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Full Court Press: Sounding the alarm, Isaiah Thomas calls out coaches, IT can’t keep bailing C’s out 11.19.16 at 9:57 am ET
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Nov 18, 2016; Boston, MA, USA;  Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) tries to get between Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been Isaiah Thomas or nothing this season for the Celtics. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The imagery was too rich. Moments after Friday’s 104-88 wipeout at the hands of the Warriors, fire alarms were going off all around TD Garden. Fire trucks had trouble getting down the side streets leading up to the Garden to turn off the annoying sounds that delayed Brad Stevens’ postgame explanation of the mess. 

Turns out, a grill on the fourth floor malfunctioned and overheated, setting off the 20-minute disruption. 

If only fixing the Celtics were that easy. But we’ll try. 

1. Shorten the bench. From early on in camp, the thought was that having a deep bench could strengthen rotations for Brad Stevens. It hasn’t worked that way. The bench is not producing enough and is getting constantly outdone by the opposing group of reserves. On Friday, three players on the bench had at least 23 minutes. Part of that was because of garbage time in the fourth and part of it was traveling to Detroit after the game for a back-to-back Saturday. A good three or four man rotation off the bench is the sweet spot for most NBA teams and the return of Jae Crowder and Al Horford should help that. 

2. Pray for health. The Celtics have been admittedly hard hit by injuries early in the season. Crowder (left ankle) and Horford (concussion) have missed most of the season while Marcus Smart dinged his left ankle Friday night. Crowder and Horford should return on the trip while the prognosis for Smart does not seem dire. When you’re missing two-thirds of your starting front court, there is going to be a problem.  The Celtics have been using this as a bit of crutch but it’s been a legitimate issue that has stunted their ability to improve early on. 

3. Bench Kelly Olynyk. He spaces the floor but at some point, when you’re 0-for-5 as a finesse big man and have grab three rebounds in 17 minutes, the message needs to be sent. The Celtics can’t afford his finesse game right now. They need bigs who will get dirty. Olynyk is heading back to the bench and he should probably stay there until the 7-footer shows the ability and determination to help on the inside. Stevens certainly sounds like he’s going to try and support Olynyk on board for as long as he needs him. “Kelly, I thought, has always done a lot of good things for us. There’s some tough match-ups out there [Friday] and I think that he’s had better games; he’d be the first to tell you. But he’s been a good player for us.”

4. Press more and create transition. This is a team with Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Smart. When they’re on the court, they should limit their half-court exposure and use their quickness to their advantage. With Crowder and Horford out, Stevens tried going with Jaylen Brown and Tyler Zeller to match up big for big. That didn’t work. They went to Smart to guard much bigger bigs. Not a bad idea considering he’s the healthiest low-post defender. In half-court, trapping more couldn’t hurt. They desperately need to create turnovers and transition offense for easy baskets, a category they dominated last spring when they made a run to 48 wins. 

5. Get to the basket. The Celtics are taking 30 threes a game, making 10 of them. The instant gratification from that is great. Here’s the problem: They’re not drawing fouls on the opposition and, outside of Isaiah Thomas (9/9 Friday) they’re not getting to the free throw line. Thomas is fifth in the league getting to the line, averaging 10 free throws a game, making 9. The inside game of the Celtics is lacking and that takes some dirty work. Do the dirty work, get to the line and rebound. All of that happens when there’s more of an inside commitment. 

Attitude problem:

Isaiah Thomas finally had enough after Friday’s 104-88 embarrassment on national TV to would-be Celtic Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors. 

The Celtics were humiliated 31-9 in the third quarter, a period that featured an 18-0 run by the Warriors. The Celtics were an abysmal 2-of-17 from the field and 1-of-9 from 3-point range. 

Al Horford or no Al Horford, Jae Crowder or no Jae Crowder, those numbers are appalling.

“We know we have two of our key players out and that’s no excuse but we were in the game for one half,” Thomas said. “Everybody seen that third quarter open it up. So if you take away that third quarter and play as close to 48 minutes as possible, we’d still be in the game. You can’t let a team like that go on a run like that and expect to come back.

And what’s more concerning is the lack of consistency the Celtics have shown over a 6-6 start to the season. Opposing teams aren’t just snubbing the Celtics like Durant, they’re rubbing their noses in it like Durant’s front court colleague Zaza Pachulia, who did a dance after a 17-footer that capped the 18-0 spurt. That shot made it 79-51. 

“Yeah. At that point, the game is turned around,” Thomas said. “I guess we we gave up. I mean, coaching staff as well. We started subbing, it was bad. Especially, I only played 27 minutes. We gave up.”

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, Kelly Olynyk
Mike Petraglia, Josue Pavon talk Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Warriors routing Celtics 11.18.16 at 11:45 pm ET
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The Celtics have a bad drought that costs them big time against Kevin Durant and the Warriors Friday night at TD Garden. WEEI’s Mike Petraglia and Josue Pavon have your recap of a 104-88 Warriors win over the Celtics.

JBL_CMYK_NoHarmanNoRBallWEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Josue Pavon, Kevin Durant
Steve Kerr would be surprised to hear much ‘venom’ against Kevin Durant from Celtics fans at 7:51 pm ET
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To Warriors coach Steve Kerr, the decision by Kevin Durant was all business over the summer. 

Specifically, two years and $54.3 million worth of business is what Durant signed for in Golden State, turning down the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and Tom Brady in The Hamptons. 

The Warriors head coach said before Friday night’s game that while he understands the disappointment of many Celtics fans that their team was able to pair Durant and Horford with Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley for a run at a title, they should also not take his decision personally. 

That won’t be the case as Celtics fans turned out early and began booing Kevin Durant when he took the floor for warmups 15 minutes before tipoff. 

“My guess is it’s all in good fun, right? You come to a game, you’re Celtics fan, you know that you were close and didn’t get him. So, what do you do? You boo him,” Kerr said with a smile.

“But I think most of that stuff is tongue-in-cheek. People come to the game to be entertained and let their emotions out. I don’t think there will be heartfelt boos. I would be shocked. Maybe it’s different in Oklahoma City. 

“He did what he did, made a decision for himself and he lives with whatever comes his way. It would be pretty surprising to hear much venom tonight. He almost came here but he came to Golden State. We’re cheering.” 

JBL_CMYK_NoHarmanNoRBallWEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant, NBA
Celtics Friday pregame: Al Horford, Jae Crowder much improved, will travel at 7:16 pm ET
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The Celtics could be very close to getting two-thirds of their starting front court back.

Al Horford, who missed his ninth straight game Friday night with a concussion, will travel with the Celtics on their three-game road trip, which begins Saturday night in Detroit.

Also on the trip will be Jae Crowder, missing his eighth straight game Friday night with a sprained left ankle.

“Al had, by far, his best day [Thursday],” Brad Stevens said before Friday’s game with the Warriors. “He did on some 3-on-3, some 1-on-1, went up and down [the court]. Felt pretty good. Hopefully, barring no setbacks, we’re closer than further with him.”

With Horford and Crowder out against the front court of Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia, the Celtics are in the position of possibly having to put 6-foot-4 Marcus Smart in a mismatch.

“We’ll mix up matchups all over the place. I think some [switching],” Stevens said. “Obviously, the biggest thing is you can’t get caught up in is you’ve got to have a body, you’ve got to be on them. You have to be able to contest their shots. They’re going to hit some shots other people don’t hit. You’ve got to be able to go down and score. That’s what you have to do when you’re playing a team like this.”

JBL_CMYK_NoHarmanNoRBallWEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

Read More: Al Horford, Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Jae Crowder
Isaiah Thomas continues to bail Celtics out as rest of team does some soul-searching 11.17.16 at 9:28 am ET
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Nov 16, 2016; Boston, MA, USA;  Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) drives to the basket past Dallas Mavericks forward Dwight Powell (7) during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas took matters into his own hands Wednesday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Crisis averted. 

Entering the fourth quarter, Isaiah Thomas was having a rough night, finagling just eight points to that point, going 3-for-13 from the field and 1-for-3 from the foul line.

What was worse, however, was the inability for multiple players to step up. Avery Bradley did, making his presence known with an 18 point, 13 rebound double-double. But otherwise, there was not much for the Celtics to hang their hat on. 

“I was afraid that we were going to have to really gut this one out,” coach Brad Stevens said. “We definitely stagnated quite a bit.”

Thomas ultimately went off in the final frame, dropping 22 points while going 4-for-5 from the field and 12-for-13 from the foul line

Kelly Olynyk was the only other player in double figures, netting 10 points. Otherwise, offensive production was subpar. Marcus Smart was 1-for-6 from the field, off the bench Gerald Green was 1-for-4 with, while most other while most everyone else off the bench was 2-for-3 or 2-for-4.

It has all been part of the process of learning to play without Al Horford and Jae Crowder, two player who conceivably will help pick up the slack when Thomas isn’t playing well once they return healthy. But as the team figures out how to step up in the meantime, Thomas indicated he’s going to keep rising to the pressure.

“I guess I just like that quarter. Sometimes guys get a little tired and the pressure gets a little tougher for them, I guess I just like the pressure,” Thomas said.

And while the numbers may indicate it was something of a one-man show, Thomas will be the first to say it wasn’t. He found vast success off the screen, and his teammates were integral in clearing the lane for the 5-foot-9 guard. This was especially true once Mavs big man Andrew Bogut fouled out.

JBL_CMYK_NoHarmanNoRBallWEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

 

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Isaiah Thomas,
Mike Petraglia, Ben Kichen dissect Klay Thompson-to-Celtics rumor, wonder when real Celtics will appear 11.16.16 at 8:05 pm ET
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On this week’s Celtics podcast, Trags and Ben discuss the latest trade rumors for Klay Thompson, the C’s defensive woes, and why Kelly Olynyk needs to wake up.

JBL_CMYK_NoHarmanNoRBallWEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

Read More: Ben Kichen, Boston Celtics, Mike Petraglia, NBA
Celtics Tuesday notes: Al Horford ‘just not where [he wants] to be right now’ while Jae Crowder returns 11.15.16 at 8:04 pm ET
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Al Horford

Al Horford

The waiting game continues for Al Horford and the Celtics.

The big man is still dealing with the lingering effects of a concussion and said after practice Tuesday that he’s not sure when he might play again. 

Horford suffered the concussion when he was accidentally struck by a teammate at practice on Oct. 31. There was a glimmer of hope when he traveled with the team on the two-game trip through Indiana and New Orleans. But on Tuesday, following a light workout, he told reporters that he’s just not ready. 

“I’m just not where I want to be right now, but trying to work through it,” Horford said. “This is something very new to me, so it’s just trying to get used to this.”

Horford declined to get into what is holding him back in the NBA concussion protocol.

“I’m not at liberty to discuss a lot of those things yet,” Horford said. “On-the-court-wise, the times that I’ve been on, I felt good with my workouts. It’s just to play, I’m just not there yet.”

While Wednesday against Dallas has been ruled out, there is the hope that he might be back in time for Friday’s matchup against Golden State at TD Garden. For Horford, it’s just a wait-and-see game. 

“I’ve been very motivated to come back. This is just something very different,” Horford said. “Like I’ve said, I haven’t dealt with anything like this before. So we’re really taking it day by day. That’s just all I can do right now.

“I want to be out helping my team, and us growing together. But the last thing I want to do is have a setback, come in when I’m not supposed to, and set myself back for a longer period of time. We’re trying to be as smart as we can about this. I just want to make sure that when I’m ready to go, I’m good to go.”

Horford has missed seven games and the Celtics are just 3-4 in that stretch. 

Meanwhile, Jae Crowder took a step forward Tuesday, taking part in shooting drills after practice Tuesday. He suffered a badly sprained left ankle against the Bulls on Nov. 2 and has missed the last six games. He has also been ruled out against the Mavericks Wednesday. 

JBL_CMYK_NoHarmanNoRBallWEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

Read More: Al Horford, Boston Celtics, Jae Crowder,
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