Tagged in: Boston Celtics

Nets get 7 3s from Harris, rout Celtics 130-108 for 2-0 lead

Brooklyn is more than just its Big Three. There’s also Joe Harris and his 3s.

Even if a team can hold Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, it still has to stop the NBA’s most accurate 3-point shooter.

That’s a lot of problems to solve, and Harris understands why teams don’t make him the priority.

“I think it’s just sort of, this is the reality of the matter,” Harris said. “I mean, we have three of the best offensive players that really have ever played.”

Harris tied a franchise playoff record with seven 3-pointers, Durant scored 26 points and the Nets routed the Boston Celtics 130-108 on Tuesday night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Harris had a career playoff-high 25 points and Harden added 20 as the Nets unleashed their lethal offense after winning Game 1 largely with defense.

“Different games it’s going to be different guys,” Harden said. “Tonight it was Joe, next game, Game 3 it could be somebody else. So we’re just all locked in, we’re all on the same page and whatever it takes to win, we’re willing to do.”

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Game 3 is Friday in Boston, where the Nets will try to build on their first 2-0 lead in a series since they swept the New York Knicks in the first round in 2004.

This one might be headed toward the same result, with the Celtics unable to do much scoring in Game 1 or stop the Nets from doing tons of it in Game 2.

“We’ve got to be way better,” coach Brad Stevens said, listing a number of defensive problems the Celtics have to address.

“They exposed that because they were really good, but I was disappointed in how we played versus the other night.”

Marcus Smart scored 19 points and Kemba Walker had 17 for the Celtics. Leading scorer Jayson Tatum had only nine points on 3-for-12 shooting before leaving after just 21 minutes when he was poked in the right eye.

After the Nets scored just 16 points in the first quarter of Game 1, Harris had that by himself in the opening quarter of this one while going 4 for 4 behind the arc.

The Nets had started slowly in Game 1 and in the only game their Big Three played together late in the regular season, and on Monday coach Steve Nash stated he thought it might be a while before his three stars could walk on the court and be firing on all cylinders.

It was only a day later for Harris, who led the NBA in 3-point percentage at 47.5% this season.

Harris made three straight 3-pointers to extend a three-point lead to 25-13 and there was a little gasp from the crowd when he then stole the ball and dribbled down on a breakaway, as if he might pull up behind the arc. Instead, he went all the way for the layup and a 14-point lead.

It was 40-26 after one period and Harden made consecutive 3s to open the second. That made it a 20-point game and it was never close from there.

Walker said the Celtics have to look at the film to find opportunities they are missing.

“I know I missed a lot of passes myself that I could’ve made personally that I would definitely like to be better at,” he said. “So we’ve just got to be better.” Irving had 15 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Nets, who made 17 3-pointers.

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Golden State Warriors’ Kevon Looney out at least two weeks with sprained ankle

Golden State Warriors big man Kevon Looney will be out at least the next two weeks as he keeps to recover from a sprained left ankle, the team informed Wednesday.

Looney suffered the injury late in the first half of Tuesday’s 111-107 loss to the Boston Celtics and had an MRI late Tuesday night that confirmed the sprain. He will be reevaluated in two weeks as he continues rehab.

“This was a fluke,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated after the game. “He caught his foot on the floor and rolled the ankle. Just the way it goes. I feel bad for him because he’s worked so hard to get back to this space and he’s really been playing well for us, so it’s a big blow.”

Looney’s injury comes at a bad time for the 11-10 Warriors. They are already playing without rookie center James Wiseman, who sprained his left wrist in last Saturday’s victory over the Detroit Pistons and will be reevaluated in a week.

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Backup big man Marquese Chriss has been out since the first week of the season after suffering a serious ankle injury during a practice in Chicago.

It still unclear if he will comeback this season.

In the short term, Kerr noted that Eric Paschall, Draymond Green and two-way player Juan Toscano-Anderson will all get minutes at the 5 spot.

“Eric Paschall becomes a bigger part of what we’re doing and so does Juan,” Kerr said. “I guess Juan sort of qualifies as a big man, kind of. Eric definitely does. So we’ll be short-handed. Draymond will play a lot of 5 and Eric will get more minutes, and we’ll see what happens from there.”

Warriors star guard Stephen Curry is hopeful that the Warriors can use the small-ball lineup to their advantage as they get set for a four-game road swing to Dallas and San Antonio over the next week. “You kind of have to flip it on its head,” Curry said after Tuesday’s loss.

“Everybody’s going to talk about what we can’t do with a small-ball lineup, but we can focus on what we can do and that’s play fast, get everybody involved, ball can be moving. Create chaos on both ends of the floor and then figure out how you rebound and how you up the paint on the defensive end. So with Dallas and San Antonio, it will be interesting because they do — [Kristaps] Porzingis is huge, but they do play a lot of small ball, too, so maybe that will match up well for us.”

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Celtics will go as far as Brown and Tatum carry them

A few weeks before the NBA postponed its season in March, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum dropped 41 points at Staples Center in a last-possession loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

After the game, LeBron James awarded the NBA’s ultimate seal of approval when he posted on Instagram a shot of himself and Tatum, with each looking intently at the court as they waited to check in to the nationally televised matchup.

“That boi to the left of me is an ABSOLUTE PROBLEM!! Keep going,” James wrote as the caption, adding the hashtag, “#YoungKing.”

Although any narrow loss is dispiriting, a further signal that Tatum is poised to be one of the preeminent stars of his generation is happy compensation. Nearly six months later, the Absolute Problem leads a team that is once again in the Eastern Conference mix, as the Celtics have continued their forward momentum since breaking ground on their rebuild in 2013.

They’re on their third All-Star point guard in that span, steady veteran Kemba Walker, but they have a largely young roster without the age and experience of Milwaukee or Toronto.

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The Celtics are still developing, still refining their roles in an evolving offense and, in the occasions of their pair of dynamic wings, Tatum and Jaylen Brown, still learning which tools to leave in the toolbox.

They’re rounding into form, and Tatum might find himself on an All-NBA team as soon as this summer.

The extent to which the team can accelerate that growth will likely determine the Celtics’ postseason fortunes.

Now 2-2 in the Orlando, Florida, bubble after a 149-115 victory over the Brooklyn Nets, the Celtics have established over the course of the season that they do a lot of things well — not surprising for a team that ranks in the top five in offense and defense.

As with any squad, there are natural tension points. This is a good thing because team-building and improvement — both individual and team — are accomplished in large part by problem-solving.

The Celtics’ uneven performance during the first week of the bubble is of limited concern. Walker continues to work his way back from a knee injury — he sat out Wednesday night’s back-to-back — and Stevens emphasized after Tuesday’s loss that the careful management of Walker’s minutes in Orlando is a reflection more of caution than concern.

The front office’s objective in accumulating a trove of draft picks over the course of their rebuild was always simple, even if their procurement was complex: Turn those assets into championship-caliber stars. With Tatum and Brown, the Celtics are making good on that goal. The summer of 2020 will be the biggest test yet.

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Lakers fall in their heaviest defeat of the season

More than half of the fourth quarter remained when the Lakers started to admit defeat.

LeBron James sat, so did Anthony Davis, and the Boston Celtics started pulling their starters too. They led the Lakers by 31 points — the largest deficit the Lakers had faced all campaign.

On the parquet floor versus their hated rivals, there were few friendly faces, and much of the crowd at TD Garden kept the arena packed in garbage time to revel in the one-night derailing of one of the NBA’s hottest teams.

The Lakers came into the match having won 10 of their last 11 games, including four of five without Davis, and the Celtics came into the game on a three-game losing streak, having lost six of their last eight.

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But their recent history wasn’t predictive. The Celtics beat the Lakers, 139-107.

“It was just a good ol’ …” James said before pausing. Then he continued. “Good ol’ fashioned butt-whooping. That’s all. They beat us in all facets of the game. Outside, interior, points off turnovers, offensive rebounds, so it’s the main ingredients in the L.”

The loss dropped the Lakers to 34-9, still best in the West, while the Celtics improved to 28-14, good for fourth in the East.

Davis returned and finished with nine points, two assists and four rebounds in 23 minutes. James scored 15 points with 13 assists and seven rebounds. Boston was led by Jayson Tatum, who scored 27 points with five rebounds and three assists. Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker also notched 20 points each for the Celtics. It was the first time in his career, out of 29 tries, that Walker won a game versus James.

The Lakers have been remarkably consistent versus teams with poor records — they are 22-1 against them. But their games against the NBA’s better teams have had peaks and valleys. They are 10-4 against the top seven teams in the Western Conference, but have lost to four of the top five teams in the East — Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston and Indiana.

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76ers top Celtics in 1st battle of East Favorites

Joel Embiid was popped in the mouth by an elbow that drew blood, rattled teeth, and stunned the Sixers’ big man.

Embiid shook off the knock after a short stint on the bench, then Philadelphia took off and secured the first round in a bruising matchup between two teams expected to fight for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Embiid had 15 points and 13 rebounds, Ben Simmons scored 24 points and the 76ers beat the Boston Celtics 107-93 on Wednesday night.

The season opener had a May feel from the opening tip.

Boston and Philly roughed up each other, combining for more than 60 fouls. They each showed off their prized free agent assets.

But it was the Sixers who turned in a leading fourth quarter.

”It felt like a playoff atmosphere, already,” Philadelphia guard Josh Richardson said. ”It was ready to pop from the jump.”

Philly’s superstars can only do so much, and the other Sixers were clutch in the fourth when they needed them. Furkan Korkmaz and Tobias Harris buried consecutive 3-pointers – after the Sixers had missed 21 of 24 through three quarters – to stretch the lead to 10.

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Even without that scrutinized jumper in play, Simmons was smooth and sensational as he attacked the hoop for easy baskets. He used a nifty spin move in the paint to hit Kyle O’Quinn for a basket that made it 90-74. The packed house went wild as the backups, a weak spot in the postseason, put the Sixers on the decisive run. Simmons also had nine assists and eight rebounds, though he played his 161st career game without a 3.

”I’m skilled, I’m gifted, I’m pretty good at what I do,” Simmons said.

Gordon Hayward guided the Celtics with 25 points. Jayson Tatum had 21.

Kemba Walker scored 12 points on 4-of-18 shooting in his Boston debut, and Al Horford had 16 points in his first game with the 76ers. Horford spent the last three seasons with the Celtics and was one of the few defenders that gave Embiid fits. Horford signed a four-year deal to come to Philly and quickly became a popular teammate. Walker was signed to a four-year, $141 million deal, the most Boston could offer, but $80 million less than the Charlotte Hornets could have paid him over five seasons.

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Jaylen Brown agrees to 4 year deal with Celtics

Negotiations may have been contentious, but Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics succeeded to get on the same page before Monday’s rookie contract extension limit. 

Brown agreed to a four-year, $115 million contract extension with the Celtics, his agent Jason Glushon confirmed. That deal is a far cry from the four-year, $80 million pact Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that Boston was offering. The sides typically start far apart on negotiations like this, but bridging such a large gap so close to the deadline is an impressive feat. Brown’s deal includes no player or team options. 

This is the first rookie extension that Boston has signed any player to in a decade. The last Celtic to extend prior to hitting free agency was Rajon Rondo in 2009.  Brown is now locked in through the 2023-24 season with the Celtics. Assuming Jayson Tatum re-signs next offseason as intended, Boston will have Brown, Tatum, Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart signed for at least three more years in total. For a Boston team that has experienced significant roster turnover during the last several seasons, that kind of continuity is going to be critical. 

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Brown’s numbers declined last season from their heights during the 2017-18 campaign.

His points, assists and rebounds per game all fell along with his 3-point and effective field goal percentages. But Brown was forced to the bench for much of the season in a locker room whose chemistry was notably poor. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reported in June that Brown did not have a strong relationship with Kyrie Irving, and in January he openly refuted comments Irving made that were critical of teammates. 

Irving is now a member of the Brooklyn Nets, but having Brown go into the season without a long-term contract could have proven just as destructive in the locker room. Now that he has been taken care of financially, the Celtics have every reason to believe that their team’s camaraderie will be enriched this season. If he returns to the starting lineup on a full-time basis, which will likely be the case with Marcus Morris and Al Horford gone, Brown’s numbers should bounce back. 

If they do, Boston’s bright future is back on track. It may have been a tumultuous year, but with Brown and Tatum in place, the Celtics should be able to contend for a long, long time. 

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Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics

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Atlanta Hawks (51-36) at Boston Celtics (50-37)
NBA Basketball: Thursday, April 28, 2016 at 8:00 pm (TD Garden)
The Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics collide in Game 6 tonight at the TD Garden.

The Boston Celtics have lost all three of their away games to the Atlanta Hawks in their first-round playoff series and will try to return the favor by winning their third straight at home in Game 6 on Thursday.

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Despite the fact that the Celtics won Games 3 and 4 by a combined 17 points, they are still listed as two-point underdogs for Game 6 at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark after a 110-83 defeat in Game 5 at Atlanta.

The Celtics looked to have all of the momentum after levelling the series in Game 4, but the Celtics just couldn’t get it going at all in Game 5 and suffered a 110-83 defeat to the Hawks. Evan Turner scored 15 points while Jae Crowder, Jared Sullinger and Marcus Smart all chipped in with 10 points each, but what the Celtics desperately needed was one more big game from Isaiah Thomas who scored just seven points in the game before leaving with a mild ankle sprain. Initially it was thought that Thomas would miss this game but the word is that he will indeed suit up tonight for the Celtics in this must-win game.

The Hawks have covered the spread just twice in the series so far, with both times coming in easy double-digit wins at home. The latest came Tuesday, as they trailed Boston 20-15 at the end of the first quarter but outscored the team 74-42 over the second and third to take control.

The Hawks must have been a little worried after squandering their 2-0 series lead, but in the comfort of their own building they regrouped to put together one of their best shooting displays to blow away the Celtics in the second and third quarters where they outscored them by an amazing 74-42. Mike Scott led the scoring with 17 points off the bench while Kent Bazemore and Jeff Teague chipped in with 16 points each. Paul Millsap scored just 10 points after pouring in 45 in Game 4 while Al Horford finished with just six points, but neither player was required to play their usual minutes as this game was over before the fourth quarter.

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Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks

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In what has become a competitive first-round playoff series in the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks hope to use their home court to regain an edge against the Boston Celtics in Game 5 on Tuesday.

The Boston Celtics can take control of this series by winning their third straight game and taking a 3-2 lead. The Boston Celtics are averaging 97 points on 39.1 percent shooting and allowing 97.3 points on 40.1 percent shooting. Isaiah Thomas is averaging 28.3 points and 4.3 assists while Evan Turner is averaging 14 points and 5.5 rebounds. Jae Crowder is grabbing 7.5 rebounds and Marcus Smart is dishing 3.8 assists. The Boston Celtics are shooting 29.7 percent from beyond the arc and 77.1 percent from the free throw line. The Celtics are allowing 27.6 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 47.3 rebounds per game. The Boston Celtics have lost five of their last seven road games. Kelly Olynyk is questionable with a shoulder injury.

Boston won Game 4 in overtime 104-95 on Sunday, covering the spread as a one-point home underdog and overcoming a monster 45-point performance from Atlanta power forward Paul Millsap, who connected on 19 of 31 shots from the field and also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.

