Tag: Jayson Tatum

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.

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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.

Celtics lose a Close one Against Warriors

A miscommunication at the free throw line with less than 10 seconds to go in regulation cost the Boston Celtics a chance to upset the reigning NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. At the end, Kyrie Irving’s 32 points and 10 assists was not enough to break Golden States nine game winning streak, as the Warriors came out on top 115-100 at TD Garden.

Al Horford was big for Boston on both sides of the floor, he had 22 points and 13 rebounds. Jayson Tatum caught fire in the second half as he opened up the third quarter with three straight three pointers, he finished with 20 points and five rebounds.

The Boogie Problem in the League

The difference DeMarcus Cousins makes on both sides of the floor for the Warriors is a scary sight for the rest of the league. Last night’s game against Boston was a prime example of how Cousins makes this Golden State team even more deadly. One multiple occasions on defense, Irving and Smart could be seen trying to fight through a Boogie screen to close out on either Klay Thompson or Stephen Curry, but to no avail.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers
DeMarcus Cousins is having a major impact for the Warriors starting five. (Photo credit: NESN.com)

The size and strength of Cousins caused problems for the defense when trying to close out the shooters, which left Curry and Thompson with so much daylight for an open three. Both Thompson and Curry torched the Celtics from behind the arc, Curry at one point hit five consecutive three’s after starting 0-of-4 and Thompson started the game with eight easy points and two from three. Curry finished with 24 points on 7-of-15 from the field, while Thompson scored 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting.

Kevin Durant led the Warriors in scoring with 33 points and Cousins had 15 points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes of action.

Hayward is a Defensive Liability for Boston

When Gordon Hayward entered the game you can see he wasn’t himself on offense, on multiple occasions in the first quarter he would attack the basket but wasn’t looking to score. His drives to the hole would often result in an intercepted pass or a turnover. The defense would collapse on Hayward as he dribbled into the paint leaving him stuck in the paint with four Warrior players around him.

On defense it was the same story all season, players would expose Hayward’s lack of quickness off the dribble and score easy jumpers. Hayward was a -8 while on the floor last night, he missed all five of his shot attempts, but managed to grab seven rebounds.

It wasn’t just Hayward who had an off game, Marcus Morris struggled to find his jump shot, although he made up for it on defense by playing stellar defense on Durant. Morris finished the night with nine points and nine rebounds, he shot 3-of-12 from the field.

The Celtics continue their home stretch tomorrow as the Brooklyn Nets come to Boston. The C’s will look for revenge after losing to the Nets two weeks ago 109-102.

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.

Trade Deadline Decisions for the Boston Celtics

With the NBA trade deadline three weeks away and Boston still sitting in the fifth seed we have to wonder if General Manager Danny Ainge is going to pull the trigger and make a deal by the deadline. With all the drama between players we’ll see if Ainge sticks with the current roster and cashes in this summer for an Anthony Davis trade.

The New Orleans Pelicans have continued to say they’re not trading Davis, so with that being said will Boston go into the postseason with the same roster and finally make an offer for Davis once Kyrie Irving signs a new deal. Below are three trade options the Celtics can make to better their roster.

Trade Daniel Theis for Some Size

Daniel Theis is an energy guy, there’s nothing to questions about his play off the bench or as a starter, but because he’s injury prone and his size for a big man causes an issue for Boston’s frontcourt rotation. This season Theis is averaging 6.6 points per game (PPG) and four rebounds a game (RPG), his small frame is exposed when Boston faces teams with a deep frontcourt such as Detroit, Miami, Toronto, Indiana and Philadelphia.

Boston Celtics v Denver Nuggets
Second year player, Daniel Theis is averaging six points per game and four rebounds per game. (Photo credit: NBA.com)

Boston currently has three players in Aron Baynes, Robert Williams and Al Horford at 6’10 and with the emergence of rookie Williams it’s easy to see he deserves more minutes. Williams can do everything Theis does, but has an advantage because of his athletic ability.

Boston can package Theis and Rozier for Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic, who is on the trade block on the final year of his contract. The 28-year-old is putting up 20 ppg, 12 rpg, and 3.8 assists per game (APG). Vucevic can give Boston another option down low aside from Horford, he can post up and has a mid-range game.

Ship Scary Terry for assets

After this season Rozier will be a restricted free agent and with Irving looking to resign with Boston, its obvious Rozier will play his last season with the Celtics. Teams like the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks who are in need of a point guard will be going after Rozier, but the question is whether or not Boston will want to match whatever they offer Rozier. Irving will eat up the majority of Boston’s cap space and Horford will most likely pick-up his player option and stay with the team.

Boston can flirt with the Suns about a Rozier trade and see if they offer up a few first rounder picks to add to Boston treasure vault. If Boston continues to stock up on draft picks they can make a stronger case to the Pelicans this summer on a Davis deal.

Trade Hayward to Get the Best out of Tatum

Boston can continue to wait and see if Gordon Hayward ever gets back to who he was or they can look for a team that can use him and get some veteran and bench prescience in return. Hayward’s trade value is at an all-time low, no team will offer up a first round pick and with $127 million remaining in his four-year deal it will be difficult to see a team take him.

A Hayward trade will benefit Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown the most. With Hayward out of the rotation it can probably open up Brown and Tatum’s game and get them back to who they were during the postseason. Tatum and Brown showed during the playoffs they are bona fide stars in this league and can average equal or more numbers to what Hayward put up in Utah.

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.

Are the Boston Celtics Finally Ready to Steamroll through the East?

Last night’s showdown between two red-hot Eastern Conference teams seemed to be no problem for the Boston Celtics as they rolling through the Indiana Pacers 135-108.

The four game home stand was something the Celtics needed after winning one out of four games on their West coast road trip two weeks ago. Boston have now won four straight and are 15-5 at TD Garden. They play a back-to-back today as they take their talents to South Beach and play the Miami Heat.

Boston’s Depth on Full Display

At the start of the season the talk around the league was the amount of talent the Celtics have, they have eight legit starting caliber players and last night’s victory showed that. The Pacers were out gunned yesterday, even with their talented duo of Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Boston had seven players that reached double figures, which now makes it four consecutive games where at least five players have scored in double figures.

The team was led by Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown, who each scored 22 points to go along with eight and seven rebounds. Jayson Tatum showed out offensively as he scored 20 points while shooting 60 percent from the field on 9-of-15 shots. Another positive takeaway was the performance of Gordon Hayward, who has been more consistent on the offensive end over the last couple of games. He finished with 14 points on 5-of-7 from the field.

Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics
Starters, Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart celebrate with teammates as they cruise by the Indiana Pacers. (Photo credit: NBA.com)

It was one of those games that allowed Kyrie Irving to take a break offensively, he played only 24 minutes and scored only 12 points. Al Horford also had a laid-back night, playing only 18 minutes and chipped in with six points and eight assists.

The True Test for Boston Begins in the Coming Weeks

Since airing out their frustrations after the loss to Milwaukee back in December, the Celtics are now 7-2 over their last nine games with their only losses coming to the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. The home stretch provided an extra boost of confidence for the Celtics, but in the upcoming weeks they will play legit championship contenders like the Toronto Raptors, the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Celtics and Raptors will square-off on Wednesday at TD Garden. Their even at 1-1 over their last two meetings with Boston taking the second game in overtime when Irving exploded for 43 points.

A potential NBA Finals match-up with the Warriors will take place on Saturday the 26th, as both teams continue to get back to playing championship level basketball. Although the Celtics could be one of the first teams to face a returning DeMarcus Cousins with Golden State, as he’s scheduled to return from an Achilles tear in mid-to-late January.