Celtics

Celtics 3rd-quarter D makes it a forgettable end to 2018 in San Antonio

Celtics 3rd-quarter D makes it a forgettable end to 2018 in San Antonio

This was not how the Celtics saw 2018 ending for them. 

Not only did they lose to the San Antonio Spurs, but they lost it in large part because their defense, usually a team strength, absolutely folded like a papier mache in the rain when the game mattered most. The end result? A 120-111 defeat. 

“They were tremendous,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens, whose team gave up 46 points in the third quarter. “It started by them overpowering us, getting to the rim clearly like a mindset of, ‘we’re going to the rim and make you stop us.’”

Boston adjusted to the deep penetration, but that only opened things up for a San Antonio squad that shoots a higher percentage from 3-point range than any team in the NBA. 

And on Monday night, they delivered an above-average performance from behind the arc, connecting on 52.6 percent (14-for-26) of their 3-pointers.

When asked about the idea of a team scoring 46 points on their defense in one quarter, Marcus Morris acknowledged it was something he thought he would never see happening. 

“They scored like 27 in eight minutes or so, something like that,” Morris told reporters. “You know, go back and watch film, correct mistakes. They made shots; their role guys, they made shots.”

Derrick White had 22 points on 8-for-9 shooting. 

Davis Bertrans had 17 points off the bench, which included five made 3’s. 

And that doesn’t include LaMarcus Aldridge’s game-high 32 points or the near triple-double put up by DeMar DeRozan who had 13 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. 

While praising the Spurs for a well-played game, the Celtics are well aware that defensively they did not play their game. 

“We just didn’t play with presence,” said Jaylen Brown, who tallied a season-high 30 points. “They were making shots and they didn’t feel us. We have to have more of a presence; people in this league are too good to come out and not exert energy on both ends of the ball.”

And while the Celtics had a strong first half and seemingly had the Spurs reeling, Boston has too many players who've seen how the Spurs can quickly swing the momentum in their favor particularly when they are at home, where they improved to 15-5 this season. 

“See that’s the difference, you never have the Spurs where you want them,” Kyrie Irving told reporters. “They’re too well-coached; they play too hard. We had no rim presence, we couldn’t get a rebound and they had 46 in the third. You can’t win an NBA game playing that way.”

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Enes Kanter considering 'American name' when he becomes U.S. citizen

Enes Kanter considering 'American name' when he becomes U.S. citizen

Enes Kanter has big plans for the next couple of years that extend far beyond basketball.

The new Boston Celtics big man recently told TMZ Sports he plans on becoming a United States citizen two years from now. Kanter has been vocal about human rights issues in his home country of Turkey, to the point where Turkish prosecutors are seeking the arrest of the 27-year-old for his criticism of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Kanter's citizenship may not be the only major change he makes in two years. He says he's also considering a switch to an "American name."

"I'm actually becoming a U.S. citizen in two years," Kanter told TMZ. "I'm actually thinking about adding an American name. I'm still thinking about it. I don't know yet."

Watch below:

But what names are under consideration? That's the next question that needs to be posed to the 6-foot-11 forward.

Kanter, who signed a two-year deal worth $10 million this offseason, will be counted on to play a sizable role for the Celtics. He and fellow newcomer Kemba Walker are expected to help replenish the team chemistry that was missing throughout the 2018-19 campaign.

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A tall order for Celtics' Tacko Fall to prove he has more to offer than incredible height

A tall order for Celtics' Tacko Fall to prove he has more to offer than incredible height

FRANKLIN, Mass. -- Tacko Fall has heard the question time and time again. 

“How tall are you?”

“Five-11,” quipped Fall who has learned to have some fun with the all-too-common question that you kind of expect to be asked of someone like himself who stands well north of 7-feet tall. 

It’s easy to lock in on his 7-foot-7 frame and not think about him beyond that. 

But there’s so much more to Fall, a rookie signed to an Exhibit 10 contract earlier this summer by the Celtics. 

His Exhibit 10 contract guarantees he’ll get a small signing bonus and an invitation to training camp. 

Beyond that, the perks aren’t great. 

And yet despite an uncertain future with the Celtics, you would think he was bound for the Hall of Fame with the amount of attention he has received seemingly wherever he goes in New England. 

“Sometimes I feel like my height … obviously I am very tall,” Fall told NBC Sports Boston. “That’s gonna stick out. But a lot of times I don’t want to feel like a freak show. I feel I’m a lot more than that, I’ve shown I’m a lot more than that. Things like this, I try to show the type of person I am and keep building from there.”

The “this” Fall was referring to was the Home Makeover program sponsored by Arbella Insurance which brought him to Franklin, Mass. to participate in some basketball drills in addition to seeing the Celtics-themed room renovation. 

Being 7-7, Fall has to be careful of how he navigates his way in and out of houses.

But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Fall understands angles so well considering his academic background. 

A native of Senegal, Fall learned at an early age how to manage both academics and athletics. 

“When I was a kid, my mom was really strict about school,” Fall said. “Growing up, that was my mentality. I approach everything the same way, whether it’s in the classroom or on the court. I try to be the best at everything I do.”

Fall is indeed a late bloomer when it comes to basketball, but has proven himself both on and off the court as being able to pick up things quickly. 

It took him about eight months to become fluent in English once he arrived in the United States. 

And his SAT scores in high school ranked among the 95th percentile, with him taking advanced math and science courses soon followed by him majoring in Computer Science at the University of Central Florida.

Now, Fall finds himself being more of a student of the game, looking to continue his unexpected basketball ascension while making the most of every opportunity that comes his way. 

Following his senior year at UCF, Fall did not get an invite to the NBA Combine. 

However, he was among the 80 players invited to the NBA G-League Elite camp, with the top players in that camp getting an invite to the NBA Pre-Draft combine. 

Fall earned a spot at the NBA combine, and made his presence felt by setting several records including tallest height in shoes (7-7), wingspan (8-2 ¼) and standing reach (10-2 ½) which allows him to dunk without jumping. 

But Fall knows regardless of the stats or the adulation he has received, he comes into training camp next month with no guarantees other than the opportunity to play his way into a guaranteed roster spot with the Celtics. 

“I know what I am fighting for,” Fall said. “That hasn’t changed since I got here. I know what I am capable of and where I want to be and where I need to be. I’m gonna fight every day to be in that position and stay there. I love the game of basketball and there’s no better place to do it than the NBA. Night-in, night out, play against the best players in the world. For me, that’s fun.”

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