Garnett: Gay brings 'a spark' to Toronto

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Garnett: Gay brings 'a spark' to Toronto

TORONTO Rudy Gay has been a man in demand since being traded to Toronto from Memphis on Jan. 30.
And while he embraces this newfound attention, Gay isn't about to let it go to his head.
He knows for this trade to work, he has to do more than drop his usual 17.9 points per game or the 24.5 points in the two games played with the Raptors prior to Wednesday's 99-95 loss to the Celtics.
Gay led the Raptors with 25 points, but missed eight of his nine shot attempts in the fourth quarter and finished just 8-for-24 from the field.
Still, it's clear that the Celtics have a tremendous amount of respect for his game.
"Rudy's a great scorer," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "You can't stop guys like that. You're just trying to give him different looks and hope that he misses."
Indeed, this will be yet another lesson for Gay to learn from as he adapts to his new team in a new city, with a new role.
With so many young players on the roster, it's clear that the Raptors view him as the face of their franchise moving forward.
"It's a lot of great players here," Gay told CSNNE.com. "They're just young. They have to learn. For the most part, it takes time. Hopefully I can lower the curve a little bit just being out here."
Being called upon to be more of a leader was not one of the requirements of Gay when he was in Memphis.
While he was part of the Grizzlies' leadership core, the responsibility was doled out among other veterans such as Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and former Celtic Tony Allen.
But in Toronto, Gay understands all too well that his role will be one that includes delivering both on and off the court.
The best way to lead, he believes, is by example.
So in asking his teammates to improve their game, he too must find ways to become a better player.
"I still feel I have a lot more to prove," he said. "It's not about what I've done in the past, but what can I do in the future. I have a lot more to give, and I can do that here."
Although it's still early, Celtics coach Doc Rivers is convinced that the addition of Gay will make the Raptors a much better team.
"When you have a go-to scorer and what they have, it makes them a better basketball team," Rivers said. "Each time you add an offensive player to a team, it makes everyone better offensively."
Garnett is also among those who believes Toronto is a better team with Gay on the roster.
"They seem to be a lot more confident," Garnett said. "They are playing with the element ... all the games I've seen have been at home. They seem to be getting the ball up the floor at an unbelievable place. He's bringing a spark to that city. That's the first thing that stands out when I watch them."
But Gay isn't focused on being a star or anything like that.
He is more locked into finding ways to lead this team.
Miami's LeBron James is one of the players Gay has looked up to as a example of never being satisfied with one's game.
"He's a what? Two-time MVP? And you see he's always adding something to his game," Gay said. "That's what I'm trying to do; just keep getting better, doing more things to become a better player and hopefully that'll make us a better team.
"You can always add stuff to your game."

Celtics are living by the 3-pointer at a historic level

Celtics are living by the 3-pointer at a historic level

BOSTON – It has been well-established that the Celtics are a three-point shooting, bombs away kind of team and nothing seems like it’ll deter them from continuing along that path.
 
But as we prepare for the second half of the season, beginning tonight against the New York Knicks, we come to realize Boston’s launching of 3-pointers isn’t just unusually high.
 
This group of Celtics rank among the league's all-time leaders in 3-point attempts by the halfway mark of the season.

And when you look at the company they’re keeping when it comes to 3-point shooting, it speaks to how important it has become in this NBA to have as many long-range shooting threats on the floor as possible if you're trying to win at a high level.
 
Boston’s 494 3-point attempts thus far this season ranks fourth all-time by the halfway point of a season. But this season, that’s just good enough to be third behind Houston and Golden State with 617 and 505 three-point attempts, respectively.
 
The other team in the top four all-time is last season's Golden State squad, which took 519 three-pointers by the midway point of the season.
 
And all those 3’s by the Celtics have included an NBA-record six straight games in which they made at least 15 3-pointers.
 
That has allowed the Celtics to score at least 100 points in 15 consecutive games, the franchise’s longest such streak since they reached the 100-point plateau in 19 straight games in 1991.
 
Of course Isaiah Thomas’ 3-point shooting stands out, particularly when you see how dominant he has been this season in the fourth quarter with a league-best 10.1 points per game.
 
But his offense, while potent, is aided heavily by the shot-making snipers coach Brad Stevens surrounds him with on a nightly basis.
 
That’s why you didn’t see Stevens or president of basketball operations Danny Ainge freak out earlier this season when the Celtics were struggling.
 
Kelly Olynyk, who shot better than 40 percent on 3’s a year ago, was still on the mend after offseason shoulder surgery.
 
Jae Crowder, whose 3-point shooting has steadily improved throughout his career, had some minor injuries that set him back and maybe more important, didn’t allow him to get into the kind of shooting rhythm we see now which has allowed him to shoot a team-best 42.6 percent on 3’s.
 
Al Horford, Thomas, Amir Johnson … they all missed some time due to injuries this season, which has impacted the team’s chemistry and timing.
 
But the past couple of weeks have seen the Celtics healthier than they’ve been most of this season, and it has allowed them to play with the kind of space they want which has allowed Thomas and his cohorts to take lots of lightly contested to open 3’s most of this season.
 
“We’ve got pretty good shooters on this team where you’ve got to pick your poison,” Thomas said. “We’re shooting at a high level, and I got to say, you just have to pick your poison who you want to stop and my job is just to make the right play each and every time down.”
 

Mike Gorman: 'No thanks on Carmelo Anthony to the Celtics'

Mike Gorman: 'No thanks on Carmelo Anthony to the Celtics'

The New York Knicks arrive in Boston tonight with the accompanying "Melo-drama" of Carmelo Anthony's disintegrating relationship with team president Phil Jackson.

Anthony would have to waive his no-trade clause to leave New York and Boston has been an oft-rumored destination. 

On "The Toucher and Rich Show", the longtime voice of the Celtics, Mike Gorman, said he hopes it doesn't happen. 

"I don't get it. I don't see it," Gorman said. "He's a ball stopper. One of the things that always intrigued me about Carmelo is when he's played with Team USA or an Olympic team, often he's the best player. Then you go and see him in a regular-season game and you say, 'Oh no, no."'