Class in session at C's camp with Professor KG

776848.jpg

Class in session at C's camp with Professor KG

WALTHAM, Mass. The Celtics practice was over and that same voice
that was barking out instructions most of day, was still at it.

Only now his focus was on the young guys, often the toughest players
to connect with.

But this is Kevin Garnett.

When he barks, young players bite their tongues and listen (most of
them, anyway).

That was indeed the case on Sunday when Garnett spent some
post-practice time with Boston's young bigs.

And to their credit, they were more than eager to soak it all in.

"For him to step out at the end of practice, knowing he's probably
tired and just speaking upon us about things we can do better and work
on means he's a great teammate," said Jared Sullinger, Boston's
first-round pick in June's NBA draft out of Ohio State. "He's been
great so far. I don't expect it to change. It means a lot to us young
guys."

Some of the younger players were apparently not communicating enough
in Sunday's practice, so Garnett did what KG tends to do and that is
to show and tell them exactly what he's looking for and what the C's
will need.

Paul Pierce has known Garnett since they were teenagers, so he's well
aware that Garnett's talent is only trumped by his vast knowledge of
the game.

Having that kind of wisdom and being so willing to pass it on to
younger players, is yet another character trait that sets Garnett
apart from others.

"Every team doesn't have that; that veteran leader that has been
around the block a few times and is going to accept them, take them
under their wing and give them that experience," Pierce said. "He's a
great teacher. He's one of the best to ever play the game. When
Garnett talks, who as a young player doesn't want to listen? And if
you're not listening, then shame on you because this is one of the
best who has ever done it."

In addition to Sullinger, Fab Melo was attentive to Garnett's teachings as well.

"Oh man, it's great," said Melo, who like Sullinger was was drafted in the
first round last June. Melo came out of Syracuse. "Everyday, I watch him play and try to learn everything that he does. After practice, he come to us and explains the stuff we had problems
with. It's great."

But with those explanations comes expectations, Melo said.

"He's tough," Melo said. "With him, if you make a mistake you can't
make the same mistake on the next play because he's going to get at
you. So if you make a mistake, you have to make sure you don't make
the same mistake."

That's not a problem for Melo or Sullinger.

"You know he's doing all this to help you get better, to make us a better team," Sullinger told CSNNE.com. "That's why I said earlier,
he's a great teammate."

But not all the big men that have come through Boston since Garnett's arrival have been so eager to embrace his teachings.

"Those guys don't stick around long," Pierce said. "I have seen those guys, and they're not around here. And you see why."

Melo has heard the tales of such players, which is why he has made it a priority to learn as much as he can from Garnett whenever the opportunity presents itself.

"Maybe some people have so much pride and don't want to listen to people," Melo told CSNNE.com. "But this is a great opportunity for me and I'm not going to get that in my head. He plays the way he does, because he's the best."

Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat

Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat

BOSTON -- There was a bomb threat to the Boston Celtics’ team plane to Oklahoma City on Saturday afternoon, but no one was injured.

The incident will be investigated by NBA security which will work in conjunction with the FBI on this matter which was one of several hoaxes called into airports across the country on Saturday.

News of the bomb threat was first known when Celtics forward Jae Crowder posted an Instagram photo showing players departing the plane with the caption, “BOMB THREAT ON US”.

Celtics officials declined to comment on the matter and instead referred all bomb threat-related questions to the league office.

Messages to the league office were not immediately returned.

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

BOSTON – When it comes to winning basketball, keep it moving – the ball that is – has become a staple of the Celtics this season. 
 
And lately they’ve had to do it without Isaiah Thomas, the team’s leading scorer at 26 points per game as well as their top assists guy (6.2) who will miss hish third game in a row Sunday in Oklahoma City because of a right groin injury.
 
The Celtics have split their first two games without Thomas, with the most recent being a 101-94 home loss to Toronto on Friday.
 
When it comes to this team and ball movement, fans are just as divided when it pertains to whether the Celtics move the ball better without the high-scoring Thomas in the lineup. 
 
Regardless of what fans think they know about this team and how they move the ball, the numbers paint a very clear picture that this team’s ball movement is among the best in the NBA, with or without Thomas in the lineup. 

And that will be important on Sunday against an Oklahoma City team that doesn’t rely on the ball swinging from one side of the floor to the other, nearly as much as the Celtics. 
 
The Thunder, led by MVP candidate Russell Westbrook, are dead-last in the NBA when it comes to passes made per game (267.1). 
 
Meanwhile, the Celtics are at the opposite end of the passing game spectrum, averaging 331.7 passes per game, which is second in the NBA (Philadelphia, 354.3).
 
And in the two games without Thomas, Boston has averaged 347.0 passes per game, which ranks second in the NBA in that period of time. 
 
In addition to missing his points and assists, the Celtics must also find ways to make plays in filling the void left by a player who has the ball in his hands a lot of the time. 
 
Thomas’ usage percentage (percentage of plays used by a player while he’s on the floor) of 32.9 percent ranks seventh in the NBA, ahead of notable stars such as San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (30.9 percent), Portland’s Damian Lillard (30.8 percent), New York’s Carmelo Anthony (29.5 percent), as well as Cleveland’s LeBron James (29 percent) and Golden State’s back-to-back NBA MVP Stephen Curry (28.2 percent).
 
So, considering how involved Thomas has been in the team’s offense, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the numbers in terms of passing and ball movement are better without him than they are when he’s on the floor playing. 
 
What should be surprising is that the gap statistically without him, isn’t greater. 
 
Boston has been a top five team when it comes to assists this season, currently third in the league with 24.7 assists per game. In the past two games without Thomas, the Celtics’ assists numbers have risen to 26.5 per game, but that only ranks fifth in the league in that span.
 
When it comes to potential assists and secondary assists (a.k.a. the “hockey” assist), Boston’s numbers have improved slightly without Thomas as well, but in each category Boston is ranked second in the league. 
 
And that ranking is with, and without Thomas in the lineup. 
 
While it’s not clear if Thomas knows just how close the numbers in terms of ball movement are with and without him playing, he is acutely aware that there are some who believe they are a better team in terms of keeping the ball moving without him.
 
“I can’t control that,” Thomas told reporters on Friday. “At this point, I laugh about it. I know what I mean to my teammates. I know what I mean to this organization, to Brad Stevens.”