Celtics

Danny Ainge: Brad Stevens least to blame "by far" for Celtics' struggles

Danny Ainge: Brad Stevens least to blame "by far" for Celtics' struggles

Danny Ainge has no problem assigning blame for the Boston Celtics' many issues.

But he's drawing the line at his head coach.

The Celtics president of basketball operations said Thursday in his weekly interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich" that "everybody has some fault" in the Celtics' failure to live up to lofty preseason expectations.

Ainge also offered a passionate defense of Brad Stevens, who he believes deserves the smallest slice of the blame pie.

"There's blame to share for everybody, but I will say this: He's the least, by far, of anybody that there is to blame," Ainge said of Stevens.

"Because I know that Brad is going to be prepared, and I know that Brad is putting in the work to do whatever he can to try to help this team and fix this team. So, that is the very bottom of the rung."

Stevens directed the blame his way after Saturday's loss to the Chicago Bulls, telling reporters he was "disappointed in (himself)" and that he has to do "a lot better."

Those comments weren't lost on Ainge, who clearly admires Stevens' effort and willingness to hold himself accountable amid a rocky season.

"I know that he takes more responsibility than anybody, in my opinion, as to the success and lack of success," Ainge added. "He takes ownership in the things he needs to do better.

"Anyway, he's the least of all the problems that we have on our team right now."

The Celtics certainly have their problems: Wednesday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers was their fourth consecutive loss and their sixth in the last eight games, dropping them to 10.5 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference.

If there's any internal finger-pointing, though, it's not headed the coach's way.

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Evan Turner has fond memories of epic Marcus Smart flop three years later

Evan Turner has fond memories of epic Marcus Smart flop three years later

Where were you for Marcus Smart's "flop (seen) 'round the world"? Evan Turner was on the same court -- and ready to throw hands.

Monday marks the three-year anniversary of Game 3 of the Boston Celtics' 2016 first-round matchup with the Atlanta Hawks, which featured this incredible display of embellishment from Smart:

The Celtics guard -- who's been known to flop from time to time -- didn't even get the foul call after taking flight on Kyle Korver's hip check and later got hit with a $5,000 fine.

But his former C's teammate, Portland Trail Blazers swingman Evan Turner, was ready to come to Smart's defense if any sparks flew.

True teammates have each other's backs, no matter how hard they flop.

The Celtics went on to lose that series to Al Horford's Hawks, but they've come a long way since then, picking up their first series sweep since 2011 by dispatching the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.

As for Smart: He'll likely be out for Boston's second-round series as he recovers from a painful oblique injury.

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Terry Rozier's prediction for Celtics-Bucks series: Plenty of trash talk

Terry Rozier's prediction for Celtics-Bucks series: Plenty of trash talk

Barring the greatest upset in NBA history, the Boston Celtics will get the chance to catch up with some old friends in the second round.

The Milwaukee Bucks, up 3-0 on the Detroit Pistons in their first-round series, need one more win to set up a date with the Celtics, who ousted them last season in a hotly-contested first-round series.

And if you ask Terry Rozier, this year's rematch will be just as hotly-contested.

"We're just gonna make it tough (for them)," Rozier said Monday morning during an appearance on ESPN's "Get Up." "We'll try to be the harder-playing team, and we're looking forward to that matchup.

"We're looking to bring some excitement to this game -- and some trash talking. A little fun."

Rozier, if you'll recall, was in the thick of last year's trash talk thanks to his beef with Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe. Rozier happily fanned the flames of his back-and-forth with Bledsoe, showing up to games in an old Drew Bledsoe Patriots jersey to troll the Bucks point guard.

Rozier likely won't play as big a role on the court this series; he averaged 17.6 points per game in last year's series while filling in for starting point guard Kyrie Irving but has taken a backseat to Irving in the 2019 playoffs. But if Rozier has to play the role of instigator again, he'll happily oblige.

"As you all know, it's part of the game. So, it's going to happen," Rozier said of the jawing that goes on during playoff games. "I feel like if you love basketball, you love the competitive spirit of it, you're going to talk a little trash, you're going to have a little fun.

"... Nobody wants to lose. We definitely don't want to lose. So, whatever it takes next round."

The Celtics still have to wait for Milwaukee to dispatch Detroit -- Game 4 is Monday night -- so until then, please enjoy the best of the Rozier-Bledsoe beef:

       

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