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Studs and Duds: Celtics blow 18-point lead in loss to Mavericks 11.18.15 at 10:09 pm ET
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For a while there, it looked like the Celtics were going to hand a third straight Western Conference foe a blowout loss. In the end, it was the C’s who blew an early 18-point lead and collapsed down the stretch.

The Mavericks went on an 11-4 run over a five-minute stretch late in the fourth quarter, turning a tie game into a seven-point lead with 30 seconds remaining. The Celtics had a chance to tie during a frantic final few possessions, but Isaiah Thomas turned it over in transition and Dallas went on to win, 106-02.

Thomas led the Celtics (6-5) with a team-high 19 points and six assists. Jared Sullinger (18 points, 12 rebounds), Avery Bradley (18 points), Jae Crowder (14 points) and David Lee (14 points) also reached double figures. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks (8-4) with a game-high 23 points on 14 shots.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

STUD OF THE NIGHT: Avery Bradley.

Comfortable in his newfound role as a sixth man, Bradley scored 12 straight points on five consecutive shots, and then dropped a behind-the-back pass to Isaiah Thomas on the next trip down the floor. In the process, the Celtics doubled their lead from nine to 18 and ignited the Garden crowd. When the Mavericks swung the momentum and erased the C’s lead early in the second half, Bradley’s put-back dunk (see below) stopped the bleeding, and his corner 3-pointer stretched the lead back to seven at the end of the third.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: Kelly Olynyk.

It’s not that Olynyk was bad. Despite underwhelming numbers (5 points, 3 rebounds), he owned the C’s second-best plus/minus rating behind Isaiah Thomas through three quarters (plus-14). It’s that Olynyk can’t stop fouling folks. After fouling out in 17 minutes against the Thunder on Sunday, Olynyk collected five fouls in his first 10 minutes against the Mavericks, forcing him to ease up on his already lax defense.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, NBA,
Brad Stevens on Kevin McHale: ‘I don’t agree with the firing’ 11.18.15 at 8:40 pm ET
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In a rare moment of candor, Celtics coach Brad Stevens blasted the Rockets for firing coach Kevin McHale.

“First and foremost, we’re in a business where expectations certainly drive decisions at times,” Stevens told reporters before his team hosted the Mavericks. “I don’€™t agree with the firing, but it’€™s not my choice to make. I think Kevin is a great coach. Kevin has been great to me. Kevin is obviously a great Celtic. People love him everywhere they’€™ve been. Everybody that you hear from loves working with him, loves being around him, so to me, from the outside looking in, it looks like 11 games in making a rash decision, but it’€™s not my call.”

OK, so Stevens didn’t exactly blast the Rockets, but he questioned them, and it’s nice to see behind the curtain. Only 32 people in the world have the job at any given time, so the NBA coaching fraternity can be a tight-knit bunch. Stevens said he wasn’t too familiar with McHale outside of the Hall of Famer’s work as a coach, leading the Rockets to the Western Conference finals last season, but noted that McHale and C’s president Danny Ainge are “close friends,” dating back to their time together in Boston during the 1980s.

Another guy who spent time with both Ainge and McHale on the ’80s Celtics was Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, who also had some pointed remarks for former C’s assistant general manager Daryl Morey, now the GM in Houston.

“I was extremely surprised that McHale was let go,” Carlisle said before Wednesday’s game. “Here’€™s a guy who has such amazing integrity as a person. You watch him on the sidelines, and he walks with a limp because of the sacrifices he made to become one of the greatest champions in history. He loves and respects the game so much.

“It’€™s surprising when something like this happens — shocking — but he’€™s going to be fine,” added Carlisle. “He’€™s going to get a chance to get some rest here, probably jump on TV and have a blast doing that, and then there will be a lot of teams wanting to hire him, because he did a fantastic job in Houston. When you look at their team over the last few years, their roster was constantly in flux, and he just did an amazing job putting that together and bringing those guys back from down 3-1 in the conference semifinals. That’€™s a guy with some great coaching credentials, and his other championship credentials really go without saying.”

As for whether the 1985-86 Celtics were the greatest team in NBA history, Carlisle agreed with Ainge: “Yes.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Houston Rockets, Kevin McHale
Mark Cuban on Rajon Rondo trade: ‘[Expletive] happens, right?’ 11.18.15 at 8:24 pm ET
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As is often the case, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban just said what we were all thinking.

Asked about the trade that sent Rajon Rondo to Dallas and brought Jae Crowder to Boston, the “Shark Tank” star told reporters before Wednesday night’s game, “[Expletive] happens, right? There are a lot of risks I’ve taken that have worked out just fine. They’re not all going to work.”

And as you’d expect. Celtics coach Brad Stevens had a milder take when posed the same question.

“Obviously, they had a really good player in Rondo, and it didn’t work out,” Stevens told a pool of reporters pregame. He added, “Crowder’€™s done well for us. That’€™s been pretty well documented. I’€™m not into judging or analyzing or rating how trades go; I’€™m more interested in who’€™s on our team.”

Both Stevens and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle took time to properly credit Dwight Powell, the former C’s undrafted free agent who was thrown into the Rondo deal. The only piece remaining from the deal in Dallas, Powell entered Wednesday’s game averaging 10.5 points and 8.1 rebounds.

“After the trade, I talked to Brad, and Brad said, ‘€˜Hey, we really like this guy and didn’€™t want to give him up,’€™ but they had to put some other things in the deal,” said Carlisle. “Powell’€™s worked extremely hard. He’€™s a guy with energy — he goes hard all the time — he’€™s got skill and he’€™s a great worker. We’€™ve really needed him this year, and he’€™s stepped up. He’€™s played well.”

Once again, Cuban cut to the chase. “I think when it’€™s all said and done, that Crowder for Powell trade will be a break-even,” said the billionaire. Well, don’t forget about that top-seven protected first-round pick the Mavericks still owe the Celtics. That’s when Cuban probably should have taken a cue from his television show and told C’s president Danny Ainge on Rondo: “I’m out.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, NBA, Rajon Rondo
Studs and Duds: Paul George, Pacers outshine Celtics 11.11.15 at 10:10 pm ET
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The Celtics and Pacers traded runs in the third quarter, but Paul George ensured Indiana came out on top in the fourth. George scored 17 of his 26 points in the second half and added 10 rebounds in a 102-91 victory that dropped the Celtics to 3-4 on the season. Evan Turner led the Celtics with 20 points. Isaiah Thomas (14 points), David Lee (13 points) and Jared Sullinger (11 points, 11 rebounds) also reached double figures in a 41.6 percent shooting effort.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

STUD OF THE NIGHT: Paul George. It sure helps to have a superstar. Every time the Celtics made a run, George put an end to it. When the C’s answer to George was a whole lot of Turner, that should raise some questions.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: Marcus Smart. After missing three straight games with a sprained left big toe, Smart returned to the lineup, albeit on a minutes restriction off the bench. He missed all four of his 3-point attempts — badly — and had the worst plus/minus rating of anybody on the team. But without Avery Bradley (lower left leg bruise), Brad Stevens was forced to rely on Smart despite the rust. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, NBA, Paul George
2016 Celtics Mock Draft Pick Power Rankings v1.0 11.05.15 at 11:05 am ET
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Lionel Hollins gif

The Celtics own as many as eight draft picks in June 2016 — only one of which is their own — and the unprotected selection from the Nets is legitimately one of the most fascinating storylines in the entire NBA this season. We’ll regularly update the status of those selections, speculating when and who the Celtics will pick.

FIRST ROUND

1. Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn): Ben Simmons.

Brooklyn (0-5) has no reason to tank, and yet the Nets can’t help themselves. Through the first week of the season, only one team ranks in the bottom three in both offensive and defensive rating. It’s the Nets, who score 93.5 points (29th) and allow 109.7 points (28th) per 100 possessions. That’s a recipe for disaster, unless your Danny Ainge, in which case it’s a recipe for the most delicious meal he’s ever eaten.

7. Boston Celtics: Henry Ellenson.

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Read More: 2016 Celtics Mock Draft Pick Power Rankings v1.0, Boston Celtics, NBA,
Studs and Duds: Avery Bradley, Celtics come up short in Indiana 11.04.15 at 10:00 pm ET
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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.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Isaiah Thomas
Jae Crowder commits greatest turnover in NBA history 11.04.15 at 8:36 pm ET
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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.

The turnover marked the C’s 13th of the half, and Indiana took a 49-43 lead into the locker room.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Jae Crowder, NBA,
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