Tom Brady is on board with the Celtics.

With the team trailing 0-2, Brady offered his support on Friday with a social media post that read: It’s how you come back… Good luck tonight. We all have your back! #YourTurn

 

It’s how you come back… Good luck tonight. We all have your back! #YourTurn

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

Blog Author: 
WEEI

The Celtics’ task just got a lot easier.

The Chicago Bulls announced on their website that guard Rajon Rondo suffered a broken thumb in Game 2 and will be out indefinitely. Surgery is not required.

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo

The Celtics’ task just got a lot easier.

The Chicago Bulls announced on their website that guard Rajon Rondo suffered a broken thumb in Game 2 and will be out indefinitely. Surgery is not required.

What this means for the Celtics is huge. With Rondo turning back the clock to his Celtics days, the C’s had no answer for the creative point guard, who torched the smaller Isaiah Thomas in Games 1 and 2.

He was at his best in Game 2, falling one rebound shy of a triple-double and controlling the action at both ends of the floor with 11 points, nine rebounds, 14 assists, and five steals.

When Rondo was hurt late in the season, Jerian Grant stepped in as his replacement, with Michael Carter-Williams the backup. The two have combined for just 31 minutes (4 for Williams) and eight points through two games.

With the Celtics trailing 2-0, the Rondo news gives them a clear path to winning two straight games in Chicago and returning to Boston with the series tied. Unlike the last two postseasons, the C’s are playing at full health.

 

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics are down, but not necessarily out, vs. the Bulls. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)Disclosure: I've been all over the map when it comes to Celtics-Bulls.



The Celtics unraveled in the fourth quarter of their Game 2 loss to the Bulls Tuesday, and Marcus Smart took out some of his apparent frustration towards a fan at the T.D. Garden. 

Marcus Smart and the Celtics had difficulty defending Rajon Rondo Tuesday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Marcus Smart and the Celtics had difficulty defending Rajon Rondo Tuesday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics unraveled in the fourth quarter of their Game 2 loss to the Bulls Tuesday, and Marcus Smart took out some of his apparent frustration towards a fan at the T.D. Garden. 

After clanking a three-pointer, Smart flipped his middle finger towards a person in the crowd as he was jogging back on defense. He also put one of his fingers to his lips, purportedly telling the fan to be quiet. 

Earlier in the period, Isaiah Thomas reamed out Smart on the court. The third-year guard finished 6-of-11 from the field with 13 points and eight rebounds in the Celtics 111-97 defeat

Faced with a 2-0 series deficit, the Celtics are on the verge of getting ousted in the first-round of the playoffs for the third consecutive season. Head coach Brad Stevens is now 2-10 in the playoffs. 

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer
Apr 16, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4), center Al Horford (42), guard Avery Bradley (0) and forward Jae Crowder (99) walk off the court after their 106-102 loss to the Chicago Bulls in game one of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4), center Al Horford (42), guard Avery Bradley (0) and forward Jae Crowder (99) need to regroup in a hurry. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports).

The problem with these Celtics through two games is they haven’t met the challenge of the more experienced Chicago Bulls. This is not the job of Brad Stevens. 

Stevens can only do so much. True, he fell to 2-10 in his three playoff seasons in Boston, including 2-5 at home. No coach in NBA history has a worst record after at least 10 playoff games. Don Chaney and Bob Weiss were 2-9. Monty Williams stands 2-8. But Stevens can only pull so many players from a bench that consists of rookie and second-year players in Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier. His bigs behind Amir Johnson are Tyler Zeller and Kelly Olynyk. Marcus Smart has been spotty at best and Jonas Jerebko has been non-existent. 

Al Horford has underachieved in the first two games and doesn’t play like a pure post player even though Stevens admitted that, due to matchups, the Celtics have no choice but to put Horford at the ‘4’ and hope he can defend the low post. 

Jae Crowder continues to struggle and Isaiah Thomas seems – very understandably so – carrying the weight of the entire team on his shoulders, while his mind is clearly burdened with the loss of his 22-year-old sister last weekend in a tragic car accident 3,000 miles away. 

What exactly is Stevens supposed to say or do with all of that? 

“We have to get ready to play great on Friday,” Stevens said after the 111-97 loss to the Bulls.in Game 2 Tuesday night. “That’s what our focus has to be; we don’t have any other choice. And that’s what we said in the locker room, and that’s it.  We’ll dissect the film, we’ll go through it, we’ll figure out what we didn’t do well and there’ll be quite a lot, and go from there. But the (Paul) Zipsers, (Nikola) Mirotic, (Bobby) Portis – those guys have had huge impacts on the first two games of this series.

