Forcing a total of 21 turnovers, the Hawks also capitalized on an 11-0 fourth-quarter run and doubled up the Celtics to the tune of 68-34 in the paint en route to a 109-101 win.

In a game where the Celtics committed 21 turnovers, the Hawks capitalized on an 11-0 fourth-quarter run and outscored the Celtics 68-34 in the paint en route to a 109-101 win.

The Celtics made costly turnovers throughout the fourth quarter and couldn’t find their offense in the last two minutes of the game when the Hawks grabbed a seven-point lead — their biggest of the night. The Hawks shot 46.6 percent from the floor and limited themselves to only 12 turnovers.

Isaiah Thomas scored a game-high 29 points and Jae Crowder added a double-double (24 points, 10 rebounds).

Dennis Schroder’s 22 points led six Hawks in double-digits and Al Horford put up a double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds). Paul Millsap (20), Kent Bazemore (15), Kyle Korver and Thabo Sefolosha (11) all scored in double figures.

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

STUD OF THE NIGHT: Jae Crowder

On the anniversary of the trade that sent Jae Crowder to Boston from Dallas, Crowder celebrated by putting up 21 points and nine rebounds. He played the hard-nosed defense that has made him a fan favorite in Boston but fouled out in the game’s final minutes when the Celtics were desperate for a steal.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: Avery Bradley

Bradley put up another dud. He scored four points on 2-for-8 shooting. Bradley is 4-for-16 for nine points in his last two games.

VINE OF THE NIGHT: Turner to Olynyk

WHINE OF THE NIGHT: Why can’t the Celtics bench do this every game? It was a group effort — Celtics bench combined for 30 points. Kelly Olynyk (8), Evan Turner (8), R.J. Hunter (8), and David Lee (6) all took turns at scoring. But the Celtics struggled to defend the paint. Hunter hit a pair of fourth-quarter 3-pointers that helped give the Celtics a five-point lead but the Hawks’ 11-point run put them ahead of the Celtics for good.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: 68 Hawks points in the paint

Paul Millsap and Al Horford were a handful for the Celtics in the post. The C’s couldn’t slow them down in the second half and also struggled to defend the Hawks’ back-door cuts — which led to easy layups in the fourth quarter where the Celtics were outscored 38-28.

@ OF THE NIGHT: R.J. Hunter (8 points, 3 rebounds) put together a good game

Blog Author: 
Josue Pavon

One year after trading Rajon Rondo, Brad Stevens has no regrets about what his team got back.

Jae Crowder

Jae Crowder

One year after trading Rajon Rondo, Brad Stevens has no regrets about what his team got back.

Jae Crowder has left his mark on the Celtics and their coach.

Having been one of three players traded to the Celtics in the Dec. 18, 2014 deal with the Mavericks ‘€“ joining Brandan Wright and Jameer Nelson (neither of whom are still on the team) — Crowder had nothing to lose and everything to prove.

“I knew people had told me they thought he could be a pretty good player,” said Stevens before his team’€™s game against Atlanta at TD Garden Friday night. “I knew he was tough when he played at Marquette. And I knew nothing else. So, I’€™m really happy he was included in that trade.”

Crowder came in as a blank slate, but has defined himself as one of the Celtics’€™ most important players since arriving in the Rondo deal.

Coming into Friday night, the Celtics had gone 43-40 in games Crowder has appeared. In those games, Crowder is averaging 10.4 points per game, playing in 25 or more minutes 55 times. Only Avery Bradley and Evan Turner has seen more time on the court for the C’€™s over that span.

Stevens admits, “I didn’€™t know that he could do all that he could do.”

This year, Crowder has averaged 36 percent from beyond the 3-point line, while totaling 12.5 points and 1.96 steals per game (9th best in the NBA).

Meanwhile, Rondo’€™s teams — Dallas and Sacramento — have gone a combined 35-35 when the point guard has played, with his individual results (both on and off the court) getting mixed reviews.

It has all helped put the former Celtics star ever further in the rear-view mirror for Stevens and his team.

“We started to see, like, hey, there’€™s a guy [in Crowder] that can do a little bit more than stand in the corner and shoot,” the coach said.

