December 7th, 2013 at 1:52 PM
By Sean Melia
The Boston Celtics travel to New York for a Sunday matinee (12:00pm EST) against the New York Knicks. Suddenly, Atlantic Division games have grown in importance given the Knicks struggles and their desperation to push themselves back into the playoff race. No team in the Atlantic Division will be out of the race for quite some time given the poor records, making every game important.
The Celtics sit atop the pile of manure that is the Atlantic Division right now, four games ahead of the Knicks. The Knicks come into the game riding a little hot streak, winning their last two games by a total of 234-166. They blew out both the Brooklyn Nets and the Orlando Magic. In those two wins, Carmelo Anthony shot the ball a total of 22 times in 61 minutes. Anthony has been averaging 22 per game this season, so that is a staggering stat considering the amount of points the team scored.
Anthony has been outspoken about the state of the Knicks, saying they were a "laughingstock" and were "playing to lose." Obviously, two blowout wins does not mean Anthony is suddenly sharing the balll. Maybe he was shooting the ball less because it was a blow-out or maybe he realizes he needs to pass the ball for the team to win games. It's probably the first theory, but maybe not. Sunday will be another litmus test.Read more... Join the Conversation...
December 6th, 2013 at 9:33 AM
By Sean Melia
Brad Stevens must be one heck of a motivator. For six years as head coach of the Butler Bulldogs, Brad Stevens led the underdogs to back-to-back National Championships. He recruited players that no one else wanted. He is basketball's Statue of Liberty, he took basketball's tired and poor and made them good, really good.
Stevens seems to be doing the same with these Boston Celtics. He has them believing in themselves, playing some defiant basketball, and rejecting the idea of tanking. Baxter Holmes wrote last week that Stevens is using a lot of the same schemes on the floor as Stevens' Butler teams. Stevens told Holmes, that at every level there is "Still the same basic ideas to winning."
Those ideas and also the attitude that Stevens has instilled has been of positivity and process. In some ways we have all been hypnotized by Stevens. The team is 8-12, but they are carrying themselves like they are 17-3. They are leading the Atlantic Division, and have a slew of home games this December that should help them continue the process of getting better and improving their record. With Rajon Rondo mending quickly, Stevens and the Celtics might end up looking even better once they have 20 more games under their belts.Read more... Join the Conversation...
December 5th, 2013 at 6:30 AM
By Sean Melia
The Atlantic Division is horrific, there's no other way to say it. The Boston Celtics found their way to the top of the division on Tuesday following their win over the Milwaukee Bucks. An 8-12 record in the Atlantic Division gets you first place and a top four slot in the Eastern Conference seeding. Yikes.
Here is what the division looks like (as of December 4, 2013)
|Boston Celtics ||8||12|
|New York Knicks||3||13|
The Toronto Raptors, who gave up a 27 point lead on Tuesday against the Warriors, has a smart GM and a lot of assets that could potentially be unloaded this season, possibly even this month. Kyle Lowery is an expiring contract. Landry Fields is a stinky contract, he's getting $5 million this year and then $8.5 million next year. Amir Johnson and DeMar Derozan are also potential pieces that teams could trade for. Who can forget Rudy Gay? He this season left under contract and then a player option for 2014-15.Read more... Join the Conversation...
December 3rd, 2013 at 10:13 AM
By Sean Melia
The Boston Celtics host the Milwaukee Bucks tonight, marking their third meeting of the young season. The Bucks have a total of three wins this year, and two of those have come against the Celtics. Most recently on Saturday night.
So what is going on with this match-up? The games have both been decided by 7 points. The first meeting was a disaster for the Celtics, they blew a huge lead in the second half. Truthfully the statistics are pretty even: Turnovers, rebounds, field goal percentage, free throws. All those indicators come out equal, for the most part. Nothing too drastic.
The bench points are a possible issue. The Bucks scored 66 bench points in the first meeting. Compared to 34 by the Celtics. On Saturday the Bucks bench won the bench battle 22-13. That appears to be the gap in these two encounters. Bench scoring.
The other issue is the fact that the Celtics have had two horrid quarters in the eight total quarters they have played against the Bucks. In the first meeting they were outscored 34-15 in the fourth quarter. On Saturday night they were outscored 28-14 in the second quarter.Read more... Join the Conversation...
December 2nd, 2013 at 11:54 AM
By Sean Melia
Another week of Boston Celtic basketball is behind us. Let's take a look back at the week that was and also the upcoming week in the latest edition of The Starting Five.
1. A .500 week
In a season marked by winning and losing streaks, the Celtics steadied the ship a little bit and played .500 basketball. Two losses and two wins puts their season mark at 7-12.
2. Three games in seven days? Thank you schedulers!
After a crazy November the Celtics have some time in their schedule to catch their breath and fix some weaknesses. The team only has 12 games between now and the New Year, including a six day break near Christmas.
The Milwaukee Bucks come to the Garden on Tuesday, then the Denver Nuggets are their guests on Friday night in the Celtics first nationally televised game (too bad Rajon Rondo will not be heatlthy.).
3. 25% Awards
After completing just about one-fourth of their season lets give out some awards:
Jared Sullinger is the Boston Celtics best two way player. He has been exceptional on both ends of the floor. Chris Forsberg highlighted his +/- dominance in a post this weekend. Read more... Join the Conversation...