Celtics-Heat: Six stats for Game 6


Celtics-Heat: Six stats for Game 6

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat will face off in a critical Game 6 on Thursday night at TD Garden. The Celtics lead the Eastern Conference series, 3-2, after winning the last three games including a key victory in Miami in Game 5. Here are six stats to keep in mind for this Game 6 battle.

1) The Celtics will play Game 6 on Thursday, June 7. The Cs are 1-0 on that day of the week. They eliminated the Atlanta Hawks in the first round on Thursday, April 26. The last time the Celtics played on June 7 was during the 1987 NBA Finals. They defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, 109-103, in Game 3 at the Boston Garden.

2) With a win over the Heat in Game 5, the Celtics improved to 9-0 this postseason when leading or tied after the third quarter. They have not consistently maintained halftime leads (7-5 when up or tied after two), but once they get ahead in the third, they have never faltered. In contrast, they are 2-7 when trailing after three.

3) How Important are Fast Starts? If youre going by the stats, jumping out early hasnt made that much of a difference. The Celtics are 5-3 in the playoffs when they have a leadare tied after the first quarter, and are similarly 6-4 when behind after one.

4) Forget about the century mark, reaching 90 points for the Celtics has been key. They are 8-1 when scoring 90 or more points and 3-6 when posting 89 or less. The Heat are actually averaging 0.4 points more per game than the Celtics in the series, but over the Cs last three wins, they are outscoring the Heat, 96.0 points to 90.1.

5) Rajon Rondo has moved up NBA postseason assist leader rankings during the Celtics run. He is currently ranked 19th all-time in NBA postseason dimes (821) and fifth among active players. He needs just five assists to pass Celtics Hall of Famer John Havlicek and Chauncey Billups for 17th on the all-time list.

What is more noteworthy is how quickly Rondo has accumulated the dimes, appearing in just his fifth postseason. Take a look at how he compares to those near him on the active leader charts.

1. Jason Kidd: 1239 assists, 16 postseasons
2. Steve Nash: 1052 assists, 11 postseasons
3. Kobe Bryant: 1040 assists, 15 postseasons
4. Chauncey Billups: 825 assists, 11 postseasons
5. Rajon Rondo: 821 assists, 5 postseasons
6. Tony Parker: 777 assists, 11 postseasons
7. LeBron James: 728 assists, 7 postseasons
8. Tim Duncan: 640 assists, 14 postseasons
9. Derek Fisher: 570 assists, 14 postseasons
10. Dwyane Wade: 550 assists, 8 postseasons

6) Will LeBron Deliver? LeBron James is 1-3 in his last four Game 6 appearances in which his team has trailed in the series, 3-2. See how James has performed in similar Game 6 situations, including two previous games in Boston.

Game 6: 2011 NBA Finals
Dallas Mavericks 105 Miami Heat 95
(Mavs won NBA title)
James: 40 minutes, 21 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists

Game 6: 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals
Boston Celtics 94 Cleveland Cavaliers 85
(Celtics moved on to Conference Finals)
James: 46 minutes, 27 points, 19 rebounds, 10 assists

Game 6: 2009 Eastern Conference Finals
Orlando Magic 103 Cleveland Cavaliers 90
(Magic advanced to NBA Finals)
James: 45 minutes, 25 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists

Game 6: 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals
Cleveland Cavaliers 74 Boston Celtics 69
(Cavs forced a Game 7, which the Celtics won)
James: 47 minutes, 32 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists

Thomas excited for reunion with Green


Thomas excited for reunion with Green

WALTHAM, Mass. -- When the phone rang this summer, Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas had to do a double-take when he saw the name on the caller ID.

It was Gerald Green, his ex-teammate in Phoenix.

Although they only shared a locker room for 45 games in Phoenix, the two became quick friends.

On the court they developed instant chemistry while coming off the Suns bench. And that bond spilled off the court as Green would later spend time with Thomas in the Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. area in the summer months.

They were cool with each other, cool enough to where Thomas knew it wasn’t in Green’s nature to pick up the phone and call just to say hi.

“Gerald doesn’t call anybody,” Thomas said. “When he called I knew something was up.”

Green said Boston, the team that drafted him in 2006 straight out of high school, was interested in bringing him back for a second stint with the club.

“I tried to put my two cents in and he got here,” Thomas said.

There were several factors that led Green back to Boston, with a chance to reunite with Thomas being high on that list.

Green, already in Phoenix at the time the Suns signed Thomas in 2014, was impressed with the way the 5-9 guard carried himself.

“He was a genuine guy, came in really humble,” Green said. “I saw the talent was there. I knew he had the potential to be one of the best point guards in this league.”

Thomas certainly made a case for such lofty praise with how he performed last season, good enough to earn his first all-star selection.

What really stuck out to Green was that Thomas’ mentality and approach to the game was almost a carbon copy of his own.

“When we stepped on the court we had the same mentality,” Green said. “By any means necessary, get a bucket and play harder than the next team; just try and push the first team, make the first team better every day.”

Thomas was coming off the bench, showing lots of potential and promise that he could carry a heavier load if given an opportunity to do so.

