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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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Studs and Duds: Isaiah Thomas, Celtics rout Wizards

01.25.16 at 10:03 pm ET
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Jan 25, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) shoots as Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) looks on during the second half at Verizon Center. Boston Celtics won 116 - 91. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas shoots as Wizards guard John Wall defends during the second half at Verizon Center. (Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports)

For the fourth time this season, the Celtics defeated the Wizards — sweeping the season series — and they did it in blowout fashion in a 116-91 win on Monday.

After a back-and-forth first half, the Celtics built the first double-digit lead of the night in the third quarter and took a 84-70 lead into the final frame. The Celtics converted 21 points off 14 Wizards turnovers before they grabbed their biggest lead of the night in the fourth quarter. After Wizards forward Nene was whistled for a flagrant 1 foul, the Celtics opened up a 27-point lead behind a 23-7 run.

Isaiah Thomas scored a game-high 23 points and led six Celtics in double figures, including Evan Turner (18 points, five rebounds). Otto Porter and Jared Dudley each scored 15 points to lead the Wizards.

Monday night marks the ninth straight game in which the Celtics have scored 100 or more points. The Celtics (25-21) now are one game ahead of the Pacers for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

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

STUD OF THE NIGHT: Isaiah Thomas

In three days the NBA All-Star reserves will be announced, and Thomas continued to make his case for a spot on the East team. He finished the night with 23 points on 8-for-14 shooting, nine assists and four rebounds. He was a plus-19 on the night. Monday marked the 31st time Thomas has scored 20-plus points this season.


Fortunately for the Celtics, John Wall wasn’t the best Wizard on the floor. Wall had a bad shooting night. He shot 27.3 percent on 3-of-11 shooting and couldn’t stop the bleeding when the Celtics offense erupted in the fourth quarter. Not having Bradley Beal in the game also didn’t help the Wizards offense. Beal exited the game with a bloody nose in the second quarter and never returned.

VINE OF THE NIGHT: No vine but scroll down to the @ of the night to see the dunk of the game

WHINE OF THE NIGHT: Marcus Smart takes a beating

Wizards power forward Nene was very physical against the Celtics, especially toward Smart. In the first quarter, Nene was posting up against Smart and knocked him, but no offensive foul was called. He also got away with sneaky pushing and sketchy screens. Nene finally was penalized in the fourth quarter when Smart was driving to the hoop and Nene’s arm came down on him and knocked Smart down. He was issued a flagrant 1 foul.


The Celtics shot 48.9 percent from the floor on 44-of-90 shooting. They finished with 42 points in the paint and shot 40.9 percent from distance on 9-of-22 attempts. The Celtics offense has been hot lately, and it starts on the defensive end of the floor. The C’s coerced 20 Wizards turnovers and sealed the win in the second half behind 63 second-half points.

@ OF THE NIGHT: Winter Storm Jonas

Nobody watches as Celtics dominate 76ers

01.24.16 at 9:38 pm ET
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Jan 24, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) reacts to his three pointer against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) reacts to his 3-pointer against the 76ers during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

If the Celtics dominate the 76ers and no one is there to see it, does it still count as a win?

Yes. Obviously.

After Winter Storm Jonas dropped close to two feet of snow on the Philadelphia, less than 2,000 people were in the stands to see the Celtics defeat the 76ers, 112-92.

The Celtics dominated the entire game, scoring 94 points in the first three quarters. The C’s are averaging 112 points over their past eight games.

The 76ers played terrible defense and allowed the Celtics to take numerous open 3’s. The Celtics shot 44 percent (11-for-25) from beyond the arc.

Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas each scored 20 points, while Avery Bradley added 19. Marcus Smart and Evan Turner added 16 and 11 points off the bench respectively.

With the win, the (24-21) Celtics are in sole possession of the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference. The team will travel south to the next closest covered city to play the Wizards on Monday night.

For a complete box score, click here.

Studs and Duds: Jared Sullinger’s double-double lifts Celtics past Bulls

01.22.16 at 10:04 pm ET
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The Celtics ended their two-game losing streak with a 110-101 victory over the Bulls on Friday night.

In a dominant first half, the Celtics built up a 15-point lead while shooting 50 percent from the field. The Celtics defense did an excellent job getting their hands on the basketball, scoring 17 points off of 13 Bulls turnovers.

In the second half, Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler helped the Bulls claw back in the game.  The duo picked apart the Celtics poor pick-and-roll defense in the third quarter, combining for 36 of their 55 points in the final 24 minutes.

Two Jimmy Butler foul shots cut the Celtics lead to 97-96 with 4:58 left to play in the game. The C’s, who have led a number of fourth-quarter leads slip away this season, did not relinquish their lead, only allowing five points during the rest of the game.

With the game on the line, the team turned to their potential All-Star Isaiah Thomas, who scored six of his team-high 22 points down the stretch.  Avery Bradley added 21 on 8-of-14 shooting.Jared Sullinger registered his 13th double-double of the season, finishing with 18 points, and 12 rebounds.

With the win, the Celtics improve to 23-21 on the season. Due to Winter Storm Jonas, their schedule game against the 76ers was postponed from Saturday to Sunday night.

For a complete box score, click here. Read the rest of this entry »

Stud and Duds: DeRozan’s 34 points leads Raptors past Celtics

01.20.16 at 10:30 pm ET
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DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan

After the Raptors opened up a 13-point lead in the first half, Celtics coach Brad Stevens turned to his bench, but it wasn’t enough to counter DeMar DeRozan who scored 22 second-half points en route to a 115-109 Rapors victory.

The Celtics closed the first half on a 10-2 run and took a 62-56 lead into halftime. Led by Kelly Olynyk’s 18 points, the Celtics bench combined for 47 points. Yet, DeRozan erupted for 18 third-quarter points and set the tone offensively for the Raptors as they outscored the Celtics 40-28 before heading into the fourth quarter.

In the final frame, the Raptors led by four points when Isaiah Thomas committed a costly turnover on an inbound play out of a timeout with 41 seconds left. The Celtics were able to regain possession but Avery Bradley‘s missed 3-pointer with 14.8 seconds left, sealed the Raptors win. It was the fifth missed 3-pointer of the quarter and further prevented the Celtics from having a chance to regain the lead that they saw slip away after halftime.

The Raptors did an excellent job of getting to the hoop while knocking down good looks from the perimeter — they outscored the Celtics 54-38 in the paint and shot 55.4 percent on 46-of-83 shooting. Although the Celtics shot 50.6 percent from the floor, it wasn’t enough to impede DeRozan’s second-half scoring outburst. The Raptors never led by more than six points in the fourth quarter but were able to pull away in the final minutes.

Isaiah Thomas‘ (21 points, 10 assists) double-double led the Celtics and Avery Bradley finished the night with 19 points. DeMar DeRozan (34 points) shot 52 percent on 13-25 shooting to lead the Raptors and Jonas Valanciunas (19 points, 12 rebounds) notched a double-double.

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


DeRozan gave the Celtics one of the best individual performances they’ve seen from an opponent this season and did it in a number of different ways. He drove the ball to the hoop, stroked it from the mid-range, got to the free-throw line (8-of-9) and lit up the C’s — scoring 30 points in three quarters. Who does that? Not a lot of players in the NBA do. DeMar was ridiculous. He finished the night with 34 points and six assists.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: Jared Sullinger.

Sullinger had an ugly outing up in Toronto. He couldn’t find his offense and was bullied  in the paint by Jonas Valanciuas and Luis Scola. Sullinger went scoreless on 1-for-7 shooting, committed two turnovers and was a team-low minus-19 on the night.


WHINE OF THE NIGHT: Three-point shooting

The Raptors entered the game as one of the league’s worst teams in defending 3-pointers and it showed. Celtics shot 46.2 percent from deep on 12-of-26 shooting but needed a few more down the stretch when they counted most. The Celtics utilized their 3-point shooting throughout the game to keep themselves within striking distance but couldn’t hit the big ones at the end of the fourth. As the saying goes: “You live and die by the 3,” well the C’s lived by it for 36 minutes as the 3-ball certainly kept them close up until the last quarter where they went 1-for-6 and ultimately suffered their second straight loss.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: 54 points in the paint

The Celtics have to do a better job at defending the post. In a game where Jared Sullinger only played 12 minutes, the Celtics had no other big men to count on for interior defense. Amir Johnson and Tyler Zeller struggled to keep up with Jonas Valanciunas (19) and Luis Scola (18 points) nor could they get stops against Toronto’s perimeter players as they were able to get to the hoop with little resistance. 


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Studs and Duds: Nowitzki, Mavericks beat Celtics in OT

01.19.16 at 12:16 am ET
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It was a game of two halves. And an overtime.

The Celtics overcame a 17-point deficit, hit clutch fourth-quarter shot and forced overtime — where the Mavericks knocked down four 3-pointers to defeat the Celtics in a 118-113 win in Dallas.

The Mavericks took a 29-16 lead into the second quarter and extended it to 17 points — their biggest lead of the night. Dallas shot 48.8 percent in the first half. The Celtics rallied in the third quarter, outscoring the Mavericks 33-18 and went into the fourth quarter up, 72-70. Isaiah Thomas, who scored two points in the first half, found his offense in the third quarter by scoring 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

In the fourth quarter, Dirk Nowitzki caught fire — he scored 14 of his 31 points and propelled the Mavericks to a five-point advantage after converting a four-point play with 1:27 left in the game (89-94). However, the Celtics didn’t quit. They went on a 6-4 run to set up a chance for them to tie the game, down by three (98-95). With 14 seconds left, Jae Crowder was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and converted all three free-throws to send the game into overtime.

The Mavericks needed four 3-pointers in the extra period to fend off the Celtics. Dallas shot 47 percent on 16-for-34 from distance.

Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart each scored 20 points to lead the Celtics, Avery Bradley added 19 points and eight rebounds. Dirk Nowitzki‘s 31 points led the the Mavericks. Deron Williams scored 20 and Zaza Pachulia grabbed a game-high 19 rebounds.

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

STUD OF THE NIGHT: Marcus Smart.

Smart did a little bit of everything. He scored (20 points), grabbed boards (eight rebounds) to help lead the fast break (31 fast break points) and finished the night with two steals. Smart also hit a big 3-pointer in overtime to pull the Celtics to within one point before Williams and Nowitzki hit back-to-back 3’s to extend the Mavericks lead up to four.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: Amir Johnson.

In a game where Pachulia pulled down 19 rebounds, the Celtics could have used some help from their 6’9″ big. Johnson finished the night with just two rebounds and a turnover in 13 minutes. When the Celtics made their second-half comeback, coach Brad Stevens knew he wasn’t going to get much rebounding from Johnson so he kept him on the bench.

VINE OF THE NIGHT: Clutch Crowder

WHINE OF THE NIGHT: Guarding Dirk 

After the Celtics grabbed their first lead in the third quarter, the Mavericks turned to Dirk Nowitzki and he delivered — he scored 21 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. When it came to defending Nowitzki, the Celtics often found themselves caught in a switch, which led to easy jumpers for Dirk. In the fourth quarter, Nowitzki, 7’0″, knocked down shots over Smart, Evan Turner and other undersized defenders, which led to easy shots or trips to the free-throw line — where he went 12-for-13 on the night. 

STAT OF THE NIGHT: 16-for-34

The Celtics couldn’t stop the Mavericks from knocking down 3-pointers, especially in the overtime period. Dallas drained a handful of contested 3-pointers (4) in the extra period but the Mavericks also made a lot of open 3’s throughout the night. The Celtics back court were caught behind screens and often late on defensive switches, which led to open looks for the Mavericks. Drik Nowitzki (3-for-5), Chandler Parsons (4-for-6), Wesley Matthews (3-for-8), Devin Harris (2-for-5) Deron Williams (2-for-5) and Raymond Felton (1-for-3) all took turns knocking down jumpers from downtown. 


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