Olynyk has career night as Boston beat down the 76ers.

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The Celtics would be in Philadelphia looking to get back on the winners list after a couple of tough losses. They would be without guards, Marcus Smart, Marcus Thornton & James Young.

Tyler Zeller started the game picking up 2 fouls in 43 seconds but would stay on the court as the Celtics started 0-9 from the field before Jeff Green finally scored but the 76ers would take an 11-2 lead. Boston answered with a 12-4 run thanks to 7 points from Avery & 5 from Kelly to cut the Sixers lead to 1. A quarter where the Celtics shot just 35%, Olynyk & Bradley combined for 25 points to put Boston on top 30-25. Olynyk had 14 points on 5-7 shooting, 3-4 from 3, 2-3 from the line in the first.

Noel ended the Celtics 9-0 run to cut the Boston lead to 7 before Sullinger hit a 3 to put Boston up double digits as they eventually pushed the lead to 14. Philadelphia tried cutting into the Boston lead getting it back to 10 but Kelly put in his 18th first half point, Green hit a 3 & Rondo got a basket to put Boston up by their largest lead, 19.

The Sixers quickly cut Boston’s 19 point halftime lead to 12 to start the 3rd off of some nice scoring by Nerlens Noel. Coach Stevens took a timeout and was clearly not happy with how Boston started the half & they responded pushing the lead back to 16. After both teams struggled to score on consecutive possessions, Olynyk got back to back baskets as Boston pushed the lead to 17. The second clear path foul on the 76ers led to Turner hitting 2 free throws to put Boston’s lead into the 20’s.

The Celtics took a 24 point lead into the 4th quarter & Kelly Olynyk only need 1 basket to tie his career high, he did that on the first possession of the quarter & then set a new career high a couple possessions later. The Celtics were able to maintain a 23 point lead with 6 minutes remaining. Philadelphia scored a couple quick baskets & that cut the lead to 19 before Zeller through down a slam. A back and forth quarter ended with the Boston Celtics winning 105-87.

Celtics end losing streak in overtime as Green drops 32 on Detroit.

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The Celtics who came into this one on a 5 game losing streak would be looking to end this at home against Detroit. Helping the cause would be Marcus Smart who returned from an ankle injury that had him sidelined for 10 games.

Jeff Green would open the scoring for the game with a 3 before some sloppy play by both teams but Boston would take the early 11-4 lead following a Rajon Rondo pull-up jumper. A 7-2 run, capped by a Jeff Green basket would give the Celtics a double digit lead. Detroit rallied with a 13-0 run before Pressey, with a 3, stopped the bleeding to tie things up.

The 2nd quarter started with Boston trailing by 2, Marcus Smart would see his first minutes since coming back from injury, to start the quarter. Smith extended Detroit’s lead to 6 before Kelly Olynyk got a 3 to fall cutting that in half. A feed from Pressey to Olynyk, a pair of made free throws by Bass followed by a Pressey jumper & a Green transition 3 would put the Celtics on a 9-0 run and have Boston leading by 5 with 2 minutes to go in the half. Detroit finished the half strong, on a 8-0 run & would take a 1 point lead into the main break.

The second half began & Green would quickly put Boston back on top after making 2 free throws. The Celtics would go up 3 before a couple baskets by Detroit had them leading again by 1. Zeller drawing an offensive foul on Smith led to a 3 by Green at the other end. Another transition 3 by Green put the Celtics back on top by 1. The back and forth (ugly) quarter ends with Boston outscoring Detroit, 19-15, to take a 61-58 lead into the last.

Bass & Turner made a jumper before Turner dished to Olynyk for the basket, fuelling a 6-0 run to put Boston up by 7. Green hit his 5th 3 of the night to put Boston up 12 but Caldwell-Pope would answer immediately. Monroe converted an and 1 to cut the Celtics lead to 8 with 3:13 left. Some more quick scoring by the Pistons had them only down 2 with still 1:30 remaining. Drummond had the chance to tie the game from the line but went 1 of 2 leaving Detroit having to foul with only 23 seconds left. Turner made both free throws, putting the Celtics up 3 before Butler tied the game giving the Celtics one final chance to win it in regulation. Green couldn’t get the shot to fall & this one was heading to overtime.

Sullinger opened the extra period with a 3 followed by another 3 by Jeff Green to put the Celtics up 6, Turner would extend that another 2 forcing a Detroit timeout with 3:18 left in the overtime period. 4 quick points by Monroe halved the Celtics 8 point lead before Sullinger would answer with a cold blooded 3 followed by an even colder jumper to put Boston up 9. The Celtics would hold off Detroit to win this 109-102.

Player Statistics:
Jeff Green: 32 Points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist
Kelly Olynyk: 20 Points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists
Brandon Bass: 9 Points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist
Phil Pressey: 7 Points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists
Tyler Zeller: 8 Points, 10 rebounds.
Evan Turner: 9 Points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists
Jared Sullinger: 14 Points, 8 rebounds, 2 assist
Rajon Rondo: 2 Points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists
Avery Bradley: 6 Points
Gerald Wallace: 2 points

Celtics rally without Rondo, Smart & beat Bulls to improve to 3-3.

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In the 6th game of this early Celtics season, trying to get to .500 at 3-3, Boston would travel to Chicago without their starting Point Guard (Rajon Rondo) & backup Point Guard (Marcus Smart) leaving Evan Turner to handle the PG duties.

After a sluggish start to the game from both sides, new starting PG, Evan Turner got Boston on the board first. The Celtics would build a 12-2 lead after Kelly drained a 3 in transition followed by a made Sullinger shot, forcing a Bulls timeout. Dunleavy would tie the game at 18 apiece on a 3 & the Bulls finished the quarter on a 10-2 run to take a 25-20 lead.

Jeff Green tied the game at 27 with a 3 before Gibson through down a slam at the other end. A 10-2 run by Boston had them retake the lead 39-35 as Bradley added 5 points during the run. A made pair of free throws by Turner & a Bradley steal and layup put Boston on top by 10. The Celtics rallied off a quick 7 points to close the half to take a 56-41 (36-16 in the quarter) lead into the half. Bradley led the team with 11 (9 in the 2nd quarter)

Back and forth start to the 3rd quarter as Boston held a 65-49 lead. Boston built the lead to 18 & had the chance to push it to 20 but couldn’t capitalise. The Bulls cut it to 15 on a free throw from Gasol before Olynyk nailed a 3. The whole 3rd quarter was close as Boston outscored Chicago 27-26 & took an 83-67 lead into the final frame.

Brooks hit a 3 for Chicago after Wallace went 1/2 from the line to cut the Boston lead to 14 with 9 minutes remaining. Brandon Bass got a huge steal that led to a Zeller basket to put Boston back up 15. Noah cut the Boston lead to 9 making it the closest it had been for some time. Effort on the offensive glass led to a Brooks 3 for Chicago & it was all of a sudden a 6 point game. Turner hit a steadying shot for Boston, putting them up 8 before Brooks hits another 3. Brooks was fouled on a deep 2 & made both to cut Boston’s lead to 3. Olynyk drove the lane & got fouled. He made it a 2 possession game, going 1/2. Brooks put in his 19th point of the quarter forcing a Boston timeout with 30 seconds left up 2. Turner drove the lane but couldn’t get the shot to fall but Kelly Olynk grabbing his 10th rebound, his 2nd offensive led to 2 made free throws to Evan Turner. Boston held on to win this one 106-101.

Full time statistics:
Kelly Olynyk: 18 Points, 11 Rebounds
Evan Turner: 19 Points, 5 Rebounds, 6 Assists
Avery Bradley: 13 Points, 3 Rebounds, 2 Assists
Jeff Green: 14 Points, 4 Rebounds, 4 Assists
Jared Sullinger: 10 Points, 8 Rebounds, 4 Assists
Marcus Thornton: 11 Points
Brandon Bass: 7 Points, 2 Rebounds
Phil Pressey: 3 Points, 3 Rebounds, 4 Assists
Tyler Zeller: 10 Points, 7 Rebounds, 4 Assists

Rockets stop Celtics perfect start behind Harden’s 26.

Capture

The Celtics had the tough task of going into Houston & beating Dwight & the Rockets but led by Captain Rondo they weren’t going to back down. Houston were straight out of the gates playing real aggressive & took a 16 point lead getting Olynyk in early foul trouble. Green & Bass would score 6 points for the C’s but 10 free throws & 60% shooting would have Houston up 22-37.

The 2nd started similar to the first with Houston shooting more free throws as they maintained a double digit lead. A basket by Turner halted the Rockets run & got the game back down to 16 with about half the quarter remaining. Houston would push their lead to 20 on their 21st and 22nd free throw attempts. Jeff led Boston with 8 points but the Celtics shot 0-12 from 3 & lost the rebound battle 28-15 in the first half as they trailed 38-57.
The C’s collapsed a lot in the first half when going for the double team, not getting back out to the wide open shooters.

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Screenshot by Justin

The 3rd quarter started ugly for both sides but the Celtics managed to go on a 9-0 run, led by Sullinger to climb within 13. Sullinger was hitting the offensive glass consistently to start the quarter & getting second chance points as his 5th rebound & 7th point of the quarter would have the Rockets calling a timeout as Boston made a game of it. Bradley & Zeller picked up their 5th fouls as Harden shot his 13th & 14th free throws for the night to give the Rockets back an 18 point lead. Boston would head to the 4th down 19 as Harden was leading the way with 26.

The 4th had begun & JET would hit a 3 for the Rockets. Rondo’s layup would cut the Rockets lead to 16 & give the Celtics some hope with 8 minutes still to go. Houston responded immediately & pushed the lead back to 22. Jones knocked down a 3 that put the Rockets up by 26. Jeff Green capped of a 5-0 run by the Celtics with a 3, Boston’s first of the night with 4:10 left. Houston shot 40 free throws during the game to win 90-104. Green led Boston with 17.

Boston shot 1-25 from 3 shot 22 less free throws.

Full time statistics:
Jeff Green 17 points, 4 rebounds , 2 assists
Jared Sullinger 14 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists
Rajon Rondo 4 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists
Kelly Olynyk 8 points, 5 rebounds
Brandon Bass 8 points, 5 rebounds
Evan Turner 8 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists
Tyler Zeller 8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assists
Marcus Thornton 9 points
James Young 6 points

A highlight of the game for the Celtics was a lovely spin move by Sullinger that got him this wide open look

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Screenshot by Justin

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Screenshot by Justin

Captain Rajon Rondo & Brad Stevens during the 4th quarter

Celtics start season right with win over KG & Nets

The long awaited opening night was finally here. The Celtics tipped off their 2014-15 NBA season in Boston against Brooklyn. The Celtics started just how they would’ve wanted, taking a 17-10 lead fuelled by Rondo’s 4 quick dimes. Boston built the lead to 11 by the end of the first as Coach Stevens was forced to use his 10 man rotation early as Avery, Jeff & Kelly all were in foul trouble.

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The 2nd quarter started with the C’s up 32-23. Zeller put the Celtics up 13 off of Rondo’s 8th dime before a 7-4 run by Brooklyn, finished with a KG fadeaway, had them down only 10. Boston responded, finishing the quarter on a 17-1 run which was led by Sullinger & Thornton, who had a team high 10 at the half as Boston led 67-41.

The 3rd quarter began & Brooklyn came out & went on a quick 7-2 run which had some Celtics fans a little nervous. Captain Rondo put the team on his back scoring 9 straight Celtics points which gave him a double double, but, more importantly had the Celtics back up 24. Kelly Olynyk would finish the quarter with 17 points & his last basket would give the Celtics 100 points through 3 & a 101-72 lead.

Brooklyn started the 4th on another run, 12-2 this time which cut the lead to fewer than 20. Jeff would put Boston back up 20 on a free throw before Teletovic would hit 2 3’s with a Rondo basket in-between to make it a 16 point game. That ended up being the final margin as Boston would win this one 121-105 led by Rondo’s near triple double.

Full Time Statistics:
Kelly Olynyk – 19 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists
Rajon Rondo – 13 points, 7 rebounds, 12 assists
Jeff Green – 17 Points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists
Avery Bradley – 15 points
Evan Turner – 10 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists
Jared Sullinger – 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists
Marcus Smart – 10 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
Marcus Thornton – 10 points
Brandon Bass – 8 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assists
Tyler Zeller – 6 points, 1 rebounds, 1 assists

Celtics rain 3’s, cool Heat.

Game 69 of 82: Miami Heat @ Boston Celtics

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The LeBron-less Miami came out on fire, connecting on 6 of their first 7 shots as they took a 12-7 lead at the first timeout. The Celtics responded, tying the game on a Jeff Green 3 at 14-14. The Heat then went on a 9-0 run before Sullinger nailed a 3, which he followed up with yet another shot from deep shortly after. Miami closed the quarter on a 18-6 run led by Haslem’s 12 points , Chalmer’s 8 assists & took a 34-22 lead at the end of 1.

The second quarter seemed to be all about the three ball. Boston started the second frame on a 9-5 run to cut the Heat lead to 9 on an Avery 3 with 8:44 left in the half. Bayless & Avery nailed back to back 3’s for the Celtics to get the Heat lead down to 6 with 6 left in the half. Ray scored for the Heat & KO followed with a 3 to cut it down to 3. Miami pushed the lead back to 7 on a Wade jumper. The Celtics outscored Miami 31-25 & trailed 59-53 at the half.

Halftime statistics:

  • Celtics 9-18 from 3, Miami 1-5
  • Heat shot 56%, Celtics 48%
  • Miami 32 points in the paint, Celtics 8

The Celtics began the second half on a 10-2 run to take a 2 point lead after AB scored 6 straight, followed by a Green layup that forced a Miami timeout. Miami responded with a 6-0 run to lead by 4. The Celtics answered with a 6-0 run to retake the lead. Avery nailed a 3 to give the Celtics a 4 point lead before Norris Cole and Ray Allen hit 3’s with a Bass basket in between to tie things back up. The Celtics had 4 tries of it to end the quarter but couldn’t get a shot to fall & Boston led 80-78 after 3, outscoring Miami 19-27 in the quarter.

The Celtics pushed their lead to 5 with 9:30 left with 2 Sullinger free throws. Avery hit his 6th 3 on the night, followed by a Rondo jumper to put the Celtics up 6. Ray Allen tied the game with a pair of free throws with 4:30 left. Green hit a 3 and Rondo forced a jump ball against Haslem, won it & scored to put the Celtics up 5 with 1:44 left. Wade cut it to 3 but Rondo answered with a jumper to put the C’s on top by 5 with 18 seconds left. Miami missed a 3 & the Celtics, with some quick passing, Miami couldn’t foul & Boston ran out the clock & won it 101-96.

Turning point: with the Celtics up 3 and Haslem grabbed an offensive board in the final 2 minutes, took a risk with 5 fouls & forced a jump ball. Rondo won the jump ball & scored at the other end.

Bonus: Rondo highlight reel!

Notable statistics:

  • Celtics shot 51%, Heat 49%
  • Heat had 81FGA, Celtics 77
  • Celtics 13-28 from 3, Heat 4-17
  • Miami 37 rebounds, Celtics 36
  • Celtics & Miami had 29 assists
  • Miami 50-20 in points in the paint

Player stat lines:

  1. Rajon Rondo: 9-10-15
  2. Avery Bradley: 23-4
  3. Brandon Bass: 18-4
  4. Jeff Green: 13-4-3
  5. Jared Sullinger: 14-4-3
  6. Kelly Olynyk 10-5

Kelly’s Playing Olright

The expectations on most rookie big men must be set reasonably low as players transition from the tempo of the college game into the faster pace of the NBA. However, this isn’t always the case when those rookie bigs are drafted in the top 15 of their class.

Kelly Olynyk displayed a high basketball IQ from the word go, especially when he was named player of the tournament for the 2013 Summer League in Orlando. However, the pace of real NBA games meant Olynyk had trouble finding his feet over the first few months of the season proper.

The turnaround in Kelly’s game over the past two months or so can be put down to something rather simple: confidence. This added confidence can be attributed to several factors. A familiarity with Coach Stevens’ system and his teammates (especially Phil Pressey), an understanding of the tempo of the game and his opponents, and just being comfortable knowing his own game is good enough at this level.

Tommy Heinsohn noted that Olynyk’s selection to the Rising Stars game at All-Star weekend may have helped him feel like he truly belongs at this level.

