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

Portland catch fire as they down Boston in thriller

The Celtics would continue their West Coast road trip against the Portland Trailblazers. A quite important game for Boston if they want to have home court first round of the playoffs after the Lakers beat the Heat yesterday. Boston would be boosted by the return of Jae Crowder.

The Celtics jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead before McCollum got the Blazers on the board. Thomas’s 6th point of the quarter had the Celtics leading 12-4 but back to back 3’s by Portland got the momentum swinging on their side. Portland went on to hit another 3 triples in a row to take a 25-19 lead. Olynyk continued his hot 3 point shooting, scoring 2 of them in quick succession before a steal & another basket by Kelly had him up to 8 points. The Celtics finished the quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 31-30 advantage into the 2nd.

Evan Turner started the quarter with 4 points, a steal, which was already his 4th of the game & a block that led to a Crowder 3 as Boston went up by 8. Portland answered with their own 9-2 run to force a Boston timeout. Vonleh tied the game at 41 apiece after Crowder went 1-3 from the line, continuing Boston’s struggles this game (8-14 at this stage). Boston answered with an 11-0 blitz, going 4-4 from the line during the run. For the 3rd time this quarter, a timeout sparked a run, as Portland, courtesy of Aminu & Plumlee, went on a quick 5-0 run. The Blazers finished the quarter with 6 straight free throw attempts as Boston took a 58-54 lead into the break.

Avery Bradley started the 3rd quarter on fire, scoring 8 of Boston’s first 10 points as the Celtics went on top by 10. Aminu knocked down his 3rd & 4th triples of the night to keep Portland close but another basket by Avery had Boston back up 11. Portland again closed the quarter much better than Boston, finishing the quarter on a 10-2 run as Boston’s lead was cut to 2.

Aminu started the 4th with another pair of 3’s before Henderson also scored 6 straight as Portland started the 4th on fire. The Blazers were able to stop Boston & keep scoring themselves as a 21-6 start to the 4th had them leading 89-102 with just over 7 minutes left. 4 quick points by Boston had the lead back into single digits as Portland took a timeout. The Celtics continued the run & an offensive rebound off a missed free throw led to an Isaiah 3 that had Boston within 2. McCollum put Portland up 5 but another 2 free throws by Isaiah & Boston went to Hack-a-Plumlee who split the free throws. The Celtics then got 2nd chance points on back to back trips to take a 1 point lead after a Jae Crowder 3. CJ scored to put Portland back on top before an Isaiah turnover led to another 2 for Aminu. Portland held on in a thriller, beating Boston 109-116.

Thomas, Olynyk lead Boston to win over Magic

After a 4 game losing streak that Boston ended against the 76ers, the Celtics would be looking to start a win streak as they faced up against the Orlando Magic in Boston.

The Celtics started the game 0-7 from the field before an Isaiah Thomas and 1 basket had Boston up 5-4. An Evan Turner 3 followed by another Thomas basket had the Celtics on a 12-0 run to take the 14-4 advantage. The Magic cut the lead back down to 4 before Olynyk hit his second 3 of the quarter.

 

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The Celtics took a 17-22 lead into the 2nd quarter but a 13-4 Orlando run had them leading 30-26. Thomas tied the game back up at 35 before Avery continued his hot start, as his 10th point gave Boston back the lead. Olynyk scored 9 of Boston’s last 17 points of the quarter as 15 points in the half from Kelly & Thomas had the Celtics leading 56-49 at the break.

 

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Both teams started the second half trading baskets but Jennings fouled Isaiah on a 3 point attempt, resulting in 2/3 free throws before Evan Turner hit his 2nd 3 of the night, follow by another Olynyk basket had the Celtics extending their lead to 13. Fournier & Nicholson combined for all 10 of the next Orlando points as they cut the Boston lead to 7. Two big baskets by Turner & a pair of free throws for Olynyk had Boston close the quarter with a 6-0 run to take a 13 point lead into the 4th.

 

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Olynyk was in the action to start the 4th as he hit another 3 but picking up 2 quick fouls had him with 5 for the game as Orlando cut the lead to 10. Oladipo scored back to back baskets as Boston’s lead was down to 6 & the Celtics had only scored 3 points in the quarter with 6:49 left. Thomas put Boston back up 10 but Orlando quickly responded to cut it back to 6 after some poor defence.

