Celtics

Brad Stevens' decision to start Shane Larkin pays off

Brad Stevens' decision to start Shane Larkin pays off

Shane Larkin was anything but an obvious choice for Brad Stevens when it came to pick who would start in place of Kyrie Irving who was out with a sore left knee.

Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier have been the guys to fill in for Irving in the past. And with both playing so well off the Celtics bench, it would have made a lot of sense for Stevens’ pool of possible replacements for Irving was a pool of two.

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And while we’ve heard Stevens speak of how he’s confident in any player on the roster, these are the times when Stevens’ words are put to the test.

His decision to go with Larkin worked well for both the player and the team as Boston had no problem beating the Chicago Bulls 105-89.

Larkin, making his first start for the Celtics and first in the NBA since 2016, had nine points on 3-for-3 shooting to go with four rebounds and four assists. 

“I felt good,” Larking told reporters after the game. 

Although Larkin was filling in for the Celtics’ leading scorer, he knew his role wasn’t about replicating what Irving brought to the table. 

Aware that the Celtics have others who can score besides Irving, Larkin was more concerned with his defense and making sure he got his teammates the ball where they could play their game.

“I was trying to get in the lane and let those guys be effective,” Larkin said. “I felt it was a good job today.”

Said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens: “He was great; he was great. We talked about who should start and everything else. When you trust all three of those guys, then it becomes who do you want to play off the bench. He was really good tonight.”

His teammates echoed similar sentiments. 

“It was nice to see him step up to the challenge,” said Boston’s Al Horford. “Shane is a professional, very professional. He stays ready. It was good to see him with that … he brings a lot of energy anytime that he comes on the floor. And tonight we needed it.”

And unlike some games we’ve seen pitting the Celtics against a cellar-dweller, they did not give the Bulls any hope that this game would be anything other than a blowout. 

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Larkin, making his first NBA start since 2016, was mindful of how important it would be for the Celtics to get off to a good start. 

Boston did just that as they more than doubled up the Bulls in the first quarter which ended with the Celtics holding a commanding 35-16 lead.

“It was very important for me and the team,” Larkin said. “Last time we were here they jumped on us early. Today, we wanted to make sure we hit them early. On my end, every time I’m out there I’m trying to make positive impact play.”

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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.

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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.