Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hawks @ Celtics Recap

The Atlanta Hawks managed a 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Tuesday afternoon. 

The Hawks were led by Paul Milsap who had 34 points, along with 15 rebounds. Kyle Korver had 14 points while extending his streak to 101 with a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.

Rookie Kelly Olynyk led all Celtics scorers with 21 points. Behind him in the box score was Kris Humphries who had 18 points along with 10 rebounds. The Celtics led by 18 at one point in the second quarter, but Atlanta responded back by scoring the last 15 points of the quarter. Boston was down 90-89 in the fourth quarter with under 2 minutes left. Jordan Crawford then made a 19 ft jumper with 1:36 remaining to put the C's up 91-90. It was the last field goal of the game. 6 seconds later, Jeff Teague drew a foul and took and made both free throws, to give the Hawks the win. 

This loss drops Boston to the 8th seed, and is now in danger of falling out of the playoff race. They will travel to Chicago next. The Bulls are right behind them in the standings, so the C's must win on Thursday or they will fall to the 9th seed. The 18-14 Hawks will host the Warriors next. The Celtics and Hawks will meet again at TD Garden in Boston on February 26. 

Hawks @ Celtics Preview

The Boston Celtics will be hosting the Atlanta Hawks on New Year's Eve, Tuesday. Atlanta currently holds the 3rd seed, while Boston holds the 7th seed. In their last meeting, Boston had the upper hand, winning 94-87 on the road. The Hawks blew a double-digit fourth quarter lead, which allowed Boston to comeback and grab the victory.

In their last game, Boston blew a 21 point lead against the Detroit Pistons, which allowed them to win the game 107-106. After the game Brad Stevens has some words to say, "You know, I was telling (team President) Rich Gotham it should have been promoted as part of our holiday package," Stevens said. "Every game is an adventure."

Atlanta will be coming into this game, having lost 6 of it's last 7 on the road, allowing an average of around 112.7 PPG. Elton Brand is currently filling in for an injured Al Horford, who is out for the season. Jared Sullinger will be faced with the task of guarding Brand. Sullinger is 6' 9" and roughly 260 lbs. Brand is 6' 9" and 254 lbs, so Sullinger will have a slight advantage in the match-up. In the back-court, Jordan Crawford and Avery Bradley will be guarding Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver. Korver's 3-pointer streak could be coming to an end as Bradley has gained the reputation of a lock down defender. Don't be surprised if Korver finishes with less than 10 points. At the Forward spots, Jeff Green and  Brandon Bass will go up against Cartier Martin and Paul Millsap. DeMarre Caroll is out for the next couple of games, so expect Cartier Martin to start at SF. Don't be surprised if Green ends up with 30+ Points, for Martin is not known for his defense.

I predict the Celtics will win this one easily, with 45+ points combined from Jeff Green
and Jared Sullinger.

BOS: 116
ATL: 98

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Beantown Ballin' 12/22-12/29

Photo Courtesy of ESPN

The Celtics only played two games this week due to the hectic Christmas schedule, going 1-1 on the week.  In the game on Sunday, the 22nd the Pacers proved too much for the Celtics, and pulled away for a blowout lead of 106-79.  In the second game yesterday against the Cavs, the Celtics pulled out a victory in a nail-biter.  The final score: 103-100.

Indiana Pacers

In this game, the Celtics could simply not put the ball in the basket.  79 points in a game is college level scoring, not even close to NBA standards.  This shows just how good the Indiana Pacers' defense is.  The Celtics leading scorer was Avery Bradley.  He had 13 points....  Paul George led all scorers with 24 points, and Lance Stephenson had a triple double with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.  The Pacers forced the Celtics to shoot 38% from the field.  It was obvious in this game that the Pacers were the better team.

For game highlights click here.

Cleveland Cavaliers

This game, the Celtics put forth a balanced team effort with 6 players in double digit scoring, and the Cavs were the Kyrie Irving show.  This game was saved by a late game block from Brandon Bass that ensured a Celtics victory.  Jordan Crawford had a great all around game for the Celtics with 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.  Jeff Green also had a solid game with 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals.  Avery Bradley wasn't far behind with 18 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.  Kyrie Irving had an electrifying performance with 32 points and 3 assists.  Off the bench, Dion Waiters had 17 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.  The Celtics team performance was too much for the Cavs, and thanks to a little help from Brandon Bass, the Celtics could pull put a victory.

For game highlights click here.

Potential Celtics Trades (December, 2013)

With the February 20th trade deadline looming over the heads of many GM’s of teams on the fringes of a playoff berth, who would have thought that the Celtics would be in that discussion? Certainly not many analysts thought that the Celtics would be in the position that they are as of right now, but whether it be for the better or worse we will find out, but as it stands right now the Celtics want to continue a playoff tradition and for that to happen trades will need to be made…

Trade 1:

Dion Waiters is unhappy in Cleveland, the Boston Celtics need an energizer off of the bench, and Jordan Crawford may leave this offseason. I say strike while the iron is hot and look to Cleveland to get the energizer they lack. Dion Waiters can be an elite pure scorer if he becomes consistent, and while he’s flashed signs becoming consistent, his motivation problems remain a major talking point and and it could be that a change in scenery is exactly what he needs and Boston could provide just that. This trade could take Boston from being basement dwellers in the Eastern Conference and potentially turn them into a fifth or sixth seed.

Trade 2:

Brandon Bass has been up and down for the Celtics this season, but is still a solid contributor to the cause as he has averaged 11.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, and 1.2 bpg over the course of this season while Young has been more of a factor on offense rather than defense as his 0.5 bpg shows and his 17.3 ppg shows. This would help either side as it would mean that the Sixers defense in the post could see significant improvement, while the Celtics could get a proven scorer to go in the front court alongside Jeff Green.

Trade 3:

Jordan Crawford has done a great job of running the point in the absence of superstar, Rajon Rondo, but once Rondo returns Crawford will likely see a smaller role and also more time at the two as a starter which means there needs to be someone backing up Rondo. That person is J.J. Barea. With Crawford manning the two, one shooting guard is going to have a minor role and that player that could be made expendable is Courtney Lee. Keith Bogans has a no trade clause (why, I don't know…), and he can light it up from behind the arc; something the Timberwolves lack. This will benefit both sides and it seems to be the most realistic deal of the three.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Preview: Cavaliers @ Celtics:

At 1:0
0 today, the Andrew Bynum-less Cavaliers will take on the C's in Boston. Andrew Bynum made headlines this morning because he was suspended by the Cleveland organization for "conduct detrimental to the team". This is the same guy who said he didn't like basketball a few years ago. It's been said that Bynum is now being shopped for trades around the league. This can be big for the league because a semi-healthy Bynum can swing a championship team. Destinations that may make sense for the former Laker would be the Clippers, Heat, Thunder, and maybe even the Spurs. It probably wouldn't make sense to send him to Boston because of his lack of character, but if the Celtics got a pick in return and maybe threw away some expiring contract to Cleveland, maybe the Celtics would benefit from an unlikely Bynum trade.

 Another possible destination for Bynum might simply be someplace warm. The man who lacks passion for the game could just hang up the towel and retire. That is quite possible the most likely thing to happen in this current situation. The man has made a ton of money in his short stint in the league, so the 7 footer can retire and live a happy, full life if he isn't stupid like many other NBA players. (see Broke)

 In three games against the Cavs this year Jeff Green has played awesome. He's averaging 25 points on 50% shooting while grabbing 7 boards. This man can't be stopped when he attacks the rim and against the professional basketball team in Cleveland.

Last Thursday against the Atlanta Hawks,  Kyrie Irving, under the alias Uncle Drew, scored a career high 40 points on 17 of 33 shooting and 3 for 8 from three point land. This young point guard is beginning to emerge as a star in this league. I don't think he's a superstar yet though, because he doesn't seem to lead his team to victory on and off the floor. The Cavs haven't made the playoffs with Irving manning the point yet, so he's in the same category as John wall in my opinion. None the less, the Celtics NEED to stop this man if they want to come up with the victory today.

The Cavaliers are distracted with the Bynum situation and they are probably pretty tired from the overtime game with the Hawks. The Celtics are well rested and well prepared.
Predicted Final Score: 
BOS: 97
CLE: 84

See the string of Bill Simmons' tweets for more information about Andrew Bynum:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Twitter Reaction: Sleeved NBA Jerseys

Rating All of the NBA Christmas Games

Christmas is usually a great day for the National Basketball Association, and this year will be like no other. For me, I'm usually watching these awesome games sitting in a pool in some place warm, but this year, I'm stuck at home to watch the games that truly won't be very appealing. The NBA obviously schedules these games-just like every game-before the season, so the 'suits' of the association predicted which teams would be entertaining and have the ability to showcase a quality brand of basketball. The problem is, the suits whiffed on a lot of their predictions. Although the Celtics are not playing tomorrow and the matchups don't look as great as they did at the start of the season, I will still enjoy viewing good basketball. Here are the matchups. previews, and advice from me to you when it comes to the games featuring the sleeved jerseys...

(All times are in Eastern Time and the channels may be subject to change)

Chicago Bulls @ Brooklyn Nets: 12:00 PM on ESPN
In the preseason, this game looked very appealing because of the star veterans on Brooklyn and the electrifying return of Derrick Rose. But now, with Derrick Rose injured AGAIN for the Bulls, Brook Lopez out for the season on Brooklyn, and Pierce and Garnett suddenly losing at least a step on their games, this game is not at all appetizing. Honestly, the score of this game might end up looking like a college game. The early game on Christmas Day will be a lot of old players and reserves jogging around hocking up 25 foot jump shots and walking on defense. The only way this game could possibly become interesting is if Deron Williams goes off for 40 points and hits a ton of threes; but that most likely won't happen. My advice to you, do yourself a favor and sleep in. Have a good breakfast and start off your day right by doing something productive, don't count on this game to be entertaining so don't bother watching it if you don't really care about either team.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ New York Knicks: 2:30 PM on ABC
Like the noon game, this game looked pretty good before the season tipped off. But now that we know about both teams, this game will be an absolute aberration. Look out for OKC to win in a blowout. If you like seeing KD and Westbrook tool around against guys who have never played an ounce of defense in your life, this game may be actually fun to watch. Carmelo will get his usual 25 points off of 20 shots in a loss and he'll pout and moan all about it after the game and on Twitter. The game wont be competitive and you won't learn anything new about either team, but watching Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook score 20+ is always fun. My advice for you, watch the first half.
Miami Heat @ Los Angeles Lakers: 5:00 PM on ABC
The "looking good in the preseason, bad now" is becoming a common theme right about now. The defending champions, led by Lebron James, the best player in the world, will annihilate the Kobe-less Lakers. It-will-not-be-close. Lebron will play well on the big stage like he always seems to do on Christmas. He's 6-1 on X-Mas Day while averaging Lebron-like numbers. 28-8-6 are his statline reading from points to assists to rebounds. Sadly, we will see a lot of Nick "Swaggy P" Young shooting contested threes and Kobe giving him death stares from the bench in street clothes. My advice for you is to eat a delicious, early meal in order to avoid this game.
Houston Rockets @ San Antonio Spurs: 8:00 PM on ESPN
Here we go now, this is when the magic happens. Dwight vs. Duncan. Harden vs. Parker. The battle of Texas (sorry D-Town) will be as entertaining as ever. This nail-biter will probably be decided in the last few minutes of the game and the Hack-a-Dwight strategy may be involved in a Spurs victory. One thing to look out for in this game is the fact that James Harden always seems to play super-duper well on Christmas. In three games, he's undefeated and averaging 22 points per game on nearly 50% shooting. The Spurs aren't particularly a fun team to watch, but they always seem to get the job done. The Rockets on the other team are a fast-tempo team who like to run high pick and rolls and throw alley-oops. The polar opposites in the sense of entertainment value will clash to create a fantastic product. This game may end up being the most watchable game of the day. Not necessarily the best, but the easiest on the eyes. The advice; watch this game intently and take notes.

Los Angeles Clippers @ Golden State Warriors: 10:30 PM on ESPN
This game consisting of the Splash Bros and the Dysfunctional Superstars will not only feature awesome basketball, but also outstanding television for the whole basketball-loving family. Last time these two teams played, it was a very physical, grueling match that came down to the wire. Chris Paul had an unbelievable game with 45 points and 15 assists while dominating Steph Curry on the other side of the ball. The only downside is it starts at 10:30 PM eastern time. That is late even for grownups and most people have to work the day after Christmas! My advice is to try to stay up for the whole game because it's going to be a good one.

Overall Christmas Day Games:
ADVICE: Pace yourself. There are 13 hours of basketball to be watched so I recommend napping in between games and at halftime to avoid having to spend time with 'da fam.
OVERALL RATING/ANALYSIS: The games definitely get better as the day goes along. Basketball is always great and even though some of the early games will probably stink, there's always a possibility that someone goes off for 40 and makes things interesting. B+

Monday, December 23, 2013

Looking Ahead

Photo Courtesy of http://imgur.com/X2FLh5i

This year is a year where the Celtics faithful should be looking forward to June. Yes, the NBA draft. Why is that? Why am I completely killing off the hopes of the Boston faithful? I'll tell you why...

2014 is the year where the potential all stars will be made from underrated players such as Eric Bledsoe. 2014 is the year where the Miami Heat are still the big dogs of the NBA and the big three still exists. 2014 is the year where the obvious is the reality.

Distortion - "the action of giving a misleading account or impression." This is exactly what the 2013 - 2014 Boston Celtics are doing as they sit second in the weak Atlantic division possessing a 12-17 record. No, that is nothing special but after losing legends in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to division rivals, the Brooklyn Nets, its better than expected for a fairly inexperienced team. 

Here is a proposition I have to Boston Celtics GM, Danny Ainge - "Dude, you have too many holes on the team to compete with the leagues best, so please do whats best for your city and suck... No, you have the potential to be average, but honestly where's that going to get you? Pick #20? Perry Ellis? Boston doesn't want Perry Ellis manning the four or five post departure of Kevin Garnett. The city wants a player that can do the name of the 17 time world champions proud and trust me, there are a lot of great talents who fit into Brad Stevens system, and will do justice to the Celtics with immediate impacts. So take my advice... SUCK!" 

The Celtics are not going to get the #1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft, that would involve being worse than Milwaukee and last time I checked that feat is not possible. My prediction is anywhere between #8 - #12. That would also mean #38 - #42 in the second round so here is a plan that could almost elevate the Celtics to a new level come next season. 

Pick #8 - #12: 

Yes, I am about to hate on Jeff Green... Trust me, he is one of the biggest inspirations of the NBA but putting that aside, small forward is a position where potential hall of famers in Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony play and en route hall of famer, LeBron James plays. Jeff Green is not at that level and most likely never will. Somewhere in Michigan there is a third generation of Glenn Robinson's waiting for his chance to suit up in the NBA and while Jeff Green may start the season as starter on the Celtics depth chart, he will drop out of favor due to the fact that Glenn Robinson III can do more on offense. Though he is three inches shorter than the imposing Green, Robinson III finds different ways to score whether it be through his adept touch at the rim or his ability to get open and drain his signature corner three at the Crisler Center in front of the Maize and Blue faithful. Another option who could play heavy minutes, but may not start is the combo forward out of Syracuse in Jerami Grant. Grant gets most of his points from post play making his play style more of one of a four, but due to the fact that Jared Sullinger has the ability to space the floor with his solid mid range shot, and developing three point shot, these two prospects would essentially switch roles on offense causing for mismatches for the opposing defense. Either way, both players will be required to put in heavy minutes from day one. 

Pick #38 - #42

This pick should be used to solve the Celtics log jam at the five. Both Vitor Faverani and Kelly Olynyk are solid role players, but nothing more. Another prospect that could come to the rescue for Boston is another Michigan alumni in Mitch McGary. Playing through a back injury, McGary is clearly not at full form but is essentially averaging a double double with his 9.5 ppg, and 8.3 rpg averages this season. He could easily become a guy that could consistently put up 15 and 10 night in and night out because of his ability to use his big body and create space in the paint. He is a player that could play a Tyson Chandler role for the Celtics and due to his injury, he might just become the steal of the draft if he were to land in Boston's hands. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Beantown Ballin' (12/16-12/22)

Photo Courtesy of ESPN

The Celtics went 1-2 this week, with their only victory on Monday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and consecutive losses to the Detroit Pistons, and WashingtonWizards.

Minnesota Timberwolves

This game was all Kevin Love vs Jared Sullinger. Sullinger faced off against the All Star power forward, and hung with him throughout the game. Sullinger ended the game with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and a career high 5 assists.  He also managed to drain a three pointer and shot 9-11 from the line.  Not bad... However, Love was just a little better.  Love ended the game with 27 points, 14 rebounds, and a steal.  However, Sullinger stole the show in the fourth quarter, lighting it up with 15 points, and 6 rebounds in the closing quarter.  This performance propelled the Celtics to a 101-97 victory at home.  Avery Bradley also played well, scoring 19 and adding on 5 rebounds and 2 assists. The game was close to the very end, but the Celtics were fueled by Jared Sullinger, and pulled out a victory.

For game highlights, click here

Detroit Pistons
Boston- meet Brandon Jennings.  The former Buck exploded in this game for 28 points, and was uncharacteristically unselfish also dropping 14 dimes.  Normally, when people think of the Pistons, they think of their terrifying front line of Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond.  This game was all Jennings. No Celtic reached 20 points this game, but Sullinger did have 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Andre Drummond had 14 points, 16 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Josh Smith had 20 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. While the game was a nail-biter, ending 107-106 the Pistons played much better and dominated on the interior.

For game highlights, click here.

Washington Wizards
The Celtics ended the first quarter with a 16 point lead.  Then, the Wizards went on a run and controlled the game through the fourth quarter.  John Wall had 20 points, 9 assists, and 6 steals.  Wall forced turnovers which led to easy points in transition for the Wizards.  Avery Bradley led the Celtics in scoring with 26 points.  He also added 5 rebounds, and 1 steal.  Sullinger had another big game with 22 points, and 11 rebounds.  Overall, it was a strong effort by the Celtics, but they still lost 106-99.

For game highlights, click here.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

NBA Quarterly Awards: Part Two

For part two of the NBA Quarterly Awards, I decided to bring in the big guns. My good friend and fellow basketball junkie Adam Levin-Epstein and I created the first ever "ParquetPod"! In it, we discussed what the All-NBA teams would look like today if the season ended after a quarter of the season, what went wrong in Part One of the awards voting, the Celtics season so far and what we should expect in the future, Kobe Bryant's legacy vs Tim Duncan, and much more.

Danny's All NBA First Team: 
PG: Chris Paul
SG: Steph Curry
SF: Paul George
PF: Lebron James
C: Roy Hibbert
Danny's All NBA Second Team:
PG: Damian Lillard
SG: Russell Westbrook
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: Dwight Howard
Levin-Ep's All NBA First Team:
PG: Chris Paul
SG: Steph Curry
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Lebron James
C: Roy Hibbert
Levin-Ep's All NBA Second Team:
PG: Damian Lillard
SG: James Harden
SF: Paul George
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: Dwight Howard

Sunday, December 15, 2013

First Quarter NBA Awards: Part One

Photo Courtesy of hecziaa.deviantart.com

A quarter of the 2013-14 NBA season is in the books and if the staff of Posts from the Parquet, my friend Adam Levin-Epstein, and my brother Sam had votes for the major awards, here's what the results would look like....

(Bold name is the recipient of the most votes)

Danny: Lebron James
Ankit: Kevin Durant
Jack: Kevin Love
Marquist: Kevin Love
Dontae: Kevin Love
Sam: Kevin Love
Levin-Ep: Lebron James

"[He's] the best player on the planet, and I don't think it's close" -Levin Ep
"I just don't see how anyone in the league is more valuable than the King.  If he left Miami, a 60+ win team, the Heat would  then win at most 20 games. That exact situation already happened in Cleveland.  Now, Lebron James is statistically the most efficient offensive player ever and he's by far the best player in the game. Everyone should have to vote for the best player in the league for MVP. But it looks like K-Love is taking this award if only PFTP writers are voting. Love shouldn't even be eligible for this award because even though he's putting up monster numbers, his team still isn't good." -Danny Emerman

Danny: Lance Stephenson
Ankit: Eric Bledsoe
Jack: Isaiah Thomas
Marquist: Jeff Green
Dontae: Anthony Davis
Sam: Eric Bledsoe
Levin-Ep: Eric Bledsoe

"[In my opinion,] Jeff Green took control of the team after Pierce and KG left. He deserves to win MIP" -Marquist Parker

Danny: Terry Stotts
Ankit: Terry Stotts
Jack: Jeff Hornacek
Marquist: Brad Stevens
Dontae: Terry Stotts
Sam: Terry Stotts
Levin-Ep: Terry Stotts

"With essentially five players scoring in double figures, [assistant coach] Neil Olshey and Terry Stotts have built this team from the ground up and while they flashed potential last season, due to the lack of bench production they were unable to grab a playoff spot in the tightly contested West. This season is different...Standing tall at 20-4, Stotts has turned this team around with multiple stars in LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lilliard and surrounding them with above average contributors. Stotts has devised a hard-nosed team and hope to see the Indiana Pacers in the Finals." -Ankit Mehra

Danny: Michael Carter-Williams
Ankit: Tim Hardaway Jr.
Jack: Michael Carter-Williams
Marquist: Michael Carter-Williams
Dontae: Michael Carter-Williams
Sam: Tim Hardaway Jr.
Levin-Ep: MCW

"[Carter-Williams] leads all rookies in scoring, rebounding, and assists...tough to argue with having MC-Dubs as the leader of the ROY candidates." -Adam Levin Epstein
Danny: Manu Ginobili
Ankit: Tyreke Evans
Jack: Jamal Crawford
Marquist: Manu Ginobili
Dontae: Tyreke Evans
Sam: Tyreke Evans
Levin-Ep: Jeremy Lin
"An honorable mention for this category should be Celtics guard Jordan Crawford. He has really stepped up in his new role as point guard." -Danny Emerman

"I really wanted to vote Dion Waiters here, but it's gotta be Tyreke." -Sam Emerman

Danny: Roy Hibbert
Ankit: Roy Hibbert
Jack: Roy Hibbert
Marquist: Dwight Howard
Dontae: Roy Hibbert 
Sam: Roy Hibbert
Levin-Ep: Roy Hibbert
"Paul George, Tim Duncan, Lebron James, and Avery Bradley also deserve to be in the conversation but nobody has been better on the defensive side of the ball than Hibbert." -Danny Emerman
This post is part one of a two-part series. In part two, Levin-Ep and I will choose the NBA First and Second teams and predict the winner of the 2013-2014 NBA Finals! Be sure to check it out...

