Celtics

About Last Night: Warriors making quick work of Blazers

About Last Night: Warriors making quick work of Blazers

What we’re talking about: Warriors making quick work of Blazers

Even with a change of venue, a fired-up fan base and another double-digit lead in the first half, the Golden State Warriors wound up doing what they always seem to do this time of year - find a way to win.

The absence of Kevin Durant has been a non-factor. In fact, one could argue not having the former league MVP has brought out the best in the rest of the Warriors who seemed to have found that hunger that champions often struggle with discovering after having won at the highest of levels over and over again. Steph Curry has been a killer shot-maker in this series, but the MVP has been Draymond Green. It was his aggressiveness during the early stages of Game 3 that kept Golden State in the game before finishing with a triple-double of 20 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. He showed tremendous leadership both in his play and his words, frequently offering words of encouragement to his younger teammates when they made mistakes. This is the version of Golden State teams fear: the one that’s hungry and when challenged, plays as close to their best brand of basketball which as the Blazers are finding out now, makes them damn near impossible to beat.

What we’ll be watching: Raptors must-win mode now

This is it. The Toronto Raptors’ amazing season comes down to this game. Facing a 2-0 series deficit, there is no way they can lose tonight and bounce back from a 3-0 series deficit and beat the Bucks. Milwaukee has won with Giannis Antetokounmpo dominating as well as with his teammates carrying the load towards victory. Kawhi Leonard has been the best individual talent in the playoffs from beginning to where things stand now. But his team’s 2-0 series hole is a reminder that being great in the playoffs doesn’t necessarily catapult you to victory unless your success becomes contagious. While Leonard may be the best player, no one has elevated the play of those around them more than Antetokounmpo. His scoring is lethal, obviously. But when he’s finding guys in their sweet spots the way we saw in the Boston series and now against Toronto? He becomes an unstoppable force that has the Raptors on the ropes who will continue to get big-time production from Leonard.

But will anyone else step up?

MORE BLAKELY: Get to know your NBA offseason terminology>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck makes sobering admission about 2018-19 team

Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck makes sobering admission about 2018-19 team

Wyc Grousbeck has endured some dark years as co-owner of the Boston Celtics since he bought the team in 2002.

Yet somehow, none of those abysmal seasons or playoff pitfalls rankled him as much as this most recent Celtics team.

"I'm as frustrated as I’ve ever been in 16 years," Grousbeck told The Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach in a recent interview.

That's coming from a co-owner who witnessed the C's win a total of 57 games between 2005 and 2007 and suffer a heartbreaking loss to the rival Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 NBA Finals.

But what vexed Grousbeck the most was that the 2018-19 Celtics, plagued by chemistry issues and inconsistency, swept the Indiana Pacers in the first round and appeared to have righted the ship, only to lose four straight to the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round after winning Game 1.

"We won five (in a row), I felt great," Grousbeck added. "I thought the problems were over. We lost four and I don’t feel great and the problems were not over."

The Celtics have attempted to address those problems by bringing in Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter after watching Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Terry Rozier walk in free agency and trading Aron Baynes to the Phoenix Suns.

Grousbeck, who said the C's have already sold out their season tickets for 2019-20, seems more optimistic with this new squad now than he did back in May.

"Now we’ve added these guys and some rookies and there’s a renewed sense of energy and optimism on the team," he added. "They’ve got to make it happen."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

How Tacko Fall factors into the Celtics' fight for the 15th roster spot

How Tacko Fall factors into the Celtics' fight for the 15th roster spot

BOSTON -- For those of us who watched the Boston Celtics during summer league, it wasn’t all that shocking to learn that they would sign Javonte Green to a multi-year deal

But the perception of many has been signing Green meant that the Celtics had passed on signing 7-foot-7 sensation Tacko Fall. 

Not so fast, people. 

Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, has made no secret about the team’s interest level in signing Fall to a contract beyond his current Exhibit 10 deal remains high. 

So how can they do it?

Let’s take a step back and examine Green’s deal which is partially guaranteed for the first year and non-guaranteed for the second. 

That means he has to make the team in order for it be fully guaranteed either season, which means the team’s current allotment of guaranteed contracts remains at 14. 

Boston also has a pair of players signed to two-way deals in Max Strus and Tremont Waters. Because they are on two-way contracts, neither counts towards the team’s guaranteed contract allotment which can be no more than 15. 

That means that there’s still an open roster spot that the team can use to sign another player, and so the fight for 15 - as in the 15th and final roster spot, can include Tacko Fall.

And with Fall being signed to an Exhibit 10 contract, that guarantees that he will have an invitation to training camp where he could in fact fight for that coveted final roster spot. 

“Tacko is going to have a chance to make the roster,” Ainge told NBC Sports Boston. “We see some upside there, we’re excited about him.”

In addition to Fall potentially landing the last remaining roster spot, the Celtics could also waive one of its two-way players and turn around and convert Fall’s Exhibit 10 deal into a two-way contract which would result in him spending most of his time with Boston’s G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws and be limited to spending no more than 45 days with the Celtics. 

“He’s a great kid. He’s working really hard. We want to take his development very, very seriously,” Ainge told reporters earlier this week. “He’s a high priority for us to develop into a player.”

Ainge added, “Tacko is fun to watch. He makes me laugh. Some of the plays he makes are hilarious because you just don’t see them. Guys get in a bind and they just throw the ball in the air, and Tacko grabs them and tip-toe dunks them into the basket. He looks like a senior in high school playing with fourth graders out there.” 

Ainge: Celtics 'trying' to get a contract done with Tacko Fall>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.