Celtics prepare to work out rookies Wednesday


Celtics prepare to work out rookies Wednesday

By A.Sherrod Blakely

With the NBA draft just around the corner, teams are starting to get a better look at potential draft picks.

The Boston Celtics are no exception.

While the C's have done plenty of scouting throughout this past season, as well as when the season ended, a number of players will be in the Hub in the coming weeks with the goal being to impress the Celtics' brass.

Here's a rundown of some players expected to workout for Boston on Wednesday:

Justin Harper, Richmond
Height, Weight, Position: 6-9, 230 PF

2010-2011 stats: 17.9 points, 6.9 rebounds

Expected draft status: Late first round

Here's the skinny on Harper: A bit undersized for an NBA power forward, Harper makes up for that with the ability to stretch defenses with his perimeter shooting skills, as well as having the kind of strength needed to hold his own around the basket.

Jon Leuer, Wisconsin
Height, Weight, Position: 7-foot, 223, PFC

2010-2011 stats: 18.3 points, 7.2 rebounds

Expected draft status: Early second round, but strong workouts could lift him into the latter part of the first.

Here's the skinny on Leuer: Has great footwork and a high basketball IQ - two things you can never have enough on your roster. But his lack of strength and lateral quickness are two of the biggest concerns that teams have with him at this level. Still, a 7-footer with his pick-and-pop skills might be too much to pass up if you're the C's.

Jamie Skeen, VCU
Height, Weight, Position: 6-8, 242, PF

2010-2011 stats:15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds

Expected draft status: Second round

Here's the skinny on Skeen: A former Wake Forest player before transferring to VCU, Skeen's strength and ability to score from the perimeter as well as around the basket, makes him an interesting talent. While taking him with the No. 25 pick overall may be a bit of a stretch, if by some chance he's available at No. 55 - the Celtics would be wise to scoop him up especially when you consider the void that may exist in the C's bench if Glen Davis opts to sign with another team.

Matt Howard, Butler
Height, Weight, Position: 6-8, 230, PF

2010-2011 stats: 16.4 points, 7.7 rebounds

Expected draft status: Undrafted, but strong workouts could get him drafted late in the second round.

Here's the skinny on Howard: Great collegiate career at Butler, but the skills he displayed don't necessarily translate to the NBA. Teams know he has the ability to score, but the two things that could go far during workouts that could help him get drafted are showing better lateral quickness on pick and rolls, and proving that he's strong enough to play some around the basket.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Stars, studs and duds: Bradley delivers another two-way gem

Stars, studs and duds: Bradley delivers another two-way gem

CHICAGO – Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s series-clinching 105-83 Game 6 win over the Chicago Bulls.

Avery Bradley

He delivered yet another two-way gem for the Celtics, scoring nine of his 23 points in the first quarter that set the tone for Boston’s win.
Jimmy Butler

Gutsy performance by Butler whose sore knees didn’t allow him to be as explosive as he’s accustomed to at both ends of the floor. He still managed to score a team-high 23 points along with grabbing seven rebounds.
Al Horford

It’s almost to the point where you expect Horford to deliver a balanced scoring line. In Game 6 he had 12 points, 7 assists and six rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas

His shot wasn’t falling (he was 4-for-12), but Thomas still managed to make his presence felt. He finished with 12 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Robin Lopez

He has had better games, but he still finished with a decent stat line with 10 points and five rebounds.

Dwyane Wade

Absolutely brutal night for Wade who may have played his last game for the Bulls if he decides to opt-out of his contract and become a free agent. He had just two points, missing nine of his 10 shots from the field.

Celtics blow out the Bulls in Game 6, move on to face the Wizards

Celtics blow out the Bulls in Game 6, move on to face the Wizards

CHICAGO – The Boston Celtics were at a crossroads just two games into their first-round series against Chicago.

Down 2-0, something had to change – and change fast – if they were going to avoid being remembered as one of the worst number one seeds in NBA history.

“We didn’t have a meeting, but it was a reality check for us,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley who talked about how the team was “humbled after losing two games.”

They had a choice.

They could feel sorry for themselves and continue to struggle, or as Bradley put it, “come here (Chicago) and make history.”

The Celtics did just that, becoming the first number one seed in the best-of-seven series era to lose the first two games at home, and respond by winning the next four which includes a 105-83 Game 6 win to eliminate the Bulls.

Boston’s blowout victory was fueled in large part by a furious third quarter in which they dominated the Bulls in every way imaginable, outscoring Chicago 34-16 in the quarter which gave them a decisive 88-59 lead going into the fourth.

The 29-point lead after three quarters was a historical moment. It now stands as the largest lead the Celtics have had in a road playoff game after three quarters of play.

Boston moves on to the Conference semi-finals where they will face the Washington Wizards with Game 1 expected to be at the TD Garden on Sunday.

Fourth-year coach Brad Stevens advances past the first round of the playoffs for the first time, while the Celtics franchise is in the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

And in the final game of the series, the Celtics’ depth proved to be just too much for the injury-riddled Bulls to overcome.

Former Celtic Rajon Rondo, who led the Bulls to wins in Games 1 and 2, suffered a fractured right thumb injury in Game 2 and was unable to return in the series.

And while Jimmy Butler had a strong 23-point performance in Game 6, he was hampered to some extent by sore knees which more than anything, seemed to take something away from his explosiveness both as a scorer and to defend at a high level.

The player benefiting most from Butler’s less-than-ideal status health-wise, was Avery Bradley.

After scoring a playoff career-high 24 points in Boston’s Game 5 win, he got off to a fast start in Game 6 with nine of his 23 points scored in the first quarter.

Bradley’s scoring, primarily from 3-point range, was indicative of how the game began for the Celtics.

They opened with a 9-4 run, with all nine points coming from 3-point range.

Chicago got a couple shots to go down, but Boston went on an 8-2 spurt that gave them their first double-digit lead 21-11, after back-to-back dunks by Gerald Green and Al Horford, respectively.

Boston’s control remained strong as the first quarter ended with the Celtics ahead 30-23.

And the Celtics’ second unit picked up where the starters left off by scoring eight of the first 10 points of the second quarter to lead 38-25.

Boston’s second unit helped push the Celtics’ lead to as many as 17 points in the second before the Bulls began to chip away at it.

A lay-up by Chicago’s Paul Zipser capped off an 8-0 run by the Bulls that cut Boston’s lead to 42-33 with 5:50 to play in the first half.

Boston continued to play with in the double-digit neighborhood before closing the quarter by scoring nine of the last 13 points to lead by 13 at the half.