Celtics

For Celtics, no Bosh just means more James, Wade

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For Celtics, no Bosh just means more James, Wade

MIAMI The absence of six-time all-star Chris Bosh on paper at least, is a good thing for the Boston Celtics.

But C's coach Doc Rivers coaches against players, not paper. He knows all too well that no Chris Bosh means more opportunities for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to dominate play.

"It almost activated them (James and Wade) to be more aggressive, which puts a lot of stress on your defense," Rivers said.

Since Bosh went down with an abdominal strain that has kept him sidelined for Miami's last five games, the James-Wade tandem has been in the kind of flow, the kind of rhythm that has been seldom seen before.

After Bosh went down in Game 1 of their second round series with his current injury, the Heat dropped two straight and fell behind, 2-1, in their best-of-seven series.

With an extra day off between Games 3 and 4, it allowed the Heat to get healthy both mentally and physically.

Part of that improvement involved figuring out how to fill the void left behind by Bosh's absence.

Sure, the Heat have a handful of big men such as Udonis Haslem who have been called upon to contribute more in his absence.

But the true turn-around for them without Bosh, has been James and Wade.

In the five playoff games without Bosh, James and Wade have combined to score 58.6 percent of Miami's offense. And if there's an assist made by the Heat, chances are pretty high - 63.2 percent high - that it was one of them.

Celtics guard Rajon Rondo says Miami has become, "a two-man team."

He added, "Those guys are unselfish, especially LeBron. They have to take a couple more shots per game, but they're still trying to find their teammates. When they don't, they make the plays for themselves."

So if there's any thought that the C's were catching a break with Bosh out of the lineup, Rivers and his players don't see it.

"When you have two players as dynamic as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are, the last thing you want is for those guys to have more opportunities to be great, which is what they have with Bosh out," C's guard Keyon Dooling told CSNNE.com. "Chris is great player for them, but those guys (James and Wade) are smart, intelligent, very talented basketball players. They know how to play, and play at a high level, regardless of who is on the floor or who is out."

The C's have had their share of injuries all season. And while some might believe those injuries made the Celtics worse off, Rivers has a slightly different take on the matter.

"I don't know what the difference is (without Bosh)," Rivers said. "But just like our guys, (being injured) changes you. It shouldn't make you worse, it should just make you different."

Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

BOSTON – With all the changes the Celtics went through over the summer, seeing more rookies on the floor this season was a given.
 
But six?
 
Yes, only three games into the season and the Celtics have played more rookies than any team under fifth-year coach Brad Stevens.

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And in the 102-92 victory at Philadelphia on Friday night, the Celtics (1-2) played almost as many first-year players (five) as veterans (six).
 
The youth movement here in Boston has been sped up a bit by the season-ending injury to Gordon Hayward, compounded by a left ankle sprain to Marcus Smart that Smart said won’t keep him out any more than Friday night in Philly.

Even if Smart is back in the Celtics lineup Tuesday night against New York, that doesn’t change the fact that Boston will continue to need rookies to step up and contribute going forward as they did on Friday.
 
And while there’s an old adage about experience being the greatest teacher, Boston’s youngsters are going to have to fast-forward past some of those on-the-floor growing pains for the Celtics to stay among the top teams in the East.
 
“Everybody talks about young players having to learn by going through experience,” said Stevens. “Why don’t we just watch film and learn? Learn from things we can control and in the interim, let’s beat the age thing. Let’s not talk about the age thing. Let’s talk about how we can be better at what we can control and how we can learn and grow every day and expedite the learning curve.
 
Stevens added, “because they are going to get opportunities all the way down the line, let’s not focus on trying to learn from experience; let’s focus on learning from every day and see if we can get a little bit better every day.”
 
The one rookie who has had no problem adjusting to the NBA game early on has been Jayson Tatum.
 
Selected with the third overall pick last June, Tatum has been among the NBA's most productive rookies in this first week of the season.
 
Tatum’s 35.3 minutes played per game is tops among all rookies. His 12.3 points and 9.0 rebounds rank seventh and fourth among his first-year brethren.
 
Stevens loves what he has seen thus far from Tatum, but believes he’s capable of making an even greater impact sooner rather than later.
 
“I like him to shoot it on the catch more,” Stevens said. “Because he has tremendous touch. When he shoots it in rhythm with confidence, the ball finds the net. He’s one of those guys; he’s a natural scorer. But his ability to read the game … he’s very intelligent. It’s been more evident on the defensive end. He’s gonna pick his spots offensively now. But we want him to be aggressive and first and foremost, be a threat to shoot it every time he catches it.
 
Stevens added, “I guess it should feel pretty good when you’re 19 years old and your coach is begging you to shoot it.”
 
How quickly Tatum and the rest of Boston’s youngsters grow into the roles they will be asked to play this season can do nothing but help the Celtics adapt to what has already been a season with major changes needing to be made.
 
“You saw [against Philadelphia], we had Shane [Larkin], we had Guerschon [Yabusele], we had guys coming in that played the game at a high level and we need them to contribute,” said Boston’s Kyrie Irving. “For me to see that and witness that, it makes me nothing but proud and happy to have teammates that are ready to play. It’s not always going to look perfect because we’re still gaining knowledge about one another. But as long as we’re out there competing, having each other’s backs, that’s all that matters.”
 

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for his inappropriate language with a fan

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Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for his inappropriate language with a fan

BOSTON – As expected, the NBA has fined Celtics guard Kyrie Irving $25,000 for using “inappropriate language” toward a fan at the Friday night game in Philadelphia.
 
The incident occurred at halftime as Irving and his teammates were heading to the locker room, trailing by four. Boston went on to win 102-92 for their first victory of the season.
 
A fan yelled, “Hey, where’s LeBron?” to which Irving replied with a lewd suggestion to the yeller.
 
The Celtics practiced on Saturday with Irving addressing the incident.

When asked if he had any regrets about the incident, Irving replied, “Hell no. Man enough to record it on video, that’s on him. I’m glad he got his ad name out there, and his five seconds of fame and it’s gone viral. That’s social media platform we live on.
 
Irving added, “I take full responsibility for what I said. You move on.”
 
When asked about the incident on Saturday, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he had not seen the video but was aware of it.
 
“People make mistakes; hopefully learn from them and move on,” Stevens said. “There’s a right and wrong. And if you’re in the wrong you have to own up to it and that’s that.”

It was the second such fine levied by the league in as many days. 

New Orleans center DeMarcus Cousins was fined $25,000 for "inappropriate language" toward a fan when the Pelicans lost 103-91 at Memphis on Wednesday.