Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics putting on a defensive clinic

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics putting on a defensive clinic

BOSTON –  The Boston Celtics defense has been hit or miss lately.
On Monday, they were hitting the Brooklyn Nets hard in the first half which propelled them to a comfortable 58-40 lead.
The Celtics, looking to take sole possession of first place in the East with a win coupled with a Cleveland loss, opened the game with a 7-2 run and closed out the first quarter with its largest lead of the game, 28-13.
Boston continued to control the action in the second quarter against a Brooklyn Nets team that has been playing some of the best basketball in the East the last couple of weeks.
They came into Monday’s game having won four of their last five games, and seven of 12 which is a dramatic improvement for a team that has won just 20 games all season.
Boston had lots of players contribute offensively, but the difference-maker in the first half was Boston’s defense which did as good a job as we’ve seen lately not only contesting shots but also getting back in transition in addition to providing help whenever one of the players defending on the perimeter was beat off the dribble.
It was a defensive clinic unlike anything we’ve seen from the Celtics recently with the Nets shooting just 27.3 percent in the first half.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Monday’s game between Boston and Brooklyn.

Isaiah Thomas

He was scoring like he normally does, as the Nets did little to slow him down as Thomas led all scorers with 12 points.
Avery Bradley

His defense and shot-making helped set the tone tonight for sure. At the half, he had nine points on 4-for-5 shooting with four rebounds.
Kelly Olynyk

For the second straight game, Olynyk looked really aggressive offensively which is what Brad Stevens, his teammates, fans, etc. have encouraged him to do more often. He had nine points off the bench in 10 minutes, along with four rebounds and three assists.
Jeremy Lin

The Nets have been a significantly better team with a healthy Lin, who was arguably the best player on the floor for Brooklyn. He had 11 points and six rebounds.
Marcus Smart

He was part of a dominant defensive showing by Boston in the first half. But he also made an impact scoring the ball, tallying nine points on 3-for-5 shooting from the field.

Brook Lopez

He gets buckets and not much else. So to see the 7-footer score seven points in the first half without grabbing a single rebound … no surprise.

'Big Baby' busted with 126 grams of pot, $92K in cash

AP Photo

'Big Baby' busted with 126 grams of pot, $92K in cash

Former Celtics forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis was arrested last month in a hotel room in Aberdeen, Maryland, with more than 126 grams of marijuana and more than $92,000 in cash.

Davis, 32, who played on the Celtics 2008 championship team was last in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2015, was arrested Feb. 7 after the hotel owner at the Aberdeen Hampton Inn smelled marijuana coming from Davis' room, WMAR-TV in Baltimore reported.

“They recovered 126 grams of marijuana,” Aberdeen Police Lt. William Reiber told WMAR. “In addition to that, there was a briefcase that contained 92,164 dollars of U.S. currency along with a ledger that contained language which is consistent with someone involved in the sale and distribution of narcotics.”

Davis is charged with seven counts of drug possession and distribution.

Police said the strains of marijuana were from a Los Angeles wholesaler that court records show Davis told police he was in business with.

He told officers he was visiting family in Maryland. Davis' attorney told WMAR the former Celtic (2007-11) adamantly maintains his innocence and looks forward to his day in court next month to clear his name. 


Horford helps Celtics get back on track

USA TODAY Sports Photo

Horford helps Celtics get back on track

Aggressive Al Horford was on the floor Friday night for the Boston Celtics, a good sign for a Celtics team that has been battered by injuries. 

As the oldest member of the team, the 31-year-old’s leadership has to become more example-driven as well as existing in the spoken word.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST  - Smart's importance to C's, dissecting the East

Horford was on point for most of Friday’s 92-83 win over Orlando, a game that was far more lopsided in Boston’s favor than the final score might indicate.

The 6-foot-10 forward/center had a near double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. 

What was more telling was that Horford took a team-high 18 shots from the field, as clear a sign as you will find that Horford’s mindset on Friday was to attack Orlando’s defense early and often. 

And while it’s true that the Magic are one of the worst teams in the NBA, that doesn’t diminish the way Horford executed the plays called by head coach Brad Stevens as Horford played the role of primary scorer more often than usual, instead of being a major facilitator.

Having missed Boston’s previous two games, Horford was admittedly concerned if the lay-off might affect his conditioning. 

“Wind-wise I felt good,” Horford told reporters after Friday night’s win. “A little rusty on offense. But defensively I felt great. I felt our team came out with energy; just a good win.” 

A win that became a lot easier to get with Aggressive Al on the floor. 

 Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds in Boston’s 92-83 win over Orlando.



Terry Rozier: He continues to provide the Celtics with really solid guard play, with all-star guard Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) missing. Rozier had a game high-tying 17 points along with seven rebounds and five assists. 

Greg Monroe: The third quarter was when Monroe really began to take over the game. He finished with 17 points, 10 of which came in the third. 

Shelvin Mack: Not a lot to cheer about for Mack and the Magic who once again struggled in so many phases of the game. But Mack still managed to score 16 points. 



Al Horford: Having missed the two previous games, Horford was back in full force on Friday. He had 15 points on 6-for-18 shooting to go with nine rebounds

Boston rebounding: The Celtics control of the glass began from the outset and never really eased up. For the game, Boston grabbed 55 rebounds compared to just 40 by Orlando. 



Fourth-quarter Celtics: The only real blemish on an otherwise impressive performance by Boston, was the team’s overall play in the fourth quarter. Boston was outscored 31-17 and turned the ball over 10 times in the quarter.