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Celtics Circuit: Five Bold Predictions For Summer

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love will be the first chip to fall this summer.

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love will be the first player to come to Boston.

The Boston Celtics finally finished their 2013-’14 season with a 25-57 record after their 118-102 loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. The Celtics tied the Utah Jazz for the fourth worst record in the NBA. On Friday, the Jazz won the coin toss for the fourth spot in the NBA Lottery.

Before the season began, I predicted the Celtics would finish with 28 wins. There were many games where the Celtics had a chance to win. I also believed that the Celtics would look to trade veterans like Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace. They kept Humphries and Wallace, but the Celtics sent Courtney Lee to the Memphis Grizzlies and Jordan Crawford to the Golden State Warriors. I thought the team would play better when Rajon Rondo returned to the lineup in January, but the Celtics actually were better without Rondo in November and December. At the end of December, the Celtics were 13-18.

Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said there would be “fireworks” this off-season. Danny Ainge will attempt to upgrade the Celtics roster. With the Lottery on May 20th, the Celtics will find out where they pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.



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Here are my bold predictions for the summer:

1. Celtics won’t get a top-5 pick in the Draft. The Celtics poor luck will continue in the Lottery. In 1997, the Celtics lost the Tim Duncan sweepstakes  Like in 2007, this misfortune will lead the Celtics to complete a trade.

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

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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 Tweets of Interest: Kelly Olynyk Watches Boston Bruins; Jerryd Bayless Disappointed Over “Boardwalk Empire”

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There are only 11 games left in the regular season for the Boston Celtics. While some Celtics fans’ attention shifted towards the NCAA Tournament, the Celtics were routed in Brooklyn by the Nets on March 21st. The Celtics then fell to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, 99-90.

There were some fans who tuned into the Tournament this weekend so they could see how some of the highly touted players performed on a grand stage, including Andrew Wiggins of Kansas and Duke’s Jabari Parker. Both players did not fare well as their teams were unable to make it past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Duke was upset by an experienced Mercer squad in the second round last Friday and Kansas fell to 10th-seeded Stanford in the third round on Sunday. Parker scored 14 points, but he took 14 shots and only made four from the field. Wiggins was a rather pedestrian 1-of-6 from the floor.

The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn pointed out in a story from Monday’s edition that neither Parker, Wiggins, or any other young athlete should be expected to “Carmelo-ize” a school or NBA team. Washburn was referring to Carmelo Anthony’s immediate success when Anthony led Syracuse to the national championship in April of 2003 as a freshman. Three months later, Anthony became the third overall pick in the NBA Draft for the Denver Nuggets. Danny Ainge even discussed that while the 2014 draft class is talented, this is not the best class.

I was a huge fan of Parker this season with both his ability and competitiveness. He played for an undersized Duke team, but he battled on the glass and displayed a versatile skill set. None of the games has swayed my opinion, but I understand that Parker could have bumps along the road in the NBA. If the Celtics do draft Parker, he will need time to acclimate himself into the NBA. Every superstar has dealt with some kind of adversity early in their careers because they either play for rebuilding organizations (after all there’s a reason why that franchise holds a top-five selection) or they suffer an injury. LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Kevin Durant (Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder) competed for teams with losing records in their first few seasons. Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers missed his entire rookie season due to surgery on a broken left kneecap.

The Celtics will not regain instant success with their rebuilding process, but Ainge and the Celtics’ ownership have a proven track record. They will work on drafting and developing their young talent as well as dealing for critical pieces. The Celtics have a list of possibilities this summer when they are able to clear money off their books.

Olynyk was watching the Boston Bruns play the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night. Olynyk is a hockey fan because he grew up in Toronto. Unfortunately, the Bruins’ 12-game winning streak ended in a shootout loss. The Bruins clinched a playoff berth last week and they currently own the best record in the NHL.

In another sad note, Bayless sent a tweet expressing his disappointment that next season will be the final season of the hit series, “Boardwalk Empire.” This was a truly entertaining show, but the fifth season will bring forth many intriguing questions about what will happen after last season’s thrilling conclusion.

Celtics Beat: Green’s Inconsistencies The Norm

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When the Celtics brought over Jeff Green in the controversial Kendrick Perkins trade, the Thunder did not mind giving up an athletic wing in his prime years. That in itself should have told Danny Ainge to be wary of what Green may have promised – key word promised.

It’s clear now that judging just from a player to player swap (Perkins for Green), the Celtics won that decisively. Perkins is closer to the end than the beginning, and Green is averaging a career high in points this season as the de facto go to player for a lottery bound squad.

Often feeling the wrath of fans this season – deservedly and undeservedly so – the former Georgetown Hoya scored 39 points in an overtime loss to the Pelicans and followed that up the following night with a five point dud against the Mavericks. Jeff Green is consistently inconsistent. In fact, per NBC Pro Basketball Talk, he is the only player with more than a dozen 25+ point games, and more than a dozen single digit scoring games this season.

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Celtics Tweets of Interest: Jeff Green Prays For Rich Peverley; Kelly Olynyk Enjoys St. Patrick’s Day

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The fans of Boston sports are enjoying a bountiful of riches. Currently, the Bruins are on a 10-game winning streak. The New England Patriots are reloading for another championship run with the signings of All-Pro cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner as well as wide receivers Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell. The Red Sox are preparing to defend their 2013 World Series championship. Then there are the Celtics.

At this point, Celtics’ fans are eagerly anticipating the NBA Lottery in May. Co-owner Wyc Grousbeck recently said,”there will be fireworks” in the off-season. Certainly, there will be fireworks on the Fourth of July, but there are many questions on how the Celtics proceed during this upcoming summer.

Jerryd Bayless, Avery Bradley, and Kris Humphries will become free agents. Bradley will be a restricted free agent, which means the Celtics have the opportunity to match any offer from another team. The biggest uncertainties will be whether the Celtics move point guard Rajon Rondo, who has a year left on his contract after the 2013-’14 season. Rondo stated that he is willing to test the market. Will Danny Ainge ship Rondo to another team or will the two sides come together on an agreement? Every player on the roster, including Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, could be used as trade chips. There are many high-caliber players entering the last year of their deals in 2014-’15, especially power forward Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers’ point guard Kyrie Irving. The Celtics will have the room both financially and roster openings to bring these stars to Boston. It already happened in 2007 when the Celtics acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.

The Celtics also potentially have 10 first-round picks over the next five years. This year’s draft class is loaded with prospects such as Duke’s Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins of Kansas. The Celtics own the sixth worst record in the NBA. The Celtics could hold onto these selections and rebuild with a young roster like the Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

We do not know whether “fireworks” will explode in the Celtics organization, but the summer of 2014 will play a big role in the Celtics future.

Here are the tweets:

This was a scary incident that affected every sports fan, especially Boston fans. Peverley was a key player for the Bruins 2010-’11 Stanley Cup championship and Peverley nearly helped the Bruins beat the Chicago Blackhawks in last year’s Stanley Cup Finals. On July 4th, the Bruins traded Peverley and Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars. Peverley’s collapse had an effect on Green because Green was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm. The Celtics’ forward was forced to miss the 2011-’12 lockout-shortened season while he underwent surgery. While Green was able to come back to the court, it is unknown whether Peverley will be back on the ice. If Peverley is able to play again, he will have a huge fan in Green.

Olynyk wished his followers a Happy St. Patrick’s Day on Monday. The Celtics wore special uniforms this weekend for the occasion. They wore green-sleeved jerseys for three games during the weekend. The shirt had gold trim around the neck. Also, the team name on the front of the jersey and the players’ numbers were written in gold. While the players’ last name and the shamrock logo on the back of the shirt were designed in white. Meanwhile the shorts were green with gold on the sides and the shamrock logo was within the gold coloring. These jerseys were worn in recognition of the 1946-’47 team who wore similar-style uniforms.

Celtics Circuit: Five Things To Watch For Down The Stretch (VIDEO)

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Tommy Heinsohn ponders about who the next Bill Russell could be

In what has been a dreary season for “green teamers” and bandwagon fans alike, the Boston Celtics are in line to make some interesting moves during the offseason, including their own lottery pick which should at least be in the top seven of a highly touted draft. Here are five interesting subplots for the current roster to keep track of as the season winds down:

1. Assessing Chris Johnson, Phil Pressey, and Chris Babb

One of the few good things about losing is that it allows the flexibility to give unknown players with ability and a desire to succeed a chance to get minutes at the NBA level. While it would be relatively shocking to see all three back next season, their contracts are flexible enough to package into deals or keep at the end of the bench. Pressey, the diminutive point guard from Missouri, has enjoyed his fair share of ups and downs. If he’s able to develop a consistent jump shot, Pressey could become a valuable back up point guard. Both relative unknowns, Johnson was signed to a 10 day contract after the Celtics traded away Jordan Crawford and Marshon Brooks, and was eventually signed for the remainder of the season. Johnson’s value rests in his three point shot. After playing for the Celtics farm club team – the Maine Red Claws – Babb was called up when Gerald Wallace went down with a season ending injury. Already possessed with an NBA ready body, Babb’s statistics may not pop out at you, but he has shown a clear physical gift in bodying up with opposing wing players. During summer league action, Babb was one of the few players to stand out.



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2. Getting Rondo Back up to Speed

Despite what you may think of the newly minted captain, it behooves Rondo supporters and detractors alike for him to get back to playing at the elite level we’re accustomed to seeing. Coming off of a serious ACL injury, it was only natural to see Rondo get acclimated to playing at game speed again. After 17 games played, the eye test tells us that he is still not at his normal speed, but the quirky skills that set him apart from every other point guard are starting to reappear. In the three games played in March he is nearly averaging a triple double, with 15 ppg, 6 rpg, and 9 apg. He has also shockingly somehow surpassed his career season best in three pointers with 20.

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