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WALTHAM – The Celtics have been without Al Horford for four games now. The likelihood that streak goes to five is very high as Brad Stevens said it’s doubtful that the big man still in concussion protocol will be able to take the court against the Knicks Friday at TD Garden. 

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Brad Stevens chats with Al Horford after practice Thursday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

WALTHAM – The Celtics have been without Al Horford for four games now. The likelihood that streak goes to five is very high as Brad Stevens said it’s doubtful that the big man still in concussion protocol will be able to take the court against the Knicks Friday at TD Garden. 

But the Celtics did get good news on the Horford front. Horford, who did not travel to Washington for Wednesday’s blowout loss, did return to the court with the team for practice Thursday. 

But the practice was not one of high intensity and he has not been cleared for contact or physical work. 

“He did some light stuff with us, so he was cleared to go through some of it,” Stevens said. “We didn’t do anything contact, physical, competitive, so I don’t know where that puts him in the protocol. I haven’t gotten the update of what’s next. But he is progressing, He’s feeling a lot better.”

Stevens and Horford spent about 15 minutes talking after practice Thursday. 

As for his chances of playing Friday?

“I don’t know, but I would say that would doubt it,” Stevens answered. “But I don’t know what the official diagnosis is, as far as I don’t know the official next step.”

 Jae Crowder has missed three games with a sprained left ankle. Crowder was not with the team at practice on Thursday. 

“I would doubt we see him until maybe next week when we get back home,” Stevens said. “That’s not for sure either, but that’s roughly the time line we’re looking at, best case scenario.”

It’s no secret the Celtics have been getting their collective doors blown off in the last two first quarters of their last two defenseless losses to the Nuggets and Wizards. Against Denver they allowed 24 first-quarter points to Emmanuel Mudiay and fell behind 42-23. Wednesday in Washington was even worse. They were blown out 34-8 and lost, 118-93. 

What are the chances Stevens breaks up the lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jaylen Brown, Amir Johnson and Tyler Zeller?

“Well, the Cleveland game we played well right out of the gate,” Stevens began. “[Wednesday] we played poorly right out of the gate. And against Denver they really separated in the last six minutes of the first quarter, although we didn’t play great out of the gate. But it wasn’t like you could separate first group versus second group necessarily. We’ll give thought to lineup change. We’ll make the right thing for our team. But the bottom line is the guys that are playing are going to play because of our numbers in some part. But I think that’s certainly worth considering. But I think it’s also not like we’ve put together 48 good minutes.

“We have a lot of guys that haven’t done this yet that are playing. And I think that’s something we learn over time. And guys that – the best thing that we all can do is move on to the next play and do our jobs as well as we can. And certainly that happens as a result of when another team’s drubbing you, you see that any time in any sport. The best of the best can move past it, but everybody gets affected a time or two in a game like that in being frustrated.”

Stevens, who acknowledged he did not vote for President-elect Donald Trump, said he did hear the comments of Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy, who called Trump “brazenly racist” and blasted those who voted for him. Warriors coach Steve Kerr also ripped Trump. 

“I didn’t see Steve’s. I saw Stan’s. I have a lot of respect for those guys. I have a lot of respect for – again, I talked about how this, yesterday we talked about how the election is certainly an emotional topic,” Stevens said. “And I know Stan, and I know how tight he is with his family and his daughters. And I saw him reference that in that quote. And I understand – you understand anybody that is really emotional about it. The thing that I’d say is, like I said yesterday, we try our best to have dialogue in here about those things and move forward with the mindset of doing our best to use the platform to make positive.”

Stevens said he spoke with his team about the election on Wednesday before the shootaround. 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Trags and Ben talk about the defensive issues plaguing the Celtics right now, how the team needs to adjust, and whether the they are desperate enough to bring in Demarcus Cousins.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Celtics coach Brad Stevens, while saying he is hesitant to discuss politics, felt strongly enough about the results of the Tuesday’s presidential election to reveal his view of Donald Trump.

Brad Stevens

Brad Stevens

Celtics coach Brad Stevens, while saying he is hesitant to discuss politics, felt strongly enough about the results of the Tuesday’s presidential election to reveal his view of Donald Trump.

“It wasn’t my vote,” he told reporters Wednesday in Washington, where his team was preparing to be routed by the Wizards. “Let’s put it that way.”

The Celtics learned of Trump’s upset victory while in the nation’s capital, and Stevens said he had to address it in an attempt to refocus his team.

“I think you have to be able to compartmentalize,” Stevens said (via MassLive.com). “We talked about that this morning, and that’s a hard thing. Everybody is — because it’s such a passionate topic right now, every team’s going to be feeling that this morning. It’s not going to be one team and not another.”

“I think the whole world’s talking about it and has been talking about it for quite some time,” Stevens added. “I read somewhere last week that the campaigning is double what it used to be. The coverage is probably 10 times what it used to be. The predictions are probably worse than they used to be. So I think that there’s a lot of discussion about it, there’s a lot of talk about it, there’s a lot of empty space, empty minutes of your day, that you’re turning on whatever and it’s constantly being discussed. So everybody was talking about it. I don’t think that was just our locker room or just anywhere else.”

All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas also tried to keep his comments to a minimum, although he previously had made it clear via Twitter that he opposed Trump.

“It was a rough night,” Thomas said of watching the election results. “But hopefully he’s good. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

The Celtics’ latest embarrassment, a 118-93 rout at the hands of the previously struggling Wizards on Wednesday night, has left the team searching for answers.

Guard Isaiah Thomas said the bottom line is the C’s need to play harder.

The Celtics’ latest embarrassment, a 118-93 rout at the hands of the previously struggling Wizards on Wednesday night, has left the team searching for answers.

Guard Isaiah Thomas said the bottom line is the C’s need to play harder.

“It’s tough. We’re in a bad funk right now. But we can’t hold our heads,” he told reporters in Washington. “One thing I think is, we’re not the hardest-playing team no more. I think that’s what made us special, that’s what made us good, is us playing harder than the other team, being more scrappier, getting all the loose balls. Rebounds don’t come to us no more because we’re not playing hard.

“I’ve got to watch the film, I’ve got to see what I’ve got to do better, see what we can do better. But that’s just the feeling I have right now, that we’re not the hardest-playing team. And that’s what made us special, what made us win 48 games last year and made teams not really want to play against us. We don’t have that swagger no more.”

The C’s biggest issues are with defensive and rebounding — they were beaten 54-31 on the boards Wednesday.

“It’s playing hard, leaving it all out there on the floor,” Thomas said. “That’s who we were. That’s what made us one of the best defensive teams in the league. That’s what made us win 48 games last year. We have to find that swag. We’ve got to find that … that. We’ve got to get that back. Because if we don’t, it seems like we’re going off talent, which we really don’t have that much talent, including myself. I think if we get that hard hat back where we’re the hardest-playing team, we’re going to be in every game. Last year we didn’t get blown out like this. Even though it’s early, it’s been two really bad games for us. But we didn’t have these types of games last year. Just half the battle was us playing that hard, which we were in most of the games.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Following Sunday’s disappointing loss to the Nuggets, Celtics coach Brad Stevens lamented his team’s lack of physicality. He undoubtedly was hoping the C’s would show some fight in Wednesday’s night’s game against the Wizards.

No such luck.

Following Sunday’s disappointing loss to the Nuggets, Celtics coach Brad Stevens lamented his team’s lack of physicality. He undoubtedly was hoping the C’s would show some fight in Wednesday’s night’s game against the Wizards, who came in at 1-5.

No such luck.

Boston was outscored 34-8 in the first quarter — the biggest first-quarter deficit in franchise history — never mounted a serious comeback bid, and for the second straight game watched an opposing player turn in a career night. Three days after Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay exploded for 30 points at TD Garden, the Celtics watched as Wizards forward Otto Porter erupted for a career-high 34 points on 14-of-19 shooting to go along with a career-high-tying 14 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks — one of them on a Jaylen Brown dunk attempt in the third quarter.

Porter said the Wizards wanted this game badly.

“This, to us, was like  must-win,” he told CSNNE’s Abby Chin before leaving the court. “We had to get this one. Whatever it takes.”

Meanwhile, with Al Horford (concussion) and Jae Crowder (ankle) still sidelined — but with Kelly Olynyk making his first appearance (2 points, 6 rebounds in 26 minutes) — the C’s were again hammered on the boards, as Washington held a 54-31 rebounding advantage.

The C’s (3-4) were led by Isaiah Thomas (23 points, 10 assists), Avery Bradley (21 points) and Marcus Smart (20 points).

Smart also was involved in an incident with John Wall. With 5:24 remaining and the Wizards comfortably in command, Wall inexplicably tackled Smart around the head and threw him to the ground — ostensibly while trying to steal the ball. Smart got up and immediately started an animated conversation with the Wizards star, although he showed remarkable restraint considering Wall’s seemingly unprovoked attack.

Wall was ejected — for the second straight game — while Smart was given a technical foul.

Stud of the game: Otto Porter

The third-year pro had his way with the C’s from start to finish. “My coaches put me in position to be aggressive,” Porter told CSNNE. “I continually looked to attack, mix up the coverages, and my teammates were able to find me.”

Dud of the game: The Celtics rebounders

The undersized C’s gave up 19 offensive rebounds to the Wizards, and the hosts capitalized on the second chances.

When the game was lost: When the C’s were outscored 34-8 in the first quarter

The Celtics have allowed the opposition to shoot 60.8 percent (31-for-51) in the first quarter of the last two games — both humiliating losses.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

The Celtics will be without their $113 million man for a fourth straight game when they take on the Wizards Wednesday night. The team announced Tuesday that Al Horford stayed back in Boston to continue in the NBA’s concussion protocol. 

Horford has played in just three games this season after suffering a concussion in practice on Halloween.