|Is Brad Stevens now the front-runner in NBA coach of the year race?||04.02.16 at 2:31 am ET|
It might be time to call Brad Stevens the front-runner in the race for NBA coach of the year.
After all, his team, missing its most versatile defender on the court, was able to pull off something no other team in the NBA had been able to do since Jan. 27, 2015.
In beating the Golden State Warriors Friday night, 109-106, without Jae Crowder, the Celtics ended Golden State’s regular season home win streak at 54 games and gave Stevens the signature win to date of his three-year tenure in Boston. The Celtics became the first team since San Antonio on Nov. 11, 2014 to beat the Warriors in regulation in a regular season game in Oakland.
The Celtics, who improved to 44-32, withstood charge after charge down the stretch from the record-hungry Warriors, who fell to 68-8 on the season. They withstood Steph Curry going off for 21 of his 29 points in the third quarter. Stevens got Thomas involved in the offense early in the third quarter, as Thomas scored his first 18 points of the game in the period. Stevens diagramed play after play, including the game-clincher, an side inbounds from Marcus Smart to Thomas for a layup with 8.3 seconds left in the game.
“It was a heck of a game,” Stevens told reporters after the game. “When Curry got going in the third quarter, the biggest moments of the game were us scoring consecutively when he scored because when he got going, that’s usually when they run away with a 10-0 run or a 12-0 run. We had to play. Guys had to play really well. We didn’t have a guy play poorly. That’s what it takes to beat a team like this. They’re outstanding.”
Perhaps most impressive was the fact that Stevens had his team ready just 24 hours after a 116-109 grueling loss in Portland.
“I think the biggest meaning is the idea that we can bounce back from a night like [Thursday] night where we expended a considerable amount of energy and came up short, flew here, got in late and came to compete again,” Stevens said. “I thought that probably the other biggest moment of the game was when we were struggling to score in the second quarter, they weren’t scoring a ton and kind of kept us in the game. We were fortunate to win but at the same time, we made a lot of plays to win the game.”
|Studs and Duds: Celtics shock Warriors, end longest home winning streak in pro sports history||04.02.16 at 1:06 am ET|
The Celtics pulled off the unthinkable Friday night in epic fashion.
Playing without Jae Crowder, Boston got 22 points from Isaiah Thomas, 21 points from Evan Turner and 20 points and 12 rebounds from Jared Sullinger to lead the Celtics to a 109-106 win over the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena, ending the longest home winning streak in major pro sports history.
Steph Curry got a clean look in the final seconds at a potential game-tying three. The shot rimmed out and the Celtics had their best win of the season and the signature win of the three-year Brad Stevens era.
The Warriors, who committed 22 turnovers, had won 54 straight regular season games at home and hadn’t lost on their home court since Jan. 27, 2015, when they fell in overtime to the Bulls. The Warriors last lost on their home court in Game 2 of the NBA finals last June to the Cavaliers. The win also avenges Boston’s heartbreaking double-overtime loss to the Warriors on Dec. 11 at TD Garden.
It was just Golden State’s eighth loss of the season, dropping them to 68-8 on the season. They must win five of their final six games to break the record of the 1996 Chicago Bulls.
The win improves the Celtics to 44-32 on the season and pull to within a half-game of the Hawks (45-32), who lost in overtime to the Cavaliers Friday night.
The Warriors came out gunslinging. Their first three field goals were 3-pointers, racing out to leads of 6-0 and 9-4. But that gunslinging mentality also led to six turnovers in the first six minutes, five of which were committed by Steph Curry.
Thanks to great defense from Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart, the Celtics were able to hold the combination of Curry and Klay Thompson scoreless until Curry’s 3 with 4.3 seconds left in the first quarter, a trey that gave the Warriors a 23-21 lead after the opening 12 minutes. The Warriors finished the first quarter with eight turnovers.
The Celtics were killing themselves at the free throw line, missing six of their first 11 attempts. The Warriors took a 35-28 lead but the Celtics scored the next eight points to take a one-point lead, capped by an Evan Turner three with 3:01 left in the first half. Curry’s second three ended the Celtics’ run. The Warriors continued their remarkably sloppy play with the ball in the second quarter, committing five more turnovers and 13 for the first half. Avery Bradley’s three with 2.3 seconds left in the first half gave Boston a 45-43 lead heading to the locker room.
Curry had just two field goals (both threes) and six points in the first half, while committing seven turnovers.
|Jae Crowder (rest) to sit out against Warriors||04.01.16 at 8:07 pm ET|
As expected, Jae Crowder will not play tonight in Oakland as the Celtics try to stun the Warriors.
The forward returned Thursday in Portland from an eight-game absence due to a high ankle sprain. In his first game back, he collected a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He will sit out against the 68-7 Warriors to rest his ankle and let the healing continue.
Crowder had indicated Thursday morning in Portland that he likely would not be able to play in back-to-back games and that his preference would be to play the lower-tempo Blazers rather than the high-octane Warriors.
In the first meeting with the Warriors on Dec. 11 at TD Garden, Crowder had 15 points and five rebounds in a team high 47 minutes, 47 seconds of action. The Celtics lost that game, 124-119, in double-overtime.
#NEBHInjuryReport: Jae Crowder (rest) will not play tonight against the Golden State Warriors.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 1, 2016
|Avery Bradley, Celtics look forward to challenge of 68-7 Warriors: ‘That’s what I play basketball for’||04.01.16 at 2:08 am ET|
Even though they suffered an emotionally draining loss in Portland, the Celtics say they’re ready for the biggest challenge of the season Friday night in Oakland.
The 43-32 Celtics will be going up against the 68-7 Warriors, who are in the midst of an NBA-record 54-game home winning streak, including a perfect 36-0 this season.
“It’s fun. That’s what I play basketball for every single night — to go up against the best players,” Avery Bradley said after Thursday’s 116-109 loss in Portland.
The last time the Celtics and Warriors met, Golden State was on another amazing streak. Heading into their Dec. 11 meeting at TD Garden, the Warriors had won 23 straight to open the season. They extended the streak to 24 but barely, outlasting the Celtics, 124-119, in double overtime. Steph Curry scored 38 points while Draymond Green added 24 as the Warriors improved to 24-0.
That streak ended the next night in Milwaukee but the Celtics made their case that they were legit this season.
Now, Isaiah Thomas takes one look at the Eastern Conference standings and sees more urgency. Thursday’s loss dropped Boston to sixth place, a game behind the Heat and the Hornets in the loss column.
“We’ve got to win,” Thomas said.
|Studs and Duds: Blazers spoil return of Jae Crowder, Celtics fall to 6th in East||04.01.16 at 12:52 am ET|
Not exactly the way the Celtics wanted to head into Golden State.
Al-Farouq Aminu scored a career-high 28 points and single-handedly spoiled the return of Jae Crowder Thursday night as the Blazers outlasted the Celtics, 116-109, Thursday night at the Moda Center.
Crowder made a big impact with a double-double, scoring 13 points and hauling in 10 rebounds, in his first game back from a high ankle sprain. With 22 points, Isaiah Thomas set a new franchise record with his 14th straight game as the team’s leading scorer. It was also his 14th straight game with at least 20 points, two games shy of Paul Pierce’s streak in the 2005-06 season.
“It felt good. He showed signs of what he does,” Thomas said of Crowder afterward. “It probably will take a couple of games for him to get back to his full strength. Just glad to have him back in a routine. It just sucks we couldn’t get the win for him.”
It was a costly loss for the Celtics (43-32) as they fell to sixth in the East, a half-game behind the Heat and Hornets.
Thanks to 50 percent shooting from the field in the first quarter, the Celtics raced out to a 12-4 lead. Portland didn’t score in the game’s first two minutes.
The first quarter featured the first action from Crowder since suffering a high ankle sprain March 11 against the Rockets. In the opening 60 seconds, he showed no ill effects, grabbing a rebound on the first Blazers possession of the game. On the next possession, Crowder collected a steal and dished an assist on an Isaiah Thomas 3-pointer.
|Jae Crowder ‘looking right’ for return vs. Trail Blazers, not likely for Friday vs. Warriors||03.31.16 at 2:22 pm ET|
The return of Jae Crowder is likely to be one-game only event tonight in Portland.
Barring any setback before the game, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he’s hopeful Crowder to be available against the Trail Blazers at the Moda Center.
“I’m feeling pretty good. Minor soreness.” Crowder told reporters Thursday in Portland. Crowder said at the shootaround that he’s hopeful to play but hasn’t fully committed. That will come following one more test in a shootaround before the game at the Moda Center.
Asked if he’d be ready to go against Portland, Crowder replied, “It’s looking right,” adding that he would prefer the slower tempo and pace of the Blazers versus the up-tempo demands of the Warriors.
Stevens added that Crowder would be limited to the game against the Trail Blazers if he’s physically not able to play in back-to-back games so early back from his right high ankle sprain. The Celtics are scheduled to play the 68-win Warriors on Friday night in Oakland.
Crowder practiced with the team at full speed Wednesday in Portland for the first time since injuring the ankle against the Rockets on March 11 at TD Garden. Stevens said he liked what he saw from Crowder in practice.
“He just looked like Jae,” Stevens told reporters Thursday.
He’s missed eight games and the team has posted a record of 4-4 in his absence.
Brad Stevens says that if Jae Crowder can play only one of the next two games, tonight will be the night.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 31, 2016
|Celtics announce times, dates for playoff ticket sales||03.31.16 at 1:52 pm ET|
Next week will be a busy time for Celtics fans planning to attend playoff games at TD Garden.
The team announced Thursday that individual game playoff tickets for round one, home games one, two and three at the TD Garden will be available to Club Green email subscribers during an exclusive, one-day-only presale event on Tuesday, April 5 starting at 11:00 a.m.
To access the exclusive presale event, fans must register for Club Green presented by Mohegan Sun at Celtics.com/subscribe. All Club Green subscribers will receive a link to access tickets before the general public.
Two days later, on April 7, individual game tickets will go on sale to the general public at 11:00 a.m. To purchase seats fans can go to Celtics.com, call 800-4NBA-TIX or visit the TD Garden Box Office.
By the time the Celtics conclude their 5-game Western swing on Sunday night in Los Angeles against the Lakers, the team could have clinched their second straight playoff appearance in three seasons under Brad Stevens. The team enters Thursday’s game in Portland with a 43-31 record and needs just two wins to clinch a playoff berth.
For fans who want to guarantee access to Celtics tickets for the duration of the 2016 Playoffs, season ticket memberships for the 2016-17 season are now available. Membership guarantees fans access to their seats for every game in their plan plus exclusive benefits and special event invitations only available through the team.
For larger groups, private suite rentals will be available on Wednesday, April 6. To learn more and to purchase a suite rental fans may call 866-4CELTIX (866-423-5849), email email@example.com or visit Celtics.com.
The Celtics’ round one opponent, and the dates and times of games, will be posted on Celtics.com when they are determined.
If any game is not played refunds will be done at the point of purchase. Fans who purchase online will receive an automatic refund from Ticketmaster for the face value of each ticket, facility charge and per ticket service charge. All per order charges, including order processing and delivery charges, will not be refunded.
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