Celtics

Why Al Horford isn't surprised the Celtics already have strong chemistry

Why Al Horford isn't surprised the Celtics already have strong chemistry

Al Horford hasn't played with Kemba Walker or Enes Kanter.

He hasn't been inside the Boston Celtics' locker room without Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier in the fold.

The Philadelphia 76ers big man has played for Brad Stevens, though, and that experience gave him all the evidence he needs.

In a chat with the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett over the weekend, Horford weighed in on his former team's hot start and said he's not surprised to see Stevens' group jelling so quickly.

"Coach, you know, he’s going to put everyone in position to be successful," Horford said. "I mean, even the year that we were there that Kyrie and Gordon were missing and we had Shane Larkin starting or Semi (Ojeleye), he figured out how to do the most with what he had. So I’m not surprised by this."

When pressed on why Stevens couldn't make things work last season, Horford pointed to an overabundance of talent that led to chemistry issues.

"Last year was just too much,” Horford added. “There were too many guys for coach to satisfy everyone."

Horford was one of five Celtics to average more than 27 minutes per night last season, and that group didn't even include Hayward or Jaylen Brown. That the 33-year-old decided to leave Boston for Philly in the offseason was a sign he saw the writing on the wall with Boston's crowded roster.

Horford apparently shares the same view as Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, who pointed to the "equal depth" on last season's squad as a potential cause of Boston's chemistry issues.

The new-look C's seem to be getting along quite well, though. They're 14-5 entering Tuesday and have the chance to avenge one of those five losses when they host Horford's Sixers next Thursday.

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Enes Kanter endorses former teammate, Rudy Gobert, for NBA All-Star Game

Enes Kanter endorses former teammate, Rudy Gobert, for NBA All-Star Game

Enes Kanter has been nothing but supportive of his Boston Celtics teammates since joining the squad this summer.

Whether it's been mentoring Tacko Fall or advocating for his young teammates Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to make the All-Star Game, Kanter has had an impact on the C's

And evidently, Kanter's support even extends to former teammates..

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On Saturday night, Kanter took to Twitter to implore NBA coaches to pick Rudy Gobert for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game. Kanter and Gobert were teammates for a season and a half together with the Utah Jazz before Kanter was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Gobert's performance against the Dallas Mavericks prompted Kanter's tweet. In the Saturday contest, Gobert totaled 22 points, 17 boards, and five blocks, including a game-winning one at the end of regulation.

Despite his defensive prowess, Gobert has never made an All-Star appearance. He has two Defensive Player of the Year awards and two All-NBA nods, but the All-Star appearance has eluded him.

Given that Gobert is averaging 15.6 points, 14.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks per game, and is shooting 68.3 percent from the field, it probably should be his year to make it. We'll see if Kanter's tweet has any influence on the minds of the coaches voting for All-Star reserves.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pelicans, which begins Sunday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 6 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

How Tremont Waters, Romeo Langford fared for Red Claws vs. Westchester Knicks

How Tremont Waters, Romeo Langford fared for Red Claws vs. Westchester Knicks

The Maine Red Claws came into the Westchester County Center Saturday night looking to extend their win streak to three. No strangers to furious late-game rallies of late, Maine got another such scare just when things were looking comfy. 

The Westchester Knicks seized control in the fourth quarter, using a 14-2 run to take a 97-94 lead with six minutes to go. But that momentum was short-lived. Sparked by a three-pointer from 2019 second-round pick Tremont Waters, the Claws closed the game out on a 16-6 run to give them their 10th win in 11 games.

Here's a look at Waters and 2019 first-round pick Romeo Langford’s best highlights, and their final stat lines.

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TREMONT WATERS

As usual, the rookie from LSU — who grew up in New Haven, just an hour north of the Knicks’ arena in White Plains, N.Y. — was one of Maine’s steadiest. With an effective field goal percentage of 63 and a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, he took command when the Claws needed him most. He finished with 21 points and six rebounds, all of them defensive.

ROMEO LANGFORD

It wasn’t a pretty night for Langford, who started the evening 2 for 10 from the floor and finished 33 percent shooting for 14 points. But despite the lack of stat sheet appeal, he was a team-high plus-14 in 33 minutes.

After Waters, the two most productive nights belonged to Yante Maten and Kaiser Gates. Maten, the former SEC Player of the Year at Georgia, was 8 for 12 from the floor for a team-high 23 points and nine rebounds despite being a team-worst minus-6. Gates was 3 for 8 from three-point range and a plus-10, finishing with 15 points and six rebounds.

The Red Claws are now 8-1 in January, good enough for second in the G League’s Eastern Conference. Optimism continues to bloom with this young but talented roster.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pelicans, which begins Sunday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.