Celtics no longer bullies in fourth quarter

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Celtics no longer bullies in fourth quarter

CHICAGO In the Big Three era, if you played the Boston Celtics and the game came down to executing in the game's final minute or two, you might as well be playing Russian Roulette.

Because more often than not, the C's closed out such games with deadly precision and accuracy.

Today?

Opponents seem to be playing with house money in those kind of situations, as the Celtics have had problems - lots of problems, actually - closing out games.

Boston (15-14) has lost four of its last five games.

Although each of those games had its own particular denouement, the story line - not getting it done in the fourth - was a constant.

All except the Raptors loss was relatively close throughout the fourth quarter.

"We're not reacting well when teams are making runs," said Boston's Jermaine O'Neal. "It's almost like we go into panic mode. We try to get it all back with one or two plays."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers has often referred to that as playing "home run ball."

Well lately, the C's have been striking out a lot.

In their most recent loss, an 89-80 defeat in Chicago, Boston trailed by as many as 16 points in the third quarter before rallying to take a brief lead in the fourth.

With the score tied at 69, Chicago reeled off 12 straight points and never looked back.

It was a stretch that served as a reminder of not only how good the Bulls with or without Derrick Rose (he did not play due to a back injury), it also proved once again that this Celtics team - for now at least - does not have what it takes to close out games with any kind of consistency.

"It sucks; it sucks," said Ray Allen in describing his team's fourth quarter play this season. "Fourth quarters have been our quarters. In the fourth quarter, regardless of the game, we pull it out. We execute offensively. We know who we're going to go to scoring-wise. Right now, it's up in the air. We know who are scorers are on this team. I just don't think we do a good job of making those plays happen down the stretch."

Report: Changes coming to Bruins' uniforms?

Report: Changes coming to Bruins' uniforms?

The assumption was that some NHL jerseys and logos were going to get tweaked when Adidas takes over for Reebok as the manufacturer of the game sweaters and it looks like the Black and Gold of the Bruins will be getting some alterations. 

According to a report on Sportslogos.net, the Bruins are one of 13 NHL teams, including the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, that will have some changes made to the jerseys they wear.

There’s no indication as to how sweeping the changes will be and it’s doubtful something as heinous as the 1990’s Pooh Bear jerseys will be entered into the B’s mix. The last major changes for the Bruins came when Reebok first took over in 2007-08 and some slight alterations were made to the B’s logo, but the Bruins have also switched around their third alternate jerseys several times over the past decade.

The personal favorite at this address is the gold Winter Classic jerseys the Bruins donned on Jan. 1, 2010 against the Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park. Something like that could be a pretty interesting look as a home alternate jersey for special occasions at TD Garden, but the expectation at this address is the Bruins will keep it simple with something in black that’s not too distant from their 2016 Winter Classic jerseys that have become their alternate third jerseys.

The speculation on the blog was that the Bruins sweater alterations will be something along the lines of a “font change for the names or numbers” on the jerseys, and that’s something that wouldn’t qualify as a significant deviation from the classically popular Bruins game sweaters. In other words, the Bruins and Adidas shouldn’t be messing with something that isn’t broken with the Black and Gold, or with their fan base that still wears old school Andy Moog and Ray Bourque Bruins sweaters to home games on a regular basis. 

 

Danny Ainge says Lonzo Ball has declined pre-draft workout with Celtics

Danny Ainge says Lonzo Ball has declined pre-draft workout with Celtics

BOSTON -- Like most NBA executives, Danny Ainge loves to get as much intel on players before picking them as he can.  
 
And with the No. 1 overall pick, Ainge knows he has to do all he can to absolutely get this one right.
 
That’s why any thoughts he had of drafting Lonzo Ball are likely out the window after the talented UCLA guard refused to work out for the Celtics.
 
“We tried to get him in for a workout and he politely said no,” Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show.
 
Lonzo Ball’s desire (or his dad Lavar Ball’s desire; hard to say who in the Ball camp wants him in L.A. the most) to play for the Los Angeles Lakers is one of the worst-kept secrets leading up to next month’s NBA draft.
 
And with the Lakers holding the No. 2 pick in the draft, turning down the Celtics only increases the likelihood of  Boston passing on him and instead drafting University of Washington star Markelle Fultz.
 
“It’s not ideal,” Ainge said of Ball's decision to decline working out for Boston. “Listen, we’ve drafted guys that wouldn’t come in for workouts before. It’s not the end of the world. We’ve watched them play a ton. We have a lot of information on them. Sometimes players don’t want to come in, not because they don’t like you, they see our roster. They think they would prefer to go to another team.”
 
The Celtics, like most teams, have been mum publicly as to who they would take in the draft. But all indications at this point in the process are pointing towards them selecting Fultz with the top overall selection.
 
And the fact that Ball, the projected number two pick even before the draft lottery order was established, refuses to work out for Boston will only increase the likelihood that Fultz will be a Celtic and Ball and his camp will get their wish which has always been to don a Los Angeles Lakers jersey.