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
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Report: Celtics waive R.J. Hunter


Report: Celtics waive R.J. Hunter

According to The Vertical, the Celtics waived shooting guard R.J. Hunter on Monday. 

Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted Monday that James Young had won the final spot on Boston’s roster, making Hunter the odd man out. Wojnarowski noted that the team attempted to trade him for a second-round pick but were unsuccessful. 

The Celtics chose Hunter 28th overall in the 2015 draft. He played in 36 games for Boston as a rookie, averaging 2.7 points and one rebound per game. 

The timing of the move isn't great for Hunter, as Monday is his 23rd birthday. 

NBA Notes: League seems to be on upward surge in interest and ratings


NBA Notes: League seems to be on upward surge in interest and ratings

For so many years the NFL has had an almost impenetrable veneer in the way it has successfully pivoted away from a myriad of scandals that would have at the very least delivered a significant, noticeable blow to most professional leagues.

But that Teflon-tough image has taken a whacking of late with the league dealing with what has been for the most part an across-the-board ratings dip in its programming.

The NFL’s slide comes at a time when the NBA seems to be on a upward surge in terms of interest and ratings.

Kevin Durant’s decision to leave Oklahoma City and play for Golden State is a needle-mover across the NBA landscape. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to defend their NBA title – a phrase no one thought they would ever hear even when James signed on for a second tour of duty – will certainly generate tons of interest.

The Boston Celtics added Al Horford to a team that many believe will be among Cleveland’s stiffest challengers, in addition to being a team that has played Golden State as well as anyone the last couple of years.

There are many hands responsible for the NBA having such a strong position on the professional sports landscape, chief among them being former commissioner David Stern.

He was in town last week as part of the Shamrock Foundation’s annual Gala.

Stern gave a rundown of what he’s been up to since passing the commissioner’s torch to Adam Silver.

He said he has been a senior advisor to a venture capital firm, counsels several start-up companies and of course a senior advisor to the NBA.

But it’s what he’s not doing – negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the player’s union – that seemed to bring him the most joy.

“That’s when I got the least amount of sleep,” quipped Stern.

But those sleep-deprived marathon sessions with owners and union leaders, have helped bring the league to where it is today – thriving with its players and the profits both seem to be reaping.

That’s why the reports of the NBA and the player’s union being close to coming to terms on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, make a lot of sense. The NBA or the player’s union can opt-out of the current CBA prior to Dec. 15, although that’s looking less likely to happen because of what should be a new deal that better reflects the economic changes that currently exist in the NBA.

This past summer saw the salary cap in the NBA balloon to $94.14 million after having been $70 million for the 2015-2016 season.

With both NBA players and owners profiting significantly from the new TV deal, most of the changes to come about (paying players on the rookie scale more money; increasing the dollar amounts for veteran’s minimum and team exception contracts) are just common sense rule changes that have both sides closer to getting something done sooner rather than later.

And while he’s not directly involved in any of the current dealings, what he accomplished prior to retiring as commissioner certainly laid the groundwork for what appears to be a relatively smooth negotiation period.

“I didn’t project anything other than I was leaving it in the most spectacular of hands with an All-Star executive cast and they would just do what’s right for the league and they have,” Stern said.

And as far as the current talks that have reportedly been ongoing for months, Stern understands all too well that the last CBA talks which led to a shortened, 66-game season led to changes that has both players and owners feeling better about current negotiations.

“I’m proud to say the league has gotten to a very good place in terms of the player’s share, the owner’s share and where they can all see this is something that pays to keep going,” Stern said. “It’s fun to watch from a distance and not be involved.”



So much for that logjam in the frontcourt for the Philadelphia 76ers. The latest big man to go down with an injury is Nerlens Noel who recently had “minor” surgery on his left knee that will sideline him for reportedly three-to-five weeks. Keep in mind that the Everett, Mass. native missed his entire rookie season following left knee surgery, although the Sixers indicate this was an arthroscopic procedure and is considered minor. He joins No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons who suffered a foot injury that’s expected to keep him out until at least January. That means a lot of the trade rumors involving Noel (and Jahlil Okafor to a certain extent too) should cool off for a little bit.



Signing with Toronto during the offseason was supposed to be Jared Sullinger's chance at a fresh start. Unfortunately for him, things are looking a lot like they did in his early days in Boston. Concerns about his back dropped his draft-day stock from a likely lottery (top-14) pick, to falling in the Celtics' lap at No. 21. During his rookie season, he played well but had to have season-ending back surgery. With the Raptors, it appears he will miss some time early on due to a foot injury that occurred in the team's first preseason game which has kept him out of action ever since.  

“May be a little while before he comes back,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told reporters recently. “He may get checked out just to see what else is going on.”

Sullinger’s weight was an issue during his time with the Celtics. It’s unclear what impact if any, it had on his current injury or whether it’s a factor in the injury keeping him out indefinitely. 



We have seen Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest) in lots of different basketball roles from hitting big shots to just hitting people.

But as a coach? That is reportedly being discussed by the Los Angeles Lakers brass as they try to trim their training camp roster down to 15 players.

MWP is likely on the outside of the 15-man roster now, but the Lakers still want him to be part of the organization. While it may seem a bit of a stretch at first, he does bring a wealth of basketball experience to the table, a player how has seen the highs and lows of the game in a way few players can fully understand or speak about with a great amount of credibility.



The LaMarcus Aldridge trade talk will be one of the storylines this NBA season. The Boston Celtics will continue to be discussed as a possibility, but the team to watch is the Phoenix Suns. They came close to convincing him when he left Portland for San Antonio. Phoenix provides him a team that can be built around him (which he wants), lots of shots (which he wants) and a team with no pressure on his back to lead them to major success (yup, he wants that too). … Michael Carter Williams’ stock seems to continue to tumble after winning the league’s rookie of the Year award. He’s going into his fourth season and he’s already on to his third team. … Multiple league executives believe Devin Booker is the best 20-and-under player in the NBA right now. He's good, but I'd probably take Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns.