The Celtics lost out on another opportunity to register their first win on the road vs. a Western Conference team this season, as they fell to the Kings, 105-98, on Saturday.

The Celtics lost out on another opportunity to register its first win on the road versus a Western Conference team, as they fell to the Kings, 105-98, on Saturday.

Boston’s (19-38) current three-game road trip appeared to be a prime opportunity for the team to snap its road woes versus the West, but after falling in Sacramento (19-36), the Celtics have now lost all 12 road games against the West, and their last 17 dating back to last season. Boston still has three road games remaining with Western Conference teams (Jazz 2/24, Pelicans 3/16, Mavericks 3/17).

Rudy Gay led seven Kings in double-figures with 22 points. Point guard Isaiah Thomas registered a double-double with 21 points and 12 assists.

Jeff Green led the Celtics with 29 points, while Kris Humphries (19 points), Jerryd Bayless (16 points) and Brandon Bass (12 points) chipped in.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE CELTICS

No Sullinger, Rondo: The Celtics played without two impact starters in Rondo and  Sullinger, who were both inactive. Since returning from a lengthy absence due to a knee injury, the Celtics have avoided playing Rondo in back-to-back games (Boston lost to the Lakers, 101-92, Friday night). Sullinger suffered a mild concussion in the game versus Los Angeles, and Humphries took his place in the starting lineup. Phil Pressey stepped in for Rondo at point guard.

Green’s resilience: Green began the game ice cold, as deep into the second quarter, his stat line was highlighted by his 0-for-9 shooting from the field, and an atrocious -19 plus-minus. But Green did not let his cold start ruin the rest of his game. His overall shooting night (7-for-25) doesn’t look impressive, but after missing his first nine shots, he put together a respectable 7-for-16 line. Green’s faced constant criticism this season for his lack of aggressiveness at times, but no one could complain about his tentativeness Saturday after he attempted 11 more shots than his per-game average this season.

3-point shooting: Boston actually finished the game with more 3-pointers (six) than Sacremento (five), but for a number of reasons, that simple statistic did not properly indicate the Celtics‘ disadvantage from beyond the arc. For starters, Boston missed 15 triples, and finished at 28.6 percent from downtown, compared to the Kings who missed just four treys. Additionally, every single one of the Celtics’ missed threes ended in an empty possession — no second chances and corresponding points were recorded off of missed.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE CELTICS

Rebounding: Without their top rebounder Sullinger, and facing a dominant offensive rebounding team, the Celtic could have been excused for faltering on the boards against Sacramento. But despite missing Sullinger’s rebounds per game, Boston held the rebounding advantage (42-38), and limited the Kings, the NBA’s sixth best offensive rebounding team, to just three offensive rebounds. It took until the 7:05 minute of the third quarter for Sacramento to grab its first rebound on the offensive end.

Humphries starts: The Celtics’ highest-paid player this season has split his time with his new team in the starting lineup and coming off the bench. On Saturday he was called on to start for the injured Sullinger, and he stepped up with a complete performance. Humphries’ 19 points (9-for-13 from the field) were the most he’s scored all season, and he stuffed the stat sheet with eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals. He also made life tough for Sacremento’s double-double machine Cousins. The two sparred all night, but Humphries got the best of the immensely talented, but equally hot-headed center as Cousins finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and six turnovers.

Anthony contributes: Since the Celtics traded for former Heat forward Joel Anthony, his role with the team has been relegated primarily to a spectator. He entered Saturday with just 38 minutes in 17 games as a Celtic. But with Boston’s frontline thin, Anthony saw more minutes than he’s used to from the bench.  The six-year veteran provided a spark in his 10 minutes, his highest total in a game since joining the Celtics. Anthony, never a prolific scorer to begin with, only tallied two points, but grabbed six rebounds, including four offensive, and blocked a shot.

Blog Author: 
Jackson Alexander

In somewhat of a surprise, Danny Ainge watched Thursday’€™s trade deadline come and go without shipping any of the current Celtics out of town. Although there were no deals that will take over the headlines, there certainly were moves made that will affect the NBA draft.

Danny Ainge (AP)

Danny Ainge was quiet at the trade deadline. (AP)

Typically, the focus of this post is college basketball‘€™s top stars and their draft stock — with the possibility that they may end up in Boston.  But with a quiet week for the prospects, this week’€™s focus will be on why Ainge’€™s lack of a move can only hurt Boston’€™s lottery odds.

While the Pacers are getting attention for adding Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen, it should not go unnoticed that the 76ers are subtracting those players from a 15-win team. In addition, Philly sent its starting center, Spencer Hawes, to the Cavaliers. These moves leave the 76ers roster without two of its top four scorers this season.

Although Philly landed a multitude of second-round-picks (crazy stat: the 76ers now have nine second-rounders in this year’s draft — 30 percent of the picks in the round), they have essentially guaranteed themselves to finish in the bottom three of the league. Although the Sixers became the biggest ‘€œtankers’€ of the deadline, other teams made splashes, too.

The 10-win Bucks dumped Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour on the playoff-hopeful Bobcats. The Lakers shipped Steve Blake away to give the Warriors backcourt depth, despite Kobe Bryant tweeting that he’€™s ‘€œnot cool’€ with the move. And the Magic, who couldn’€™t find a trade to make, decided to simply buy out the contract of Glen ‘€œBig Baby’€ Davis.

So what’€™s the significance of all these seemingly insignificant moves? All of those teams that rid themselves of contributors sit below the Celtics in the standings.

Although Ainge was active earlier in the season, it appears he now has limited Boston’€™s odds at an elite draft pick simply by doing nothing. The idea of tanking rests solely on the GM’€™s ability to take key pieces away from the team; coaches and players are going to give it their all every night.

On the positive side of the spectrum, all the teams above the Celtics in the standings, aside from the Jazz, feel they have what it takes to make a playoff push. This still means in all likelihood that Boston can finish with the seventh-highest lottery odds at worst. But at the same time it makes it very difficult to see the Celtics landing inside the top five picks without a little help from the ping pong balls.

On Friday night the Celtics and Lakers faced off and wrote another chapter of their storied history — sort of. In this battle the loser (Boston) was rewarded, however, with the fifth-highest lottery odds for the time being.

We’€™ve hit the home stretch now that the All-Star break and trade deadline have passed. Teams have shown with their actions that they have no shame in tanking the back end of the season even more obviously than the earlier stages. Let’€™s catch up with some of the reasons why GMs felt so comfortable parting with players who could help win them games.

Joel Embiid, Kansas, freshman – After sitting out a game with multiple lingering injuries, Embiid not only returned to the lineup against Texas Tech but matched a season high by playing 32 minutes. The minutes came as somewhat of a surprise considering Embiid’€™s status, but that wasn’€™t the only high mark he set. Embiid also dropped 18 points (tying another season high) on an incredibly efficient 6-for-7 performance while also going 6-for-8 from the line.

Embiid pulled down eight rebounds as well, but the real stat scouts wanted to see was his three fouls while playing serious minutes. After not practicing for the week, Embiid said after the game, ‘€œI think I was about 90, 90 percent.’€ Kansas coach Bill Self said he was ‘€œshocked’€ that his young center was able to go so many minutes without practicing.

‘€œHe was great this game,’€ a happy Andrew Wiggins proclaimed. ‘€œHis mobility and everything was back. If he doesn’€™t get double-teamed, he scores or he gets fouled, so it was good to have him back.’€

Embiid remains atop most NBA draft boards.

Andrew Wiggins, Kansas, freshman – Wiggins did well for himself against Texas Tech as well, dominating much of the game and finishing it off with the game- winner. Wiggins posted 19 points, six boards, two assists, two blocks and two steals while playing the role of hero. He was solid in the absence of his big man, too, putting up a 17-4-4 stat line when Embiid sat against TCU.

