Tag: Marcus Smart

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.

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Celtics Cruise by Nets, 116-95

The Boston Celtics won a wire-to-wire victory over a Brooklyn Nets team that never really looked like a threat throughout the game. The C’s crushed the Nets by 21 points, 116-95, winning their third consecutive game to start the New Year.

The Celtics had eight players in double figures led by Kyrie Irving who scored 17 points and dished out six assists. Second year forward Jayson Tatum continues his stellar play this season as he racked up 16 points along with four rebounds and four assists.

Boston’s Defense shuts down Brooklyn’s PG Duo

The Nets on the other hand didn’t look like a team that had just won eight of their last 10 games, their leading scorer D’Angelo Russell didn’t show up for Brooklyn. Russell came into last night’s game averaging 18.4 points per game and scored over 22 points in his last three games, but last night he had one of his worse performances of the year. Russell scored only five points on 2-6 shooting from the field and had six turnovers.

Sixth man of the year candidate, Spencer Dinwiddie, also had trouble scoring against Boston’s defense, he managed to score 15 points while shooting 40 percent from the field. What hasn’t been working for Dinwiddie this season is his three point shooting and last night was no different. On the season Dinwiddie is shooting 36 percent from behind the arc, against Boston last night he shot 1-of-6 from three.

Total Team Effort on Both Ends of the Floor

The Celtics came out strong in the first quarter, outscoring Brooklyn by 12 to end the quarter up 34-22. But as we’ve seen on multiple occasions with this Boston squad they’ve been having some issue holding a lead at the start of the third quarter. Against the Spurs they gave up 46 points in the third, against Minnesota they gave up 39 points and verse the Rockets they were outscored 35-31 in the third quarter.

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Kyrie Irving dances around Nets, Shabazz Napier. (Photo credit, MassLive.com)

Boston held an 11 point lead heading into halftime and in the third Brooklyn made a run that cut the deficit to five points with 9:39 remaining. It might have been the team Boston was up against, but they managed to reel a run of their own and end quarter up 12 points, 86-74.

Marcus Morris, Al Horford, Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward each scored 12 points, Terry Rozier contributed with 10 points and four assists and Daniel Theis scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds off the bench.

Boston will continue their home stretch as they host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. Indiana has won seven of their last 10 games and sits in the fourth seed in the east, just 2.5 games behind the first seeded Milwaukee Bucks.

Three Things Boston has to do to get by Streaking Nets

The Boston Celtics are currently riding a two game win streak with wins over western conference opponents in the Timberwolves and Mavericks, but tonight Boston will face a scrappy Brooklyn Nets team who are sitting in the seventh spot in the east. The Nets have won eight of their last 10 games and find themselves in the playoff picture for the first time since the 2014-15 season. They also have six players averaging double digit scoring.

These are three major points Boston has to do if they want to come away with a win.

Get Jarrett Allen in Foul Trouble

Since Aron Baynes went down with a broken hand last month the Celtics have had a hard time defending the paint. The team is averaging 34.4 defensive rebounds a game, but their undersized big men in Al Horford, Daniel Theis and Guerschon Yabusele have been getting pounded down low. We saw that in their loss against the Houston Rockets as Clint Capela finished the game with 19 rebounds. The Timberwolves didn’t go down easy either, Karl-Anthony Towns gave Boston trouble in the paint putting up 28 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

Brooklyn’s Jarrett Allen is in the conversation for defensive player of the year averaging 1.4 blocks per game (BPG). Allen has been a force in the paint for the Nets all season, he’s had some impressive blocks against MVP caliber players in LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo. With Baynes and Robert Williams out, Boston’s undersized big men are going to have to control Allen in the paint, which is easier said than done considering Allen is averaging 8.3 rebounds a game (RPG). Boston’s guards will have to get Allen into foul trouble so they can get easy buckets against backup center Ed Davis in switches and in the pick-n-roll.

Slow Down PG Duo of Dinwiddie and Russell

With Caris LeVert going down with a nasty ankle injury in November, in what seemed to be a similar injury that Gordon Hayward suffered last season, D’Angelo Russell has took it upon himself to carry the team offensively. He’s had helped from back-up point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who’s also in the conversation for sixth man of the year, averaging 17.2 points per game (PPG) off the bench. Russell himself is putting up 18.4 PPG and dishing out 6.4 assists per game (APG).

Marcus Smart and Kyrie Irving, who is returning from an eye injury after missing two games, are going to have to play tight defense against Russell and Dinwiddie who over the season have shown to be a match-up problem on the offensive end. Dinwiddie and Russell have respectively put up over 30 points on multiple occasions. The 6’6 Dinwiddie is going to be a match-up problem against the smaller Boston point guards in Smart, Irving and Terry Rozier.

Out Hustle Brooklyn

If we were talking about last season’s Boston Celtics we wouldn’t be having this discussion in terms of hustle plays, but that’s not the case for this season team. The Celtics ability to overcome deficits last season was the team’s identity, they had an 8-5 winning record after trailing by at least 13 points and 5-4 in games when they were down by at least 17 points. But this season Boston’s only has had a few gritty comeback victories against the Philadelphia 76ers on Christmas day, Phoenix Suns and Oklahoma City at the start of the season.

Brooklyn is obviously the underdog going into Monday’s match-up, but under head coach Kenny Atkinson they’re grinding out victories against big time playoff opponents. They picked up wins over the Sixers, Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Lakers and Charlotte Hornets. Brooklyn are top ten in the NBA in offensive rebound percentage at 29.7 percent, which can play can be a big key if they want to steal a win in Boston.

The Potential of Boston was showcased against the Pelicans

It might have been for one night, against a potential playoff team in the west, but the potential of what this Boston Celtics club can do was on full display against the New Orleans Pelicans Monday night. The Celtics pulled off a wire to wire victory on the road against Anthony Davis and the Pelicans, 124-107, which was perhaps Boston’s best game on the offensive end all season. Five players finished in double digits, with Kyrie Irving leading the way with 26-points and 10 assists.

Frustration boiling up among Players

After another disappointing loss to the Dallas Mavericks over the weekend Marcus Smart and Irving voiced their frustration with the team’s lack of effort coming into games. “It feels like déjà vu all over again,” Smart said. “We keep saying and doing the same thing after every game. It’s getting real annoying.”GettyImages-1062985448

A quarter through the regular season Boston sits in sixth place in the eastern conference, they’ve won six out of eight games in the month of November, three of the six wins came against non-playoff teams in the Suns, Hawks and Bulls.

“Last year, when teams came in, when they played the Celtics, they knew they were in for a fight. This year, teams can’t wait to play us. That’s a problem,” said Smart.

Can the Celtics Mount a Winning Streak

It’s now or never for the Celtics, their next game isn’t until Friday as they return home to host the Cleveland Cavaliers, who they themselves have won a few games against the 76ers and Rockets. With Toronto playing excellent basketball and holding onto the number one spot in the east, Boston’s going to have to make a run to end the 2018 calendar year.

With just six games behind the Raptors the Celtics have a chance to climb up the standings as they enter an easy schedule in December, with games against the Knicks, Bulls, Wizards, Hawks, Pistons and Suns in the next two weeks.