Rivers says Celtics have interest in Allen, too

773858.jpg

Rivers says Celtics have interest in Allen, too

BOSTON The fact that the Miami Heat are reportedly interested in Ray Allen comes as no surprise to Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

"You'll hear that and probably 10 other teams," Rivers said. "If they don't have interest in him, then they're crazy. But we have interest, too."

How much interest lies between the two sides is one of the central issues that will be worked out in some fashion in the coming weeks.

Allen has been replaced by Avery Bradley in the starting lineup, a move that has paid off well for the Celtics with Bradley providing a tough, gritty presence defensively while Allen had more freedom offensively when paired up with the C's second unit.

While Allen took the reassignment gracefully, there's no question he still feels he's good enough to not just start, but start for a contender.

And that makes the Heat situation all the more puzzling.

With Dwyane Wade at shooting guard and Mario Chalmers evolving into a more consistent performer at the point guard position, Allen's chances for playing significant minutes are probably even worse with the Heat than they are in Boston.

Plus, with the C's, Allen would get plenty of shot attempts as the Celtics' primary scorer off the bench.

But for Allen, the most important factor may come down to the number of years he is offered.

Tired of the annual trade rumors that have dogged him in Boston, a league source said Allen is seeking a deal with at least two years guaranteed that would to some degree, lessen the likelihood of him being moved at the trading deadline. It is unclear if the Celtics are willing to give him more than a one-year deal.

While many are ready to cast Allen off into the world of free agency, Rivers still has hope that a deal could be struck that would keep Allen in Boston.

"Ray is going to do what he should do, actually, " Rivers said. "Is look around and see (what's available). We'll be involved as well."

And as much as the Celtics clearly need an infusion of youth, bringing back veterans should as Allen isn't such a bad idea, either.

When asked about the kind of team he would like to see, Rivers said, "the team we had last year was nice; I mean the whole team, with everybody there. That would be very nice."

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.”