OFFSEASON

Dig this: Celtics outlast Nuggets in 3OT, 118-114

994165.jpg

Dig this: Celtics outlast Nuggets in 3OT, 118-114

BOSTON For the fans of the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets who braved the elements and trekked out to the TD Garden Sunday night, they got their money's worth.

Boston and Denver put on a triple-overtime thriller that left everyone feeling good except the Nuggets who could not muster up enough big plays down the stretch and left with a 118-114 triple-overtime loss.

Paul Pierce had his second triple-double of the season with 27 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists while Jason Terry came off the bench to score a season-high 26 points. Boston also got a strong game and some clutch baskets from Jeff Green who had 17 points to go with four rebounds.

The Celtics (27-23) have now won a season-high seven straight, and in doing so ended the Nuggets (33-19) winning streak at nine in a row.

In the third overtime period, it was clear that Kevin Garnett was fed up with this game taking so long.

He went into "I got this" mode, scoring Boston's first six points to put the C's ahead 113-110. Garnett finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds in addition to six assists.

But as well as Garnett played to start the third overtime, the Nuggets once again had an answer.

Danilo Gallinari drilled a high-arcing 3-pointer over Garnett's outstretched hands to tie the game at 113.

And right back came the Celtics with a big shot from Terry to put Boston ahead 116-113 with 1:33 to play.

Gallinari had a pair of free throws with 1:13 to play, making the second to cut Boston's lead to 116-114.

Following a 3-point miss by Andre Miller, the Celtics got the loose ball that wound up in Terry's hands for an uncontested lay-up as time expired.

The game's ending wasn't all that surprising when you consider how it began.

The Celtics could not have drawn up a better start to the game as they opened with the game's first 12 points.

But the Nuggets countered with nine straight of their own.

The Celtics spent the rest of the quarter with a lead, one that they pushed back to double digits (29-19) with a 5-0 spurt to end the first quarter.

Boston's lead remained steady throughout the second quarter, although Denver made multiple mini-spurts that brought them within striking distance.

However, each surge by the Nuggets was matched with a similar push back by the Celtics who took a slim 50-46 lead into the half.

Pierce was on a pace for his second triple-double of the season with nine points, five rebounds and four assists at the half. Kevin Garnett was headed towards his 14th double-double this season with five points and seven rebounds at the half.

Meanwhile the Nuggets were being led by Kenneth Faried and Ty Lawson who each had eight first-half points. Faried finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds while Lawson tallied a game-high 29 points and nine assists.

OFFSEASON

After flurry of moves, Celtics still aren't done

After flurry of moves, Celtics still aren't done

You’re probably thinking the summer fireworks are finished after the Celtics brought back Tyler Zeller, added ex-Celtic Gerald Green, and signed rookies Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil. It’s true, these moves do lower the likelihood of a multifaceted trade, but it doesn’t totally extinguish the odds of something seismic happening.

The Celtics still retain their flexibility, since none of these deals have actually been finalized. Even after they are, they’d still have the pieces required to make a deal work for a superstar like Blake Griffin. It’s not hard to make a valid trade for one player, but it is difficult if it’s a multi-step process like a Russell Westbrook renegotiate-and-extend trade.

“This is not necessarily what the team will be,” a source told the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “There’s probably changes coming.”

Well, yeah. Changes have to come. The Celtics don’t really have a choice here.

Assuming Jaylen Brown is signed, they’ll have 18 players with at least partially guaranteed contracts. So at least three players will have to be exported before the season, since the NBA requires a maximum of 15 players on a roster.

Here’s a look at the Celtics’ current projected depth chart:

  STARTERS BENCH RESERVES ON THE BUBBLE
FRONT COURT Amir Johnson Kelly Olynyk Tyler Zeller  
Al Horford Jonas Jerebko Jordan Mickey Ben Bentil*
Jae Crowder Jaylen Brown* Gerald Green James Young
BACK COURT Avery Bradley Marcus Smart RJ Hunter John Holland*
Isaiah Thomas Terry Rozier Demetrius Jackson  

So, something has to happen. It’s just a matter of what. You can choose to believe the Celtics aren’t actually trying to make a blockbuster move. Or you can choose to believe the signals that have been firing off this month from the Celtics themselves indicating they’re “not done.”

