Demetrius Jackson turns in strong NBA debut for Celtics

Demetrius Jackson turns in strong NBA debut for Celtics

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Lost in the 123-107 destruction of the Boston Celtics at the hands of the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night was the NBA debut of rookie guard Demetrius Jackson.
He came on to the floor in the second quarter and finished with eight points in just 11 minutes of court time.
Despite the game’s outcome, it was by all accounts a successful debut for the 21-year-old.
Even though the game was well out of the Celtics’ reach for most of his time on the floor, Jackson showed an ability to shake off some early anxiousness and put together a decent debut.
It’s too soon to say whether Jackson’s debut will warrant additional playing time down the road.
But what he did in limited minutes on Sunday certainly didn’t hurt his chances.
“It’s a long year,” Jackson said. “Looking forward to playing with the guys and cheering them on as well.”
Jackson, drafted by Boston with the 45th overall pick in last June’s NBA draft, was a player many predicted was going to be drafted earlier than the second round.
After a solid showing with Boston’s summer league team, the Celtics signed him to a four-year, $5.4 million with the first year – worth $1.45 million – fully guaranteed with about half of the second year ($650,000) guaranteed.
One of the reasons Jackson got on to the floor was because head coach Brad Stevens was looking for some kind of spark as the Celtics put together one of their worst performances this season.
Jackson wasn’t sure what to expect when he made his debut, but he’s glad he has gotten it out of the way for sure.
“The first time you step on the floor in an official game, you’re nervous, you get butterflies, that sort of thing,” Jackson said. “I’m thankful to have that opportunity to go out and play.”


Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

AP Photo

Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

It seems all season we’ve talked about the Boston Celtics overcoming adversity, whether it be a bad injury to a key player or a blown assignment leading to a loss.

Nowhere is this more apparent than their play on the road this season which ranks among the best in the NBA.

The Celtics will look to continue on their road warrior-like ways tonight at New Orleans, a team that’s fighting for playoff position in the tighter-than-usual Western Conference.

In recent years, the terrain has been rough for teams from the East venturing into Western Conference territory.

For this year’s Celtics?

Not so much.

Boston comes into tonight’s game with a 17-7 record against Western Conference teams, tops among all teams in the East.

And while Boston has eight road games left this season, they are on pace to finish with one of the best road records in franchise history.

Currently 24-9 away from the TD Garden (tops in the East, third overall in the NBA), that’s a winning percentage of .727 which is the fourth-highest in franchise history.

Here are five under-the-radar story lines to keep an eye on when the Boston Celtics take on the New Orleans Pelicans tonight.


It’s a given that Al Horford will spend time defending Anthony Davis tonight. And while Davis will likely have a strong night scoring the ball, you can count on Horford making it extremely tough on him. When the two teams met on Jan. 16, Davis was 8-for-19 shooting for 16 points in 52 possessions when defended by Horford. For the game, Davis had 45 points on 16-for-34 shooting.


We’ve seen “Playoff" Rondo and “National TV" Rondo deliver some impressive performances in the past. What will we see from “Well-Rested” Rondo? The Pelicans gave the ex-Celtic the night off on Saturday as to not play him in back-to-back games. Of the two games, it made sense to sit him against the Rockets and have him ready to roll against a Boston Celtics team that will not have its full complement of players available.


Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry had some choice words about the officiating in New Orleans’ 107-101 loss to Houston on Saturday that he clearly felt cost his team a better chance at winning. The only cost in play now is how big will the check be that he’ll pay the league for his comments about the officiating. His issue was that Anthony Davis doesn’t get enough calls based on the physical abuse he takes per game. Davis ranks fourth in the NBA in free throw attempts (7.8) per game, but only had four attempts against the Rockets. It’ll be worth watching whether the Pelicans, 16th in the league in free throw attempts (21.4) per game, will get to the line significantly more or less than their season average.


One of the keys to Boston’s improved play since returning to the floor since the all-star break, has been their ability to begin games with strong play. Boston has outscored their opponent in the first quarter each of the last eight games, and 10 of 11. In addition, Boston has been ahead at the half in each of their 10 games since the all-star break, which comes on the heels of trailing at the half in the seven games prior to the break.


Jayson Tatum has been one of the most impactful rookies in the NBA this season which will likely land him a spot on the NBA’s all-rookie first or second team. One of the strengths of Tatum has been his durability, evident by him being one of just two first-year players to appear in each of his team’s games played this season. He is joined by Memphis’ Dillon Brooks.


WATCH: Boston Celtics at New Orleans Pelicans

NBC Sports Boston illustration

WATCH: Boston Celtics at New Orleans Pelicans

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics play the Pelicans in New Orleans. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 5:30  p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: Can C's slow down Anthony Davis?

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]