Blog Author: 
Taylor Bradford

After the Pistons opened up their first double-digit lead of the second half, coach Brad Stevens turned to his bench players for help but it wasn’t enough to counter Detroit’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie

Kentavious Pope-Caldwell

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

After the Pistons opened up their first double-digit lead of the second half, coach Brad Stevens turned to his bench players for help but it wasn’t enough to counter Detroit’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Jackson combined 54 points as they led the Pistons to a 119-116 win.

After the Pistons opened up a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter — their biggest of the night, Jonas Jerebko’s nine points on three consecutive shots from deep helped the Celtics shorten their deficit to four. But before Jerebko’s last three-pointer, Jackson converted three free throws off of a questionable shooting foul that extended the Pistons lead to seven. In the end, Jackson scored seven more points and Caldwell-Pope added four from the free-throw line in the final minutes for the Pistons.

Isaiah Thomas made a three-pointer in the final seconds that cut the lead to two (118-116). After Jackson was intentionally fouled, he missed his second but without any timeouts remaining Jared Sullinger was forced to heave a desperation shot from the opposite end of the floor in the final 1.7.

The Celtics loss on the second night of a back-to-back on the road for the first time in 11 games.

Thomas tied a career-high 38 points, Sullinger put together a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Tyler Zeller scored 12 off the bench.

Caldwell-Pope scored a team-high 31 points, Jackson scored 23 and Andre Dummond (16 points, 12 rebounds) had a double-double for the Pistons.

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

STUD OF THE NIGHT: Isaiah Thomas

Thomas was the most consistent scorer for the Celtics, and he did it for four quarters. He finished with 38 points on 11-for-20 shooting, six assists and was a plus-12 on the night.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: Avery Bradley

Bradley scored five points on 2-for-8 shooting. His jump shot looked flat and so did his defense on Pistons guard Caldwell-Pope.

VINE OF THE NIGHT: 

WHINE OF THE NIGHT: Personal fouls and timeouts

The Celtics were whistled for 35 fouls. The Pistons shot 74.4 percent from the charity stripe on 32-of-43 shots. The Celtics were responsible for the Hack-a-Drummond — when they intentionally put Andre Drummond on the line for six attempts (3-6), and the intentional fouls at the end of the game but aside from those the Celtics have to play better defense. Although some calls were questionable ones, the Celtics have to find a way to get themselves to the line when their offense is struggling — like it was tonight. The Celtics went 20-for-24 from the line.

Although 1.8 isn’t a lot of time in basketball, the Celtics could have set up a game-tying play at the end if they had one more timeout. Stevens has to do a better job conserving his timeouts to give his young team a chance at the end of games.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: 18 turnovers

It seemed like whenever the Pistons were on a run — the Celtics would commit costly turnovers. The C’s forced bad passes, committed offensive fouls and lost the ball at times when they needed to find their offense.

@ OF THE NIGHT: It takes a lot to get Brad Stevens fired up. Some of these calls by the refs was more than enough to get the Celtics coach going

Blog Author: 
Josue Pavon

After taking a 46-40 lead into halftime, the Celtics were outscored by 18 in the second half, and the final outcome of an 89-77 loss to LeBron James and the Cavaliers should have been a lot worse.

Cleveland (16-7) shot 51.3 percent to the C’s 26.2 percent after the break, turning what initially was a hard-fought playoff rematch into an ugly laugher of a game. The Celtics fell to 14-11 with the loss.

Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 17 points, but required 15 shots to get there. Likewise, Jae Crowder scored 14 points on 13 attempts and Isaiah Thomas netted 12 points on 15 shots. They were the only three C’s in double figures.

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

STUD OF THE NIGHT: David Lee?

Even if he wasn’t much help on defense, at least Lee did some work in the post offensively. He collected eight points on 4-of-8 shooting, adding four rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes off the bench. He finished the night as the C’s only player with a positive plus/minus.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: Take your pick.

The Celtics couldn’t buy a bucket. The starting lineup was a combined 17-of-54 from the field (31.5 percent). Thomas (3-15 FG) and Jared Sullinger (2-9 FG) were particularly brutal, but nobody on the C’s played particularly well.

