Zero second-chance points big issue for Celtics

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Zero second-chance points big issue for Celtics

BOSTON -- 17-0.

In a game decided by five points, the Boston Celtics were outscored 17-0 in second chance points by the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

Thats one of our focuses -- we always focus on team box outs and limiting penetration, Dallas' Brandon Haywood told CSNNE.com following the Mavericks' 90-85 win. Rajon Rondo did a great job of getting down the lane for the Celtics, but when he did miss shots and other guys crashed the boards, we had a guy rotating to keep that guy off the glass. Boxing out is something that we stress in practice. Its a staple of a good defensive team. Thats what we want to do.

While the Mavericks described it as a point of emphasis in their game plan, the Celtics emphasized the importance of improving upon it as the season goes on.

Effort, energy, said Kevin Garnett. When you see second-chance points, a lot of that is effort and the ball bouncing. Weve got to get better at that, along with rebounding and some other things. Weve definitely got to take care of the ball. Ive never seen us like this. But then again, Im sure if you go throughout the league, turnovers are probably up and thats due to chemistry. Again, Im just going to make this repetitive that chemistry, you just dont go to the closet and pull it out. Its something that youve got to continue to work at.

The Celtics were outrebounded, 43-35, including 12-2 on the offensive glass. Haywood led all players with 11 boards.

Most of the teams that we have played that weve lost to weve been beaten on glass, said Ray Allen. We have to keep them off offensive glass. We have to get some of our own. Thats all that second chance, that energy is the challenging part of the game that we have to improve on. I think I have to do a better job, the guards have to do a better job, when the ball bounces along, of getting that big guy off the glass we have to do a better job getting that weak side off the glass.

Coach Doc Rivers saw second chance points as one of many areas of the game that set the Celtics back. In thisloss, second chance points could have given the C's a better chance to earn a victory.

You cant win, Doc Rivers said of being outscored 17-0. And not only those points, our turnovers that led to they had 20 points off of our turnovers so thats 37 points before you start the game against the team that won the title last year. Its very difficult. And on top of that our gambles. I think we gave up nine or ten at halftime and we gave up a couple of threes and two down the stretch with gambles. So thats on me to get them to understand the trust, as far as Im concerned.

Report: Celtics likely to guarantee Amir Johnson’s $12M deal for next season

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Report: Celtics likely to guarantee Amir Johnson’s $12M deal for next season

The Celtics will likely guarantee the second year of Amir Johnson’s two-year, $24 million deal he signed last season, the Boston Globe reported.

Johnson, 29, a 6-9 forward, signed as a free agent last summer, averaged 7.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 79 regular season games for the Celtics and 8.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in the six-game, first-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks. 

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics to make qualifying offers to Sullinger, Zeller

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Report: Celtics to make qualifying offers to Sullinger, Zeller

The Celtics will make qualifying offers to Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller by the Friday deadline, the Boston Herald reports.

With offers of $4.4 million to Sullinger and $3.7 million to Zeller, the two will become restricted free agents, meaning the Celtics have can match any offer sheet they sign. The two would have become unrestricted free agents without the qualifying offers.

Sullinger could take the offer to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, but the Herald reported Zeller would likely be looking elsewhere to find a bigger role after his playing time decreased last season.

Sullinger started 73 games and averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in the regular season. He averaged 5.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in 13.5 minutes in the first-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks and lost his starting job two games into that series. 

Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds last season. He played in three of the six games in the Atlanta series. 

OFFSEASON

Celtics' ace in the hole in pursuit of Durant: Brad Stevens

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Celtics' ace in the hole in pursuit of Durant: Brad Stevens

Kevin Durant is hanging out in the Hamptons waiting to be wooed by six NBA teams, including your Boston Celtics.

(Wait, this just in: A seventh party has entered the sweepstakes. Kelly Ripa, a fellow Hamptonite has requested to pitch KD on becoming her co-host. “It’s LIVE with Kelly and KD!” It flows.)

Today Durant meets with his current team the Oklahoma City Thunder. What the hell is anyone going to say in this meeting? “Hey, KD. Anything new since we saw you a month ago, when you couldn’t make a shot in the clutch against the Warriors?”

Seriously, what can OKC tell the guy about their team that he doesn’t already know? He could have just stopped by the GM’s office on his way to the Hamptons. But, in this day and age of the power player, all must bow to him. Ah, what the hell. I would probably do the same thing.

I have a gut feeling about OKC and Durant. He wants out. If not this year -- because it looks like he's going back to the Thunder for one more season -- than the next. Is it the small town? Is it that Russell Westbrook could bolt next season to the Lakers? Is it coach Billy Donovan?

Ahhh ha! That’s what I’m going with.

I've always read that Durant loves the fans in OKC. He has never seen like a “big city” guy to me, or someone who has to live in South Beach or Manhattan. Kevin Durant has always seemed to be about basketball and that’s why I think he has man love for Brad Stevens.

I have this moment during the playoffs when OKC was playing the Warriors engrained in my brain. Durant commits a stupid mistake out of frustration that results in a turnover and a Warriors hoop. On the sideline, Billy Donovan chews his ear off for what seemed forever.

That was a mistake. Billy the Kid needed to realize he wasn't in Gainesville anymore. Remember, Billy is chip off the old Rick Pitino coaching block. Both love to talk and love to coach.

That can work against you in the NBA.

Brad Stevens, who is a better coach than Donovan, would never do that. Heck, Brad rarely shows up a rookie on the sideline. He's smart enough to know if a veteran like Durant errs because he's mad, nothing needs to be said. Players like Durant, LeBron or Steph know when they screw up.

I can see Durant talking basketball with Brad for hours, I mean, leave the room at lunch and come back after dinner and you'd find the two still jawing about everything from calling plays after time outs to Texas’s prospects next year.

I know Danny Ainge sat next to Durant’s mother during the tournament and was fined for it. Still, it was a very nice touch and it certainly made an impression on KD.

But the real reason, in my opinion, that he's thinking about Boston is Stevens.

Now if the Celtics can sell on him on playing with Jaylen Brown, they have a real shot.

Good luck with that.