Celtics

Celtics should get word Friday on Irving's status

Celtics should get word Friday on Irving's status

BOSTON -- Kyrie Irving has had a second opinion on his sore left knee, and a decision on what the next step will be is expected to be made within the next day or two, according to a league source.

 The medical officials involved in the initial evaluation will meet with those who examined him today, to compare notes and determine what’s in the best interest of Irving going forward.

 While surgery is a possibility, the source indicated that the current course of treatment, which consists primarily of rest, remains a consideration. 
 
The concerns regarding Irving’s knee are to be of the short-term variety, with the source indicating reports that there are long-term concerns with the knee are “just wrong.” 

 In his first season with the Celtics, Irving has appeared in 60 games in what has been one of his most efficient seasons as a scorer. 
 
He’s averaging 24.4 points per game while shooting a career-high 49.1 percent from the field. The five-time all-star is shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range this season in addition to dishing out 5.1 assists along with grabbing a career-high 3.8 rebounds.
 

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Celtics' fourth-quarter stats paint troubling picture ahead of NBA playoffs

Celtics' fourth-quarter stats paint troubling picture ahead of NBA playoffs

The Boston Celtics had an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter of Saturday night's matchup against the Charlotte Hornets, and yet they still lost after giving up a 30-5 run to end the game.

The 124-117 defeat was among the most painful for the Celtics this season. They played really well offensively for most of the night, highlighted by five Celtics players scoring in double-figures, including Jaylen Brown's 29 points off the bench.

The game got away from Boston in the fourth quarter, and it was another example of the team's inability to close out games this month.

Here are some troubling fourth-quarter stats for the Celtics in March.

Saturday night's numbers were similarly disappointing.

One of the major issues with the Celtics is not getting to the free throw line. They rank 29th of 30 NBA teams in free throw attempts per game. They also attempt just 6.6 free throws per game in fourth quarters. Brown took two free throws Saturday night at the 10:21 mark of the fourth quarter with the C's up 102-93, and it was the last time Boston went to the free throw line. 

The Celtics simply stopped attacking, and the shot chart provides the evidence.

The C's cannot let their foot off the gas pedal in the fourth quarter, especially against teams with a dominant scorer like Hornets guard Kemba Walker. Not only did the C's stop attacking the basket, their defense made no adjustments to slow down Walker and force other Charlotte players to step up. Taking 3-pointers and trying to go for the kill allows the opponent to get stops, excel in transition and build the confidence needed to complete a comeback.

The Celtics must fix their fourth-quarter issues or their playoff run likely will be short lived. 

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Celtics' Saturday woes continue with latest weekend loss to bad team

Celtics' Saturday woes continue with latest weekend loss to bad team

Forget losing out on home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Boston Celtics' biggest concern should be avoiding having to play on Saturdays.

The Celtics suffered a baffling loss to a mediocre team Saturday night, allowing the 10th-seed Charlotte Hornets to reel off a 30-5 run en route to a 124-117 loss.

If you're feeling a little déjà vu, you're onto something. That ugly 86-point effort at home against the Utah Jazz in November? It came on a Saturday night. A perplexing 10-point road loss to the tanking Chicago Bulls in late February? Also a Saturday night.

And that fateful defeat at the hands of the Orlando Magic that prompted Kyrie Irving to question the Celtics' lack of experience? You guessed it: Saturday night.

The Celtics have played an unusually high number of Saturday games this season -- 17, their most since the 1955-56 season -- and have fared quite poorly. They're now 8-9 in Saturday games, with seven of those eight wins coming against teams currently out of the playoff picture.

Here's a look:

Wins: at NYK, at DET, at MIN, at CHI, at MEM, at ATL, at LAL, vs. ATL
Losses: at IND, vs. UTA, at DAL, at DET, at ORL, vs. GST, vs. LAC, at CHI, at CHA

In Boston's defense, it's a pretty brutal schedule to navigate: 13 of those 17 games have been on the road (it will be 14 of 18 when the C's visit Brooklyn next Saturday), and five were on the second night of a back-to-back.

But here's what makes this trend so baffling: The Celtics thrived in these situations in recent seasons.

In fact, the C's entered the 2018-19 campaign with wins in 17 of their last 20 Saturday regular-season games. They won 9 of 11 Saturday contests in 2017-18 and dropped just one Saturday game in nine tries in 2016-17.

This season has been a completely different story for the enigmatic Celtics, whose lowest winning percentage is in Monday games (5-7) but who shoot worse from the floor (40.6 percent) and have more losses on Saturday than any other day of the week.

Of course, this could all be a coincidence. Boston easily could "flip the switch" and throw its Saturday struggles out the window come playoff time.

But like many of us, it appears the 2018-19 Celtics don't enjoy working on Saturday night.

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