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Five things we learned on a night the Celtics won a game, but potentially lost Marcus Smart (for a while) 11.07.14 at 9:54 pm ET
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Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

At least the Celtics avoided a bad night turning into a really bad night.

The Celts might have lost their first-round pick, Marcus Smart, for an extended period of time due to a fourth quarter, left ankle injury. (For more on Smart’s situation, click here.) But the C’s were able to avoid what would have been a demoralizing loss to a depleted Indiana team.

Down by two points heading into the final quarter, the Celtics rallied in the fourth to hang on for a 101-98 win over a Pacers club that has now lost five straight games. (For a complete box score, click here.)

It was revealed well after the game that X-rays were negative, classifying Smart’s injury as a severely sprained ankle.

THE PROMISE OF MARCUS SMART MAY HAVE TO WAIT

With the rookie being wheeled off the TD Garden floor on a stretcher, the reality of the start of Smart’s first season was severely clouded. While continuing to struggle shooting the ball — having gone 1-for-6 from the floor after coming into the game with just a 30 percent percentage — he had shown flashes both defensively and in his offensive aggressiveness.

After the game Brad Stevens said Smart had suffered either a sprained or broken left ankle, with the team still awaiting test results. A while after Stevens spoke, it was revealed the injury was a sprain.

“It’s a sprained ankle, or broken, we don’t know,” the coach said. “Obviously we’ll do the X-rays and all that stuff. We’re hoping it’s a sprain, but we don’t know that. So obviously great deal of concern for him, No. 1. And hopefully he can get back sooner rather than later, because he’s really playing great basketball and I’m sure it’s really disappointing to be out five games into your rookie year, even if just for a little bit of time. That’s what we hope it is.”

Smart came into the game averaging 21.5 minutes per game, suggesting a continued confidence from Celtics coach Stevens. A heavier reliance will most likely be put on Marcus Thornton (who played just 7 minutes Friday night) and perhaps Phil Pressey, who totaled a season-high 12 minutes.

AT LEAST THEY DIDN’T GIVE IT AWAY (THAT MUCH)

One game after allowing Toronto 36 points off of turnovers, the Celtics made it a point of hanging on to the ball. Prior to the game, C’s coach Brad Stevens suggested that the issue in the previous contest was mostly due to the efforts of the Raptors. The results Friday night supported that take.

The Celtics didn’t commit their first turnover against the Pacers until there was 7:10 left in the first half. The ball security allowed Indiana to go the entire first half without a fast break basket.

When the Celtics did start turning it over again — allowing five miscues in the third quarter — that’s when Indiana started getting back into it. After trailing by as many as 13 late in the first half, the Pacers went on a 15-0 run early in the second half to claim a brief four-point lead.

KELLY OLYNYK IS PROVING TO BE A FIND

The second-year forward has proven to be one of the most consistent performers for the Celtics, coming into the game averaging 23.9 points and 13.6 rebounds per 48 minutes, shooting 57 percent.

This time Olynyk chipped in with a solid 12 points, while grabbing five rebounds. He is now averaging 12.4 points and 26 minutes per game game.

The star big man for the Celtics would ultimately be Jared Sullinger, who exploded for 11 fourth-quarter pints to finish up with a team-high 17.

In this case Olynyk’s efforts were much-needed this time around, with Indiana making no bones about their intentions. The Pacers scored 16 of their 26 first-quarter points in the paint, with Roy Hibbert (who was coming off an 0-for=7 showing), Luis Scola, and Chris Copeland owning the inside.

Thanks to Tyler Zeller, there were moments where Celtics big men not named “Olynyk” or “Sullinger” made their presence felt …

RAJON RONDO STILL IS LOOKING FOR MAX-CONTRACT VALUE

Although he has shown flashes of dominance this season, Rondo proved good, but certainly not great, this time around.

The point guard totaled eight points on 4-of-10 shooting (8 points), staying on the floor for 28 minutes. Rondo had averaged 34 minutes and 9.3 points per game prior to Friday night.

BRAD STEVENS DIDN’T DESIGN THE NEW UNIFORMS

Before the game, when asked about the new Celtics uniforms (which they will be wearing six times this season), the Celtics coach had this to say:

‘€œI think the biggest thing is, if our guys like them, I like them. The last thing I can do, and all of you who know me know this, is analyze fashion. Ask [Rajon] Rondo, a couple of our other guys, what they think because they have a much better eye then I do.’€

(Click here to see the new uniforms.)

For what it’s worth, another Boston head coach, Claude Julien, was also in attendance, watching the game courtside Friday night.

Read More: Celtics, Kelly Olynyk, Marcus Smart, Pacers
Marcus Smart carted off on stretcher after hurting ankle 11.07.14 at 9:20 pm ET
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Celtics rookie guard Marcus Smart was taken off the court on a stretcher with 11:07 left in the game at TD Garden against the Pacers after injuring his left ankle while going in for a lay-up against Indiana’s AJ Price.

