Murphy runs out of gas in Celtics debut

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Murphy runs out of gas in Celtics debut

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Troy Murphy hadn't played in a game since early January.

And boy, did it show.

The Boston Celtics are well aware there will be better days ahead for them and Murphy, who made his Celtics debut in Wednesday's 115-103 win over Phoenix.

Against the Suns, Murphy had a single point while grabbing a pair of rebounds.

Even more significant was that he played more than 14 minutes.

If coach Doc Rivers had his way, he would have seen Murphy play even more minutes.

"Murphy looked good, but he was dying out there," Rivers said.

Murphy wants to play as many minutes as possible, but he understands it's going to take some time.

"It felt good to be out there," Murphy said. "I'm looking forward to practice Thursday and getting a practice under my belt, and then coming back playing on Friday. I'm just excited to be here and get this first one out of the way."

Every moment will to some degree be like a first for Murphy, who comes to Boston having never been in the postseason.

"It's the reason I came here," said Murphy, who chose the Celtics over the Miami Heat. "They have had success in the playoff runs; they have some good playoff runs, and that was very appealing to me."

Adding a long-range shooter and rebounder like Murphy, without having to touch your core group to do so, is something the C's have every reason to be excited about.

But for now, those emotions have to be tempered with the reality that it's going to take some time before this team starts to come together and jell, Murphy included.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

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Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

BOSTON – The final score on the Jumbotron Friday night said the Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns 130-120.
 
But there was a clear and undeniable sense of loss on the part of the Celtics, even if Friday’s victory was their third in a row and sixth in the past seven games.
 
The Celtics (47-26) hope to continue on their winning ways tonight against a Miami Heat team currently among a handful fighting for one of the last playoff slots, but are doing so without Dion Waiters (ankle) who has been instrumental in their surge after an 11-30 start to the season.
 
Beating the Heat (35-37) will require Boston to play better than they did against the Suns, a game Boston won, but in many ways had the feeling of defeat.
 
Yes, Devin Booker’s career-high 70 points was very much a blow – a huge blow – to the pride of a team that takes tremendous pride in its defense.
 
But the sense of a loss came in the form of purpose while playing as close to their potential as possible.
 
The Celtics fell short on both fronts Friday night.
 
Being just one game behind Cleveland (47-24) for the best record in the East, the Celtics understand getting as many wins as possible is the mindset right now.
 
But coach Brad Stevens knows that while winning is important, how the team plays is even more valuable.
 
“Like I’ve said before, I’m surprised at where we are record-wise because we’ve got to play at a higher level for 48 minutes,” Stevens said. “We just don’t do it.”
 
Is this Stevens’ way of trying to motivate his players after a not-so-great performance?
 
Or is he seriously concerned that his team isn’t as good as their record?
 
The Celtics, by their own standards, and to those of us on the outside looking in, know they are a better team than the one we saw on Friday night.
 
Not having Avery Bradley (sick) certainly hurt Boston’s efforts defensively.
 
Still, a Friday night’s game wore on, Booker’s confidence only grew and the Celtics’ desire to shut him down or at least slow him down, began to dissipate like an ice cube in hell.
 
And that’s a problem - a big problem - for a team that has to be connected at both ends of the floor for an extended period of time in order to play at the level their capable of and, most important, give them the best shot at emerging victorious in the postseason.
 
That’s why Stevens isn’t too caught up in the team’s chances of catching Cleveland, or whether they go into the playoffs riding a fat winning streak.
 
“I’m not going to get caught up in winning a couple of games in a row and all that stuff,” Stevens said. “I want to get caught up in playing well. We’ve shown ourselves capable of playing well, we have not sustained it throughout a game. And it’s been pretty consistent.”