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 Atlanta is a bigger favorite in Game 5 than either Game 1 or Game 2 at Philips Arena, as the team has failed to cover the spread in three of the first four overall. The lone cover for the Hawks came in Game 2 when they won 89-72 as 6.5-point favorites on the NBA betting lines.

The Atlanta Hawks hope to continue the trend of the home team winning every game in this series. The Atlanta Hawks are averaging 97.3 points on 40.1 percent shooting and allowing 97 points on 39.1 percent shooting. Paul Millsap is averaging 17.8 points and 9.3 rebounds while Jeff Teague is averaging 18 points and seven assists. Al Horford is grabbing 9.8 rebounds and Kent Bazemore is dishing two assists. The Atlanta Hawks are shooting 27.6 percent from beyond the arc and 80 percent from the free throw line. The Hawks are allowing 29.7 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 48 rebounds per game. The Atlanta Hawks have won six of their last seven home games.

 

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Boston Celtics At Brooklyn Nets

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The Boston Celtics (18-15) take on the (10-23) Brooklyn Nets tonight  in the second game of a home and home series between the two teams.

The Celtics had won four of five before Saturday’s 100-97 home loss to the Nets. Isaiah Thomas led the team with 24 points and six assists, Jae Crowder added 16 points while Evan Turner had 12 off the bench, but the undersized Celtics simply had no answer for the Net’s Brook Lopez who poured in 30 points on 11 of 24 shooting. Coming off a disappointing loss to the struggling Lakers, the Celtics really wanted to bounce back and get back into the winner’s circle but the second straight loss drops them to 18-15 on the season and 9-9 at home.

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Meanwhile, the had lost seven of nine before beating the Celtics on Saturday. As mentioned earlier, Lopez dominated the paint but he also had plenty of help as Joe Johnson snapped out of his shooting slump to add 20 points while Thaddeus Young had 16 points and 10 rebounds in a much-needed win for the Nets. Unfortunately, Jarrett Jack’s knee gave out on him during the win and while it was orginally called just a sprain, further analysis has confirmed that he tore his right ACL meaning he will miss the remainder of the season.

In ATS trends, the Celtics are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 road games and 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games against a team with a losing home record, while the Nets are 5-0 ATS in their last five games against a team with a winning record and 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games overall.

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Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics

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The Cleveland Cavaliers (15-7) and the Boston Celtics (14-10) finally meet for the first time this season in what should be an emotion-filled contest this evening. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. (ET) from the TD Garden.

Cleveland (15-7) opened their road trip with a 111-76 win at Orlando on Friday. The 35-point win was Cleveland’s biggest of the season and their largest margin of victory over the Magic in team history (previously 32 on November 24, 2014)

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The Cavaliers have a NBA-high four road wins by at least 30 points since February 20, 2015 (regular season only). Prior to that, the Cavs had just two 30-point road wins in their entire franchise history. (STATS, Inc.)

Boston (14-10) enters Tuesday’s contest having won three of their last four with that one loss coming in a 124-119 double-overtime loss to the Golden Stat Warriors this past Friday.

The Celtics are led by their dynamic backcourt tandem of Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley. Thomas averages team-highs in points (20.8) and assists (6.7) per game while Bradley chips in 16.3 points per.

Cavaliers’ probable starting lineup: 6-3 Matthew Dellavedova (8.7 ppg, 5.4 apg), 6-4 Jared Cunningham (3.9 ppg, 1.2 rpg), 6-8 LeBron James (26.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 6.4 apg), 6-10 Kevin Love (17.8 ppg, 11.2 rpg) and 7-2 Timofey Mozgov (7.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg).

Celtics’ probable starting lineup: 5-7 Isaiah Thomas (20.8 ppg, 6.7 apg), 6-4 Avery Bradley (16.3 ppg, 43% 3-pt), 6-7 Jae Crowder (12.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg), 6-10 Amir Johnson (7.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and 6-10 Jared Sullinger (12.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg).

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