|Celtics roundtable wrap-up: Team awards||04.17.15 at 12:58 pm ET|
With the end of the regular season, WEEI.com’s Celtics writers — Julian Edlow, Sam Packard and Ben Rohrbach — have come together to hand out some team awards. On Sunday Ben Rohrbach will have a complete preview the first-round playoff series between the Celtics and Cavaliers.
Julian Edlow: It sounds so corny to make a coach the MVP, but it’s the truth. Brad Stevens is the Celtics‘ MVP. What he’s done, going from a revolving door of players into a tight-knit team that’s hotter than anyone in the East, is truly remarkable. Each and every one of Stevens’ guys love playing for him, and it shows out on the court.
Sam Packard: I was leaning toward Stevens, too, for all the reasons Julian mentioned, but for variety’s sake I will take a player. I think Avery Bradley is the MVP this season. In addition to his great defense, Bradley has been the Celtics‘ most consistent scorer. If he could just extend his range out about three feet, he would be an All-Star.
Ben Rohrbach: Brad Stevens. When the front office trades your team’s top scorer (Jeff Green) and top playmaker (Rajon Rondo), injuries claim your last three first-round picks for at least 15 games apiece (Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Marcus Smart), and you’re operating at various stretches of the season with Avery Bradley, Brandon Bass, Evan Turner and even Tayshaun Prince as your best player, it’s probably safe to say your coaching played an important role in your team winning 40 games.
JE: The playoffs are as big of a surprise as we could have imagined. No one saw this coming when the C’s were 16-30 just 2 1/2 months ago. Fast forward to the postseason and Boston is 40-42 — finishing up at 24-12 since Feb. 2. And for those who would consider changing the playoff format, and I’m not against this, the Celtics still would be in with the 16th-best record in the league. But if the playoffs were too broad of an answer, getting Isaiah Thomas is a big surprise, too. He’s a huge reason that they are where they are.
SP: Who knew Evan Turner could be this good? No matter what he does, he is going to be the most hated Celtic on Twitter, but I have been really impressed by his ability to run the offense this year. His 2.5 turnovers a game are annoying, but the guy needs the ball in his hands to make plays, and he does exactly that. This year he joined Larry Bird, Antoine Walker, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo as the only Celtics to have three triple-doubles in a season.
BR: Turner. Anybody who thought a guy who ranked 205th in assist-to-turnover ratio last season would essentially be running the point as arguably the most important player for a playoff team this year is kidding themselves.
|Celtics-Cavaliers playoff series schedule released||04.16.15 at 7:23 am ET|
The NBA has released the first-round playoff schedule after the regular-season wrapped up Wednesday night. The Celtics-Cavs series will begin Sunday afternoon in Cleveland.
Here is the complete schedule for the series:
Game 1: Sunday, April 19 at Cleveland, 3 p.m. (ABC)
Game 2: Tuesday, April 21 at Cleveland, 7 p.m. (TNT)
Game 3: Thursday, April 23 at Boston, 7 p.m. (TNT)
Game 4: Sunday, April 26 at Boston, 1 p.m. (ABC)
Game 5: Tuesday, April 28 at Cleveland, TBA*
Game 6: Thursday, April 30 at Boston, TBA*
Game 7: Saturday, May 2 at Cleveland, TBA (TNT)*
* If necessary
|Celtics clinch playoff spot with Nets’ loss to Bulls||04.13.15 at 10:29 pm ET|
The Celtics have clinched a playoff spot thanks to the Nets‘ 113-86 loss to the Bulls on Monday night. The Celtics currently sit in seventh in the Eastern Conference, a game ahead of the eighth-place Pacers. The Nets drop to ninth with Monday’s loss and can no longer catch Boston. The C’s wrap up the regular season with games against the Raptors on Tuesday and Bucks on Wednesday.
Check back later for more.
|Jo Jo White, Tommy Heinsohn named to Basketball Hall of Fame||04.07.15 at 7:59 am ET|
The Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2015 enshrinement class was announced on Monday and among the inductees will be Jo Jo White and Tommy Heinsohn.
Heinsohn was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1986 as a player, but now will become the fourth person to go in as both a player and a coach. He joins Bill Sharman, John Wooden and Lenny Wilkens as the other three people to do so. He coached the Celtics from 1969-78 and won two NBA Championships. He was the NBA’s Coach of the Year in 1973 and finished with a coaching record of 427-263 (.619).
White starred with the Celtics and was a seven-time All-Star and two-time NBA Champion. White was named the Finals MVP in 1976, and averaged 17.2 points, four rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game in 12 NBA seasons. He also won a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic team in 1968.
After the page jump are video highlights of the two. For more Celtics news, check out weei.com/celtics.
|Marcus Smart beats Raptors at buzzer in OT, putting Celtics in 8th place||04.04.15 at 10:40 pm ET|
The roller coaster rookie season of Marcus Smart continued Saturday night and provided the biggest high point of his young career.
The rookie out of Oklahoma State converted a layup as time expired in overtime to give the Celtics a critical 117-116 win over the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors in Toronto.
[Click here for the full box.]
The win improves the Celtics to 35-42 and put them a half-game ahead of Miami for eighth place in the East and just a half-game behind the Nets for seventh. The Heat which plays Indiana on Sunday night in the return of Pacers star Paul George, lost 99-98 at Detroit. The Nets were obliterated on the road, 131-99, in Atlanta Saturday night.
With only 2.6 seconds left and Boston trailing by one in overtime, Smart took a pass from a driving Isaiah Thomas and got behind the collapsing Toronto defense to score the winner.
The Celtics appeared headed for a heart-breaking loss when Lou Williams hit a three with four seconds left, putting Toronto up, 116-115. The Celtics were able to overcome an amazing performance by DeMar DeRozan who scored 18 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Williams finished with 27.
|Brian Scalabrine on MFB: ‘I don’t think [Brad Stevens will] ever want to go back to the college life’||04.02.15 at 12:39 pm ET|
CSNNE Celtics/NBA color analyst Brian Scalabrine joined Middays with MFB on Thursday to talk about all things Celtics related, including Brad Stevens and the college coaching rumors. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
With the Texas basketball coaching job opening this week, rumors surfaced Stevens could be a candidate. Speaking before Wednesday’s game, Stevens shot those rumors down saying he would be staying in Boston. Scalabrine doesn’t think he will ever go back to coach in the college game.
“That is an interesting question. I can only give you my opinion of what he would do,” Stevens said. “For whatever reason if he can’t get next year’s team or something like that to buy in like this year’s team, just lay it all on the line. When we watch after the trades, this team has been great. They play hard. They play together. If somehow in there you see just a lack of effort from the NBA players, which I don’t think because Danny [Ainge] will get guys that play hard, then I could see something like that.
“Brad wants to succeed at this level and I think he’s a great coach at this level. He knows how to motivate guys. I don’t think he’ll ever want to go back to the college life. The college life is hard just because of recruiting. Right now in the NBA all you have to do is coach — I’ll present you a team and you go out there and make these guys great.”
Scalabrine talked about the team’s playoff push, and even went as far to say they could give the Hawks a potentially good series in the first round of the playoffs.
“Play hard for 48 minutes. Move the ball. Do what Coach Stevens wants them to do, they’ll be in,” Stevens said. “Going forward, I actually love the Atlanta matchup. Atlanta has been resting guys. I know they are good, but they don’t defend the rim very well. They don’t defend the three. Celtics could get hot, steal a couple games and push the series to six or seven games.”
Rookie Marcus Smart has received some criticism of late, but Scalabrine is one of Smart’s biggest fans, especially on the defensive end of the court.
“Completely disagree. I think Marcus is the type of guy that will continue to get better on the offensive end,” Scalabrine said. “Can anybody complain about his defense right now? The guy can guard three positions, any three. If Paul George played last night, Marcus Smart could guard Paul George and George Hill in the same game. Love his defensive versatility. Offensively has shown signs of being a good pick-and-roll player. That doesn’t mean scoring, it means good decisions out of the pick-and-roll and I think his shot will continue to get better. His shot is inconsistent right now, but he’s had games where he’s hit five three’s in a game.”
|Isaiah Thomas on MFB: Back feeling better, but ‘I have to do what is best for myself and try and get as healthy as possible’||03.17.15 at 12:38 pm ET|
Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas joined Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss his back injury and also what his short time in Boston has been like. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Thomas has been out since March 9 when he landed on his back in a game against the Heat. It was learned Monday night he likely won’t make the next road trip, which includes stops in Oklahoma City and San Antonio. Thomas admits it’s been hard to miss time, especially against good teams, but knows his health is the most important thing.
“It is, but at the same time I have to do what is best for myself,” said Thomas. “I have to do what is best for myself and try and get as healthy as possible. All the best players they want to go against the best players, so I am upset I have to miss this, but it is for the sake of my health and I have to get healthy.”
“A little better,” he added of how he feels. “It’s progressing slowly, but it’s getting there. For the most part I can’t really do any activity right now, but I am just trying to get back and get healthy enough that we can have a good stretch at the end of this year.”
In six games in March, Thomas is averaging 20.8 points per game.
Thomas was traded to the Celtics from the Suns at the NBA trade deadline. He said he’s enjoying his time in Boston, and hopes to stay long-term. He adds if the team starts winning it could become a free agent destination once again.
“I hope it’s long term,” he said. “I am having a great time. I am having fun. I am playing. We’re winning. We have a chance to make the playoffs, so I have nothing to complain about other than the weather, but that will be OK. I think it’s somewhere when you start winning and see you’ve seen years ago when the team was winning people wanted to be here. I think at the end of the day when you win that is where people want to play.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Celtics news, visit weei.com/celtics.
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