Avery Bradley usually isn’t compared to Larry Bird. During one shot tonight, that changed. The fourth-year guard was in the right spot in the first quarter on Tuesday night, rebounding a Jared Sullinger airball under the basket. Knowing he needed to get off a shot before the shot clock expired, Bradley hoisted up a prayer [...]
We’ve talked about Jared Sullinger quite a bit this week, but he has been playing intriguingly well, so forgive us for continuing the trend. The “Should Sullinger be taking 3-pointers?” argument continues to rage, but last night presented compelling arguments for proponents of the strategy. I wrote about these shots specifically during the preseason, and [...]
Only five NBA teams are humiliated by a less effective offense than the one currently deployed by the Boston Celtics. But being that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, here are a couple parts of that offense we should all be grateful for. (Most notably the fact that it’s run by Brad Stevens, a mastermind [...]
Last season, Jared Sullinger was whistled for 6.2 fouls per 36 minutes. In other words, statistically, even if the Celtics wanted to give him a starter’s minutes, he would foul out before the 36 minute mark. Some of that was on Sullinger — it takes a certain amount of time to adjust to the way [...]
In a playoff-less season, the Celtics really have only one thing to look forward to before lottery night: The return of Rajon Rondo. There are always a few indicators that a player is nearing his return, and one of the first ones is that he is returning to drills during practice. From Gary Washburn’s Twitter [...]
Trade talk hasn’t died down just yet in Boston. Days after Danny Ainge confirmed to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that the team was engaged in discussions with other teams pertaining to their veteran pieces of the roster, we have another report surfacing today from Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report on potential talks between the Celtics [...]
The Boston Celtics just beat the New York Knicks. Let me start again: The Boston Celtics, whose starters have a combined zero All-Star appearances and whose entire roster is a mish-mash of random talents and unlikely contributors, obliterated the New York Knicks, who employ the third best small forward in the world and last year played in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, by 41 points.
Before the season, there were justifiably very few reasons to have confidence in this team. But before the season, we hadn’t seen how well everyone would work together under Brad Stevens. Jordan Crawford wasn’t playing the best basketball of his career and blossoming into a legitimate starting point guard. Avery Bradley wasn’t stepping into jumpers with confidence. Brandon Bass wasn’t making smart rotations defensively. Jared Sullinger wasn’t putting up efficient 20-point outings offensively on a frequent basis.
Now? All of that is happening, and the “Could the Celtics make the playoffs?” crowd is looking smarter and smarter.
Nothing is decided. Danny Ainge could move several players to contenders and get this team back into the cellar. The Celtics could hit a much rougher patch of their schedule and lose several consecutive games — it hasn’t exactly been murderer’s row, although the Denver win was certainly nice.
But right now, we are getting a glimpse into how good Brad Stevens is at coaching basketball. We are seeing several players playing to the absolute pinnacle of their potential. If you can’t sit back and enjoy that, whether you are pro- or anti-tanking, you are missing out. It’s a beautiful thing.
A few odds and ends after the Celtics practiced in Waltham today before departing to the Big Apple for a matinee with the New York Knicks at noon at Madison Square Garden.
Brad Stevens ruled Olynyk out of Sunday’s game against the Knicks, but noted that the big man continues to improve in his recovery from a sprained right ankle suffered a couple weeks ago. ”He told me he’s feeling a little bit better. I don’t know exactly what that means. But I know he’s not playing [against the Knicks],” Stevens said at practice today in Waltham.
Stevens speculated the Olynyk may be able to join the lineup sometime in the middle of next week, perhaps against the Clippers Wednesday night, when asked before last night’s contest. What is not a certain though, is whether there will be playing time waiting for Olynyk when he returns to the lineup, given the improved play of Kris Humphries.
I don’t know how that’s all going to work itself out, but I have a lot of faith in Kris, I have a lot of faith in Kelly, I’ve got a lot of faith in all five bigs. We talked about that before, but the bottom line is I guess when you look across the league it seems like every team we play has one of their bigs out. So to have five of them that are all really, really compliment each other, that gives you the flexibility of four being available on a given night, that’s pretty good. But when we have all five available, I don’t know how that’s going to work itself out,” Stevens said last night. Stay tuned.
Another interesting tidbit via Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald today was Rajon Rondo addressing the latest rumor concerning Carmelo Anthony potentially recruiting the point guard to come to New York. Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s the thing about this team right now. Almost everyone on the roster is improving. Brandon Bass, Jordan Crawford, and Jeff Green are playing some of their best sustained basketball in their NBA careers. Avery Bradley is shooting the ball less and is becoming more efficient lately while doing it. Jared Sullinger is doing what he does, better than any of us could have expected to this quickly after his surgery.
The second unit veterans are buying in and playing their ass off. The rookies are holding their own, and now we have a Celtics team that has won three of their last four games, and scored over 100 points in all three of those wins. The defense is already solid, and the offense is coming around quite quickly with the reduced turnovers (season-low 10 last night) and increased ball movement (25 assists). This team also isn’t collapsing now when they blow 20-point leads, like they did early in the season. They trust each other now and Brad Stevens is pushing the right buttons.
Now Boston has a 1.5 game lead in the Atlantic Division and things are starting to get a bit real here, since we know Mr. Stevens isn’t going to get lazy. I don’t want to say goodbye to the lottery yet, but if your not fully on the bandwagon yet, hop aboard. It should be a fun ride this month.