He averaged 15.2 points, 3.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 25.7 minutes off the Suns bench in 46 games. Even more significant was that when Thomas did play for the Suns, they were 26-20.

In the games without him, they were just 13-23.

Green was admittedly disappointed they traded away Thomas, believing that season would have had a very different outcome had they not sent him to Boston.

And just like Green recognized Thomas’ skills and how much his team could have benefited from keeping him around, Thomas speaks in glowing terms about Green and what his return to Boston means for the team.

“We needed someone like him; a guy that could shoot the ball, a guy that could space the floor; instant scorer whether he starts or comes off the bench,” Thomas said. “Where the he starts or come off the bench. He’s going to really help us.”

Horford, Johnson wasting no time in developing chemistry

Horford, Johnson wasting no time in developing chemistry

WALTHAM, Mass. – When the news came out that Al Horford was going to be a Boston Celtic, Amir Johnson couldn’t wait to meet his new teammate.

He didn’t have to.

Johnson soon found himself on plane headed to Atlanta to not only work out with Horford, but also try and work out some of the kinks that tend to come up among new teammates in those early days of training camp.

“I took it upon myself when I saw Al was part of the team, I automatically wanted to go down to Atlanta and work,” said Johnson who added that he brought his daughter along for the trip and they went to dinner with Horford’s family during the visit. “I thought it was great just to get that chemistry going. I just wanted to get to known him, make him feel comfortable.”

It’s still early in training camp, but Johnson and Horford seem to be meshing quite well on the floor. 

“The chemistry’s definitely coming along,” Johnson said. “I know when Al wants to roll or pop, and just working my way around it. Al’s more of a popper and eventually he’ll roll. It’s up to me to read whether I stay up or work the baseline.”

Johnson has been in the NBA long enough to know that often the keys to success are subtle nuances that may be overlooked by fans and spectators, but players know are essential to them being successful.

Being able to not only understand a player’s game but figure out how to play well with them, are critical to teammates being successful.

Last season, Johnson was Boston’s primary rim-protecting big man which is a role the 29-year-old Johnson has been cast in the last few years he was in Toronto. Horford brings a similar set of defensive skills to the table which gives Boston a true 1-2 defensive punch along the frontline.

“It’s big time,” Johnson said. “We communicate to each other. It’s all about communication out there; just knowing he can hold it down and he trusts me to hold it down. It’s key.”


Gerald Green is expected to get a few more days to rest his hip flexor injury which he said on Thursday was feeling better.

The injury should keep the 6-6 wing from participating in the team’s Green-White scrimmage on Friday, but it isn’t considered serious.

Still, Green is eager to get back and return to full contact work which is why he is getting a steady diet of treatments during the day and returning in the evening for more treatments from the Celtics’ medical staff.

“It’s almost like a precautionary thing; make sure it doesn’t get worst,” Green said.

The injury occurred earlier this week but Green could not pinpoint exactly what he did to suffer the injury.

“I don’t think I stretched properly,” Green said. “I’m not 25 no more. Just try to come out there and go at full speed. Those are things I’ve got to learn now I’m in my 30s.”
Indeed, one of the many benefits of being older now is that Green sees the big picture of things better now, which is why he isn’t trying to rush back to the floor too quickly.

As a veteran, it’s a long season,” Green said. “You’re not trying to do too much to make it worst. Training camp is important, but being healthy at the beginning of the season is even more important.”


Near the end of Thursday’s practice, the Celtics had a full court game of 3-on-3 involving some of the team’s rookies and end-of-the-bench training camp invitees like Jalen Jones of Texas A&M. The 6-7 undrafted rookie had a dunk over Jordan Mickey, a 3-pointer and another strong, uncontested flush at the rim in a matter of minutes. He’s likely to wind up with Boston’s Developmental League team, the Maine Red Claws.

With Thursday morning’s session being the team’s fifth practice this season, head coach Brad Stevens thought it was a good idea to get some of the team’s younger players on the court.

“It was good to play some 3-on-3,” said Stevens who added that it was good for their conditioning since a lot of the running at this point involves trying to get the starters and the likely rotation players as acclimated and familiar with one another as possible. “We try to do that occasionally even through the season just to get everybody up and down.”


Five practices in the books and there’s only one thing that really has stood out to the eyes of Isaiah Thomas.

It’s turnovers.

Apparently the Celtics haven’t committed too many thus far.

“We haven’t turned the ball over as much as teams usually do the first couple of days,” Thomas said. “We’re trying to learn the system, trying to get everybody familiar with what we do. But we’ve been playing well together. Guys are playing hard. Guys have gotten better, worked on their game.”

Ball-handling will be one of the areas to watch during the preseason as the Celtics look to find a replacement for Evan Turner (Portland) who has been one of the team’s best ball-handlers the past couple of seasons.

The Celtics were middle-of-the-pack last season with 13.5 turnovers per game which ranked 14th in the NBA.

Low turnovers often serve as a common trait among playoff teams. Just last season, eight of the top-nine teams in fewest turnovers committed, were in the playoffs.