|08.11.16 at 11:27 am ET|
Isaiah Thomas has had a busy summer. From recruiting Kevin Durant, to jet-setting to China to handing out ice cream at Faneuil Hall, the Celtics point guard has hardly been off this offseason.
In an interview with Celtics.com on Wednesday, Thomas talked about his trip to China, the team’s No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown, and what else he’s been doing this offseason when not recruiting, flying or giving away ice cream.
The 27-year-old went to Beijing as part of NBA Cares, an initiative to help continue to grow the game. He was joined by Karl-Anthony Townes of the Timberwolves as well as Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell of the Lakers. While there, they hosted clinics, meet-and-greets and NBA Finals viewing parties.
“It was a blessing to be able to be considered to go. Once they asked me to go I definitely wanted to see Beijing and what it was like,” Thomas said. “I’ve been to China before but it was definitely a smaller, but it was a good experience. I was hoping to meet Yao Ming but I didn’t get to, but it was nice to be in China and experience their culture a little bit.”
In his All-Star 2015-16 season in which he played in all 82 games (while starting 79), Thomas admittedly was a little banged up when the season concluded with their first round departure at the hands of the Hawks. As a result, he cited that he gave himself a little bit of time away from basketball at the start of the offseason.
“The first four to six weeks of offseason I didn’t play basketball, my body was hurting,” he said. “I needed some injuries to heal in my body so I really relaxed, spent time with my family, my kids and watched the playoffs so that was my biggest thing. Now I’m back working out, I’m healthy and I’m trying to just continue to get better each and every day so I can get ready for the season.”
Added Thomas on how the team plans to get better: “Work. Continue to work, continue to get better. Don’t be satisfied with what we did cause honestly we felt like we came up short, we felt like — give credit to Atlanta — but we felt like we could’ve beat them.”
|08.11.16 at 10:21 am ET|
Even with temperatures in the 90s in the dead of August, it’s not to early to start thinking about Christmas, and it appears the Celtics will be decking the halls of Madison Square Garden on December 25.
According to a report from The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, the Celtics and Knicks will be one of five games to be played on Christmas, with the Warriors and and Cavs set to tangle in a NBA Finals rematch, per ESPN’s Marc Stein.
The Celtics haven’t played on Christmas Day since 2012, when they ran through Brooklyn on the road 93-76. For reference, Rajon Rando was the leading scorer with 19 points, Kevin Garnett grabbed 10 boards and Paul Pierce had 10 assists. The Celtics still have had less than favorable results on the holiday posting an overall record of 12-17 on Christmas.
The Celtics/Knicks matchup will feature some new faces tossed into the Boston/New York rivalry with Celtics’ addition of Al Horford and the Knicks’ addition of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
The league generally schedules the games based on how a team stands in terms of their marketability, so don’t be surprised to see the Heat, Lakers, Clippers or Bulls (all of whom played on Christmas last season) potentially get thrown into the mix this year.
|08.09.16 at 6:58 pm ET|
Former Celtics shooting star Ray Allen has been in contact with team officials about making a potential comeback in Boston.
In an interview with the Hartford Courant, Allen says he’s spoken with two of his former teams about making a possible return — the Celtics — where he won his first NBA championship — and the Bucks — the team that drafted him back in 1996.
“I would love going back to those places if it worked out,” Allen told the paper, “because both teams are good, too. It doesn’t necessarily have to be championship-or-bust for me to go back to the NBA.
“I want to be in a situation where I thought I could help, play a little bit and help where they have good young talent.”
Allen, who was a member of the Celtics’ new ‘Big 3’ alongside Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, helped lead the team to an NBA championship in 2008. He last played for the Celtics in 2012 before he turned down a two-year contract to stay in Boston and signed with the rival Miami Heat for less money — a move that some C’s fans deemed as unforgivable at the time.
Allen went on to win his second NBA title with the Heat in 2013 before losing to the Spurs in the finals the following year — which ended up being his last season in the NBA.
|08.04.16 at 9:04 am ET|
Could 2016-17 be R.J. Hunter’s breakout season?
We’ve seen Hunter’s outside shot look very promising in exhibition and summer league games, but we’ve yet to see him put it together on a consistent level during the regular season.
The Celtics have been in dire need of a knockdown 3-point shooter since the departure four years ago of Ray Allen — a player who opponents constantly had to cover at the arc. Last season the Celtics finished with the third-worst 3-point shooting in the league (35 percent, better than only the Grizzlies and Lakers). Hunter’s outside touch certainly could help boost them into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference, but he’s going to have to earn a spot in Brad Stevens’ rotation first.
Hunter, 22, played in 36 regular-season games last season, shooting 30 percent from behind the arc in only 8.8 minutes a night. In a crowded backcourt, it was hard for Stevens to find playing time for the rookie — who was behind Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Evan Turner on the depth chart. But with Turner out of the picture (now playing for the Trail Blazers), his minutes will be up for grabs.
Hunter, coming off being a star in college at Georgia State, said last season’s transition to the pro game matured him.
“I’ve always played, so I had to kind of see the game from another angle,” Hunter told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I have a better appreciation for team ball, for winning and for just being on the court. I remember at the end I just wanted to be on the court to be a part of a win. It was humbling.”
In the playoffs, Stevens turned to Hunter for offense after losing Bradley (hamstring) at the end of Game 1 — and eventually the entire series — and Hunter responded with abysmal performances. He shot 22 percent from the floor, including 20 percent from deep, and averaged a single point in 8.4 minutes. Making matters worse, Hunter couldn’t keep up with the Hawks on defense — he was late closing out on Kent Bazemore and caught behind screens in trying to cover Kyle Korver.
|08.03.16 at 1:29 pm ET|
FOXBORO — By now everyone knows how big of a Celtics fan Patriots defensive lineman Terrance Knighton is as he grew up just outside of Hartford, Connecticut.
He’s also good friends with forward Kevin Durant, so you can imagine how upset he was when he signed with the Warriors and not the Celtics last month.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Knighton said after Wednesday’s practice. “I actually talked to Durant the day before he signed with Golden State. I was like, ‘Man, please come to Boston, don’t go to Golden State.’ He was like, ‘Ah, man.’ I already knew once he hung up the phone and went back to relaxing on the beach.
“I was very upset. I’m still upset at him. At the end of the day he’s a friend, I am happy for him. I’m pretty sure we will give him a warm welcome when Golden State comes to town.”
The NBA schedule will be released in a few weeks.
For more Celtics news, visit weei.com/celtics.
|07.28.16 at 6:38 pm ET|
The Celtics will be playing a seven-game preseason schedule to get ready for the 2016-17 NBA season.
The team announced its preseason slate on Thursday, which will include an opener on Oct. 4 against the 76ers at the Mullins Center at UMass-Amherst. The Celtics will technically be the visiting team as Spectra/Comcast Spectacor is the parent company of the Mullins Center (as well as the home of the 76ers, the Wells Fargo Center).
Tickets for the Oct. 4 game are available for purchase at Ticketmaster.com.
The Celtics then will face the Hornets twice, with the first matchup taking place at the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum on Oct. 6 and the second at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on Oct. 8. Tickets for the Oct. 8 game are available at Ticketmaster.com.
The preseason lineup also includes contests against Atlantic Division rivals Brooklyn and New York. The C’s will start their New York road trip by facing the Nets on Oct. 13 and the Knicks on Oct. 15. The Celtics will close preseason play at home as they host the Nets and Knicks at TD Garden on Oct. 17 and Oct. 19.
Tickets for the TD Garden games will go on sale at a later date to be announced. Fans can visit Celtics.com, “like” the Celtics on Facebook or follow @celtics on Twitter for more ticket sale updates and information.
|07.28.16 at 3:30 pm ET|
If all things stay the same for the Celtics by the time training camp begins in late September, there’s going to be some trimming that will need to take place before the regular season tips off.
Here are a few things about roster sizes:
1. A team can carry 20 players on their training camp roster, and often times will sign players to training camp contracts bringing the size of that roster up to or near that number.
2. A team can carry a maximum of 15 players on their regular season roster.
So that creates something of a problem for the Celtics, who, after making the signings of five more players official Wednesday are carrying a roster of 18 players.
So barring a trade or another signing, who would be out and in for the Celtics once the season begins?
Here’s a breakdown of the Celtics roster as it stands currently:
Guards: Avery Bradley, John Holland, R.J. Hunter, Demetrius Jackson, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas, James Young.
Forwards: Ben Bentil, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder, Gerald Green, Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson, Jordan Mickey
Centers: Al Horford, Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Zeller
There are plenty of players on this roster would be locks to make the 15-man cut. There are a group of players who could be left in limbo, however, including Bentil, Mickey, Young, Holland, Jackson and Hunter.
There are a few interesting cases here — namely Mickey, Young and Hunter.
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