OFFSEASON

Notes: Stoudemire injured after warm-up dunk

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Notes: Stoudemire injured after warm-up dunk

By A.Sherrod Blakely and JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Amar'e Stoudemire burst on to the Big Apple scene, and has been getting lots of love from the always-tough-to-please New York City crowd.

It's too soon to tell if that love affair will last after Stoudemire suffers a back injury while -- of all things -- doing a high degree-of-difficulty dunk during warm-ups.

Stoudemire spent the second half of Tuesday's 96-93 Celtics win in the locker room receiving treatments.

When asked about the injury, he said it happened during warmups.

"I touched the top of the glass with my left hand, and dunked it with my right," Stoudemire said. "I think that's when I felt it really get tight on me."

Stoudemire is not sure that his back will heal in time for him to play in Game 3 at Madison Square Garden.

Getting hurt is one thing; it is after all, a part of the game. But during warm-ups?

Stoudemire tried to play through the pain, but it was clearly too much to bear after he was on the floor for 18 relatively non-productive minutes in the first half.

"I could hardly move (during the game)," Stoudemire said. "I was trying to play through it. just couldn't get quite totally loose."

Jermaine O'Neal left the game in the second quarter with a sprained left wrist injury, but was able to return. Although he wasn't nearly as good statistically on Tuesday as he was in Boston's Game 1 win, O'Neal was once again a factor for the Celtics around the basket.

As well as he played, Celtics coach Doc Rivers elected to keep him on the bench for the entire fourth quarter and instead go primarily with Glen Davis.

"It was a tough call," Rivers said. "I don't know if I made the right call or not, honestly."

The Knicks went with a smaller lineup, which usually results in Davis being a better fit for the C's than O'Neal.

While it made sense to go with Davis, the decision to play him was by no means a unanimous one among the coaching staff.

"As a coach, you're going back and fourth," Rivers said. "The debate on the bench would've been terrific for you guys to hear, but we turned the micas off so you couldn't."

The Knicks may not be a good team defensively, but they are smart enough to know the importance of not letting Ray Allen get a lot of shots off. Allen had 18 points in Boston's 96-93 win on Tuesday, and he did it on 6-for-8 shooting.

It was the second straight game that the ball didn't find its way into the hands of Ray Allen until several minute had expired.

Allen is averaging 21 points in the first two games of this series, but he has been scoreless in the first quarter in each game.

"They do play defense," Rivers said of the Knicks. "And so they just the ball didn't find him."

With so many offensive weapons, there are bound to be games when certain players don't get as many touches as they're used to.

It appears it's Ray Allen's turn now.

"We trust our offense," Rivers said. "I'm not that disappointed with it. Obviously I'd love Ray to get shots, but they actually know Ray's on the floor, too."

Glen Davis knew he could do better after Game 1. He wasnt pleased with his offensive performance, having shot 1-for-8 (2 points) in just over 25 minutes.

Davis approached Game 2 with the mentality that he doesnt have to score in double digits to be effective. He scored four points, doubling his Game 1 total with just three shots.

Im just doing what Doc wants me to do, he told CSNNE.com. I passed up a lot of shots today for the betterment of the team. If thats what I have to do, thats fine.

With Chauncey Billups (left knee injury) out of the lineup, the Knicks turned to Toney Douglas for Game 2. It was only his second career postseason game and his first start in the playoffs. In spite of the difference in experience, the Celtics were not taking Douglas (or rookie Landry Fields) lightly.

Theyre young players in the league but theyre capable of doing the things that their team needs them to do and thats good enough, Ray Allen said before the game. You cant rely on the lack of experience, nor can you rely on the wealth of experience. At the end of the day, its just experience. youve got to put it out there.

But Douglas inexperience was apparent at times. He picked up three fouls in the first half alone and attempted 16 shots, only making five (14 points).

Allen says it can be apparent to a veteran which players have postseason experience and which ones do not.

You know who feels comfortable and whos kind of in their wheelhouse where it doesnt really affect them when they go out there and play, he said. Offensively theyre always in control. They always play the game that they played in the regular season. Its just a command, just kind of having your wits about them on the floor.

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

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA. She can be reached at jessicacamerato@gmail.com.

OFFSEASON

After flurry of moves, Celtics still aren't done

After flurry of moves, Celtics still aren't done

You’re probably thinking the summer fireworks are finished after the Celtics brought back Tyler Zeller, added ex-Celtic Gerald Green, and signed rookies Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil. It’s true, these moves do lower the likelihood of a multifaceted trade, but it doesn’t totally extinguish the odds of something seismic happening.

The Celtics still retain their flexibility, since none of these deals have actually been finalized. Even after they are, they’d still have the pieces required to make a deal work for a superstar like Blake Griffin. It’s not hard to make a valid trade for one player, but it is difficult if it’s a multi-step process like a Russell Westbrook renegotiate-and-extend trade.

