Don’t look now, but the Boston Celtics have won four straight games. Sure, three of those four victories came against teams who currently own losing records. The Celtics also made a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Jeff Green to overcome the defending champions, the Miami Heat, on the road. The win over the Heat came on the second night of a back-to-back set on Saturday night.
Entering the season, most media members and fans did not know what to expect from the Celtics. The team lost their coach (Doc Rivers), two superstar players (Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce), and their remaining star is rehabbing from a torn right ACL (Rajon Rondo). With some talented freshmen in college basketball, the prevailing belief was the Celtics are tanking to draft one of these players from college.
Eight games into the 2013-’14 season, nobody still knows what to think about this Celtics team. They are standing in first place in the Atlantic Division with the Philadelphia 76ers and they continue to raise questions. Will they be able to sustain this impressive play? Are they really this good? Can Brad Stevens win in the NBA with a lesser team like he did at Butler University? While the season is young, these Celtics are providing excitement with their play.
Here are a couple of tweets:
Jordan Crawford was seen as an offensive-first, selfish player with the Washington Wizards. He was traded to the Celtics last February for Jason Collins and an injured Leandro Barbosa. The Celtics failed to pick up the option on his rookie contract because he was seen as a wild card. Since Stevens inserted Crawford into the starting lineup last Wednesday against the Utah Jazz, the Celtics have taken off. In the 120-105 victory over the Orlando Magic, Crawford scored 16 points and added 10 assists with no turnovers. In the past four games, Crawford is averaging 12.7 points, 5.7 assists, and 1.2 turnovers. Crawford is certainly feeling the love from Celtics fans for his recent play at point guard.
Jared Sullinger has been providing the Celtics with productive minutes off the bench with Gerald Wallace and Courtney Lee. Sullinger took the time on Veterans’ Day to recognize the sacrifices that American soldiers have and continue to make to protect our freedom. Sullinger is another player like Crawford who is looking to shake his image from his arrest for domestic violence in August.
The Boston Celtics will begin their NBA season tonight in Toronto as they face the Raptors. The 2013-’14 Celtics look much different than last year’s team. Doc Rivers went to Los Angeles to coach the Clippers as the Celtics received an unprotected 2014 first-round pick. Then the Celtics sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry on draft night to the Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics acquired Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks,Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, Gerald Wallace, and three first-round selections in 2014, 2016, and 2018. The Celtics can swap picks with the Nets in 2017 if the Nets finish with the higher choice. After the trade, the Celtics waived Joseph.
There was a surprise when the Celtics decided to replace Rivers with Brad Stevens as the head coach. Stevens led Butler University to consecutive NCAA Finals appearances in 2010 and 2011. He is only 37 years old. There are many questions whether Stevens can be successful in the NBA because he is taking over a rebuilding team and the recent failure of college coaches who transition into the professional ranks looms. Also, many fans are skeptical whether headstrong point guard Rajon Rondo can get along with Stevens after he had reported arguments with Rivers.
While the Celtics look toward the future, this season does not look promising. They will not be able to start the season with their most talented player in Rondo. Rondo is out after suffering a torn right ACL in a January 27th game against the Atlanta Hawks. He is not expected to return until at least December. The team has one true point guard (5-foot-11-inch undrafted rookie Phil Pressey) and one true center (the Brazilian Vitor Faverani). Both players lack experience as they have never played a game in the NBA. While Pressey played well in the preseason, he is undersized. Faverani can be physical in the paint and he can shoot from the outside, but how will he fare when he has to defend Brook Lopez?
Gerald Wallace is entering a very important stage in his career. When the 31-year-old forward was traded to the Boston Celtics, he was seen as an asset in a future trade for the rebuilding Celtics.
Wallace was traded from the Portland Trail Blazers to the then-New Jersey Nets in March of the lockout-shortened 2011-’12 season for center Mehmet Okur, forward Shawne Williams, and a lottery-protected 2012 first-round pick. At that time, Wallace was seen as a starting forward for an organization who was moving to Brooklyn and looking to transition themselves into a championship contender. The Nets spent a lot of money in the summer of 2012 as they signed Wallace to a four-year, $40 million deal. Wallace was instrumental in helping lead the former Charlotte Bobcats into the playoffs in 2009-’10 when the Bobcats fell to the Orlando Magic in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
The Nets were forced to slightly overpay for Wallace because they sent their first-round pick to the Blazers and they were hoping to bring point guard Deron Williams back. With a core of newly acquired Joe Johnson, center Brook Lopez, Williams, and Wallace, the Nets felt like they could compete with the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls for supremacy in the Eastern Conference. The 12-year veteran out of the University of Alabama struggled with injuries as he averaged 7.7 points per game and shot less than 40% from the floor. The Nets suffered a disappointing first-round exit at the hands of the Bulls in seven games.
The local sports talk in Boston over Columbus Day weekend has centered on the astonishing come-from-behind victories by the New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox on Sunday. The Boston Bruins are just five games into the 2013-’14 regular season. Then there are the Boston Celtics who continue to work in anonymity as the preseason winds down.
