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Studs and Duds: Celtics beat Pistons for another road win

12.26.15 at 10:14 pm ET
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There’s no place like the road?

The Celtics defeated the Pistons 99-93 at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Saturday night, improving to 19-6 outside of Boston. After an even first half, the C’s pulled away in the third quarter. They held Detroit to 30 percent shooting in winning the frame, 25-15, holding Andre Drummond scoreless after the center amassed 17 points and nine rebounds in the first half.

Detroit made a late surge to cut the C’s lead to two with less than a minute to play, but former Piston Jonas Jerebko’s jumper with 10.7 seconds sealed the game for Boston.

Avery Bradley scored 15 of his team-high 18 points in the first half. In classic fashion, five other C’s scored in double figures: Thomas (17 points), Turner (13), Johnson (12), Crowder (11) and Sullinger (10). Drummond, who would currently start in the All-Star game for the Eastern Conference, finished with 22 points and 22 rebounds. Reggie Jackson scored 17 points, and Marcus Morris added 16.

The Celtics (17-13) return home to play the Knicks on Sunday night in Boston, while the Pistons (17-14) will play next against the same Knick team on Tuesday in New York.

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

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Studs and Duds: Kelly Olynyk leads Celtics over Hornets in Charlotte

12.24.15 at 12:17 am ET
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Kelly Olynyk

Kelly Olynyk

Behind a steady defense and a second-half offensive surge, the Celtics beat the Hornets 102-89 in Charlotte on Wednesday night, improving to 11-9 against the East and 8-6 on the road.

Overall, the C’s leapfrogged the Hornets (15-13) in the standings and improved to 16-13, keeping pace with the rest of an Eastern Conference pack of 11 teams separated by just 4.5 games.

The Hornets rallied in the fourth quarter, but never led once throughout the night. Nicolas Batum’s 3-pointer brought the Hornets to within six points before the Celtics finished them off with a 10-3 run in the final three minutes to clinch the win. Kelly Olynyk’s team-high 20 points led a group of four C’s with 18-plus points. Jae Crowder notched his third straight double-double (19 points, 12 rebounds), while Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley each scored 18.

Frank Kaminsky’s 23 points led the Hornets, and Batum added 17. The Celtics offered Charlotte a cache of first-round picks in hopes of moving up to select Justise Winslow, but Michael Jordan turned down the deal to draft Kaminsky.

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

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Studs and Duds: Celtics dominate Kevin Garnett-less Timberwolves

12.21.15 at 9:59 pm ET
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Celtics fans didn’t get to see Kevin Garnett, and all they’re “We want KG” chants went for naught, but they did get to watch their team spank the Timberwolves, 113-99.

Kelly Olynyk led six Celtics in double figures with 19 points, helping the Celtics snap a three-game losing streak and improve to 15-13. They’re as close to the second seed as they are to 12th place in the Eastern Conference. Jae Crowder (18 points, 10 rebounds), Tyler Zeller (14 points, 8 rebounds), David Lee (13 points, 8 rebounds) and Avery Bradley (13 points) also reached double-digits. Isaiah Thomas and Evan Turner combined for 22 assists, as the Celtics assisted on 34 of their 46 field goals.

Rookie Karl Towns led the Timberwolves (11-17) with 25 points and 16 rebounds.

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

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Kevin Garnett on Celtics vs. New York fans: ‘Bostonians all day’

12.21.15 at 7:36 am ET
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As Kevin Garnett arrives with the Timberwolves for what could be his last visit to Boston as a player, he’s coming off a 15-point victory against the Nets on Sunday in Brooklyn — his third of three NBA homes. So, the Minneapolis Star Tribune took the opportunity to ask the former Celtics superstar if he preferred Boston or New York fans.

“Bostonians all day,” said Garnett. “And they know that.”

While Garnett conceded he enjoyed his “living experience” in New York City and “playing before the crowd in Brooklyn was dope,” nothing tops winning a title in Boston, where he also made a second trip to the finals and a third appearance in the conference finals. “Every time I go to Boston I’ll have that sentimental feeling,” he said.

Garnett grabbed seven boards over 10 minutes in the 100-85 win against the Nets. The Celtics host his Wolves at 7:30 p.m. on Monday night. He is signed through 2017 for another $8 million, but there’s some speculation that as his minutes dwindle while he approaches age 40 that salary could be folded into a front-office gig in Minnesota.

