BOSTON- All aboard! Last week Celtics fans fawned over the impressive play of RJ Hunter; tonight, it was Terry Rozier’s turn to ride the rookie hype train.

Rozier dazzled the TD Garden crowd with a number of explosive plays that showcased why Danny Ainge selected him with the 16th pick in last year’s draft.  Rozier led the team with 16 points as the Celtics rolled past the Brooklyn Nets 111-105. Amir Johnson (15 points), Kelly Olynyk (14), and Evan Turner (10) also finished in double-figures, while the Nets were led by Bojan Bogdanovic (18) and Thomas Robinson (15).

For a full box score click here

Stud of the night: Terry Rozier

Before the game, Coach Brad Stevens noted that, ‘€œit’€™s an especially important week for Terry Rozier, having not played last week. He’€™ll see a lot of time over the next five days.€ Tonight Rozier’€™s elite speed and quickness was on display, as he was explosive in transition, attacking the basket with reckless abandon. Heck, even two of his misses were exciting. The Celtics first round pick finished with 16 points, knocking down all three of his attempts from three. Rozier also shot 5 of 8 from the charity stripe, something that will serve him well if he continues to get into the paint. With both he and RJ Hunter playing well this preseason, it will be very interesting to see how balances their playing time in an already guard-heavy rotation.

Dud of the night: Jared Sullinger

I only picked Sullinger because I don’€™t know any of the players on the Nets bench. Sullinger scored 3 points and grabbed 3 boards in 13 minutes of action. Traditional dud candidate James Young hit two threes, so the title de facto fell to Jared. Sully, we can’€™t all be studs, just ask Joey Fatone. To continue with the train theme I mentioned in the lede but quickly abandoned, Sullinger has a big caboose.

Vine of the night

Rozier both Shakes and Bakes #SpaghettiAndRanch

Whine of the night

The Brooklyn Nets Starting Lineup. With Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Thaddeus Young, and Jarret Jack not making the trip for the Nets, coach Lionel Hollins trotted out one of the least talented line-ups in NBA history: Donald Sloan, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Bojan Bogdanavic, Justin Harper, and Thomas Robinson. The starting unit combined for 00 points, 00 rebounds, and exactly 3.5 minutes of exciting basketball. If had to compare this Nets lineup to a Jay-Z album, it would have to be Kingdom Come. As the only projected starter, Bojan Bogdanovic thus qualifies as ‘€œShow Me What You Got’€ IN a vacuum, he is not that great, but when surrounded by trash he looks like a semi-decent player.

Stat of the night

1:6. This is the ration of the number of Avery Bradley long two attempts to three point attempts. Although he was only 2 for 6 from beyond the arc, I cannot and will not criticize his shot selection.

@ of the night

While I appreciate the sentiment, Amir Johnson does just about everything better than the late great P.J. Brown. ( I know he’€™s not dead, but late-great has a nice ring to it.)

Isaiah Thomas (knee), Jae Crowder (thumb), and David Lee (strep throat) did not play due to various acute injuries. With the Celtics not practicing tomorrow, the night off will give the players two days of rest before the team practices again on Wednesday.

The Celtics will play the New York Knicks on Thursday.

Blog Author: 
Sam Packard

Over the next month, we’ll chronicle the 25 most consequential trades of Danny Ainge’s tenure as Celtics president of basketball operations. When we’re done, we’ll have a better understanding of Ainge’s philosophy and success rate on the trade market. Perhaps by the end of this exercise we’ll even feel better about the future of this rebuild. At the very least, we’ll have something interesting to debate while we wait for preseason to play out.

