Head coach Mike Budenholzer and his coaching stuff get to unveil their newest toy in Nikola Mirotic tonight. Mirotic will take the court for the first time as a member of the Bucks after being traded by the New Orleans Pelicans before the trade deadline.

The Bucks have played in four games between the trade deadline and before the All-Star break, but Mirotic has been dealing with a calf injury that has kept him sidelined. He’s appeared in 32 games this season and is averaging 16.7 points per game (ppg) and 8.3 rebounds per game (rpg). MVP candidate, Giannis Antentkounmpo will have more help as the Bucks look to secure the number one seed in the East heading into the postseason.

Mirotic is an added bonus for Milwaukee, he’ll be able to spread the floor while Antentokounmpo draws in defenders inside the paint, which will free up shooters like Mirotic, Brook Lopez and Malcom Brogdon.

Jayson Tatum Predicts Boston to go all the way

After winning the Skills Challenge during All-Star weekend, second year player Jayson Tatum made an eye popping statement as to what he believes the future has in store for Boston.

“We’re going to win the Finals,” Tatum told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “February 16, mark it Jayson Tatum said we’re going to win the Finals this year.”

Tatum and the Celtics have a lot of work to do to get to that point as Milwaukee, Toronto and Philadelphia have added more weapons to their roster before the trade deadline.

Before the season started the talk around the league was Boston’s depth once Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward returned. Boston has about nine starting caliber players on their team, which was the main reason why many picked Boston to stream-roll through the Eastern Conference. But now it seems that the Bucks, the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers have caught up, if not surpassed the Celtics.

The Raptors added Marc Gasol from Memphis and the Sixers added Tobias Harris from the Clippers. But as anonymous scout said about the Celtics it will all come down to consistently and chemistry if Boston hopes to continue playing in June.

“This team can win the East or get beat in the first round. They have great talent but sometimes they have no chemistry,” said an anonymous scout.

Boston Celtics Are Still The Beast Of The East

The talk around the league after the trade deadline was the moves made by the Philadelphia 76ers and how they are the favorites to come out of the East. Last night, the Boston Celtics, without Kyrie Irving, faced off against the newly formed big four in Philly of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. Needless to say whenever Boston goes against a championship level team they bring their A-game, and last night was no exception. Boston overcame Philly 112-109, led by Gordon Hayward’s game-high 26 points, Jayson Tatum had 20 points and Al Horford chipped in with 23 points, five assists and eight rebounds.

The Celtics are the Sixers Kryptonite

In their last 19 games, including the playoffs, Boston has a 17-2 record against Philadelphia, their only two losses came on January 18, 2018 when they lost by nine and in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals when they lost 92-103.

Even with Irving, who’s out with a strained left knee, the Celtics played as perfect as they could against the 76ers. It helped a bit that Embiiid was in foul trouble throughout the game while shooting 9-22 from the field. Harris and Butler had better games as they shot a combined 11-26 from the field, Butler also missed important free throws in the fourth quarter that could’ve tied the game at 106.

With Embiid in foul trouble, Marcus Smart slammed down a vicious dunk through Embiid who decided not to contest with five fouls, which put Boston up 110-107. Tatum would ice the game with two clutch free throws to put Boston up 112-109, with no timeouts remaining Butler couldn’t get the shot up in time in hopes of sending the game to overtime.

Are the Celtics Better without Kyrie?

The numbers don’t lie, the Celtics have played better when Irving has missed games, they’re 8-2 when Irving’s out of the lineup. Last night, the ball moved around more then with Irving on the floor, Hayward had his best performance again a championship level team, Tatum reminded everybody why Danny Ainge wants to keep him in Boston and Horford had a big game on both sides of the floor.

With Irving in the lineup the team is 28-19, a small difference but we can’t deny what we saw from the Celtics young core last season in 60 games without Irving. Over the span of three rounds in the postseason, the Celtics went 14-8 and eliminated Philly in five games.

Boston is averaging 112.9 points per game this season in 57 games played, when Irving is out of the line-up the numbers jump to 113.5 ppg.

Irving will miss his second game tonight as Boston takes on Detroit at TD Garden, their last game before the All-Star break.

Irving, AD and New York shake up the NBA World during the Last Week of January.

Free agency does not start until July 1 and with the trade deadline less than a week away the final week of January has rocked the league with blockbuster trades, trade rumors and outspoken superstars concerning their future.

The New York Knicks shipped Kristaps Porzingis yesterday to the Dallas Mavericks, which freed room for two max contract spots on the roster heading into a loaded 2019 free agency class. The Memphis Grizzlies have made both Mike Conley and Marc Gasol available in trade talks for the first time, Anthony Davis has requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans and just this afternoon Kyrie Irving spoke out about his pending free agency this summer.

Should the City of Boston be Fearful of a Irving Departure?
Back in October 2018, during fan appreciation night at TD Garden, Irving said he planned on resigning with the C’s in front of fans, “If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here.” This gave General Manager, Danny Angie some comfort room as to how he can potentially team-up Irving alongside Anthony Davis this summer, using his treasure chest of draft picks and young talent. But things got cloudy in Boston this afternoon as Irving seemed uncertain about his future with the Celtics.
“At the end of the day, I’m going to do what’s best for my career, and that’s just where it stands,” said Irving ahead of the match-up between Boston and New York later tonight.
When asked about his decision on whether or not he’ll resign with Boston, “Ask me again on July 1,” he said. “Just do the best for me. That’s what it comes down to. Obviously this has become an entertainment thing for everyone… I’m not worried about a reputation, not worried about a legacy in the league. I’m just trying to be a human being, trying to make the best decision for my family.”
Championship or Bust
Irving’s mindset for this season hasn’t changed as the goal is still a to bring a championship to Beantown, “And my focus this season is winning a championship with the Boston Celtics. Obviously, we had goals coming into the season and the primary goals is to win a championship. So that’s where my focus is,” said Irving.
Throughout the year the Celtics have had a rollercoaster of a season with frustration bubbling between players. Both Irving and Al Horford have questioned the teams determination and hunger, Irving on the other hand called out the young players inexperience.
The questions that should be in the mind of Angie and the rest of the Celtics organization is, should they trade Irving before the trade deadline or be fearful of him leaving during free agency to a team like the Knicks, Brooklyn Nets or Los Angeles Lakers. Time will tell what the Celtics will do between today and the February 7 deadline.

Celtics vs. Warriors; NBA Finals Preview?

One of the most anticipated match-ups of the season takes place tonight when the Golden State Warriors visit the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. This will be the first meeting between these two teams as both clubs are currently riding winning streaks. Golden State has won nine games in a row and the Celtics have won five of their own.

Warriors sit at the top of the Western Conference and Boston still finds themselves in the fifth seed in the East.

Baynes and Cousins Set to Go Tonight

As if the hype for this game wasn’t big enough both Aron Baynes and DeMarcus Cousins are set to play tonight, both coming off major injuries as Baynes continues to be limited to just 18 minutes of playing time since returning from a broken hand injury. Cousins on the other side is still working his way back from an torn Achilles tendon he suffered last season with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Head Coach Steve Kerr has limited Cousins to just 20 minutes of playing time, but that hasn’t stopped the big man from making an impact alongside Golden States other four All-Stars in Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. In their last game against the Washington Wizards, Cousins put up 17 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes of action. Cousins has gelled in nicely alongside the Warriors starting five, he’s made an impact in the paint with his post-game and is still hitting the three at an efficient rate.

Battle of Point Guards: Curry vs. Irving

Whenever Curry and Kyrie Irving go head-to-head NBA fans know they’re going to be in for a treat. The countless battles they’ve shared in three straight Finals was something nobody could forget. During the 2017 Finals Irving averaged 29.4 points per game (PPG) and 4.4 assists per game, while Curry averaged 26.8 PPG and 9.4 APG.

Who can forget the last meeting these two point guards had last season. It was last January when Curry and Irving lit up Oracle, Curry led the Warriors to a 109-105 victory by dropping 49 points and five assists, Irving had 37 points and four assists.

What to watch out for; The Boston Depth

Boston’s depth will determine the outcome of this game. Brad Stevens will look at his young trio of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier to make a huge impact on both sides of the floor. Rozier will have a tough assignment as he will occasional have to switch up onto Curry whenever Irving’s on the bench or needs to lay back on the defensive side. Brown and Tatum will have to score in double digits if Boston wants a chance to beat Golden State

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The Boston depth of Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Al Horford and Jaylen Brown will play a key role in tonight’s match-up. (Photo credit: Zimbio)

And then there is Al Horford, which since coming back from injury has been playing well. Against the Miami Heat, Horford put up 16 points and controlled the glass with 12 rebounds.

Both Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris will need to bring their grittiness and toughness on the defensive side when checking Durant and Thompson.

Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. Their next match-up will take place after the All-Star break at Oracle Arena on March 5.

Boston Gets a Sloppy Road Win in ATL

It wasn’t a pretty win for the Celtics, before the game Gordon Hayward was ruled out due to personal reasons, in the third quarter Marcus Smart was ejected after receiving a second technical, Marcus Morris and Al Horford shot a combined 7-21 from the field. It was a combination of another heroic Kyrie Irving fourth quarter and sloppy plays by a young Atlanta Hawks team that secured Boston the 113-105 victory.

