Crowder leaves door open to playing tonight vs. Warriors


Crowder leaves door open to playing tonight vs. Warriors

Celtics forward Jae Crowder playing tonight at Golden State seemed unlikely prior to Thursday’s game at Portland.

But after the 116-109 loss to the Blazers, both Crowder and coach Brad Stevens left the door ajar that he could be in the starting lineup against the Warriors.
Crowder on the floor tonight would certainly increase the chances (as slim as they might be) of the Celtics pulling off the ultimate upset by throwing a monkey wrench into the Golden State Warriors’ unprecedented run of success, which includes winning 54 in a row at home.
For Crowder, who returned to the Celtics lineup on Thursday after missing the previous eight games with a high right ankle sprain, his motivation to play is far more self-serving for him and the Celtics.
“I need the conditioning going into the playoffs,” Crowder, who had a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds,  told reporters following the loss to the Blazers. “I felt very fatigued [on Thursday]. My legs were heavier than I ever played with. I need these seven games to get back in the shape that I’m capable of playing at.”
As the numbers bear out, the Celtics are a significantly weaker team in just about every statistical category without Crowder in the lineup.
He has become the ultimate glue guy, doing so many little things that have contributed to Boston having its best season under third-year coach Brad Stevens with another seven games left to play.
All involved agree a decision on whether he plays will not be rushed.
“Ed [Lacerte, the team’s head trainer] said he’s going to look at him after the game, look at him in the morning and they’ll make that decision in the morning,” Stevens told reporters on Thursday night after the loss. “And then they’ll let me know.”
Another factor in whether Crowder will play has to be the proximity of this game to the start of the playoffs.
The last thing the Celtics want to do is put Crowder on the floor less than full strength, against the best team not just in the NBA but potentially the best regular season team ever.
“It’s up to me and how I feel,” Crowder said. “Ed is telling me to expect to be a little sore. But if I can play through it, I’ll play through it.”


Gordon Hayward rips back a morning workout while repping his Butler Bulldogs

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Gordon Hayward rips back a morning workout while repping his Butler Bulldogs

There hasn't been all positive news surrounding Gordon Hayward as of late.

The Celtics have been shooting down rumors of Hayward returning this season. Recent news has detailed a minor setback in his recovery.

But it's always good to see the C's superstar up early crushing a workout in the weightroom.

We might not see him back in 2018, but his dedication during recovery is something to admire.


Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

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Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

It seems all season we’ve talked about the Boston Celtics overcoming adversity, whether it be a bad injury to a key player or a blown assignment leading to a loss.

Nowhere is this more apparent than their play on the road this season which ranks among the best in the NBA.

The Celtics will look to continue on their road warrior-like ways tonight at New Orleans, a team that’s fighting for playoff position in the tighter-than-usual Western Conference.

In recent years, the terrain has been rough for teams from the East venturing into Western Conference territory.

For this year’s Celtics?

Not so much.

Boston comes into tonight’s game with a 17-7 record against Western Conference teams, tops among all teams in the East.

And while Boston has eight road games left this season, they are on pace to finish with one of the best road records in franchise history.

Currently 24-9 away from the TD Garden (tops in the East, third overall in the NBA), that’s a winning percentage of .727 which is the fourth-highest in franchise history.

Here are five under-the-radar story lines to keep an eye on when the Boston Celtics take on the New Orleans Pelicans tonight.


It’s a given that Al Horford will spend time defending Anthony Davis tonight. And while Davis will likely have a strong night scoring the ball, you can count on Horford making it extremely tough on him. When the two teams met on Jan. 16, Davis was 8-for-19 shooting for 16 points in 52 possessions when defended by Horford. For the game, Davis had 45 points on 16-for-34 shooting.


We’ve seen “Playoff" Rondo and “National TV" Rondo deliver some impressive performances in the past. What will we see from “Well-Rested” Rondo? The Pelicans gave the ex-Celtic the night off on Saturday as to not play him in back-to-back games. Of the two games, it made sense to sit him against the Rockets and have him ready to roll against a Boston Celtics team that will not have its full complement of players available.


Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry had some choice words about the officiating in New Orleans’ 107-101 loss to Houston on Saturday that he clearly felt cost his team a better chance at winning. The only cost in play now is how big will the check be that he’ll pay the league for his comments about the officiating. His issue was that Anthony Davis doesn’t get enough calls based on the physical abuse he takes per game. Davis ranks fourth in the NBA in free throw attempts (7.8) per game, but only had four attempts against the Rockets. It’ll be worth watching whether the Pelicans, 16th in the league in free throw attempts (21.4) per game, will get to the line significantly more or less than their season average.


One of the keys to Boston’s improved play since returning to the floor since the all-star break, has been their ability to begin games with strong play. Boston has outscored their opponent in the first quarter each of the last eight games, and 10 of 11. In addition, Boston has been ahead at the half in each of their 10 games since the all-star break, which comes on the heels of trailing at the half in the seven games prior to the break.


Jayson Tatum has been one of the most impactful rookies in the NBA this season which will likely land him a spot on the NBA’s all-rookie first or second team. One of the strengths of Tatum has been his durability, evident by him being one of just two first-year players to appear in each of his team’s games played this season. He is joined by Memphis’ Dillon Brooks.