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Kelly Olynyk, Phil Pressey lead Celtics past Pacers in summer league

07.09.13 at 1:33 pm ET
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First-round draft pick Kelly Olynyk continued his strong play in the NBA Summer League in Orlando, accumulating 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists Tuesday to lead the Celtics to a 76-74 victory over the Pacers.

Olynyk, who is averaging 19.7 points through three games for the 2-1 Celtics, hit 9-of-19 shots and was a plus-15 in almost 30 minutes of action. Tony Mitchell added 15 points for Boston. Phil Pressey had 11 points, five assists and three steals, and he hit two free throws with 10 seconds left for the winning points.

Solomon Hill led the Pacers with 15 points.

The Celtics led by 11 at the half but allowed Indiana to tie the game at 74 with 38 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Donald Sloan that capped a 9-0 run. On the Celtics’ ensuing possession, Olynyk missed a hook shot in the paint.

Sloan then came up short on a drive as second-round pick Colton Iverson stepped in to cut off his path. Pressey, the son of former Celtics assistant coach Paul Pressey, grabbed the rebound and was fouled in the backcourt. He calmly sank both free throws to put the C’s back in front.

The Pacers had the final shot, but Sloan missed a wide-open 3-pointer at the buzzer that could have won it.

In addition to members of the Celtics front office and coaching staff, veteran forward Jeff Green was on hand to watch the game and came away with good feelings about Olynyk.

“He can play at a high level,” Green said in an interview with NBA TV after the game. “He can really move for a big guy. I’m impressed.”

Green added that he’s eager to prove he can succeed without Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who have been traded to the Nets.

“It’s all about opportunity,” Green said. “And right now I definitely have the opportunity to showcase what I can do without those guys there. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been working. I’ve been working hard to better my game in all aspects. So, I’m looking forward to the challenge I have upon me, and I’ll be ready.”

Green also had the opportunity to meet new coach Brad Stevens.

“We spoke today,” Green said. “We walked over to the gym today, had a great time picking his brain. Just a smart, smart guy. He loves the game. I think he’s looking forward to the challenge. College coaches coming in with the transition to the NBA, it’s going to be tough. But I think he’s up for the challenge. He’s going to do whatever it takes to make us better.”

The Celtics play again Wednesday at 3 p.m. vs. the Rockets, then they have a playoff game Friday to close out their week in Orlando.

Read More: Brad Stevens, Jeff Green, Kelly Olynyk, Phil Pressey

Armond Hill, Kevin Eastman, Tyronn Lue join Doc Rivers in Los Angeles

07.08.13 at 9:28 pm ET
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Doc Rivers will have some familiar faces on his bench when he coaches the Los Angeles Clippers for the first season.

Armond Hill, Kevin Eastman and Tyronn Lue will be migrating west with Rivers as assistants on the Clippers staff. A close friend of Rivers – Alvin Gentry – was also named associate head coach on Monday.

Rivers was named the head coach and senior vice president of the basketball operations of the Clippers in mid-June and has been working on completing his staff since leaving Boston for LA.

Also leaving Boston is JP Clark, who will serve as the assistant players skills coach. The Clippers confirmed the hires on their Twitter page on Monday afternoon.

 

Gentry returns to Los Angeles for his third stint with the Clippers after serving as both head coach (2000-2003) and assistant coach (1990-1991).

Hill was one of Rivers’ main assistants in Boston over the past nine seasons. Before joining the Celtics, Hill was an assistant for the Atlanta Hawks during the 2003-04 season.Eastman joined the Celtics staff in Rivers’ second season in Boston and remained in Boston ever since.

Lue, who played in Los Angeles with the Lakers and won NBA titles in 2000 and 2001, spent the past four seasons on the Celtics bench, including the last two as an assistant coach. Lue will serve as the head coach for the Clippers summer league team in Las Vegas.

Clark spent last season with the Celtics in their player development department and also served as an assistant coach for the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

Read More: Alvin Gentry, Armond Hill, Doc Rivers, Kevin Eastman

Larry Bird: ‘Believe me, Danny Ainge knows what he’s doing’

07.08.13 at 6:29 pm ET
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One of the greatest Celtics in franchise history believes the team’s intensely loyal fan base should trust in Danny Ainge.

Larry Bird, speaking to reporters Monday at the Orlando summer league games, said he understands why his former teammate and current president of basketball operations of the Celtics traded heart-and-soul pieces Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett last week to the Brooklyn Nets.

“Believe me, Danny Ainge knows what he’s doing,” Bird said. “He won a championship. I never doubt Danny Ainge. Danny does a good job. You know, you do get older. You can’t beat Father Time, and I’m sure things will work out.”

