|Brad Stevens doesn’t watch Villanova title-winner, and who can blame him?||04.05.16 at 3:14 pm ET|
WALTHAM — As epic as Villanova’s title-winning shot was from Kris Jenkins, there was one man who didn’t mind missing out on the second half.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens watched the first half of the Villanova-North Carolina game Monday night before turning in after a very long 24 hours. After a red-eye flight back from Los Angeles, getting into Boston at 7 a.m. and getting medical (Evan Turner) and paternal (Avery Bradley, Jonas Jerebko) updates on his players, Stevens felt comfortable turning in.
The college basketball game of the century ended when Jenkins sank a 25-footer at the buzzer, giving Villanova a 77-74 win and its first national title since 1985.
“I watched the first half and then saw the highlights this morning,” Stevens said.
Then he was reminded of the painfully obvious. As Butler’s coach, he was on the sideline in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium in April 2010 when Gordon Hayward’s shot at the buzzer against Duke nearly accomplished what Jenkins did Monday night in Houston. Still, he was asked what he thought when he saw the highlight of Jenkins’ shot that came just moments after Marcus Paige’s bicycle-kicking 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds to go that tied the game at 74.
“I think I’m probably the wrong person to ask. I think it’s obviously cool to see those kids perform on that stage and get those opportunities and I’m happy for all of them that they got that,” Stevens said. “To make shots in that moment and to ultimately win it, and the way that both teams handled it I thought was really impressive.”
|Will Shav Randolph be a playoff factor for Celtics?||04.06.13 at 11:10 am ET|
With injury comes opportunity. It’s one of the oldest cliches in sports.
Has the play of someone like unheralded power forward Shavlik Randolph opened Rivers’ eyes and those of the coaching staff enough to warrant serious consideration in the playoff rotation?
After a career-high 16 points and seven rebounds, providing the only real energy off the bench in Friday’s loss to Cleveland, Rivers was asked where Randolph fits in during the playoffs, when benches are shortened and playing time is at a premium.
‘I don’t know,” Rivers said. “He’s playing great. Just leave it at that; he’s just playing great basketball and we’re going to keep playing him.’
‘I was just rolling to the basket and guys were finding me,” Randolph said. “It’s simple as that, I was getting good passes. Putting me in positions where I could finish around the rim. I wasn’t really making any tough shots. My teammates were finding me.’
On the surface, that sounds like the coach is hedging his bets on whether there will be any time at all for the Duke product, considering if Kevin Garnett is healthy, Wilcox heads back to the bench and Rivers already has Brandon Bass already starting on the front court.
In eight games without Garnett, Randolph has averaged just over five points and 4.5 rebounds while playing about 13 minutes per game.
‘Well, it’s the mindset I’ve had probably for the past six or seven games,” Randolph said. “I know I’m going to get in there at some point. I just have to play as high energy as possible, you know come in with that second unit and make sure that the energy doesn’t drop off from the starting unit. You know that’s what I’ve tried to do since I got here.’
He certainly didn’t get the benefit of the doubt on calls Friday night, when he fouled out with six minutes left.
‘You know, just try to keep my composure,” he said. “In a game you’re not always going to agree with the calls, that’s just the nature of the game. You just got to keep playing. If you foul out, then you just try to cheer your teammates on. You know, that’s what I tried to do.’
Does he think he’s shown enough on and off the court to warrant serious playing time in the playoffs?
“That’s a great question. All I know, is I’ll be ready, regardless. I’ll be ready to go in, regardless of what my role might be.”
|NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Duke G Nolan Smith||06.17.11 at 11:38 am ET|
WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).
