Tag Archives: Boston Celtics

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.

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: Intriguing C’s Coming Together

The Celtics could lure a big-time player like Marc Gasol this summer.

The Celtics could lure a big-time player like Marc Gasol this summer.

For the first time in awhile, Boston Celtics fans can say their team is fun to watch. The Celtics are 5-3 since the acquisitions of guard Isaiah Thomas and fowards Jonas Jerekbo, and Luigi Datome on February 19th.

The team has won their last two games over the Utah Jazz at home and on the road against the New Orleans Pelicans. In the week before, the Celtics won three games over the Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, and Charlotte Hornets.

In eight games, Thomas is averaging 21.0 points off the bench in about 27 minutes. Meanwhile Jerekbo has knocked down 11 of 20 attempts from beyond the three-point line in seven games.

Despite the strong play against mediocre competition, the Celtics dropped two games earlier this week to the Golden State Warriors at TD Garden and at the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics lost a 26-point lead in the first half in their 106-101 defeat to the Warriors on Sunday. They got crushed by the Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

Also, the team was unable to agree to a deal with center JaVale McGee because both sides could not agree on the option for next year. The Celtics wanted the option to belong to the team, but McGee wanted a player option. While McGee could have brought a shot-blocking presence in the frontcourt, he has dealt with numerous injuries over the past couple of seasons and he has been inconsistent throughout his career. He might have represented a good low-cost addition to the organization.

Thomas has proven he is a volume scorer and he brings balance to the backcourt with his ability in the high pick-and-roll. Jerekbo has been able to stretch the floor with his shooting.

The Celtics began the season with a starting lineup of Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, and Kelly Olynyk. Only one of those players (Olynyk) played in Friday night’s 104-98 victory over the Pelicans. Rondo and Green were both traded. Sullinger is out for the season with a foot fracture and Bradley suffered a hyperextended elbow in the win against the Jazz.

Currently, the Celtics are one and a half games behind the Indiana Pacers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

There seem to be brighter days ahead because the Celtics have nearly $30 million in cap space with two first-round picks. This year’s free agent class includes some prominent players such as LaMarcus Aldridge, Jimmy Butler, Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, and Paul Millsap.

Boston could be an attractive destination, especially if the Celtics can continue their recent surge.

 

 

Celtics Circuit: Celts Acquire Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas can create shots for himself and his teammates.

Isaiah Thomas can create shots for himself and his teammates.

The Boston Celtics were very quiet until the closing minutes of the NBA Trade Deadline on Thursday. The Celtics traded Marcus Thornton and a 2016 first-round pick to the Phoenix Suns for guard Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas is a 5-foot-9-inch guard who is currently in his fourth season. He was drafted with the 60th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings, where he spent his first three seasons. The 26-year-old provides instant scoring as he is averaging 15.2 points per game this season. He is shooting 39.1 percent on three-pointers and he is a great at the pick-and-roll. Thomas is in the first year of a four-year, $27 million contract he signed last summer.

When the Celtics played the Suns at the TD Garden on November 17th, Thomas told reporters that Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge called him during the summer. Ainge expressed interest in Thomas and he was the first person to call Thomas. The Celtics had a crowded backcourt at the time with Rajon Rondo, Marcus Smart, and Avery Bradley was in the process of resigning with the Celtics. Since the Celtics unloaded Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks in December, they had a need for a guard.

Thornton’s contract was expiring after this season. The first-round pick came from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the three-team deal between the Celtics, Cavaliers, and Brooklyn Nets last summer. The Celtics essentially turned the trade exception from the Nets into Tyler Zeller and Thomas.

In a separate deal, the Celtics shipped forward Tayshaun Prince to the Detroit Pistons for Jonas Jerekbo and Luigi Datome. Jerekbo’s contract expires this summer and its unclear of the Celtics’ plan with Jerekbo past this season. Prince was headed into a buyout so the Celtics acquired a couple of potential assets for him.

Celtics Trade Brandan Wright; Jeff Green Likely On Way Out

Jeff Green appears like he will be soaring into Memphis to play for the Grizzlies.

Jeff Green appears like he will be soaring into Memphis to play for the Grizzlies.

Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge continues to live up to his nickname, “Trader Danny.”

