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. 

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

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. 

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). 

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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NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant won't play for Nets when season resumes

NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant won't play for Nets when season resumes

Since the NBA's suspended season has given Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant months to recover from their respective injuries, some believed they could return and make the Brooklyn Nets title contenders.

That theory was put to rest on Friday.

Durant confirmed to ESPN's Marc J. Spears he will not be returning to play when the NBA season resumes in Orlando, Fla. next month. As for Irving, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski says the former Boston Celtics guard suggested on Friday's NBPA conference call it's possible he could join the team... as an inactive player.

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Durant missed the entire 2019-20 campaign after rupturing his Achilles tendon in last year's NBA Finals. Irving underwent surgery in March to repair an impingement in his right shoulder that ended his first season with the Nets after only 20 games.

Brooklyn currently holds the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 30-34 record on the season.

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck offers thoughts on NBA's 22-team return plan

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck offers thoughts on NBA's 22-team return plan

On Thursday, the NBA announced a 22-team plan to resume the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Fla.

The plan passed by an overwhelming 29-1 vote among teams, with the Portland Trail Blazers as the only organization to vote against it. Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, obviously, was one of the many in favor of the plan and discussed why Friday on Felger & Mazz.

"The point that seemed the most fair is not to give a team that was lagging farther behind in the East, and that was for example [the Charlotte Hornets] who are seven games back," Grousbeck said. "In the history of the NBA, no one has ever come from seven games back at this point in the season. And so, it's more fair to say no, we can only take so many teams because of safety.

"We don't want to have 500 more people with all 30 teams. We'd just have more of a chance of getting shut down because of the virus. So there was a line to be drawn, and we all decided 29-1 that this was the most fair line."

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With safety as the No. 1 concern going forward, it's a no-brainer to limit the teams heading down to Walt Disney World to only the ones that can fight for a playoff spot.

Grousbeck also suggested that the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks could be the C's first opponent when the league returns to action. The Celtics were preparing for a matchup in Milwaukee when the season was suspended in mid-March.

"I think our first game is going to be Milwaukee, which that would be interesting," Grousbeck said. "Because that's what the schedule looks like just from the current schedule. We don't have the new schedule yet. But we'll probably start right off with Milwaukee."

The C's currently have the No. 3 seed in the East as they prepare to return to the court.

You can hear the rest of what Grousbeck had to say in the video above.