Celtics

Celtics can't pull off a comeback, get blown out by Raptors

Celtics can't pull off a comeback, get blown out by Raptors

We have seen the Boston Celtics go through their share of ups and downs, but nothing quite like the 111-91 shellacking they took at the hands of the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.

That run, that game-changing surge that has been a major part of the Celtics’ success this season, never came. 

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Boston was particularly at its worst in the second quarter, with Toronto’s backups doing significant damage in the second quarter (Toronto outscored Boston 36-19 in the second) that fueled Toronto’s 58-37 halftime lead. 

It was a big win for the Raptors who seemingly overwhelmed the Celtics in several phases of play. 

“I didn’t think we were ready physically, for whatever reason,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.   

This was one of the few games in which the Celtics seemingly had no one to elevate their play. 

“I didn’t think anybody on our team was great tonight or at their very best,” Stevens said. “I just think if you look at our whole team, coaches, players, we just weren’t good enough.” 

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 111-91 loss to Toronto which was the ninth time Boston has lost in Toronto in their last 10 matchups. 

 

STARS

Kyle Lowry: He was really aggressive at the outset offensively, finishing with a game-high 23 points in just three quarters of action.

Toronto bench: The Raptor’s second unit outscored Boston 59-51, but a good number of points scored by Boston came when the game was all but decided with both teams clearing their benches. 

 

STUDS

Kyrie Irving: Returning to action after missing the last three games with a right quadriceps bruise, Irving had a solid but far from spectacular return with 17 points and three assists. 

Terry Rozier: The aggressiveness that he promised to play with now that he’s back to coming off the bench, was apparent on Tuesday. He led the Celtics with 18 points along with five rebounds and four assists. 

C.J.Miles: Several Toronto players gave the Celtics problems, including Miles who had 20 points off the Raptors bench. 

 

DUDS

Al Horford: The Raptors did a great job of taking Horford out of most plays, most of the night. He would finish with just two points on 1-for-5 shooting with six rebounds and two blocked shots. 

Pierce details mental-health struggles after stabbing

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Pierce details mental-health struggles after stabbing

Jackie MacMullan's deep-dive look at the mental health stigma in the NBA on Monday wasn't without a few Celtics anecdotes.

One of the biggest sections of the stories was former Celtic Paul Pierce talking about his struggles after he was stabbed outside a Boston night club in 2000.

"I was stabbed 11 times," Pierce tells ESPN. "I felt like I was trapped in a box. I couldn't go nowhere. I battled depression for a year. The only thing that saved me was basketball."

Pierce played all 82 games after surviving the incident, but that was also a product of his anxiety in the ensuing months.

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"I think that's the reason I got back on the court so fast. Me sitting at home thinking about [the stabbing] didn't work. I went to every practice, sat on the sideline for hours, because that's where I felt safe. I didn't want those practices to end because then I had to go back out there in this world that really scared me."

The Celtics offered consulting with a mental health expert, and Pierce is quoted saying he wished he took the advice.

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is quoted as well, saying "We can offer all the services in the world, but if they won't use them, we can't help them. Too many of these guys don't realize how badly they need help until it's too late."

The piece also follows Cavaliers center Kevin Love and his mental health struggles in the past year.

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Anything is Podable Episode 6: The games behind-the-scenes

Anything is Podable Episode 6: The games behind-the-scenes

It’s hard not to be intense when Kevin Garnett is on your team. For the 07-08 Celtics, that fire extended beyond the court and into every waking moment they spent together.

Episode 6 of NBC Sports Boston’s “Anything is Podable” goes behind-the-scenes with the members of the world champion Celtics to get a never-before-heard glimpse into the games and competitions that brought them all closer together.

“Everything is about competition and we, as a staff, understood that early,” said Doc Rivers. “For practices, if there was no score, it was a bad practice. All you had to do was put a winner and a loser and the practice went from here to here. It was just that type of group.”

Whether it was on road trips, at practice, or in the weight room, everything about the team revolved around competition and an innate desire to win.

“Everything was competitive,” stated Rajon Rondo. “The boxing gloves came out in the weight room.”

As is the case with every great team, the bonding off the court was essential to finding success on it. Anything that could possibly be turned into a competition, was.

Arm wrestling? Check.

Push-upsYou bet.

On a road trip in Miami, Paul Pierce challenged Glen Davis to eat a large piece of bread in under one minute.

“Have you ever tried to eat a piece of bread like that?” Davis asked. “It gets dry. You can’t swallow it. It sounds easy, but people don’t know how dry bread is...I almost like choked and died.”

“You’re talking about a guy who loved to eat,” Pierce joked.

“I couldn’t do it,” Davis responded.

Competition off the court breeds competition on the court and, while the talent helped, little games like the ones played on road trips were vital to the Celtics achieving their ultimate 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.