Tag Archives: Boston Celtics

Murphy, Pavlovic, Arroyo — The Celtics that You Don’t Know

Carlos Arroyo Celtics

The Celtic's Carlos Arroyo

By Matt Moore, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

Since the trade dead line in mid-February, the Celtics roster has been turned upside down.With 21 games left, it’s up to Doc Rivers to find a fit for all the new acquisitions, and for those players to learn the system and find a role. We’ve already had a pretty good look at what Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic can do. Krstic is fitting nicely as the starting center, and Green has found himself contributing late in games. But besides these two, the Celtics also have three other new players. Let’s take a look at each, and what they can potentially bring to the C’s for their playoff run:

Troy Murphy: Murphy is a veteran with size and good outside shooting. He looked pretty rusty in his first few outings, but it was expected after only playing in 18 games prior to arriving in Boston. Playing in Indiana last year, he posted an impressive 14 points and 10 rebounds per game, while having a decent percentage from behind the 3-point arc. Coming off the bench for the Celtics won’t give him an opportunity to match these averages, but it shows what Murphy is capable of producing. No one the Celtics brought in can match the defensive presence of the departed Perkins, but Murphy is another big body that can get rebounds, help control the paint, and also chip in offensively. You can see why the Heat wanted Murphy just as bad as the Celtics did, and thankfully Murphy chose Boston. It’s hard to say how much Murphy would play in a shortened rotation come playoff time, behind Green and Glen Davis. But if called on, Murphycan hit a big shot when needed.

Sasha Pavlovic: Pavlovic wasn’t a name that many people were talking about coming to Boston, but after being bought out the Celtics made a move on him. At 6’7”, he has good size and is a career 40% shooter from the field and 35% from behind the arc. He also comes with playoff experience, as a role player during Cleveland’s winning seasons. Doc Rivers has praised Pavlovic for his defensive abilities. One thing the Celtics lacked was a player off the bench who could shutdown, or at least contain, an opponent’s primary scorer. They had that with James Posey and then with Tony Allen; now they are hoping that Pavlovic can help along with Green. Pavlovic rounds out the roster and gives the Celtics another player that Rivers can put on the court with confidence when needed.

Carlos Arroyo: The most recent addition is Arroyo, who was let go by Miami after they signed Mike Bibby. There was some talk of Bibby coming to Boston, but in my mind that would not have been a great fit. Besides his past issues with Boston’s fans, Bibby isn’t the productive player he used to be. Arroyo is a welcome surprise to the Celtics, and a better pick up than Bibby. Primarily a back up his entire career, Arroyo puts up decent numbers for a reserve point guard. He can distribute the ball and shoots at a high percentage. Adding another experienced point guard was a key following Delonte West’s most recent injury. Avery Bradley can’t be expected to back up Rondo if West ever went down during a playoff series. The Celtics now have a little more insurance at the point guard spot.

Time will tell how these players work within the Celtics system and with the core players already in place. Expectations for these three aren’t as high as Green and Krstic, since the Celtics didn’t give anything up to acquire them. Nobody is claiming that these three are the final pieces that will guarantee the Celtics an 18th banner. But looking at the roster, you have to like it a little better than when it featured Semih Erden and Luke Harrangody. Any contribution they can make will be welcomed. How many healthy players we have and how deep of a rotation Doc wants will determine their playing time in the playoffs. But if it comes down to it, I have confidence that these three, especially Murphy, can make a difference in a few games.

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Celtics Sneak Past the Jazz 107-102

Nick Green

A Celtics victory over the Jazz is nothing to write home about — Boston typically yawns its way through any game not against the likes of the Lakers or the Heat. That said, I watched all of last night’s Celtics game in an effort to get my first glimpse of this new look Celtics squad. It was a hell of a game, with a few notable happenings worth sharing.

1) Ray Allen scored 20 of his 25 points in the last 7 minutes of the game, including 3-3 shooting on ridiculously off-balance 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter. He iced the Jazz and ultimately won the Celtics the game.

2) Newcomer Nenad Krstic had 11 points and 8 boards, while new arrival Jeff Green made an unbelievable block with the game on the line. A solid start for the new guys.

3) Kevin Garnett, who has been receiving quite a bit of flack on this blog for his dirty play of late, was up to his tricks once again — except this time they all worked out perfectly. This included a scuffle with Al Jefferson at the far end of the court, leading to a frustrated Jefferson charging Garnett in a desperate effort to score on the ensuing possession. Garnett forced Jefferson into traveling, getting the ball back for the Celtics at a key moment. Even better yet was when Garnett decided he had to stall the game and fix the padding around the edge of the backboard in an effort to give a winded Paul Pierce an additional moment to catch his breath before shooting a free throw. The look Garnett received from the ref was priceless, but Pierce made the shot.

