Category Archives: Boston Celtics

Celtics Offseason: In Position To Make A Move

Danny Ainge has some work to do this offseason.

In a chippy final game, the Celtics got swept by the Cavs in what was really a heat check for a scrappy, underachieving Celtics team. In the end, it was the more star-studded, team that pulled away with the series win. Surprise, surprise. That’s how the NBA works.

 

The main takeaway from this series is that the Celtics aren’t there yet. They are not contenders. Not yet. If it wasn’t obvious before the Cavs series, it is now. Sure, it was an unfavorable draw getting King James in the first round as opposed to a very mortal Atlanta Hawks team, but the general result would have been the same – a first round loss. Which is fine by Celtics fans. Not many expected them to be in the playoffs anyways.

 

So, exit stage left regular season, and enter offseason 2015. Two things were especially apparent in the Cavs series that the C’s need to address this offseason – rebounding and star-power. Both were exposed by the Cavs during the series at some of the most crucial times. Kyrie and LeBron hit big shots and got to the free throw line at-will. Tristan Thompson killed the C’s with sneaky offensive rebounds in crucial late game situations. Just two examples that echoed problems the team has dealt with all season.

 

Celtics have both cap space and assets in draft picks to address these needs, with either a free agent signing or a trade. To me, the most attainable move would be to sign Kevin Love. He is one of the few talented free agents that has expressed interest in playing for Boston. At least, that was before Kelly Olynyk ended Love’s playoff campaign, dislocated his shoulder fighting for a loose ball with Olynyk. As furious as he was leaving the TD Garden, Love has a past with the Celtics, so I wouldn’t rule out him signing completely. Still, you can bet your ass that the chances of landing him took a hit – especially after the announcement of Love being sidelined for 4-6 months. Thanks, Kelly. You should try that whole box-out thing sometime.

 

Kelly Olynyk may have broke the Celtics chances with Kevin Love

Did Kelly Olynyk spoil the Celtics chance of landing Love?

Luckily, there are a lot of available free agents not named Kevin Love that can address the offseason needs. With the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe, and old friend Al Jefferson, there are a lot of available free agents that fit into these two needs for the Celtics. There’s a lot of cap room and a lot of talented big men on the market. With Danny Ainge as your GM, something’s got to give this summer. Whether that big man is Kevin Love is to be determined.

Celtics Circuit: Three Crucial Matchups Against Cavaliers

The Boston Celtics have to find a way to contain the Cleveland Cavaliers'  Big Three.

The Boston Celtics have to find a way to contain the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Big Three.

The Boston Celtics enter their opening-round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers with all eyes in Boston on them for the first time this season. Throughout the 2014-’15 season, the Celtics have been seen as rebuilding while the New England Patriots captured Super Bowl XLIX on February 1st and the Boston Bruins failed to make the playoffs last Saturday.

In this series, pundits have mainly picked the Cavaliers to finish the series quickly either in four or five games. Celtics play-by-play broadcaster Mike Gorman (along with the most optimistic Celtics fans) are the only people who are picking the Celtics.

The pressure is on the superstar-laden Cavaliers. LeBron James signed with the Cavaliers last summer and immediately made the Cavaliers contenders for the Larry O’Brien trophy. They added forward Kevin Love in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves and they already had 2014 NBA All-Star MVP Kyrie Irving on their roster.

Meanwhile the Celtics were 16-30 after January and left for dead in the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They shipped Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks and Jeff Green to the Memphis Grizzlies before Super Bowl Sunday. The Celtics are 24-12 since February 1st. They have beaten playoff teams like the Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks, and New Orleans Pelicans. They also built a big advantage over the Golden State Warriors before falling in the final few minutes. The Celtics are among the hottest and most interesting teams in this year’s postseason. Brad Stevens is a candidate for Coach of the Year.

Here are three intriguing matchups between the Celtics and Cavliers:

1. James versus Celtics’ defense: It will be interesting to see if the Celtics employ any new wrinkles against James because they don’t really have a one-on-one defender to stop LeBron (nobody really does). The biggest key is to limit the turnovers and not let James get into the open court. The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach had an interesting article in Saturday’s newspaper about James’ shooting percentage from the perimeter. Himmelsbach wrote that James is shooting 56.5 percent when he has a defender guarding him within two feet and his percentage falls to 49.5 percent when the nearest defender is at least six feet away from him. Obviously, the Celtics would like to make James shoot jumpers in the half-court, but that is easier said than done against the 6-foot-8-inch, 250-pound battering ram. The Celtics will likely seek a rotation of Evan Turner, Jae Crowder, and Brandon Bass to defend James. Read more

Celtics Playoffs..What Are The Odds? – With NBA Lines by Mybookie.ag

Isaiah Thomas leads Celtics

Isaiah Thomas has been a major reason why the Celtics had the second best record in the Eastern Conference since February 2nd.

I’ll be the first to say that I was right in my prediction of contending for a low-seed playoff spot, but how the Celtics reached this point nobody saw coming. This Celtics team proved a lot of doubters wrong thus far, and defied the NBA tank. The strange thing is, I’m convinced they aren’t done yet. That’s correct, I think the Boston Celtics could give the Cavaliers a run for their money, by either pushing the Cavs to 7 games or even taking the series. And if anyone else is feeling as bold as I am about the Celtics taking down the Cavs, you can go place NBA Odds for the series!

I’m going to play out a scenario, and you tell me if I am being overly optimistic, or completely sensible. Celtics upset the Cavs in 7 games. LeBron will get his 30+ points a night, but can only carry his team so far. Kevin Love, much like most of the season, struggles to fit into David Blatt’s offense. Kyrie is held in check by Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley. David Blatt, an untested NBA coach, gets out-coached by Brad Stevens. Celtics play as a team and move the ball around and keep Cleveland’s stars in check. Celtics take a few games early on in the series, and suddenly the Cavs are playing on their heels.

  Read more

Marcus Smart’s Big No-No (VIDEO)

It’s no secret that Marcus Smart has temper issues in the past, but it seems to be flaring up on the NBA level lately. It certainly seemed evident in last night’s blowout loss against the Spurs, with Smart’s hit below the belt on Matt Bonner. It was announced today that Smart was handed for a one-game suspension by the league, in addition to an early 4th quarter exit in last night’s game.

Ouch.

Marcus Smart has been a physical defensive presence all season, but obviously you should never hit a dude below the belt like that. That was ruthless and idiotic, and in no way accidental. He’s a competitive player which is great, but you can’t get your frustration and emotions get the best of you.

Brad Stevens Impressing in Second Season

Brad Stevens coaching

Brad Stevens has taken a more aggressive approach in his coaching style as the year has progressed.

 

Brad Stevens is finally getting the credit he deserves, though it hasn’t been easy leading up to this point.

Just 3 months ago, a flailing Celtics team lost many leads with fourth quarter meltdowns. The Celtics hit a season low 11-21 in January, a few weeks after trading their best player in Rajon Rondo.

Fast forward 3 months, and the surging Celtics stand at 30-36, winning 5 in a row, and 9 of their last 12. They are tied with Miami and Indiana for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

Many thought this would be another 2013-14 tank year. Not the case. You can’t help but respect this team for overcoming expectations, and a lot of credit goes to Stevens.

As the season has gone on, Stevens made adjustments, including becoming more aggressive. He is being more aggressive in how he handles his team when they do not play well. He is also much more assertive with referee staff and how games are called, letting refs hear about bad calls from the sidelines.

Stevens worked his magic since the all-star break. He has got the most out of his new roster, an inexperienced squad with a lack of elite talent, through terrific playing calling and mixing and matching lineups. He is a coach that disregards politics, by giving guys the playing time necessary to prove themselves in game situations. Players like Datome and Jerebko have a fair chance of contributing to this team, when on their previous teams, they could not find much playing time to contribute. Celtics players have also noted that Stevens is straight-forward with his players.

He’s focused on the task at hand- Playoffs. He always has been, since the start of the season. He was quick to put his team on blast early in the season if they weren’t playing up to expectations. He was also quick to admit he needed to coach his team better. The passion was always there early in the season, but the execution was not. Now that this team has turned it around, Stevens is saying all the right things, downplaying any talk of playoffs, only focusing on how his team plays.

It’s not certain the Celtics will get into the playoffs this year, but that doesn’t mean the season was a total loss. Playoffs or not, Stevens is proving himself as an elite NBA coach, and Celtics organization and its fan base should feel fortunate to have him as a coach for the next 4+ years. There will be a lot to look forward to.

C’s Circuit: Embrace the Cinderella Celtics

Brad Stevens continues to work magic with the Boston Celtics.

Brad Stevens continues to work magic with the Boston Celtics.

It’s tough not to feel good about the Boston Celtics these days. The team is 8-5 since the acquisitions of Isaiah Thomas, Jonas Jerebko, Luigi Datome just before the NBA Trade Deadline on February 19th. Also, the Celtics have won their last two games without Thomas (bruised back), including a thrilling 95-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, who are currently in second place in the loaded Western Conference.

The Celtics are a Cinderella story as they reside just one game out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They don’t have a star player, but the Celtics play together and Brad Stevens has been fabulous calling plays out of timeouts at the end of games. For example in the 85-84 win over the Utah Jazz on March 4th, Stevens noticed that the Jazz had their 7-footer Rudy Gobert defending the inbounds pass and they were switching so he called a play for Tyler Zeller. Marcus Smart lobbed a long pass to Zeller who hit a buzzer-beating bank shot to send the Celtics to an exhilarating victory. In the win over the Grizzlies, Stevens drew a play for Kelly Olynyk, but he told Evan Turner to see if an alley-oop pass to Smart was available. Smart gained a step on former Celtic guard Courtney Lee and Smart banked in a shot before hitting the ensuing free throw to give the Celtics a 91-90 advantage.

Many fans have been rooting for the Celtics to lose over the past couple of seasons so they can get a potential superstar in the Draft. Isn’t it more fun to cheer for your team when they are underdogs? The most memorable victories in recent Boston sports history has been the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl XXXVI victory over the St. Louis Rams, and when the Boston Red Sox came from 3-0 down to beat the hated New York Yankees in seven games in the 2004 ALCS and then they swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Both of these teams’ championship runs were so improbable. I’m not saying the Celtics will go on a championship run, but it would be fun to cheer for the superstar-less Celtics and see how far they go.

The Celtics can follow the Atlanta Hawks’ model of success. Of course, the Hawks have made every postseason since 2008. Last season, the Hawks finished in eighth place and they fell in seven games to the top-seeded Indiana Pacers. This year, the Hawks used that run and some good health to claim the first spot in the Eastern Conference. Also, the Celtics will have about $30 million in cap space with a talented free agent class. They also have numerous draft pics over the next several years to remain in contention.

After all, everyone loves an underdog story and isn’t this the reason we watch sports? This is the season of Cinderella teams breaking people’s hearts around the country.

Excuse me for hoping the Celtics make a deep run in favor of taking a chance on a talented, yet not fully developed, teenager coming out of a year of college.The kid in me still enjoys fairy tale endings.

 

 

« Older Entries