Currently, the Celtics are the bottom feeders in Boston sports because they sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets. Doc Rivers left Boston to chase a championship with the Los Angeles Clippers. Rajon Rondo is rehabbing from a torn right ACL that he underwent surgery on in February. The Celtics are left having to rely on holdovers such as Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, and Brandon Bass while they hope the newcomers (Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, and Vitor Faverani) can integrate themselves into the organization. There is uneasiness about rookie forward Kelly Olynyk because he looks like he can become another Dirk Nowitzki,with his ability to shoot from the perimeter, but he played at Gonzaga and he is not seen as a great defender. Olynyk is not seen as a franchise cornerstone, but he is a building block. New head coach Brad Stevens has never coached in the NBA and he is jsut 36-years-old.
The Celtics are 1-3 in the preseason. They played awful in losses to the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics nearly finished a comeback victory against the New York Knicks and then they blew out the Knicks.
With the regular season opener just two weeks away, the Celtics’ players are using Twitter to have discussions with their fans and expressing their personalities.
Brooks is a fan of the Atlanta Falcons and he was one person among many Patriots’ fans who was cheering for Tom Brady and the Patriots to score on their final drive. Since Brooks moved to Georgia when he was six years old so it makes sense that he grew up as a fan of the Falcons. The Falcons and the New Orleans Saints are both in the NFC South. The (1-4) Falcons will need to win several more games to catch up to the Saints (5-1). Also, the Falcons already lost to the Saints in Week 1 and they are missing key players, including Julio Jones who is out for the season.
While people celebrated Columbus Day in Boston, this day is a different holiday in Canada. Canadians enjoy Thanksgiving in the middle of October and Olynyk is a native of Toronto. Thanksgiving is celebrated in October in Canada because Canada has an earlier harvest season as their crops are harvested by mid-October.
Can Brad Stevens develop the Boston Celtics into a title contender again?
There were thirteen coaching changes in the NBA this off-season and the biggest surprise was when the Boston Celtics hired Brad Stevens.
After Doc Rivers was sent to the Los Angeles Clippers for a 2014 unprotected first-round pick, the speculation increased that the Celtics would bring in a young coach because they were looking to rebuild with a youthful core of players. This became true after the Celtics traded Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to their Atlantic Division rival, the Brooklyn Nets. Many members of the media who cover the team thought that Danny Ainge would pick Jay Larranaga. Larranaga spent last season as an assistant coach with the Celtics and he was named as the lead man of the Celtics’ Summer League entry in Orlando. He also reached the playoffs in both seasons as the coach with Erie of the D-League and he was the son of the University of Miami (FL) head coach Jim Larranaga.
Ainge made a bold move instead as he secretly recruited Stevens to leave a comforting situation at Butler University to join the uncertain environment with the Celtics. Stevens was treated like a king at Butler as he helped bring the mid-major Bulldogs to consecutive national championships in 2010 and 2011. Butler lost to Duke in 2010 when current Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward nearly hit a half-court buzzer-beater and UConn in 2011. The recent failure of college coaches transitioning to the professionals ranks have people questioning Ainge’s move. College coaches have to adjust to the 24-second shot clock and players are making millions of dollars. Stevens is also 36-years-old and he looks more like an accountant than a coach.
The Boston Celtics played their first preseason game last night. While the majority of Boston sports fans had their attention on the Red Sox’ Game 3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Celtics fell to the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden. Brad Stevens made his debut on the sidelines in front of the home crowd as the replacement for former Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.
During the game, the Celtics suffered a 20-point deficit in the rebounding category and the Raptors shot over 50% from the floor. This is expected considering the Celtics have many new faces with a different system. Gerald Wallace led the team with 16 points off the bench. Jared Sullinger had a solid game (14 points, 4 offensive boards, and six assists), but he still needs to work on his conditioning since he is coming off back surgery. Rookie forward Kelly Olynyk did not shoot well, but he recorded five assists. Overall, the Celtics will be a work in progress, which is what everyone expects in a rebuilding year.
Here are a couple of tweets from Celtics’ players:
Guard Courtney Lee’s 28th birthday was last Thursday. Jeff Green gave a shout out to his Twitter followers to send wishes to his teammate. When the last practice of training camp concluded at Salve Regina University, the rookies came together to serenade Lee with a song and dance. The team also ate birthday cake and Lee received a happy birthday sign from the Salve Regina volleyball team. This was just another productive day at work that was mixed with celebration.
While Rajon Rondo recovers from his torn ACL, he continues to work on his fashion career. Rondo performed an internship for GQ last year during New York Fashion Week. He sent this tweet last week as he was profiled in the “Style and Substance” section of the John Varvatos website. Rondo is featured with other Boston professional athletes such as Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, Bruins centers’ Gregory Campbell and Patrice Bergeron, and New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edeleman. All of these players are obviously showing off clothes and accessories from the designer.