Arroyo excited to have a chance to win with Celts


Arroyo excited to have a chance to win with Celts

By A.Sherrod Blakely

WALTHAM Carlos Arroyo had just finished his first practice as a member of the Boston Celtics Tuesday afternoon.

As he left the floor, he saw a huge semi-circle of media in one corner of the room, all surrounding a Celtics-themed banner on the wall.

"They're waiting for me?" he asked.

As he made his way towards the crowd, he asked a reporter, "Is it usually like this?"

Welcome to Boston, Carlos Arroyo!

Just as they were at his last stop, Miami, the expectations -- much like the media horde -- are large around these parts.

And Arroyo, waived by the Heat last week, wouldn't want it any other way.

He's in his ninth NBA season, which is damn near a lifetime for a player from a small college (Florida International) that went undrafted.

The 6-foot-3 guard has made good money throughout his career, and has achieved moderate levels of success both as a reserve and as a starter.

But he's not getting any younger. He knows his days as an NBA player are few and far between. So the sense of urgency, not surprisingly, is pretty high.

But the goal, Arroyo admits, is pretty simple.

He's here to do what he's never been able to do, and that's be part of an NBA championship team.

The closest he came was during the 2004-05 season with the Pistons, who lost their bid at winning back-to-back NBA titles when they lost in the Finals in seven games to San Antonio.

Like most of the players on that team, the pain of coming up short while coming so close, isn't easily shaken.

That was among the many reasons why the native of Puerto Rico was so excited about being a part of the Miami Heat.

So when the Heat opted to waive him last week in order to make room for Mike Bibby, Arroyo's immediate focus was to latch on with another title contender.

In came Danny Ainge and the Celtics, offering him the two things he most covets now -- a chance at a title and an opportunity to play.

With Delonte West's knack for getting nicked up this season, the C's were concerned about having a reliable backup for Rajon Rondo.

Adding Arroyo achieved two things for the Celtics.

Arroyo gives them a player who can help lower Rondo's minutes, currently at a career-high 37.9 per game.

With all the changes Boston has made to its bench, having Arroyo at the point guard position also gives them a solid veteran who can unite the ever-evolving second unit.

Coach Doc Rivers describes Arroyo as a "veteran, solid, not going to overwhelm you with his athleticism."

Rivers added, "I thought he was a crafty player in Miami. That'll bode well for him here."

It certainly didn't work for him with the Heat.

Arroyo began the season as Miami's starting point guard.

But his role with the team seemed to start fading at the same time the Heat endured a four-game losing streak in January.

Arroyo averaged 20.3 minutes per game in Miami. During the four-game losing streak, his playing time dipped to 14.3.

Miami went on to win three of its next four, with Arroyo slowly but surely fading out of the rotation.

While Arroyo admits he was disappointed in his drop in playing time, he holds no grudge or ill will towards the Heat or head coach Erik Spoelstra.

"To be honest, I don't know what happened," Arroyo said. "I went from starting to not playing. I gotta respect that. That's coach's decision. My job was to stay ready. It wasn't about me, or anybody else, but the team. I'm a professional when it comes to that. I was just waiting for my time. Hopefully my time is now."

And while it would make a lot of sense for him to come into this situation looking to make a point or prove something to the Heat, Arroyo maintains that's not on his mind right now.

"At this point in my career, everybody knows what I'm capable of," he said. "Hopefully I can do a little bit more here and help the team. That's what I came here for. I'm excited to get things going, and hopefully win a championship with Boston."

And that will result in even larger media crowds than the one that engulfed him on Tuesday.

"That's all right," quipped Arroyo to "I've seen this all year."

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

Celtics late rally falls short, Bulls hold on to win, 105-99


Celtics late rally falls short, Bulls hold on to win, 105-99

It was only 24 hours earlier that the Boston Celtics learned a valuable lesson about what can potentially happen if you let up on an opponent too soon.

The Chicago Bulls made the same mistake on Thursday as the Celtics wiped out a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter and made it a one-possession game for the last couple of minutes.

But like Boston did against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night, the Bulls managed to fend off a late rally by Boston in handing the Celtics a 105-99 loss.

Boston had multiple opportunities to tie the game or take the lead in the fourth, only to consistently come up short.

Their last shot came with less than a minute to play and Boston trailing 101-99.

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown had the ball and seemingly had a mismatch with Nikola Mirotic guarding him.

Brown dribbled into the lane, spun away from Mirotic and left his feet and landed without anyone to pass to.

It would prove to be a critical turnover as Dwyane Wade came down afterwards and drained a 3-pointer, his fourth of the night, to make it a 104-99 game with 26.3 seconds to play.

That would be the Celtics’ last chance at a victory.

The Celtics trailed by as many as 15 points, but made it a game courtesy of a slew of baskets by Isaiah Thomas.

He finished with 25 points on 10-for-15 shooting.

As well as Thomas shot from the field, he’ll most remember this game for the shots he didn’t make; his free throws specifically.

A career 86 percent free throw shooter, Thomas was just 2-for-6 from the line on Thursday.

Boston (1-1) also got a strong game from Avery Bradley who had 16 points, six rebounds and five assists.

The Bulls, playing their season opener with a newly-formed Big Three of prodigal son Dwyane Wade, ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo and All-Star Jimmy Butler, didn’t waste any time establishing control of the game.

Chicago opened the game with an 8-2 run and led by as many as 15 points. Boston had moments in which it cut into Chicago’s lead, but the Bulls’ control of the game remained strong throughout the night.

Things got a bit chippy in the second quarter when Jae Crowder was called for an offensive foul against Jimmy Butler, a good friend of his as well as a former teammate at Marquette.

After Butler hit the ground, he used his legs to tie up Crowder who fell to the floor afterwards. Crowder then forcefully put the ball in Butler’s chest.

That led to some back and forth trash talk between Isaiah Thomas and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

Officials reviewed the play and called all four players – Crowder, Thomas, Butler and Rondo – were called for a technical foul.

Tempers cooled down afterwards for both teams as the Chicago Bulls continued to stay red-hot from 3-point range.

The Bulls were especially impressive in the first half when they were 7-for-13 on 3s.

And leading the 3-point barrage was Wade who rarely looked to score beyond the 3-point line a year ago. He would finish with 22 points which included a trio of 4-pointers which was the first time he made that many 3s since the 2012-2013 season when he played for the Miami Heat.

Chicago’s top scorer was Butler who had 24 points and seven rebounds.

Chicago Bulls sign former Boston Celtics guard R.J. Hunter


Chicago Bulls sign former Boston Celtics guard R.J. Hunter

Minutes before they opened their regular season Thursday against the Celtics, the Bulls announced the signing of shooting guard R.J. Hunter.

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