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Showing posts from September, 2020

Gordon Hayward's recovery time was always 8-10 weeks - not 4 weeks

When Gordon Hayward was diagnosed with a Grade 3 right ankle sprain, I wrote that the Boston Celtics were being coy about his prognosis and recovery timeline. Here is the recovery time supplied by Harvard Medical School :    Grade 3 ankle sprain Full tear or rupture Severe pain, swelling, tenderness, and bruising. Considerable instability and loss of function and range of motion. Unable to bear weight or walk. Several months recovery A Grade 3 ankle sprain means a "full tear or rupture" and at least two months of recovery. The Celtics portrayal of Gordon returning in roughly one month seemed, at the time, extremely optimistic - at the very least. Celtics’ Gordon Hayward has a Grade 3 right ankle sprain and will miss four weeks. — Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 18, 2020 Hayward returned to the court on September 19, and his spotty play intimated that his return was premature. New information on his condition supports that thought. The Globe’s Gary Washburn reports Gor

"The Logo" didn't come to Clipper-Land to lose

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What goes unmentioned in the abrupt departure of Doc Rivers as coach of the Los Angeles Clippers is the role of Jerry West in the transition. "The Logo" only won one Title as a player with the Lakers, mainly due to the brick wall in the guise of the Boston Celtics. But he garnered eight Championship rings as an exec for the Lakers and Golden State Warriors. Between his stints with the Lakers and Warriors, West joined the Memphis Grizzlies as General Manager. He won no Titles there, but he turned around a franchise that was floundering (per Wikipedia): West's Memphis stint was not as spectacular as his Los Angeles stint, but he turned a franchise which was about to be sold into a reliable playoffs team, making few trades but getting the maximum from the players he had available (such as  Pau Gasol ,  James Posey  and  Jason Williams ) and signing coach  Hubie Brown , who became Coach of the Year in 2004 Jerry West came to the Clippers in 2017 as an executive board member,

Rose Rule makes Jayson Tatum eligible for 5-year deal at 30% of cap

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After being named All-NBA Third Team, Jayson Tatum is eligible to receive a 5-year deal worth 30% of the NBA salary cap  beginning in the 2021-22 season. The Celtics have until the start of the 2020-21 season to reach an agreement with Jayson, and right now the season is expected to start (at the earliest) on December 25, 2020. It is called the "Rose Rule" , and it allows a rookie contract extension of five years at 30% of the salary cap for a player meeting certain requirements, making an All-NBA team being what applies here. This is what that could mean ( per NBC Sports A. Sherrod Blakely ): A five-year deal with a salary cap of $125 million would pay Tatum $181.25 million. The first-year salary of such a deal would be $31.25 million, with an eight percent raise ($2.5 million) each of the remaining years.  There seems little chance that Danny Ainge won't go with the 5-year max deal. Tatum's playoff numbers are astounding - 40.6 MPG, 25.7 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.0

Decision time as Gordon Hayward's October 17 option deadline is looming

The off-season for the Boston Celtics begins today after being ousted by the Miami Heat. First on the agenda for Danny Ainge is Gordon Hayward's player option for $34.2 million next season, and the option date is October 17. New player option dates for 2020 NBA free agency: Anthony Davis: Oct. 14 Gordon Hayward: Oct. 17 DeMar DeRozan: Oct. 17 Mike Conley Jr.: Oct. 17 Andre Drummond: Oct. 17 — Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 23, 2020 Gordon will-almost certainly opt in - take the big money - and see what transpires early in the 2020-21 season.  From that point, whether he gets traded or stays depends on whether he remains injury free - how the season is going - and what teams may want to pick him up for a playoff run in 2021. With Jaylen Brown's $22.9 million kicking in next season, and Marcus Smart set to earn $12.9 million, Gordon opting in would put Boston well over the Luxury Tax level. And with Jayson Tatum due a max contract for 2021-22, there simply is no way the Cel

Celtics weaknesses exposed in playoffs, but no radical fixes required

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 One of the NBA's truest adages is, A team's weaknesses get exposed in the post-season . The Celtics struggles against the Miami Heat made it quite evident that lack of a dominant center and a shallow, non-playoff-worthy bench  made the Boston's Celtics vulnerable. Miami's third-year center, Bam Adebayo gave Boston trouble all series long. In the Heat's 125-113 closeout of Boston last night in Game Six, Bam's line included 32 points, 14 rebounds and five assist s. He shot 75% from the field and 10-of-11 from the free throw line. All he lacks is a 3-point shot. The line supplied by Boston's center quartet of Daniel Theis, Enes Kanter, Rob Williams and Grant Williams (combined 41 minutes)? 11 points, 16 boards, one assist . It must be added for those that think the Celtics would have fared better against the Lakers Anthony Davis have to be delusional. Now to the benches. The Heat had both rookie Tyler Herro and veteran  Andre Iguodala coming off the pine.

Daniel Theis asserts himself in second half of Celtics 121-108 win over Heat

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In the third quarter of a critical Game Five last night, the Boston Celtics came out and looked like a team reborn.  Daniel Theis, who had been pulled out at the 8:13 mark of the first quarter, started to assert himself in every part of the game - setting screens, hitting the boards, blocking shots and looking to score ( per NBA's Steve Aschburner ): Meanwhile, Boston was pushing into the paint, going to center Daniel Theis in the heart of Miami’s defense. The 6-foot-8 native of Salzgitter, Germany, in his third NBA season at 28, contributed six points, two offensive rebounds and a couple of blocks while playing all but 39 seconds of the quarter.  Theis had been averaging 6.5 points and 0.5 blocks per game through the series’ first four games. After being a cumulative minus-9 in those games, Theis was plus-16 Friday, behind only Walker’s plus-21.   Besides being yanked early in the first quarter, Daniel was also taken out at the 9:48 mark of the second period in favor of Enes Kante

Celtics center-by-committee may have to be reconsidered

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 The Miami Heat All-Star center, Bam Adebayo, is averaging 21.5 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 4.5 APG, 2.0 SPG and 1.3 BPG versus the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Finals - all while earning a plus/minus of +7.3. Boston now sits with a 1-3 deficit in the series, and Miami has had various heroes in the four contests. But Bam has been tough, productive and consistent.  In the center spot for Boston, Brad Stevens has gone with Daniel Theis as his main weapon - sporadic views of Rob Williams - rare minutes from Enes Kanter - and ditto for Grant Williams. It isn't working. . @kendrickperkins is calling out Brad Stevens for not putting the Celtics in a position to win. "How many lobs is Bam gonna get in this series?! ... Right now Erik Spoelstra is coaching circles around [Stevens]." pic.twitter.com/kgSFIVdymQ — First Take (@FirstTake) September 25, 2020 Miami guard, Goran Dragic, has been a thorn in the Celtics side, and rookie Tyler Herro was a major factor in the Heat's Game 4 victory

Brad Stevens pitted against one wise, tough coach in Erik Spoelstra

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 After going down to Miami once again last night and coming away down 1-3 in the series, I still feel the Celtics have the more-talented team. But taking away nothing from Brad Stevens, he is pitted against a coach in Erik Spoelstra that has three Championships under his belt - one as assistant coach of the Heat and two more as Head Coach. Spoelstra started his career with Miami as their video coordinator in 1995 and worked his way up to assistant, and finally Head Coach in 2008. In 2010, when Lebron James and Chris Bosh were brought in to join Dwayne Wade, expectations were justifiably high, but a 9-8 start to the season raised murmurs of  replacing Erik as Head Coach (per Wikipedia) . Chris Bosh intimated that the team was being worked too hard and that the players would rather "chill".   LeBron James famously bumped into Spoelstra on his way to the bench during a timeout in a game. But Miami boss, Pat Riley, knew Spoelstra was his guy, and that was it.. Pat was having none

How does that proposed Jaylen Brown/Kawhi Leonard trade look now?