With that out of the way, here’s No. 3 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

June 28, 2007: Hello, Ray Allen.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Ray Allen: When Allen was traded to Boston, he was coming off the most productive scoring season of his career, averaging 26.4 points at age 31 for the 2006-07 Seattle SuperSonics, and was widely considered the greatest shooter in the history of basketball. At least his stroke was deemed the smoothest ever ‘€” until Stephen Curry came along a decade later ‘€” so, yeah, the Celtics were getting a bona fide superstar.
  • Glen Davis: Big Baby was coming off a productive LSU career, including SEC Player of the Year honors in 2006, but the combination of his undersized height (6-foot-9) and oversized weight (298 pounds) kept teams at bay until the second round of the 2007 NBA draft. Ainge must’ve felt Davis’ footwork as a scorer and rebounder around the basket would translate, and he was right. Davis turned out to be a productive, albeit inconsistent, contributor who even developed a decent jump shot during the C’s two trips to the finals.

DEPARTING to Seattle

  • Jeff Green: It turns out the 2007 NBA draft wasn’t great beyond Kevin Durant. The top 10 produced two other All-Stars ‘€” Al Horford and Joakim Noah ‘€” neither of whom are transcendent talents. The best player in the draft not named Durant was Marc Gasol, and he went 48th after every team passed on him at least once. So, Green was a solid pick at No. 5 overall. We’ve already discussed how his career turned out in Boston, for better or worse, but he was a decent fit in Oklahoma City, averaging 14.2 points and 5.7 rebounds over three-plus seasons. It would’ve been fascinating to see how the Thunder would’ve fared with a lineup of Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Jeff Green, Durant and Serge Ibaka for the past few years. That’s a monster team. Had they won a title, this trade would’ve worked out for both teams. Instead, only Boston has a championship banner as a result, and for that how can anyone regret trading a top-five pick for Allen?
  • Wally Szczerbiak: At this point, Szczerbiak had two years remaining on his four-year, $63 million contract, his knees were shot and he wasn’t capable of doing much more than still firing off 3’s at a 40 percent clip, so of course the LeBron James-led Cavaliers 1.0 traded for him and Delonte West eight months later in a three-team deal that returned Donyell Marshall, Ira Newble and Adrian Griffin to Seattle.
  • Delonte West: So, yeah, West was a decent player for Ainge to toss into this deal, but he lasted just 35 games on the Sonics. West enjoyed a resurgence alongside James in Cleveland for a couple years, but his career circled the drain after that, including a season back in Boston.
  • Portland’s 2008 second-round pick (Trent Plaisted): This was the pick Ainge acquired from the Blazers when he dealt a lottery pick for Sebastian Telfair, so at least he got some use out of it, sweetening the pot in this deal a bit. Seattle ultimately flipped the pick to Detroit in a trade for the rights to D.J. White — another short-lived Celtics legend — and Plaisted never made it out of an NBA summer league.

In the end, Ainge got five seasons out of Allen ‘€” including three All-Star campaigns ‘€” and four from Davis, amassing 327 wins, three conference finals appearances, two trips to the NBA Finals and the 2008 NBA title. Not too shabby.

Sonics general manager Sam Presti got three and a half seasons from Green and a half-season each from Szczerbiak and West, translating into one 50-win season and zero playoff series victories. I think we know who won this deal. (Granted, Green turned into Perkins and a trip to the NBA Finals for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but c’mon …)

The most fascinating aspect of this trade is that Ainge actually succeeded in trading a top-five pick for an aging star. There are countless examples of that sort of deal working out in the other team’s favor ‘€” Red Auerbach‘s swap of Ed Macauley for Bill Russell in 1956 chief among them. Ainge gambled and lost by dealing the first top-10 pick of his tenure for Telfair in 2006, and then gambled and won on this trade a year later, setting in motion a chain of events that left the Celtics with late first-round picks for years to come. It’ll now be fascinating to see how not trading the No. 6 pick in 2014 (Marcus Smart) will work out for Ainge after he shopped it hard in the Kevin Love sweepstakes.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

The Knicks frontcourt set the tone early and prevented the Celtics from settling into their comfort zone offensively.

The New York Knicks‘ front court set the tone early on against the Celtics, and prevented Boston from settling into their comfort zone, offensively.

Knicks forward Derrick Williams‘ 19 points and 5 rebounds led the way for the Knicks in a 101-95 win over the Celtics. The Celtics struggled to get into an offensive rhythm. Although the Celtics shot just under 40 percent, the Knicks defended well in the paint and forced the Celtics to turn the ball over in the second half. The Celtics managed to make a late comeback in the fourth quarter but it came up short after the Knicks knocked down back-to-back three-pointers.

James Young scored 8 of 10 points in the fourth quarter. Seeing him score is always a good sign, this was easily his best game of the preseason.

Stud of the night: Isaiah Thomas

In only his second start in a Celtics uniform, Isaiah Thomas shot 5-for-9 for 13 points and dished out 5 assists in 24 minutes. He made two three-pointers and knocked down most of his shots in transition. The Celtics offense was at its best in transition against the Knicks, and Thomas was a big part of that. But in the second half, when it came to driving to the hoop and inside scoring the Knicks’ front court defense made stops and prevented the Celtics from scoring in the paint.

Dud of the night: Kelly Olynyk

After a solid outing against the Nets, Kelly Olynyk struggled offensively against the Knicks. New York contested his jump shots and forced Olynyk to take off-balanced attempts. He went 1-for-7 and finished with a measly 2 points, 3 rebounds in 11:49. Olynyk has played well early on throughout the preseason but much like his teammates Amir Johnson, David Lee and Jared Sullinger; he just couldn’t find an offensive groove against the New York’s Robin Lopez, Kyle O’Quinn and Lance Thomas.

Vine of the night

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Coach Brad Stevens was handed just his second tech of his NBA career after a justifiable no-call in the second half after Knicks guard Cleanthony Early made contact with Tyler Zeller’s fast-break dunk. Stevens didn’t think twice when he stepped onto the court to plead his case. I agree coach, that was a foul.

Always great to see Stevens riled up.

Whine of the night

In his best game of the preseason, so far, Jared Sullinger only scored 5 points against the Knicks but managed to pull down 10 rebounds. Knicks forward Kyle O’Quinn may have given Sully the ounce of motivation he needed to grab 10 boards. O’Quinn tossed Sully around the paint and made every layup attempt difficult for Jared. He also earned a flagrant foul after sending Sullinger to the floor in the third quarter. It’s a great sign to see Sullinger grab 10 rebounds, however, 1-for-8 from the floor and going 3-for-6 from the free throw line isn’t going to fly for a guy who was considered one of the Celtics’ biggest scoring threat and is entering his fourth NBA

Stat of the night 

The Celtics had 18 turnovers, while the Knicks only had 7. When the Knicks opened up a double-digit lead in the second half, the Celtics responded with a run in the third quarter. But after things got chippy between the two teams (O’Quinn’s flagrant foul), the Celtics made bad passes and committed a number of turnovers that led to an 88-80 fourth quarter lead by the Knicks.

Blog Author: 
Josue Pavon
After 3 preseason games, a number of Celtics are playing very well. Jared Sullinger doesn't happen to be one of those Celtics. Is there a place for him in the rotation? Calling in from Alaska, Sam Packard is joined by Alex Goldberg to discuss the Round Mound of Mediocrity and the rest of the team's preseason progress.

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Isaiah Thomas received his first start in a Celtics uniform, albeit in a preseason game against

Isaiah Thomas received his first start in a Celtics uniform, albeit in a preseason game against the Nets, but the early returns are encouraging.

In the opening 9:38, Thomas scored seven points on two field goal attempts and dished three assists against zero turnovers, leaving the floor with a 25-16 lead the Celtics never relinquished in a 109-105 exhibition win in Brooklyn.

For a box score, click here. For the lowdown beyond the box, read on.

Stud of the night: Amir Johnson.

Johnson also earned the start against the Nets, and if he contributes the way he did in 24:28 of the preseason, he will be well worth his $12 million salary. Johnson finished with 19 points on 13 shots, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He knocked down a pair of 3’s offensively and protected the rim defensively, anchoring an impressive nine-block effort by the C’s.

Dud of the night: Jared Sullinger.

In his first game against NBA competition as he embarks on the final season of his rookie contract, Sullinger scored just three points on eight shots, grabbed two rebounds in 12:22 and committed four fouls. He played fewer minutes than everyone but Jordan Mickey, Perry Jones and Corey Walden. And the highlight of Sullinger’s night was Nets center Brook Lopez rubbing his weird haircut.

