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Duke freshman Brandon Ingram declares for NBA draft on Players’ Tribune 04.04.16 at 6:04 pm ET
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Duke guard Brandon Ingram (14) shoots over Yale's Brandon Sherrod during the NCAA tourney. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Duke’s Brandon Ingram (14) shoots over Yale’s Brandon Sherrod during the NCAA tourney. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Add one name to the list of potential Celtics in the upcoming NBA draft — Duke scorer Brandon Ingram.

The 6-foot-9 freshman made it official on Monday in a story on the Players’ Tribune website, declaring for the draft to fulfill a dream of playing in the NBA.

“My time is almost over here in Durham,” Ingram wrote. “Today as I declare for the NBA Draft, I’m both excited and sad about this moment.

“On one hand, one year at Duke isn’t a very long time. I know that. But I’ve done a lot of growing, and growing up, in that time. I know by leaving I’ll miss out on a lot of friendships and opportunities. I’ll really miss all the students who showed me so much love. One of my favorite parts of the Duke basketball tradition is the high-five line at the end of home games. The students who camp out for seats for up to a week before a game — and get in their seats two hours early — are always still there after the final buzzer. Win or lose. You guys gave me the energy and support that I needed. I’ll never forget you all.”

Ingram averaged 17.3 points a game on 44.2 percent shooting, including .410 from 3-point land. Listed at just 190 pounds, the reed-thin Ingram will need to add bulk to excel in the NBA, where his body type and shooting ability have earned him comparisons to a poor man’s Kevin Durant.

Following  a disappointing season from LSU freshman Ben Simmons, Ingram has zoomed to the top of some draft boards. He’s expected to be no worse than the No. 2 overall pick.

The Celtics own the Nets’ pick in the first round. Brooklyn current owns a record of 21-56, the fourth-worst in the NBA, but it’s only a game behind the Suns for the third-worst record and a 15.6 percent chance at the first overall pick.

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Brandon Ingram, Celtics,
Brad Stevens on Kelly Olynyk’s return: ‘He looked like a guy that hadn’t played in 5 1/2 weeks’ 03.16.16 at 11:14 pm ET
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Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41) returned from a right shoulder injury Wednesday. (Jeff Hanisch/USA Today Sports)

Celtics center Kelly Olynyk returned from a right shoulder injury Wednesday. (Jeff Hanisch/USA Today Sports)

It was pretty much what Kelly Olynyk and his coach expected Wednesday night.

The 7-footer made his return to the Celtics rotation against the Thunder after missing 12 games with a partially separated right shoulder. Before Olynyk entered the game for Marcus Smart with 4:47 left in the first quarter, his status was up in the air until shortly before game time, when the big man determined he felt good enough to get back on the court.

In his team’s 130-109 blowout loss, Olynyk played 22 minutes off the bench. He certainly showed signs of rust, shooting just 1-for-7 from the field, including 0-for-2 from beyond the arc. He finished with eight points, six of which came from the free throw line.

In his postgame press conference, Celtics coach Brad Stevens did not sugarcoat his evaluation of Olynyk.

“He looked like a guy that hadn’t played in 5 1/2 weeks, which is to be expected,” Stevens said. “Which is why we put him back in at the end of the game. The more minutes the better.”

Olynyk took several hits to his shoulder early in the game, including one from Kevin Durant with 19.4 seconds left in the opening quarter that resulted in him missing one of his two free throws. Olynyk appeared to be uncomfortable at times. He stayed in the game, however, playing through the pain.

“Yeah, took a couple hits to it, little pain and discomfort,” Olynyk said. “And you know, just trying to keep its strength and keep those muscles activated. … hopefully you don’t take too big of a bump, but other than that it felt all right out there. It was just good to get back in the rhythm.”

The Celtics now have dropped three straight games in what is a critical stretch of the season. Next, the team will travel to Toronto to face yet another formidable opponent in the Raptors. Olynyk hopes to put this game in the rearview and help his team pick up a much-needed win Friday.

“It was good to be back out there, unfortunately the game didn’t go the way we wanted,” Olynyk said. “But we have another Friday and we’ve got to keep pushing.”

Read More: Brad Stevens, Celtics, Kelly Olynyk,
Report: Celtics have interest in Brooklyn buyout candidate Joe Johnson 02.25.16 at 2:33 pm ET
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The Celtics drafted Joe Johnson with the 10th pick in the 2001 draft before shipping him to Phoenix halfway through his rookie season. Could a homecoming be in his near future?

According to an ESPN report, Johnson and the Nets have begun buyout discussions that would free Johnson to sign with a contender, and the Celtics are among the teams interested in his services.

Johnson, 34, will be postseason season eligible as long he is released by Tuesday, and in a WFAN radio interview on Thursday, new Nets GM Sean Marks said he’d do his best to accommodate the former All-Star.

“I think he’s deserved the right to,” Marks said when asked if Johnson could join a team headed for the playoffs.

The Celtics will have a steep hill to climb to convince Johnson to sign, however, because if the veteran wants his first title, either Cleveland or Oklahoma City would seemingly offer a better chance of getting it.

Johnson is averaging 11 points a game for the Nets, down from his career mark of 17.0.

Read More: Celtics, Joe Johnson,
Report: Celtics, Danny Ainge ‘excited’ about possible trade for Al Horford 02.10.16 at 4:33 pm ET
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Al Horford

Al Horford

With the NBA trade deadline residing just 10 days away, things are getting interesting, particularly when it comes to the Celtics.

Speaking on CSN New England, Chris Mannix suggested there might be some traction when it comes to the Celtics’ rumored interest in Atlanta forward Al Horford.

“I think Boston, Al Horford is a legitimate possibility for the Celtics,
Mannix said. “I think that is one of the guys across the league that Danny Ainge is the most excited about. He is a four man that would fit right into what Boston is trying to do.

“It would cost a lot of money to re-sign him in the offseason, but I think Boston is willing to play it, because they haven’€™t paid a lot of money for players in recent years.”

Horford, whose contract expires at the end of this season, is averaging 15.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Mannix surmised that a potential deal wouldn’t get done until closer to the Feb. 18 trade deadline.

Read More: Al Horford, Celtics,
Studs and Duds: Avery Bradley buzzer beater lifts Celtics past Cavaliers in most dramatic win of season 02.05.16 at 10:43 pm ET
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Feb 5, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; The Boston Celtics celebrate after guard Avery Bradley (0) reacts after hitting a three-point shot to end the game and beat the Cleveland Cavaliers  at Quicken Loans Arena. The Celtics won 104-103. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Avery Bradley (0) celebrates his game-winner against the Cavs on Friday. (USA TODAY Sports)

It’s time to start believing in the Celtics.

Avery Bradley sank a corner three at the buzzer to give the Celtics a 104-103 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night for their eighth win in nine games.

Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 22 points, while Evan Turner filled up the score sheet, finishing with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists. Bradley, Tyler Zeller, and Jared Sullinger also finished in double figures as the C’s (30-22) maintained their hold on the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.

The C’s actually trailed by four with six seconds left, but Turner made a layup while being fouled. He missed the free throw, but the ball went out of bounds off the Cavs, giving the Celtics one last chance to win with 3.7 seconds left. The Celtics inbounded to Thomas, who avoided a double team and fed the ball back to Bradley in the corner. The defensive specialist let it fly as the buzzer sounded, coolly walking along the Celtics bench in complete confidence before the ball even swished to give the Celtics one of their most uplifting victories of the season.

It didn’t appear they’d have a chance after the Cavs jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter, but despite struggling early in the first half, the Celtics kept the game close. LeBron James scored 13 of his 30 points in the fourth, but the Celtics outscored the Cavs, 39-30 in that final frame.

The Celtics will welcome old friend Rajon Rondo to the Garden on Sunday when they host the Sacramento Kings.

For a complete box score, click here.

STUD OF THE NIGHT  Bradley deserves credit for hitting the clutch shot, but the Celtics stayed in the game due to the play of Turner. In the fourth quarter, Turner made a number of plays on both offense and defense, including a block of James. He finished with a game-high +11 in 32 minutes.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: The Cleveland fans, still upset by the Kevin Love incident during last year’s playoffs, are still quite upset with Kelly Olynyk, booing him every time he touched the basketball. Olynyk did not respond well to the extra attention, finishing with two points in 12 minutes.

VINE OF THE NIGHT: The Game Winner Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Avery Bradley, Avery Bradley buzzer beater, Cavaliers, Celtics
Danny Ainge says he won’t be afraid to deal Brooklyn pick at 9:09 am ET
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Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge

Appearing on Thursday’s Dale & Holley with Thornton, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge offered some clarity as to his approach toward the upcoming NBA trade deadline.

The most pressing question: Will Ainge be willing to include the Brooklyn Nets’ 2016 first-round pick — which the Celts own — in a potential deal?

“Sure. The Brooklyn pick could be had for the right person,” Ainge noted. “It’€™s going to be a costly price, as it would be for some of our best players. Look, we’€™re not looking to trade the Brooklyn pick, but at the same time, I could certainly see some things that we would do for the Brooklyn pick. And they wouldn’t be taking risks.

“We value [the Brooklyn pick]. Even the chance, even a small chance to get a very talented player is worth [keeping the pick] because you have some chance. And you can’€™t just give up a chance to get a really good player unless [it’s] for another really good player.”

Ainge added, “It would have to be, certainly, a very good player. And also it probably wouldn’t be someone in their 30s. That would have to be a good young player, because again, even if we had a 5 percent or a 10 percent or a 15 percent chance at one of the top picks in the draft, that’€™s worth keeping.”

Brooklyn has the third-worst record in the NBA at 12-38, with the Sixers (7-42) and Lakers (11-41) the only two teams with fewer wins. The Suns (14-37) and Timberwolves (15-38) are next on the list after the Nets.

Danny Ainge with Dale, Holley and Thornton

Read More: Celtics, Danny Ainge,
Studs and Duds: Isaiah Thomas, Celtics defense shine in win over Pistons 02.03.16 at 10:25 pm ET
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Feb 3, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) defends against Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson (1) in the first quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Zeller cuts off Reggie Jackson‘s path to the basket. (USA TODAY Sports)

Like Will Ferrell in “Old School,” the Celtics are officially streaking. The C’s won for the seventh time in eight games on Wednesday night, leading from wire-to-wire in a 102-95 victory over the Pistons.

Isaiah Thomas (17 points) led five Celtics in double figures as the Celtics opened a 24-point lead before holding on down the stretch. Guard Marcus Smart sealed it with a corner 3-pointer in the final 90 seconds with the lead down to seven.

The Celtics won with interior defense and efficient offense. They did a stellar job of defending the pick and roll between Pistons All-Star Andre Drummond and Boston College alumnus Reggie Jackson. And they picked the Pistons apart inside, scoring on drives and backdoor cuts, finishing with 54 points in the paint and 18 points on fast breaks.

Avery Bradley scored 15 points on 7-of-15 shooting, and the Celtics bench combined for 42 points. Jackson’s 17 points and Drummond’s double-double (16 points, 13 rebounds) led the Pistons.

With the win, the Celtics have won six straight at home and remain tied with the Hawks for third place in the Eastern Conference.

For a complete box score, click here. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Celtics 102 Pistons 95, Evan Turner, Isaiah Thomas
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