Celtics take care of home, tie series 2-2

The Celtics would be looking to tie the series at 2-2 before heading back to Atlanta for game 5. The crowd was yet again electric, Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick & some of his team were yet again there to support the Boston Celtics.

Crowder started the game with a 3, a great sign for him & the Celtics squad. Jae completed a put back basket to put Boston up 7-2 early before Milsap also found a rhythm in this series scoring 4 straight to bring the Hawks within 1. Atlanta hit 3 straight 3 pointers courtesy of Korver (twice) & Milsap before Boston answered with an 11-0 run to take the 22-15 advantage. Milsap scored his 11th point of the quarter to bring the Hawks within 3 at the end of the 1st.

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The Hawks started the 2nd on a 9-2 run to take a 4 point lead over the Celtics. Milsap continued his hot shooting as his 16th point kept Atlanta on top before baskets from Johnson, Crowder & Thomas put the Celtics in the lead by 6. Milsap scored the Hawks last 10 points of the quarter, giving him 26 at the half & his team the 2 point advantage.

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The Celtics came out of halftime poorly as the Hawks made us pay, starting on a 14-0 run to go up 16. Thomas got Boston going again with a hoop & the harm & Jonas put in another 2 to keep Boston around. Celtics cut the lead down to 8 but Boston’s newest villain, Schroeder, hit the steading 3 for Atlanta. Jerebko hit 2 3’s with a basket by Turner in-between to close the Hawks lead to 3 & the end of the 3rd.

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Jonas continued his 3rd quarter streak into the 4th as he scored 4 quick points as Boston took the lead. The Hawks answered again, Milsap scoring 5 of the Hawks 7 on the quick 7-0 spurt to give him 41 in the game. Smart scored Boston’s next 11 points before Isaiah found the bank was open to give the Celtics a 3 point lead. Milsap scored again before Jonas hit another 3 to put Boston up 4 with just over a minute left. Jeff Teague scored 2 straight 3’s before Thomas tied the game up with 15 seconds left. Atlanta ran an interesting play to close regulation as Teague’s shot didn’t drop & we were headed to overtime in Boston.

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Amir Johnson started the overtime period with the first 2 baskets before Teague hit again from deep. With the Celtics up 2, the Hawks couldn’t settle into a set possession but Bazemore hit a 3 that was reviewed & overturned when it was deemed the shot came after the shot clock had expired. Turner put the Celtics up 4 before Thomas hit a dagger 3, yet again. The Hawks fouled Thomas but as reliable as he is, IT went 2/2 giving him 28 & Boston the 104-95 win to even the series at 2-2.

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Statistics:

Isaiah Thomas – 28 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, +22 Marcus Smart – 20 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, +24 Jonas Jerebko – 16 points, 10 rebounds Evan Turner – 17 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists Amir Johnson – 9 points, 9 rebounds Jae Crowder – 12 points, 5 rebounds

Celtics catch fire & take care of short-handed grit & grind Memphis.

The Celtics were coming off a loss to the Cavs, who the shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies had just beaten. Memphis would once again be without Conley, Randolph & Gasol with the Celtics home winning streak on the line.

Memphis jumped out to an early 8-2 lead before the Celtics went on a 13-4 run to take a 3 point lead off an Avery 3. The grit & grind Grizzlies went back on top 21-26 before Smart ended the quarter with a 3 as Boston would trail by 2 at the end of 1.

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Boston started the 2nd on a 10-3 run to take a 5 point lead but the Celtics inability to grab a defensive rebound, while Memphis were pounding the glass & getting 2nd chance points to stay in the game. Memphis took the lead on a pair of Chalmers free throws before Crowder put Boston back on top with a 3. Chalmers would finish the quarter with a deep 3 after a jump ball that gave the Grizzlies a 3 point lead at the half due to leading 2nd chance points 17-2 & rebounding 29-14. Jarell Martin posted a career high 15 points in the first half (previous high was 2, had 8 career points)

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The Celtics came out of the half aggressive, drawing 3 shooting fouls on Memphis in under 3 minutes, Thomas going 3-4 & Johnson 1-2 while on an 8-2 Boston run to go up 3 that forced a Memphis timeout. Mario Chalmers went down with an injury & was carried to the locker room with the Celtics up 64-61, Boston ended the quarter on a 19-6 run & outscored Memphis 12-31 in the 3rd to take a 83-67 lead into the 4th as Thomas was up to 22 points.

