Celtics finding success going through Garnett, Bass

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Celtics finding success going through Garnett, Bass

BOSTON -- Even with his nagging injury, the Philadelphia 76ers have not backed off of Ray Allen during the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

He has faced double teams and intense pressure when the ball is in his hands in spite of the fact that he is already hampered by his ankle. The 76ers have done the same to Paul Pierce, who is also battling a knee injury.

As a result of defensive efforts and health challenges, Allen is averaging just 8.4 points per game while shooting 42.1 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from long range. Pierce scored just seven points in Game 2 of the series, averaging 17.0 points (38.6 FG, 36.8 3PG) overall.

With Allen and Pierce limited offensively, the Celtics have turned their bigs in what Allen dubbed a Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett series.

Garnett posted double-doubles in the first three games of the series and is averaging 20.0 points and 10.6 rebounds. In the Celtics Game 5 victory on Monday, Bass scored a postseason career-high 27 points, including 22 in the second half.

They just are doing everything they can to me and Paul to keep us from having any impact on the offensive end, Allen said after Game 5. Typical defensive stunts they typically make, theyre not making it so what were trying to do -- me more so than anybody, trying to put me in good positions where guys can utilize their lack of help coming off my man.

Anywhere Im on the floor, theres always a gap, so were trying to utilize that. With Paul, theyre double-teaming, both of us theyre double-teaming, and pick-and-rolls. Thats where Kevins wide open, Brandons wide open, and (Rajon) Rondo can get in those gaps. We cant hold on to the ball. We have to make those quick passes and we allow the next guy to be a playmaker.

As the Celtics look to wrap up the series in Game 6 on Wednesday in Philadelphia, the veteran squad understands it doesnt matter who scores as long as they get the win. Their offense starts with their defense, a foundation the entire squad is committed to.

We dont worry about the offensive end- we create it with the defense, said Allen. Here in this particular situation, were not really worried about whos scoring, whos doing whatever on the floor. Its just, lets win the game. We know our plays, we know the sequence of plays we need to run.

With that, right now this is a Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett series. Rondo understands it. Me and Paul understand it. Were making whatever plays we need to make to get those guys shots and they end up being the playmakers. Theyve done a great job of it.

Report: Ainge in Israel this weekend scouting Dragan Bender

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Report: Ainge in Israel this weekend scouting Dragan Bender

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and his son, Austin Ainge, the team’s director of player personnel, will be in Israel this weekend scouting Dragan Bender, the potential No. 3 pick in the draft, the Boston Herald reported. 

Bender, a 7-foot-1, 18-year-old from Croatia, won’t be playing in games this weekend but will be practicing for Maccabi Tel Aviv.  Bender is a bench player for Maccabi, averaging 4.3 points and 2.6 rebounds. Still, his size and potential to develop  have him projected to go as high as No. 3.

Here’s CSN’s scouting report of Bender.

Danny Ainge was in Croatia earlier this week scouting 6-11 Ante Zizic. 

 

Report: 76ers look to deal Okafor or Noel in draft trade

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Report: 76ers look to deal Okafor or Noel in draft trade

There’s a high likelihood the Philadelphia 76ers will trade Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel in connection with the June 23 draft, in which the Sixers hold the No. 1 pick, ESPN’s Chad Ford reported.

The Celtics, who have the No. 3 pick, have been rumored to be willing to part with it in a deal that includes Okafor.

Ford said in an interview with Philadelphia-area radio station ESPN 97.3:

You will not see the Nerlens Noel-Jahlil Okafor pairing at the start of next season. I think that they'll gauge the interest of both players. I think that there might be a slight preference for Noel, to keep him around with the Sixers, and I think you might be right, there might be a slight, better value for Okafor out on the market, but I think everyone agrees that that combination of those two players doesn't necessarily work.

The Sixers are expected to choose LSU’s Ben Simmons or Duke’s Brandon Ingram with the top pick.  Ford and Marc Stein also reported Philly’s willingness to deal Okafor or Noel in this ESPN article. 

As a deal with the Celtics for the No. 3 pick, Ford told 97.3:

Absolutely…If I was Philadelphia, it would be done tomorrow. I don't know if Boston would do it, but for Philadelphia, 100 percent. That would allow them to actually I think bring in another guard, an elite guard, whether that's Kris Dunn or Jamal Murray, and suddenly now you've got a very, very bright future. I think that's an easy call for the Sixers if Boston would do it.