Celtics look to break a bad streak by the Bay


Celtics look to break a bad streak by the Bay

By Rich Levine

SAN FRANCISCO The Celtics kick off the second half of their season Tuesday night in Golden State, but before you even think about looking past the 26-29 Warriors, here are a few names to consider:

Vin Baker. Jiri Welsch. Mike James. Mark Blount. Jumaine Jones. Marcus Banks.

Why are we mentioning these incompetent (OK, Mike James wasnt that bad) ghosts of Boston past? Well, because all six of those fine gentlemen were wearing the Green and White the last time the Celtics won a game in Golden State.

Thats right. Its been that long. The date was December 29, 2003, and since then the Cs have lost six straight games in Oracle Arena, including all three in the Big Three era.

As to why . . .

Its a great building, number one, said Doc Rivers as the team resumed practice Monday night in San Francisco. They havent been to the playoffs consistently and yet the fans are there every night. The place has unbelievable energy. I love the energy. I just dont like the results lately.

"The matchups they create with all the smalls they put on the floor is tough. And all the smalls can create their own shots. Its not like theyre standing there being shooters. They can all handle the ball. They can all shoot the ball. They create problems.

This years Warriors have created plenty of problems of late. They won seven of their last nine games before the All-Star Break, and six of those came against teams that would currently make the playoffs. The aforementioned smalls leading the way are Monta Ellis, whos the leagues fifth leading scorer at 25.3 a game; second-year sharp shooter Stephon Curry, who's scoring 18.4 and dishing out six assists a night, and swing man Dorell Wright, who joined Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in this weekends three-point contest and is averaging a career best 16.5. In all, the run-and-gun Warriors are the leagues seventh highest scoring team at 102.9 a game.

But despite all the potential issues Golden State presents, Rivers says that the Celtics biggest enemy might be themselves.

Getting back on defense will be key, he said, but our main concern is us. Coming off the break you have to get everybody right, while playing a team thats very good offensively. So, that makes it tough.

But while the Warriors are most known for their offensive firepower, they also have one of the leagues best and most active rebounders in their front court. David Lee, who was acquired from the Knicks this past offseason, is averaging 15.9 points and 9.4 rebounds a game this season, and a career double-double (1410) against the Cs.

Hes a great player, said Kendrick Perkins, wholl be one of the men responsible for keeping Lee contained. He brings a lot to that team. Hes the reason they have however many wins they have. David Lees averaged double-doubles in this league, but were a defensive team so thats how were going to beat them.

Easier said than done for a team that now only has one player remaining from the last time they won a game in Golden State.

I cant even remember the last time, said Pierce.

OK, anyone have Jiri Welschs number?

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Wojnarowski thinks Celtics are perfect candidate for Jimmy Butler trade

Wojnarowski thinks Celtics are perfect candidate for Jimmy Butler trade

Most NBA teams would benefit from adding Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler. But few NBA have the assets to acquire him. The most legitimate suitor in the NBA resides in Boston.

"The potential of a Boston-Chicago deal for Jimmy Butler -- I think it will loom over the entire week," Yahoo! NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said Saturday. "These teams have engaged on the potential of this trade. They have not gotten far down the road on it. There still needs to be alignment within the Bulls organization -- from ownership to management -- that they want to make the decision to enter a full rebuild.

He added: "But the poential of this deal really illustrates the State Farm right combo, because these are two teams that have exactly what the other wants. Boston has been hoarding assets for years for a couple of season, trying to get in the position to get a star player."

Wojnarowski suggested the first building block for the Butler trade would start with either the 2017 or 2018 Brooklyn Nets' first-round pick, which the Celtics acquired in 2013 in the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade.

"And Jimmy Butler in Boston, paired with Isaiah Thomas and this Celtics team -- it would put this Celtics team in a position to seriously challenge Cleveland [Cavaliers] in the east, not only in the short term, but also in the long term."

Butler's contract extends to 2020, and then Wojnarowski explained Boston could then sign the guard to another long-term deal. In the meantime, he could help Boston surpass a vulnerable-looking Cavaliers team.

Forbes ranks Celtics as fifth-most valuable NBA franchise

Forbes ranks Celtics as fifth-most valuable NBA franchise

The Boston Celtics are one of the NBA's top teams -- and not just in terms of talent. Forbes has ranked the Celtics as the fifth-most valuable NBA franchise at $2.2 billion.

The Celtics "sport" valuation is one of the highest in the NBA at $674 million. Their "market" valuation comes in as $883 million, their "arena" valuation falls at $341 million and their "brand" valuation stands at $302 million.

Boston is a constant in a continually emerging NBA. Forbes reports the NBA is worth $1.36 billion, which 3.5 times its value five years ago. The league is also on a seven-year collective bargaining agreement that will provide stability in the league for that duration. The NBA also signed a $24 billion deal with ESPN and TNT that began at the start of the 2016-17 season.

The Celtics will continue to play an important part in the growth of the league.