Celtics

Celtics-Heat an even bigger game for C's Arroyo

191544.jpg

Celtics-Heat an even bigger game for C's Arroyo

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

MIAMI Today's Miami-Boston matchup was a game that Carlos Arroyo knew months ago would be a big one around these parts.

But this is not quite the vantage point he expected to be viewing it.

Arroyo signed with the Miami Heat at the start of the season, and spent 42 games as their starting point guard.

Eventually, Arroyo lost his starting job to Mario Chalmers.

From there, Arroyo became a backup to becoming a seldom-used reserve to eventually being kicked to curb and replaced by Mike Bibby.

Boston, in need of added depth at the point guard position, signed the eight-year veteran for the remainder of the season.

You look at this game and the potential impact it can have on the seasons of both teams, there's no way to understate its importance.

For Arroyo, it's more than just a big game.

It's personal.

"Obviously the way things ended for me, wasn't the way I would have liked it to be," Arroyo told CSNNE.com. "But it is what it is. This is a business. You have to move on. But I'd be lying to you if I said this was just another game. It's not."

There's no telling how much, if at all, Arroyo will play today.

In Boston's last seven games, he has logged a total of just 10 minutes which includes four games in which he did not play (coaches decision).

But having him around has given the Celtics a veteran presence at the point guard position in case there's foul trouble or a potential injury to either Rajon Rondo or Delonte West. Rondo has missed 11 games this season because of injuries after missing just 12 games total in his four previous seasons. And West, already assured of playing in fewer games this season than he has previously, has appeared in just 22 games this season.

Arroyo, who grew up in nearby Puerto Rico, played his college basketball at Florida International in Miami. He was among the more popular players on the team, and connected with the Miami fan base instantly.

Business or not, having all that taken away is not easy to accept.

And Arroyo, 31, admits his past experiences allowed him to handle the situation.

"I can take something like this happening better at this point in my career," Arroyo said.

Undrafted out of college in 2001, Arroyo has played for some of the winningest coaches in NBA history.

After a strong performance during the 2004 Olympics, Arroyo was rewarded with a four-year, 16 million contract with the Utah Jazz then coached by legendary Jerry Sloan.

Sloan and Arroyo had a falling out, which eventually led to him being traded to the Detroit Pistons who were then coached by Hall of Famer, Larry Brown.

Arroyo was brought in as a backup to Chauncey Billups.

But once again, Arroyo fell out of favor.

After spending most of the season as Billups' backup, Arroyo did not play (coaches decision) in two of the Pistons' last three games during the 2005 NBA Finals.

But those days, Arroyo says, are in the past now.

His focus at this point in his career is to do whatever he can to win a championship.

"That's really all that I care about right now," Arroyo said. "That's why when things didn't work out in Miami, I was eager to join up with a team like the Boston Celtics."

And while his playing time has been limited, Arroyo said he knew it would probably play out like this before he signed with the C's.

"Yeah, I knew coming into this situation, Delonte West was the backup before I got here," Arroyo said. "All I can do is stay ready and wait for my time, hopefully contribute, make the playoffs and be part of something great."

While his playing time may have been limited thus far, there's no mistaking the respect he has already garnered from this team of veterans.

"We got a consolidator," said Kevin Garnett in describing Arroyo's game. "We got another guy that can be the floor general. Carlos played in this league for a long time, for a lot of head-strong coaches. He brings a sense of leadership, a lot of respect in our locker room for him and we're glad he's here."

So is head coach Doc Rivers who sees Arroyo as another valuable leader, even if he's not playing significant minutes.

"Even though he's not playing, he's definitely helping us with the little things," Rivers said. "Like during time-outs, he's talking to guys, giving them pointers here and there on things that he sees out there. That's always great to see, because it means that he's thinking about team, not "me". You can't have enough guys on your team thinking like that; you really can't."

Still, that doesn't mean Arroyo is content to sit on the bench.

"Oh, I definitely want to play," he said. "I have to keep the train moving and stay ready. It's hard because you want to stay in rhythm playing. I'll contribute to this team any way I can. Of course I want to contribute more. Hopefully I'll get that opportunity soon."

It could be today against his former team that tossed him aside just a few weeks ago to clear a roster spot to sign Mike Bibby.

"You want to win every game you play," Arroyo said. "And they all count the same at the end of the day."

He added with a smile, "but some, you really, really want to get. This is one of those games."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

Stats: Jayson Tatum is pretty much Larry Bird

Stats: Jayson Tatum is pretty much Larry Bird

Stop comparing Jayson Tatum to Paul Pierce. Turns out he's Larry Bird. Numbers don't lie.

In posting 14 points and 10 rebounds, Tatum became the first Celtics player to notch a double-double in his NBA debut since Larry Bird in 1979. Numbers also suggest that Bird went on to be very good, so that pretty much settles it. You can't just accept the numbers that say Bird was great and ignore the numbers that say Jayson Tatum is Larry Bird. You've got to accept all the numbers. Cherry-picking certain stats for your argument is what Mike Felger does. 

Tatum, who was the apple of Danny Ainge’s eye in the draft when he traded down from the first overall pick to the third spot, finished third on the C’s in scoring in Tuesday’s loss to the Cavs. Jaylen Brown led the way with a career-high 25 points, while Kyrie Irving posted 24.

Shorthanded Celtics fall short in 102-99 loss to Cavs

Shorthanded Celtics fall short in 102-99 loss to Cavs

CLEVELAND – Adversity has been a given with the Boston Celtics, so why would the season opener be any different? 

Despite being without their prized free agent signing in the offseason for all but the first five minutes against Cleveland, the Celtics gave themselves a chance to win down the stretch only to come up short in a 102-99 loss.

Boston led in the fourth only for LeBron James to score a go-ahead basket to make it 99-98 and then force a Celtics turnover seconds later.

MORE:

Following a time-out with 1:04 to play, Kevin Love hit a 3-pointer with 46.3 seconds to play to make it a 102-98 game.

The loss certainly hurts, but that pales in comparison to what losing Gordon Hayward for most if not all of this season, means to the Celtics after Hayward went down with fractured left ankle injury in the first quarter.

With the Celtics ahead 12-9, Kyrie Irving saw Hayward sprinting towards the rim and threw him an alley-oop pass.

LeBron James slid over and leaped to try and deflect it, which threw Hayward off balance in mid-air.

But Hayward didn’t land cleanly because ex-Celtic Jae Crowder, who was defending him on the play, made contact with Hayward’s lower body that resulted in an awkward landing for Hayward.

Video replays showed how contorted Hayward’s left ankle was, the kind of gruesome image that was in some ways reminiscent to the knee injury that derailed the career of Shaun Livingston.
 
While Livingston eventually returned to the floor and won a pair of NBA titles with the Golden State Warriors, but he was never the same player afterwards.
 
It’s far too soon to say exactly how Hayward’s injury will impact him this season, let alone for his career. 
 
But there is no mistaking seeing him go down the way he did, clearly rattled the Celtics and for that matter, the NBA family. 
 
Current and former NBA players took to social media offering of prayers of healing for Hayward, who was named to his first NBA All-Star team last season and signed a four-year, $127.8 million contract with the Celtics this summer. 
 
As for the actual game, the Cavaliers steadily pulled away in the second quarter and remained in control for most of the second half in a victory that certainly had to feel a bit shallow.
 
It wasn’t because the Celtics were undermanned without Hayward, but more important, because he’s part of the NBA family and regardless of how competitive players are, they never, ever like to see one of their own go down with such a devastating injury. 
 
Moments after Hayward went down, the looks of disappointment and pain were apparent. Inside the Celtics huddle, you saw Kyrie Irving’s head in the shoulder of a teammate.
 
Former Celtic Isaiah Thomas, now with the Cavs, was inside the Cavaliers locker room which is where they took Hayward initially. 
 
When Thomas left, he nodded, and shook his head, saddened by what he saw in the locker room. 
 
Despite the pain that all the Celtics were in following Hayward’s injury, there was still a game that had to be played. 
 
And anything less than their best against the defending Eastern Conference champions, would make for a long night. 
 
But the Celtics showed a resiliency in the third quarter that saw them climb back into things and made it a relatively close game. 
 
Trailing 54-38 at the half, Boston tied the game at 69 following a Marcus Smart free throw, followed by a go-ahead basket by Smart that put Boston on top 71-69. 
 
However, the Cavs ended the quarter with a 3-pointer by Derrick Rose which put them ahead 72-71 going into the fourth, an envious position for the Celtics all things considered. 
 
Even if the Celtics had been whole with Hayward, defeating the Cavs was going to be an extremely tall task.
 
They have after all, been to the NBA Finals each of the last three seasons and are the odds-on favorite to get back there for a fourth straight year. 
 
But the Celtics lost more than a key player when Hayward went down. 
 
They lost their focus, that intangible edge to their team that was supposed to be one of their strengths against a Cleveland team that has plenty of firepower and weapons of its own. 
 
The good news for both teams is that regardless of who came out on top, there are lessons to be learned for both teams. 
 
Unfortunately for the Celtics, those lessons going forward are likely to come about without Hayward in the lineup for some time. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE