Celtics dominate Nets, 115-85

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Celtics dominate Nets, 115-85

BROOKLYN, N.Y. The Boston Celtics finally delivered the kind of defensive performance that even the pickiest connoisseur of that brand of basketball would be pleased to see as Boston pulled away for a 115-85 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
It was easily the best showing by the Celtics (2-4) defensively during the preseason, a game that began with a pair of forced turnovers by Boston within the first minute of play.
That helped the C's jump out to a 9-0 lead which ballooned to as many as 19 points in the first half before Boston settled on a 59-44 lead at the half.
Prior to the game, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers expressed his concern about his team's play defensively.
"I'm not sure who we are yet," Rivers said. "I'm not sure what we are yet.
And while the Celtics have been praised by many for the offensive-minded talent they have assembled around their core group, Rivers said, "I think we suck so far defensively. We can't lose that part of anything. If you're not about defense, you're not winning in this league."
That point clearly hit home with the Celtics starters, who set the tone with a suffocating brand of basketball that has been absent most of the preseason until now.
In that first half of dominance, Boston forced 11 turnovers for 12 points while giving up just three points on four of their own miscues.
And that defense allowed Boston to get out and run and for a change, it wasn't just Rondo by himself, either.
In fact, there were multiple sequences in which Lee or another Celtic player were ahead of Rondo in transition -- a rarity in past seasons.
The only downside for the Celtics came on the injury front.
In the second quarter, Paul Pierce nailed a 3-pointer but landed on the foot of Gerald Wallace. He limped off the floor and eventually went back to the locker room along with trainer Ed Lacerte, to get his left ankle re-taped. Pierce did return in the third quarter, and showed no ill effects from the ankle injury.
In fact, Pierce drilled a huge 3-pointer that made it a 76-61 and followed that up by drawing a charge moments later. He finished with 18 points and five rebounds.
The news wasn't as good for Brandon Bass, who suffered a bruised right knee injury that kept him on the bench for the entire second half. The injury doesn't appear to be too serious; at least not serious enough to keep him out of the lineup on Saturday when the C's travel to Albany, N.Y. to play the New York Knicks.

Ainge: Isaiah Thomas is ‘our leprechaun’

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Ainge: Isaiah Thomas is ‘our leprechaun’

The Celtics will be represented at the NBA Draft Lottery by guard Isaiah Thomas. Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge discussed this and more on Wednesday.

Celtics like Butler, but Bulls not making him easy to acquire

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Celtics like Butler, but Bulls not making him easy to acquire

BOSTON – It’s no secret that the Boston Celtics are among the many teams that would love to swing a deal to acquire Chicago’s Jimmy Butler.

Well for now at least, it appears the Bulls aren’t willing to budge off moving their all-star small forward.

A league source tells CSNNE.com that the Bulls, while still open to listening to offers for Butler, are telling teams that are inquiring about his availability that their plan for now is to keep him in the fold.

And while there was some thought that a top-3 pick coupled with a few decent players might be enough to entice the Bulls to pull the trigger on a deal to trade Butler, CSNNE.com has been told such an offer would have to include at least one “legitimate, NBA starter” for the Bulls to even possibly consider trading him.

“And that might be a stretch,” the source indicated.

Any deal involving Butler to Boston from Chicago’s perspective, would most likely have to include Jae Crowder who is one of the best bargains in the NBA – and will be so for years to come.

With the increased salary cap on the horizon this summer for teams, the five-year, $35 million deal Crowder signed last summer is looking like an absolute steal on the Celtics’ part.

Meanwhile, Butler just completed the first year of a five-year, $92.3 million contract which raises questions if you’re the Celtics as to whether the difference in their salaries makes doing such a deal worth it.

If you’re the Celtics, such a deal would be a significant bump in paid-out salaries but it would also better position Boston to acquire a second superstar a la Kevin Durant who will be a free agent this summer.

There are a number of options for the Celtics to consider in their current rebuilding process, with one possibility being to fall back on the ‘07 “blueprint for success.”

Boston used the No. 5 overall pick (Jeff Green) as part of a trade with Seattle (now Oklahoma City) that helped the Celtics land Ray Allen.

A couple of months later, Boston was able to engineer a trade for Kevin Garnett who played for Minnesota at the time.

And the rest was Banner 17 history.

Without acquiring Allen, there was no way the Celtics were going to land Garnett.

And if the goal for the Celtics is to catapult itself to being a title contender sooner rather than later, they’re going to have to acquire an elite, all-star caliber talent before they have a serious shot at Durant.

Could Butler be this year’s Ray Allen?

At this point, the Bulls have no intention of allowing that to happen.

More likely than not, the Celtics will have to go in a different direction which may result in Boston pulling off a deal for Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins.

Like the Bulls, the Kings are saying all the right things now about not wanting to trade him.

Celtics work out Finney-Smith, five others on Wednesday

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Celtics work out Finney-Smith, five others on Wednesday

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Boston Celtics brought in six players for workouts on Wednesday. Here’s a glimpse at each player, all of whom are considered potential second-round selections or prospects likely to go undrafted.
 

Dorian Finney-Smith

6-8, 220, Florida

Position: Forward

Summary: Was second-team All-SEC by coaches and third-team all-conference by the AP. Led Gators in scoring (14.3) and rebounds (8.3) for the second and third consecutive seasons, respectively.

Projected draft status: Second round.

 

Quincy Ford

6-8, 225, Northeastern

Position: Guard/Forward

Summary: Averaged 16.4 points, 7.0 rebounds while shooting 34.8 percent on 3s. Underwent season-ending back surgery that sidelined him for the 2013-2014 season. Bounced back with a pair of solid seasons, the last of which earned him a spot of on the NABC All-District Second team as well as the All-CAA Second team.

Projected draft status: Late second, undrafted.

 

Marcus Georges-Hunt

6-5, 216, Georgia Tech

Position: Guard

Summary: Averaged 16.7 points, shooting 45.4 percent from the field while dishing out a team-high 3.3 assists per game. Has a knack for getting to the free throw line, evident by him ranking 13th in free throws made and 18th in free throw attempts.

Projected draft status: Undrafted, maybe late second round.

 

Sheldon McClellan

6-5, 200, Miami

Position: Guard

Summary: A transfer from Texas, McClellan averaged 16.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists for Miami this past season while shooting 50.4 percent from the field and 40.6 percent on 3s. Has a lot of tools that are intriguing to the NBA, but consistency and decision-making are areas of uncertainty about where he’ll eventually land.

Projected draft status: Second round pick.

 

Mike Tobey

7-0, 260, Virginia

Position: Center

Summary: Turned a few heads during Portsmouth Invitational when he averaged 12 points per game. Appeared in all 37 games this season with Virginia, but only had seven starts. Shot a team-best 60.1 percent from the field and was second on the team with 22 blocked shots.

Projected draft status: Undrafted.

 

Jameel Warney

6-8, 260, Stony Brook

Position: Power forward

Summary: The best player in Stony Brook history, Warney was a double-double machine this season in which he averaged 19.8 points and 10.8 rebounds to go with 3.0 blocked shots. An Honorable mention All-American, Warney was the America East Player and Defensive Player of the Year. Does not have much of a face-the-basket game but does provide a nice strong presence defensively.

Projected draft status: Second round to undrafted.