Ainge considering getting the band back together?

577866.jpg

Ainge considering getting the band back together?

WALTHAM With only six players under contract, new blood is a given for the Boston Celtics roster this season.

But that doesn't mean the C's have totally turned their backs on free agents who played with the team last season.

Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, confirmed that the Celtics are indeed interested in a number of free agents from last season's roster.

Restricted free agent Jeff Green is the most likely among the free agents to return to the C's this season.

Green was a key part of the Kendrick Perkins trade in February. Although his numbers with the Celtics last season (9.8 points, 3.3 rebounds in 26 games) were pretty good coming off the bench, Green never seemed to deliver the kind of impact that the Celtics were hoping for.

"I was trying too hard to just fit in with what they were doing, and not really playing my game," Green told CSNNE.com recently. "They do such a good job here preaching, 'share the ball, share the ball.' But they needed me to be more aggressive. That's what they needed me to do. That's what I plan to do this season."

In addition to Green, Ainge also expressed the Celtics have reached out to the agents for Glen Davis and Delonte West.

"We've had conversations with their representatives," said Ainge, who added that he has had conversations with a number of representatives recently. "So that would indicate that we have some interest."

With so many holes on their roster, it's a given that having familiar faces will bode well for the Celtics' chances of playing well during this shortened 66-game season which kicks off Christmas Day.

"In a shortened season, it benefits us to stay the course more than it is to change," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "It's clear that teams that have continuity, will have an advantage coming out the gates."

Celtics miss an opportunity in first half with LeBron in foul trouble

Celtics miss an opportunity in first half with LeBron in foul trouble

CLEVELAND – There are 240 minutes of play in an NBA game, but Boston’s 112-99 Game 4 loss to Cleveland came down to seven (six minutes and 46 seconds to be precise).

That would be the amount of time left in the second quarter that LeBron James spent on the bench with four personal fouls (a first for him in the first half of an NBA playoff game ever) and Boston ahead by 10 points.

Boston could not have asked for a better scenario than that, especially considering how well they had played up to that point in the game and again, knowing that James wasn’t about to set foot back on the court until the third quarter.

But here’s the problem.

Boston’s 10-point lead when James left with four fouls.

Halftime rolled around and Boston’s lead was still at just 10 points.

Celtics players agreed that not finding a way to increase their lead with James out was among the more pivotal stretches of play in Game 4.

“They did a really good job of not letting it (the 10-point lead) get out of control while he was on the bench,” Boston’s Marcus Smart told CSNNE.com. “Every time we scored, they came back and scored.  They answered back with everything we answered.”

While many will point to that stretch as a time when the Celtics failed to make the necessary adjustments to increase their chances of winning, it wasn’t as if the Cavs are a one-man team.

“They still have two All-Stars out on the court,” said Boston’s head coach Brad Stevens, referring to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. “With the best player in the world they go to unreal, but they’re still a pretty darned good team when those guys are out there.”

Irving had a playoff career-high 42 points which included him scoring 12 of Cleveland’s 14 points in the final 6:46 of the second with James on the bench.

“He’s one of the best point guards in the NBA, and you know, you can tell he puts in a lot of work in his game, a lot of respect from myself, my teammates,” said Avery Bradley. “We have to do a better job at defending him as a unit, trying to make everything hard on him. He definitely got a great rhythm going tonight, and I felt like we had a chance to make it harder on him.”

James still finished with a strong stat line for the night – 34 points, six assists, five rebounds and a blocked shot.

As good as he was on the court, the Celtics have to be kicking themselves for not doing more with the time James on the bench in the second quarter which in hindsight, was among the bigger factors in them now returning home facing elimination as opposed to being tied at two games apiece in this series.

“What are you going to do?” said Cleveland’s Kevin Love. “You have to continue to fight through it. At halftime, we were down 10. We made some adjustments on the defensive end and we just fought; we needed to. They got everything out of us tonight in that second half, but we played more inspired basketball as well.”