4) The Jazz’s Derrick Favors, the 3rd overall pick in the 2010 draft class, is a beast. I’d look for him to be a good player for a long time to come.

The Celts have a really easy stretch of games coming up, starting with the Suns of Wednesday night.

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Kendrick Perkins Traded by Celtics — Why?

Kendrick Perkins Traded

Kendrick Perkins was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder yesterday, in a move that leaves nearly every Bostonian I’ve talked to scratching their heads. Shortly before yesterday’s 3:00pm trade deadline Celtic’s GM Danny Ainge apparently decided his team’s Eastern Conference leading 41-15 record wasn’t quite good enough, retooling the Celtic’s roster by sending 4 Celtic’s packing. Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson traded to  Oklahoma, backup center Semih Erden and Marquis Daniels sent elsewhere in exchange for draft picks. Now I know the Celtics are old, but are we really going to begin rebuilding in the midst of a season where we’ve got as good of a title shot as anybody?

While the Celtics acquired Jeff Green and his 15.2 ppg from Oklahoma, offense is simply not what the Celtics need. To draw an Alanis Morissette parallel, the Celtics roster is now “like 10,000 spoons (scorers) when all you need is a knife (defenders).”  This was never more evident than in the playoffs last year, when Perkins’ defense was a major key to containing the likes of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. Last offseason’s battle cry was “we need more depth at center,” and in Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal it looked as though Danny Ainge had complied. Then he goes out and trades his starting center and a backup center who had shown major potential? While Jeff Green is undoubtedly a much better player than Perk, this is simply a circumstance where the Celtics got worse by adding a better player. It appears as though Ainge has something of a love affair with Green, who he originally selected as the 5th overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft before trading him to acquire Ray Allen.

Also acquired in the trade was Nenad Krstic, a 7-footer cited for a lack of defense and rebounding ability (is that possible at 7 feet?). That’s exactly what we don’t need — another clumsy big body for Pau and Dwight to light up — it just doesn’t make sense. The good news is this seems to suggest that Ainge has indications that the O’Neal twins will be returning to the Celtics’ line-up soon — or that he’s got some other trick up his sleeve.

The only reason that I can see for this trade is that Danny Ainge has loved the spotlight being on the Celtics for the past few seasons. He’s looking towards the future, trying to keep the Celtics relevant, all the while hurting our title chances this season, not to mention greatly shaking up one of the best team chemistry’s in the NBA. Note to Danny — 2 or 3 years from now even if you can hang on to Rondo we’ve got no chance anyways. Those will be the years of the Heat, the Knicks, the Bulls — Jeff Green is not going to make an impact against Lebron or Carmelo.

So really, what the hell were you thinking Danny?

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Glen Davis — Midseason 6th Man of the Year?

Glen Davis Celtics

By Matt Moore, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

With the NBA approaching its All-Star break, now is a time where a lot of experts and fans alike start to hand out midseason awards. Blake Griffin is the clear-cut choice for Rookie of the Year, the MVP race seems to coming down to LeBron, Derrick Rose, and Dwight Howard, and Garnett is making a strong case to recapture the title of Defensive Player of the Year from Howard. But what is probably the most surprising is the strong case one could make for Glen Davis as Sixth Man of the Year.

Davis is in his fourth and most productive season since being drafted by Boston in 2007. Through 53 games, he has career highs in minutes per game (29.5), free throw percentage (.756), rebounds (5.2), assists (1.4), and points (11.8). The numbers back up the fact that Davis is playing as good as anyone has seen him play in Boston, but where his real value comes is better stated in terms of when he is contributing. The first big man off the bench, Davis backed up Shaq for the first few months of the season, and now does the same for Perkins. With O’Neal often in foul trouble and fatigued late in games, Davis was part of the closing unit along side the other four starters. His role remains the same, as Perkins’ minutes are limited. Davis gives the Celtics a player that can score, play tough defense, and rebound late in games. He works well protecting the paint with Garnett, and has drawn an astounding number of charges. He is doing this all while being an undersized 6’9. Despite the apparent lack of height, Davis is active around the rim, scoring inside and collecting offensive rebounds. His ability to get shots up around taller defenders by using the rim and body position is impressive. You can also see an improvement in his post moves and jump shot. With the injuries the Celtics have had, especially to the front court, Davis has only started nine games, all when Garnett went down earlier in the season. He is by far the most important player off the Celtics bench right now, and is the foundation for the second unit.

So who is his competition for the Sixth Man Award? I think right now the popular choice, and deservedly so, is the Maverick’s Jason Terry. He’s averaging 16 points a game for Dallas and is a big reason why they are second in the West. Terry gives them instant offense off the bench,and is often on the floor with Kidd and Nowitzki. He can shoot threes and takes big shots at big moments. We saw it first hand earlier this month when Terry had 17 points in a 101-97 Dallas win in Boston.

There are a few other bench players in the league that have better numbers than Davis, but that shouldn’t be the only factor in deciding the award. Davis’s value to the Celtics can’t be measured completely by statistics. It’s also interesting to note that Davis is having his best season heading into free agency this summer. But for now, the Celtics are happy to have him wearing green, and making big contributions towards their goal of another NBA title.

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Rajon Rondo is the Celtic’s MVP

Rajon Rondo has quickly established himself as one of the 3 or 4 best point guards in the NBA. Sure, he’s playing with 3 first ballot Hall of Famers, which has undoubtedly led to his success. That said, Rajon Rondo has officially landed. In my eyes, he’s the most important player on the Celtics and will ultimately be the determining factor in whether or not the Celtic’s 18th championship banner will hang in the Garden’s rafters at the end of the season.

Yesterday’s 85-82 win over the Miami Heat was case in point. Trailing by 4 at the half, Rondo took it upon himself to guard Lebron James for most of the second half. Playing probably the most harassing defense I have ever seen on a basketball court, including harassing Lebron while he was in the Heat’s huddle (awesome!), Rondo was clearly able to get under the King’s skin. Rondo recorded yet another triple double, scoring 9 of his 11 points in the 3rd quarter resulting in a 14 point Celtic’s lead going into the 4th quarter. The Celts hung on for the win, and Lebron went home fuming.

After the game, nearly every Celtic credited Rondo’s energy as the pick-me-up that led to the victory. I’m a bit worried that yet another Heat loss to the Celtics will only fuel their fire come the post season, but after last week’s loss to the Lakers this was a big win. Despite lacking anything resembling a jump shot, Rondo has proven that his quickness, energy, and ability to spread the ball can take over a game. While Rondo is not likely to be hitting any game winning shots, I’d bet that if the Celtics have any playoff success this year Rondo will be their MVP.

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Congratulations, Ray Allen

Ray Allen

Ray Allen hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter against the Lakers last night, breaking Reggie Miller’s career record of 2,560 3-pointers and establishing himself as the best 3-point shooter in the history of the game. Ray embraced Reggie Miller on the sideline as well as his mom and his family, and even received daps and a congratulatory slap on the behind from Kobe Bryant. Bryant, who entered the league in the same draft class as Allen, called Ray’s stroke “water” and reflected on Allen’s ability to play at a high level for so many years. Kudos to Kobe for being a class act.

As a fan, this record feels particularly good. It’s authentic (See Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds). Ray has been an absolutely model player for the NBA throughout his career, and is one of the most highly thought of players in the NBA. I was at a Boston bar for the game, and I can’t tell you how excited fans were for this record.

Keep it going Ray. I have a feeling you’re going to make a couple big shots in the playoffs this year…

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Ray Allen — Move over Reggie Miller

Ray Allen 3-point shooting

On Thursday night at 8:00pm ET the Boston Celtics will face the Los Angeles Lakers. The best rivalry in the game will be on the line, as will the title of best 3-point shooter of all-time. Ray Allen will enter the game 1 measily 3-pointer away from tying Reggie Miller’s all-time record for 3-pointers made in a career — leaving him as a virtual lock to set the all-time record in the game.

While Ray has shot a slightly better percentage than Reggie both from 3-point range and from the free throw line over his career, the difference is essentially negligible. Ray has averaged 20.4 ppg to Reggie’s 18.2, and has averaged 2.4 3-pointers per game to Reggie’s 1.8. While those numbers are significant, I haven’t even dropped the bomb on you yet:

Ray Allen will break Reggie Miller’s record in 315 fewer games. Yes, 315. That’s four full seasons!

To me, that makes it very obvious who the best 3-point shooter of all-time is. Perhaps best of all, Ray is having his best 3-point shooting season yet, averaging 46% from behind the arc. How cool would it be if the Celts could pull out a championship this year and Ray could go out on top?

One last thought for you all…..this record could last a long time. The third all-time 3-point shooter is Jason Kidd. He’s more than 1000 3-pointers behind Reggie and Ray.

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