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What you need to know after Celtics defeat Real Madrid

10.08.15 at 6:03 pm ET
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New city, same results. On the second and final leg of their European tour, the Celtics improved to 2-0 in the preseason with a 111-96 victory against Real Madrid.

Avery Bradley led the team with 17 points, while Isaiah Thomas (15 points), Terry Rozier (14), and David Lee (13) also finished in double figures. Former Georgia Bulldog, Trey Thompkins, led all scorers, notching 24 points for Real Madrid.

For a complete box score, click here. But here’s what you really need to know.

David Lee, Double-Double Machine

Celtics fans should get used to seeing the following sentence: Lee finished the game with a double-double. He quietly pulled down a game-high 11 boards, good for five more than anyone else on the team. Lee was again impressive on offense, making a number of nice passes while continuing to be aggressive when rolling to the rim. If you put your ear to the ground, you can hear the faint sound of the David Lee HypeTrain leaving the station.

Nobody Puts Bradley in the Corner

For the majority of last year and a number of times this offseason, I loudly criticized Bradley’s shot selection, specifically his propensity to take long 2-pointers. On media day, Bradley noted this was something he was working on, saying “long 2’s don’t make as much sense as a 3-pointer.” During the first two games of the preseason, Bradley made 7-of-8 3-pointers, all of which came from the corner. One play perfectly displayed Bradley’s new approach. After receiving a pass in the right corner, Bradley pump-faked, then sidestepped before hitting the 3. Last year, he would have taken two dribbles to take a pull-up jumper. Thursday, he only took one long 2, and I can’t even fault him for it because he was wide open.

Kelly YOOOOlynk

Although he did not turn in the most impressive stat line (6 points, 3 rebounds), Kelly Olynyk did do this while rocking a man bun/ponytail. (h/t to Jay King for the Vine and nickname)

Rozier, Rozier 

The Celtics‘ first-round pick turned in a another solid performance running the third-team offense. Already an elite athlete, Rozier is attacking the paint well,  running pick and rolls and knocking down open shots. He finished 6-of-8 from the field and 2-of-3 from distance in Spain. While many expect him to spend a lot of time this season with the Red Claws, I wouldn’t be surprised if he stuck with the big-league club, playing a similar role to Phil Pressey the past couple of seasons.

Bae Shares the Rock

Jae Crowder is not known for his ability as a passer, but Thursday he lead the team with six assists. It is entirely too early to try predict the starting lineup, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up being the starting small forward.

Paging Dr. Young, Dr. James Young


Doncic Wish Your Girlfriend was Hot Like Me

This may be the only chance I get to reference a Pussy Cat Dolls song during a game recap, so I had to take the opportunity. Slovenian Luka Doncic played 15 minutes for Real Madrid, scoring only one point. Normally this wouldn’t be impressive, except for the fact that Doncic is 16 YEARS OLD! He was born in 1999! He grew up in a world never knowing the intense fear associated with Y2K, and tonight he got paid to play basketball against the Boston Celtics. Thats really wild stuff.

The Celtics will return home Friday and play their first NBA exhibition on Tuesday, when they take on the Nets in Brooklyn.

Follow Sam Packard on Twitter @WEEICeltics.

Celtics destroy Olimpia Milano to open the preseason

10.06.15 at 5:12 pm ET
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It wasn’t exactly NBA competition, but the Celtics got themselves a win in their preseason debut, defeating European host Olimpia Milano, 124-91.

Isaiah Thomas led the C’s scoring effort with 18 points off the bench, while Avery Bradley (14 points), Jared Sullinger (14 points), David Lee (13 points, 7 rebounds) and Marcus Smart (11 points, 6 assists) were also in double figures.

For the complete box score,click here. But here’s what you really need to know.


The win was never in question, and at no point was the game close to competitive. The fact former Purdue standout Robbie Hummel, who played wing in the NBA, was a center for Olimpia Milano, should give you an indication of the talent level of the Italian Club. Despite this being a meaningless game against an inferior team, the Celtics looked sharp, especially on defense.


Lee looked great attacking the basket in the pick-and-roll. Lee gives the Celtics something they severely lacked last season — offensive talent. As the team’s starting power forward alongside Tyler Zeller in the frontcourt, Lee finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 21 minutes.


Sullinger was not one of the top four big men to play and didn’€™t enter the game until the second quarter. This caused a brief moment of  pandemonium on Celtics Twitter.

Once Sullinger eventually checked in, he was effective, scoring 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting.


Brian “White Mamba”€ Scalabrine is a broadcasting gem, and not just because he ruthlessly swatted the shots of young Italians. He combines a fun personality with astute analysis, and he’ll be a nice addition alongside Mike Gorman in Tommy Heinsohn’s absence on the road for the Comcast team this season.


Spanish squad Real Madrid is expected to be a tougher test on Thursday at 3 p.m.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Olimpia Milano,

Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades: 5. Goodbye, Kendrick Perkins

10.05.15 at 2:27 pm ET
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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.

With that out of the way, here’s No. 5 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

Feb. 24, 2011: Goodbye, Kendrick Perkins.

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Read More: 25 most consequential trades, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Jeff Green

Perry Jones III (knee) misses second straight Celtics practice

10.02.15 at 5:45 pm ET
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Perry Jones

Perry Jones

Perry Jones III missed a second consecutive Celtics practice with knee soreness on Friday.

The Celtics acquired Jones, a 2019 second-round pick and cash considerations from the Thunder in exchange for a future second-round pick this past July. He averaged 4.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 14.7 minutes over 43 games in Oklahoma City last season, showing considerable promise in a 32-point, seven-rebound effort against the Clippers before suffering a separate knee injury in early November 2014.

Jones fell to No. 28 in the 2012 NBA draft due to knee problems that a scout told CBS Sports reporter Seth Davis would limit his career to “3-4 years in the league.” This would be his fourth NBA season.

The Celtics currently have 16 players signed to guaranteed contracts with room for only 15, and Jones was already the favorite to be left off the roster at the end of training camp. This setback does not bode well, particularly if the soreness lingers, but he is expected to travel with the team to Italy.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Perry Jones III,

Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades: 6. Hello, Isaiah Thomas

09.30.15 at 4:20 pm ET
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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.

With that out of the way, here’s No. 6 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

July 10, 2014: Hello, Tyler Zeller.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Marcus Thornton: In order to shed salary for the return of LeBron James, Cleveland essentially sent Jarrett Jack to Brooklyn for Thornton, and Boston took the latter’s expiring $8.6 million contract off the Cavaliers, hands.  While on the Celtics, Thornton continued to be what he’d been in his five previous seasons — a productive scorer off the bench who wasn’t worth the four-year, $31 million deal Sacramento signed him to in 2011.
  • Tyler Zeller: The 7-foot North Carolina did what most players have done under Celtics coach Brad Stevens — develop in almost every respect. Zeller averaged 17.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per 36 minutes last season, taking strides as a mid-range jump shooter and rim protector. A year later, Cleveland’s 2012 first-round pick still has a year left on his rookie contract and doesn’t become a restricted free agent until next summer.
  • Cleveland’€™s 2016 first-round pick (top-10 protected): Granted, this pick will fall in the late 20s come June, if not 30th overall, but even the lowest first-round pick is a valuable asset in a league that protects them dearly.

DEPARTING to Cleveland

  • $10.3 million trade exception: The Celtics also included a conditional second-round pick that never came to fruition, so this is all they gave up — the trade exception created upon dealing Paul Pierce‘s salary to Brooklyn.

Feb. 19, 2015: Hello, Isaiah Thomas.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Isaiah Thomas: Playing in a crowded Suns backcourt behind Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, Thomas was in the midst of a Sixth Man of the Year-worthy campaign, averaging 15.2 points on nearly 40 percent shooting off the bench. The 5-foot-9 point guard added 3.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 25.7 minutes a night over his 46 games in Phoenix — consistent with the 36-minute averages that made him one of the league’s most efficient players in Sacramento. He was even better in Boston, averaging 19.0 points and 5.4 assists in 26 minutes. Oh, and he’s working on one of the league’s best contracts, which declines from $6.9 million each year through 2017-18.

DEPARTING to Phoenix

  • Marcus Thornton: After leaving the Celtics, Thornton was stuck on the end of the Suns bench. He scored a total of 32 points in nine appearances for Phoenix, and then missed 14 of the final 15 games with a toe injury.
  • Cleveland’€™s 2016 first-round pick (top-10 protected): See? Told you low first-round picks are still valuable.

