Celtics

Missed season will be devastating for Celtics

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Missed season will be devastating for Celtics

NEW YORK Every year, we always seem to talk about the Boston Celtics and their "window of opportunity" closing.

Well, how about that "window" being totally shut for a year, and then re-opened?

Different scenario, but a similar challenge.

Actually, the challenge becomes even greater when you look at where the Celtics are now, and how much losing an entire season - which is more likely to happen after the NBA Players Associations' decision to file a disclaimer of interest on Monday - will affect them.

"There will ultimately be a new collective bargaining agreement," NBA Commissioner David Stern said after hearing of the NBPA's decision. "But the 2011-2012 season is now in jeopardy."

And for veteran teams that have few bodies under contract right now, like the Celtics, they could very well fall under the category of collateral damage associated with this lockout if it wipes out the entire season.

Beyond 2011-12, the Celtics only have three players under contract - Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley.

So if the season were to be wiped out entirely, the C's would have as many as 12 roster spots to fill.

And with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen coming off the books after this season, there's no telling 1) if they would want to come back after sitting out a season, or 2) if the C's would necessarily want to bring them back.

Rajon Rondo, who represented the Celtics at Monday's meeting, might be hurt just as much as the veterans if the lockout lasts all season.

He has had the benefit of spending the bulk of his career playing with three of the game's elite players (Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce), all of whom in some way have helped him to become one of the NBA's better point guards. With all those players inching closer and closer to retirement, he knows it would be in their best interest - as well as his - if there was a season.

But that didn't stop him from supporting his union brethren in their decision to dissolve, which opens up a Pandora's box for a potential anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA and its owners.

"You have to take yourself out of the equation. We're a family," said Rondo, referring to the union. "We have to stick together. This is a tough time for us. It's something we have to go through, as far as business negotiations."

But that won't take away the potential sting of this past season being the last we see of the Green Team's Big Three, the kind of Super Team that we may never see again with a new CBA.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

0:41 - Kyle Draper, Brain Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn, and Mike Gorman break down the Celtics loss to the Cavs and Gordon Hayward’s injury.

4:22 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions to the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward and how it impacted the game.

9:39 - Dr. Chris Chihlas joins BST to give his medical opinion on Gordon Hayward and if he thinks there is a chance Hayward could return this season. 

13:40 - Chris Mannix and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss what the feeling was like in the arena when Hayward went down but how there is actually a 'cautious optimism' surrounding the injury.

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

CLEVELAND – Jayson Tatum has seen plenty of games featuring Cleveland’s LeBron James.

And in the Boston Celtics’ preparation for Tuesday night’s matchup, the 19-year-old rookie had seen plenty of James on film.

But facing him, up close and personal, was something entirely different.

“He’s way bigger than I thought,” Tatum said. “He’s way better than I imagined. That’s the reason why he is who he is.”

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James’ play was among the key factors in Cleveland handing Boston a 102-99 loss on Tuesday night.

But Tatum showed he too has some big-time potential by finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds which included some nifty drives to the basket as well as showing the ability to hold his own on the glass in terms of rebounding the basketball.

The last Celtics rookie to post a double-double on opening night?

That was Larry Bird back in 1980, helping the Celtics to a 114-106 win over the Houston Rockets.

What’s even crazier?

Bird had 14 points and 10 rebounds in that Rockets game, too.

Tatum’s solid performance didn’t seem in the making in the first half when Tatum had missed all five of his shot attempts while tallying just two points.

But as the Celtics mounted their comeback, Tatum’s play was a key to the team’s improved play.

“Just being more relaxed” was how Tatum described his improved play in the second half.

Tatum added, “first half, I think I was nervous and anxious. And then the game slowed down for me. That helped out a lot.”

And the Celtics will need even more from Tatum going forward after Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that will keep him sidelined indefinitely.

There was plenty of room for him to improve upon following Tuesday’s game.

But for the most part, head coach Brad Stevens liked what he saw from the rookie.

“Jayson was pretty good,” Stevens said. “He did a pretty good job for a first game. That’s pretty hard to do, to be thrown into this environment, first game and play that well.”

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