Celtics

Terry makes good on second chance vs. Bulls' Belinelli

995437.jpg

Terry makes good on second chance vs. Bulls' Belinelli

BOSTON If Jason Terry didn't see the replays on television that night, he saw them in his head in the days and weeks that followed.

It was the final moments of Boston's late-game loss to Chicago last month, a game in which Bulls guard Marco Belinelli came up with a loose ball and scored over Terry for the game-winner.

Fast forward to Wednesday, where Belinelli once again had the ball in his hands with a chance to tie the game or put the Bulls ahead.

There would not be a sequel on Wednesday as Terry swatted away Belinelli's shot to help preserve a 71-69 Celtics win.

While the Celtics pride themselves on taking each game as it comes, Terry's teammates acknowledged that this was a game he has been hyping up for a while now.

"Jet's been talking about this game, probably since the last time we played them, every single day he's been saying something about it," said Boston guard Avery Bradley. "He's been wanting this game so bad."

Said Terry: "I just didn't like it. I didn't like ... seeing that last shot go in over me. And I watched it again (Tuesday) night. I watched it again (Wednesday) before the game. And lo and behold, ball ends up in this guy's hands again."

And once again, Terry comes up with a big defensive play down the stretch, similar to how his late-game pestering of Andre Miller on Sunday eventually helped the C's escape with a triple overtime win over the Denver Nuggets.

Making Terry's play even more improbable was that he was only in the game at that point because Avery Bradley had fouled out - a first for Bradley this season, second time in his career.

"It goes to show you, hard work and dedication, you never know when you're going to be thrust into a similar situation," Terry said. "Every experience is a learning one. This time, I learned and it worked out for me."

Marcus Smart makes the Celtics great again

Marcus Smart makes the Celtics great again

Two games in and the return of Marcus Smart has had the effect many predicted it would for Boston.

There may be other Celtics who score more points, tally more assists and snare a few more rebounds.

But the impact of Smart’s play on what truly matters – winning – is undeniable.

His play was one of the keys to Boston’s 121-112 win at New York on Saturday night.

Smart came off the bench to score 11 points to go with five assists and three steals.

In his two games back, Smart is averaging 11.5 points, 5.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals while shooting 64.3 percent from the field.

Yes, it’s a small sample size for sure.

More than anything, it serves as a reminder of how one of Smart’s greatest assets as a player is his ability to contribute in a multitude of ways.

“He just adds a lot of versatility to our offense and our defense,” Boston’s Kyrie Irving told NBC Sports Boston following Saturday’s game. “He has a high awareness on both ends. He’s able to create opportunities for all of us at both ends of the floor and we appreciate that.”

Certainly Smart is credited for being a good defender, and his play-making skills have improved dramatically in the last year or so.

But arguably Smart’s biggest contribution is that his play allows others around him, to focus on whatever it is that they do well, knowing that Smart has the ability to do both his job as well as provide help when needed.

Boston’s defense struggled mightily before the break with teams scoring seemingly whenever they wanted to.

But in the last two games, Boston has looked more like the defensive unit that has been among the NBA’s best most of this season.

In the last two games, Boston’s defensive rating has been 104.5 which ranks 11th in the NBA during that span.

Several factors have played a role in Boston’s improved defense the last two games; among them being the return of Smart who missed 11 games after punching a picture frame last month that left him with 20 stitches.

“It’s the appreciation of Marcus Smart right there,” Irving said. “Implement him and him just putting his stamp and identity on our team as well. It just makes a lot of other guy’s job, easier. Because he covers up a lot of our mistakes as well as playing with unbelievable awareness at both ends of the floor. He understands spacing, he understands how the little things matter.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Kyrie is not happy with Zaza Pachulia

02142018_kyrie_post_1920x1080.jpg
File Photo

Kyrie is not happy with Zaza Pachulia

The Celtics defeated the Knicks in a game that had a little bit of everything Saturday night.

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics to victory and dominated in all of the important situations.

But he came out of the night a little pissed off.

During the Warriors-Thunders game tonight, Russell Westbrook drove to the paint and fell to the ground.

After Westbrook fell to the ground Zaza Pachulia appears to intentionally fall on to the back of his legs.

The play irritated Irving enough for him to air out his thoughts publicly on Instagram.