Celtics

UConn nips Northeastern in N.I.T.; NCAA preview

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UConn nips Northeastern in N.I.T.; NCAA preview

Associated PressSTORRS, Conn. -- Jerome Dysonscored 13 of his 18 points in the second half and Connecticut hung onto beat Northeastern 59-57 Tuesday in the first round of the NationalInvitation Tournament.
Box score
Dyson, who scored a total of 18points in his previous three games, had 11 of UConn's final 13 pointsto bring his team back from a six-point deficit. His free throws with53 seconds left provided the winning margin, and snapped a four-gamelosing streak."I didn't want it to go down and end like that," Dyson said. "I just tried to be more aggressive."UConn's Kemba Walker had a chance to ice the game, but missed the front end of two 1-and-1s in the final minute.Baptiste Bataille's 3-point attempt, which would have won the game for Northeastern at the buzzer, fell short."We did a good job following our gameplan and we still had a shot in the last seconds," Bataille said. "Itwas a little unfortunate but we're happy with the effort."Matt Janning scored 17 points forNortheastern (20-13), which finished second in the Colonial AthleticAssociation. Manny Adako added 14 points.Connecticut (18-15), a perennialpower in the Big East having a down season, advances to play the winnerof Wednesday night's game between Quinnipiac and top-seeded VirginiaTech.Trailing 55-50 with just under fiveminutes left, UConn went to a press and denied Janning the ball.Northeastern missed four of its final five shots.Dyson hit a jumper and a 3-pointerto bring the Huskies within two points, then found Stanley Robinsonunderneath for a reverse layup that tied the game 57 with 1:41 left.Robinson finished with 14 points."If it weren't for Jerome it couldhave been a whole other story," UConn forward Gavin Edwards said. "It'sdefinitely nice to be on the receiving ends of one of those wins."Northeastern trailed by eight pointsat halftime, but a 15-4 run turned a 39-32 deficit into a 47-43 leadmidway through the second half. They led 54-48 with 6 minutes left.Northeastern jumped to a 10-2 lead on one of Janning's four 3-pointers.But Connecticut took over fromthere, outscoring Northeastern 32-16 the rest of the half. UConndominated in the paint, scoring 20-first half points down low andoutrebounding Northeastern 23-14.It was 34-26 at the half.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

0:41 - Kyle Draper, Brain Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn, and Mike Gorman break down the Celtics loss to the Cavs and Gordon Hayward’s injury.

4:22 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions to the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward and how it impacted the game.

9:39 - Dr. Chris Chihlas joins BST to give his medical opinion on Gordon Hayward and if he thinks there is a chance Hayward could return this season. 

13:40 - Chris Mannix and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss what the feeling was like in the arena when Hayward went down but how there is actually a 'cautious optimism' surrounding the injury.

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

CLEVELAND – Jayson Tatum has seen plenty of games featuring Cleveland’s LeBron James.

And in the Boston Celtics’ preparation for Tuesday night’s matchup, the 19-year-old rookie had seen plenty of James on film.

But facing him, up close and personal, was something entirely different.

“He’s way bigger than I thought,” Tatum said. “He’s way better than I imagined. That’s the reason why he is who he is.”

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James’ play was among the key factors in Cleveland handing Boston a 102-99 loss on Tuesday night.

But Tatum showed he too has some big-time potential by finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds which included some nifty drives to the basket as well as showing the ability to hold his own on the glass in terms of rebounding the basketball.

The last Celtics rookie to post a double-double on opening night?

That was Larry Bird back in 1980, helping the Celtics to a 114-106 win over the Houston Rockets.

What’s even crazier?

Bird had 14 points and 10 rebounds in that Rockets game, too.

Tatum’s solid performance didn’t seem in the making in the first half when Tatum had missed all five of his shot attempts while tallying just two points.

But as the Celtics mounted their comeback, Tatum’s play was a key to the team’s improved play.

“Just being more relaxed” was how Tatum described his improved play in the second half.

Tatum added, “first half, I think I was nervous and anxious. And then the game slowed down for me. That helped out a lot.”

And the Celtics will need even more from Tatum going forward after Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that will keep him sidelined indefinitely.

There was plenty of room for him to improve upon following Tuesday’s game.

But for the most part, head coach Brad Stevens liked what he saw from the rookie.

“Jayson was pretty good,” Stevens said. “He did a pretty good job for a first game. That’s pretty hard to do, to be thrown into this environment, first game and play that well.”

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