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#pounditThursday, September 17, 2020

Articles tagged: Boston Celtics

Marcus Smart heard yelling in locker room after Celtics blow Game 2

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart blew up on his teammates after the Boston Celtics blew a double-digit lead in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Boston led by 17 in the second quarter and 13 at halftime against Miami. They held a five-point lead with around five minutes left in the game and lost 106-101 to the Miami Heat.

According to NBA reporters, Smart was heard screaming in the Celtics’ locker room after the loss.

“Marcus Smart is screaming in the #Celtics locker room and there is a bunch of arguing going on. Smart comes out say ‘y’all on that bulls—!’ Team is imploding. Smart is in bathroom and there is still screaming coming from locker room,” the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn tweeted.

ESPN’s Malika Andrews also tweeted about Smart’s blowup.

Both Washburn and Andrews said they could hear items being thrown in the locker room.

Boston lost a tight contest to Miami in overtime in Game 1 on Tuesday. They have fallen behind 2-0 in the playoff series against a tough team, and they had a very good chance to even the series. It’s easy to see why they would be so frustrated after the game.

Getting heated after a game is nothing new for Smart, but the circumstances surrounding this incident are especially painful.

Nick Nurse takes jab at referees over free throw disparity

The Toronto Raptors have dug themselves into a big hole against the Boston Celtics after letting Game 2 slip away on Tuesday night. Jayson Tatum was by far the best player on the floor, but Raptors coach Nick Nurse felt the Celtics star got some help from the officials.

Following his team’s 102-99 loss, Nurse expressed frustration over Tatum shooting 14 free throws. He complimented Tatum on making some big shots but said the referees “took very good care of him tonight.”

The Raptors actually shot 19 free throws as a team, so Nurse was exaggerating a bit. The Celtics shot 25, with Tatum taking the majority of them. Tatum also attacked the basket more than any other player on the floor, though coaches never like to see that type of free throw disparity.

Toronto led for the majority of the game, and Nurse’s team was up eight to start the fourth quarter. The Celtics then chipped away at the lead and put the game away with clutch three-point shooting in the fourth quarter. The Raptors need to focus more on perimeter defense in Game 3.

Complaining about the free throw disparity might result in a fine for Nurse, but it could also lead to a few more calls going his team’s way in a must-win game on Thursday night.

Bill Belichick spoke to Celtics before playoff opener

Bill Belichick is already giving pregame speeches, but not in the sport that he usually specializes in.

At the invitation of coach Brad Stevens, the New England Patriots coach spoke to the Boston Celtics ahead of their playoff opener against Philadelphia on Monday. Belichick said he wanted to help the Celtics prepare for a “critical time” in their season.

Stevens said Belichick is “one of the best preparers of all time,” which was clearly a focus of the visit.

Belichick has been effusive in his praise for Stevens in the past. This was likely something he was happy to do, and it was probably exciting for Celtics players and a nice mental boost ahead of what will be a very unusual playoff run.

Referee Marc Davis explains controversial backcourt call that cost Celtics

The Boston Celtics were victims of a controversial call down the stretch in Sunday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, with a backcourt violation costing them an important possession late in the game.

Leading by three with about 20 seconds left, the Celtics were called for the violation when Jayson Tatum threw the ball to Gordon Hayward while crossing the timeline. Many felt that Hayward caught the pass in the frontcourt, which should not have been a violation.

Crew chief Marc Davis told ESPN pool reporter Andrew Lopez that the call was correct, as the ball broke the plane of the frontcourt while being passed by Tatum and was caught by Hayward with his back foot in the backcourt.

The major point is that it matters where the ball is when Tatum is passing it, not the player. In this instance, though Tatum began the jump pass in the backcourt, the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line, and Hayward caught the pass with his foot behind it.

In the end, it didn’t impact the final outcome, as the Celtics held on to win 128-124.

Enes Kanter says NBA should be ‘scared’ of healthy Celtics

The Boston Celtics had their share of injury issues before the NBA’s shutdown, but the time off has given them time to get healthy. Enes Kanter thinks that should alarm the rest of the NBA.

