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.

Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

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Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Pinpointing the exact moment Al Horford made up his mind to become a Boston Celtics isn’t clear, but the seeds of that decision can be traced back to last year’s playoffs – and no we’re not talking about the playoff series between Boston and Atlanta, either.
 
It was the Hawk’s second-round playoff series back in May against Cleveland, a team that swept them out of the Conference finals in 2015 and did so again last about five months ago.
 
Horford had every intention of returning to Atlanta, but as the free agency period wore on two things became quite clear: Winning an NBA title would have to go through Cleveland and it happening with him in Atlanta was becoming more and more unlikely.
 
In came the Celtics with a pitch that was heavy on present-day and down-the-road potential that wouldn’t require him to do anything other than continue to play the way he has for the past nine seasons.
 
“It (becoming a Celtic) became real for me real late and real quick,” Horford told CSNNE.com on Wednesday.
 
After mulling it over for a couple days, Horford said he was ready to become a Celtic.
 
“This could be a great opportunity even though I’m leaving a lot behind,” Horford said.
 
As you listen to Horford speak, it’s clear that the Celtics mystique played a role in his decision to sign with Boston.

 But as much as the Celtics’ lore and its on-the-rise status helped, there were certain events that Boston had no control over that actually helped their cause.
 
First the Hawks got in on a three-team trade in June with Utah and Indiana which sent Hawks All-Star point guard Jeff Teague to the Pacers while Atlanta received Utah’s first-round pick which was 12th overall and was used by Atlanta to select Baylor’s Taurean Prince. The move allowed Atlanta’s Dennis Schroeder to slide over into the now-vacant starting point guard position.
 
While it may help Atlanta down the road, it did little to move them closer towards knocking off Cleveland anytime soon.
 
And then there was the Hawks coming to terms on a three-year, $70.5 million deal with Dwight Howard early in the free agency period. That deal coupled with Atlanta’s desire to bring Kent Bazemore back, cast serious doubt as to whether Horford would return.
 
Horford, who inked a four-year, $113 million deal with Boston, told CSNNE.com that at the time of Atlanta’s deal with Howard, he was still open to the idea of returning.
 
But if Horford did, he knew figuring out the best way to play him, Howard and Paul Millsap who by the way has a player option that he’s likely to exercise which would make him a free agent next summer, was not going to be easy.

“It was definitely going to be different,” Horford said, then adding, “For me, the Celtics were becoming more and more a realistic option. After talking with my family, we felt this was the best for me.”
 
And while it’s still very early in his tenure as a Celtic, Horford has no regrets or second thoughts about his decision.
 
“As a player you always want to be in the best position you can,” Horford said. “I felt for me being on this team would put me in a position to be able to contend and win an NBA championship. That’s my ultimate goal.”
 
And that alone makes him a good fit with this franchise which from ownership to the front office to the coaching staff and of course the players, are all focused on one thing and that’s bringing home Banner 18.
 
 “Look at the resume. He’s been a winner wherever he’s played,” said Boston’s Amir Johnson. “It’s good to have a guy like that, with his talent and with his winning, playing next to you.”