Terry picks apart zone defense

943551.jpg

Terry picks apart zone defense

BOSTON Jason Terry has no idea how well he will perform numbers-wise from one game to another.

But if it's a team that plans to use zone defense for an extended period of time, let's just say Terry's fantasy league owners might be in for a bit of a spike in points that night.

The Raptors' use of a zone put Terry in a comfort zone unlike any he has experienced thus far in Boston, and the result was a season-high 20 points and the Celtics pulling away for a 107-89 win.

"If you are going to go zone, you need Jason Terry on the floor," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "He's a zone breaker."

Not only does Terry's prowess at shooting 3s make him an ideal zone-buster, but his time in Dallas under current Mavs head coach and former Celtic Rick Carlisle has only enhanced his familiarity with zone defenses.

"In Dallas they played a lot of zone defense," Rivers said. "So that would tell you, he's practiced against it. You can see that."

Terry, who ranks fourth all-time in NBA history in 3-pointers made (1,803), nailed four 3-pointers on Saturday that all came at a time when the C's needed a basket to get on track or cement a strong surge to put away a pesky Toronto team.

"Terry Stotts (head coach in Portland), Dwane Casey (Toronto head coach), Rick Carlisle (head coach in Dallas) ... all the guys I know are going to play zone, I get extra excited (about playing against)," Terry said. "As you know, in the zone they're going to pack it in. They don't want to give up anything inside. Shooters are going to be wide open."

And if you're talking about one of the all-time greats, being left wide open, the result in that is clear - buckets.

In addition to the volume of shots made by Terry (he was 7-for-10 shooting), the timing of Terry's baskets was even more instrumental in the Celtics win.

After the Raptors cut Boston's lead to 63-61 in the third quarter following a pair of Andrea Bargnani free throws, Terry hit a 3-pointer to push the Celtics lead back to five points.

That set off a 16-3 run by Boston to close out the quarter, a run that included two additional 3-pointers by Terry.

"Knowing the offense we were running, it's a tough situation (for opposing defenses)," Terry said. "When our bigs roll hard, they have to be honored. As you see at the rim, they're catching, their finishing with dunks or lay-ups. When that happens, the defense has to suck in, they have to help. As a shooter, you love it. Your man has to tag, the ball comes; just be ready to shoot."

And that - being ready to shoot - has never been a problem for Terry.

"I don't think there will ever be any hesitation with Jason Terry," Rivers said. "Which is nice."

Here are before and after photos of Pablo Sandoval's weight loss

Here are before and after photos of Pablo Sandoval's weight loss

Pablo Sandoval has put in work.

The Boston Red Sox third baseman has lost significant weight since his shoulder surgery. According to a post from his trainer, Sandoval has lost 35 pounds. He started at 275 pounds in June 2016 before the surgery. Sandoval told MassLive.com he took the after photo (in the Instagram post below) in December 2016.

According to the post, Sandoval's wife took over Sandoval's nutrition, and helped him restructure his diet. And then he spent five days a week at Bommarito Performance Systems in Miami, according to a lengthy feature on ESPN.com.

"He's like a new Panda," Sandoval's personal assistant Josmir Romero told ESPN.com.

There's no doubt: Sandoval looks a lot more fit. If he keeps this weight, his belts won't be in danger of bursting this season.

Bommarito Performance Systems featured on ESPN! Incredible article on BPS client and 3x World Series Champ Pablo Sandoval (@kfp48) and his journey to being the best shape of his life! Here is an excerpt from the article: ”Having watched Ferrer help Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez overcome a 2015 shoulder injury and revive his career last season, Sandoval decided to enlist the strength and conditioning specialist to oversee his workouts. The days began at 7:30 a.m., Ferrer said, with an hour long "turf workout" to improve Sandoval's agility. After a series of core-strengthening exercises, they moved to the weight room, alternating upper- and lower-body lifts every other day. The Red Sox received frequent progress reports -- "Panda watch," if you will -- because Ferrer is close with Boston strength and conditioning coach Kiyoshi Momose. Meanwhile, Sandoval put his new wife, Yulimar, in charge of his diet. She worked with a nutritionist to come up with healthier meals for Sandoval and cooked for him throughout the off-season. "Part of [Sandoval's] issues in the past didn't work ethic. It was other aspects of his life when we start talking about nutrition and those types of things," Dombrowski said. "This winter, I would say he was more committed to the total program." Said Ferrer: "I'm actually really pleased with his progress this off-season. I said that to Kiyoshi multiple times. The Red Sox wanted him to get down to, I think, in the 240s, and he's right there. But with him, I think it's just about his strength levels. He's a strong guy. He's powerful. He took our workouts very seriously all off-season. He's definitely ready to play baseball right now.’” Click the link in our bio to read the full article! #KungFuPanda 🐼  #PabloSandoval #Boston Redsox #RedSox #Soxnation #Bommaritos #HanleyRamirez #ElNino #MLB #Baseball #Baseballtraining #miggy #miguelcabrera #Venezuela

