|Marcus Smart struggles from field as Celtics open summer league action with win over Heat||07.05.14 at 2:49 pm ET|
The Celtics kicked off summer league play with an 85-77 victory over the Heat on Saturday in Orlando.
The game featured 22 lead changes and 12 ties before a 25-13 Boston run to close out the contest helped the Celtics seal the victory.
Kelly Olynyk led the Celtics with 20 points (8-of-17 shooting) and eight rebounds while forward Mike Moser contributed 17 points (6-of-11) in 24 minutes off the bench.
Celtics rookie guard Marcus Smart struggled from the field (2-of-8), but made his presence felt across the stat sheet, finishing the day with 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and five steals.
Phil Pressey was solid as the team’s starting point guard, scoring nine points (3-of-9) while dishing out seven assists. Pressey also impressed many with a nasty crossover move on Miami rookie point guard Shabazz Napier.
Forward James Ennis led the Heat with 17 points (5-of-11) and eight boards. It was a rough debut for Napier, who scored 12 points but off a horrible 20 percent shooting percentage from the field (3-of-15) while recording just two assists and eight turnovers.
Celtics rookie guard James Young, taken with the 17th overall pick of the 2014 draft, did not play in Saturday’s game for precautionary reasons after injuring his neck in a car accident a few weeks ago.
|Celtics being ‘very, very smart’ with James Young as they leave for Orlando||07.03.14 at 3:27 pm ET|
WALTHAM – The Celtics held their final practice in Waltham on Thursday before heading down to Orlando for the Summer League.
With such a young roster that includes two big name rookies, the Summer League is going to carry significantly more weight for Boston than in past years. Marcus Smart is considered the most exciting talent that everyone is expected have their eyes on. Smart is just excited to get his first taste of the NBA; even if it’s just Summer League action.
“It’s still going to be a big deal because it is my first game,” Smart told media members before practice started.
Smart expects his Celtics squad to fare well when they take the court at the Amway Center practice floor in Orlando.
“Actually, we’ve come pretty far,” said Smart of his team’s progress over the last three days. “[We’ve] got all these new guys in, [Coach Jay Larranaga is] putting in some new plays, trying to learn some things and playing with different type of style. We’ve come a long way.”
We know Smart is ready to begin polishing his game in Orlando before his first season as a professional begins, however, fellow rookie James Young is in a different boat. Young is still recovering from a neck injury suffered in a June car accident.
“I haven’t heard from Ed [Lacerte], or Danny [Ainge] or Brad [Stevens] on what the plan is for James,” Larranaga told reporters.
Young’s status, in terms of playing in Orlando, sounds as if it’s up in the air at the moment.
“He did some more stuff yesterday as far as non-contact on the bike,” Stevens added on Young. “I think he’ll be continuing to do some of that stuff today, but I haven’t been given a timeline on it. And, obviously, he was in the car accident a couple weeks ago. It’s Summer League, we want to be very, very smart about this with him. He’s anxious to play, he’s antsy, he wants to [play]. But at the same time, I want to be cognizant of the big picture here.”
|Marcus Smart on Avery Bradley: ‘He reminds me a little bit of [me]’||07.02.14 at 3:15 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Marcus Smart is beginning to feel comfortable in Boston. Well, at least in the gym that is.
“Definitely,” Smart responded after being asked if the practice facility was beginning to feel like his own gym. “I’m knocking down shots on those rims now,” said Smart, while gesturing over to the nearest hoop, “so that’s good. I’m getting a little bit more comfortable day-by-day.”
Outside of workouts and practices is a whole different story for Smart.
“Nah,” Smart said, while shaking his head when asked if he had gotten a chance to explore Boston yet. “Especially with the two-a-days — we finish around seven [o’clock] – you’re pretty much tired. You get your workout and go to bed and start it all over again.”
Smart was expecting the NBA lifestyle to be this way, though.
“This is your life. This is your job,” Smart proclaimed. “If you want to be the best, you have to put in the work.”
“He reminds me a little bit of [me],” Smart said. “You know, physical, athletic, can defend the one, the two, or the three spot. [I can] do whatever coach [Brad Stevens] asks me to do.”
|Jared Sullinger admits he could do more to be in better shape: ‘I think conditioning was a big factor’||07.02.14 at 2:47 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Jared Sullinger got the message loud and clear at the end of the season from Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens. If the big man from Ohio State was going to take that next step in what many – including Celtics‘ brass – see as a successful NBA future, he needs to be in better shape.
Sullinger and Chris Johnson were the only players with two years of NBA experience in attendance Wednesday at the Celtics training facility, as the team continued its two-a-day workouts in advance of this Saturday’s summer league opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Orlando.
“I think conditioning was a big factor,” said Sullinger, listed by the Celtics at 260 pounds. “Late in the game, I’d get tired and stop doing the things that I normally do in the first quarter. I think conditioning will kind of help that out.
“[Joining the summer practice is] another opportunity to play against other guys and kind of push myself to another limit, work on things that I don’t normally work on by myself and then I’ve got bodies out here. Going against bodies, pushing myself through contact. So everything is kind of helping me with conditioning.”
But to the 6-foot-9 Sullinger, being in good basketball condition has not so much to do with his weight as his endurance.
“It’s more shape,” Sullinger said. “How long I can run, how fast I can run. Pretty much how long I can stay on the court without passing out. I’m working on that every day.”
Sullinger, still just 22, averaged 13.3 points and 8.1 rebounds in 27.6 minutes per game last season. Coming off season ending back surgery in his rookie season, he played 74 games, starting 44.
Of course, there is the possibility that the Celtics deal him. If they do, they want to get maximum return. Sullinger isn’t worried about what the front office does or doesn’t do. He’s focused on improving a team that suffered through 25 wins, the worst season of his college or pro career.
“I’m not a [general manager]; I’m a player,” Sullinger said. “But regardless of what [president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge], [director of player personnel] Austin [Ainge] or [assistant general manager Mike] Zarren do, I’m full support. My job is to play, their job is to manage. As long as I don’t try to manage and play, I think the Boston Celtics will be a pretty [good] team in the East.”
He may not be in the front office but there is one role he feels he can serve if he sticks around in Boston, and it provided another reason beyond conditioning for him to be in attendance Wednesday – leadership. One of those looking up to Sullinger while working out with him Wednesday was Kelly Olynyk.
“Honestly, yes, there’s things I can help Kelly out with, if I see something he’s not doing well,” said Sullinger, who will not be making the trip to Orlando for the Summer League. “We kind of police ourselves so he helps me out at the same time I help him out. It’s kind of two-way street. It gives me an opportunity to kind of help out the younger guys and kind of test my IQ and see if I really know basketball the way I say I do.”
|James Young (neck) sits out again at Celtics rookie practice||07.02.14 at 1:57 pm ET|
WALTHAM — It appears more likely that first-round draft pick James Young won’t be making his Celtics summer debut this weekend in Orlando as he recovers from a neck injury sustained in a car accident in early June.
Young did not take part in the Wednesday morning session at the club’s practice facility, the third straight absence as the team plays it cautious with the 18-year-old swingman.
“James observed practice, did the stationary bike a little bit and just watched and participated from the sidelines,” said assistant coach Jay Larranaga, who will be coaching the Celtics‘ summer league team for five games starting this Saturday in Orlando.
As was the case Tuesday, when the rookie missed both workout sessions, Larranaga deferred all questions about his availability to head coach Brad Stevens and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, neither of whom spoke to the media on Wednesday.
The car accident forced Young to miss several pre-draft workouts for teams leading up to the June 26 draft. There is a belief that uncertainty about Young’s medical status and his inability to work out allowed him to fall to No. 17, where the Celtics selected the former Kentucky Wildcats star.
In other news, the Celtics may alter their two-a-day regiment on Thursday due to Hurricane Arthur making its way up the Atlantic seaboard. Many team officials were going to leave Friday the Fourth but instead may opt to beat the storm down to Florida and have a workout in Orlando prior to Summer League opening on Saturday against Oklahoma City.
|Poll: Was signing Avery Bradley for four years and $32 million the right move?||07.02.14 at 10:51 am ET|
|Reports: Celtics re-sign Avery Bradley for 4 years, $32M||07.02.14 at 9:47 am ET|
Avery Bradley‘s dip into the waters of restricted free agency didn’t last long.
Bradley, who was tended a qualifying offer of $3.6 million for next season on Monday, has re-signed with the Celtics on a long-term deal just one day into restricted free agency, according to a report from the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett.
According to the Boston Globe’s Baxter Holmes, Bradley was signed to a four-year deal worth $32 million.
Bradley became a restricted free agent on Tuesday when the Celtics made their offer on Monday.
‘ Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) July 2, 2014
‘ Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) July 2, 2014
“Avery’s a big part of our future,” Ainge said on Monday when asked about wanting to re-sign Bradley. “I think that you, obviously, need three guards who are going to play a significant amount of minutes.
“I think Avery could be a very key player in us winning the championship. He does things that other players can’t do. His shooting continues to improve. We have all see in the past his terrific defensive abilities. I think he’s a big part of us.”
Bradley is coming off his best seasonBradley had per-game averages of 14.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals, while shooting 43.8% form the field, 39.5% from beyond the three-point line and 80.4% from the free throw line. Celtics‘ president Danny Ainge said before free agency began that Bradley was a big part of the Celtics future, reaffirming the teams plans to keep Bradley in Boston.
‘Avery’s a big part of our future,’ Ainge said, via Scott Souza of The Metro West Daily News. ‘I think that you, obviously, need three guards who are going to play a significant amount of minutes.
Ainge kept pouring on the praise as well.
‘I think Avery could be a very key player in us winning the championship,’ Ainge said. ‘He does things that other players can’t do. His shooting continues to improve. We have all see in the past his terrific defensive abilities. I think he’s a big part of us.’
Entering his fifth season in the NBA, the 23-year-old Bradley is coming off his best season with the Celtics, averaging 14.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals, while shooting 43.8 percent form the field, 39.5 percent from 3-point range.
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