Celtics

Jayson Tatum gets no respect!

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Jayson Tatum gets no respect!

The popular narrative surrounding struggling Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum is that he’s hit the dreaded “rookie wall.” Another fun theory is that he’s been hampered by a dislocated finger suffered on December 20 vs Miami. One or both may be the cause of his dip in shooting since the start of this calendar year (he went from 58.5 eFG percent in 2017 to 46.2 eFG percent in 2018). But another factor could be respect, or the lack thereof, for Tatum when driving to the hoop.

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From October through December, Tatum averaged 4.6 drives per game, coming away with points on 77 percent of those drives (fourth in the NBA). A lot of those points came at the line, as Tatum drew a foul on an NBA-leading 15 percent of his trips to the basket. Since January 1, Tatum is averaging 6.5 drives per game, but is only coming away with points on 55 percent of those drives. Oddly, the Celtics forward is only drawing a foul on 6 percent of his drives over that span, which is 67th in the NBA.

It’s hard to say why he’s no longer getting fouls, but the lack of respect is definitely impacting his overall efficiency. Hopefully the zebras will start treating Tatum like the obvious future Hall of Famer he is in the final stretch of the season.

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Where do Celtics stand in East pecking order? New NBA odds are telling

Where do Celtics stand in East pecking order? New NBA odds are telling

On paper, the No. 4-seed Boston Celtics are the worst remaining Eastern Conference team in the NBA playoffs.

In reality, they have a very real shot at "upsetting" the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the second round and even reaching the NBA Finals.

The 2018-19 Celtics indeed have been an enigma this season, sputtering to a 49-33 record despite being preseason favorites to win the conference but jelling nicely in a first-round series sweep of the Indiana Pacers.

How to get a handle on Boston's postseason potential? Vegas is a good place to start, as U.S. sportsbooks released updated odds to reach the NBA Finals for the four remaining East teams with the second round set.

The Bucks are still the favorite at -120, and the No. 2 seed Toronto Raptors are close behind at +180. But the C's have better odds than the No. 3 seed Philadelphia 76ers, who are pegged at +550 compared to Boston at +375.

These odds are a pretty accurate reflection of where the C's stand: Kyrie Irving and Co. have the potential to knock off the Bucks, but still would be underdogs in the East finals against a deep Raptors squad that was favored to win the conference earlier this year.

The Sixers might have the most talent of the bunch, but the Celtics have owned them lately and likely would be favored if Philly snuck past Toronto.

The latest odds to win the NBA Finals from FanDuel Sportsbook offer similar reflection of the East food chain, with the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets still on top:

Golden State Warriors: -160
Houston Rockets: +550
Milwaukee Bucks: +550
Toronto Raptors: +1000
Boston Celtics: +1600
Philadelphia 76ers: +2200

Essentially, the Celtics are a de facto three-seed in Vegas behind Milwaukee and Toronto. We'll start find out Sunday if they can outperform those odds.

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Celtics vs. Bucks schedule: Dates for each game of the second-round series

Celtics vs. Bucks schedule: Dates for each game of the second-round series

Brad Stevens need wait no longer.

The NBA on Wednesday finally announced the game dates for the Boston Celtics' second-round NBA playoff series with the Milwaukee Bucks, with Game 1 set for Sunday.

That's a relief for Stevens, whose No. 4 seed Celtics have been off since dispatching the No. 5 Indiana Pacers last Sunday but hadn't yet known their schedule.

The C's should face a much tougher challenge in the No. 1 seed Bucks, who decisively swept the Detroit Pistons in Round 1 and posted the best record in the NBA this season behind MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Here's the full schedule for Celtics vs. Bucks, with exact game times to be revealed in the coming days (all times Eastern):

Game 1: Sunday, April 28, 1 p.m. @ Milwaukee
Game 2: Tuesday, April 30, TBD @ Milwaukee
Game 3: Friday, May 3, TBD @ Boston
Game 4: Monday, May 6, TBD @ Boston
Game 5:* Wednesday, May 8, TBD @ Milwaukee
Game 6:* Friday, May 10, TBD @ Boston
Game 7*: Monday, May 13, TBD @ Milwaukee

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