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.



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.



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.



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.


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.


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.




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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.

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.

2015/16 player previews: James Young

It is often forgotten just how young James Young really is. Entering his second season in the NBA he has only just turned 20 years old.

His athleticism is scary good, and although he struggled with his shot in his rookie season, as many shooters do in the league, he shone when assigned to the D-League.

Obviously the jump from the D-League to the NBA is huge, but it was important for Young to get some court time and confidence last season instead of being stuck deep on the bench with Boston.

Young played in 31 NBA games last season and shot only 35.3% from the field and 25.8% from beyond the arc.

Over the course of the preseason it appears that rookie R.J. Huner has overtaken Young in the battle for minutes at the two-guard spot. For Young to take steps forward this season and force Stevens to give him minutes he will need to improve his defence and be ready to knock down shots when called upon. Staying ready is extremely important for Young.

Even if Young struggles again this season I won’t be calling for the Celtics to give up on him. He has too much talent and in reality would only be in third season at college level if he had stayed at Kentucky.

2015/16 player previews: Jared Sullinger

The weighting game. What was a bit of light entertainment during Jared Sullinger’s rookie season has now been going on too long. Everyone had similar thoughts; he’d drop the weight as he matures into his body and works hard. This still hasn’t eventuated and it is now threatening his place within the organisation.

Sullinger just can’t seem to shed the pounds that would turn him into a much more agile and dangerous player.

Sullinger can be an absolute monster on the boards, and when healthy he is near unstoppable. But that has been the issue; he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. If Sullinger can finally get through a season without a serious injury that forces him to miss time, he will be an important part of the Celtics puzzle.

In the Celtics final game of the 2015 season, game four in the first round of the playoffs, Sullinger dominated and poured in 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. More of that in the upcoming season would be more than acceptable!

Sullinger had two very encouraging games to round out the preseason against the Knicks and Sixers. He finished with 16 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists(!) and 3 blocks against the Knicks. The next night he followed that game up with a solid 6 points and 14 rebounds against the Sixers.

Brad Stevens has said that he would like to play four big men a night, which you would think leaves Sullinger on the outer with the likes of David Lee, Amir Johnson, Tyler Zeller and Kelly Olynyk in front of Sullinger.

But if Sully can take that late preseason form over to the regular season, he will force Stevens to give him minutes.

2015/16 player preivews: R.J. Hunter

The Boston Celtics selected R.J. Hunter with pick 28 in this years NBA Draft. In each of his three seasons with Georgia State he was able to increase his production on the offensive end, and averaged 19.5 points per game last season.

Hunter is known for that famous game-winner in the 2015 NCAA March Madness against Baylor, in which Baylor were the heavy favourites to advance.

Hunter was seen by many as the best pure shooter in this year’s draft and after what he displayed in the Summer League’s and preseason that looks like a pretty safe bet.

Hunter’s form through the preseason has he seen him force his way into the rotation and we should see him getting plenty of minutes early in this season.

Hunter isn’t going to kill defenders with explosiveness, but his unlimited range forces defenders to be right on him on the offensive end.

Hunter’s frame is far too small to be a good defender in the league, and defence is a concern for him entering his rookie season. Having said that, he showed he can be a decent defender in the preseason, and this will need to be even better come the regular season.

Hunter looks like he will be the backup shooting guard to Avery Bradley, with Evan Turner also able to play the two-guard position, as well as the point. The competition for guard minutes will be strong, so Hunter will may see some time on the bench if he struggles to find his shot.