Archive for the ‘Boston Celtics’ Tag

The Boston Celtics end the 2016-17 Season on top of the East; Playoffs begin April 15   Leave a comment

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Here are the 16 teams that made the cut. The Heat became the odd team out in the East with the Pacers and Bulls both winning their final games of the season. The Celtics clinched the top spot in the East tonight after the Cavs lost their final game of the season (LBJ, JR Smith and Kevin Love all sat out the game). The Celtics, on the other hand won their last game and yes Isaiah Thomas played (LOL!).

Like the last two years, it’s question of who can upset the Warriors and the Cavs–the odds-on favorites to return to the NBA Finals for the third year in a row–which as of right now appears to be nobody. Remember: The Cavs went full-power and curb-stomped the Celtics in Boston last week just to assert their dominence in the East and remind everyone they are the defending NBA Champions. It quickly made you forget the fact the Celtics beat both the Cavs and Warriors on the road last season (Ending the Warriors’ then 34-game win streak in the process).

Speaking of the home team, at the very least they should make it out of the first round this year. It pleases me greatly to know the third overall pick of the 2016-17 NBA Draft–Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown–will be going to the NBA Playoffs while Brandon Ingram (LA Lakers) and Ben Simmons (76ers), who were drafted ahead of him will watch the playoffs from home. I delight in the irony given the 2016-17 draft was viewed as a 2-man draft in referral to Simmons and Ingram. Simmons got hurt during the preseason and missed most of the season while mismanagement within the Lakers front office ensured they would have a losing record once again. LOL.

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….Back to talking about Celtics Basketball though.

Despite the criticism the Celtics received for “only” getting Al Horford, keeping two of their six Draft picks (Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier) and stashing the three they kept in Europe or the D-League (Ben Bentil, Gerchon Jabusele and Ante Zizic) the Celtics are in the same position they were last year: Having the assets to literally get anyone they want.

Looking at the playoff picture (and assuming Avery Bradley doesn’t get hurt like he did the last two years LOL), they should get past the Bulls in 5 or 6 games. It helps they have Homecourt advantage. This will make it the first time the Celtcs get out of the first round since Brad Stevens became head coach of the team (falling to the Hawks the last two straight years).

The Wizards are predicted to advance to the second round so they would play the Celtics after their series with the Hawks. The Raptors and Cavs will have their rematch of last year’s ECF in the second round. The Celtics would be looking to get some revenge on John Wall and Bradley Beal in the Second round series. If the Celtics can get past the Wizards in the second round they’ll likely face the Cavs in the ECF.

…Celtics vs. Cavs in the ECF would be a huge draw =O

Once the NBA Playoffs ends, the big question to be asked is “Will the Celtics pull the trigger on getting a superstar this time?!” Only Danny Ainge knows. Many signs point to yes ^_^

As Paul Pierce plays his final game in Boston, the future of the Celtics is bright   Leave a comment

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…Paul Pierce and Isaiah Thomas. One is sure to have his number added to the rafters after he retires. The other is primed to lead the Celtics to their 18th NBA Championship. This is the first time since the 1980s that the future of the Celtics isn’t in doubt.

Who could have imagined the Len Bias incident would have seen the Celtics drop out of the playoff picture for almost a decade? When Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish retired (1993, 1994 and 1996) and when Reggie Lewis died in 1995, there were serious questions as to weather or not the team could return to who they once were. The ill-fated Rick Pitino era–and then the now-imfamous “Larry Bird is not walking through that door” jab on his way out after failing to lead the Celtics back to the playoffs–made the possability of a 17th Championship feel more and more like a faraway dream.

Then the Celtics signed Paul Pierce in 1999. Three years later Danny Ainge hired Doc Rivers, who led the Celtics to the 2nd Round of the NBA Playoffs in his first year as Head Coach of the Celtics (2002). The untimely death of legendary Celtics coach Red Aurbach (8 Championships in 10 years) in 2006 reminded the team that although they were getting good, they weren’t good enough to contend with the then emerging superstar LeBron James or the favorite to return to the NBA Finals, the Detroit Pistons.

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So, during the summer of 2007 Danny Ainge pulled the trigger on a trade that brought Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Gerald Green (who is now back with the Celtics this year) and 3 other young players. A few weeks later, the Celtics signed Free Agent Ray Allen. Just like that, the Celtics were now contenders going into the 2007-08 NBA Season. 1 year later, the Celtics woyld raise Banner 17 to the rafters.

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As the last and most beloved member of what was then The New Big 3 prepares to retire, the Celtics firmly control their own destiny. Isaiah Thomas, who was drafted last in the 2nd round of the 2010 NBA Draft is 2nd in Points Per Game behind Russell Westbrook this year. He became the first Celtic since Paul Pierce back in 2006 to score 50+ points in a game in December. He has had SEVERAL 40+ games since mid-December including Friday’s win over the Lakers.

I haven’t even gotten to the supporting cast: You’ve got Al Horford (signed with Boston during the offseason), Avery Bradey (when he returns from injury), Terry Rozier and 1st Round Draft Pick Jaylen Brown (A workhorse with LeBron James’ basketball IQ). You also have Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko and Kelly Olynik.

There’s also the Brooklyn Nets picks from the trade that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from Boston to Brooklyn. Looks like the Celtics are primed to hit it BIG in the next draft to boot: Last year’s draft was just about Ben Simmons (missed half the season with an injury) and Brandon Ingram but Jaylen Brown’s been having one hell of season. Don’t even get me started on the NBA Players who have come up in conversation for a possible trade to Boston before the deadline.

…Getting back to The Truth, he ended his final appearance in Boston with a streak that would remain unbroken: He has scored a basket in every game he’s ever played in The Garden. Fitting that Paul Pierce would score the final basket and his only basket of the game. It would not be enough as the Celtics would go on to win the game 107-102. The three-pointer was more of a token from the home team, who gave him the wide open shot. No doubt the “We want Paul Pierce!” chants during most of the fourth quarter will be a moment he will never forget. As many have said, you can be sure Celtics fans will see more of The Truth after he retires as a player.

 

Former NBA All-Star Ray Allen announces retirement   Leave a comment

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Then Free Agent Ray Allen’s surprise announcement caused a stir this past August when he announced he was returning after being away for two years. He last played in 2014 for the Cavs. Speculation ran rampant in terms of which team would be chomping at the bit to sign the two-time NBA Champion (won with the 2008 Celtics and the 2013 Heat).

…Turns out no one wanted the 41-year old despite his impressive resume. Upon hearing of his retirement, former Celtics teammate and Bulls Guard Rajon Rondo apparently said “I thought he already retired”. Allen, who owns several businesses in Miami never actually retired…until now. Clearly not the end he was looking for but it’s probably for the best.

Ray “The King of Threes” Allen is the ALL-Time Leader in 3-Pointers taken and made–2,973, Made out of 7,429 Attempts–a record Steph Curry would have to play AT LEAST another 10 years to threaten, let alone break (Curry’s record is currently 1,605). Allen was a member of the Celtics when he broke Reggie Miller’s record (2,560), which many thought would never be touched. As the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors proved last year, records are made to be broken. LOL.

Steph Curry is probably the only active NBA Player who as of right now could break Ray Allen’s record in about 10 years. Paul Pierce, who beat Ray Allen in the Three Point Contest when they were teammates (Celtics) is in third place.
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Speaking of The Truth. All three former members of the Celtics’ then New Big Three (Pierce, Allen and Garnett) will have retired come the end of the 2016-17 NBA Season. Pierce is retiring at the end of the Clippers’ Playoff run and will sign a 1-day contract with the Celtics so he can retire a Celtic. KG retired over the summer as well and seems to have already found work as a member of the NBA on TNT broadcast team. K.G. is a legend to both Celtics and T-Wolves fans for separate reasons (he is the best player the T-Wolves ever had and he won his only title with the Celitcs). Pierce will always be considered a Celtic despite ending his career with 3 other teams (The Nets, Wizzards and Clippers).

…It truly is the end of an era in Celtics history overall.

What I’m happy to say is unlike the 1980s with the disaster that was Len Bias (died from a drug overdose the night he was drafted), the Celtics have a bright future ahead of them. Like the experts have said, the Celtics could challenge the Cavs in the East. They are the 3rd-favorited team to reach the NBA Finals from the East behind Toronto and Cleveland.  Unlike the 90s where continuity was a problem after Bird, McHale and Parish retired (1993, 1994 and 1996) the Celtics are a piece or two away from dominating the East like they did from 2008 to 2012.

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Kevin Garnett announces his retirement from the NBA   Leave a comment

 

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The 21-year NBA Veteran and All Star announced his retirement a short time ago. Speculation towards KG calling it a career began yesterday when it was revealed the T-Wolves–the NBA Team his began and ended his career with–bought out the rest of his contract with the team. While KG will retire as a beloved member of the team he played his first 12 straight seasons with (1995-2007), he will always been remembered for his legendary performance as the heart and soul of the 2008 NBA Champion Boston Celtics. The Celtics came up short in their rematch against the LA Lakers the following year in the NBA Finals but even after he left Boston a few years later, Celtics fans will never forget all that he did for the team and the city to raise the franchise’s first championship banner in 22 years.

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…The timing is very interesting given Paul Pierce announced he would be retiring after the 2016-17 NBA season. Pierce, who played his first 15 seasons with the Celtics (1997-2012) has been the subject of speculation given LA Clippers President and Head Coach Doc Rivers–who himself led the Celtics to their 17th NBA Championship and is a former Celtics player himself–has expressed a desire for The Truth to retire as a member of the Boston Celtics. The obvious assumption is Pierce will sign a 1-day contract but Pierce being shipped back to Boston is a real possability.

The other former member of the New Big 3 Ray “The King of Threes” Allen (Holds all-time NBA record for 3-pointers made) announced over the summer he is looking to return to the NBA this coming season. The Free Agent, who last played for the Miami Heat (winning a ring with the Heat as well as the one he got with the Celtics) has been talking to the Bucks and Celtics–both teams he’s played for in the past. When asked why he is returning after being absent for a few years he replied “This is why I never retired”, which clearly means he has enough gas left in the tank to go at least one more season. The Celtics being the only team that has the money to sign him aside, whichever team takes him will be a contender in the playoffs: He rarely has bad days when he’s behind the line so…yeah.

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Since I’m talking about Basketball, I feel the need to comment on Miami Heat star Chris Bosh’s situation. As many NBA fans are aware, Bosh missed most of the last two seasons due to a serious medical issue. It was announced this morning he was not cleared by the team’s medical staff. This is a situation in which the team is legit trying to protect the player. The player is Chris Bosh, who is married and has 5 children. Former team mate and Chicago Bulls player Dwayne Wade released a statement via social media imploring his friend to keep his family in mind regardless of what he decides to do next.

Miami Heat All Star Alonzo Mourning’s career came to an end 14 years ago due to health-related issues. While it wasn’t career-ending, Mourning elected to retire rather than shorten his lifespam. Celtics fans may remember Reggie Lewis, who died suddenly in 1995 from an undiagnosed heart condition. Here we a situation where enough info is known about Bosh’s health to know NO TEAM would be willing to take the chance of allowing him to play for them. They wouldn’t want the responsability and have the support of the Players Association (the NBA Players’ Union), who will certainly advise Bosh to retire.

Free Agent Kevin Durant sign 2-year 54 $Million Contract with the Golden State Warriors   Leave a comment

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…After keeping 6 teams waiting, NBA All-Star Kevin Durant announced a bit under an hour ago to a 2-year 54 $Million Contract with the Golden State Warriors. The terms of the contract include a player option after the first year. This more or less guarantees Golden State will be contenders for the NBA Finals next year. The last 48 hours were nerve-wracking for the 6 teams and their fans that were courting him. No doubt it’s a much bigger blow to Oklahoma City fans, who hoped he would resign with the team for a bit longer. The fact that KD decided to leave is pretty indicative of what former Thunder Teammate Russell Westbrook’s plans after next season will be. The Thunder’s remaining superstar will become a free agent after the next season. No doubt other teams will be pulling out all the stop get him.

In regards to the Celtics, they’re still in a much better position than they were 48 hours ago with just the Al Horford signing. They can also still sign another max contract player. The Kevin Durant Sweepstakes may be over but there are still plenty of Free Agents still available that will allow the Celtics to challenge LBJ and the Cavs. Pao Gasol, who’s won a few titles with the Lakers is on their radar. Now that the Bulls have signed Rajon Rondo, it might be much easier for the Celtics to get Jimmy Butler in a trade. There is also DeMarcus Cousins, who the Kings would be happy to drop like a bad habit.

…Anywho, I’m gonna take a break from the Celtics offseason news for a few months. Nothing’s set in stone and I feel all I’ll be doing is speculating like I have been during the KD Sweepstakes. LOL.

Breaking News: Free Agent Al Horford agrees to 4-Year Contract with the Boston Celtics   Leave a comment

The news broke about 90 minutes ago and conveniently for the Celtics, during their meeting with Kevin Durant. The 9-year Veteran and 4-time All Star has agreed to a 4-year, $113 Million contract. Things seems to be going the Celtics’ way and two Boston Sports legends have stepped up big time to bring Kevin Durant on board:

Red Sox DH David Ortiz tweeted Durant, urging him to sign with the Celtics. Ortiz was unable to be present for what may be the Celtics’ biggest Free Agent signing in Franchise history due to the Red Sox game in Boston tonight.

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This picture of Patriots QB Tom Brady (sunglasses) talking to Danny Ainge on their way to meet with KD is no coincidence. CSN New England reported a short time ago apparently, Brady and Durant were traveling together for the last 24 hours. A picture of the private jet they used was also released along with a two other pictures of Brady separately posting with Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynik next to the jet earlier today. Speaking of Brady, yes he was brought in for the meeting to bring Kevin Durant to Boston. Helps he was in the area!

