Celtics

Celtics' coach Brad Stevens on Tacko Fall's share of All-Star votes: 'I don't love it'

Celtics' coach Brad Stevens on Tacko Fall's share of All-Star votes: 'I don't love it'

BOSTON -- You will be hard-pressed to find a bigger fan of Tacko Fall than Celtics coach Brad Stevens. 

Still, as much as he loves Tacko, Stevens is not a fan of Fall being among the top 10 vote-getters in the first round of All-Star ballots announced on Thursday.

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The 7-foot-5 Fall, a rookie signed to a two-way contract by the Celtics, received the sixth-highest vote total among Eastern Conference frontcourt players.

"I don't love it, " Stevens said. "I don't love the idea, when you talk about awards...not being based on what's solely happening on the court."

Stevens added, "He's a wonderful person. He's done a great job. Obviously, he's played like 10 minutes here [actually 11] so he shouldn't be sixth in All-Star voting. I get it. I think sometimes the All-Star Game and things like that, are a mix popularity contest and then really, really subjective voting."

Tacko tallied 110,269 votes. Just ahead of him in the voting was teammate Jayson Tatum who garnered 364,137 votes.

Tatum said he was not surprised to see Fall, who has become a fan favorite in his limited time with the Celtics, among the leading vote-getters.

"Tacko got a standing ovation at [Madison Square] Garden," Tatum said. "Tacko's the GOAT."

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Jayson Tatum shines brighter than all of Hollywood's basketball stars

Jayson Tatum shines brighter than all of Hollywood's basketball stars

LOS ANGELES -- The improvement in Jayson Tatum’s game earned him a trip to this year’s All-Star game.

On Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers, Tatum’s play may have earned him something even greater - respect around the league as a superstar whose time to dominate may be sooner than anyone anticipated.

Boston wound up losing 114-112 to the Los Angeles Lakers, but here’s the thing.

On a night when the Lakers were at full strength roster-wise, led by top-five players LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it was Tatum - not James, not Davis - who was the best player on the floor.

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He led all scorers with a career-high-tying 41 points, most of which came through the first three quarters of play.

“Tatum has reached a new height; superstar level,” said teammate Jaylen Brown. “We all have to continue to improve and go with him. The way he’s playing is unreal.”

Tatum got seemingly wherever he wanted to for most of the game.

“That’s what he does,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss. “We realize it’s his career-high. He’s been at that level for us for a long time.”

And he did it against a Lakers team that’s loaded with above-average wing defenders such as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green and former Celtics Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis also had turns defending Tatum who continued to score on them as well.

It didn’t matter who was in front of Tatum defensively.

He either shot over them, went around them with dribble-drive-penetration, or drew a foul as he finished 13-for-15 from the line (both career highs).

But on a night when he was the brightest star in Hollywood, having outperformed two of the league’s best in James and Davis, all Tatum could think about was the game’s final outcome - a two-point Celtics loss.

“I just … wish we would have won,” Tatum said. “That’s all that really matters. I know what I am capable of and my teammates know that we know what each and every guy can do. We just want to win at the end of the day.”

And while Tatum’s monster night scoring certainly stood out, he also made his presence felt defensively with his man-to-man defense as well as providing help-side defense from time to time.

But as much as the focus afterward was on what Tatum did, more important to the Celtics is what he will do going forward and how to best utilize the added attention that he will get.

One of the keys to the Lakers pulling out the win was how well they adjusted to Tatum in the fourth quarter, limiting him to just four points on 1-for-3 shooting from the field.

The reason he wasn’t more of a scoring factor in the fourth was because of the Lakers defense blitzing him almost immediately upon the ball getting into his hands.

“He (Tatum) saw some run-and-jumps that he hasn’t seen as much so that’s good practice,” Stevens said. “Good to know that we have to look at that. We should be able to take advantage of that a little bit better than we did.”

Indeed, it’s a good problem to have going forward especially knowing that come playoff time, teams won’t be able to double-team Tatum as much with Kemba Walker around.

Walker is suffering from left knee soreness, and missed Sunday’s game - his second straight.

While his injury doesn’t appear to be a long-term problem, the games he doesn’t play with provide ample opportunities for Tatum to build off of what he did against the Lakers and likely result in even more double teams coming his way.

“They better double team him, I tell you that; he gets it smoking like he did tonight,” Brown said. “You better double team him because one man can’t guard him.”

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Celtics big man Robert Williams hypes up return from injury on Twitter

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File photo

Celtics big man Robert Williams hypes up return from injury on Twitter

Robert Williams sure seems poised to make his long-awaited return to the court.

The Boston Celtics big man has missed all but 19 games this season due to a left hip bone edema. He did travel with the team on its four-game west-coast road trip, however, and tweeted this encouraging message following Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers:


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Sounds like the TimeLord is counting down the seconds until he's cleared to make his comeback.

That return won't take place in Tuesday's game vs. the Portland Trail Blazers as Williams has already been ruled out for the entire road trip, though he may be available for Saturday's game vs. the Houston Rockets at TD Garden.

The C's undoubtedly make sure Williams is 100-percent before he rejoins the lineup, but fans can at least take solace in the fact it "ain't too long now" until that happens.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Trail Blazers, which begins Tuesday at 9 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 10 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.