Celtics

Enes Kanter officially signs Celtics contract, sends uplifting message to fans

Enes Kanter officially signs Celtics contract, sends uplifting message to fans

Enes Kanter seems pumped about joining the Boston Celtics, but until Wednesday, he wasn't technically a member of the C's.

That changed just after noon ET, as the Celtics announced they've officially signed the free-agent big man.

Kanter's deal reportedly is worth $10 million over two years, as he joins point guard Kemba Walker on an overhauled Celtics roster following the departures of Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier in free agency.

The 27-year-old, tweeted out a video of him signing the contract at the Auerbach Center in Boston, telling fans his signing is "the first step to a championship."

Kanter, who will wear No. 11 for the Celtics, comes to Boston after averaging 13.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game last season between the New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers.

"Enes demands a lot of attention on the glass at both ends,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a statement. “His ability to get easy baskets in the paint is a problem for opponents. I believe he has a chance to progress as a perimeter shooter.”

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A. Sherrod Blakely's Takeaways: Jayen Tatum, Carsen Edwards part of Celtics big scoring night to offset 44 from Wizards' Bradley Beal

A. Sherrod Blakely's Takeaways: Jayen Tatum, Carsen Edwards part of Celtics big scoring night to offset 44 from Wizards' Bradley Beal

BOSTON -- The bond that exists between Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal is Teflon-tough.

The two grew up in the same St. Louis neighborhood, with the older Beal often playing the role of Big Bro to Tatum. 

So, Beal had a pretty good idea what to expect from Tatum, who had missed 17 of 18 shots on Monday against the Dallas Mavericks. 

“He’s coming out gunning,” Beal said before the game Wednesday night. “I know it. He forgot about that game and looking forward to this one.”

No truer words have been spoken about Tatum, who put in some extra time at the practice facility on Monday night, just hours removed from the worst shooting game of his still-young NBA career. 

And in his first chance to redeem himself, Tatum did not disappoint in helping Boston hold on for a 140-133 win. 

Tatum finished with 23 points on 9-for-20 shooting to go with four assists and three rebounds. 

Beal did his part for the Wizards (2-7), leading all scorers with 44 points on 17-for-27 shooting to go with five rebounds and six assists. 

Former Celtic Isaiah Thomas, making his first start against his former team since being traded in 2017, had 18 points for the Wizards on 7-for-14 shooting in addition to seven assists. 

Here are four other takeaways from the Celtics' ninth win in a row that puts them at 9-1 heading on their five-game Western trip.


KEMBA WALKER

It was yet another night where Kemba Walker got buckets in a critical surge by the Celtics that ultimately led to a victory. And what we’re seeing lately is Walker not only scoring, but doing so in a more efficient manner. Against the Wizards, Walker finished with 25 points on 8-for-17 shooting from the field. He also managed to grab five rebounds to go with five assists. 
 

BENCH PLAY

The Celtics’ second unit had been a first-rate problem most of this season in both scoring and, more significantly, having a major impact on games. That was not the case on Wednesday with the C's getting strong contributions from a number of their backups. Boston’s bench outscored their Washington brethren 40-29 with rookie Carsen Edwards leading the way with a career-high 18 points. Second-year guard Brad Wanamaker had a strong night for the Celtics as well, with 10 points and five assists. The Celtics used six players off the bench, all of whom scored at least two points.  

CARSEN EDWARDS

There was no way to ignore the impact made by Edwards. Arguably one of the best shooters on the team, Edwards has looked nothing like that for most of this season. He came into the game shooting just 25 percent from 3-point range and 31.3 percent from the field. Against the Wizards, Edwards scored a career-high 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting which included going 4-for-5 from 3-point range. He also grabbed four rebounds and handed out three assists. 

ENES KANTER

There were a number of Celtics players who had better numbers and overall a bigger impact on Wednesday. Still, to see Kanter on the floor was a major plus for Boston, even if it was due to both Daniel Theis (finger) and Robert Williams III (ankle) being out. The Celtics are going to need Kanter to step up in a big way at some point this season. The sooner he shows he’s capable of doing Kanter-like things (score around the basket and rebound the basketball), the better off both he and the C's will be. In a limited capacity, we saw Kanter do just that against the Wizards. He was a major presence in the paint - particularly on the offensive boards - before finishing with a near double-double of 13 points on just 4-for-5 shooting, and nine rebounds. 

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Warriors, which tips off Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10:30 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

Celtics vs. Wizards Instant Overreactions: Isaiah Thomas showing flashes of C's days

Celtics vs. Wizards Instant Overreactions: Isaiah Thomas showing flashes of C's days

The Boston Celtics spoiled Isaiah Thomas' return to TD Garden by taking down the Wizards 140-133 on Wednesday night, but it wasn't all bad news for I.T.

Here are three instant overreactions from the win, which marked the C's ninth straight victory and improved their record to 9-1:

1. Isaiah Thomas is finally showing flashes of his Celtic days.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

Thomas overcame plenty of adversity on his road to regaining his role as an NBA starter. So far, things are trending in the right direction for the ex-Celtics guard with the Wizards.

I.T., at the arena he used to call home, had a solid night vs. his former team with 18 points and seven assists. He went 7-for-14 from the field (3-for-6 from 3-pt). Not quite the monster numbers he put up during his Boston tenure, but those performances could come with time.

Thomas entered Wednesday night averaging 13.2 points per game on the season.

2. Marcus Smart has turned into a legit 3-point threat.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

On Tuesday we broke down why Smart's newfound 3-point prowess isn't just a flash in the pan, and his performance Wednesday backed it up.

Smart dropped 17 points (6-of-12 from the field) while going 4-of-8 from behind the arc. Through the first 10 games of the season, he's been shooting with confidence and that'll only continue as long as he sees this kind of success. And when his shots aren't falling, he makes up for it by making plays like this one:

The longest-tenured Celtic is now shooting 39 percent from 3-point range on the year and recently passed Isaiah Thomas for sixth on the C's all-time 3-point list.

3. The Celtics have a turnover problem.

Verdict: Overreaction

The C's had some trouble with turnovers throughout the win, but don't be alarmed. They entered Wednesday night on pace to have one of the best turnover rates in league history, as NBC Sports Boston's own Chris Forsberg noted in his latest mailbag.

While Boston's 11 turnovers vs. the Wizards certainly hurt, you shouldn't expect it to become a trend.

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Warriors, which tips off Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10:30 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.