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Showing posts from March, 2020

All-Time 8-man Celtics Rotation Using Seedings - Give Me Yours

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I have placed 32 Celtics players into eight seedings and came away with what I feel is the best crew to win a crucial contest. Larry Bird over Bill Russell was a tough call, but I went with Larry's versatility. There is nothing he does not do well. Dave Cowens over Kevin McHale was difficult, but I went with Dave's blue-collar, lunch bucket mentality.


Dennis Johnson at #3 was my choice - and a controversial one. He was simply a fabulous 2-way player, and his synergy with Bird made the decision. I went with Marcus Smart and Larry Siegfried because of their toughness in the back court. And Rajon Rondo? I needed another floor general out there, and he fits the bill. Al Horford is in there to add more size, playmaking and defense.

My 8-man rotation. What's yours?
1- Bird
2- Cowens
3- DJ
4-Reggie
5-Rondo
6-Horford
7-Smart
8-Siegfried— Tom Lane (@CelticsSentinel) March 31, 2020

You will most-certainly disagree with my seedings and 8-man rotation - and you should. There are very few wrong…

Was Danny Ainge the most-despised player in the NBA?

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A thin 6'5" in the 1980's, Danny Ainge looked like the president of your high school science club, but he never backed away from a fight or any type of confrontation. But unless you were a Celtics fan, you probably despised him.


His most infamous scuffle involved Atlanta's Tree Rollins, resulting in the "Tree Bites Man" headlines when Rollins chomped down on Danny's digit. But Ainge was so hated by opponents, many still think it was Danny that did the biting. There were many dust-ups involving the guy now called "Trader Danny", and many are encapsulated in the following video. Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Mario Elie and Sam Cassell are only a few of Ainge's combatants. Take a look.



Ainge may have been hated by most opponents, but he was often praised by those who admired his ferocious competitiveness(per LA Times' Joe Hamelin):

"He's the best all-around athlete that I've ever seen." - Larry Bird on Danny…

How President's social distancing extension affects NBA season

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President Donald Trump announced yesterday that he is extending social distancing guidelines until April 30.

On Sunday, however, Trump seemed to acknowledge that the spread of the virus had not slowed, at least not yet. He said that modeling shows that the peak of the death rate will likely hit in two weeks, but stressed that he hopes the country will be on its way to recovery by June 1. "We can expect that by June 1st, we will be well on our way to recovery, we think by June 1st. A lot of great things will be happening," he said.

The extension may bode well for the health of Americans, but it certainly puts a damper on hopes for a re-start of the 2019-20 NBA season. The playoffs were originally scheduled to begin on April 18, 2020, with the Finals set for June 4. It is becoming very difficult to imagine playoffs-as-usual with thousands of spectators filling the stands anytime in April or May.

And then the question is raised, what happens with the draft lottery and draft its…

Expect Gordon Hayward back with Celtics next season

I wrote in December of last year that Gordon Hayward can be expected to be on the Celtics roster next season, and that view has not changed, despite the suspension of NBA action. Whether Gordon opts in to his $34.2 million deal for the 2020-21 season or chooses to see what else Boston or other teams can offer, the best chance is that we see him in green for 2020-21.

Despite much personal success, an NBA Title has eluded Hayward. Boston's Core-5 of Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart are slated to earn roughly $115.9 million next season, and the Celtics are projected to be over the luxury tax threshold. That's not the major issue. Tatum will be in a contract season in 2020-21, and he is due for a major raise once his 4-year, rookie deal is done. Fitting the salaries of Gordon and Jayson into Boston's financial landscape for 2021-22 will require masterful maneuvering by Danny Ainge.

But Hayward recently turned 30 years old, and this may be his …

Does Enes Kanter stay or go this off-season?

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"Journeyman" defines Boston Celtics center, Enes Kanter. In his ninth season in the NBA, Kanter has played for six different franchises - three of them twice. In other words, he has performed alongside a total of nine different rosters. He may be on the move once again this summer.


Enes is signed with Boston for the sum of $5 million for 2020-21, but he has a player option. His 17.5 minutes per game this season mark the least floor time for him since the 2012-13 season, his second in the League. His minutes have dropped from 12.0 MPG (last 10 games) to 11.1 MPG (last 5) to 10.2 MPG for the last two contests.

Daniel Theis has clearly been Brad Stevens' center of choice. Theis has averaged 23.8 minutes/game this year - 28.2 MPG over the last 10 games - and 31.0 MPG for the last two contests. Daniel's minutes have soared, while Kanter's time has plummeted. The message is clear. If a player doesn't dedicate himself to Brad's constant-movement, switching defe…

Celtics vs. Mavericks 11/20/2017, when Irving-Celtics union looked great

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Whether you like Kyrie Irving or hate him, when he came to Boston in 2017 he may have been the most-dangerous players with the ball in his hands of any point guard in the League. He put his skills on display early in his stint with the Celtics when Boston traveled to Dallas on November 20, 2017 to take on the Mavericks. The Celtics won the game in overtime, 110-102, largely on the supreme play of Irving.

Kyrie came away with 47 points, three rebounds, six assists - scoring 10 of his points in the overtime period. He shot 16-of-22 from the field, 5-of-7 from beyond the arc and 10-of-11 from the free throw line. His plus/minus of plus-21 was a team-high (per NBA's Dave Jackson):

In the extra period, Irving scored his team's first six points. Then after Jaylen Brown gave Boston a 104-102 lead with a jumper with 1:39 to play, Irving went to work on Yogi Ferrell, backing him down and drawing contact on a lay-up with 48.5 seconds to play. Though Irving missed the free throw to keep t…

Tough NBA player & poet, Tom Meschery, on Bill Russell

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Tom Meshchery is a Russian-born 10-year NBA veteran known as one of the toughest players in the NBA during the 1960's. But he was also a poet and once wrote an ode to the Celtics Bill Russell titled "Eagle with a beard". More recently, in 2014, Meschery wrote a sequel to his original work.


Bill Russell

Once, in a poem I call him an eagle
with a (beard). I was young and the poem
held promise that the writer might improve.
I always liked the image. It asked
the reader to see Bill with slightly stooped
shoulders, long feathery arms and talons
hovering above the paint protecting it
like his nest intruders entered at their peril.
His beard was dark as was he, a shadow
that darkened our attempts to score.

I am older. As is he. I saw him recently
on TV still an eagle, giving an (interview)
and tried picturing him as something else
and couldn't. I found it comforting
to think I got him right so many years ago,
that now, so close to both our dying
I hoped for the Hindu afterl…

Celtics All-Star End-Of-Career Acquisitions

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Red Auerbach was known for acquiring All-Star players who were nearing the end of their careers. Here are some of the most-notable additions that the wily legend brought to Boston.
Shaquille O'NealShaq was picked up by the Celtics in 2010 on a 2-year, vet-minimum contract totaling $2.8 million. An assortment on injuries limited the 15-Time All-Star to 37 games, in which he averaged 9.2 PPG and 4.8 RPG. Boston traded center Kendrick Perkins in February, partially in the hope that O'Neal would overcome his injuries and return to form. That never happened, and Shaq retired from the NBA at the conclusion of the season.


Dave BingThe 6'3" Bing played most of his career with the Detroit Pistons and totaled seven All-Star appearances. He played his final NBA season in 1977-78 with the Celtics, averaging 13.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG and 3.8 APG. After retiring from the League, Dave transformed himself into a successful business owner, political activist - and finally was elected Mayor of …

Super-skilled Larry Bird would horse around - even in close games

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Call it confidence or arrogance, but Larry Bird was so skilled, he would often horse around during a game - even the close ones. Against the Portland Trailblazers on February 14, 1986, Bird said that he was going to play the game left-handed because (as he stated), "I'm saving my right hand for the Lakers", the team next on Boston's slate.

Larry Bird was so skilled, he would often horse around - even in a close game. This was one of those games. Read my article later today.

Did Larry Bird Really Play A Whole Game Using Only His Left Hand? https://t.co/kZWbaoP8RA via @YouTube— Tom Lane (@CelticsSentinel) March 20, 2020
This game was not a throwaway for either team. It went into overtime, ending in a 120-119 victory for the Celtics. Larry finished with a triple-double of 47 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, with 10 of his 21 field goals scored with his left hand, according to NBA.com.

The 1985-86 Celtics squad also featured Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson,…

With Brady all-but-gone, will Jayson Tatum be the future darling of Boston fans?

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With 6-Time Champion Tom Brady possibly heading out of town to join to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, what player from what Beantown team has the best shot at replacing him as the darling of Boston sports?

Bucs and Tom Brady still trying to finalize contract language as of Wednesday night and those discussions will go into Thursday, per source. Contract language more challenging this off-season than any time in recent memory. No problems forseen with Bucs-Brady, but no deal yet.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 19, 2020
Red Sox icon, Ted Williams, was truly beloved in his time and still revered enough many decades later to have a Boston tunnel named after him. For the Celtics, Larry Bird captured the hearts of Boston fans, winning three Titles and putting his heart and soul into his game. The Bruins Bobby Orr only picked up two Stanley Cups in his stint with the Bruins, but he was one of the most-adored pro athletes in The Hub, despite his shyness and avoidance of the press. But i…

Was Larry Bird really that good? Take a look.

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Was Larry Bird that good? Wasn’t quick. Couldn’t jump. Not athletic. But he had everything else. The Bird is the Word. Yes he was – he was that good. Larry Bird wasn’t quick – couldn’t jump – wasn’t athletic. But COULD HE PLAY! The highlight reel below is a great reminder of just how good he was. If there was a reward for getting the most out of your limited, God-given assets on the hardwood, he gets my vote. The background so-called music is Surfin Bird by the Trashmen? Try to get through it. Hey, the League is in shutdown. Give it a look.



Basketball was Larry’s life, his dream, his passion. He worked for everything he accomplished. That is why he was so good.

Auerbach once called Heinsohn "oldest 27-year-old body in the history of sports."

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Most young Celtics fans see Tommy Heinsohn as the aged Celtics TV analyst. Some may know the 8-Time Champion and 6-Time All-Star was 1957 Rookie-of-the-Year when Bill Russell was a fellow-rookie in the same season. What most don't know is that then-coach, Red Auerbach, belittled Heinsohn unmercifully - because Red knew Tommy could take it (per NBA.com Staff):

In addition to employing him as a go-to scorer, Auerbach directed his criticism of the team at Heinsohn, knowing that other players' egos were too fragile for such a direct assault. "[Auerbach] knew that some of the big guys had sensitive egos -- egos that didn't like it if Red started to get on them verbally," Heinsohn recalled in an article in the Boston Globe. "So when he wanted to get on someone to stir up things in the dressing room, he got on me. He knew I could take it. I was his whipping boy. I understood what he was doing, so I could handle it."

For example, Heinsohn remembered one game in …

Player deconditioning - the unmentioned factor in NBA shutdown

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We have heard of most of the negative aspects of the NBA's decision to put the 2019-20 season on hiatus because of the coronavirus outbreak. But one major concern is the fact that even elite athletes, including professional basketball players, can become deconditioned in a very short period of time.


Admittedly, two of the very few positive aspects of the shutdown are that the players get some relief from the grind of a long season and sufficient time to recover from injuries. Certainly, Jaylen Brown, who has been out of action for a while with a knee issue, can use the down time. But having worked as a Personal Trainer for 27 years in athletic clubs, gyms and corporations, with many clients being athletes, I found that even one week's absence from training results in measurable losses in conditioning.

This may not be an issue for Lebron James and other NBA players who live in mansions equipped with massive gymnasiums, but how about the low-salaried players, particularly the G …

A third party is involved in the current NBA shutdown

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Past long-term NBA lockouts, one in 1998-99 and another in 2011, led to shortened seasons of 50 games and 66 games, respectively. Both were resolved by means of compromise between two groups, labor and management. That is, the players and the owners. The current shutdown has a third party involved, the virus known as COVID-19, and you don't negotiate with a virus. Therein lies the uncertainty of when this shutdown will end.


The National Basketball Association took the extreme route of not simply closing arena doors to the public, as originally discussed - but rather putting an end to all games until - or if - a better solution can be reached. And the shutdown may possibly be the right one, for now. The total cessation of game play gives Adam Silver and his cohorts breathing room and time to come to a compromise between all parties involved and possibly restart the season with specific precautions in place.

The best solution to most problems lies somewhere in the middle - between t…

Shaquille O'Neal says Celtics "don't have a big" - He is wrong

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On this morning's NBA TV broadcast, the question was raised concerning the Eastern Conference team that would give the Philadelphia 76'ers the tougher battle - the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics. Analyst, and former star for the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade, answered in the following manner:

You want to go to Miami. They've (Philadelphia) had some success in Miami in the playoffs. You don't want to go to Boston. Why would you?
Shaquille O'Neal chose the Heat as the tougher opponent for the 76'ers, indicating "They (Celtics) don't have a big". Candace Parker took the middle road, stating that both Miami and Boston would be tough to handle in the playoffs, citing "the way Brad Stevens makes adjustments in the playoffs" as a positive factor for the Celtics.


Actually, contrary to what Shaq had to say, Boston does have a legitimate big man in the guise of the German import, Daniel Theis. Daniel may not measure up to O'Neal's 7'1"…

To balance the scoring, Ojeleye as starter - Hayward to second unit

The Boston Celtics have generally had their top-4 scorers in the starting unit, and that may need to change. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker account for 82.4 points per game, while the Boston bench ranks 28th in points-production at 27.6 PPG.

Because of injuries to some starters, Semi Ojeleye has seen an increase in minutes over the past few games. In the past two contests, he has averaged 31.9 MPG, 15.5 PPG and 6.5 RPG, while hitting 57% on field goals and 50% on 3-pointers. He may never be a volume scorer, but he is adequate on team defense and an exceptional one-on-one defender. And his rebounding has improved significantly this season.

Hayward's confidence seems to be coming and going and that drives me crazy. Coming off the bench he could have a bigger role for himself and do a really decent job in my opinion.— Brother Andrej (@BriGGySmaLLzb) March 5, 2020
So who goes to the second unit? Gordon Hayward is the logical choice. As a starter, he defers …

So, do you think the Celtics could have used Aron Baynes last night?

The Boston Celtics could really use a big, tough defensive-minded center that can stretch the floor. It now seems they had one until they traded Aron Baynes to the Phoenix Suns last summer in order to clear cap space.

In the Phoenix Suns 127-117 win over the Portland Trailblazers last night, Baynes came away with 37 points, 16 boards and two blocks. Get this! He shot 52% from the field, 9-of-14 on treys, and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line.

Aron Baynes made history tonight 😤

pic.twitter.com/bVi405oRwk— Entirely Sports (@Entirely_Sports) March 7, 2020
The 33-year-old Australian is shooting 36% on 3-pointers for the Suns this season, and he remains one tough defender for opponents in the painted area. That part of Aron's game has not changed. He is virtually unmovable under the hoop and will take on any player brave enough to attack the rim.

Yes, Aron Baynes hit 9 threes in one of the most dominant single game performances in NBA history.

He also just stood there like a f*ck…

Gordon Hayward joining Rick Pitino on list of bad contracts is a travesty

DJ Bean and Michael Holley of NBC Sports Boston tried their hands at picking some of the worst contracts in sports history. Bean got it right with his choice of Rick Pitino. Holley faltered terribly with his pick of Gordon Hayward.

Whomst u got? @MichaelSHolleypic.twitter.com/82hfwT9aEH— DJ Bean (@DJ_Bean) March 5, 2020
Pitino came to Boston in 1997, taking over the reins of a team that had been struggling. He pushed the much-revered Red Auerbach aside and amassed a disappointing 102-146 record with the Celtics until his resignation in 2001. To say he was despised by Celtics fans is to understate the issue. His contract with Boston called for the sum of $70 million dollars over a 10-year period. He lasted only three-and-one-half years and came close to ruining a storied franchise - a lot of money ill-spent.

Rick Pitino, pushed Red out the door and left the franchise in ruins— Jason Richter (@JasonRichter13) March 5, 2020
Holley including Hayward's contract in his list of bad deals i…

Career night for Semi Ojeleye in Celtics 112-106 win over Cavaliers

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With Jaylen Brown (hamstring), Gordon Hayward (knee) and Kemba Walker (rest) sitting this one out, the Boston Celtics picked up a 112-106 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, with third-year wing, Semi Ojeleye, having a career night. Semi is averaging only 14.1 minutes per game this season, but he more-than-doubled that last night, logging 30 minutes - pouring in 22 points - grabbing six boards and handing out two assists. He was second-high man on plus/minus (Grant Williams had a +14) with a +11.


Semi is on FIRE tonight!— Dr. Justin Quinn (@justinquinnn) March 5, 2020
Ojeleye shot 8-0f-11 from the field and 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. "On fire", indeed.

Celtics needed scoring last night and got it from Semi Ojeleye. 22P, 6R

Semi Ojeleye Career High 22 Points/1 Injury Full Highlights (3/4/2020) https://t.co/kwvpSRfJA9 via @YouTube— Tom Lane (@CelticsSentinel) March 5, 2020
The tough-as-nails wing took a brutal knee to the groin but returned to action and appeared to be okay. The…

Let the kids play tonight. There may be no alternative.

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With the Celtics playing the tail end of a back-to-back tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and looking very much like a walking emergency room, Brad Stevens may have no choice but to play the youngsters.


Kemba Walker (rest), Gordon Hayward (knee), Jayson Tatum (cold), Marcus Smart (possible suspension) and Jaylen Brown (hamstring) are either out, questionable or doubtful for this evening's contest, although nothing has been announced about action against Marcus for his tirade last night. It just may end up being Daniel Theis and a cast of kids facing the Cavs. That may not be so bad.

I personally would love to see a Carsen Edwards-Tremont Waters backcourt for at least part of the game. Both have excelled at the G League level. Romeo Langford has shown flashes as a defensive stopper in his limited minutes on the floor as a Celtic, and Grant Williams, Javonte Green and Semi Ojeleye would fill out the gang of Young Guns. In addition to Theis, the "old codgers" for ton…

Bring out the stethoscope again, Danny Ainge - your team may lack heart

No one is more disappointed in the Celtics 129-120 overtime loss to the Nets than their coach, Brad Stevens. It may be time for Danny Ainge to do a heart check on his troops once again.

Ainge did just that prior to Game 7 of the 1984 NBA Finals versus the Los Angeles Lakers. But before that, Boston got trounced by LA in Game 3, and Larry Bird called out his team for being sissies (quotes from Larry Bird from the book, Hoop Lore, A history of the National Basketball Association by Connie Hirchberg):

Celtics "played like a bunch of sissies"

"I know the heart and soul of this team, and today the heart wasn't there, that's for sure. I can't believe a team like this would let LA come out and push us around like they did."

When asked what was needed, Bird replied, "Twelve heart transplants"
Game 4 featured the legendary clothes-lining of the Lakers Kurt Rambis by Kevin McHale, Bird's butt-check of Michael Cooper off the court and the confrontatio…

Marcus Smart has the physical and emotional fire every team needs

Marcus Smart will almost certainly pick up a fine for his rant to the officials after Boston's 129-120 overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets last night. A suspension is also a possibility. He doesn't care. The current Celtics squad is certainly a legitimate Title contender, but they lack the internal fire - except for Marcus Smart.

Red Auerbach had it. Danny Ainge had it. Larry Bird certainly had it, and so does Marcus Smart - that internal fire that drives the emotions and physical play. Red would punch people out and then accept the consequences. Danny was all-emotion on the court and had his share of physical clashes. Ditto for Bird.

Marcus Smart’s heart, tenacity and pride is @celtics to the core. From Bird, to Russell to the Big 3 era, he would’ve been able to fit in with any Celtic team in history.

He is 100% what the pedigree of the Boston Celtics represents!— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) February 27, 2020
The present crop of Guys in Green are a finesse group, oft…

2004 low-scoring, shallow-depth Pistons won the Title - Can the 2020 Celtics do it?

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Many NBA analysts feel that the current Celtics squad lacks the depth to be a legitimate Championship contender. They may be correct, but a look at two NBA Champions, the 2004 Pistons and 2008 Celtics, may add some interesting comparisons.


The 2004 Detroit Piston featured Chauncey Billups (6'3"), Rip Hamilton (6'7"), Tayshaun prince (6'9"), Ben Wallace (6'9") and Rasheed Wallace (6'11"). In the Finals match-up, Detroit faced the heavily-favored Los Angeles Lakers led by Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Despite being underdogs, the Pistons won the series in five games.

The Pistons basically went 8-deep in the Finals with players logging double-digit minutes. The five starters all averaged double-digits in points, going from Prince's 10.0 PPG to Hamilton's 21.4 PPG. Beyond the top-8 players, no Piston supplied significant contributions. The five starters averaged only 77.0 points per game, and the three primary bench guys contrib…

Brad Stevens still experimenting with projected playoff rotation

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Brad Stevens continues to give his rookies playing time during critical junctures in games. It is obvious he is trying to determine what his rotations will look like for post-season play. Brad inserted Romeo Langford into the lineup at the 5:02 mark of the first quarter on Saturday against the Houston Rockets. Grant Williams came into the game two minutes later.


The Celtics had been playing tight defense to that point, and both rookies did a credible job on that end of the court. The problem came on the offensive end. Langford went scoreless, missing both of his shots, while Williams scored two points, collected three boards and came away with a team-high plus/minus of +10. Brad Wanamaker added two points to the bench-total of four points in the Celtics 111-110 loss to Houston.

Stevens chose to leave Enes Kanter on the bench for the entire game, and it is becoming obvious that, particularly with injuries a constant issue, lack of scoring from the bench will continue to haunt this te…

Marcus Smart: The gentle side of a ferocious competitor

Marcus Smart's ferocity strikes fear into most of his opponents, but he has a tender side. The same dogged defender that harasses opponents into making mistakes and picks up floor burns diving on the floor for loose balls took the time to comfort my family when we were hosted at TD Garden on Saturday, February 29, 2020.

This all started following the November death of my granddaughter, Courtney, after a 25-year battle with cystic fibrosis. She left behind my great grandson, Carson Thomas Lane, and I made a very simple request to Carson's namesake, Celtics rookie Carsen Edwards. My Twitter followers stepped up immediately with countless retweets and notifications. Edwards responded promptly via Twitter, as did Marcus Smart, who prompted Twitter followers to "send mail that uplifts & showers this kid with love".

Carson Thomas Lane- I lost my mom recently to. But it’s people like ur great grandpa who will get u thru the tough times as you grow up. Much love young s…

Jaylen Brown's buzzer-beating 3-pointer vs. Rockets #1 in NBA.com's top-10 Plays-of-the-Week

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It is difficult to describe the roar of 20,000 frenzied fans perfectly synced - absolutely in unison - unless you are there. And I was. As guests of Eileen O'Malley (@eileenmomalley), the Boston Celtics and a wonderful gentleman by the name of Abdul Dramali (@Advil), my daughter, Lisa, and great grandson, Carson, were there with me with five seconds to go, and Boston down 104-101.


Jayson Tatum purposely missed the second of two free throws - the rebound went to Jaylen Brown - who put up a 3-point shot that hit pay dirt as the buzzer sounded - tying the score at 104-104. The roar from the crowd was deafening. Brown's cold-blooded shot was number-one on NBA.Com's Plays-of-the-Week.


The video doesn't even come close to portraying the roar of 20,000 fans at TD Garden. Watch for my article very shortly.

Jaylen Brown CRAZY BUZZER-BEATER vs Houston Rockets https://t.co/Ts1ljrUyaS via @YouTube — Tom Lane (@CelticsSentinel) March 2, 2020
I have watched the Guys in Green for roug…