The Celtics are officially on a four-game win streak, making them perfect since coming back from the All Star break. They took down the Pistons and the Knicks in a back to back, then came home and got the two easy wins they needed. This team is rejuvenated!
Contributions from Everyone
This Celtics team is looking more and more like the team we saw in the beginning of the season. You know, the one that went streaking? But actually, they may be slightly better than that team, as it appears that EVERYTHING is clicking for these guys on both ends of the ball. The defensive spark has been provided by Smart and Irving has once again proven himself a leader and true PG by breathing life into the offense. Just last night, the Cs provided a good old- fashioned butt-whooping, smashing the Hornets 134-106. Irving had 34 of those points in just 25 minutes of play (UNREAL) going 4-6 from three. Baynes also stepped up with 12 points and some grade-A defense. Monroe filled in for the injured Theis and went 6-9 with 14 points and 4 rebounds. Brown, Smart, Rozier and Morris continue to do what they do of course. And although Horford and Tatum only recorded a combined 12 points, they were a +27 and +18, respectively. THIS is a team you don’t want to see in a 7-game series!
Next Up: Houston
The Houston Rockets haven’t lost a game since January 26th… holy crap. They are rolling and leading the defending champ Warriors in the West by .5 game. The last time they played the Cs it looked like it was over in the first half, scoring 62 points in the first half. They unfortunately didn’t hold up in the scoring department, nor in defense. The Cs out scored them 61-36 in the second half to take it 99-98. But the Rockets won’t make the same mistake twice. They will be on their home court this time with a healthy Chris Paul. And I don’t if anyone has been paying attention, but when Harden AND Paul play, this team doesn’t lose. Well, they do, but it’s extremely rare. Both teams are better this time around, but both will definitely have their hands full.
Can The Celtics Win This Match-up?
They can win any match-up they want, as long as they fight for it. But they need a few things to happen if they want to take the series against Houston.
- Defense! They must defend the Rockets like they defended the last four teams they played. Giving up those easy baskets in the paint will get them beat, as well as the three. Make Harden, Paul, Ariza and Capela work for their shots.
- Bench. This group has made quite the turnaround. The production of the bench is key here. The Rockets seem to depend heavily on their starters so if our second unit can outscore theirs, we’ll be in business.
- Starters. They have to continue to do their job too. Stifling the Rockets Starters on defense and outscoring them as much as possible will be tremendous. I’m not worried about Irving or Brown, but Tatum has been in a bit of a slump lately. I want him to have a big game, or at least get back on track offensively.
Watch the three-game road trip begin this Saturday when the Celtics take on the Rockets in primetime. Tune into ABC at 8:30 pm, with pregame coverage starting an hour before on NBC Sports Boston.
The Boston Celtics went into Indiana last night with a 25-7 record. Lately, the Cs have had some difficulty with their second unit, and were exposed in the loses against the Bulls and Jazz. Kyrie Irving missed the game against the Bulls, and they’ve been without the productivity of Marcus Morris due to his troublesome knee. And though the Celtics won against the Grizzlies 102-93, Brad Stevens has been determined to find the right combination to remedy their second unit troubles.
Fixing the Second Unit
There was no shortage of scoring in Indiana last night. The Celtics came out blazing, closing out the first quarter with a 17-point lead. Brad took Jayson Tatum and Al Horford out early, leading many to believe they were going to be used to spark the second unit. That did indeed happen and boy, did it help. The Cs put up 24 points in the second quarter, an improvement compared to the 17 they put up against the Grizzlies on Saturday. The bench contributed 37 points, with Marcus Smart going 5-6 and 4-4 from three for 15 points.
Down to the Wire
After having that 17-point lead at halftime, the Pacers had a second half comeback led by the surge of Victor Oladipo. Indiana outscored Boston in both the third and fourth quarter by 14. They tied the game at 100 a piece with 1:52 left to play and took the lead going into the final seconds of the game. Kyrie Irving made two clutch threes, putting the Cs within reach with 10 seconds left to play. The Pacers used their final timeout, and it was Bogdanovic’s job to make the inbound pass. Well, Terry Rozier made sure he was there to challenge that pass. He made the steal and completed the breakaway dunk, putting the Cs up 112-111 with 1 second left.
It was definitely the most exciting win of the season for Boston, who moves to 26-7 on the year. They lead the Cavs by just two games, with two back-to-backs coming up to close out 2017. Meanwhile, the Cavs get a healthy 1-2 days in between the rest of their match ups.
Don’t miss the Celtics return home to play the Heat on Wednesday night @ 7:30. This will no doubt be a chance for payback after Miami ended the 16- game streak. Let’s go Celtics!
The Celtics came home on Friday to host the Orlando Magic after a heartbreaking loss in Miami on Wednesday, which ended their win streak at 16. It was looking like a blow-out, with the Cs leading by as much as 30 points at one point. They ended up winning 118-103. The defense did reign supreme, despite the score (which was due to a handful of threes by Speights). All of the Orlando starters were held to under 15 points, and so was their bench.
Kyrie Irving scored 17 of his 30 points in the first half, in which the Celtics put up a whopping 73 points. Jaylen Brown added 13 of his own and the bench contributed 49, which is they’ve produced this season. Terry Rozier scored a career high 23 points and Aron Baynes had himself a double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds). And although I wanted more offensive production from Al Horford in terms of points, he was able to boost the offense without doing so. He had 10 assists, getting his teammates the ball and getting back to Celtic’s basketball.
All of the starters were able to play under 30 minutes last night, which is fantastic considering they lay again tonight in their first back-to-back of the season. They will head to Indiana to face the Pacers, who have won five straight. The Pacers may be without Oladipo, as he left last night’s game with a knee injury. The Cs will be without Marcus Morris and possibly Jaylen Brown. Morris will not travel with the team and rest is knee, while Brown will be attending his friend’s funeral. He said if he doesn’t make it back in time he won’t play; I say just give him the day off. He needs it and definitely deserves it.
Celtics @ Pacers tonight @ 8. Will the Cs end the Pacers streak? Tune in to find out
If you were watching the Celtics game last night, no doubt you almost had a heart attack as you watched this game go into OT. Kyrie Irving had 47 points (10 in OT) and Jaylen Brown had 22, while Tatum and Smart (yes, Marcus Smart) added 15 and 12 of their own.
Let’s be real, this was not a well-played game except for the first and the fourth quarter (and OT obviously). On the offensive side of the ball, shots just weren’t falling for the second unit, and that’s what really killed the Cs. Brad left them out there a little bit longer than he wanted, but I think it was because he wanted to see if they could find a rhythm. That unfortunately was not the case and once again it was Kyrie to the rescue. But I don’t want to overlook the effort of the defense. Though they gave up more points than they wanted to, they kept the Mavericks well under 30% three-point shooting (21.2% to be exact) and 40% overall. The defense of the three was key last night (because the Mavs love to shoot threes) and the Celtics were successful in doing so, along with dropping 13 of their own.
The Celtics know that other teams are going to be coming for them EXTRA hard to try and spoil this streak (which is the fourth longest in Cs history). The Mavs gave them everything they had but came up short in the fourth/OT. The Cs head to Miami Wednesday night to play the Heat, who they already defeated 96-90 in October. The Heat have been a bit sporadic lately and recently lost at home to the Pacer 120-95. But make no mistake, they saw that Mavs game and will be looking for their own spoil of the streak.
If the Celtics want to avoid what happened in Dallas, they MUST shoot better, and specifically the second unit. They’re not going to be able to defend every possession without giving up points, so there needs to be some scoring to offset that. Rozier needs to find his stride and get those baskets, and they’re going to need more than just rebounds from Baynes and Thies. But most importantly, Al Horford needs to start heating up again. He has been ice cold the past two games, combining for only 10 points. Though he has had 14 rebounds and 13 assists, there needs to be more offensive production from him. And of course, the team needs to continue to play DEFENSE. Oh, and another thing that wouldn’t hurt: practicing free throws (Jaylen and Marcus *cough cough*). If you’re going to draw the foul and get to the line, you need to hit the free throws (I still love these guys though).
Watch the Celtics go for 17 straight Wednesday @ 7:30 pm!
The Celtics have won 15 straight games after defeating the Atlanta Hawks 110-99 on Saturday night. It started off just like any other game: a few early baskets, then came the struggle. Shots just weren’t falling for the Cs and they kept getting called for three-second violations. Meanwhile, the Hawks were hitting every one of their shots (contested or not) and at one point, they were up 16.
But of course, Kyrie and Jaylen do what they do best: rally. Irving scored 30 points (as the masked man) while Brown had a career-high 27. Al Horford had a rough game, going 3-11 (1-5 from three) with just 7 points. It was okay though, because Marcus Morris contributed 10 of his 14 points in the second quarter to bring the Cs within six, and Jayson Tatum added 14 of his own (along with TWO MONSTER DUNKS).
Yes, they keep winning but according to head coach Brad Stevens, this streak isn’t as big a deal as everyone makes it out to be. I mean, obviously if you’re a fan you’d say “What?! Why not? Winning this many games in a row isn’t easy, so it has to mean something, right?” Well, Brad’s reasoning is simple: they haven’t been playing well. They find ways to pull out the win, but there hasn’t been any consistency. As I mentioned earlier, the Cs always start off on a short scoring run, struggle for a while, go on another scoring run to tie/get close, then Kyrie comes in the fourth and closes it out. It’s great to see your team win, but there needs to be some more consistency throughout. But it’s a young team with a lot of energy and heart, led by a more than qualified coach (who should get Coach of the Year! He honestly should have gotten it last year but was robbed). I’m not worried, and neither should any other Celtics fan.
The Celtics travel to Dallas to play the Mavericks on Monday night @ 8:00, looking for their 16th win. Don’t miss it!
The Celtics defeated Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets Friday night 90-87 to grab their 11th straight win. It was a hard fought matchup, as the Celtics were without Horford for the second straight game due to concussion and they lost Irving early after taking an elbow to the head. He was held out for the rest of the game to be monitored for concussion–like symptoms, breaking the hearts of many Celtics fans. The team was down 57-41 at halftime and it was looking bleak. But they were able to rally and outscore the Hornets in the third and fourth quarters to win the game. Shane Larkin stepped up and had 16 points off the bench, while Jayson Tatum returned to add his own 16.
The Celtics host the Raptors at 3:30 today. Al Horford will be back for the Cs, while Irving will sit out. He sustained a minor facial fracture after taking an inadvertent elbow to the head from teammate Aron Baynes and will be fitted for a mask. The Celtics look to extend their win streak to 12 without Irving and show people once again that they can get the job done without (a) key player(s).
The Celtics sit atop the east, with the Magic right behind them (both are 6-2). Meanwhile, LeBron and the Cavs sit at a surprising 3-5, just above Chicago and Atlanta, who both only have one win on the season. I think most of us can admit we didn’t expect any of this to happen, regardless of how early it is in the season.
The Cs may have dropped their first two games against the Cavs and the Bucks, but have since won six straight. They lead the league in total defense with a rating of 95, with four of their starters ranked in the top ten in individual defense. The rookie Jayson Tatum is fitting right in, averaging 14 points and 7 rebounds a game. In his second year, Jaylen Brown is in the race for most improved player, with 15.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Kyrie Irving is also finding his footing, averaging 21.7 points and 5.7 assists. The budding chemistry between Irving and Horford, as well as the rest of the team has been fun to watch so far this season.
The Cavs however, just can’t seem to get it right. After a very busy offseason of trades and transactions, they’re out here losing to teams like the Knicks, Nets, Bulls and Magic (who are actually taking care of business this year). These four teams minus the Magic are garbage, so I am very amused by the fact that they were able to knock off LeBron and his precious Cavs. As his team continues to rack up those losses, he wants everyone to know that there is plenty of blame to go around. Yes, this is a team sport, but how many times have we heard other players shoulder the blame for their teams’ performance? Quite a few, but I don’t ever remember LeBron being one of them; which is interesting considering he pretty much runs the show there in Cleveland. But hey, what do I know? I’m just a fan from a real, live sports city. Either way, I’m not hoping for a recovery anytime soon; just let the Celtics continue to quietly rule the east.