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Johnson cleaned up a missed Thomas 3 as Avery converted the second chance points & some brilliant defence led to Thomas splitting a pair of free throws at the other end to put Boston up by 7 with 1:37 left. Payton scored for Orlando but a basket by Avery, a block by Amir & another 2 points for Thomas had Boston in an unbeatable position as they took the win 107-96.

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Statistics: Isaiah Thomas: 28 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds Evan Turner: 16 points, 4 assists, 5 rebounds Kelly Olynyk: 22 points, 5 rebounds Amir Johnson: 11 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks Avery Bradley: 22 points, 3 assists, 9 rebounds Fast break points: Celtics 29, Magic 13 Second chance points: Celtics 11, Magic 7.
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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.

IT

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.

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.

Sullinger & Thomas help C’s by the Davis led Pelicans.

The Celtics would be looking to bounce back after a tough loss to the Spurs & close out this 5 game road trip 3-2.

Anthony Davis started the first quarter with 6 straight points for the Pelicans but Isaiah Thomas & Boston were able to keep up the pace taking a 13-10 lead as Davis picked up his 2nd foul early. Anderson & Holiday wouldn’t let the Celtics capitalise without Davis on the floor as 13 points between them had the game tied at 25 apiece.

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The Pelicans had extended the run & had a 32-27 lead when Davis returned to the floor. 3 straight Boston baskets by Olynyk had the game tied again at 38-38. The defence led to offence as Isaiah exploded for 10 points across the final 5 minutes of the half, including 2 3’s that led Boston to a 53-44 lead at the half. Thomas had 19 points on 8-9 shooting while Sullinger kept up his solid season with 10 rebounds.

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The Pelicans started the 2nd half with an and 1 basket through Gee which started a trend of fouls for the next few possessions as New Orleans would shoot 5 free throws in the first 4 minutes. That however didn’t stop Boston from scoring as they had extended the lead to 19 after three straight 3 point baskets from Bradley, Thomas & Crowder. Crowder extended the lead into the 20’s after getting fouled on a 3 point attempt. The Pelicans closed the quarter on a 14-8 run to cut the Celtics lead down to 14.

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The Pelicans cut the lead to 10 before Crowder hit a 3 that sparked a lighting quick 10-2 run by Boston. With less than 5 minutes to play the Celtics had extended the lead to 20 points on the back of 19 rebounds & some stellar defence by Jared Sullinger. The rest of the quarter was just a formality as the Celtics would answer every Pelicans attempted run to take a 111-93 win & finish this tough road trip with a 3-2 record.

Key performances:

Jared Sullinger: 20 rebounds, 11 points, 3 assists & a team high +32
Isaiah Thomas: 22 points (9-13 & 4-4 from 3) 5 assists & 1 steal
Kelly Olynyk: 21 points (8-13, 2-5 from 3 & 3-3FT) 3 assists & 2 steals
Jae Crowder: 17 points
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2015/16 player previews: Kelly Olynyk

Kelly Olynyk had an impressive off-season with the Canadian national team and looks ready to be a large part of the Celtics rotation this season.

Although Olynyk hurt his knee in late August playing for his country, he bounced back and played some huge games as they attempted, but ultimately failed, to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Olynyk had the best game of his career against Venezuela, as he dominated and finished with 34 points (11/13 from the field) and 13 rebounds. Olynyk’s efficiency had all Celtics fans excited for what may be in store for the upcoming season.

Obviously Olynyk isn’t going to make 11/13 shots every night, but his improved offensive game gives the Celtics another option and keeps the opposition guessing.

A huge part of his role this season will be to space the floor for his scoring guards. Olynyk will need to create open spaces for Isaiah Thomas to operate in, and this will be made easier if Olynyk can prove to be a consistent threat that needs to be treated with respect on the offensive end.

Being able to give Thomas, Avery Bradley and Evan Turner room to create their own shots and also being ready to shoot when open is huge for the Celtics moving forward. After his summer experiences, Olynyk looks ready to perform for the Boston Celtics in his third season.

You won’t be seeing Olynyk on opening night against the Sixers though, as he is serving a one-game suspension after that incident with Kevin Love.