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Showing posts from November, 2018

Marcus Smart as starter-facilitator-disruptor worked last night - needs to continue

As my readers know well, I have repeatedly broached the Marcus Smart-as-starter argument . The 124-107 win over the Pelicans last night was only one game, but it was a delight. Marcus started the game - played a team-high 39 minutes - and was absolutely instrumental in the victory. My argument was always that Smart ignites his team right out of the gate . He is not a scorer and may never be. Doesn't matter! The other starters, Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Morris all scored 19 or more points . Marcus notched eight points on 3-of-8 from the field and 2-of-5 on treys. He handed out five assists with only one turnover and played stellar defense. Marcus Smart has directly or indirectly caused like all of the Pels’ turnovers and mistakes — Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) November 27, 2018 It doesn't get any better than this block by Marcus Smart. Wow. — Dime (@DimeUPROXX) November 27, 2018 Will this starting lineup contin

Where the Hell is Danny Ainge's stethoscope when it is really needed?

Most Boston Celtics fans know the story. It was prior to a deciding Game Seven of the 1984 NBA Finals - Celtics versus Lakers - Larry Bird versus Magic Johnson . Bird had already questioned his team about playing like sissies and having no heart in Game Six. Always-playful Danny Ainge had his stethoscope ready for action prior to the game. He did a heart-check on various teammates. He may need it once again! The 1984 Celtics troops had true hearts after all. They took the game and the 1984 Title . Larry Bird was the unquestioned leader of that squad, and he challenged his team to victory by questioning their determination and effort. "No heart"? "Sissies"? True or not, it worked. So where is that stethoscope, Danny? It may be needed again. This so-far-underachieving group sits at 10-10 record-wise and needs tonight's game against the also-10-and-10 Pelicans. Does this team lack heart? Could be! Does it lack effort? Unquestionably, yes! Are the play

The missing piece for the Celtics is a dominant big man

Is it a coincidence that most of the top-rated teams in the NBA have a dominant big man? Maybe not. In the East, top-ranked Toronto has Serge Ibaka , not terribly dominant on his own, but ably assisted by two potential MVP candidates, Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry . The Milwaukee Bucks are second in the East and boast the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo . Philadelphia starts Joel Embiid in the front-court and Indiana has Myles Turner . Detroit's Andre Drummond completes the East's top-5, all with winning records . The 60's Celtics Championship teams had Bill Russell . The 70's teams had Dave Cowens . In the 80's, it was Robert Parish - and add in 6'10", freakish-wingspan Kevin McHale and 6'9" Swiss-Army-Knife Larry Bird if you wish. Kevin Garnett was just the addition the Celtics needed after a long Title drought. Those four dominant bigs and their teammates accounted for 15 Championships . Particularly if focused on this season, Al

Western Conference teams not cooperating with Danny Ainge's plans for 2019 draft

The Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings are not cooperating with Danny Ainge's plans in the 2019 NBA draft. All three teams are outperforming expectations in the early-going this season. Here are the picks currently owned by the Boston Celtics in the first round: Philadelphia/Sacramento: top-1 protected Memphis: top-8 protected LA Clippers: top-14 protected Boston: their own pick The Clippers are rebuilding - have no stars on the roster - and have the best record in the Western Division. The Grizzlies sit just behind the Clips, and neither team was expected to be nearly this successful . The Celtics were originally lusting after Sacramento's pick which was projected to end up high in the lottery . If the draft were held today, Boston would get the Clippers pick at roughly #27 in the first round - the Memphis pick at #26 - the Sacramento pick at #18 - and their own at #13 . It is early in the season, but few would have predicted any of

Rookie Rob Williams leads Celtics in four key per-36-minutes categories

Celtics fans are asking two questions about rookie Rob Williams - why is he not playing more minutes , and how would he fare if given those minutes? No one knows the answers for sure, but I was frankly surprised to see how his per-36-minutes numbers projected . Rob Williams already making an impact with rebounding and blocks. Why doesn’t he play more🤔 — Kam (@KAMMY__99) November 24, 2018 When all the Boston players' stats are projected to per-36-minutes, Rob leads them all in four key categories . He is first in rebounds per game at 11.0 RPG . How about blocks? You must be kidding! How do 6.3 blocks/game sound? He leads in that one too. And now to field goal percentage . He hasn't missed a shot yet , so at 100% on field goals, he leads in that stat. Turnovers? He has none . So he leads in that category also. And he ends up 9th in scoring at 14.1 PPG . Full @rob_williamsIII highlights from last night: — Tomek Kordylewski (@Timi_093) Novem

The Celtics have become prey for even the weaker predators

In the wilds of Boston, the Celtics have gone from predator to prey in a single season . Last year, even with a slew of injuries, the Celtics were the talk of the NBA for the grit the team displayed and their against-all-odds record. Other teams feared them. Not any more. Boston's recent 3-game losing streak told us a lot. The Celtics couldn't handle the Jazz (14 in West) , Hornets (7th in East) or Knicks (12th in East) , They trounced the 3-16, last-in-East Hawks and then lost to the Mavericks (11th in West) . Marcus Smart on what’s ailing the Celtics: "Lack of fear. Like, we don’t impose our fear and will on other teams. Last year, teams when they came in and played the Celtics, they knew they were in for a fight. This year, teams can’t wait to play us. And that’s a problem." — Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) November 25, 2018 I had previously written that the Celtics needed to figure this all out prior to the 25-30 game mark of the season . They have pl

About to find out if Kyrie Irvings's obscenities yield Celtics winning streaks

Hey, it happened last season . At halftime in Philadelphia, a 76'ers fan yelled "Kyrie. Where's Lebron?" - to which Irving replied, "Suck my d--k!" The Celtics went on to win that game and the next 15 contests . We are hoping for a repeat. Kyrie Irving Yells ‘Suck My D—‘ After Fan Asks About LeBron James: — Cavaliers Nation (@WeAreCavsNation) October 21, 2017 The latest obscenity from Little Mountain - or as we know him, Kyrie Irving , came before Thanksgiving of this year when the subject of the holiday was broached. Kyrie has the blood of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe running through his veins, and his response was the following. Kyrie Irving's mother was a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and won't be participating in the festivities today. — theScore (@theScore) November 22, 2018 The Celtics played the Atlanta Hawks last night and won the game handily. They take on the Dallas Ma

For the Gordon Hayward naysayers, I have some news!

The Celtics needed last night's win against the Hawks, and one of the several bright spots was the two-way play of Gordon Hayward . Hayward has heard of the many derogatory comments and tweets about his supposedly-poor defense and spotty shooting accuracy , but he stoically keeps his mind on continued improvement - and that improvement was on display last night. The Celtics took the flight out of the Hawks with a 114-96 rout of Atlanta , so Gordon only saw 22 minutes of floor time. But he scored 11 points , took down five boards and passed off for four assists . He also blocked two shots , had only one turnover - and his team-high plus/minus was ironically his shirt number of (plus) 20 . His per-36-minute numbers from last night project to 18 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three blocks . He shot 57% from the field, 33% on treys and 100% from the foul line. His efficient scoring produced a True Shooting Percentage of 69.8% . The League-high average for that s

Kyrie Irving wishes all a happy Thanksgiving - or maybe not

Does Kyrie Irving like Thanksgiving or not? Looks like he is torn. The Native-American side doesn't care for it, but the other part at least likes the food. With Kyrie, we are never totally sure of what he is saying and why he is saying it. Kyrie Irving, who is part Native American through his late mother, isn't a fan of tomorrow's national holiday. "I don't celebrate Thanksgiving...Fuck Thanksgiving." — Mark Murphy (@Murf56) November 22, 2018 Well, that's one side of Irving's view of the holiday. Let's hear from his other side. Kyrie Irving “hates” Thanksgiving...or does he? 🤔 — Old Player Tweets (@OldPlayerTweets) November 22, 2018 So maybe Kyrie was simply pissed about The Celtics losing to the lowly New York Knicks . Sometimes anger prompts better performance . This might even turn things around for the Celtics. Here is one take on that possibility. Kyrie Irving: “fuck thanksgiving” This is the new “suck

Kyrie Irving's season would be MVP-worthy - if his team would only win

With last night's loss to the Knicks , Boston has dropped to 8th place in the Eastern Conference. There is something gravely wrong with this team as it is currently constructed and employed. One thing that is right would be the overall play of Kyrie Irving . He started the season sluggishly, but has really raised his game lately. Over the last 10 games , Kyrie ranks 3rd among NBA guards in scoring (26.4 PPG), 11th in rebounding (5.2 RPG), 11th in assists (7.0 APG), 4th in steals (2.6 SPG) and 1st in Fantasy Points. Among the Celtics many negative issued, don't include Kyrie. Regardless of Boston's struggles, you can't question Kyrie Irving's effort. That dude has been playing so hard all season long. — Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) November 22, 2018 Irving is not in the basketball-reference's top-10 MVP rankings , and the main block is the Celtics 9-9 record . The 8-8 Hornets' Kemba Walker is at #10 in the rankings but all nine of the other

