Celtics

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.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers live stream: Watch NBA preseason game online

Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers live stream: Watch NBA preseason game online

The Boston Celtics aim to continue their encouraging preseason run with another convincing victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

The C's and Cavs faced off on Sunday in at TD Garden, where Boston cruised to a 118-72 win and 7-foot-7 phenom Tacko Fall put the icing on the cake with a dunk in the fourth quarter. That dominant showing improved the Celtics' preseason record to 3-0.

This time, the two Eastern Conference squads will face off at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland. Boston is resting some key players, which means rookies like Tacko, Carsen Edwards, Tremont Waters, and Grant Williams will get more playing time.

Tune into NBC Sports Boston starting at 6:30 p.m. to watch the C's against the Cavaliers. You can also watch the Celtics livestream on the MyTeams App. 

HOW TO WATCH

ANALYSIS AND REACTION

BEFORE THE GAME: At 6:30 p.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine at the Ace Ticket Studio, and Mike Gorman, Tommy Heinsohn, A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Forsberg, and Abby Chin at the TD Garden. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the livestream.

AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch Draper and Scalabrine break down the first two quarters on Halftime Live presented by Ace Ticket. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the livestream.

AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, tune to Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the livestream

Questions on our livestream? Get all your questions answered here on our Streaming FAQ.

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Celtics Spotlight: How will Tacko Fall benefit from extended time on the Red Claws?

Celtics Spotlight: How will Tacko Fall benefit from extended time on the Red Claws?

Even Boston Celtics players admit they’ve caught Tacko Fever.

“I can’t lie, I like to see Tacko [Fall],” said Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown. “It’s hard not to [root for him]. I think he can really play. … I think Tacko is a pro and I think he works hard. I enjoy watching him play because he’s a great guy, fun to be around, great personality, super smart and intelligent, and articulates very well. Tacko is my guy.”

Brown had been gushing about Boston’s entire rookie class but saved some of his biggest praise for Fall, the 7-foot-7 behemoth who recently earned a 2-way contract with the Celtics after becoming one of the NBA’s biggest stories with his play at summer league.

Fall will get to spend 45 days with the Celtics and the rest of his time with the Maine Red Claws of the G-League, where a mountain of game reps await a mountain of a man.

Spotlights: Walker | Smart | Brown | Hayward | Kanter | Tatum

Brown seems certain Fall will be a full-time NBA player sooner than later. Fall’s teammates have seen how hard he works in training camp, how much progress he’s made in just four months since somehow going undrafted.

It’s why players like Brown have fully embraced TackoMania and are as excited to see Fall get into the fourth quarter of a preseason game as the fans who spent the first 3 ½ quarters chanting for him.

It’s a successful season for Fall if… 


… he uses his G-League time to advance his game. He’ll be the developmental league’s glitziest attraction but will still have the opportunity to expand his skills outside the harsh NBA spotlight. Fall can make mistakes and grow without being overly scrutinized. The Celtics can pull him up for roughly a quarter of the NBA season and either utilize him as emergency big-man depth or simply allow him to get a taste of the pro experience. It’s a successful season if fans are still chanting for a tiny glimpse of Tacko in lopsided NBA games in April.
 

It’s a disappointing season for Fall if… 

… his progress flat lines. It seems almost impossible that will happen considering his work ethic, but there’s still so much Fall must learn and develop to emerge as a legitimate NBA rotation player. The potential is tantalizing but Fall must continue to grind to get to the point where he can hang with NBA-caliber bigs on a nightly basis.

2019-2020 Outlook

By simply forcing Boston to make roster moves to keep him around, this season is already a victory for Fall. He’s going to be the biggest celebrity the G-League has seen and make the now-Celtics-owned Red Claws the hottest minor league ticket around. That notoriety is good for Fall but his teammates have stressed to him to stay focused on basketball. If he continues to blossom, Fall will position himself for a lengthy NBA career. For everyone in New England with Tacko Fever, it’s a victory that we get to monitor that progress for at least six more months.

Tacko Time? C's to sit many key rotation players vs. Cavs

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.