Celtics braced themselves for the Blake (Griffin) effect


Celtics braced themselves for the Blake (Griffin) effect

By A. Sherrod Blakely

BOSTON The Boston Celtics are used to playing in front of sold-out crowds at the TD Garden.

Wednesday night's 108-103 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers was no exception.

While most came to see the Celtics defeat the Clippers, witnessing Blake Griffin up close and personal for the first time is just as enticing.

The 6-foot-10 forward has been dominating the league this season as a rookie, averaging 22.7 points and 12.5 rebounds per game.

But his impact was minimal, as the Celtics limited him to 12 points and seven rebounds.

Usually Griffin's impact is felt in his play.

On Wednesday, it was more about his presence which seemed to open things for the rest of his teammates.

"He's definitely proven himself to be a man among boys," said Boston's Ray Allen. "The age that he's at, really first year in the league. A lot of people thought when he was injured, he wouldn't be as good. But he came back this year, and he showed a lot of people that he can be one of the best players if not the best player in the future in the NBA."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers has been impressed with Griffin's play all season.

After spending time with him during All-Star weekend, Rivers said he was even more impressed with Griffin as a person than he was about Griffin the player.

"He just seems like a solid kid," Rivers said. "For us coaches, whenever you see that, that's really nice."

In an earlier interview, Rivers talked about how a player with Griffin's ability to combine power with the ability to play above the rim, has a way of making for a miscue here and there by a point guard or whoever is trying to get him the ball.

"I was the worst lob passer in NBA history," Rivers said. "But no one knew it because I had Dominique Wilkins. You could throw the ball anywhere. Blake Griffin is more of that. All bad passes are good passes; just throw it."

Rivers said Griffin challenges the Celtics' defense in a similar fashion to Orlando's Dwight Howard.

"You gotta make him make shots over the top of you," Rivers said. "Which he's capable of making. But at least you're controlling the type of shots he gets."

Although their games are different, Rivers said Griffin's athleticism reminds him of a young David Robinson.

"But David Robinson to the second power," quipped Rivers. "He's just an unbelievable athlete."

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

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics in control, but Nets within striking distance


Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics in control, but Nets within striking distance

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics were in control most of the first half, but the Brooklyn Nets managed to stay within striking distance most of the first half which ended with the Celtics ahead, 64-58.

It was a high-scoring first half, the kind that one of the league’s top defenses shouldn’t experience.

But it is the first game of the season and the Celtics clearly have some kinks defensively to work out.

The Celtics led by as many as 13 points in the first half with contributions coming from several players in the starting unit as well as off the bench.

Boston has spent a good chunk of the preseason preaching the importance of good ball movement.

It was indeed on full display as Boston had 19 assists in the first half on 23 made baskets.

As for the Nets, Bogan Bogdanovic kept Brooklyn within striking distance most of the first half as he tallied 10 points through the first two quarters of play. Brooklyn also got a nice lift from Justin Hamilton who had 14 first-half points off the Brooklyn bench.

Here are our halftime Stars, Studs and Duds



Isaiah Thomas

Thomas was a more assertive player in the second quarter and it paid off for the him and the Celtics. He finished the half with a team-high 11 points in addition to doling out a game-high seven assists.

Jae Crowder

Boston displayed some crisp ball movement in the first half, and Crowder seemed to benefit from this more than any other Celtic. Through two quarters of play, Crowder has a team-high 10 points which included him making his first four shots from the floor.



Sean Kilpatrick

The Nets only have five players on their roster from last season’s disastrous 21-win club, and Kilpatrick showed why he’s one of the few holdovers. At the half, he had nine points off the bench to go with three rebounds.



Brook Lopez

He’s supposed to be the Nets’ best player, but you would not have known this by his play in the first half, The 7-foot Lopez was a non-factor through the first two quarters of lay, missing four of his five field goal attempts to go into the half with just three points.

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets.