Celtics find their three-point stroke in Game 4


Celtics find their three-point stroke in Game 4

BOSTON -- 11.

It is the number of three-point shots the Boston Celtics attempted -- and missed -- in their Game 1 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. It is also the same number of three-point shots they made in their critical Game 4 victory to take a 3-1 lead in the first round series.

On Sunday night the Celtics went 11-for-26 from long range in their 101-79 win. Paul Pierce shot 4-for-6 in less 17 minutes while Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, and Keyon Dooling each added a pair. Avery Bradley also made a trey.

The offensive performance was a complete turnaround from just a week ago when the Celtics were outscored 21-0 from beyond the arc. In Game 2, they shot 3-for-14 (21.4) and continued to struggle in Game 3 (4-for-20, 20.0).

When you have Rajon Rondo as your point guard, youre going to get some open looks, said Dooling, who is shooting 4-for-8 in the series. Tonight we were able to knock some down. Obviously its been a problem in the series the first couple games, not being able to shoot the ball from the three-point line. But weve got Ray Allen back now. That always helps.

The Hawks took notice to the Celtics three-point attack. As they look ahead to a Game 5, they will focus on limiting the Cs long-range game as they fight to avoid elimination in Atlanta.

I tell you what, they were struggling but they hit some shots, said Al Horford. Everybody was hitting shots, it seemed like. Thats something that we need to get better at because we cant beat them if theyre shooting the ball from three that well.

O'Connor: Zizic would go top-10 in 2017 draft

O'Connor: Zizic would go top-10 in 2017 draft

It seems the Celtics can throw yet another piece onto their treasure trove of assets. 

The Celtics stashed two of their first-round picks from the 2016 draft overseas and in the process have seen 23rd overall pick Ante Zizic establish himself as a very promising NBA prospect. 

The Croatian center, currently playing in the Turkish League, has boosted his stock with a strong season in what’s expected to be his last before joining the Celtics. Appearing on Toucher and Rich Thursday morning, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor said that Zizic has improved to the point that he would be a top-10 pick in the 2017 draft. “He looks really good,” O’Connor said. “I liked him last year when I first watched him. I thought, ‘Good energy big man. He’ll have a solid career,’ but then the more you watch him, the more you see. 

“This year, he’s really taken a step forward. All his strengths look better. All the things he was already good at like screening, rebounding and rim-protection, he looks better. But he’s also starting to flash a little bit of a mid-range jumper, and he’s never had bad mechanics, but now that shot’s starting to fall. So maybe he can be more than that energy big man. Maybe he’s a little bit more dynamic than that. 

“If I’m the Celtics, I value him as you’re getting a top-10 pick this yea. I think he’d go around nine or 10 in this draft.”