Celtics

When E! and ESPN collide

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When E! and ESPN collide

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

Celebrity news is silly. I don't care about Lindsay Lohan's addictions or Charlie Sheen's addictions or the addiction of stalkers to Lindsey Lohan and Charlie Sheen.

But sports media is an entertainment industry and certain athletes have reached celebrity status. Do thousands of fans know what Buddy Farnham's favorite color is? No, but they have chronicled every haircut Tom Brady has (or has not) gotten during the last decade.

It's when the Kardashians collide with the NBA that I feel awkward. It's when Jay Cutler marriesdoesn't-marry an MTV personality (is that what you call them?) and Mike Fisher steps out with an American Idol that I'm unsure of what to do.

Do I ignore those angles because they're slick with Ryan Seacrest slime? Or do I begrudgingly mention that Lamar Odom will be on the next season of Living Vicariously Through the Vapidashians because Lakers fans care? Or, more likely, because Celtics fans want to make fun of him.

I knew Chad Ochocinco's arrival in New England might present such dilemmas. When a sports celebrity like Esteban puts a microscope to his already-public life it's hard to know when to look away. He constantly Tweets his goings-on and over two and a half million people appear interested.

But what do Patriots fans want to know and what do they want filtered?

Teammate interaction: yes.

The Prius jokes have actually been entertaining. But while digging for more, I stumbled over that line onto the pink and frilly HollywoodLife.com where his fiancee was talking about wedding plans.

During the Aug. 8 season finale, Evelyn confronted Chad after she saw him having lunch with another woman. We resolved it and we moved on, Evelyn confesses. I dont know if he sees my point, but theres always that man-woman conflict.But they have moved on and been trying to get pregnant with twins but Evelyns not pregnant yet. Thats the good thing with fertility, you can pick and choose when you want to have babies, she explains. We want to have the babies after the wedding.

So, basically..

Chad goes out with a woman who is not his fiancee --> Chad and fiancee fight --> they move on and try to have kids --> they don't actually want kids until after the wedding --> the wedding isn't until next year.

...Right. Yup. I don't care.

Lesson learned: Stay on the right side of the ball because it's scary and confusing over with the Kardashians. We and E! might all be working in entertainment news, but we don't seem to be talking about the same thing.

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.

- Game preview: C's need to play Smart in Dallas

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

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.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE