Gilbert Brown to attend Celtics camp

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Gilbert Brown to attend Celtics camp

WALTHAM The days of wanting to be like Mike are long gone.

For guys like Pittsburgh's Gilbert Brown, it's all about wanting to be like Wesley - as in, Wesley Matthews.

Matthews took the NBA by storm two years ago in Utah, putting up big numbers despite being an undrafted rookie.

He was rewarded with a five-year, 26.8 million contract by Portland in July of 2010.

Brown, undrafted in last June's NBA draft, is hoping to follow a similar blueprint for success in Boston.

CSNNE.com has learned that Brown will be with the Celtics when training camp begins on Friday.

"He had a number of options that he considered, but ultimately felt the Celtics were the best fit, best situation for him," his agent, T.J. Doyle, told CSNNE.com on Tuesday.

The Celtics were very close to selecting him in the second round of last June's NBA draft, but instead went with Purdue combo guard E'Twaun Moore.

Ainge didn't waste much time after the draft reaching out to Brown, to reassure him that the Celtics' interest in him was still very strong.

"He (Ainge) told me I could be the Wesley Matthews of this draft," Brown told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Of all the teams I worked out for, Danny was the most excited to have me in. He really feels like I can make their team and contribute the first year. He was really confident in my ability. He felt like I stood out in my workout."

In speaking with a league source whose team had Brown in for a workout, he said, "I don't know about the Wesley Matthews comparisons. I don't think he (Brown) shoots the ball that well, and I don't think he can score the way Wesley does. But the Celtics don't need that. He gives them a guy who has the potential to be a really good defender, the kind of defender they haven't had since Tony Allen, really."

At 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, Brown has the physical size and strength to defend all three perimeter positions.

But for all that he brings to the floor defensively, his ability to score in the NBA and whether his ceiling for improvement has been reached, were among the reasons every NBA team passed on selecting him in June.

Teams applaud bringing in four-year players like Brown, but the fact that he's 24 years old certainly worked against him in the eyes of team executives on draft night.

While his potential to grow may be a concern down the road, his experience should bode well for a Celtics team looking to add an athletic wing player who can come in and contribute immediately.

There's still the matter of him making the team, obviously.

But the chances of him not sticking with the C's and their roster that currently stands at six with guaranteed contracts, are slim.

"He's really excited about this opportunity," Doyle said. "He comes from a structured system at Pitt, so the adjustment to Doc Rivers' system won't be that big an adjustment. And the things that he does well, are the kind of things I know Doc Rivers truly appreciates. It should be a good fit, for both sides."

Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat

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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.”