Celtics know when youth should be served

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Celtics know when youth should be served

PA ANNOUNCER: "Ladies and gentlemen . . . I need you ALL . . . to get ON YOUR FEET, and help me welcome the NEWEST member of the MIAMI HEAT . . . "

The crowd goes wild, as strobe lights drop down from the ceiling, smoke shoots from the air vents and Jay-Z and Kanyes Lift Off blasts through the speakers.
"Raaay Aaaaaalleeeeeenn!!"

Suddenly, Allen wearing sunglasses, cargo shorts and a Heat City, Bitch tank top emerges from behind the curtain. He turns the corner and meets Chris Bosh with an emphatic chest bump, works a new handshake with Dwyane Wade, and then seeks out LeBron for an emotional bear hug. The foursome then performs the entire dance routine from House Party.

Allen grabs the mic:
"What's up, Mi-AM-miiiiiii?! I only have two words for y'all today. And I want you to say them with me: RE! PEAT! RE! PEAT! RE! PEAT! RE! PEAT! . . ."

OK, so maybe Ray will keep things a little classier this afternoon when he's officially introduced as a member of the hated Heat . . . but that won't make it any easier to swallow.

Even if he was completely justified in leaving. Even if the Celtics are probably better offer for seeing him go. It still hurts. It's still a slap in the face. But hey, what are you going to do?

For all the questions about why Ray left, about what really pushed him over the edge, I still think it comes down to this: He lost his job. Whether it happened over time, or all at once, the Celtics found themselves in a situation they were better without Allen in the starting line up, and at that point, they had two choices.

1. Pretend it wasn't true. Bury Avery Bradley. Keep their future Hall of Famer happy.

2. Do the right thing.

Thankfully, they went with the latter, but a decision like that comes with consequences.

This is one of the dangers of how Danny Ainge and the Celtics have handled the extension of the Big 3 era. This is what happens when you're dealing with superstars at the tail end of their careers; when their bodies are giving up, but their pride and confidence are sharp as ever. Like I've said a million times, I don't think that Ray Allen is a bad person for feeling the way he did during his final days with the Celtics, but there's no question that he lost touch with reality.

And it's fair to wonder: Is this an isolated incident, or a sign of things to come?

After all, the Celtics aren't paying Jeff Green 9 million a year to sit on the bench. And even if they start Green at the four, they didn't bring Brandon Bass back to ride the pine either. So, given the changing face off this team; given the younger, more athletic direction of the NBA on the whole, might there be a few games where the Celtics are more effective with Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Green, Bass and Kevin Garnett?

Is it possible that at some point over the next two seasons, Jeff Green becomes a better fit for the Celtics than Paul Pierce?

I don't know, but I hope so. Don't you? I bet the Celtics do. Not because it would allow them treat Pierce like crap, but because it would mean that the C's are a better team. Because that's all they can afford to care about. Remember last off-season before they lost Green when Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge both publicly suggested that Pierce could come off the bench? How serious they were, we'll never know. But it was obviously on their radar.

OK, I'll stop now, because this is all speculation. I'm just saying that Ray Allen wasn't the first NBA superstar to lose his job to a younger, faster and more athletic player, and he won't be the last. It's just the way of the world. A product of getting older. One of the inevitable risks of rolling the dice with aging Hall of Famers.

The consequences of which are about to play out this afternoon in Miami.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
 
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
 
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
 
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
 
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
 
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.


 

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
 
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
 
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
 
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
 
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
 
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
 
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
 
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
 
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
 
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”