Murphy runs out of gas in Celtics debut


Murphy runs out of gas in Celtics debut

By A.Sherrod Blakely

BOSTON Troy Murphy hadn't played in a game since early January.

And boy, did it show.

The Boston Celtics are well aware there will be better days ahead for them and Murphy, who made his Celtics debut in Wednesday's 115-103 win over Phoenix.

Against the Suns, Murphy had a single point while grabbing a pair of rebounds.

Even more significant was that he played more than 14 minutes.

If coach Doc Rivers had his way, he would have seen Murphy play even more minutes.

"Murphy looked good, but he was dying out there," Rivers said.

Murphy wants to play as many minutes as possible, but he understands it's going to take some time.

"It felt good to be out there," Murphy said. "I'm looking forward to practice Thursday and getting a practice under my belt, and then coming back playing on Friday. I'm just excited to be here and get this first one out of the way."

Every moment will to some degree be like a first for Murphy, who comes to Boston having never been in the postseason.

"It's the reason I came here," said Murphy, who chose the Celtics over the Miami Heat. "They have had success in the playoff runs; they have some good playoff runs, and that was very appealing to me."

Adding a long-range shooter and rebounder like Murphy, without having to touch your core group to do so, is something the C's have every reason to be excited about.

But for now, those emotions have to be tempered with the reality that it's going to take some time before this team starts to come together and jell, Murphy included.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Following Thursday’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics will be on the prowl to rebound – literally – from its first defeat of the season.

Because for all that did not go right in Thursday night’s loss, the way Boston was beaten on the boards stands out emphatically.

“They got 24 more shots than us. We only turned it over (12) times,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss. “So that’s the obvious place they’re getting their possessions, on the glass. That’s going to be the number one thing, that has been the number one thing. It’s something we’ve talked about. We have to get better at it.”


Boston was out-rebounded 55-36 on the boards which heavily factored into Chicago’s 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.

In the Celtics' 122-117 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday, Boston won the overall rebounding battle 47-44, but had just 12 offensive rebounds compared to Brooklyn's 15 offensive boards. Despite the close margin, the Nets won the battle on the offensive glass running away, outscoring the Celtics 23-13 in second-chance points.

Stevens decided to start Tyler Zeller ahead of Amir Johnson to begin the third quarter, hoping Zeller would be a better matchup on the glass than Johnson who did not grab a single rebound in the 11 minutes of court time he got in the first half.

While Zeller did do a few good things on the glass and scoring in half-court sets, it wasn’t enough to swing the momentum Chicago was steadily gaining due to its ability to control the boards.

“I wasn’t real surprised but at the same time I knew it could happen,” Zeller told reporters, referring to Stevens’ decision to have him start the second half. “They did a good job of coming out and setting the tone. They beat us up on the boards, especially the first half. It’s something we have to get better at and continue to grow at.”

And it’s not a one-player or one-position issue, either.

Usually we think of bigs when it comes to rebounding. But Boston’s guards need to step up their rebounding game as well.

The struggles thus far have to be put in the context of this being just two games, the latter being the season opener for the Bulls who were jacked up more than usual due to it being the first game for Chicago native Dwyane Wade and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

“We have to focus on boxing out,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Guards have to do a better job. Guys like me, Al (Horford), Amir (Johnson), Tyler (Zeller) ... We have to do a good job of coming in the weak side and grabbing those; just focus on it, pay more attention to detail.”