Celtics

Celtics Talk Podcast: Celtics make no moves, did the competition in the East get better? Breaking down the Celtics stunning loss to Rondo and the Lakers at the buzzer

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Celtics make no moves, did the competition in the East get better? Breaking down the Celtics stunning loss to Rondo and the Lakers at the buzzer

A. Sherrod Blakely, Kyler Draper and Chris Forsberg discuss the moves around the NBA at the trade deadline, and are joined by Brad Turner of the LA Times to give Lakers fans perspectives on not landing Anthony Davis. 

0:40 - Trade deadline has come and done. Celtics trade Jabari Bird and free up a roster spot. Celtics accomplished all their goals. But the rest of the East got better.
3:00 - How much stronger did the Bucks, 76ers, and Toronto get at the trade deadline? Does this put more pressure on the Celtics young players and Gordon Hayward
5:05 - The East is the ‘absolute kickass conference’ after the trade deadline. Everyone has a legitimate shot to make it to the NBA Finals.
6:15 - Which team in the East scares you the most? (8:25) Philly sold low with Markelle Fultz. Will that come back to bite the 76ers?
11:25 - Lakers strike out on getting Anthony Davis at the trade deadline
13:15 - What happens now with Anthony Davis? Will the Celtics trade Jayson Tatum to New Orleans in the offseason?
14:00 - Brad Turner from LA Times joins the podcast
16:00 - Lakers fans upset the Pelicans did not take their offer
17:00 - Lakers will still be pursuing Anthony Davis in the offseason but the offer will be less than what it was. Lakers could still have their eyes on Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson.
18:30 - What are the Lakers chances at landing Anthony Davis or a top free agent in the offseason? Starting to become nervous they can’t land a superstar to go along with LeBron?
20:10 - Lakers will still be in the running for Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard
21:21 - Lakers need to start winning some games. One of their worst ever performances against Indiana. Pacers fans chanting “LeBron’s gonna trade you” to Lakers players.
26:50 - Who is at fault for the current state of the Lakers?
29:00 - Can LeBron make it run with his teammates after trying to trade them?
31:15 - Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine break down the Celtics 129-128 loss to the Lakers. 

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About Last Night: Spurs-Nuggets going the distance despite Jokic's big game

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About Last Night: Spurs-Nuggets going the distance despite Jokic's big game

WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT

Blakely: And then there was one … game left 

All eyes will be on the Denver-San Antonio playoff series, the only first-round matchup that’s going to go the distance. This series, tied at 3-3 with Game 7 in Denver, has been a great case study in the challenges facing two teams that collide while heading in two very different directions.

Denver is the young, on-the-rise team whose best days are ahead of them while the Spurs just find ways to compete, win a few games and continue to be a pest to teams that lean heavier on youth and athleticism. 

Forsberg: Hey, a Game 7! 

The Spurs and Nuggets are providing the only real excitement of the first round, with San Antonio forcing a Game 7 after Thursday’s win. DeMar DeRozan was a beast in the second half (and, well, in the final second of the first half as well) and San Antonio found a win on a night Nikola Jokic had another absurd stat line (43 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists). Yet again, it was the play of Jamal Murray that seemed to dictate how Denver fared (he had 16 points but only 5 in the second half).

Here’s the thing I couldn’t help thinking about after the game though: Gregg Popovich loved John Havlicek. He famously had only one photo in his office in San Antonio, and it was of Havlicek. When the Spurs visited TD Garden, Popovich would often make it a point to do his pre- and postgame press conferences under a picture of Havlicek in the hallway outside the visitor’s locker room.

Popovich was notably short in his answers after San Antonio’s win and you can’t help but wonder if some of that was tied to the news that Havlicek had passed away (then again, Popovich doesn’t tend to elaborate on his answers most nights).

SO... THAT HAPPENED


NUMBER OF NOTE

43/12/9 -- Nikola Jokic filled up the stat sheet in a losing effort in San Antonio. The Nuggets center became just the fourth player in NBA history with at least 43 points, 12 rebounds, and 9 assists in a playoff game, joining Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, and Oscar Robertson. Pretty good company.

THEY SAID IT

"That's what it's all about. Game 7, live for the moment. Got to lay it all out on the line."
--DeMar DeRozan, after San Antonio forced a winner-take-all Game 7 against Denver

THURSDAY'S SCOREBOARD

  • Spurs 120, Nuggets 103 (Series tied 3-3)

WHAT WE'LL BE WATCHING

Forsberg: No way there’s another Game 7, right? 

As good of a story as the Clippers have been, it seems unlikely they can force a Game 7 against the Warriors. Right!?

The Clippers will have home-court advantage and surely the Rockets are rooting for Los Angeles to make the Warriors expend some more energy. If the ride ends tonight, the Clippers maximized this rather unexpected trip to the postseason and they can turn their attention to trying to hook some big fish in free agency this summer.

Let’s hope for one more dose of Patrick Beverley antics, especially after Steve Kerr needled that, "I worry he's going to get whiplash on some of these flops.”

Blakely: Sad, sad time for Celtics fans 

While the Boston Celtics players and coaching staff are focused on their second-round series with Milwaukee, Thursday night became a time of mourning as word began to spread that John “Hondo” Havlicek, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer and one of the greatest winners to ever play in the NBA, had died. 

He was 79 years old. 

There will be condolences passed along in abundance over the next few days for “Hondo,” a 13-time All-Star who spent all of his 16 NBA seasons in Boston and revolutionized the way the first reserve off the bench - better known as the sixth man - would be utilized.

And while it has been more than 40 years since Havlicek played, his impact can be felt both in terms of players a well as among the game’s most successful coaches like San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, who has hung a picture of Havlicek in his office.  

Rest In Paradise, Hondo!

REMEMBERING JOHN HAVLICEK

FRIDAY'S SCHEDULE

  • Warriors at Clippers, Game 6 (GS leads series 3-2) -- 10:00pm, ESPN

Tommy Heinsohn: Havlicek often overlooked among Celtics legends

Tommy Heinsohn: Havlicek often overlooked among Celtics legends

Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn spent time as both a teammate and coach of John Havlicek and believes Havlicek ought to be remembered fonder for all of his accomplishments on the court.

Havlicek, the Celtics’ all-time leading scorer, passed away Thursday at the age of 79. He won eight championships with the Celtics, earning MVP honors in the 1974 Finals, and was a 13-time All-Star. And yet his accomplishments are sometimes overshadowed by the eras around him.

"Well, he’s still the all-time leading scorer, isn’t he, with the Celtics?” asked Heinsohn, while reflecting on Havlicek’s legacy. "And justifiably so. And, yeah, he gets lost in the brouhaha over the [other Celtics championship eras]. He was a sixth man [on the 1960s teams but] he really became a star when I was coaching. You know, a total star. He was all-pro and all-defense or whatever he was all the time. He was that exceptional a player. 

"And, for him to be not recognized for that — I mean, everybody is still going gaga about Larry Bird, who was a great great player, but John Havlicek, you’d have a tough time beating him.”

Dubbed one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players, Havlicek’s No. 17 jersey hangs in the rafters at TD Garden. He’s remembered as one of the game’s best sixth men but Heinsohn is adamant that Havlicek’s greatest legacy is putting the team ahead of himself even when he was the star.

And nowhere was that exemplified more than the 1974 Finals, when Havlicek embraced being a decoy in a pivotal Game 7.

"Well, you always look to Havlicek stole the ball as a big moment. But let’s go back … winning against Milwaukee, where he was a decoy,” said Heinsohn. "Now, here’s the star of the team and we were asking him to be a decoy. I mean, most guys wouldn’t want to do that. But that was the type of person that he was, that he would give it a try because you asked him to it. He’d never fight you on anything, he’d talk to you about it, he might not like what you were doing, he’d talk to you about it, but you could convince him to give it a go. 

"And so, in the seventh game of the playoffs, on the road, I’m asking him to be a decoy and he accepts that. OK? That’s a big-time player with a big-time pro attitude.”

Heinsohn’s Celtics, who had always played man-to-man defense against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, elected to double- and triple-team the big man in Game 7 of the 1974 Finals. And Havlicek took a back seat on offense, allowing Cowens to step forward as  Boston won its first title in the post-Bill Russell era.

“When we got to the final game, after losing at the Garden in an overtime game, everybody was kinda discouraged,” said Heinsohn. "I went to the office with my assistant coach and Bob Cousy and we’re talking about the game and Cousy said to me, ‘I don’t know why you don’t double-team them.’ And I said, ‘Well, Cooz, No. 1, nobody else plays him like we have, and here we are in the seventh game. I think it's working fairly well.’ But the coaching, the changes that the other team made, everything that you did was countered the next game you played. I determined after many years as a player, to try and find a way to take the crowd out of the game. 

“We lost on a Friday, had practice on Saturday, a drill session, then we played on Sunday. And Saturday I changed the defense and doubled Kareem Abdul-Jabar. And the reason I doubled him is not because I believed the strategy was the way to beat him. But I recognized, potentially, we could get off to a good start because they’d be totally confused at what we were doing. And it worked out that we got 17 points up and the defense was the aspect that won. Havlicek, who had been our big scorer, I don’t remember exactly who ended up the big scorer, but we got 17 points up and we virtually cruised to the seventh-game win on the road. But Havlicek was asked to stand down, in essence.”

Both the Celtics and the NFL’s Cleveland Browns drafted Havlicek out of Ohio State in 1962. After trying to latch on with the Browns as a wide receiver, Havlicek joined the Celtics and quickly endeared himself to Red Auerbach with his boundless energy.

“We were the best up-tempo team, fast-break team in the league. Of course, we had Russell rebounding and me rebounding and Cousy making the passes. Cousy had this hook pass, three-quarter length hook pass on the go and Havlicek was the perfect guy to play on a fastbreak team and he was one of Cousy’s favorite targets,” said Heinsohn. "I think his rookie year he averaged 14 points per game and I don’t think he took a shot from more than 10 feet. …

"But the second year, [Havlicek] showed up, he had an outside shot, he learned to dribble, and he became an effective -- he was always a very good defensive player. That’s one of the reasons that Red drafted him, he had seen him on the Ohio State team and he was an unheralded player on the Ohio State team. You could see he was a great athlete when he came to the Celtics, [but] he was green as grass. He was my roommate. They designated me to be his roommate. He was a real guy from the Midwest. That’s all I can tell you. He had Midwest values and I had to liven him up a little bit.”

Heinsohn jokes that he introduced Havlicek to Lancers wine but that Havlicek was always focused on basketball and being the best he could be on the court, which endeared him to Auerbach.

"The first year, as a player, if you’re going to play in a lineup, Red would never yell at you. He’d barely talk to you, just go out and do it,” said Heinsohn. "And John, who had a great rookie year, nobody ever said boo to him, Red in particular. First game of his second season, at halftime, come into the locker room and Red Auerbach is all over his case. I mean, Havlicek didn’t do anything right, according to Red Auerbach. 

"Havlicek was such a sincere person, he took it to heart. All of a sudden, his bubble burst and Red burst it. We’re walking out to the floor and John’s head is down and the whole bit. I grabbed him and I said, ‘John relax, relax. All he’s doing is yelling at you, all he’s doing is what you know. You’re not a rookie anymore. You’ve got to shape up. Go play the game.’ And he did. But that’s how Red did things. And, John, nobody ever yelled at Havlicek because he was such a focused person at what he did. When he played for me, when I was coaching, he was so focused, I don’t think he knew the Vietnam War was going on. Basketball was everything to him. And winning was a big deal.”

Heinsohn remembers Harvard Medical School conducting tests on Havlicek, who had boundless energy and a remarkably low heart rate. Said Heinsohn, “They never saw anything like it.” Heinsohn said Havlicek needed no motivation when it came to upholding the Celtics’ legacy of winning.

"John Havlicek, you knew he was focused. You didn’t have to go and give him the Knute Rockne story,” said Heinsohn. "Havlicek relished winning. He was the star of the team that I coached, him and Dave Cowens. Both of them were unusual players. Havlicek carried the team offensively. He was the backbone of the offense. He virtually made all of the big plays. Defensively, I can remember the first time we played a preseason game against the New York Nets with [Julius Erving], and the first four times Dr. J tried to drive on him, Havlicek stole on the ball off him. We were raving about Dr. J and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, Havlicek's got his number.’”

Havlicek’s most memorable moment, of course, might have been the 1965 Eastern Conference finals and the much-revered, “Havlicek Stole the Ball” sequence.

"Bill Russell made a boo-boo,” said Heinsohn. "He hit the guide-wire while he was trying to inbound the ball and, if he gets the ball inbounds, more than likely we got a win. But he turned the ball over, so Philadelphia, with Wilt Chamberlain, has a chance to beat us. It was a one-point game at that juncture and they called a timeout. 

"Russell got in the huddle and said, ‘Boy, did I screw up. Somebody get me off the hook.’ We broke, went out there, and Havlicek -- a smart a defender as he was -- he said to me, and said to everybody afterward, he was counting, ‘One, two, three, four,’ and, on four, he went to look for the ball and it was there. That’s how precise he was in defending, he made this great play, tipped it over to Sam Jones, and we beat Wilt.”

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