Hard work & hustle leads Boston over the Bucks, Celtics back to .500

The 4-3 Bucks would be hosting the 2-3 Celtics without guard Marcus Smart who is still out with a toe injury. The Celtics would stay with the same starting 5 that beat the Wizards by an impressive 20 points last game.

Evan Turner being defended by former Celtic, Jerryd Bayless
Evan Turner being defended by former Celtic, Jerryd Bayless

The 1st quarter started terrible for Boston as they had 3 turnovers in less than 3 minutes & found themselves in an 8-0 hole as Coach Stevens was forced to take an early timeout. Out of the timeout Sullinger got our first points + drew a charge on the defensive end. The great play of Monroe had the Bucks up 12 with 5 & ½ minutes to play. Olynyk with the hoop & harm off a brilliant Avery pass & a Jae Crowder 3 cut the deficit to 3 & forced the Bucks into a timeout. 7 points off the bench from Olynyk had the game tied up at 24 at the end of the 1st.

The 2nd started back & forth but back to back 3’s by Thomas & Turner put the Celtics up 8 after 4 minutes. A few bad possessions by the Celtics & 6 straight points by Middleton had our lead cut to 2. Turnovers & missed 3’s were problems for the Celtics but Thomas was able to keep the Celtics up 3 with 3 minutes left to the main break. Monroe with a 14-11 points/rebound double double keeps the Bucks in it at the half as the Celtics lead 46-42.

The 2nd half started with Evan Turner in place of Avery Bradley who was pronounced out for the rest of the game with a bruised lower left leg. Thomas drew Antetokounmpo’s 4th foul of the game early in the 3rd as he split his free throws to put the Celtics up 8. Antetokounmpo knocked down a 3 from the corner & Bayless made 2 free throws as the Celtics lead was cut to 2 halfway through the 3rd quarter. Thomas made back to back trips to the line making all 4 free throws & put the Bucks over the limit. Jonas & Crowder both knocked down triples with 2 Crowder free throws in-between that put the Celtics up 9. Boston ended the quarter with an 18-2 run to take a 76-59 lead into the 4th.

Antetokounmpo picked up his 5th foul early as Middleton & Bayless hit 3’s to cut the Boston lead to 13.  2 offensive rebounds and a made jump shot from David Lee had the Celtics leading 87-71 with a little over 6 minutes remaining. The Bucks kept fighting all the way to the end but Boston were able to manage the clock & hit shots when it mattered as the Celtics get to .500 with a 99-83 win.

The NBA’s leader in steals, Jae Crowder had another 4 steals in tonight’s game.| Thomas had another 20 point game after a slow start shooting.
Evan Turner finished with a team high +32.
The Celtics had 21 assists.

The Boston Celtics season ends in chippy game 4


The Celtics were looking to take game 4 & force a 5th game in Cleveland & things didn’t start well for them as Brad Stevens took a timeout not even 2 minutes into the game to emphasize the importance of rebounding as the Cavs already had 5 2nd chance points. After Love & Olynyk’s arms got tangled, Love ran to the locker room with a dislocated shoulder & would not return. The Celtics weren’t able to take advantage of Love’s injury & Thompson’s 2 early fouls as Cleveland led 29-19 after one.


The 2nd quarter began better for the Celtics as Sullinger & Smart got back to back baskets but the Cavaliers quickly went on a run as LeBron & Co pushed the lead to 18. Out of a Celtics timeout Sullinger & Crowder combined for 7 straight points to get the crowd back into it but as the trend of the series Thompson got an offensive rebound & put back which sparked a run as they got up by 19 points. Kendrick Perkins & Jae Crowder got into a fight which led to Perkins getting a flagrant + a double tech on Crowder & Perkins. A chippy 2nd quarter ended with the Cavs up 21.


The Celtics started the 2nd half aggressive drawing fouls. JR Smith was ejected for hitting Crowder, Jae needed to be helped from the floor as Thomas knocked down a pair from the line. Bass finished a put back dunk over Thompson who picked up his 4th foul on the And 1 play. Bass missed the free throw & in a very unusual way he was 0/3 from the line in the quarter. Crowder was diagnosed with a left knee sprain & would not return to this game. Thomas cut the deficit to 13 after a fast break basket. The Celtics got the crowd amped after Pressey beat LeBron in a jump ball & Sullinger hit a buzzer beater as they cut the Cavs 21 point lead to 9 going into the 4th. The Celtics were shooting 14-25 from the line.


Sullinger, who now had a double double, knocked down a 3 to make it an 8 point game but Kyrie quickly answered. Smart cut it down to 9 with just under 7 minutes left but again, Irving had an answer. Shumpert had 4 straight points to push the Cavs lead to an untouchable 13 points. . After an eventful final minute the Celtics fell victim to a sweep after losing game 4 93-101. Sullinger finished with 21 points & 11 rebounds.

The 2014-15 Boston Celtics overcome a lot of doubters, line-up changes, injuries & anything else that came at them to get the 7th seed. The team played with heart, grit & toughness all season long & had that never say die attitude. They showed us what Celtic Pride is all about. While it’s sad this fun & eventful season has come to an end, this Celtics team will be one I always remember. See you all next season, Bleed Green.


Bonus Boston Basketball

It feels like the beginning of season 2014-15 is already a distant memory. On opening night, the Celtics roster included names like Rondo, Green, Thornton, Faverani and Powell. We saw brief stints in green from NBA veterans Tayshaun Prince, Brandon Wright and Jameer Nelson, even Austin Rivers passed through for a few days. Strange to think that was only a few months ago.

Now with a young core and impressive young coach, the Celtics are headed to the Playoffs in just the second year of a rebuild. The additions of Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko and Gigi Datome have given this team a big boost since the All-Star break. The landscape has changed so much since October – even Danny Ainge didn’t see this coming, which is testament to Brad Stevens and his ability to get consistent effort out of this team and to play for each other.

The Playoffs are always a great experience for any player’s development, and it doesn’t get much better than a match-up in the spotlight against the LeBron-led Cleveland Cavaliers. With Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens and owner Wyc Grousbeck stating they want to keep this young core together for the long-term, the 2015 Playoffs will be a great learning curve for the team as a whole.

You can bet a never-say-die mentality and a pumping TD Garden will give this team enough belief to push the Cavs to the brink. Whatever happens in the post-season should be considered a bonus; the Celtics have already been big winners in 2015.

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?

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.


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.


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.


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

Playoffs or Lottery?

With the first half of the season gone, and the Celtics possessing a similar record to that of last year, the same questions are being asked, what is better for the team: playoffs or lottery?

When Ainge traded away both Rondo and Green for future assets, it was assumed that the Celtics would waive the white flag this season in hopes of a high lottery pick – but after a stirring victory against the East-leading Atlanta Hawks going into the all-star break, the unlikely thought of playoffs for these stubborn Celtics in 2015 is now starting to become a reality.  But what is best for this team?  To make the playoffs or to blow it up even further for a better draft pick to keep building?  There is a valid argument to be made for both camps.

An unlikely run to the playoffs could have a greatly positive effect for this young Celtics team.  For starters, it would mean that our young core has stepped up, increasing their value to the team and around the league – this is especially important considering Ainge’s history of drafting/developing young talent, and then trading for a superstar.  It would also mean that Coach Brad Stevens will add another feather to his cap and pick up some valuable playoff experience whilst gaining even more recognition for the job that he has done.  Having a successful culture within the team is also critical with free agency on the horizon as potential free agents would factor this in to their decisions.
If the Celtics were to sputter down the home stretch and only make the playoffs because the lack of competition in the East, then there could be a negative effect for this team.  The team could miss out on a potential lottery pick/quality young player, they could be stuck in the dreaded land of mediocrity, or there could even be a false sense of where this team is really at.

We have all been down this road before – Ainge guts the team, and lets them free-fall into the lottery, where we cross our fingers, cross our toes, clutch on to a rabbits foot or a four-leaf clover in hope for at least a top 3 pick in the draft.  In theory, this is a great idea, especially when the draft class is tipped to yield some potentially great players, it is a great way to acquire a franchise-altering player without having to sacrifice money/players/assets for them.
The reality is however, unless the team is bad enough (bottom 2, which the Celtics have no chance of being) – there is no guarantee that you could end up with a top 5 pick, let alone a top 3 pick.  This strategy can be flawed as the team would be relying on luck over anything else, and for the Celtics, luck has not been on their side when it comes to the lottery balls.


“I would love to see our team in the playoffs, but I don’t want to see us back into the playoffs with a really bad record and not even have a fighting chance. If our team can keep getting better by developing, if we can make some deals at the trade deadline that put us in position to actually get into the playoffs and have a chance to win a playoff series, I think that would be a lot of fun.” – Danny Ainge, January 30th, 2015

Danny Ainge has nailed exactly how I feel with this quote.  I would love to see the Celtics reload at the trade deadline, and make a serious run for the playoffs.  Given that the Celtics have already won 20 games, and has the most games remaining against teams that are sub .500, the chance to increase lottery odds may prove quite difficult – especially with Lakers, Knicks, 76ers and Timberwolves all on 13 wins or under.  What I do not want to see however, is a team that makes the playoffs due to inferior competition, and then in turn, gets swept by a higher seed.
With the trade deadline rumours swirling all around the NBA and the Celtics in particular, it seems like it is a real possibility that the Celtics may actually pick up a piece or two to assist in a push for the playoffs which is a far cry from what direction everyone thought the team was going after trading Rondo and Green within a month of each other.

Given the position we are in, I would love to see a young, feisty team fighting all the way through for the second half of the season – we have tried to be lottery players in the past with no high picks to show for it.  As a fan, it is so much fun to watch a competitive, scrappy team fight hard and play for something meaningful every night rather than watching a lot of moral victories.  Not wanting to be mediocre is one thing, but wanting to either contend or have one of the worst records with no in between is too extreme.  Let the young guys learn, play and earn playoff experience.

What do you think is best for this Celtics team?  Would you like to see them make a run into the playoffs, or would you like to see them try their luck at a higher lottery pick?  Leave your comment below.