Celtics

NCAA player scores ... wait for it ... 138 points!

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NCAA player scores ... wait for it ... 138 points!

From Comcast SportsNetAfter a poor shooting weekend, Grinnell guard Jack Taylor was given the green light to shoot his way out of a slump.It only took 108 shots for Taylor to make a mockery of the college basketball record books.Taylor scored 138 points to shatter the NCAA scoring record in Division III Grinnell's 179-104 victory over Faith Baptist Bible on Tuesday night in Grinnell, Iowa.Taylor, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound sophomore from Black River Falls, Wis., made 27 of 71 3-point attempts, was 52 of 108 overall from the field and added seven free throws on 10 attempts in 36 minutes."It felt like anything I tossed up was going in," Taylor told The Associated Press.Rio Grande's Bevo Francis held the NCAA scoring record with 113 points against Hillsdale in 1954. In 1953, Francis had 116 against Ashland Junior College. Frank Selvy is the only other player to reach triple figures, scoring 100 points for Division I Furman against Newberry in 1954. The previous Grinnell record was 89 by Griffin Lentsch last Nov. 19 against Principia.Under coach David Arseneault, the Pioneers press and shoot 3s like nobody else in the country in any level. They've led the nation in scoring for 17 of the past 19 seasons while ranking first nationally in 3-point shooting for the 15 of those past 19 years. But none of them have had a night quite like Taylor -- who never saw this coming.Taylor recently transferred to Grinnell, located about 50 miles east of Des Moines, after playing one season for Wisconsin-La Crosse. He struggled in his debut at the nearby Wartburg Tournament over the weekend by hitting only 11 of 41 shots -- including only 6 of 34 3-point attempts Still, he averaged 23.5 points a game.But Taylor started Tuesday's night game off slow -- at least according to his standards. His coaches figured the best way to get him on track was for him to keep chucking, so that's what Taylor did."Maybe my cold shooting from the weekend was affecting me," Taylor said. "But then they started to drop."Taylor had 58 points at halftime.Then he got hot.Taylor was 32 of 58 shooting -- including 18 3s -- in the final 20 minutes and averaged an astounding four points a minute in the second half."I don't think reality has set in yet," Taylor said.Faith Baptist's David Larson also had a big game, scoring 70 points on 34-of-44 shooting.Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks were amazed by Taylor's feat when they heard about it after their victory in New Orleans."I never heard of nothing like that. That's like a video game," Anthony said, an incredulous look on his face. "How can you shoot 100 times, though?"He joked that from now on when someone asks if he's taking too many shots, he'll mention "that someone shot it 108 times."Raymond Felton also was astounded by the 108 shots."His elbow has got to be sore," Felton said.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Mavericks

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WATCH: Celtics vs. Mavericks

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics play the Mavericks in Dallas. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Mavericks preview: C's need to play Smart vs. Dallas

Celtics-Mavericks preview: C's need to play Smart vs. Dallas

Get it done. No excuses.
 
That has been how the Boston Celtics have played most of this season.
 
And if there’s one Celtics player who embodies that on this team, it’s Marcus Smart.
 
The fourth-year guard has struggled all season with his shot-making, but when the game is on the line in the fourth quarter you can count on Smart to be on the floor.

THE WINNING STREAK

He has been among the many reasons Boston has won 15 in a row, which is the fifth-longest winning streak in franchise history.
 
And Smart will be among the Celtics looking to keep it going tonight against the Dallas Mavericks.
 
Most likely, Smart will make an impact with his defense, which is among the best in the NBA.

How good?
 
Smart has a defensive rating of 93.4 (points allowed per 100 possessions) which is tops among all guards in the NBA, and ranks third among all players who have played in at least 10 games this season.
 
But in the 110-99 win over the Hawks, Smart knocked down a couple of 3-pointers which was a big deal considering how mightily he has struggled shooting the ball this season.
 
Smart is shooting 27.3 percent from the field as well as from 3-point range – both career lows.
 
However, he’s also averaging career highs in assists (4.5) and rebounds (5.1) this season.
 
And while he certainly doesn’t appear to be affected by the shooting struggles, he acknowledges that it is something that he can’t help but think about from time to time.
 
“It does affect you, especially if you’ve been working (on shooting) all summer,” Smart said. “At the same time, I don’t take as many shots. But like I said, we got other guys who are playing well. My job is to get them the ball and do whatever I can, go back down the floor, play defense and get the ball again.”

In Boston’s win over Atlanta, Smart spent a good amount of time defending Marco Belinelli who had four points on 2-for-10 shooting compared to 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting when these two teams met earlier this month.
 
Coach Brad Stevens pointed to the job Smart did on Belinelli, in addition to the clutch offensive rebound he was able to snag and quickly put back up and in that gave Boston a 103-95 game with about two minutes to play.
 
“He was really good,” Stevens said.
 
The same could be said for most of the Celtics of late.
 
Kyrie Irving is coming off his most efficient game of the season, tallying 30 points on 10-for-12 shooting from the field. Jayson Tatum had a rough start, but he came on strong as well with 14 points – all coming in the second half.
 
But the backbone of Boston’s success lies in what they’re able to get done defensively.
 
So far, Boston’s defense has been as strong as we’ve seen this early, in quite some time.
 
Boston, which has a league-best defensive rating of 95.9, has length, savvy and an overall total buy-in by the players on what Brad Stevens is looking for, from them.
 
Meanwhile, the Mavericks (3-14) are coming off their most impressive victory this season, a 111-79 win over Milwaukee.  Dennis Smith Jr. has been among the more talented rookies this season. He’s averaging 14.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Dallas is indeed in a transition period where longtime superstar Dirk Nowitzki (10.3 points, 5.5 rebounds per game) is gradually passing the torch to his younger teammates like Harrison Barnes (18.7 points, 7.1 rebounds) and Smith Jr.
 
Much like the Hawks game, the Celtics must approach this game with a focus on the opponent and not their record.
 
Because the Celtics are no longer just a good team on the schedule. They are a measuring stick for most to see how they stack up against the league’s best.
 
And the Celtics understand how their success has changed how teams see them.
 
“Now that we have a reputation, I think everyone is coming for us,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Now we have to come play even harder, and I think we can do that. I think we are more than capable.”

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