Celtics

Five days later

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Five days later

Hard to believe it's only been five days since the Celtics were eliminated. Five days. Doesn't it feel like a lifetime ago?

It's like we went from 60 to zero in milliseconds. In the time it took LeBron's 30-footer to leave his finger tips and tear up the net, we went from the Finals to this whatever this is.

Sorry, but this what happens around this time every night of the NBA Finals, when everyone's going wild about the Heat and Thunder when it's the center of the sports world. And then I remember how close the Celtics were. How even though it maybe shouldn't be them, it definitely could've been. They were right there. I don't want to say they blew it but they kind of blew it.

OK, I'll stop now. I know we've all moved on. Or at least we're trying. But to be honest, it's hard to really turn the page when the team is in so much limbo. When, despite all the questions that surround the future, it might be weeks before we gain any clarity. Sure, we learned that Brandon Bass will opt out of his contract, but we knew that was coming. Sure, we learned that Greg Stiemsma wants to come back, but we knew that was coming. Sure, we nope. That's about it. And that will be it for a while, until Kevin Garnett finally makes a decision and the rest of the chips fall into place. How long before KG announces his intentions? Who knows, we'll have to find him first. I'm thinking of spending the next few weeks scoping out the beaches of Malibu, see if I can catch a glimpse.

In the meantime, I guess we'll just continue to wait, and hope that at least for tonight, Oklahoma City continues to make that wait a little more enjoyable.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Blakely's takeaways: C's put entire league on notice

Blakely's takeaways: C's put entire league on notice

BOSTON – You had to figure Golden State’s explosive offense would probably come up a little short scoring-wise against the Boston Celtics and their top-rated defense. 

But for them to score 88 points – that’s about 32 below their average – was very one of those, “where the hell did that come from?” moments. 

And it was exactly what the Celtics needed to escape with a 92-88 win that extended their winning streak to 14 in a row but maybe most important, put the entire league on notice that this streak they’re on right now … it’s real. 

“They wrote us off coming in, saying Golden State was gonna beat us, and do this and do that,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “We came out and played basketball. Even though we got down, the make-up of our team is staying in; we’re resilient.”

Here are five takeaways from Boston’s signature win of the season, 92-88 over Golden State which extended Boston’s winning streak to 14 straight. 

 

BROWN’S GROWTH

Jaylen Brown was playing with a heavy heart less than 24 hours after the death of his best friend. But as we’ve seen in this still-young season, Brown is very much one of the league’s emerging talents. He certainly played that role on Thursday in leading Boston with 22 points with seven rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.  

 

TALE OF TWO HALVES FOR TATUM

There’s something about the second half of games against elite players that brings out the best in Jayson Tatum. When Boston opened the season at Cleveland, Tatum was noticeably better in the second half than the first. And in Thursday’s win over Golden State, it was more of the same. In the first half he had just two points only to finish with a 10-point second half (7 coming in the fourth) for a 12-point game on 2-for-5 shooting. 

 

AL HORFORD

As well as he’s played, a strong case can be made for Horford being a league MVP instead of their leading scorer, Kyrie Irving. Horford tallied a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds to go with a pair of assists. Horford now has six double-doubles this season which equals his double-double total from all of last season. 

 

MARCUS SMART

As much as you know Smart makes great effort plays consistently and does indeed make a difference when he’s on the court, his shooting woes are reaching critical mass even as Boston continues to gobble up wins. In the last five games, Smart has averaged 7.6 points. That’s not too bad, right? But then you look and see that he’s shooting 19.2 percent (10-for-52) in that span. Ouch! So far, the Celtics have been able to find success despite his shooting struggles. But you have to anticipate at some point it’ll catch up with them. 

 

SHORTENED ROTATION

For most of this season, pretty much everyone who suits up for the Celtics, have played. But against the Warriors, it had the feel of a playoff-like rotation with head coach Brad Stevens playing 10 guys with nine reaching double digits in minutes played. Considering how the second unit struggled to make shots (they missed 17 of their 19 shot attempts), it’s understandable why head coach Brad Stevens leaned a little heavier than usual on his second unit.