Interestingly, Celtics coach Brad Stevens compared Jae Crowder’s tireless approach to the grit and balls that Garnett famously brought to the locker room whether it was practice time or Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

“I’€™m far from that. I can say that,” Crowder told reporters gathered at Sunday’s practice. “That’€™s a guy I look up to and I heard a lot of stories about him and that’€™s what I try to mold myself into being. I mean that’€™s an honor for him to say that, but I’€™m far from that. That’€™s a goal of mine to become a guy like him. That’€™s my approach is to try to become the most vocal leader at practice and when the cameras and stuff aren’€™t around.”

And how would Stevens know Garnett’s work ethic so well? Well, funny story about the two 39-year-olds …

“I was playing an AAU tournament with him on the court next to me,” Stevens told the media. “I don’€™t think I could be playing right now, physically, let alone as well as he does. But it’€™s pretty impressive what he’€™s done.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Kevin Garnett, NBA

Stud and Duds: Isaiah Thomas, Celtics come up short against Hawks

12.18.15 at 10:28 pm ET
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Forcing a total of 21 turnovers, the Hawks also capitalized on an 11-0 fourth-quarter run and doubled up the Celtics to the tune of 68-34 in the paint en route to a 109-101 win.

The C’s made costly mistakes throughout the fourth quarter and couldn’t find their offense in the last two minutes, as the Hawks took a seven-point lead — their biggest of the night. The Hawks shot 46.6 percent from the floor and committed just 12 turnovers.

Isaiah Thomas scored a game-high 29 points, and Jae Crowder added an impressive double-double (24 points, 10 rebounds). Dennis Schroeder’s 22 points led six Hawks in double figures, and Al Horford kept up with Crowder with (21 points, 10 rebounds).

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

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One year later, Brad Stevens has no regrets when comes to Rajon Rondo trade

12.18.15 at 9:03 pm ET
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Jae Crowder

Jae Crowder

One year after trading Rajon Rondo, Brad Stevens has no regrets about what his team got back.

Jae Crowder has left his mark on the Celtics and their coach.

Having been one of three players traded to the Celtics in the Dec. 18, 2014 deal with the Mavericks ‘€“ joining Brandan Wright and Jameer Nelson (neither of whom are still on the team) — Crowder had nothing to lose and everything to prove.

“I knew people had told me they thought he could be a pretty good player,” said Stevens before his team’€™s game against Atlanta at TD Garden Friday night. “I knew he was tough when he played at Marquette. And I knew nothing else. So, I’€™m really happy he was included in that trade.”

Crowder came in as a blank slate, but has defined himself as one of the Celtics’€™ most important players since arriving in the Rondo deal.

Coming into Friday night, the Celtics had gone 43-40 in games Crowder has appeared. In those games, Crowder is averaging 10.4 points per game, playing in 25 or more minutes 55 times. Only Avery Bradley and Evan Turner has seen more time on the court for the C’€™s over that span.

Stevens admits, “I didn’€™t know that he could do all that he could do.”

This year, Crowder has averaged 36 percent from beyond the 3-point line, while totaling 12.5 points and 1.96 steals per game (9th best in the NBA).

Meanwhile, Rondo’€™s teams — Dallas and Sacramento — have gone a combined 35-35 when the point guard has played, with his individual results (both on and off the court) getting mixed reviews.

It has all helped put the former Celtics star ever further in the rear-view mirror for Stevens and his team.

“We started to see, like, hey, there’€™s a guy [in Crowder] that can do a little bit more than stand in the corner and shoot,” the coach said.

Read More: Brad Stevens, Jae Crowder, Rajon Rondo,

Stud and Duds: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Pistons hold off Celtics

12.16.15 at 11:08 pm ET
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Kentavious Pope-Caldwell

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

After the Pistons opened their first double-digit lead of the second half, Celtics coach Brad Stevens turned to his bench, but it wasn’t enough to counter Detroit’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Jackson, who combined 54 points in a 119-116 victory.

Once the Pistons built a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead — their largest of the night, Jonas Jerebko’s nine points on three straight 3-pointers helped the C’s cut the deficit to four. But before Jerebko’s final 3-pointer, Jackson converted three free throws on a questionable shooting foul that extended Detroit’s lead to seven. In the end, Jackson scored seven more points and Caldwell-Pope added four from the free-throw line in the final minutes for the Pistons.

Isaiah Thomas made a 3-pointer in the final seconds that cut the lead to 118-116. The Celtics fouled Jackson, who missed his second attempt, but with no timeouts remaining Jared Sullinger’s desperation heave from the opposite end of the floor sailed wide in the final 1.7 seconds.

Remarkably, the Celtics loss on the second night of a back-to-back on the road for just the first time in 11 games. Thomas scored a career-high 38 points, Sullinger added a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Tyler Zeller scored 12 off the bench. Caldwell-Pope netted a team-high 31 points, Jackson dropped 23 and Andre Dummond had a double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds) for the Pistons.

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

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