|Brett Brown genuinely amazed at what Isaiah Thomas ‘is doing to the NBA’||02.15.17 at 9:35 pm ET|
On a night when Isaiah Thomas tied John Havlicek for the most consecutive games of at least 20 points in Celtics history, Sixers coach Brett Brown gave the Celtics point guard praise worthy of his history-making night.
“They really can score,” Brown began when asked about the Celtics offense. “They really, really can score. The last two times we’ve played them, with 30 seconds left, it was 100-100, and it was 102-100 the other game. We’re there at the end. The good news is I feel like we’re playing good basketball right now. The bad news is they are playing as good as basketball as I’ve seen them play in a while because I feel they are firing on all cylinders with just firepower.”
CSN Philly’s Jessica Camerato tried to ask an ‘apart from Isaiah Thomas’ question, probing Brown’s thoughts on the rest of the Celtics roster, like the red-hot Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk. But Brown couldn’t help himself.
“Isaiah Thomas, what he is doing to the NBA and the volume and the volume of points he scores and what he does in fourth periods and what he does in back-to-back games,” Brown said. “You look at what he’s doing to the league right now, he’s an All-Star for a reason.”
That reason is 29.8 points per game, second only to the 30.8 of Russell Westbrook. He is averaging 10 points a game in the fourth quarter. The Celtics lead the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring at 29 points per game. The Celtics have been closing out close games and Thomas is the numero uno reason. Throw on top of all of that 40 straight games of at least 20 points, and you have a historic performance for a legacy franchise.
“I know you asked, ‘Apart from Isaiah,’ but you can’t help but talk about him and the firepower they have collectively when you talk about how you try to give yourself a chance to win,” Brown said. “You have to find ways to defend them, and they’re really hard to do that.”
Then Brown took it to the next level.
“I mean he’s so unassuming physically. You look at him and it’s not like you’re looking at LeBron or somebody that’s tall and all cut up,” Brown said of the 5-foot-7 guard. “He’s very sort of unassuming when you look at him on a court. And then all of sudden, you start studying him. His ability to control speeds.
|Report: Celtics boss Danny Ainge meets with agent for Kevin Love, Harrison Barnes, Brandon Ingram||06.16.16 at 5:31 pm ET|
According to a Twitter report from Andrew Perna of RealGM, Celtics president Danny Ainge met with the agent for Cavaliers forward Kevin Love and impending free agent Harrison Barnes this week in New York.
Perna reports that Ainge spoke with agent Jeff Schwartz, who also represents potential top-two pick Brandon Ingram of Duke. The report doesn’t specify what was discussed, but notes that such meetings are common.
Not at all uncommon for execs. to meet with agents, but Ainge may be looking to see if Love will be available.
— Andrew Perna (@Andrew_Perna) June 16, 2016
Ainge could’ve been inquiring on Barnes, who is expected to receive in the neighborhood of a max contract this offseason after filling an everyman role for the Golden State Warriors.
He also, more intriguingly, could’ve been feeling out Schwartz informally on the potential availability of Love this summer after two relatively lackluster seasons with the Cavaliers in the shadow of LeBron James.
Love has never meshed perfectly in Cleveland, and the Celtics have shown interest in the 27-year-old in the past, including two years ago, when he was spotted at a Red Sox game with then-Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. The Celtics were unable to swing a deal with Minnesota at that time, though, and Love was instead traded to Cleveland to form a new Big Three with James and Kyrie Irving.
|Kevin Love wasn’t looking for a high-five from LeBron James, and here’s video proof||06.14.16 at 11:45 am ET|
I don’t know why I care about this, since I eviscerated Kevin Love this morning as a bad fit for the Celtics after another no-show performance in Game 5 of the Finals on Monday night, but there’s a widely shared Vine making the rounds that isn’t accurate.
You’ve probably seen it, but if not, here it is:
Looks pretty damning, right? Poor Kevin Love just wants LeBron to love him, and King James yells at him instead.
But what really happened was more pedestrian. One play earlier, Love looked slow on his defensive rotations, allowing an Andre Iguodala follow-up dunk, and LeBron let him know it, as you can see with the quick gesture.
LeBron was mad at this play moments earlier. Love wasn’t looking for 5. He was pleading his case.
— John Tomase (@jtomase) June 14, 2016
So now watch the “denied five” in its entirety. Love isn’t looking for love. He’s pleading his case, like, “I had my hands up. What do you want from me?”
I don’t know why I care about this, but Kevin love didn’t want 5. LeBron was mad he didn’t box out prior play. https://t.co/QQu3dYUDiN
— John Tomase (@jtomase) June 14, 2016
Of course, if you want to note that LeBron was being totally dismissive of Love and treating him like a JV teammate called up to the varsity for a day because someone was sick, that’s fair game.
But to say he refused a high five and that made Love sad is simply not true.
|Draymond Green assessed Flagrant 1 from Game 4, suspended for Game 5 Monday||06.12.16 at 2:24 pm ET|
This time, Draymond Green went too far.
The Golden State bad-boy forward was assessed a Flagrant Foul 1 on Sunday for his entanglement and swipe to the groin of LeBron James with under three minutes left in Game 4 Friday night in Cleveland. The announcement was made Sunday by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
“The incident occurred when Green made unnecessary contact with a retaliatory swipe of his hand to the groin of Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James with 2:48 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 108-97 win in Game 4 of The Finals at Quicken Loans Arena,” the league said in its press release.
“In accordance with NBA rules, Green will serve a one-game suspension without pay for accruing his fourth Flagrant Foul point of the 2016 postseason. He will serve his suspension Monday, June 13 during Game 5 of The Finals at Oracle Arena.”
The video clearly shows Green setting a high screen on James. When Green fell to the ground, James appeared to deliberately straddle Green’s head in an effort to draw the confrontation. By the decision handed out from the NBA Sunday, it worked.
The Warriors, who took a 3 games to 1 lead with a win Friday night in Cleveland, have a chance to clinch their second straight NBA title Monday night. But now they will have to do so without their best rebounder and best low-post defender.
Green, after run-ins with the likes of Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams in Game 3 of the Western finals, has built up negative points with the league during the Warriors’ playoff run, and it culminated with discipline on Sunday.
Under league rules, any player who accumulates four flagrant foul points over the course of the playoffs will be automatically suspended for one game, and every additional flagrant foul will result in either a one-game suspension (for a Flagrant Foul 1) or a two-game suspension (for a Flagrant Foul 2).
“The cumulative points system is designed to deter flagrant fouls in our game” said VanDeWeghe in the league statement. “While Draymond Green’s actions in Game 4 do not merit a suspension as a standalone act, the number of flagrant points he has earned triggers a suspension for Game 5.”
James was also assessed a technical foul upon league office review for his role in the altercation, which included a physical taunt.
To view the play, click on the following link:
Meanwhile, the league also docked Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue $25,000 for criticism of the officials after Friday’s game. Lue went off when asked how LeBron James is being officiated during the series.
“He never gets calls. I mean, he attacks. Outside of Russell Westbrook, he’s one of the guys that attacks the paint every single play. And he doesn’t get a fair whistle all the time because of his strength and because of his power and guys bounce off of him,” Lue said. “But those are still fouls and we weren’t able to get them. But we’ve got to play through officiating.”
|Studs and Duds: LeBron James gets physical in second half, rally Cavs past Celtics||03.05.16 at 9:31 pm ET|
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.
|Jeff Van Gundy on D&C: ‘I don’t see how [Cavaliers] can win’ NBA Finals despite series lead||06.10.15 at 10:30 am ET|
With the Cavaliers knocking off the Warriors in another exciting NBA Finals game Tuesday night, ABC/ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss the series. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Warriors were heavy favorites heading into the series, but the Cavaliers have a 2-1 lead as LeBron James has outperformed MVP Steph Curry. With fellow stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving out, James is attempting to pull off what many thought was impossible.
“There won’t be a bigger upset, I know that,” Van Gundy said. “Listen, I’m going to say this: [James] getting his 2007 Cavaliers to the Finals, beating a great Detroit team, scoring 29 of the last 30 points in Game 5, that to me was his greatest accomplishment until now. Even surpassing winning championships in Miami.
“Getting to the Finals with this team and now winning two games in the Finals, already to me it’s his greatest accomplishment. If he can pull this off, it’ll be one of the greatest accomplishments for any individual player in my recollection.”
That said, Van Gundy isn’t convinced James will be able to deliver Cleveland’s first-ever NBA championship this year.
“I don’t think we’ve ever seen a guy in the Finals have to shoulder a burden like this,” Van Gundy said. “Now, I don’t think they’re going to be able to pull it off. I don’t see how they can win two more games. But if they do? To me there’s never been a greater feat or accomplishment in the NBA.”
Added Van Gundy: “In the end, the better team wins. There are very few upsets, Talent prevails. And Golden State certainly has the most talent. Listen, if you did a draft you would take James No. 1, and then the next probably four picks would be the Warriors. And then maybe [Timofey] Mozgov gets in there.
“I just really believe that Golden State has been the best team all year. They’ve been dominant in the playoffs up until now. They got in the same predicament against Memphis and were able to win the next three. So I think they’ve going to find their way out of it. But that does not detract at all from what Cleveland has been able to do. I’m just so impressed with James and their grit.
“And you know what? David Blatt, for whatever reason, the media is so reluctant to give him credit. They give credit to a lot of coaches. Blatt is not on their list for getting credit. But what he’s been able to do with his team and the body blows that they’ve undertaken throughout the playoffs and that they’re still playing so well, it’s a credit to him as well.”
|LeBron James says Brad Stevens ‘put [Celtics] in position to win’||04.26.15 at 11:38 pm ET|
For all the harsh words between the players Sunday after Cleveland ended Boston’s season with a 101-93 win in Game 4, LeBron James had nothing but respect for the job coach Brad Stevens did in getting his team to play hard to the final buzzer.
After losing by 13 in the first game, the Celtics lost three straight, all by eight points. In each game, the Celtics made a late run to keep things interesting before succumbing to the better team.
“I highly respect their coaching staff and especially their head coach,” James said. “[They’re] a very well-coached team. He put those guys out there every night and put them in position to win the game and I think Brad Stevens is a very good young coach in our league.”
For a team that finished 40-42, the Celtics gave the Cavaliers about as much of a fight as could’ve been expected.
Then James spoke to what it means to have finally beaten the Celtics in the playoffs with Cleveland, after losses in 2008 and 2010.
“This franchise is one of the most winning franchises in NBA history, [along] with the Lakers,” James said. “So, everyone knows the history between the Lakers and the Celtics and what they’ve done for this league. So for me, to have a chapter in my career, multiple chapters, of playing against the Celtics, I think it’s great for the story that [the media can] tell.”
This is the second time James has sent the Celtics packing, beating them in seven games in the Eastern finals in 2012. That year, the Heat went on to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, giving LeBron his first NBA title. James is now eight wins away from his fifth straight trip to the NBA finals, a goal that is clearly again on his radar.
“Our long term goal is obviously to win the championship but right now we have short term goals and that’s to prepare ourselves for the next round and get ready for the challenge that presents itself,” James said. “It was a great first test for our team. We’re a young team, we have some vets but we’re a young team together. The Celtics gave us the test that we needed. Some things that we haven’t seen in the regular season, and it will prepare us for the second round, which will be much tougher, we know that.”
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