Celtics

Celtics honored to share All-Star experience

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Celtics honored to share All-Star experience

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

LOS ANGELES Tommy Heinsohn was a six-time all-star for the Boston Celtics.

He'll be the first to tell you that he was honored each time he was picked.

But there was one year - 1962, to be precise - that stood out.

That was the year Heinsohn was joined by teammates Bob Cousy, Bill Russell and Sam Jones on the all-star team.

"That made it an honor and half," Heinsohn told CSNNE.com. "It's always great when you play for a great team and the team is recognized like that. Because when that many guys go, it's not about their numbers, it's not about their stats. It's about their team. For me, that makes it an honor and half."

The C's once again have four players in the same all-star game after the Eastern Conference coaches voted Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo on to the team as reserves.

Starters. Backups.

It doesn't matter.

The Celtics (41-14) have been one of the best teams in the NBA this season, and their four all-star selections to a large degree validates that status.

"It's a comfortable feeling," Rondo said. "And it's exciting to be part of it."

For Pierce, this is his ninth all-star appearance - all with the Celtics.

And while each has been special, he acknowledges that this one will indeed be one of the more memorable regardless of the game's outcome.

"It's a big honor. This is something that, when you talk about and look at NBA history, you're going to talk about the last time four teammates made it, I'm going to be part of that," Pierce said. "It's great to be recognized in that aspect and to enjoy it with the guys I been around over the last four years, not only on the court but off the court."

Heinsohn, a Celtics analyst for Comcast SportsNet New England, was part of the 1962 Celtics team that had four all-stars. In addition, he coached the 1975 squad which also produced a quartet of all-star talent.

The year Heinsohn made the all-star with three teammates was also the season he averaged a career-high 22.1 points per game.

That 1962 team featured Bob Cousy was still effective but nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career. Bill Russell's dominance of the NBA was just in its infancy. And Same Jones was coming into his own as a big-time scorer for the Green.

Heinsohn recalls one of the strengths of that team was how the players, much like this group of Celtics, understood their roles and carried them .

"Everybody had a job to do," Heinsohn told CSNNE.com. "You may not have always liked it, but you did it. Because we knew that's the way to win. And we did a lot of that, that year."

Boston went on to claim Banner 5 that year - the franchise's fourth straight championship - which included winning a then-franchise record 60 regular season games.

For Garnett, this marks his 14th consecutive all-star selection which ties Jerry West, Karl Malone and current Celtics teammate Shaquille O'Neal for the most consecutive all-star selections in NBA history.

That alone would make this a memorable game for Garnett.

"Being here with those guys and it's more than a pleasure," Garnett said. "You tend to come here by yourself. I've sort of gotten used to that. The fact that I'm up here with three other guys, it's remarkable. I'm happy."

So was former Celtic Paul Silas when he learned in 1975 that he was selected as an all-star.

There was little doubt that the other three Celtics chosen that year - John Havlicek, Dave Cowens and JoJo White - were among the NBA's elite. But the jury was still out on Silas, a burly 6-foot-7 power forward who averaged 10.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game that season.

Even with the uncertainty that he would make the team, Silas said he wasn't nervous.

"I wasn't even thinking about it, really," said Silas, who currently coaches the Charlotte Bobcats. "I didn't think I would get chosen, but the coaches selected me. It was a real thrill for me that they thought that much of my game to select me to the all-star game."

Silas chalks up his selection to one thing: winning.

"We were very successful that year as a team," Silas said. "That's one of the reasons they selected me."

And while all four of the C's all-stars this season have the kind of individual statistics that at the very least validates them being in the all-star conversation, they know the only reason all four of them are here is because the Celtics have been one of the best teams in the NBA all season.

"So much is made of it (having four all-stars), but our entire team helped us get here, pushing us in practice, helping us to get better," Rondo said. "It's four of us here, but we're representing the entire team."

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

WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

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WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics host the 76ers at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview:  Celtics need to improve shooting

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

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NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Celtics-Magic preview: Boston looks to improve shooting down the stretch

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Celtics-Magic preview: Boston looks to improve shooting down the stretch

BOSTON – When Celtics coach Brad Stevens was asked about what he saw in the team’s newest (10-day) addition Jarell Eddie, his response was, “shooting  . . .  shooting.”

Indeed, shot-making has been the one area of play that has been problematic for the Celtics most of this season.

Boston comes into today’s game against Orlando (13-32) shooting just 44.8 percent from the field which ranks 25th in the NBA.

In the month of January, Boston has been even worse, connecting on just 41.8 percent of their shots which ranks 29th in the league this month.

While the addition of Eddie had more to do with the recent flu bug that has made the rounds throughout the Celtics lineup and the uncertainty a couple days ago surrounding Kyrie Irving’s sore left shoulder (it has improved and he’s expected to play today), adding Eddie speaks to a greater problem -- guys making shots -- that has to be addressed in some capacity sooner or later.

Boston always has the option to pursue a trade. They also have an $8.4 million disabled player exception they can use on free agent players, with the most likely pool of talent that they will choose from consisting of players who would have been bought out by their current teams.

Or there’s raiding the G-League for talent, which is what they did in signing Eddie to a 10-day contract.

Regardless, there’s a growing sense that this team has to add more scoring punch to the mix or at a minimum, improve the overall offensive execution of the roster as it stands now.

“We have to do our stuff better,” Stevens said. “The start of the season it was predictable, losing Gordon (Hayward who suffered a dislocated left ankle injury in the season-opener) and having to adjust. The middle portion of games we were pretty darn good. And then I thought we were reasonable in London, reasonable against New Orleans. But the other three of the last five games, we weren’t very good.”

Boston’s offense should get a boost from Irving’s return to the lineup after missing Boston’s 89-80 loss to Philadelphia with a sore left shoulder.

And while it was just one game, Irving understands the challenge that lies ahead in getting Boston’s offense to play better and more consistently.

“We have very unique talents on this team,” Irving said. “When you’re trying to put that together and guys are coming back into the lineup and getting their rhythm still and guys are in and out sometimes … big picture, down the stretch, we’re going to need everyone to be on the same page.”

Marcus Morris has been one of the players who has been in and out of the Celtics lineup because of a sore left knee.

However, the schedule has eased up to where he’ll be able to play more games, for longer stretches.

He comes into today’s game having scored in double figures each of the last three games.

“I’m just trying to get healthy. I know what I can do,” Morris told NBC Sports Boston. “My confidence is always going to stay high, no matter if I miss or make shots.”

In the last three games, he has averaged 15.0 points while shooting 45.7 percent from the field.

While Morris’ play of late is promising, it doesn’t diminish the concern Boston should have for an offense that for the most part, has been sputtering this season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE