Rivers, Garnett ejected in heated loss to Suns, 88-71

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Rivers, Garnett ejected in heated loss to Suns, 88-71

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

PHOENIX For most of Friday night's game at Phoenix, the Boston Celtics were without coach Doc Rivers, who was ejected in the second quarter.

His departure was just the beginning.

In the fourth quarter, Kevin Garnett was tossed as well.

It didn't really matter.

Before Rivers and Garnett were tossed, the Celtics were playing poorly.

After their departure, it was more of the same as the Celtics suffered an 88-71 loss to the Suns.

"I thought the Suns played hard," Rivers said. "We kind of got away from our game plan. It was one of those nights."

Said Paul Pierce: "It's tough. We're coming off a back-to-back and it's important for us to get off to a good start. They really killed us at the start of the game."

Phoenix opened the game with a 5-2 spurt, and continued to pull ahead as their lead peaked at 14 points in the first quarter.

Boston would spend the majority of the game from that point trailing by double digits.

The margin of defeat was consistent with how games between these two have played out in recent years.

In the previous 12 matchups, all were decided by at least five points. The average margin of victory in those games was 11.5 points.

"We didn't really get into a good rhythm early," said Ray Allen. "Defensively, we were porous to start the game off. They got to their spots. They got a great rhythm early, and we didn't. We didn't get easy shots, we didn't get open shots. We turned the ball over, and put them in transition."

Pinpointing what went wrong for the Celtics was simple.

Everything.

They turned the ball over too much, which not only allowed the Suns additional opportunities to score, but it prevented the C's from ever getting into any kind of flow.

Defensively, they didn't get enough stops and allowed Phoenix too many second and third shots.

But maybe the biggest problem for the Celtics was that, in one of the rare instances this season, they showed a lack of composure.

Phoenix, like most teams that play the Celtics, make a point of trying to be as physical as possible which for a lot of teams, means playing a brand of basketball that's not what they usually do.

Boston usually handles the overly aggressive play with no problem.

On Friday night?

Big problem.

With about seven minutes to play, Kevin Garnett and Mickael Pietrus got into it, which led to a flagrant foul being called against Pietrus.

That seemed to provided a much-needed spark for the Celtics, as the C's reeled off seven straight points to come within nine points (78-69) with more than five minutes remaining.

Boston had a chance to get even closer, but Nate Robinson missed an ill-advised pull-up 3-pointer that was off the mark.

Former Magic center Marcin Gortat, who had a season-high 19 points off the bench, scored on the next possession to give the Suns a double-digit lead that they would not relinquish.

With all that the C's did wrong, most of the postgame attention centered around Rivers' and Garnett's ejections.

Both were tossed by official Steve Javie.

Rivers ejection came during a time-out in the second quarter when, according to Rivers, he was approached by Javie.

"Javie said, 'Your guys are complaining too much.' I said, 'Well, make the right call,' " Rivers said. "He answered back, 'I'll make a call for you.' "

That's when Rivers received his first technical foul.

After Javie went to the scorer's table, Rivers appeared to have told him, "It's not about you."

Following the loss, Rivers said he told Javie, "It's about the game. It's not about one individual. That's all I said, over and over again."

As for Garnett's ejection, both Garnett and Channing Frye were given technicals for their back-and-forth verbal spat, which came about several minutes after Garnett was whistled for fouling moments prior to that. Garnett was given a second technical foul, which is an automatic ejection, for the below-the-waist contact he made with Frye.

"It wasn't about that the technicals, why we lost," Rivers said. "We didn't play well. I thought they played well."

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

Gerald Green's injury may give others a shot a Celtics camp

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Gerald Green's injury may give others a shot a Celtics camp

WALTHAM, Mass. – Gerald Green’s hip flexor injury isn’t anything he or the Celtics are overly concerned about.

They know Green as well as any player on this roster, so him missing a couple days will have no effect on his status in their eyes.

But in shutting him down for a couple days, his absence affords a number of players an opportunity to stand up in what is an absolutely pivotal, potentially career-altering season.

James Young is in his third training camp with the Celtics and no one has a real feel for where he fits into the pantheon of NBA players.

He hasn’t played enough to call him a bust, but hasn’t done enough to feel as though he has a bright future in this league either.

And then there’s R.J. Hunter, who came into the NBA with the reputation of being a spot-on shooter.

As a rookie last season, the 6-foot-6 shooting guard struggled knocking down shots when he got playing which for most of the season, was limited.

So, what does that have to do with Green’s injury?

His absence means those two players will get more reps on the floor, providing each with potentially more chances to impress the coaching staff.

It means Young will get a few more shots at showing the added strength, weight and improved skills will enhance his chances to not just make the 15-man roster but also compete for potential minutes.

As for Hunter, he has to make shots.

It’s that simple.

While he showed potential as a rookie to do a number of things on the floor, the easiest way for him to solidify a spot on the roster is to do what he does best which is make baskets.

At the end of the day, one of these guys will not be in a Celtics uniform this season. Between now and then, every opportunity they get to impress the coaches has to be taken advantage of which is exactly what they each will get courtesy of Green’s short-term injury.

 

 

Rozier ready to compete for serious minutes in Celtics rotation

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Rozier ready to compete for serious minutes in Celtics rotation

WALTHAM, Mass. – Summer league was in full bloom and Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier was killin’ it.
 
Scoring.
 
Dropping dimes.
 
Swooping in for rebounds.
 
Young fella was having the kind of summer that breeds confidence for him as well as the franchise that shocked many in selecting him as high as they did in 2015.  
 
But as well as he played, he knew getting on the floor wasn’t going to be easy because he would have to cut into the minutes of already-established players.
 
And then he got the news that Evan Turner was leaving for Portland after agreeing to a four-year, $70 million contract.
 
Turner’s departure meant Rozier’s chances of playing regular minutes had indeed arrived.

“Nobody wants to lose a guy like ET; great looker room guy, great down the stretch,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “But that gave me even more of an opportunity to play and step up. It gave me a better feeling about this year, knowing I could get minutes.”

On Monday during media day, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was asked about the void on the Celtic’s roster with Turner now playing for the Blazers.
 
“I miss Evan Turner already; loved having him around,” Ainge said. He’s not going to be easy to replace and neither will Jared Sullinger (he signed a one-year deal with Toronto). But we do have some exciting young players. Jaylen (Brown) and Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier … very exciting players. I don’t know who will get all of Evan’s minutes, but they will be shared and we can fill that void.”

But Turner’s 28.0 minutes per game will likely serve as a portion of the minutes Rozier will carve out for his own this season.
 
“I know he’s going to try and take some of my minutes,” said Celtics all-star guard Isaiah Thomas earlier this summer. “But that’s what it’s about; competing.”
 
Rozier’s competitive nature has stood out during his short time in Boston, with the 22-year-old finding a way to balance that with not being too pushy or too hungry to play.
 
“He’s an All-Star,” Rozier said of Thomas. “I look at it like this. To go up against someone like (Thomas) every day is a blessing.”
 
But Rozier soon adds, “I’m trying to get better, but I want to play too. Getting his minutes, anybody’s minutes, I’m going for it. But I know he’s not going to lighten up and make it easy for me. I know that. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
 
And as he gradually establishes a role for himself on this team, maybe then people will warm up to a player that so many had doubts about when the Celtics selected him with the 16th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft.
 
“I’ve been doubted all my life,” Rozier said. “It ain’t hurt me. I always tell myself, ‘they’re gonna fall in love with me because I play hard and they’re gonna fall in love with my intensity level. People didn’t know who I was; that’s fine. They’ll find out about me soon enough.”