Weight: 185 pounds
Stats: 20.6 ppg, 5.1 apg, 4.5 rpg
What he brings: Smith’s best attribute is his basketball IQ, that intangible quality so essential for NBA guards which combines court-vision, decision-making and maturity. He’s a solid passer with good body control, which lets him fire off passes from multiple angles and body positions, similar to Rajon Rondo. Smith is great off the pick-and-roll, has good lateral agility and can fake out defenders in isolation. He’s a confident shooter who can slash through the lanes or step back for the jumper. Also of note: His scoring, rebounding and passing numbers all have gone up each season with Duke.
Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round
What they’re saying: ‘We haven’t had a player who has done what Nolan has done in my 31 years here.’ ‘ Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski
Notes: Smith became the first Duke player ever to finish with 1,500 points (1,911) after scoring fewer than 500 in his first two years. He was named Fox Sports, Yahoo! Sports and NBC Sports National Player of the Year. His father, the late Derek Smith, was a solid NBA player before injuries set in, and Derek played briefly for the Celtics at the end of his career.
|Closing in||03.27.09 at 12:12 am ET|
Villanova is closing in on its second Elite Eight appearance in fourth years. They lost to eventual national champion Florida in 2006. Villanova would play fellow Big East rival Pittsburgh on Saturday for a chance to go to Detroit and the Final Four.
Villanova hasn’t been to the Final Four since 1985 when they won it all. Pittsburgh has never made the trip.
By the way, Gerald Henderson drilled his first field goal, a three with 5:20 remaining to bring Duke to within 64-49 but Villanova maintained control and answered when Dante Cunningham hit a layup.
|Ice cold||03.26.09 at 11:38 pm ET|
It’s no secret that Duke is a significantly better team when they hit their threes.
Duke started out 2-for-13 from beyond the arc before Greg Paulus came off the bench to drill his first three point attempt. It was Paulus’ first action of the game and the three came with over 15 minutes remaining in the second half.
On the Gerald Henderson watch, he is now 0-for-7 from the floor, with just two first half free throws to show for his efforts. He picked up his fourth personal fould with 13:53 remaining in the second half and went immediately to the bench.
|Catching up… Villanova 26, Duke 23 Halftime||at 11:18 pm ET|
Having returned from the press conference following Pittsburgh’s win over Xavier, some notes to pass along about Villanova and Duke.
First, Villanova made just 10 of 29 shots and lead, 26-23 at the break.
Duke shot 7-for-25 in the first half for 28 percent.
Villanova is outrebounding Duke, 22-17.
Gerald Henderson was 0-for-5 in the first half and missed his first shot of the second half.
|Duke shipping back to Boston||03.25.09 at 5:11 pm ET|
And he’d rather not. It was, of course, not at the Garden but rather a few miles up Commonwealth at Conte Forum playing Boston College.
It was Feb. 15 and his team blew a five-point halftime lead and lost to the Eagles, 80-74. It was the second straight loss, coming just four days after getting humiliated by rival North Carolina at Cameron Indoor Stadium, 101-87.
After that game, Gerald Henderson replaced Greg Paulus as starting point guard and the Dukies have won eight of nine, including the ACC Tournament championship.
“The only reason that was different is that’s the last time we really played poorly,” Krzyzewski said on Wednesday. “But Boston College had a lot to do with that. But to me there’s no significance — actually, we didn’t play in Boston. And — I don’t think there’s any significance.
“I think as a coach you have to do what you think is needed to help our team. And when we got beat by Boston College, it wasn’t just that game, it was the six games that we had just played. And we won two of them. And one of them we had to come back from being 16 or 18 points down to win in overtime. So basically we’re 1 and 5. We were actually 2 and 4, but 1 and 5 in my mind in those six games.”
So to Coach K, even when the team is sometimes winning, they’re losses in his mind. And maybe that’s what keeps Duke sharp.
“How long are you going to keep doing what you’re doing?” he asked rhetorically. “And maybe we can go 1 and 5 again for the next few games. So we needed to do something different. And thank goodness that Elliot had been practicing so hard that he was able to pressure the ball and thank goodness we had a guy like Jon who could lead the team. And then all of a sudden — then those decisions work out a lot better.”
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