Celtics

Jarell Eddie hoping to find permanent home with Celtics

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Jarell Eddie hoping to find permanent home with Celtics

BOSTON – It was a pretty standard day in the G-League for Jarell Eddie. 

The Windy City Bulls had a game that night, but a pre-game nap was in order. 

But before he could drift off into a brief slumber, Eddie’s plans – and basketball career – were soon jetting off in another unpredictable direction. 

It was his agent calling to let him know the Boston Celtics were signing him to a 10-day contract for what would be his second stint – sort of – with the Celtics. 

Back in 2014, the Celtics picked up Eddie off waivers only for him to be waived by Boston just a couple days later. 

“I remember I was excited I got picked up off of waivers,” Eddie recalled. “And I was really excited and I thought, ‘okay cool, I’ve got another opportunity. And then a couple days later I wasn’t here. So, it was a real quick stint.”

The fact that he will be on the bench tonight is indeed progress compared to his first time as a Celtic. 

But more than anything, Eddie has a specific strength – shooting – that the Celtics desperately need more of going forward. 

“As we went through this past week, as the flu went through our team, with Kyrie and the shoulder, we wanted to make sure as we begin to head West we had a full complement of guys,” Stevens said. “And his ability to shoot the basketball is unique.”

While it is indeed Eddie’s greatest strength, he’ll need to show that there’s more to his game than just knocking down shots. 

First and foremost, he has to get on the floor which will not be easy. 

One of the reasons the Celtics signed him was because they weren’t sure of the status of Kyrie Irving’s sore left shoulder which kept him sidelined for Boston’s 89-80 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday. 

But Irving’s shoulder has improved to the point where he will return to the Celtics’ lineup today against Orlando. 

Eddie, who has 31 NBA games under his belt from his time in Phoenix and Washington, understands that his opportunities will be limited.

But for him, it’s all about having an opportunity – something the Celtics are open to giving him. 

“It’s just so rewarding to finally get that call that you worked so hard for in the offseason, during the season, while you’re playing in the G-League,” Eddie said. “Going through that grind. So, to get that call is such a reward.”

And now, the focus will be on him to answer that call and do enough in the 10-day window that he’s hoping to extend to provide himself with the one thing that has been missing throughout his pro career – a basketball home. 

“You never get used to it,” he said. “I feel like at this point in my career I’m chasing stability, to be in one place longer than six months or however long. You never get used to it. I know my wife is tired of it.  You’re definitely trying to get somewhere, stick somewhere.” 

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Marcus Morris impressed with New England's 'winning culture,' but allegiance is with Eagles

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Marcus Morris impressed with New England's 'winning culture,' but allegiance is with Eagles

BOSTON – Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris isn’t all that different than most football fans in New England as far as being excited about the games today that will decide who moves on to the Super Bowl. 

But Morris’ allegiance lies squarely with the Philadelphia Eagles who will host the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game which will be played after the New England Patriots beat the crap out of  play the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

“Before I got here, I didn’t really know how big sports was in this town,” Morris , who is from Philadelphia, told NBC Sports Boston. “Being here for a couple months, just walking around … it’s a winning culture around here.”

Morris added, “damn near every year they in the Super Bowl or right there. That’s big for the city. It means a lot for everybody.”

And while the last decade or so has not been nearly as great for his hometown, Morris sees progress on several fronts. 

“The Sixers are started to win some games and be more competitive,” Morris said. “Hopefully the Eagles and get it done today, sneak into the Super Bowl and if they get there, you never know what can happen.”

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Celtics look to get back on track at home vs Magic

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Celtics look to get back on track at home vs Magic

BOSTON – Last season, the Boston Celtics were able to advance to the Eastern Conference finals in part because they had home court advantage in every playoff series before ultimately bowing out to a LeBron James-led Cleveland team.

The foundation for having home court advantage in the playoffs, lies in establishing an edge at home during the regular season.

Which is why Boston’s current two-game skid is indeed something for the Celtics to worry about.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens makes a point of keeping is team focused in the moment, never looking too far down the road or over their shoulder.

Well at the moment, his team needs to re-establish itself at home not only to improve upon their East-leading record, but also continue to stack up wins so that when the postseason arrives they will once again have home court advantage.

“It’s disappointing anytime to drop a game,” Stevens said. “But certainly, drop two in a row at home adds to that.”

While it’s certainly not ideal, Boston’s 18-7 record at home this season still ranks among the top teams in the East.

Still, there’s definitely room to grow on several fronts for Boston.

Winning at home?

That’s one of them. 

“At the end of the day, the reality is we’re not a 34-12 team by many metrics other than we figured out a way to win 34 out of 46 games,” Stevens said. “We have to be a lot better if we want to continue to move forward with this.”

Here are five under-the-radar story lines heading into today’s game between the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic.

 

SLOW STARTS

Despite the record, the Celtics have not played very good basketball lately. And the bad games start with – you guess it – the way they open games. Boston has not won the first quarter since their Jan. 3 win over Cleveland. In fact, the Celtics have been outscored in nine of their last 16 quarters of play. 

 

BEATING THE BAD ONES

Part of being an elite team involves doing more than just knocking off the best teams. It also requires handling the not-so-great clubs, something the Celtics have done a good job with this season. They come into today’s game against Orlando with an impressive 17-3 record against teams below-.500 teams this season.

 

LIVE (AND DIE) BY THE THREE-POINTER

We know the three-point shot is a key component to the Boston Celtics offensively, evident by them ranking sixth in the NBA this season with 31.5 taken per game. But relying too heavily on the 3-point shot has transformed Boston from an elite team, to one that’s just barely above-.500. 

Consider this: When the Celtics take more than 40 percent of their shots from 3-point range, they are just 8-6 this season. In their last two games – both losses - the Celtics took 45.1 percent of their shots from 3-point range.

 

IN THE CLUTCH

You never plan on games being decided in the final minute or so of play, but the Celtics like their chances if the does come to that. This season, they have won 20 “clutch” games (those within five points in the final five minutes of play) this season which is tops in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Orlando Magic are at the near-opposite end of that spectrum, ranking 26th in the NBA with seven wins this season falling under the “clutch” category.

 

NO AFFLALO TODAY

Aron Afflalo will not be with the Magic today as he serves the second of a two-game suspension for fighting Minnesota forward Nemanja Bjelica on a play which included Afflalo punching Bjelica in the head on Tuesday.

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