Celtics

Majerus remembered fondly by coaches

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Majerus remembered fondly by coaches

MILWAUKEE The game lost one of its best basketball minds on Saturday with the death of Rick Majerus.

Majerus, 64, died of heart failure in a Los Angeles Hospital according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

He coached at four different schools over the course of a 25-year career, a career that included just one losing season.

His death will be felt by many, including Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, better known as Glen Rivers when they met.

"That's a tough one for me," said an emotional Rivers, visibly shaken by Majerus' death. "He's the one that gave me my name."

While attending a basketball camp as a youth with Majerus as one of the camp counselors, Rivers was wearing a Dr. J (Julius Erving) t-shirt.

Majerus started calling him 'Doc,' and the rest as they say, is history.

The two became even closer during Rivers' three seasons at Marquette (1980-83), where Majerus was an assistant under the legendary Al McGuire.

One of the most talkative coaches in any sport, Rivers had little to say about Majerus.

"I knew before (Saturday's 91-88 loss to Milwaukee) that he wasn't going to make it through the night," said Rivers, knowing he was fighting a losing battle to maintain his composure. "I don't want to talk about it."

His death being too fresh, too painful for the loquacious Rivers to speak about it at length without breaking down.

Bucks assistant coach Jim Boylan was the starting point guard for Marquette's 1977 NIT championship team in which Majerus was an assistant coach.

Hes done so much for basketball at Marquette and all through the state of Wisconsin," Boylan said. "For me personally, hes always been there. Hes one of those guys who, if you dont see Rick for a while and when something was going wrong and you needed help, boom, hed be there. He did so much for me over the years when I was trying to get my career going. Just extending himself and giving you whatever it is you needed, whether it was a phone call, having me come out to Salt Lake and staying with him four or five weeks at a time working. Hed basically give you the shirt off his back, if thats what you needed. He would do whatever it took. Hes going to be really missed. Great person.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics back in win column

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics back in win column

0:41 - The Celtics returned to their winning ways with a 118-103 victory over the Orlando Magic. Tom Giles, Phil Perry and Rob “Hardy” Poole break down the win.

6:58 - Tom Giles and Hardy discuss the Bruins’ four-game winning streak and how the success of Anton Khudobin has helped keep the team afloat.

11:39 - Is the Patriots' Week 12 matchup with the Dolphins a trap game? Tom Giles, Phil Perry and Hardy discuss where Miami ranks among NFL teams and how the Patriots should approach the game.

17:07 - With Black Friday upon us, the Boston Sports Tonight crew discusses what big-ticket item they would choose to buy for any Boston sports team. 

 

Morris out, Brown questionable for Pacers game Saturday

Morris out, Brown questionable for Pacers game Saturday

BOSTON – Boston made strengthening their depth at the wing position a priority during the offseason.

Well, that depth will be put to the test with the possibility of at least one and maybe two of their top wing players being out for Saturday’s game at Indiana.

Shortly after Boston’s 118-103 win over Orlando on Friday night, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens announced that Marcus Morris (left knee) would not travel with the team for Saturday’s game against the Pacers.

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Also, Jaylen Brown will be attending the funeral of his best friend (Trevin Steede) in Georgia on Saturday and isn’t sure if he’ll be back with the team in time for Saturday’s game.

“My intention is to make it back. If I can, I’ll definitely be playing,” Brown said. “But we’ll see.”

The absence of Brown would be a huge blow for the Celtics.

Boston only returned four players from last season’s team, none of whom have improved their overall game as much as Brown did during the offseason.

He came into the season focused on being a lock-down defender.

But Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury was a game-changer for all the Celtics, including Brown.

Not only would Brown be charged with being an elite defender, but Boston now needed the second-year wing player to become more of a scoring threat.

And to Brown’s credit, he has risen to the challenge.

In 20 games (all starts) this season, Brown has averaged 15.9 points per game which is second on the team to Kyrie Irving (22.9). In addition, Brown’s defense has been among the keys to Boston’s 17-3 start which is the best record in the NBA thus far this season.

His defensive rating of 95.0 is fifth among players to appear in at least 10 games this season, and tops among all second-year players. And of the four players ahead of him, two – Aron Baynes and Marcus Smart – are teammates.

But just like the Celtics gave Isaiah Thomas all the time he needed in dealing with the death of his sister right before the playoffs last season, a similar approach has been taken with Brown which he is admittedly appreciative of the organization for doing.

“Brad (Stevens) has been great in this process,” Brown said. “Just somebody to talk to, allowing me to deal with it in the best way our family and their family feels we can deal with it. He’s been great; we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully I can make it to Indiana; if not, I just have to re-group with my family and I’ll see you guys next game (against Detroit on Monday).”

While there's a chance that Brown will play against Indiana, the same can not be said for Morris who is definitely out.

Morris, who missed the first eight games of the season with left knee soreness, has been on a minutes restriction all season in addition to not being allowed to play in back-to-back games.

Following Friday’s game, Morris said the knee feels good but he understands the need to be cautious.

“It’s frustrating,” said Morris who acknowledged the decision was made by the coaching and medical staff. “I’m a competitor, so I want to be out there.”

He added, “Like I said, at this point I pretty much don’t have control over it when I’m playing. It’s a long season. I just want to be ready for June.”

With Morris out and Brown potentially out as well, the Celtics will be extremely thin and inexperienced at the wing position. Look for Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes to be in the starting lineup if Brown is out along with Morris.

Also, Stevens will likely use Terry Rozier and first-year forward Semi Ojeleye more in addition to increased spot-duty for another rookie, Abdel Nader. On Friday, Rozier had a career-high 23 points while Ojeleye and Nader had seven and three points, respectively.

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