Vine of the night

Whine of the night

Kelly Olynyk’s 2014-15 NBA season ended with him yanking Kevin Love‘s shoulder from its socket, and his teammates openly mocked his rebounding and defensive capacity. His three personal fouls in his first 6:44 against the Nets didn’t exactly suggest progress was made over the summer.

Stat of the night

Through three quarters, the Celtics assisted on 22 of the team’s 30 made field goals. That number dipped as Celtics coach Brad Stevens emptied the bench, but the starless C’s are spreading the wealth, and that will be a key to their success this season. Five different Celtics had at least three assists, headlined by Thomas (17 points, 9 assists) and Evan Turner (10 points, 7 assists). That performance didn’t even include Marcus Smart, who did not travel with the team due to illness.

@ of the night:

With Terry Rozier resting a sore left knee, Hunter was the rookie du jour, and he continued to show why he’s already ahead of James Young on the wing depth chart. We’ve heard Young is a sweet shooter with improved defense — something he showed flashes of when draining a 3 and coming up with a block on successive players — but Hunter has already shown more in both regards. The second of the C’s two first-round picks knocked down three of his five first-half 3-pointers. He finished with 11 points, four rebounds, four assists (1 turnover), four steals and one block in 29:50.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

When you read the quote from Cowbell Kingdom, it doesn’t look good for Rajon Rondo.

When you read the quote from Cowbell Kingdom, it doesn’t look good for Rajon Rondo.

Asked about his relationship with Kings coach George Karl during the preseason, Rondo said, “It’s not been going too well. We got into a couple arguments the last couple days, but hopefully we’ll continue to talk and get better.” OK, then, thanks for honesty, I guess?

Considering Rondo once threw a water bottle at former Celtics coach Doc Rivers and feuded during a game with Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle before being benched for the playoffs, you can see how someone would interpret Rondo’s comments as the logical next progression.

Then again, if you ever watched a postgame interview with Rondo, you’d know he often deadpans complete nonsense just to toy with the media. Just about Q&A with him left me wondering, Wait, is he serious? It sounds like he’s joking, but it wasn’t funny, so …

Maybe Rondo is stirring up enough controversy in Sacramento to make the Kings do something stupid like trade DeMarcus Cousins. Danny Ainge orchestrated this all along.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Over the next month, we’ll chronicle the 25 most consequential trades of Danny Ainge’s tenure as Celtics president of basketball operations. When we’re done, we’ll have a better understanding of Ainge’s philosophy and success rate on the trade market. Perhaps by the end of this exercise we’ll even feel better about the future of this rebuild. At the very least, we’ll have something interesting to debate while we wait for preseason to play out.

With that out of the way, here’s No. 4 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

July 12, 2013: Goodbye, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Keith Bogans: In order to meet the salary cap restrictions, the Celtics had to offer Bogans an outrageous three-year, $15.6 million deal, but thankfully only the first year was guaranteed, and they only had to pay him $5 million to sit home after six games. Ainge had hoped he could spin Bogans’ non-guaranteed contract in a bigger deal, but instead settled for Dwight Powell and a pair of second-round picks from Cleveland.
  • MarShon Brooks: After bouncing between Boston and its D-League affiliate in Maine, Brooks was thrown into the deal that sent Jordan Crawford to Golden State for Joel Anthony and three second-round picks.
  • Kris Humphries: During his one season on the Celtics, Humphries was their highest-paid player, and while Boston expected a disgruntled veteran, he was a good soldier coming off the bench for a 25-win team. Hump did the C’s another favor by working out a sign-and-trade with the Wizards that returned a protected second-round pick and a $5.3 million traded player exception (that lives on in Rajon Rondo‘s $12.9 million TPE).
  • Kris Joseph: The Celtics waived Joseph and his non-guaranteed rookie contract three days after reacquiring their former second-round pick, saving a few hundred grand on a guy who’s been playing overseas ever since.
  • Gerald Wallace: In exchange for the haul of picks Ainge acquired, the Celtics had to take on one of the league’s worst contracts ‘€” a deal that’s still paying Wallace $10.1 million this season. Thankfully, the 76ers are footing that bill after waiving him last month. After paying Uncle Gerald more than $20 million to average 3.7 points for two seasons, Ainge spun his (finally) expiring contract to the Warriors for one year of David Lee.
  • Brooklyn’€™s 2014 first-round pick (James Young): OK, so this pick hasn’t quite panned out the way the Celtics had hoped, but there’s still time for Young to salvage his 17th overall selection in 2014. Young is still, well, young after turning 20 years old over the summer. Always considered a sweet-shooting southpaw, Young earned praise from both Ainge and coach Brad Stevens for his development on the defensive end, but we’ve yet to see him package the two together at the NBA level, since a hip injury derailed his summer league stint.
  • Brooklyn’€™s 2016 first-round pick: Las Vegas set the over/under for Brooklyn’s win total this season at 28.5, good for the fourth-worst record in the league (1. 76ers, 2a. Nuggets, 2b. Blazers), which could translate into a top-five pick. Hello Dragan Bender! That alone would make this trade worthwhile, but there’s more.
  • Brooklyn’€™s 2018 first-round pick: The only Nets players under contract for the 2017-18 NBA season are Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young, so they could look a whole lot different in a couple years. Maybe they can rebuild through free agency, selling New York as an attractive destination, but they certainly won’t be doing so through the draft. The possibility remains their projected record in 2017-18 could be worse than this year.
  • The right to swap first-round picks with Brooklyn in 2017: Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em!
  • A $10.3 million traded player exception: So what, you say, it’s only a trade exception. Except, this particular TPE warranted its own “most consequential trade” discussion, ultimately returning Isaiah Thomas and Tyler Zeller. A pair of valuable rotation players on a playoff team, those two are merely an added bonus.

DEPARTING to Brooklyn

  • Kevin Garnett: During his season and a half in Brooklyn, Garnett missed 38 games and played just 20 minutes a night, producing a fraction of his career averages. He did help the Nets to a playoff series win during his first season in black and white, but at 37 years old his All-Star days were behind him. Brooklyn did well to salvage something out of Garnett, trading his expiring $12 million contract to Minnesota for Thaddeus Young.
  • Paul Pierce: Likewise, Pierce lasted one season in Brooklyn, helped take down Toronto in a first-round series, and then left for the Wizards, wondering why the Nets never offered an extension. He was remarkable during Washington’s postseason run this past spring and chose the Clippers over the Celtics in free agency again this summer. All the while, he’s professed his love for Boston and will be back in some capacity when he retires.
  • Jason Terry: The Nets dumped Terry even quicker than they relieved themselves of Ticket and Truth, needing two second-round draft picks to sweeten the pot for two Kings players who never played in Brooklyn. Terry didn’t suit up for Sacramento, either, but enjoyed a remarkable resurgence in Houston in 2014-15.
  • D.J. White: Signed to a non-guaranteed contract in Boston, he was soon waived by Brooklyn within a week.

Two years removed from the trade, here are the current assets the two teams still control as a direct result.

  • Celtics: David Lee, Isaiah Thomas, Tyler Zeller, James Young, Brooklyn’s 2016 and 2018 first-round picks, the right to swap picks with the Nets in 2017 and Cleveland’s second-round picks in 2016 and 2017.
  • Nets: Thaddeus Young.

Game. Set. Match. Looking at it from this perspective, even the most sentimental Pierce and Garnett supporters would have to concede that Ainge had no choice but to pull the trigger on this trade. It’s a straight-up swindle. It’ll be even better for the Celtics if Young ever amounts to anything and/or the remaining Nets picks return any significant value.

Although, because of Ainge’s creativity ‘€” the foresight to turn a TPE into two legitimate rotation players and swap Wallace’s expiring contract for a still capable two-time former All-Star ‘€” the C’s won this deal even without the picks.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach