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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 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 Tweets of Interest: C’s Inconsistent Play Continues

celticsThe Boston Celtics followed up their best win of the season to this point with back-to-back home losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Such is the fate of a young team who cannot play consistently from quarter to quarter.

On November 8th, the Celtics traveled to Chicago on the second night of a back-to-back and held onto a 106-101 over the Bulls. Both teams were without their star point guards. The Celtics’ Rajon Rondo had to get a screw removed from his surgically repaired left hand. Meanwhile, the Bulls’ Derrick Rose sat out with a sore hamstring that has forced him to miss several games early in the season.

In the 109-94 loss to the Thunder, the Celtics jumped out to an 18-3 advantage over a shorthanded Thunder squad. Reggie Jackson and Anthony Morrow (both players scored 28 points) led the Thunder backcourt in a second-half comeback to wipe out the Celtics. The Thunder shot 14-of-19 from the field in the fourth quarter. This was the most frustrating loss of the season because the Thunder have been reeling without Kevin Durant (fractured foot) and Russell Westbrook (broken hand). After a strong first quarter by the Celtics, their play fell off and they failed to show much effort in the second half.

The Celtics fell to the Cavaliers with another poor fourth quarter performance. The Celtics held a 19-point lead in the third quarter, but the Cavaliers were 13-of-17 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Kyrie Irving nailed three straight three-pointers to cut the Celtics’ lead to 10 and LeBron James posted 40 points to give the Cavaliers a 122-121 victory. The Celtics had a chance to win the game on their final possession, but Rondo was unable to get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.

The Celtics are 3-5 and the schedule does not get any easier. Their next game is at home on Monday against the Phoenix Suns, who just missed the playoffs last year in the stacked Western Conference.

Here are the notable tweets from this week:

The country celebrated Veterans’ Day on Tuesday. Rondo sent this tweet in support of the United States’ military who protect Americans and the world everyday.

ESPN had another great documentary on Randy Moss on Tuesday. The documentary depicted Moss’ upbringing in Rand, West Virginia. Moss reached stardom at Marshall University as a wide receiver, but he dealt with off-field problems throughout his college and early NFL career. The 6-foot-4-inch wide receiver is considered one of the best players of all-time. He broke Jerry Rice’s single-season record for touchdown catches (23) in 2007 with the New England Patriots. Celtics guard Marcus Thornton was one of the viewers for this special on Moss.

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: Celtics’ Trade Opens Possibilities For Future

Tyler Zeller

Celtics Trading With The Nets Again

For the second time in a year, the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets were involved in a trade on Wednesday.

The interesting difference is that this time there was a third team in the mix. The Cleveland Cavaliers wanted to create space in their cap to sign LeBron James.

The Celtics received Marcus Thornton from the Nets. Tyler Zeller and a protected 2016 first-round pick were sent by the Cavs to Boston.

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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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