Tag Archives: Atlanta Hawks

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

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.

 

 

Celtics Circuit: C’s Release 2014-’15 Schedule

Will the 2014-'15 season be Rajon Rondo's last year with the Boston Celtics?

Will the 2014-’15 season be Rajon Rondo’s last year with the Boston Celtics?

The Boston Celtics released their schedule for the 2014-’15 season on Wednesday.  The Celtics will play only one nationally televised game on January 14th at home against the Atlanta Hawks. This means the Celtics are not a premier team in the NBA.

Their lone star (Rajon Rondo) is in the final year of his contract. Their roster is filled with either players who have been disappointments (Jeff Green, Evan Turner, and Tyler Zeller) and rookies like Marcus Smart and James Young.

The Celtics schedule in November looks to be daunting. They have to travel to Houston (Rockets), Dallas (Mavericks), and Chicago Bulls. The only game where they could be favored is on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers. Then they have a six-game road trip through the Western Conference from January 19th through January 28th.

Here are some notable games for Celtics fans to look forward to.

-October 29th – The Celtics open the season versus the Brooklyn Nets at the Garden. Kevin Garnett could be back with the Nets. This might be Garnett’s final season in the NBA.

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Celtics Circuit: C’s Sign Evan Turner

Evan Turner Boston Sports Then & Now

The Boston Celtics will be Evan Turner’s third team in five months.

The Boston Celtics bolstered their roster with the addition of veteran swingman Evan Turner on Monday. Turner’s deal will be for a portion of the midlevel exception.

The 25-year-old Turner has played in the NBA for four seasons. He spent three and a half years with the Philadelphia 76ers where he was taken with the 2nd overall pick in 2010. Turner was shipped to the Indiana Pacers in February. He has averaged 11.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. While the 6-foot-7-inch Turner is talented, but mercurial. He got into a fistfight with fellow Pacers teammate Lance Stephenson (he has his own demons) before Game 1 of the Pacers’ first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks.

This summer, the Pacers refused to give Turner an $8.7 million qualifying offer, thus making Turner a free agent. Turner is looking to reinvent his career after a tough few months with the Pacers. The guard played limited minutes with the Pacers in their run to the Eastern Conference finals.

The Celtics have a crowded back court since they drafted Marcus Smart and James Young in June. They also resigned Avery Bradley and traded for Marcus Thornton. Rajon Rondo is entering the final season of his contract. Also, the Celtics have 18 players committed to $80 million, which is over the luxury tax threshold. The Celtics have three non-guaranteed contracts that could push them below the threshold. They also could be using Turner or one of their other guards to acquire future assets like they did with MarShon Brooks and Jordan Crawford last year.

Celtics Tweets of Interest: Jared Sullinger Affected by Tragedy; Jeff Green Congratulates Kevin Ollie

boston-celtics-logo (1)


There are only four games left until the 2013-’14 season mercifully concludes for the Boston Celtics. The Celtics have lost nine straight games and they are currently tied with the Orlando Magic for the third worst record in the NBA.

The Celtics blew late leads in their last two games on the road against the Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks. On Saturday night, the Celtics’ 19-point lead evaporated about five minutes into the fourth quarter and the Celtics fell, 115-111. Jerryd Bayless nearly hit a potential go-ahead basket in the final minute, but the ball went halfway down before bouncing out of the rim. The Pistons iced their victory with two free throws. In the Celtics’ 105-97 defeat to the Hawks, the Celtics let an 89-80 advantage slip when the Hawks’ sharpshooter Kyle Korver knocked down two consecutive three-pointers in transition. Korver is shooting 47.8 percent from beyond the three-point line this year.

Throughout this season, the Celtics have collapsed on both ends of the floor in the final 12 minutes because they are unable to close out games. They do not have a go-to scorer who can get to the free throw line late in close games. Their transition defense has been awful, especially in Wednesday’s loss.

The Celtics appear to be going through the motions in this final month of the season and they have lacked energy at critical times. This summer should be exciting and interesting unlike the end to the Celtics’ season. Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck has already promised “fireworks.” We will have to see whether Danny Ainge can rebuild the Celtics into an Eastern Conference contender.

Here are this week’s tweets:

Like most college basketball fans, Jared Sullinger watched the powerful story about Michigan State forward Adreian Payne and Lacey Holsworth. Holsworth, an 8-year-old girl from St. John’s, Michigan, lost her battle with cancer on Wednesday. The two struck up a friendship when Payne visited a children’s hospital in Detroit with his teammates two years ago. They sent messages to each other and Holsworth cheered for Payne while Michigan State made their run to the Elite Eight before they lost to the eventual national champion, the University of Connecicut. Payne told the Associated Press, “Please don’t let her love and smile fade.” Lacey’s memory will live on with Payne and his Spartans teammates as they follow their future endeavors whether they play in the NBA or they go into another line of work.

Green played with UConn head coach Kevin Ollie with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009-’10. Ollie helped lead UConn to their fourth national championship after a 60-54 victory over Kentucky. Point guard Shabazz Napier of Roxbury, Massachusetts, scored 22 points and was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. The Celtics forward sent a congratulatory message to his former teammate.

Celtics Circuit: Gerald Wallace Adds To Injury List

Celtics' forward Gerald Wallace became a leader for the team this year.

Gerald Wallace played 58 games for the Boston Celtics in 2013-’14.

The Boston Celtics have enough injuries to look like they could fill in for the cast of “The Walking Dead.”

Gerald Wallace has a torn meniscus in his knee and the 31-year-old forward will undergo season-ending surgery. Wallace also has bone spurs in his ankle. This news broke on Friday after Wallace had an MRI on Thursday when he had increased swelling in his knee.

Wallace still has two years remaining on his contract after the 2013-’14 season at over $20 million. Wallace is overpaid and has dealt with numerous injuries over the past two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets and the Celtics. In 2012-’13, Wallace missed 13 games with a sprained ankle among other ailments. Also, Wallace has diminished skills and he does not have the athleticism that turned him into an All-Star with the Charlotte Bobcats. All of these factors will present problems for the Celtics to find a trade partner for Wallace.

The Celtics have other injury issues. Jared Sullinger is day-to-day with a concussion. He has missed the last three games after receiving an elbow to the head from Los Angeles Lakers’ forward Chris Kaman in the Celtics’ loss on February 21st. Kelly Olynyk is in a walking boot with a sprained toe and the rookie sat out the 115-104 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. Avery Bradley will not play in the game tonight against the Indiana Pacers due to his sprained ankle. This will be the eighth game that Bradley has missed. Vitor Faverani is suffering from a knee injury.

With the lack of bodies, the Celtics signed guard Chris Babb to a 10-day contract. Babb was one of the last cuts from the Celtics’ training camp. The Iowa State product has been playing for the Maine Red Claws, who is the Celtics’ D-League affiliate. In 32 games with the Red Claws, Babb averaged 11.9 points per game and 6.1 rebounds.

The Celtics have only 23 games left in the season. With these injuries piling up, it will be difficult for the young players to make progress. The Celtics must determine who they should keep on the roster in the future in their rebuilding process.

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