There may be a handful of Ainge’s trades more consequential than this one, but you won’t find any more creative.

In some serious origami, Ainge turned a piece of paper into Tyler Zeller and Isaiah Thomas. Actually, I’m not even sure trade exceptions are printed on pieces of paper. They might just be in the ether. In which case, Ainge literally pulled a 24-year-old starting center and a Sixth Man of the Year candidate out of thin air. Is that good? I think that’s good.

There isn’t much more you can say about how this shook out for the Celtics, to be honest. It’s some Gandalf-level stuff.

Read More: 25 most consequential trades, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Isaiah Thomas

Celtics rookie Terry Rozier jumps on championship bandwagon

09.30.15 at 11:46 am ET
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It’s a tradition for the Celtics to force rookies into making season-opening speeches in front of the Garden crowd, and so Terry Rozier found himself addressing fans gathered for the team’s open practice in Boston on Tuesday night.

“I’m Terry Rozier, and I just want to say thank you from me on behalf of my teammates for coming up here to cheer us on,” he said. “Hopefully you all will cheer us on to another championship this year. Appreciate you all coming out. Thank you.”

Rozier joins Celtics teammate Avery Bradley in the belief that the Celtics can actually win an 18th NBA title this season.

“€œIf we continue to work hard, anything’s possible,” said Bradley, who now has the distinction of being the longest-tenured member of the team at age 24. “If you buy into what the coach is trying to do and this Celtics culture, I feel like anything is possible and we can definitely have a chance to make it to the championship if we do those things.”

For what it’s worth, Celtics coach Brad Stevens also lists a title as his goal for this season and every season.

“I had one goal at the last job, and that was to win the national championship, and I have one goal at this job, and that’€™s to win an NBA championship,” said Stevens, whose team was swept in the first round of the 2014-15 NBA playoffs. “That’€™s the only thing I’€™ll ever put down as a goal. That’€™s the only thing I’€™ll ever talk about as a goal to our players.”

As they should, the C’s think they’re contenders now. Of course, there’s a difference between believing and seeing.

For the record, the Green Team of Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk handed the White Team of Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Evan Turner, David Lee and Tyler Zeller a 63-59 loss at the open scrimmage, so at least half the roster will be starting the season as losers. These are the facts, people.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Terry Rozier,

With international play behind him, Kelly Olynyk looks for bigger leadership role on Celtics

09.29.15 at 12:18 pm ET
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Kelly Olynyk speaks at Celtics media day in Waltham before taking off for Europe. (Mike Petraglia/

Kelly Olynyk speaks at Celtics media day in Waltham before taking off for Europe. (Mike Petraglia/

WALTHAM — Kelly Olynyk had quite the summer as he tried to get himself ready for the 2015-16 season with the Celtics.

The third-year big man out of Gonzaga starred for his home country Team Canada in the both the Tuto Marchand Cup (a preliminary to the FIBA Olympic qualifying tourney) and the FIBA tourney itself. Olynyk had 34 points and 13 rebounds in a 79-78 loss to Venezuela in the semifinals of the Olympic tourney, outshining fellow Canadiens Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett (both young stars for Minnesota). Had Canada won, they would have directly qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, along with the U.S., Argentina and Venezuela.

Instead, Canada must now qualify in the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament. A lot was at stake but Olynyk looks at the loss as good experience, from a team and personal standpoint.

“It was definitely a tough game, especially for us,” Olynyk said. “We had gotten better every game as a team. We played so well, really night-in and night-out pretty much dominated that tournament. So it’s really a tough break for us to go out like that. Credit to Venezuela. They played a great game. They played tough, they played strong. They made shots. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only game we didn’t make very many shots. They showed up and played and then they went back to back night and beat Argentina. It was something pretty special for them. Right now, we’ve got another chance next summer and we’ve got to look forward to that and make sure we’re ready to play.”

Olynyk averaged 11.5 points a game in 10 games in the FIBA Americas championship. There was a scary moment when he dinged his left knee in an 85-80 win over Argentina on Aug. 23 in the Marchand Cup in Puerto Rico. But Olynyk bounced back quickly and was able to play at full strength in the Olympic qualifying tourney, which involved playing 10 games in 12 days in Mexico City.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Kelly Olynyk, Team Canada,
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