Halftime stars, studs and duds: Another feisty game between Celtics and Wizards

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Another feisty game between Celtics and Wizards

BOSTON – It was testy at times, feisty as ever and included a couple technical fouls being called.

Just another Boston-Washington game, one in which the Celtics go into the half ahead 58-47. 

Boston’s control of the first half really didn’t begin until there was a dust-up involving Terry Rozier, Brandon Jennings and Kelly Oubre Jr.

It led to a video review which determined that double techs were in order for Rozier and Oubre Jr., and a foul against Jennings.

At the time of the incident, the score was tied at 37.

The Celtics scored the next six points which included a long 2-pointer by Isaiah Thomas (the tip of his toe was on the 3-point line) that led to a Wizards time-out with 6:19 to play in the half.

Boston continued to surge ahead with their lead peaking at 11 points (53-42) following a pair of free throws by Thomas who was back in the lineup after missing two games with a knee bruise.

The control Boston displayed in the second quarter was in stark contrast to how the game was played in the first quarter which featured strong runs by both teams.

First there was the Wizards breaking open an 8-all tie with an 11-4 surge leading to a Celtics time-out with 6:19 to play.

Boston came out of the time-out playing a different, more effective brand of basketball resulting in 10 straight points that put them ahead 22-19.

The rest of the quarter was a tightly played contested that ended with Boston ahead 30-28 following a put-back basket by Avery Bradley.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Monday night’s game between Boston and Washington.

 

STARS

Avery Bradley

A defensive wiz most nights, Avery Bradley delivered a serious blow to Washington with his scoring, too. He led the Celtics with 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting.

Bradley Beal

He leads all scorers with 15 points, but he’s had to work hard for it tonight.

 Jae Crowder

He had a great two-minute stretch in the first half where he was the best player on the floor. He goes into the half with 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting with five rebounds.

 

STUDS

Kelly Olynyk

We’ve seen Olynyk have some good nights on the boards, but never like this … in one half? He has three points to go with a game-high eight rebounds.

Brandon Jennings

He gave the Wizards a nice offensive jolt in the first half with seven points on 2-for-4 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

Having the weekend off has left him a little rusty (2-for-7 shooting), but he’s still managing to make his presence felt. He has nine points along with four assists and three rebounds.

 

DUDS

John Wall

The All-Star guard has been all dud in the first half, scoring five points on 2-for-6 shooting.

 

Blakely: Celtics' success lies in balancing big-money deals with bargains

Blakely: Celtics' success lies in balancing big-money deals with bargains

BOSTON – When it comes to stockpiling talent, few in the NBA have done it better in the past couple of years than the Golden State Warriors, as evidenced by them winning two of the past three NBA championships.
 
In 2015, Andre Iguodala was the NBA Finals MVP but it was the play another reserve, Festus Ezeli, who in the third quarter of the decisive Game 6, scored eight of his 10 points and helped extend a two-point halftime edge into a 12-point lead going into the fourth in what eventually was an eight-point series-clinching victory.

MORE CELTICS

 We have seen the Cleveland Cavaliers make deep playoff runs led by their Big Three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, but the contributions of youngsters such as Matt Dellavedova (now in Milwaukee) also helped.
 
Indeed, often lost in the success of title-contending teams is how they manage to have enough max-salaried talent on the roster, while also augmenting the lineup with contributions from younger players or inexpensive veterans on team-friendly contracts.
 
Balancing the best of those two worlds is among the many reasons why the Celtics are considered a legit contender to get to the NBA Finals this season out of the East.
 
A lot has been made of the team’s signing of Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $127.8 million contract.

But what really makes the Celtics so special is how they have been able to add a max-salaried player each of the past two seasons (Al Horford and Hayward) at a time when the contributions of Isaiah Thomas ($6.26 million this year) and Jae Crowder ($6.8 million this season) are significant not only in terms of what they do on the floor but even more so in how little they make salary-wise relative to those contributions.
 
Boston getting the most out of talent playing on low-salary deals will be instrumental in their ability to build off the success of last season when the Celtics reached the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2012.
 
And while the Warriors have achieved this by adding veterans on the cheap (David West), Boston has been more traditional from the standpoint of getting as much bang as they can from players on their rookie deals.
 
Boston currently has 16 players with guaranteed contracts.
 
Of that total, nine (Marcus Smart; Terry Rozier; Jaylen Brown; Ante Zizic; Abdel Nader; Jayson Tatum; Semi Ojeleye; Daniel Theis and Guerschon Yabusele) are on their rookie contracts.
 
“You always need young guys,” Austin Ainge, the Celtics' director of player personnel, told CSNNE.com. “Your veteran guys make a lot of money and so you need some guys on rookie contracts to fill out your roster.”
 
This is especially true for teams that are in the hunt to win an NBA title.
 
Ainge recalled how the use of players on rookie deals was instrumental in Boston bringing home Banner 17 in 2008.
 
“We had [Rajon] Rondo and Kendrick Perkins and Leon Powe and Big Baby [Glen Davis] in 2008,” Ainge said. “You need guys like that. You look at the teams in the finals the past few years, they’ve got some young guys on lower money contracts contributing. That’s important.”