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Boston Celtics Too Much of a Good Thing

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Too Much of a Good Thing

Brad Stevens is one of the biggest proponents of “making the extra pass”, currently coaching in the NBA. Most people (including myself) would tell you that unselfish basketball usually makes for successful basketball. But when that philosophy translates, on the floor, into taking the least obvious shot – you’ve got a problem.

This is precisely what has plagued Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics, all-season long. And Thursday night’s game was no exception.

Although they walked away with a 96-89 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, the Celtics struggled, on Thursday night. Boston couldn’t get out of their own way, for most of the game, and it was absolutely exasperating to watch.

The C’s came out playing a sedated style of “Globetrotter” basketball. They squandered away many opportunities by excessively passing around the perimeter. It was like some boring game of Hot Potato.

Oftentimes a player would get trapped in a double-team, aimlessly pivoting and hopelessly trying to fake-out a void in the defense to no avail. Apparently, nobody wanted to be “that guy” who, I don’t know, takes a shot.

Yes, Brad Stevens has had success with his pass-first system of offense. But given the lack of cohesion on the Celtics and the overabundance of youth, inordinate ball movement could actually be hurting this team.

In the first half against the Bucks, when the Celtics made more than 2 passes during a possession, they scored only 26% of the time. Appropriately they scored on 56% of the possessions when they made 2 passes or less. To be fair, this excludes fast breaks.

These numbers illustrate how indecisive diffidence can stagnate an NBA unit.

Pass Me the Rock

There has been a great amount of chatter concerning the compatibility of Kyrie Irving and Brad Stevens’ system. Irving is a flashy guard, with easy-finesse to his game. He has prospered in playbooks that are saturated with isolation basketball. This type of showman’s ball is antithetical to Stevens’ impartial approach to running an offense.

But in the second half of Thursday night’s game, we saw where the Venn diagram, of these two seemingly disparate styles, can overlap.

After a cinematic halftime speech, Kyrie Irving started driving with contagious aggression. This changed the picture entirely.

His team was losing by a point; Irving’s pupils were dilated with red-hot certitude. He didn’t start making “the extra pass”, Kyrie started making “the pass”.

If there wasn’t a lane to the bucket, he would dish out a dime to an alert teammate. The climax of his performance came towards the end of the 3rd Quarter, when he found Al Horford, on the baseline, for a second consecutive 3-pointer.

Going forward, this will be the key to the Celtics’ offense. They have to remember that Kyrie Irving is on this team for a reason – he invariably attracts attention.

With Al Horford available to run the high pick-and-roll, there is no excuse for passing the ball times innumerable before somebody puts it on the floor. Yes, this team is young. But they have the size and the intelligence to create space, and to leverage it.

It’s clear that it is no longer a matter of Kyrie Irving absorbing this offense; it’s a matter of this inexperienced offense absorbing Kyrie Irving.

Columnist operating out of Manchester, NH. Retired pitcher (unprofessional not amateur). Voracious consumer of all things Celtics and Red Sox. Sometimes I produce content as well.

Boston Celtics

Celtics Loss To Cavs Meaningless For The Moment

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Celtics

The Boston Celtics were handed a blowout loss at home on Sunday at the Garden by LeBron James and the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers.

Sunday’s blowout was drowned out by Paul Pierce‘s #34 being raised into the rafters post-game, but even 24 hours later the loss’s long-term impact is still very unclear. Reason for the lack of clarity is that the Cavaliers showcased their brand new lineup on Sunday with no real gameplan other than playing basketball and running the ball through James. For the Celtics, they had no idea how to prepare for this Cavs team with no video available to prepare for the game.

With no video, Brad Stevens and company was delegated to shooting off the hip and having his squad ill-prepared for a highly important Sunday game. Of course, the team’s lack of preparation is troubling from a big picture perspective. But in the moment it is hard to blame though.

Boston’s lack of competitiveness in this particular game can be attributed to seeing essentially a new team for the first time. There play over the last couple of weeks has been highly troubling. Boston had a barn burner of a month in December but since then they have looked out of sync and seem to be playing less than 100%.

The best Boston has looked in 2018 came when the team as a whole stepped up in the absence of Kyrie Irving for a few games in January. But the team hasn’t played a full game which is something that Al Horford admitted after Sunday’s loss.

Coach Stevens made a comment earlier in the season about not stepping off the gas at this particular point in the season. But it appears the team hasn’t heeded his warning as they look at rebound and get back on the right track.

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Boston Celtics

Who Is The More Iconic #34 In Boston? David Ortiz Or Paul Pierce?

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A player who donned the number 34 jersey is having his number retired in his honor on Sunday. The player happens to be Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce who wore the number during his Celtics tenure. But Pierce played much of his carrer in Boston, a town that happens to have another player with the number 34 that was also retired.

The other player is former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz whose number 34 jersey was retired by Boston this past season.

So while both are legendary in their own rights with potential hall of fame careers, who is the more iconic? When I say the number 34 who do you think of?

Well, the tale of the tape might be simple. Ortiz led the Red Sox to 3 World Series titles and helped the franchise win its first title in 86 seasons. Pierce, on the other hand, holds one NBA title to his name with it coming back in 2008 when his Celtics team brought home the franchises 17th NBA Championship.

But looking at it in a simple numbers to numbers perspective simply isn’t fair to either player. Basketball and baseball are two completely different sports. Both are legends in Boston and their meaning to the city and the fans hold a lasting impact. For that reason I leave it up to you, the readers to determine who is the more iconic #34. Ortiz or Pierce?

Vote on the Tweet below to help determine who is the most iconic #34.

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Boston Celtics Trade Talk Quiet At The Moment As Former Players Move Around

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Ahead of the NBA trade deadline the Boston Celtics have remained relatively quiet from all accounts. Of course Danny Ainge is doing his due diligence by looking into every possible avenue, but for now, Boston is staying put according to a report by Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe.

Just because the Celtics are being quiet doesn’t mean players with connections to the team aren’t moving around.

Earlier on Thursday Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder who were traded this offseason were both traded out of Cleveland to the Los Angeles Lakers. Another name connected to Boston is former Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins who is now a favorite to land into one of Clevland’s open roster spots according to reports.

In the Eastern Conference, the only team with playoff hopes to really shake up their rosters was Cleveland. Washington, Milwaukee, and Toronto all stayed relatively quiet.

Boston’s deal with Greg Monroe is expected to be official shortly with the team also expected to be “highly” active in the buyout market.

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