Jerebko channels Tommy Heinsohn with 'unblockable' hook shot

Jerebko channels Tommy Heinsohn with 'unblockable' hook shot

BOSTON – At some point tonight, Jonas Jerebko will likely come swooping through the lane to shoot a hook shot that will remind long-time Celtics fans of the legendary Tommy Heinsohn. 

While Jerebko has a tremendous amount of respect for Heinsohn, his hook shot was established well before he arrived in Boston two years ago. 

The way Jerebko tells it, the shot came about out of necessity because as a 15-year-old he was often playing against grown men who were more than twice his age. 

And he had yet to hit a growth spurt so the hook shot was often the only shot he could get up and not be rejected.

“It’s a shot that’s pretty much unblockable,” he said. “I bring it out every now and then.”

The swooping hook shot is just one of the many that we’re seeing more of from Jerebko this season. 

Jerebko has been one of the more efficient scorers for the Celtics this season, something they will be counting on again tonight when Boston hosts the Detroit Pistons at the TD Garden. 

He’s averaging 5.0 points and 3.2 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game while shooting a team-best 44.4 percent from 3-point range. 

More telling about Jerebko’s impact offensively is the fact that he’s taking 3.9 shots per game which is slight improvement from last season when he took 3.7 per game. 

“My teammates telling me to shoot it,” Jerebko said. “I know I can shoot the ball. I just have to be more confident out there.”

Confidence should not be an issue for Jerebko, especially how he has been shooting of late. 

Boston (10-7) has won five of its last seven games. 

In that span, Jerebko has averaged 6.4 points while making 18 of his 22 shot attempts – that’s an insane 81.8 percent from the field and unlike some bigs who put up off-the charts shooting numbers, most of Jerebko’s points are coming from the perimeter and not the paint area. And he’s just as Jacuzzi-hot from 3-point range by connecting on 80 percent (8-for-10) of his 3s in the last seven games. 

Jerebko put on a bit of a shooting show following Tuesday’s practice. Jerebko, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier competed in a 3-point shooting contest with the first game won by Jerebko (the second one by Rozier).

While Jerebko has established himself as a key rotation player for head coach Brad Stevens, he’s quick to acknowledge that he’s more concerned with the team’s overall success than him having a more prominent role. 

“I wish we won more games,” Jerebko said. “I felt we gave some away especially at the beginning of the year when we had some injuries. We’re just going to get better this year. The longer this season goes, I think we’re just going to see a better and better team.”

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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