After the game Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Smart experienced either a sprained or broken left ankle, with the team awaiting test results.

A while after Stevens’ spoke, it was revealed that Smart’s injury was just a severe sprain and not a break.

“Oviously great deal of concern for him, No. 1. And hopefully he can get back sooner rather than later, because he’s really playing great basketball and I’m sure it’s really disappointing to be out five games into your rookie year, even if just for a little bit of time,” the coach said. “That’s what we hope it is.”

Smart had played 16 minutes, going 1-for-6 with two rebounds before the injury.

The entire Celtics team ultimately came out and gathered around Smart while he was being put on the stretcher, with the TD Garden crowd chanting the rookie’s name.

“Your team is clearly affected by it, because they care about him, which is a good sign,” Stevens said after his team’s 101-98 win over Indiana. “And then you have to go play, and that’s hard. But I thought that if anything, the player wants your team to play with that kind of enthusiasm and that kind of passion that those guys played with int eh last eight minutes and 37 seconds or whatever it was. So again, you feel, you hope for the best. I’ve seen some injuries that have been pretty nasty over my time and hopefully this isn’t one of them. It doesn’t sound like it from the early indications.”

Smart came into Friday night’s game averaging 7.8 points and 21.5 minutes per game.

Read More: Brad Stevens, Celtics, Marcus Smart,
Brad Stevens isn’t confident in his fashion sense 11.07.14 at 6:59 pm ET
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Celticsuniforms2Brad Stevens is young for an NBA coach — having just turned 38 years old just more than two weeks ago. But that doesn’t mean he’s ready to declare himself fashion guru for the league’s next generation.

The latest example of Stevens’ lack of attention to detail when it comes to deciding what to wear? His response regarding the Celtics‘ new uniforms.

“I have seen them now,” said the coach when asked if he saw the team’s new alternative uniforms, which will be broken out on six occasions this season.

“I think the biggest thing is, if our guys like them, I like them. The last thing I can do, and all of you who know me know this, is analyze fashion. Ask Rondo, a couple of our other guys, what they think because they have a much better eye then I do.”

The dates the Celtics will be donning the predominately gray uniforms will be: Nov. 28, Dec. 7, Jan. 2, Feb. 6, March 4, April 12.

@EmilyAusten photo

@EmilyAusten photo

Read More: Brad Stevens, Celtics,
Five things we learned in Celtics’ blowout loss in Houston 11.01.14 at 10:27 pm ET
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Somewhere between TD Garden and the Texas state line, the Celtics lost their way.

Brad Stevens‘ team arrived safely in Houston for Saturday night’s tilt, but its game was misplaced. Everything that went well for the Celts in their runaway, season-opening win Wednesday night went wrong in a 104-90 loss to the Rockets.

In a nutshell, the Celtics weren’t aggressive enough early on, and were remarkably bad from beyond the 3-point line. The C’s went to the foul line 24 fewer times than the Rockets, while having the worst 3-point shooting night in franchise history.

With the 1-for-25 showing from beyond the 3-point stripe, it marked the first time in franchise history the Celtics have not hit a three while taking more than 10 attempts. Jeff Green hit his team’s 22nd attempt. The NBA record still stands at 0-for-22, set by the Nuggets in 2012.

The closest the Celtics would come in the second half was 11 points. (For a complete box score, click here.)

RAJON RONDO IS A WORK IN PROGRESS

It was easy to forget Rondo didn’t play a single preseason game after watching him excel against the Nets. But in Game No. 2, the point guard seemed out of sorts from the start.

Before exiting the game for the first time, with the Celtics trailing, 22-8, Rondo had trouble both offensively and defensively (where he was often lost on rotations after double-teaming Dwight Howard). He would re-enter the game with the C’s still trailing by 14 (32-18), continuing to lack any sort of spark.

Rondo finished the first half going 0-for-2 from the field. For the game, the point guard went 2-for-9 from the floor, but did haul in 10 rebounds.

LEANING ON JUMPERS PROVED DANGEROUS

There was a reason the Celtics attempted just three first-half free throws, while the Rockets were going to the line 24 times: the C’s weren’t exactly taking it at the hosts.

The missed jumpers, particularly in the first quarter, were especially damaging considering how Houston was able to transition into makable shots (shooting 57 percent from the field in the initial quarter, leading to a 15-point Celtics deficit). The Celtics started going inside more in the second quarter, but the hole had already been dug.

The most noticeable aspect of the Celtics’ reliance on their outside game came from beyond the 3-point line, where they turned in a historically bad performance.

DEALING WITH HOWARD PROVED DICEY

Stevens attempted to rotate the trio of Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Zeller on Howard. That strategy, however, ran into some issues with all three carrying three fouls into halftime. The trio finished with five fouls apiece.

The unevenness at the position also translated to a dramatic 180 for Olynyk from Wednesday night, when he totaled 18 points. This time the second-year big man couldn’t find a comfort zone, finishing with eight points in 15 minutes.

Howard only finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, but his presence allowed for the likes of James Harden (26 points) to get in the clear.

LIVING WITH THE UPS AND DOWNS OF MARCUS SMART

So much was made of the performance of the rookie in Game 1, with Smart contributing on multiple levels against Brooklyn.

This time, however, he couldn’t supply any help for a Celtics team desperate for some aggressiveness. Smart went 0-for-7 from the field

HOT STARTS ARE STILL A THING OF THE PAST

The Celtics failed to go 2-0 once again, not having accomplished the feat since 2009.

Doc Rivers after Rajon Rondo injury: ‘You can write the obituary. I’m not’ 01.27.13 at 5:33 pm ET
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After the Celtics‘ 100-98, double-overtime win over the Heat on Sunday afternoon, Celts coach Doc Rivers explained that he didn’t tell his players the news of Rajon Rondo‘s torn ACL injury until after the game.

“Obviously the Rondo news is pretty tough,” Rivers said. “I knew it before the game; no one else knew it. I just didn’t think it was any time to tell any of our guys that. I told them after the game. Pretty emotional in the locker room.”

Rivers said Rondo went through the team’s walk-through earlier in the day, and actually believed the injury — suffered in Friday night’s loss to Atlanta — to be a hamstring issue. But after further examination by team medical director Brian McKeon, it was determined that the point guard had torn the ACL in his right knee.

It wasn’t until halftime that Rondo was informed the extent of his injury, according to Rivers.

“Very emotional. Very emotional,” the coach said of the player’s reaction. “Funny, at halftime, I knew, and didn’t know. Still. And because Dr. McKeon knew, but he hadn’t seen the MRI. But the technician had already told him. And Dr. McKeon told me, ‘Positive, but let’s wait.’ And so that was hard, too.”

Regarding the reaction of the players after he informed them of Rondo’s injury, Rivers said, “It was good, and then it went down. … I just walked in and told them. I don’t know what else you can do. Guys were celebrating and then it just …”

The Celtics coach still relayed optimism after the game, despite there be no pure point guard on the current roster whom might step in for Rondo.

“Well, you can write the obituary. I’m not,” Rivers said. “You can go ahead. But I’m not. We won tonight, and so the way I look at it is: we’re going to stay in there. In my opinion, we’re going nowhere.”

To hear Rivers’ entire postgame press conference, click here.

For more Celtics news, go to the team page at weei.com/celtics.

Read More: ACL, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Rajon Rondo
Celtics beat Knicks for third straight win 01.07.13 at 10:19 pm ET
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Playing without Rajon Rondo — due to the point guard’s one-game suspension — the Celtics beat the Knicks, 102-96, Monday night at Madison Square Garden. It marked only the Celts’ second three-game winning streak of the season.

The Celtics have now beaten the Knicks — who lost just their fourth Eastern Conference matchup in 18 tries this season — in 19 of the teams’ last 23 meetings.

Filling in for Rondo was Avery Bradley, who finished with 13 points and five assists. Leading the offense for the Celtics was Paul Pierce, whose three-pointer :46 helped seal the deal for the visitors. Pierce finished with 23 points.

Helping matters for the Celtics was a horrific shooting performance by New York’s Carmelo Anthony, who had scored at least 40 points in two of his last three games and averaged 30 points in each of his past four contests against Boston. This time, Anthony shot just 6-of-26 from the floor, finishing with 20 points.

Also contributing for the Celtics were Kevin Garnett (19 points, 9 rebounds), and Jeff Green, who had 16 points off the bench.

The win boosts the Celtics’ record to .500 (17-17). It was also just the Knicks fourth home loss of the season.

For a complete recap, click here.

For more Celtics news, go to the team page at weei.com/celtics.

Rajon Rondo has made us take a closer look at the evolution of the assist 11.23.12 at 1:06 pm ET
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The debate regarding just how important or impressive Rajon Rondo‘€™s streak of 35 straight games with at least 10 assists will continue into Friday night’€™s game at TD Garden.

But one of the more interesting elements of the run has been the opportunity to reflect on how the assist statistic has changed over the years, and if that evolution makes Rondo’€™s feat any more, or less, impressive.

The stat itself can be compared somewhat to an error in baseball, with just enough subjectivity involved to spark conversation.

For instance, in 1980 there were 3,609 errors given out in 4,210 Major League Baseball games (0.85 per game). Last season, in 4,860 games there were 3,008 errors (0.61 per game).

The most errors given out to any one team in ‘€™80 was 174 (Cubs), while last season’€™s top team was the Rockies, who committed 122 (which would have been the 23rd most 22 years ago).

The lesson is that different statistics are viewed differently through the ages and the eyeballs, and assists are no exception.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers recalled after Tuesday’€™s practice how different arenas offer different expectations when giving out assists. Washington, he said, was notorious for being a difficult environment for visiting players to extract assists. Upon further examination, Rivers was right. Read the rest of this entry »

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