Celtics-Sixers Game 3 review: C's respond

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Celtics-Sixers Game 3 review: C's respond

PHILADELPHIA So much for that struggling Boston Celtics offense.

Unlike Games 1 and 2, this one would not come down to the wire.

Not even close.

Boston doubled up the Sixers in the second quarter (32-16), setting the stage for a dominate 107-91 victory.

The Celtics' ability to limit Philadelphia's dribble penetration forced them to play against a set Celtics defense. And that defense was able to rebound the ball and most important, keep the Sixers defense on its heels most of the night.

And it was the C's defense, more than anything else, that contributed to their highest scoring game in the playoffs.

"You need easy baskets in this series," said C's coach Doc Rivers.

Using its defense to generate offense was an important factor in Boston's Game 3 win. Here are some other keys identified earlier, and how those factors actually played out as the Celtics take a 2-1 series lead in their best-of-seven series with Philadelphia.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Brandon Bass came out smoking in Game 2 by making his first three shots, and cooled off considerably afterward. It'll be interesting to see if the C's try to get him going as they did in Game 2, or will they try to establish Kevin Garnett - their best player in this series - offensively in the post early.

WHAT WE SAW: Bass was involved offensively, but not nearly to the extent he was in Game 2 - and the Celtics were a better team for it. Bass finished with 10 points on 5-for-10 shooting which included five rebounds. It was the first game Bass has shot 50 percent from the field or better and scored in double figures, during the playoffs. "It's going to come," Bass said. "Tonight, do the other things. That's what everybody did, and that's what I'll continue to do and hopefully my (shooting) rhythm will come back soon."

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Rajon Rondo vs. Jrue Holiday: Rondo has been better in this series, but the gap isn't nearly as wide as you would expect. Holiday has shown the ability to break down the Celtics defense and get into the lane more than C's head coach Doc Rivers feels comfortable with, clearly. Rondo has to do a better job of keeping him out of the lane so that the bigs behind Rondo, won't have to rotate as much defensively and thus be out of position to rebound.

WHAT WE SAW: Now that's more like it. Holiday had a solid game (15 points, nine assists and six rebounds), but Rondo was without question the superior player. In addition to scoring 23 points, Rondo also had a very Rondo-like night with six rebounds and 14 assists with just one turnover.

PLAYER TO WATCH: With so many superstars in this game, Sixers rookie Lavoy Allen has been the X-factor guy in this series. His defense on Kevin Garnett in itself would be enough. But he's averaging 11 points in this series, held his own on the boards, and he's shown no hesitation in his game - which is what you tend to see with rookies in the playoffs for the first time. "I know my job is to go out, defend, rebound and maybe score a little," Allen told CSNNE.com. "I'm just trying to do what I can to help us win."

WHAT WE SAW: Lavoy Allen, Earth. Earth, meet Lavoy Allen. Allen didn't have a terrible game, but his impact wasn't anything close to what it was in Games 1 and 2. He finished with four points on 2-for-4 shooting.

STAT TO TRACK: Rebounding is one of the more basic statistics available, and it should speak clearly as to who will win tonight. In Game 1, Boston won the battle on the boards and thus, they won the game. In Game 2, the Sixers controlled the action around the glass, and they came away the victory.

WHAT WE SAW: Just like Games 1 and 2, the winner of the boards was the winner of the game. Boston out-rebounded the Sixers 44-37, an unusual large rebounding margin for a Celtic team that's been among among the worst rebounding teams all season. "We ran into a Celtics team that had a real purpose about them," said Sixers coach Doug Collins. "This was a team you could see coming in, did not want to be down 2-1 playing Game 4."

Tatum easing into new challenge with Celtics

Tatum easing into new challenge with Celtics

BOSTON -- While the newest Boston Celtics were scattered about while at a community service event, 19-year-old Jayson Tatum was sitting in a really comfortable-looking chair, resting. 

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind unlike any he had ever experienced, beginning with the pre-draft process, to workouts, to the draft itself and all the appearances and media engagements that have followed. 

“It’s a lot,” Tatum, grinning, told CSNNE.com. “But I’m taking it one day at a time.”

That steady-as-she-goes approach served him well during his lone season at Duke. 

Keeping an even-keeled approach will bode well for him as he gears up for his first taste of NBA basketball beginning with summer league practice this week in preparation for next week’s summer league action which begins in Salt Lake City. 

Boston’s summer league opener will be July 3 against Philadelphia and the top overall pick Markelle Fultz, at the University of Utah’s Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Tatum, who has not played in a five-on-five game since Duke’s loss to South Carolina in the NCAA tournament, is admittedly excited to get back on the floor this week. 

“I can’t wait,” he said. 

Celtics Nation feels the same way about Tatum, selected with the third overall pick in last week’s NBA draft. 

Although it’s only a preseason game, there will be expectations and with that, possibly some added pressure for Tatum to show he was such a coveted player by the Celtics. 

“That’s why Duke helped me a lot,” he told CSNNE.com. “Duke, the best program in college basketball, we were always on the national spotlight good or bad, whether we were winning or losing. That will help me a lot preparing for the Boston Celtics.”

And like Duke, Tatum will have to fight his way on to the court although he readily admits the challenge is much greater in the NBA. 

“Isaiah Thomas, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder . . . we didn’t have those guys at Duke,” Tatum said. “It’s gonna be tough; just try my best and get in where I fit in.”

Tatum said he will at times lean on his more experienced teammates, one of which was a former teammate of his – sort of – in Jaylen Brown. 

“I’ve known Jaylen for a while,” Tatum said. “We played with and against each other in high school at AAU camps. 

Tatum added, “at the AAU camps, sometimes we were on the same team and sometimes we were not.”

While much has been made about how the two are similar, Tatum sees both having strengths that complement, rather than compete, with each other. 

“He’s further along than Jaylen was skill-wise and he’s not as far along as Jaylen physically,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “Again, he’s 19 years old. I don’t want to put any expectations … I want to give him time to grow. We’ll see. He’ll definitely have a role, get a chance to play. And how well he performs is up to him.”

Tatum’s assessment of his game and Brown’s goes as follows:

“He’s a lot stronger, bigger than me,” Tatum, who is 6-foot-8, 204 pounds, acknowledged. “He’s much more athletic. Offensively, I think that’s what I excel in, being smooth and my ability to score. I can just learn from him, the things that he went through last year.”

One of the things he has already picked up on, is that Brown is a pretty smart – and at times clever – dude. 

Not long after Tatum picked jersey number 11, Brown, who wears number 7, took to social media and came up with a 7-11 theme that has already lead to some pretty snazzy t-shirt designs. 

“I thought it was funny,” Tatum said. “It’s catchy; I like it.”

And the Celtics really like Tatum’s game which has been compared at times to former Celtic great Paul Pierce. 

“I hate to make those comparisons when kids are 19 and let his game evolve into whatever it is,” Ainge said. “The similarity is they have good footwork. They both have really good ways to create space for shots. But the similarity … they’re both very good defensive rebounders. Those are two things that stand out to me with Jayson that are Paul characteristics.”

Tatum knows he’s a long way from being in the same company as Celtic royalty such as Pierce. 

Before then he must first earn minutes on the floor which will not be an easy task. 

But Tatum’s demeanor, much like his game, has seemingly always been a bit more mature than most of his fellow basketball brethren. 

Tatum credits his parents, Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole.

“They raised me to be different, be more mature and stand out above the crowd and be my own person and be comfortable in my skin,” Tatum said. “That’s how I’ve always been.”

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: How does the Chris Paul trade affect the Celtics?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: How does the Chris Paul trade affect the Celtics?

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0:41 - Tom Curran, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith discuss the Rockets acquiring Chris Paul and how that trade can actually have an affect on the Celtics plans.

5:06 - Ian Thomsen joins BST to talk about if the Celtics are the front runners for Paul George, what would be too much to give up to the Pacers, and why it’s important to sign Hayward before trading for George.

11:21 - Evan Drellich joins from Fenway Park to discuss Rick Porcello getting his 10th loss of the season and if the struggling offense might be a season-long problem. 

14:58 - Tom Curran and Kayce Smith give their thoughts on Nate Burleson saying that Julian Edelman is the most under-appreciated receiver in the last 10 years.