In their fourth and final meeting against the lottery-bound team whose first-round pick they own, the Celtics salvaged a 2-2 series record against

Jae Crowder

Jae Crowder

In their fourth and final meeting against the lottery-bound team whose first-round pick they own, the Celtics salvaged a 2-2 series record against the Nets this season with a 103-94 victory against Brooklyn.

Jae Crowder scored a career-high 25 points to go along with six rebounds and three steals, helping the C’s improve to 19-15 on the season — good for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Of course, had they took care of business against the Lakers and Nets at home over the weekend, they’d be sitting pretty as the No. 3 seed, but no dice.

Isaiah Thomas collected 19 points and seven assists, Evan Turner added a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) and both Amir Johnson and Jared Sullinger added a dozen points. Thaddeus Young led Brooklyn (10-24) with 23 points and 15 rebounds. More importantly, the Nets gained a game on the victorious 76ers (4-33) for the league’s worst record.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

STUD OF THE NIGHT: Jae Crowder.

In the game’s opening 11 minutes, Crowder scored 14 points on seven shots, propelling the Celtics to a 37-22 lead after the first quarter. Brad Stevens tweaked the starting lineup, starting Evan Tuner for the injured Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk for the struggling Jared Sullinger, in hopes of igniting the offense. And it was mainstay Crowder operating in the space created by Olynyk and the playmaking of Turner and Isaiah Thomas. And when Brooklyn cut the C’s lead to single digits in the fourth quarter, Crowder’s 3-pointer and traditional three-point play kept the Nets at bay.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: David Lee.

As Stevens searched for answers following two terrible losses to the Lakers and Nets, he sat Lee on the bench for the entire evening. Lee arrived in Boston as a two-time former All-Star who seemingly had plenty left in the tank after playing important minutes for the Warriors during their finals victory, but he’s had trouble finding a role on the C’s. His defense has never been considered strong, so when he’s not offering offense, Lee isn’t much help.

VINE OF THE NIGHT:

WHINE OF THE NIGHT: Distant future?

Can the Celtics improve as a 3-point shooting team? Or is this all they are? They entered Monday’s game shooting 32.7 percent from beyond the arc. Only four teams are worse: The Nets, Grizzlies, 76ers and Lakers. Three of those might be the league’s worst teams, and the Grizzlies rely on tremendous post play. The Celtics rank seventh in 3-point attempts per game (27.6), so if the 3’s ever started falling, the C’s offensive issues could be resolved, but will they ever fall? The Celtics shot sub-30 percent from distance yet again, despite a number of wide-open looks.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: Seven.

Not too many teams can make 24-of-27 free throws, grab 16 offensive boards and still lose by nine. But the Nets aren’t many teams. They shot just 37.6 percent, but the Celtics survived Brooklyn’s second-chance opportunities by limiting their turnovers to seven and holding the Nets to just four points on those giveaways. Conversely, the C’s scored 20 points on Brooklyn’s 14 turnovers, led by Crowder and Marcus Smart’s ball-hawking skills.

@ OF THE NIGHT:

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

You know when you’re shoveling your driveway, your neighbor breaks out the snowblower, and you hop in the car to high-tail it to the nearest Home Depot to keep up with Joneses?

You know when you’re shoveling your driveway, your neighbor breaks out the snowblower, and you hop in the car to high-tail it to the nearest Home Depot to keep up with Joneses?

That seems to be the approach the Celtics are taking to a potential outdoor game at Fenway Park. After the Boston Bruins played in front of 67,246 fans at the New England Patriots‘ Gillette Stadium, their TD Garden cohabitants are reportedly interested in doing the same.

‘€œI’€™ve gotten into it. I really do like the idea,’€ Celtics president of business operations Rich Gotham told The Boston Globe on Monday. ‘€œI think if you can find a way to sort of differentiate the game and make it fun for fans, that’€™s a great thing. And the Winter Classic certainly does that. Even when Fenway stages certain events, like football games, it just makes it more special for people involved and the fans. I think if you can do it, great. At the same time, my job requires me to be pragmatic, so you’€™d need to look at the hurdles.’€

Gotham and Red Sox counterpart Sam Kennedy have discussed the possibility, according to the Globe, although there are a number of obstacles that may make it a long shot. Due to the obvious weather concerns, the game would most likely have to be played at the beginning or the end of the NBA’s regular season, when the Sox could also be using the facilities.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

For the second game in a row, the Celtics‘ lost at home against one of the league’s bottom feeders in what was one of the most disappointing defeats of the season.

For the second game in a row, the Celtics‘ lost at home against one of the league’s bottom feeders in what was one of the most disappointing defeats of the season.

The Nets beat the Celtics, 100-97, and considering Boston owns Brooklyn’s first-round pick, the C’s didn’t do themselves any favors by suffering their second loss at the hands of Brooklyn in 2015-16. The two teams face each other again in Brooklyn on Monday.

Throughout a dreadful third quarter, Celtics coach Brad Stevens tried every lineup combination he could think of to spark some sort of offensive rhythm — but nothing seemed to work. The Nets (10-23) outscored the C’s 25-16 in the third quarter and carried a 10-point lead into the final frame. Behind an 11-2 run, the Celtics tied the game at 83. The Nets then responded with their own 9-2 run, forcing the Celtics (18-15) to play catch-up until the final minute, when the C’s crawled back to make it a one-possession game.

With 10 seconds left, Marcus Smart stole Brooklyn’s inbound pass, setting up a fast break that set up an open look for Jonas Jerebko, whose game-tying 3-point attempt from the corner bounced off the rim. Smart saved the ball from going out of bounds, but Jae Crowder couldn’t get a shot off before the game clock struck zero.

Brook Lopez‘s monster double-double (30 points, 13 rebounds) led the Nets. Joe Johnson added 20 points, and Thaddeus Young had 16. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 24 points, Crowder scored 16 and Evan Turner finished with 12. For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

STUD OF THE NIGHT: Brook Lopez.

The Celtics could not find an answer for Lopez. After the C’s erased a 10-point deficit in less than four minutes, Lopez scored nine of Brooklyn’s 19 fourth-quarter points. The Nets center scored a season-high 30 points on 11-of-24 shooting, grabbed 13 rebounds and finished with a game-high plus-17 rating.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: Jared Sullinger.

The Celtics’ best rebounder, Sullinger ended the game with more turnovers (5) than rebounds (4). He scored just seven points in 18:15 and was a minus-8 on the night.

VINE OF THE NIGHT:

WHINE(S) OF THE NIGHT: A dreadful third quarter and no Avery Bradley.

The Celtics scored 16 third-quarter points on 6-for-22 shooting. In other words, it was ugly. Although the C’s cut Brooklyn’s lead in the fourth quarter, it was the third quarter’s hideous display of shooting against the lowly Nets that stood out the most. The Celtics could’ve used one of their best shooters in the second half, but Bradley played just 10:31 of the first half before leaving the game with a left hip injury.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: 21.9 percent.

When the Celtics were desperate for buckets, they resorted to chucking 3-pointers instead of trying to get to the hoop. It’s not the worst strategy, except when you shoot 7-for-32 from distance. Isaiah Thomas (2-for-9 from 3) and Jonas Jerebko (1-for-4 from 3), in particular, just couldn’t get the 3’s to fall.

@ OF THE NIGHT:

Blog Author: 
WEEI

After exacting NBA Finals revenge against the Celtics in 2010,

After exacting NBA Finals revenge against the Celtics in 2010, Kobe Bryant has softened on Boston, and for the first time since the infamous 2007 “MVP” chants, the city returned the sentiment, offering a standing ovation during the starting lineup role call before playfully booing him on his first few possessions.

It was exactly the sort of reaction Boston reserves for its most worthy adversaries –€” Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and, yes, Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and one of the greatest players ever to play the game of basketball.

The Boston brass presented Bryant with a piece of the parquet before his final game in the Garden, and then the Celtics gave him more ground on the floor, as the 17-time All-Star sunk a 28-foot dagger of a 3-pointer with 1:40 remaining in a 112-104 victory.

Bryant finished with a double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds) in 33 minutes, as the Lakers won for just the sixth time all season. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 24 points and seven assists. Evan Turner (20 points, 8 assists), Jae Crowder (17 points) and Avery Bradley (13 points) also reached double figures for the Celtics, who fell to 18-14 and had their four-game winning streak snapped.

Marcus Smart was benched for the first quarter after missing the team’s walk-through due to a flat tire, Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the game. Smart scored four points in 11 minutes.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

STUD OF THE NIGHT: Evan Turner.

If not for Turner, the Celtics would never have made this a contest. When they trailed by a dozen and lost on offense in the fourth quarter, Turner repeatedly drove to the basket, breathing life into the fading green. He scored 13 of the C’s first 16 points in the final frame and assisted on the team’s only other field goal –€” a David Lee layup — in that span, as they climbed back into an otherwise ugly game.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: Amir Johnson.

Johnson played 18 minutes and scored all of zero points. In fact, outside of his five defensive rebounds and one turnover, he put up zeroes across the board. And while he helped hold Roy Hibbert scoreless on the defensive end, the Celtics could have used some scoring from their starting big man. In the third quarter, he was replaced in the starting lineup by Kelly Olynyk, who also had a tough night (5 points).

VINE OF THE NIGHT:

WHINE OF THE NIGHT: “Ko-be Bry-ant” chants.

Prior to the game, I thought it might be poignant for Celtics fans to offer Bryant a few mock “MVP” chants during the game ‘€” maybe on an errant 3-pointer ‘€” but that’s when I figured the C’s would run away with this one. Then, the Lakers took a double-digit lead and Bryant hit that dagger 3, and then the “Ko-be Bry-ant” chants that rained from the rafters were a terrible idea. Whether or not those came from the large contingent of L.A. faithful, Celtics fans should’ve figured out a way to drown those out.

NOTE OF THE NIGHT: Oh, shoot.

Bryant’s worst shooting game against the Celtics? His first in Boston. In 20 minutes off the bench on Nov. 27, 1996, he finished 1-for-7 from the floor (14.3 percent) in a 110-94 at the Garden. In his final game in Boston, he seemed destined for an even worse evening, starting 2-of-12 from the field, but he salvaged a 5-for-18 effort ‘€” tied for the sixth-worst shooting effort of his career against the Celtics.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “This place is always special to me.”

“I grew up a really big historian of the game and understanding Boston’€™s history, the players, many different players, championships won, and so this place is always special to me,” Bryant said of his final visit to the hub as a player. “The history I think is what makes this city different than all the rest.”

STAT OF THE NIGHT: 9-6-3.

It’s the sort of stat line Brandon Bass put up all too often on the Celtics ‘€” nine points, six rebounds and three assists in 24:29 ‘€” and this time it helped the Lakers. Overshadowed by Bryant’s return, Bass made his first trip back to Boston after four seasons on the Celtics, and he helped anchor a 52-45 rebounding advantage for L.A. He also played center for the Lakers down the stretch. Silent assassin.

@ OF THE NIGHT:

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Kobe Bryant celebrates with teammate Ron Artest while beating the Celtics in Game 7 of the 2010 Finals.</p>
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For three quarters, the Celtics sat comfortably ahead of the Knicks before New York found its rhythm in the final frame — but the C’s fended off their hosts in a 100-91 victory.