Celtics

The state of Boston sports the last time LeBron James missed the playoffs

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The state of Boston sports the last time LeBron James missed the playoffs

With a 111-106 loss to the Brooklyn Nets Friday night, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers were officially eliminated from the playoffs. This will be the first time James will miss the postseason since the 2004-05 season, as a 20-year-old with the Cavaliers. 

A lot has changed since then. The iPhone was not yet introduced, the Seattle Supersonics had not yet moved to Oklahoma City, and George W. Bush was President of the United States. 

The landscape of Boston sports underwent a massive change as well. After years of heartbreak and disappointment, Boston has turned into the city of champions, and April of 2005 was the beginning of a run that isn't close to ending. Here's what all four teams were up to the last time LeBron missed the playoffs. 

PATRIOTS

The Patriots were two months removed from their third Super Bowl in four years, beating the Eagles to become the first back-to-back champions since the 1997-98 Broncos. Nobody has done it since, and now the Patriots have a chance to do it again after capturing their sixth Super Bowl this year. 

Tom Brady was 27 years old with zero league MVP's and two Pro Bowl selections. He now has three MVP's and 14 Pro Bowl selections. 

Corey Dillon was the Patriots' running back, and the linebacking core consisted of Willie McGinest, Mike Vrabel and Tedy Bruschi. 

CELTICS

The Celtics had plenty of battles with LeBron in the postseason later in his career, but they had trouble making it far in the postseason before acquiring Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in 2008. The Celtics went 45-37 in 2004-05 and lost to a Pacers team led by Reggie Miller, Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O'Neal. 

A 27-year-old Paul Pierce led the team in scoring with 21.6 PPG, while Antione Walker, Ricky Davis and a 36-year-old Gary Payton rounded out the team's core. It was also Doc Rivers' first season as the Celtics' head coach. 

One championship and about a million trades later, the Celtics are one of the most talented teams in the NBA hoping to put it all together towards another title. This year's team still has connections to 2004, as the trade that sent Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets led to acquisitions of Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. 

BRUINS

Unfortunately for the Bruins, they were just waiting for the 2005-06 season to begin. Due to an unresolved lockout, the 2004-05 NHL season was canceled. Patrice Bergeron missed his 19-year-old season and the team was led by 24-year-old Joe Thornton, Glenn Murray and Mike Knuble. 

RED SOX

The Red Sox were just beginning their first World Series defense in 86 years. After defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series to break the Curse of the Bambino, Boston went on to win 95 games but lost to the eventual champion White Sox in the ALDS. 

David Ortiz (47 HR, 148 RBI) and Manny Ramirez (45 HR, 144 RBI) were still in their primes, Pedro Martinez had just left for the New York Mets for a four-year $53 million contract and Alex Cora was Mark Bellhorn's backup at second base. 

After breaking the curse, the Red Sox have become the most successful franchise in baseball, winning the World Series in 2007, 2013 and 2018. 

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Carsen Edwards' 3-point barrage for Celtics catches Dwyane Wade's eye

Carsen Edwards' 3-point barrage for Celtics catches Dwyane Wade's eye

How does one earn the praise of an NBA legend during a meaningless preseason game?

By hitting eight 3-pointers in one quarter, of course.

Boston Celtics rookie Carsen Edwards accomplished that mission Tuesday night in Cleveland by pouring in eight triples in the third quarter -- seven of which came in a span of less than five minutes -- to finish with 30 points.

And guess who took notice? Recently-retired superstar Dwyane Wade, who urged his 8.3 million Twitter followers not to sleep on the young point guard.

Wade, who spent one season with the Cavs, also shouted out Cleveland rookies Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. later in the game. But he clearly was impressed by Edwards, a second-round pick who's garnered considerable hype from his NBA contemporaries.

The 6-foot-1 guard also has a fan in former Celtics guard Nate Robinson, who commented, "My favorite guard in the league" on the NBA's Instagram post of Edwards' highlights.

Looks like it's getting harder to sleep on Edwards, especially if he continues to get buckets when the regular season begins.

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Has Brad Stevens finally found his 'microwave' in Celtics rookie Carsen Edwards?

Has Brad Stevens finally found his 'microwave' in Celtics rookie Carsen Edwards?

Maybe fellow rookie Tremont Waters best summed up what it was like to watch Carsen Edwards erupt for eight third-quarter 3-pointers in the Celtics' exhibition finale Tuesday night in Cleveland.

“I didn’t want to get burnt, so I tried to stay away from him,” Waters (half-) joked to reporters.

Edwards scored 26 third-quarter points behind his 3-point barrage, all of which came in little more than a five-minute span. Maybe more staggering was the distance of his 3-point makes in the quarter, including four of 30-plus feet and an average distance of 29.1 feet on the eight makes.

Edwards nearly matched Klay Thompson’s regular-season record of nine 3-pointers in a quarter. He did match Boston’s regular-season record of nine 3-pointers in a game, a feat accomplished by both Isaiah Thomas and Antoine Walker.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens was present for Thomas’ outburst and Edwards’ offensive explosion still left him searching for the right words.

"I don't know if I've ever seen anything like that,” Stevens told reporters in Cleveland. "Those were deep, hard 3s. And how many? Eight? In like five minutes? I've never seen anything like that. I don't know that I have any reference points. He was pretty special.”

For his part, Edward shrugged off his part. He credited his teammates with finding him open shots. He suggested that he slipped into a similar shooting zone against top-seeded Virginia during the NCAA Tournament (that day, Edwards scored 42 points on 14-of-25 shooting with ten 3-pointers as Purdue nearly produced the upset).

What Stevens liked best was how Edwards, who took a hard shot to the nose in the opening minutes of the game, shook off an uneven first half to erupt in the second.

"I think the most encouraging part of the whole performance was I didn't think he was very good in the first half. And for him to be able to recenter and play and come out of the gates like that in the second, that's a great thing for a coach to learn about somebody,” Stevens told reporters. "Sometimes guys don't have it on a given night ... but you always know that he's probably one time from hitting the net away from getting hot.

"He lives on heat checks.”

The bigger picture here for the Celtics is that, in summer league and the preseason, Edwards has shown that his scoring skills should translate to the NBA. He might just be the microwave bench scoring option that the team has long coveted in the Stevens era.

It’s fair to want to see it in regular-season play. But it would also seem logical that Edwards might see even easier shots if he’s got talents such as Jayson Tatum or Gordon Hayward on the court and opposing teams can’t send their best defenders at him.

Not that it would deter him, anyhow. In the preseason, 31 of Edwards’ 43 field goal attempts came beyond the arc. He shot 45.2 percent from 3-point land and 51.2 percent overall. He scored 61 points in 73 minutes and the Celtics had an offensive rating of 112.6 when he was on the court.

Edwards’ usage percentage was 28.8 percent this preseason, a number driven slightly higher by his six turnovers. Still, he accounted for a staggering 34.1 percent of Boston’s points in his floor time.

This suggests that he won’t be particularly bashful when Stevens puts him into regular-season games. There’s backup guard minutes to be had with the departure of Terry Rozier and Edwards will get plenty of reps if he shoots like he has since arriving in Boston.

It’s a good sign for Boston if players like Waters need a bit of zinc oxide to combat any burns they get from being too close to Edwards moving forward.

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