Celtics-Mavericks review: C's get to Mayo

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Celtics-Mavericks review: C's get to Mayo

BOSTON The Boston Celtics didn't exactly shut down Dallas' O.J. Mayo, who had 24 points on 10-for-19 shooting.

But the C's did force him into making a slew of miscues all game which factored heavily in Boston squeaking out a 117-115 double overtime win.

While Mayo was extremely efficient shooting the ball, his game-high nine turnovers would prove costly in Dallas' attempt at rallying from a double-digit deficit in the second half.

"Nine turnovers just doesn't cut it," Mayo said. "When you get the ball you want to make a play, make a positive play for our team so turnovers really killed us."

Dallas came into Wednesday's game averaging 15 turnovers per game which ranked 16th in the league.

The Mavericks had 17 by the end of the third quarter, and finished with 28 that were converted into 32 points for the Celtics.

For Dallas, figuring out what went wrong was not that difficult to pin-point.

"We had turnovers that throughout the game, killed us," said Mavs forward Shawn Marion who returned to the lineup after missing a couple games with a groin injury. "We can't beat anyone with that many turnovers."

Boston's defense on Mayo was indeed a key factor in the Celtics stringing together back-to-back wins for the first time this month. Here are some other keys identified prior to the tip-off, and how they ultimately played out for the C's.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Dallas wants to get into an uptempo game that will generate at least 100 points for them. When they reach triple digits scoring this season, they're 8-1.

WHAT WE SAW: The Mavericks shot 51 percent from the field, scored 115 points in double overtime and still came up short courtesy of 28 turnovers that the Celtics converted into 32 points.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Kevin Garnett vs. Chris Kaman: These are the kind of games when Garnett's ability to stretch the floor from the center position should pay huge dividends for the Celtics.

WHAT WE SAW: Garnett got off to a fast start by making his first three shots from the field and finished with 16 points to go with just two rebounds. Kaman had a good but not great night as well, scoring 12 points to go with five rebounds.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Rajon Rondo has a mismatch most nights, but Derek Fisher presents a different kind of challenge. He doesn't have the athleticism to hold his own against Rondo, but he is a crafty veteran who knows how to play the game at the highest levels and be successful with it.

WHAT WE SAW: Rondo was doing what Rondo does, and that's chipping in with big numbers in all the major statistical categories. He came one rebound shy of a triple-double by tallying 16 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds.

STAT TO TRACK: Bench scoring has picked up lately for Boston, a trend they will need to continue against a Mavs team that gets a lot of point production from its second unit. Dallas' bench averages 42 points scored per game which ranks third in the league among bench units while the Celtics are just 20th with a 30.3 points per game average from their backups.

WHAT WE SAW: The Mavericks' second unit out-scored Boston's backups 41-32, but the C's got some much-needed production from Chris Wilcox (10 points, six rebounds) that was huge in softening the blow that the Celtics normally take when Kevin Garnett sits down for a rest.

Celtics waive guard/forward John Holland

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Celtics waive guard/forward John Holland

BOSTON –  The Boston Celtics moved one step closer towards trimming down its overcrowded roster with the waiving of John Holland.

The 27-year-old would have gone into training camp with a very slim shot at making the roster. He signed a two-year deal that would have been worth $874,636 for the 2016-2017 season.

However, the contract was non-guaranteed and would have more than likely been used as part of a potential trade.

But no such deal materialized.

So rather than have the 6-foot-5 guard/forward in training camp with the odds heavily stacked against him making the team, Boston waived him now so that he has enough time to either go to training camp with another NBA team or sign with a team overseas.

Holland, who starred at Boston University, has already played overseas in France, Spain and Turkey in addition to having played with the Development League’s Canton Charge last season.

He played in one game for the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics now have 18 players in training camp, 16 of which have guaranteed contracts.

LeBlanc's ability to play the football could help him earn spot with Patriots

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LeBlanc's ability to play the football could help him earn spot with Patriots

FOXBORO -- Not long after Cre'Von LeBlanc made a hard-to-fathom, one-handed interception in New England's preseason opener against the Saints, Patriots coach Bill Belichick labeled the play "special." Then he delved a little more deeply into LeBlanc's practice performances with the team to that point.

"Day in and day out, he's been pretty consistent for us going all the way back to the spring," Belichick said at the time. "I'd say his instinctiveness, his ability to be around the ball, his anticipation and ability to recognize routes maybe offset some of the testing numbers that aren't elite . . . Knowing how to play -- he has got some of that. He finds the ball. Or the ball finds him. However you want to look at it."

LeBlanc has seen more preseason targets (20) than any other corner in the NFL thus far, according to Pro Football Focus, and he's allowed nine receptions for 95 yards. His percentage of targets caught (45 percent) is the third-best of any corner with at least 15 targets, and he's allowed a quarterback rating of 38.5 when targeted.

The undrafted rookie out of Florida Atlantic has one pass breakup to go along with his eye-popping pick, and his ability to make plays on the football -- something he flashed in one-on-one drills throughout training camp -- is something that may allow him to earn a spot on the team's 53-man roster.

When asked to explain the value of a player who seems to have a knack for finding the football, Belichick said it can be a difficult skill to assess. It may seem, at times, like a player is fortunate to make those kinds of plays at first. But if they happen again, and again, you might just have something.

"It's a valuable skill," Belichick said. "Logan Ryan is another guy that did it in college. He has done it here. Some guys have a real knack for that, other guys not as much. Sometimes it's a little bit acquired, sometimes it's just instinctive.

"The best example I ever had was [former Giants corner] Everson Walls. He didn't technically do hardly anything right from a fundamental standpoint. You would never take another player and say, 'Look, do it the way Everson's doing it. This is the way you would want to do it.' But in the end [he had], I don't know, whatever it was, 56 career interceptions. It was a lot. It was over 50. He did things, but he could find the ball and he had a great instinct for quarterbacks, routes, pattern combinations and so forth. Certainly it wasn't a speed and measurable thing. You would have released him on those measurable. That's whyhe wasn't drafted. But as a football player he's productive.

"When I was in Detroit, Lem Barney . . . same kind of thing. Lem probably had better measurable skills coming out, but at that point he made a lot of plays and he made them on his instinctiveness, ball skills, awareness, etc.

"Ty [Law], I mean Ty was a first-round pick, but Ty had that too. There are a lot of first-round picks that don't have that and he had that.

"It's definitely an important skill, and it really probably separates good from great players or average to good players. It's not the easiest thing to evaluate, and sometimes some of those plays are circumstantial more than they are great instinctive plays. They're fortunate the way they happen. But when a guy starts making enough of them then you know it's something a little special."

Time will tell as to whether or not the Patriots believe LeBlanc has that something special. Final roster cuts are due on Sept. 3. He's been included in our latest 53-man roster projection, but he's competing in what appears to be a deep positional group that includes second-year players Justin Coleman and Darryl Roberts as well as fellow undrafted rookie Jonathan Jones.

Celtics’ Jaylen Brown voted most athletic by fellow rookies

Celtics’ Jaylen Brown voted most athletic by fellow rookies

The NBA’s 38 rookies had their annual photo shoot and were polled by NBA.com with a couple of questions about their class. When asked which rookie was the most athletic among them, the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, the No. 3 pick overall last June, won in a landslide.

Here are the results of that question:  

1. Jaylen Brown, Boston -- 38.7%

2. Brice Johnson, L.A. Clippers -- 16.1%

3. Marquese Chriss, Phoenix -- 9.7%

T-4. Malik Beasley, Denver -- 6.5%

Kay Felder, Cleveland -- 6.5%

Gary Payton II, Houston -- 6.5%

Providence guard Kris Dunn, No. 5 pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves was the freshman class’ pick to win rookie of the year honors, with 29 percent of the vote, followed by No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram of the Lakers and No. 1 pick Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Click here for the complete poll.