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 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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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.

Smart

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.

2015/16 player previews: Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart is a fierce competitor. If that wasn’t a takeaway for you after last season, you clearly weren’t watching the Celtics enough.

With his relentless defence Smart solidified himself as the Celtics point guard of the future and started 41 games in his rookie campaign. Smart demonstrated that he can do much more than just play tough defence as he proved to be able to make clutch shots when the Celtics desperately needed him to.

I’m sure you all remember the amazing buzzer beating, game-winner against the Raptors in Toronto that silenced the crowd.

Smart, as with any rookie, struggled with consistency for parts of the season. His three-point shot, whilst dangerous, was overused at times.

The competition between Smart and Isaiah Thomas for the starting point guard role will drive both of them to be better and compete every single night. That is what depth does, it creates competition for spots which is healthy for a team.

Smart averaged just over 3 assists per game last season, this will need to improve if he wants to keep his starting position. From what we’ve seen in the preseason, in particular against the Knicks when he dropped 9 dimes, this improvement will come. He is not where he needs to be yet, but time is most certainly on his side as he enters his second season.

Another season alongside Bradley will only improve Smart’s defence as he can learn in every practice and every game. Playing under Brad Stevens is another key in unlocking Smart’s potential, as we all know Stevens is the master in bringing out the best in his players.

2015/16 player previews: Avery Bradley

Avery Bradley has divided opinion among Celtics fans for years now.

Some (including me), see him as a vital part of the organisation moving forward. Others see him simply as an inconsistent player that struggles with his shot for games at a time during the season.

In reality, Bradley has probably a mix of both in his five seasons in green. This season though, Bradley is better prepared than ever to make a huge mark on the NBA. He has worked hard on his three-point shot over the off-season and with another summer learning to play alongside Marcus Smart, the backcourt will be a defensive nightmare for the opposition.

Bradley is the longest-serving Celtic on the roster and whilst his leadership skills are still progressing, there’s no doubting that the way AB attacks every game is setting a great example for his younger teammates to follow.

If Bradley can consistently knock down corner threes it will be a huge boost to the team and give Isaiah Thomas and Smart the confidence to give him the ball when he’s in his spots and ready.

We all know Bradley is a gun one-on-one defender and I think every Celtic fan around the globe fondly remembers this block on D-Wade in the 2012 playoffs.

That is the kind of play Bradley is known for and if he can do things like that (obviously not every play will be as spectacular) night in, night out, Bradley could find himself on the NBA’s All-Defensive 1st team for the first time in his career. For Bradley’s defence to be recognised by writers and broadcasters who vote on the award, the Celtics will have to be a highly competitive team and make some noise.

With the depth assembled and Brad Stevens calling the shots, the Celtics are capable of doing this.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Celtics fall to shorthanded Miami as Whiteside scores 20.

After losing 3 of their last 4 the Boston Celtics were looking to get things back on track against the Wade & Deng-less Miami Heat.

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Zeller would be starting over Sullinger who was late to the arena & it didn’t take Tyler long to get the first Celtics basket. Miami got out to a quick 6 point lead as Boston struggled from the floor. Zeller got to the line on consecutive trips to cut the lead to 3 but Miami would respond & get it to an 8 point lead. Thornton got it back to 5 but a 5-0 run by the Heat as the quarter ended with a Chris Anderson 3 had them on top by 10 as the Celtics shot 5-22 on field goals.

Boston started the 2nd on an 8-2 run to get within 4 but Miami would answer with an 8-0 burst to go up by 12 points. Pressey would get some run during the 2nd quarter as Boston went 11 deep in the first half & Prince still hadn’t played. Bass cut it to 10 but Bosh hit a 3 followed by a Chalmers basket had Miami up 15. Sullinger closed the cold half with a jumper as the Celtics could only manage 31 first half points & trailed by 13.

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The 2nd half began with Avery scoring 2 baskets off Zeller assists before Avery got a dime of his own to Bass. Bosh got fouled & split the free throws to keep Miami’s lead at 10 but Crowder responded with a 3. Zeller put in his 12th point of the night to get Boston down 4 & off to a perfect 7-7 start to the quarter. The points forced a Miami timeout as the Celtics started the half on a 16-7 run. An Avery steal & slam followed by a Bass hook shot had the crowd roaring & Boston only down 2 which would be the deficit heading into the final frame after a back and forth last few minutes that seen Bradley head to the locker room.

Whiteside started the 4th with 3 straight baskets to give him 20 points followed by a Bosh basket to get the Heat back on top by 10. Bass got the C’s back within 7 but Miami scored 4 to push it to 11 as Boston took a timeout to try & make a comeback with 5 minutes left. Bradley hit a 3 to cut the deficit to 8 but time was running low. Smart hit a 3 which were his first points of the night & Zeller split some free throws to get Boston down 6. The Celtics stole an inbounds pass but turned it straight back over & Norris Cole would make us pay. Boston came back from 15 down to tie it up but would eventually fall 75-83.

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Player statistics:
Avery Bradley: 17 Points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists
Brandon Bass: 15 points, 6 rebounds
Tyler Zeller: 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
Marcus Smart: 3 Points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists (Career high)
Marcus Thornton: 9 points, 3 rebounds
Jared Sullinger: 7 points, 3 rebounds