Celtics

Now, who's the go-to guy? Celtics spread it around

Now, who's the go-to guy? Celtics spread it around

BOSTON – Injuries have taken the element of elite, All-Star caliber talent out of the equation for the Celtics.

No Kyrie Irving (left knee).

No Gordon Hayward (left ankle).

And no Marcus Smart (right thumb), at least not for this first-round series.

Still, the Celtics do have the element of surprise working for them, especially in tight games, which have been good to the C's this season.

The Celtics have made five, go-ahead baskets in the final five seconds of games this season. That's tops in the NBA.

And they’ve relied on a multitude of players in those moments, something they see as a plus as they begin their postseason journey on Sunday at the TD Garden against the Milwaukee Bucks, a team that the Celtics were 2-2 against in the regular season.  

Having multiple players to go to down the stretch of a close game - players who have come up big this season - serves as one of the silver linings for the injury-riddled Celtics.

“It makes us a little bit harder to prepare and plan for,” said Celtics assistant Micha Shrewsberry. “We have a lot of different guys hit last-second shots. Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris, Al Horford. Now, you go into the last second like, ‘who’s gonna take that shot? Who are they gonna go to?”

It’s also a huge confidence boost for players who have waited for an opportunity to become more of a go-to performer.

“Those guys take pride in knowing, I can step up in that moment,” Shrewsberry said. “Whoever’s number he draws up, everybody has the confidence that this is the right thing for our team.”

That confidence comes with a super-sized chip on the shoulder of most Celtics, who are well aware that many pundits have them as one of the likely high seeds to get bounced in the first round.

Marcus Morris acknowledges that such talk only fuels his passion to compete.

“Like myself, as I know all the players on the team, you looking at the doubt and that’s motivation,” Morris said. “People counting you out, you’re not gonna do this or do that. It’s gotta be motivation, prove everybody wrong. Still, we’re in Boston. We have high expectations. We want to come out and try to fulfill them as best we can.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Breakfast Pod: Al Horford will likely seek deal outside of Boston

Breakfast Pod: Al Horford will likely seek deal outside of Boston

On the eve of the NBA draft, the impending free-agent departures of Al Horford and Kyrie Irving have left the Celtics reeling. C's talk dominates the Breakfast Podcast.

1:22: Cedric Maxwell joins Trenni Kusnierek and Kyle Draper to discuss a possible exit from both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford. Maxwell also tells us where he thinks Kyrie is really heading.

8:06: The Dominican Republic Attorney General says David Ortiz was not the intended target of the attack on him. Phil Perry, John Tomase and Trenni Kusnierek discuss all of the rumors regarding this case.

11:46: Phil Perry, A. Sherrod Blakely, Danielle Trotta, and Michael Felger talk about the possibility of the Brooklyn Nets acquiring Kyrie and Kevin Durant.
 

LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE:

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.

NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving's relationship with Jaylen Brown 'probably the worst' on Celtics

NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving's relationship with Jaylen Brown 'probably the worst' on Celtics

It's no secret Kyrie Irving had a difficult time leading a young Celtics team last season, but just how bad was the situation in Boston behind the scenes?

Apparently, Irving's relationship with his teammates was even worse than we thought. On Tuesday, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated joined Fox Sports Radio to detail the rift between Irving and the young C's, specifically Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier.

“You can write a whole book on what went wrong because the season was basically a disaster from start to finish," Mannix said. "His (Irving’s) relationship with the young players on the roster was awful. Jaylen Brown, he was probably the worst with. I don’t think it was great with Jayson Tatum, and it was awful with Terry Rozier because Terry was supplanted at a position he thought he did enough to win. That created a pretty nasty atmosphere. Kyrie’s leadership skills were lacking, and he failed at it. He was the first player to be coached by Brad Stevens who didn’t really enjoy being coached by Brad Stevens and that relationship wasn’t solid.”

Yikes.

Irving reportedly is "prepared to sign" with the Nets when free agency begins on June 30, and it looks like we have more insight as to why he's rumored to be choosing Brooklyn over Boston. Now, we'll have to wait and see whether fellow veteran Al Horford will tag along.

One thing is for certain: Brown's cryptic Instagram post sure makes a whole lot more sense after hearing Mannix's report.

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.