Celtics

Stars, studs and duds: DeRozan can't convert 'great look' for game-winner

Stars, studs and duds: DeRozan can't convert 'great look' for game-winner

BOSTON – This has been a charmed run that the Boston Celtics are on, the kind of run where victories almost seem like an act of destiny in how improbable they come about.

Take Sunday’s 95-94 win over the Toronto Raptors which extended Boston’s winning streak to 12 in a row.

The Raptors had a chance to win the game with DeMar DeRozan, being defended by Jaylen Brown at the time, used his dribble to create enough space to get off the shot that he wanted.

It came up short.

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The missed shot came right into the hands of Serge Ibaka who, for whatever reason, could not corral the loose ball and put it back up.

DeRozan described the shot as a “great look” before adding, “I make that in my sleep. Felt good, I thought it was going to roll in but it didn’t.”

Said Toronto head coach Dwane Casey: “I thought it was a great look, he shook him, he was wide open, vaulted up, and I’ll take that shot 999 times out of 1000. Came up short on it, he got to where he wanted to go with the basketball, we got him open, play was well executed by everybody; guy just missed a shot. I’ll take that shot all day, our best player taking the shot he wants at the right time.”

While DeRozan did create enough space to get the shot off, it was still well-defended by Jaylen Brown whose defense forced DeRozan to miss a number of shots on Sunday.

Brown is used to tough defensive assignments, but is quick to mention DeRozan being an extremely challenging scorer to contain.

“Easier said than done,” Brown said. “He’ll pump-fake and pump-fake until he gets you off your feet. I’m thinking like, ‘he’s gotta be shooting one of these (expletive). But he’ll keep pump-faking and pump-faking. You have to do a good enough job of staying down.”

And in doing so, Brown’s defense lifted the Celtics up to yet another victory.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 95-94 win over Toronto which extended the Celtics winning streak which now stands at 12.

 

STARS

Al Horford

Easily the star of the game, Horford returned to the lineup after missing the last two games while being in the league’s concussion protocol program. He led the Celtics with 21 points on an extremely efficient 8-for-9 shooting to go with four assists, three rebounds and two steals.

DeMar DeRozan

Even though he missed the potential game-winner for Toronto, DeRozan was once again Toronto’s best option offensively. He led all scorers with 24 points but did so on 8-for-22 shooting.

 

STUDS

Terry Rozier

Big shots at the end of the second and third quarters were just part of a special game for Rozier. He finished with 16 points to go with six rebounds, three assists and one steal.

Jaylen Brown

His play at both ends of the floor really set the tone for the Celtics, showing a high level of aggression scoring the ball as well as defending DeRozan. He tallied 18 points on 8-for-14 shooting to go with three assists and two steals.

Kyle Lowry

Had a strong first half but really tailed off in the second which is when he scored just five of his 19 points. Lowry also had seven assists and a steal.

Jayson Tatum

The 6-foot-8 rookie continues to play at a level that’s way, way ahead of where someone so young be at right now in their NBA development. He had 13 points but did most of his work in the fourth quarter which is when he tallied six points along with five of his seven rebounds for the game.

C.J. Miles

Other than the insane ankle-breaking move that Shane Larkin put on him, Miles had a pretty good game for the Raptors. He had 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting with a plus/minus of +17.

 

DUDS

Shane Larkin

Coming off a season-high 16 points in Boston’s win over Charlotte on Friday, Larkin could not deliver anything even close to what he did on that night. Against the Raptors, he was scoreless while missing all six of his shot attempts.

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Horford out, Irving probable for Wednesday's game vs Nuggets

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Horford out, Irving probable for Wednesday's game vs Nuggets

BOSTON – The days of playing short-handed continue for the Boston Celtics who will be without at least one all-star when they host the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. 

The Celtics announced on Tuesday that Al Horford (rest) will not play. A knee collision with Detroit’s Anthony Tolliver on Sunday made Horford a game-time decision prior to Boston’s 108-85 loss at Chicago on Monday. Horford played but like most of his teammates, didn’t play as well as he would have liked before finishing with 15 points, four rebounds and five assists which included him missing all four of his 3-point attempts. 

Kyrie Irving is probable with a quad injury that kept him out of the Bulls loss. 

Marcus Morris (left knee) will miss his third straight game (14th this season) and remains out indefinitely. Also, Gordon Hayward (left ankle fracture) remains out although he may get some good news tomorrow.

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Hayward may ditch the boot for good on Wednesday

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Hayward may ditch the boot for good on Wednesday

BOSTON -- The timetable for Gordon Hayward’s return to the court hasn’t changed as far as the Celtics are concerned. 
 
But try telling that to Hayward, who may be out of his walking boot for good very soon -- like tomorrow soon. 
 
C's coach Brad Stevens gave an update on Hayward’s status in an interview with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski for Krzyzewski’s SiriusXM show, “Basketball & Beyond with Coach K,” which will air Thursday at 6 p.m. ET (SiriusXM channel 84).
 
“He’s going to the doctor [Wednesday] to potentially get out of his walking boot for good, which he’s jacked about,” Stevens said.
 
Stevens and Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, have reiterated how aggressive Hayward has been in attacking his rehab since suffering a dislocated left ankle injury in the season opener at Cleveland on October 17. 
 
“He is literally in the weight room as we speak,” Stevens said. “Does all the training table [work], just like our guys. Has his own shooting time even when he was in a boot, sitting in a chair. He had his own shooting time and had his own lifting time, just like all our players do before practice.”
 
From the very outset, Stevens and the Celtics have made keeping Hayward as involved as possible a priority.
  
But Stevens is quick to caution that while Hayward is making good progress, the Celtics are still proceeding forward as though they will not have him back until next season.

“His status is, the way that we’ve looked at it the whole time is, we don’t expect him back this year,” Stevens said. “But he shoots for all of his goals, week to week, day to day, to try to expedite it as much as he can. He obviously wants to be back, like any athlete, as soon as he can.”
 
Hayward signed a four-year, $127.8 million contract with the Celtics this summer after spending his first seven NBA seasons with the Utah Jazz. Boston was awarded an $8.4 million disabled player exception for Hayward's injury, the largest DPE ever. Boston was awarded the exception in part because independent doctors determined that it’s “likely” that Hayward will not be able to return prior to June 15.
 
However, Boston will still keep the DPE until it expires (March 10, 2018) even if Hayward returns sooner than expected. 
 

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