Celtics

Despite injuries, Celtics look to win Game 2 with improved D

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Despite injuries, Celtics look to win Game 2 with improved D

BOSTON Doc Rivers will have his full roster available to play in tonight's Game 2 matchup against Philadelphia. But by no means does that mean the Celtics are any healthier.

With so many bodies hurting, the Celtics find themselves once again trying to find ways to win with a bunch of dinged up parts.

"Just the playoffs in general, has been a challenge because of the off the court; just the juggling of the bodies," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "And it's what it should be sometimes. The playoffs should be hard, they should be a grind."

Philadelphia. Oklahoma City. Miami.

Pick a team, any team that's still in the playoffs and there's a good chance that one of their key players is battling some type of painful injury.

"The good news or bad news, is it's for everybody," Rivers said. "Everybody is going through stuff. That's what makes it so tough."

And for Boston, the challenge now is pretty clear: find a way to win Game 2.

The Celtics' fourth-quarter comeback certain has the potential to deliver a huge dent to the Sixers' confidence.

But the C's can't count on that.

If anything, the Sixers will be even more confident considering they spent the bulk of Game 1 with playing with a lead.

There were a number of areas the Celtics would like to improve, notably their defense against the Sixers' transition offense.

Although the final statistics showed Boston giving up 13 points in transition, Rivers said his coaching staff reviewed the video and came up with Philadelphia generating 26 points in transition.

Rivers said he was also disturbed by the unusually high number of open shots the Sixers were able to get in the first quarter.

"They had eight uncontested jump shots in the first quarter," Rivers said. "We can't start off games that way. One thing Philly does, and it sounds silly, but they make open shots; they really do. We have to contest shots. We have to get back on defense."

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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