|11.04.15 at 10:00 pm ET|
It was not the prettiest evening of basketball Indiana’s ever seen, but the Celtics gave themselves a shot.
That shot was soon swallowed by a stifling defense that left Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley no breathing room on the final possession. Bradley’s 3-point attempt fell well short, and the C’s lost, 100-98. They dropped to 1-3 on the season with a brutal stretch over their next six games: Wizards, at Bucks, Pacers, Hawks, at Thunder and at Rockets.
Thomas led the C’s with 27 points and seven assists, and Bradley added 21 points despite an injured right index finger. Joe Crowder (12 points), Evan Turner (11 points) and David Lee (10 points) also reached double figures. Paul George led the Celtics with 26 points, 10 rebounds and a wide-open 3 that broke a 93-93 tie with 2:13 remaining.
For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.
|11.04.15 at 8:36 pm ET|
If the Celtics were going to commit another turnover before the half, at least they made it the greatest one ever.
With a second left before the break, Celtics forward Jae Crowder tried to find Jared Sullinger with a fullcourt inbounds pass, except he found the bottom of the cup instead. The NBA should probably make a rule that if anyone ever does this again, everyone calls it a night — Celtics win. A proverbial mic drop. Instead, it was Pacers ball.
Dopest turnover of all time. https://t.co/SA64nLPakO
‘ RJML (@RyanJayLouis) November 5, 2015
The turnover marked the C’s 13th of the half, and Indiana took a 49-43 lead into the locker room.
|11.04.15 at 6:28 pm ET|
The Celtics faced the Pacers in Indiana on Wednesday with a new look to their starting lineup.
Guard Marcus Smart missed Wednesday’s game due to a sprained left big toe, according to team officials. Isaiah Thomas got the nod in place of Smart. It marked Thomas’ first regular-season start as a Celtic.
Celtics officials announced Smart’s injury Wednesday afternoon from Indiana.
#NEBHInjuryReport: Marcus Smart will miss tonight’s game in Indiana with a sprained left big toe.
The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett tweeted out the following on Smart’s status:
Marcus Smart walks through Celts’ dressing room with boot on left foot.
‘ Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) November 4, 2015
Team officials also announced that Jared Sullinger and Amir Johnson would start in place of David Lee and Tyler Zeller.
Isaiah Thomas will start in place of the injured Marcus Smart. Jared Sullinger and Amir Johnson will also start at the 4 and 5.
And Avery Bradley was listed as questionable with a right index finger injury, but he made the start alongside Thomas in the backcourt.
|11.04.15 at 1:56 pm ET|
It’s way too early to panic.
But in his first three games in Boston, David Lee is averaging 5.3 points and shooting 25 percent from the floor. The Celtics suffered two losses against two good teams (Raptors and Spurs) last week, and haven’t gotten much offensive production out of their newcomer.
Lee isn’t making excuses. He acknowledged his shortcomings after Sunday’s loss against San Antonio.
“I’m out here thinking more than I’m playing, and that’s by no means an excuse,” Lee said Sunday. “I have to be better finishing the ball. That’s what I do. I think I’ve shot 50 percent or better for the last decade. If I’m a betting man, I’m thinking I’m going to snap out of it here.”
For his career, Lee has shot 53.2 percent from the floor. Just last season, Lee averaged below double digits in points for the first time since his rookie season. But still managed to shoot 51 percent in 18 minutes.
Expectations were somewhat high when the Celtics acquired Lee. Fresh off winning an NBA title as a backup on the Warriors, Lee was coming into a great situation. No one thought he would go back to being the All-Star he was a few years back, but in a starter’s role with a young Celtics core, it was fair to expect improvement from last season. At age 32, he still has plenty of basketball left in the tank.
On Sunday against the Spurs, Lee scored two points on 1-of-7 shooting, missed a jump shot and failed to tip in a rebound (twice), then Tim Duncan stuffed his shot so badly that it left him sitting on TD Garden’s new parquet floor. It was a rough game for Lee.
|11.03.15 at 5:33 pm ET|
Add this to the Celtics‘ list of unsurprising moves: James Young and Jordan Mickey have been inside to the Red Claws, Boston’s D-League affiliate in Portland, Maine.
