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Al Horford will miss Bulls game while in concussion protocol program; Avery Bradley has shoulder examined 11.02.16 at 12:26 pm ET
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Al Horford

Al Horford

The Celtics will be without Al Horford for Wednesday night’s game at TD Garden against the Bulls, as the center was placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol program.

According to the team, Horford was hit in the head during Monday’s practice, although he did not show any concussion symptoms on Monday night or Tuesday morning. During Tuesday’s practice, Horford started to show symptoms, so he was removed from the court and examined by team physicians. He was placed in the concussion protocol program Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Avery Bradley missed Tuesday’s practice with a sore right shoulder — an issue he’s been dealing with since training camp. Coach Brad Stevens said the team’s medical staff will determine the guard’s availability for Wednesday. Bradley had two shoulder surgeries (both sides) after the 2011-12 season.

Bradley, 25, is coming off a tremendous performance in a win over the Hornets on Saturday night, as he amassed 31 points, 11 rebounds and eight 3-pointers. Through three games he is averaging 21.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists.

On the positive side for Boston, guard Marcus Smart will make his season debut Wednesday after being sidelined with a sprained ankle.

Read More: Al Horford, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart,
Ray Allen announces retirement from NBA via The Players’ Tribune 11.01.16 at 1:07 pm ET
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Ray Allen

Ray Allen

Ray Allen is finally retiring.

The two-time champion and former Celtics great, who hasn’t played since the Heat lost the 2014 Finals to the Spurs, announced his retirement in a letter to his 13-year-old self on the Players’ Tribune website.

“I write this to you today as a 41-year-old man who is retiring from the game,” Allen wrote. “I write to you as a man who is completely at peace with himself.”

Allen had entertained the notion of returning to the NBA over the last year-plus, with old teammate LeBron James trying to convince him to join the Cleveland Cavaliers. But Allen declined, and made his retirement official on Tuesday.

Allen won a title with the Celtics in 2008, joining Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in the team’s new Big Three. Garnett retired this winter, and Pierce has announced that this season, with the Clippers, will be his last.

Allen retires as the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made (2,973) and attempted (7,429). He shot .400 from beyond the arc and scored over 24,000 points, good for 22nd on the all-time list.

Allen spent five years in Boston, where he averaged 16.7 points a game and made three All-Star teams.

Read More: Big Three, Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
Celtics exercise 2017-18 options for Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier 10.31.16 at 5:11 pm ET
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Marcus Smart already was in a good mood Monday, as he practiced with the team and then said he is ready to return to game action. He had to be feeling even better later in the day, as the team announced that it was exercising his contract for next season, keeping him in Boston for a fourth year.

The C’s also announced they were exercising the third-year option for fellow guard Terry Rozier, who is averaging 6.0 points, 3.0 assists and 3.3 rebounds in three games this season.

Smart will earn $4.5 million next season, while Rozier is set to make $1.9 million.

While both of those moves were expected — the players are key parts of Boston’s rotation — the team has not made clear its plans for shooting guard James Young leading up to Monday’s midnight deadline. The 21-year-old beat out R.J. Hunter for the team’s final roster spot earlier this month, but it would not be a surprise for the Celtics to allow him to become a free agent in the offseason, as he has yet to impress with any consistency.

Read More: Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier,
Marcus Smart: ‘I will return Wednesday’ 10.31.16 at 2:31 pm ET
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Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

The Celtics bench, which has struggled at times in the early portion of this season, is about to get a boost.

Point guard Marcus Smart, who has missed the season’s first three games with a sprained left ankle, said he’ll be back in uniform for Wednesday’s rematch with the Bulls at TD Garden.

“I will return Wednesday,” he stated after practicing with the team Monday.

Coach Brad Stevens was a little less definitive but also optimistic that Smart will get his season started this week.

“He’s one of our returning most-contributive players, so that’s a big addition to our team,” Stevens said. “He looked good today. We’ll see how he feels in the next couple of days. But every indication is that he’ll be available.”

Stevens said he’ll consult with trainers to determine if he should limit Smart’s minutes, but Smart said he won’t make any adjustments in an attempt to ease his way back.

“You go right back to what you know,” Smart said. “You can’t try to baby it.”

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Read More: Kelly Olynyk, Marcus Smart,
Celtics, Avery Bradley hit stride in solid win over Hornets 10.29.16 at 10:07 pm ET
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Brad Stevens saw his team fix some things in earning their second win of the season. (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)

Brad Stevens saw his team fix some things in earning its second win of the season. (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics finally found a groove in their 104-98 win over the Hornets, their second win of the season. 

After two lackluster games, the third time was the charm for the Celtics this season. They came out of the gate strong in the first quarter grabbing the lead early with 3-point shots. Their first 15 points were all from 3-pointers. 

The Celtics pulled ahead with a 28-19 lead after the first quarter, but leveled off with a stagnant bench and the Hornets closed the Celtics’ lead gap to 44-41 at halftime. 

The Celtics defense overall was stronger than in the past two games. Rebounding was key in this one, with Bradley coming through with a career-high 11 boards, while Jae Crowder grabbed nine. 

“I thought we were locked in,” coach Brad Stevens said in his post game press conference. “I thought our guys were really locked in. … They just played with poise, chipped at it.”

The team looked generally in sync offensively as the bench woke up in the second half and they returned to shooting with confidence. Crowder made two 3’s in the third while Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas each sunk one. 

The Celtics lost the lead in the third and ended the quarter behind 72-71 before regaining it quickly in the fourth on another Bradley 3-pointer and went on to go on a 22-5 run in that final quarter. 

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Read More: Avery Bradley,
Watch Bulls star Dwyane Wade celebrate clinching 3-pointer over Celtics with throat slash 10.28.16 at 1:02 am ET
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Bulls star Dwyane Wade, in his debut with his hometown team after more than a decade in Miami, drilled the game-clinching 3-pointer to beat the Celtics on Thursday night, and then celebrated by making a throat-slash gesture.

The NBA fined Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant $25,000 for the motion in 2013. The NFL banned it in 1999.

Will Wade be hearing from Adam Silver’s office? You be the judge.

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Dwyane Wade throat slash,
Fast Break: Celtics dominated on glass in loss to Bulls 10.27.16 at 11:08 pm ET
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Isaiah Thomas drives on Michael Carter-Williams during Thursday's game. (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA Today Sports)

Isaiah Thomas drives on Michael Carter-Williams during Thursday’s game. (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics might be a trendy pick to reach the Eastern Conference finals this season, but right now they don’t look anything like a team ready to make a breakthrough.

One night after an uninspiring victory over the lowly Nets, the Celtics were dominated on the boards by the Bulls en route to a 105-99 loss.

Chicago held a 55-36 advantage on the glass, taking advantage of the second-chance opportunities to get 16 more shots than the visitors. That allowed the Bulls to win despite shooting 39 percent to Boston’s 50 percent.

“That’s is the No. 1 thing,” coach Brad Stevens said of the rebounding woes in his postgame press conference. “That’s something that we’ve talked a lot about. We’ve got to get better at it.”

Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting, although he was uncharacteristically unreliable from the free throw line, making just 2-of-6.

Jimmy Butler scored 24 points and Dwyane Wade, displaying his newfound 3-point range, hit 4-of-6 from behind the arc — including a crushing trey with 26 seconds remaining to make it a five-point game — and finished with 22 points. Taj Gibson added 18 points and 10 rebounds.

The C’s did not have the same energy as in their opener — falling behind by 15 points in the opening quarter — but they clawed back and didn’t back down in what was a physical and at times emotional game. Tempers flared late in the second quarter when Jae Crowder collided with Butler, who drew a charge. Butler appeared to trip Crowder while on the ground, and Crowder responded by putting the ball on the chest of his former Marquette teammate. The skirmish quickly drew a crowd, and Thomas and Rajon Rondo were given technical fouls after exchanging shoves.

Al Horford battled foul trouble but still managed to contribute 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Rookie Jaylen Brown impressed, hitting 4-of-7 shots, although he had a costly turnover on an up-and-down in the final minute. Tyler Zeller was given some extra minutes — Stevens said he matched up well against Robin Lopez — and he finished with six points, five rebounds and a pair of blocks.

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