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Will Celtics really be ready for playoffs?

04.12.16 at 11:55 am ET
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After consecutive losses to playoff teams on Saturday and Monday, there is a little doubt creeping into the minds of Celtics fans. 

Are the Celtics the team that beat Golden State and Cleveland on the road and posted a 47-32 record in their first 79 games? Or are they the team that has been exposed in the second half in Atlanta and the entirety of their humiliating loss to the Hornets on Monday night at home?

Avery Bradley said after Saturday’s game in Atlanta that the Celtics looked at times to be a team fighting itself and playing tight. After Monday’s 114-100 loss to Charlotte at TD Garden, Bradley laid it out on the line for a team that was outscored 39-13 in the second quarter and blown out of its own building. 

“All the credit to them. We just have to prepare and try to fix all the mistakes we had,” Bradley said. “I know the coach said it. I’m pretty sure everybody else is going to say it. We just have to try to fix all the small things that we did [wrong] because in the playoffs, if we make these same mistakes, we might lose by 40.” 

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Read More: 2016 NBA playoffs, Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens

Mike Petraglia, Sam Packard on what Monday’s no-show vs. Hornets means for playoffs

04.11.16 at 11:32 pm ET
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WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Sam Packard break down what happened in the Celtics’ abysmal 114-100 loss to the Hornets on Monday night at TD Garden. The Celtics were outscored 39-13 in the second quarter, incluing 33-3 in one stretch that had them down 28 points. They never recovered, and as a result they fall to 47-34 and into a fifth-place tie with the Hornets in the East. The Celtics are a game behind the third-place Hawks and a half-game behind the Heat. The Celtics finish up the season with a game against Miami on Wednesday night at TD Garden and will clinch fourth place and home-court advantage in the first round with a win.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, Mike Petraglia

With playoff implications on the line, Brad Stevens laments, ‘We laid an 8-minute egg’

04.11.16 at 11:25 pm ET
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As Brad Stevens stepped to the podium Monday night after a stinker of a loss, 114-100 to the Hornets, he hid a wry smile and knew what was coming next.

What was the problem in a game that saw you outscored 39-13 in the second quarter, never to be heard from again?

“We laid an eight-minute egg at the end of the second quarter, and just couldn’t overcome,” Stevens said. “We were up 38-32 and then I think they went on a 31-3 run, offense was bad, defense was bad, everything was poor, but that’s what it boiled down to. I mean, it was an eight minute — we laid an eight-minute egg. That’s the way I look at it. That’s enough against those guys when they’re shooting it like that, to really hurt you.”

The Celtics made just 3-of-22 shots from the field in the second quarter while the Hornets hit on 11-of-19, including 3-of-8 from beyond the arc. The Celtics missed all four of theirs from long distance. The Celtics had six turnovers while the Hornets had just three. Jeremy Lin, the former Harvard star, had quite a night on Asian-American night at TD Garden, scoring a game-high 25 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field.

“I don’t know what we shot — what did we shoot? — obviously not very good, but it really wasn’t even the shooting,” Stevens said. “They’ve got to be able to believe in their work, and we’re not harping on each and every shot that they take and everything else. And so you just have to step up and shoot it confidently. And believe that the next one’s going in.

“There are times, certainly, where you don’t feel as good as other times, but at that moment, make plays for other people. But I think the biggest thing was we tried to dribble through traffic in that eight-minute stretch, and it was like we were just dribbling into five guys, 10 arms. And everybody was in the paint because we weren’t making shots. And so, you know, we just kept fumbling the ball and turning it over, and those run-outs hurt and then they got going shooting the ball and Lin was excellent for them in that stretch as well.”

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Read More: 2016 NBA playoffs, Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Charlotte Hornets

Studs and Duds: Jeremy Lin, Hornets blow past Celtics

04.11.16 at 10:13 pm ET
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Hornets guard Jeremy Lin (7) scores two of his 25 points against the Celtics. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Hornets guard Jeremy Lin scores two of his 25 points against the Celtics. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

In a game with playoff implications for both teams on the line, the Hornets dominated the Celtics en route to a 114-100 win Monday night at TD Garden.

Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley each netted 17 points for the Celtics, and Kelly Olynyk scored 10 off the bench, but it wasn’t nearly enough to hang on.

Led by Bradley’s 11 first-quarter points, the Celtics grabbed a 28-24 lead at the end of the quarter — but it didn’t last long. Charlotte outscored the C’s 39-13 in the second quarter and used a 9-3 run at the start of the third to take a 28-point lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

Desperate to find his offensive rhythm, Thomas came out aggressive in the second half, scoring 10 points on five shots before his aggression boiled over at the 3:55 mark. Thomas earned a technical foul for tossing the ball at official Ben Taylor’s legs in reaction to an offensive foul call. Thomas never returned to the game. 

With the loss, the Celtics (47-34) now are tied with the Hornets fifth in the Eastern Conference. There are tiebreakers aplenty with all four teams seeded third through sixth capable of tying each other, but if the C’s take care of the Heat on Wednesday night, they will in all likelihood be hosting a playoff game this weekend.

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

STUD OF THE NIGHT: Jeremy Lin

On Asian-American appreciation night, Lin dominated the Celtics, especially in the second quarter, when he scored 19 of his 25 points. Bradley and Marcus Smart simply couldn’t stop his dribble penetration. Lin also picked up five steals, as the Celtics seemed to drive into the paint with reckless abandon.

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Celtics make their case for Evan Turner as NBA Sixth Man

04.11.16 at 8:14 pm ET
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Evan Turner for Sixth Man of the Year. (Boston Celtics)

Evan Turner for Sixth Man of the Year. (Boston Celtics)

Is there a better “Sixth Man” in the NBA than Evan Turner?

The Celtics are biased but they made their case Monday, five days after Danny Ainge called for some sixth man respect. 

Turner is in the final year of his two-year, $6.7 million contract. He becomes a free agent this summer. Turner has led the Celtics’ bench all season long in scoring (10.4 points per game) and assists at 4.5 helpers per contest. 

It was those statistics Ainge pointed to last week when making his public case for Turner.

“Well, he leads the NBA in assists off the bench,” Ainge told the team’s flagship station. “He’s a huge [in the] fourth-quarter. Everybody in Boston knows how big he’s been for us at the end of so many games this year. I don’t know what the league views of Evan.

“I think Evan sees himself as a starter and not a sixth man. But I think that in a lot of ways he is because he’s in the game often at the end. But Evan certainly should be a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. No question.”

Turner is one of only two players in the NBA this season to record at least 350 rebounds, 350 assists and commit fewer than 175 turnovers. Those figures could easily result in Turner landing a multi-year deal worth well north of $10 million annually this summer. 

As Ainge referenced, the irony of Turner’s season is that he became most valuable to the Celtics when Jae Crowder went out with a high sprain of his right ankle and Avery Bradley missed a game for paternal leave.

Before being placed in the starting lineup for stretch of two weeks, it was Turner and Marcus Smart who teamed to become one of the better 1-2 guard tandems off the bench in the East.

Celtics owned the award in the early years of the award, which was first handed out to Bobby Jones following Philadelphia’s world championship season in 1982-83. Kevin McHale won the next two years and then Bill Walton won it in the epic 1986 season.

Monday’s public relations push for Turner is Boston’s third of the week. They began with a flier last Wednesday for Isaiah Thomas as a member of the All-NBA team. They followed that up on Friday with a campaign for Jae Crowder for “Comeback Player of the Year.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Evan Turner, Sixth Man,

Celtics sign former Boston University star John Holland

04.11.16 at 6:52 pm ET
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John Holland (Boston University)

John Holland (Boston University)

John Holland can come home again, at least to where he played his college basketball. 

The former standout guard from Boston University signed a contract Monday with the Celtics after appearing in 37 regular season contests for the D-League Canton Charge this year.

The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 16.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.2 steals in 30.2 minutes per game. He shot 52.0 percent from the floor, 36.9 percent from beyond the arc and 85.2 percent from the free-throw line during the regular season.

During the 2015-16 D-League Playoffs, Holland has averaged 28.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and shot 62.5 percent from the field and 58.8 percent from the three-point line.

“Obviously John has had a good D-League year,” Brad Stevens said before Monday’s game. “He’s played overseas since he left Boston U. Obviously, he had a great career at Boston U. He played really well against us in the D-League and the D-League tournament in the first round of the playoffs. 

“He’s a good player. He brings shooting. He brings pretty good size for a perimeter player. He brings the ability to switch. And he’s another person that we can add as depth, should we need some perimeter depth.”

Holland, the 40th Gatorade D-League call-up this season, was named the America East Conference Player of the Year as a Boston University senior when he led the Terriers to the 2011 NCAA Tournament. He finished his collegiate career as just the second player in America East history with at least 2,000 points, 700 rebounds and 200 steals. 

A native of the Bronx, N.Y., Holland has played professionally in France, Spain and Turkey, and was in training camp with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Boston University, Brad Stevens, John Holland

Brad Stevens isn’t worried about playoff seeding: ‘We literally never talk about it’

04.11.16 at 6:42 pm ET
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It would be natural for fans to think Brad Stevens and his fans are thinking about all the different possibilities for the playoffs with two home games left on the schedule. 

But thinking about it and talking about it are two completely different concepts in the mind of the Celtics coach. 

The Celtics, following Saturday’s loss in Atlanta, enter Monday with a 47-33 record, tied with Miami for fourth in the East, one game behind the Hawks. They are also one game ahead of sixth-place Charlotte. 

The Celtics could wind up playing the Hawks, Heat or Hornets in the first round, and could have home court or not. 

All Stevens can do with his team is to tell them to play the situation immediately in front of them and not look at the scoreboard.

“Completely. Today is all about Charlotte,” Stevens said before Monday’s game. “We didn’t mention anything else. We got together. We did our typical film. We did our typical walkthrough. We went through what we didn’t do well against Atlanta. We went through what we did do well. We went through what want to bottle up and play in a certain way against Charlotte and get ready for tonight’s game.

“Again, I’m sure that our guys are talking about it. I’m sure if you ask them, they’ll talk about it. We literally never talk about it. And it’s not something that’s relevant to winning tonight. We just have to focus on the things that we can control.

“So, our deal is just to continue to play and continue to focus on the things we can control and play well,” Stevens said. “I thought we did some really good things against Atlanta. I thought we did even better things against Milwaukee. With this being obviously, a lot yet to be determined, these are games that are important to play well in.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Charlotte Hornets,
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