Crowder determined to fix his shooting woes

Crowder determined to fix his shooting woes

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Boston Celtics were hours removed from the most significant win of the season, a 111-103 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 3 of their best-of-seven series.

For Jae Crowder, there was no time to celebrate.

Crowder was in the Celtics’ practice facility into the wee hours of Saturday morning, working on his shooting touch, which has been nowhere to be found in this entire series.

In three games, Crowder has averaged 6.7 points while shooting just 19.4 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from 3-point range, which has been the worst three-game stretch of shooting he has had this season.

Crowder finished sixth in the Most Improved Player of the Year award after averaging career highs in just about every statistical category such as scoring (14.2), rebounds (5.1 per game) as well as shooting (44.3 percent from the field), steals (1.7 per game) and assists (1.8 per game).

And while Crowder’s defense and rebounding (8.3 boards per game) has been exceptional throughout the playoffs, he knows delivering more of a scoring punch would bode well for the Celtics’ chances at evening up this series at two games apiece.

To do that, Crowder has to start knocking down more shots especially if the Hawks continue to sag off him the way they did for most of Game 3.

You can’t blame the Hawks for doing that as Crowder missed 10 of his 11 shots from the field. It was the kind of performance that regardless of the game’s outcome, isn’t easily forgotten. That’s why putting in some extra time in the gym for Crowder just made sense.

“I just want to lift our team a little more on offense and I wanted to see the ball go through the net,” he said.

Despite his struggles, his teammates and head coach Brad Stevens remain as confident as ever in his ability to shoot his way out of his current shooting slump which has come about since he returned from a high right ankle sprain.

“He’s so positive. We’re so positive with him,” said Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas. “We’re confident in his ability to score the ball, help us like he has all year. Once he gets going, it’s gonna be scary. He’s hard on himself but at the same time he’s taking the right shots. The basketball gods will help him out soon.”

Stevens agreed.

“I believe in the law of averages,” Stevens said. ”Jae’s been a good shooter all year. I have not lost one iota of sleep over that either; keep shooting it. He’s gonna be aggressive, we want him to be aggressive. He’s a big reason why we’re here.”

Celtics falter in fourth, Davis dominates

USA TODAY Sports Photo

Celtics falter in fourth, Davis dominates

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 108-89 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. 


Anthony Davis: The Boston Celtics had no answer for how to contain Anthony Davis who got anything and everything he wanted, all game. He finished with a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 14-for-24 from the field.



Jayson Tatum: The Celtics didn’t get many players who elevated their play against the Pelicans, but Tatum did. He led the team with 23 points on 9-for-14 shooting. 

Rajon Rondo: It was vintage Rondo – few points, lots of assists and with that, a huge impact. The former Celtics All-Star had 11 assists with just one turnover, to go with four points.

Marcus Morris: He finished with 17 points on 5-for-14 shooting. Morris prides himself on an inside-outside scorer, but he really should have focused more on his 3-point shot when you consider he was 5-for-7 from 3-point range. 

Cheick Diallo: You're always suspect of a player you rarely heard of putting up big numbers in a blowout. But let’s be clear: Diallo’s scoring was on display when Sunday’s game was relatively competitive. He would finish with 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting. 



Fourth Quarter Celtics: It was a dismal stretch of play no matter how you cut it. Boston shot just 20 percent from the field in the fourth (4-for-20), 25 percent from 3-point range (2-for-8) while allowing New Orleans to shoot better than 50 percent in the quarter (10-for-19, 52.9 percent).

Abdel Nader: There were several things that went wrong for the Celtics in the fourth, but few stand out as much as Abdel Nader’s struggles from the free throw line. A 72-percent free throw shooter this season, Nader was 2-for-8 from the line which included him missing five in a row.


Celtics have no answer for Davis in loss to Pelicans, 108-89

AP Photo

Celtics have no answer for Davis in loss to Pelicans, 108-89

The Boston Celtics found themselves on the comeback trail most of the second half on Sunday, with a pathway toward success remaining elusive all night as the New Orleans Pelicans got a much-needed 108-89 win over the Boston Celtics. 

MVP candidate Anthony Davis had another huge game against the Celtics as he tallied 34 points and 11 rebounds.

Boston (47-23) has now lost three of its last four games, while the Pelicans (40-30) are hoping Sunday’s victory will jumpstart them after losing four of their previous five games prior to Sunday night’s victory. 

The game’s turning point came in the fourth quarter when Boston’s Abdel Nader was fouled on a 3-point attempt with Boston trailing 82-76. 

On the play, New Orleans head coach Alvin Gentry was whistled for a technical foul. 

Nader, a 72.0 percent free throw shooter this season, missed all four – yes, all four – free throws.

New Orleans responded with a 10-3 run and their control of the game was never an issue afterwards.

It was indeed a tale of two different halves as New Orleans opened the third quarter with an 11-3 run to lead 58-52. 

The Pelicans continued to soldier on as their lead peaked at 11 points following a free throw by Davis made it a 76-65 game. 

Boston was able to cut into New Orleans’ lead but still trailed 82-76 going into the fourth quarter.

The ending was in stark contrast to how the night began for Boston.

The Celtics continued their run of strong starts to games, with an 8-0 run which sucked for the New Orleans Pelicans fans who stood on their feet until New Orleans finally scored on a lay-up by ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo with 8:35 to play in the first.

That would be the catalyst for a much-needed spurt by the Pelicans which brought then within 10-8. 

But Boston didn’t waste any time putting some distance between the team and New Orleans as the Celtics maintained a comfortable 28-20 lead at the end of the first quarter which extended Boston’s run of leads after one quarter of play, to nine in a row and 11 of the last 12.

The second quarter proved to be a much tighter affair for the Celtics as the Pelicans took their first lead of the game, 43-42, on a lob dunk by Davis. 

New Orleans lead didn’t last long as Boston closed out the quarter by scoring seven of the game’s last 11 points to lead 49-47 at the half. 

Despite having a patchwork lineup because of injuries, Boston still managed to spend most of the game playing with a lead. Fill-in starter Marcus Morris was a matchup nightmare for the Pelicans as the 6-foot-9 forward had 14 points in the first half.

Boston also got a strong first half from Jayson Tatum who led all Celtics with 15 points in the first half, and a team-high 23 for the game.