“This is not necessarily what the team will be,” a source told the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “There’s probably changes coming.”

Well, yeah. Changes have to come. The Celtics don’t really have a choice here.

Assuming Jaylen Brown is signed, they’ll have 18 players with at least partially guaranteed contracts. So at least three players will have to be exported before the season, since the NBA requires a maximum of 15 players on a roster.

Here’s a look at the Celtics’ current projected depth chart:

  STARTERS BENCH RESERVES ON THE BUBBLE
FRONT COURT Amir Johnson Kelly Olynyk Tyler Zeller  
Al Horford Jonas Jerebko Jordan Mickey Ben Bentil*
Jae Crowder Jaylen Brown* Gerald Green James Young
BACK COURT Avery Bradley Marcus Smart RJ Hunter John Holland*
Isaiah Thomas Terry Rozier Demetrius Jackson  

So, something has to happen. It’s just a matter of what. You can choose to believe the Celtics aren’t actually trying to make a blockbuster move. Or you can choose to believe the signals that have been firing off this month from the Celtics themselves indicating they’re “not done.”

It wouldn’t be difficult for the Celtics to get closer to 15 players by completing a blockbuster trade for a player like Griffin.
 
Perhaps some combination of veterans (Amir Johnson, Avery Bradley, and Jonas Jerebko) with youth (Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, and James Young) and draft picks (2018 Nets pick) could bring in Griffin and Paul Pierce.

Saturday’s moves make sense regardless of any transactions to follow.

Zeller is a bargain at just $8 million as a steadying presence on both ends of the floor. But, if Johnson were dealt, he’d be able to slide right up the depth chart as the team’s backup center.

Green shot 37.2 percent on spot up threes, per SportVU, over the past three years, so he provides spacing as a scorer who can catch fire. Considering Brad Stevens’ track record of sapping every ounce of talent out of each of his players -- hello, Jordan Crawford! -- it’s possible the Celtics will be getting the Green who scored an efficient 15.8 points per game just two years ago in Phoenix, and not the subpar Green who struggled to stay on the court last year in Miami.

If one or two of Boston’s young wings were dealt, Green, on a mere veteran minimum contract, would have an even easier path to playing time as a spark off the bench.

It’s difficult to read into the signings of second-round picks Jackson and Bentil, but either way the should both spend the season developing with the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

The Celtics haven’t made a move yet, but they also haven’t done anything to suggest they’re entirely done. These moves could be precursors to something significant, or not. But at the least they provide depth to an already impressive roster.

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics agree to deals with Zeller and picks Jackson, Bentil

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Report: Celtics agree to deals with Zeller and picks Jackson, Bentil

On a busy Saturday for the Celtics, they have brought back center Tyler Zeller and agreed to deals with draft picks Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reported.

Earlier Saturday, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported that the Celtics will sign guard Gerald Green. 

Himmelsbach reports that Zeller's is a $16 million, two-year deal with the second-year not guaranteed. Jackson, the point guard from Notre Dame who was the 45th overall selection in the draft, has a guaranteed deal and Bentil, the forward from Providence who was the 51st player drafted, has a partially guaranteed deal. 

Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald reported that the second-year of Zeller's deal is a team option and that Green agreed to a one-year deal at the $1.4 million veteran mininum based on his nine years of NBA service.

The 7-foot Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds in 11.8 minutes a game last season. 

R.J. Hunter, James Young, Bentil and John Holland are in position to fight for the final roster spot, Himmelsbach reports, pending more deals, which the Celtics are reportedly working on. A source told Himmelsbach, that while there are probably changes coming, "There is no big deal right now." 

Bulpett reported that Celtics' talks with the Philadelphia 76ers involving a deal for Sixers' big man Jahlil Okafor have, according to sources, grown "stale" and that the moves Saturday put 2014 draft pick James Young's roster spot in jeopardy.

With Green, Zeller, and No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown, the Celtics have has 15 guaranteed contracts and three partial or non-guaranteed deals. 

 

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal

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Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal

The Celtics will sign free agent Gerald Green, the guard they drafted with the 18th overall pick back in 2005, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported.

Green, 30, played for the Miami Heat last season and averaged 8.9 points a game. Deveney reports Green will sign a one-year guaranteed contract. 

Green has been well-traveled since being traded by the Celtics in the Kevin Garnett deal in 2007, the year he won the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest. He has played for seven other NBA teams and played two seasons in Russia. His best season was 2013-14 in Phoenix when he averaged 15.8 points a game for the Suns. 

Deveney also reports that sources around the league continue to indicate the Celtics are looking to make a trade for a "star-caliber type" player. Last week, he reported on their interest in the Clippers' Blake Griffin.