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

 

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 previews: Tyler Zeller

Tyler Zeller was acquired prior to last season in a deal that helped LeBron get back to Cleveland. The Celtics gave up literally nothing to get Zeller and he has proven that given playing time he can produce.

In 82 games last season, Zeller produced solid numbers with 10 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1 block per game. He is an efficient offensive player, who knows his game and works with his strengths. He knows to play within himself, as shown by the fact that he didn’t shoot a single three last season.

Zeller was a workhorse last season and did what was asked him night in, night out whether that was fighting for rebounds or draining buzzer beating, game-winners. Case in point:

Entering this season it looks like Zeller will be the starting centre with Kelly Olynyk as his backup after a strong preseason.

Zeller shot 54.9% from the field last season, and I would expect similar numbers in that area again this season. He isn’t going to score 20 points a night, but what he can do is be efficient when called upon. There’s no doubt that Zeller made the team better last season, and now it’s time for him to take his game to a new level and make the team even better this season.

With a contract-extension looking unlikely for Zeller, he will have even more incentive to play his heart out every night as he looks for a new contract for years to come.

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

Zeller sparks Celtics amazing comeback but Boston fall short to Magic

In just his second game as a Celtic, Jameer Nelson would be the starting point guard against the Orlando Magic.

Continue reading Zeller sparks Celtics amazing comeback but Boston fall short to Magic