The Celtics shipped forward/center Brandan Wright to the Phoenix Suns on Friday evening for a conditional first-round pick. The selection initially came from the Minnesota Timberwolves so the choice is lottery-protected in 2015 and 2016. If the Celtics don’t receiver the pick, then the Celtics will second rounders in 2016 and 2017.  Also, the Celtics picked up a $5 million trade exception. Since the Suns are already under the salary cap, they were able to trade for Wright without having to send any players in return.

In another potential deal, the Celtics have agreed in principle to send forward Jeff Green to the Memphis Grizzlies. This could turn into a three-team trade along with the New Orleans Pelicans, the Celtics will acquire Tayshaun Prince, John Salmons, and a first-round selection. Prince, a 13-year forward, has a $7.7 million expiring salary. Green has a $9.2 million player option for next season, but the Celtics were in danger of losing Green through restricted free agency in the summer so they wanted to obtain assets for their leading scorer. If the Celtics cannot move Green via a three team trade, the Celtics and Grizzlies will consummate the deal by themselves with Prince and a first-round picking coming to Boston.

Green was averaging 17.6 points per game this season in 33.1 minutes per game. The knock on Green was his inconsistency and his lack of taking over games. Like former Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, Green showed his capability such as his 43-point outburst against LeBron James and the Miami Heat on March 18, 2013 when the Heat could not prevent Green from going to his right on dribble penetration to the basket. There have been too many times where Green has disappeared in his three-plus seasons with the Celtics.

Green’s disappearing act has shown in the past month when the Celtics traded Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks. In 10 games since the Rondo trade, Green has averaged just 12.7 points per game.

These moves free up space for the Celtics to play rookie James Young along with other youngsters such as Marcus Smart, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, and Avery Bradley.

The Celtics could have 11 first round picks in the next four years. While the Celtics are struggling right now, they are in the process of building a perennial contender.

 

Celtics Circuit: Rajon Rondo Traded To Dallas

Rajon Rondo will no longer be the floor leader for the Boston Celtics.

Rajon Rondo will no longer be the floor leader for the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics shipped out their final piece of a golden era on Thursday evening as Rajon Rondo seems to be headed to Dallas to join the Mavericks.

The deal is not yet completed, but it appears both sides are close with just the final pieces being discussed. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Celtics will send Rondo and Dwight Powell to the Mavericks for point guard Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, a 2015 first-round pick, and a future second-rounder.

Rondo delighted Celtics fans for the past eight-plus seasons with his precision passes. The mercurial point guard reportedly clashed with former coach Doc Rivers. He is the final member of the 2008 championship team. Rondo said that he was interested in testing free agency next summer.

The ninth-year veteran will join Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, and Chandler Parsons. Rondo can afford to take more chances on defense with Tyson Chandler roaming down low. The Mavericks already have two pick-and-roll guards in Ellis and Jose Juan Barea. Dallas is the best offensive team in the NBA, but they are currently sixth in the loaded Western Conference.

Nelson, who is 32 years old, has struggled in 23 games this season for the Mavericks. The six-foot guard averaged 7.3 points per game with just 4.1 assists. He is shooting just 37% from the field this season. The Celtics could trade Nelson before the deadline since Nelson has just a year and a half on his contract.

Wright is a unique talent with his size and athleticism. The seventh-year veteran had trouble finding a place with the Golden State Warriors early in his career, but he really came into his own for the Mavericks. The 6-foot-9-inch forward is shooting about 75% from the field through 27 games off the bench. Wright’s specialty is scoring off of pick-and-rolls, which would have helped if Rondo was still with the Celtics. Since Wright has an expiring contract at $5 million, the Celtics could flip Wright before the trading deadline in February.

Crowder brings energy on the defensive side of the ball and Brad Stevens could use Crowder to trap opponents. If Crowder can display the talent he showed at Marquette, Celtics fans will be pleased. Despite being undersized, Crowder can ignite the crowd with his athleticism.

The Celtics now have three first-round selections in 2015 and 2016. Although two of those picks in 2015 will come later in the opening round, Danny Ainge has a solid history with those higher picks. Players such as Kendrick Perkins (27th pick, 2003) and Tony Allen (25th, 2004) were part of the rebuilding process and they developed into valuable contributors during the Celtics’ title run in 2008. Also, the Celtics picked up a $12.9 million trade exception, which they have a year to use.

Even though this doesn’t look like a strong move for the Celtics, they added more assets to use in their rebuilding project. The Celtics were able to get something in return for a player who may not be with the team next year.

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