This is Boston’s third straight win after losing three in a row. Since the start of the New Year Boston has won seven of their last 10 games and still sit in the fifth spot in the East.

Kyrie Irving Saves the Night

Maybe it was the back-to-back games, but the Celtics started the game slow and at one point were down by as many as 16. With 6:30 remaining in the second quarter Irving re-entered the game to find his team down 38-52, from there Irving scored or assisted on 20 of Boston’s 32 second quarter points, which included 15 points of his own. At the half Boston cut the 14 point lead to just seven.

During the third quarter Boston lost their defensive guy in Marcus Smart when he lost his cool with Hawks DeAndre Bembry during a jump ball. Smart and Bembry had to be separated after an exchange of words, which resulted in a double technicals that being Smart’s second he would be ejected. The defensive pressure feel on Irving and Terry Rozier once Smart was out of the game and Rozier stepped up.

Scary Terry Steps up Defensively

Over the last three games Rozier has stepped up on the defensive side after many head scratching plays on the offensive end this season. During Boston’s Florida trip that resulted in two losses to Orlando and Miami, Rozier has flipped the switch on the defensive side. In the past three games, the team has had a 93.7 defensive rating when Rozier is on the floor and his 17.5 net rating is third on the team.

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Terry Rozier has stepped up for Boston on the Defensive side since their three game road trip. (Photo Credit: Yahoo Sports)

Rozier has be so inconsistent on the offensive side with many questionable shots and lack of production because of a bench role. For the past couple of games Rozier has been picking up opponents full court, flying around on the defensive end and has made good decisions on offense.

Head coach Brad Stevens has praised Rozier’s effort as of late, “Terry’s playing at a high level and he can go 4 for 12 and impact us in a real positive way. Then on the nights he’s 9 for 12, he’s going to feel great and he’ll impact us in a positive way, but I’m excited about the way he’s played in the last two,” Stevens said.

Boston has a chance to avenge their loss to Miami tomorrow when the Heat visit the Celtics at TD Garden.

Tensions Flare In Boston, As the Celtics Loss Again

The roller coaster of a season for the Boston Celtics goes on as tensions continue to raise amongst players, and in last night’s 105-103 loss to the Orlando Magic a brief disagreement was caught between head coach Brad Stevens and superstar point guard Kyrie Irving.

First it was Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown’s brief scuffle during a timeout in Thursday’s loss to the Miami Heat, and last night an argument was witnessed between Stevens and Irving over a drawn up play for the last shot of the game. At the end, Gordon Hayward inbounded the ball to Jayson Tatum, who then attempted a fade away over Magic guard, Wesley Iwundu, with 2.7 seconds remaining in regulation. After the game, Irving seemed frustrated over Hayward’s decision to give the ball to Tatum for the last shot, Irving can be seen telling Hayward, “You had Al,” who was open at the top of the key.

Irving Critical of Young Teammates over Lack of Experience

After the game Irving and Al Horford both questioned their young teammate’s inconsistent play, “We play hard at times. We don’t play hard all the time,” Horford said.

We’ve reached the mid-way point of the season and the Celtics continue to show inconsistency on both sides of the floor. Boston seemed to have figured it out after their team meeting occurred after their loss to Milwaukee on December 21. The Celtics won 7 of their last 9 games after the meeting took place, but their losses to non-playoff teams in the Heat and Magic over the week have the players thinking if the problem has resurfaced.

Irving was critical of his young teammates and how they’ve played this season, “The young guys don’t know what it takes to be a championship-level team. And if they think it is hard now, what do they think it will be like when we’re trying to get to the finals?” said Irving.

Time heals all Wounds

Even throughout these low points in the season Irving still believes in this team’s potential, “I know from the majority of the fact that we’re better than most teams in this league,” said Irving. “It’s just going out and proving it every single night and demanding it and actually showing it.”

Irving emphasized how experience has been a major issue to why this club hasn’t lived up to their potential. This is the most stacked team in the NBA and Brad Stevens has to find a way to mesh the egos of nine legit starting players into accepting new roles, which includes less playing time, low productivity and bench roles. Guys like Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum who were playing at an All-Star level last season have seen their productivity decline since Irving and Hayward returned this season.

Time will tell if the Celtics can bounce out of their inconsistency and FINALLY make a run at the number one seed. Home court advantage is going to play a major role in the playoffs with teams like Milwaukee, Toronto, Philadelphia and Indiana gunning for a spot to represent the East in the Finals since LeBron James departure to the West. We’ll see if Boston can get it together before it’s too late.