|Isaiah Thomas laments Celtics’ lack of effort: ‘We’re in a bad funk right now’||11.09.16 at 10:22 pm ET|
The Celtics’ latest embarrassment, a 118-93 rout at the hands of the previously struggling Wizards on Wednesday night, has left the team searching for answers.
Guard Isaiah Thomas said the bottom line is the C’s need to play harder.
“It’s tough. We’re in a bad funk right now. But we can’t hold our heads,” he told reporters in Washington. “One thing I think is, we’re not the hardest-playing team no more. I think that’s what made us special, that’s what made us good, is us playing harder than the other team, being more scrappier, getting all the loose balls. Rebounds don’t come to us no more because we’re not playing hard.
“I’ve got to watch the film, I’ve got to see what I’ve got to do better, see what we can do better. But that’s just the feeling I have right now, that we’re not the hardest-playing team. And that’s what made us special, what made us win 48 games last year and made teams not really want to play against us. We don’t have that swagger no more.”
The C’s biggest issues are with defensive and rebounding — they were beaten 54-31 on the boards Wednesday.
“It’s playing hard, leaving it all out there on the floor,” Thomas said. “That’s who we were. That’s what made us one of the best defensive teams in the league. That’s what made us win 48 games last year. We have to find that swag. We’ve got to find that … that. We’ve got to get that back. Because if we don’t, it seems like we’re going off talent, which we really don’t have that much talent, including myself. I think if we get that hard hat back where we’re the hardest-playing team, we’re going to be in every game. Last year we didn’t get blown out like this. Even though it’s early, it’s been two really bad games for us. But we didn’t have these types of games last year. Just half the battle was us playing that hard, which we were in most of the games.”
|Fast Break: Celtics dominated by Otto Porter, Wizards||11.09.16 at 9:30 pm ET|
Following Sunday’s disappointing loss to the Nuggets, Celtics coach Brad Stevens lamented his team’s lack of physicality. He undoubtedly was hoping the C’s would show some fight in Wednesday’s night’s game against the Wizards, who came in at 1-5.
No such luck.
Boston was outscored 34-8 in the first quarter — the biggest first-quarter deficit in franchise history — never mounted a serious comeback bid, and for the second straight game watched an opposing player turn in a career night as they lost 118-93. Three days after Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay exploded for 30 points at TD Garden, the Celtics watched as Wizards forward Otto Porter erupted for a career-high 34 points on 14-of-19 shooting to go along with a career-high-tying 14 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks — one of them on a Jaylen Brown dunk attempt in the third quarter.
Porter, who scored 20 points in the first half as his team took a 58-43 lead, said the struggling Wizards wanted this game badly.
“This, to us, was like must-win,” he told CSNNE’s Abby Chin before leaving the court. “We had to get this one. Whatever it takes.”
Meanwhile, with Al Horford (concussion) and Jae Crowder (ankle) still sidelined — but with Kelly Olynyk making his first appearance (2 points, 6 rebounds in 26 minutes) — the C’s were again hammered on the boards, as Washington held a 54-31 rebounding advantage.
The C’s (3-4) were led by Isaiah Thomas (23 points, 10 assists), Avery Bradley (21 points) and Marcus Smart (20 points).
Smart also was involved in an incident with John Wall. With 5:24 remaining and the Wizards comfortably in command, Wall inexplicably tackled Smart around the head and threw him to the ground — ostensibly while trying to steal the ball. Smart got up and immediately started an animated conversation with the Wizards star, although he showed remarkable restraint considering Wall’s seemingly unprovoked attack.
Wall was given a flagrant-2 foul and ejected — for the second straight game — while Smart was given a technical foul.
|Al Horford to miss 4th straight game, Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) makes trip to D.C.||11.08.16 at 1:29 pm ET|
The Celtics will be without their $113 million man for a fourth straight game when they take on the Wizards on Wednesday night. The team announced Tuesday that Al Horford stayed back in Boston to continue in the NBA’s concussion protocol.
Horford has played in just three games this season after suffering a concussion in practice on Halloween.
Brad Stevens said after practice Monday that Horford had not made any progress in the protocol. Before getting injured in practice, Horford was averaging 12 points and 5.3 rebounds with seven blocks in three games.
As for another big man, Jae Crowder will miss his third straight game after twisting his left ankle against the Bulls at TD Garden on Nov. 2. Crowder also did not make the trip to D.C. Tuesday as he continues to receive treatment.
With Crowder and Horford out of the lineup the last two games, the Celtics have allowed 122 points in a loss at Cleveland and 123 last Sunday night at home to Denver.
The Celtics could be getting back Kelly Olynyk, who has missed the first six games as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. Olynyk has been practicing with the team since Oct. 20.
|Jaylen Brown meet-and-greet canceled after police disperse ‘aggressive’ crowd at Cambridge mall||11.08.16 at 12:47 pm ET|
A Monday night event at the CambridgeSide Galleria featuring Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown had to be canceled when crowds became unruly, forcing police to evacuate the mall, according to police and media reports.
Police said a crowd estimated at more than 1,000 people had gathered for a meet-and-greet with Brown and rapper Desiigner. When a group of fans in line surged forward and knocked over other people and barriers shortly before 6 p.m., police were called in to clear what they termed an “aggressive crowd.”
A police spokesman said fans threw glass, bricks and other objects, and police were forced to use pepper spray. Six juveniles were arrested for disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and trespassing.
Brown tweeted a photo of himself down the street from the mall and indicated he had not yet made it inside when the incident occurred.
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) November 8, 2016
Brown and the Celtics, coming off a disappointing loss to the Nuggets on Sunday night, next play the Wizards on Wednesday night in Washington.
|Brad Stevens on defenseless Celtics: ‘You could see it coming’||11.08.16 at 10:19 am ET|
WALTHAM – The 3-3 start by the Celtics, featuring woeful defense, has caught many off guard.
But that group would not include their coach. Brad Stevens could see cracks in the team’s defensive foundation in training camp. He could see some bad habits forming and now the coach is showing the players, in brutal regular season game detail, what he was trying to get across in camp.
If you’re not in position to defend, you won’t. That was never more clear than in Sunday’s 123-107 loss to the Nuggets at TD Garden, a game they gave up 42 points in the first quarter and trailed 77-52 at halftime.
“You could see it coming, but we also lost guys that I thought were pretty good defensively. ” Stevens said after Monday’s practice.
Stevens did cut his team some slack, noting that Jae Crowder, Al Horford and Marcus Smart haven’t been on the court together at the start of the season, and that does nothing to help team chemistry and rhythm on the court, not to mention spacing.
“Losing guys out of our lineups, obviously Jae and Al and Marcus — we haven’t had all three of those guys in one game; those are three of our best defenders.
“But the reality is that even with that, even with the idea that one, two, or three of those guys are out at once, that we should be better than we’ve been. I don’t think the group that’s played will necessarily be, especially with the group that we had out last night, I don’t think we’re going to be a top-10 defense. But we can be 12th or 13th, right at the end of the season, that’s for sure.”
Stevens has some history to draw upon to think things can get better. Asked Monday what it will take to get better, he referenced his first Final Four team at Butler in 2010.
|Celtics notes: Al Horford not advancing in concussion protocol, Brad Stevens hasn’t decided on lineup changes||11.07.16 at 4:42 pm ET|
WALTHAM — There was some thinking that the sight of Al Horford with the Celtics Sunday night was a sign that perhaps he was advancing in the NBA’s concussion protocol.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens put a damper on those hopes after practice Monday.
Horford, who has missed three games after suffering a concussion in practice last week, was not able to take participate in any team activities Monday.
“He has not advanced in the protocol, based on what I’ve been told,” Stevens said. “I have not gotten anything deeper than that but he did not do anything with our team today.”
The team will not practice in Waltham Tuesday as they leave for Washington and Wednesday’s game against the Wizards.
Stevens was asked if Horford is exhibiting any symptoms that might indicate where he is in his recovery.
“I don’t know what that means yet,” Stevens said. “I’m gonna go find out. But I think that not advancing is telling that the symptoms have been at least prolonged through [Sunday].”
The team’s defense has suffered drastically with Horford and Jae Crowder (left ankle) out of the lineup. They are allowing 118 points per game in their three losses and stand 3-3 on the season. As for Kelly Olynyk, who practiced again Monday, Stevens said he’s going to avoid specific timetables.
“I don’t know. We’ll find out,” Stevens said. “He’s a good player. But I don’t want to make predictions when he’s gonna play or not. But he is around the corner, which I said last night.
With the team defense struggling and rookie Jaylen Brown (who has started last two games) working to pick up the system, there has been some speculation that Stevens might insert Marcus Smart into the lineup in his place Wednesday night.
|After ‘horrible’ film session, Marcus Smart wants his teammates to start ‘punching back’ on D||11.07.16 at 4:20 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Marcus Smart is a man of pride. And when it comes to his game in the NBA, it starts with defense.
What was on display Sunday night – and for the better part of the season – has hit home with the third-year defensive specialist.
The Celtics were blown out on the home court Sunday night in 123-107 loss to the Nuggets. They allowed 42 points in the first quarter and trailed 77-52 at the half. From the start, it was not good.
“We’re just not in it. We’re coming out too cool,” Smart said. “Teams are coming out ready. We’re not sneaking up on nobody this year. We’re the hunted. Everybody is coming out after us and we’re so used to being the guys that are sneaking up on everybody. That’s just not the case this year.
“We played a team that was hungry and was playing with a chip on their shoulder. Their coach ridiculed them and they felt that. They came out ready. They punched us in the mouth and we stood there and took it. Today’s practice was (about) we get punched, we’ve got to be ready to punch back. We’ve got to be ready to be in a boxing match.”
It got so bad that after the game, coach Brad Stevens called his team a finesse team. That might as well be a four-letter word to the ears of Smart.
“Yeah, we definitely do. That’s definitely a challenge. We’re not a finesse team,” Smart said after Monday’s practice. “We understand that. But we did play finesse the other night. So, he was right to call us that. We’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror and we’ve got to own up to it and take responsibility. The good thing about this sport and any sport, especially basketball, you get to go play another game. We’ve got to throw that game out the window and get ready for Wednesday.”
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