Celtics

Celtics come home focused on finishing Sixers

Celtics come home focused on finishing Sixers

PHILADELPHIA – Despite dropping Game 4 Monday night, the Celtics return home feeling good about the trip as a whole.

That’s because, despite the loss, the Celtics still have a firm grip on this series up 3-1 in the series rather than it being tied at two games apiece.

“We knew what kind of game this was going to be coming into this game,” said Marcus Smart. “We knew that they weren’t going to let us sweep them. We knew we were going to have to battle; we knew it. We did our job. We got one. Now, it’s back to the crib!”

Boston will have a second crack at closing this series out on Wednesday night and moving on to the Eastern Conference finals for the second consecutive season to face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There was no mistaking the disappointment among the Celtics, well aware that a golden opportunity to get a couple more days of rest before the next series was there for the taking.

But really, has anything come easily to this team this season?

That said, it only makes sense and keeps true to the season narrative that the path towards basketball success is anything but a smooth one for Brad Stevens and his players.

“Things didn't go our way this game and we are not going to complain. We're not going to make excuses for it,” said Jaylen Brown. “It was unfortunate, but we are going to come out Game 5 and do what we have to do.”

And that is...

“Finish the game,” Brown said. “Finish the game. Get it done. Advance and do what we were supposed to do.”

Here are five takeaways from the 103-92 Game 4 loss to the 76ers:

T.J. McCONNELL


He had been the plus/minus darling of the Sixers through the first three games, so it made a lot of sense to get him on the floor with their season on the line. McConnell delivered a career-high 19 points, but don’t expect the Celtics to overreact to his strong Game 4 performance. He’ll likely get a little more attention from the Celtics defenders – namely Smart – in Game 5.

FOUL MOOD


Brad Stevens did his part to not complain about the officiating in Game 4, but there’s no getting around its impact on the game. Jayson Tatum wasn’t nearly as aggressive defensively as we’ve seen in the past and that had a lot to do with trying to avoid fouling out. In the second quarter alone, there were 13 foul calls made by the officials – 12 against the Celtics. I hate the whole referees-are-trying-to-cheat-us mentality that permeates among all fan bases. Still, at a minimum, the Celtics have to do a better job at defending without fouling so much.

THE LEGEND OF TATUM


With each playoff game, Tatum’s assault on the Celtics rookie record book continues. He drained a late 3-pointer that left his scoring line at 20 points. He has now scored at least 20 in six consecutive playoff games, extending his franchise record. 

LOST COMPOSURE


The Celtics have been one of the more unflappable teams in the NBA, but Boston lost more than a game on Monday. For the first time in a long time, they unraveled before our very eyes. There was Tatum and the frequent shoulder shrugs after driving to the basket, getting knocked to the ground and no call was made. Both Brown and Stevens were whistled for technical fouls after voicing their disagreement with some of the calls made.

CHIPPY PLAY


Joel Embiid and Terry Rozier had an on-the-floor run-in that, at a minimum, will result in fans at the TD Garden booing Embiid every time he touches the ball in Game 5. Embiid also exchanged some verbal barbs with Marcus Morris, who reminded Embiid on more than one occasion that, at that time, Boston had a 3-0 series lead.

Morris acknowledged he was surprised to hear Embiid chirping considering where the series stood at the time they were jawing with one another.

“That’s reality,” Morris said when asked about flashing the 3-0 sign with his fingers to Embiid. “It’s hard. I know I wouldn’t say a damn word if I was down 3-1 but hey, we all different. It is what it is.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE


 

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.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

 

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.