|04.11.16 at 6:52 pm ET|
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.
|04.11.16 at 6:42 pm ET|
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.”
|04.09.16 at 10:19 pm ET|
In an intense playoff-like atmosphere, the Hawks defeated the Celtics 118-107 on Saturday night in Atlanta.
Hawks forward Paul Millsap was dominant, finishing with 31 points and 16 rebounds, while knocking down 5-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc. Jeff Teague and Kent Bazemore added 24 and 21 respectively, as the Hawks shot an outstanding 51 percent (17-33) from the 3-point line.
Isaiah Thomas, who had his 18-game streak of scoring more than 20 points snapped on Friday, turned in one of his worst performances in recent memories. Thomas finished with 16 points on 6-of-19 shooting.
Marcus Smart, who has been struggling for two months with his outside shot, knocked down four of his six attempts from beyond the arc and finished with a team-high 19 points. Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, Avery Bradley and Evan Turner also finished in double figures.
In a wild and fast-paced first half that featured six ties and nine lead changes, the Celtics and Hawks engaged in a shootout. The C’s were initially able to pick up the slack for Thomas, scoring 71 first-half points by making 10 3-pointers and shooting over 55 percent from the field. The Hawks stayed with the Celtics, making 10 3’s of their own, while also shooting better than 55 percent.
To start the second half, Brad Stevens went small, substituting Smart for Jared Sullinger. The small-ball lineup seemed to work, as the Celtics quickly jumped out to a 12-point lead. Crowder did an excellent job defending the much larger Al Horford in the post during this stretch. With Crowder containing Horford, the Hawks turned to Millsap, who scored 13 of his 31 points in the quarter. To end the third quarter, the Hawks went on two separate 8-0 runs to retake a 93-91 lead entering the final frame. The Celtics only shot 30 percent from the field in the quarter, scoring only 20 points.
In the fourth quarter, the Hawks pulled away, as Thomas’ shooting woes continued. The All-Star guard missed all four of his attempts down the stretch, and the Celtics only scored 16 points.
The win almost guarantees the Hawks will be the third seed in the Eastern Conference. In addition to now being a game ahead of the Celtics in the standings, the Hawks hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the C’s.
With the loss, the Celtics (47-33) are now engaged in a battle with the Hornets and Heat for fourth place in the East. The Celtics are a game ahead of both teams in the standings with two games remaining in the season. The Celtics can control the fourth seed, as they will host the Hornets on Monday before playing the Heat in the season finale.
|04.08.16 at 11:32 pm ET|
WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Sam Packard explain how the Celtics were eventually able to get their engines going and blow out the short-handed Bucks, 124-109, Friday night at TD Garden. As a result, the Celtics won their fourth straight and improved to 47-32 on the season, tying the Hawks for third in the East heading into their Saturday night showdown in Atlanta.
|04.08.16 at 10:24 pm ET|
There’s nothing like a blowout win at home for a team that’s fighting for a No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Behind a steady defense and a second-half offensive surge, the Celtics beat the Bucks 124-109 on Friday night at TD Garden.
After Milwaukee’s quick start, the Celtics outscored the Bucks in the final three quarters and cruised to their 47th win of the season. Tyler Zeller’s 26 points match a career-high — he led five Celtics in double figures.
Isaiah Thomas did not lead the Celtics in scoring for the first time since Feb. 29 but he did reach the 20-point plateau for the 18th straight game with 20 points. Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley each finished with 16 and Jared Sullinger added 15.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 27 points led the Bucks, he also finished with 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Jabari Parker added 18 points and Miles Plumlee finished with 16.
Led by Antetokoumpo’s 17 first-quarter points, the Bucks got off to a hot start and opened up an 11-point lead before the Celtics closed the quarter on an 11-5 run and pulled within five, 35-30. However, the Celtics found their offensive rhythm before halftime — scoring in transition off of missed attempts and 3 steals.
By halftime, the Celtics scored 14 fast break points and a 65-58 lead. Their momentum carried into the second half where they opened up a 27-point lead — their biggest of the night. They viciously attacked the Bucks — finishing with 70 points in the paint and 27 fast-break buckets. Led by Zeller’s career night, the Celtics bench tallied up 60 points.
|04.08.16 at 7:41 pm ET|
Another home game, another public relations blitz from the Celtics.
On Wednesday, the Celtics articulated their case for Isaiah Thomas on the All-NBA team.
This time, the Celtics are pushing Jae Crowder as the most improved player in the Association.
To their argument, Crowder has set career highs in:
- Points per game (14.5)
- Assists per game (1.9)
- Minutes per game (31.9)
- 3-point FG percentage (34.1)
- Rebounds per game (5.2)
- Steals per game (1.8)
- FG percentage (44.5)
- FT percentage (82.4)
Brad Stevens has maintained all season that Crowder has been one of, if not their best, versatile player, almost always drawing the opposing team’s best scorer. The Celtics have been able to win games, like Golden State, without him.
|04.08.16 at 6:55 pm ET|
There’s no question that home court advantage plays a role in the NBA playoffs.
The real issue is how hard does Brad Stevens step on the gas in the final week to get a potential Game 7 on the TD Garden parquet?
The 46-32 Celtics enter Friday night a half-game behind the Hawks (47-32) for third in the East, with a chance to pull into a tie heading into Saturday night’s showdown in Atlanta. Boston is tied with Miami for fourth. Both are a game ahead of Charlotte. A showdown with the Hornets at the Garden looms Monday night before the Celtics wrap up the regular season against the Heat Wednesday night in Boston.
So much to consider but first the games need to be played – and won.
“I think the biggest thing is we want to try to be playing our best,” Stevens said pregame Friday. “We want to play well, we’re focused on that. Regardless of the guys that are in the game, we need to be playing at a good rate, defensively and offensively, as we head into next week. Obviously, health is incredibly important as you get into the playoffs but there’s a lot of things that go into being successful and we want to be playing well.”
Will Stevens consider rest players?
“If they need it,” Stevens answered. “See how it goes, see who you’re playing and all that other stuff. I don’t think you can make any decisions until you know who you are playing and what kind of matchup problems they present.
“It would be nice to be done in four. That’s so far down the road for me, I’m not even thinking about it. So, we could play really well in any of the next four games and get beat. But we have to just focus on playing on the way that we can play. We’re playing good teams. We’re playing very talented teams.
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