Halftime stars, studs and duds: Smart brings pesky defense, much-needed offense

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Smart brings pesky defense, much-needed offense

The Boston Celtics, courtesy of some red-hot shooting in the second quarter, were able to rally from an early deficit and lead Toronto 55-46 at the half.

Two of the league’s better teams offensively got off to a surprisingly slow start scoring the ball in the first quarter which ended with the Raptors ahead 23-18.

Both teams picked up their play offensively in the second quarter which was good for the Celtics who went on a 7-0 run that put them ahead 49-43 – their biggest lead of the game – with 2:31to play in the half.

After a Toronto time-out, the Celtics continued to surge ahead after a lay-up by Marcus Smart following a breakaway dunk by Jae Crowder which gave Boston its first double-digit lead, 53-43.

The Celtics shot 52.2 percent in the first half, fueled heavily by a second quarter in which they connected on 66.7 percent (16-for-24) of their shots.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of tonight’s game.

 

STARS

Marcus Smart

He was playing his usual pesky defense for the Celtics, in addition to bringing some much-needed offensive punch. He led the Celtics with 14 points to go with three rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan

These two deserve their own line because 1) their impact is pretty much the same for the Raptors and 2) they each had the same point total in the first half. They each scored 10 points, but DeRozan had four rebounds while Lowry chipped in with an additional five assists.

 

STUDS

Gerald Green

Once again Green was delivering instant offense to the Celtics, scoring nine points off the bench in under 12 minutes of court time.

Isaiah Thomas

Toronto was intent on getting the ball out of Thomas’ hands as much as possible. He still made an impact in the first half, scoring nine points while dishing out three assists.

Jonas Valanciunas

Foul trouble (he had three in the first half) limited him from being even more impactful. Still, he managed to score six points to go with 10 rebounds.

 

DUDS

Patrick Patterson

He’s usually a Celtics killer, but has been a non-factor in the first half. He was scoreless, missing both of his field goal attempts  which were each 3-pointers.

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons will retire the jersey number of former UConn star Rip Hamilton tonight, an instrumental figure in the Pistons’ success in the early 2000s that included an NBA title in 2004.
 
Although Hamilton never played for Boston, his impact can be felt within the Celtics locker room.
 
Boston’s Amir Johnson spent his first four NBA seasons as a teammate of Hamilton's in Detroit.
 
In that time, Johnson acknowledges how many of the positive things folks associate with him come from lessons he learned from Hamilton.
 
“He was so relentless when he ran,” Johnson told CSNNE.com. “I remember working out with him one summer. For him to even get his shot off, he sprints full court, goes back down shooting shots, and he just kept doing this over and over and over again, full court sprinting . . . To see that as a young kid, and at his age, just working hard like that, it was great to see.”
 
James Young grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., so he watched Hamilton’s scoring prowess up close and personal.
 
And as he continued to evolve as a player, Young would see Hamilton during the summer months while attending Hamilton’s basketball camps.
 
“I was there every year, won MVP a few times,” Young told CSNNE.com. “He’s a great guy, a great player.”
 
And, like Hamilton, Young has a lanky frame for an NBA player, which was among the many reasons Young acknowledged Hamilton as being one of his first significant basketball influences as a youth.
 
“For sure,” Young said. “His mid-range game was crazy, great shooter. He was always consistent.”
 
And that consistency has paid off in the highest honor an NBA franchise can bestow upon a player.
 
“That’s big time,” Johnson said. “He’s a champion, great father, great baller. To have his jersey retired is an honor. To see the success he had in the league, and to see his jersey retired with the greats, it's definitely an honor. I’m glad I’ll be there to see that. Kudos to him. He’s a hard worker. Had a great career. I had my high school jersey retired, but to get your NBA jersey retired, that’s great.”
 
Hamilton played 14 seasons in the NBA, nine of which were with the Pistons. A career 17.1 points per game score, he averaged 18.4 with Detroit and was named an Eastern Conference All-Star three times (2006-2008).
 
Although he is known as one of the greatest mid-range shooters of his era, Hamilton began to expand his range over time. During the 2005-06 season, Hamilton shot 45.8 percent from 3-point range (most of them being corner 3’s), which led the NBA that season.  

WATCH: Celtics vs. Pistons

WATCH: Celtics vs. Pistons

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