In the Celtics‘ 101-98 loss against Memphis on Sunday, there was a play that drew the attention of most of the Celtics team.
With the Celtics down 93-92 and a 17-second difference between the shot clock and game clock, the plan appeared to be to play the possession out and get a stop, but Marcus Smart pressed up on Greg Chalmers fouled him, which seemed to upset many of his teammates, including Jae Crowder who ran at him stomping his feet.
After the game, Smart accepted responsibility for the bad play and said there’s no hard feelings between he and Crowder.
“He was just telling me we didn’t need to foul there,” Smart said to reporters. “It was heat of the moment, two players, competitors going at it, both mad at each other. I’m mad at myself. He’s mad at me because I made a play. But me and Jae are good. That’s supposed to happen. I made a bad play.”
The Celtics have now lost three straight and five of their last six.
The Memphis Grizzlies overcame a 21-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 101-98 Sunday night in Memphis. After a Tony Allen made a three pointer to open the game, the Celtics quickly took the lead on a 19-1 run. The starting unit did an excellent job moving the basketball from side-to-side on offense and finished the quarter with 34-16 lead.
In what is becoming a disturbing pattern for the team, the Celtics then let their foot off the gas in the second half and slowly let Memphis back into the game. The ball movement from the first quarter completely disappeared as the Celtics settled for contested jumper after contested jumper.
The Grizzlies took advantage of the Celtics lack of size, dominating in the paint and on the offense glass. Zach Randolph led the team with 25 points and 13 rebounds off the bench, while Marc Gasol finished with 11 boards and 11 points, nine of which came in the second half.
The loss is the (19-18) Celtics third straight and their five in the last six games. The team attempt to halt their losing streak as they travel to New York to play the Knicks on Tuesday.
After struggling from the field against both the Pistons and Bulls, Thomas quickly found his shooting stroke. In the first quarter he scored 13 points on 5 of 6 shooting. He hit all three of his attempts from beyond the arc, all of which were catch-and-shoot opportunities. Thomas also dominated a stretch late in the third quarter after the Grizzlies went on a 9-0 run. He responded by hitting a pull-up three in transition, then making two key assists to extend the lead. IT finished with 35 points and 8 assists.
If Lee thinks that he will earn more minutes by forcing shots, he is sadly mistaken. Especially if those shots don’t come anywhere close to going into the basket. The Celtics were a minus-12 in the 16 minutes Lee was on the court tonight. He also turned in this atrocious shot chart.
VINE OF THE NIGHT Sweet Stevens ATO action to end the half.
WHINE OF THE NIGHT Scal, stop trying to make The Cobra happen!
Scal was trying too hard to nickname Marcus Smart, “The Cobra.” I don’t know if the White Mamba just wanted another Snake in the organization, but it was awkward and I didn’t like it.
STAT OF THE NIGHT 21 Offensive Rebounds
The Grizzlies grabbed an absurd 21 offense boards in this game, eight of which came from Z-Bo. In the third quarter alone, Memphis generating 10 second-chance opportunities on 15 minutes.
@ OF THE NIGHT P Flanns asking the important questions.
The Chicago Bulls defeated the Boston Celtics 101-92 on Thursday night in Chicago. After a sloppy first half in which both teams struggled to find open looks, the Bulls pulled ahead in the third quarter, outscoring the Celtics 26-16. In the quarter, the C’s only shot 7-for-32 (21.9%) from the field, missing all six of their three point attempts.
The Bulls were led by Pau Gasol, who finished with a double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 18 boards. The rest of the Chicago starters also scored in double-figures, as the dynamic backcourt of Jimmy Butler (18) and Derrick Rose (19) combined for 37.Seven different Celtics scored in double-figures, as Jae Crowder led the team with 17.
The loss was Boston’s fourth in their last five games. The Celtics will look to end their two-game losing streak on Sunday night as they travel to take on the Memphis Grizzlies.
After suffering an broken orbital bone during training camp, its looks as if Derrick Rose has regained the full use of his face. The former MVP scored 19 points on only 9 shots. Rose did an excellent job in the paint, making excellent use of a jump-hook while he was guarded by the smaller Thomas.
DUD OF THE NIGHT The Celtics Offense
Without Avery Bradley, the Celtics offense has been atrocious. Isaiah Thomas has done has a great job of attacking the basket, but that has not translated to made shots. As opposing defense collapse on Thomas, he is forced to pass to his teammates who similarly can’t put the ball in the basket. When IT is out of the game there is no semblance of ball movement. Tonight back-up ball handlers Evan Turner and Marcus Smart only score 10 points, combining to shoot 7-for-23 from the field.
VINE OF THE NIGHT
WHINE OF THE NIGHT Mark and Martinis
For some reason, TNT was broadcasting live from Las Vegas. Obviously this means they brought in a house-band called Mark and Martinis. The band featured seven white dudes dressed in tuxedo and must have been the saddest grouping of individuals I have ever seen on TNT, and I have watched one episode of The Closer.
STAT OF THE NIGHT Three-Point Shooting
Without any ball movement or basic offense, the Celtics settled for contested three pointers. Tonight the C’s were 5-for-23, missing all six of their attempts in the third quarter.
@ OF THE NIGHT
The Celtics didn’t commit a single turnover during the third quarter and still scored just 16 points on 32 shots. That’s outrageous.
Smith played four seasons for Stevens, who visited his former player on the eve of his bone marrow transplant when the Celtics played the Pacers in Indiana this past November.
‘I think after the transplant it’s going to be pretty tough on him, so obviously getting to see him, and Coach getting to see him, is good for us and good for him,’ Celtics video coordinator Alex Barlow, who played for Stevens and with Smith at Butler, told The Boston Globe in November. ‘It’s just very unfortunate that somebody like him who’s so nice has had to go through something so terrible.’
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. We’ll regularly update the status of those selections, speculating when and who the Celtics will pick.
Just as there will be what-ifs when it comes to the C’s end-of-season record, the same will be true for the Nets. Now that their season series is complete, we can surmise how vital those two Boston losses to Brooklyn will prove to be come April. Currently, had the Celtics swept the Nets (10-25) rather than split their four-game set, Boston would have as many wins as the No. 2 seed and Brooklyn would have as few wins as the Lakers.
Regardless, Jarrett Jack‘s season-ending ACL injury likely ensures the Nets will finish no worse than third in the lottery, which means the C’s should have a 15.6 percent chance at the No. 1 overall pick. And if they aren’t lucky enough to win the Ben Simmons sweepstakes, Brown or Brandon Ingram are the next-best wings.
On the bright side, losses to the Lakers and Nets currently give the C’s a mid-round pick. Because four wins separate the league’s sixth-best team (Bulls) from its 18th (Rockets), every win or loss this season has increased draft repercussions. Then again, R.J. Hunter has been a more valuable asset for the Celtics than Terry Rozier, even though the former was taken 28th and the latter 16th, so those games may not amount to much anyway.
While there’s still a chance the Mavericks will miss the playoffs out West, win the lottery and keep this selection with its top-seven protection, it’s looking more and more like that, not only will the Celtics get this pick, but it will fall late in the first round. With the Grizzlies and Rockets struggling to stay above .500, the Mavericks (21-15) keep plugging away, as Dirk Nowitzki continues to keep Father Time at bay with a one-legged fadeaway.
After starting the season 1-30, the 76ers are 3-3 in their last six games, showing a bit of promise and raising the possibility the Lakers or Nets could sneak into the league’s worst record. Adding some veterans and splitting playing time between Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor has helped make the Sixers ever-so-slightly competitive. Even still, the C’s are guaranteed one of the first few second-round picks, so now is probably a good time to mention Jordan Mickey just won D-League Player of the Month honors in December, whatever that means.
It’s time to give up hope the Wolves (12-24) will make the playoffs and deliver a fourth first-round pick, but at least Danny Ainge will have another early second-round selection with which to play. How much that benefits the Celtics in what DraftExpress guru Jonathan Givony has described as “really weak” draft remains to be seen.
The Heat (21-14) might be the second-best team in the East, which creates problems for the Celtics both on and off the court. I’ll be surprised if Allen doesn’t climb the draft rankings, but if he falls to the late second-round, why not take a flier on a Duke shooter who clearly shined on the big stage in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
If the Celtics hold on to all eight picks in the 2016 NBA draft, by the end of the evening, even the most ardent of Celtics fans will need him some booze-a, too. Ba-dum ching. We’ll be hear all season, folks.
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 Italy?
The Pistons outscored the Celtics 33-19 in the fourth quarter, grabbed their first lead of the evening and defeated their hosts in TD Garden, 99-94.
In the final frame, Detroit drained 4-of-6 3-pointers and shot 7-of-8 from the free-throw line, grabbing a six-point lead in the last four minutes. A 7-0 run by Isaiah Thomas briefly regained the lead, but it wasn’t enough. In the end, Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson’s crucial 3-pointer put the game away for good.
The Celtics had a couple chances to pull out the win, but costly fouls and missed free throws sealed their fate. Isaiah Thomas missed one of three attempts, and Marcus Smart also missed a free throw before committing a loose ball foul on the opposite end, giving the Pistons another pair of freebies and a four-point advantage with 29 second left.
As a result, the Pistons (20-16) leapfrogged the Celtics (19-16) in the standings for seventh place.
All five starters scored in double figures, led by Isaiah Thomas (22 points) and Amir Johnson (17 points, 11 rebounds). Former Boston College standout Reggie Jackson‘s 24 points led the Pistons.
For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.
STUD OF THE NIGHT: Isaiah Thomas.
After a 1-for-15 start, Thomas made his final five shots and scored 15 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to go with his 10 assists. After the Pistons opened up a six-point lead in the fourth quarter — their biggest of the night — the Celtics’ offense needed a lift, and he delivered. Detroit did an excellent job collapsing on Thomas all night until Thomas’ big scoring outburst — 13 points in the final 3:49.
DUD OF THE NIGHT: Marcus Smart.
On a night when the Celtics needed his lockdown defense, Smart struggled to keep up with Pistons duo Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (20 points). Offensively, he was atrocious, scoring two points on 1-for-10 shooting. He also made costly mistakes in the final two minutes, fouling Jackson with 1:52 left, missing a crucial layup with 53 seconds remaining and committing his fourth foul on a loose-ball play with 29 seconds left, when a pair of Aron Baynes free throws stretched Detroit’s lead to four.
VINE OF THE NIGHT:
WHINE OF THE NIGHT:28 fouls.
The Celtics’ 28 fouls handed the Pistons 36 free throws. They made 23. Those fouls propelled Detroit, especially in the fourth quarter, sparking their offense and keeping them on the C’s heels.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: 44.6 percent.
The Pistons finished 33-of-74 from the floor (44.6 percent) and made 10 3-pointers on 27 attempts — the first time the C’s allowed double-digit 3’s since Detroit made 11 against them at The Palace on Dec. 16. The Celtics did little to slow the Pistons in the fourth quarter, when they made 11-of-20 attempts.
@ OF THE NIGHT:
Not gonna win many games when Thomas & Smart are a combined 7-for-30. Surprised C’s led for as long as they did.