Johnson, Moore happy to be playing together

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Johnson, Moore happy to be playing together

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn

BRIGHTON As they trekked across the country working out for various NBA teams, Purdue's Jajuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore were never too far from each other.

A text message from the West coast by Johnson.

Moore replying from the East coast.

The more they talked, the better each felt about their chances of having their life long dreams of being in the NBA, come true.

Little did they know that when those dreams would literally begin the same way their dreams of college stardom began - as teammates.

The Celtics made a draft night trade for Johnson, using the No. 25 pick (Providence's MarShon Brooks) and sending it to New Jersey which turned around and gave the Celtics Johnson (the No. 27 pick) and a 2014 second-round pick.

Boston then used its second round pick, No. 55 overall, to select Moore.

The two newest Celtics made their first public appearances with the C's at the unveiling of a state-of-the-art mobile computer lab at the Edison K-8 school in Brighton.

After putting the new laptop computers donated by the Shamrock Foundation to good use, the two newest Celtics addressed the media.

And not surprisingly, among the first questions they field had to do with them being reunited after one of the greatest four-year stretches of success in Purdue basketball history.

Johnson and Moore share the Boilermakers record for most career wins (107) at the school.

That tradition of winning, they hope to continue now that they're members of the Boston Celtics.

"I was really excited, just to have somebody you're familiar with, you're comfortable with go through this process with you, makes things a lot more easier for you," Johnson said.

Added Moore, "It's definitely exciting that we got chosen by the same team; definitely didn't notice this was going to happen (in advance). We're both excited, and can't wait to start playing."

Here's a glance at some of the other topics discussed by the two Newest members of the Celtics family.

On why they chose jerseys No. 12 (Johnson) and No. 55 (Moore):

Johnson: "It wasn't a lot to decide from. But pretty much the reason I picked 12, my mom used to play with number 12. I couldn't get 25, so I (went) with 12. "

Moore: "It's a motivational number. Growing up, I used to wear 55. I used to like Jason Williams, white chocolate."

On deciding to return to Purdue for their senior year:

Johnson: "It was a great choice for both of us. It gave us an extra year to really develop our games and mature more."

Johnson, whose build is similar to Kevin Garnett when he came into the NBA, on playing with KG:

Johnson: "It's going to be huge for me. Growing up, he's definitely one of my favorite players; just to play alongside of him and just really learn from him. It's going to be big for me."

KG is known for cutting off young players quickly if they don't listen.

Johnson: "I'll definitely listen. If he tells me something, I'll listen. I definitely don't want him to shut me down; I definitely want to learn as much as I can from him."

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge on the value in having drafted two guys with four years of college experience:

Ainge: "It helps a lot. These guys have improved a lot over the course of their college careers. They played in a lot of big games, a lot of hostile environments. They've been ranked very high at times during the course of their college careers. They've played in a lot of big games, a lot of hostile environments. They've been ranked very high at times in their college career, been expected to win. They've been through a lot. That can only help as they get ready for the NBA."

Moore on his position on the floor.
Moore: "Combo guard; wherever they need me to play at."
Both on the growth of the other:

Moore: "Jajuan has definitely grown a whole lot, confidence wise; and on the court and off the court, being more vocal being more of a leader. He definitely grew a whole lot. He definitely came back, better than ever his senior year, he's a great player and great teammate."

Johnson: "E'Twaun definitely been the one, since day one, held it down with our team. It seemed that time-in and time-out, he'd be the one to hit those big shots for us and really led for us on the court. Him playing at a high level since our freshman year, really helped me bring my game up to where his was."

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

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

BOSTON –  For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics were hosting a team eager to get off a losing skid.

But a strong surge near the end of the second quarter gave the Celtics a 65-56 halftime lead over Portland which came into the night having lost four straight.

Boston opened with a 12-4 run capped off by a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder – his second within the game’s first couple minutes.

But the Blazers were being carried by C.J. McCollum, half of the most explosive backcourt in the NBA. His 12 first-quarter points were crucial to keeping the Blazers within 28-26 at the end of the quarter.

McCollum continued to out-perform everyone else on the floor, even Isaiah Thomas who had a quieter than usual first half.

But the 5-foot-9 Thomas continued to make all the plays needed to put the Celtics back on top courtesy of a 12-3 run that put them ahead 57-49 with 1:55 to play in the half.

From there, Boston was able to maintain control of the game.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Saturday’s game.

 

STARS

C.J. McCollum

While there’s still talk about whether Damian Lillard will be an All-Star this year, McCollum has played well enough to where he’s at least worthy of a mention in the All-Star conversation. He certainly carried Portland in the first half with 26 points on 8-for-12 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

As usual, Thomas drew a considerable amount of attention from the opposing defense. And slowly but surely, he found cracks that he could exploit. At the half, he had 17 points, four assists and three rebounds, one of which was an offensive board that he put-back in for a lay-up.

 

STUDS

Jae Crowder

He put the Celtics on a good path from the outset, knocking down a couple 3’s in the first couple of minutes. He finished the half with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting which included a trio of 3-pointers.

Meyers Leonard

He was 3-for-4 in the first half which included a pair of powerful dunks over Boston’s Jordan Mickey. At the half he had eight points and two rebounds.

 

DUDS

Damian Lillard

It was a rough half for the two-time All-Star, tallying just three points on 1-for-5 shooting. A big part of his problem? Foul trouble. He played just 10 minutes in the first half due in large part to having three personal fouls.