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Celtics choice: Kevin Love vs. Paul George 05.26.16 at 10:39 am ET
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As the days pass leading up to June’s NBA Draft, we want to encourage the debate regarding what the Celtics should do with the No. 3 overall pick. In that spirit, we present, “Celtics choice.”

Today: Using the No. 3 pick to trade for Cavaliers forward Kevin Love or Pacers forward Paul George.

The case for Love

May 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) shoots over Toronto Raptors forward Luis Scola (4) during the second half in game five of the Eastern conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs won 116-78. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) shoots over Toronto Raptors forward Luis Scola (4) in the playoffs. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

At 27, one of the best pure scoring forwards in the game is in his prime. Returning from shoulder surgery, he scored 27 of his season-high 34 points in the first half of the Cavaliers’ win over the Magic in November. On Jan. 29, 2016, he had his best game since November 23, scoring 29 points on 9-of-19 shooting in a win over the Detroit Pistons. That game also marked the first time all season that Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving each reached 20 points in a game. He helped the Cavaliers finished the regular season as the first seed in the East with a 57–25 record. For the second straight season, he was the perfect complement to James and Irving, after overcoming his shoulder problems that started with Kelly Olynyk in the first round of the ’15 playoffs. He finished this season averaging 16 points and 9.9 rebounds a game. In the first round of the playoffs, Love recorded playoff career highs with 28 points and 13 rebounds in a Game 1 win over the Pistons.

The case against Love

Consistency. Last July, Love re-signed with the Cavaliers on a 5-year, $113 million max deal. He has four years left on it. Love can have games where he shows exactly why he’s paid so handsomely. He can also go long stretches where his production drops way off. In Games 3 and 4 against the Raptors, both losses, Love was 5-for-23 with 13 points total in the two games. Starting with a Christmas Day loss at Golden State, he went a full month and scored just 20 points once in 17 games. His numbers have dropped off in Cleveland. The drop from 26 points per game to 16 a game the last two seasons in Cleveland is understandable with LeBron and Irving scoring so much. But the falloff in rebounding is more alarming, as he’s gone from a league-leading 15.4 rebounds a game in Minnesota in 2011-12 to 9.9 rebounds per game in Cleveland. Danny Ainge has always like long, athletic shooters from the wing and has been looking for one but the question is whether Love is really worth the $113 million?

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers
Brad Stevens thinks his team didn’t show enough poise in loss to Cavaliers 03.05.16 at 10:10 pm ET
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Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) defends against Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) during the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs won 120-103. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) defends against Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) during the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs won 120-103. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

While there was an obvious discrepancy in the foul calls and free throw attempts through three quarters, that’s not what Brad Stevens focused on following a 120-103 loss to the Cavaliers Saturday night in Cleveland, snapping his team’s five-game win streak. 

“I thought poise was a big factor,” Stevens told reporters after the game. “I thought the biggest factor in the game was that we got the ball and really didn’t move on a lot on offense. And defensively, I thought we took ourselves out of position. Whether that’s a composure thing or whether that is an over-gambling thing, whatever the case may be.”

Stevens was referring to the fact that repetitive defensive breakdowns left Cleveland shooters wide open over the last three quarters as the Celtics wasted an early 18-point lead on the road, allowing Cleveland to score 98 points in the final three quarters. 

“It’s a long game … against a good team,” Stevens said of Boston’s 35-17 lead and its 35-22 advantage after the first quarter. “Another team is trying to get stops and score. That’s why we have to do everything we can control to do better against them. But this is a good team. We have to play a lot better and we knew we had to play a lot better than the last time to win the game. And we did it for a quarter instead of four.”

The Cavaliers held a big advantage in many key areas. They attempted 28 free throws through three quarter while Boston got to the line just 11 times. Marcus Smart and Jared Sullinger picked up technical fouls in the second half as the frustration grew. 

“We’re playing with a lot of confidence and we just have to stay together,” Sullinger told reporters.  We let some things get away from us. We just have to stay together. We didn’t keep our poise and the refs got to us. We’ve just got to do a better job of controlling that.”

“I think you’ll have to ask them. I think both sides were warned by the officials,” Stevens said. “I don’t think we played with great poise as indicated by our play. And all the other stuff, you’ve got to control what you can control.”

