Celtics

Garnett: Gay brings 'a spark' to Toronto

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Garnett: Gay brings 'a spark' to Toronto

TORONTO Rudy Gay has been a man in demand since being traded to Toronto from Memphis on Jan. 30.
And while he embraces this newfound attention, Gay isn't about to let it go to his head.
He knows for this trade to work, he has to do more than drop his usual 17.9 points per game or the 24.5 points in the two games played with the Raptors prior to Wednesday's 99-95 loss to the Celtics.
Gay led the Raptors with 25 points, but missed eight of his nine shot attempts in the fourth quarter and finished just 8-for-24 from the field.
Still, it's clear that the Celtics have a tremendous amount of respect for his game.
"Rudy's a great scorer," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "You can't stop guys like that. You're just trying to give him different looks and hope that he misses."
Indeed, this will be yet another lesson for Gay to learn from as he adapts to his new team in a new city, with a new role.
With so many young players on the roster, it's clear that the Raptors view him as the face of their franchise moving forward.
"It's a lot of great players here," Gay told CSNNE.com. "They're just young. They have to learn. For the most part, it takes time. Hopefully I can lower the curve a little bit just being out here."
Being called upon to be more of a leader was not one of the requirements of Gay when he was in Memphis.
While he was part of the Grizzlies' leadership core, the responsibility was doled out among other veterans such as Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and former Celtic Tony Allen.
But in Toronto, Gay understands all too well that his role will be one that includes delivering both on and off the court.
The best way to lead, he believes, is by example.
So in asking his teammates to improve their game, he too must find ways to become a better player.
"I still feel I have a lot more to prove," he said. "It's not about what I've done in the past, but what can I do in the future. I have a lot more to give, and I can do that here."
Although it's still early, Celtics coach Doc Rivers is convinced that the addition of Gay will make the Raptors a much better team.
"When you have a go-to scorer and what they have, it makes them a better basketball team," Rivers said. "Each time you add an offensive player to a team, it makes everyone better offensively."
Garnett is also among those who believes Toronto is a better team with Gay on the roster.
"They seem to be a lot more confident," Garnett said. "They are playing with the element ... all the games I've seen have been at home. They seem to be getting the ball up the floor at an unbelievable place. He's bringing a spark to that city. That's the first thing that stands out when I watch them."
But Gay isn't focused on being a star or anything like that.
He is more locked into finding ways to lead this team.
Miami's LeBron James is one of the players Gay has looked up to as a example of never being satisfied with one's game.
"He's a what? Two-time MVP? And you see he's always adding something to his game," Gay said. "That's what I'm trying to do; just keep getting better, doing more things to become a better player and hopefully that'll make us a better team.
"You can always add stuff to your game."

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics streak comes to an end

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics streak comes to an end

0:41 - Tom Giles, Kayce Smith, and DJ Bean discuss the Celtics 16-game winning streak being snapped by the Miami Heat.

6:05 - Tom Curran and Mike Giardi talk about Tom Brady missing practice due to an Achilles injury and Randy Moss’ chances to make the Hall of Fame.

11:15 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins BST to discuss the mental and physical fatigue that the streak had on the Celtics and if there is a sense of relief that the streak is over.  

16:11 - With it being the 5th anniversary of the Butt Fumble, we compare it to other embarrassing sports moments in history. 

Little things prove costly for Celtics as streak comes to an end

Little things prove costly for Celtics as streak comes to an end

When you reflect upon Boston’s 16-game winning streak which came to an end with Miami’s 104-98 win on Wednesday, there were moments in just about every game that played a major factor in their success.

So it was only fitting that in the Miami loss, it would be a whole lot of little things that ultimately brought the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history to a screeching halt.

  • Al Horford missed a pair of free throws.
  • Marcus Smart split a pair that had he made both, would have tied the game up in the fourth quarter.
  • Jayson Tatum had his only turnover of the game, in the fourth.
  • Terry Rozier had a rebound that he could not corral and bounced off his hands out of bounds.

And that doesn’t even factor in the missed open shots and unforced turnovers that collectively played a major role in Boston’s winning streak being a thing of the past now.

“I turned it over, we missed some free throws . . . we had some unfortunate things happen,” Tatum told reporters following the loss.

MORE:

Even with the loss, the Celtics (16-3) still boast the best record in the NBA.

Kyrie Irving has elevated his all-around play to a level to where he’s legitimately in the conversation as a league MVP candidate.

Jayson Tatum has established himself as one of the league’s top rookies from his draft class.

“As you could see, they kept hitting us, hitting us, until we were knocked out,” Irving said. “They deserved that win tonight.”

Disappointed with the loss, but it was not at all surprising to head coach Brad Stevens who has been raising concerns about his team’s attention to detail for the past few games and sensed it would catch up to them sooner or later.

“I told you, we’re not as good as the 16-game win streak,” Stevens said. “But we do have a lot of resolve. I can’t say enough about our guy’s will to come back. It’s incredible we were able to erase that lead that quickly and give ourselves a chance.”

Indeed, the Celtics rallied from a double-digit deficit to come within a single point in the fourth quarter. But unlike previous games, Boston couldn’t find a path to victory.

“We’re just going to continue to learn and continue to get better,” Irving said. “It’s the same things echoed when we were winning. Just continue to get better and understand, there’s still a lot for us to accomplish going forward.

He added, “It was a good streak, and it’s finally come to an end.”

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