Posted by Tom Westerholm on Dec 9, 2013
Yesterday, with just over a minute left in the first quarter and the Celtics leading by 20, Jordan Crawford ran a pick-and-roll with Kris Humphries. After coming off the screen, a hundred options opened up, and Crawford had less than a second to decide what to do.
Should he dish to Hump, rolling down the lane mostly uncontested? Should he keep driving and try to draw Carmelo Anthony off Brandon Bass for a mid-range jumper? Should he try to get to the rim and dish either Jeff Green or Avery Bradley in the corners? Should he pull the trigger from 3-point range? Should he pull up from the free throw line? Should he pull up from anywhere between 20 and five feet? The possibilities are kind of endless, but he has to make up his mind in a split second.
On this play, Crawford made the right call, stopping in the lane and firing in a 15-foot jumper. This hasn’t been an uncommon occurrence for him this season.Pick and rolls are a staple, and they are an area of the offense he’s been doing more efficiently than many of his counterparts — his PnR offense is ranked 18th in the NBA. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Ryan DeGama on Dec 9, 2013
Yesterday’s Celtics win was so thorough and the Knicks’ resistance so deliciously nonexistent, it made you wonder if James Dolan was going to fire Mike Woodson before he could make it out for his post-game presser. For Boston, it was one of the signature victories of the first five weeks of the season and the latest evidence that the Celtics are not the doormat many expected (and, admittedly, hoped) they would be.
In this year’s abominable Eastern Conference, Boston has a legitimate shot at the Atlantic Division and home court in the first round of the playoffs (at this point it’s fair to assume that neither Brooklyn nor New York should be considered a lock to rebound). And while we hoped to see moderate advances from the Celtics’ young talent, the leaps being made by Jared Sullinger and Jordan Crawford are pretty close to thrilling. They both look like starter-level talents, even if either could regress due to, respectively, a recurring back injury or being Jordan Crawford. Still, it’s only a little over a quarter of the way into the season and the C’s have already given us a year’s worth of highlights, particularly when benchmarked against expectations. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Tom Westerholm on Dec 8, 2013
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.
Today’s grades. Spoiler alert: Nobody failed. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Tom Westerholm on Dec 8, 2013
The last time these teams met, the Knicks effectively ended the Big 3 era. This time?
First, the Celtics were all…
A few minutes later, the Celtics were like…
This made Mike Woodson, whose job was already in danger, feel like… Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Adam Lowenstein on Dec 8, 2013
Boston at New York
12:00 P.M. ET
Madison Square Garden
Boston: 97.6 points/100 possessions (25th)
New York: 102.1 points/100 possessions (12th)
Boston: 101.0 points allowed/100 possessions (T-9th)
New York: 103.4 points allowed/100 possessions (22nd)
Probable Knicks Starters:
Raymond Felton (PG), Iman Shumpert (SG), Carmelo Anthony (SF), Kenyon Martin (PF) & Andrea Bargnani (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: KnickerBlogger
Thumbnail: The Celtics take the Madison Square Garden floor for the first time since winning Game 5 of the first-round series in the 2013 playoffs. This also happened…
Read the rest of this entry »