Celtics

Notes: Celtics urge Krstic to stop overthinking

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Notes: Celtics urge Krstic to stop overthinking

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

MINNEAPOLIS Nenad Krstic was getting an earful from Doc Rivers in the first half of Sunday's 85-82 win over Minnesota.

He missed a defensive rotation, and Rivers, well, wasn't happy.

But it wasn't so much the missed assignment that bothered Rivers, but the reason behind it.

"The reason he had the missed defensive rotation was because he was mad about missing layups," Rivers said. "And I told him at halftime, that's selfish to me; that's thinking about your poor play, instead of helping the team win. He's not trying to be selfish. He wants to do right so bad, that at times it takes him out of playing well."

Krstic, acquired along with Jeff Green from Oklahoma City last month, agrees.

"Now I'm putting more pressure on myself just to do right things," Krstic said. "When you think too much about not making mistakes, that affects your game. When you get the ball, you're not focusing 100 percent. So I'm trying, I'm really trying to play basketball. But I am, my personality . . . everything I do, I want to do 100 percent."

But his teammates, specifically Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, have been encouraging him to just play and not think so much.

Far too often, Krstic will get the ball around the basket and seemingly wait for defenders to come nearby before going up for a shot or dunk.

At halftime, Pierce and Garnett had a talk with him about that.

"Kevin and Paul at halftime were phenomenal," Rivers said. "They said, 'Just dunk it, and if you miss, so what?' I thought that was great for him, and I thought the second half he played much better."

Although Krstic only scored 4 of his 11 points in the second half, his defense was better.

Why?

Because he was just playing, and not thinking as much.

"I'm really trying to play hard and try to do the right thing," Krstic said. "It's not the good way to for myself, putting more pressure. That's why, I kind of struggle and sometimes I forget a play; too much stuff, and I'm trying to do right."

Minnesota's Anthony Randolph has been on a tear since Kevin Love went out of the lineup with a groin injury.

That is, until he faced Kevin Garnett.

In the two games Randolph had started in place of Love prior to Sunday night, he averaged 27.5 points and 13 rebounds. Against the Celtics, he had three points while missing all five of his field-goal attempts, along with four rebounds.

"Kevin's pretty good," said Rivers, referring to Garnett who was the league's defensive player of the Year in 2008. "He's long, athletic. I thought we kept Randolph off the block. We didn't let him set up shop. And I thought everybody ran out to his shot."

After watching video of Randolph's last couple of games, Garnett had a pretty good idea of what he needed to do in order to limit the 6-foot-11 forward.

"Just took the first option away from him, made him do some things he didn't want to do," Garnett explained. "Our bigs did a good job of taking it to him. He's . . . foul prone. He never got into a rhythm. We did a good job of taking him totally out of the game."

You can bet Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart had a ton of congratulatory phone calls and text messages after VCU advanced to the Final Four with a thrilling victory over Kansas.

Among those to reach out to him?

Doc Rivers.

Smart, one of the hottest names in college basketball right now, is a former assistant coach at Florida who was instrumental in Rivers' son, Austin, originally committing to the Gators.

Smart left for VCU, and Rivers soon re-opened the recruiting process before ultimately choosing to sign with the Duke Blue Devils.

"I love him," Rivers said. "I'm really happy for him. Got to know him very well. When he left Florida, that was a big deal for Austin. They still kept in contact. He's a wise . . . far beyond his age. He's going to be a terrific coach, forever. So I'm really, really happy for him."

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

Celtics get off to strong start, cruise to 118-103 win over Magic

Celtics get off to strong start, cruise to 118-103 win over Magic

BOSTON – Well, so much for the Boston Celtics being hungover following their first loss in more than a month.
 
If anything, the loss at Miami on Wednesday served as a wake-up call for the Celtics to avoid easing their way into games.
 
Because the Celtics jumped on the Magic early and never lost control of the game as they cruised to a 118-103 win.

Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 30 points while Terry Rozier came off the Celtics bench to score a career-high 23 points. Nikola Vucevic led the Magic (8-11) with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.
 
After leading by as many as 32 points, the Magic opened the fourth quarter against Boston’s backups, with a 13-3 run that cut Boston’s lead to 102-82.
 
The Magic would score six of the game’s next eight points before Rozier drained a much-needed 3-pointer that increased Boston’s lead to 107-88 with 6:48 to play.
 
Following an Orlando timeout, Boston continued to play with a huge lead and in doing so, got a big, bounce-back win.
 
One of the issues Boston was having, even during the 16-game winning streak, was that they didn’t get off to the greatest starts evident by them trailing by double digits in the first half of each of their previous four games prior to tonight’s game.
 
But that would not be the case tonight; not even close actually.
 
Leading 22-19 in the first, Boston went on an 18-7 run to take a commanding 40-26 lead
 
The 40 points scored were the most they tallied in the first quarter of a game this season.
 
And while the points weren’t as abundant in the second quarter, Boston’s dominance was just as great.
 
On this night, the Celtics were an equal opportunity destroyer.
 
Kyrie Irving had a very Kyrie Irving kind of night with 17 points in the first half.
 
The Celtics also got an unexpected boost from its bench, led by Rozier who had 13 points in the first half.
 
It seemed no matter who Brad Stevens turned to off the bench, it was a given that they would have a positive impact on this night.
 
Meanwhile, the Magic could muster up little fight or resistance as Boston’s lead peaked at 28 points (68-40) before the half ended with Boston in charge with a commanding 73-47 lead.
 
It’s rare for a team to have such a commanding halftime lead, the kind of lead that makes a team oh-so-vulnerable to a second-half letup.
 
Not the Celtics; not tonight at least.
 
Boston continued to play with a purpose; to not just win but do so in an emphatic, consistently dominant fashion.
 
Sporting a lead of 20-plus points throughout the third quarter, Boston went into the fourth quarter leading 99-69.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Morris returns to Celtics starting lineup vs. Magic

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Morris returns to Celtics starting lineup vs. Magic

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics will turn to a familiar starting lineup as they try to get back on their winning ways following Wednesday’s loss at Miami.
 
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said Marcus Morris will be in the starting lineup tonight against Orlando, joining the usual Celtics foursome of Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford.

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Morris’ availability tonight was not a given, similar to it being in question prior to Wednesday’s game against the Heat.
 
Morris has been dealing with soreness in his left knee which kept him out for the first eight games of the season and has limited his playing time since then.
 
Stevens said Morris will likely not play against Indiana on Saturday but no final decision has been made. Since returning to the lineup, the Celtics have played Morris with a minutes restriction in addition to not allowing him to play in any back-to-back games.

Morris has made it clear that he does not like having his playing time limited while not playing in any back-to-backs, but has repeatedly he understands why it is being done and won’t fight what the coaching and medical staff believe is best for him and the team.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE