Celtics

Celtics wipe out 22-point deficit, pull away from 76ers in London, 114-103

Celtics wipe out 22-point deficit, pull away from 76ers in London, 114-103

LONDON – New year, new country, same old Celtics.

Just a few miles away from Big Ben, the London Eye and several longstanding attractions here in London, the Celtics introduced their British and European fans to what we in the states have seen from them often – The Big Comeback.

The Celtics trailed by as many as 22 in the first half to the Philadelphia 76ers, only to come roaring back in the second half to finish with a different kind of blowout in winning 114-103 Thursday at O2 Arena.

Jaylen Brown had a game-high 21 points, with Kyrie Irving chipping in with 20. Jayson Tatum (16 points) and Marcus Morris (19) had strong games as well.

Philadelphia’s J.J. Redick led the way with 22 points with Joel Embiid chipping in with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

For Boston (34-10), the victory extended their winning streak to seven in a row - the longest current winning streak in the NBA. Boston also improved to 11-8 this season in games in which they trailed at halftime, a clear sign of how this team has usually been able to bounce back after a lackluster start.

Meanwhile, the Sixers (19-20) had their four-game winning streak come to a screeching halt as they lost for the seventh time this season in a game in which they led by 11 or more.

After a sluggish start, Boston closed out the half with a 21-8 run and opened the third quarter with a Jayson Tatum 3-pointer that cut Philadelphia’s lead to 57-51, prompting Sixers head coach Brett Brown to call a time-out just 39 seconds into the second half.

Philadelphia has blown more than its share of big leads this season, and Brown sensed they might be on the verge of another colossal collapse if he didn’t try and slow down Boston’s ever-increasing momentum.

Boston made it a one-possession game following a 3-pointer by Kyrie Irving, only for Sixers rookie Ben Simmons to cruise in for an uncontested dunk seconds later.

The Celtics eventually took their first lead of the game on a dunk by Daniel Theis with six minutes to play in the third quarter.

Boston would lead by as many as seven points (77-70) following a 3-pointer by Morris before the quarter ended with the Celtics ahead, 85-79.

The Celtics struggled mightily in the first half with the Sixers pulling ahead by as many as 22.

But when it comes to Boston, no deficit is too much for them to rally from and make things at least competitive.

Boston began to make things interesting after an Irving 3-pointer made it a 56-40 game. Boston continued to chip away at Philly’s lead, getting it down to 56-44 following a breakaway lay-up by Brown.

The Celtic comeback continued as Boston managed to cut Philly’s lead to single digits following a put-back dunk by Jaylen Brown which capped off a 21-8 run by Boston to close out the second quarter which brought Boston within 57-48 at the half.

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Pierce details mental-health struggles after stabbing

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Pierce details mental-health struggles after stabbing

Jackie MacMullan's deep-dive look at the mental health stigma in the NBA on Monday wasn't without a few Celtics anecdotes.

One of the biggest sections of the stories was former Celtic Paul Pierce talking about his struggles after he was stabbed outside a Boston night club in 2000.

"I was stabbed 11 times," Pierce tells ESPN. "I felt like I was trapped in a box. I couldn't go nowhere. I battled depression for a year. The only thing that saved me was basketball."

Pierce played all 82 games after surviving the incident, but that was also a product of his anxiety in the ensuing months.

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"I think that's the reason I got back on the court so fast. Me sitting at home thinking about [the stabbing] didn't work. I went to every practice, sat on the sideline for hours, because that's where I felt safe. I didn't want those practices to end because then I had to go back out there in this world that really scared me."

The Celtics offered consulting with a mental health expert, and Pierce is quoted saying he wished he took the advice.

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is quoted as well, saying "We can offer all the services in the world, but if they won't use them, we can't help them. Too many of these guys don't realize how badly they need help until it's too late."

The piece also follows Cavaliers center Kevin Love and his mental health struggles in the past year.

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Anything is Podable Episode 6: The games behind-the-scenes

Anything is Podable Episode 6: The games behind-the-scenes

It’s hard not to be intense when Kevin Garnett is on your team. For the 07-08 Celtics, that fire extended beyond the court and into every waking moment they spent together.

Episode 6 of NBC Sports Boston’s “Anything is Podable” goes behind-the-scenes with the members of the world champion Celtics to get a never-before-heard glimpse into the games and competitions that brought them all closer together.

“Everything is about competition and we, as a staff, understood that early,” said Doc Rivers. “For practices, if there was no score, it was a bad practice. All you had to do was put a winner and a loser and the practice went from here to here. It was just that type of group.”

Whether it was on road trips, at practice, or in the weight room, everything about the team revolved around competition and an innate desire to win.

“Everything was competitive,” stated Rajon Rondo. “The boxing gloves came out in the weight room.”

As is the case with every great team, the bonding off the court was essential to finding success on it. Anything that could possibly be turned into a competition, was.

Arm wrestling? Check.

Push-upsYou bet.

On a road trip in Miami, Paul Pierce challenged Glen Davis to eat a large piece of bread in under one minute.

“Have you ever tried to eat a piece of bread like that?” Davis asked. “It gets dry. You can’t swallow it. It sounds easy, but people don’t know how dry bread is...I almost like choked and died.”

“You’re talking about a guy who loved to eat,” Pierce joked.

“I couldn’t do it,” Davis responded.

Competition off the court breeds competition on the court and, while the talent helped, little games like the ones played on road trips were vital to the Celtics achieving their ultimate goal.

Anything is Podable is a ten-part series diving into the story of the 2008 Celtics and their championship season, with exclusive, never-before-heard interviews with team executives, former players, and media members.

Narrated by Kyle Draper, it’s the perfect way for Celtics fans to pass time this offseason and get excited for 2018-19, a season in which the Celtics have as good a chance at raising their 18th championship banner as they’ve had since that magical 2008 season.

Fans can subscribe to the podcast through the link below and check out the other nine episodes for a look at this exclusive series.