Larkin gets starting nod vs Bulls

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Larkin gets starting nod vs Bulls

With Kyrie Irving (knee) out, the Boston Celtics will turn to … Shane Larkin?

“Just go out there, be aggressive, do what I’ve done all season,” Larkin told reporters prior to tonight’s tip-off. “Pick up defensively, impact the ball and be aggressive; no different.”

It’s a pretty stark transition from being a seldom-used reserve to replacing a five-time All-star like Irving in the starting lineup. 

“You never know what coach is going to do,” Larkin said. “I’ve been ready all year for whatever situation’s thrown at me, so it’s just another situation. I have to go out and play aggressive and I’ll be fine.”

While Larkin has shown he can be a positive contributor for the Celtics, the move appears to be made in part because of the success of Boston’s second unit recently. 

In Boston’s 123-120 loss at Houston on Saturday, the Celtics’ bench scored a season-high 67 points. 

Since the All-Star break, Boston’s bench has been among the league’s highest scoring second units. 

Before the All-Star break, Boston’s bench ranked 23rd in the NBA in bench scoring (32.1). Since returning from the break, Boston’s second unit has averaged a league-best 56.2 points. 

And Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, the two expected candidates to fill in for Irving, have been key performers with Boston’s second unit.

“Bringing them off the bench together has been effective,” Stevens said.

Larkin has appeared in 40 games this season, averaging 3.4 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. 

Tonight will be Larkin’s first start as a Celtic, and first start in an NBA game since April 13, 2016 when he played for the Brooklyn Nets and they played the Toronto Raptors.


Report: If Spurs can't retain Kawhi Leonard, they'll trade him to Eastern Conference team

Report: If Spurs can't retain Kawhi Leonard, they'll trade him to Eastern Conference team

If the San Antonio Spurs can't retain disgruntled Kawhi Leonard, they'll likely trade him to an Eastern Conference team, according to a USA TODAY report.

The Celtics have made inquiries about Leonard, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this month. 

More from Sam Amick's story in USA TODAY: 

Fellow West teams have been told, in essence, to get lost – none moreso than the Lakers, according to ESPN. As it stands, the Spurs are determined to either fix the situation or trade Leonard to an Eastern Conference team. For teams other than the Lakers, the threat of losing Leonard in free agency next summer makes the prospect of offering meaningful assets a complicated, calculated risk.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich flew to San Diego earlier this week to meet with Leonard, who reportedly will tell any team he's traded to that he intends to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers or Clippers when he becomes a free agent next summer. 



CELTICS TALK PODCAST: Robert Williams' college coach Billy Kennedy discusses the C's draft pick

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CELTICS TALK PODCAST: Robert Williams' college coach Billy Kennedy discusses the C's draft pick

Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely bring you the latest in Celtics and NBA news in this episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast...

1:40 - The Celtics select Robert Williams with the 27th overall pick. Draper and Blakely discuss why he was still on the board and if the reward will outweigh the risk.

5:15 - Blakely says that a comparison to Roger Williams could be Clint Capela, with maybe a chance to be even better. Also, a discussion about why the Celtics did not move up in the draft.

8:27 - 18:18 - Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely are joined by Texas A&M head basketball coach Billy Kennedy. Kennedy describes the potential he sees in Robert Williams, if he thought he would go higher in the draft, and what part of his game he will need to improve in the NBA.

18:53 - All eyes will be on Roger Williams during the Celtics summer league. What will he be able to bring to the Celtics?

20:04 - Would you want the Celtics to sign Dwight Howard? Or would you rather have Aron Baynes return to Boston?

26:02 - The Spurs are not going to be able to get full value for Kawhi Leonard and how it's looking less and less likely that the Celtics will trade for Leonard.