Celtics

Class in session at C's camp with Professor KG

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Class in session at C's camp with Professor KG

WALTHAM, Mass. The Celtics practice was over and that same voice
that was barking out instructions most of day, was still at it.

Only now his focus was on the young guys, often the toughest players
to connect with.

But this is Kevin Garnett.

When he barks, young players bite their tongues and listen (most of
them, anyway).

That was indeed the case on Sunday when Garnett spent some
post-practice time with Boston's young bigs.

And to their credit, they were more than eager to soak it all in.

"For him to step out at the end of practice, knowing he's probably
tired and just speaking upon us about things we can do better and work
on means he's a great teammate," said Jared Sullinger, Boston's
first-round pick in June's NBA draft out of Ohio State. "He's been
great so far. I don't expect it to change. It means a lot to us young
guys."

Some of the younger players were apparently not communicating enough
in Sunday's practice, so Garnett did what KG tends to do and that is
to show and tell them exactly what he's looking for and what the C's
will need.

Paul Pierce has known Garnett since they were teenagers, so he's well
aware that Garnett's talent is only trumped by his vast knowledge of
the game.

Having that kind of wisdom and being so willing to pass it on to
younger players, is yet another character trait that sets Garnett
apart from others.

"Every team doesn't have that; that veteran leader that has been
around the block a few times and is going to accept them, take them
under their wing and give them that experience," Pierce said. "He's a
great teacher. He's one of the best to ever play the game. When
Garnett talks, who as a young player doesn't want to listen? And if
you're not listening, then shame on you because this is one of the
best who has ever done it."

In addition to Sullinger, Fab Melo was attentive to Garnett's teachings as well.

"Oh man, it's great," said Melo, who like Sullinger was was drafted in the
first round last June. Melo came out of Syracuse. "Everyday, I watch him play and try to learn everything that he does. After practice, he come to us and explains the stuff we had problems
with. It's great."

But with those explanations comes expectations, Melo said.

"He's tough," Melo said. "With him, if you make a mistake you can't
make the same mistake on the next play because he's going to get at
you. So if you make a mistake, you have to make sure you don't make
the same mistake."

That's not a problem for Melo or Sullinger.

"You know he's doing all this to help you get better, to make us a better team," Sullinger told CSNNE.com. "That's why I said earlier,
he's a great teammate."

But not all the big men that have come through Boston since Garnett's arrival have been so eager to embrace his teachings.

"Those guys don't stick around long," Pierce said. "I have seen those guys, and they're not around here. And you see why."

Melo has heard the tales of such players, which is why he has made it a priority to learn as much as he can from Garnett whenever the opportunity presents itself.

"Maybe some people have so much pride and don't want to listen to people," Melo told CSNNE.com. "But this is a great opportunity for me and I'm not going to get that in my head. He plays the way he does, because he's the best."

Irving: Struggling Celtics must 'weather the storm'

Irving: Struggling Celtics must 'weather the storm'

BOSTON – While it’s too soon to hit the panic button on the Boston Celtics’ season, Sunday’s 103-95 loss to Orlando is disturbing on multiple fronts. 

For starters, the Magic (14-32) have been in the NBA basement most of the season, so for them to see the light towards victory, on the road nonetheless, against the Celtics is bothersome for the Green Team. 

MORE - Blakely's stars, studs, and duds from C's-Magic

Boston came into Sunday’s game with an impressive 17-3 record against teams with a sub-.500 record.

Making matters even worst, it was Boston’s third straight loss – a first for the Celtics this season - with all three defeats coming at the TD Garden. 

Celtics big man Al Horford said the team needs a “Fight for our lives’” mentality heading into Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. 

While no one wants to lose game, having to overcome some hurdles along the journey isn’t always a bad thing.

“Gotta have some adversity,” said Kyrie Irving who led all scorers with 40 points - the second time he has reached the 40-point plateau this season (47 points, Nov. 20 at Dallas). “We need it as a team. There’s a lot more adversity down the road. You have to be able to weather the storm no matter what.”

Aside from Gordon Hayward’s dislocated ankle injury in the season-opener, dropping three straight is probably the biggest adversity the Celtics have had this season. 

And this latest setback came against an Orlando franchise that the Celtics have absolutely owned at home. 

Prior to Sunday’s loss, Boston had not lost to the Magic at home since Feb. 7, 2010 with 14 straight wins.

"We didn't underestimate them," said Boston's Jaylen Brown who had 17 points. "They've been playing a lot better than they've been playing all year."

Al Horford echoed similar sentiments.

“You can’t underestimate any team,” Horford said. “I don’t think we necessarily did, but we need to have that sense of urgency like we started the game and be able to hold that throughout the game. That’s important.”

So is making the most of transition scoring opportunities which was an area of play in which the Celtics struggled mightily all game. 

Boston wound up with six, fast-break points on just 3-for-9 shooting. 

“We had some transition opportunities that we didn’t covert,” acknowledged Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. 

Failing to capitalize on those easy scoring opportunities came back to hurt Boston and in hindsight, proved to be one of the key differences in the game’s outcome. 

“Whether you’re doing things at an optimum level as you would like, that’s part of the game of learning one another,” Irving said. “Being able to figure out how to respond from that. Us as a group, we’ve come together in the last four months, five months, it’s new. We need to hit something like this in order for us to grow. It’s part of the game; part of being on a team, part of being a professional. Any team, any environment, you have to have stuff like this where you have to figure it out.”

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Celtics' losing streak reaches a season-worst three games with loss to Magic

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Celtics' losing streak reaches a season-worst three games with loss to Magic

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics’ defense had its moments on Sunday. 

Ditto for the offense. 

But overall, the sense of urgency that we saw when they reeled off 16 straight wins and skyrocketed to the top of the Eastern Conference standings, was nowhere to be found on Sunday against the Orlando Magic. 

And because of that, the Celtics now find themselves riding a season-worst losing streak that has reached three games. 

While it may not seem like that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, Boston understands all too well how momentum works. 

It is a catapulting force that can elevate teams for a stretch of games, or set them back which is exactly what’s happening now with the Celtics (34-13).

“In my eyes, I feel like we’re fighting for our lives,” said Boston’s Al Horford. “That has to be our mindset gong into Tuesday’s game (against the Los Angeles Lakers).

Horford added, “We have to understand that teams are coming for us. I felt that we’ve handled it okay this season. We have to do a good job of making sure we’re bringing the fire and them not bringing it to us.”

Lately, that has proven to be easier said than done. 

At the end of the day, Boston’s success comes down to one thing and one thing only – improving their play. 

“You know, you’ve got to play well,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “We haven’t played well consistently on both ends for a while now.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 103-95 loss to the Orlando Magic which snapped the Celtics’ 13-game home winning streak against Orlando. 

 

STARS

Kyrie Irving: The Celtics came up short, but that doesn’t diminish a strong bounce-back game for Kyrie Irving. Irving, who did not play in Boston’s loss to Philadelphia on Thursday, returned to the floor and dropped 40 points on 14-for-23 shooting. He also had seven rebounds and five assists with just one turnover.

 

STUDS

Elfrid Payton: By no means did he shut Kyrie Irving down, but his scoring off the dribble certainly provided a much-needed boost for Orlando. He had a team-high 22 points on 9-for-16 shooting along with six rebounds.

Evan Fournier: He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well (8-for-19), but made some clutch baskets for the Magic in pulling off the upset win. 

Aaron Gordon: He tallied his 10th double-double of the season and second straight on Sunday, finishing with 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

Marcus Morris: Getting the starting assignment, Morris gave the Celtics a nice lift with 12 points on 4-for-9 shooting to go with five rebounds.

Jaylen Brown: Early on, Brown and Kyrie Irving were the only sources of offense for the Celtics as they combined to score 23 of Boston’s first 25 points. For the game, Brown had 17 points on 7-for-12 shooting to go with seven rebounds.

 

DUDS

Celtics third quarter: There were other less-than-stellar stretches of play for Boston, but this game was truly decided by Boston’s horrific play at both ends of the floor in the third quarter. That is when the Magic outscored Boston 32-12.

Celtics transition offense: Easily one of the keys to Boston’s inability to get over the hump once after spending most of the second half on the comeback trail. Boston had six, fast-break points while shooting a woeful 3-for-9 in those opportunities. The Magic had almost twice as many fast-break points (11) while doing so on fewer fast-break field goal attempts (8).

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