The first of the C’s three draft picks received in return for trading Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, Young has been inactive for the first three games of the season. He averaged 21.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and two assists in 32.9 minutes over 17 games during 11 trips back and forth from Maine last season.
“I guess it’s something that I remind myself, but James is still only 20, and as a matter of fact, he recently turned 20” Celtics president Danny Ainge said on media day when asked about Young’s progress. “I think he would have been one of the top 10 youngest guys in this year’s draft. I think James has made great strides. He had a terrific year last year in the D-League. I had numerous coaches tell me he was one of the best prospects they’ve ever seen in the D-League at age 19 last year.”
This marks Mickey’s first assignment to the D-League after being drafted No. 33 overall in June and receiving the heftiest contract for a rookie second-round pick in league history. He played two minutes at the end of the season-opening win over the 76ers — collecting two points, two rebounds and one assist in the process — but has been inactive since fellow rookie R.J. Hunter returned from illness.
It's not about where you start at its about where you finish at
— Jordan Mickey (@Jmickey_02) November 3, 2015
In an odd bit of statistical nonsense, Mickey currently leads the NBA in offensive rating (243.1 points per 100 possessions), and that’s not likely to change soon. Although, both Young and Mickey will be recalled and re-assigned to the Red Claws more times than you can count on two hands this season, so get accustomed to it.
|11.02.15 at 2:03 pm ET|
The NBA salary cap is expected to expand $20 million next summer, so Sullinger and Zeller have no reason to sign a team-friendly extension based on the league’s current salary structure. Likewise, the C’s have little incentive to sign Sullinger and Zeller to player-friendly deals now, because of the former’s conditioning issues and the latter’s inconsistent production.
Consider that fellow 2012 NBA Draft first-round pick Jeremy Lamb, who couldn’t crack the regular rotation in Oklahoma City for his first three seasons, is reportedly signing a three-year, $21 million contract extension two games into his Hornets career. Sullinger and Zeller should receive an average annual value of $7 million next summer if they respectively eat a handful of Big Macs for lunch every day and fall to fifth or sixth on the C’s frontcourt depth chart this season.
More likely, both will be seeking double-digit millions per season next summer, and by not offering them that kind of cash flow right now, the Celtics can monitor their progress closely now and maintain significant salary cap flexibility in 2016, when both become restricted free agents and represent $12.2 million in combined cap holds come July 1.
|11.01.15 at 8:37 pm ET|
If you knew Celtics guard Avery Bradley sprained his right index finger late in Sunday’s 95-87 loss to the Spurs, you’d think he did it on this devastating dunk that cut San Antonio’s lead to five with 1:40 left.
Bradley left the game with 26 seconds left and the C’s trailing by three possessions, following the team doctor to the locker room. He had the finger set in a splint and his right wrist wrapped before his postgame interview, but didn’t injure it on the rim. He caught the finger on a jersey in the final minute.
‘I got it caught in someone’s jersey and bent my fingers back,” said Bradley, who scored a team-high 18 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists. Its just swollen right now. My right hand.’
The Celtics have the day off Monday, return to practice Tuesday and don’t play until Wednesday in Indiana, so Bradley has a few days to recover. He did not have the finger bandaged when the Celtics initially let reporters into the locker room and he didn’t appear to be favoring it as he prepared for his media session.
Considering the shoulder and ankle injuries that have plagued Bradley throughout his career, you just hope the finger doesn’t become a linger issue that diminishes the progress he’s made under coach Brad Stevens.
“I’ve just been trying to tell myself to be more aggressive, go to the basket stronger,” added Bradley. “When I broke my ankle, I feel like it’s always in the back of my head that I can go and re-injure myself. I just have to go out there and play basketball and not think. … A lot of people forget that that used to be me. I just have to continue to take what the defense gives me and be aggressive.”
Bradley was the lone C’s starter with a positive rating in Sunday’s loss, finishing plus-three in 30:28. After shooting better than 50 percent from 3-point range during the preseason, Bradley hasn’t quite found his groove, shooting 4-of-12 from distance and 37.1 percent overall so far, but his defense has been steady. If he continues to attack the rim and the 3-pointers start falling, he’ll be a game-changer.
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