|Stud and duds: Celtics suffer worst loss of season in Brooklyn||11.22.15 at 9:27 pm ET|
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 (3-11). Considering the C’s (7-6) 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 out-rebounding 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.
|Source: Marcus Smart, Evan Turner undergo MRIs for knee issues||11.21.15 at 11:59 am ET|
Celtics guards Marcus Smart and Evan Turner at New England Baptist Hospital underwent MRIs to evaluate meniscal damage following Friday night’s blowout win over the Nets, a source told WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia.
Smart left the 120-95 victory with 9:26 remaining in the fourth quarter and was ruled out for the remainder of the game with a bruised left knee. Turner played the final 16:07 of the win.
The results of the MRIs and extent of the damage to their knees is unknown. Medical personnel fear damage to Turner’s meniscus and poplitel tendon and a tibiofibular subluxation for Smart, according to the source.
Turner suffered a right knee strain during the preseason, but has not missed a game in a Celtics uniform, playing all 82 contests last season. Smart missed three games with a toe injury earlier this season and 15 games last year. The Celtics are not scheduled to practice on Saturday and are planning to leave for Sunday’s rematch with the Nets in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon.
UPDATE: Smart (lower left leg injury) will not travel with the team on its two-game road trip to Brooklyn and Atlanta, but Turner (right leg strain) will and should be available for Sunday’s game, the team announced.
|Studs and Duds: Avery Bradley, Celtics blow out Nets, 120-95||11.20.15 at 9:54 pm ET|
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.
|2016 Celtics Mock Draft Pick Power Rankings v2.0||11.19.15 at 10:18 am ET|
The Celtics own as many as eight draft picks in June 2016 — only one of which is their own — and the unprotected selection from the Nets is legitimately one of the most fascinating storylines in the entire NBA this season. We’ll regularly update the status of those selections, speculating when and who the Celtics will pick.
3. Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn): Dragan Bender.
The Celtics can thank the Rockets and Hawks for delivering the only two Nets wins in 12 tries. Houston, as we learned on Wednesday, was in disarray, and it’s likely Brooklyn delivered the knockout punch before Boston rang the death knell on Kevin McHale‘s coaching tenure. But what’s Atlanta’s excuse for losing to the Nets (2-10)?
Unfortunately, Brook Lopez (19.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.4 bpg, 1.5 apg, 53.5 TS%, 21.1 PER) and Thaddeus Young (15.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.5 spg, 55.5 TS%, 20.5 PER) might be too good to allow Brooklyn to finish with the absolute worst record in the league.
|Studs and duds: Celtics blow 18-point lead in loss to Mavericks||11.18.15 at 10:09 pm ET|
For a while there, it looked like the Celtics were going to hand a third straight Western Conference foe a blowout loss. In the end, it was the C’s who blew an early 18-point lead and collapsed down the stretch.
The Mavericks went on an 11-4 run over a five-minute stretch late in the fourth quarter, turning a tie game into a seven-point lead with 30 seconds remaining. The Celtics had a chance to tie during a frantic final few possessions, but Isaiah Thomas turned it over in transition and Dallas went on to win, 106-02.
Thomas led the Celtics (6-5) with a team-high 19 points and six assists. Jared Sullinger (18 points, 12 rebounds), Avery Bradley (18 points), Jae Crowder (14 points) and David Lee (14 points) also reached double figures. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks (8-4) with a game-high 23 points on 14 shots.
For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.
STUD OF THE NIGHT: Avery Bradley.
Comfortable in his newfound role as a sixth man, Bradley scored 12 straight points on five consecutive shots, and then dropped a behind-the-back pass to Isaiah Thomas on the next trip down the floor. In the process, the Celtics doubled their lead from nine to 18 and ignited the Garden crowd. When the Mavericks swung the momentum and erased the C’s lead early in the second half, Bradley’s put-back dunk (see below) stopped the bleeding, and his corner 3-pointer stretched the lead back to seven at the end of the third.
DUD OF THE NIGHT: Kelly Olynyk.
It’s not that Olynyk was bad. Despite underwhelming numbers (5 points, 3 rebounds), he owned the C’s second-best plus/minus rating behind Isaiah Thomas through three quarters (plus-14). It’s that Olynyk can’t stop fouling folks. After fouling out in 17 minutes against the Thunder on Sunday, Olynyk collected five fouls in his first 10 minutes against the Mavericks, forcing him to ease up on his already lax defense.
“First and foremost, we’re in a business where expectations certainly drive decisions at times,” Stevens told reporters before his team hosted the Mavericks. “I don’t agree with the firing, but it’s not my choice to make. I think Kevin is a great coach. Kevin has been great to me. Kevin is obviously a great Celtic. People love him everywhere they’ve been. Everybody that you hear from loves working with him, loves being around him, so to me, from the outside looking in, it looks like 11 games in making a rash decision, but it’s not my call.”
OK, so Stevens didn’t exactly blast the Rockets, but he questioned them, and it’s nice to see behind the curtain. Only 32 people in the world have the job at any given time, so the NBA coaching fraternity can be a tight-knit bunch. Stevens said he wasn’t too familiar with McHale outside of the Hall of Famer’s work as a coach, leading the Rockets to the Western Conference finals last season, but noted that McHale and C’s president Danny Ainge are “close friends,” dating back to their time together in Boston during the 1980s.
Another guy who spent time with both Ainge and McHale on the ’80s Celtics was Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, who also had some pointed remarks for former C’s assistant general manager Daryl Morey, now the GM in Houston.
“I was extremely surprised that McHale was let go,” Carlisle said before Wednesday’s game. “Here’s a guy who has such amazing integrity as a person. You watch him on the sidelines, and he walks with a limp because of the sacrifices he made to become one of the greatest champions in history. He loves and respects the game so much.
“It’s surprising when something like this happens — shocking — but he’s going to be fine,” added Carlisle. “He’s going to get a chance to get some rest here, probably jump on TV and have a blast doing that, and then there will be a lot of teams wanting to hire him, because he did a fantastic job in Houston. When you look at their team over the last few years, their roster was constantly in flux, and he just did an amazing job putting that together and bringing those guys back from down 3-1 in the conference semifinals. That’s a guy with some great coaching credentials, and his other championship credentials really go without saying.”
As for whether the 1985-86 Celtics were the greatest team in NBA history, Carlisle agreed with Ainge: “Yes.”
As is often the case, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban just said what we were all thinking.
Asked about the trade that sent Rajon Rondo to Dallas and brought Jae Crowder to Boston, the “Shark Tank” star told reporters before Wednesday night’s game, “[Expletive] happens, right? There are a lot of risks I’ve taken that have worked out just fine. They’re not all going to work.”
“Obviously, they had a really good player in Rondo, and it didn’t work out,” Stevens told a pool of reporters pregame. He added, “Crowder’s done well for us. That’s been pretty well documented. I’m not into judging or analyzing or rating how trades go; I’m more interested in who’s on our team.”
Both Stevens and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle took time to properly credit Dwight Powell, the former C’s undrafted free agent who was thrown into the Rondo deal. The only piece remaining from the deal in Dallas, Powell entered Wednesday’s game averaging 10.5 points and 8.1 rebounds.
“After the trade, I talked to Brad, and Brad said, ‘Hey, we really like this guy and didn’t want to give him up,’ but they had to put some other things in the deal,” said Carlisle. “Powell’s worked extremely hard. He’s a guy with energy — he goes hard all the time — he’s got skill and he’s a great worker. We’ve really needed him this year, and he’s stepped up. He’s played well.”
Once again, Cuban cut to the chase. “I think when it’s all said and done, that Crowder for Powell trade will be a break-even,” said the billionaire. Well, don’t forget about that top-seven protected first-round pick the Mavericks still owe the Celtics. That’s when Cuban probably should have taken a cue from his television show and told C’s president Danny Ainge on Rondo: “I’m out.”
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