Kanter said Sunday that league should be “scared” of the Celtics now that the bulk of their health issues are behind them.

Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and Kemba Walker were among the Celtics coping with injuries back in March. Brown and Hayward are good to go, though there are indications that Walker still isn’t where the Celtics want him to be despite Kanter’s comments.

The Celtics sit third in the Eastern Conference as the NBA prepares to resume play. They had been 6-6 in the last 12 games before the shutdown, so maybe the rest and health will be a huge help.

Biggest questions facing Eastern Conference’s best teams

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The NBA is set to return to action at the end of July, and numerous questions pertaining to the logistics of the league’s plan remain. While we are learning the answers to those questions gradually, NBA teams must now question how they will perform when the season does return.

With playoff basketball on the horizon, here are the most critical questions surrounding the championship contenders in the Eastern Conference.

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Celtics reportedly interested in Christian Wood

Christian Wood

Christian Wood had been elevating his profile with his strong play before the suspension of the NBA season, and now he could be making the jump to a bigger team.

The Athletic’s James L. Edwards III reported this week that the Boston Celtics have interest in the Detroit Pistons big man and inquired about him on more than one occasion at this year’s trade deadline.

The 24-year-old Wood is set to become an unrestricted free agent this coming offseason.

Wood had been having a career year for the Pistons, stepping into a bigger role upon the injury absence of Blake Griffin. He was averaging 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game on the season and scored a career-high 31 points in Detroit’s last game before the shutdown on March 11.

Edwards notes that the Celtics may not have room to sign him outright unless both Enes Kanter and Gordon Hayward decline their player options for next season. But with much uncertainty over the salary cap thanks to the current situation and Boston being somewhat thin in the frontcourt regardless, the team would definitely love to have Wood and his great sense of humor.

Jayson Tatum says he did not want Celtics to draft him

Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum has become one of the best young players in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, but if he’d had his way initially, he wouldn’t even be with the organization.

Tatum was the third overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. At the time, the Celtics were coming off a season that saw them finish first in the Eastern Conference. Tatum said he feared that going to Boston would be bad for his playing time and development given that they already had an established core of good players.

The Celtics were never going to pass on Tatum. They were huge fans of him in the buildup to that draft.

As Tatum noted, the Celtics did right by him. He started 80 games as a rookie and has only gotten better since. This season, the 22-year-old is averaging 23.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, and made his first All-Star appearance. It’s safe to say it all worked out for everyone involved.

Sixers preparing to face Celtics in potential playoff

Brett Brown

Nobody’s quite sure if and when the NBA season will resume, but one team is preparing to go straight to the playoffs exactly as things are.

Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand said the entire organization has prepared as if they will face the Boston Celtics in a playoff series when the NBA resumes.

“We are talking about the Celtics as if that could be an opponent,” Brand said, via Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Brett [Brown] and his staff have also prepared for other teams in case there is a regular season and the [seeds] change. But we’ve done a deep dive.”

The Celtics would face the 76ers if the current playoff seeds held. In other words, the Sixers are preparing as if the season is finished and the playoff matchups have already been decided, even if no one knew it at the time.

This preparation may be in vain, as we’ve heard that the NBA is looking for ways to finish its season. Still, it’s not the worst idea to be ready just in case things skip straight to the playoffs.

Marcus Smart could be suspended after going after referee John Goble

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart picked a bad time to show a lack of restraint.

Smart went after referee John Goble after the Boston Celtics blew a lead and lost 129-120 to the Brooklyn Nets in overtime on Tuesday night.

Smart was upset about a foul call at the end of regulation that not only fouled him out of the game, but also put Caris LeVert at the free throw line to tie the game.

Not only might Smart be suspended for his actions, but the Celtics will be without numerous players for Wednesday’s game in Cleveland. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward all might also miss the game.

Boston has the third spot in the East at 41-19 and is 1.5 games back of Toronto.