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Studs and Duds: Celtics bounce back, beat Hornets 12.12.15 at 9:49 pm ET
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Brad Stevens has to have the best cure for hangovers.

A night after an emotional double-overtime loss to the undefeated Warriors, the Celtics defeated the Hornets, 98-93. The win marks the C’s 10th straight when playing on the road on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Celtics struggled to find their legs in the first half, scoring only 38 points on 35 percent shooting from the field and converting a putrid 1-of-10 attempts from the 3-point line. But the Hornets, who came into the game with one of the league’s best offenses, couldn’t capitalize, as they too missed open shots.

The entire pace of the game changed in the third quarter, as the C’s hit seven of their first eight attempts from beyond the arc and built a 12 point lead. Despite a 35-point quarter, the Celtics squandered the double-digit 12-point lead, as Nic Batum (21 points) led Charlotte on a 10-2 run that closed the deficit to four.

The C’s clung to a narrow lead in the fourth quarter and escaped Charlotte with a five-point victory. Avery Bradley led all scorers with 23 points, while Isaiah Thomas (21 points), Jae Crowder (16 points), Evan Turner (10 points) and David Lee (10 points) also reached double figures.

The win pushes the Celtics to 14-10 on the season, just a half-game back of the Hornets (14-9) for second place in the Eastern Conference. The C’s will host LeBron James and the Cavaliers on Tuesday. The Cavs swept Boston in the first round of the playoffs last season.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, NBA
4 keys for Celtics to beat Warriors 12.11.15 at 3:06 pm ET
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Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry

Don’t let the Celtics fool you, this isn’t just another game.

The Celtics (13-9) have a chance to beat the undefeated Warriors (23-0) Friday night at TD Garden, and of course it’s not going to be easy. Reigning MVP Steph Curry is making a case for this year’s honor and leading the league’s best offense. Avery Bradley is going to do his best to pester Curry — make him uncomfortable, keep a hand in his face — but if the Celtics do knock off the Warriors it’s not going to depend on that.

The Warriors are a great team with a lot of weapons. If the Celtics are to pull off the upset, here are four things that would go a long way toward helping that happen.

1. Isaiah Thomas comes through with his season-best effort

No other Celtic has been more consistent than Isaiah Thomas. He’s averaging a team-high 21 points and leads the team in assists (6.3). The Celtics need a big night from their best scorer. If Thomas scores 30 or more points against the Warriors, it’s going to free up guys like Bradley and Jae Crowder. He’s only scored 30 points once this season (against the 76ers) but if there’s one Celtic you have to bet is going to score 30, it’s Thomas. Lately he’s been the second-half hero for the C’s. That has to end Friday night. Thomas needs to get it going early.

2. The C’s control the boards

Jared Sullinger has been a force on the glass lately, grabbing 36 rebounds in his last two games. But he is going to have his hands full guarding Draymond Green. Sullinger needs to out-rebound Green and keep him outside of the paint. The Celtics also are going to need all the second-chance points they can get. The C’s managed 17 second-chance points on 13 offensive rebounds against the Bulls, and they should be able to do the same against Green, Andrew Bogut and the Warriors.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Stephen Curry
Studs and Duds: Avery Bradley, Celtics bounce back against Heat 11.30.15 at 10:21 pm ET
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One night after suffering a 19-point loss to the Magic — another ugly outing in this up-and-down season — the Celtics responded with an impressive 105-95 victory against the Heat in Miami.

The Celtics improved to 10-8, jumping back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture for the time being, as they play the Kings, Spurs and Pelicans on the road over the next week.

Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 25 points on 15 shots against Miami (10-6). Amir Johnson notched a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), and Isaiah Thomas just missed one (16 points, 9 assists). Jared Sullinger netted 17 points, while Jae Crowder and Evan Turner each added 13.

Dwayne Wade’s 30 points marked the first time an opponent scored 30 on the C’s this season.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, NBA
Studs and Duds: No defense for Marcus Smart-less Celtics 11.24.15 at 10:55 pm ET
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Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

We knew Marcus Smart was key to the Celtics‘ success. We just didn’t know he was this key.

The Celtics entered Tuesday night’s game ranked fourth in points allowed per 100 possessions (96.6) and should be demoted 10 spots just for their effort in a 121-97 loss to the Hawks. This comes two nights after the Celtics (7-7) allowed 111 points in a loss to the lowly Nets.

After an R.J. Hunter jumper cut Atlanta’s lead to six two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Hawks outscored the C’s by a 38-20 margin on 14-of-18 shooting (77.8 percent) down the stretch.

Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 25 points, but the Hawks (10-6) countered with seven players in double figures, led by Paul Millsap’s 25 points and nine rebounds. If the playoffs started today, the Celtics would be on the outside looking in. They are as close to the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference as they are to the eighth seed, and Smart won’t be back for at least a week.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

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Read More: Atlanta Hawks, Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart
Stud and Duds: Celtics suffer worst loss of season in Brooklyn 11.22.15 at 9:27 pm ET
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What a difference 48 hours makes.

After crushing the Nets at TD Garden on Friday, the Celtics suffered what may end up being their worst defeat of the season, 111-101 at Brooklyn. Considering the C’s own the Nets‘ first-round pick, the loss is twice as tough to swallow.

The Celtics closed the third quarter on an 18-6 run, trimming a Nets lead as large as 22 in the first half to single digits entering the final frame. The C’s pulled within four in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get over the hump. They never led.

The Celtics started sloppy. Ten of their 17 turnovers came in the first half, and they couldn’t get into an offensive rhythm until the third quarter. But Brooklyn held firm in the fourth, shooting 50.6 percent for the game and outrebounding the C’s 49-35.

Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas both scored 27 points to lead the Celtics. And Evan Turner added 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Brook Lopez (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Thaddeus Young (11 points, 11 rebounds) each recorded a double-double for the Nets, who won for just the third time in 14 games this season.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Isaiah Thomas
Studs and Duds: Avery Bradley, Celtics blow out Nets 11.20.15 at 9:54 pm ET
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For the second straight game, the Celtics grabbed a big first-half lead — only they held it this time.

The Celtics outscored the Nets 68-40 in the paint and shot 58.6 percent from the field, blowing out the Nets, 120-95. The C’s led by 24 at the half (66-42) and opened up a 30-point advantage in the third quarter — their biggest lead of the night. Avery Bradley‘s 21 points off the bench led five Celtics in double figures. Jae Crowder (19), Isaiah Thomas (18 points, 9 assists), Evan Turner (12 points, 7 assists) and David Lee (11 points) also reached double digits.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

STUD OF THE NIGHT: Jae Crowder.

Crowder found his offense early and often against the Nets. After scoring 11 points in the first quarter, he finished the night with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He also pulled down five rebounds and had three steals.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: Joe Johnson.

Johnson couldn’t find a rhythm and was minus-19 on the night. He finished with three points on 1-of-5 shooting.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Isaiah Thomas
Studs and Duds: Celtics bottle up lethargic Rockets 11.16.15 at 10:37 pm ET
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Brad Stevens has entered unfamiliar territory, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

With their 111-95 victory Monday over the Rockets, the Celtics are now two games over .500 for the first time in the coach’s tenure. After struggling in the first quarter, the Celtics finished outscored the Rockets 87-67 to finish the game. Isaiah Thomas led the way for the C’s with 23 points, while Avery Bradley (21) and Jae Crowder (16) were also in double figures.

The two teams played with polar opposite energy levels. The C’s played with their normal aggression/desperation, while the Rockets looked as disinterested as a prepubescent boy at a middle school dance. The Celtics were extreme active in the passing lanes, which led to a season-high 16 steals. MVP runner-up James Harden was held to only 16 points on 4-of-10 shooting.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

STUDS OF THE NIGHT: Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas.

The pair spread their 44 points across all four quarters. In the first, Thomas carried the C’s, starting the game 4-for-5 from the field with 10 points and three assists. In the second half, it was Bradley’s turn, as he scored 13 points while sitting out the final eight minutes. Both finished 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. Thomas actually started over Bradley, who was able to score 21 points in only 20 minutes. Thomas scored a similarly efficient 23 points in 24 minutes.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: The entire Houston Rockets staff, basketball team, record label and crew.

It really didn’t seem like the Rockets ever wanted to win this game. A number of times they neglected to run back on defense. Mike Gorman was personally disgusted and offered his public condolences to Rockets head coach Kevin McHale, who I imagined just shrugged his shoulders and sighed the whole night. The Celtics seemed to win every 50-50 ball and on numerous occasions just ripped the ball out of the hands of Rockets players.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Isaiah Thomas
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