|Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown struggles in return to summer league action||07.09.16 at 10:34 pm ET|
Celtics fans hoping to see a glimmer of what Danny Ainge saw in Jaylen Brown before drafting him No. 3 overall will have to wait at least another day.
Brown, returning to action in the C’s Las Vegas Summer League opener Saturday after missing the final two games of the Utah Summer League with a bone bruise in his right knee, played 24 1/2 unimpressive minutes in a 71-62 loss to the Bulls. Brown scored nine points, hitting just 3-of-13 shots, and grabbed one rebound. He had a strong drive to the basket in the closing minutes but missed a dunk. Defensively, he got faked out of his shoes a couple of times, biting badly on shot fakes while looking for a block.
Brown acknowledged that he didn’t feel right Saturday.
“I felt a little slow, I felt like I was stuck in the mud a little bit, but it will pick up,” he told reporters afterward. “I missed some baskets easily to my left hand because I was exploding off my right leg. Just got to get it stronger, get better and make the right plays.”
— Terry Rozier continues to be the C’s summer star. Although it wasn’t his best outing — he made some questionable decisions running the fast break and was a minus-19 during his 29 minutes — he scored a team-high 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go along with five rebounds, two assists and three steals.
“We got our butt kicked today, offensively and defensively,” he said. “I take full responsibility for it.”
Added C’s assistant coach Jamie Young: “I thought tonight was actually his worst game. I think he could have been better. But Terry’s come a long way. We need Terry to keep improving.”
— While the Celtics struggled inside against the bigger and stronger Bulls — Chicago held a 46-28 rebounding advantage and outscored the C’s in the paint 40-24 — first-round draft pick Guerschon Yabusele came ready to bang. The French forward finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
— Rookie Abdel Nader was a bright spot. The 58th overall pick showed the ability to get to the basket and finish. The Iowa State product ended the night with 12 points on 4-of-8 field goals in 16 minutes.
— James Young hit just 1-of-7 shots and scored three points, and he still appears to have no interest in playing any defense.
— Jordan Mickey made his first appearance of the summer and recorded five points and seven rebounds in almost 23 minutes. R.J. Hunter, who missed the previous two games, also returned and scored six points in just under 21 minutes.
|Danny Ainge, C’s brass welcome Al Horford to Boston: ‘He plays with a passion that is contagious to his teammates’||07.08.16 at 11:25 am ET|
Friday’s press conference to introduce free agent forward/center Al Horford started on a curious note, as Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck announced after a 40-minute delay that the paperwork on Horford’s deal is not finalized, making him a “pending” acquisition.
Horford, who reportedly agreed to a four-year deal worth $113 million to join the C’s, did not sound like a player who had concerns about a holdup with his contract, saying he’s looking forward to a new challenge.
“I always admired the Celtics from afar, just how everything gets carried over here, and how committed the team and the city is to winning and doing things the right way,” he said. “I’m very, very excited, and I can’t wait to get started. I know we have a lot of work ahead. So that really excites me.”
Horford played all 82 games for the Hawks last season, averaging 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds. The 30-year-old helped the Hawks end the C’s season in the opening round of the playoffs.
Said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge: “He plays the way that great Celtics in the past have played. He plays with a passion that is contagious to his teammates. He’s a player that can fit with all sorts of different players. He can play outside, he can play inside, on both ends of the court. But he is a player that watching him play against us in the playoffs this year and flying around and contesting shots and bringing an energy and passion, I think he is a player that our fans will fall in love with. And his teammates will fall in love with. And our coach will fall in love with him as well.”
Coach Brad Stevens said Horford’s legacy of success on the court should have a big impact on the young Celtics.
“The best thing that I can say about a basketball player as a person is that he constantly enhances his teammates on the floor,” Stevens said. “And the No. 1 thing that his career has been defined by is winning. That goes back to his days in college [at Florida]. That goes obviously through the nine years in Atlanta, leading Atlanta to the playoffs in every single one of those years. For us to have an opportunity here with a person who has achieved all that he’s achieved, who has not only the ability to help your team on the court with everything that he does well but also an ability to lead what is a still fairly young team in the way that you prepare, the way that you carry yourself and everything else. I don’t think that there is a better example out there for our players. So we’re thrilled, and I’m thrilled.”
|Terry Rozier (23 points) hits winning 3-pointer as C’s take Utah Summer League title||07.07.16 at 11:43 pm ET|
Even before he hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining, Terry Rozier was the star of the show Thursday night as the Celtics beat the Spurs, 87-86, to win the Utah Summer League title.
Rozier, prepping for his second season with the C’s, scored a team-high 23 points, dished out a team-high six assists and tied for the team high with seven rebounds in 31 minutes. He made a number of key plays down the stretch as the Celtics rallied from a late six-point deficit to go 3-0 in Utah.
On the game-winning play, James Young inbounded from the sideline to Guerschon Yabusele in the high post. Yabusele passed it back out to Rozier, who was a few feet behind the 3-point arc. Rozier immediately went up for the shot and was fouled on the hand by Spurs first-round draft pick Dejounte Murray, but it didn’t matter as the ball went through the net.
Rozier missed the ensuing free throw, but Yabusele grabbed the rebound and dribbled out the clock.
The winning play was designed for Rozier to set a pick for Young off the inbounds, but the Spurs switched and had Young defended, leaving Rozier a small window out deep.
“I was kind of open and I got the ball and I’ve just got to knock down the shot. And it worked,” Rozier said in an on-court interview with NBA TV. “It was big. It was big. It felt good.”
