Dooling makes impact in first start for Celtics


Dooling makes impact in first start for Celtics

BOSTON -- Keyon Dooling had started nearly 100 games over his career before joining the Boston Celtics this season.

On Wednesday night, he got his first nod with his new team. Dooling started at shooting guard in place of Ray Allen, who was battling flu-like systems, in the Celtics 89-70 win over the New Jersey Nets.

It was a transition not only to the starting lineup, but playing to the two-guard rather running the floor as the point guard like he has been doing with the Cs.

I think the adjustment for me is getting most of my minutes at the point versus starting at the two, he told prior to the game. Its a totally different position -- less ball handling, less responsibilities, but more continuity stuff, so its my job. Ive got to know two positions and thats why I prepare for two positions.

Dooling played 31 minutes, scoring five points (2-for-6 FG) and chipping in one assist. After the game, he was glad the Celtics earned a W, which came from a second-half comeback. Dooling's third-quarter trey broke a 40-40 tie, and the Celtics outscored the Nets 23-7 after that point in the remainder of the quarter.

At the end of the day, we got the win, Dooling said. I didn't shoot the ball the way I wanted to, but defensively, I think, in the second half we really turned it up. Obviously MarShon Brooks had a great first half . . . he had 15 points, and I couldn't allow him to do that again in the second half. So I really wanted to focus on defense and we had a 29-12 quarter. That was the difference of the game, I think.

Both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce noted Doolings experience in the lineup.

He brought energy, said Garnett. We know that hes an outside threat, obviously he can shoot threes, but his energy and his energy and his leadership is what we value here. I thought he brought more of a defensive mindset to the starting lineup versus offense, and I thought second half we got into a better flow versus first half.

Pierce would not have minded seeing Dooling taking a few more shots, but believes that will come with time.

Keyon, he fills in for Ray, a veteran presence, know-how, a guy who can knock down shots, another ball handler, he said. Its kind of unconventional that we run kind of a like a two-point guard front set. Youve got two ball handlers so you would think wed probably run a little bit more, but its just about probably implementing him more with the starting unit and him understanding because at times I thought he had opportunities offensively that he should have took, but he swung the ball. But thats just us breaking him into the starting unit and getting more comfortable with what we do out there.

For Dooling, this start was different not only because of the position he played or the teammates he shared the court with, but for the franchise he started for.

At this point in my career, I'm grateful for every second I get to play in this amazing league. he said. But when you have a historic organization like this one, it's just a whole different ball game. I can't explain it. It's just something that I have never experienced, on any level. The commitment to winning over here is second-to-none. The history of the banners that you see, everywhere you look, it's history. Even in our lockers you see former players who've worn your number. So it's just totally different in that aspect.

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 “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 “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?


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.