Celtics

Reporter's Notebook: Jaylen's conditioning on point, Perk pays off a bet

Celtics

*Editor's Note: For the 33rd time in their franchise history, the Celtics will play in a Game 7 after losing to the Raptors in Game 6, 125-122. NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin shares her observations from the double-overtime defeat.

Willie B. Brown Comes Through

Every player on the court was exhausted as the Celtics and Raptors double-overtime thriller came to an end Wednesday night. Guys were bent over, pulling on their shorts. Kyle Lowry even pulled up a chair during a replay review.

But these are the moments Jaylen Brown worked so hard for throughout the NBA hiatus. Brown, who played a career-high 51 minutes, credits his grandfather Willie B. Brown with getting him into the best shape of his life. During the first round of the playoffs, I got the chance to meet the elder Mr. Brown.

The former Marine who loved to box and sparred with the likes of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier told me, "If you train hard, you play hard." There's no question Jayien Brown played hard in Game 6. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to get the win.

Marcus Smart Sharp Shooter

Marcus Smart's dismal three-point shooting in the first round of the NBA playoffs (2-for-15) hearkened back to the 2015-2016 season when Smart put up the worst three-point shooting percentage in the NBA at 25.3%.

Blakely: Tatum really needs to step it up in Game 7

But I talked to Smart before the Eastern Conference semifinals and he wasn't at all concerned. Marcus told me: "I'm not worried about my shot. I understand that it's just one of those times. But I've got to find other ways to help my team win. And that's all I'm doing. My shot's gonna fall."

 

Well, it fell in Game 1 against the Raptors and again on Wednesday night in Game 6. Smart scored the first nine points for the Celtics, all coming from 3. He finished the game 6-for-12 from long range. Like he said, "Once it gets rollin', it's gonna be even better for our team."

Smart needs to keep it rollin' into Game 7.

Trey, Trey Again

Marcus Smart's 3-point percentage in his first three playoff games this season.
7.7%
Marcus Smart's 3-point percentage in his last seven playoff games.
43.4%

Grant Williams Perfect

Speaking of three-point shooting, Grant Williams hit two timely threes from the corner to help the Celtics stay close in what was yet another rough third quarter. They were the only shots the Celtics rookie big man took in the game and improved his postseason three-point percentage to an incendiary 75% (9-for-12).

Williams was also a perfect 2-for-2 from three in his first extended run in the playoffs in Game 2 against Philadelphia. Afterwards I asked him what it felt like to see that first shot fall. Williams told me: "It’s definitely fun to say my first playoff basket was a three-pointer, especially after I started my NBA career 0-for-25."

Almost a year later, I'd forgotten all those misses. Clearly, Williams has not.

Marc Gasol: Starter?

There's no question Marc Gasol has not been effective in this series against the Celtics' long, athletic roster. He's been so ineffective, Kyle Draper questioned whether head coach Nick Nurse should bench the veteran big man and play Serge Ibaka to start the second half Wednesday night.

Kendrick Perkins loved the idea so much on Halftime Live, he wanted to bet Draper 10 push-ups that Nurse wouldn't do it. Kyle refused to take that bet. So, Perk, being the stand-up guy he is, flipped the script. Perk bet Drapes that Ibaka WOULD start the second half. And me, being his Celtics Census teammate (if you haven't seen the show, check it out on YouTube) backed Perk up.

Of course, Gasol started the second half. And, of course, Perk and I paid our debt. ENJOY! 

Follow Drapes

By the way, if you want a behind-the-scenes look at what happens here at NBC Sports Boston, or if you're just dying to know what Scal is really like, you need to follow Kyle Draper on Twitter and Instagram. He goes live on one of those platforms before almost every single show.

Pregame. Halftime. Postgame. Kyle is Live. I can't promise it will be interesting all the time, but I can tell you that Scal and I have very little filter.

Mini Raptors

One of my favorite parts of this Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Raptors is seeing the players' families and all of their young children inside the arena.

Wednesday night, long before the Celtics and Raptors went to double overtime, we got to watch Fred VanVleet's young daughter Sanaa run around in her little Minnie Mouse shirt, cheering for her dad. It was adorable. 

 
Forsberg: C's ready to 'embrace the challenge' in Game 7

Celtics center Daniel Theis, who has two young children, would love to welcome his family to the bubble, but he's not ready to put his wife through the stringent quarantine just yet.

"You know, with two kids, staying in a room for 4-5 days, that's tough," Theis told me.

Trust me, as a mother of two as well, I completely understand. Theis says it may be a possibility in the later rounds of the playoffs, but if not, he'll be happy to take the Larry O'Brien Trophy home to them.

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