Tyronn Lue

Tyronn Lue

Tyronn Lue and the Cavs may not be looking ahead to an NBA Finals three-match with Golden State just yet, but everyone else is. And Lue understands why.

Speaking to reporters after practice on Wednesday, the Cleveland head coach compared a potential third straight meeting with Steph Curry and Co. in the NBA Finals to a classic matchup of yore with local significance — Magic vs. Bird.

“Is it a problem? I don’t think so,” Lue told reporters. “I think a lot of people wanted to see Boston and the Lakers back in the day. I think nowadays, a lot of people want to see Golden State-Cavs. And it’s not a problem. Right now, it’s two of the teams playing some of the best basketball.”

The two squads have split their first two Finals encounters, with the Warriors outlasting a depleted Cleveland squad in 2015, and James exacting his revenge by overcoming a 3-1 deficit last year.

However, since then the Warriors have added Kevin Durant to take their game to another level. Both clubs are unbeaten this postseason, with Cleveland winning by an average of 16.5 points a game, and Cleveland’s average margin checking in at 9.6 points.

“So two of the teams that have been in back-to-back Finals — so, why not? Why not want to see it again?” Lue told reporters. “I don’t see why it would be a problem. I think last year had some of the best ratings, I think, in NBA history. I think now with them adding [Kevin] Durant and the way they’re playing, the way we’re playing, it can be even higher.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Just because the Celtics were in the midst of trying to keep their season alive, didn’t mean Danny Ainge and Co. weren’t looking to the future.

Markelle Fultz (James Snook/USA Today Sports)

Markelle Fultz (James Snook/USA Today Sports)

Just because the Celtics were in the midst of trying to keep their season alive, didn’t mean Danny Ainge and Co. weren’t looking to the future.

According to DraftExpress.com, the Celtics were scheduled to interview Markelle Fultz at the NBA Draft combine Wednesday night. The Washington guard is considered a candidate to be selected with one of the upcoming draft’s top two picks.

The Celtics have a 25 percent chance of claiming the top pick in the draft when the lottery is held Tuesday night, with the odds dropping to 21.5 percent for the second pick and 17.8 percent for the third.

Fultz is considered perhaps the best ready-made scorer in the draft, with UCLA’s Lonzo Ball representing the only other available player with similar upside. Ball, however, is viewed as more of a playmaker than Fultz.

When asked who he liked the Celtics taking if they do, indeed, end up with the No. 1 overall selection, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman told the Giardi and Bradfo Show that Fultz would be his guy.

“He is a scoring point who can play with Isaiah. Lonzo Ball is the other guy who can be in the mix, but I don’t know if he plays with Isaiah all that well. They both need the ball in their hands,” Goodman said.

TO LISTEN TO JEFF GOODMAN TALK MARKELLE FULTZ, CLICK HERE (at 38:15 mark)

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Wizards forward Kelly Oubre already knew he’d be hearing it from TD Garden fans before facing the Celtics in Game 5 on Wednesday in Boston. That’s what happens when you’re suspended for steamrolling Celtics counterpart Kelly Olynyk during a chippy Game 3.

A bit more surprising was the choice of words.

Kelly Olynyk (41) is fouled by the Wizards' Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) on Wednesday. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Kelly Olynyk (41) is fouled by the Wizards’ Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) on Wednesday. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Wizards forward Kelly Oubre already knew he’d be hearing it from TD Garden fans before facing the Celtics in Game 5 on Wednesday in Boston. That’s what happens when you’re suspended for steamrolling Celtics counterpart Kelly Olynyk during a chippy Game 3.

A bit more surprising was the choice of words.

With fans chanting, “[Bleep] you, Oubre!” late in Boston’s 123-101 win, even the Wizards were a bit taken aback by the level of vitriol.

“It’s Boston, man,” forward Markieff Morris told reporters, including Kevin Duffy of MassLive. “You’ve got to be prepared for anything. That’s how I look at it.”

Shooting guard Bradley Beal turned to a phrase favored by courtside visitor Bill Belichick.

“It is what it is, man,” he said. “It is what it is. They’re trying to make it bigger than what it needs to be. We’re playing basketball here. They’re going to protect Olynyk here. We’re going to protect Oubre on our team. When he comes to D.C., Friday’s going to be the same thing. We booed him. It’s just part of the game. We don’t pay attention to that.”

Oubre finished with 13 points and three rebounds in 19 active minutes.

“They’re going to do what they’re going to do,” said Wizards point guard John Wall, per Duffy. “I think Kelly did a great job of handling it. He didn’t let it bother him. He kept playing basketball. We told him what to expect from the crowd. We didn’t think those types of words, but all we’ve got to do is play basketball. We’re his brothers. We stick behind him.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Avery Bradley was lights out in the first half and Al Horford was everywhere throughout Game 5 as the Celtics blew out the Wizards, 123-101, Wednesday at TD Garden. Mike Petraglia and Josue Pavon break down the win and look ahead to a close-out chance in Game 6.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Avery Bradley soars to the hoop for a dunk as the Celtics manhandled the Wizards on Wednesday.</p>
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Avery Bradley lit the fuse Wednesday and the Celtics exploded in the faces of Washington Wizards. 

In a relentless display of up-tempo, transition basketball and long-range sharp shooting, the Celtics ran the Wizards into oblivion Wednesday night, 123-101, in Game 5 at TD Garden to take a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

May 10, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) drives to the basket against the Washington Wizards during the first quarter in game five of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Avery Bradley dunks against the Washington Wizards during the first quarter in Game 5 Wednesday at TD Garden. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Avery Bradley lit the fuse Wednesday and the Celtics exploded in the faces of Washington Wizards. 

In a relentless display of up-tempo, transition basketball and long-range sharp shooting, the Celtics ran the Wizards into oblivion Wednesday night, 123-101, in Game 5 at TD Garden to take a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Celtics can close out the Wizards and advance to the Eastern finals against LeBron James and the Cavaliers with a win Friday in Game 6 in Washington. 

With the likes of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Julian Edelman and LeGarrette Blount in attendance courtside, the Celtics were intent on returning the haymakers the Wizards delivered in Games 3 and 4. They didn’t disappoint, and it was Bradley doing most of the damage. Bradley had a new career playoff high by halftime and finished with 29 points, taking a lot of pressure off Isaiah Thomas, who came out with four minutes left and finished with 18 points and nine assists. Al Horford chipped in with 19 points and seven assists.  Marcus Smart was the biggest contributor off the bench with nine points, 11 rebounds and six assists. 

It wasn’t just offense either. John Wall (21 points) and Bradley Beal (16) struggled badly from the field, combining to connect on just 14-of-36 shots. 

The Celtics continued the home dominance between the two teams this season. Including four regular season games, the home team has now captured all nine meetings by an average of 15 points per game. The Wizards will have to hold serve Friday just to force a Game 7 next Monday in Boston. 

The last two games featured the sight of Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford on the bench, sitting in stunned silence, watching as the Celtics were blown out of the building. On this night, it was John Wall and Bradley Beal who spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench staring at the jumbotron, as the Celtics built their lead to 26. 

The Celtics were again blistering from beyond the arc, draining 15 of their first 29 long-distance field goals. They finished 16-of-33 from deep. 

In a dramatic flip of the script, the Celtics were the ones who went on a massive run that provided separation. And they did it in the first quarter, no less. After allowing the Wizards to score the first four points of the game, the Celtics responded with the next 16 to take a 16-4 lead. 

Bradley was monstrous in the first quarter, hitting 6-of-8 from the field and scoring 14 points in the opening period. Bradley was the key to the Celtics in transition in the first, as he scored 9 of his 14 points before the Wizards could get back, three of them coming on dunks. 

The Celtics outscored the Wizards, 13-0, in transition as the took a stranglehold of the game. The Celtics led 33-21 after 12 minutes and this time they didn’t allow a 12-point lead to immediately wither away like they did in Game 4. 

Jae Crowder’s three from the right wing put the Celtics up 18, 41-23, with 9:51 left in the second quarter. Crowder banked in a three with seven minutes left in the quarter to give the Celtics a 48-26 lead. 

(For a full box score, click here.)

As was the case with Kelly Olynyk in Game 4 in D.C., the crowd waited for Kelly Oubre to come into the game so they could chant his name. He made one of two free throws with 9:30 left in the first half as the Wizards struggled to get back into the game. Oubre was making a return to the series after being suspended for Game 4 after his charge at Olynyk that knocked the Celtics’ big to the ground. 

After an Al Horford put-back of a Thomas miss with 5:08 left in the first half, Horford flexed his muscles. That bucket gave the Celtics a 50-33 lead. Bradley followed with a left baseline three that put the Celtics up 20, 53-33, with four and a half minutes left in the first half. An Amir Johnson block led to another transition score, as Bradley hit a fallaway baseline jumper to stake the Celtics to a 55-33 lead. 

The Wizards drew briefly to within 15 before Bradley hit his fourth three-ball of the half, giving him 25 points at the break and leading the Celtics to a 67-51 lead. The 25 points was already a playoff career high. The 67 points was the most any team had scored in the playoffs to this point. 

The Wizards got as close as 13 on an Otto Porter basket with 6:35 left in the third. But Al Horford’s three with 1:35 left in the quarter pushed the lead back to 20, 92-72. With the Celtics up, 93-73, Marcus Smart was called for a touch foul on Ian Mahinmi with 1.6 seconds left, allowing the big man to hit three free throws and help the Wizards close to within 17, 93-76, entering the fourth. 

Through three quarters, Isaiah Thomas, with just 10 points, had taken just seven field goal attempts and was the fourth-leading scorer among the starters, behind Bradley (29), Horford (19) and Crowder (18). 

If the Celtics can’t close it out on Friday night in Washington, they will return home for a Game 7 Monday night at 8 p.m. at TD Garden. If they win Friday, the Celtics will host the Eastern Conference finals opener Monday night, also at 8 p.m. at TD Garden. 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Brad Stevens is sticking with Amir Johnson for Game 5 against the Wizards.

Appearing on sister station 98.5 The Sports Hub on Wednesday, Stevens said that he’ll maintain the same starting five he used in Sunday’s Game 4, which the Wizards won on the strength of a 26-0 run in the third quarter to tie the series at 2-2.