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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
Studs and Duds: Cold Celtics left with no shot in loss to Pacers 03.15.16 at 9:34 pm ET
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Celtics center Jared Sullinger (7) shoots the ball in the second quarter of the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports)

Celtics center Jared Sullinger (7) shoots the ball in the second quarter of the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports)

The Pacers did their best to give the short-handed Celtics a shot. But on this night in Indianapolis, the Celtics couldn’t convert. 

Paul George scored 25 and Monta Ellis added 14 as the Pacers held on for a 103-98 win over the Celtics on Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. 

The Celtics (39-28), who lost their second straight, were playing their first game of the season without Jae Crowder (high ankle sprain) and their 12th straight without Kelly Olynyk (shoulder). The Celtics lost consecutive games for the first time since losing at Dallas and at Toronto on Jan. 18 and 20.

The Celtics were led by Isaiah Thomas with 21 points while Jared Sullinger had another double-double, with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Coach Brad Stevens went with a three-guard look in his first game this season without the injured Crowder in the starting lineup. Marcus Smart got the call, along with Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas. Amir Johnson and Jared Sullinger were the only big men in the game. 

Thanks to an early steal from Smart, the Celtics showed energy with the small lineup, shooting out to a 20-13 lead. But the Pacers, behind Paul George, scored the final seven points of the quarter to forge a 20-20 tie after 12 minutes. 

The Pacers used a 23-13 run to open a 43-33 lead before the Celtics closed it to four at the break on a 6-0 run before the break. The Celtics stayed in the game thanks to 10 Indiana turnovers.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Coty Clarke, Indiana Pacers, Isaiah Thomas
Jordan Mickey recalled in time for Celtics’ trip to Indiana 03.14.16 at 6:01 pm ET
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Jordan Mickey

Jordan Mickey

Before taking off for their trip to Indianapolis and a Tuesday meeting with the Pacers, the Celtics recalled forward Jordan Mickey from the Maine Red Claws of the D-League.

The move is likely just depth at the 3/4 position as the Celtics cope with the loss of Jae Crowder for at least two weeks with a high ankle sprain to his right foot.

Mickey has turned into a shot-blocking phenom, blocking four shots (three in the first quarter) against Grand Rapids on Sunday in the Red Claws’ 129-123 victory.

Mickey also tallied a double-double with a team-high 28 points, 11 rebounds, one assist and a steal in 32 minutes of action. He has played in 23 games for Maine this season and is averaging 17.4 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 4.4 blocks per game in that span.

Mickey blocked three shots in a span of five seconds last Wednesday in a win over Memphis at TD Garden. 

Coach Brad Stevens said the team would likely consider a number of options to replace Crowder’s minutes, most likely involving Evan Turner and James Young. 

Read More: Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Jae Crowder, James Young
Studs and Duds: Paul George, Pacers outshine Celtics 11.11.15 at 10:10 pm ET
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The Celtics and Pacers traded runs in the third quarter, but Paul George ensured Indiana came out on top in the fourth. George scored 17 of his 26 points in the second half and added 10 rebounds in a 102-91 victory that dropped the Celtics to 3-4 on the season. Evan Turner led the Celtics with 20 points. Isaiah Thomas (14 points), David Lee (13 points) and Jared Sullinger (11 points, 11 rebounds) also reached double figures in a 41.6 percent shooting effort.

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

STUD OF THE NIGHT: Paul George. It sure helps to have a superstar. Every time the Celtics made a run, George put an end to it. When the C’s answer to George was a whole lot of Turner, that should raise some questions.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: Marcus Smart. After missing three straight games with a sprained left big toe, Smart returned to the lineup, albeit on a minutes restriction off the bench. He missed all four of his 3-point attempts — badly — and had the worst plus/minus rating of anybody on the team. But without Avery Bradley (lower left leg bruise), Brad Stevens was forced to rely on Smart despite the rust. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, NBA, Paul George
Studs and Duds: Avery Bradley, Celtics come up short in Indiana 11.04.15 at 10:00 pm ET
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It was not the prettiest evening of basketball Indiana’s ever seen, but the Celtics gave themselves a shot.

That shot was soon swallowed by a stifling defense that left Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley no breathing room on the final possession. Bradley’s 3-point attempt fell well short, and the C’s lost, 100-98. They dropped to 1-3 on the season with a brutal stretch over their next six games: Wizards, at Bucks, Pacers, Hawks, at Thunder and at Rockets.

Thomas led the C’s with 27 points and seven assists, and Bradley added 21 points despite an injured right index finger. Joe Crowder (12 points), Evan Turner (11 points) and David Lee (10 points) also reached double figures. Paul George led the Celtics with 26 points, 10 rebounds and a wide-open 3 that broke a 93-93 tie with 2:13 remaining.

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

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Isaiah Thomas
Irish Coffee: Celtics, playoffs and tiebreakers, oh my 03.17.15 at 12:44 pm ET
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The bad news: Contrary to popular opinion, the Celtics are not currently in the playoff picture, since as of today they would lose the tiebreaker to both the Pacers and Heat based on their sub-.500 record against Eastern Conference opponents.

The good news: If the Celtics (30-36) have one more win than Charlotte (29-36), Indiana (30-36) and Miami (30-36) when all is said and done, they’€™ll capture the same seventh seed they earned when last they made the playoffs in 2013.

Heck, based on their performance since the NBA trade deadline (10-5, including five straight victories), there’€™s even an outside possibility the red-hot Celtics could catch the reeling sixth-seeded Bucks (34-32), whose four wins in 13 games since trading Brandon Knight have come against the Nuggets, 76ers, Wizards and Magic.

Obviously, that’€™s jumping ahead a bit, so let’€™s step back and take a look at the remaining schedules of the four Eastern Conference teams now tied with 36 losses. 

CELTICS (30-36)

Wednesday: at Thunder (37-30)
Friday: at Spurs (41-24)
Sunday: vs. Pistons (23-43)
Monday: at Nets (27-38)
March 25: vs. Heat (30-36)
March 27: at Knicks (13-53)
March 29: vs. Clippers (42-25)
March 30: at Hornets (29-36)
April 1: vs. Pacers (30-36)
April 3: vs. Bucks (34-32)
April 4: at Raptors (40-27)
April 8: at Pistons (23-43)
April 10: at Cavaliers (43-26)
April 12: vs. Cavaliers (43-26)
April 14: vs. Raptors (40-27)
April 15: at Bucks (34-32)

BY THE NUMBERS: .498 opponents’€™ winning percentage; 9 games vs. teams above .500; 9 road games; 7 games vs. teams below .500; 7 home games; 4 back-to-backs.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat
Celtics win 4th straight, move closer to playoff spot 03.14.15 at 9:46 pm ET
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For only the second time in the Brad Stevens era — and the first time since Nov. 6-11, 2013 — the Celtics have won four straight games, defeating the Pacers 93-89 on Saturday night.

Four Celtics scored in double figures, led by Tyler Zeller (18 points, 7 rebounds), and Boston (29-36) pulled within half a game of the Charlotte Hornets for the Eastern Conference’s eighth playoff seed. The C’s now trail Indiana (30-35) by just one game for the seventh spot.

Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder all added 16 points apiece, as the C’s knocked off a Pacers team that had won seven straight entering Saturday night’s game. The Celtics next face the struggling Philadelphia 76ers with a chance to capture their first five-game winning streak under Stevens.

For a complete box score, click here.

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