|Isaiah Thomas says Celtics ‘punked’ by Thunder, ‘soft as tissue’ in embarrassing loss||03.16.16 at 11:58 pm ET|
Isaiah Thomas was embarrassed.
Even though he scored a game-high 29 points and made 11-of-19 shots from the floor, he was embarrassed by his team’s 130-109 loss to the Thunder at TD Garden before a national TV audience.
The Celtics gave up 42 points in the third quarter, the most points they’ve surrendered in any 12-minute period this season. The 130 points were the most they’ve allowed in regulation this season and the most any Celtics team has allowed in regulation since 2004.
Kelly Olynyk’s returned from a 12-game absence due to a shoulder injury didn’t overcome the loss of Jae Crowder (ankle) for a second straight game. Not even close.
At one point of the third quarter, it got so bad, the Celtics trailed by 30.
“They punked us. We played soft as tissue,” Thomas lamented. “That third quarter, they took advantage of every little thing they could have. With a good team like that, you can’t have that happen. So, whoever is playing, whether Jae’s out, Kelly’s back, they punked us. That was basically what it was. They were the tougher team, no question.”
After 12 games on the sidelines, it appears Kelly Olynyk finally is ready to return to action.
Olynyk is expected to return from his partially separated right shoulder just in time to take on Kevin Durant and the Thunder on Wednesday at TD Garden.
“Kelly told me at shootaround that he thinks he’s going to give it a go, but we’ll wait till he gets through all this stuff, but it sounds like he’s going to try to give it a go,” coach Brad Stevens said an hour, 45 minutes before tipoff Wednesday. “We’ll see how much he plays. Obviously he hasn’t done much other than our practices the last five-plus weeks.”
Olynyk injured the shoulder in the first half of the game against the Clippers on Feb. 10 at the Garden. It appeared that he would be ready to go Tuesday in Indiana after taking part in a full contact practice on Sunday. But he was held out after indicating to coaches that he wasn’t quite ready.
“I think [confidence] is a big deal,” Stevens said. “That’s depending on how much pain you’re having. There’s only one person that can answer that question and that’s him. That’s why he’s been smart about it. We didn’t want him to come back until he was ready to roll and didn’t feel tentative. He’s going to have some pain there and that’s part of it. But I think at the end of the day he feels more comfortable today than he has before.”
The Celtics could use Olynyk’s 3-point prowess. He leads the team at 41.3 percent. The Celtics have converted just 16 of 63 from beyond the arc in the last two games, both losses.
“If you’re going to play small, you better be able to shoot,” Stevens said. “You better be able to make shots or you better be able to get out in transition and really run because otherwise the lane’s clogged. We’re going to have to continue to find better shots than we did last night. I thought we guarded about as well as we could have last night. That’ll be significantly tested again. Hey, this is a tough stretch of games for us. I’m conscious of that. At the same time, I think we need to play better offensively to beat a team of this caliber.”
|Kevin Durant on Boston: ‘I like the city a lot’||at 4:04 pm ET|
In Boston for a nationally televised showdown with the Celtics on Wednesday night, impending free agent Kevin Durant said exactly what every C’s fan wanted to hear.
“I like the city a lot,” the Oklahoma City forward told The Boston Globe from shootaround in the hours before tipoff. “It’s cold, but they love sports here. It’s a family atmosphere I feel when I walk around the city, so yeah, I like it a lot.”
As the Globe’s Gary Washburn noted, injuries have prevented the 2013-14 NBA MVP from playing at TD Garden since Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo were still starting for the Celtics during the 2012-13 season. But that hasn’t kept Durant from keeping an eye on the rebuilding efforts of coach Brad Stevens in Boston.
“I’ve been watching this team a lot,” he added. “They’re scrappy. They play hard. They love their coach. They love their system, and especially in this building, they play with a lot of energy. So it’s going to be a tough test.”
|Studs and Duds: Cold Celtics left with no shot in loss to Pacers||03.15.16 at 9:34 pm ET|
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.
|With Jae Crowder out, James Young might finally be ‘shooting’ his way to playing time||03.14.16 at 10:01 am ET|
WALTHAM — The time may finally be right for James Young to show what he’s got.
The second-year forward out of Kentucky, drafted in the first round of the 2014 NBA draft by the Celtics (17th overall), is one of the leading candidates to fill in while Jae Crowder heals from a high ankle sprain suffered last Friday against the Rockets.
Young is still only 20 years old but already it feels like he’s been around the block for the Celtics. In his rookie season, he was assigned to the Maine Red Claws 11 times, averaging 20.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 steals in 19 games. But it’s the shooting Young has been working to improve. At Kentucky, he shot 40.7 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from 3-point range. In five summer league games this past year, he averaged 9.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in five games but shot just 27.1 percent from the field and 22.7 percent from three-point range.
This year, the shuttle back and forth has continued, with nine more assignments, including six in this calendar year alone. This year in 10 games for Maine, he’s averaged 14.2 points and 5.7 rebounds. He’s only shooting 36.6 percent but it’s his 6-foot-6 athleticism that could come in handy as the Celtics look for someone to help fill the minutes of the injury Crowder.
“He shot the heck out of it,” Brad Stevens said after practice on Sunday. “One thing James has done is gotten good game reps in, because he’s also played in Maine. He had a good practice [Sunday].”
Young has averaged just 2.4 points and 9.1 minutes in 55 career games for the Celtics. Now, he may get a chance to actually add significantly to those totals.
Rated a five-star recruit by ESPN.com, Young was listed as the No. 3 small forward and the No. 8 player in the nation in 2013 at Kentucky. He was a starter on the Wildcats team that lost to UConn in the 2014 NCAA title game. He left after that season and missed Kentucky’s run at an undefeated season that ended with a national semifinal loss to Wisconsin last year.
|Celtics recall James Young, assign Jordan Mickey to Red Claws||03.13.16 at 1:50 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The James Young-Jordan Mickey shuttle continued on Sunday.
The Celtics recalled Young Sunday in time for their practice in Waltham while assigning shot-blocking specialist Jordan Mickey to the Maine Red Claws.
Mickey was in uniform for Maine’s Sunday afternoon game at home against Grand Rapids. He had six points, two rebounds and three blocks in the first quarter, including a monster rejection from behind late in the quarter. Catch the game here on YouTube.
Mickey had three blocks in one possession on Wednesday in the win over Memphis.
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) March 13, 2016
|Mike Petraglia, Sam Packard on how Celtics home court streak ended against the Rockets||03.11.16 at 11:58 pm ET|
James Harden had 32 points and Dwight Howard chipped in with 12 points and 12 rebounds as the Houston Rockets snapped the 14-game home winning streak of the Celtics, 102-98, Friday night at TD Garden. Isaiah Thomas had 30 points to lead the Celtics, while Jared Sullinger added 24 points and 12 rebounds. Celtics forward Jae Crowder suffered a high sprain of his right ankle in the third quarter and will have an MRI on Saturday. The Celtics fell to 39-27 while the Rockets improved to 33-32.
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