Celtics

30 teams in 30 days: Rockets get James Harden another star

adobe_spark_39.jpg

30 teams in 30 days: Rockets get James Harden another star

James Harden’s status as a star in the NBA took yet another leap forward last season with the 28-year-old finishing second to Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook for the league’s MVP award.
 
Despite finishing with the third-best record in the NBA last season, the Rockets were bounced in the second round by San Antonio which was a clear signal that as good as Harden was, he would need help in the form of another superstar to truly establish a perch among the game’s elite.
 
In comes future Hall of Famer Chris Paul, who needs a team like the Rockets as badly as they need him.
 
Despite a war chest full of individual accolades as well as being a well-respected leader, the 32-year-old Paul has never led a team past the second round of the playoffs.
 
There’s no questioning the talent assembled in the Houston backcourt with Harden and Paul, but there are legitimate concerns as to how they will mesh together, especially with both being ball-dominant playmakers who have thrived in those roles.
 
You have to believe at some point head coach Mike D’Antoni will figure out how to mesh their games, and from there things could get real scary for opponents.
 
Because in addition to having what looks to be one of the most dynamic backcourts in the NBA, the Rockets also added some legit toughness and versatility with P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. Both players provide some much-needed toughness for a Houston team that shot the hell out of the ball last season in setting an NBA record in made 3-pointers with 1,181.
 
Scoring is not an issue for the Rockets. Houston averaged 115.3 points per game which was second only to Golden State (115.9) in the NBA last season.
 
Now defense? That’s another story.
 
The Rockets defensive rating (106.4) ranked 18th in the NBA and allowed 109.6 points per game, which ranked 26th in the league.
 
In addition to Tucker and Mbah a Moute, the Rockets also have Trevor Ariza to help form a strong 1-2-3 defensive punch on the wing.
 
Houston’s interior defense is an area of concern, but if they hold their own defensively while still creating problems for opposing defenses because of the Paul-Harden backcourt as well as Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon who can both shoot the ball well, the Rockets have a legit shot at doing what no Paul-led team has done which is get to the Conference finals.
 
Key free agent/draft/trade additions: Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers); P.J. Tucker (Toronto); Luc Mbah a Moute (Los Angeles Clippers).
 
Key losses: Patrick Beverley (Los Angeles Clippers); Lou Williams (Los Angeles Clippers); Sam Dekker (Los Angeles Clippers); Montrezl Harrell (Los Angeles Clippers);
 
Rookies of note: Zhou Qi.
 
Expectations: 57-35 (1st in the Southwest Division, 2nd in the West).
 

Danny Ainge has got the jokes...aimed at Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown

Danny Ainge has got the jokes...aimed at Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown

Danny Ainge was busy on Twitter late last night poking a little fun at a couple of his players.

Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations, wondered where the defense was in a video of "Scary" Terry Rozier playing in a pickup game with Wizards guard John Wall and other NBAers. 

A little good-natured payback for Rozier's FaceTime interruption of Ainge's drafting of Robert Williams back in June?

A few minutes before his Rozier tweet, Ainge saw a video tweeted by Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton of Jaylen Brown showing his skills on the piano at the Berkeley campus' Sproul Plaza. Brown spent a year at Cal before being drafted by Boston in 2016.

Ainge couldn't resist a jab at Brown's ball-handling skills. 

So, Celtics players, post those Twitter videos at your own risk because the boss is watching.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

 

Anything is Podable Episode Two: New owner, new era

Anything is Podable Episode Two: New owner, new era

It’s not very often that a marquee franchise like the Boston Celtics is sold, but in 2002, control of the green and white changed hands.

Episode Two of NBC Sports Boston’s “Anything is Podable” looks at the first several years of the Wyc Grousbeck era and how the new ownership group began to lay the building blocks of the next great Celtics team.

“Mortgaged the house to put down the deposit and started to figure out whom I could call to raise all this money,” said Grousbeck in an exclusive interview for the podcast series. “But as of that moment, I knew I was going to be the controlling owner of the Boston Celtics, or I was going to die trying. I mean, that was going to happen.”

While the Celtics’ transformation from pretender to contender took several years, Grousbeck and his team were committed to giving fans the team’s seventeenth championship.

“When you come into the Celtics, you can’t come into it for money, and we never did” added Grousbeck. “I named the company ‘Banner 17’ because I wanted to win the 17th banner and hopefully more.”

The podcast continues on to address the coaching transition from Jim O’Brien to Doc Rivers, as well as Danny Ainge’s first few seasons as General Manager and President of Basketball Operations.

“I’m not exaggerating if I say 10-15 different coaches and ex-coaches told me not to take the Boston job,” said Rivers. “Too much pressure, they’re going to be bad for a long time, not sure if you and Danny will work well together. I mean, I just got a lot of calls.”

“As excited as I was for Doc, you know, Wyc and Pags, they wanted to sign him before we left the house,” joked Ainge. “They were so excited. They were enamored with Doc.”

With Ainge and Rivers now in charge of all things on the court, Grousbeck and his team were on their way to fulfilling their goal.

Anything is Podable is a ten-part series diving into the story of the 2008 Celtics and their championship season, with exclusive, never-before-heard interviews with team executives, former players, and media members.

Narrated by Kyle Draper, it’s the perfect way for Celtics fans to pass time this offseason and get excited for 2018-19, a season in which the Celtics have as good a chance at raising their 18th championship banner as they’ve had since that magical 2008 season.

Fans can subscribe to the podcast through the link below and check out the other nine episodes for a look at this exclusive series.