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Studs and Duds: Celtics fall to Magic, snap 5-game win streak

01.31.16 at 8:55 pm ET
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Jan 31, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Mario Hezonja (23) shoots around Boston Celtics forward Amir Johnson (90) during the first quarter of a basketball game at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Magic guard Mario Hezonja shoots around Celtics forward Amir Johnson during the first quarter at Amway Center. (Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports)

The Celtics saw their five-game winning streak snapped in a 119-114 loss to the Magic on Sunday in Orlando.

The hosts prevailed on the strength of a 72-point second half, overcoming a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to lead by as many as 11 in the fourth.

The Celtics cut the deficit to 3 with 14 seconds left to play on a four-point play by Marcus Smart, but the comeback fell short.

Evan Fournier (24) and rookie Mario Herzonja (17) led the Magic, combining for 41 points off the bench. Four other Magic scored in double figures.

Smart matched his career-high with 26 points including seven in a five-second span during the frenetic comeback. Isaiah Thomas had 23 and  Avery Bradley added 22.

The (27-22) Celtics are now tied with the Atlanta Hawks for fourth in the Eastern Conference, one-half game behind the Chicago Bulls.

For a complete box score, click here.

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Report: Celtics inquired about Hawks’ Al Horford, Jeff Teague

01.31.16 at 9:12 am ET
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Al Horford

Al Horford

According to Chris Mannix, the Celtics have shown in interest in some very interesting players.

Reporting on Friday night’s Celtics broadcast, Mannix said that Danny Ainge has shown some interest in Atlanta’s players, including Jeff Teague and Al Horford.

“Atlanta, I’€™ve been told, is ready to turn the page, to give the team to Dennis Schroeder, their young point guard, who is ready to step up and be a starter,” Mannix said. “Teague is available because Teague has some value. He has another year left on his contract, about $8 million per year, and teams across the league are looking to get him.”

Mannix continued, “I’€™ve heard that Boston’€™s inquired about several players with Atlanta, Teague and Al Horford. Teague might seem like a weird fit with this team because they already have point guards, but he is an asset, He’€™s someone the Celtics could be interested in.

“Horford, a little more difficult. It would be a gamble going after Al Horford because Al Horford is in the last year of his deal and he’€™s going to command a salary north of $20 million next year. But as we know and as I just said, (president of basketball operations) Danny Ainge is a gambling GM. He could make a move like that, too.”

Atlanta is currently tied for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference at 27-21, with the 29 year old Horford averaging 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Teague, 27, 14.5 points and 5.5 assists per contest.

Read More: Al Horford, Celtics, Hawks, Jeff Teague

Studs and Duds: Celtics bench dominates Magic for 5th straight win

01.29.16 at 10:05 pm ET
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Jan 29, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko (8) celebrates against the Orlando Magic during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko celebrates against the Magic during the first half at TD Garden. (Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports)

The depth is real.

Led by their bench, the Celtics dominated the Magic 112-94 on Friday night at TD Garden.

The Celtics outplayed the Magic for the majority of the game, but only led by nine points at the end of the third quarter. The Celtics bench unit of Kelly Olynyk, Evan Turner, Jonas Jerebko, and Marcus Smart then used an 26-6 run to blow the game wide open.

Olynyk and Smart led all scorers with 16 points, while five other Celtics were in double figures. Jared Sullinger also finished the game with a double-double, scoring 11 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.

The (27-21) Celtics have won five in a row and eight of their last 10 games. With the win, the C’s are tied with the Hawks for the fourth best record in the Eastern Conference. The C’s will look to extend their winning streak to six games as they travel to Orlando to take on the Magic on the second leg of the home-and-home series.

For a complete box score, click here.


Since Brad Stevens shortened the bench to nine players, the bench mob has really excelled. Friday night, the foursome absolutely dominated the Magic reserves, outscoring them 60-35. All four players scored greater than 13 points and combined to shoot 7-of-10 from 3-point range.

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Report: Celtics ‘quietly aggressive’ on trade front looking to make ‘splashy move’

01.29.16 at 11:30 am ET
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Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge

Much has been made of the fact that the Celtics are loaded with assets as the Feb. 18 trade deadline approaches. The team has appealing complementary players and multiple draft picks to dangle.

Controversial Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins long has been considered a target for C’s president Danny Ainge, along with Cavaliers forward Kevin Love. However, both teams have made it clear those players are not available.

That doesn’t mean the Celtics are folding. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, “Boston has been quietly aggressive, with its well-chronicled array of assets, in search of the splashy move we all know Danny Ainge would love to make.” With Cousins and Love apparently out of the picture, “there isn’t a starry trade target for Ainge to chase. At least not yet.”

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Isaiah Thomas headed to All-Star game in Toronto

01.28.16 at 9:17 pm ET
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Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) drives the ball against the Nuggets in Wednesday's win. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas drives on the Nuggets in Wednesday’s win. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Isaiah Thomas is no longer a forgotten star in the NBA.

The 26-year-old Celtics scoring guard entering his prime was selected to his first career All-Star squad Thursday night.

The NBA announced during Thursday’s special on TNT that Thomas will be heading to Toronto Feb. 12-14, joining Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Paul Millsap, Andre Drummond, Chris Bosh and John Wall as the seven reserves selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star team.

All-Star reserves were chosen by the league’€™s 30 head coaches.

Thomas entered the Celtics‘ starting lineup on a regular basis on Nov. 4 and scored at least 16 points in 40 of his 44 games in that time. Thomas is averaging a career-high 21.6 points per game this season, which leads all Eastern Conference point guards and ranks seventh among all guards in the NBA.

On Oct. 28, in the season opener against the Sixers, Thomas scored a game-high 27 points off the bench to pace the Celtics to a victory. On Dec. 16, 2015, he tied his career-high of 38 points in a loss to the Detroit Pistons.

Thomas has averaged 20.3 points and 5.8 assists in Boston’s current four-game winning streak, a run that has improved them to 26-21 on the season, putting them just a game behind third-place Atlanta in the East.

Read More: 2016 NBA All-Star Game, Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas,

Studs and Duds: Celtics beat Nuggets, stretch win streak to 4

01.27.16 at 10:22 pm ET
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Jan 27, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) reacts after his three point basket against the Denver Nuggets in the first quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics guard Avery Bradley  reacts after his 3-pointer against the Nuggets in the first quarter at TD Garden. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Forcing a total of 20 turnovers, the Celtics led the Nuggets throughout the final three quarters Wednesday en route to a 111-103 victory at TD Garden.

After three quarters, the Celtics scored 15 second-chance points off of 13 offensive rebounds and took a 86-71 lead into the fourth quarter. The Celtics used an 18-2 run in the final frame to open up a 22-point advantage — their biggest lead of the night. The Celtics bench totaled 40 points and took care of the lead while the starters rested.

Avery Bradley scored a game-high 27 points and Isaiah Thomas added 16 points and five assists. Danilo Gallinari and Will Barton each scored 23 points to lead the Nuggets.

The Celtics (26-21) have won four games in a row — tying a season high — and are half a game behind the Bulls for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

STUD OF THE NIGHT: Avery Bradley

After Bradley scored 13 first quarter points on 5-for-7 shooting, including 3-of-5 from deep, you knew it was going to be one of those shooting nights for him. The Celtics guard shot 55 percent on 11-of-20 shooting, including 5-of-13 from distance and tallied 27 points. Defensively, Bradley was a pest in the back court and finished the night with four steals.

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Report: Avery Bradley unhappy with Celtics contract

01.26.16 at 11:01 am ET
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Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley reportedly has grown frustrated with his current contract situation. While he was previously highly touted mostly for his lock-down perimeter defense, Bradley has elevated his offensive game this year and has proven to be a major asset on both sides of the ball for the Celtics. Now he and his new agent apparently feel he should be paid like it.

The Celtics inked Bradley to a four-year, $32 million deal in 2014. Many actually thought Celtics boss Danny Ainge had overpaid to keep him in Boston, due to the fact that he was seen by most as a one-sided player. It seems the tables have turned, and in the coming seasons Bradley and his agent may be pushing for more money.

Wrote Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: Avery Bradley has changed agents from Mitchell Butler of the Rival Sports Group to Rob Pelinka, who also represents Kobe Bryant. Butler was able to procure the oft-injured Bradley a four-year, $32 million contract extension last summer, considered an above-market deal. Now Bradley is apparently unhappy with his contract, especially after seeing players such as Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton (five years, $70 million), Utah’s Gordon Hayward (four years, $61 million), and Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson (five years, $82 million) cash in with lucrative extensions, making Bradley’s deal appear to be a bargain with the new television money increasing the salary cap this summer.

Bradley has averaged 14.8 points per game and is shooting 37 percent from 3-point range. His offensive success clearly has not caused his defense to suffer, as he’s also on pace for a career-high 1.6 steals per game.

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