The Celtics taking former Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart with the No. 6 overall selection in this past summer’s NBA draft was a good call by general manager Danny Ainge. Smart was arguably the best player available in Boston’s draft position and could end up being a sleeper pick for NBA Rookie of the Year.
With the Celtics already having an All Star point guard in Rajon Rondo, many wondered why Ainge would bring in the competition. Now with Rondo sidelined for a few weeks with a broken hand, Ainge looks like a genius. Smart will get a chance to play major minutes and showcase his abilities. He immediately brings a stronger defensive presence than Rondo and can hold his own offensively. He is capable of averaging 15 points and five assists his rookie season.
Whether Rondo stays a Celtic or not, there is plenty of opportunity for Smart to thrive with the Celtics. The rebuilding process kicks into gear with their new star rookie.
The Boston Celtics have announced the addition of a new alternate logo, extending the team’s family of emblems and further expanding one of the world’s most recognized brands. The new logo, which was created in-house, features a modern take on the classic image of Lucky the leprechaun spinning a basketball refurbished in a clean contemporary style.
Fourth Quarter Comeback: Down 80-70 with 5:33 left, Celtics went on a 14-2 run — capped by a Ray Allen three-pointer with 33 ticks remaining in regulation to go ahead 84-82. It was the Celtics’ first lead in the fourth quarter — since 2:20 in the third quarter. Ray Allen (7) and Paul Pierce (5) combined for 12 of the Celtics’ 21 points in the fourth quarter — where they outscored Houston 21-16.
Overtime Duo: In the extra sessions, Paul Pierce (7) and Ray Allen (4) combined for 11 of the Celtics’ 13 points in the overtime period.
Defense Matters: The Green Team held Houston under 39 percent shooting from the field — and forced 14 misses from beyond the arc out of 19 attempts allowed. The Guys in Green only yielded 28 points in the paint and forced the Rockets into 18 turnovers.
Top Rankings: The Celtics rank 3rd in defense in points allowed per game (89.4) and in assists (22.8), which they had 26 dimes against the Rockets — with Rajon Rondo leading the team with 12 helpers.
Winning Streak: The Celtics (20-17) have won their last five contests and are one game back in the Atlantic Division to the Philadelphia 76ers (22-17), who they play tonight in Philly. Celtics are 7th in the Eastern Conference — and if the Playoffs started today — they would face the Miami Heat.
With the Celtics back on track with their winning ways, they have 29 games left in the regular season, including three against the Sixers (at Philly, March 23 and Easter Sunday April 8 vs. Philly), so confidently declare your allegiance for the Celtics with the State Farm Nation, now live on Facebook to root the Green Team on!
The “State of Fandom” allows you to have customized Facebook cover photos, have friends or foes with fans of the Celtics, or other teams in the NBA that you just love to hate.
You can also generate your NBA fan graph to see where your Facebook friends’ loyalties lie, and hopefully cheer them on as they continue their winning streak and extend it to six games tonight in Philadelphia against the 76ers.
UPDATE: Garnett participated in Celtics’ morning shootaround and his status for Wednesday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons has been upgraded to probable.
Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett is doubtful for Wednesday’s home contest with the Detroit Pistons with a right hip flexor suffered against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday. He sat out practice on Tuesday, but coach Doc Rivers said the injury isn’t serious.
“Kevin has a 50/50 chance (of playing Wednesday),” Rivers said. “We’ll find out (Wednesday). It’s nothing bad with Kevin. But (Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte) really suggested two days off and then he said today, ‘Maybe three days off.’ So we’ll find that out (Wednesday).”
Keep in mind “The Green Team” travels to the Windy City to take on the Bulls on Thursday — so Doc could be saving K.G. for the rematch with Chicago.
In his last five games, Garnett is averaging 17.6 points per game on 53.7% shooting — accompanied by 9.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.2 blocks.
The Celtics are already without a key frontcourt contributor — Brandon Bass — who’s out with a right knee injury for the next two weeks.
Small forward Mickael Pietrus is also doubtful after missing part of Tuesday’s practice to get treatment on the right knee that was operated on this offseason.
Center Jermaine O’Neal could be returning to the lineup. He’s missed the last two games with a left shoulder injury, but he participated in practice Tuesday.
Frontline Replacements: Should Garnett be sidelined, it’s looking like the Celtics will be counting on rookie first-round pick JaJuan Johnson and Chris Wilcox to play significant minutes.
Forward Brandon Bass, the Boston Celtics’ stellar sixth man, will miss 10-to-14 days with inflammation in his right knee, and if you bet on basketball, you can bet it could have been a key setback before Sunday’s 95-91 win against the Chicago Bulls.
Rivers said the news came as a bit of a surprise to him, as he was informed by team trainer Eddie Lacerte on Sunday morning that Bass almost certainly will be out through the All-Star break — which begins February 23rd, a game that sees many do betting online between the East and West in Orlando, the home of the Magic.
The replacement for Bass, rookie JaJuan Johnson, played a season-high 33 minutes and scored 12 points against Chicago. Johnson added four rebounds (three offensive), two steals, one assist and one block.
More injuries: Jermaine O’Neal (shoulder/knee) also missed the win over the Bulls, and Chris Wilcox stepped up in the starting lineup and registered 11 (5-6 FG) and nine rebounds in 26 minutes of action.
Last night was a very special night at the TD Garden, as Captain Paul Pierce passed Celtics Legend Larry Bird on the Boston Celtics all-time scoring list. Heading into the game Pierce was just ten points shy of passing Larry Bird, who held the second place spot on the list with 21,791 total points. Fittingly, Pierce hit a three pointer to beat the record early in the 3rd quarter.
Fans in attendance, including Pierce’s mother and wife, gave The Truth a well-deserved standing ovation. Pierce is now 2nd among the franchise’s all-time leading scorers with 21,797 points, behind Celtics Legend John Havlicek (26,395).
Game Notes: Rajon Rondo collected 14 assists for the second straight contest, Kevin Garnett led the team in scoring with 22 points on 10-15 shooting, and Paul Pierce tallied 15 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists. Ray Allen added 17, while Brandon Bass provided 13 off the bench.
Stat: Celtics are the NBA’s first-ranked defense, allowing 86.5 points per game.
Next: 14-10 Boston Celtics vs. 14-11 Los Angeles Lakers, Thursday in the Garden at 8 ET.