Celtics

Class in session at C's camp with Professor KG

776848.jpg

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."

Celtics, Jaylen Brown's crucial flub in Game 4 was actually officiating error

Celtics, Jaylen Brown's crucial flub in Game 4 was actually officiating error

BOSTON – The NBA’s two-minute report on Boston’s Game 4 loss at Milwaukee revealed a trio of incorrect non-calls in the closing moments of play, two of which went against the Celtics in their 104-102 loss. 

With Boston ahead 100-99 with less than a minute to play, Jaylen Brown lost the ball on a driving lay-up attempt. 

No call was made on the play, one that Brown thought he was fouled on. 

The two-minute report confirmed “that (Khris) Middleton makes contact to Brown's arm that affects his driving shot attempt.”

Had the call been made, Brown would have gone to the free throw line with 43.5 seconds to play with the Celtics already ahead by one point. 

MORE CELTICS:

But on the ensuing Milwaukee possession following the non-call, Malcolm Brogdon drained a 3-pointer that put the Bucks ahead 102-100.

With 47.9 seconds to play, the two-minute report also indicated that an offensive foul should have been called against Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two-minute report indicated that, “Antetokounmpo extends his arm and wards off (Semi) Ojeleye's arm, affecting his ability to contest the shot attempt.”

And with 1:14 to play, Antetokounmpo was fouled by Jayson Tatum although no call was made. On the play, the two-minute report says that, “Tatum clamps Antetokounmpo's arm and pushes him, affecting his (freedom of movement) and ability to receive the pass.

On the ensuing possession following the non-call, Tatum hit a jumper that put the Celtics ahead 100-99 with 52.4 seconds to play. 

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been asked about officiating quite a bit in the last few days. And his response in each instance remains relatively the same.

"I'm not going to ever say anything bad about referees because they have a really tough job," Stevens said. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Five takeaways: Celtics top-rated defense underwhelms vs. Bucks

my_post_copy-5.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Photo

Five takeaways: Celtics top-rated defense underwhelms vs. Bucks

MILWAUKEE –  As good as the Boston Celtics have been defensively all season, they’ve had a defensive clunker from time to time. 

But what we’ve seen thus far after four games is a Milwaukee team that Boston has been unable to slow down or limit offensively. 

In the four games thus far, the Bucks have shot 54.2 percent from the field, tops among all playoff teams. And Boston’s defense, which had a league-best defensive rating in the regular season of 101.5, is next-to-last in the playoffs with a defensive rating of 113.9.

When you talk adjustments, none looms any larger for the Celtics than trying to find a way to force Milwaukee into not being quite so efficient. 

Of course the shooting of Giannis Antetokoumpo (62 percent) and Khris Middleton (61.5 percent) skew the numbers somewhat, with both shooting better than 60 percent combined in addition to having taken 43.6 percent of all Milwaukee’s shots. For most defenses in the NBA, you would chalk it up as nothing more than the Bucks being red-hot from the field. But Boston isn’t just any team on defense. 

The Celtics were the league’s best club in several defensive categories during the regular season, so the sight of them being routinely roasted by the Bucks’ shooters is somewhat surprising and to a lesser degree, disturbing as they try to regain control of the series in Game 5. 

Here are five takeaways from Boston’s 104-102 Game 4 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Baynes conundrum

No one had a better defensive rating (97.0) in the NBA than Aron Baynes, and when you watch him play there is no denying his impact. But the Bucks love to run pick-and-rolls where he is switched out on Giannis Antetokounmpo who has been a major problem. Baynes’ defensive rating in the playoffs has is 115.3 which ranks 149th among players who have played in four playoff games. But he has also been one of Boston’s top rebounders which is in part why the Celtics have reason to be hesitant to limit his playing time too much. 

Brown, Tatum ready to shine

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have been central figures in Boston’s ascension this season, with both showing noticeable growth in the postseason. They were particularly strong in Boston’s Game 4 loss with Brown scoring a career-high 34 points while Tatum had 21 points with 18 coming in the second half. The future is now for the Celtics, and these two are leading the charge. 

Rozier shooting struggles continue

Terry Rozier has been the ultimate litmus test to how Boston is faring in this series. When he has been good, so have the Celtics. And when he has struggled, Boston followed suit with less-than-impressive play. After averaging 23 points in Boston’s Game 1 and Game 2 wins, his scoring dropped significantly to 9.5 points per game in Game 3 and 4 losses. 

Jabari Parker

After being a non-factor, Parker has delivered the kind of bench production the Bucks have been longing for in this series. After scoring just two points in Games 1 and 2 combined, Parker averaged 16.5 points in Games 3 and 4, connecting on 12-for-22 of his shots from the field. 

Thon Maker

It’s a bit of a head-scratcher that Thon Maker played just one minute in Games 1 and 2 combined and was unleashed at home in Games 3 and 4. To his credit, he was a difference-maker in Game 4 with eight points along with tallying five blocks for the second straight game. Boston has to do a better job of limiting is impact not only as a defender, but also as a 3-point threat. In Games 3 and 4, he was 5-for-9 (55 percent) from 3-point range.