|Why You Should Care About Wednesday’s Celtics Win: Jared Sullinger, Marcus Smart stand out||10.08.14 at 10:27 pm ET|
HARTFORD — The Boston Celtics beat the New York Knicks 106-86 Wednesday night at Hartford’s XL Center in Hartford (see box score here). With few standout individual performances beyond Jared Sullinger’s 23 points on 12 shots, the real star of Thursday night’s game was the Celtics‘ team defense.
The Celtics played aggressive, jumping in passing lanes and contesting jump shots. They finished with x14 steals and held the Knicks to 40 percent shooting.
The young Celtics guards, especially Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley, played at a frantic pace, leading to a number of scoring opportunities in transition. And the Knicks did not do themselves any favors, as they committed 28 turnovers.
Self-proclaimed underrated supserstar Carmelo Anthony also struggled, scoring just 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting from the field opposite Evan Turner.
OTHER REASONS TO CARE AOBUT CELTICS-KNICKS:
Marcus Smart made a shot!
Four, actually. After an 0-for during his NBA debut, Smart scored 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting. He scored 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in the second quarter. Smart, who normally looks to attack the basket, showed no hesitation taking jump shots. He also looked adept at running the offense, leading the team with six assists.
|Asset Management: Marcus Thornton’s Celtics future||at 12:38 pm ET|
I think we can all agree the Celtics won’t be raising banner 18 in the immediate future, and more likely than not the 2014-15 NBA season will result in another lottery pick come June, regardless of how ardently Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley & Co. argue the contrary. It’s been a year since Danny Ainge traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, launching the process of stockpiling draft picks and cap-friendly contracts. Since the Celtics failed to cash in those commodities in exchange for fireworks this summer, this season’s preview will have a Wyc Grousbeck theme, focusing on the hodgepodge of C’s pieces in a series we’ll call Asset Management. Next up: Marcus Thornton.
The second-round pick that later became Marcus Thornton was traded for a dude named Stanko Barac when “Li’l Buckets” was still a Kilgore College sophomore, and thus his well traveled NBA road was paved before it even started.
Dealt again on draft day for a pair of future second-round picks, the LSU transfer immediately launched an assault on a list of doubters that’s weirdly evergrowing for a player whose NBA potential as a volume scorer was rather accurately assessed by DraftExpress from the start. In his only full season on the Hornets, Thornton averaged 14.5 points on 55.0 percent true shooting in 25.6 minutes a night alongside point guards Chris Paul and fellow rookie Darren Collison.
Traded in season twice — from New Orleans to Sacramento for Carl Landry in 2011 and from the Kings to the Brooklyn Nets for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans last season — Thornton has been consistently productive ever since. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound shooting guard has averaged between 17.3 and 20.3 points per 36 minutes and produced a PER between 14.0 and 18.2 each step of the way — save for a 46-game stretch in Mike Malone’s system to start last season.
|Asset Management: Jared Sullinger’s Celtics future||10.02.14 at 1:22 pm ET|
I think we can all agree the Celtics won’t be raising banner 18 in the immediate future, and more likely than not the 2014-15 NBA season will result in another lottery pick come June, regardless of how ardently Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley & Co. argue the contrary. It’s been a year since Danny Ainge traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, launching the process of stockpiling draft picks and cap-friendly contracts. Since the Celtics failed to cash in those commodities in exchange for fireworks this summer, this season’s preview will have a Wyc Grousbeck theme, focusing on the hodgepodge of C’s pieces in a series we’ll call Asset Management. Next up: Jared Sullinger.
Sullinger’s No. 1 goal this summer was to work himself into better shape, an objective both Celtics president Danny Ainge and coach Brad Stevens publicly supported, and then he showed up to training camp looking an awful lot like the guy who finished last season in need of improved conditioning.
“I’m not where I want to be, but really, really close,” said Sullinger. “Getting up and down in practice has really been helpful. Especially because of the pace that we’re playing, there’s no choice but for me to get in shape.
“So, as long as practices stay like this — and with the competition we have with Brandon [Bass] and Tyler [Zeller] and Erik Murphy and Dwight [Powell] and Kelly [Olynyk] — you have no choice but to play as hard as you can.”
That competition could further cut into his minutes, especially since Stevens has adopted the annual league-wide preseason mantra of pushing the pace and has other frontcourt contributors on the roster more suited to do so. After Wednesday’s practice, Stevens said of Olynyk, “I think our best bet is to make him a big part of what we’re doing,” and then added of Zeller, “He runs hard to the rim. … I think we’ll see a lot of that this year” — both of which could mean more time on the bench for Sullinger this season.
|Celtics rookie James Young ‘definitely’ doesn’t see himself going to D-League||09.30.14 at 12:33 pm ET|
Celtics rookie James Young knows he has a lot to learn in his first season, but he’d rather his classroom be the bench in Boston than the court in Portland, Maine. When asked if he’d welcome the possibility of playing 30 minutes a game for the Maine Red Claws — the C’s NBA Developmental League affiliate — Young was less than enthused.
“Definitely not,” Young said from the Celtics media day in Waltham on Monday, adding, “If it happens, it happens, but I just want to stay here and get better like that.”
While Maine may not be the most tantalizing of destinations for the first-round pick from Kentucky, it may be he best opportunity to develop his skills. Young is only 19 years old, and given the number of swingmen the Celtics have on the roster, it’s difficult to imagine him getting a lot of playing time early in the season.
Young will look to impress coaches during training camp and preseason, but if he’s unable to prove that he’s NBA ready, it’s likely he’ll quickly become familiar with America’s Vacationland.
|All the Rajon Rondo news that’s fit to print on media day||09.29.14 at 2:52 pm ET|
“Usually, how falls happen, you slip, and I slipped and tried to catch my hand,” said Rondo. “It wasn’t like a banana slip. I actually almost caught myself and landed on my knuckle on the windowsill at my home. So, that’s how it happened.”
“They’re telling me 10 weeks, some doctors say 8, but since Dr. McKeon claims to be the best surgeon, he thinks I’ll be back pretty quickly,” he said, especially since the injury occurred to his non-shooting hand.
Pressed further on the injury, Rondo responded in wonderful Rondo fashion to the rumors that he broke the bone in his hand at a trampoline park.
“On Tuesday, I took my daughter to a trampoline park on Tuesday, and I did jump,” he said. “I learned some new tricks with my daughter. It was a lot of fun.
“Wednesday was her birthday. I went to ‘The Lion King’ with my daughter. I spent the day playing a softball game with a team, which we won. I scored about three runs. I didn’t bat like I was supposed to. We didn’t play at a softball field; I couldn’t hit out of the park. I made a couple top-10 catches and a one-hand grab and throw-out at first base that was really good. I impressed myself with that.
“Thursday came, and I took my kids back to a trampoline park in Billerica. I didn’t jump that day. I just let my kids play and run off some steam. It was a school night, so I wanted to go for about 45 minutes. People were really nice there. They let me in for free, so that was good. And that night, I went home, and that’s when the incident happened, so it didn’t happen at the trampoline place.”
He’s a Wizard now.
Apparently, Kevin Garnett wasn’t kidding when he said in January, “I think we’ll always bleed green as long as we’re playing basketball and as long as we’re living. Even when they bury us six feet, this is what it’s gonna be.”
Soon after the Celtics announced point guard Rajon Rondo broke a metacarpal in his left hand during a fall at his home Thursday — reportedly in the shower — and will miss 6-8 weeks of the season following surgery, Barstool Sports published a photo of Rondo at Billerica’s Altitude Trampoline Park the same day, fueling wild speculation.
Over the weekend, a pair of Altitude employees denied on Twitter any knowledge of the injury taking place at the business. “He sat and watched his kids jump,” said the employee who appeared in the photo with Rondo.
For what it's worth, a pair of Altitude Trampoline Park employees now saying Rondo did not suffer injury there. pic.twitter.com/TpAc5Svokf
— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) September 28, 2014
And on Monday, Altitude co-owner Kerry Hughes issued the following statement to WEEI: “In regards to Rajon Rondo‘s visit to Altitude in Billerica on Thursday the only comment we have is that he was here with his children and his children were the only members of his party that enjoyed jumping, climbing and our battle beam pit. He did not attract much attention as he only sat on a couch and watched his children enjoy our park’s activities. He appreciated our professional staff and allowed a few pictures to be taken. He left with no injuries or incident.”
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Why Celtics Will Be Better Than Expected in 2014-15
- Should Celtics Fans Buy or Sell Rondo's Hot Start?
- Lessons Learned from Celtics so Far
- Why Green Will Finally Succeed in Boston
- C's Big Offense Showing a Sign of Things to Come?
- Green's Transition to PF Could Reshape NBA Career Arc
- Could Rondo's Play Increase the Chances He's Dealt?