Celtics to face Rockets, Kings for first time


Celtics to face Rockets, Kings for first time

By Jessica Camerato

The Boston Celtics wrapped up their regular-season series against the Toronto Raptors on Friday. The following day, they played their third game against the Chicago Bulls.

After already playing 11 teams more than twice this season, the Celtics will face new competition this week when the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings come to town.

Houston Rockets (16-21)
Monday, January 10

Team Leaders
Scoring - Kevin Martin: 23.2 points per game
Rebounds - Luis Scola: 8.2 rebounds per game
Assists - Kyle Lowry: 6.8 assists per game

Last Season: The Celtics split their two-game series with the Rockets. The Cs won in Houston, 94-87, behind 15 fourth-quarter points from Paul Pierce (26 total). The Rockets then defeated the Celtics, 119-114, in overtime in Boston. Aaron Brooks scored a game-high 30 points.
Skidding In: The Rockets are currently on a five-game losing streak and have not won since beating the Raptors on New Years Eve. During the skid, they have lost by an average of 8.8 points to the Portland Trail Blazers (twice), Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, and Utah Jazz.

Dishing Dimes: The Celtics (24.6 apg) and Rockets (23.8 apg) are the top two teams in assists per game this season. Rajon Rondo leads the Cs - and the league - with 13.4, while Kyle Lowry has averaged 6.8 for the Rockets.
Familiar Faces for Wafer: Von Wafer played for the Rockets during the 2008-09 season (9.7 ppg, 44.7 FG). His time with the team, however, was marred after being ejected from the bench by coach Rick Adelman during a playoff game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Sacramento Kings (8-26)
Wednesday, January 12

Team Leaders
Scoring - Tyreke Evans: 17.2 points per game
Rebounds: DeMarcus Cousins: 7.6 rebounds per game
Assists - Tyreke Evans: 5.4 assists per game
Last Season: The Celtics swept last series, 2-0, and have won their last six games against Sacramento. The Cs beat the Kings on the road, 95-92, with 44 points from the bench. They also won at TD Garden, 94-86, as Rajon Rondo dished 18 assists and set the franchise record for steals in a single season.
Power at the Point Guard: Tyreke Evans posted 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists in the one game he played against the Celtics last season (he was injured during the other). This season he is averaging 17.2 points, 5.4 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game. After battling Derrick Rose on Saturday, Rajon Rondo will have his hands full with Evans.

Young Talent Down Low: After an inconsistent start, rookie DeMarcus Cousins has been settling in offensively. He is averaging 21.8 over the last five games while grabbing nine rebounds during that stretch. Cousins has faced several off-the-court issues, however, including arguing with his coach. A high pressure game on a big stage will be a test for the 20-year-old center.
Champion Returns at the Helm: Former Celtic Paul Westphal returns to Boston as the head coach of the Kings. Westphal was a member of the Cs from 1972-75 and won a championship in 1974.

Stats as of January 9, 2011
Follow Jessica Camerato on Twitter at http:www.twitter.comjcameratonba

Are Celtics better off building through draft or via trade?


Are Celtics better off building through draft or via trade?

Steve Buckley joins Arbella Early Edition to give his opinion on how the Boston Celtics path to becoming a title contender will come, through the draft of via trades?

Ainge: 'This offseason is bigger' than others for Celtics


Ainge: 'This offseason is bigger' than others for Celtics

WALTHAM, Mass. – There was very little sizzle in the moves made by Boston during last season, one in which they were hoping would be a summer full of basketball fireworks.

Well the bar is once again set relatively high for the Celtics this offseason, one in which the chances of making an impact, fireworks-worthy deal appear to be even better now than they were a year ago.

The Celtics have Brooklyn’s first-round pick in next month’s draft that has a 15.6 percent chance of being the top overall selection, and will be no worse than the sixth overall pick.

That’s just the first of eight picks for the Celtics in next month’s draft.

Boston has the potential to shed enough salary to offer a pair of near-max contracts to free agents this summer.

“We look forward to every offseason,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “This offseason is bigger. My expectations are high this offseason. And yet I also know that it takes good fortune.”

There’s the NBA draft lottery later this month.

“We need some ping-pong balls to bounce our way, give us the best opportunity,” Ainge said.

The Celtics own Brooklyn’s first-round pick courtesy of the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade with Brooklyn in 2013. That pick will be no worse than the sixth overall selection this season but has a 15.6 percent chance of being the top overall selection.

“Whether we use that pick, trade that pick and … in free agency we have opportunities. That’s all we have,” Ainge said. “We have no guarantees of great things happening. We have a lot of hope. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We have to have Plan A through Z; usually it’s A through G.”

Olynyk still mulling over options regarding shoulder


Olynyk still mulling over options regarding shoulder

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Boston Celtics should know soon as to whether Kelly Olynyk will have surgery on his right shoulder which limited his effectiveness this past regular season and for most of the Boston’s postseason.

“Kelly is still deciding what to do with our medical staff, with the opinions he’s received,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operation. We should know in the next week or so. Surgery is an option; it is being discussed. But he’ll make that decision soon.”

The 7-foot Olynyk initially suffered a right shoulder injury on Feb. 10 against the Los Angeles Clippers in what was the last game before the all-star break.

Olynyk remained limited due to the injury which led to him missing 12 regular season games. He re-aggravated the injury in Game 1 of their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks.

In addition to the 12 regular season games missed due to the injury, Olynyk found himself on the bench for a pair of games during the Hawks series.

Prior to Game 6, Olynyk spoke with CSNNE.com about how much better he was feeling leading into that game compared to previous ones.

But that good vibe did not translate into on-the-court success as Olynyk was scoreless while missing both of his field goal attempts in just over five minutes.

This past season, Olynyk averaged 10 points and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 40.5 percent on 3s.  But during the six-game series with Atlanta, Olynyk scored just two points on 1-for-9 shooting.

Ainge was much more definitive on the health status of Avery Bradley (hamstring) and Jae Crowder (foot).

Bradley’s hamstring injury should be healed in plenty of time for the start of training camp and will not require any offseason surgery.

Crowder, whom Ainge said suffered from a bone bruise in his foot, should also be good to go for training camp next fall and like Bradley, will not require any offseason surgery.