Celtics

Tatum: Celtics were taking me at No. 1 all along

Tatum: Celtics were taking me at No. 1 all along


At the end of the trade call with the 76ers, perhaps Danny Ainge whispered “Boonk gang” before hanging up. 

That’s because, at least in Jayson Tatum’s eyes, Ainge pulled a fast one on the 76ers. Ainge has intimated that Tatum was their top-rated player in the draft -- he said after trading the pick to Philly that the player they’d have taken first overall would be at No. 3 -- but Tatum said this week that the 76ers might not have needed to move up to get Markelle Fultz. 

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Appearing on the “WTF in the Attic” podcast with DJ Cuddy Montana, Tatum essentially said that the Celtics were going to draft him first overall all along. Had that happened and the Lakers stuck with local product Lonzo Ball, Fultz would have indeed slipped to No. 3, where the 76ers could have gotten their man. Instead, the 76ers traded a protected future pick (the Lakers’ 2018 pick if it’s between No. 2 and 5; the higher of the 76ers and Kings’ first-overall-protected picks in 2019 otherwise).

“The Celtics were always going to pick me No. 1, but Philly didn’t know that,” Tatum said. “Philly thought that Boston was going to pick Markelle, so Philly traded the pick and gave Boston a pick for next year, so Boston was like, ‘Well, we can still get the player we want, a [future] pick and then we get the player we wanted for less money.’ So Boston still got what they wanted, and Philly had to give up still to get the player. But Philly didn’t know that Boston was gong to pick me, so that’s why they traded up.”

Tatum was named to the All-NBA Summer League second team after averaging 18.2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. 
 

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.

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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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Stars, studs and duds: Bounce is real for Waiters, Heat

Stars, studs and duds: Bounce is real for Waiters, Heat

The bounce is real.

No, I’m not talking about Kelly Olynyk’s hops.

I’m talking about that late-game shot made by Dion Waiters that was among the many big plays made by the Miami Heat in handing Boston a 104-98 loss which snapped the Celtics’ 16-game winning streak.

After Marcus Smart split a pair of free throws that cut Miami’s lead to 91-90, Waiters pulled up for a 3-pointer that hit the top of the backboard, took a high bounce and dropped through the net to make it a 94-90 game with 2:56 to play.

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Just 22 seconds later, Al Horford – an 83.8 percent free throw shooter – missed a pair of free throws that was soon followed by another 3-pointer from Waiters.

“They were terrific tonight,” Boston’s Brad Stevens told NBC Sports Boston’s Kyle Draper following the game. “Miami played with incredible pace, with their ability to drive the ball, I thought they put us on our heels most of the night. No question, they deserved to win the game. Maybe that’s why they got the big bounce (on Waiters’ 3-pointer with 2:56 to play) and that kind of separated it as we were coming back.”

Said Al Horford: “Our group, we kept fighting, we kept pushing each other. We have to give the Heat credit. They did what they needed to do, they stuck it out and they beat us.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 104-98 loss to the Miami Heat which snapped Boston’s 16-game winning streak as well as ended Boston’s eight-game winning streak over the Heat.

 

STARS

Dion Waiters

On the heels of his worst game as a pro (he was 0-for-10 in loss to Indiana on Sunday), Waiters was the difference-maker above all others on Wednesday. He finished with 26 points which included a team-best eight points in the fourth quarter.

Jayson Tatum

He didn’t lead the Celtics in scoring, but he was very impressive with his play in the second half to bring Boston within striking distance in the fourth quarter. He had 18 points and seven rebounds along with four assists.

 

STUDS

Goran Dragic

While Waiters closed out the win for Miami with a strong fourth quarter, Dragic put the Heat in position for the win with a strong game most of the night. He would finish with a game-high 27 points. He also had five rebounds and four assists.

Kyrie Irving

Irving came up with a slew of late-game baskets to keep hope alive that the Celtics could once again rally from a double-digit deficit and win. Even though he and the Celtics came up short, Irving still tallied a team-high 23 points and did so on an efficient 11-for-22 shooting night.

 

DUDS

Al Horford

It was a rough night shooting the ball for Horford who had X points on 3-for-10 shooting. He wasn’t any better from the free throw line while missing both of his free throw attempts in the fourth.

Celtics bench

There were signs of improvement with Marcus Morris (14 points) playing with the second unit, but this unit continues to struggle when it comes to making shots. For the game, Boston’s backups shot 9-for-28 (32.1 percent).

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