|Marcus Smart gets message from Brad Stevens: ‘I take whatever [he] says to heart’||03.08.16 at 3:51 pm ET|
WALTHAM — In light of the latest Marcus Smart outburst that resulted in a $15,000 fine from the NBA, Brad Stevens had a heart-to-heart discussion with the 22-year-old passionate guard about controlling and harnessing his emotions during a game.
“I think that he can continue obviously to grow and get better,” Stevens said after practice Wednesday. “He’s only a young 22 years old. But I think the biggest thing is that he’s improved offensively with his reads, he’s improved offensively with his understanding of the NBA game. Obviously, defensively he came in ahead of the curve but he’s a guy that’s still 22, so he’s got a lot of room to get better.”
Stevens said he did address the crotch grab that the NBA defined as an obscene gesture with 1:49 left in the third quarter of last Friday’s win over the Knicks.
“I talked to him before practice. I did not see it live and still haven’t seen video of it at all, but I did talk to him about it,” Stevens said. “And you know you talk to him about obviously you’ve got to do a great job in those situations of controlling your emotions and representing yourself well. And he’s a young guys but he understands that and hopefully we’ll see that as we move forward.”
When Smart spoke Monday after practice, the league had yet to levy its fine. He insisted he didn’t need to change his intensity on the court. On Tuesday, he said he just wanted to accept the fine, accept the advice from Stevens and move past it.
“My reaction to it is it’s in the past,” Smart said. “It’s something I can’t control. The NBA felt that it was needed so I deal with the consequences and it’s onto the next game. This team is doing very well and that’s my main focus and we’re not going to let this bother us. It’s something that I can’t control, something that happened. They made a decision, respect it and you move on with it.
“Coach Stevens is an unbelievable coach and person. He’s always doing the right things and trying to make sure we’re in the right position to win games. Off the court, do things off the court the right way. Everybody on this coaching staff I listen to and I take whatever they say to heart and into consideration and try to apply it.”
Both Stevens and Smart said there is a fine line between intensity and lack of control on the court, something Smart is still mastering.
“I think there’s a fine line there. I think there’s a fine line. But it’s a line you can stay—you can play that way without crossing,” Stevens said. “He’s aware and when you’re away from those emotions not in the game setting or when you’re getting ready for a practice the next day or whatever the case may be, he’s a smart guy. He’s aware of that.”
“I think there’s a fine line that everybody has to [tread]. Growing up, everybody has been a competitor,” Smart said.”They’ve always been taught to compete and never give up, and to have that fight and determination in them. So, everybody has it and you’ve just got to know when to turn it off and turn it on.”
“I am still learning it. Working on it day and day, trying to get better at it, trying to take a little bit off practice here and not go so hard here. But definitely still learning to take that into consideration and take a little bit off of it.”
|Isaiah Thomas wants a meeting with Tom Brady: ‘I need to pick his brain’||03.08.16 at 3:13 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Those who aspire to greatness always want to learn from other great ones.
That’s why Isaiah Thomas took to Twitter on Tuesday in a very public attempt to get a sit-down with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
“I want to sit down and talk to Tom Brady… I need to pick his brain,” Thomas posted on Twitter Tuesday before practice.
A day after Peyton Manning’s retirement, was there something that spurred the request of the other legendary quarterback?
“Not really. Sometimes I’m thinking on my drive to the facility, and just thinking about that,” Thomas said after practice Tuesday. “I mean, I’m in his backyard. It would be nice if somebody could make that happen to formally meet him, and like I said, just picking his brain about the road to winning a championship, like what it takes and how to focus in on being great.”
What was fascinating about Thomas’ discussion was his comparison with another current NBA star who is headed out the door like Manning.
“It would just probably be like sitting down with Kobe,” Thomas said. “I got the chance to talk to Kobe. I’m real good friends with Floyd Mayweather so I get to pick guys’ like that’s brain. I just would like to sit down and actually meet him and also just pick his brain about winning championships, and how he goes about his day, how he prepares. I like his preparation to everything. I like to pick guys’ brains, especially the best in the business, best in their field, and see what he has to say to me. Hopefully I can make it happen.”
Thomas was reminded that he is from the West and a Broncos fan. Wouldn’t that get in the way?
“He shouldn’t be mad at that,” said Thomas, a native of Tacoma, Washington and a product of the University of Washington. “I didn’t grow up here. It’s not like I grew up here and I’m not a Patriots fan. But I’m a fan of his. I like how he carries himself. He carries himself like he’s the best quarterback ever.”
Like Brady, Thomas was somewhat overlooked when he played for the Huskies in the Pac-10, becoming the NBA equivalent to the NFL’s Mr. Irrelevant in 2010 when he was the last pick of the NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings.
“No doubt. He was definitely not – coming into the NFL he wasn’t supposed to be a Pro Bowler, wasn’t supposed to be a franchise player, wasn’t supposed to win Super Bowls and be arguably the best quarterback ever,” Thomas said of Brady. “And I want to be on that path. I’m not saying I’m going to be the best player ever but…”
As for taking a leadership role on the Celtics, like taking Marcus Smart aside on Saturday and settling him down, Thomas says he’s enjoying the responsibility.
“I just want to grow. I want to grow,” Thomas said. “Not just being a basketball player but being a leader in all aspects, all facets of the game. And why not learn from the best. Especially, I think it’s better to learn from different guys in different sports in how they lead and how they get respect from their teammates.
“Like I said, I would love to pick his brain, ask him a few questions. I got to do it with Kobe. I got to do it with Floyd Mayweather, always do it with him and things like that. Manning’s retired so I can’t do it with him. So I’d love to do it with Brady.”
I want to sit down and talk to Tom Brady… I need to pick his brain
— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) March 8, 2016
|Jared Sullinger released from hospital after skin infection, could play Wednesday||03.08.16 at 2:20 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Jared Sullinger has been released from the hospital after a skin infection caused him to become sick and miss two days of practice this week.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens made the announcement when he was asked about the big man’s absence on Monday and Tuesday at practice.
“Jared has a skin infection and was actually hospitalized [Monday] but has been released and hopefully, will be available [Wednesday],” Stevens said. “We don’t know that yet. We’ll reassess that [Wednesday]. He did not practice either day.”
Stevens said he had no idea when or how the infection happened. Sullinger had 17 points and 13 rebounds in the team’s last game, a 120-103 loss in Cleveland Saturday night. Sullinger has had double-doubles in six of the last 10 games.
“I don’t know exactly,” Stevens said. “I didn’t get into the details of that.”
If Sullinger isn’t available, it will break a string of 20 games that the Celtics have had the same starting lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Sullinger, Amir Johnson and Jae Crowder.
Sullinger has started 26 straight and 55 of Boston’s 63 games this season.
The Celtics play the Grizzlies Wednesday at TD Garden at 7 p.m.
|Marcus Smart on his emotions: ‘It’s nothing I have to change’||03.07.16 at 5:34 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Marcus Smart is trying to let his mind catch up to his body.
The second-year guard out of Oklahoma State said Monday after practice that he is feeling “good, probably the best I’ve felt in my two years here.”
Problem is, his emotions have been running hot and cold and he, more than anyone, knows he’s going to have to learn to keep them in check down the stretch.
On Monday, he was fined $15,000 by the league for his crotch grab in the third quarter of the win over the Knicks, resulting in a technical foul. The next night, with his team battling to stay in the game in Cleveland, he picked up a technical foul that help spur the Cavs on a late run that ended in a 120-103 loss.
Monday after practice the player who had red flags at Oklahoma State because of his emotions, was asked how hard it is for him to keep his emotions in check.
“I mean, everybody that plays this game is going to feel that way. That’s why it takes five guys out there,” Smart said. “Isaiah [Thomas] was just talking to me [during the game in Cleveland], and we just had a discussion. He was telling me what I already know and what everybody knows with the technical, you know, we didn’t need it at the time. We were just talking how we can come back and capitalize on the next play.
“I don’t think it’s nothing I have to change,” Smart said. “Everybody’s going to make mistakes, just not as a player but as officials, too. They’re humans just like us. So it’s nothing personal between the players or the refs to us or vice versa. It’s just everybody gets caught up in the moment of the game and stuff like that’s going to happen.”
Brad Stevens knows what he has in Smart, a fiery, intense player with tons of energy on defense. But he knows he there’s a fine line between energy and being out of control, both physically and emotionally on the court.
“I think there is a fine line, for sure. But I think you’d rather a guy be more competitive than not,” Stevens said. “And Marcus is really a great competitor. He’s get frustrated, but he’s a young player and those are things that he can continue to learn. And, again, I don’t think you can just flip the switch on a person that’s not as competitive. When you bring that energy and competitive type of play, you’re going to have some moments where you’ve gotta reflect back and improve from it.”
|Brad Stevens: Coty Clarke ‘rewarded for his great play’ in signing 10-day contract||03.07.16 at 5:12 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge hope that Coty Clarke is proof to other players on their D-League roster that the organization is keeping a close eye on them.
Clarke, undrafted in 2014 out of Arkansas, was signed to a 10-day contract on Monday and joined the Celtics in time for their light practice at the team’s practice facility in Waltham.
In 39 games for the Maine Red Claws, Clarke, a 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 16.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals in 26 minutes per game. Clarke is currently shooting 50.8 percent from the floor, 38.8 percent from three and 79.2 percent from the free-throw line.
“First and foremost, as I told our team today, he was by no means given a 10-day. He was rewarded (for) his great play,” Stevens declared after Monday’s workout. “He really has played great. Our front office has been thrilled about him and thrilled about his play in Maine the whole year.
“We obviously have a familiarity with him from being here in the fall, and so we thought it was a great opportunity to bring a guy on board while we have some practice time to really get a chance to evaluate him within our system, with our team, as the season has progressed. He’s kind of an undersized shooting forward and so we’ll see how it all goes from there. But he’s had a really nice year.”
The year abroad in a second-tier league in Israel paid off for Clarke, who worked on his rebounding and defense to earn a chance in the states and catch the eyes of the Celtics last summer.
“I’ve actually played with Coty in summer league and everything, so I’ve been around Coty. What I’ve seen in him is just his aggressiveness and his ability to come in and do things right,” Marcus Smart said. “He’s very versatile, too, so that’s another uniqueness that Coty has. He’s been playing very well and he’s earned a spot up here.”
For Clarke, Monday was a re-introduction to many of the same players – like Smart – he met during training camp and the preseason.
“It was pretty good, I’m getting acclimated. I’m here to work, and bring what I can bring,” Clarke said. “
What is he hoping to prove in the next ten days?
“That [the Celtics] made the right decision, by bringing me into training camp, putting me down the D-League and showing that I can play at this level,” Clarke said. “Just showing that, ‘Hey I’m here, I’m ready to work and you got a guy that you should keep.”
|Marcus Smart fined $15K for obscene gesture||03.07.16 at 4:51 pm ET|
It has not been the best of times for Marcus Smart.
The Celtics’ second-year guard out of Oklahoma State was assessed technicals during games on consecutive nights, Friday and Saturday. And on Monday the league came down on him for making an obscene gesture in the third quarter of the win over the Knicks at TD Garden on Friday.
With 1:49 left in the third, Smart was called for an offensive foul and grabbed his crotch. That move prompted a technical foul called by referee Marc Davis.
On Monday, the league fined Smart $15,000 for the gesture. The discipline was handed down by Kiki VanDeWeghe, the league’s Executive Vice President for Basketball Operations.
|Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) returns to practice ‘still a little stiff and sore’||03.07.16 at 2:49 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Kelly Olynyk was just happy to be back on the practice court Monday with his teammates.
At what Brad Stevens termed essentially just a shoot-around with some 3-on-3 and skill work, Olynyk returned and did some shooting of his own to test the shoulder that was injured in the first half of the game against the Clippers on Feb. 10 at TD Garden.
“Just some skill work, just to test things out and see where I’m at,” Olynyk said. “Feel all right. Still a little stiff and sore, not back to where it was before but it’s definitely on the right path. Just trying to keep my conditioning up, get in the weight room, just strengthening it. A little bit of [shooting]. The shot feels all right. It’s more the quick movements and crossing, jumping up and grabbing the ball, stretch, that kind of stuff.”
Being ready for Wednesday against Memphis seems to be a stretch at this point.
“We’ll see it how it goes,” Olynyk said. “It’s a little sore, a little stiff. I’d say it’s still not exactly where I want it to be yet but it’s definitely on the right path so we’ll see how it responds.”
The plan now is to let the shoulder respond and keep in touch with trainer Ed Lacerte and team doctor Brian McKeon.
“Talked to Ed, talked to Doc and come up with some [plan]. Just want to make sure it’s good enough where it’s not at risk of doing it again. Didn’t get evaluating yet. Had to go through this workout first and then see where we’re at.
“I didn’t do any contact stuff [Monday]. It was more skill work at my own pace. Super excited to get back. It’s tough watching them out there. You want to be out there with him, helping them out. It’s easy if they’re winning. It’s tough if we’re losing then you really want to get out there and see if you can make a difference.”
Stevens watched as Olynyk went through the drills on Monday.
“Same. Kind of day-to-day now,” Stevens said. “See how Kelly feels [Tuesday]. I’m sure he said that as well. And I’ve only talked to them real briefly after we just did a shootaround. So we didn’t do a whole lot. But he shot the ball in. He seemed to feel more comfortable with extending his range as the day went on. So we’ll see.”
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