Celtics

Terry Rozier takes the stage with Drake at TD Garden

Terry Rozier takes the stage with Drake at TD Garden

Terry Rozier joined Drake on stage for his Saturday night concert at TD Garden.

On his tour, Drake has been letting fans on stage for a basketball shooting challenge with a chance to win some cash. This time, that fan was none other than Scary Terry.

One would think Rozier would be a lock for this challenge, but the results were... not quite what you'd expect.

Don't panic, Celtics fans. Our best guess is Drake isn't using NBA rims for his challenge. Scary Terry will be just fine.

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What are some key intangibles to the Celtics having a great season?

What are some key intangibles to the Celtics having a great season?

BOSTON – Winning in the NBA is about more than just having better players or an awesome coach. There are factors that come into play, like scheduling, unexpected injuries by an opponent, or even a leaky roof.

All those factors fall under the category of intangibles, which for most of the top teams, aids them in their quest towards success.

The Celtics have a roster that on paper ranks among the NBA’s best. Still, for them to sustain the kind of success they're pursuing all season, they’ll need some other things to work out. 

So, what are some of those intangibles?

COACHING CONTINUITY

Former Celtics player, assistant coach and fan favorite Walter McCarty left the team last season to become head coach of his hometown’s college team, the University of Evansville. The rest of the coaching crew remains intact this season. Having that familiarity on the sidelines is a bigger deal than most people might think. Head coach Brad Stevens doesn’t have to worry about egos or how folks will mesh together among his staff. They’ve been around each other long enough to know how to work well, and effectively, with one another. Team harmony among coaching staff can only help foster a similar culture inside the locker room.

STABLE FRONT OFFICE

This too is one of the more overlooked aspects of the Celtics success, a franchise that on the basketball side of things has been run by Danny Ainge since 2003. His right-hand man, Mike Zarren, has done an exceptional job of maintaining the team’s salary cap flexibility and remains one of the more highly regarded NBA execs out there. The stability of those positions takes away some of the uncertainty that agents and players might have about the franchise and, more specifically, how they will be treated if they become Celtics.

NEW PRACTICE FACILITY

The team’s new facility in Brighton, The Auerbach Center, won’t win them a single game. But there’s something about having a building that’s yours and yours alone, which is different than what they had in Waltham, Mass, in where their practice court was inside the Boston Sports Club. It breeds a greater sense of pride and ownership, two character traits you can’t have enough of in the NBA.  

NO LEBRON JAMES

They will still see him twice a year, but that’s so much better than four times a year plus the playoffs. Of course, Boston will still have to show up and handle their business against the teams in the East, and the NBA for that matter. But to know that their journey towards competing for an NBA title won’t have to involve dealing with James – his Cleveland team have eliminated Boston in the postseason three of the past four years – is a good thing for Green Teamers.

FAN BASE

Win or lose, blowout win or beatdown loss, Celtics fans support this team in a way that has no end in sight. Crowds don’t take shots (on the court ones, at least). They don’t grab rebounds, either. But they can motivate and inspire players in ways that no amount of X’s and O’s can top. We have seen this team tap into that energy from time to time. And while it appears on paper they won’t need to as much this year, knowing that their fans have that to offer is reassuring to a team that so many fans – not just their own, either – expect to make a deep postseason journey that takes them back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2012.

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Brad Stevens on Kyrie Irving: 'He looks pretty good'

Brad Stevens on Kyrie Irving: 'He looks pretty good'

PLYMOUTH, Mass. –  The last time we saw Kyrie Irving, he was in street clothes as the Celtics navigated their way through the playoffs without him and advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Fast forward to this month, one in which Stevens has seen Irving working out with his teammates in pickup games doing what can be best described as Irving-like things.

When asked if Irving had the cutting moves we’ve seen him display in splicing up defenders on a nightly basis, Stevens, with a mischievous smile, said, “he’s got ‘em. He looks pretty good."

And that bodes well for a Boston team that’s expected by many to advance to the NBA Finals this season.

“He’s worked really hard,” Stevens said of Irving. “I think he’s excited … it’s good to see that.”

Irving has established himself as one of the top guards in the NBA and has shown himself capable of stepping up in the playoffs when needed.

A career 22.0 points per game scorer, Irving has averaged 23.9 points in the postseason, putting up at least 25.2 points per game in his last two playoff appearances (2016 and 2017).

But injuries and an infection in his left knee have led to him missing all or most of the postseason in two of the last four seasons.

“The one last year with us was such a shock,” Stevens said. “Just because of the unfortunate event with the infection.”

He won’t be the only Celtic who will be watched closely in training camp.

Gordon Hayward, who missed most of last season with a left ankle injury suffered in the season opener, has also looked good in workouts according to Stevens.

“He’s been really diligent all the way through his rehab and progressing to each step,” Stevens said of Hayward. “I watched him go all the way through the steps of working out to 1-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-on-3 and now he can play some of the open gyms some of the guys are having.”

Irving and Hayward, like most of the Celtics, won’t play major minutes in the preseason.

“I don’t think anyone will play a ton in the first week,” Stevens said. “That’s too quick. Usually you have five or six days before your first game. But to have three days and we play the second one right after that. We’re basically breaking our camp down from a staffing standpoint into two separate camps. The first one is, getting back together, making sure we’re fluid in what we’re trying to accomplish for the most part on offense and defense playing as a team through those first ten days when we have four games. And after that, we have a full eight-day period. We’ll basically treat it like another camp, as we get ready for the regular season. I don’t anticipate anybody hitting the 25-minute mark in any of those early games.”

Stevens knows not to put too much stock in what he sees early on from his players. This is especially true for Irving and Hayward.

 “I think like anything there’s going to be a period of adjustment,” Stevens said.

But that reality has to be balanced with an earlier-than-usual preseason schedule which will present its own unique sets of challenges.

The days of easing into the preseason, at least this year, are gone.

“If we’re not ready for the competitive side, that’ll smack us in the face pretty quick,” Stevens said. “But that’s part of getting ready for a season.”

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