BOSTON – It’s the law of averages, eventually the shots were going to go in. But no mathematician would have predicted this.
Shooting 45% from the field, the Celtics (2-3) defeated the the Washington Wizards 118-98 Friday night at the TD Garden. Led by Jared Sullinger’s 21 points, five Celtics finished in double figures, The C’s dominated in the first half, outscoring the Wizards 72-49. It was the first time the Celtics had scored 70 in a half since the modern-day Big Three did it in 2010. The Celtics also excelled from beyond the arc, knocking down 12 threes, a season high for the team.
Bradley Beal scored a game high 24 points, as the Wizards, a team known for their fast pace, struggled to keep up with the high flying Celtics. The C’s hands were extremely active on defense, forcing 24 turnovers.
Stud of the Night: Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynk
Making his second start of the season, Sullinger opened the game shooting 5 for 5 from the field. His accuracy extended beyond the arc, as Sullinger pulled off the incredible, knocking down two three point attempts in row, something he has been unable to do all season. The large power-forward also did an excellent job on the boards, pulling down 8 rebounds in 21 minutes.
Kelly Olynk decided to let down his locks and abandon the man-bun that made him semi-famous on Twitter. The extra freedom and bounce appeared to fix his ailing jump shot, as Olynyk finished with 19 points, including shooting for 3 of 5 from three. The Canadian Adonis finished with an astonishing +29 to lead the team.
Dud of the Night: The Wizards Bench
Jared Dudley (-23) , Ramon Sessions (-24), Nene (-20), and Gary Neal(-24) finished with only 21 points and were no match for Brad Stevens super depth.
Vine of the Night: Sully’s Pass from his Bum
Whine of the Night: Crowder Hurt in Garbage Time
Jae Crowder banged his knee on a drive late in the 4th quarter and fell to the parquet before being be helped off the court and into the locker room by trainer Ed Lacerte. The Celtics announced that Crowder suffered a bone bruise, as he did not return to the bench. Jae finished with a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Stat of the Night: 18 Steals
Led by Jae Crowder (5) and Kelly Olynyk (4), the Celtics forced 18 steals. Their season high last year was 20, in a game against the Cleveland Cavs.
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart is inactive tonight against the Washington Wizards after spraining the big toe on his left foot. Before the game he was seen in the locker room wearing a walking boot on his left foot. Smart sat out Wednesday’s night loss to the Indiana Pacers and had a noticeable limp on Thursday, when he missed practice. The second-year guard does not know exactly when he injured his toe, stating that he started feeling some discomfort on Tuesday night and woke Wednesday morning in a lot more pain. Smart will continue to rehab between now and the Celtics next game on Tuesday in Milwaukee.
In his place, Isaiah Thomas will make his second consecutive start for the Celtics. Thomas, the Celtics leading scorer, will be tested defensively as he will be tasked with defending the tremendous backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Amir Johnson also missed Thursday’s practice after twisting his ankle in the second half of the Pacers game. Johnson, who has dealt with ankle injuries his entire career, stated before the game that the current problem was not se
will start for the second game in a row, along with Thomas, Avery Brady expected to play. Johnson has dealt with ankle injuries his entire career,
For a lengthier preview of tonight’s match-up between the Celtics and Wizards, listen to the WEEI Celtics Podcast with guest Quinten Rosborough, writer for the Wizards SB Nation blog Bullets Forever.
The Celtics own as many as eight draft picks in June 2016 — only one of which is their own — and the unprotected selection from the Nets is legitimately one of the most fascinating storylines in the entire NBA this season. Each week, we’ll update the status of those selections, speculating when and who the Celtics will pick.
Brooklyn (0-5) has no reason to tank, and yet the Nets can’t help themselves. Through the first week of the season, only one team ranks in the bottom three in both offensive and defensive rating. It’s the Nets, who score 93.5 points (29th) and allow 109.7 points (28th) per 100 possessions. That’s a recipe for disaster, unless your Danny Ainge, in which case it’s a recipe for the most delicious meal he’s ever eaten.
One positive about the C’s abominable ball security, shooting and rebounding so far: They currently own a second top-10 pick! They rank 23rd in both turnover ratio (16.5) and true shooting percentage (50.4) and 29th in rebounding percentage (45.4). They weren’t a great shooting and rebounding team last year, but they made their bones protecting the ball in 2014-15. Brad Stevens values every possession above all, so he must be stewing about all these turnovers. Y’know, if he’s the sort to stew at all.
Remarkably, Dwight Powell is now the best asset the Mavericks (2-2) received in the Rajon Rondo deal, averaging 9.8 points and 8.0 boards in 21.8 minutes through four games. He’s among nine Mavs averaging at least 8.5 points, a balance that has Dallas outscoring opponents by 2.0 points per 100 possessions — a top-15 mark so far. Since the Celtics own Mark Cuban’s top-eight protected pick, they’d like to see that number dip a bit, which it should as Dallas’ brutal slate in the Western Conference rages on.
Do we need to entertain the notion the Timberwolves (2-1) are good? Ainge hopes so, since his top-13 protected pick from Minnesota turns into a pair of second-round picks if the Wolves don’t make the playoffs. Kevin Garnett‘s classroom is full of kids achieving beyond expectations, including the uber-early Rookie of the Year favorite Karl-Anthony Towns, who’s now averaging 17.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks.
The Sixers are 0-4 this season, which sounds about right. If we play the game where we predict when Philly will get its first win, I’m thinking somewhere around January … 2018. The Celtics don’t have to wonder whether this will be a high second-round pick; they just need to keep their fingers crossed the 2016 NBA draft is a deep one.
This second-rounder comes from whoever’s worse — the Mavericks or Grizzlies. For now, it’s the Mavs. This episode of “Shark Tank” isn’t working out so well for Cubes.
46. Boston Celtics (from Miami): Axel Bouteille.
Let’s check in on Justise Winslow, the rookie who fell to the Heat because they had three fewer wins than Boston last season and a 19-year-old kid Ainge offered untold draft picks for this past June. In 24.3 minutes a night, he’s averaging 5.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists while shooting 37.5 percent from 3-point range. Not bad. Also not bad: Miami, owners of a 2-2 record and a top-10 net rating (plus-4.5).
The Cavaliers are 4-1. Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert haven’t played yet. They’ll be good. This draft pick will not. The Celtics need ’em some Nedim Buza in their lives.
And, yes, we’ve got the Celtics drafting international players left and right. Where else are they going to stash eight — EIGHT — draft picks? I’d be curious how many scouts they’ll have overseas, and are they looking for one to be stationed in Paris?
It was not the prettiest evening of basketball Indiana’s ever seen, but the Celtics gave themselves a shot.
That shot was soon swallowed by a stifling defense that left Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley no breathing room on the final possession. Bradley’s 3-point attempt fell well short, and the C’s lost, 100-98. They dropped to 1-3 on the season with a brutal stretch over their next six games: Wizards, at Bucks, Pacers, Hawks, at Thunder and at Rockets.
Thomas led the C’s with 27 points and seven assists, and Bradley added 21 points despite an injured right index finger. Joe Crowder (12 points), Evan Turner (11 points) and David Lee (10 points) also reached double figures. Paul George led the Celtics with 26 points, 10 rebounds and a wide-open 3 that broke a 93-93 tie with 2:13 remaining.
For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.
In the second quarter alone, Thomas scored 14 points on seven shots — including seven of the C’s final nine points of the half — to keep the anemic Celtics‘ offense alive enough to avoid a double-digit deficit at the break. Starting at point guard for the first time in his Celtics tenure, Thomas acted as a playmaker in place of the injured Marcus Smart (big toe sprain), carving through the defense and finding shooters on the wings and cutters in the lane.
DUD OF THE NIGHT: Amir Johnson.
It’s a tough call between Kelly Olynyk, Terry Rozier, Tyler Zeller and Amir Johnson, who finished a combined 0-for-13, but we’ll go with Johnson. In his first start of the season, Johnson missed both of his shots and committed a pair of turnovers while grabbing four boards in 20 minutes. I’m a big proponent of Johnson starting because of his rim-protecting and floor-spacing ability, and there may be a reason he struggled against the Pacers. Johnson favored his left leg limping to the bench early, and while he returned for a bit, he didn’t play the final 15-plus minutes.
VINE OF THE NIGHT:
R.J. Hunter got the first action of his NBA career, and dad Ron Hunter wasn’t happy his son got the rookie treatment on this call. Hunter knocked down the first shot of his young career, and while he committed four fouls in 12:41, he played solid defense. Good things seemed to happen when Hunter was on the floor, and he finished a plus-eight.