Pierce will be 36 next season while Garnett will be 37 when he suits up with Brooklyn. Both, Bird said Monday can be productive with the Nets.

“I think they’ve both been pretty healthy throughout their careers,” Bird said Monday. “They haven’t had the major, major injuries that I had. I think they got plenty left. The way they will be coached and the bench that they have. Yeah — they’ll pick their spots, but when the time comes, they’ll be there.”

Bird, who serves as Ainge’s counterpart with the Pacers, acknowledged it’s disappointing to see Pierce, the second-leading scorer in Celtics franchise history, not be able to do what he did and finish his career playing only for the Celtics.

“I would have loved to see it,” Bird said. “I got a lot of respect for Paul and what he has accomplished. But who says he’s not going to play another four years? It’s a tough situation.”

Pierce, who turns 36 Oct. 13, averaged 18.6 points per game this past season and, with 24,021 points, trails only John Havlicek on Boston’s all-time scoring list.

“[Pierce] is one of the better ones to ever come through there, he really is,” Bird insisted.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett, Larry Bird

Big games from Kelly Olynyk, Darius Johnson-Odom lead Celtics over Pistons in summer league

07.08.13 at 5:05 pm ET
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Guard Darius Johnson-Odom scored a game-high 22 points over the bench while Celtics first-round pick Kelly Olynyk added 13 points, six rebounds and five steals as Boston beat Detroit, 93-63, in a summer league blowout in Orlando.

“It’s an asset if you can go inside-out,” Olynyk told NBA TV after Boston’s first win of summer league. After scoring 25 points in Sunday’s first game, Olynyk added an all-around game on Monday, chipping in with three assists and a blocked shot.

The Celtics were in complete control of the game, jumping out to a 30-9 lead after one quarter. The Celtics benefitted from balanced scoring as 12 of 13 players on the roster scored.

It was just the sixth 30-point decision in the history of summer league play in Orlando.

Phil Pressey was on the only other Celtics player in double figures, scoring 12 points.

While the Celtics improved to 1-1 in summer league, the Pistons, coached by Rasheed Wallace, suffered their first loss and evened their record at 1-1.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Darius Johnson-Odom, Detroit Pistons, Kelly Olynyk

Stephen A. Smith on D&C: ‘Damn lie’ for Danny Ainge to say he’s not tearing down Celtics for rebuild

07.08.13 at 11:53 am ET
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ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the Celtics’ hiring of Brad Stevens and the team’s rebuilding process.

“I like the hire,” Smith said. “I think he’s a bright, young coach. I think Danny Ainge deserves a lot of credit, did a phenomenal job in plucking him out of the college game. I think when you consider what he brings to the table, not just in terms of his acumen as a coach but his temperament, I think that goes a long way towards helping the Boston Celtics basically resurrect themselves. Because where they are right now, obviously they’re going to be struggling for quite some time. You’ve got to remember, this is a team that’s been plucked. They’re rebuilding now. [Kevin Garnett] is gone, Paul Pierce is gone. You’ve got all of this stuff going on. In my opinion, even though they’re talking about keeping [Rajon] Rondo, I think Rondo should be gone. You’ve just got to start anew.

“In the end, what it comes down to is that this man knows basketball He’s a bright young mind. He’s not the kind of guy like Rick Pitino — as great as Rick Pitino is as a coach, we all know that he’s the kind of individual that really pushes the envelope to some degree and was screaming and pacing around like a bat out of hell. Trying to do it for 82 games, that kind of stuff wears on professional athletes getting paid millions of dollars. The kind of temperament that Brad Stevens brings to the table I think is incredibly beneficial to the Boston Celtics. And I think they deserve a lot of credit for picking him as their guy to succeed Doc Rivers. I think it’s a tremendous hire.”

Ainge has insisted the team is not tanking, but Smith puts little faith in that statement.

“I think that’s kind of a lie, to be quite honest with you,” Smith said. “Listen, I’m not trying to denigrate Danny Ainge in any way. But the fact of the matter is, you lose KG, you lose Paul Pierce, you go in a different direction even though Rondo is here. You’re clearly in rebuilding mode. There’s no way around this.

“And if you didn’t think you were in rebuilding mode, Brad Stevens would not have gotten a six-year deal. This is a guy you plucked out of college, you gave him a six-year deal worth about $22 million. He’s getting pair nearly 4 million a year. There’s plenty of coaches in this league who have coached in this league, who have a modicum of success, that are not getting paid the salary that Brad Stevens is getting paid. You know why you had to pay him those dollars? It wasn’t just to pluck him away from a mid-major like Butler. It was to ask him to stay the course, because you know this is going to be a long way back to prominence. That’s what this is.

“So, Danny Ainge can tell you what he wants to. I respect the man, I respect what he’s accomplished. And I certainly am not trying to denigrate him in any way. But that’s a damn lie, what he just said right there. I’m sorry.”

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Read More: Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge, Rajon Rondo, Stephen A. Smith

Jeff Van Gundy on D&C: Celtics’ Brad Stevens hiring ‘not a risk’

07.08.13 at 10:26 am ET
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ESPN/ABC basketball analyst Jeff Van Gundy joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to discuss the Celtics‘ offseason maneuverings.

The C’s pulled off a surprise move last week when they named Butler’s Brad Stevens their new coach.

“I think he’s a great, great basketball coach,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t think there will be too big an adjustment — or too big of an adjustment basketball-wise. This guy is really, really smart. I think their players will respect his confidence, his sincerity, his reliability and his trustworthiness. He’s a quality person and coach.

“Now, the difference is, you’re going to lose some, and maybe a lot, depending on the construction of the roster. That, coupled with the length of a season, is always a challenge in the NBA when you go through a rebuilding situation. But I think his demeanor and his poise, along with his contract, will serve him well through the rebuilding situation.”

Added Van Gundy: “I honestly think that this is not a risk. People say it’s a risk. I don’t think it’s a risk for anybody. When Brad Stevens is done with the Celtics in six years, 10 years, 15 years, he can always go back and get a great, great college job. And for the Celtics, it’s not a risk because this guy’s a great person and a great basketball coach. How they do record-wise over his tenure there is going to be not based on his coaching ability. His coaching ability will be fine. It’s going to be their roster. Can they get him a good enough roster to work with and win with? If they do, they’ll win there.”

Asked if he or his brother Stan were contacted about the Celtics’ opening, Van Gundy said: “I have no idea about my brother. I know I wasn’t. Hey, listen, I have such respect for the Celtics that anybody would be interested if the Celtics call. They just have a great, obviously, history, they have great ownership, they have great management. So, anybody would be interested.”

As the Celtics head into a rebuilding period, Van Gundy warned that people need to avoid becoming impatient as the long season wears on.

“There’s very few people — teams, fan bases, organizations, coaches, players — who really have the stomach for a long rebuild,” he said. “It sounds good in theory. But Boston was tiring of rebuilding until Danny Ainge pulled off the Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett trades. No one likes losing 18 straight games. This is where I thought Doc Rivers took unnecessary criticism. That he didn’t want to go through a long rebuild? He’d already done that. He’d already gone through that purgatory time in Boston. So, that he wouldn’t want to redo it again in Boston? I completely understand.

“There’s got to be a stomach for this rebuilding. And it really starts with the media, the management, the ownership. Because they’re so used to winning, that this may be a period of mediocrity. It may be that 41-40 record last year, that may be the norm. Or maybe they get a few more wins or maybe they get a few less wins, or maybe a lot less wins. You can’t just believe that in theory. You’ve got to be able to live through the dreary nights that are coming to the Boston Garden. And accept that this is part of the NBA, that you can’t stay great forever.

“I think that’s going to be the toughest adjustment for everybody. They’re coming off such a great period of winning, where they had the ultimate competitors in Garnett and [Paul] Pierce. So, to see them go, to see them go into the Eastern Conference. The whole thing is going to be difficult. And that’s where I think Brad’s demeanor will really help him. He’ll focus on trying to get better every day, incremental improvement. And if he can do that, I think he will have fulfilled his obligation to the Celtics very, very well.”

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Read More: Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Jeff Van Gundy

Kelly Olynyk drops 25 in NBA summer league debut

07.08.13 at 8:25 am ET
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Celtics first-round pick Kelly Olynyk scored 25 points in just 27 minutes of a 95-88 loss to the Magic during his NBA summer league debut in Orlando on Sunday.

Olynyk converted 9-of-12 attempts, including the first two of four 3-point shots, to go along with seven rebounds. Oh, and six fouls.

‘€œI really like his game,’€ new Celtics coach Brad Stevens told The Boston Globe from the sidelines. ‘€œHe’€™s really bright. You can tell he makes others around him better. I thought he did some good things defensively as well. He’€™s going to be a good player.’€

Fellow 7-footer Fab Melo added nine points and eight boards while summer league invitees Tony Mitchell (16 points) and Phil Pressey (11 points) each reached double figures. Celtics second-round pick Colton Iverson finished scoreless and grabbed four rebounds in his first game in green.

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