It wouldn’t be difficult for the Celtics to get closer to 15 players by completing a blockbuster trade for a player like Griffin.
 
Perhaps some combination of veterans (Amir Johnson, Avery Bradley, and Jonas Jerebko) with youth (Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, and James Young) and draft picks (2018 Nets pick) could bring in Griffin and Paul Pierce.

Saturday’s moves make sense regardless of any transactions to follow.

Zeller is a bargain at just $8 million as a steadying presence on both ends of the floor. But, if Johnson were dealt, he’d be able to slide right up the depth chart as the team’s backup center.

Green shot 37.2 percent on spot up threes, per SportVU, over the past three years, so he provides spacing as a scorer who can catch fire. Considering Brad Stevens’ track record of sapping every ounce of talent out of each of his players -- hello, Jordan Crawford! -- it’s possible the Celtics will be getting the Green who scored an efficient 15.8 points per game just two years ago in Phoenix, and not the subpar Green who struggled to stay on the court last year in Miami.

If one or two of Boston’s young wings were dealt, Green, on a mere veteran minimum contract, would have an even easier path to playing time as a spark off the bench.

It’s difficult to read into the signings of second-round picks Jackson and Bentil, but either way the should both spend the season developing with the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

The Celtics haven’t made a move yet, but they also haven’t done anything to suggest they’re entirely done. These moves could be precursors to something significant, or not. But at the least they provide depth to an already impressive roster.

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics agree to deals with Zeller and picks Jackson, Bentil

celtics_tyler_zeller_122115.jpg

Report: Celtics agree to deals with Zeller and picks Jackson, Bentil

On a busy Saturday for the Celtics, they have brought back center Tyler Zeller and agreed to deals with draft picks Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reported.

Earlier Saturday, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported that the Celtics will sign guard Gerald Green. 

Himmelsbach reports that Zeller's is a $16 million, two-year deal with the second-year not guaranteed. Jackson, the point guard from Notre Dame who was the 45th overall selection in the draft, has a guaranteed deal and Bentil, the forward from Providence who was the 51st player drafted, has a partially guaranteed deal. 

Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald reported that the second-year of Zeller's deal is a team option and that Green agreed to a one-year deal at the $1.4 million veteran mininum based on his nine years of NBA service.

The 7-foot Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds in 11.8 minutes a game last season. 

R.J. Hunter, James Young, Bentil and John Holland are in position to fight for the final roster spot, Himmelsbach reports, pending more deals, which the Celtics are reportedly working on. A source told Himmelsbach, that while there are probably changes coming, "There is no big deal right now." 

Bulpett reported that Celtics' talks with the Philadelphia 76ers involving a deal for Sixers' big man Jahlil Okafor have, according to sources, grown "stale" and that the moves Saturday put 2014 draft pick James Young's roster spot in jeopardy.

With Green, Zeller, and No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown, the Celtics have has 15 guaranteed contracts and three partial or non-guaranteed deals. 

 

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal

boston-celtics-gerald-green-072216.jpg

Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal

The Celtics will sign free agent Gerald Green, the guard they drafted with the 18th overall pick back in 2005, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported.

Green, 30, played for the Miami Heat last season and averaged 8.9 points a game. Deveney reports Green will sign a one-year guaranteed contract. 

Green has been well-traveled since being traded by the Celtics in the Kevin Garnett deal in 2007, the year he won the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest. He has played for seven other NBA teams and played two seasons in Russia. His best season was 2013-14 in Phoenix when he averaged 15.8 points a game for the Suns. 

Deveney also reports that sources around the league continue to indicate the Celtics are looking to make a trade for a "star-caliber type" player. Last week, he reported on their interest in the Clippers' Blake Griffin.