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A call for Adam Silver to increase Rajon Rondo’s suspension 12.14.15 at 7:06 pm ET
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In a disturbing anecdote detailed in Yahoo Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski’s report on NBA referee Bill Kennedy’s public revelation that he is gay, former Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo allegedly directed multiple anti-gay slurs at the longtime ref after he was ejected in the Kings’ 114-97 loss to the C’s in Mexico City on Dec. 3.

Following an investigation, the NBA suspended Rondo one game without pay for “directing a derogatory and offensive term towards a game official and not leaving the court in a timely manner.” Rondo’s use of anti-gay slurs is reprehensible, and it’s even worse when you consider he may have suspected Kennedy was gay following disgraced referee Tim Donaghy’s 2010 allegations against Doc Rivers on CLNS Radio. Here’s that exchange, courtesy of Red’s Army.

Question: One of the referees I’ve been annoyed with over the years is Bill Kennedy. Every time he has a Celtics game, I almost know that we’re not getting calls. Is his relationship with Doc Rivers or the Celtics organization as a whole something you know about?

Donaghy: That’s a difficult question for me to answer, because I certainly don’t want to offend anybody. … I’m just gonna come out and say it like it is. It’s no secret on the staff that Bill Kennedy is a homosexual. … I don’t have any ill will towards gays or lesbians, but it was no secret that he’s a homosexual. It was known around the league. It was obvious during a game Doc Rivers questioned his sexual orientation, and I think that has stuck with Kennedy over the years — and he has no love for Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics.

Rivers denied Donaghy’s claim that he directed homophobic language at Kennedy.

Rondo was a 2012-13 teammate of Jason Collins in Boston the season before the 7-footer became the first active openly gay male athlete in major U.S. sports history, and Collins credited Rivers in the April 2013 Sports Illustrated article announcing his sexuality, saying, “Doc Rivers, my coach on the Celtics, says, ‘If you want to go quickly, go by yourself — if you want to go farther, go in a group.’ I want people to pull together and push ahead.” While Rondo declined to speak with media Monday, he addressed the matter on Twitter.

Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for directing an anti-gay slur at an official in 2011, and Bulls center Joakim Noah was fined $50,000 for doing the same later that season. Rondo’s admission shows at least some players haven’t evolved since. Even if we take Rondo at his word — that he didn’t “mean to offend or disrespect anyone” and he acted “out of frustration and emotion, period” — that doesn’t excuse his behavior.

Whether or not he suspected Kennedy was gay, Rondo was quick to use an offensive term out of frustration, and the fear is that speaks to a locker-room culture where anti-gay slurs are on the tip of a player’s tongue. That needs to change, as it should in any workplace, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver would be wise to increase Rondo’s suspension in order to send that message. Then again, Silver should have sent that message before Wojnarowski’s detailed report, because reissuing a harsher penalty now might open the league up to all sorts of issues with the players’ association.

The NBA may have feared a harsher penalty would have risked indirectly outing Kennedy before he was ready, since the discipline was handed out prior to the Yahoo Sports report. The question then would be whether it matters if Rondo directed the homophobic slur at a gay man or a straight man. Either way, we as a society should not tolerate what amounts to hate speech, and the NBA could help set the tone in that regard.

The league has been on the forefront of cultural progression, particularly compared to other professional sports leagues and especially under Silver, so perhaps it’s time to take another stand.

Read More: Bill Kennedy, Boston Celtics, NBA, Rajon Rondo
Studs and Duds: Celtics bounce back, beat Hornets 12.12.15 at 9:49 pm ET
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Brad Stevens has to have the best cure for hangovers.

A night after an emotional double-overtime loss to the undefeated Warriors, the Celtics defeated the Hornets, 98-93. The win marks the C’s 10th straight when playing on the road on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Celtics struggled to find their legs in the first half, scoring only 38 points on 35 percent shooting from the field and converting a putrid 1-of-10 attempts from the 3-point line. But the Hornets, who came into the game with one of the league’s best offenses, couldn’t capitalize, as they too missed open shots.

The entire pace of the game changed in the third quarter, as the C’s hit seven of their first eight attempts from beyond the arc and built a 12 point lead. Despite a 35-point quarter, the Celtics squandered the double-digit 12-point lead, as Nic Batum (21 points) led Charlotte on a 10-2 run that closed the deficit to four.

The C’s clung to a narrow lead in the fourth quarter and escaped Charlotte with a five-point victory. Avery Bradley led all scorers with 23 points, while Isaiah Thomas (21 points), Jae Crowder (16 points), Evan Turner (10 points) and David Lee (10 points) also reached double figures.

The win pushes the Celtics to 14-10 on the season, just a half-game back of the Hornets (14-9) for second place in the Eastern Conference. The C’s will host LeBron James and the Cavaliers on Tuesday. The Cavs swept Boston in the first round of the playoffs last season.

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

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, NBA
Studs and Duds: Balanced Celtics beat Bulls, brace for Warriors 12.09.15 at 9:53 pm ET
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Eight Celtics scored in double figures, overcoming 41.3 percent shooting and winning for the first time when allowing 100 points, beating the Bulls, 105-100.