Also present were some of the Celtics’ owners (one pictured above), Danny Ainge (pictured above), Isaiah Thomas, Celtics Legend Bill Russell, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart (pictured above), Kelly Olynik (pictured above) and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. As of right now, Durant’s meeting with the Celtics is still ongoing and that is a very good sign for Celtics fans. Durant has already bet with 4 other teams including the Oklahoma City, which may meet with him again on Monday. He is also scheduled to meet with the Miami Heat tomorrow.

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…Of course, Horford signing with the Celtics prettymuch destroyed any hope both OKC and Miami had of getting Durant and here’s why: The Heat just signed Hassan Whiteside to a new $70 Million contract yesterday. Miami is also on the verge of losing Dwayne Wade, who began talking to the Knicks and the Bucks yesterday. According to some reports, this time he’s serious about leaving if the Heat don’t return to the negotiating table and resign him.

Horford was a necessary piece for both Miami and OKC to get Durant, who expressed a strong desire to play with his longtime friend. As soon as news of the Celtics/Horford deal broke, Atlanta immediately withdrew Paul Millsap from the trade block. The situation is especially bad for OKC as they were planning to use Durant to bring Horford to the Thunder. What makes it worse for OKCis this: It’s more than likely Kevin Durant learned of the Horford deal DURING his meeting with the Celtics.

The Celtics have one other huge advantage in the Kevin Durant Sweepstakes: They can sign Kevin Durant to a contract without having to move players or assets first. Plus they just locked in Al Horford, who said he passed on Oklahoma City because Durant was not guaranteed. Now the reverse has happened: The Celtics have Horford so it’s just a question of if they can get Kevin Durant on board.

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This is a photoshop but just imagine if this becomes reality. Just Horford is believed to make the Celtics a 53-win team. With Durant we’re talking 58+ wins and a guaranteed Eastern Conference Finals appearance next year. The Cavs won’t have an easy trip back to the NBA Finals next year: In addition to Boston, they will also have to contend with Magic, Howard-led Hawks and the Knicks. The Eastern Conference next year is going to be a whole lot more interesting.

NBA Free Agency has officially begun; Celtics to meet with Kevin Durant July 2nd   Leave a comment

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…Hot off reports Thursday that The NBA’s biggest Free Agent is 90% set on returning to the Oklahoma City Thunder, July 1 marks the first day of Free Agency. Every Unrestricted Free Agent who isn’t already committed to resigning with their current team is up for grabs. In the opening minutes if free agency, news broke Joakim Noah will indeed sign with the New York Knicks and join fellow former Bulls teammate Derrick Rose, which was previously reported.

Getting back to the Celtics’ push to get Kevin Durant, the one player who may be needed to make it a done deal is Al Horford, who has himself expressed a strong interest in meeting with the Celtics. Clearly, Horford knows the Celtics have a good chance of getting KD and wants to make sure they know he doesn’t mind them putting his name down if needed. Right now the focus is getting KD himself to commit to Boston.

At the same time, Al Horford has also been approached by the Thunder for prettymuch the same reason: Getting KD. Another factor KD is probably very privy to is what Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook’s plans are after next year. Weather KD stays or leaves, Westbrook’s plans will definitely be a factor in that decision. OKC wants Horford to guarantee KD’s commitment to return to the Thunder. All that goes out the Window if Horford signs with Boston, which would give KD a good reason to follow suit. This would force OKC to switch focus to convincing Westbrook to resign the following year, which may be harder without KD.

The Celtics have a few Free Agents of their own. Jared Sullinger, Evan Turner and Tyler Zeller are Unrestricted Restricted Free Agents. Sullinger and Zeller are expected to seen a new contract with Boston though reports are not as optimistic in regards to Turner, who has drawn the interest of several teams in the West. Amir Johnson and Jonas Jarebko are both Restricted Free Agents. Weather they stay or not depends on weather the Celtics can get KD and possibly Horford. If they do, Johnson and Jarebko would have to go. We’ll hopefully know more by the end of the weekend on how this plays out.

The Celtics have the cap space to sign two players to a Max Contract, which is more than enough to get KD or anyone else. In short, it’s not a question of money for the Celtics. Another veteran player that has decided to enter Free Agency is Dwight Howard. While his skills are without question, he does have alot of baggage that could both severely impact team chemistry. He left the Magic, Lakers and now the Rockets on bad terms so…yeah. He would be a massive risk no matter where he goes.

…I’ll provide another update on this Sunday or Monday when more info will be known. It’s gonna be an interesting offseason!

 

 

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