Celtics

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Another feisty game between Celtics and Wizards

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Another feisty game between Celtics and Wizards

BOSTON – It was testy at times, feisty as ever and included a couple technical fouls being called.

Just another Boston-Washington game, one in which the Celtics go into the half ahead 58-47. 

Boston’s control of the first half really didn’t begin until there was a dust-up involving Terry Rozier, Brandon Jennings and Kelly Oubre Jr.

It led to a video review which determined that double techs were in order for Rozier and Oubre Jr., and a foul against Jennings.

At the time of the incident, the score was tied at 37.

The Celtics scored the next six points which included a long 2-pointer by Isaiah Thomas (the tip of his toe was on the 3-point line) that led to a Wizards time-out with 6:19 to play in the half.

Boston continued to surge ahead with their lead peaking at 11 points (53-42) following a pair of free throws by Thomas who was back in the lineup after missing two games with a knee bruise.

The control Boston displayed in the second quarter was in stark contrast to how the game was played in the first quarter which featured strong runs by both teams.

First there was the Wizards breaking open an 8-all tie with an 11-4 surge leading to a Celtics time-out with 6:19 to play.

Boston came out of the time-out playing a different, more effective brand of basketball resulting in 10 straight points that put them ahead 22-19.

The rest of the quarter was a tightly played contested that ended with Boston ahead 30-28 following a put-back basket by Avery Bradley.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Monday night’s game between Boston and Washington.

 

STARS

Avery Bradley

A defensive wiz most nights, Avery Bradley delivered a serious blow to Washington with his scoring, too. He led the Celtics with 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting.

Bradley Beal

He leads all scorers with 15 points, but he’s had to work hard for it tonight.

 Jae Crowder

He had a great two-minute stretch in the first half where he was the best player on the floor. He goes into the half with 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting with five rebounds.

 

STUDS

Kelly Olynyk

We’ve seen Olynyk have some good nights on the boards, but never like this … in one half? He has three points to go with a game-high eight rebounds.

Brandon Jennings

He gave the Wizards a nice offensive jolt in the first half with seven points on 2-for-4 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

Having the weekend off has left him a little rusty (2-for-7 shooting), but he’s still managing to make his presence felt. He has nine points along with four assists and three rebounds.

 

DUDS

John Wall

The All-Star guard has been all dud in the first half, scoring five points on 2-for-6 shooting.

 

Marcus Smart upgrade to questionable for Game 5

Marcus Smart upgrade to questionable for Game 5

BOSTON –  Once considered a long shot to return by Game 7 of Boston’s first-round series with the Milwaukee Bucks, Marcus Smart may be on the floor as soon as Tuesday night's Game 5 matchup.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said there was no update on Smart following the team’s practice on Monday, but the team has since upgraded Smart's status to “questionable” for Game 5 – the first time he has been listed as anything other than “out” since he had his right thumb surgically repaired last month.

In the past couple of weeks, Smart has increased his workload and made it clear that he was inching closer to getting back on the floor possibly ahead of schedule. 

Prior to Boston’s Game 4 loss, Smart discussed his potential return. 

“I feel ready, I feel strong enough to get back out there,” Smart said at the time. “I’m just waiting for the OK.”

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It appears his most recent visit to the doctor went as planned with Smart now likely cleared to practice – and with that clearance, available to play. 

The return of Smart would be a huge plus for a Celtics team that has struggled mightily in this first-round series against Milwaukee from a defensive standpoint. 

During the regular season, Boston had a league-best defensive rating of 101.5. But against the Bucks, Boston’s defense has slipped to second-to-last among playoff teams which has heavily factored into the series now being tied at two games apiece. 

You can count Boston's Jaylen Brown among the Celtics eager to get Smart back into the fold. 

“When he gets in there he changes the whole game on defense,” Brown said. “He’s definitely missed so when he comes back that’ll make a lot of our jobs a whole lot easier.”

Stevens had similar sentiments about Smart. 

“Marcus is one of our most reliable players for the last four years,” Stevens said. “No question Marcus as been a huge part of us.”

Smart has appeared in 54 games for the Celtics this season, averaging 10.2 points, 4.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds while playing 29.9 minutes per game.

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Jaylen Brown's crucial flub in Game 4 was actually officiating error

Jaylen Brown's crucial flub in Game 4 was actually officiating error

BOSTON -- The NBA’s two-minute report on Boston’s Game 4 loss at Milwaukee revealed a trio of incorrect non-calls in the closing moments of play, two of which went against the Celtics in their 104-102 loss. 

With Boston ahead 100-99 with less than a minute to play, Jaylen Brown lost the ball on a driving lay-up attempt. 

No call was made on the play, one that Brown thought he was fouled on. 

The two-minute report confirmed “that (Khris) Middleton makes contact to Brown's arm that affects his driving shot attempt.”

Had the call been made, Brown would have gone to the free throw line with 43.5 seconds to play with the Celtics already ahead by one point. 

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But on the ensuing Milwaukee possession following the non-call, Malcolm Brogdon drained a 3-pointer that put the Bucks ahead 102-100.

With 47.9 seconds to play, the two-minute report also indicated that an offensive foul should have been called against Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two-minute report indicated that, “Antetokounmpo extends his arm and wards off (Semi) Ojeleye's arm, affecting his ability to contest the shot attempt.”

And with 1:14 to play, Antetokounmpo was fouled by Jayson Tatum although no call was made. On the play, the two-minute report says that, “Tatum clamps Antetokounmpo's arm and pushes him, affecting his (freedom of movement) and ability to receive the pass.

On the ensuing possession following the non-call, Tatum hit a jumper that put the Celtics ahead 100-99 with 52.4 seconds to play. 

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been asked about officiating quite a bit in the last few days. And his response in each instance remains relatively the same.

"I'm not going to ever say anything bad about referees because they have a really tough job," Stevens said. 

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