Boston Celtics

Rivers hopes to get Celtics on right track soon

600818.jpg

Rivers hopes to get Celtics on right track soon

If you want to know Doc Rivers' take on the season so far, you'll have to wait.

It's too early to tell, but you can assume that Rivers wasn't hoping his team would at any point sit at 4-7. He wasn't necessarily happy prior to the last three losses.

"I don't know what my take would be. I don't know if I'm happy. I don't know if I'm upset," Rivers told CSNNE's Greg Dickerson.

At the time of the interview, the C's were hovering around .500, prompting Rivers to claim he's 50-50 on the season so far. But he didn't stop there.

"We have not played as well as I thought we would out of the gates," he said.

But "out of the gates" has turned into the first 11 games of the season, where the C's find themselves at 4-7 going into Monday night's tilt against the Oklahoma City Thunder (11-2).

The product the Celtics have put on the court is certainly not one they plan on putting out there down the road.

"We're going to be a good team I think, but we're just not there yet," Rivers said. "And I think our group is starting to understand that it's just not going to happen because we have bodies in the gym. It's going to require a lot of work."

But regardless of the small roster heading into the lockout, the short time they had to assemble a team, and the money available to bring in talent, Rivers in no way "prepared" himself for losses to start the season.

"That's probably why I'm not happy," he said.

One key to success for the Celtics will be to get Kevin Garnett shots, something Doc Rivers has tried to engrave in the mind of the C's power forward since he got here, but especially now.

In Saturday's loss to the Pacers, Garnett took a season-high 19 shots and converted on a season-high ten of them. That's one bright spot to be taken out of the C's fourth straight loss.

"You just keep pleading, and keep getting him there," Rivers said. We have to do a better job too, it's not just Kevin, and I want to make that clear. We have to look for him more, we have to run more sets for him,and we have to execute more sets for him."

But Garnett isn't the only player the C's look to for scoring. One place they haven't had much luck with in the scoring department is the bench unit. In fact, through the first ten games of the season (Indiana excluded) the C's are averaging just 27.6 bench points per game, putting them at 24th out of 30 NBA teams.

The newest member of the bench, Mickael Pietrus, looks to change that.

"He can make a shot," Rivers said. "And that's what our bench needs to do. Our bench is playing great defense and no offense; really struggling offensively. And I have to do a better job, I have to figure out a way."

Rivers is right about the C's bench defense too. While you can't assume that the C's bench goes in against the opponent's bench, you can often find members of both sides in at the same time.

The C's lead the NBA in stopping opponent bench points, coming in at a measly 24.6 points per game.

No longer the little team that could, Celtics may need time to jell

No longer the little team that could, Celtics may need time to jell

Fireworks have been ablaze in the NBA all summer long, with the latest electrifying salvo being tossed by the Boston Celtics in trading for Kyrie Irving from Cleveland in exchange for a package of playerscentered around Isaiah Thomas and a first-round pick centered around Isaiah Thomas. Without question the Celtics were among the biggest winners this offseason as they went about transforming their roster significantly despite having the best record in the East while advancing to the conference finals. But good wasn’t good enough, a similar mantra by a number of teams in the NBA. We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin!

BOSTON – Expectations for the Celtics this season are the highest they've been in the Brad Stevens Era.
 
The past couple of years, Stevens’ crew was seen as a scrappy bunch.
 
That all changed Tuesday night when the Celtics pulled off a blockbuster trade in acquiring Kyrie Irving from Cleveland for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the rights to the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

MORE ON THE KYRIE IRVING BLOCKBUSTER:

 
Acquiring the four-time All-Star would have made this offseason one of the best ever for the Celtics. But prior to landing the 25-year-old point guard, Boston was able to sign Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $127.8 million contract after he spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Utah Jazz.
 
The new guys join a Celtics team that returns just four starters, a group led by Al Horford, who stands as the lone returning starter from last season’s squad which finished with the best record in the East (53-29) while advancing to the Eastern Conference finals before losing in five games to Cleveland.
 
Adding a pair of All-Stars to the mix will certainly benefit the Celtics for this upcoming season. But for their continued growth, they will also need to get more from their youngsters.
 
Second-year forward Jaylen Brown had a strong offseason and is poised to build off of a rookie season in which he was named to the All-Rookie second team. Boston will also look to get quality play from rookie Jayson Tatum who was selected by Boston with the third overall pick in the NBA draft.  
 
For Boston, the biggest concern has to be chemistry.
 
There’s no question there’s more talent on this roster from top to bottom.
 
But with this being the first go-around for most of the players, it remains to be seen just how long it will take for all of the core players to get on the same page and find success.
 
That challenge won’t be easy, especially with the Celtics opening with seven of their first 11 games on the road.

Even with all the new faces and a challenging schedule out the gates, that won’t diminish the heightened level of expectations for a team that will surely have a bull’s-eye on its back all season for a journey that should result in yet another deep playoff run.
 
Key free agent/trade additions: Kyrie Irving (from Cleveland); Gordon Hayward (from Utah); Aron Baynes (from Detroit); Marcus Morris (from Detroit).
 
Key losses:
Avery Bradley (traded to Detroit); Amir Johnson (Philadelphia); Jonas Jerebko (Utah).
 
Rookies of note:
Jayson Tatum; Semi Ojeleye.
 
Expectations:
60-22 (First in the Atlantic Division, first in the East)

CSNNE SCHEDULE

BST PODCAST: What grade would you give the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving?

best_of_bst_podcast.jpg

BST PODCAST: What grade would you give the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving?

0:41 - What grade would you give the Celtics for their trade for Kyrie Irving? Michael Holley, Kayce Smith, Tom Curran, break it down and give their grades.

4:32 - Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakley discuss how Kyrie Irving will fit in the Celtics system and how Brad Stevens will handle the roster with new egos.

8:50 - We take a look back at the Pierce and Garnett trade to the Nets that landed the Celtics multiple 1st round picks. Are you pleased with how the Celtics used those picks? Is Danny Ainge a Hall of Fame executive? Michael Holley, A. Sherrod Blakely, and Tom Giles discuss.

14:30 - Our BST crew talk about the Red Sox getting the win over the Indians, Eduardo Nunez being hit intentionally by Corey Kluber, and if Chris Sale will retaliate.