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Remember when the San Antonio Spurs were trying to develop a trade for their star forward, Kawhi Leonard. The Celtics at the time were rumored to be in the mix for his services, with the names of Jaylen Brown - and possibly Marcus Smart - tossed out there.  The rumored trade seemed to center around Brown and draft picks, and at least to me, the possible inclusion of Smart into the deal appeared ridiculous. Well, Jaylen, Marcus and the Celtics are still in the fight for a Title, while Kawhi and his new team, the Clippers, have been vanquished. Leonard's 2020 post-season stats are mostly ahead of Brown's, but not by a large margin, and we might add that Kawhi is now 29 years old while Jaylen is only 23. Brown is averaging 21.1 PPG in the playoffs compared to 28.2 PPG for Leonard. Rebounds are close with 7.3 RPG for Brown and 9.3 for Leonard. Assist honors also go to Kawhi (5.5 APG, 2.2 for Jaylen). With Leonard probably having reached his peak and Brown continuing to improve hi

Expect more small-ball from the Celtics Quick Quintet tonight

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Don't expect Brad Stevens to put his small-ball lineup out there for big minutes tonight. But we should see more of Gordon Hayward out there with starters Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. That quintet worked nicely at the end of quarters two and four in Boston's 117-106 Game Three victory over the Miami Heat on Saturday ( per NBA's John Schuhmann ):. The small lineup is obviously more skilled than one with Theis, Enes Kanter or Grant Williams at center. It's also quicker. And you can certainly credit the added quickness for what happened in the first 63 seconds after the Celtics went small: Three stops and three fast breaks, pushing that four-point lead to a 10-point cushion.    Celtics fans only got to see that lineup for roughly six minutes in Game 3, starting at the 2:39 mark of the first half and also with 3:27 left in the game. The five-some expanded the lead from three points to 13 points to end the half, and they held on at the end of t

The Miami Heat: "Who are those guys??"

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 Celtics coach, Brad Stevens must be asking the same question about the Miami Heat players. "Who are those guys?" Butch Cassidy (played by Paul Newman) asked that question of the Sundance Kid (portrayed by Robert Redford) in the 1969 western flick. In the film, the two outlaws were being pursued by a relentless posse that just would not quit. It starts with 3rd-year, All-Star center with a first name seemingly snatched from a Batman cartoon, Bam Adebayo . The 14th pick in the 2017 NBA draft was never supposed to be this good - at least not so soon. The starter at shooting guard for Miami, Duncan Robinson , went undrafted in the 2018 draft and has worked hard (a requirement for Pat Riley's teams) to earn a spot on this Title contender. Robinson avoids 2-point shots (less than one per game) and does his damage from beyond the arc at 7.3 attempts/game and making 41% of them. Forward, and Ex-Celtic, Jae Crowder , has found a niche in Miami - at least for now. The Heat are his

With ankle stabilized, Gordon Hayward injects stability into his team

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 Roughly one month following his Grade 3 right ankle sprain, Gordon Hayward was back in action in last night's 117-106 win over the Miami Heat. That type of severe sprain normally requires a few months of recovery, but the Celtics guessed he would be back in four weeks, so we will take the optimistic projection becoming reality. Gordon's stat line in 30 minutes of play was modest, but his impact on this game and hopes for a Title are not. For the first time since Hayward's injury in Game One versus the 76'ers, Boston had a legitimate 20-point scorer coming off the bench. Miami has rookie Tyler Herro as their main threat off the pine, and he has done a fantastic job for the Heat, logging 36 minutes last night and coming away with 22 points, three rebounds and four assists. That would be a typical line for Gordon once he sheds a bit of rust. The Celtics without Hayward looked omnipotent in their 4-0 sweep of  Philadelphia, but they looked vulnerable in their 7-game series

Brad Stevens goes with rookie, Grant Williams, in critical third quarter

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Sluggish third quarters have plagued the Boston Celtics in Games One and Two of the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Miami Heat. In Boston's 117-106 victory last night, coach Brad Stevens went with his small-ball center, rookie Grant Williams at the 9:22 juncture of the third quarter. Williams wasted no time getting on the board, hitting a 3-pointer from the corner 21 seconds after entering the game. He scored again, this time on a hook shot under the basket - grabbed a defensive rebound - and made a key steal before being replaced at the 1:49 mark. Inserting the 6'6" rookie against Bam Adebayo in the critical third quarter of a do-or-die Game 3 tells us a lot about Grant's future with the Celtics. His post-season production doesn't jump off the page (3.4 PPG, 1.6 RPG), but in 10.7 minutes per game, he is shooting .600 from the field and .625 from beyond the arc. Grant Williams Game 3 Celtics vs Heat Stats ☘️ 10 minutes (All in 2nd half. Closer.) ☘️ 5 points ☘️

Heat's Pat Riley on winning: "Without it (hard work), you don't stand a chance".

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With the Celtics facing a do-or-die Game 3 versus the Miami Heat tonight, the Guys in Green should think of listening to what Miami's team president, Pat Riley had to say about winning in the NBA: "Hard work doesn't guarantee anything, but without it you don't stand a chance."   Riley never made even one All-Star game as an NBA player, but he was tough and gave everything he had. But as a coach, he has five Championship rings, in addition to three more as an NBA executive. Pat also was named Coach-of-the-Year on three occasions and Executive-of-the-Year once.  In two Eastern Finals games thus far, his Miami troops are following Riley's lead. They are playing hard - with a capital "H". Pat's players know that he will tolerate nothing less, as does Miami coach, Eric Spoelstra.  It can be argued that Boston has the more talented players, but so far, the Heat have played like the better team - or at least the group that works the hardest consistentl

Gordon Hayward reportedly aiming for Game 3 return on Saturday

According to Jared Weiss, Gordon Hayward is pushing for a return to action for Game 3 versus the Miami heat on Saturday. Gordon Hayward is progressing toward returning for Game 3 of Celtics-Heat after feeling good in Wednesday’s post-practice workout, a source with knowledge of the situation told @TheAthleticNBA . He expects to get more on-court work Friday with the hope of playing Saturday. — Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) September 18, 2020  If this happens, it is very good news for the Celtics who are now down 0-2 in the Eastern Finals. Gordon gives the Guys in Green another potential 20-point scorer - adds stability and experience to a team that has looked ragtag at times - and puts another ball handler and passer out there to overcome Miami's zone defense. The Celtics can not afford to go down 0-3 in this series. so I expect that Brad Stevens will give Hayward at least a shot out there if he appears ready to go on Saturday. He may be the boost this team needs to get back into t

Celtics out-coached, out-hustled and out-smarted in 106-101 loss to Heat

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 The Boston Celtics 106-101 defeat at the Hands of the Miami Heat cannot be blamed on one factor. There were many. Miami coach, Eric Spoelstra, went with a zone defense for most of the game, putting his forwards out at the top of the key. It worked. Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Tyler Herro and Derrick Jones accounted for nine of the Heat's 11 steals in the game. Miami ended up forcing Boston into 20 turnovers, and that was a killer for The Green. I predicted That slowing down Bam Adebayo in this series would be Boston's main obstacle. He went wild in the third quarter, and as predicted, Boston had no answer for him. He came away with 21 points, 10 boards and four assists in the game. The Celtics were not providing weak side help on Bam, and he had a field day down low in the third quarter. In the hustle department, one play at the 10:36 mark of the fourth quarter told the story. A lazy inbounds pass by Brad Wanamaker was stolen by Derrick Jones, who then got the ball to Herro -

Can Celtics continue seriously competing without a dominant big man?

