Celtics

Krstic impresses, Big Four search for rhythm

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Krstic impresses, Big Four search for rhythm

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

PHILADELPHIA Nenad Krstic has been better than just about anyone in Celtics Nation could have hoped for.

But even he recognizes the need for him to improve defensively.

By no means was he the only Celtics starter to make some mistakes in defensive coverages.

However, being that he is the new guy in the starting lineup, well, he acknowledged that it hasn't been as smooth a transition to this starting lineup as he would have liked.

"It's more pressure, because I don't want to mess up (with the starters)," Krstic told CSNNE.com. "I feel really bad now. We've lost two games in a row. And I feel responsibility just because new guy and like I said, just more pressure when you're whole season is here different."

And if there's one thing Krstic has learned so far, it's that it doesn't take much to throw an entire defensive coverage scheme out of synch.

"You just need one guy to make a mistake and the whole defense becomes a little weaker," Krstic said. "That's happening right now, especially with first unit. I'm still learning. Sometimes I make a mistake, so guys try to help me. All the new guys are really trying to fit in. Everybody's playing hard. Everybody giving 100 percent. So it's not like the effort isn't there. It's just getting more familiar with the system."

While Krstic has certainly had his share of issues defensively, he did just drop 16 points and 15 rebounds - his first double-double with the Celtics - which came after a 20-point, nine-rebound effort against the Los Angeles Clippers.

No, Boston has bigger problems than Krstic.

Specifically, their Big Four of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

All have struggled to some degree during Boston's current two-game skid.

Until they get on track, the C's are going to struggle.

"The starting five, we have to do a better job of closing the game out," said Rajon Rondo. "We dug a hole two games in a row. You give a young team confidence, it's hard to turn it off."

While the C's do include Krstic, the team's turn-around has to come from within the Big Four.

"Absolutely," Garnett said. "This is definitely on the four of us to get it done. And we haven't done that. We'll get better."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

CLEVELAND – For the third year in a row, a first-round pick of the Boston Celtics is unable to come to terms on a contract extension prior to the deadline.

That means Marcus Smart will become a restricted free agent this summer. Last year it was Kelly Olynyk (now with the Miami Heat) and in 2015 it was Jared Sullinger (now with Shenzhen Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association).

Both the Celtics and Smart's camp intensified their discussions in recent days as the October 16th 6 p.m. EST deadline drew near.

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While there was progress made, there wasn’t enough to get a deal done.

Smart has repeatedly indicated that he wants to re-sign a long-term deal to stay in Boston.

And the market for the 6-foot-4 guard became clearer based on the contracts that some of his fellow rookie class of 2014, were receiving.

Denver’s Gary Harris agreed to a four-year, $84 million contract after establishing himself as one of the better young two-way talents in the NBA last season. And at the other end of the financial spectrum, you would have to look at Phoenix’s T.J. Warren who signed a four-year, $50 million contract.

More than likely, Smart’s deal next summer will fall somewhere between the deals those two players received.

As much as Smart would have preferred to get a deal done heading into the season, it’s not something that he’s going to cause him to lose any sleep.

“Get it done now, or get it done in six months, I’m OK either way,” he told NBC Sports Boston. “I’m not worried about it.”

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All signs point to LeBron James playing against Celtics Tuesday

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All signs point to LeBron James playing against Celtics Tuesday

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- A sprained left ankle injury kept LeBron James out of all but one of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason games, and has created a certain element of uncertainty as to whether he’ll play against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. 
 
While it has yet to be determined for sure if he’ll play, all indications are that the 15-year veteran will be in the starting lineup as the Cavs kick off their quest to remain the team to beat in the East.

“I never hide stuff from you guys. I really don’t know,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said when asked if James would play against the Celtics. “Depending on how he feels, but I really don’t know.”
 
However, James looked pretty comfortable shooting the ball after practice with a trio of former Celtics in Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Jeff Green. 
 
And if you listen to the man who would likely start in James’ place -- J.R. Smith -- there’s nothing to worry about Cavs Nation. 
 
According to Smith, James will play. 
 
“We were talking about it, he’s never missed, since he was 8 years old and he started playing, he’s never missed a first game,” Smith said. “I’m preparing for him to play.”
 
Despite having played more than 41,000 minutes -- only 33 players in NBA history have done so -- James has been one of the game’s more durable players. Last season James he sat out only eight games, and that was the most he has missed in a single season.
 
 "He's gonna go [Tuesday]," Smith said. "He's gonna go, trust me [on] that. I don't care what he's gotta do, he's gonna play."