|Brad Stevens gets teaching moments for his team in win, Avery Bradley, Celtics ‘appreciate’ Amir Johnson||04.07.16 at 8:58 am ET|
The way the injuries had been piling up in the last four weeks, Brad Stevens was just happy he could make light about the elbow Marcus Smart took to the face in the final 90 seconds of Boston’s 104-97 win over the Pelicans on Wednesday night that result in four stitches above the right eye.
“He had four stitches just above his eye,” Stevens said. “Everything is in place and everything is fine. He will not have to wear goggles on Friday. I know that’s the most important part of the question.”
Stevens was referring to the constant questions he’s faced over the last several days about Evan Turner’s left eye and whether he might play on Friday and whether or not he’ll have to wear goggles to protect his left eye. As it turns out, Stevens said there is “a chance” Turner will be available against the Bucks.
Since mid-February, the Celtics have lost Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko and Evan Turner for stretches of time with various injuries. But after Wednesday’s ugly win, in which the Celtics blew a pair of double-digit leads in the second half to the Pelicans and had to pull away in the final 90 seconds, Stevens was just focused on his team playing hard and closing out games.
|Celtics make very public case for Isaiah Thomas as All-NBA||04.06.16 at 8:50 pm ET|
It’s an election year, and the Celtics are pushing their guy hard for a spot on the All-NBA team.
Isaiah Thomas has exploded onto the scene this year for the Celtics, leading his team to stunning wins over the Cavaliers in Cleveland and the Warriors last Friday in Oakland. He earned his first All-Star spot in February, playing for the East in Toronto on Feb. 14. Perhaps most significant, with Thomas leading the way, the Celtics are 45-32 and in position to make a run for the No. 3 seed in the East for the playoffs.
On Wednesday, the Celtics took the somewhat unusual move to take to social media and encourage those in the media with a vote to name the 24-year-old to the league’s all-NBA squad.
“I think as you look at the All-NBA, you’re looking for 15 guys that most impact their team’s success. Hard to argue against him,” coach Brad Stevens said before Wednesday’s game.
In making their case, the team pointed out that Thomas is:
- On track to become only the third player in Celtics history with 1,600 or more points and 500 or more assists in a season. He would join a pair of Hall of Famers in Larry Bird and John Havlicek.
- One of six players in the NBA to average 22 points and six assists per game this season.
- Only player in the league to average 22 points, six assists and commit fewer than three turnovers per game.
- Eighth in the league in points per 100 possessions (32.2 PPG).
The team also points out that the Celtics are a plus-9.5 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court versus when he’s on the bench.
Evan Turner continues to make progress from the injury to his left eye suffered in Sunday’s win over the Lakers in Los Angeles.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens announced before Wednesday’s game with the Pelicans at TD Garden that the guard has been cleared to do some work in practice on Thursday, holding out hope that he might be available against the Bucks on Friday.
“Evan just saw the doctor again today,” Stevens said. “He’s set to do light non-contact shooting [Thursday] with a chance that he’d play on Friday.”
Stevens did not want to put a specific percentage on Turner’s availability for Friday or whether he might need protective goggles when he returns.
“To be determined. I don’t know the answer to that,” Stevens said. “I think it’s one of those situations where they’ll reassess on Friday and figure that out.”
Turner, in one of his trademark stylish camouflage sweaters, was in good spirits with the team on the bench during Wednesday’s game against the Pelicans, cheering and offering support. He was wearing his normal eye glasses, as he was on Monday when he posted a picture on Instagram.
|Sleep-deprived Avery Bradley returns from daddy duties to help Celtics tune up for playoffs||04.05.16 at 7:35 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Being a leader on a team can be difficult and demanding by itself.
Throw being a new sleep-deprived dad on top of it, and anyone would have their senses overwhelmed.
Bradley welcomed his second child into the world at the tail end of Boston’s five-game road swing through the West, explaining his absence from the team on Sunday night against the Lakers.
Without Bradley in the building Sunday, the Celtics guards of Evan Turner, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier allowed Kobe Bryant to score 34 points but held the retiring superstar to 11-of-28 from the field.
“I know it was Kobe. I’m just happy the way our team performed,” Bradley said of the 107-100 win. “We try to play great team defense, and he was hitting tough shots. I’m just happy we were able to get the win.”
WALTHAM — Brad Stevens feels the Celtics and Evan Turner might have caught a big break.
The eye poke to the guard’s left eye Sunday night in Los Angeles resulted in just an abrasion, and Turner might be able to return Friday night against the Bucks at TD Garden.
Still, after a long red-eye flight back on Sunday night after the 107-100 win over the Lakers, the Celtics told Turner to stay home from Tuesday’s practice, get rest and let the healing continue.
“Evan is good. He’s at home,” Stevens said before practice. “He’s not going to be here today, not going to practice today. He’s not going to play [Wednesday]. But he should be day-to-day after that. The ophthalmologist saw him [Monday] and obviously, if he were to play [Wednesday], he would probably be a day ahead of schedule and force him to wear goggles, whatever the case may be.
“We’re hopeful that he can be feeling pretty good by Friday. So, I think giving him that extra two days is a probably a good thing anyway.”
|Evan Turner diagnosed with ‘abrasion’ of left eye, posts picture on Instagram||04.04.16 at 12:22 pm ET|
Evan Turner and the Celtics may have dodged a bullet. At least he’s got a sense of humor about his nasty eye injury Sunday night.
While his left eye was closed shut following Sunday night’s eye poke from Julius Randle with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter, he was able to make light of the unfortunate injury somewhat on social media.
He posted a picture of his eye on Instagram, making reference to his stylish jacket he was wearing, writing, “#lookhowfreshmyjacketis.”
In the picture, his face is transposed, making it look like it was his right eye that was closed when in actuality, it was his left eye that was injured.
“He was seen by Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte and Lakers team physician and diagnosed with a right eye abrasion and will be reexamined [Monday],” the Celtics said in a team statement.
His status for Wednesday against the Pelicans at TD Garden is uncertain at this point, pending further examination of the eye.
The Celtics have been relying on Turner to serve an incredibly important role on the roster, as he started for Jae Crowder in seven of the nine games Crowder missed with his right ankle sprain. Turner also started Sunday night when Avery Bradley had to leave the team for personal reasons.
Isaiah Thomas was paying very close attention to Kobe Bryant on Sunday night at Staples Center.
The Celtics point guard was watching how the 37-year-old handled his business for a 16-win team that was headed nowhere against a young team trying to clinch a playoff spot.
What he saw was an intense competitor who wanted the ball so desperately down the stretch that he screamed at teammate D’Angelo Russell when Bryant was open for a three. As it turned out, Julius Randle got the ball from Russell and converted a three-point play.
When he did get the ball, Bryant reminded everyone what he could still do, starting with his first shot of the night over Jae Crowder in the first quarter. Bryant had 11 points in the opening 12 minutes.
Bryant had 18 points in the first half as the Lakers stayed close, 57-48, at the half.
Bryant would finish with a game-high 34 points on 11-of-28 shots from the field. The Celtics won the game, 107-100, and a spot in the playoffs.
“He looked like the old Kobe,” Thomas said. “From the jump, from the first play, he just had a different energy about him. You knew it was probably going to be a long night if he felt good.”
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