Wiggins seemed to be all about the team victory after the game. ‘€œDefense, hustle plays, rebounding — good players make good plays down the stretch,” he said. “That’€™s what we did.’€

That’s a message that was echoed by Self. ‘€œPlayers make plays with the game on the line,’€ the coach said. ‘€œThat’€™s what I’€™ve always told my guys. [Tuesday] we had some guys step up and make plays.’€

Wiggins has been on a roller coaster ride this season. He was originally thought of as a no-brainer to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, but in the eyes of many he played himself behind the other top prospects. Now we are at the point that Wiggins is almost underrated, as he is starting to scratch the potential we expected to see this season.

Embiid still is the more favorable prospect on the Kansas roster, but that doesn’€™t mean Wiggins can’€™t reclaim the No. 1 spot. But for now, they will continue to dominate as teammates.

Julius Randle, Kentucky, freshman ‘€“ Despite remaining highly productive, Randle’€™s numbers had been slipping until Kentucky traveled to Ole Miss on Tuesday night. In 29 minutes Randle physically dominated the game like he is known to do, dropping 25 points (his most since Dec. 21) and ripping down 13 boards. The efficiency with which he did it with was what jumped off the stat sheet, though. Randle shot 6-for-7 from the field (yes, 25 points on seven shot attempts), while going 13-for-14 from the charity stripe.

These types of games are exactly how Randle has to finish off the season if he wants to be a lock for a top-five pick. Randle has the ability to separate himself from comparable players like Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, but he needs to remain aggressive and efficient as he did against the Rebels.

Everything else remains pretty calm amongst the expected top picks. Jabari Parker (Duke) has been his usual beast-like self, carrying the Blue Devils in all areas of the game. Parker still is in contention for the No. 1 overall pick along with the freshman duo at Kansas. Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State remained suspended for his immature antics, and Dante Exum remains tucked away in Australia.

But the real draft news in Boston at the moment is Ainge’€™s lack of a move at the deadline. Ainge feels confident that the Celtics will be active this summer, the only problem being that may be too late.

Other draft-happy GMs got the upper hand on Ainge by weakening their rosters while Boston’€™s remains intact. When we look back on this ‘€œuneventful’€ trade deadline in five years, it could be the difference between the Celtics being in contention and just being relevant.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow.

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

MarShon Brooks, who played 10 games this season for the Celtics before being dealt to Golden State, poured in 10 fourth-quarter points for a Lakers team that had acquired him from the Warriors earlier in the week. Brooks led a fourth-quarter surge by Los Angeles in which the Lakers outscored their visitors by 20 points (38-18) en route to a 101-92 victory at the Staples Center.

MarShon Brooks, who played 10 games this season for the Celtics before being dealt to Golden State, poured in 10 fourth-quarter points for a Lakers team that had acquired him from the Warriors earlier in the week. Brooks led a fourth-quarter surge by Los Angeles in which the Lakers outscored their visitors by 20 points (38-18) en route to a 101-92 victory at the Staples Center.

Brooks shot 7-for-11 from the field, joining a balanced offensive attack that featured six Lakers (including Pau Gasol, who scored 16 in his first game since Jan. 31) in double digits. Though the Celtics entered the fourth quarter with an 11-point lead, the Lakers blitzed them with a 13-2 run in the first 3:03 of the final quarter, with the two sides trading buckets and leads before Jordan Farmar‘s 16-footer put Los Angeles up for good at the 8:10 mark.

The Celtics were paced by Jeff Green‘s 21 points, but the forward battled foul trouble for much of the night. Jared Sullinger recorded a double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds) but shot 6-of-16 from the field, while Rajon Rondo misfired on 10 of his 12 shots (though he managed to contribute 11 assists and six boards).

For more from the game, click here.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

I spent all that time on the Trade Machine for nothing.



KIRK MINIHANE

BIO | ARCHIVE


Jackie MacMullan joins Mut and Fauria to discuss Rajon Rondo, the Celtics other options at the deadline, as well as the impact of Russell Westbrook's return to the Thunder

While the Celtics reportedly are not in the mix for any trades before Thursday’s

While the Celtics reportedly are not in the mix for any trades before Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline, there have been a number of minor deals.

 

Veteran point guard Andre Miller is being traded from the Nuggets to the Wizards in a three-team deal, according to multiple reports.

The Wizards reportedly are sending forward Jan Vesely to Denver and guard Eric Maynor to the 76ers. Philadelphia also picks up a pair of second-round draft picks.

Miller has not played since being suspended by the team Jan. 2 following an incident with coach Brian Shaw. The 37-year-old is averaging 5.9 points and 3.3 assists in 19.0 minutes over 30 games.

Vesely, 23, is averaging 3.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 14.2 minutes over 33 games. The 7-footer was the sixth overall pick by the Wizards in 2011.

Maynor, 26, scores 2.3 points per game in limited action.

– The Bobcats acquired guards Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour from the Bucks in exchange for Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien, according to reports.

The Bobcats were said to have been pursuing Neal for some time while dangling Sessions, but Ridnour needed to be included to make the money work.

Neal, 29, is averaging 10.0 points in 20.2 minutes over 30 games this season. He was signed in the offseason after three years with the Spurs but has been unable to cement a spot in Milwaukee’s rotation. Ridnour, 33, averages 5.7 points and 3.4 assists in 21.2 minutes over 36 games for the league-worst Bucks.

The 27-year-old Sessions, in his seventh NBA season, is averaging 10.5 points and 3.7 assists in 23.7 minutes over 55 games.

Adrien, 28, from Brookline and UConn, is averaging 2.3 points in limited action.

– The Heat sent forward Roger Mason Jr. and cash to the Kings for a protected second-round draft pick, apparently to open up a roster spot in case of an appealing free agent option next week.

Mason, who averaged 3.0 points in 25 games, is expected to be waived by the Kings.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

The 76ers continued their trend of loading up on draft picks and weakening their current roster when they sent center Spencer Hawes to the Cavaliers on Thursday, according to multiple reports.

Philadelphia reportedly will get two second-round draft picks and backup forward Earl Clark for Hawes, who is averaging 13.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in the final year of a deal that pays $6.6 million this season.

The 76ers have the second-worst record in the NBA at 15-40, leading only the Bucks (10-43). The Cavaliers are 22-33 and three games out of a playoff spot in the embarrassingly bad Eastern Conference.

Jason Terry is on the move again. The veteran guard, traded along with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from the Celtics to the Nets in the offseason, was sent to the Kings along with Reggie Evans for guard Marcus Thornton.

Terry, 36, is averaging a career-worst 4.5 points and 1.5 assists while playing 16.3 minutes over 35 games this season. Evans, 33, is averaging 2.7 points and 5.0 rebounds in 13.3 minutes over 30 games.

Thornton, 26, is averaging 8.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in 24.4 minutes over 46 games. He makes $8.1 million this year and is due $8.6 million next season.

“Marcus is a proven scorer in this league,” Nets general manager Billy King said in a statement. “He is a young talent who will help us in the backcourt.”

– The Lakers and Warriors confirmed that guard Steve Blake is headed to Golden State for backup guards Kent Bazemore and former Celtic Marshon Brooks.

“The acquisition of Steve Blake will provide us with additional veteran depth at point guard as we enter the stretch run of the season,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said in a statement. “He’s had a productive career and is a player who can both run an offense and has the ability to shoot the basketball. On the other hand, we thank Kent and MarShon for their contributions to our team both on and off the court and wish them success as they enter the next stage of their careers.”

Blake, who becomes an unrestricted free agent after the season, heads to his seventh team in his 11-year career.

 

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar