Ainge still searching for reliable center

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Ainge still searching for reliable center

WALTHAM Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, likes what he sees thus far with his roster.

Ainge ALWAYS likes what he sees with his roster.

But that has never stopped him from adding a player or two if he feels they can help the C's chances of being successful.

And when you look at their roster as it stands now, it's clear that the C's will at the very least, continue to search high and low for a center.

When asked about whether there was a need to add a center, Ainge said, "Yeah, probably so. That would be nice."

But Ainge was quick to add, "not just a big, but someone that can play and is big."

The free agent market on big men is drying up, but there are a couple that are still available that might be good fits with the Celtics.

Although Kwame Brown appears close to re-signing with the Charlotte Bobcats, he is a player that was on the C's radar last summer when he was a free agent. Another possibility is Joel Przybilla who, like Brown, spent last season with the Bobcats.

After giving their 3 million mid-level exception to Chris Wilcox, the Celtics only have veteran minimum contracts to offer free agents or they could try and work out a sign-and-trade similar to what they did to acquire Brandon Bass from Orlando.

"We knew coming into the summer that we had limited resources," Ainge said. "And it's proven to be very challenging. It's been a chaotic week. There's been a lot of time put in. We're still trying to build our roster, but we like the guys we've signed, the team that we have."

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

BOSTON –  For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics were hosting a team eager to get off a losing skid.

But a strong surge near the end of the second quarter gave the Celtics a 65-56 halftime lead over Portland which came into the night having lost four straight.

Boston opened with a 12-4 run capped off by a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder – his second within the game’s first couple minutes.

But the Blazers were being carried by C.J. McCollum, half of the most explosive backcourt in the NBA. His 12 first-quarter points were crucial to keeping the Blazers within 28-26 at the end of the quarter.

McCollum continued to out-perform everyone else on the floor, even Isaiah Thomas who had a quieter than usual first half.

But the 5-foot-9 Thomas continued to make all the plays needed to put the Celtics back on top courtesy of a 12-3 run that put them ahead 57-49 with 1:55 to play in the half.

From there, Boston was able to maintain control of the game.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Saturday’s game.

 

STARS

C.J. McCollum

While there’s still talk about whether Damian Lillard will be an All-Star this year, McCollum has played well enough to where he’s at least worthy of a mention in the All-Star conversation. He certainly carried Portland in the first half with 26 points on 8-for-12 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

As usual, Thomas drew a considerable amount of attention from the opposing defense. And slowly but surely, he found cracks that he could exploit. At the half, he had 17 points, four assists and three rebounds, one of which was an offensive board that he put-back in for a lay-up.

 

STUDS

Jae Crowder

He put the Celtics on a good path from the outset, knocking down a couple 3’s in the first couple of minutes. He finished the half with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting which included a trio of 3-pointers.

Meyers Leonard

He was 3-for-4 in the first half which included a pair of powerful dunks over Boston’s Jordan Mickey. At the half he had eight points and two rebounds.

 

DUDS

Damian Lillard

It was a rough half for the two-time All-Star, tallying just three points on 1-for-5 shooting. A big part of his problem? Foul trouble. He played just 10 minutes in the first half due in large part to having three personal fouls.