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Showing posts from May, 2022

Celtics reportedly to sign Al Horford for next season at full salary

 According to Brian Robb of , The Boston Celtics are expected to sign forward/center, Al Horford, for the fully-guaranteed sum of $26.5 million. Plenty of NBA contract incentives are tied to individual accomplishments, however, Horford negotiated one here tied purely to team success. By making the NBA Finals, Horford has his 2022-23 salary guarantee jump from $14.5 million to $19.5 million. It would appear that Horford's solid 2021-22 season, and the fact his guarantee jump increased to $19.5 million, both played roles in the decision. Beyond that, it is difficult to imagine Boston having the success it experienced minus "Affable Al". I have seen no verification of Robb's statement, but if the "League sources" are correct, or if the Celtics win the NBA Finals, he will be getting that full $26.5 million figure next season ( per Brian Robb ): Horford will get the full $26.5 million in his contract guaranteed if the Celtics win the NBA Finals. Howe

Celtics-Warriors Finals match-up near-perfection for NBA and its fans

 It's E ast Finals MVP (Jayson Tatum) versus the West Finals MVP (Steph Curry) . East coast against West coast. Memories of Larry Bird battling Magic Johnson. Youth clashing with age. The Number-1 defense confronting the Number-2 "D". It rarely gets better than this . Golden State will have home-court advantage in the series, but the Celtics managed to get three-of-their-four wins on the road against Miami . Home-court seemed to make little difference in the series. So here we go. The Bob Cousy Trophy winning Celtics versus the Oscar Robertson Trophy winning Warriors . If this doesn't excite you, you may not be a true NBA fan. "The Splash Brothers" batting "The Jay Team" - Marcus Smart wreaking havoc with the Warrior's offense - Steph firing shots from everywhere - Draymond Green doing a little bit of everything. And Rookie Head Coach, Ime Udoka, matching wits with seasoned Coach, Steve Kerr. Both coaches are disciples of Gregg Popovich

Celtics storybook season continues. Final chapter still in doubt.

 In the end, the Boston Celtics proved themselves to be the better team, taking out the Miami Heat in Game 7, 110-96 . So the memorable, storybook season continues with a Finals matchup against the Golden State Warriors. The Miami Heat , led by Jimmy Butler , hold the fourth spot in the League's regular season Defensive Ratings , and they were relentless. The Golden State Warriors won't be any easier , ranking just below Boston, with b oth teams occupying the top two Defensive Rankings .  But win or lose in the Finals, The Green have distinguished themselves - r ising to the occasion and coming from the middle-of-the-pack at mid-season - all the way to the NBA Finals is truly "storybook" stuff. The Celtics picked up the Bob Cousy Trophy for being the Eastern Conference Champs, and Jayson Tatum deservedly won the Larry Bird Trophy as MVP of the East Finals . The Boston Celtics are definitely back in the limelight once again. The Celtics are not nearly as seasoned a

Well That Was Too Close For Comfort

 NBA history has shown games like yesterday usually end up making you sweat at the end. This game was no different but it could have been. In a game where they jumped out to a nice lead in the first, I felt maybe we get a smooth ride to the final. Not true, the Heat clawed their way to being only down 6 at the half.  The third the Celtics steadied themselves into another nice lead yet the Heat clawed back again. Going into the fourth it was way to close. Yet these Celtics grabbed the game by the horns and it seemed like it should be over. Instead of continuing to run their offense they slowed things down and allowed the Heat to get back into the game. Almost to the point where a Jimmy Butler three had my heart in my throat.  Thankfully all the Celtics who have made their way to basketball heaven had other thoughts. His shot was short and the Wolverine salted away the game. This game was huge for this core to finally get over the hump of the ECF and make the Finals itself. The media wan

Embracing the Jays

  Since I've started writing and even before, it boggles my mind that anyone wanted these two separated. Now that doesn't mean I don't get on them for their mistakes on the floor. When you look at far they have come, embrace them we are watching two special young men with gifts to play this beautiful game of basketball march towards a special ending.  Yes there are times where both guys can look a little disjointed and turn the ball over. On occasion they both have lapses on the defensive end, and still fall in to Hero ball. With that said they are both very young, do you remember being their age and sometimes falling into the same traps? As their NBA bodies grow and mature so do their basketball minds, these two have come so far.  Let's look at JB, I've always said he can get to rim without any issue, his strength and athleticism makes him unstoppable. Over this season we have witnessed some monster dunk from him, the rim is still shaking from last night. His midra

This Celtics team has no significant weaknesses

 The NBA post-season always exposes a team's weaknesses.  Well, over the second half of the regular season and the playoffs, the Boston Celtics have worked on their frailties and are starting to reveal that they have no significant weaknesses .  Last night, they played their second solid game in a row to take out the Miami Heat 93-80 . There was no complacency in The Green that fans viewed early in the regular season . Boston now leads the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals 3-2. Granted, turnovers continue to plague the Celtics. They racked up 18 miscues in the win, with Jaylen Brown losing control four times and his teammate, Jayson Tatum , had five turnovers.. And the boys from Beantown still take too many 3-pointers . They took 33 last night and only made 10 of them . Despite the carelessness issues and the propensity to fire from distance, the Celtics keep themselves in most games with their superior defense - and are often able to blow out the competition when the offense is

The Celtics Take a Huge Leap

    A first half that saw the Celtics very muddled offensively. Defensively in that first half they played well. The Heat landed some blows but what this Celtics team did was absorb those hits and landed a few themselves. If this was early on in the year this team may have caved. Not anymore, this group has grit, heart, and belief in each other.  In the third at first it seemed it was going to be a slugfest but these Celtics finished strong. The ball was humming, and they trusted each other and it showed on the scoreboard. Tatum and Brown stepped up, and kudos to Big Daddy White who had yet another huge impact on this team. Anyone see that JB hammer, make your ancestors feel the pain dunk?! That was when the Heat realized their heart was ripped out of their chest! In the fourth quarter we continued to see very good things by the C's. They were a little stagnant at the end but made enough plays to rip this game away from the Heat. Anyone else enjoy seeing Pat Riley miserable tonight

When Celtics impose their will, opposing teams wilt!

 Anyone else notice that when the Celtics impose their will on any opponent, they are damn near unbeatable?!  In their losses this post season they have so many self-inflicted wounds, turnovers and "hero ball" tactics. In their wins they come out punching and on fire . Playing the D we all know and love, while on offense, they move the ball and trust each other.  Unlike 2020, we are now tied with the Heat 2-2. Last time we fell behind 3-1 and lost in 6. Personally I feel Miami holds and grabs on all plays and are often bullying The Green. The Celtics, in their wins, have punched the Heat in the mouth and shown the bully the bigger, bolder team. By Imposing their Will on D it sets the tone for the game.  This writer doesn't discount this Heat team, but fully expect the Celtics to come out on a mission . Landing haymakers and blows to a team that has basked too long in the sun and warmth of Southern Florida .. The Celtics have shown they are road warriors, and know in the

Celtics "Jeckyll & Hyde Show" continues with 102-82 win over Heat

 Which version of the Celtics will show up for Game 5 in Miami - the stable and proficient Doctor Jeckyll or the out-of-control Mister Hyde? The Doctor showed up at TD Garden last night with Boston's back against the wall . The Green cooled down The Heat. 102-82 . They out-rebounded Miami 60-39 and blocked 11 shots to The Heat's two . The result was never in doubt. With the series tied at two games apiece, the Celtics are not backed into a corner, and that may not be such a good thing . Their response to bad games has been splendid , but games following a solid performance have been "stinkers". It is interesting that Boston won Game 4 while shooting a poor 39.7% from the field and 23.5% on 3-pointers. But they held Miami to an-even-worse 33.3% on field goals.  The Heat will be fired up for Game 5, and the Celtics had better leave Mister Hyde at home . I cannot recall such performance swings by any Celtics teams of the past. Boston fans hope for an appearance by the

Celtics dominant in Game 4 victory over Miami Heat

  In a game that was a definite must win, the Celtics came out with the energy they should have last game. They dominated the Heat in the first and second quarters. With no Marcus Smart, DWhite came in and played his butt off in the first. He may not always be on with his shooting but he's always a gamer. What a huge trade it has added up to be bringing him in.  The third quarter the Celtics became a little to three happy. Yet they didn't lose to much off their huge lead. Kudos to JT tonight for holding himself accountable for Sat nights game. Coming out and playing his game and leading this Celtics team in scoring. He has had some tough playoff games yet always comes back the next game and shows why he's special.  Anyone else just admire Al Horford and how incredible he's been tonight. Blocking shots, making the right pass, playing great D and just being a classy player on this team. Tonight's offense has looked much better given that they have moved the ball. Unli

Let the "unpredictability factor" smile on the Boston Celtics this evening

 Okay, here we go. Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Miami Heat. Injury report? Tatum is probable. Marcus Smart and Rob Williams are questionable . Let me state after seven-plus decades of attachment to The Green, the injury report means little . This 2022 Celtics crew is so damn unpredictable , I have no idea what may occur this evening in TD Garden, But my hope is that the "me first" mind-set of the early 2021-22 season is tossed aside , and the "win first" mental state prevails.  My take is that the superior-skilled Celtics crew has not quite reached full maturity - or maybe they have - or will tonight. They will be tested against a seasoned Miami Heat lineup. "Unpredictability" has always been a major factor in NBA dominance. Let that factor smile favorably on the team I have revered for so long.

Ime Udoka cites "Hero Ball" as main culprit in Celtics Game 3 loss

  Celtics coach, Ime Udoka , didn't use the phrase "Hero Ball" , but that is what he meant. In a post-game interview after the Celtics fell to the Miami Heat, Udoka broached the 23 turnovers by Boston and the 19 steals by Miami - and then stated a lot of that "was playing to the crowd and trying to do too much" . For turnovers , Jaylen Brown "led" Boston with seven (7) , followed by Jayson's Tatum's six (6) and Marcus Smart's four (4) . The Miami Heat simply fed off those miscues by Boston.  Can the "roar of the Celtics crowd" be a bad thing? Of course not, but th e response by the players could be. The idea that "I'll get this game back" can work. We have seen it many times in past decades, but that state of mind needs to include the team concept. I believe that is what the Celtics coach was trying to get across. So it's on to Game 4 tonight, and you can bet we won't see those same miscue numbers again. L

Celtics coach and players "puzzled" about 109-103 loss to Heat

Last night's game was winnable for the Boston Celtics. They came within a point of the Heat (93-92) with 2:20 to go in the game, but eventually lost Game 3 109-103. The turnovers (23 to Miami's 8) and the Heat's steals (19 to Boston's 2) played a large role, but the Celtics players and their coach seemed perplexed as to what took place ( per's Steve Aschburner ): The question to Boston was, how could the players and coaches possibly let that (loss) happen? Did they not know this was a kind of big playoff game? They seemed as puzzled afterward as they were befuddled to start. “It wasn’t just myself,” coach Ime Udoka said. “It was Marcus [Smart], Jayson [Tatum], Jaylen and Al [Horford] all speaking up at shootarounds and at the meetings saying be prepared, knowing they’re going to come out with their best hit. For whatever reason, we didn’t match that to start the game. Kyle Lowry's return to action and Bam Adeboayo's 31 points, 10 boards and six

Celtics Rob Williams joins Marcus Smart on KIA All-Defensive Team

  Marcus Smart being named to the KIA All-Defensive Team was no surprise since he had already been tagged as Defensive-Player-of-the-Year.  But this season he is joined by his teammate, Rob Williams, who was named to the Second All-Defense Team.  Williams ranks second in the League this season with 2.2 blocks per game. His superior athleticism and quickness enables him to harass opponents both on the perimeter and under the basket.  Congrats to the Celtics young center.

Smart and Horford are the sawdust in the explosive Celtics

  Sawdust is mixed with highly-explosive nitroglycerin to produce dynamite and make it less shock-sensitive and much more stable . Forgive the analogy, but frankly, it works . The return of Marcus Smart and Al Horford , and the stability they bring , helped produce a 127-102 victory in Game 2 last night against the Miami Heat, evening the series 1-1. Smart finished with 24 points, nine boards, 12 assists, three steals, one block and only one turnover . The D-and-D point guard did his usual "Direct-and-Disorient" show , conducting the Celtics offense and disrupting that of the Miami Heat. Horford's stats may have been less impressive (10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) but he was perfect from the field (4-of-4) and beyond the arc (2-of-2). It was obvious that the Celtics are a better team when he is out there. Al and Marcus helped make sure that this game did not slip away like in Game 1. Like sawdust in the nitro, both starters tend to keep the explosive Jay Team und

Must Win

  An early ten point deficit in the first set me aback. These Celtics didn't stop or give up. They stayed true to Imes game plan and have found their way into the lead. Keep the ball moving and keep grinding the Heat. JB is making amends for his poor performance last game. Nice to see Al and Marcus the Wolverine Smart back. Celtics finish strong to end the first.  Celtics have come out firing and moving the ball beautifully. When the ball is zipping it's an amazing thing to watch. With that said the Celtics can't let their foot off the gas pedal. Grind them into the ground. The D looks much improved as well from last game. RWill with a huge athletic follow going for an and 1! Anyone else enjoying not hearing the Miami fans?! PP has no fear and I love it! PP with a pass to JT for the HAMMER! The D is every where right now I adore Defense! Refs as always are shoddy, the Celtics are contesting almost every shot and pass! Marcus Smart is making Butler look pedestrian. Keep it G

Celtics need stability for Game 2. That means Horford and Smart.

 The Boston Celtics sorely missed both Marcus Smart (foot) and Al Horford (COVID protocols) in their 118-107 loss to the Heat in Game 1. Sure, Jimmy Butler was a culprit if the defeat , but the Miami brain trust of Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra were also focused on the two missing Celtics stars. The Celtics let this one slip away , starting in the third quarter. Smart and Horford are not merely starters for Boston - they supply the stability on both ends of the court, and Miami took advantage of their absence. The starting replacements simply didn't have it in this contest . Grant Williams notched seven points and one rebound in 35 minutes, while Derrick White registered three points and four assists in 25 minutes of action. But more important, neither has the tenure with The Jay Team that Smart and Horford have. We await the news on the availability of Marcus and Al for Game 2. The Green need at least of of the duo back - preferably both. Stay tuned.

Four suspects in Celtics 118-107 loss to Heat

 My readers already know one of the suspects in Boston's loss to Miami. Yes, "The Butler" did it - to the tune of 41 points, nine boards, five assists, four steals and three blocks . And if you want a top-notch on-court leader, they don't get much better than Jimmy. Second suspect? That has to be Miami Coach Erik Spoelstra who has been with the Heat for a quarter century. And he has two Championships to his credit. He knows the ins and outs of playoff basketball, and it showed last night. Number three? That would be a 77-year-old relic by the name of Pat Riley , President of the Miami Heat.. "Riley" rhymes with "wiley" , and that may fit the guy that has been a head coach in the NBA since 1981. Wiley (definition): sly, cunning, crafty, wily, tricky, foxy, artful, slick mean  attaining or seeking to attain one's ends by guileful or devious means . Now we come to Suspect #4. If you have ever watched either version of the movie, War of the Wor

Game 7 Heaven

  Not sure about anyone else, but my nerves were at peak numbers before and during the game. To get ready I watched KGs retirement ceremony again. That team and group was one you could be proud of. While the first quarter didn't start off great these Celtics fought hard and didn't give up. In the second quarter we saw them scrap and claw to a five point lead. They never lost it after that!  The third quarter saw the Celtics come out hot, and they never looked back. Defensively they forced other Bucks players to beat them and even made Giannis hear footsteps of the Celtic wall!  Yesterday was a true team effort, we saw both stars do what they needed to but we also saw GWill and PP go off! DWhite despite the poor shooting early on made a big shot.  This team is never truly out of any game, they have heart and grit. Next up we see the hated Heat, with mastermind and old for Pat Riley. The Heat are well coached and play a tough brand of ball, but this Celtics team is gonna hit them

GWILL and PP lift Celtics up to move on to Eastern Finals

 This post will be short since my computer is acting up, but the Celtics dominance of the potent Milwaukee force needs attention. It has been some time since I have been this excited by the success of a Celtics team. The Green Team as a whole held the line and will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals after taking out the World Champ Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7, 109-81. Grant Williams had a career game, pouring in a team-high 27 points on 10-of-22 from the field and 7-of-18 on 3- pointers.  Payton Pritchard stood out with 14 points, 5 boards (how does he do that!) and 3 assists. He was 5-of-7 from the field and 4-of-6 on treys. All of that in 17 minutes. I am proud of the team - of their coach - and their GM. And the many Boston fans that stood by this crew. More to come. 

Resilience, Heart, Grit - The Green are my Team

  As many of you know I've been given a chance to write for Mr Lane and his blog. It's been quite a ride to this point. Watching and writing about this team has been an escape since my Mom passed and I was in the hospital with what could have been life threatening injuries. Through all of that writing about this team has given me joy more often than not. I can remember being in the hospital watching and writing during one of their games.  Let's talk about last night, first about the Bucks. This team has the heart of a champ and yes while he does get calls and travels a bit Giannis is other worldy on the floor. He's carried this team as the thru greats often do, watch out for a big performance from him on Sunday afternoon. It's been six games of hearts beating fast and plenty of emotions.  Now can we talk about this Celtics TEAM. They are still young yet they are learning to win. They have come to realize that they need to trust in each other and also never stop exec

Celtics vs. Bucks: The kind of series fans live for

 Celtics and Bucks fans are only watching the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, but pro basketball doesn't get any more exciting than this. It's Jayson Tatum (46 points last night ) against The Greek Freak (44 points) - as Boston evened the series at 3-3. Perhaps the greatest player on the planet (Giannis) versus one (Tatum) that may some day take over that label. And we are seeing two savvy coaches preaching tough defense, and neither team giving an inch.  The matchup brings me back to the Bill Russell-led Celtics against Wilt Chamberlain and the 76'ers or Warriors. Sam Jones matching up against Hal Greer - and sometimes against Wilt (see photo below) . K C Jones against Wali Jones. The outcome was never assured for either team.  We see the same with the Celts and Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo has no weaknesses , and he never takes the easy way out. He very well could be the most-omnipotent physical force the NBA has ever seen . And Jayson Tatum? When he is on his game,

Celtics need better board work to rebound in this series

 Time for the Celtics to get back to basics , and improved rebounding may be a good start. It wasn't just the Bucks Bobby Portis grabbing an offensive board - and laying the ball in - after a Giannis missed free throw. The Celtics were outrebounded 49-36 for the game , and Portis had 15 all by himself - with seven coming off the offensive glass . Boston had a mere five offensive caroms , compared to 17 for Milwaukee . The Celtics clearly miss Rob Williams' scores off put-backs and lobs .  Boston's offensive spacing on the floor for uncontested 3-pointers may be partly to blame for the low offensive-board count. They often are poorly-positioned to follow through on their missed shots . There will be those that put some blame on Marcus Smart for his execution in the closing seconds of the game, but The Green generally should have kept their composure - and, yes - worked harder to bring their offense into the paint and grab several more caroms off the offensive boards f

Slow start But Epic Finish

Another slow start to last night's game, and another 3rd/4th quarter deficit, yet this team FOUGHT! They fought hard and ended up coming out with a HUGE win. What makes this team different from past year's and even earlier this year is they DONT GIVE UP. The Bucks and Celtics have been evenly matched up so far this series. Each teams D has frustrated the other, Giannis is Giannis and we have witnessed JT and JB along with Al come up big. We have also seen in each of the Celtics win a true team effort. We are also a few bad calls away from being up 3-1.  Let's talk about Al, he has truly found the fountain of youth being back with the Celtics. All year we here at the Sentinel have felt that way. After Giannis getting in his face last night, Al was changed into a different player and he showed it last night. Hitting big shot after big shot and when he drove and DUNKED on the Greek the game was won in my mind. On a different note when interviewed after the game Al gave glory t

Al Horford making a case to stick in Boston

 It is isn't just his career-best 30 points in Boston's win over the Bucks last night. Al Horford has been irreplaceable in the Celtics lineup in the eight post-season games thus far. "Playoff Al" has been on display. The Green exploded in the fourth quarter to take the game, 116-108 . Jayson Tatum came alive in the final period, making difficult-shot-after-difficult shot with Bucks defenders all over him . But it was Horford who kept the game close enough to finish with the win. He added eight boards and shot 11-of-14 from the field and 5-of-7 on 3-pointers, all while defending The Greek Freak for much of the contest. The Celtics are 6-2 in the 2022 post-season, and "Awesome  Al" has put up the following stats: 15.9 PPG - 9.4 RPG - 2.8 APG - 1.0 SPG - 1.1 BPG Brad Stevens will have a major decision with respect to Al's final season in 2022-23.  He is owed $26.5 million for next season, with only $14.5 million guaranteed. Always a gentleman and &q

Grant Williams displays Ojeleye-like defense on Greek Freak - and adds solid offense

 With Marcus Smart out for Game 2, Grant Williams didn't get the start but logged 35 minutes and did a solid impersonation of Semi Ojeleye in his defensive coverage of The Greek Freak. The commentators continually stressed how Giannis Antetokounmpo could not get around or through GWill . In the 109-86 win by Boston , Giannis managed to score 28 points but they didn't come easy. He shot 11-of-27 from the field and 1-of-4 from beyond the arc.  When Grant Williams and Semi Ojeleye were vying for one of the end-of-bench positions on the Celtics, I wrongly reasoned that it would be Semi that stuck . I was mistaken. Despite being an elite defender since his intro to the NBA, Ojeleye never developed a consistent offensive game . But his former teammate, GWILL, has morphed into a solid defender with a consistent offensive game. Last night, he notched 21 points and shot 7-of-14 on field goals and 6-of-9 on 3-pointers - all while frustrating perhaps the best player in the entire Le

Must Win Game 2

    In a game without the Wolverine, tonight is a must win for your beloved Celtics. After a sluggish and poorly executed offensive game on Sunday, tonight their popping. JB has come out on a mission and is feasting on the Bucks D. Celtics need to continue to establish their D and need to run on the Bucks and not let them set their D.    Despite the Hot start, the Bucks have cut the lead down. Just like that JB nails a buzzer beater three in the face of Allen. He's got 17 points, and looks like a new man out there tonight. Love the last offensive set by JB attacking the pressure and finding JT for the easy basket. Tonight's first quarter looks more like Celtic basketball. Need to keep this going, no resting tonight especially with game 3 not till Saturday.     Al Horford and this entire Celtics D is forcing the Greek into bad shots so far tonight. PP nailing threes is a sweet sign tonight that he's primed to have a good game. DWhite is still struggling offensively, we are g

Celtics need to match Bucks physicality in Game 2

 It all starts with The Greek Freak . I can't recall a physical specimen quite like him. He stands at 6'11" with a 7'3" wingspan and weighs in at a lean-and-powerful 242 pounds . When he drives the lane, Celtics defenders must feel like a crippled animal on the tracks about to get slammed by a runaway freight train. Giannis is certainly is no Kevin Durant! In Boston's Game 1 loss to Milwaukee, the Celtics were shut down almost every time they entered the paint and went back to their 3-point game, launching a total of 50 long-range shots for the contest. Very quickly in this game, The Green found that their finesse game wasn't working against a big-and-physical Milwaukee defense, and frustration ensued. #Celtics brothers and sisters you can't win if you can't score! 33% shooting! 50 3 pt attempts! Not a recipe for championship basketball. The good news? It's only 1 game. #MILvsBOS — Ty Ray (@coug88) May 1, 2022 Look for some changes in Game