He is no longer hesitating with the ball in his hands, instead taking the shots that are available to him straightaway, demonstrating a higher arc on his jump shots too. If the shots aren’t there, he simply illustrates a very smart passing game to find an open teammate. Olynyk runs the floor very well for a big man, and his ability to finish around the rim is very impressive. In February he averaged 8.4 points per game, substantially improving on averages in December and January of 6.1 and 6.3 points per contest.

Since his return from a toe injury, Kelly has posted averages of 16 points at 53% field goal percentage, 6 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 22.5 minutes of court time over those 3 games.

Not only is Olynyk putting up better numbers and looking comfortable in offensive sets, he is also playing with an added aggression which has seen a spike in his rebounding numbers. Over the months of December and January, Olynyk averaged 3.6 and 3.8 boards per contest respectively. In February, those numbers jumped to 6.5 rebounds per game. This is no coincidence, as he actively pursues rebounds and positions himself a lot better than he used to.

It also seems as though Kris Humphries’ tutelage has been working on Olynyk, as he looks to have added some size and muscle since the start of the season.

Danny Ainge has now drafted Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk over the past two offseasons, with both big men showing enormous potential to be something special for the Celtics going forward. As Kelly continues to improve, it’s exciting to think about what the future holds for this young and promising team.

- Michael (@mickyt34)

Celtics beat Nelson-less Magic, Rajon Rondo records double-double

The first quarter showed just how badly the Celtics wanted a win, after what could be termed mildly as a terrible January.

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Bass started with a slam, AB, who in his first game back from injury, nailed a jumper & Sullinger hit a hook shot to put the Celtics up 6-0 early. Vucevic got the Magic on the board but Sullinger answered with a layup off the feed by Green after he had created space. Afflalo got fouled on a 3 & made all 3 FT’s to make it a 5-8, Celtics lead with 8 left. Rondo’s hot half started with a pull-up J before Harris went on a 5-0 run to put Magic up 12-10. Rondo hit another jumper & after a cold minute and a half from both teams, Bass got his second dunk of the quarter to give Boston back the lead. Harris kept his hot shooting going & tied things back up before Vucevic was called for a defensive 3 second & Green nailed the FT. Bass then took over scoring 5 of the next 7 Boston points to put the Celtics up 22-16 with 2 left. Afflalo scored the next 3 points for Orlando before Bayless drained a jumper & Johnson hit a 3 to give the Celtics a 27-19 lead after one.

Ex-Celtic Big Baby Davis, along with Harkless got the Magic started in the second as the Celtics started out stone cold. The lead was cut to 4 before AB & Sullinger quickly equalised. Davis hit a couple FT’s before Sullinger scored 4 straight to give him 10 on the night & the Celtics a 10 point lead with 8:30 left. Harris got a layup & Olynyk split a pair, Bayless & Oladipo exchanged jumpers before AB got his 6th first half point off Green’s 4th assist. Afflalo answered with a 3 but Rondo scored 6 of the next 8 Boston points to have the green up by 10 before Vucevic got an easy layup in transition. Rondo got a nice steal & Green knocked down a 3 off Rondo’s feed, Harkless answered with a 3 & Rondo responded with another 3 to give him 13 first half points. Oladipo finished the quarter with 2 FT’s as the Celtics led 45-54 halfway.

Half time statistics

  • The Celtics lead on points in the paint 24-16. Rajon Rondo 13-3-4 on 6-7 shooting
  • Jared Sullinger 12-6 on 6-8 shooting
  • Brandon Bass 9-3
  • Jeff Green 6-0-4

Rondo started the second half with a layup before Davis answered for the Magic. Sullinger missed 2 chances & Rondo stepped in for a charge at the other end but was called a blocking foul, which also was his 3rd personal. Thankfully, Oladipo missed a 3 right after. Afflalo got a layup and the blocking call (and fourth foul) on Rondo, which forced him to sit. Jeff Green subsequently gave a huge block and swatted Afflalo’s shot right into the stands. The Celtics managed to get a stop on the next possession, with AB pushing for a quick two points and was fouled while heading to the basket. He split the FTs to give Boston a 59-49 lead with 8:33 left. Vucevic scored the next 4 points and Harris hit a jump shot to cut the C’s lead to 4. After a flurry of exchanged points, Bass nailed another shot to push the Celtics’ lead back to 8. Vucevic scored again before Oladipo drained a 3 to cut the Celtics lead to 3. Bayless got his defender in the air and fed the rock to AB for an uncontested layup, forcing a Magic timeout with 3:44 left. Vucevic tipped Hump’s shot in, resulting in the closest Celtics basket, Bass. Bayless drained a nice shot to push the Celtics lead back to 9 with 2 minutes left. Both teams went ice cold before Harris hit a layup with 33 ticks left. The Celtics got the final 2 shots with Green missing 2 3’s to give him 1-11 after 3.

The 4th began ice cold for both teams other than Sullinger’s first shot of the quarter. Harkless made 2 FT’s before Sullinger got another rebound & basket to put the Celtics up 75-66 with 9:22 left. Harkless got a layup & ex-Celtic, Moore nailed a floater to make it a 5 point Celtics lead. Hump answered with a jumper to force a Magic timeout with 8:16 left, Boston up 7. Lamb nailed a tough floater out of the timeout, Rondo turned it over & Davis scored to cut the lead to 3. O’Quinn cut it to 1 before Rondo scored with a crazy hook shot and AB canned a nice Jumper to put the Celtics back on top by 5 with 5:20 left. Out of the timeout Afflalo knocked down a jump shot before fouling AB at the other end, AB made both FT’s. Sullinger committed a foul that put the Celtics over the limit with 4:12 left, Oladipo made both before Sullinger stepped into it and made a smooth 3. Oladipo answered with a reverse layup to cut the Celtics lead to 4. Chris Johnson nailed a 3 but was standing out of bounds, resulting in a turnover & a timeout. Davis & Rondo exchanged baskets out of the timeout. Vucevic missed a jumper and Green drained a deep 2 at the other end to put the Celtics up 6 with 1:53 left. Vucevic was called for the offensive foul & Rondo found Bass at the other end to force a Magic timeout with 1:22 left, down 8. Afflalo scored out of the timeout, Bass answered & then Big Baby nailed a clutch 3 to cut the lead to 5 with 46 ticks left. Rondo missed a 3 & Magic took a timeout with 20.9 seconds left. After errors by both teams, Rondo got the ball & fed it to Avery with 2 seconds left and got his double-double.

After much struggle, Celtics held on and won it 96-89.


Player statistics:

  1. Jared Sullinger 21 points , 12 rebounds & a block
  2. Rajon Rondo 19 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists & 2 steals
  3. Brandon Bass 19 points & 9 rebounds
  4. Avery Bradley 17 points , 2 rebounds & 2 assists

Notable Statistics:

  • The Celtics shot 41-82 (50%), Magic 33-80 (41%)
  • Celtics won rebounds 44-39
  • Celtics won assists 24-18
  • Magic shot 10 more free throws
  • Celtics win fast break points 10-7.

The Celtics fall to aggressive Philadelphia in heartstopping thriller at the Garden.

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The 1st quarter started with back to back baskets by the 76ers in the paint before Bass started us off with a slam. Jeff Green began the game very aggressively by getting to the line on the next Boston possession, tying the game at 4. Sullinger got 4 off his 24 to cap off an 8-0 Boston blitz. The 76ers answered with a 6-0 run before Sullinger stopped the drought of 2:45. Jeff Green scored 8 straight Celtics points including a sick slam dunk before KO answered the 76ers’ free throws with a 3 to knot things up with 2:30 to play. Jeff Green drained a 3 and as time had expired he hit another from beyond half court which unfortunately was after the buzzer, giving the Celtics a 26-23 lead at the end of 1 & Green 13 first quarter points.

The second quarter didn’t start well at all for Boston as Philadelphia went on a 10-0 run starting with back to back 3’s by Spencer Hawes & ending with a dunk by Dedmon to give the Sixers a 33-26 lead. Bass went in aggressive and got to the stripe, making both & Sullinger had to have 3 goes at it before he got it to fall as the Celtics had cut the deficit to 3 with 8 minutes remaining in the half. Young hit a 3, Bass and Wallace split some free throws as the 76ers went on another quick spurt of 12-2 run to get a 48-34 lead with under 4 left. Bayless shook off his cold start and drained 2 baskets in a row, one being a 3 & Hump nailed a jumper followed by 2 free throws as Boston cut it to 5 with 1:40 remaining. Sullinger finished his strong half with 4 straight points to give him 12 points & 7 rebounds at the half as the Celtics trailed by 6.

The second half started with an 8-3 Sixers run to push the lead to 11 and things didn’t look promising for the C’s before Sullinger & Bass went on an 8-0 run to make it a 3 point game. Both teams exchanged baskets for a while before Hawes drained a 3, Hump split a pair and Turner hit a jumper as the 76ers pushed it back to 7. Humphries then went on to score 6 of the next 8 points including a dunk & Kelly Olynyk followed a Pressey miss to make it a 1 point game. Wroten answered with another point in the paint for the Sixers as they took a 3 point lead into the final frame leading 74-71.

The 4th started just how the Celtics needed it to be, with young gun Chris Johnson draining a 3 & Pressey hitting a bank shot to give Boston a 2 point lead. Wroten hit a tough shot to tie things back up before Green connected on a 3, giving him his first points since the 1st quarter. Sullinger hit a hook shot & Chris Johnson nailed another 3 as the Celtics went on an 8-2 run to lead by 6 with 9:20 left. After the 76ers’ timeout both teams struggled scoring with multiple opportunities being missed, before Sullinger got a layup to fall off CJ’s 5th dime. Anderson started a quick 8-2 76ers run with a 3 to cut the deficit to 86-88 with around 5:30 left. Jeff Green hit a tough fadeaway jumper before Anderson slammed one down & Young followed with another Philadelphia slam not long after to tie the game at 90 apiece with 4 minutes left. Sullinger turned up the hustle again grabbing 3 straight offensive rebounds before being fouled & hitting 2 clutch free throws to give the Celtics a 2 point lead. Bass blocked Hawes and Sullinger grabbed his 15th rebound as Boston were looking to make it a 2 possession game as Jeff Green got double teamed and turned it over. Bayless picked up his 4th foul at the other end as Carter-Williams splits the free throws, Sullinger grabbed the second miss and pushed it to Green who missed the jumper. The 76ers failed to convert to take the lead and Bayless got fouled and headed to the line to make it a 3 point ball game, Bayless missed both & then Sullinger fouled Young who also missed both. The Celtics had possession up 1 with 1:23 left. Sullinger couldn’t convert the tough jumper & then committed a very bad 5th foul that put MCW to the line & he split them to tie the game at 92. Green missed a fadeaway before more hustle by the Celtics on the boards led to Hump tipping the ball home with 42 ticks left & a 2 point Boston lead. Out of the timeout Bass was called for a foul and Evan Turner missed 1 at the line to give the Celtics the ball and a 1 point lead with 34.8 left. The 76ers didn’t foul & Hump got the look he wanted but it didn’t fall. Carter-Williams pushed the ball before palming it right in front of the official for a no call, gave it up to Evan Turner who drove & hit the buzzer beating shot to give the Philadelphia 76ers a 95-94 win in Boston.

Video highlights:

Best performances:

  1. Jared Sullinger 24 points & 17 rebounds
  2. Jeff Green 18 points , 6 rebounds & 4 assists
  3. Kris Humphries 13 points (3-5 shooting, 7-8 from the line) & 9 rebounds.
  4. Brandon Bass 11 points & 5 rebounds.
  5. Bayless 10 points & 4 rebounds

Notable statistics:

  • The Celtics won the rebound battle 59-40 but only had one more FGA due to +8 in turnovers.
  • The 76ers won the points in the paint 58-40
  • The 76ers missed 11 free throws (14-25)

Marc D’Amico on Chris Johnson’s contract as many people have been quite excited by his play:

“With the trade deadline being about three weeks away, the Celtics need to make sure they’re in position to complete any trades that they’re interested in. In other words, they may need roster spots open to complete some trades (say, one where you send out two players and take back four). And that is not to say that the Celtics are sure to make any deals just saying there’s more to it than just how Johnson is playing.”

Let me know your thoughts on if Chris Johnson should get a longer contract.

Did we witness the Celtics’ best first quarter of the season?

11 August 2013, game 21 of the NBA 2013/14 season: a brief moment in a long 82-game season that should be treasured.

Today’s first quarter against the Nuggets has encapsulated some of the most beautiful basketball we’ve seen from this season’s Celtics so far. The C’s performed brilliantly on offense and defense, kicking the game off with a 39-15 scoreline. Considering how the average score per NBA quarter usually hovers about the 25-point mark, a 24-point lead only happens with the help of several contributing factors.

So, what actually happened?

Sharing the rock

The ball was moving decisively. Spacing was good, passing lanes were visible without guys being obviously marooned. There was a concerted effort to get the ball into the post, which further improved spacing at the perimeter, which led to open shots and so on. You’re not going to get an assist if your teammate starts pounding the ball all by himself, andthen abruptly pulls up for a shot in a show of one-on-one prowess. If nothing else, the 10 assists notched in this quarter are an indicator of selfless team passing.

The passing obviously helped Avery’s shooting a great deal. Ever since his reversion to the 2 guard, he has regained his former confidence on defense, and is an absolute gunner on offense these days. Check out his shot chart so far. (Green denotes a shooting % above the league average.)

Avery Bradley's shot chart as at 11 Aug 2013 - from stats.nba.com

Avery Bradley’s shot chart as at 11 Aug 2013 – from stats.nba.com

While he hasn’t been a Ray Allen clone on the three balls, he’s been burying the long 2’s at an amazingly efficient rate. Give AB a high screen, and he’s ready to make that one dribble to the side, get some space and pull the trigger. Either that, or he’s cutting without the ball to get open shots, something we all know he’s always been good at. Cutting however, is useless without the right pass being made. It points out once more that good passing is being established, which in turn gives the guys their open shots.

Defensive rebounding

Best of all, we saw the rebounding. Brilliant, brilliant defensive rebounding. The new Celtics are not a hulking team like the Detroit Pistons (our starting center is a 6’9″ Jared Sullinger; an average NBA center’s height would be closer to 6″11′), but under Brad Stevens’ direction, there has been a visible and intense focus on team rebounding, especially on the guards helping to corral defensive boards. We see this in action, especially when top rebounders for the game in the first quarter were Avery Bradley (4) and Jordan Crawford (4). 15 total rebounds for the team, with 8 taken by your guards. I have to say, that’s a solid sign of team rebounding in action. Your big men box opposing bigs out, and the guards are free to charge in and nab them loose balls.

“… And it’s good that our guards rebound, because they need to rebound for us to win. – Brad Stevens, Jordan Crawford nets triple-double as Boston Celtics pound Cleveland Cavaliers: ‘Jordan Crawford had 11 rebounds?’ Brad Stevens quips

Apart from defensive rebounding, the overall defense has been solid effort, especially transition defense. No open layups!

Staying careful

We ended the first quarter with only one turnover. ONE. TURNOVER. Let that sink in for a bit. That solitary TO came early in the game from a bad JC pass, who lobbed a pass to a waiting Sully on the block but rifled it a tad too high, which ended up flying out of bounds.

Crawford TO pass to Sully

Crawford TO pass to Sully

Not a live ball TO, no transition. Lesser impact, especially when we’re talking about a fast-paced team like Denver.

On a Celtics team where we have been used to seeing double-digit TOs every single game, having only ONE bloody turnover in 12 minutes shows just how crisp and well-directed the ball movement was. Badly co-ordinated passes lead to turnovers. Stagnant ball movement leads to turnovers. Aggressive defense leads to turnovers.  If you want to stay pessimistic though, put the blame on how awful the Denver defense was at disrupting the offense.

That being said, the team’s averaging 16.2 TOs so far, unlike last season when the C’s made 14.5 TOs per game. While this ugly number is putting them at only rank 26 in the league, there’s definitely room for improvement in this area.


Of course, we had a lot of help from Denver in their decidedly awful shooting and bad luck, but credit must be given where it’s due. The Celtics played well, and while no one’s holding their breath for this to happen every night, it is most definitely a silver lining moment for a young team finding its identity under a new coach, when they manage to pull out twelve minutes of splendid basketball like this.

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