Celtics sloppy in loss to Sixers, 89-86


Celtics sloppy in loss to Sixers, 89-86

By A. Sherrod Blakely

PHILADELPHIA The Basketball Gods have a way of evening things out over the course of a season.

Remember all those games the Boston Celtics were winning that, truth be told, they probably shouldn't have?

Friday's game against Philadelphia had all the makings of another come-from-behind victory for the Celtics.

But down the stretch, the C's had ample opportunities to make big plays.

Instead of executing with precision on both ends, the C's simply fumbled and bumbled their way to a second straight loss, this time to the 76ers, 89-86.

Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala put the game away with a swooping lay-up with 12.5 seconds to play that gave the Sixers an 89-84 lead.

Kevin Garnett got a lay-up with 6.9 seconds to play.

But after the made-basket, the Celtics weren't able to intentionally foul a Sixers player to put them at the free throw line and get another possible possession.

You know it's one of those kind of nights when you can't even foul right.

When asked what happened down the stretch for Boston, Rajon Rondo was succint in his comments.

"Nothing happened," he said, followed by a brief pause. "That was the problem. We didn't get some calls, we took some bad shots, we turned the ball over."

Essentially, Boston (46-17) did everything that they usually force opponents to do in the closing minutes of a close game.

Said Celtics coach Doc Rivers: "Everybody kind of tried to do it by themselves, forced turnovers."

And the Sixers, to their credit, made the most of Boston's miscues.

Philadelphia head coach Doug Collins, one of the early favorites for the league's coach of the Year award, was pleased with his team's play.

Not surprisingly, he was particularly happy with the way they handled themselves in the game's closing moments.

"Our guys were so tough at the end," Collins said. "Boston is a championship-caliber team. We have been in three games with them like this, this season. The first two they won at the end. Tonight, we got defensive stops and did what we had to do to get a tough win."

In their first two meetings, both Celtics wins, Boston won by a total of just five points.

And with this loss, Boston (46-17) has now lost two in a row, while the Sixers (34-31) continue what has been one of the better turn-arounds in the NBA this season.

Philadelphia has 17 games remaining, but they've already won seven games more than they did all of last season.

"We definitely feel that we're a great ball club that can go out and be capable of beating anybody each and every night," said Elton Brand who had 14 points and five rebounds. "We proved that tonight."

And the Celtics proved that, while they are still the top team in the Eastern Conference, all the changes that they have been able to weather through, may be finally catching up to them.

"I'm not one to make excuses, but we're in transformation here," said Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, who had 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. "It's not an easy thing. Whatever we gotta do, we gotta fix it. I'm sure we will."

One of Boston's biggest problems the last couple games has been their inability to start the game playing well.

Just like they did against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, the C's fell behind quickly.

The first quarter was relatively close until Philadelphia went on a 7-0 run to lead, 16-10.

Philadelphia increased its lead slightly more to eight points, but the Celtics, led by Nenad Krstic's scoring, were able to trim Philadelphia's lead down to 25-22 after the first quarter.

Krstic continues to put up strong offensive numbers for the Celtics, finishing with 16 points and 15 rebounds for his first double-double as a Celtic, and second of the season. The first came when he played for Oklahoma City and had 16 points and 11 rebounds against Orlando on Jan. 13.

Boston also got a strong game from Krstic's teammate in Oklahoma City, Jeff Green, who was also part of the trade that shipped out Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Thunder.

Green came off the bench to score a team-high 18 points.

But numbers have little meaning for most of the Celtics.

They're more consumed by letters; specifically, W's which lately, have been hard to come by.

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

Celtics break ground on new practice facility


Celtics break ground on new practice facility

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- When it comes to finding ways to attract the best talent, colleges and universities often seek to upgrade their training facilities as an enticement to prospective players.
So why should it be any different at the pro level?
The Boston Celtics had a groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning for The Auerbach Center at New Balance Headquarters.
“When you think he was hired in 1966 and they’re still honoring him, it’s very humbling,” said Randy Auerbach, Red’s daughter.
New Balance officials echoed similar sentiments about the legendary Red Auerbach, the architect of arguably the greatest dynasty in professional basketball.
“Red Auerbach was a true entrepreneur whose passion for winning and dedication to the sport of basketball and the Boston Celtics was equally matched with his commitment to people and his local community,” said Jim Davis, Chairman and Owner at New Balance.  “New Balance is extremely proud to join with the Boston Celtics in honoring his professional achievements and personal values through ‘Red’s House’ at our Boston world headquarters.”
Celtics president Rich Gotham cited several benefits to moving the team to a state-of-the-art practice facility closer to Boston.
Among the reasons given was the potential for the practice facility to be a potential enticement for free agents.
“Players spend more time in the practice facility than they do in the arena they play in certainly, and maybe more than they do at home,” Gotham said. “So having a place where they feel comfortable, a place where they want to spend time to improve themselves across the board … it’s all coming together in a pretty big way. The best players know it’s integral to their success that make sure that support is there, that infrastructure is there. So when we’re out talking to a player, we’re going to be talking about this practice facility we’re building. Because we do think it’s an important part of our story.”
Some of the features of the new practice facility will include:
·  Two state-of-the-art parquet floor basketball courts where the team will practice
·  Leading edge audio-visual technology throughout the facility
·  Expanded strength and conditioning, training, and recovery facilities
·  Best-in-class locker rooms and players’ lounge
·  Physical therapy areas including hydrotherapy pools
·  Sports science and nutrition facilities
·  Expanded media work room, press conference and broadcast facilities
·  A flexible hospitality area designed for community relations activities, partner gatherings and other guest events
·  Work space for the team’s coaching and basketball front office staffs
While the facility will have all the bells and whistles you would come to expect in a new facility, Gotham said there will be a balance of sorts struck between that and the franchise’s longstanding history.
“What will be clear is it will be … at that intersection of, which is a strange intersection, of innovation but honoring our tradition,” Gotham said. “This will be a building that’s state-of-the-art, moving forward. But at the same time, I think one of the things we’re lucky to have is this treasure trove of great guys who came before us who left great wisdom and great quotes. You can see a lot of that built in. Coach Stevens is big on having motivational phrases around for the guys to see every single day when they come in for practice. If those come from Red Auerbach and Bill Russell, all the better. You’ll see us incorporating those kind of things.”   

Celtics waive R.J. Hunter as James Young makes roster

Celtics waive R.J. Hunter as James Young makes roster

BOSTON – One way or another, R.J. Hunter or James Young was not going to be a Boston Celtic by the end of the day Monday.
The Celtics made their choice by waiving Hunter just hours before the NBA deadline to trim their roster down to 15 players.
Hunter began to show signs of coming around near the end of training camp, but his improved play would eventually be too little too late.

This is certainly good news for Young, who like Hunter, made it clear that he wanted to remain with the Celtics. But it by no means should be seen as a victory for Young who is entering his third NBA season.
The 21-year-old is now part of the 15-man roster, but it still doesn’t address the issue of him playing better to where the Celtics might actually use him with some degree of regularity.
If not for Kelly Olynyk’s shoulder injury, which will keep him out of action until next month, there was a decent chance that Young would begin the season on the inactive roster. But to Young’s credit, he showed a level of dedication to the game that the Celtics had not seen before. He spent most of this past summer in Boston working on his game, trying to get physically stronger. During the preseason, his level of commitment to improving was noticeable as well.
And when he did get a chance to play in the preseason, he did a lot of little things really well, showing the kind of improvement that ultimately put him a leg up on Hunter whom the Celtics drafted last year with the 28th overall pick.
If Hunter isn’t claimed, he becomes an unrestricted free agent who can then sign with any team of his choosing. Do not be surprised if Hunter is claimed off waivers by a team which then assigns him to their Development League affiliate, similar to what the Celtics did with Ryan Kelly over the weekend.