Celtics

Morris shines, but Celtics defense falls short vs Rockets

Morris shines, but Celtics defense falls short vs Rockets

HOUSTON – There is no mistaking that the Boston Celtics missed some shots down the stretch that played a major role in their 123-120 loss to the Houston Rockets. 

But consider this … 

They shot 48.4 percent from the field, connected on 13-of-24 three-point attempts (54.2 percent right there), turned the ball over just 12 times … and they still lost. 

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Boston isn’t one to play the blame game, but there’s little doubt that the Celtics defense was indeed a major factor in Saturday’s loss which snapped their four-game winning streak while Houston (49-13) extended its winning streak to 15 in a row. 

“They put you in tough spots,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “We had a couple of transition lapses … that just kills you.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds in Boston’s 123-120 loss to Houston.

 

STARS

James Harden: When it comes to shooting efficiently, James Harden is not your guy. But impacting the game in a big way? That is who he is all the time. He shot 6-for-18 from the field but tallied 26 points along with 10 assists and five steals along with having a team-best plus/minus of +21.

Eric Gordon: The Rockets super-sub was simply super when it mattered the most – the fourth quarter. He led all players with 29 points, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter which included him knocking down four of his five, fourth-quarter attempts from 3-point range.

Marcus Morris: For key stretches in the second half when Houston made a surge, often it was Morris’ scoring that continued to keep them at bay. For the game, Morris led all Celtics with 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting to go with four rebounds and two steals. 

                

STUDS

Trevor Ariza: There were so many hustle plays made by Ariza that in the end, were instrumental in the Rockets rallying for the win. He would finish with 21 points on 8-for-18 shooting with four made 3’s to go with two assists, three rebounds and three steals.

Greg Monroe: Getting his first significant playing time since becoming a Celtic, Greg Monroe was a key performer in keeping Boston in the game. He tallied 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting in addition to grabbing six rebounds and blocking two shots along with having a game-high plus/minus of +23.

 

DUDS

Kyrie Irving: He had 18 points on 6-for-17 shooting, an unusual shooting line for a player who has been extremely efficient offensively most of this season. At no point did it feel as though Irving was in control of the action, and that would become one of the many factors contributing to the loss. 

Al Horford: Even before Al Horford missed an easy shot about five-feet out in the game’s closing seconds, or the late-game turnover that followed, Horford had a rough night on so many levels. He had 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting but failed to take advantage of the mismatches he seemingly had throughout the game with Houston’s constant switching defensively resulting him often having a smaller defender on him.

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Report: Celtics have interest in signing Euro League star

Report: Celtics have interest in signing Euro League star

The Celtics are among several NBA teams with interest in signing Euro League star Brad Wanamaker, according to international basketball reporter David Pick.

The Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat also have interest in Wanamaker, according to Pick.

Wanamaker, 28, a 6-foot-4 guard, went undrafted out of the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. He's averaged 14.9 points and 4.9 assists and shot 43 percent, 36 percent from 3, in three Euro League seasons.

The Celtics got a solid season from European free-agent signee Daniel Theis of Germany last season (5.3 points, 4.3 rebounds in 14.9 minutes a game before a knee injury in March. 

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Report: Miami guard Brown to have second workout with Celtics

Report: Miami guard Brown to have second workout with Celtics

University of Miami guard Bruce Brown, who's from Boston, played in the area in high school and is a possibility when the Celtics pick 27th on Thursday night in the NBA draft, will work out for Boston for a second time this week, Keith Smith of RealGM reports.

Smith, 6-foot-5, 195 pounds, saw his draft stock drop after his sophomore season ended with a foot injury in January.

The defensive-minded point guard is an inconsistent shooter (27 percent on 3-pointers last season) but Smith reports he fits the mold of Avery Bradley, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart.

Brown was born in Boston and played at  Wakefield (Mass.) High and at Vermont Academy. 

Also visiting the Celtics for a second workout, according to Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune, is Cincinnati guard Jacob Evans, another defense-first guard who's bigger (6-6, 210), but similar to Brown. 

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