Celtics

Shaughnessy, Buckley not sure why Aceves is still around

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Shaughnessy, Buckley not sure why Aceves is still around

Look out, world. Alfredo Aceves isn't happy, and he doesn't care who knows it. He used live batting practice on Sunday to make a point, got reprimanded, and proceeded to show zero remorse. That much we know. The rest? Like much else with Aceves, still kind of a mystery.

Is he miffed because he's not being used as a starter? Does he have some other beef with new Red Sox manager John Farrell? Did the clubhouse guy screw up his coffee order? With Aceves you never really know. All that can be gathered from his latest show of defiance -- using live batting practice to lob up softballs to Red Sox hitters -- is that it wasn't quite sympatico with the new culture the team is hoping to introduce this season. You know, the one that emphasizes hard work, being a good teammate, generally not being a jerk. That sort of thing.

Steve Buckley and Dan Shaughnessy joined Damon Amendolara on Sports Sunday last night to question why Aceves still has a spot on the roster. Sure he's talented. Certainly a serviceable arm when not experiencing the uncontrollable urge to go rogue or throw a temper tantrum. But, to them, he's not worth the trouble.

"This is a guy who got suspended for three games last year, had a dust up with Dustin Pedroia, and showed up his manager on the mound," Buckley said. "They bring him back, Farrell says 'Clean slate. Lets' start all over again.' I thought Aceves showed up the manager and the coaching staff today on something that was as simple as live batting practice. He kind of wasted everyone's time. That's my opinion."

Shaughnessy agreed.

"It's a little bit surprising to me he's still here," Shaughnessy said. "I would be surprised if he's still her at the end of the week. I just think they should've cut their losses last year with this guy. We know he's got ability. I just dont think it's worth it. I was surprised they didn't do more to sanction him last year."

Let us know in the comment box below whether or not you think it's worth keeping Aceves on the roster.

Celtics-Hawks preview: C' defense looks to keep up historic pace

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Celtics-Hawks preview: C' defense looks to keep up historic pace

As the wins continue to pile up for the Boston Celtics, so does the praise and adulation from others throughout the league. 

It’s a double-edged sword if you think about it. 

Acknowledging how good the Celtics are, is indeed a sign of respect. 

But it also means Boston plays every game with a large target on its back unlike any of Brad Stevens’ previous Celtics teams. 

And that means every game they play, even those like tonight’s matchup at Atlanta where they will be heavily favored, are dangerous matchups.

Because for some teams, the next best thing to competing against the champ (Golden State) is facing the team with the best record who just knocked off the champ. 

That will be one of the dynamics at work tonight when the Celtics (14-2) kick off a three-game road trip against a trio of sub-.500 teams beginning with the Hawks (3-12).

Boston has shown tremendous focus and attention to detail during their 14-game winning streak. But in that span, the Celtics have never had a trio of teams right behind each other that struggled as much as the Hawks, the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks have this season. 

Not including games played on Friday, Boston’s next three opponents are a combined 11-33. 

All three of those teams would love to be the one to knock off the Celtics, the kind of victory that could significantly shift the direction of their respective franchises from their current downward spin. 

Meanwhile, the Celtics will look to continue to play with the kind of defensive temperament that has catapulted them to the top of the NBA’s defensive standings in several categories. 

“The way they’re beating teams it ain’t pretty,” a league executive texted NBC Sports Boston. “But they win. Last I checked, that’s what matters most.”

And that success has to a large degree, put a bigger bullseye on the Celtics than ever. 

“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.”

Especially if they continue to defend at a level we haven’t seen in years. 

Boston has a league-best defensive rating of 95.4. A key component in Boston’s strong play defensively has been their ability to win the battle of the boards. They come into tonight’s game with a .530 rebounding percentage which is second in the league to Portland (.539).

And that defense, while praised for how it functions collectively, it also consists of some pretty good individual defenders as well. 

Among guards averaging at least 20 minutes per game, Boston has four players ranked among the top 10 in defensive rating (Marcus Smart, 93.5 defensive rating, 2nd); Jaylen Brown (93.6, 3rd); Terry Rozier (95.0, 5th) and Kyrie Irving (96.4, 8th). 

When you look at forwards, Brown headlines a trio of forwards that includes himself, Al Horford (94.2, 3rd) and Jayson Tatum (96.1, 7th). 

Aron Baynes has the best defensive rating (90.6) among centers, followed by Horford (94.2).

“Our guys are locked in and really trying and again we can really play some pretty ugly basketball at times,” Stevens said. “But I do think that we are competing which is really good.”