The NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year as a member of the 1985-86 Celtics that finished 67-15 during the regular season — and 41-1 at home in the Boston Garden — on their way to winning 15-of-18 playoff games and the franchise’s 16th NBA title, Bill Walton can wish you a St. Patrick’s Day far better than I can.
“Go Green. Go Guinness. I’m popping one right now. Ten million pints poured every day around this great globe of ours — the globe, the most perfect orb, just like the basketball. The basketball by itself does nothing, but when you make it an extension of your mind the way that [Rajon] Rondo does, the way that Danny Ainge did and DJ [Dennis Johnson] and Larry [Bird] and Kevin [McHale] and Chief [Robert Parish] and Jerry [Sichting] and Rick [Carlisle] and Scotty [Wedman] and all the guys did — but when you’re able to make an extension of your mind, of what it is you’re doing in life, whether it’s drinking a Guinness responsibly, whether you’re bouncing that magic basketball for the Celtic Green, you can make a difference, and that’s what we’re calling everybody to do on St. Patrick’s Day, the start of the college tournament, the most perfect harmonic convergence ever. Be bold, stand tall, quit your job and chase your dreams. …
“I only drink Guinness, the holy water falling from the sky, delivering spiritual guidance. We’re blessed. We’re so blessed. We’re on record pace, and we’re having the time of our life. …
“When this morning started, and it started more than 24 hours ago, the call to action was to take the day off. Who wants to lead a watered down life? C’mon. Let’s get up and be bold. Forget just taking the day off, just quit your job. Make your dream your job, and that’s what I was able to do. My parents ask me to this very day, ‘So, Billy, did you ever get a job?’ I’m closer than ever to being able to say yes. It’s so special. The remarkable thing about Guinness in our world is that in the mother country, Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday. In Canada, St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday. Somewhere, we got lost along the path, along the golden road to unlimited devotion. …
“When you go over to Ireland, and you go to Dublin, and you go to the Guinness thing, they have the Hall of Brilliance, and I’m in there already. I’ve had a lot of honors in my world, and none more important than that one. …
“Assume responsibility. That’s what Guinness is all about. Live in a world of exploration, curiosity, experimentation that leads to a culture of generosity, but do it responsibly. If you’re looking around, blaming other people, if you’re not willing to stand tall and be bold, if you’re not willing to quit your job and chase your dreams, then what are you doing on the Boston Celtics. Let’s go. What are the two sets of three from John Wooden? Don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t make excuses, and don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal. That covers a lot of ground. …
“The young people, the children, they don’t care that you have red hair and a big nose and a goofy, nerdy looking face and you stutter all the time and you’re a Deadhead and you’re drinking Guinness every minute. They’re going to care that you’re there, and when you care about them, they will care about you. Through practice and through a lifetime of experimentation, maybe you have a chance to play in the game of life one more time — that opportunity that Red [Auerbach] and Larry and Celtics Nation gave me. …
“It’s St. Patrick’s Day. Let’s go. Start the party early. Pop one early. Get that pint going.”
The hottest team in the NBA? Well, that might just be the Boston Celtics.
The C’s destroyed the lowly 76ers, 108-89 on Monday night, which means as of the final buzzer, Boston (30-36) sits in a tie for the seven-seed in the East. Yes, the Celtics would now be in the playoffs if they were to start tomorrow.
Tyler Zeller posted a game-high 26 points in an incredibly efficient 28 minutes in which he shot 11-for-15. Avery Bradley also scored 20 for the Celtics who had all five starters finish in double digits as well as Jae Crowder and Gigi Datome off the bench. Boston product Nerlens Noel was the high man for Philly with 18 points.
Stevens now has his first five-game winning streak as a head coach in the NBA — and an impressive one despite capping it off against Philly. Maybe even more impressive? The C’s have now come out on top in 14 of their last 20. No matter how you spin it, this stretch has proved that Stevens can flat out coach. He just may get a team that has undergone several identity changes this season to sneak into the playoffs, so imagine the possibilities when Danny Ainge provides Stevens with the roster that we all expect one day.
HOME COOKING EARLY
The Celtics came out and took this one right from the jump, building a 20-point lead by the end of the first quarter. Boston shot an insane 66.7 percent from the field (16-for-24 shooting) in the period on its way to grabbing a 38-18 lead. In the process, Avery Bradley and Tyler Zeller scored 10 points a piece in the quarter on a combine 8-for-9 shooting. Seven Celtics scored and five Celtics combine for total 10 assists by the time the quarter came to a close.
CELTICS ARE HAVING FUN
The C’s aren’t just winning games, they are having a blast doing so. Just watch the Celtics’ bench during a game and it’s easy to see the infectious energy. More players were out and about with a smile on their face during pre-game media access and it’s undoubtably because the team is winning. 12 Celtics saw action in this game — everyone who was dressed played aside form Gerald Wallace — while 10 of them saw at least 13 minutes of action. Seven Celtics scored in double figures including all five starters. Stevens has his crew buying into real team basketball.
AVERY BRADLEY GAVE HIS MOST ROUNDED GAME
What has made the C’s so good of late is that they don’t have an individual star. Isaiah Thomas has been fantastic, but teamwork has sparked this win streak. However, if you had to pick one spark plug from Monday night it would be Bradley. AB finished with 20 points, 10 boards, six helpers and two steals in 35 minutes of action — just the second double-double of his career.
76ERS ARE BRUTAL
Yes, Sam Hinkie has a plan. But we’re not going to know if it has worked for another five years, so for right now we get to watch this awful 76ers team compete. I’ll give Hinkie the benefit of the doubt, it’s too early to say his plan has failed. At the same time, those who credit Hinkie’s genius need to check themselves, because Philly is yet to prove anything. Nerlens Noel looks like he could be a decent player, but we have no clue what Joel Embiid or Dario Saric are and we have no clue who the next lottery gambles will be come this summer or how they will develop. All we know for sure is that the 76ers as they stand before us are a complete dumpster fire.
A Celtics coach is the focus of a college program’s search to fill its vacant position, and it’s not who you might have expected.
George Mason University is eyeing C’s assistant Jay Larranaga as a potential replacement for recently fired Patriots coach Paul Hewitt, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Jay’s father Jim Larranaga led George Mason to the 2006 Final Four during his 13 seasons at the helm of the Virginia-based school before accepting his current position as head coach of the University of Miami in 2011.
One of two holdovers from Doc Rivers‘ coaching staff (Jamie Young is the other), Larranaga deserves partial credit as Brad Stevens‘ top assistant for the C’s playoff push in the absence of Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger and most recently Isaiah Thomas. Prior to joining the Celtics‘ staff in 2012, Larranaga enjoyed success as the head coach of the NBA D-League’s Erie BayHawks and an assistant under Mike Fratello on the Ukraine National Team.
Larranaga was a candidate for the C’s head coaching position before Stevens’ hiring in 2013 and twice interviewed for the open 76ers job before Philadelphia hired Brett Brown that same summer.
For only the second time in the Brad Stevens era — and the first time since Nov. 6-11, 2013 — the Celtics have won four straight games, defeating the Pacers 93-89 on Saturday night.
Four Celtics scored in double figures, led by Tyler Zeller (18 points, 7 rebounds), and Boston (29-36) pulled within half a game of the Charlotte Hornets for the Eastern Conference’s eighth playoff seed. The C’s now trail Indiana (30-35) by just one game for the seventh spot.
Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder all added 16 points apiece, as the C’s knocked off a Pacers team that had won seven straight entering Saturday night’s game. The Celtics next face the struggling Philadelphia 76ers with a chance to capture their first five-game winning streak under Stevens.
Well, that’s one way to follow up your best win of the season.
In what might have been the ugliest basketball game of the NBA season, the Boston Celtics narrowly defeated the Orlando Magic 95-88 Friday night at the TD Garden. After trailing for the majority of the game, the Celtics (28-36) overcame a 10-point defect in the second half. Evan Turner was unstoppable in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 of his 30 points in the final minutes.
Elfird Payton led the Magic (21-46) with 20 points and 9 assists, while Nikola Vucevic had a double-double (16 points and 11 rebounds) in the loss. For the Celtics, Phil Pressey added a double-double, dishing out 10 assists and scoring 10 points.
After missing his first five attempts, Evan Turner made all six of the shots he took in the fourth quarter. Turner scored 16 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 2 minutes left to go in the game. The much-maligned small forward was clearly in some sort of mythical zone, attempting and making a number of high-difficulty shots.
HORRENDOUS FIRST QUARTER
The Celtics started the game shooting 4 for 20 from the field. After the first five minutes, they held an impressive 6-3 lead, before the Magic went on a 15-2 run. Evan Turner missed all five shots he took in the opening minutes. The Celtics finished the first quarter shooting 31% from the field. Gigi Datome and Kelly Olynyk were able to salvage the dreadful quarter, each hitting a late three to pull the Celtics with in 4.
ELFRID PAYTON CANT SHOOT FREE THROWS
Marcus Smart, Evan Turner, and Avery Bradley all tried, but no one on the Celtics could stop Payton from driving to the basket. Payton shot terribly from the free throw line, finishing the game 4 for15. If he was even remotely effective from the charity stripe, the Celtics would have been blown out. It got so bad for the first year point guard that the Celtics briefly employed a hack-a-Payton strategy, fouling him intentionally. Despite his poor shooting from the line, Payton hit his fifth and sixth three pointers of the season.
FANCY PASSING WITH PHIL PRESSEY
Before the game on Wednesday night, Brad Stevens said Pressey was one of most reliable players on the roster. Tonight, he played a season high 27 minutes, dishing out 10 assists. Pressey had a couple of Rondo-esque assists, including a behind-the-back pass to Jae Crowder who knocked down the wide-open three. With Isaiah Thomas still nursing a sore back, the second year guard will play important minutes on Saturday against the Pacers.
JAMES YOUNG RETURNS TO LINEUP
After not playing in the last two games, rookie James Young returned to the floor late in the third quarter. Young made his first shot, before missing his next two. He then stupidly fouled Elfrid Payton well behind the three point line and was quickly removed from the game. Young finished with 3 points in just under 5 minutes.
With the win, the Celtics remain one and a half games back of the Charlotte Hornets for the eighth seed in the Eastern conference.On Saturday, the Celtics travel to Indiana to play the Pacers, who have won their past seven games and nine of their last ten. Indiana is currently the seventh seed in the Eastern conference.