Celtics

Celtics players pleased with core remaining intact after trade deadline passes

Celtics players pleased with core remaining intact after trade deadline passes

BOSTON -- The trade deadline came and went, and not a single Boston Celtics player who saw action this season was on the move. 

It’s not the first time the Celtics have taken a whiff on making a deal at the trade deadline, but there was a different vibe about it this year. 

In past years, the Celtics had clear areas in need of being upgraded and would leave the trade deadline either addressing that weakness, or disappointed that they could not strike a deal. 

But this year?

The trade deadline passed and the Celtics by and large could not be any happier about it. 

But as Danny Ainge points out, it wasn’t due to a lack of effort on the part of his staff.

“We spent a lot of time on the phone talking deals, looking for good ones,” Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, said during NBC Sports Boston’s Trade deadline special Thursday night. “It was hard to find good ones this year just because we really like our team.”

☘️POST-DEADLINE ACTION?

At no point was there a sense that the Celtics were looking to be active players at the trade deadline. 

When Danny Ainge and the Celtics decided to bring back most of the players from last season, it was done to see whether this group, built to contend for a title with a healthy Gordon Hayward and a healthier Kyrie Irving, could do just that. 

After a sluggish 10-10 start, the Celtics have gone 25-10 since then, which ranks them among the top teams in the league within that span of time. 

“The (trade) deadline was a lot, for a lot of other people,” Irving said. “For us, we were pretty set. They made that very clear, management. So, I’m just happy we just have to focus on the rest of the season and have some fun doing so.”

☘️LAKERS 129, CELTICS 128

Second-year forward Jayson Tatum dealt with being the source of trade talks for the first time in his career.

While it certainly had the potential to be somewhat unsettling, you wouldn’t know it by the way he has performed. 

And with the deadline coming and going with the Celtics still relatively intact (they traded Jabari Bird and cash to Atlanta for a conditional second-round pick), the plan for Tatum going forward isn’t all that different now than when his name was on the trade rumor mill.

“I just focus on what I can control,” said Tatum who had his fifth double-double of the season on Thursday with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. 

And that control centers around steady improvement both individually and as a collective unit which since their early season struggles, has been evident in the team’s success when it comes to wins as well as moving up the NBA charts in several statistical categories at both ends of the floor.

“I feel internally we still have another level to go to,” Ainge said. “And I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

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How Tacko Fall, Carsen Edwards, Romeo Langford and Tremont Waters fared for Red Claws on Friday

How Tacko Fall, Carsen Edwards, Romeo Langford and Tremont Waters fared for Red Claws on Friday

The Maine Red Claws had plenty of star power for Friday night's game vs. the Iowa Wolves. 

Tacko Fall, Carsen Edwards, Tremont Waters and Romeo Langford each suited up for Maine in its 127-121 victory. It marked Edwards' first game with the Red Claws, as well as both Tacko Fall and Romeo Langford's first game back from injury.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Here's how the four Celtics rookies performed:

TACKO FALL

Tacko made his mark in his 14 minutes played on Friday night. The 7-foot-5 phenom contributed 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting while bringing down 5 rebounds.

CARSEN EDWARDS

Edwards was solid in his first game in a Red Claws uniform as he racked up 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting (2-for-9 from 3-pt).

ROMEO LANGFORD

Langford was slow out the gate, but picked it up in the second half to finish with 8 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds. The Celtics' No. 14 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft will look to simply stay healthy going forward, as he's dealt with a nagging ankle injury all season.

TREMONT WATERS

Waters, the G League Player of the Month for November, was relatively quiet in this one. The LSU product dropped 8 points while adding 3 assists in 27 minutes.

Also with standout performances were Yante Maten (26 points, 16 rebounds), Kaiser Gates (17 points, 7 rebounds), Bryce Brown (15 points, 4 assists) and Justin Bibbs (12 points, 6 rebounds).

Next, the Red Claws will take on the Grand Rapids Drive on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Celtics Talk Podcast: What is your level of confidence with this Celtics team?

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File Photo

Celtics Talk Podcast: What is your level of confidence with this Celtics team?

Ahead of a strange five-day break in mid-December, the Boston Celtics are sitting at 17-7. But it's hard to figure out exactly how confident to be in this team.

On the one hand, the squad has certainly surpassed expectations to kick off the season. They have been dominant at the TD Garden and did have a 10-game home winning streak to start the campaign.

However, the C's just dropped two close games in a row to other Eastern Conference powers, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Indiana Pacers. Do those losses mean that the confidence in the Celtics that many were feeling to start the season should wane?

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

On the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, Chris Forsberg, A. Sherrod Blakely, and Abby Chin all weighed in on how confident they currently are in the Celtics. And despite the team's mini losing streak, they all are still fairly confident in the squad.

Chin gave the team a 7-of-10 confidence rating. She cited the performance of the Celtics' bigs against the 76ers and the "flashes" the team has shown this season as the primary reasons for that.

I feel like the Celtics bigs, Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter, did a serviceable job against Joel Embiid and held their own on the offensive end, and that gave me a lot of confidence in this team. I think that there's no way you're going to get that kind of game from Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum on the same night maybe ever again in their careers in what they put up against the Sixers. And I still think we see flashes of what this team can be here and there which is why I'm excited about them.

Blakely was a bit more non-committal on a rating, and instead gave a range of somewhere between 7 to 8 with 8.5 being their ceiling.

I see two different teams. I see a team when they're complete and I see a team when they're incomplete. When they're incomplete, I'm with you, they're a 7. They were incomplete against Philly. When you have a healthy Marcus Smart and a relatively healthy, good-to-go health-wise team, they're an 8.

Blakely also called the Celtics "a good team" and said that if every team in the Eastern Conference was fully healthy, his top two teams would be the Milwaukee Bucks and the Celtics.

Hear Forsberg's confidence in the Celtics along with more analysis from Blakley and Chin on the latest episode of "The Celtics Talk Podcast," which drops every week on YouTube and as a part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

BLAKELY: Could Marcus Morris be on the move from the Knicks?>>>

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Mavericks, which tips off Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 9:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.