Boston Celtics

Pierce happy teammates step up in his absence


Pierce happy teammates step up in his absence

BOSTON -- Looking back, Elton Brand saw the missed opportunity.

When Paul Pierce fouled out with 4:16 to go in the fourth quarter, the Philadelphia 76ers were still within striking distance to overcome the Celtics three-point lead.

But they didnt.

We didn't attack those guys as aggressively as we should have with such a prolific scorer on the bench, Brand said after the Celtics 85-75 Game 7 win.

Instead, the Celtics rallied around their captain and pulled together a 14-7 run to close out the Eastern Conference Semifinals and advance to the Conference Finals against the Miami Heat.

Pierce was frustrated to watch his team from the sidelines, but proud after he watched them pull together.

I was very disappointed, said Pierce (15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists). No one goes out there and tries to foul out. I want to be out there and play when my team needs me. But I was put in a situation to where the previous two fouls before that where I felt like I had to take fouls, didnt want to give up any easy buckets. At the end of the day, its all for the team. Our coach is always saying give yourself up for the team, and thats what I was trying to do.

With Pierce on the bench, Rondo scored the Celtics next nine points and the Celtics pushed the lead to 10 four times. They clamped down on defense and stopped the 76ers from putting together another streaky run like they had done at points throughout the series.

Rather than lamenting a season-ending loss without their captain down the stretch, the Celtics are looking ahead to their trip to South Beach Sunday morning.

It says a lot, said Pierce. With me out, one of our primary scoring options, guys came together, showed some resolve. Other guys stepped up defensively. Offensively, Rondo did what he had to do and were sitting here talking about going to Miami tomorrow. So its a great feeling, especially not being able to play the last few minutes.

No longer the little team that could, Celtics may need time to jell

No longer the little team that could, Celtics may need time to jell

Fireworks have been ablaze in the NBA all summer long, with the latest electrifying salvo being tossed by the Boston Celtics in trading for Kyrie Irving from Cleveland in exchange for a package of playerscentered around Isaiah Thomas and a first-round pick centered around Isaiah Thomas. Without question the Celtics were among the biggest winners this offseason as they went about transforming their roster significantly despite having the best record in the East while advancing to the conference finals. But good wasn’t good enough, a similar mantra by a number of teams in the NBA. We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin!

BOSTON – Expectations for the Celtics this season are the highest they've been in the Brad Stevens Era.
The past couple of years, Stevens’ crew was seen as a scrappy bunch.
That all changed Tuesday night when the Celtics pulled off a blockbuster trade in acquiring Kyrie Irving from Cleveland for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the rights to the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.


Acquiring the four-time All-Star would have made this offseason one of the best ever for the Celtics. But prior to landing the 25-year-old point guard, Boston was able to sign Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $127.8 million contract after he spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Utah Jazz.
The new guys join a Celtics team that returns just four starters, a group led by Al Horford, who stands as the lone returning starter from last season’s squad which finished with the best record in the East (53-29) while advancing to the Eastern Conference finals before losing in five games to Cleveland.
Adding a pair of All-Stars to the mix will certainly benefit the Celtics for this upcoming season. But for their continued growth, they will also need to get more from their youngsters.
Second-year forward Jaylen Brown had a strong offseason and is poised to build off of a rookie season in which he was named to the All-Rookie second team. Boston will also look to get quality play from rookie Jayson Tatum who was selected by Boston with the third overall pick in the NBA draft.  
For Boston, the biggest concern has to be chemistry.
There’s no question there’s more talent on this roster from top to bottom.
But with this being the first go-around for most of the players, it remains to be seen just how long it will take for all of the core players to get on the same page and find success.
That challenge won’t be easy, especially with the Celtics opening with seven of their first 11 games on the road.

Even with all the new faces and a challenging schedule out the gates, that won’t diminish the heightened level of expectations for a team that will surely have a bull’s-eye on its back all season for a journey that should result in yet another deep playoff run.
Key free agent/trade additions: Kyrie Irving (from Cleveland); Gordon Hayward (from Utah); Aron Baynes (from Detroit); Marcus Morris (from Detroit).
Key losses:
Avery Bradley (traded to Detroit); Amir Johnson (Philadelphia); Jonas Jerebko (Utah).
Rookies of note:
Jayson Tatum; Semi Ojeleye.
60-22 (First in the Atlantic Division, first in the East)


BST PODCAST: What grade would you give the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving?


BST PODCAST: What grade would you give the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving?

0:41 - What grade would you give the Celtics for their trade for Kyrie Irving? Michael Holley, Kayce Smith, Tom Curran, break it down and give their grades.

4:32 - Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakley discuss how Kyrie Irving will fit in the Celtics system and how Brad Stevens will handle the roster with new egos.

8:50 - We take a look back at the Pierce and Garnett trade to the Nets that landed the Celtics multiple 1st round picks. Are you pleased with how the Celtics used those picks? Is Danny Ainge a Hall of Fame executive? Michael Holley, A. Sherrod Blakely, and Tom Giles discuss.

14:30 - Our BST crew talk about the Red Sox getting the win over the Indians, Eduardo Nunez being hit intentionally by Corey Kluber, and if Chris Sale will retaliate.