Beantown Ballin' (12/8-12/14)

    Photo Courtesy of ESPN

In this past week, including last Sunday's game against the Knicks, the Celtics went 2-2 with both wins against the Knicks, and two losses to the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers.

New York Knicks, Game 1:
This was easily the best game of the Celtics season.  The Celtics destroyed the Knicks by 41 points, which is the biggest deficit between two teams this season.  It was utter demolition...  Boston didn't show any mercy and the final score reflected that.  The game ended with the Celtics winning 114-73.  Jordan Crawford was lights out in this game and ended with 23 points, 7 assists, and 6 three pointers.  Jared Sullinger also had a big game with 21 points, shooting 2-3 from downtown.  The Knicks only positive performer was Amare Stoudemire who came off the bench for 17 points and 2 rebounds on 5-7 shooting.

Brooklyn Nets:
In this game, the Nets defeated the Celtics 104-96.  Deron Williams proved too much for the Celtics as he poured in 25 points and 7 assists.  Avery Bradley led Boston with 22 points and 2 steals.  This game weakened the Celtics hold on the Atlantic Division, and now the Raptors are behind the Celtics by just one game, and the Nets are right behind the Raptors.  The Celtics should not feel as comfortable as the Atlantic Division leader as they did before.

Los Angeles Clippers:
In Doc Rivers' return to Boston, he led his Clippers to a 96-88 victory.  Chris Paul led the way, flirting with a triple double with a stat-line of 22 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds.  Jeff Green went off for 29 points, and Jordan Crawford poured in another 20.  The downfall of the Celtics is they could not convert inside, only scoring 24 points in the paint.  Unfortunately, for the Celtics they could not convert on their outside attempts either, only making 6-17 (35%) of their three point attempts.  The Clippers simply outplayed the Celtics, and Doc Rivers got a bittersweet victory in his return to the Garden.

New York Knicks, Game 2:
This game was a lot closer than the one earlier in week.  Instead of winning by 41, the Celtics won by a narrow margin of four.  Jared Sullinger led the Celtics with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists.  Courtney Lee came off the bench to score 18 and the Celtics had an overall strong team effort.  The Celtics shot relatively poorly though, shooting 48% from the field, 33% from behind the arc, and worst of all 68% from the charity stripe.  Luckily the Knicks are terrible, and the Celtics got the win even when shooting so poorly.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Is Brad Stevens the NBA Coach of the Year?

Photo Courtesy of bleacherreport.com

About 1/4 of the NBA season has passed, and the rookie coach of the Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, has opened the eyes of many Celtics fans. The Celtics are 11-14 and still in first place of the Atlantic Division, while the talent level of the team is probably in the bottom three of the whole league. The star player, Rajon Rondo, hasn't even seen the court yet! How is Stevens finding ways to win?

In almost every game the Celtics have played this season, the opposing team has had the two or three best players on the floor consistently. Take the game against the Miami Heat early in the season. The defending world champions had Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh against Jeff Green and Jordan Crawford. Who do you think usually wins that battle? The Celtics were able to beat the Heat that game solely because Brad Stevens out-coached Erik Spoelstra. (It also didn't hurt that Jeff Green played out of his mind and hit the buzzer beating game winner). 

Jordan Crawford, who has bounced around the league for 5 years, playing for 3 different teams in that time span, has had a resurgence as a player this year in the green uniform of the Celtics. Brad Stevens asked him to play the role of facilitator at the point guard position and Crawford's numbers responded wonderfully. Jordan Crawford is averaging 14 points and 6 assists while keeping his turnovers down and maintaining a 18.59 PER, which is above the league average of 15.00. Jordan Crawford, who was once a pure scorer off the bench who only looked at the basket, is now racking up assists and playing great team basketball. Brad Stevens basically single-handedly turned Jordan Crawford into a player that can actually help his team win. In an interview with Grantland.com's Zach Lowe, Brad Stevens said this about Crawford,

"The only thing I wanted to make sure he knew from my standpoint was that it's a fresh start — that we believe in him. I had seen him be almost unstoppable in college [at Xavier], in a game I coached against him. I knew he was a tough shot-maker. The other thing I knew was, he's not scared of the moment. I watched him play us, but also watched him play Kansas State [in the 2010 tournament] from the front row, because we were gonna play the winner. And he made huge shots. And in the NCAA tournament, in that tense of an atmosphere, that takes a lot of guts."

Not to shabby considering he is playing the one in the place of one of the leagues top facilitators in Rajon Rondo...

Another reason why Brad Stevens has been so good in his role as head coach of the Boston Celtics is that he understands his personnel. He basically took a seat and watched the first 5 games of the season to get a feel for his players and that's when he moved Crawford to the point. He understands that his players can do this, this, and this, but they can't do that. For instance, he knows that Jared Sullinger can shoot the three ball, post up, and battle on the offensive/defensive boards, but he struggles on guarding skillful centers that have size and weight on him and coming out on screens when playing defense. So, in turn, Stevens gave Sullinger the green light from behind the arc, told him to be very conservative on the screens and not blitz or jam them, and call for double teams whenever he's in a tough situation on the low block.

