Celtics

Celtics go into season with support for the foundation

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Celtics go into season with support for the foundation

WALTHAM For the Celtics, Step 1 of constructing the 2012-13 roster was simple: get Kevin Garnett back.

Step 2? Figure out a way to put all the pieces in place after that.

Taking a look at the team on paper, you could say Celtics GM Danny Ainge passed with flying colors.

Garnett agreed to return the day of free agency, and Ainge was already on to the next one.

Jason Terry joined. Brandon Bass re-signed. Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox returned. Courtney Lee came over in a trade. Oh, and don't forget the two rookies, Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo.

Not too shabby, eh? The Celtics hope that they have enough depth to soldier through whatever injuries arise throughout the course of the season as they were forced to do last season. They will already be without Avery Bradley to start the year, but the acquisitions of Terry and Lee will soften the blow.

"Every year we try to build depth," Ainge said. "Last year we did have a lot of injuries a lot of injuries to our young guys, which was a little bit surprising. I was amazed at how our resiliency got us through the year and this deep into the playoffs. It's a credit to Doc and the players, particularly, KG, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen. But yeah, we want to not have injuries, and we think our depth is much better this year."

Some think that this is the deepest Celtics team since Garnett arrived for the 2007-08 season. They could be right. Jason Terry provides the scoring off the bench that Celtics have lacked. Lee is good enough to (and will at first) start on any team, and will have plenty of open looks. Green will benefit greatly by getting actual practice with his team, and not being thrown into the mix midway through the season. And don't forget Wilcox, who was coming into his own just before his season abruptly ended.

Somehow, someway, the Celtics made it all work financially.

"This past year was pretty hectic, Ainge said. "Starting with the lockout and going late in the season, the draft coming up with three draft picks, and free agency starting up right after that. Some of the uncertainty of the future of KG and just knowing which way we were headed. And then having to fill so many different places with different resources. So I think it was a very challenging summer, yeah. A lot of work went in. Assistant GM's Mike Zarren and Ryan McDonough in particular, they did a great job, and Austin Ainge, those guys were great. They worked relentless hours."

Doc Rivers is forever grateful. Stuck with mediocre to bad teams for the beginning of his Celtics coaching career, Rivers has been given plenty of tools over the last five seasons to keep the machine running.

"First of all I want to say Danny and the staff did an amazing job," Rivers said. "When you are under the restrictions that we were under, if you had told me we would have ended up with what we would have ended up with, I'd thought that would never happen. A lot of things had to happen for us."

A lot things did happen for the Celtics over the summer. Now it's on them to make things happen over the winter.

"I just really like our team, I like our team on paper," Rivers said. "Now we have to turn it into a team."

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

0:41 - Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions on the Celtics getting their first win of the season and a comparison between Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving in the 4th quarter.

7:17 - Phil Perry joins BST to break down the tale of the tape between the Falcons and the Patriots as he breaks down the quarterbacks, offense, defense, coaching, and intangibles between the two teams.

11:57 - Our crew on BST discuss number 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz and number 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum going up against each other and debate who seems like the better pick so far. 

16:35 - In this segment of Irrelevant Questions, Tom Curran interviews Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett as he asks him a bunch of random questions. 

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Larkin rises to occasion, says he's ready when Celtics call his number

Larkin rises to occasion, says he's ready when Celtics call his number

PHILADELPHIA – Near the end of a preseason game against Charlotte, Boston Celtics guard Shane Larkin was killin’ the Hornets with pick-and-roll action.

It was a preseason game that at the time, didn’t seem to have much value other than to get some of the end-of-the-bench guys a little run up and down the court.

But as it turned out, Larkin's play in that game was one of those things head coach Brad Stevens tucked away, knowing at some point he would count on Larkin to provide similar play in a regular season game.

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Well, that game was Friday night at Philadelphia, a game in which several players for Boston stepped their games up in helping the Celtics get their first win of the season, 102-92.

But you would be hard-pressed to find a bigger game-changer for the Celtics in this game, than Larkin.

He finished with 10 points off the bench, eight of which came in the decisive fourth quarter when the Celtics rallied from five-down to get a hard-fought, much-needed victory.

“You have to always be ready for your name to be called, especially when you have injuries,” Larkin said. “You never know whose night it’s gonna be.”

Boston was playing without Marcus Smart who suffered a left ankle sprain in their 108-100 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday. Smart was in the starting lineup having replaced Gordon Hayward who underwent left ankle surgery and is expected to be out for the remainder of this season.

“When coach (Stevens) called my name, I had to go out there and be aggressive, play my game,” Larkin said. “And it worked in our favor.”

And while Stevens had watched Larkin play prior to the Celtics signing him this summer, it was a preseason game against Charlotte that really convinced him that the 5-foot-11 guard could help when called upon.

“You’re always watching,” Stevens said. “And if you remember that exhibition game, he finished out that Charlotte game, just running simple spread pick-and-rolls. He’s such a handful with his speed and quickness, and he allows other guys to play off of him. He’s a small guy, but he makes up for it with his speed and skill.”

Al Horford benefited more than any other Celtic with Larkin’s pick-and-roll play which factored into Horford scoring nine of his 17 points in the fourth.

“Shane is a player who understands the game and for us, it was me trying to set a good screen for him and having him make a play,” Horford said. “He just made the right reads, when to shoot it, when to pass it. He just looked very comfortable in that position.”

And to think that Larkin’s big game came about in part because of how well he performed in a preseason matchup against the Hornets.

“I did not know it was that specific game,” Larkin said. “But whenever I step on the court I try to do my best. That’s offensively, defensively, and do what the team needs me to do.

Larkin added, “Whenever my number is called, if he (Stevens) calls it again, I hope he does. I’ll be ready to go out there and do it again.”

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