|Brad Stevens envies the ‘beautiful basketball’ of the Atlanta Hawks after seeing it up close and personal||01.15.15 at 10:24 am ET|
He thought maybe his team would see how Atlanta (31-8) is playing the game right now for their coach Mike Budenholzer and be inspired. He thought wrong.
Not three minutes into the game, Stevens had to call a timeout to remind his young team, still working to learn each other’s game, that he wants them to run basic offense.
“I thought our offense was pretty poor all night, and I think they’re obviously a difficult-enough offense to guard,” Stevens said. “But when you give them run-out dunks, it doesn’t help anything, and we just turned the ball over too much. Put too much pressure on ourselves to be good in the half-court defensively, and then to come back.
“We had cut it to nine and we were playing with some pretty good energy, but then at the end of the day they made us pay on a few different plays. And they do such a great job of ‘ they don’t over-dribble, you know? They attack, they space, they pass ‘ it’s beautiful basketball. They really move the ball well. And I thought we never really got into anything from a movement standpoint. We got pushed out a little bit out of our space and we fumbled the ball all around as a result of that.”
The Celtics responded in the first quarter and managed a 24-24 tie after 12 minutes. But the roof started to cave in when the shots didn’t fall in the second and they could never really recover from a 57-45 halftime hole. Still, it was the start of the game that stuck in Stevens’ craw.
|Jared Sullinger would rather not change momentum||at 12:45 am ET|
While his team’s double-digit loss to the Hawks came as no surprise — even as Atlanta rested starters Al Horford and Kyle Korver — Celtics coach Brad Stevens wasn’t pleased with his team’s effort almost from the opening tip.
“I was really disappointed with our first three minutes of the game,” Stevens said of a timeout that came just 2:38 into Wednesday’s 105-91 loss to the red-hot Hawks. “I’m usually not that disappointed in the first three minutes of the game. I thought it was poorly played on our part.”
Things didn’t get much better over the final 45 minutes, either, as Kelly Olynyk allowed dunk after layup after dunk inside, Tyler Zeller finished 0-for-4 from the floor and Stevens continued to dig deep into his rotation.
“Well, I thought our offense was pretty poor all night, and I think they’re obviously a difficult enough offense to guard,” added Stevens. “But when you give them run-out dunks, it doesn’t help anything, and we just turned the ball over too much.” (Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?)
With usual energy boosters Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart struggling to produce, the Celtics desperately needed a game-changer, but only Phil Pressey (7 points, 2 assists) on the end of the bench provided any punch.
|Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder carry leadership torch||01.13.15 at 2:01 am ET|
“It’s kind of like being a younger brother,” C’s rookie Marcus Smart said following a 108-100 victory against the Pelicans. “You’re always told, ‘You can’t do this; you’ll never do this,’ and you just want to prove them wrong. And that’s kind of what we’re trying to do.”
Rondo has since admitted to a lack of effort during his final 18 months in Boston, and Green was notorious for showing up one night only to disappear the next. That’s a horrible message for young players, and probably part of the reason they’re gone.
“I’d like to see everybody carry the torch,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said of a void left by trading his two top players, adding: “Everybody has to be a leader, and I’ve seen just in recent weeks that there are more voices to be heard and more people that are stepping up and trying to be leaders, and time will tell whether they can be. Sometimes some voices snuff out the voice of others, and we’re tying to create a culture where everybody takes ownership and it results in the success of the team.”
|Celtics finalize Jeff Green trade for a No. 1 pick, Austin Rivers and Tayshaun Prince’s expiring contract||01.12.15 at 11:53 am ET|
The Celtics officially announced the Jeff Green trade for an unidentified future first-round pick, Tayshaun Prince‘s $7.7 million expiring contract and Austin Rivers, son of former C’s coach Doc Rivers.
Green, whose 17.6 points per game currently lead the Celtics, joins a Grizzlies team battling for home-court advantage in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Memphis sends Quincy Pondexter and a second-round pick to a Pelicans squad in search of a playoff spot.
According to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who first reported the deal, the Celtics will receive a first-round pick from Memphis that won’t come to fruition until 2019 and are expected to send Rivers elsewhere in exchange for a second-round pick and expiring contracts. Surprisingly, the Clippers have been mentioned as a potential trade partner, potentially pairing Rivers with his father in Los Angeles.
Prince’s expiring deal will give the Celtics as much as $30 million in cap space this summer.
Following the trade’s completion, Green posted his appreciation for Boston on Instagram.
|Report: Celtics finalizing Jeff Green trade to Grizzlies||01.09.15 at 7:05 pm ET|
Mere moments after finalizing a deal with his former assistant general manager, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge phoned another erstwhile front office employee to make a separate trade on a wild Friday night.
According to multiple reports, Ainge has agreed to trade Jeff Green to the Grizzlies in exchange for Tayshaun Prince‘s expiring $7.7 million contract and a protected first-round draft pick. The two teams are reportedly waiting on a third team to facilitate the deal. Green remained active for the C’s game against the Pacers on Friday, but was replaced in the starting lineup by Jae Crowder. The deal cannot be finalized until Monday, offering either team a chance to back out.
The news of Green’s imminent departure comes shortly after the Celtics sent newly acquired Brandan Wright to the Suns for another protected first-rounder.
Suns GM Ryan McDonough was once Ainge’s assistant, and Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace held the same position in Boston from 1997-2007. In a strange twist, current Memphis vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger had this to say of Green in 2012 while a writer for ESPN.com:
I can’t stress this enough: Green is 26 and played four full seasons in the league, and after all that time there’s no evidence he’s actually any good and considerable evidence that he’s a health risk. Yet he’s being paid like a second-tier star. This was, without a doubt, the worst contract of the summer.
The deals give the Celtics as many as 11 first-round selections over the next four seasons, although that number will more likely be nine based on the protection of picks acquired in exchange for Green, Wright, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers and Jordan Crawford. In addition to their own No. 1 picks through 2018, the Celtics also have the rights to the following:
|Celtics trade Brandan Wright to Suns for pick(s)||at 6:01 pm ET|
The Celtics traded recently acquired and underused forward Brandan Wright to the Suns for a future draft picks(s), the team announced on Friday night. Yahoo Sports guru Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the trade on Twitter.
In exchange for Wright — seemingly the prized jewel in Celtics president Danny Ainge’s trade of Rajon Rondo — Suns general manager Ryan McDonough is sending a Timberwolves pick to his former employer that is top-12 protected for this season and next before turning into a pair of second-round picks in 2016 and 2017.
The 6-foot-9 Wright came to the Celtics with the league’s highest field goal percentage (74.8 percent), but then played in just eight games for Boston, averaging 3.3 points and 2.1 rebounds in only 10.8 minutes a night.
In essence, the Celtics have turned Rondo into Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson’s relatively low $2.73 million expiring contract, a late 2016 first-round pick from Dallas and two second-round picks from Minnesota in 2016 and 2017.
Meanwhile, the Celtics are nearing a deal that would send Jeff Green to the Grizzlies in exchange for Tayshaun Prince‘s $7.7 million expiring contract and a future first-round pick, according to Wojnarowski, likely giving Ainge nine No. 1 selections over the next four seasons.
|Jared Sullinger: ‘We can’t play hero ball [because] we don’t have heroes’||01.06.15 at 8:58 am ET|
Jared Sullinger played one season with Paul Pierce. But that one season was enough to learn a very valuable lesson from the former captain.
One man can’t win a game. He can make a shot or haul in a rebound or make a big defensive play. But Paul Pierce learned from Doc Rivers at an early age that “hero ball” – the act of putting your team on your shoulders and trying to do it all yourself.
Monday night was yet another example of that for the 11-21 Celtics as they fell behind 50-36 at the half and by 22 in the second half before making a meaningless run in a 104-95 loss to the lowly Hornets at TD Garden.
Down 22, Stevens took most of his regulars out and turned to his bench, led by 13 points apiece from rookie James Young and Jae Crowder. But it wasn’t enough. The lesson?
“It’s a natural habit from a ton of great players,” Sullinger said. “These are all great players. We didn’t get to the league by accident. We’re great players and our natural ability comes out and we try to make that home run play. But as a team, that hurts you. As a team, that hurts you. It’s not just one individual, it’s everybody. Sometimes, I do it. We just have to step outside of ourselves and put he team first and then the home run plays will naturally spit themselves out in our system.
“We have to understand that one play is not going to make up an 18-point deficit,” Sullinger said. “That’s definitely what it’s called. It’s called hero ball. We can’t play hero ball. We don’t have heroes.
“Being a hero makes you a failure, makes you a failure. You can’t play one on five at all. As a team, the system is going to spit out who’s going to score, who’s night it is. You just have to play basketball and do better.”
Brad Stevens tried to make the same point.
“That’s the type of coach he is but as a team, we just have to do better,” Sullinger said.
Sullinger made a point after Monday’s 104-95 loss shows the weaknesses a fragile, young team has.
“No, not at all. Not at all,” Belichick said. “It’s natural. If you look around at everybody in this room was a big impact in college basketball or a big impact at wherever they played. And, their ability of us as individuals automatically says, ‘let me put the team on my back.’ As a team, you can’t do that. It’s not just one person, it’s everybody.
Look at Evan. He was a national player of the year. Tyler was an 18-10 guy at North Carolina. Marcus Smart was the man at Oklahoma State. James Young was the man at Kentucky. Jeff Green at Georgetown. I could go on and on and on. Everybody at one point was a focal point.”
Re: James Young back in: ‘Yea all his hard work he’s been putting in. Going back and forth from Maine to Boston and all the hard work he’s been putting in throughout the couple weeks is finally showing. I’m so proud and happy for him and the best is yet to come.’
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