WHINE OF THE NIGHT: Depth perception.
Stevens played all 12 of his available players in the first two quarters, and as Tommy Heinsohn mentioned at halftime, the Celtics seemed disjointed as a result. Only after Stevens cut the rotation down did the C’s find a rhythm. And all of this came with Smart sidelined. Stevens has some tough calls to make, but sooner or later he’s going to have decide which bigs and which guards he wants to use in a regular rotation — and stick with them.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: 21 offensive rebounds.
The Pacers grabbed 21 offensive boards on 46 missed shots, a big reason they were able to score 100 points and beat the Celtics while shooting just 38.5 percent from the field. Throw in 19 turnovers by the C’s, leading to 22 Pacers points, and Indiana had a total of 40 extra possessions. It’s actually amazing the C’s only lost by two points.
@ OF THE NIGHT:
when the celtics draft an athletic big in 2078 they'll be alright
If the Celtics were going to commit another turnover before the half, at least they made it the greatest one ever.
With a second left before the break, Celtics forward Jae Crowder tried to find Jared Sullinger with a fullcourt inbounds pass, except he found the bottom of the cup instead. The NBA should probably make a rule that if anyone ever does this again, everyone calls it a night — Celtics win. A proverbial mic drop. Instead, it was Pacers ball.
The Celtics will face the Pacers in Indiana tonight with a new look to their starting lineup.
Guard Marcus Smart will miss tonight’s game due to a sprained left big toe, according to team officials. Isaiah Tomas will get the nod in place of Smart. It will be Thomas’ first regular season start as a Celtic.
Celtics officials announced Smart’s injury Wednesday afternoon from Indiana.
#NEBHInjuryReport: Marcus Smart will miss tonight's game in Indiana with a sprained left big toe.
And Avery Bradley is listed as questionable (right hand). Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters that it’s more than likely he will play but hasn’t ruled him out against tonight’s game against the Pacers.
But in his first three games in Boston, David Lee is averaging 5.3 points and shooting 25 percent from the floor. The Celtics suffered two losses against two good teams (Raptors and Spurs) last week, and haven’t gotten much offensive production out of their newcomer.
Lee isn’t making excuses. He acknowledged his shortcomings after Sunday’s loss against San Antonio.
“I’m out here thinking more than I’m playing, and that’s by no means an excuse,” Lee said Sunday. “I have to be better finishing the ball. That’s what I do. I think I’ve shot 50 percent or better for the last decade. If I’m a betting man, I’m thinking I’m going to snap out of it here.”
For his career, Lee has shot 53.2 percent from the floor. Just last season, Lee averaged below double digits in points for the first time since his rookie season. But still managed to shoot 51 percent in 18 minutes.
Expectations were somewhat high when the Celtics acquired Lee. Fresh off winning an NBA title as a backup on the Warriors, Lee was coming into a great situation. No one thought he would go back to being the All-Star he was a few years back, but in a starter’s role with a young Celtics core, it was fair to expect improvement from last season. At age 32, he still has plenty of basketball left in the tank.
On Sunday against the Spurs, Lee scored two points on 1-of-7 shooting, missed a jump shot and failed to tip in a rebound (twice), then Tim Duncan stuffed his shot so badly that it left him sitting on TD Garden’s new parquet floor. It was a rough game for Lee.
He did managed to pull down eight rebounds — he’s averaging 6.3 in three games — but his offense is sorely missed right now. Alongside Tyler Zeller, who’s averaging the same as Lee (5.3 points), Jae Crowder has been the only consistency in the front court (9.3 points, 4.7 rebounds).
What’s most concerning is the fact that Lee is missing the shots normally makes, however, he’s also not taking a lot of shots. He has scored 16 points on 20 attempts in his first three games. If he’s going to improve his offense, Lee has to take a lot more shots.
But again, it’s still early. The Celtics are getting familiar with each other. And Lee said he’s not concerned about the team’s slow start.
“It’s just about learning where everybody’s strengths are and how we can make each other better within our offense,” Lee said. “Not only ourselves, but make each other better. It’s only going to come from playing games, and we’re three games in and we still have a lot of work left to do. This team is a hard-working one, so I’m not worried.”
Lee and the Celtics will look to bounce back Wednesday night against the Pacers in Indiana.