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 Of the four NBA teams still competing for the 2020 Championship, the Boston Celtics are the only one without a dominant big man. The Los Angeles Lakers have Anthony Davis. The Denver Nuggets have Nikola Jokic manning the center position, and the Miami Heat place Bam Adebayo at the five-spot. Conversely, Boston has the Daniel Theis-Rob Williams (TW) tandem sharing the center spot. A quick glance at the 2020 post-season stats show, at least on the surface, that the TW duo matches up fairly well with the individual members of the Davis-Jokic-Adebayo (DJA) trio. The numbers for DJA are an average of the three, while the stats for the Celtics duo are combined. Boston's center pairing averages a combined 40.4 MPG, while the DJA center crew log 36.2 MPG. It is no surprise that the three star centers get the nod on average points (23.1 PPG vs. 12.9 PPG) and assists (5.1 vs. 2.4), but the Green Centers take honors on blocks (1.9 vs. 1.1) and turnovers (1.4 vs. 2.9). Rebounds (10-11) and st

Ball movement and a solid bench sorely missing in Celtics 117-114 loss to Heat

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 A total of 32 assists for Miami and only 24 for Boston is only part of the story for the Celtics 117-114 loss to the Heat in overtime last night. Team highs in assists were shared by Miami sophomore center, Bam Adebayo, and rookie Tyler Herro with nine dimes each.  Celtics point guards, Kemba Walker and Brad Wanamaker,  shared assist honors with each notching six, but frankly it appeared that Kemba was forever pounding the ball trying to get loose for open shots. He did put 19 points on the board, but it took 19 attempts to accomplish that. He was 6-of-19 from the field and a woeful 1-of-9 on 3-pointers. To Wanamaker's credit, he had a solid game, notching 11 points, three rebounds and five steals, in addition to his team-high six assists. With Boston's shallow bench, he has been a mainstay for Boston in the post-season. Jayson Tatum picked up five dimes for the Celtics, also coming away with a team-high 30 points, 14 boards, three steals and two blocks. But as Isiah Thomas po

Putting Rob Williams freakish physical gifts in context

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In 2018, when writing about Celtics prospects in the upcoming NBA draft, I never seriously considered Robert Williams III as falling to Boston with the 27th pick. Most analysts projected him being plucked somewhere in the lottery. But he did plummet, mainly due to questions about his work ethic, and Danny Ainge took advantage of the opportunity. Now in his sophomore season with the Celtics, Williams is making significant contributions in the post-season, with Boston now in the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Miami Heat. Rob's physical attributes are undeniable and truly invade the freakish range. If he continues to advance his basketball IQ, star status is not out of the question. Rob's physical gifts start with his wingspan-to-height ratio. It is remarkable. He is 6'8" in height with a 7'6" wingspan. To put that into context, the average NBA player averages a wingspan (WS) 4-5 inches greater that his height. Williams' WS is 10" greater than

NBA Math gives Rob Williams high grades for post-season play

NBA Math did their analysis on Total Points Added (TBA) for second-year players' performances in the playoffs, and Celtics sophomore, Rob Williams, fared well. TIMELORD more than held his own on the offensive end and really stood out on defense. Looks like Celtics TIMELORD fared pretty well in this analysis. He will keep improving with seasoning. https://t.co/6gsqpNVk8i — Tom Lane (@CelticsSentinel) September 14, 2020 The concept of total points added (TPA), isn't particularly complicated. We're looking at both defensive and offensive effectiveness on a per-possession basis while also incorporating the amount of playing time the contributor in question receives. NBA Math puts playing time into the equation, and Rob only averaged 12.2 minutes per game in 10 post-season contests. His per-36-minutes stats show 11.8 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.5 BPG and 74% accuracy from the field. Not too shabby. It will be interesting to see where he sits on the chart if his playoff minute

Slowing down Bam Adebayo will be Celtics biggest challenge vs. Heat

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The Celtics are set to kick off the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Miami Heat tomorrow night, and the series may well go the full seven games. The Heat rely on Jimmy Butler for everything but 3-point shots, and he is definitely a key for Miami. But the Celtics have no one in the mold of second-year center, Bam Adebayo. Bam is another non-distance shooter, but he has put up 16.2 points per game in the postseason on 54% from the field. He sits behind only Giannis Antetokounmpo in rebounds pulled down in the playoffs (11.7 RPG - 7 or more games played). Oh - yes, and he is a decent assist man, passing off for 4.8 assists/game in the playoffs. He is a handful down low, on both ends of the floor. He is strong and versatile. He will be a tough assignment for Daniel Theis and Rob Williams. Bam Adebayo in his first year as a full time starter: • Youngest player in NBA history to average 15+ PTS, 10+ REB, 5+ AST, 50% FG • All-Star • All-NBA Defender pic.twitter.com/CPysb704z3 — NBA C

Most of all, Gordon Hayward needed back for minutes and points

The word from the Boston Celtics is that Gordon Hayward is slated to be back in action at some point in the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Miami Heat. In nine playoff games thus far, Miami has nine players averaging double-digit minutes per game, with six of them scoring double-digits in points. Conversely, in 11 post-season contests, Boston equals the Heat with nine players with more than 10 minutes per game, but only four of which put up more than 10 points per game. I can't think of a team that needed three days of rest more than Boston does right now. Plus, it allows Gordon Hayward three more days to work up to a return. The Celtics should be thankful for the NFL kicking off this Sunday/Monday. — Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) September 12, 2020 If Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart continue to log 40-or-more minutes in this post-season, fatigue and the real threat of further injuries could become reality. Hayward's status will most-likely

Marcus Smart has morphed into a complete player in Raptors series

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The Celtics elimination of the Toronto Raptors last night in the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals reveals a few things about the 2019-20 version of the Boston Celtics. One of the most vivid revelations is the transition of Marcus Smart into a complete player (per Wikipedia): Kemba Walker: "It's exciting. It's energizing. He (Marcus Smart) just gets everybody going. Gets us going, gets the crowd going. Like I said, we just kinda feed off him. He just does so many great things. And propels our defense each and every night." In last night's 92-87 victory, Marcus put up 16 points, grabbed two rebounds and handed out six assists. But it was his three steals and one block that were so instrumental in the win. His first theft came at the 9:15 mark of the first quarter, after which he went full court for a layup. His second steal came in the second quarter and he then delivered a perfect lob pass to Jayson Tatum for the score. Later in the second per

Unraveling Gordon Hayward's return, status and future

Though initially confused by Robyn Hayward's message to Gordon, I now lean heavily into the idea that, once back in the bubble, he will remain there until the Celtics are eliminated or walk away with Title #18. Robyn's words, "Next time we see you, you won't be the only boy", seem to indicate that scenario. Looks like Robyn Hayward is joining the Celtics in being cryptic about Gordon's return. This could mean he is leaving the bubble to witness the birth OR not leaving for the birth & returning home after Boston's playoff run is over. https://t.co/4erCys5lMY — Tom Lane (@CelticsSentinel) September 8, 2020 Gordon Hayward was diagnosed with a Grade 3 ankle sprain in Game One versus the 76'ers and tagged with a (roughly) four-week recovery timeline. Since that type of sprain normally requires several months of recovery, fans have to be somewhat skeptical of any information on Gordon's return to action. The timeline handed out by the Celtics p

Celtics give "No Quarter" - play like potential champs - in 111-89 blowout of Raptors

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Brad Stevens has been critical of the energy and effort of his troops in the first and third quarters in the Eastern Semis versus the Raptors. But not in Game Five last night. The Guys in Green gave all they had for most of the game and showed the Toronto Raptors "No Quarter". The Celtics were taking no prisoners in this contest. Jaylen Brown kicked things off with a 3-pointer, assisted by Marcus Smart, in the first 19 seconds of action. Jaylen set the tone from the start, finishing the game with a team-high 27 points on 10-of-18 from the field, 3-of-7 from 3-point land and 4-of-4 from the foul stripe. Marcus had a solid outing with a line of 12P/7R/6A. Boston's defense was stifling, and the half ended with the Celtics up 87-63. Things got a bit sloppy in the third quarter, and when Toronto cut the lead to 22 points, Brad Stevens had seen enough and called a time out at the 8:05 juncture. Brad's guys got back on track and never let this one slip away. The Celtic

Will Brad Stevens' Theis/Williams center triad survive the post season - and beyond?

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Enes Kanter averaging one minute per game thus far in the Eastern Semis versus Toronto tells us all we want to know about his future with the Boston Celtics. Brad Stevens has little faith, at least for this series, in the likable Turk. The Celtics allowed the Raptors to even the series at 2-2 last night, dropping Game Four with a score of 100-93. One of the few bright spots was the play of sophomore Rob Williams. Rob logged 15 minutes, entering the game early in the first quarter (9:26 mark). He scored six points on 3-of-4 from the field, gathering five rebounds in the process. Noteworthy was the fact he only picked up only one foul for the game. He is learning not to go for fakes and not to try to block every shot. He had no blocks in the game, but he is providing decent coverage both down low and on the perimeter. Rookie Grant Williams picked up 12 meaningful minutes in the loss, coming away with four points and two boards. The Williams duo's combined 27 minutes of play over

Situational Centers, Kanter and Fall, fail in Celtics crushing 104-103 loss to Raptors

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After two DNP-CDs in Games One and Two of the Eastern Semis versus the Toronto Raptors, Celtics backup center, Enes Kanter logged a mere four minutes in Boston's 104-103 loss to the Raptors last night. He was not effective. Coach Brad Stevens inserted Kanter into the game to counter Toronto's zone defense. It backfired. Enes managed four points and one rebound in his limited minutes, but the Raptors offensive attack went right at him, starting at the 4:13 mark of the third quarter when Toronto guard, Fred VanVleet, drove into the lane and was fouled by Kanter. With Toronto consistently attacking the basket, Enes was slow in reacting. Then with less than one second remaining in the game and the Celtics leading 103-101, Stevens put Tacko Fall in to cover Kyle Lowry on the inbounds pass. the idea being that Fall's Wall of defensive coverage being roughly 10 feet by eight feet was sufficient to squash any chance of a successful inbounds pass and 3-pointer by the Raptors. T

Rob Williams coming alive in the Toronto series

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Celtics fans clamoring to get a Rob Williams sighting are getting their wish. Backup center, Enes Kanter has yet to see the floor in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, and Brad Stevens has opted to ride with Rob off the bench at the center spot. The Celtics are 2-0 in those games. In the two games thus far, RWill has not missed a shot. He is a perfect 10-of-10 from the field in a total of 35 minutes over the two contests, adding nine boards, two assists three blocks - and an acceptable five fouls. He is contributing and making a difference ( per CBS Sports Michael Kaskey-Blowmain ): "He's the only reason we were in the game in the first quarter," Celtics coach Brad Stevenson said of Williams after the game. With the way he's played so far, it seems safe to say that Williams will get more opportunities to put his imprint on the series *THE* TIME LORD #Celtics pic.twitter.com/dnphXfD2KF — Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) Septemb

Marcus Smart had "The Dog" in him last night

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In describing Marcus Smart, former NBA superstar, Gary Payton said it best. "You got the dog in you. You remind me of me." We certainly have seen that Marcus approaches Payton's play on the defensive end, but Smart's offense, though improved, still remains sketchy at times. Not so in Boston's close 102-99 win over Toronto to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Semi-Finals. . @GaryPayton_20 talks with @smart_MS3 postgame and says Smart played just like he used to 👏 #TheBounce pic.twitter.com/aILzegpTm0 — Dunk Bait (@DunkBait) January 14, 2020 Smart notched 19 points on 6-of-13 from the field and 6-of-11 from beyond the arc. He was on fire in the final quarter, hitting on five 3-pointers in a row. Once again, he simply looked comfortable out there shooting from distance. The Marcus Smart Experience pic.twitter.com/dvi9EkZL9w — Dan Greenberg (@StoolGreenie) September 1, 2020 If Marcus Smart emerges as another Celtic that can be relied upon for a 20-point ga