A post shared by Pete Bommarito (@bommaritos) on

Sources: Bulls asking for picks, young veterans in trade for Jimmy Butler

Sources: Bulls asking for picks, young veterans in trade for Jimmy Butler

NEW ORLEANS – All-star weekend is winding down and the Boston Celtics once again are seemingly at the epicenter of most trade discussions.

That’s in part because they have the pieces to help pull off a blockbuster deal for themselves, or become the third team to help facilitate a trade coming to fruition. 

But in talking with league executives and scouts this weekend in New Orleans, all agree that the Celtics are focused more on making a blockbuster-type move, rather than a deal that could make them slightly better than they are now. 

“Anything is possible as you know,” said one Eastern Conference executive. “But they’re not Toronto which is basically 'all in' this year to try and get past Cleveland. Boston’s in the thick of it all, but not pressed to do anything unless it makes them a lot better and to be frank, there aren’t a lot of those potential deals out there for them.”

That’s because the Celtics (37-20) have the second-best record in the East despite their preferred starting five (Isaiah Thomas; Avery Bradley; Jae Crowder; Al Horford and Amir Johnson) having played a very limited number of games (21) together thus far this season.

Even when everyone’s healthy, Boston understands that they still may not be enough to get past the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers. So the addition of a likely role player at the cost of one or more of their major assets (this year’s right to swap picks with Brooklyn or next year’s Brooklyn pick outright), is reason enough for Boston to pause and assess whether the benefit outweighs the cost of what they will have to give up. 

Boston can make a push for Denver’s Danilo Gallinari or his teammate Kenneth Faried who are both available and would help Boston’s overall talent base. They could also revisit Jahlil Okafor discussions or Nerlens Noel with Philadelphia, too.

But for what they need to significantly improve upon where they are now, they have to add a game-changing difference-maker to the mix. 

Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Indiana’s Paul George and Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins are three players who on paper at least, would meet that criteria. 

Multiple league sources this weekend confirmed that each of their respective teams isn’t making a push to trade them. But like every team in the league, they will certainly listen to any and all offers. Only Indiana and Sacramento have come out publicly to say they are not planning to trade their players, with the Pacers indicating they’re willing to give up their first-round pick in order to add a stable, proven talent to the mix in order to help George going forward. 

Meanwhile, the Bulls have been somewhat indifferent to potentially moving Butler, who is playing his third all-star game tonight. 

That’s why several teams, the Celtics included, have inquired about Butler’s availability. While the Bulls haven’t set any specific parameters, league executives believe they are seeking some combination of high draft picks and young veterans (players with experience who are either near the end of their rookie deals or have team-friendly contracts) just to consider moving Butler.

Boston has exactly what the Bulls are looking for if they decide they are going to move on from Butler and rebuild, but how much are the Celtics willing to give up?

That more than anything else, is what will ultimately determine if a deal between the Bulls and the Celtics comes to pass. Boston loves Butler, and believes he could be part of their continued surge towards becoming an elite team that can bring home Banner 18. But the Celtics are not convinced that the addition of Butler would necessarily catapult Boston to the same level of Cleveland or ahead of them. 

Even if the Celtics decide to stand pat with its team as they are now and let the Feb. 23 trade deadline pass without making a move, the Celtics are still working from a vantage point that few teams in the NBA can work from – a team near the top of their conference with relatively young players all with good team-friendly contracts, and draft picks in the next two years that are each likely to be high lottery (top-14) picks.

"They’re well positioned for the future,” said Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors and the West all-star team. “Because of the young talent, because of the coach (Brad Stevens) and because of the draft picks that they have coming up. They could end up with the number one pick in the draft which is remarkable.”

Kerr added, “That doesn’t happen often when you’re talking about a team that’s one of the best in the league already. Boston’s in a great place.”