Cleveland had 29 points off 14 Boston turnovers. Iman Shumpert had six of his 16 rebounds on the offensive glass while Boston had just 10 for the game.

“We were out of sync a little bit,” Sullinger said. “We had four guys connecting and not five. When you have four, obviously that fifth person always makes a mistake. But back to the drawing board and we have to protect home court on Wednesday (vs. Memphis). You just have to let it roll off your back and move on and understand there’s another day to fight.” 

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Cleveland Cavaliers,
Studs and Duds: LeBron James gets physical in second half, rally Cavs past Celtics at 9:31 pm ET
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LeBron James (23) drives to the basket against Celtics forward Amir Johnson (90) during the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

LeBron James (23) drives to the basket against Celtics forward Amir Johnson (90) during the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

There was no miracle comeback or ending this time in Cleveland.

A month to the day of Avery Bradley’s game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer, the Celtics started out fast but couldn’t hold an 18-point lead and ran out of gas in the second half in a 120-103 loss to the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. It snapped Boston’s five-game winning streak. 

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 27 points while Jared Sullinger had 17 points and 13 rebounds. LeBron James had 28 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland. 

It was only Cleveland’s third home win in 10 tries against the Celtics in regular season play as Cleveland captured the season series, 2-1.

The game started out exactly the opposite from what happened exactly a month earlier on the same court. Instead of falling behind 15 points after the first quarter, the Celtics started out red hot, thanks in large part to their sharp shooting from 3-point range. The Celtics hit five of their seven attempts from beyond the arc, led by two from Isaiah Thomas, who had 10 points in the first quarter. 

The Celtics (38-26) used a 20-4 run to take a 35-17 lead before the Cavaliers (44-17) scored the final five points of the quarter to cut Boston’s advantage to 35-22 after the first 12 minutes. 

The Celtics got extremely sloppy with the ball in the second quarter, blowing their entire lead. Trailing 45-31, the Cavs scored 12 straight points to regain momentum. Boston committed six of their eight first half turnovers and the Cavaliers converted those six turnovers into 14 points as the Cavaliers went on a 24-8 run. In all, the Celtics’ eight turnovers resulted in 17 points as the Cavaliers took a 55-54 lead to the locker room. 

As sharp as their 3-point shooting was to start the game, their free throw shooting was just as awful. The Celtics missed six of their nine attempts from the line. 

The Cavaliers took their biggest lead of the game at 67-61 before the Celtics answered with the next six points. LeBron James missed a pair of free throws and Thomas hit a pull-up three to give the Celtics a 70-67 lead. James came back with a three of his own. The Cavaliers took advantage of a huge free throw discrepancy in the third quarter to expand their lead to 12, 95-83, heading into the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers converted 21 of 28 free throws through three quarters while Boston was just 5-of-11. 

The Celtics were able to get within seven on Tyler Zeller’s two free throws with 5:31 left but J.R. Smith answered with a three with 5:16 to put the Cavs up 10, 106-96. Cleveland pulled away down the stretch, with Boston ‘s frustration capped by Jared Sullinger’s technical with three minutes left. The Cavs went up, 115-109 when Matthew Dellevadova and James converted free throws. 

The Celtics emptied the bench with 1:26 left and the Cavaliers up, 118-103. The Celtics are off until Wednesday when they host Memphis at TD Garden. 

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box read on.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James,
Evan Turner on potential for Celtics in playoffs: ‘Sky is the limit’ at 12:24 am ET
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There are certain plays that define every game. 

Friday night, with the Celtics making a run back from a 100-92 hole with under four minutes left, Evan Turner made one of those plays.

Turner raced after a ball he tipped and then raced for it before it went out of bounds while the Knicks were standing and watching. Turner flipped it to Jared Sullinger, who in one motion turned and fired to a wide open Jae Crowder racing down the court for a layup with 92 seconds left. The Celtics were suddenly down just one, 100-99 and the crowd exploded.

“At first, Lance Thomas threw it, I tipped it. I saw it bounce and nobody go for it,” Turner said. “I was just trying to hurry up and save it. I saw Sully kind of even with Lopez. I was hoping from our team grabbed when I threw it. I just heard cheers, and I heard even more cheers as I turned around and Crowder laid it up. [Sullinger is] great at being aware of what’s going on downcourt and putting a great pass into the running man.”

It was at that moment where victory for the Celtics seemed inevitable.  

“And on the very next play, we get a stop and he’s dribbling up the court and just makes a 15-foot pull-up,” Brad Stevens said. “He does a lot for us and he’s really played well. Obviously, we don’t win the game without him.” 

The Celtics did win, 105-104, thanks to Avery Bradley’s layup with 17.7 seconds left and Carmelo Anthony’s miss at the buzzer.

“We came back from worse deficits,” Turner said. “Tonight, we were just down eight with 3:44 left. We were down 15 a few times with five minutes left.”

But the bigger picture is about what this win means going into Cleveland, a place they won the last time they were there (Feb. 5), on an Avery Bradley jumper at the buzzer. 

“We’re just riding a wave,” Turner said. “Once again, this is a great team win, great comeback win and obviously we’re a confident group right now and we know [Saturday] we have to come out and compete. Today’s over with. We just have to come out and compete, play our type of game and play confident.”

How far can these Celtics go this spring?

“I think we can go as far as … Sky is the limit. At the end of the day, we always give ourselves to play the right game and win,” Turner added. ” I think when it comes down to a four-game series and all of us are healthy, I think we can give a lot of teams a lot of problems. And when it comes down to it, you have to weather a storm versus adversity, playing versus great players, playing versus tough calls and everything like that. I think we can go as far as we possibly can.”

That confidence should come in handy Saturday night in Cleveland against LeBron James and a Cavaliers team looking for revenge.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Evan Turner, NBA
Mike Petraglia, Josue Pavon break down thrilling win over Knicks, look ahead to Cavaliers 03.04.16 at 11:59 pm ET
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WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Josue Pavon discuss how the Celtics were able to overcome a sluggish start and an inconsistent second half to beat the New York Knicks, 105-104, Friday night at TD Garden. Isaiah Thomas had 32 points and Evan Turner chipped in with 21 off the bench while Avery Bradley hit the game-winning layup with 17 seconds remaining, extending Boston’s home court winning streak to 13 games, matching the 2008-09 team that also won 13 in a row at home.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Evan Turner, Josue Pavon
Are the Celtics the 3rd team in a Kevin Love, Ryan Anderson trade? 02.17.16 at 9:30 pm ET
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The on-again, off-again Kevin Love discussion are apparently on again. Or not.

The Cavaliers have discussed a deal with the Pelicans that would bring Ryan Anderson back to Cleveland, according to The Vertical’s Marc J. Spears, and that potential trade could send Kevin Love packing to a third team, according to New York Daily News reporter Frank Isola.

Those reports have led to rampant speculation that the C’s could be that third team, as Danny Ainge has long lusted after Love and has the assets to live out his desires. As with the three-team deal involving Love’s Cavs, Carmelo Anthony’s Knicks and the Celtics, these reports should be taken with a silo of salt.

Thus ends the latest round of Kevin Love rumors. Until an hour from now, when they’re off again.

 

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Love, New Orleans Pelicans
Studs and Duds: LeBron James, Cavaliers win ugly over Celtics 12.15.15 at 9:50 pm ET
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After taking a 46-40 lead into halftime, the Celtics were outscored by 18 in the second half, and the final outcome of an 89-77 loss to LeBron James and his Eastern Conference-leading Cavaliers should have been a lot worse.

Cleveland (16-7) shot 51.3 percent to the C’s 26.2 percent after the break, turning what initially was a hard-fought playoff rematch into an ugly laugher of a game. The Celtics fell to 14-11 and seventh in the East with the loss.

Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 17 points, but required 15 shots to get there. Likewise, Jae Crowder scored 14 points on 13 attempts and Isaiah Thomas netted 12 points on 15 shots. They were the only three C’s in double figures.

For the complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

STUD OF THE NIGHT: David Lee?

Even if he wasn’t much help on defense, at least Lee did some work in the post offensively. He collected eight points on 4-of-8 shooting, adding four rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes off the bench. He finished the night as the C’s only player with a positive plus/minus.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: Take your pick.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA,
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