Celtics

Early returns impressive for new-look Celtics starting five

Early returns impressive for new-look Celtics starting five

The jury is still out on just how good this current starting five for the Celtics really is and whether it’s the unit that they should go with heading into the playoffs. 

Still, one thing is clear with this group: they are collective difference-makers at both ends of the floor. 

The unit - Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Aron Baynes - has only played a total of 38 minutes in 11 games together this season. But in that time, they have generated an offensive rating of 132.9 with an equally-impressive defensive rating of 79.5. which delivers an eye-popping 53.4 net rating. 

In Boston’s win over the Heat on Monday, this unit outscored the Heat. 27-17. 

They will look to do more of the same tonight when they face the same Heat team, this time in Miami. 

Here are some other statistics of note to get you ready for tonight’s game. 

CELTICS WINNING COMBINATIONS
When they shoot...

.550 2-Point percentage AND 12 3-pointers: Celtics are 16-0

.500 field goal percentage AND .400 3-point percentage: Celtics are 13-0

.500 field goal percentage AND 30+ assists: Celtics are 15-1

.420 field goal percentage AND 12 offensive rebounds: Celtics are 11-0

50 points in paint AND 15 fast-break points: Celtics are 14-3

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
When it comes to shooting 3-pointers from the right corner, the Celtics are dead-last in the NBA at 28.2 percent. From the left corner? Different story. Boston has made 41.9 percent of its left corner 3’s, which ranks sixth in the NBA. 

CATCH-AND-SHOOT GAME
The Celtics have been among the best when it comes to the catch-and-shoot game, evident by them being ranked among the top-3 in points (32.9, third); field goal made (11.6, third); field goals attempted (29.4, second); 3-pointers made (9.6, second) and 3-pointers attempted (25.3, third). 

IN THE BONUS
If the Celtics win tonight, Boston would take the season series for the third time in the past four years…Kyrie Irving is one of just four players averaging at least 23 points, seven assists and five rebounds this season. The others are Houston’s James Harden; the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook…Irving is the only player in the NBA ranked in the top-five for most points scored in the clutch (150, third) and most clutch assists (30, third)…There are three Celtics in double figures for charges drawn this season. They are Aron Baynes (18), Marcus Smart (15) and Irving (13).

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Report: Some teams down on signing Kyrie Irving after rough series vs Bucks

Report: Some teams down on signing Kyrie Irving after rough series vs Bucks

While everyone has been focusing on which team Kyrie Irving should or will choose to play for once free agency begins on June 30, some teams have reportedly fallen out of love with the idea of signing the All-Star point guard to a big contract. 

According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, at least two teams are saying they will only go after Irving if they can land another big-time free agent first who wants to play with him. 

The most interesting bit of information from several sources that we’ve been able to consolidate and confirm is that some teams thought to have interest in Irving as a free agent are now a great deal more wary. Based on the way things played out with the Celtics this season and Irving’s role both off the court all year and on it in the playoff loss to Milwaukee, certain clubs are concerned about putting too many eggs in his basket right away.

Irving was not his usual self against the Bucks. He shot 35.6 percent from the field, 21.9 percent from three and averaged 3.6 turnovers per game compared to the 2.6 turnovers he averaged during the regular season. 

Much of that can be attributed to the Bucks, who have proven they are a juggernaut after blowing out the Raptors to take a commanding 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. But it seems the way Irving struggled on offense and how he let it negatively impact his effort on defense has resonated with teams who have the cap space to sign him. 

The 2019-19 season did not end how the Celtics or Irving expected it would. After declaring his commitment to the team before the regular season began, Boston's roller-coaster year could have changed his mind. 

If the Celtics want to want to pursue a trade for Anthony Davis, having Irving in the fold would seemingly be the linchpin in that plan. 

However, one executive told A. Sherrod Blakely that it's possible Irving is, "Playing all of you guys right now," and will return to the Celtics once he gets a chance to look at all of his options. 

If this report is true, Irving's options may be dwindling.

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Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren says 'nearly any kind of transaction is in play' this summer

Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren says 'nearly any kind of transaction is in play' this summer

This summer is going to be an interesting one for the Celtics.

Obviously, all eyes will be on Kyrie Irving as he decides where to go in free agency. Along with that, the C's have three first-round draft picks and are sure to be involved in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes. There's a chance Boston ends up being one of the more active teams in the NBA in the upcoming offseason.

Mike Zarren is ready for it.

The Celtics' assistant general manager talked with Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe about how busy the team expects to be in these next few months.

“Given the state of our roster and the draft assets we have now and going forward, nearly any kind of transaction is in play. To trade for players around the league, to move up or down in the draft, for future picks, to use our picks,” Zarren told Himmelsbach. “We’ve got a lot of flexibility this summer, but also a lot of big decisions to make. So the next two months are going to be very, very busy.”

Buckle up, Celtics fans.

Fortunately for Zarren, he'll have "Trader Danny" by his side during the hectic offseason. The Celtics' president of basketball operations is "back at it" after suffering a heart attack on April 30.

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