Celtics Spotlight: Could Carsen Edwards be the Celtics' X-factor?

Celtics Spotlight: Could Carsen Edwards be the Celtics' X-factor?

One by one, the shots kept going up and then down, through the net for Boston Celtics guard Carsen Edwards. For the folks at Cleveland’s Q Arena, Edwards was delivering the kind of shooting clinic that you don’t often see from guys in an open gym let alone in a game. 

The second-round pick dropped 30 points on the Cavs in a preseason win for Boston, highlighted by Edwards’ 26-point third quarter onslaught that got props from his teammates as well as NBA legends such as Dwyane Wade on Twitter.

It was a reminder as to why there was a joyful noise coming out of the Celtics’ offices on draft night moments before the trade for Edwards in the second round of last June’s NBA draft, became official. 

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There was a period of time during training camp when Edwards’ lights-out shooting was hotter than usual, prompting head coach Brad Stevens to say at the time that Edwards has, “been making shots the last five days.”

But hearing his words out loud, Stevens quickly added, “He’s been making shots forever.”

It’s a successful season for Edwards if … 

He continues to do what we’ve seen thus far in the preseason. He appeared in all four games and averaged 18.1 minutes of court time, which is probably more than he will average this season. A big emphasis for Edwards to play this season lies in his ability to be solid defensively, a part of his game that’s often overshadowed by his offensive prowess. While undersized at 6-foot-1, he makes up for that with a 6-6 wingspan. But of course, it is the promise he has shown as an instant-offense, catch-and-shoot scorer who can get hot offensively at any time. He had an offensive rating in the preseason of 112.6 which was tops among all Celtics who appeared in all four games and averaged at least 10 minutes of court action. 

It’s a disappointing season for Edwards if … 

He becomes the latest summer league/preseason sensation whose game doesn’t translate nearly as well when it matters. There’s a lot of attention paid to what he does offensively, which is understandable. But if he struggles defensively, that will significantly limit his opportunities on the floor. And even if he’s doing a decent job defensively, he will see better defenders as the season progresses. Can he still manage to free himself up for shots? And if his shots aren’t falling, what can he provide? The answers to those questions will go far in determining the success of this season for Edwards.  

2019-2020 Outlook

We knew coming out of Purdue that Edwards was a big-time, high-volume scorer who could light up the scoreboard at any time. No one expects him to be that prolific scoring the ball this year for Boston. But what we’ve seen in the preseason and in summer league, certainly bodes well for him being a difference-maker for the Celtics this season off the bench. His size will certainly work against him as a defender in some instances. But that has been a concern at every level of play for him, and it never has prevented him from being an impact performer. If he can play at a level comparable to what we’ve seen thus far, Edwards may wind up being the X-factor the Celtics need in order to solidify their place as one of the top teams in the East. 

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Celtics vs. Wizards live stream: Watch 2020 NBA seeding game online

Celtics vs. Wizards live stream: Watch 2020 NBA seeding game online

The Boston Celtics will conclude their NBA seeding game schedule Thursday with an afternoon matchup against the Washington Wizards.

The C's have won four consecutive games and five of their second seeding contests overall, and the team's performance in these matchups has been pretty encouraging. The team's best players, including Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker all have played well. Several of the team's younger players also have shown they deserve a look come playoff time, including second-year center Robert Williams.

Williams could get extended playing time versus the Wizards. He scored 10 points in just 14 minutes during Tuesday's win over the Memphis Grizzlies, and the 2018 first-round pick is averaging 13.5 points in the four seeding games he's played in. 

There are no playoff implications in Boston's last seeding game. The C's already locked up the No. 3 seed and will play the Philadelphia 76ers in Round 1. That said, this game against the Wizards is an important one for the C's to ensure they enter the playoffs firing on all cylinders.

NBC Sports Boston has you covered with complete coverage of Celtics vs. Wizards, starting at 11 a.m. ET with "Celtics Pregame Live". Tip-off is scheduled for noon on NBC Sports Boston, with complete postgame analysis after the final buzzer on "Celtics Postgame Live."



BEFORE THE GAME: At 11 a.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Kyle Draper, Brian Scalabrine, Kendrick Perkins, Abby Chin, Chris Forsberg and A. Sherrod Blakely. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch a breakdown of the first two quarters on Celtics Halftime Live. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, tune to Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream

Questions on our livestream? Get all your questions answered here on our Streaming FAQ.



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2020 NBA Playoffs: Celtics will play rival 76ers in first round

2020 NBA Playoffs: Celtics will play rival 76ers in first round

A new chapter in one of basketball's best rivalries will be written in the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs.

The Boston Celtics will take on the Philadelphia 76ers in Round 1. It will be the first playoff series between these teams since Boston beat Philly in a five-game Eastern Conference semifinals in 2018.

The matchup became official Wednesday night when the Indiana Pacers beat the Houston Rockets, which locked the Sixers into the No. 6 seed. The Celtics secured the No. 3 seed earlier this week. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Wizards, which begins Thursday at 11 a.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at noon. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Boston will play the Washington Wizards on Thursday afternoon in its final seeding game. Philly has two more seeding games remaining -- Wednesday night versus the Toronto Raptors and Friday night against the Rockets.

The Sixers might not be at full strength against the Celtics in Round 1. All-Star point guard Ben Simmons recently left the NBA bubble to have surgery on his knee, and he's reportedly expected to miss the rest of the season. Philadelphia's All-Star center, Joel Embiid, injured his left ankle against the Portland Trail Blazers last Sunday and didn't play Tuesday, but he reportedly will return to the lineup Wednesday night.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Banner 18 in the bubble? Celtics' title chances getting stronger as postseason nears | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Here are the updated seeds for the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Miami Heat and Pacers still haven't locked in their exact seeds, but they will be the No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup in Round 1. Miami needs one win in its final two seeding games to clinch the No. 4 seed.

1. Milwaukee Bucks
2. Toronto Raptors
3. Boston Celtics
4. Miami Heat
5. Indiana Pacers
6. Philadelphia 76ers
7. Brooklyn Nets
8. Orlando Magic