Celtics

West returns to the Garden in big way for Mavs

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West returns to the Garden in big way for Mavs

BOSTON -- Delonte West scored the first basket of the game and, 48 minutes later, stole the final pass.

He put his mark on his first return to the TD Garden since signing with the Dallas Mavericks this offseason and helped his new squad defeat his former team, 90-85, on Wednesday night.

For me, its always tough to come here and play, West told CSNNE.com after the game. You think its easy, but its always tough not because you dont want to go hard against your old team, its just, I dont know. Its always hard going on the opposing side in the Garden. Its tough shooting at that away basket first.

West, who has two stints with the Celtics over his career, wanted to play another season in Boston but was not surprised at how free agency played out. In December, Celtics acquired veteran Keyon Dooling to play the backup point guard and shooting guard roles. While West would have welcomed another run with the Cs, he had other options as well.

Youre talking about the Boston Celtics, West said before the game. Youre talking about Bill Russell and Red Auerbach. Spots fill up real quickly over there. It wasnt like I didnt have a few options myself. I had the Los Angeles Lakers knocking on my door and the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics. It was kind of hard for me to choose myself. But like I said, on teams like that roster spots fill up very quickly and this isnt my first rodeo. Ive been in this locker room before and its a crazy league. You never know where you end up.

He added, Things fill up quickly. With the free agency period with the Chris Paul talks and this and that, me being a guard, a lot of mine was on hold. But thats ok. I ended up in a good spot.

West looks to bounce back from a season hampered by injuries in which he appeared in just 24 games. This year he is embracing his new team, and his teammates and coach are doing the same.

Hes active, hes not scared, he competes on every play, hes tough in the post, hes got great hands, great anticipation, and he just plays hard, said Dirk Nowitzki. He really sets a great tone for the whole team because he competes in every play.

Said head coach Rick Carlisle, Delonte West flat out competes all the time.

West was feeling so good after the Mavericks win that a hit to the face that required stitches on his nose didnt bother him.

I kind of took a jab there underneath the eye, he said. My face was a little bruised right now, but in the grand scheme of things that punch kind of snapped me back into things. I dont know who it was or when, but it felt great. It took me back to the playground when somebody would sneak a punch at you. It felt great. I had to catch myself. I was about to play playground basketball for a minute.

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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