Celtics

Celtics-Spurs preview: Celts expect a challenge

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Celtics-Spurs preview: Celts expect a challenge

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

The Boston Celtics will face one of their biggest tests this season when they battle the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. The Spurs hold the best record in the NBA, and the Celtics are ready for a challenge.

Shaquille ONeal
Theyre one of the best teams in the league and were going to have our hands full. Against a team like that, youve got to do everything right . . . They pose major challenges. We match up with them very well, they match up with us very well. The team that plays the hardest and gets all the loose balls and gets all the rebounds is the team thats probably going to win.
Ray Allen
We cant have a bad start. We cant come out and think that well get back in the game, or well kind of slow roll this into playing good basketball. Theyve got the best record in the league and for a reason. They play well at home and on the road. So we have to come out and we have to execute, weve got to know our personnel, and weve got to make sure we take away the easy stuff.

Nate Robinson
Theyre rolling. Theyre playing well. Ive watched a couple of their games and theyve got everybody clicking on all cylinders. Theyre just a team thats been together for a long time, and then theyve got a couple new pieces - Gary Neal knocking down the shot - youve got the Red Rocket Matt Bonner over there, hes knocking down shots, playing the way theyve been playing. The team chemistry is awesome. So a team like that coming in, weve just got to match their intensity and just play our game and well be fine.
Delonte West
Theyre one of those teams to beat. Theyre playing Spurs basketball, and theyre playing at their top level, a championship level. Itll be a good midseason test for us and for them also. But were not at full strength, I think they may not be, so depending on how many guys we have out there or whos going to be able to go, it might not be a strong indication of whos the better team right now. But its all still a good matchup for both teams . . . Ill be watching on the bench.

Marquis Daniels
Theyre a good team. They play hard and theyre rolling right now. Theyre doing a lot of great things . . . Its a good matchup for us. Weve just got to go out there and continue to do what weve been doing best -- getting after it on the defensive end, getting easy baskets.

Von Wafer
Its going to be a good game and Im excited because its going to tell us a lot about ourselves. Its a big measuring stick for what were trying to accomplish and what we need to work on. I think theyre going to expose any weaknesses we have, and thats a good thing so we can work on them and get them stronger.

Luke Harangody
I think just top to bottom, theyve got a deep squad. Theyve got a number of veteran players that know how to win. Theres a lot of other talk going on, but year after year the Spurs are a quality team, a playoff team.

Follow Jessica Camerato on Twitter at http:www.twitter.comjcameratonba

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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