Celtics-Heat Game 3 review: What we saw . . .


Celtics-Heat Game 3 review: What we saw . . .

BOSTON Miami's LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for more fouls committed (8) than free throw attempts (5).

That right there tells you all you need to know about the Boston Celtics' 101-91 Game 3 win over the Miami Heat.

It was one of the few times all season that Miami's dynamic duo didn't spend much time at the free throw line.

Making matters worse, the five free throw attempts - all by James - only resulted in one point.

"We'll be more aggressive and we'll find ways to get to the rim and to the free-throw line next game," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "We're not getting into anything else."

Prior to Game 3, the Celtics made no secret about their displeasure with how the first two games had been called in terms of fouls and free throw attempts.

On Friday, Boston had 26 free throw attempts compared to 20 for the Heat.

In the two previous games, Boston had a total of 50 free throw attempts compared to 70 for the Heat.

The lack of free throws, from the Heat perspective at least, had more to do with them not being as assertive offensively as they had been in the first two games in Miami.

"We settled a bit tonight," said Heat guard Mario Chalmers. "We weren't getting things to go our way, so we started settling for jumpers."

Regardless as to why it happened, it doesn't change the fact that the Heat's two primary sources for getting to the line - James and Wade - were not able to do so. As big a factor as that was in the game's outcome, it wasn't the only one. Here are other keys outlined prior to Boston's Game 3 win, and how those factors contributed to the game's final outcome.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Coming off the kind of performance Rajon Rondo had in Game Two, you can expect the Heat to look at ways to not allow him to be such a dominant force. Do not be surprised if Rondo sees more double-teams along with the Heat making a more concerted effort to get the ball out of Rondo's hands. "(Rondo) almost single-handedly beat us," said Heat forward Shane Battier.

WHAT WE SAW: The Heat didn't really treat Rondo any differently in terms of attention. It was clear early on that Rondo, much like he did in Game 2, was intent on taking whatever the defense gave him. For most of the game, he was not given nearly as much of a cushion to shoot the ball. And when he drove, Miami was sending more bodies his way then they did in Game Two. But when all was said and done, Rondo had a strong night with 21 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Kevin Garnett vs. Ronny Turiaf: The Heat fully understand and accept that they will not win this matchup. But what they have been able to do in the first two games is make Garnett work hard for all his points, limiting him primarily to scoring from the perimeter which is not what the Celtics want. One of the reasons Boston was able to move past both Atlanta and Philadelphia in the playoffs, was because of Garnett's ability to impact the game as a scorer or a passer, from the post. That has not been the case in the first two games against Miami, a trend the C's need to stop if they are to get back into this series.

WHAT WE SAW: Garnett once again had his way with Turiaf and the entire Heat team, getting a good chunk of his scoring inside the paint as Miami was seemingly helpless in stopping him from scoring 24 points to go with 11 rebounds. "You don't want to be down 3-0 to a team like this," Garnett said.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Brandon Bass has to continue to find ways to maximize his minutes on the floor, knowing his playing time will be somewhat limited because of the Celtics success with a small ball lineup that more often than not, doesn't include him. The best way for him to get more minutes, is to do what he does best and that is to knock down mid-range jumpers. During the regular season, only four players (Dirk Nowitzki, Carlos Boozer, Russell Westbrook and Kobe Bryant) took more mid-range jumpers (15-19 feet) than Bass. It has been more of the same in the playoffs, where Bass ranks third in 15-19 foot shots taken, trailing only Westbrook and teammate Kevin Garnett. And with the Heat doing so much switching defensively, there's a very good chance that he'll at various points in the game have a matchup that's decidedly in his favor.

WHAT WE SAW: Bass never got into any kind of flow or rhythm, in large part because he spent more time on the bench than usual due to early foul trouble. He finished with five fouls which limited him to just four points on 1-for-3 shooting.

STAT TO TRACK: The 3-point shot was never a real weapon of choice for the Miami Heat during the regular season, which explains why they were ranked just 20th in the regular season in 3-pointers made per game (5.6). They have been better in the playoffs in that category, ranking fifth with 6.2 3s made per game. Two games into this series, and Miami's ability to connect on the long ball has played a major role in both Miami victories. Boston's ability to limit the Heat's effectiveness from 3-point range will go far in their effort to win Game Three.

WHAT WE SAW: Miami connected on 5-for-17 of its 3s, but the majority of them came when the game was out of reach and the Celtics defense, playing with a sizable cushion, seemed to ease up just a little bit.

Celtics break ground on new practice facility


Celtics break ground on new practice facility

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- When it comes to finding ways to attract the best talent, colleges and universities often seek to upgrade their training facilities as an enticement to prospective players.
So why should it be any different at the pro level?
The Boston Celtics had a groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning for The Auerbach Center at New Balance Headquarters.
“When you think he was hired in 1966 and they’re still honoring him, it’s very humbling,” said Randy Auerbach, Red’s daughter.
New Balance officials echoed similar sentiments about the legendary Red Auerbach, the architect of arguably the greatest dynasty in professional basketball.
“Red Auerbach was a true entrepreneur whose passion for winning and dedication to the sport of basketball and the Boston Celtics was equally matched with his commitment to people and his local community,” said Jim Davis, Chairman and Owner at New Balance.  “New Balance is extremely proud to join with the Boston Celtics in honoring his professional achievements and personal values through ‘Red’s House’ at our Boston world headquarters.”
Celtics president Rich Gotham cited several benefits to moving the team to a state-of-the-art practice facility closer to Boston.
Among the reasons given was the potential for the practice facility to be a potential enticement for free agents.
“Players spend more time in the practice facility than they do in the arena they play in certainly, and maybe more than they do at home,” Gotham said. “So having a place where they feel comfortable, a place where they want to spend time to improve themselves across the board … it’s all coming together in a pretty big way. The best players know it’s integral to their success that make sure that support is there, that infrastructure is there. So when we’re out talking to a player, we’re going to be talking about this practice facility we’re building. Because we do think it’s an important part of our story.”
Some of the features of the new practice facility will include:
·  Two state-of-the-art parquet floor basketball courts where the team will practice
·  Leading edge audio-visual technology throughout the facility
·  Expanded strength and conditioning, training, and recovery facilities
·  Best-in-class locker rooms and players’ lounge
·  Physical therapy areas including hydrotherapy pools
·  Sports science and nutrition facilities
·  Expanded media work room, press conference and broadcast facilities
·  A flexible hospitality area designed for community relations activities, partner gatherings and other guest events
·  Work space for the team’s coaching and basketball front office staffs
While the facility will have all the bells and whistles you would come to expect in a new facility, Gotham said there will be a balance of sorts struck between that and the franchise’s longstanding history.
“What will be clear is it will be … at that intersection of, which is a strange intersection, of innovation but honoring our tradition,” Gotham said. “This will be a building that’s state-of-the-art, moving forward. But at the same time, I think one of the things we’re lucky to have is this treasure trove of great guys who came before us who left great wisdom and great quotes. You can see a lot of that built in. Coach Stevens is big on having motivational phrases around for the guys to see every single day when they come in for practice. If those come from Red Auerbach and Bill Russell, all the better. You’ll see us incorporating those kind of things.”   

Celtics waive R.J. Hunter as James Young makes roster


Celtics waive R.J. Hunter as James Young makes roster

BOSTON – One way or another, R.J. Hunter or James Young was not going to be a Boston Celtic by the end of the day Monday.
The Celtics made their choice by waiving Hunter just hours before the NBA deadline to trim their roster down to 15 players.
Hunter began to show signs of coming around near the end of training camp, but his improved play would eventually be too little too late.

This is certainly good news for Young, who like Hunter, made it clear that he wanted to remain with the Celtics. But it by no means should be seen as a victory for Young who is entering his third NBA season.
The 21-year-old is now part of the 15-man roster, but it still doesn’t address the issue of him playing better to where the Celtics might actually use him with some degree of regularity.
If not for Kelly Olynyk’s shoulder injury, which will keep him out of action until next month, there was a decent chance that Young would begin the season on the inactive roster. But to Young’s credit, he showed a level of dedication to the game that the Celtics had not seen before. He spent most of this past summer in Boston working on his game, trying to get physically stronger. During the preseason, his level of commitment to improving was noticeable as well.
And when he did get a chance to play in the preseason, he did a lot of little things really well, showing the kind of improvement that ultimately put him a leg up on Hunter whom the Celtics drafted last year with the 28th overall pick.
If Hunter isn’t claimed, he becomes an unrestricted free agent who can then sign with any team of his choosing. Do not be surprised if Hunter is claimed off waivers by a team which then assigns him to their Development League affiliate, similar to what the Celtics did with Ryan Kelly over the weekend.