Celtics

Celtics more than comfortable at home

Celtics more than comfortable at home

BOSTON – For the third year in a row the Celtics had a homestand of five games or longer. And just like the previous two extended homestands, the Celtics closed it out with a victory as they pulled away for a 97-90 win over Dallas on Wednesday.
 
The Celtics went 4-1 on the homestand, similar to the 5-1 stretch they had last March which helped propel them to the best in the Eastern Conference at 53-29.
 
The Celtics improved to 12-2 at home, which is tied with San Antonio for the most home wins in the NBA this season.
 
“This is good. We obviously want to keep building on it,” said Al Horford. “We’re doing a good job, playing at a high level.”
 
Here are five takeaways from Wednesday’s win over the Mavericks:


 
CELTICS DEPTH
Players go down, someone emerges. It has been the unspoken narrative of this Celtics team all season. They play as though no adversity is too great, no hurdle too steep, to be overcome. And a big part of that confidence stems from having a second unit that’s starting to deliver more consistency. That was indeed the case on Wednesday night when they outscored their backup brethren, 36-23.

KYRIE IRVING
We talk a lot about his fourth-quarter impact, but not nearly enough about how efficient he is in that part of the game. He ranks fifth in the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring, doing so by literally scoring a point for every minute he’s on the floor in the fourth. Yes, Irving averages seven points scored and seven minutes played in the fourth Only LeBron James and Kristaps Porzingis average as many or more points scored per minute played in the fourth, as Irving. Against Dallas, Irving had nine points in the fourth while playing just 6:46 in the quarter.


 
AL HORFORD
The stat sheet continues to get stuffed on a nightly basis by Horford. But the one category to keep an eye on is field-goal attempts; specifically, when Horford gets at least 10 shot attempts. The Celtics are 13-2 this season when Horford takes at least 10 shots from the field. Against the Mavs, he had 17 points on 7-for-17 shooting, along with eight rebounds, eight assists and three blocked shots.


 


JAYSON TATUM
It really does feel awkward game after game talking about Tatum and what he’s doing. And yet, he doesn’t really leave you much of a choice because of his play. Without Jaylen Brown (eye inflammation) and Marcus Morris (left knee rehabilitation) against Dallas, the Celtics needed one of their main guys to bring a little more to the game than usual. Tatum once again rose to the challenge, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.


 
THE LOB DUNK

The Celtics have been great about making high energy plays with their defense all season. But lately, they’re figuring out ways to get the fans pumped up with exciting plays offensively like the alley-oop. Against the Mavericks, Marcus Smart hooked up with Horford for an alley-oop dunk that cut Dallas’ lead to 59-55 in the third. The two hooked up later on to put Boston ahead 64-63 with 5:44 to play in the third. The reserves got into the act early in the fourth when Shane Larkin connected with Daniel Theis for a play that cut Dallas’ lead to 73-72.

Classic Celtics: Watch C's outlast Suns in epic 1976 NBA Finals Game 5

Classic Celtics: Watch C's outlast Suns in epic 1976 NBA Finals Game 5

When it's referred to as "the greatest game ever played," it's probably worth re-watching.

NBC Sports Boston's "Classic Celtics" series -- which featured Larry Bird's dominant performance in Game 6 of the 1986 NBA Finals on Friday -- is back this Sunday with a gem from the archives: Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns.

With the series knotted at 2-2, the Celtics and Suns battled through three overtimes that featured several controversial calls before C's emerged with a thrilling 128-126 win at the Boston Garden.

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Buoyed that victory, the Celtics went on to win Game 6 and secure what would be the last NBA championship for the iconic core of John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Jo Jo White, Paul Silas and head coach Tommy Heinsohn.

Our re-broadcast of Celtics-Suns airs Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, and Heinsohn will join Brian Scalabrine to provide color commentary throughout the game. 

Here's how to watch:

When: Sunday, April 5, 7 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Boston
Streaming: NBCSportsBoston.com and in the MyTeams app

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Enes Kanter wants to finish season, thinks Celtics have a chance to win title

Enes Kanter wants to finish season, thinks Celtics have a chance to win title

It has now been 25 days since the Boston Celtics last played and 24 days since the NBA suspended its season over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. And right now, it's unclear when -- or if -- the season will resume.

And even if the games do return, there is going to be an adjustment period for players as they look to get back into game shape. In a Zoom conference on Friday, Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter outlined why the league can't just jump right back into the playoffs without any sort of tune-up.

"I think we’ll need two to three weeks just to get back on the court because people are in their apartments and not moving at all," Kanter said, as transcribed by Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. "We have to make sure everyone is doing their stuff and in great shape, so they can go out and compete. If you jump straight to playoffs, playoffs are like a war, where you have to give it everything you have. Make sure everyone is 100 percent healthy, in game shape, and then we can compete."

This completely makes sense, as the last thing the league wants is to put the players in danger of suffering long-term injuries by bringing them back too quickly. Additionally, the league probably would also want their players in peak physical shape in order to avoid fielding a subpar product in the playoffs.

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Even with the uncertainty surrounding a potential NBA return, Kanter is holding out hope that the season will return. And he's pretty confident in the C's chances of going all the way if it does happen.

"We are competitors man, so we want to go out there and finish the season,'' he said. "Especially, like, it’s crazy — we actually have a really good chance to go out there and win a championship.''

Kanter has a point. The Celtics were the No. 3 seed in the East at the time of the league's suspension, but with time to get healthy, they may have a chance to have their full roster available, something they've rarely had this season. And their relative youth could allow them to get into shape quicker than some other more veteran-laden teams.

Still, until the league actually does return, it'll be more waiting and wondering what could've been for the Celtics had the season continued.

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