Also, Brad Stevens has led the Boston Celtics to wins by playing great team defense. Boston is 6th in the NBA in points allowed, giving up only 95.7 PPG to opposing teams. This is truly amazing because the Celtics possess zero shot-blockers on the roster to challenge players at the rim. When Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger are on the floor, which they usually are because they are the Celtics' two best big men, the presence of a shot blocker is M.I.A. But the Celtics make up for the lack of size with rotating in front of driving guards to take charges and playing great perimeter defense with Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee.

Lastly, Brad Stevens success in Boston can be accredited to his ability to control the pace of the game with timeouts and coming out of those timeouts with efficient plays that work. In timeouts and in late-game situations, Stevens' plays that he draws up always seem to work, even though he almost never has a great shooter or awesome scorer.

So should Brad Stevens be the latest recipient of the Red Auerbach Coach of the Year Award? No, probably not. This year, when so many teams with low expectations are playing at such a high level like the Portland Trail Blazers, it would be tough for President Stevens to win the prestigious awards. The Coach of the Year is chosen by a panel of journalists and I predict that Stevens will finish either fourth or fifth in the race. Frank Vogel, the coach of NAPTOWN!!!, will probably win the award because his team is playing sot greatly in every aspect of the game. Coaches Frank Vogel, Gregg Popovich, Terry Stotts, and Erik Spoelstra will probably finish in front of "Boston's Thinker".  But, if the Boston Celtics string together a bundle of wins and end up in the playoffs with the 7th seed, I truly believe that Stevens has a fighter's chance to win the COY.

Rajon Rondo Cleared for Full Contact Practice

Boston Celtics point guard, Rajon Rondo, who has been sidelined for the start of the season with a knee injury, has been cleared for full contact practice after visiting with Dr. James Andrews. According to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe, Rondo is "one step closer to returning to action".

I am so excited to see Rajon Rondo return to playing again because I believe he can really thrive under coach Brad Stevens. Rondo is a potential superstar in this league and he can swing games with his passing ability and defensive tenacity. But coach Brad Stevens doesn't expect Rondo to make his debut in the month of December.
“He won’t play in games, is what I’ve been told, until after the first of the year,” said Stevens. “And we’re talking in big generalities there. I don’t know what that means. It could be a month from now or six weeks from now. There’s a lot of different variables that have to be cleared for him to be able to play. 
Barring a major setback or extremely speedy recovery, Rondo will most likely return to form in early to mid January. Even though Rondo was cleared for full-contact practice today, we will still not get to witness Rondo's greatness in games until the year 2014.

Take a Step Back To Take a Step Forward?

Should the Celtics trade Rajon Rondo? Let me ask you this - would you be satisfied if your team took a step back in order to take a step forward in the future and have a longer stretch of sustained success? That's the question that should be pressing Boston Celtics GM, Danny Ainge's mind as of right now since he has the chance to make a massive deal that could potentially lead to another super team in the near future...

Though Ainge was quoted saying that Rondo, 27, would be "going nowhere" there is always the chance that a team could put in the offer that could make Ainge's hesitant ways turn right around and ship Rondo wherever that deal would potentially come from. Prior to tearing his ACL, before Boston's game against the Heat last season Rondo was having another stellar, all star caliber season averaging 13.7 ppg, 11.1 apg, 5.6 rpg, and 1.8 spg and putting the league on notice of his talent as he was on his way to a career best season. That was before the horrific injury that has kept him out till this date.

If Ainge is willing to give up Rondo, many suitors could be throwing themselves in an attempt to lock him up. Many suitors could be willing to go the route of sacrificing a plethora of draft picks in order to convince the Boston front office to give up a point guard that is the caliber of a superstar. This would lead to the Celtics possessing multiple picks, and if strings are pulled correctly in the draft, a young competitive team could be on the brink of making some noise in their first season together in the NBA. Once this team is given time to develop their potential they could be untouchable and could give Boston and their fans something they've become accustomed to over the years. Success.

The risk with Rondo is that he may not live up to expectations upon return therefore Ainge should take the risk and deal him in hopes of a massive return and what could potentially be, a massive future...

You're up Danny Ainge, make the call... 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Clippers@Celtics Recap


The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Boston Celtics 96-88.

For the Celtics, SF Jeff Green had 29 points, 4 rebounds, a block and a assist. SG Jordan Crawford scored 20 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists, and 1 steal. PF Brandon Bass scored 17 points with 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. PF Jared Sullinger scored 10 points with 9 rebounds and a assist.

For the Clippers, PG Chris Paul scored 22 points with 7 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 steals. SG Jamal Crawford scored 21 points with 3 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, and 2 blocks. PF Blake Griffin scored 18 points with 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal. PG Darren Collison scored 10 points with 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. 

Wednesday night marked the return of former Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers coaching against his former team. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Celtics-Nets preview


Tonight, the 10-12 Boston Celtics face the 6-14 Brooklyn Nets.  This is the first game against Boston's former stars.  It was just announced that Paul Pierce will come off the bench to play against his former team after sitting out 4 games due to a broken hand. The Truth, who has been criticized for "losing his passion", which I think is ridiculous. KG will play against the Green and will probably see about 20-25 minutes.

Boston is fresh off a 41 point win over the Knicks in Madison Square Garden.  The Nets are also coming of a win against Milwaukee. Brooklyn is 6-14 and sitting in 3rd place in the Atlantic Division. They have been called the laughingstock of the NBA, while the Celtics are 10-12 and in first place.

Look out for Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace in their return to play their former team.  I'm expecting another 20+ game from Jordan Crawford in a 15 point win in Brooklyn.

Monday, December 9, 2013

#ReunionWeek---A Walk down Memory Lane


This week for the Boston Celtics is going to be a trip down memory lane as Boston will take on the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, the two future hall of famers that along with Ray Allen, brought banner 17 to Boston in 2008. The 17th championship is the only one in the 21st century and the Celtics also got within striking distance of more with The Truth and KG in 2009, 2010 and 2011, but they fell short in both those years. KG and Pierce were famously shipped to Brooklyn in the offseason for a bundle of future picks, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, and MarShon
Brooks. Although Pierce has been battling injuries and will not play against the Celtics on Tuesday, look for KG to be very emotional against Boston this week.

Doc Rivers, the long-time coach of the Celtics, was with the Boston organization from 2004-2013. His tenure as head coach for the C's through the hard times of the early 2000s and eventually the 2008 championship run with the big three. After KG and Pierce went to Brooklyn, Doc Rivers decided to take his talents to LA to chase another championship with the Clippers. Doc Rivers will definitely embrace his former players when the Clippers come to town on Wednesday. Doc will most likely get a long standing ovation from the Boston Garden faithful.

Both the Clippers and Nets have been struggling mightily this season and I guarantee that neither team will win the NBA championship within the next 5 years. The trade for Pierce and KG seems to be working out great, for the Celtics got some really good players and a ton of great draft picks because the Nets are so bad.

While the losses of Doc, KG, and Pierce were bitter at the time, it seems that Danny Ainge knew what he was doing and he was thinking for the future. The trades are starting to make more sense as this season progresses, but Celtics fans will be reminiscent of the past this week when we take a walk down memory lane.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Beantown Ballin' 12/2 - 12/7

Photo Courtesy of ESPN

The Celtics had a slow week this week, with only two games being played.  The first was played on Tuesday when the Celtics took on the Bucks in the Garden.  The Bucks, surprisingly put up a fight against the Celtics, with the game ending with the Celtics winning 108-100.  Then on Friday, the Celtics faced off against the Nuggets in Beantown and pulled off an eight point victory against Ty Lawson and co.  Here is some in depth analysis of each game.

Milwaukee Bucks

Kelly Olynyk sat out this game with a lingering ankle sprain.  Jordan Crawford had a huge game for the Celtics with 25 points, 5 assists, and 1 steal.  Crawford is growing more and more comfortable in his role of running the point, and it will be interesting to see what the Celtics will do upon Rajon Rondo's return.  Jeff Green also had a strong game with 18 points, and 5 rebounds on 6-9 (66%) shooting from the field.  Brando Bass had a strong game with 16 points, and 9 rebounds. Boston shot great in all aspects percentage wise.  50% from the field, 46% from behind the arc, and 78% from the charity stripe.  Overall strong numbers.  This was an overall strong game for the Celtics and they pulled put a nice victory to carry them to 8-12 on the season.

Denver Nuggets

Jordan Crawford has become the Celtics best player as of right now.  Crawford had another amazing performance with 22 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds.  Kris Humphries had a fantastic game off the bench with 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists in one of his best games in a Celtics jersey yet.  Avery Bradley had 18 points and 4 rebounds on 8-11 (72%) from the field in a rare efficient game from Bradley.  The difference in this game was the Celtics shot 51% from the field compared to the Nuggets 44% which helped the Celtics pull out an 8 point victory.

The Celtics had a relatively easy week playing only two games against the lowly Milwaukee Bucks and the Nuggets who have yet to find their complete identity in the tough Western Conference.  Jordan Crawford has emerged as the Celtics first option on offense and should only loom to improve as the season goes on.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Market Is Booming & So Is Crawford

Jordan Crawford is stepping up to the challenge of running the point in the absence of Rajon Rondo and if the Celtics act fast, they could land a really good, and I mean REALLY good, player for Crawford.

Crawford is striving in his new role of floor general as his averages of 13.5 ppg, 5.3 apg, and 3.2 rpg while shooting 45% from the field, and 38% from behind the arc, both career highs... With the trade market slowly, but surely heating up Crawford could be valued quite highly by other times as not only could he be viewed as an elite shooter off of the bench, but as a two guard who can change a game as a bench contributor or as a starter; an instance that has occurred quite frequently for the Celtics this season.

Some potential players the Celtics could target are Wesley Mathews, Danny Green, Thaddeus Young, Tristan Thompson, and Kenneth Faried. All players listed are either terrific shooters, who are extremely efficient, or big men who can do work where the Celtics need it the most.

Crawford's worth differs from team to team, but one thing is for sure, Crawford is worth a lot to any team that could potentially acquire him, but the Celtics must act fast to capitalize on his trade value this season.

Crawford's development is down to Brad Stevens allowance of a more free role that ensures him playing time so the reason for his success is down to the coach, and for the main part, Crawford's resilience and hard work. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"Is he hot or what???" -Tommy Heinsohn

That just happened.....

Avery Bradley IS HOTTTT, just like legendary Boston Celtics commentator, coach, and player, Tommy Heinsohn acknowledged in the broadcast.

In the past three games (not including Tuesday's game against the Bucks [video]), Avery Bradley has been shooting out of his mind from outside, especially during the Cavaliers game. In those past three games, Bradley has made 20-39, or 51% which is way above his career average of 44% (stats courtesy of ESPN).

In the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Avery Bradley scored 21 points on 9-11 shooting. I was at the game and it just felt like AB hadn't missed all night because he kept draining long two's, the most inefficient shot in the game. In that game, he shot 3-4 from three-point range and didn't make it to the line. This game in the Boston Garden was definitely Bradley's best offensive performance of his career.

Judging by his shot chart, in which Bradley buried shots from just inside the arc, I can tell that Agent Zero is comfortable with taking a step in from downtown when at the top of the key. He is also well-qualified to take/make the corner three ball from both sides.

Avery's 94 foot defense will always be consistent, but his jumper definitely won't. He has worked hard to improve the J, but it is still very streaky. But now, when he gets on a hot streak, he can actually score and provide legitimate offense to a team that definitely lacks in that category.

The Boston Celtics this year are 25th overall in the NBA with 93 points per game. Their defense, led by AB is what has been keeping the rebuilding Celtics in games. The D is 7th in the league, allowing just 96.6 points per game. If Avery Bradley can continue his hot streak and help the Celtics score some points, Boston may be able to actually win some games...

Monday, December 2, 2013

Is Rajon Rondo a Franchise Player?

Courtesy of hdwallpapersview.com

Rajon Rondo is one of the most important players to his team in the NBA.  I, like many others, believe he is the best point guard in the NBA.  But is Rondo a franchise player?  First, let's see what makes a franchise player.

Dependability-  to be a franchise player, you have to be able to stay healthy.  If you can't stay heathy, you are no help to your team.

Offensive ability-  this isn't football.  You need to play offense and defense in the NBA.  If you can't score, it's hard to be the guy for your team.

Defensive ability-  like I said before, this isn't football.  If you can't stop anybody on defense, you are a liability to your team.

Leadership-  this is a huge one.  If you can gather your troops in a big moment, players will overlook any of the other qualities to a degree.

Team player-  this attribute will make you a popular guy in the locker room.  If you pass the ball, you will always have a place in the league.

With that being said let's look how Rondo stacks up to this criteria:

Dependability:  B-
Rondo has had his fair share if injuries, but he has been healthy overall.  I have to see him when he returns to boost this grade.

Offensive ability:  C+
Rondo's shooting and overall offense has been below average for the most part of his career.  This has to be improved upon to make the jump into a higher ranking. Although he lacks a consistent jump shot to say the least, scoring isn't the only part of offense. Rondo's passing ability is unrivaled in today's NBA, with the exception of maybe Ricky Rubio. You have to go back into the history books to the Pete Maravich, John Stockton, and Magic Johnson, to see passers that exceed Rondo's skills in the passing category.

Defensive ability:  A-
Rondo is always top 5 in the league in steals.  This is a huge stat for point guards.  His ability to disrupt the other team's offense.

Leadership: D-
This is Rondo's biggest flaw of his game.  His locker room and on court meltdowns have been well documented.  With suspensions and fines for fighting players and pushing referees, this is a major problem with the departure of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, forcing Rondo to be a leader, not only by talking, but by example.

Team player:  A+
Rondo is the best passer in the league.  With multiple 20+ assists games, Rondo is on pace to be the greatest assist man since Magic Johnson.


With these grades, I can't say that Rajon Rondo is a franchise player right now judging by my criteria. But, if he improves his jump shot, gets some counseling on his anger management to become a better leader and locker room member, Rajon may be able to add to his resume, "Face of the Boston Celtics Franchise".

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Beantown Ballin' 11/24 - 12/1

                                                                  Photo Courtesy of Bleacher Report

After a disastrous week last week, the Celtics rebounded to a week with two wins over the Charlotte Bobcats, and Cleveland Cavaliers, and a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, and a slightly embarrassing loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.  Lets take a closer look, game by game.

Charlotte Bobcats

The Celtics pulled out a 10 point victory over the infamously terrible Charlotte Bobcats.  Major contributors for the Celtics were Jordan Crawford and Gerald Wallace.  Crawford had 21 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds.  Wallace had a rare offensive appearance with, 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals off the bench.  Collectively, the Celtics shot an outstanding 45% from behind the arc, shooting 9-20 from three, which may have been the deciding factor in the game. Gerald Wallace showed some rare signs of life, which is encouraging for the Celtics. He has been hustling very well surprisingly, which is very unlike him. Brad Stevens should be getting loads of recognition for Wallace's newfound attitude towards the game.

Memphis Grizzlies

In a heartbreaking home loss, the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Celtics 100-93 behind a powerful 22 point performance from Jerryd Bayless off the bench.  Jared Sullinger had an electrifying performance for the Celtics, dropping in 23 points, on 2 of 3 shooting from downtown, along with 12 rebounds and 3 steals.  Jeff Green played an astonishing 39 minutes this game, and delivered with 26 points, and 7 rebounds.  The Celtics biggest issue in this game was their bench production.  The three bench scorers, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, and Vitor Faverani, only combined for 17 points between them.  The starters could simply not rely on their bench when they needed a rest.

Cleveland Cavaliers

This game was simply not close from the beginning.  The Celtics ended up taking this game from the Cavaliers by a staggering, 17 point margin in the 103-86 victory.  It is hard to tell who had a better game between Jeff Green and Jordan Crawford.  Jeff Green dropped 31 points, and 5 rebounds on the Cavs, while Jordan Crawford had his first career triple double. Crawford had 11 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, and 1 steal in a career night.  Between these two performances, it was hard for the Celtics to win in an all around strong game for both these individuals, and the team as a whole. The creator of PFTP, Danny, was at the game and his family wanted to leave early but he made them stay until Crawford got his triple-double.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Celtics lost to the Bucks on a gross court to the Greek Freak.  Nuff' said.

Overall, even though they only went .500 the Celtics had a really strong week, and Jordan Crawford emerged as more than just a role players this week.