Game 5 pregame notes: 3-pointers aren't Celtics' Plan A

Game 5 pregame notes: 3-pointers aren't Celtics' Plan A

BOSTON – When most people think about the Boston Celtics’ offense, three words tend to come to mind almost immediately – lots of 3’s.

There’s a very good chance we’ll see them launch a few – OK, quite a few – in tonight’s Game 5 matchup against the Washington Wizards.

But head coach Brad Stevens says the 3-pointer, which appears to be their shot of choice, isn’t Plan A when it comes to scoring.

“Everything we run would be a lay-up option first,” Stevens said. “And anytime you can get an angle at the rim, you want to try and get that.”

But there’s a problem with this plan.

“The problem is the other team tries and take that away,” Stevens said. “Ultimately the next thing … then it’s to spray it out and either attack again or shoot the 3.”

Boston’s 3-point shooting was among the league leaders in the regular season, with 33.4 per game which ranked third in the NBA. And that 3-point shooting was part of an offense that averaged 108.0 points per game which ranked seventh in the NBA.

In the playoffs, Boston has launched even more 3’s per game (36.2) which ranks second among teams in the postseason even though their scoring is down (106.3) and ranks sixth in the NBA.

“Our offense has been really good this year because of our ability to attack the paint and spray it out,” Stevens said. “There are different ways to do it. We’ll try and exhaust all of those.”

Here are three pointers to get you geared up for tonight’s Game 5 matchup between Boston and Washington.


BRADLEY A GO: The left hip pointer injury Avery Bradley suffered in Game 4 won’t keep him out of the starting lineup. He suffered a right hip pointer earlier in the series. Not surprisingly, the right hip pointer is in better shape than his most recent injury.


PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE: Kelly Oubre Jr., returning to the Wizards lineup after serving a one-game suspension for his two-handed shove of Kelly Olynyk in Game 3, is bracing for what should be a showering of boos whenever he touches the ball. He said road games at Kansas State (Oubre Jr. played at Kansas) gave him a taste of what it will be like tonight. “My job is to go out there and play basketball,” he said. “I’m not worried about the fans.”


“QUOTE-UNQUOTE”: “They were the better team in every which way the last two games. We have to play better and there’s a lot that goes into that.” – Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

When is a setback not a setback?

When Danny Ainge says, "You know what? Sometimes I talk too much," Ainge told the Boston Herald over the weekend. "'Setback' wasn't the right word, so let me rephrase that because it's not exactly true to say it - or say it that way.

The Celtics president of basketball operations, in his weekly radio interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub and simulcast on NBC Sports Boston, used that word when he was describing how Gordon Hayward is coming along in his recovery. 

"He had like one setback for a couple of weeks, maybe a month and a half ago," Ainge said on the radio last week. "We were progressing a little bit too fast, we thought."

Ainge clarified that to the Herald's Steve Bulpett. 

"What happened is he went on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill] the first day and he felt some soreness," he said. "It was the first day he tried the AlterG, a long time ago. He just wasn't ready for it at that point. That's all it was."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been adamant that Hayward, recovering from his gruesome leg and ankle injury in the season opener, will not play for the Celtics this season. On Sunday, Stevens, via MassLive.com's Jay King, characterized Stevens' soreness as a "small" issue. 



Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

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Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

CLEVELAND - Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence from the team to address health issues that have included chest pains and loss of sleep.

Lue said Monday in a statement that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is and offered no timetable for his return. The coach said he feels he needs to step away "and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation" from which to coach the rest of the season.

Here's a portion of Lue's statement:

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

"While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season," Lue said. "My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the championship we are all working towards."

A stress-filled season for the Cavs has taken a toll on the Lue, 40, a former Celtics assistant under Doc Rivers who led them to the 2016 NBA championship after taking over for David Blatt midway through that season. They are j40-29, third in the Eastern Conference, behind the second-place Celtics and East-leading Toronto Raptors, and have endured roster shake-ups, injuries and other distractions as they try to return to the NBA Finals.

David Aldridge of TNT reports that the plan is for Lue to return in a week. The NBA playoffs begin April 14. 

"We all want great players, we all want the best teams, but with that comes a lot of pressure as well. And what Ty Lue has had to go through this year with that team, with the trades and the injuries and the pressure, it's unrelenting," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "So I hope that he gets healthy and is able to get back in time for the playoffs and help that team win as many games as possible."

Lue spent the second half of Cleveland's victory in Chicago on Saturday in the locker room because of an illness, the second time this season he left a game because he wasn't feeling well. The former NBA guard also sat one out against Chicago at home in December.

Associate head coach Larry Drew coached the second half of Saturday's game, the finale of a six-game, 11-day road trip. Cleveland is back home to host Milwaukee on Monday.

"We know how difficult these circumstances are for Coach Lue and we support him totally in this focused approach to addressing his health issues," general manager Koby Altman said.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford also left his team to address his health this season. He took six weeks off. Medical tests revealed that the 56-year-old Clifford did not have any internal problems, but the doctor's diagnosis was the coach was suffering from severe sleep deprivation.

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

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