Celtics

Notes: Green contributes in the clutch for Celts

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Notes: Green contributes in the clutch for Celts

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - Jeff Greens role within the Boston Celtics system has been questioned since he was traded to the team in February.

Would he be used as a small forward or an undersized power forward? Would he back up Paul Pierce or play with the starters? Where would he fit in?

Maybe there is no definitive answer - and thats okay. On Sunday night against the New York Knicks he proved his most important role was to be a contributor.

With the Celtics fighting to overcome a lingering deficit, Green hit a go-ahead jumper from Delonte West three minutes into the fourth quarter to give the Cs a 66-64 lead. Even though Green only scored four points, that shot capped off a 7-0 run and gave the Celtics the momentum they needed to earn a come-from-behind victory in Game One.

It was big, just from a team standpoint for me to help my team, he said following the 87-85 win. In order for me to make that shot, it was just a regular shot, Delonte put it right on the money. It was great when you can help your team get a lead, especially coming off the bench, keep the lead, and get it ready for your starters to come back in.

Doc Rivers had been preparing Green for a moment like this in the days leading up to the playoffs. He had Green practice with different lineups to give him more repetitions and better familiarity with the offense.

Green wanted to hone in on his versatility, whether it was stretching the floor at the four-spot or guarding several positions on defense. He was playing power forward in an undersized lineup when he hit the go-ahead shot.

Practices were great, very competitive. Thats what youve got to do to get ready for this, Green said. The rhythm and knowing the spots that Im going to get the ball helps. Hes putting me in great positions to succeed in this system and hopefully it continues to work.

Down 0-1 to the Celtics, Carmelo Anthony still likes the Knicks chances in this first round series. Instead of being discouraged by their last-second loss, he was optimistic about the upcoming games.

Were very confident, he said. Were a team that is going to look at this game and build off it. Guys in the locker room, it isnt like guys heads are down or anything like that. Guys are actually excited about Game Two coming up. We feel like weve got a chance to win Game Two with the energy level were going to come in here with.

Anthony was limited by early foul trouble. He posted 15 points (518 FG, 28 3PG), four rebounds, and four assists in 34 minutes.

It has been almost two months since Kendrick Perkins was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. And two months later, Doc Rivers still expects to hear about it.

Following the Celtics' win, in which Jermaine ONeal posted 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots but Shaquille ONeal was unable to play, Rivers was asked about the center position since the trade.

I think our team was fine today, he responded. But outside, its going to keep getting talked about. Perk will probably have 20 and 20 in the game tonight against the Denver Nuggets, and itll start all over again. And I actually hope it does -- it would be great for him. At the end of the day, this is who we are, this is who we have. And were fine. Were ready.

Bill Walker enjoyed practices when he was a member of the Boston Celtics. That was his opportunity to go up against Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, two veterans whose games he admired.

A year after being traded from the Celtics to the New York Knicks, Walker had another chance to go up against them. This time, it was in Game One of the first round of the playoffs.

When Carmelo Anthony picked up two fouls in the first two minutes of the game, Walker checked in off the bench and attacked. He scored all seven of his points (35 FG, 11 3PG) during a five-minute stretch in the first quarter.

I expect to play. I dont think any NBA player expects to be sitting on the bench watching the game, he said. Thats not what we get paid for. So I was expecting to come in and play, and thats what happened.

Walker exemplified the defensive tenacity that was preached to him during his time with the Celtics. He fought for loose balls, contested shots, and pestered his opponents. Walker knew how hard he was going to have to fight when he stepped on to the court against his former teammates.

I knew the challenge that I had to face and once you do that, youve just got to go in there and compete with them, he said. I like challenges, man. Who wants the easy way out?

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratoNBA. She can be reached at jessicacamerato@gmail.com.

For Celtics, winning streak is history in the making

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For Celtics, winning streak is history in the making

BOSTON – Beating the Atlanta Hawks 110-99 on Saturday did more than just pad the win total for the Boston Celtics.
 
It moved them even further up the food chain to what has already been a pretty amazing season.
 
Saturday’s win was their 15th straight, which places them in the penthouse of great Celtics runs of success.
 
Only four other teams in this franchise's storied history have won more consecutive games than this year’s group.
 
Here at NBC Sports Boston, we take a look back at the four teams that are ahead of the Celtics in what has been one of the greatest streaks in franchise history.


 
19 straight wins:  Nov. 15, 2008 – Dec. 23, 2008
 
Fresh off claiming Banner 17, the Celtics were determined to take their place among the all-time great Celtics teams by winning a second straight NBA title. They seemed well on their way with a 15-2 start to the season and of course, their 19-game winning streak. But what turned into a season-ending knee injury suffered by Kevin Garnett later in the year derailed their date with destiny and instead ended with them being upset by the Orlando Magic in the second round of the playoffs , brining a quicker-than-expected end to one of the best regular seasons in franchise history.


 
18 straight wins: Feb. 24, 1982 – March 26, 1982
 
Boston was still considered the best team in the East, although Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers were very much closing the gap. The Celtics dodged a number of close calls during the streak with seven games decided by five points or less, including a 98-97 overtime win at Washington in which the Bullets (now Wizards) went into the fourth quarter with a nine-point lead. The Celtics’ streak eventually came to an end at the hands of the Sixers, which, in hindsight, served as a precursor for Boston losing to Dr. J and the Sixers in the playoffs.


 
17 straight wins: Nov. 28, 1959 – Dec. 30, 1959
 
The Celtics were defending NBA champions and seemingly off to a strong start, only to lose back-to-back games to Philadelphia. While it was still early in the season, they knew they had to quickly right the ship. And they did. During the 17-game winning streak, 12 were by double-digits with only three by five points. The streak ended on New Year’s Day 1960. But by then, the Celtics had re-established their presence atop the NBA landscape and would go on to claim the second of eight straight NBA titles.


 
16 straight wins: Dec. 19, 1964 – Jan. 22, 1965
 
There was little doubt in anyone’s mind that this Celtic team was going to have a special season. They got things going with an 11-0 record right out the gate. And they weren’t just winning games; they were thumping teams with flat-out beatdowns, which is evident by their average margin of victory being by 18.5 points per game. That’s not all that surprising when you consider most of Boston’s core group consisted of players in their prime such as Bill Russell and Tommy Heinsohn. The streak began with a double-digit win over the St. Louis Hawks and would roll along for another couple of weeks. During both the start of the season and the 16-game winning streak, both cemented Boston as the team everyone was chasing. And no one caught them. The Celtics continued to be the dominant force in the league and the season ended with another title, which was the franchise’s seventh straight.

Celtics need to let Morris continue feasting on seconds

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Celtics need to let Morris continue feasting on seconds

It gets harder to find problematic areas when a team wins 15 straight, like the Boston Celtics have.
 
But there are some. Boston’s inability to develop a consistent scoring threat when the second-unit players are on the floor hasn’t cost them a game yet, but you can see it coming if they don’t address this at some point.
 
Well, the answer to their second-unit struggles may be staring them right in the face – Marcus Morris.
 
While he does go back and forth as a starter, keeping him on the floor in the second quarter with the second unit makes sense for all involved.
 
Morris is a better scorer than many expected, but opportunities aren’t as plentiful with the first group. Kyrie Irving and Al Horford are the top two options. The team’s young wings, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, probably stack up slightly higher in the scoring pecking order than Morris.
 
So for him to get quality looks with the second unit in the second quarter not only helps the team offensively, but it keeps Morris even more engaged than he already is.
 
We saw that in Saturday’s win over the Hawks.
 
Morris had 14 points, with 10 coming in the second quarter when he was surrounded primarily with players off the bench.
 
 “We need Marcus quite a bit,” said coach Brad Stevens. “We’re still managing his minutes appropriately as he comes back.”
 
Morris missed the first eight games of the season because of a sore left knee. Since his return, his minutes have been capped at around 25 or less, in addition to not playing back-to-back nights..

But as he continues to play a more significant role, look for his minutes -- and his role as a primary scorer in the second quarter -- to increase.
 
“He brings us scoring," Stevens said. "He brings us defense, he brings us toughness, and we really needed his scoring (against Atlanta), his ability to shoot the ball both off broken plays and off movement.”
 
Here’s a look at five other takeaways from Boston’s 110-99 win at Atlanta to extend the team’s winning streak to 15 in a row which is the fifth-longest streak in franchise history.



 
JAYLEN BROWN'S EMERGENCE

The improvement in Jaylen Brown has been evident all season, but it's really spiked the last two games. The second-year wing player dropped 22 points on Golden State Thursday, then followed that up with a career-high 27 Saturday. Conventional wisdom tells you not to bank on Brown delivering like that on a consistent basis. But as a former No. 3 overall pick who works as hard as Brown does . . . would anyone be surprised if this becomes a new-norm when it comes to Brown?


 
HORFORD STREAK CONTINUES
 
Early foul trouble and an overall lack of flow offensively had Al Horford looking at having his first game of the season with a negative plus/minus. At the half he was at -16. Then came the Celtics’ second half surge which saw them turn a 16-point deficit in the first half into a double-digit victory. And Horford’s plus/minus? For the game he stood at +2, keeping his streak alive of having a positive plus/minus in every game played this season.

KYRIE IRVING
 
An efficient scoring Kyrie Irving is an NBA team’s worst nightmare. One of the league’s well-established scorers, Irving was just too much for the Atlanta Hawks to handle. And the end result was one of the most efficient scoring nights in Irving’s career as he tallied a game-high 30 points on 10-for-12 shooting.


 
TATUM'S SECOND-HALF SURGE
 
For the second straight game, Jayson Tatum did not begin playing his best basketball until the second half. Against the Hawks, Tatum scored all of his 14 points in the second half. And in Thursday’s win over Golden State, 10 of his 12 points came in the second half. “For whatever reason he was pretty tentative (in the first half),” said Stevens. “He’s a good player, so struggles aren’t going to last long. He’ll figure it out.”


 
SMART'S SHOOTING (SLIGHTLY) BETTER
 
There’s plenty of room for improvement when it comes to Marcus Smart’s shooting. Against the Hawks, he had 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting. Now the numbers won’t wow you, but they are a huge step in the right direction in comparison to how he has been chucking up shots lately. In Boston’s previous five games, Smart was a face-cringing 10-for-52 shooting, or 19.2 percent from the field. Even with all the impact he makes consistently with his defense and effort, that number has to continue to improve if Boston is able to continue along its winning ways.

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