|10.25.15 at 2:50 pm ET|
The Celtics cut forward Perry Jones III and guard Corey Walden on Saturday, finalizing their roster at 15 players.
Walden hung around as a training camp invite to fill preseason gaps left by Marcus Smart’s illness and Isaiah Thomas‘ tendinitis, so Kelly Olynyk wouldn’t get stuck playing point guard again, as he did against the Nets on Monday.
Jones’ departure is a little more interesting from an operational standpoint. The Celtics acquired him and Detroit’s second-round pick from the Thunder for essentially nothing (a heavily protected second-round pick). Jones is guaranteed $2 million this season, at least a portion of which was offset by cash they acquired in that deal as well.
The Celtics raved about Jones’ production in Oklahoma City during the early going last season and the athleticism he brings to both the big small forward and small big forward positions. But chronic knee issues that arose again during the preseason may threaten the 24-year-old’s NBA career. Surely, team president Danny Ainge shopped Jones’ contract around the league in hopes of not having to eat his salary, but it doesn’t appear anybody was willing to take on that guaranteed $2 million. Whether he’ll receive a non-guaranteed minimum offer elsewhere remains to be seen.
Barring a trade in the next few days, the Celtics have locked in their 15-man roster for Wednesday’s opener.
- Ball-handlers: Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas, Evan Turner, Terry Rozier
- Wings: Avery Bradley, R.J. Hunter, James Young
- Swings: Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko
- Bigs: David Lee, Amir Johnson, Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Jordan Mickey
The only questions left now are who will start and how deep the rotation will go, and we probably won’t have definitive answers to either of those queries on opening night, because that’ probably change from night to night.
|10.24.15 at 9:14 am ET|
In a game where both teams combined for 40 turnovers, the Celtics outscored their opponent in the second half and closed out the preseason by beating the 76ers, 81-65. Marcus Smart’s 10 points and Jared Sullinger’s 14 rebounds led the charge, as the Celtics finished the preseason with a 6-1 record.
The Celtics held the lead throughout most of the game until the end of the second quarter, when Philly cut the lead to three heading into halftime. The Celtics then opened up a 12-point advantage in the third quarter and never looked back. 76ers rookie Jahlil Okafor notched 12 points and eight rebounds for Philadelphia.
For a complete box score, click here.
Stud of the night: Jared Sullinger
Sullinger finished the preseason on a high note, pulling down 14 rebounds and scoring eight points against the 76ers. He was also cheerful on the bench — on his feet, encouraging his teammates after every big play. The Celtics grabbed a lot of boards against Philadelphia last night. Amir Johnson snagged 13 and Kelly Olynyk had 12. But it was especially nice to see Sullinger active around the glass. After a lukewarm start to the preseason, Sullinger has momentum heading into the regular season.
Dud of the night: James Young
In 20 minutes, Young tried his best to find a groove offensively, but much like the entire preseason, he came up short. He finished with three points on 12 shots. There’s a good chance Young may be starting his regular season in Maine with the D-League affiliated Red Claws.
Philadelphia will get their shot at revenge when they head to the TD Garden on Wednesday for a season-opening matchup against the Celtics.
|10.23.15 at 9:01 am ET|
It’s the weighty question that hangs over the Celtics.
How much will Jared Sullinger contribute at the start of the season?
There are subsets to that question, as well. Like how much will he be able to contribute, what will his role be and perhaps most of all, what does head coach Brad Stevens envision as a realistic starting point when the season opens Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 6-foot-9 power forward listed at 260 pounds played three stints Thursday in a 99-85 preseason win over the Knicks at TD Garden. His final line: 19 minutes, 6-of-10 from the field, eight rebounds and a team-high 16 points.
“I think he played at the end of the game because we wanted to throw the ball at the post and score,” Stevens said. “So obviously, there were other guys in the game that hadn’t played up to that point, but he had played three stints, [and] that was his third stint.”
At the start of camp, Sullinger acknowledged that his family and former NBA star John Lucas all but had an intervention to help him with his weight approaching 300 pounds and his conditioning. Sullinger can look out on the floor and see a long list of names that are fighting with him for significant playing time, names like Amir Johnson, Jonas Jerebko and David Lee. Games like Thursday seem to be an indication that he’s at least headed in the right direction as he builds his stamina off the bench.
“You know, time will tell how it all works itself out with minutes but I thought he did a lot of good things,” Stevens said. “As the season goes on, we’re always going to factor in good play. So that’s a good thing.”
|10.22.15 at 10:26 pm ET|
After losing to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden last Friday night, the Celtics avenged their defeat by beating New York, 99-85. The C’s took control early in the first half by being aggressive offensively and never allowing the Knicks to settle into their halfcourt defense.
Tyler Zeller had the kind of offensive production that earned him a starting job last season, scoring 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting and pulling down five rebounds. His great hands caught nearly every pass thrown his way, allowing him to finish around the hoop for easy buckets.
Jose Calderon (17 points, 8 rebounds) led the way for the Knicks, but the Knicks struggled offensively and couldn’t get All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony going.
For a complete box score, click here. For a breakdown beyond the box, read on.
Stud of the night: Jared Sullinger
Sullinger had a stellar night, filling the stat sheet with 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists. He fought for most of his points in the paint, where he also grabbed rebounds and played solid defense against the Knicks. When he battled inside more often, he was able to make his layups or draw contact and earn trips to the foul line. Sullinger just has to do a better job at making those free throws. He went 4-for-10 from the charity stripe, but that was the only part of his game that prevented him from having a spectacular night.
Dud of the night: Carmelo Anthony
It was Jae Crowder versus Anthony, and Crowder reigned victorious in this bout. Crowder not only put together a solid statistical game (13 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists), but also pestered Anthony all night. The Knicks star scored eight points on 18 shots — all when Crowder wasn’t defending him — and never got into a rhythm. It was a great battle for Crowder.
After the game, Anthony had this to say about Crowder:
“I like Jae Crowder, he’s a pest,” said Anthony. “He likes to play physical, likes to get up in the passing lane. I like him, I’m a fan of Jae.”
Crowder on guarding Anthony:
“He’s very tough, very physical,” said Crowder. “Great jump shooter, as we all know, so I just tried to make it harder for him and wear him down on both ends of the court. Just try to make him guard on his defensive and just try to stay on him on the offensive end. I want to be physical with him and he’s going to be physical back so I just want the game to be called fair.”
Isaiah Thomas (tendinitis) and Kelly Olynyk (rest) did not play. No word yet if either will make the trip up to Manchester, N.H., where the Celtics will take on the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night in their preseason finale.
|10.19.15 at 10:09 pm ET|
All aboard. Last week, Celtics fans fawned over the impressive play of rookie R.J. Hunter. Monday, it was Terry Rozier’s turn to ride the rookie hype train.
In a 111-105 preseason win over the Nets, Rozier dazzled the TD Garden crowd with a number of explosive plays that showcased why Danny Ainge selected him with the 16th pick in last year’s draft. He led the team with 16 points.
For a full box score click here.
Stud of the night: Terry Rozier.
Before the game, coach Brad Stevens noted it’s an especially important week for Rozier, having not played last week. He’ll see a lot of time over the next five days. In Monday’s win, Rozier’s elite speed and quickness was on display, as he was explosive in transition, attacking the basket with reckless abandon. Heck, even two of his misses were exciting. The Celtics‘ first-round pick finished with 16 points, knocking down all three of his attempts from 3-point range. Rozier also shot 5-for-8 from the charity stripe, something that will serve him well if he continues to get into the paint. With both he and Hunter playing well this preseason, it will be very interesting to see how Stevens balances their playing time in an already guard-heavy rotation.
|10.17.15 at 8:23 am ET|
Over the next month, we’ll chronicle the 25 most consequential trades of Danny Ainge’s tenure as Celtics president of basketball operations. When we’re done, we’ll have a better understanding of Ainge’s philosophy and success rate on the trade market. Perhaps by the end of this exercise we’ll even feel better about the future of this rebuild. At the very least, we’ll have something interesting to debate while we wait for preseason to play out.
- No. 25: Hello, Sebastian Telfair.
- No. 24: Goodbye, Semih Erden.
- No. 23: Hello and goodbye again, Antoine Walker.
- No. 22: Hello, Ricky Davis.
- No. 21: Goodbye, Walter McCarty.
- No. 20: Hello, Keyon Dooling.
- No. 19: Hello and goodbye, Courtney Lee.
- No. 18: Hello, Kelly Olynyk.
- No. 17: Hello, Nate Robinson.
- No. 16: Hello, Brandon Bass.
- No. 15: Hello, Wally Szczerbiak.
- No. 14: Goodbye, Jiri Welsch.
- No. 13: Hello, Leon Powe.
- No. 12: Goodbye, Jeff Green.
- No. 11: Hello and goodbye, Jordan Crawford.
- No. 10: Goodbye, Antoine Walker.
- No. 9: Hello, Kendrick Perkins.
- No. 8: Hello, Tony Allen.
- No. 7: Goodbye, Rajon Rondo.
- No. 6: Hello, Isaiah Thomas.
- No. 5: Goodbye, Kendrick Perkins.
- No. 4: Goodbye, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
With that out of the way, here’s No. 3 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.
June 28, 2007: Hello, Ray Allen.
|10.17.15 at 12:40 am ET|
The Knicks frontcourt set the tone early and prevented the Celtics from settling into their comfort zone offensively.
New York defended the paint well and forced a number of second-half turnovers, holding the C’s to just under 40 percent shooting from the floor and preventing them from getting into an offensive rhythm in a 101-95 loss. The Celtics managed a fourth-quarter comeback, but came up short when the Knicks knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers.
Derrick Williams led the charge for New York with 19 points and five rebounds, as the Knicks improved to 4-0 during the preseason. The Celtics fell to 3-1. In an encouraging sign, second-year Celtics wing James Young scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter. Seeing him score is always a good sign, and this was easily his best game of the preseason.
Stud of the night: Isaiah Thomas.
In only his second start in a Celtics uniform, Thomas scored 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers, and dished five assists in 24 minutes. The C’s offense was at its best in transition against the Knicks, and Thomas was a big part of that, doing most of his damage on the run. In the second half, when it came to driving to the hoop and interior scoring, the Knicks’ defense made stops and prevented the Celtics from scoring in the paint.
Dud of the night: Kelly Olynyk.
After a solid outing against the Nets, Olynyk struggled against the Knicks. New York contested his jumpers and forced Olynyk to take off-balanced attempts. He finished 1-for-7 with an underwhelming line of two points and three rebounds in 11:49. Olynyk has played well early in the preseason, but couldn’t find an offensive groove against New York’s Robin Lopez, Kyle O’Quinn and Lance Thomas — much like teammates Amir Johnson, David Lee and Jared Sullinger.
Vine of the night
Celtics coach Brad Stevens was handed just the second technical of his NBA career after a no-call in the second half, when Knicks guard Cleanthony Early undercut Tyler Zeller on a fast-break dunk. Stevens didn’t think twice when he stepped onto the court to plead his case. I agree coach, that was a foul. Always great to see Stevens riled up.
Whine of the night
In his best game of the preseason, so far, Jared Sullinger still only scored five points against the Knicks, although he pulled down 10 rebounds. O’Quinn may have given Sullinger the ounce of motivation he needed to grab 10 boards, tossing the Celtics forward around the paint and even making layup attempts difficult. O’Quinn also earned a flagrant foul after sending Sullinger to the floor in the third quarter. It’s a positive sign to see Sullinger grab 10 boards, but 1-for-8 from the floor and 3-for-6 from the free throw line isn’t going to fly for a guy who was considered one of the Celtics’ biggest scoring threats entering his fourth NBA season.
Stat of the night
The Celtics amassed 18 turnovers, while the Knicks only had seven. When the Knicks opened up a double-digit lead in the second half, the Celtics responded with a run in the third quarter. But after things got chippy between the two teams (see: O’Quinn’s flagrant foul), the Celtics made bad passes and committed a number of turnovers that led to an 88-80 fourth-quarter lead by the Knicks.
@ of the night
Avery continue to shoot well this preseason and a couple of steals. What more can you ask more? #CelticsTalk
‘ CausewayStreetBlog (@CausewayStreet) October 17, 2015
Avery Bradley continues to knock down jumpers throughout the preseason, but he cooled off a bit in New York. Bradley finished 3-for-7 from the field, including one 3-pointer. It would have been nice to see him take more shots in the third quarter, but it was great to see him fill up the stat sheet. He also pulled down eight rebounds and had three assists.
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