Celtics

Celtics make statement in Miami, beat Heat, 115-107

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Celtics make statement in Miami, beat Heat, 115-107

MIAMI Between the third and fourth quarters of Tuesday's game between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics, a fan donning a Heat jersey banked in a shot at halfcourt which netted him a 2012 Kia Optima.

It was a polaroid moment for sure, because that was the only big shot you saw all night by someone donning the home team's gear.

The Boston Celtics used a blistering string of shots along with big-time contributions from their bench in defeating the Heat 115-107, for the second time in 10 days.

After trailing most of the night, Miami had a chance to tie the game at 89 when Chris Bosh scored while being fouled.

However, he missed the free throw.

Boston scored five of the game's next six points, which included a 3-pointer by Ray Allen to put the Celtics ahead 94-89.

The Celtics soon pushed its lead back to double digits, but the Heat seemingly had one last run in them in as Dwyane Wade's driving lay-up with less than three minutes to play cut Boston's lead down to 108-101 when Doc Rivers called a time-out with 2:34 to play.

Miami continued to chip away, but the Celtics managed to match every Miami spurt with one of their own, with Kevin Garnett (24 points, nine rebounds) and Paul Pierce (27 points) delivering one big shot after another in the game's closing moments.

Down the stretch, Boston once again relied heavily on Rajon Rondo as he continued his mastery of the Heat under the bright lights and intense pressure of a nationally televised game. He finished with 18 points and 15 assists for his 18th double-double this season.

Boston fell behind early, but took control about midway through the first quarter with a 10-0 run. The C's spent most of the first half ahead before taking a 33-22 lead into the second quarter.

Behind a second unit that has more firepower now with the addition of Ray Allen, Boston's backups catapulted the C's to a lead that peaked at 18 points.

As much as the attention on the Celtics bench will surely shift towards Allen, he wasn't the only Celtic reserve causing Miami fits.

Greg Stiemsma played just under 11 minutes in the first half, and tallied four points and six rebounds. Sasha Pavlovic chipped in six points in five minutes. And of course there was Allen scoring five points along with three assists in the first half.

But the Heat, one of the best in the NBA at the America Airlines Arena, were due to make a run at some point.

Gradually the Heat clawed their way back in the game behind the play of Dwyane Wade (16 first-half points) and LeBron James (15 first-half points), whose 3-pointer with no time on the clock cut Boston's lead at the half to 65-57. Wade finished with 20 points while James led all scorers with 36.

Now, it gets real for revamped Celtics

Now, it gets real for revamped Celtics

CLEVELAND – For the Celtics, the preseason went about as well as expected.
 
No serious, long-term injuries.

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They won every preseason game, even one in which the team’s second unit played the role of starters.
 
And the chemistry concerns with so many new players, while very real, didn’t seem to be that big an issue.
 
Still, as good as the Celtics may feel about where they stand, they know it means absolutely nothing unless they get it done against elite, NBA-caliber competition.
 
The Cleveland Cavaliers.
 
Opening night.
 
It doesn’t get much more challenging than that.
 
And for the Celtics, win or lose, this is going to be a game for them to build upon going forward this season.
 
“I’m just ready to get going,” said Gordon Hayward. “A lot of things have happened this summer, a lot of buildup. I’m ready to get to the game. It’s going to be a fun matchup, for sure.”
 
Among the summer happenings was Boston and Cleveland pulling off one of the biggest blockbuster deals of the offseason with the Cavs trading Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic while also conveying Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick and Miami’s 2020 second-round pick to complete the deal.
 
Having spent his first six seasons with the Cavaliers, there’s a certain amount of corporate knowledge that the 25-year-old Irving brings to tonight’s matchup.
 
“I know a lot about them, they know a lot about me,” Irving said. “There’s plenty of film on all of us, but specifically going back and understanding the way we played last year when I played with them and now how they’re playing with the new guys, understanding how to implement themselves into their new system plus me implementing myself into this system...There’s definitely some benefits on our end, there are some benefits on their end. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
 
Part of the challenge for the Celtics will be developing the kind of on-court cohesion to be successful, which is easier said than done when you’re talking about getting nearly a dozen players on the same page in just a few weeks.
 
“We have good chemistry as a group,” said Al Horford. “We still have a ways to go as far as keep getting comfortable with each other and keep figuring out our spots. But we feel good with what we have. Our young guys, it’s been remarkable how quickly they’ve been able to come along and be up to date with everything. And our new guys as well. They’re up to date, they know what we need to do. They understand the game plan. It’s been good.”
 
Players aren’t the only ones eager to get to tonight’s game.
 
“To have to go into Cleveland with that level of intensity, with that level of attention, distraction, etc. is great,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “It’s great to experience that in game one, a tremendous learning experience for our group, so we’re preparing to play as well as we can. And we know that they’re really, really good. But this is..I’m looking forward to it because I want to find out where we are.”
 

'People took it the wrong way,' Isaiah says of his Ainge comments

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'People took it the wrong way,' Isaiah says of his Ainge comments

Isaiah Thomas told Sports Illustrated last week that he "might never talk to Danny [Ainge] again." And he sounded pretty bitter about his trade from the Celtics to the Cavs.

Now, on the "Road Trippin" podcast with new teammate Channing Frye and ex-Cav Richard Jefferson, Thomas, who is out until at least January with a hip injury, said those comments were misunderstood.

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“People took it the wrong way,” Thomas said. “I understand the business, I understand that we’re in position to get traded and sent to other teams and things like that. It’s just how it went down that I didn’t respect. As a man, I feel like if you respected me as much as you say you did, you would have at least informed me about what was going on before it happened. And that’s all I was talking about.

“I’m not tripping off the trade like I got traded to the Cavs and we’re going to win a championship. And at the end of the day, I’m going to be fine with that,” Thomas said. “[Ainge] sent me to an even better situation with a bigger platform. I’m blessed to be in the position, I’m grateful and I’m excited.”

The Cavs host the Celtics tonight in the season opener. 

Jae Crowder, who came to Cleveland from Boston, was also on the podcast and when Frye talked with him about players deserving communication from the front office, Thomas could be heard in the background, saying, “That’s what I’m talking about.”

“I already said what I’m doing," Thomas told Crowder about what he'll do should he run into Ainge. "I’m going to keep it pushing like he kept pushing when he traded me, I’m not going to disrespect him. He’s a man and I’m a man, too. Like, I’m going to go my way. I play for the Cavaliers and that’s what it is.”