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Jonas started the 4th with another Celtics 3 before Vince Carter scored 5 points on 2 straight Memphis possessions. Vince Carter would add another triple but Zeller’s dunk would give the Celtics a 21 point lead & 100 points with 7:30 to go. Memphis went on 10-4 run to cut the lead to 14 but back to back 3’s by Crowder & Jerebko all but finished the game, Boston winning 96-116.

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Statistics:

Isaiah Thomas – 22 points, 5 assists Evan Turner – 16 points, 8 assists Avery Bradley – 15 points Jae Crowder – 15 points Jared Sullinger – 12 points, 5 rebounds Jonas Jerebko – 11 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists Tyler Zeller – 9 points, 7 rebounds
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The Celtics extended their home winning streak to 14….

 

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The Celtics battle with Jazz in thriller at Garden

The Celtics would be looking for revenge against the Utah Jazz who had beaten Boston by 18 on the 20th of February before they made it even worse for the Celtics by losing to the Brooklyn Nets (Celtics own their first round pick) on Sunday.

The game started back & forth before the Jazz, through Hayward, Lyles & Mack, put Utah up 9 late in the first quarter. Isaiah Thomas scored 6 straight Boston points (8 in the quarter) to close the gap to 6 heading into the 2nd.

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The Jazz were pounding the Celtics on the glass, offensively & defensively, as an offensive explosion by Trey Lyles extended the Jazz lead up to a game high 13 points. To help with the rebounding & defensive struggles for Boston, Brad Stevens put rookie Jordan Mickey into the game, much to the delight of the Celtics fans. Mickey immediately had an impact, grabbing an offensive rebound that led to free throws, a dunk & 2 blocks that helped spark Boston on an 11-0 run, keeping Utah scoreless for 6 minutes. Hayward, Lyles & Hood all scored over the final 2 minutes for the Jazz but Boston stayed tough & only trailed by 3 heading into the half.

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Isaiah Thomas came out of the break on fire, scoring 6 straight for the Celtics. A lot more fouls were being called in the 3rd than at all in the first half as a pair of Hood free throws & a Neto jump shot put Utah back up by 6. Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder & Tyler Zeller scored all of Boston’s points over the final 4 minutes to keep the Celtics within touch going into the 4th, down by 1.

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Shelvin Mack started the quarter with a 3 for the Jazz but Boston scored 9 straight points to take a 5 point lead, their first since the 1st minute of the game. The Utah Jazz answered with a 9-2 run to take back the lead but Sullinger scored on back to back possessions to keep the game tied. Shelvin Mack, a guy who Brad Stevens coached at Butler, scored 7 straight Jazz points, the last being a 3 pointer to take a 2 point lead with only 49 seconds left. Crowder answered the call once again with a 3 of his own to give Boston back the lead before Avery Bradley blocked Hayward’s post up shot & was heading to the line for 2 free throws. Avery split the 2 free throws, missing the 2nd but Amir Johnson grabbed the offensive rebound & got the ball back to Avery who this time knocked down both. The Celtics held on to win 95-100 & keep the 11-0 home streak alive.

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Key statistics:

Jae Crowder – 22 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists
Isaiah Thomas – 18 points, 2 rebounds, 9 assists
Avery Bradley – 18 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal
Evan Turner – 8 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block & a + 8 (The Celtics are 21-1 when Evan is a +3 or better in +/-) gettyimages-513157496_master

 

Celtics, Clippers play thriller at Garden as All-Star point guards go head to head.

The Celtics were coming in hot, winning 9 of their last 11 but a one point loss to the Bucks the night before left a bitter taste. A chance for redemption, at home, against Doc, Pierce & the Los Angeles Clippers was todays challenge. A team who were also hot, winning 7 of their last 8.

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The first quarter didn’t start as planned when Pierce & Reddick knocked down back to back 3’s to give the Clippers a 10-4 advantage. The Celtics would fight back through Sullinger, Thomas & Crowder (who had all of Boston’s points apart from 3) to tie things at 19. Not much defence was being played & the Celtics had already started to Hack-a-Jordan, who made both of the free throws as Los Angeles would take a 37-33 lead into the 2nd.

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The Clippers scored 4 points to start the quarter but Boston was hanging tough, attacking the rim & getting to the free throw line before a Marcus Smart 3 pointer gave the Celtics their first lead of the night. Bradley & Smart both hit 2 3’s, with a pair of Jae Crowder free throws in-between to extend the lead to 60-54. The Celtics once again ended the quarter with Hack-a-Jordan, who proceeded to make both free throws again but Boston took a 71-64 advantage at the half.

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The Celtics started the 3rd on a 10-4 run to go up 13 before the Clippers would make their own run by getting to the line, as 6 straight Clipper free throws had cut the Boston lead to 81-85. Over the final 3:40 of the quarter, Crowder & Thomas were the only Celtics to score, putting in 13 points to extend the lead back to 10 before a Chris Paul 3 beat the buzzer as the Celtics took a 91-98 lead into the 4th.

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Olynyk was announced out for the remainder of the game with a shoulder injury as Zeller took the floor to star the 4th. Tyler quickly knocked down a shot but a 9-2 Clippers run had the game at 100 apiece. Paul & Jerebko would exchange 3’s before Lance Stephenson also hit a 3, but a stare down of the Celtics bench got Lance a technical foul as the resulting free throw, made by Avery Bradley, gave Boston the one point lead. Crawford, Reddick & Stephenson all scored in the midst of an 8-2 Clippers run as Los Angeles took the 114-109 lead. The Celtics went back to Hack-a-Jordan, who went 3-4 over the next minute to put the Clippers up 5 with only 1:16 left in regulation. Thomas would score the basket out of the timeout & get a foul but he missed the free throw that Marcus Smart would fight & get the rebound for. The Clippers were called for another foul but Marcus could only manage to make 1 of the 2 foul shots & would immediately pick up his 6th & final foul after the missed free throw. Los Angeles were up 2 with Jordan heading to the line with under 24 seconds left, DeAndre failed to make either of the 2 free throws & Isaiah Thomas would tie things up before Chris Paul missed the game winning shot as time expired.

Overtime started with Avery Bradley fouling Reddick on back to back 3 point shots, one a 4 point play, the other Reddick went 2/3 from the line. Bradley quickly made up for the mistake, knocking down a 3 to bring Boston within 2. Crawford, Jordan & Paul all went 1 of 2 from the line in their next 3 possessions as a Sullinger 3 pointer got Boston back down only 1. 7 straight points for Evan Turner put Boston up 3, the Clippers had 2 chances to tie the game but failed on both as Jerebko hit the final 2 free throws to lead the Celtics to a 139-134 win over the Clippers heading into the All-Star weekend, where Isaiah Thomas will be in the Skills Challenge & the All-Star game.

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The Celtics head into ASW with a 32-23 record which has them sitting 3rd in the Eastern Conference.

Statistics:
Isaiah Thomas – 36 points & 11 assists (11-12 on free throws) Jared Sullinger – 21 points & 11 rebounds Jae Crowder – 19 points & 8 rebounds Evan Turner – 14 points, 6 rebounds & 6 assists Avery Bradley – 18 points Marcus Smart – 17 points
If that was Paul Pierce’s final game in Boston he finished with 6 points, 3 rebounds & an assist, shooting 50% from 3.

Lakers give Kobe ideal farewell at the Garden

The Celtics would be at home, looking for their 5th straight win against Kobe in his final game in Boston. All the media around the game was for Kobe & rightfully so as he’s been a legend of the game but there is one man the Boston fans should pay their respects to & that is Brandon Bass. Bass was an important part of the Celtics 2012 playoff run & gave everything he had, every night he was on the floor for Boston. Brandon played 245 of a possible 246 regular season games for the Celtics over the 2012-13, 13-14 & 14-15 seasons + all 30 playoff games in 2011/12, 12/13 & 14/15. Brandon Bass felt he had finally found a home in Boston & had some kind words to say before the game.

Kobe got a standing ovation when being introduced but when the game started it was back to business as the crowd booed him every time he touched the ball. The Lakers jumped out to a 9-6 lead before Jae scored an and 1 basket on Kobe to tie the game. Brandon Bass got a loud cheer as he entered the game. Crowder’s 12th point of the quarter + a Turner layup put Boston up 5. Bass grabbed an offensive rebound & got the put back + harm as he cut a Boston 8 point lead down to 1. The Lakers grabbed 7 rebounds of their misses in the first quarter but Boston was able to hold a 3 point lead at the end of 1.

Russell scored 7 straight for the Lakers as they took a 3 point advantage over Boston. The Celtics were playing a sloppy brand of basketball as the Lakers maintained a 4 point lead after half the 2nd quarter had been played. Back to back baskets by Kobe pushed the Lakers to a 7 point lead. The Celtics closed the quarter well but still trailed 58-56 at the half, despite 15 points from Crowder & Kobe shooting just 2-12.

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The emphasis at halftime for Boston was to fix their defence but the Lakers started the 2nd half shooting 2-3 before Boston got consecutive stops that led to a 7-0 run to put us up 3. The Lakers answered with an 8-0 run to force Celtics into a timeout. Los Angeles extended their lead to 14 after back to back baskets by Nick Young. A Marcus Smart put back dunk had the Celtics within 8 but Russell drained a 3 to close out the quarter & have L.A. up 11 with 12 minutes to play

The Celtics fell in love with the three point shot & not many were dropping as the Celtics found themselves still down 12 with only 8:50 remaining. 6 straight points from Evan Turner cut the deficit in half & forced the Lakers into a timeout as they looked to get Kobe back in. Kobe checked back in & immediately scored 5 quick points. Avery Bradley cut the Lakers lead to 2 but as they had done all night, Clarkson responded with 2 big shots that kept the Lakers up 4 with only 2:26 left. Avery forced a steal & scored on the break but Kobe, as he has done for most of his career, hits a clutch 3. Brandon Bass knocked down 2 free throws & the Celtics couldn’t find a way back as the Lakers gave Kobe his ideal farewell in Boston. Celtics dropping this one 112-104.

 

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LeBron, Cavs take down ice cold Boston

After a tough back to back against the Warriors & Hornets where the Celtics went 1-1, they had a few days off before facing LeBron & the Cavs at home.

After how last year’s game 4 ended, in chippy fashion, many expected this game to be very similar. The referees were letting the game play for the most part as Boston jumped out to an 11-6 lead after a Johnson dunk. 7 straight Cleveland points scored by Kevin Love had the game tied back up at 13. The Cavs got out to a 3 point lead before Avery tied it up with a 3 that sparked a little Celtics run to take a 25-23 lead at the end of 1.

The 2nd quarter started with a foul, defensive 3 seconds & a jump ball all in 15 seconds. Some great hustle plays by James Young, most noticeably his rebound over Tristian Thompson & pass to Lee that gave Boston a 3 point lead. LeBron went into attack mode scoring back to back baskets before a little spark by the Celtics, capped off by a Jae Crowder 3 had Boston’s lead at 39-34. The end of the half got chippy as LeBron & Thomas got to the line on back to back trips. Isaiah scored his 10th point in the final second to put Boston up 6 at halftime.

The Celtics started the 2nd half shooting 2-14 as Cleveland went on a 12-0 run to take a 7 point lead. Evan Turner stopped the bleeding for the short time but the Celtics only had 6 points in the quarter as Cleveland had opened up a 62-52 lead but 5 quick points by Avery Bradley cut the deficit in half. Cleveland immediately answered the run as Boston trailed 61-69 at the end of 3.

Olynyk started the 4th with 5 points for Boston but the Celtics couldn’t get stops as Shumpert hit two 3’s & LeBron’s finger roll put them up 13 & forced Boston into a timeout.  A 6-0 Boston run was quickly stomped by Love who scored 5 straight to put Cleveland back up 12. The rest of the quarter was a formality as Cleveland took down the Celtics with an 89-77 win.

Cleveland outscored Boston in the paint 44-24. The Celtics shot 32% from the field, 28% from 3. Avery was Boston’s best scorer finishing with 17.

2015/16 player previews: Evan Turner

Evan Turner had a really good season for the Celtics in 2014/15. He was a playmaker, scorer and played every game.

Even after a consistent season, many Celtics fans don’t really see a future for Turner in Boston. They believe he is just taking minutes away from the younger players who need to get court time, but to that I say he has earned his minutes just as much as the next guy.

Turner produced multiple game-winners last season with clutch buckets against the Hawks and Trailblazers.

Turner is the most versatile player on the team, and because of that he will get minutes this season. He may not see as much court time as last season (almost 28 minutes per game) because of the loaded backcourt and the fact that Jae Crowder will be getting plenty at small forward.

Last season Turner played some quality minutes at the point and impressed; his height (6’7″) worried his smaller opponents. This season there is added competition with the addition of Terry Rozier, along with Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas returning.

This doesn’t mean that Turner won’t be an important player for the Celtics though, as he is such a creative playmaker and can create his own shot better than most on the Celtics roster.