Gordon Hayward's offensive woes center on finishing at the rim and three-pointers

In an article I wrote for CelticsLife ( , my readers were quite vociferous about the Celtics players constantly driving to the hoop, only to pass out to the perimeter for a frequent 3-point miss. This comment on the article came from reader, Brian Fleming: What the hell are they doing ALWAYS passing it out to the perimeter EVERY time one of them drives to the hoop and the defense collapses on them? Take the goddamn shot. Don't pass it. A five footer is a bunny to just about everyone, so pros should always be looking to take that shot or get fouled doing so. The Cs, however, always kick that for a three, which they tend to miss. Working his way back from a devastating injury, Hayward's defense, passing and rebounding seem solid. His offense is not - not yet. As Fleming, and many others have indicated, Gordon often drives to hoop and chooses to pass it back out to a teammate rather than attempting to finish at the rim. And his shooting from distance definitely

76'ers Markelle Fultz's bizarre broken-shot saga becoming weirder - latest update

Phildelphia 76'ers sophomore guard, Markelle Fultz, has been dealing with a bizarre shooting issue for quite a while now, and it has been blamed on an injury, the yips or some obscure psychological issue. He now be on his way to a shoulder specialist and will not play or practice until then. This has been truly weird. Markelle was a shooter in college, and then his shot became broken. Witness it in the tweet below. I think he has a broken jump shot — Cian Boland (@CianBoland) April 8, 2018 Attorney Raymond Brothers, named in the tweet below, is also Markelle's agent, so the saga becomes even more bizarre. At the direction of his attorney, Raymond Brothers, @MarkelleF is scheduled to see a shoulder specialist early next week. Per Brothers, Fultz will not participate in team practices or games until after the the specialist has had a chance to evaluate him. — David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) November 20, 2018 I have previously written that I s

Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum carrying offensive load for Celtics

The Boston Celtics are 20% into the season with a 9-8 record - not what most of us expected. The defense is top-rated in the NBA, but it is the offense that falters. In the last six games, Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum have been carrying the offensive load. In the last six games, Kyrie has averaged 32.5 MPG, 25.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 7.2 APG and an amazing 2.8 SPG - all while shooting 53% from the field, 33% on treys and only turning the ball over twice per game. If he keeps that production going, he will be rising in the Kia MVP rankings. Do yourself a favor, and take five seconds or so to watch Kyrie in action. Kyrie Irving sendo Kyrie Irving! 🔥 — Curtindo NBA (@CurtindoNBA) November 19, 2018 Sophomore Tatum has been doing just fine on the offensive end for the Celtics during the 6-game stretch. He averaged 31.5 MPG, 18.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 1.5 SPG. He is hitting 49% of his field goals and 45% of his 3-pointers during that same period. We are getting used to

Bringing Gordon Hayward off the bench didn't work - wrong move

Believe me on this. Gordon Hayward has heard the naysayers. Bench Gordon - Bring him in off the bench - Trade him. That has been the conversation. Then we heard Brad Stevens talking about not altering the starting lineup. But he did. Gordon Hayward should have his minutes restriction changed to 0. — Pete (@draftcheat) November 15, 2018 Aron Baynes started the game against Charlotte in place of Hayward. It didn't work. Gordon scored only four points in 30 minutes on 1-of-6 from the field. He did, however, pull down eight boards, hand out four assists, while turning the ball over only twice. Remember all that conversation about no changes in the starting lineup? Aron Baynes in, Gordon Hayward out. Irving, Brown, Tatum, Horford, Baynes starting tonight in Charlotte. — Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) November 19, 2018 Baynes in the starting-5 didn't fare any better. He played only seven minutes - scored two points on 1-of-4 shooting and had two rebounds. Oh - and the Celtic

Celtics fail to contain Hornets Kemba Walker - lose to Charlotte 117-112

What did the Celtics miss about containing Charlotte's Kemba Walker? He was coming off a career night on Saturday , pouring in 60 points on 62% from the floor. As I wrote in my CelticsLife article prior to the game, Boston absolutely needed to make every attempt to stop him. They didn't. Kemba scored 43 points last night on 56% on field goals, 54% on treys and 89% on free throws. That can not be called containment. His plus/minus for the contest was a game-high +17 . Kemba Walker hits dagger 3...yells "THIS IS MY CITY" — gifdsports (@gifdsports) November 20, 2018 The tweet below might be an indicator of Boston's mistake. It is rare for an NBA [player to follow up a career-scoring night with another gem. But that is what Walker did. Kemba Walker is just the sixth player in NBA history to follow up a 60-point game with a 40-point game. The others are Wilt Chamberlain, Pete Maravich, Michael Jordan, Tracy McGrady, and Kobe Bryan

ESPN reports Wizards players may be available - is Bradley Beal an answer for Celtics?

ESPN has reported that the Washington Wizards are sending signals to other NBA teams that their players, including John Wall and Bradley Beal, might be available via trade. Beal is a proven sharpshooter, particularly from 3-point range with a 39% rate of accuracy. The Celtics Danny Ainge may at least consider Beal as an addition to the Boston Celtics. Bradley was chosen third overall in the 2012 NBA draft, and has been with the Washington Wizards since then. He is a 25-year-old guard and listed at 6'5" and 207 pounds. The Celtics have been experiencing some serious shooting woes this season, and Beal may cure some of that ( per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski ): Coach Scott Brooks was fierce in his criticism of the Wizards after back-to-back home losses to Brooklyn and Portland this weekend. "We got to just play with more enthusiasm, more effort, more energy," Brooks told reporters on Sunday night. "It's embarrassing." The Wizards are 5-11, just

Lakers coach Luke Walton tells Rajon Rondo to shut his mouth

Many in the NBA agree that Former Celtic, and present Laker, Rajon Rondo will make a fine professional coach upon retirement. Well, he isn't waiting for that . He is currently out of action with a hand injury , and he wants to be in on the coaching action. Coach Luke Walton said that is fine, but Rondo needs to keep his mouth shut in the huddles. Rondo's teammates and coaches over the years have acknowledged Rondo's physical gifts, talent and understanding of the game. But they also understood he has a mouth. He is extremely outspoken. He and Celtics Coach Doc Rivers clashed, and he didn't get along with Mavericks Coach, Rick Carlisle . Season getting stressful AF RT “ @KennyBybee : Rondo ignores Rick...forces Carlisle to call timeout. ” — Brendan (@DC_Dallasfan913) February 25, 2015 Rajon does not like to sit still , and if he is forced to do so because of injury, he is going to lend a hand on the coaching end. But despite Rondo'

Former Celtic Jae Crowder: "You have to have guys that do their dirty work"

The Boston Celtics are clearly missing a vital ingredient for a successful NBA team with legitimate Title hopes - and former Celtic Jae Crowder knows what it is. The Celtics lack toughness - the determination to do the grit and grind - in plain talk, to do the dirty work. Boston currently sits in 5th place in the Eastern Conference, behind Toronto, Milwaukee, Indiana and Philadelphia . The team is under-performing expectations. The Celtics have the number-one Defensive Rating in the League, but a woeful 27th-place in Offensive rating. Their offense often sputters, but that is not their only failing ( per Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett ): “Obviously they have a lot of offensive players that can really score the ball. But you have to have guys that do their dirty work. Marcus (Smart) can’t do it all by himself,” he (Crowder) said of former teammate and still friend Marcus Smart. “You’ve all got to buy into it, I feel like. And that’s one of the problems they’re going throu

Rumblings in Sacramento could be a boost for Celtics in 2019 NBA draft

There are some problems developing in the Sacramento Kings organization, and that could be to the Celtics advantage. Boston owns either Philadelphia's or Sacramento's first-round pick, top-1 protected, and right now the Kings occupy the 11th slot in the Western Conference. The major disagreement appears to be between the King's front office and coach Dave Joerger. Joeger has elected to go with his vets, with his younger crew not seeing significant floor time ( per Yahoo Sports Chris Haynes ): Sources said the franchise is growing frustrated with how Joerger is distributing minutes and assigning roles to the team’s young prospects. The front office views this season as a development year, sources said, but it was still confident that the team would be competitive and grow with Marvin) Bagley, promising guard De’Aaron Fox, and forwards Harry Giles and Skal Labissiere meaningful minutes. Joerger, generally regarded as one of the best X’s and O’s coaches in the league,