Celtics celebrate 10-year anniversary of current ownership


Celtics celebrate 10-year anniversary of current ownership

Inside the Boston Celtics locker room, co-owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca are surrounded by boxes filled with practice gear along with some jerseys.
Some of the lockers still have remnants from this past season with stalls adorned with pictures of some former Celtics such as E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson (both traded to Houston).
It was a fitting image on the eve of the 10-year anniversary of Grousbeck and Pagliuca spearheading an ownership group to buy the Celtics.
Embracing the past while preparing for the future was among the building blocks in this once-proud franchise's return to glory following the 2002 sale of the team for 360 million.
And just in case anyone wasn't clear on what this new ownership group's focus would be on, Grousbeck doused those questions quickly with the investment group being named Banner 17, LLC.
In a wide-ranging interview with CSNNE.com, Grousbeck recalled one of the first questions he was asked had to deal with the choosing of that name.
"We're going to win Banner 17 or I'm going to die trying," Grousbeck recalled saying. "That basically sums it up."
The new ownership group delivered championship Banner No. 17 in 2008 which snapped a title drought of more than a decade.
"Boston is title town," Pagliuca said. "They're used to titles. Wyc and I came in and said, 'the first thing we need to do is try and get a championship team in here.' And secondly, really improve the image in the community; go out and use the players in the community and participate. We really enjoy doing that."
They also enjoy winning, something the C's didn't do much of during those early years.
A five-year plan was in place to win a championship. However, the C's never won more than 45 regular season games and never advanced past the second round of the playoffs.
If there was a bottom-of-the-barrel moment, that would have been during the 2006-2007 season -- their fifth season as owners -- when the C's won a franchise-low 24 games and lost 18 consecutive games.
Celtics fans, about as loyal a bunch as you'll find in the NBA, wanted change in the front office and with the head coach.
However, the C's remained committed to Danny Ainge, the president of basketball operations, and head coach Doc Rivers despite the team's woeful record.
"It was a tough season, that season," Pagliuca said. "You could have gotten frustrated, changed management, change coaches. But we didn't change a thing because we believed in the plan and the vision and stuck with it. And you can see the results."
Said Grousbeck: "We actually started our sell-out streak that year. At the end of the year, people were enjoying watching the kids play and they knew better things were coming."
Did they ever.
Ainge pulled off a draft-night trade for Ray Allen.
"We jumped at the chance," Pagliuca said of adding Allen, who this past summer signed a multi-year deal with the Miami Heat. "Ray was a transcendent player."
Adding Allen paved the way for landing Garnett just a few weeks later from Minnesota.
"We didn't know at the time we would get Kevin," Pagliuca said. "But we thought with Ray and Paul (Pierce), we had a nucleus that we could get a third player. And it turned out to be Kevin which was fantastic and the rest is history. People said it would take two or three years to gel. They sacrificed their games. They jelled immediately. It was an amazing ride and we had an amazing ride the next year too."
And the roller coaster of emotions that comes with the highs and lows of competing for a title annually doesn't appear to be letting up anytime soon.
Boston is among the teams expected to give Miami a stiff challenge as the Heat look to repeat as NBA champions this season.
In addition to re-signing starters Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass, Boston also bolstered its bench with the additions of Jason Terry (a former Sixth Man of the Year award winner), Jeff Green and Courtney Lee. Throw in rookies Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo, along with all-stars Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo and it's clear that the C's have the pieces to make yet another serious run at an 18th NBA title.
This roster is indeed a blending of veteran savvy with youth.
But underneath that lies a certain toughness that both Grousbeck (a championship rower at Princeton) and Pagliuca (a former basketball player at Duke) knew had to be a part of this franchise moving forward if they were to have any shot at achieving their primary goal of winning a title.
No one better exemplified this than the late Red Auerbach, who was among the first people they sought counsel from after taking ownership of the team.
"The first thing we did when we bought the franchise was flew down to Washington, DC. and had a meeting with Red to get his advice and kind of bring him back in the fold as an active member of the Celtics," Pagliuca said. "We asked him, 'what do you want us to do?' He said, 'two things. Get instigators, not retaliators. And second, never have cheerleaders.'"
No cheerleaders?
Uh, that's a different story.
Said Grousbeck: "You know, the year after we hired them we won the championship so I suppose ... "
Still, showing respect for the past while embracing the need for change remains as much a part of this franchise today as Kevin Garnett's powder toss at the scorer's table, or Paul Pierce's step-back jumper.
"It was amazing, you get to know Red and that we could kind of continue that legacy he started years ago," Pagliuca said. "We're honored to do that."
Said Grousbeck: "Something that Walter Brown and Red Auerbach and Bill Russell built ... we're just trying to keep adding to it every year in some way, do something positive. Add to the legacy. I know it sounds like a simple line, but it's pretty hard to add to the Celtics legacy. We're trying our best to do what we can."

Celtics continue comeback narrative with win vs. Hawks

Celtics continue comeback narrative with win vs. Hawks

The Boston Celtics trail by double digits. The Celtics rally to make it relatively close by halftime. Boston continues to gain ground in the third, pull it out in the fourth.

Rinse. Recycle. Repeat.

That has been the Celtics’ mantra this season, with the latest chapter in their comeback narrative being a 110-99 win at Atlanta.

“We need to put an emphasis on playing with space and getting the ball to the other side of the floor,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “It just stuck too much early on. We were staring at some post-ups that if we got it to the other side, maybe you could take advantage of.”


Boston (15-2) fell behind by as many as 16 points against the Hawks (3-13), the second straight game the Celtics have rallied from a double-digit deficit.

In Boston’s 92-88 win over Golden State on Thursday, the Celtics fell behind by as many as 17 before rallying for their most impressive win of the season.

That said, it still shouldn’t take away from what happened on Saturday against an Atlanta team that despite their record, has shown signs of playing better in their recent games.

Players are aware of the penchant they’ve shown thus far for falling behind only to mount a furious comeback for the win.

“We don’t try to (go down early),” said Kyrie Irving following Saturday’s win which extended their winning streak to 15 straight which is the fifth-longest streak in franchise history. “Some teams, they go on runs and whether that be us giving up some easy ones or giving up some turnovers or doing things we can correct. When we do correct them, it turns into a different game.”

And that is what makes this stretch of play so impressive.

The Celtics have not played a full game; instead they have had stretches of good play that have often masked their mistakes early in the game.

That’s why head coach Brad Stevens, obviously pleased with the team’s success, knows as well as anyone that his team has to become more consistent in their play if they are to get the most out of these wins and continue to build off of them and achieve their ultimate goal – getting back to the NBA Finals.

“We’re going to keep playing,” Stevens said. “But the biggest thing is, we can’t keep digging these holes.”


Stars, studs and duds: No lack of confidence for Brown

Stars, studs and duds: No lack of confidence for Brown

When it comes to the top backcourts in the NBA, you seldom hear about Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown.

That may soon be changing if they have more games like the one they delivered on Saturday as Boston put together a solid second half to pull away from the Atlanta Hawks, 110-99.

Irving had a game-high 30 points which was his second game with at least 30 points scored – both against Atlanta.


And Brown, who had a strong 22-point performance in Boston’s win over Golden State on Thursday, was even better against the Hawks in tallying a career-high 27 points.

We all know about Irving who has established himself as one of the NBA’s top guards.

But is Brown on the way?

One thing Brown won’t have to develop going forward is, confidence.

He has long maintained that he believes he’ll be among the best in the league. It’s just a matter of him performing at a high level at both ends of the floor, consistently.

“I’ve always had that confidence, I can play with the best in the world,” Brown told NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin following the win over Atlanta which extended Boston’s winning streak to 15 in a row. “It’s just a matter of coming out, doing it. My teammates found me tonight. We had a good team win tonight.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 110-99 win at Atlanta which extended the Celtics’ winning streak to 15 in a row which is the fifth-longest winning streak in franchise history.



Jaylen Brown

Back in his home state of Georgia, Jaylen Brown delivered another monster game for the Celtics by scoring a career-high 27 points on 10-for-13 shooting with four 3-pointers.

Kyrie Irving

Irving had his most efficient game this season for the Celtics, tallying 30 points on 10-for-12 shooting to go with four rebounds and five assists.

Dennis Schroder

Atlanta’s best scorer delivering a strong 23-point, 9-assist performance for the Hawks.



Jayson Tatum

He only had 14 points, but they all came in the third quarter and they included a few crowd-quieting dunks.

John Collins

He came into the league with the reputation of being a high motor player, and he has not disappointed. His hustle and energy led to him tallying 18 points and seven rebounds.

Marcus Morris

When the offense struggled mightily in the first half, it was Morris’ scoring that kept them within striking distance. He finished with 14 points, 10 of which came in the second quarter.

Kent Bazemore

He was Atlanta’s number two scoring option most of the night, and finished with 19 points.



Boston’s first quarter defense

The Celtics can’t keep digging themselves these early holes, expecting they will turn it on and find a way to climb out of them. The Hawks led 35-20, fueled in large part by shooting 64.7 percent (11-for-17) in addition to out-rebounding Boston 8-6.