|Fast Break: Celtics avoid worst start in franchise history||11.06.13 at 9:49 pm ET|
The Celtics avoided starting 0-5 for the first time since 1946-47 — the organization’s inaugural season — and delivered coach Brad Stevens his first NBA victory in the process, a 97-87 beating of the winless Jazz.
Brandon Bass (20 points), Jeff Green (18 points), Kelly Olynyk (14 points, 8 rebounds) and Jared Sullinger (12 points) all reached double figures, and Gerald Wallace contributed nine points and nine boards off the bench.
Here’s all that went right and wrong in the C’s first win in five tries to start the season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Full-court Pressey: The former Waltham star didn’t score a point in his 12 first-half minutes, but at least the Celtics had a point guard. With the C’s trailing 20-10, Stevens yanked Jordan Crawford in favor of Pressey 8:17 into the first quarter. In his first four minutes, Pressey served up three assists — halving Crawford’s total for the entire season — and ignited a 13-6 run to finish the quarter trailing by just three.
A couple 3’s: By bringing Wallace off the bench for the first time this season and somewhat staggering the small forward minutes between he and Green, Stevens was able to ensure that one of his two best options was on the floor for the entire first half. Of course, the duo still saw the court together in spurts, too, combining for 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in leading the Celtics to a 50-34 halftime lead.
Getting possessive: The Celtics committed an average of 19.8 turnovers and allowed 15.0 offensive rebounds per game in their first four losses. That’s a whole lot of extra possessions. Against the Jazz, the C’s respectively limited those numbers to 10 and six through three quarters. Hence, a 22-point lead on their way to victory.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Worst first: Facing a starting frontcourt of Bass and Vitor Faverani, the Jazz dominated the interior from the start — just as the C’s first four foes did this fall. Enes Kanter scored eight of Utah’s first 14 points, including a trio of buckets within 3 feet of the basket, as the Jazz opened up a 13-point advantage to start the game. As a result, Stevens started Olynyk over Faverani in the third quarter, Sullinger’s minutes increased and Kris Humphries even saw the floor. Just like we drew it up.
Flash Gordon: The Celtics had few answers for Stevens’ protege, Gordon Hayward, who amassed 28 points (12-20 FG), nine boards and five assists. Keep in mind, he becomes a restricted free agent this summer. Just saying.
So on and so fourth: The C’s fourth-quarter struggles continued, accentuated by an 11-0 Jazz run midway through the fourth quarter that helped slash what was once a 25-point Celtics lead down to eight with 6:26 to play.
|Celtics need to rebound after opening loss to Raptors||10.31.13 at 9:20 am ET|
Brad Stevens had good reason to be optimistic following his team’s season-opening 93-87 loss to the Raptors in Toronto on Wednesday night, but the first-year Celtics coach also had plenty of reason for concern. Mainly, the C’s were dominated on the boards, getting outrebounded 48-33, including 19-7 on offensive boards.
“When they broke us down, they crushed us on the glass,” Stevens told reporters. “They shot 20 more field goals than us. It’s going to be hard to win a game when that happens.”
Added Brandon Bass: “We tried to help and got ourselves out of position. Their bigs were naked under the basket for the most part.”
Jeff Green scored 25 points, Bass netted 17 and Vitor Faverani added 13 points and three blocks for the C’s, who lost to Toronto for just the sixth time in 26 meetings. Kris Humphries had eight points and a team-high nine rebounds.
First-round draft pick Kelly Olynyk played 16 minutes off the bench and scored four points on 2-of-5 shooting. Olynyk, a Toronto native, was a minus-19, tied for worst on the team with Faverani. Guard Avery Bradley struggled with his shooting, hitting just 4-of-13 from the field, and recording as many turnovers as assists (4).
The Celtics rallied from a 16-point third-quarter deficit and were tied at 78 with 7:42 left after a Jordan Crawford jumper, but they didn’t score again until 4:08 remained.
“At the end of the day we didn’t do everything perfectly,” Stevens said. “I didn’t coach a perfect game, but I think we can all rest assured we’ve got a team that will fight and we’ve got a team that will compete. And we can shore up a couple of those mistakes, maybe we can come out the other end of it.”
Rudy Gay led the Raptors with 19 points and eight rebounds.
The Celtics next host the Bucks on Friday night.
|Brad Stevens’ dreams hold key to World Series||10.23.13 at 2:26 pm ET|
Brad Stevens first noticed the magical nature of his slumber when he went nighty-night during Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. As Red Slox slugger David Ortiz drilled an eighth-inning, game-tying grand slam and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia lined a game-winning single against the Tigers, the Celtics coach drifted off to a bridge by a fountain where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies.
“I have to admit, I fell asleep at the end of the Red Sox game,” he admitted. “I’m sad to say that, but I woke up as they were celebrating. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I’m looking forward to watching the YouTube.”
All it took was one more sorcerous snooze to convince Stevens of his powers. As Shane Victorino lofted his go-ahead, seventh-inning grand slam in Game 6, the C’s skipper slipped into a spell set by actual flying Hawaiians.
“I’m absolutely embarrassed and ashamed to say that I fell asleep,” he accepted, “but I was really tired.”
And so goes the story of Brad Stevens’ wondrous siestas and their command of the miraculous 2013 Red Sox.
‘The key to the Red Sox is me falling asleep,” the anointed leader of leprechauns told The Boston Globe’s Baxter Holmes. “Because when I’m watching, it’s hard to score runs. When I’m asleep, magic occurs. It’s unbelievable.’
Seriously, no wonder the Celtics employ a sleep doctor. Their coach is a freaking human dreamweaver. Carlton Fisk‘s home run? Not even a zygote. Don Baylor and Dave Henderson‘s homers? Sound asleep in his Hoosiers pajamas. The Bill Buckner boner? Wide awake on Pop Rocks and Nerds. Pedro Martinez‘s no-hit relief appearance? Passed out at one of those epic Depauw University college parties you always read about. The Aaron Boone disaster? Glued to game film all night. The fall of 2004? Pulled a Rip Van Winkle.
Unfortunately, the C’s preseason finale coincides with Game 1 of the World Series, so it’s best to root for extra innings, granting Stevens ample time to hit the sack. Enter sandman, indeed. Maybe Leonardo DiCaprio and the fellas could induce this Inception directly in his Garden office. Just don’t forget to kick his chair into the bathtub when Xander Bogaerts touches home in the 11th. Same goes for the only other potential conflict, the Celtics’ season opener on Oct. 30. C’mon, admit it. You just don’t get this kind of Boston sports analysis anywhere else.
|Someone finally summed up Rajon Rondo perfectly||at 1:15 pm ET|
‘I knew from the first moment that I talked to him that he was going to be a person that would think not just about what you’re doing but why you’re doing it, and that’s a good thing,” Stevens told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman in their SportsCenter conversation. “This is a great example. When you run a play, there are five guys in five spots, and most basketball players will go to their spot, they’ll do what they’re supposed to do, but they won’t know what the other four spots do, because they don’t understand why you’re doing it. He gets it all, and it’s no different in leading. It’s no different in how we’re coaching or running the organization. He understands the big picture, and I think it’s really important that we continue to share and talk about that, because he’s a big part of this.’
And let’s just say Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge looks at Rondo from a different angle.
“It’s hard to find the perfect situation for everybody,” he told CBSSports.com columnist Ken Berger. “It’s my job to build the Celtics, and Rondo is a big part of that. Will everything be as perfect as he would like it? I don’t believe so, but it’s not perfect for us, either, the fact that he can’t play. I think Rondo is with us. I think he likes a lot of the core guys on our team now, and I think he is optimistic and looking forward to a new chapter.”
Not everyone can capture the enigmatic point guard in words. Actually, nobody quite has. Stevens came closest.
|Stat man: More of this Celtics lineup, please||at 12:17 pm ET|
After Celtics coach Brad Stevens finally granted Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace extended playing time together, the media immediately jumped on its perceived success following Sunday’s preseason loss to the Timberwolves.
‘I’d have to look at the overall numbers on it, but I thought we were pretty good in that stretch — both in the first and second half,” Stevens told reporters in the immediate aftermath. ‘We played them together some in the first half, when we played big on the wings, and we played them some together at the start of the second half. It’s probably a 10- or 12-minute clip of that. And, based on how it went tonight, I would say that you’ll probably see that again.”
It was actually a 14:34 clip of the highly anticipated Green-Wallace combo, and it started wonderfully. The two combined for 14 points on 5-for-5 shooting over a 4:23 stretch in the first quarter, adding two assists, two rebounds, a steal and a block during a span that trimmed Minnesota’s lead from 11 to four.
Beyond that? Not so much. They combined for a total of 8:11 during the second and fourth quarters, scoring seven points on 1-of-7 shooting to go along with three boards, two assists, two turnovers and a steal for a minus-2 rating.
|VIDEO: Top 10 2013-14 Boston Celtics Media Day moments||10.01.13 at 10:40 pm ET|
Irish Coffee’s annual Top 10 Celtics Media Day moments. A comprehensive look at the day’s events, including interviews with Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens, Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Brandon Bass, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Keith Bogans, Vitor Faverani, Avery Bradley, Jordan Crawford and Courtney Lee. Just about everyone, except MarShon Brooks, who flew under the radar. Along with his afro.
|Rajon Rondo ‘unlikely’ to return for Celtics’ season opener||09.24.13 at 1:41 pm ET|
MILTON — Over the past month, the Celtics have rapidly backed away from their projections this past spring that Rajon Rondo would be healthy for the start of the 2013-14 NBA season, and on Tuesday the organization essentially announced the four-time All-Star would not be in the lineup come Oct. 30.
“My understanding and the last time that we’ve had discussions about it is that it’s very indeterminate still, but it sounds like it would be unlikely that he would be playing at the very start of the season,” C’s coach Brad Stevens said from the team’s annual charity golf tournament. “What that means beyond that, I think that’s going to be on his doctors, the training staff and him making the call on when he’s ready. I’ve told him from Day 1, ‘Come back when you’re ready,’ because I think it’s really important that he feels really good when he’s back and ready to play.”
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge put it more succinctly: “I would be shocked.”
No players participated in the golf portion of the event, but Rondo was expected to arrive in Boston on Tuesday. He’s also expected to join the team when training camp begins on Oct. 1 in Newport, R.I.
‘I’ve been in constant contact with him, and so has Brad,” added Ainge. He seems to be in a really good place emotionally and mentally, and now we’re just trying to get the physical part done. And he’s got a ways to go.”
So, when exactly can we expect to see Rondo in a Celtics uniform again?
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?