Isaiah Thomas finished scoreless in the first half, and then totaled 20 points in the final two quarters to lead the C’s in scoring. Kelly Olynyk netted 15 points, Evan Turner and Jae Crowder each added 13, Amir Johnson and David Lee both dropped 12 and Jared Sullinger and Avery Bradley totaled 10 apiece.

The Celtics improved to 13-9 and tied the Raptors for first place in the Atlantic Division. Only the Cavaliers (14-7) have more wins in the East. The Celtics will have a chance to snap Golden State’s 23-0 start at home on Friday night.

On Wednesday, Bulls guard Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 36 points.

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

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, David Lee, NBA
Stud and Duds: Manu Ginobili, Spurs spoil late Celtics comeback 12.06.15 at 12:03 am ET
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Behind superior defense and efficient offense, the Spurs reminded the Celtics why they’re one of the best teams in the league, fending off the C’s late-game comeback and remaining unbeaten at home with a 108-105 win.

The Spurs (17-4) were dominant, shooting 52.4 percent from the floor and commanding the post — where they outscored the Celtics (11-9) in the paint, 44-30, and converted 10 second-chance points on 12 offensive rebounds.

But the Celtics didn’t go down without a fight. They challenged the Spurs’ transition defense, outscoring San Antonio 28-3 on fast-break points. After the Spurs opened a 15-point lead at the end of the third quarter, the C’s pulled within two with a 14-1 run midway through the fourth quarter.

Avery Bradley (18 points) missed a go ahead three-point attempt with eight seconds left — the Celtics’ last chance to pull off the upset, since their last-second, full-court pass resulted in a turnover. Isaiah Thomas scored a game-high 23 points, and Evan Turner added 16.

LaMarcus Aldridge’s 17 points led six Spurs in double figures.

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

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, Manu Ginobili, NBA
Studs and Duds: Avery Bradley, Celtics bounce back against Heat 11.30.15 at 10:21 pm ET
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One night after suffering a 19-point loss to the Magic — another ugly outing in this up-and-down season — the Celtics responded with an impressive 105-95 victory against the Heat in Miami.

The Celtics improved to 10-8, jumping back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture for the time being, as they play the Kings, Spurs and Pelicans on the road over the next week.

Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 25 points on 15 shots against Miami (10-6). Amir Johnson notched a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), and Isaiah Thomas just missed one (16 points, 9 assists). Jared Sullinger netted 17 points, while Jae Crowder and Evan Turner each added 13.

Dwayne Wade’s 30 points marked the first time an opponent scored 30 on the C’s this season.

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

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, NBA
Studs and Duds: Jared Sullinger, Celtics crush Wizards 11.27.15 at 10:57 pm ET
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Behind great defense and efficient offense, the Celtics routed the visiting Wizards, 111-78, Friday night at TD Garden.

The Celtics got off to a quick start, thanks to Jared Sullinger (18 points, 15 rebounds), who had his fourth double-double of the season by halftime. The C’s closed out the first half with a 54-36 lead, and then kept the pedal to the metal in the second half, outscoring the Wizards 57-42 to seal the blowout win. The Celtics forced a total of 22 turnovers, and Washington never led.

The C’s finished the night with 28 assists and 11 steals — two statistical categories that gave them a big advantage over the Wizards. They shot 43.3 percent from the floor, while limiting themselves to 15 turnovers.

“I think pulling that Sixers game out was huge,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “Playing that way over the last six minutes, not having played well for a couple of games in a row plus most of that game, and finding a way was probably good for us emotionally heading into tonight. And then I felt we had a pretty good shoot-around and then felt like we played on both ends probably as consistently for 48 minutes as we’ve played all year.”

Isaiah Thomas‘ 21 points led six Celtics in double figures. Avery Bradley scored 12 of his 16 points in the opening 12 minutes and finished with a plus-22 rating on the night. Jae Crowder added 15 points. David Lee and Kelly Olynyk each scored a dozen points off the bench. Former Boston College standout Jared Dudley led the Wizards with 19 points off the bench. Bradley Beal chipped in 16 points, and John Wall finished the night with just 10.

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

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Jared Sullinger, NBA, Washington Wizards
Studs and Duds: No defense for Marcus Smart-less Celtics 11.24.15 at 10:55 pm ET
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Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

We knew Marcus Smart was key to the Celtics‘ success. We just didn’t know he was this key.

The Celtics entered Tuesday night’s game ranked fourth in points allowed per 100 possessions (96.6) and should be demoted 10 spots just for their effort in a 121-97 loss to the Hawks. This comes two nights after the Celtics (7-7) allowed 111 points in a loss to the lowly Nets.

After an R.J. Hunter jumper cut Atlanta’s lead to six two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Hawks outscored the C’s by a 38-20 margin on 14-of-18 shooting (77.8 percent) down the stretch.

Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 25 points, but the Hawks (10-6) countered with seven players in double figures, led by Paul Millsap’s 25 points and nine rebounds. If the playoffs started today, the Celtics would be on the outside looking in. They are as close to the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference as they are to the eighth seed, and Smart won’t be back for at least a week.

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

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Read More: Atlanta Hawks, Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart
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