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

Having returned to the United States to have a growth removed from his right leg, there is a school of thought that says Allen Iverson may not return to play for Besiktas Cola in the Turkish league.

Yahoo! Sports reporter Adrian Wojnarowski had a Tweet earlier this week indicating that Besiktas attempted -- and failed -- to sign a potential replacement for him in Sundiata Gaines. They have since moved on and will sign former Celtics guard Oliver Lafayette.

Even if Iverson were to return, Besiktas is starting to realize what all 30 NBA teams realized this summer.

Iverson's game hasn't just slowed down.

It's come to a damn near screeching halt.

The idea that he might not return to Besiktas isn't all that surprising.

When he was traded from Denver to Detroit in 2008, he got hurt after struggling on the floor.

Near the end of the season, both sides decided that he would be best away from the team.

Iverson resurfaced in Memphis, and that didn't end any better.

The best thing for Iverson right now is figure out what his life after basketball will consist of.

The more you watch him, the more clear it becomes that his days as pro basketball player are numbered.

Perk technically OK for now
Only four games into his return to the lineup, and Kendrick Perkins has already picked up two technical fouls.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers isn't worried, because Perkins has a 43-game cushion.

While the technicals may not tally up to where he'll miss games, technicals in games by nature tend to make players try to be more under control emotionally.

Perkins?

Under control emotionally?

I don't like the way that guy plays, and neither will the Celtics.

Just like the rest of the Celtics had to work through the ''respect for the game'' edict handed down by the league this season, so does Perkins.

He'll get better.

Because if he doesn't, he won't be nearly as effective as he should be -- and the Celtics will suffer.

Rondo in a slump
We saw Rondo have back-to-back games with single-digit assists totals, and a third straight seemed in order after a one-assist total in Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Then halftime came, and Rondo was never the same as he ripped off 15 second-half assists.

Here's the thing about Rondo.

As much as we talk about him being the catalyst for this team, so much of his play is dictated by the play of those around him.

And we're not just talking about making shots, either.

Rondo is at his best when he has the ball in his hands, in transition.

The problem of late has been the Celtics big men either 1) not getting enough rebounds or 2) getting rebounds but not getting the ball in Rondo's hands quick enough.

That results in a lot of walking the ball up against set defenses, which, to some degree, takes a little bit away from what he does best.

Every now and then, the Celtics need a reminder of sorts as to what they do well, and how Rondo sets the tone for stellar play.

They got away from that a little bit at Portland, and a little bit more in Friday's loss at Phoenix.

We'll see if the win over the Lakers, and the way it came about with Rondo doing what Rondo does best, will be enough of a wake-up call for them moving forward.

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

For Celtics, comebacks build confidence

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For Celtics, comebacks build confidence

BOSTON -- There’s no team in the NBA that seems to like a good comeback as much as the Boston Celtics.
 
They come into tonight’s game against Philadelphia having rallied from a double-digit deficit to earn a victory nine times -- more than any other team this season.
 
It certainly provides them with a realistic boost of confidence that no deficit is too steep.  Repeatedly rallying to win after falling behind by large margins has created an unspoken confidence among the Celtics that how they start games doesn’t matter as long as they finish off playing the right way.

I asked Jayson Tatum about whether the Celtics have become too comfortable with digging themselves early deficits only to go on a tear and pull off a comeback win.
 
“Probably subconsciously we do,” Tatum said. “But we have to get away from that.”
 
Here are five other story lines to follow heading into tonight’s game between Boston and Philadelphia.
 
 

TATUM’S SHOOTING

Boston’s inability to come back from a large deficit and beat New Orleans wasn’t the only oddity about Tuesday’s loss. It was one of the few games this season when Jayson Tatum didn’t really look to score when on the floor. He had 10 points on 3-for-6 shooting to go with five rebounds, which isn’t a bad night. And while it’s always good to be an efficient scorer, him taking so few shot attempts has to be the exception rather than the rule most nights in order for Boston to be successful. This season the Celtics are 17-4 when he takes 10 or more shots, 17-7 when his shot attempt numbers are in the single digits.
 

TEMPER, TEMPER

The last time these two met, Boston’s Marcus Morris and Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons had issues when Simmons set a really hard foul on Morris, a Philadelphia native, who immediately rose to his feet and pushed Simmons. Since then, Simmons had another on-court bruhaha with another Philly native, Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors.  Simmons suspects guys are coming after him with a little extra something because he’s a rookie.

"I don't know if they're trying to test me or see how I am on the court, but I won't play around," Simmons said after the Sixers’ win over Toronto.

Morris called the foul Simmons committed against him last week in London a cheap shot.

 “But it’s all right,” Morris told reporters at the time. “I take a lot of cheap shots, too. It’s good to see Philly got some . . . tougher guys. I promise you that won’t happen again. It is what it is.”

ROOKIES ROLLIN’ DOUBLES

Tatum has been among the league’s most consistent scorers among the rookie class. He leads all first-year players with 38 games of scoring in double digits. Simmons, arguably the front-runner for the league’s Rookie of the Year award, has 35 double-digit scoring games which trails Tatum and Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen (36).

POPULARITY ON THE RISE

The NBA recently released the top-selling NBA jerseys for the fourth quarter (Oct. 2017 – Dec. 2017) of 2017. Tonight’s game features a trio of players who ranked among the top 15. Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid came in at No. 6, while fellow Sixer Ben Simmons had the eighth-highest selling jersey. For Boston, Kyrie Irving’s No. 11 jersey came in at No. 12.

JERRYD BAYLESS

With J.J. Redick (leg injury) out, look for Bayless’ role to increase significantly tonight. The former Celtic is averaging 8.5 points per game this season. But in three games against Boston, he has risen his scoring to 10.3 points per game while shooting 52.2 percent from the field and 63.6 percent from 3-point range.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

 

 

WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

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WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

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 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview:  Sweeping Sixers will depend on containing Joel Embiid

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE