How can you not love Gigi Datome?

This guy has more than proven his worth on the floor right now. No offense to James Young, but Luigi (or Gigi, as he prefers it) Datome clearly is more ready to make an impact on the floor, every second of it when he was out there against the Orlando Magic.

Watch this play in the first quarter, where he notices Aaron Gordon helping to cover Olynyk. Datome promptly runs to a passing lane, Pressey notices and dishes the ball out. Open three, swished.

Or this one, where Evan Turner was forcing Oladipo to make a move. Gigi was anticipating the drive, and got there in time to take a successful charge. Watch the little fist pump when he was still down, guy is hyped.

Datome ended the game with only seven minutes of play, with 3 points (1/3 FG), 1 rebound and 1 turnover, nothing you would call staggering. His minutes have been spotty so far (from 2-21 minutes), but it’s not unimaginable to see him getting a consistent 10-12 minutes per game, and even be kept on the team in the next season. Gigi is not the most athletic player out there, and isn’t exactly the next incarnation of Vinsanity. He is smart, knows to put in effort when he’s out there, and is a fair shooter from deep. All of these are qualities coach Stevens would be looking for, when evaluating candidates for our pace-and-space system.

All that can be said for right now? Datome’s staying ready, and getting rewarded for it.


Related reading: Who is Luigi Datome? via Basketball Insiders

Are you not entertained by the new-look Celtics?

Don’t look now, but the Celtics are playing some pretty awesome ball. Cleveland stink aside, the Celtics are playing some very inspired basketball for coach Brad Stevens. Whether it is Marcus Smart getting another key stop, Crowder hitting the three with more consistency, Bradley catching fire or even Jerebko putting in solid work – the Celtics have become entertaining to watch.

The biggest reason behind their post All-Star resurgence is none other than the trade deadline buzzer beater that landed them Isaiah Thomas III. He has lived up to (and exceeded) all the hype around him being a go-to scorer, a spark plug, and being the league leader in 4th quarter points. The Celtics have been transformed over from a 4th quarter push-over to a legitimate threat behind Thomas’ fearlessness of the big moment. The last game against the Pelicans is just adding to his young growing legacy. He managed to rip the heart out out of the Pelicans in the 4th before they even had a chance to make a run – which is something that he has done multiple times already, and something that the Celtics could not do for the last season and a half. He is not the only player that has stepped up, but, he just very well might be the reason why others have also taken their game up a level.

One of those players stepping it up is Marcus Smart, who has finally received some recognition in the league by winning the Eastern Conference Rookie of the month. It’s a a far step from being snubbed for the USA vs. World rookie/sophomore game, which happened in that same month. He may not be scoring 20 points a game or averaging 10+ assists per game (yet), but if you are just looking at his stat line, you are doing him an injustice. He just wants it. Smart is the guy that will get that key steal, come up with the loose ball, make that key pass, or take the big shot – he will basically do whatever it takes. Once his skill level catches up to his will to win, we will have ourselves a serious player.

I could go through the whole team as everyone is playing extremely hard (special shout-out to Bradley and Bass), but the main reason behind that is coach Brad Stevens. People forget – or take it for granted – that he is a second year coach from college at only 38 years old. Make no mistake, we have ourselves a coach.

There are only a handful of coaches in the league that can get the absolute best out of all his players regularly, let alone from a team with a losing record. Enough cannot be said about the job he has done to extract everything from this young core, especially after losing his two best players mid season in Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green. After that happened, the Celtics could have easily mailed in the season, and no one would have said anything – how could he possibly win with that? That is not the way Stevens is built. He is constantly tweaking, constantly trying to get better, and it shows. Danny Ainge has found an absolute keeper that I hope is around for a lonnnnnnng time.

Stevens & ThomasWith the Celtics playing as hard as they are with an improbable playoff spot up for grabs, the future looks bright. Everyone in the front office is in sync, with Stevens excelling with what he has got, and Ainge slightly improving the team at every chance he gets, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the Celtics could be a great team sooner than what people think (especially with the treasure trove of 1st round picks and trade exceptions at Ainge’s disposal).  If there are quality players out there to be had, you can bank on the fact that Ainge will try something.

I for one, will be sitting it back, and enjoying the ride – we are only going to get better from here on in and our future looks extremely bright.  Besides, wouldn’t it be fun for these Celtics to make a run for the playoffs and possibly even sneaking in?

Isaiah Thomas’ Fit In Boston

When the Phoenix Suns decided to trade away point guard Isaiah Thomas at the trade deadline, the Boston Celtics were pretty quick to start throwing out proposals. They were able to land one of the most dynamic small players in the game, and management is hoping that he will be able to help the rebuilding process. Boston might not be a legitimate contender right now, but is Thomas in the long-term plans?

Anyone who has watched Boston play this year understands that they really lack a guy capable of creating his own shot. Even though Thomas is at a disadvantage with his height being under 6’0”, he is very crafty in creating for himself and others.

Thomas isn’t a very good defender, and that has been a severe negative for him early on in his career. However, landing in Boston might be the best situation for him to hide that shortcoming. With Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley on the roster, Boston has 2 guys who are well known for their defense. Boston can go ahead and hide Thomas on someone else who is more of a spot up shooter.

In Phoenix, the fit just did not seem right for Thomas as he had to share time with 2 players who were better than him in Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic.

Thomas definitely has a few flaws, but he is already showing that he is a fan favorite in Boston. As long as he is able to stay healthy and productive, he has a long-term future with this team. Ideally, he probably is best as an explosive scorer off the bench, but he can also be used as a starter if that is the way Brad Stevens wants to go early on.


Ready to check out the one-day daily league that everyone is talking about? Click here to receive a FanDuel Promo code which will give you a 100% deposit bonus!

Thomas helps Celtics beat the Suns in thriller.

The Celtics would look to bounce back after a tough loss in overtime to the rival Lakers as Isaiah Thomas would like to make amends for his ejection tonight against his old team the Phoenix Suns.

The Celtics jumped out to an early 11-4 lead off of a Marcus Smart 3. Phoenix scored 4 straight but Boston answered to force a Suns timeout. Out of the timeout Len & Morris scored 5 to cut the Boston lead to 2 before Avery exploded scoring 8 straight (giving him 14 in the quarter) to put Boston on top 23-13. Suns trimmed the lead to 5 at the end of the first.

464284662_10

New addition Isaiah Thomas added 2 assists & an AND 1 basket for himself to put the Celtics back up by 10. Knight hit a deep 3 for the Suns before Wallace answered & Young scored off a turnover as Boston went up by 12. 4 straight 3’s by Crowder, Young & Thomas (twice) extended the lead to 18 with still 6 minutes left in the half as Boston had 55 points on the board. The Celtics got up by 19 a few times but Phoenix stuck around as Boston led 67-50 at the half after shooting 54% & 59% from 3.

464283352_10

Avery picked up his 3rd foul of the game on the 1st Phoenix play of the half which led to free throws & Len scored quickly after as they cut it to 14. The Celtics were able to answer & push the lead to 20 off a Turner dunk. A 7-0 run by the Suns was stopped from a Zeller jump shot but the lead was down to 13 as Brad Stevens called for a timeout. An empty possession out of the timeout & Knight put it another 3 followed by some free throws & a dunk for the Suns as it was suddenly a 6 point game.  Bradley, Thomas & Turner scored 6 straight to get the Celtics back up by double digits. The Celtics took a 10 point lead into the 4th quarter.

Four consecutive turnovers on Boston possessions had the Suns back within 8. Some sloppy possessions by both sides but Phoenix were able to cut the Celtics lead to 3 with still 6 minutes to go. Crowder put Boston back on top by 6 but Knight immediately answered. The Celtics were still holding a 3 point lead with 3:28 remaining despite shooting 2-14 in the quarter. Avery stripped Bledsoe of the ball & then nailed a 3 at the other end to put the C’s back up 6. Bledsoe hit back to back 3’s to cut the Boston lead to 1 before Thomas answered with a 3 + the foul. Thomas then stole the ball and scored on a driving layup to put Boston up 7 with only 40 seconds left. Tucker got an offensive rebound put back + the foul to make it a 4 point game. Turner & Smart both then split free throws to have Boston back up 6. Bledsoe was able to get a quick 2 with 17 seconds still left. Avery was fouled & made both free throws but Bledsoe quickly scored again before Goodwin fouled Smart who made both. Goodwin then hit a 3 to make it a one possession game with 1.7 seconds remaining. Thomas made both free throws & that would be the final score as Boston won 115-110.

464283374_10

Player statistics:
Avery Bradley: 23 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists
Brandon Bass: 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists
Isaiah Thomas: 21 points, 1 rebound, 7 assists
Evan Turner: 10 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists
Jae Crowder: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
James Young: 8 points, 5 rebounds
Tyler Zeller: 12 points, 6 rebounds

Trade Deadline Recap: Well Done Danny

A mere two hours before yesterday’s trade deadline, Celtics reporters were all stating the same thing – expect Danny Ainge and his crew to stand firm and let the deadline pass with no moves. Think again! In the dying stages of the 3pm cut-off, the Celtics got involved in a very productive way.

Continue reading Trade Deadline Recap: Well Done Danny

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,338 other followers