“I mean, I expect it from Wade, right? I mean, I think we all do.  Last year I think he hit less than 10 threes during the regular season and then more than that in the first round of the playoffs.  Like, this is who he is. And it’s who Rondo’s been throughout his career. I mean, the level that he’s playing at is terrific. And then Butler’s Butler. So, but those other guys are really impacting the series in a big way.”

Stevens coached this team to 53 wins in the regular season. He’s clearly one of the brightest minds in the game. But at some point, the players like Jae Crowder and Al Horford have to pick it up.

“Its self-explanatory. Down 0-2 going into their place we just have to take it one game at a time,” Crowder said after his 16-point minus-12 effort Tuesday. “They came in and took, and we have to do the same. Take it one game at a time and try to get a game three. It’s not ideal for us. Definitely don’t put yourself in a 0-2 hole having home court advantage. But it’s not the end of the world for us. We have the unit to go to Chicago and take care of business.”

Horford had seven points but was a minus-19. 


“Jae said it best. I think that’s all we have. Game three is a must win for us,” Horford said. “I think we rushed a little bit at times on offense. We had some carless turnovers that aren’t typical of our team. It gave them some rhythm and it hurt us. As far as getting off to a slow start, I think the way I tried to play is off what the defense gives. For those who really understand the game, they were packing the paint making us find shooters. Tonight I wasn’t able to get into a rhythm offensively. As far as the defense goes I feel we played better at time… we still need to get better as a group.”

Stevens is not on the hot seat. He at a serious personnel matchup disadvantage in this series because Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler are getting support from Robin Lopez and Nikola Mirotic. 

“We’ve got a great group of guys in here,” Kelly Olynyk said. “We’ve done a lot of good things in here. We’re not down on each other.  We believe in each other 100 percent.  We believe in the coaching staff.  We have the ability to rattle some (wins) off and hopefully we can.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Apr 18, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Chicago Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo (9) is guarded by Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas (4) during the third quarter in game two of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Rajon Rondo (9) is guarded by Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas (4) during the third quarter in game two of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Before Tuesday’s Game 2, Fred Hoiberg couldn’t talk enough about how well Rajon Rondo handled being demoted to the second unit midway through the season when he was struggling and the Bulls were headed the wrong way in the playoff race.

After Game 2, a 111-97 thrashing of the Celtics that has the No. 8 seed Bulls two wins from the Eastern semifinals and the No. 1 Celtics soul-searching, all the talk was again about the mercurial point guard who fell just a rebound shy of a triple-double with five steals to boot.

This was a team that was entertaining the thought of trading their best player in Jimmy Butler and there were some in Boston who hoped Danny Ainge would pull the trigger.

Then Rondo slowly but surely began to rediscover his groove. His momentum began to build as the Bulls made their late charge to the playoffs. When the Bulls clinched the eighth and final spot in the East on the final night of the season with a 39-point win over the Nets, Rondo was in full stride.

Now that has carried over to the postseason and “playoff Rondo” is in full bloom. On Tuesday, he had 11 points, 14 assists, nine rebounds and five steals. This was the Rondo that Celtics fans saw in the team’s biggest playoff moments from 2008-2013.

“I just tried to stay aggressive. I was pretty aggressive last game, but I got myself into some foul trouble. Isaiah (Thomas) is a really crafty guy and I just wanted to go out and play as hard as I could,” Rondo said. “Definitely Game 3 is just one game, but its going to be the biggest game of our season and we want to approach it with that mindset and try to go out there and get another W. Its one game at a time, one possession at a time.”

Dwyane Wade has seen it before from Rondo in the postseason. From 2010-12, Wade’s Heat went up against Rondo’s Celtics. In 2012, the Heat with LeBron James were barely able to get past the Celtics in seven games in the Eastern Finals. In ’11, Wade’s Heat team took care of the Celtics, 4-1, in the Eastern semis. In 2010, the Celtics came out on top in five games in the opening round.

“Hated him, hated him, as a competitor,” Wade said of Rondo after Game 2 Tuesday night. “That hated him is that respect. We played against Boston back in the day, Rondo knew all the plays. He messes up your first option. He knows your second option. We were just good enough to have a third option. He was that good. I think it helps me and Jimmy to have someone so locked in. Fred gives us a voice and Rondo gives us another voice. He’s so locked in. We know we can go to him and ask him anything. He’s watching film all the time. So, it’s key when you have a point guard like him that controls the whole game. You just have to play. Tonight, our job was easy. We just had to play. As I told him, way to run your team. He did an amazing job.”

“I thought he was the key early in the game as far as getting us up the floor,” added Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg. “I thought his pace was terrific. We knew they’d come out and play with great energy. Rajon, I thought, did a terrific job once we got the ball off the glass to push the ball down the floor and get our guys some good shots which led to some confidence. “He’s in a battle all game long. He guarded Isaiah (Thomas) for most of the game tonight; had his hands full with that. When we inserted him back into the starting lineup how key he has been to our recent success. He’s a confident kid and that rubs off on all the other guys. He’s been in a lot of these big moments, championship experience and he’s going to continue to lead us as long as we are playing.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Apr 18, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Chicago Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo (9) is guarded by Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas (4) during the third quarter in game two of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Rajon Rondo (9) is guarded by Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas (4) during the third quarter in game two of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Before Tuesday’s Game 2, Fred Hoiberg couldn’t talk enough about how well Rajon Rondo handled being demoted to the second unit midway through the season when he was struggling and the Bulls were headed the wrong way in the playoff race.

After Game 2, a 111-97 thrashing of the Celtics that has the No. 8 seed Bulls two wins from the Eastern semifinals and the No. 1 Celtics soul-searching, all the talk was again about the mercurial point guard who fell just a rebound shy of a triple-double with five steals to boot.

This was a team that was entertaining the thought of trading their best player in Jimmy Butler and there were some in Boston who hoped Danny Ainge would pull the trigger.

Then Rondo slowly but surely began to rediscover his groove. His momentum began to build as the Bulls made their late charge to the playoffs. When the Bulls clinched the eighth and final spot in the East on the final night of the season with a 39-point win over the Nets, Rondo was in full stride.

Now that has carried over to the postseason and “playoff Rondo” is in full bloom. On Tuesday, he had 11 points, 14 assists, nine rebounds and five steals. This was the Rondo that Celtics fans saw in the team’s biggest playoff moments from 2008-2013.

“I just tried to stay aggressive. I was pretty aggressive last game, but I got myself into some foul trouble. Isaiah (Thomas) is a really crafty guy and I just wanted to go out and play as hard as I could,” Rondo said. “Definitely Game 3 is just one game, but its going to be the biggest game of our season and we want to approach it with that mindset and try to go out there and get another W. Its one game at a time, one possession at a time.”

Dwyane Wade has seen it before from Rondo in the postseason. From 2010-12, Wade’s Heat went up against Rondo’s Celtics. In 2012, the Heat with LeBron James were barely able to get past the Celtics in seven games in the Eastern Finals. In ’11, Wade’s Heat team took care of the Celtics, 4-1, in the Eastern semis. In 2010, the Celtics came out on top in five games in the opening round.

“Hated him, hated him, as a competitor,” Wade said of Rondo after Game 2 Tuesday night. “That hated him is that respect. We played against Boston back in the day, Rondo knew all the plays. He messes up your first option. He knows your second option. We were just good enough to have a third option. He was that good. I think it helps me and Jimmy to have someone so locked in. Fred gives us a voice and Rondo gives us another voice. He’s so locked in. We know we can go to him and ask him anything. He’s watching film all the time. So, it’s key when you have a point guard like him that controls the whole game. You just have to play. Tonight, our job was easy. We just had to play. As I told him, way to run your team. He did an amazing job.”

“I thought he was the key early in the game as far as getting us up the floor,” added Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg. “I thought his pace was terrific. We knew they’d come out and play with great energy. Rajon, I thought, did a terrific job once we got the ball off the glass to push the ball down the floor and get our guys some good shots which led to some confidence. “He’s in a battle all game long. He guarded Isaiah (Thomas) for most of the game tonight; had his hands full with that. When we inserted him back into the starting lineup how key he has been to our recent success. He’s a confident kid and that rubs off on all the other guys. He’s been in a lot of these big moments, championship experience and he’s going to continue to lead us as long as we are playing.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Celtics are in trouble.

With old friend Rajon Rondo turning back the clock and falling a rebound shy of a triple-double, and his Bulls teammates playing free and easy, Chicago romped to a 111-97 victory in Boston to open a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven first round series.