VINE OF THE NIGHT:

WHINE OF THE NIGHT: Oh, shoot.

Before the season, Celtics president Danny Ainge told reporters gathered for media day he felt like he assembled an improved shooting team this season. We’re more than a quarter of the way through the season, and the verdict isn’t so good. The Celtics rank 23rd in field goal percentage (43.5 percent) and 3-point percentage (33.2 percent). Yet, only the Rockets and Warriors attempt more 3’s than the C’s. The Celtics feature six players who average at least one 3-pointer per game and shoot worse than 30 percent from beyond the arc: Marcus Smart (23.8 percent on 4.7 3-point attempts per game), R.J. Hunter (26.7% on 2.1 3PA/G), Jared Sullinger (29.8% on 2.0), Evan Turner (13.9% on 1.5), Amir Johnson (26.1% on 1.0) and James Young (25.0% on 1.0). Imagine the possibilities if they could only shoot.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: 44-24.

That was the difference in paint scoring between the two teams. LeBron James (24 points, 7 rebounds) got to the rim with little help from Celtics bigs, and when the defense did collapse on him, he repeatedly found teammates on the perimeter. Kevin Love also reached 20 points in his revenge game against Kelly Olynyk.

@ OF THE NIGHT:

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Rajon Rondo made anti-gay slurs recently, leading to a suspension. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)I'm done with Rajon Rondo, and I suspect I'm not alone.



In a disturbing anecdote detailed in Yahoo Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski’s report on NBA referee Bill Kennedy’s public revelation that he is gay, former Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo allegedly directed multiple anti-gay slurs at the longtime ref after he was ejected in the Kings’ 114-97 loss to the C’s in Mexico City on Dec. 3.

Following an investigation, the NBA suspended Rondo one game without pay for “directing a derogatory and offensive term towards a game official and not leaving the court in a timely manner.” Rondo’s use of anti-gay slurs is reprehensible, and it’s even worse when you consider he may have suspected Kennedy was gay following disgraced referee Tim Donaghy’s 2010 allegations against Doc Rivers on CLNS Radio. Here’s that exchange, courtesy of Red’s Army.

Question: One of the referees I’ve been annoyed with over the years is Bill Kennedy. Every time he has a Celtics game, I almost know that we’re not getting calls. Is his relationship with Doc Rivers or the Celtics organization as a whole something you know about?

Donaghy: That’s a difficult question for me to answer, because I certainly don’t want to offend anybody. … I’m just gonna come out and say it like it is. It’s no secret on the staff that Bill Kennedy is a homosexual. … I don’t have any ill will towards gays or lesbians, but it was no secret that he’s a homosexual. It was known around the league. It was obvious during a game Doc Rivers questioned his sexual orientation, and I think that has stuck with Kennedy over the years — and he has no love for Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics.

Rivers denied Donaghy’s claim that he directed homophobic language at Kennedy.

Rondo was a 2012-13 teammate of Jason Collins in Boston the season before the 7-footer became the first active openly gay male athlete in major U.S. sports history, and Collins credited Rivers in the April 2013 Sports Illustrated article announcing his sexuality, saying, “Doc Rivers, my coach on the Celtics, says, ‘If you want to go quickly, go by yourself — if you want to go farther, go in a group.’ I want people to pull together and push ahead.” While Rondo declined to speak with media Monday, he addressed the matter on Twitter.

Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for directing an anti-gay slur at an official in 2011, and Bulls center Joakim Noah was fined $50,000 for doing the same later that season. And Rondo’s admission shows at least some players haven’t evolved since. Even if we take Rondo at his word — that he didn’t “mean to offend or disrespect anyone” and he acted “out of frustration and emotion, period” — that doesn’t excuse his behavior.

Whether or not he suspected Kennedy was gay, Rondo was quick to use an offensive and hurtful term out of frustration, and that speaks to a locker-room culture where an anti-gay slur is still on the tip of a player’s tongue. That needs to change, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver would be wise to increase Rondo’s suspension in order to send that message.

Then again, Silver should have sent that message before Wojnarowski’s detailed report.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach