Johnson, Moore happy to be playing together


Johnson, Moore happy to be playing together

By A. Sherrod Blakely Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn

BRIGHTON As they trekked across the country working out for various NBA teams, Purdue's Jajuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore were never too far from each other.

A text message from the West coast by Johnson.

Moore replying from the East coast.

The more they talked, the better each felt about their chances of having their life long dreams of being in the NBA, come true.

Little did they know that when those dreams would literally begin the same way their dreams of college stardom began - as teammates.

The Celtics made a draft night trade for Johnson, using the No. 25 pick (Providence's MarShon Brooks) and sending it to New Jersey which turned around and gave the Celtics Johnson (the No. 27 pick) and a 2014 second-round pick.

Boston then used its second round pick, No. 55 overall, to select Moore.

The two newest Celtics made their first public appearances with the C's at the unveiling of a state-of-the-art mobile computer lab at the Edison K-8 school in Brighton.

After putting the new laptop computers donated by the Shamrock Foundation to good use, the two newest Celtics addressed the media.

And not surprisingly, among the first questions they field had to do with them being reunited after one of the greatest four-year stretches of success in Purdue basketball history.

Johnson and Moore share the Boilermakers record for most career wins (107) at the school.

That tradition of winning, they hope to continue now that they're members of the Boston Celtics.

"I was really excited, just to have somebody you're familiar with, you're comfortable with go through this process with you, makes things a lot more easier for you," Johnson said.

Added Moore, "It's definitely exciting that we got chosen by the same team; definitely didn't notice this was going to happen (in advance). We're both excited, and can't wait to start playing."

Here's a glance at some of the other topics discussed by the two Newest members of the Celtics family.

On why they chose jerseys No. 12 (Johnson) and No. 55 (Moore):

Johnson: "It wasn't a lot to decide from. But pretty much the reason I picked 12, my mom used to play with number 12. I couldn't get 25, so I (went) with 12. "

Moore: "It's a motivational number. Growing up, I used to wear 55. I used to like Jason Williams, white chocolate."

On deciding to return to Purdue for their senior year:

Johnson: "It was a great choice for both of us. It gave us an extra year to really develop our games and mature more."

Johnson, whose build is similar to Kevin Garnett when he came into the NBA, on playing with KG:

Johnson: "It's going to be huge for me. Growing up, he's definitely one of my favorite players; just to play alongside of him and just really learn from him. It's going to be big for me."

KG is known for cutting off young players quickly if they don't listen.

Johnson: "I'll definitely listen. If he tells me something, I'll listen. I definitely don't want him to shut me down; I definitely want to learn as much as I can from him."

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge on the value in having drafted two guys with four years of college experience:

Ainge: "It helps a lot. These guys have improved a lot over the course of their college careers. They played in a lot of big games, a lot of hostile environments. They've been ranked very high at times during the course of their college careers. They've played in a lot of big games, a lot of hostile environments. They've been ranked very high at times in their college career, been expected to win. They've been through a lot. That can only help as they get ready for the NBA."

Moore on his position on the floor.
Moore: "Combo guard; wherever they need me to play at."
Both on the growth of the other:

Moore: "Jajuan has definitely grown a whole lot, confidence wise; and on the court and off the court, being more vocal being more of a leader. He definitely grew a whole lot. He definitely came back, better than ever his senior year, he's a great player and great teammate."

Johnson: "E'Twaun definitely been the one, since day one, held it down with our team. It seemed that time-in and time-out, he'd be the one to hit those big shots for us and really led for us on the court. Him playing at a high level since our freshman year, really helped me bring my game up to where his was."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

BOSTON – This continues to be a historic season for Isaiah Thomas as more records fell in Wednesday’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee, and the company he’s keeping becomes even more exclusive. 

Thomas had a game-high 32 points on Wednesday which included five made 3’s on nine attempts. That gave him 223 for the season which is a new franchise single-season record for made 3-pointers. The previous record was 222 set by Antoine Walker during the 2001-2002 season.

And his 32 points scored gives him 2,012 this season. 

Only six players in franchise history (Paul Pierce was the last to do it during the 2005-2006 season) have scored 2,000 or more points in a single season. 

Oh, there’s more. 

With Wednesday being the 66th time this season he has had 20 or more points, Thomas has now tied Pierce (2005-2006) and Larry Bird (1985-1986; 1987-1988) for sixth on the Celtics’ single-season franchise list. 

“I didn’t even know that,” a visibly disappointed Thomas said following Wednesday’s loss. “It doesn’t feel that good right now. But when I look back on it, probably in the offseason, I’ll appreciate it a little more. But I’m just staying in the moment and try and play as best I can to lead this team to as many wins as possible.”

Other season milestones Thomas is in the mix for include the following:

  • The 5-foot-9 guard is one of three players this season to have 50 or more games of 25-plus points, joined by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (57) and Houston’s James Harden (54).
  • Thomas has made at least one 3-pointer in a franchise-record 50 straight games (Dec. 3 – March 29). That’s also the longest current streak in the NBA. 
  • With 66 games of 20 or more points this season, Thomas is second in the NBA to Westbrook (67).

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

BOSTON – One of the more bizarre plays in Boston’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee came in the second quarter, requiring some explanation from the officials afterwards. 

With 3:55 to play in the second quarter, the officials had originally called a foul on Marcus Smart which he verbally protested that eventually led to him being whistled for a technical foul. 

After the officials reviewed the play, they changed the call to a personal foul against Khris Middleton but no change to the called technical foul against Smart who objected to a call that, upon review, they agreed was the wrong call to make. 

Official Sean Corbin, through pool reporter Ken Powtak of the Associated Press, acknowledged that the original call was a loose ball foul against Smart. 

“The (officiating) crew got together, we met prior to video and we decided that we needed to look at video because both players were on the floor bleeding so we went to the video for a hostile act,” Corbin told Powtak. “In the review we noticed that Khris Middleton initially made contact to Marcus Smart’s face. That’s how the original contact to the play occurred.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, Middleton missed his technical free throw while Smart split a pair of free throws which cut Milwaukee’s lead to 49-40.

Still, that’s no consolation for Smart who was whistled for a technical foul on a play that the official acknowledged was the wrong call to make. 

In the fourth quarter, Smart was at the center of yet another controversial call that was also reviewed by the officials. The verdict wasn't nearly as good for Smart who was whistled for a flagrant foul after getting his feet tangled up with Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo who was called for a non-shooting foul in the play with 4:46 to play. 

Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws and on the Bucks' ensuing possession, he was called for traveling.

Smart was unavailable to talk after the game in part because the aforementioned incident left an abrasion to his mouth and, because of the technical foul, a little lighter in the wallet as well.