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Showing posts from May, 2021

Danny Ainge's "clear hierarchy" dilemma has been solved - almost

 I wrote on this subject in the middle of the 2019-20 season. Celtics boss, Danny Ainge , voiced his concern about his team having "equal depth" and no ":clear hierarchy"  That issue was partially solved through the disappearance of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward from the Celtics landscape. The two stars clashed, with each wanting a top role in the team's fate.  Some analysts argue that Jaylen Brown should be traded since he and Jayson Tatum on the same is redundant, that is, they have similar skills and size . I disagree . The only real issue here is the question of who leads this team. Brown is a year older than Tatum and has an extra year under his belt in the League and with the Celtics. But thus far, it seems quite certain that Jaylen is the Alpha-best-player. That is the only dilemma. Ainge saw no drastic signs of any power struggle among his comrades in the 80's, with Larry Bird the top dog. Not so with the 2008 Championship crew. Paul Pierce h

Kyrie Irving quit on Boston - Boston can't quit on the Celtics

 When his body was still in Boston (but most-likely not his spirit), Kyrie Irving stated that he experienced no racism in Boston . Now, prior to his return to TD Garden on Friday night for Game 3, we hear differently. Which is it bud — Jayson Tatum’s Advocate. (@HoopsWLegend) May 26, 2021 Yes, Which is it, Bud? This is a mindless, desperate attempt by Kyrie Irving to divert attention from his unwelcome return to a TD Garden venue (almost) filled with fans I hope will not abandon their own team, but will loudly - and peacefully - voice their displeasure at his abrupt departure. Irving is telling Celtics fans not to boo him, or he will be labeling the crowd reaction as racism. I personally don't care if a player is purple with diagonal clashing stripes. If they play hard & can be placed into a shrinking population of decent individuals, I love them. Kyrie checked the first box. Maybe not the second. Attention-diverting tactic.

Celtics reality check for tonight - the season - and the near future

 If you are gloom and doom about the Boston Celtics, stop reading. I won't change your mind. But here are some enlightening facts from a 6-decade fan of The Green that tend to evade negativity and focus on the real picture. The Celtics have won roughly 25% of all available Titles in the past 60 years. The Green took 9-out-of-10 Championships in the 60's, 2-of-10 in the 70's, 3-of-10 in the 80's., and the final one (for now) in 2008. Granted, with only nine teams in the 60's, and Bill Russell on board, taking the trophy 90% of the time was easier. Much harder now with 30 teams. Celtics fans may be a bit spoiled. Red Auerbach's rule of his team was close to that of a dictator Sam Jones said it. "Red treated everyone the same -- badly." Not totally true. Auerbach was brutal with Tommy Heinsohn but handled Russell "with kid gloves". All others were recipients of Red's wrath. It is now a player's League. That type of team rule won't fl

Rob Williams' near triple-double - record-setting 9 blocks - story of the game in Celtics 104-93 loss to Nets

 The Celtics fell to the Nets, 104-93 in Game One of the series, and in the end, it was one superstar for Boston versus three superstuds for Brooklyn. The Celtics sorely missed Jaylen Brown , particularly on the defensive end. But the story of the night was the super-athletic Robert Williams III coming away with a near triple-double of 11 points, nine boards and a record-setting nine blocked shots . Rob set a Celtics record for most blocks in a playoff game and an NBA record for most blocks by a bench playe r in the post-season. Rob Williams' near-triple double was THE record-setting story from Celtics 104-93 loss to Nets. Article to follow. Robert Williams III R1G1 Highlights vs Brooklyn Nets (11 pts, 9 reb, 9 blk) via @YouTube — Tom Lane (@CelticsSentinel) May 23, 2021 Williams was all over the floor and, for the most-part, in control. He not only goes to the rafters on his jumps - he is  a quick leaper . He gets into the air rapidly and repeatedly.

Are Celtics fodder or fighters against the Nets?

 The optimists in Beantown are hoping for one or two wins over the Nets in the upcoming matchup. Regardless of the outcome, what happens in this series will go a long way to defining the following season. Danny Ainge has stated fans can expect he, Brad Stevens, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will all be back for the 2021-22 campaign . The rest is in Limbo. Danny Ainge told @Dan_Shaughnessy that he, Brad Stevens, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown will all still be part of the #Celtics next season. This shouldn't surprise (or disappoint) you, but in case you were curious... — Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) May 17, 2021 Much of the hope for a hard-fought series lies in the hands of Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Evan Fournier . Beyond that foursome, I find it interesting that at least one Brooklyn sports writer feels the center matchup featuring the Nets DeAndre Jordan and the Celtics Tristan Thompson is critical, basing the slant on Thompson'

Jayson Tatum top-3 as most-valued commodity in the NBA

 I apologize for labeling Jayson Tatum as a "commodity" , but the NBA is in the business of buying, selling and trading their players in order to improve themselves. Here's my view. The boxes to be checked to determine a franchise player include age (young, hopefully), skills, durability, leadership. and savvy. In short, who would you build your team around? Jayson recently turned 23 and probably won't reach his peak for another four or five years. His skills are undeniable. He no longer has any significant weaknesses . He rarely is out of action for very long due to injuries, and he often takes over games now - while getting his comrades involved. Brian Scalabrine once told me that Tatum has his head on straight, and I agree. He had added craftiness to his game, and it shows. Totally agree, and if @jaytatum0 stays healthy his raw numbers will be better than Bird’s when it’s time to put a ribbon on Tatum’s career. We’re blessed that he’s a Celtic. The rings are com

Celtics need to find a slot for Tremont Waters next season

 I am not writing this accolade for Tremont Waters based solely on his solid performance versus the Knicks yesterday, although it does play a role. In the Celtics 96-92 loss, and despite a few miscues early (3 turnovers), Waters contributed 17 points, five rebounds, five assists and a team-high plus minus of +20 . He is the pass-first backup point guard that The Green needs. Granted, he would most-likely be the second PG off the bench behind Payton Pritchard , but Payton has shown to be more of a scorer than facilitator. Tremont's per-36-minutes stats reveal 9.4 assists per game, along with 2.3 steals/game and a 94.1 % accuracy on free throws. He leads the team in all three categories on a 36-minute basis .  One other point. Opponents can't leave the 5'10" guard alone past the 3-point line. He hits roughly 40% (.395) of the long balls, and Tre' was 3-of-8 on treys yesterday .  This off-season will be a time of significant change for the Boston Celtics, and ri

Notice to Jayson Tatum - team success drives individual awards

 NBA Champion NBA MVP NBA All-Star All-NBA Team The above-four honors are the main indicators for lasting fame in the NBA. Bill Russell, Dave Cowens and Larry Bird hold a combined 81 awards from the four categories. Notice that of the four honors, only one can be attributed to a team effort, and that is NBA Champ. Take notice, Jayson Tatum! But even the three individual awards depend somewhat on team success . Making All-NBA often relies on a player being on a team with at least a moderately-good record. For example, Russell Westbrook is having one terrific season, recently breaking Oscar Robertson's record for triple-doubles in a season, but there is some doubt that he will make All-NBA this year because his team, the Wizards, own a 32-38 record . The Celtics Jayson Tatum has already achieved star status in the League, but to separate himself from the pack and get into serious consideration as future MVP or top-5 status , he needs to grab that leadership role next season and

Charles Barkley does serious finger-pointing at Celtics lackluster season

Charles Barkley rarely holds back on his analysis on what is going on in the NBA. His commentary is as flamboyant as his former play in the League. And this time, he squarely put the blame for the Celtics lackluster season on boss, Danny Ainge, and coach Brad Stevens . “Danny Ainge is a good friend of mine, but he’s not done a good job with all those draft picks he had,” Barkley said. “He hasn’t done a good job because he made a mistake with Kyrie Irving, I think he made a mistake with Kemba Walker, and, um, that team is not very good at all.” That's Sir Charles' take. Here's mine: Kyrie Irving - Right player, wrong person, wrong outcome Danny Ainge and his multitude of front-office folks were privy  to a lot more inside info than fans and media with regards to the level of arrogance possessed by Irving. No one can deny his superior skills on the court, but he comes up short as a model citizen in the NBA. He wanted to be "The Guy" in Beantown, and that may hav

Jaylen Brown's season-ending injury can clarify Celtics future

 If the playoff picture for the Boston Celtics was rosier, I would be writing that Jaylen Brown's season-ending wrist injury was a tragedy. But with the information on his torn wrist ligament coming just prior to the playoffs, it is tough news for the All-Star, but not so horrendous for a team most analysts pegged as going nowhere this year. Jaylen Brown will miss the remainder of the season after tearing the scapholunate ligament in his left wrist. He will have the ligament surgically repaired later this week. — Taylor Snow (@taylorcsnow) May 10, 2021 Prior to the bad news, NBA analyst, Jalen Rose , had already stated the Celtics were heading to a first-round exit in this season's play-in tournament. The analysis this morning isn't any better with most pundits now in agreement with Rose. Any pressure to go deep into the post-season is now kaput . The expectations can not be any lower for The Green. Both Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens need to take full opportunity of the

Celtics possible "first-round exit" this season, but bright future

 My personal quote, used often, is "A brain can get you through almost anything" . Well, Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens have brain power in abundance, but it sure as Hell has not been evident this season. Exhibit A is NBA analyst Jalen Rose stating, "The Boston Celtics look like a first-round exit this year." I agree. I would not be shocked to see them swept out of the play-in tournament and head home. Hard to believe I am writing about a team that came back from a 32-point deficit versus the Spurs to take a 143-140 victory, with Jayson Tatum exploding for 60 points . So what's the good news. I'll start with rookie Aaron Nesmith, alias "ThreeSmith". Where has he been all season? It has become apparent this this hard-nosed kid is part of the solution for some of the Celtics shortcomings. Except the Celtics are 12th in 3 point attempts, right in the middle of the NBA team rankings behind some really good teams. What's actually concerning is 21

The Magnificant-7. Top-NBA stars, All-Time. Join in.

 As a hopefully-welcome diversion to a disappointing Celtics season, I broach the following to my readers - and welcome them to join in. Here are my choices for the Magnificent-7 , along with a few guidelines in choosing them.   I broke my own rule when I put Russ into The Magnificent-7. He had a weakness. he could not shoot - at least beyond 10 feet. Only 15.1 PPG for his career, along with 56% on free throws. See my reasoning tomorrow and join in. — Tom Lane (@CelticsSentinel) May 7, 2021 As I stated in the above tweet, I did break my rule for "no significant weaknesses" in putting Bill Russell into the mix. He would never be compared to Sam Jones as an outside shooter, nor would he be close to Bob Cousy as a ball handler. But he was so damn dominant in most other categories - and such a winner - he can' be left out. As far as picking the sole player still on the hardwood, Lebron James , many may not like him as a person, but this guy has bee

Marcus Smart's contract - lessons learned from the Allens (Tony and Ray)

  Marcus Smart will go into the final year of his 4-year deal next season, earning a team-friendly $13.8 million . Both Allens from the 2008 Championship team left the Celtics of their own accord, and there may be lessons there from the departures of Tony and Ray Allen that Danny Ainge may take into account in dealing with any new contract for Marcus. Ainge openly lamented that he let Tony Allen walk away in the summer of 2010 to join the Memphis Grizzlies. The "Grindfather" , as he was later known, admitted that he left, in part, because he felt overshadowed by Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.   Ray Allen left the team in 2012, rejecting a 2-year, $12 million deal from the Celtics to accept a 3-year contract for $9 million with the Miami Heat. He, like Tony Allen, may have felt less-than-appreciated in Boston ( per Sporting News' Sean Deveney ): Perhaps that’s where the problem started, then. In the book, Allen seems genuinely unsure of why Rondo turned on him so complet

Danny Ainge got more than "shooting size" with Evan Fournier

 Celtics boss, Danny Ainge , said it a while back - that the Celtics needed some "shooting with size" . Well, he may have accomplished that goal by trading for 6'7" Evan Fournier . Danny Ainge on 98.5 on what @Celtics need.... "I would say maybe shooting, with size. ... We could use shooting, we could use passing. But you always need defense. ... I think that shooting at the big position is something we haven't had." — Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) February 4, 2021 In last night's runaway 132-96 win over the Orlando Magic ,  the French import contributed 18 points, five boards, four assists and two steals in 29 minutes of action . Evan started the game at the forward spot in place of the ailing Jaylen Brown. .  Fournier hit 8-of-14 shots from the field and 2-of-5 beyond the arc. His shooting and scoring were expected. But his other contributions are a bonus .  His size allows him to play at least two positions on the court and makes him effective de

Quick look at Celtics dubious Title hopes

 Few expect the Boston Celtics to walk away with the NBA Championship and Banner #18 this season, but here is what things look like right now. The Green's odds to win the 2021 Title stand at +5000. There is little more to say here. Feel free to read my first sentence. Celtics currently the 7th seed in the East with 34-31 record. If the Play-In tournament started today, Boston would be in it and taking on the Charlotte Hornets . The good news is that Boston will most-likely finish the regular season in the top-10 in the East. The bad news is that they really need to avoid the Play-In tournament and reacquire at least the 6th seed . Moving up to #4 or #5 would be a really tough road, but a better situation for a still-inconsistent crew. The 76'ers, Nets & Bucks have all clinched playoff spots and would be heavly favored to take out Boston in a 7-game series. Nothing to add here. The West presents a much-tougher challenge for Celtics The Suns, Jazz, Clippers and Nuggets have

Without "Green Light", three Celtics newcomers light it up

 The 129-119 loss to the Blazers last night was a tough one, but three newcomers to Boston lit up the score board, despite not having the "Green Light" mentioned by NBA analyst, Candace Parker. Rookies Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard, in league with newly acquired French import, Evan Fournier , supplied 39% of the Celtics points on 78% shooting from the field and 75% from 3-point-land. In reference to Parker's "Green Light" comment, a guest had broached a supposed sign Doc Rivers had posted in the locker room for the 2007-08 season , reading "No Dancing With The Ball" - obviously meaning that he didn't want to see iso-ball on the floor. Candace responded that the game had changed - Paul Pierce and Ray Allen had the green light to isolate at any point in the game - and that practice has become more common. Well, Payton, Aaron and Evan had no such liberty, but in the flow of the game, they put up 50 points on the board, hitting on 18-of-2

Aaron Nesmith's offense reminiscent of Reggie Miller and Rip Hamilton

 There is more to Aaron Nesmith's game than outside shooting. He hustles, rebounds, blocks shots and racks up steals . But it is his constant motion offense that opens up many opportunities for him and his teammates, and it is something that was somewhat lacking within the Celtics lineups. Prior to last year's draft, I projected Aaron Nesmith as my sole choice for the Celtics at #14. I felt he was the "constant motion" shooter Boston needed. Aaron Nesmith Highlights vs San Antonio Spurs (16 pts, 6 reb) via @YouTube — Tom Lane (@CelticsSentinel) May 2, 2021  The Vanderbilt product has blossomed in The Green's last two games, averaging 15.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.0 SPG and 1.5 BPG . The only question from many Boston fans is - why have we not seen more of him previously? With Brad Stevens' unpredictability in putting out lineups , Aaron could melt back into the fog from whence he came. But expect to see more of this ro

What will become of Kemba Walker?

 This is difficult to write. Kemba Walker is a fine citizen of the world and a cherished teammate in Boston, but his stay in Beantown has not worked out as planned. He is an undersized shooting guard who relies on speed and quickness to make an impact. But injuries and age have limited his ability to do that. Pegged as a big-minutes starter, Kemba has only participated in 39 games thus far this season. His average points (18.2 PPG), rebounds (RPG), field goal percentage (40.9%) and 3-point accuracy (34.8%) are all lows since his 2015-16 season with the Charlotte Hornets . Next season will be his third with the Celtics, and he is slated to earn $36 million . He has a player option in 2022-23 at $37.6 million .  Walker is the fourth major acquisition by Danny Ainge that has not worked out. Al Horford, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward all chose to head elsewhere, and rumors abound that Danny Ainge desperately tried to shed Kemba's large contract in the past off-season. As skilled

Jayson Tatum heading to future Top-5 and MVP consideration

 Having watched all of the Celtics superstars perform over the last 60-plus seasons, I tend to be restrained when I compare the rising youngsters. But last night's 60 point explosion by Jayson Tatum in Boston's OT 143-140 win over Gregg Popovich's Spurs was nothing short of spectacular . Down by as many as 32 points in the second quarter, Tatum simply took over the game and proved to be literally unstoppable. In an article prior to the game, I wrote the following : : Jayson Tatum-as-offensive coordinator  also seems to fit nicely. He is a deadly closer for the Celtics in the final minutes of a tight game, and his passing skills - and willingness to do so - gives him the nod. My label of Tatum as "offensive coordinator" was certainly restrained. It can no longer be denied. Jayson Tatum is one special player. His 60 points match Larry Bird's output on March 12, 1985 versus the Hawks , and here are the stats from both superstars - yes, that is my current labe