Added Rozier later in a postgame interview: “I threw up a prayer and got the win.”
|Celtics reportedly still trying to pull off major trade||07.06.16 at 9:57 am ET|
The Celtics did not pull off the major trade many fans were hoping for prior to last month’s draft, but they still might have a chance to make a splash. According to a report from the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett, the C’s have been continuing their attempts to improve their lineup by landing a big-name player — namely Bulls guard Jimmy Butler or 76ers center Jahlil Okafor.
The report notes that the C’s may have hurt their chances with their surprising selection of Jaylen Brown at No. 3.
Wrote Bulpett: Sources tell us the C’s are still holding the line on their offers from prior to the draft. They will make trades if teams come around to their price.
Jimmy Butler and Jahlil Okafor are said to be still available, but getting them now won’t be as easy as on draft night when Chicago and Philadelphia, respectively, both coveted the No. 3 overall pick so they could take Providence’s Kris Dunn.
The Celtics helped their cause with the acquisition of free agent forward/center Al Horford but clearly need to do more to compete with the best in the East.
|Ex-Celtic Ray Allen reportedly reaches out to Warriors about making comeback||07.06.16 at 9:38 am ET|
The Warriors are looking to fill out their roster with low-cost options as they have to make changes following their huge financial commitment to free agent Kevin Durant. It remains to be seen if Ray Allen will be one such addition.
According to an ESPN report, Allen is considering making a comeback after sitting out the last two seasons, and his representatives reached out to Golden State to see if there was a possibility he could join the Bay Area powerhouse. However, the Warriors were not sure if they would have interest.
The report also states that Allen would consider joining the Cavaliers, Spurs and Clippers if he decides to go through with a comeback attempt. Although he is known as a player who kept himself in top shape throughout his 18-year playing career, Allen turns 41 on July 20 and has not played in the league since averaging 9.6 points for the Heat in 2013-14.
A 10-time All-Star, Allen won his first title in 2008 with the Celtics. He left as a free agent in 2012 for the Heat and won another ring the ensuing season, hitting a huge, game-tying 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Spurs to keep his team alive. Miami went on to win that game in overtime and secure the title in Game 7.
Allen, who also played for the Bucks and SuperSonics, averaged 18.9 points in his career, hitting 40 percent of his 3-pointers.
|Report: Kevin Durant eliminates Celtics as option, leaving just Thunder, Warriors||07.04.16 at 7:32 am ET|
According to a report from Oklahoma City-based ESPN.com NBA writer Royce Young, Kevin Durant is deciding between the Thunder and Warriors, which would mean the Celtics’ efforts to land the marquee free agent have fallen short.
Young tweeted Sunday night: From what I understand, it’s Thunder versus Warriors for Durant.
That apparently did not sit well with Celtics followers eager to see Durant head to Boston. Tweeted Young early Monday morning: Celtics fans went to my Instagram and spent the night making fun of my wife and kids. Really awesome you guys.
UPDATE: ESPN’s Marc Stein reported Monday morning that the Celtics “still believe that they’re in this.”
Durant is expected to make his decision Monday, apparently via a write-up in The Players’ Tribune. The Thunder reportedly made a final push in a meeting in the Hamptons early Sunday evening.
|NBA draft prospect profile: Gonzaga PF/C Domantas Sabonis||06.23.16 at 11:50 am ET|
As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Position: Power forward/center
Weight: 240 pounds
Key 2015-16 stats: 17.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, 60.6 field goal percentage
Scouting report: Sabonis is a true center — a premier rebounder with exceptional post moves who has solid fundamentals, runs the floor well and gives maximum effort. The concern is that at 6-foot-10 and with a wingspan of only 6-foot-11 he might not be able to continue his success against bigger and more athletic players in the NBA.
A lefty, Sabonis runs the pick-and-roll well, and on the other end of the court he defends it well. His great footwork around the basket leads to him getting fouled a lot, and he can finish with contact. He also converts at a 76.8 percent rate at the free throw line. His mid-range jumper is just OK, and that’s something he’ll need to refine in order to have success in the pros.
He finished his two-year Gonzaga career with a school-record 63.2 field goal percentage.
“[Domantas] is as impressive of a person and player as I’ve ever coached,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said in a statement after Sabonis declared for the draft. “He has an insatiable desire to get better.”
While he defends the post well, it’s not clear if Sabonis will be able to protect the rim with as much success at the next level due to his lack of length and athleticism.
Sabonis might not have as much potential upside as some other draft candidates, but he’s a safe pick in that he’s a reliable low post presence who will give an honest effort every time out. The problem for the Celtics is it would be too much of a reach to take him at No. 3, and he’s unlikely to remain on the board at No. 16 as he’s projected to be a late lottery pick.
Notes: Sabonis was born in Portland, Oregon, when his father, Hall of Fame center Arydas Sabonis, was playing for the Trail Blazers in the latter part of his career. Sabonis went to Spain and played for Unicaja Malaga’s junior and senior teams (without signing a contract so he could remain eligible for the NCAA) before returning to the Northwest to play at Gonzaga. … Playing for Lithuania at the FIBA Europe U20 Championship last July, Sabonis set a tournament record by grabbing 28 rebounds. Later that month, he became the youngest player ever to play for the Lithuanian national team and went on to win a silver medal at the FIBA Europe 2015 Championship. … Sabonis declined an offer to participate in the draft combine, and he only worked out for four teams — the Celtics among them.
Toronto Star: Domantas Sabonis revels in his father’s name
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