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Showing posts from March, 2021

Reminder to Danny Ainge: Toughness is a requirement for NBA Titles.

I really like the acquisition of 6'7" sharpshooter, Evan Fournier. He fulfills Danny Ainge's stated need for "shooting with size". What he does not supply is toughness. Ditto for big men, Moritz Wagner and Luke Kornet. I really don't want to hear about Kornet's ability to hit shots from the hinterlands. The Celtics have enough (too much?) of that. Remember the Celtics last Championship crew? That was 2008 - 13 years ago. The Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett pairing was not only super-skilled - it was rugged. And don't forget Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins. Perk may not have been a star, but he was tough as nails - and just what that team needed at the center spot. And Rondo may have been an irascible, but he never backed down. I won't go into depth about the toughness of the 60's teams or the 70's and 80's, but the numerous Titles speak for themselves. Bill Russell, Jim Loscutoff, Dave Cowens, Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson. Ever hear of Bob Br

NBA dynasties are dinosaurs. They are extinct.

Does anyone seriously think that the current Brooklyn Nets team is going to rack up multiple Championships in the next eight years? Think again! Despite having the powerhouse trio of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden , injuries, greed, discord and wanderlust will limit their Title success to maybe one or two Championships prior to 2020. The 60's saw the Celtics pile up nine(9) Titles. We will never see that again. In the 70's, Boston picked up another two, the same number as the Knicks. Michael Jordan's Bulls won six(6) Titles in the 90's, while the Rockets got two.  In the 2,000's, it was the Lakers with four(4) and the Spurs with two(2). The Warriors took three(3) Championships in the 2010's, followed by the Heat with two(2). Nothing tops the concept of "diminishing returns" like greed. Bill Russell's top yearly salary of $100,000 would compute to only $600,000 in 2016 . Larry Bird's   yearly-high of $7 million would still only tot

Readopt "ubuntu", practice "do no harm", and the Celtics are back - almost

 I truly believe that injecting two philosophies into the present Celtics culture will solve most of their shortcomings. Additional age, seasoning - and a new player or two - will fill the rest of the void. The first step concerns ubuntu , a philosophy that coach Doc Rivers introduced to his 2008 Championship team. The entire phrase is  "Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu" , meaning that a person is a person through other people, a team concept perfect for today's NBA players. Accept it or reject it, but the ibuntu idea worked for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and the rest of the Title crew. It also can function for Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and their comrades.  On the front-office front,  “ primum non nocere ,”   , or "do no harm", appears to be on Danny Ainge's mind. He has to be saying, I can't screw this up! With three present-and-past All-Stars, a Defensive-Player-of-the-Year candidate - and a young rebounding/rim-protecting center on

Ainge can turn his team around mid-season. He did it with the Suns.

The Phoenix Suns started the 1996-97 season losing their first eight games. Charles Barkley had been traded prior to the season, and with the poor start, Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons was sent packing in favor of former Suns guard, Danny Ainge . Phoenix went 40-34 the rest of the way, making the playoffs. The Suns were 17-31 before the All-Star Break and 23-11 thereafter . Aside from the coaching change, one key in the surge was the addition of future star, Jason Kidd during the season. As an aside, the team also had a young Steve Nash , in addition to veteran Kevin Johnson . The Suns surge was rated as one of the most-dramatic second-half turnarounds in NBA history .   5. 1996-1997 Phoenix Suns Before the Break:   17-31 (35.42 Percent) After the Break:   23-11 (67.65 Percent) Turnaround:   32.23 Percent Getting rid of Charles Barkley hurts, especially when you trade him for Mark Bryant, Chucky Brown and Robert Horry.  The 1996-1997 Phoenix Suns started the first season without Chuck by

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? And how about Aaron?

Forgive me! I swore I wouldn't use the poetry found in the title, but I have to do something. Danny Ainge certainly isn't. Where the Hell are these guys? What is going on with the Celtics two recent lottery picks, Romeo Langford and Aaron Nesmith? Romeo's wrist has been repaired, and now he is out of action on COVID protocols. We have seen next-to-nothing of him since he was taken with the 14th pick in the 2019 NBA draft. Ainge also grabbed Aaron Langford at number-14 in the 2020 draft, and he can also be listed as "missing in action" most of the time. His absence is more puzzling than that of Langford. Granted, Aaron has not exactly been a redo of Larry Bird "coming through that door", but he has had little opportunity to prove - or disprove - the choice of picking him at #14. Same with Romeo. These two youngsters are certainly not being showcased for a potential trade, but that doesn't mean that is not Danny's plan. No one, including Brad Steve

Would the Celtics activate Evan Turner back onto the hardwood?

No, I haven't been drinking. It's not even 6:00 AM ET. And besides, this has been a crazy season in many ways - and I say this is not a move that is totally off the table . Bob Cousy did it for one game as coach of the Royals, although that didn't work out very well. Dave Cowens came out of retirement to play for the Bucks and his old pal, Coach Don Nelson . Magic Johnson did it, as did Michael Jordan - twice. Why not assistant coach, Evan Turner . Many of my contacts in a Celtics chat group have been trying in vain to view Turner's name and capacity on any official Celtics listing. He was allegedly brought into the fold in the capacity of player development to replace Kara Lawson .  The 6'7" wing has played for Brad Stevens as a member of the Celtics during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, playing in all-but-one of the combined 164 contests and starting 69 of them. ET covered the PG, SG and SF spots for Boston, He averaged 9.5 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 6.5 APG and 1

Quick Larry Bird/Jayson Tatum comparison at age 23

This article is certainly not about proposing that Jayson Tatum's present level, or his future potential, is equal to Larry Bird , but rather to compare their statistics at the age of 23 years for both. Larry was in his rookie season at age 23, while Jayson recently turned 23 in his fourth season in Boston. Here are the numbers" Bird: 36.0 MPG - 21.3 PPG - 10.4 RPG - 4.5 APG - 1.7 SPG - 3.2 TOPG - .474 FG - .406 3s - .836 FT Tatum: 35.7 MPG - 25.3 PPG - 6.9 RPG - 4.4 APG - 1.4 SPG - 2.5 TOPG - .447 FG - .373 3s - .856 FT The minutes/game are the same , so the comparison has a level of validity. Bird gets the nod on rebounds, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage - no surprises there. Tatum beating out Larry on free-throw shooting is a bit of a surprise, and Jayson also takes honors on points per game. Assists and steals are fairly close. One of Bird's best seasons was the 1984-85 campaign - his sixth with the Boston Celtics. Larry was 28 years old at the time

NEEDED: Fourth-quarter heroics. Anyone nicknamed "Mr. 4th-Quarter" out there?

Are we surprised that the Boston Celtics are dead-last in the NBA for point-margin in the fourth quarter? Yes, dead-last! That is 30th out of 30 teams! It became evident once again in Boston's 117-109 loss to the Utah Jazz. View's Kyle Hightower's article headline below : Jazz pull away from Celtics in fourth The Celtics average point-margin in the fourth quarter thus far stands at minus-2.1 . The Suns, Lakers and Raptors share the number-one spot at plus-2.1.  How about last night , you may ask. The Green had a 4th-quarter margin of minus-8.0. They scored 30 4th-quarter points to Utah's 38. This trend does not bode well for the Celtics post-season. What are the Celtics missing? I will keep this simple. Part of the answer is that they are obviously missing Mister Fourth Quarter, otherwise known as Isaiah Thomas . Yes, I realize IT is not the complete cure , but why do we not see him back on the parquet ( per's Brian Robb from the 2016-17 season

Things are starting to heat up on changes in Celtics structure

As the March 25 Trade Deadline approaches, there may be actual substance to a couple of rumors flying around the NBA landscape. And the first one could be a major shift in the structure of the Boston Celtics. If I was a decision maker of @IndianaMBB I would do ALL I can do to bring BRAD STEVENS back to college . After 8 years in the @NBA the timing might just be RIGHT for him to return to the state where he built his fame . — Dick Vitale (@DickieV) March 15, 2021 It stars here. With Indiana's coaching position now open, Celtics coach Brad Stevens would be a nice fit there.  Stay tuned on this one. Brad staying in Boston or leaving will go a long way in determining any roster moves by Danny Ainge. Stevens is very fond of all-wing lineups with sufficient size to reduce size mismatches. Harrison Barnes would appear to be a popular target for Brad's offensive and defensive schemes. Report: ‘Many front office folks’ believe Harrison Barnes trade to Celtics ‘could be coming’ htt

As Rob Williams emerges, fans may see changes in Celtics style

In November of 2019, the start of Rob Williams' second season in the NBA, I boldly compared Rob's shot-blocking ability to that of the legendary Bill Russell . I was cautious not to over-blow the praise to other areas, such as rebounding, savvy and leadership. It may be time to expand the expectations for this truly-superior athlete. The following from my November, 2019 article: Where Russ was a taller-than-average center at the time, Rob is undersized at the position. Doesn't seem to matter. I watch Williams' elevation, position and timing, and I immediately see Russell-like shot-blocking potential in him. More time on the floor will make him better. Robert will almost certainly never achieve Russell's overall talent level, fame or astounding rebounding ability, but don't be surprised if, with more seasoning, Rob electrifies Boston fans with his ability to deter shots. Actually, he is already doing just that. Williams' 16 points and 13 boards in a mere 19

Payton Pritchard gets mention in Kia Rookie Ladder discussion

Celtics rookie, Payton Pritchard , didn't make the Top-10 in the most-recent Kia Rookie Ladder rankings, but he did get a mention as a first-year player making noise out of the top-10 .  Payton Pritchard, Boston Celtics  ( 7.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.3 apg ): Already with a vociferous fan club, the feisty reserve guard has scored 10-plus 10 times, with the Celtics 7-3 on those nights. The 6'1", 23-year old out of Oregon won the Bob Cousy Award as the best point guard in the nation during his final college season. Chosen 26th-overall in the 2020 NBA draft, he has never looked like a rookie from his debut game as an NBA pro. As a member of the Celtics, he has already earned a spot in the team regular rotation and expect that to continue into the post-season. Payton has found his Place in the League, and his poise and determination have not gone unnoticed around the NBA.

Celtics aren't immune to the soft-tissue injuries plaguing the NBA

We are not talking about broken bones here, but rather damage to muscles, tendons and ligaments. This concerns the soft-tissue injuries plaguing not only the Boston Celtics , but the entire NBA this season. All of the quotes are from a revealing article by's Katie Heindl The "bodies" referred to in the quote below are the numerous NBA players going down with soft tissue injuries. Why? @CelticsSentinel article to follow. "...the league (NBA) is a structure only as strong as the bodies supporting it, like tendons fixed to bone until it breaks." — Tom Lane (@CelticsSentinel) March 13, 2021 Marcus Smart just returned from such an injury - a grade one calf sprain. On the surface, that doesn't sound serious, but it can be. That type of sprain involves actual tearing of muscle tissue. And Brad Stevens has gone on record as hoping Jaylen Brown's knee soreness is "not something long-term" .  And then we have Kemba

Danny Ainge will act according to his Title-window and that of the Jay Team

My recent Twitter poll indicates that Celtics followers heavily favor bringing in reinforcements , rather than keeping the status quo or a major shakeup , the two extremes of Danny Ainge's potential choices. Our poll revealed an overwhelming desire for Danny Ainge to bring in reinforcements. No status quo. No shakeup. The present Celtics crew won't win a Title this season. But major trades aren't needed. The best answer usually resides in the middle-ground. — Tom Lane (@CelticsSentinel) March 12, 2021 It was only one game, but the Nets' 129-109 defeat of the Boston Celtic s last night (minus Kevin Durant ) is one indicator that there are a number of teams out there very-capable of eliminating The Green in the post-season. Rest assured that Ainge, prior to making any pre-deadline decisions, is looking closely at his remaining tenure in Boston and the potential Title window of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. IMO a team with Durant, Harden and Irvin

Choose your path with these Boston Celtics

  This year's iteration of the Boston Celtics have been an enigma at best. From their thrilling opening night victory vs Eastern Conference favorite Milwaukee, to the epic collapse vs New Orleans, the green have had as many highs and lows as any team in the league. Now, sitting at 4th in the conference, the question is - where do we go from here? The second half of this season should be quite interesting, with fans clamoring for a variety of different things. From my perspective, there are 3 distinct paths the green can follow, each with their own compelling argument Path 1 - Status Quo  If we've learned anything from the first half of the season, it's that we really don't know what this team is quite yet. The core four of Kemba, Smart, Tatum, and Brown have played 28 minutes together, and we have yet to see former lottery pick Romeo Langford. So, what's the rush? While I doubt that this roster is currently a championship contender, anything is possible in the year

Could Celtics play underdog to powerhouse Nets in 2004 replay?

The Brooklyn Nets Big-Fou r of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden and (soon-to-be-Net) Blake Griffin own a combined 33 Title rings and are considered favorites by many analysts to walk away with the 2021 Championship. But wait a minute. The 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers also had a Big-4 and history shows a total of 56 rings for the elite quartet who were favored to take the 2004 Title but fell to a much (on paper) weaker Pistons crew. That Lakers group included Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and Gary Payton . They were heavily favored over Detroit with a lineup of C hauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace and Tayshaun Prince . But injuries and discord abounded within the Lakers organization , while the Pistons played team ball and tough defense - walking away with the prize  (per Wikipedia): During the 2003 off-season, superstar guard  Kobe Bryant  had been accused of  sexual assault  in  Colorado . Media attention surrounding the case would prove to be an on

With Blake Griffin, Nets closer to getting last laugh on Celtics

Why can't the Boston Celtics sign and retain NBA stars? With 6-time All-Star, Blake Griffin,  preparing to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Coach Steve Nash seems to have a near-invincible crew on board. Blake Griffin has cleared free agency waivers and the six-time NBA All-Star is expected to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium . — Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 7, 2021 That crew, aside from 9-time All-Star James Harden , includes one player ( Kevin Durant ) who snubbed Beantown in favor of the Warriors in 2016 - and another star ( Kyrie Irving ) that signed with the Celtics in 2017, but departed to Brooklyn after two tumultuous seasons in Boston. Despite his declining value, Blake Griffin's arrival in Brooklyn, at least on paper, gives the Nets the best shot at a Title this season. So it appears that the Nets have assembled a powerhouse despite mortgaging their future   for the second time in recent years with the acquisition of Harden. POV:

Blake Griffin agrees to buyout - could fill a Bill Walton-like role with Celtics

With Detroit's Blake Griffin reportedly agreeing to a buyout today, he just might fit into Danny Ainge's plans. Yes, I know what you are thinking- Blake's injury history is just too lengthy to seriously consider him in Boston. Well, so was Bill Walton's long line of injuries , but he was a major factor in the Celtics winning the 1986 Championship. Six-time All-Star forward Blake Griffin has agreed to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons and will become an unrestricted free agent, sources tell ESPN. — Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 5, 2021  Ainge was on that team, and that may just spur him on to try to get the 6'9" wing on board. Griffin is a 6-time All-Star and certainly has that "shooting with size" the Celtics are seeking. Granted, he is only shooting 36% from the field this season, while averaging 12.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 3.9 APG, but Ainge could take a shot at a deja vu from the 80's, hoping that like Walton, Blake could fill a need

The obscure value of Robert Williams

I openly admit to having an obsession with Robert Williams' per-36-minutes stats , always trying to project what he could do with more floor time. Over the past 10 games, Rob's 17.1 points per game don't really stand out, but there is hidden value in the rebounds (13.2 RPG), assists (3.7 APG), steals (2.0 SPG) and blocks (3.7 BPG). The obscure value pertains to the easy baskets that Rob may generate. Iso-ball requires a lot of individual effort, and the rewards from the physical strain don't always come to fruition. Easy baskets come from steals, blocks, offensive boards and the resultant (hopefully) fast breaks that lead to scores. The Celtics currently are ranked 20th in points per game scored on fast breaks , and hold 13th place in blocks . What team is first in both categories? That would be the Philadelphia 76'ers that, not coincidentally, also hold first place in the Eastern Conference. Boston is also in 12th place in steals and 4th place in offensive rebo

Celtics 9-man rotation is solidifying - Smart (and Al Horford?) make 11

It wasn't just the Celtics 117-win over the Claw-less Clippers last night, but we should be seeing a lot more of the 9-man rotation that Brad Stevens put out there. There were no major surprises. Brad went with his two-big starting lineup featuring Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson, putting them alongside Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker . Tatum had another off shooting night, but the four subs filled in nicely, with Payton Pritchard, Rob Williams, Jeff Teague and Semi Ojeleye combining for 38 points on 65% from the field and 64% on treys. Add do-everything dynamo back to the mix post-All-Star Break and acquire another player or two that Danny Ainge tells us probably won't happen - and this crew, aided by good health and good fortune,  can do some damage in the playoffs. “I can fix that” — Anna Horford (@AnnaHorford) March 2, 2021 Yes I am still plugging to see Al Horford back in Boston. Meanwhile, Kemba's r

Ainge focus - load management and not dropping below 6th spot in East

   Get into the playoffs and anything can happen. In a nutshell, Danny Ainge's mindset is the old NBA axiom -  Get into the playoffs and anything can happen. Two former-Celtics refugees are thriving with their newly-chosen teams in the Eastern Conference. Coach Doc River s has his 76'ers in first place with a 23-12 record, while the dearly-departed Kyrie Irving has partnered well with James Harden to put the Nets in second place at 23-13 - with much of that happening with Kevin Durant out of action. The Bucks hold down the third spot at 21-13, but the next seven slots are huddled together with records varying from 18-17 (Knicks - 4th spot) to 15-18 (Pacers and Bulls - 9th and 10th spots). The Celtics sit in sixth place with a 17-17 record. Danny Ainge knows this just may not be the Celtics year. The Nets getting Durant back is simply scary for the rest of the League, and Philly just keeps winning. And it doesn't get any better for Boston out West where four teams (Jazz,