Celtics

A. Sherrod Blakely's Truth and Rumors

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A. Sherrod Blakely's Truth and Rumors

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON One man goes down. Someone steps up.

It has been like that all season for the Boston Celtics.

So when Marquis Daniels went down with a bruised spinal cord injury recently the Celtics were not in panic mode, even though losing Daniels for the next month or two will rob them of their most versatile player off the bench.

Someone has to fill the void left by Daniels, and all indications are that it will be Von Wafer.

We have seen Wafer play well in spurts, in part because those were the only minutes made available to him.

But the more we see Wafer play, the more he shows signs of being a much more complete player than the shot-chucking-guard label that has followed him throughout his NBA career.

"This team has embraced me, and taught me," Wafer told CSNNE.com. "In the past, people just beat me up, but this team, they took me in and showed me the right way to do it. And it's paying dividends."

Now that an opportunity to play more exists, we'll see if the 6-foot- 5 guard will do what so many of his teammates have already done.

One man goes down. Someone else steps up.
Mavericks pose great challenge to C's

When Danny Ainge went about putting this Celtics team together this summer, the goal was to have a squad that would challenge the Los Angeles Lakers.

But it's becoming clear that the C's might face an even bigger foe out West - and it's not the San Antonio Spurs, who have the league's best record.

It's the Dallas Mavericks, the only team to sweep the C's thus far this season.

When you look at the teams out West, the Mavericks present a series of challenges that few others do for the C's.

They have a nice 1-2 punch at center in Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood.

And as we know, when the playoffs roll around, size does matter.

The Mavs are led by 32-year-old Dirk Nowitzki, who is still one of the best players in the NBA.

Future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd is nearing the end of his career, but he's still one of the tougher point guard matchups in the NBA.

Although the Mavericks don't appear to have as much depth as the C's, they do have a pair of high impact scorers in Jason Terry and Shawn Marion, along with Haywood coming off the bench.

Dallas recently added Peja Stojakovic to their roster, giving them even more offensive firepower off the bench.

"This is a good fit for me," Stojakovic told CSNNE.com. "We have a lot of really good shooters here already."

It all adds up to a talented team that may present an even bigger challenge to the C's than the two-time NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Trade deadline coming up

With the trading deadline just a couple weeks away, the Celtics will do as they always do and make calls to see if there's a way to improve their roster.

Because of all the injuries, there's a knee-jerk reaction to believe that, yes, the C's need to make a move.

Not so fast, people!

We're 51 games into the season, and the Celtics have yet to play a single game with the player rotation they expect to have for the playoffs.

But there are reasons why the C's aren't likely to make a deal.

Any deal involves having assets that 1) you're willing to part with, and 2) others might be interested in acquiring.

The Celtics appear to come up short on one or both of those fronts.

But that's OK.

We've seen what the Celtics can do with a roster that's not at full strength.

Knowing that most of their injured players will be back in time for the playoffs is reason enough for the Celtics to stand pat and give this team - one constructed to go deep into the playoffs - a chance to bring home Banner 18 as they are constructed now.

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

WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

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WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics host the 76ers at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview:  Celtics need to improve shooting

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Celtics-Magic preview: Boston looks to improve shooting down the stretch

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Celtics-Magic preview: Boston looks to improve shooting down the stretch

BOSTON – When Celtics coach Brad Stevens was asked about what he saw in the team’s newest (10-day) addition Jarell Eddie, his response was, “shooting  . . .  shooting.”

Indeed, shot-making has been the one area of play that has been problematic for the Celtics most of this season.

Boston comes into today’s game against Orlando (13-32) shooting just 44.8 percent from the field which ranks 25th in the NBA.

In the month of January, Boston has been even worse, connecting on just 41.8 percent of their shots which ranks 29th in the league this month.

While the addition of Eddie had more to do with the recent flu bug that has made the rounds throughout the Celtics lineup and the uncertainty a couple days ago surrounding Kyrie Irving’s sore left shoulder (it has improved and he’s expected to play today), adding Eddie speaks to a greater problem -- guys making shots -- that has to be addressed in some capacity sooner or later.

Boston always has the option to pursue a trade. They also have an $8.4 million disabled player exception they can use on free agent players, with the most likely pool of talent that they will choose from consisting of players who would have been bought out by their current teams.

Or there’s raiding the G-League for talent, which is what they did in signing Eddie to a 10-day contract.

Regardless, there’s a growing sense that this team has to add more scoring punch to the mix or at a minimum, improve the overall offensive execution of the roster as it stands now.

“We have to do our stuff better,” Stevens said. “The start of the season it was predictable, losing Gordon (Hayward who suffered a dislocated left ankle injury in the season-opener) and having to adjust. The middle portion of games we were pretty darn good. And then I thought we were reasonable in London, reasonable against New Orleans. But the other three of the last five games, we weren’t very good.”

Boston’s offense should get a boost from Irving’s return to the lineup after missing Boston’s 89-80 loss to Philadelphia with a sore left shoulder.

And while it was just one game, Irving understands the challenge that lies ahead in getting Boston’s offense to play better and more consistently.

“We have very unique talents on this team,” Irving said. “When you’re trying to put that together and guys are coming back into the lineup and getting their rhythm still and guys are in and out sometimes … big picture, down the stretch, we’re going to need everyone to be on the same page.”

Marcus Morris has been one of the players who has been in and out of the Celtics lineup because of a sore left knee.

However, the schedule has eased up to where he’ll be able to play more games, for longer stretches.

He comes into today’s game having scored in double figures each of the last three games.

“I’m just trying to get healthy. I know what I can do,” Morris told NBC Sports Boston. “My confidence is always going to stay high, no matter if I miss or make shots.”

In the last three games, he has averaged 15.0 points while shooting 45.7 percent from the field.

While Morris’ play of late is promising, it doesn’t diminish the concern Boston should have for an offense that for the most part, has been sputtering this season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE