Celtics-Nets review: Where's the pride?

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Celtics-Nets review: Where's the pride?

BOSTON Once upon not that long ago, the TD Garden really was like a jungle; a place where team after team would be devoured upon entry.

These days?

Not even close.

The Brooklyn Nets became the latest team to make themselves at home in the C's digs, as they delivered a 95-83 loss to the Celtics Wednesday night.

Rajon Rondo's ejection after fighting with Kris Humphries may be what most will take away from Wednesday's game.

But for the C's, this loss serves as yet another reminder that whatever home court advantage they thought they had, does not exist.

"We have to have more pride playing at home," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "Since I been here, we take a lot of pride in ... putting these jerseys on. Sometimes I question if we really understand what it means."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers had similar thoughts on his team's play.

"You know, Kevin, Paul (Pierce) and Rondo and a couple other guys - it's not everyone - it's almost like they think because they put the jersey on that they are something. You've got to earn it here."

The C's certainly didn't play well enough to warrant a win on Wednesday. Here are some other key factors identified prior to the game, and how they ultimately played out in the Celtics' loss.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Brooklyn has the ability to post-up teams at just about every position within their starting five, the kind of luxury that makes keeping their points in the paint low. The Nets average 43.4 points in the paint which ranks 10th among NBA teams. That would be a pretty average night against a Celtics defense that ranks 28th in allowed points in the paint, at 43.6.

WHAT WE SAW: Although Boston only gave up 38 points in the paint, this was a game in which Brooklyn's interior play was overwhelming at times for the Celtics who gave up 23 second-chance points while generating just 11 of their own.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Kevin Garnett vs. Brook Lopez: The Big Ticket will have his hands full against Lopez who has been arguably the best center in the East this season. Lopez is averaging 19.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.

WHAT WE SAW: Garnett had the better of Lopez most of the night, both in terms of statistics and impact on the game. Garnett had 16 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double this season. while Lopez had nine points and 10 rebounds in part because of early foul trouble.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Brandon Bass has emerged as a solid rebounding presence for the Celtics, something he'll need to continue doing against a Brooklyn team that's among the NBA's best rebounding squads. Bass is averaging 5.7 rebounds per game this season, but has snatched eight per game during the C's last three games.

WHAT WE SAW: Bass had a nice game shooting the ball (16 points, 7-for-12 shooting), but they needed so much more from him in terms of rebounding. He grabbed just three rebounds which was among the factors leading to the C's being minus-10 on the boards.

STAT TO TRACK: Boston's fourth quarter offense will be put to the test against a Brooklyn team that has made life difficult for most teams during the game's most critical moments. The Nets are giving up 21.3 points per game in the fourth quarter, the NBA's third-lowest total in the fourth. Meanwhile, the Celtics' fourth-quarter offense is churning out 25.3 points in the fourth, No. 5 in the NBA.

WHAT WE SAW: Fourth quarter scoring didn't really mean much on Wednesday, not with the Nets going into the quarter with a 15-point cushion. Brooklyn played the C's to a near-standstill most of the quarter as the Celtics could only trim Brooklyn's lead by three points (28-25).

What makes a good manager? Rangers GM Jon Daniels explains

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What makes a good manager? Rangers GM Jon Daniels explains

Across the way from John Farrell in the Rangers dugout this series is a manager who was voted the American League’s best in his first year at the helm, 2015.

Jeff Banister is one of three full-time skippers Rangers president Jon Daniels has had in his time running the Rangers.

Much has been made about how Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski views the manager’s job: that in-game management isn’t the most important, but running the clubhouse is.

How does another top baseball exec look at it? Daniels explained on the CSNNE Baseball Show podcast.

“I think manager’s an enormous role,” Daniels said. “Huge importance, I don’t buy into any of the sort of snarky commentary. … What I think sometimes gets a little blown out of proportions, at times whether it’s lineup construction, some of those — the in-game stuff, bullpen management’s very real. 

“Certainly the knowledge of the game is big. I think the ability to teach the game is big. But the No. 1 separator, in my opinion, is managing people. It’s really the word ‘manager.’ Helping to mold the culture in the clubhouse. Getting everybody on the same page. Young players, older players, everybody’s got different self-interests and to be able to get all those unique self-interests enough on the same page for a common goal while representing the club publicly, with the media, with the fans, and doing it under a pretty intense spotlight — I think that’s the biggest piece. Probably the hardest to truly evaluate unless you’re like, in the clubhouse or around the clubhouse on a daily basis and have a sense for who’s good at it, who’s not. That for me is like where guys really separate themselves.”

Asked if he’s ever surprised by player sensitivity, Daniels underscored what stage of life most ballplayers are in.

“Everybody’s different, right?” Daniels said. “So everyone has different insecurities, everyone has different level of ego, grown up in different circumstances. At the end of the day everybody wants a few basic things. You want to be like kind of communicated on a pretty forthright, direct way. You want to be treated with respect. Some guys can handle a little more criticism than others. 

“Some guys can handle a little more criticism from their peers than others can. I think that’s a manager’s job, to understand kind of the different approaches. Players, the guys are in their 20s. Think about where you were when you were first out of college … a few years off that, and your maturity level and really your lack of life experience in a lot of ways. And, kind of like evaluate under those circumstances: you’re going to be somewhat sensitive when you’re in that time period in your life.”

How well a manager handles a clubhouse isn’t something the Rangers, at least, have tried to quantify.

“More anecdotal for me. There may be ways,” Daniels said. “I haven’t really been part of that. If there is [a way] we haven’t figured it out, and we haven’t really tried to do, to be honest with you.”

For the full interview, listen to the podcast below

Brown (hip) and Johnson (shoulder) will play in Game 5

Brown (hip) and Johnson (shoulder) will play in Game 5

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics are far from being healthy heading into tonight’s must-win Game 5, but they will have all of their players available with the exception of Isaiah Thomas (hip).

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown (right hip) was questionable heading into tonight’s game, but he told CSNNE.com earlier that he was planning to give it a go tonight.

Boston head coach Brad Stevens confirmed later on that the 6-foot-7 rookie would in fact play tonight.

His presence tonight is one of the many keys to Boston’s efforts to keep their season alive.

They trail Cleveland 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, with a loss tonight ending their season and with that, sending the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals for the third straight season.

Boston’s Amir Johnson (right shoulder) did not play in Game 4, but will be in uniform and available to play tonight. Stevens said the 6-foot-9 veteran was healthy enough to play in Game 4 but Stevens elected to keep him out of the game because he wanted Johnson to have more than one day to rest his shoulder before potentially playing him again.

In other injury-related news, Stevens confirmed comments made earlier in the day by Danny Ainge regarding Isaiah Thomas’ right hip injury which led to the Celtics shutting him down for the playoffs after the injury proved to be too much for him to play through at halftime of Boston’s Game 2 loss.

Speaking during 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show, Ainge said there was “a lot” of inflammation around the affected joint on Thomas’ right hip.

“It had gotten worse from the MRI’s he had before,” said Ainge who added that it would have been “irresponsible to allow him to play anymore.”

Said Stevens: “It sounds to me like the course of action right now … is let the inflammation go down a little bit.”

Ainge said earlier that because of the inflammation, it will likely be at least a couple weeks before Thomas and the Celtics will know if he will require surgery or whether another form of treatment will be needed.

Because of that uncertainty, Ainge stressed that Thomas would not return to play in this series even if it were closer.

“No. No way. He’s done (for the season),” Ainge said.