Celtics

Celtics establish control early, roll to 113-96 victory over Sixers

Celtics establish control early, roll to 113-96 victory over Sixers

BOSTON – Brad Stevens decided to sit most of his starters for Monday night’s game against Philadelphia, creating a sense of uncertainty as to how his relatively youthful squad of backups would handle themselves.

Quite nicely, thank you.

Boston’s backups had no problem establishing control over the Sixers in the game’s early minutes, and never relenting in delivering a 113-96 drubbing over the Sixers.

The Celtics (3-0) will look to close out their preseason slate of games undefeated when they travel to face Charlotte on Wednesday.

For Boston, the win itself doesn’t mean a lot in the grand scheme of things.

The Celtics are one of the better teams in the NBA while the Sixers are improving, they are a team that’s working their way towards being a more competitive team.

But on Monday, they were far from competitive.

They were crushed, in every sense of the word by a Celtics team that put on an impressive display of dominance that you should expect when they face teams like Philadelphia that they should be able to dispose of with little trouble.

Leading the way for Boston early on was their starting backcourt of Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, who completely overwhelmed their Philadelphia counterparts, Nik Stauskas and former Celtic Jerryd Bayless.

Boston led 59-39 at the half, with Rozier and Smart combining for 27 points on 10-for-15 shooting while Philly’s Bayless-Stauskas tandem had 1 point between them and were a combined 0-for-9 from the field shooting. Smart had 12 points while Rozier had a double-double of 15 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. 

The second half was more of the same, with seemingly everybody to step on the floor for the Celtics contributing either scoring the ball or solid play defensively.

Boston’s dominance also put on display the team’s depth at seemingly every position.

The one downside to Monday was the left knee injury suffered by Aron Baynes in the first half. He played just eight minutes in the first half and finished with two points and three rebounds.

Boston opened the game with a 17-5 run capped off by a 3-pointer from Marcus Smart – a phrase I’m finding myself writing a lot more than I expected, frankly.

Prior to the game, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens decided to rest the team’s Big Three – Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford – along with Marcus Morris.

That meant the players who would see most of the action for the Celtics, were players who would be spending most of this season coming off the bench.

Boston opened the game with Smart and Rozier in the backcourt, with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Baynes in the frontcourt.

Despite most of those players being on the second unit, it didn’t stop them from delivering a first-rate performance that the Sixers were never able to compete against. 

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Jayson Tatum on overhyped talk: 'I'll stick to my job'

Jayson Tatum on overhyped talk: 'I'll stick to my job'

A story earlier this week from Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes calling burgeoning young Celtics star Jayson Tatum one of the NBA's five most overrated players has expectedly ruffled some feathers in the Boston sports stratosphere. 

But Tatum himself is taking the high road. In a conversation with ESPN's Chris Forsberg centered around his recent workouts with future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, the 20-year-old forward, who finished third in Rookie of the Year voting this past season, said he wasn't bothered by the article:

While Hughes acknowledged that Tatum could be a franchise player, his reasoning for inclusion on the list was that he could be a victim of the stacked team for which he plays, saying, "Kyrie has never been one to take a backseat, and with him back on the floor, it'll be much harder for Tatum to build on his postseason takeover."

As for the session with Kobe? Tatum clearly absorbed a lot:

Hughes also named Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, Bulls foward Zach LaVine and Suns forward Josh Jackson in the company of overhyped players.

It's been quite a week for Tatum, the former No. 3 overall pick out of Duke University. Earlier in the week, the St. Louis native had his jersey number permanently retired at his high school alma mater.

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Anything is Podable Episode Four: Building the Roster

Anything is Podable Episode Four: Building the Roster

Even with three All-Stars in Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce, Danny Ainge and the Celtics knew that, in order to win a championship, the team needed a strong supporting cast of role players.

Episode Four of NBC Sports Boston’s “Anything is Podable” takes a look at how Ainge constructed the rest of the roster and how one word, “ubuntu,” set the tone for a memorable season.

Giving the team a shooter off the bench, as well as another veteran presence in the locker room, Eddie House was perfect for the 2008 Celtics.

“I remember going to a practice when he was a young player,” said Ainge regarding House. “Just watching him shoot, and shoot, and just amazed at what a great shooter this kid was.”

“I saw him have his 56 and 60 back-to-back point games in the Pac-10 and it was amazing.”

Long a fan of House, Ainge went out and got his guy, but he wasn’t finished yet.

James Posey, a veteran wing who had experience both starting and coming off the bench, was nearing a deal with the Nets, but one call changed everything.

“I actually told my agent, I’ll just go to New Jersey,” said Posey. “Then Eddie House called me.”

House convinced Posey to spurn the Nets in favor of the Celtics, giving Boston another veteran off the pine.

With the roster taking shape, what the team needed now was an identity.

Ubuntu.

Mentioned to Doc Rivers at a trustee meeting at Marquette University, the word that means “I am who I am because of you,” became the team’s mantra.

“I looked this word up and I spent, no exaggeration, hours and days on this word,” said Rivers. “Everything about the word epitomized what we had to be.”

Ubuntu was the rallying cry of the 2008 Celtics and it all started with a Board of Trustees meeting at Marquette.

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.