Lee Off To A Good Start

Another bright spark to start the Celtics season has been the re-emergence of a confident Courtney Lee. Acquired in a complicated trade during the 2012 offseason, expectations were high on a player many claimed could fill the void of #20 alongside Jason Terry at the shooting guard position last year.

While Lee managed to find some form over a stretch in January and February next to Avery Bradley as the duo of Pitbulls, C-Lee found himself bouncing from the starting line-up to a reserve role numerous times in the regular season, eventually finding his way into Doc Rivers’ doghouse as the season drew to a close. This resulted in ‘DNP – Coach’s Decision’ next to Courtney’s name in the playoff series against New York on a couple of occasions.

Lee possesses many skills that are desired from a professional basketballer; a respectable defender, a good 3-point shot, mid-range jumper, and the ability to handle the ball and finish around the rim. Last season, he played more of a passive role in the Celtics offense, often found standing in the corner to create more space for Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett to operate in.

Now, it has become more evident that coach Stevens wants Lee to be a bigger part of the team at that end of the floor, running plays to allow him to be freed up by screens. This has resulted in open looks from downtown, shots off the dribble, and drives the basket.

While the statistics don’t light up the page at a superstar level,  Lee has fulfilled his role as a consistent scorer off the bench so far in the early part of the Celtics 2013/14 campaign. His confidence to shoot the ball when open has been a noticable difference, and we have seen more of the player Boston fans were hoping for last year. Through the first 9 contests, 8.3 points per game and a field goal percentage of 57% have illustrated Lee’s ability to put up points for the team at an efficient rate.

Lee told ESPN this week he rectified a flaw in his shooting stroke over the 2013 offseason

“I don’t know where it came from, I was swinging the ball from my left side to my right when I shot,” said Lee. “In the years before, I never did that. I had to get back to working on not doing it.”

“I’m back to playing with confidence,” he said. “Taking my shots, playing within the flow, pretty much back to playing the way I was playing before I came to Boston last year.”

Finding himself in a very different situation this year, Lee has been making the most of it thus far. Having been a fan of him since his rookie days in Orlando, I believe Lee can play a role in the resurgance of the Celtics, and can be a big part of the future next to the promising brigade of Rondo, Green, Sullinger, Olynyk, and others. Hopefully this strong play won’t result in a trade, but rather a strengthening of his role with the team going forward.

Let us know what you’ve thought of Lee’s play so far in the comments below.

- Michael (@mickyt34)

Green Kick Of The Season R1: Terry’s Answer IV’s v Rondo’s Fighter Jet’s

The battle between Courtney Lee’s Air Jordan VII ‘Golden Moments’ and Avery Bradley’s Adidas AdiZero Crazy Light 2’s ended in the closest finish we’ve seen.

Avery Bradley and his Adidas Crazy Light 2’s move onto the second round after collecting 58% of your votes.

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In the final week of round one there is a battle between:

Jason Terry’s Reebok Answer IV’s

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versus

Rajon Rondo’s  Nike Foamposite Fighter Jet’s

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Check back next week to find out wins this battle!

A Study in Green: Jason Terry aka The JET

When the JET touched down in Boston, fans rejoiced. Sentiments such as “Terry will make us a much better team”, and “Ray who?” were common amongst Celtics fans. Coming in, all Celtics fans thought that Terry, along with other new faces, would give us the bench punch we needed to knock off Miami and go further than the previous post-season. I was personally ecstatic. Getting a player who, in 2011, was just as important as Dirk in getting Dallas’ first championship, publicly trashtalked the best player in the world (and our enemy), then backed it up on the court? I thought he was going to fit perfectly with our team on and off the court.

Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics

Unfortunately, as the season went on and injuries mounted, the Celtics had their worst regular season and earliest playoff exit since the new Big 3 was assembled back in 2007-2008.

There were plenty of factors for the poor season by the Celtics. Losing our best player, our best rebounder and bench sparkplug all within 3 weeks were big factors. As the season progressed however, the fans’ frustration in Terry seemed to grow as well.

The Good

Jason Terry is at his most effective with the ball in his hands, when coming off a screen. This was how Dallas always used him, and this was what Celtics fans envisioned of him before he played a game for us. He demonstrated that in the playoffs against the Knicks, when it seemed he was given some offensive freedom to attack the New York defense. He shot a touch under 50% between the 16-24 feet range out on the floor, which is an elite number. His routine of promising big games, and then delivering on that promise, just as he did after copping an elbow from JR Smith in game 3, is also a great attribute and speaks for his confidence level in himself and his team.

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks - Game One

Jason Terry also embraced his bench role, even going as far as coining himself the captain of the bench squad at the beginning of the season. Having an established veteran scorer that is willing to come off the bench is a big plus, and not to be taken for granted (this was something other stars had a problem with).

The Bad

Terry had a forgettable 2012/13 campaign to say the least. His PPG average was down to 10.1 PPG, which is the second lowest average of his career (his rookie season was the lowest with 8.1). He only managed to hit .372 of his 3 point attempts, and connected with .434 of his overall shots.

It is worth noting however, that out of his 14-year career, his 3 worst seasons have been when he changed teams.

  1. His rookie year (99-00) where he averaged 8.1 points per game.
  2. His first season in Dallas (04-05), where he averaged 12.4 points per game.
  3. This past season (12-13), where he averaged 10.1 points per game.

After his rookie season and his first season with Dallas, his game picked up significantly. If history is anything to go by, we should see a more productive Terry next season – if he is still in green playing alongside Pierce & KG in Brooklyn.

It is also worth noting that Doc was not playing to Terry’s strength at the start of the season, where he was running Ray Allen-type plays for Terry, making him run around multiple screens to get a shot off. As stated previously, Terry is more than a catch and shoot player and we should put him in better positions to excel.

The Verdict

I was lucky enough to be in Boston to watch game 4 vs. New York, where Boston won in overtime. That was one of the best games I have seen of Terry in a Celtics uniform. That, was the player Celtic nation envisioned getting when he came across from Dallas – closing the game with 9 points in the overtime, and taking the burden off Paul Pierce, who finally buckled from carrying the team post Rondo injury.

I though that Terry would have been more comfortable in the Celtics system for the next season prior to him being dealt to the Brooklyn Nets. Moving to Brooklyn with both Pierce and Garnett, and having a coach who was an ex-teammate in Kidd should greatly benefit the Jet in terms of familiarity. If Brooklyn are lucky, they will be able to see what Boston didn’t — the Jet soar again.
What do you think, will the JET be worth his salt and deliver the goods for Brooklyn in the new 2013/14 season? Share your thoughts with us.

Green Kick Of The Season R1: Terry’s Sublite’s v Bradley’s Real Deal’s

Last week we saw Rajon Rondo and his Nike Hyperposite’s take on Courtney Lee and his Nike Air Penny V’s. This was a round 1 match up that looked as though it could be very one-sided from the outset.

Rajon Rondo and his flashy, gold Nike Hyperposite’s move onto round 2 after collecting 83% of your votes.

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We continue round 1 this week with a battle between:

Jason Terry’s Reebok Sublite Pro Rise’s

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versus

Avery Bradley’s Adidas Real Deal II’s

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Remember to check back next week to find out who will be progressing onto round 2.

Green Kick Of The Season R1: Rondo Hyperposites v JET Kamikaze II’s

The 2012/13 NBA season did not pan out the way it was supposed to for the Boston Celtics. One positive we can take away from the season was the shoe game of many Celtics. They stood up in the kick department and showed us some heat.

To celebrate this season’s best kicks, I have selected the best 16 kicks from the weekly Green Kick Of The Week to battle it out. It is now up to you, our readers who will crown the Green Kick of the Season!

Green Kick of the Season 2012/13 brackets

Below is the bracket, showing the matchups. (Click to view a larger version.)

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So let’s get this battle underway!

Round 1

First up, we have these kicks in the ring:

Rajon Rondo‘s Nike Hyperposite’s in the black/volt colourway.

Dallas Mavericks v Boston Celtics

versus

Jason Terry‘s Reebok Kamikaze II’s in the black/green colourway.

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks - Game One

Check back next week for the results of this contest and to see who battles it out next.

Celtics-Knicks series: Game 4 recap

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The Boston Celtics managed to outlast the New York Knicks in an OT thriller at the TD Garden.

The Celtics led 54-35 at the half and by as much as 20 with less than 8 minutes to go in the 3rd period. However, as the Celtics have done all series, they struggled again in the 2nd half, scoring 14 points in the 3rd and 16 in the 4th.

Pierce had a chance to win the game in regulation but couldn’t get it to drop. When OT came around, JET was finally ready to play. He dropped 9 of his 18 points in the OT period, in which Boston scored 13 (1 less than 3rd period in 7 less minutes).

Paul Pierce finished with 29-8-6, Green 26-6 and KG with 13-17-6. Kevin played like a mad man and helped win this game with a big shot near end of regulation. Celtics held Carmelo Anthony to 10-35 from the field, who still 16-20 from FT.

The Celtics held on and won 97-90 to force a game 5 back in New York.

Schedule as follows.

Round 1 Game 1: 5am 21/4 in New York (85-78 L)
Round 1 Game 2: 10 am 24/4 in New York (71-87 L)
Round 1 Game 3: 10 am 25/4 in Boston (L 76-90)
Round 1 Game 4: 3 am 29/4 in Boston (W (90-97)
Round 1 Game 5: TBD 2/5 in New York
Round 1 Game 6: TBD 4/5 in Boston *
Round 1 Game 7: TBD 6/4 in New York *

Green Kick Of The Week feat Jason Terry’s Reebok Kamikaze II

The Playoffs are here! And with that, I hope to see some awesome kicks coming up. This week we saw Jason Terry bring out a great pair of kicks against the Knicks in Game 1.

This weeks winner of KOTW is Jason Terry  and his awesome Reebok Kamikaze II’s.  Terry has been wearing Kamikaze’s for a majority of the season, but this colourway caught my eye.

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks - Game One

Let’s not beat around the bush, Terry had an awful match against the Knicks. He was a non-factor and couldn’t find his range. I hope he can find his 2011 Playoffs form soon, before it’s too late.

His shoe game was much better. These kicks look great. I really like Kamikaze’s and this colourway is one of the best I’ve seen. The green and black outer go together well with the unique design of the shoe.

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks - Game One

Of course, I’d rather be writing about Terry coming into his own in the Playoffs, but for now, his shoe game is better than his shooting game.

I look forward to seeing what the JET can produce in the Playoffs and I’m hoping we see him drain many shots from beyond the arc.

Do you think the JET should keep ‘em or dump ‘em?

Green Kick Of The Week feat Jason Terry’s Reebok Sublite Pro Rise

Let’s face the facts. Jason Terry did exactly what we expect from him in the fantastic OT win over Hawks; hit a game clinching shot! The JET truly took off in OT and helped the Celtics record a much-needed win over a Conference rival.

The JET did all this in an eye-catching pair of Reebok Sublite Pro Rise, which earned him this week’s KOTW. These kicks jumped out at me immediately. They feature a camouflage outer mixed with what looks like fighter jet detailing, which makes perfect sense that the JET would wear them.

Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics

To be perfectly honest I’m not much of an expert on Reebook’s and couldn’t figure out what Terry was wearing. I have to thank @Celtkicks from Red’s Army for the heads up!

This is an amazing colourway to say the least. Reebok have done a great job with Terry this season, supplying him with a large array of retro and modern kicks to rock on the court.

Atlanta Hawks Vs. Boston Celtics At TD Garden

The JET has worn many different Reebok’s this season and won KOTW earlier this year with his Reebok Answer IV’s. Whilst the Answer IV’s have much more history and are known for their uniqueness, this colourway of the Sublite Pro Rise gives them a good run for their money.

It will be interesting to see if Terry brings out this colourway again, I sure hope he does! Especially if can continue to knock down huge shots in them.

Atlanta Hawks Vs. Boston Celtics At TD Garden

What are your thoughts on this interesting colourway? Do you think The JET should keep ‘em or dump ‘em?

Celtics Old Guard outlast Nuggets in triple thriller

The Boston Celtics have capped off a fortnight of fearless basketball with a gutsy triple-overtime win over the Denver Nuggets at TD Garden today; with a winning streak now still alive at 7 games since that pivotal double OT win over Miami that got them out of a similar rut, of equal significance was the resetting of Denver’s own 9-game victory lane.

Jason Terry of the Boston Celtics takes flight.

The Denver Nuggets indeed proved to be every bit the handful they are out West, with a nifty young roster only skewed on average by 36-year old veteran, Andre Miller. Wherever the Celtics threatened to take an unassailable lead in regular game-time, they reeled them right back in.  To the neutral NBA fan, it was a terrific game of basketball and within such an electrified crowd; so much so you’d swear they’d spent the pre-game in one massive snowball fight, courtesy of the weekend dumping from Blizzard Nemo.

(I still don’t understand how the name ‘Nemo’ was allowed).

It is also hard to imagine how a sport with point score variations to go with many stoppages and turnovers can still foresee a certain game having overtime written all over it.  And so was the case here, where two teams relatively well-placed in the standings were just desperate to protect their winning momentum. Naturally, the referees had to have a hand in it per se, when Avery Bradley was ruled out to have touched the ball out last, despite replays likely showing to the contrary. Denver only needed the 0.8 seconds of regulation time from the sideline to tie up the game through eventual top-scorer, Ty Lawson (29pts).

The aforementioned youth of Denver changed the cat-and-mouse game in over-time and the concern was whether Boston had the legs to go with them.  However, in each challenge thrown, they did just that – with the older brigade of Jason Terry, Kevin Garnett and Captain Paul Pierce still getting involved.  Indeed it was fitting that Terry should have the last possession of the game with a steal off Miller and a lethargic dunk to finally seal it.  It is hard to know whether this was a break-out performance from Jason Terry, but his efforts were sensational as much as crucial.  His 3 point prowess returned at important stages.  The Celtics need him to frequently bring this to the fore in the big games going forward to go with the excellent defense of Avery Bradley, who can be counted on to toss in valuable points.

For the big games, they will keep coming no sooner than after backing-up the streak tomorrow down in Charlotte against the Bobcats. They host the Chicago Bulls in the last, right before the All-Star break.  Losing Rajon Rondo is the leveller to the match-up with the Bulls, who have had a whole season to get used to missing their star point-guard.  They look to be well settled too with their superior season-record to the Celtics.  There is then this small matter of a five game West Coast road trip which includes L.A and Denver once the season restarts.

After today though, there is no reason for that to be daunting. Two weeks ago, all the talk in the media was about Finals being too hard, who should the Celtics trade for, heck, even whether it was time for KG or Pierce to retire!  With one roster position still to be filled prior to trade deadline, arguably it should be now about who should join this Boston party.

When Will The JET Soar Once More?

Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford

Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

With the return of Avery Bradley –The Gamechanger, The Saviour and all of a billion other divine titles– there has been a shuffle in the playing rotations. When Danny Ainge put this team together in the off-season, the idea was to have the tenacious backcourt of Rondo and Bradley start. A bench featuring Jason Terry and Courtney Lee would then cover the starters, with the Brazillian Blur, Leandro Barbosa thrown in for good measure.

This has since created a logjam amongst the guards, with a huge chunk of minutes going to Rondo (35.8), Bradley (24.3) and Lee (17.6) over the past fortnight, leaving a potentially scarce 18 minutes for Barbosa and Terry.

The question remains: with very limited action, what will become of Jason Terry’s role on this team?

Lee’s return to form

The early season struggles of Courtney Lee were well-documented as he bounced around from starter to bench player and back, but he has found a definitive role in the rotation since Bradley’s return. When Avery heads for the bench, Lee enters the game to sustain the same ball pressure.

As Bradley told ESPN in a recent intervew:

“We definitely frustrate our opponent, and that’s what we try to do. I start the game off trying to frustrate whoever I’m going up against and Courtney comes in the game and he does the same thing.”

Now that Lee has settled into a role that he can thrive in, he has proven over the last fortnight exactly how valuable he is to the team. His confidence on D has found its way into his shooting, resulting in a much higher shooting percentage. Over the month of January, Lee has shot 54% from the field in 17 minutes of action, averaging 7.6 points a contest.

The Blur, ready to go

Due to the quality of guards in Boston’s squad, Leandro Barbosa has found himself on extremely limited minutes this season through no fault of his own. Since early season, Barbosa has proven his ability to handle the ball, get to the basket in a flash, and finish well on the fast break. He has also surprised Doc Rivers with his ability to defend other guards.

After the win over Oklahoma City in November, Doc praised Barbosa’s defensive gears to ESPN:

“He has that reputation of being an offensive player. What we have found since getting him, he’s a heck of a defensive player. He has the ability to put pressure on the ball. That’s something we didn’t know.”

To have a guard of this quality sitting at the end of the bench adds pressure to Terry, especially with Doc looking to Barbosa down the stretch in the team’s win over the Bobcats last week. The interesting decision to start the Brazilian Blur against the Bulls in Bradley’s absence is also something that should be taken note of.

What is left for JET?

So where does this leave 35 year-old Jason Eugene Terry, who is renowned for knocking down big shots off the bench? The former Sixth Man of the Year seems like a perfect fit for Boston to provide an offensive boost when he enters the game, but his defense leaves a lot to be desired. It is a glaring weakness, and could well be a reason for the drop in recent minutes – Terry logged a combined 31 minutes in the wins against Charlotte and Houston.

#4 Jason Terry

#4 Jason Terry (Photo credit: Girovagando)

Terry returned to his preferred role of coming off the bench since Bradley’s return, but has been in a shooting slump in January. He shot just 37% from the field while averaging just 6 points per game, down from an average of 11.5 for the rest of the season. If he is not scoring, Terry must find other avenues to get involved in the Celtics offense.

When Rondo was out with a two-game suspension, the JET entered the starting line-up as the point guard and proved himself  as an underrated passer. Terry posted 11 assists against the Bucks in December, showing his worth as a distributor of the ball. Terry is especially proficient at drawing the defense in with dribble penetration, which allows him to set his teammates up for open shots on the drive and kick – this was something he did very often during his tenure with Dallas. The Celtics as we all know live and die by the jumpshot, and Terry’s ability to facilitate the shot could very well be a factor on offense.

With the improvement in production from Jeff Green and Courtney Lee, Terry should feel less pressure to carry the bench’s scoring load.This (theoretically, from a fan’s point of view) should enable him to relax and shoot the ball with confidence. We might have caught a glimpse of Terry emerging from his shooting slump against Chicago, hitting some big shots in overtime to almost snatch the win for the C’s. Things are yet uncertain, but it should only be a matter of time until we see the JET taking full flight once again.

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