Tag Archives: Boston Celtics

Warriors Handed Worst Loss In Kerr Era By Celtics, 128-95

OAKLAND (CBS SF/AP) — The Golden State Warriors were handily defeated 128-95 at home by the Boston Celtics, marking the team’s worst defeat since Steve Kerr assumed the head coach position in 2014.

DeMarcus Cousins and Terry Rozier received double technicals with 8:44 to play. Cousins was called for his fifth foul on a charge drawn by Aron Baynes, then the fiery Warriors center stood over Baynes in clear frustration. Jayson Tatum bumped Cousins with his right arm and Cousins pushed back with some force, then Rozier entered the fray and he and Cousins traded shoves.

Boogie’s moment summed up an ugly evening of basketball by his team — and fans seeing their final season in the East Bay made a mad dash for the Oracle Arena exits in the closing minutes.

Stephen Curry provided a bright spot with 23 points and four 3-pointers on a night Splash Brother Klay Thompson sat out with soreness in his right knee.

Kevin Durant scored 18 points but committed five turnovers, while Cousins wound up with 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting — missing all five of his 3-point tries — and nine rebounds to go with four turnovers.

The Warriors, who had won the last two meetings with Boston, couldn’t overcome a lackluster first half in which they were outhsustled on both ends and faced a daunting 73-48 halftime deficit.

Tatum scored 17 points for the Celtics, who came in having lost five of six since the All-Star break.

Golden State missed its initial four shots and fell behind 11-0 as Boston started 5 of 7 before Curry’s jumper at 8:26. The Warriors made five straight shots and used a 12-2 burst to get right back in it.

Alfonzo McKinnie started in place of Thompson and contributed seven points in 17 minutes.

Shaun Livingston missed the game with neck spasms. Andre Iguodala, sporting a new look with his head completely shaved, played after dealing with lower back tightness. Kevon Looney missed a second straight game with right pelvic soreness.

McKinnie went through an extensive pregame warmup routine behind the scenes after he left against the 76ers with a bruised left hip. Golden State earned a winning road record for a sixth straight season. The Warriors added depth by recalling G Jacob Evans III from the G League Santa Cruz Warriors.

CHEERING CHIQUITA

Chiquita Evans became the first woman ever drafted into the NBA 2K League when Warriors Gaming selected her in the fourth round Tuesday night. A former college and semipro basketball player, Evans is now the esports league’s first female pro, one of the 126 players who will make between $33,000 to $37,000 per season, plus benefits and team housing.

“I think that’s really cool that she’s passionate and inspired and broke a barrier,” coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s awesome.”

Evans is now Bay Area-bound — and a lifelong fan of Durant.

“Pretty cool,” Golden State general manager Bob Myers said.

Durant, too, was thrilled.

“Esports has become a huge thing now,” he said. “More people who enjoy the game might get an opportunity to be professionals and make some money for themselves and make some money. I think it’s cool.”

LaVine Scores Career-High 42 As Bulls Top Celtics 126-116

CHICAGO (AP) — Zach LaVine scored a career-high 42 points, Lauri Markkanen finished with a personal-best 35 points and 15 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls got some payback for the most lopsided loss in franchise history with a 126-116 victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – FEBRUARY 23: Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls goes up for a dunk over Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics at the United Center on February 23, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

LaVine surpassed his previous high of 41 points at New York on Nov. 5.

Markkanen, whose high coming in was 33 against the Knicks last season, became the fourth Chicago player in 10 years to score 20 or more in eight straight games. And the Bulls returned the favor for a 133-77 beating at the United Center in December that was also the biggest romp in the Celtics’ storied history.

Kyrie Irving led Boston with 37 points and 10 assists. Al Horford scored 19, but the Celtics lost for the fourth time in six games.

The Bulls went on an 18-3 run to start the second quarter, wiping out a five-point deficit, and led by as much as 15 in the first half before taking a 64-51 lead to the locker room.

They scored eight straight early in the third to go up 72-53, Robin Lopez’s hook and floater capping that spurt. Markkanen’s 3 made it 87-62 with 6:25 left in the period, and the Bulls withstood a push down the stretch.

Irving hit a 3 to cut it to 94-86 early in the fourth. But Markkanen answered with one of his own, then drove for a three-point play to make it a 14-point game with 9:28 remaining.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – FEBRUARY 23: Lauri Markkanen #24 of the Chicago Bulls shoots over Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics at the United Center on February 23, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

TIP-INS

Celtics: Coach Brad Stevens had positive reviews for Northwestern’s renovated Welsh-Ryan Arena, after the Celtics practiced there on Friday. “I’ve always thought it’s fun to go to different places and sometimes it’s an opportunity to see something new, be in a new gym. With (Northwestern coach Chris Collins’) connection with our Duke players I knew that would be fun. I know a lot of guys on that staff and have a couple friends on the football staff as well. We had an extra time to come.” Collins played at Duke and was a longtime assistant there before taking the Northwestern job in 2013. He was on Mike Krzyzewski’s staff for Irving’s lone season there in 2010-11. Jayson Tatum — in his second season — also played at Duke. Stevens made two visits to Northwestern when he coached Butler.

Bulls: F Otto Porter Jr. sat out the second half because of a strained lower left leg. … Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy got a standing ovation when he was shown seated along the baseline during a timeout late in the first half.

UP NEXT

Celtics: Visit the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.

Bulls: Host the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.

© 2019 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Celtics Race Past Bulls 133-77

CHICAGO (AP) — Jaylen Brown scored 23 points off the bench, Daniel Theis added a career-high 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and the Boston Celtics routed the Chicago Bulls 133-77 on Saturday night for their fifth straight win.

The 56-point margin of victory was the largest in franchise history, surpassing a 51-point win (153-102) over the Philadelphia Warriors on March 7, 1962.

gettyimages 1079343122 Celtics Race Past Bulls 133 77

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – DECEMBER 08: Chandler Hutchison #15 of the Chicago Bulls shoots over Gordon Hayward #20 of the Boston Celtics at United Center on December 08, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jayson Tatum had 18 points and Terry Rozier added 15 as the Celtics used a 17-0 start and a balanced attack to roll their second straight lopsided win after beating New York 128-100 on Thursday. The Celtics (15-10) have outscored opponents an average of 126.2 to 97.6 during their five-game run.

The 56-point loss was the worst in Bulls’ history, eclipsing a 53-point (127-74) defeat at Minnesota on Nov. 8, 2001.

Shaquille Harrison came off the bench to score a career-high 20 points for the Chicago, which has lost eight of nine. Zach LaVine had 11 for the Bulls (6-21), whose previous worst loss this season was by 39 points (122-83) to Toronto on Nov. 17.

The Celtics took charge early, racing ahead 17-0 as they shot 8 for 11 from the floor at the start. Boston led 35-17 after one quarter as it shot 60.9 percent, and led 64-43 at the half thanks to 52.4-percent shooting.

gettyimages 1079345170 Celtics Race Past Bulls 133 77

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – DECEMBER 08: Lauri Markkanen #24 of the Chicago Bulls tries to get past Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics at United Center on December 08, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

For the game, the Celtics outshot Chicago 53.8 percent to 38.3 percent.

The scoring in Boston’ first-half outburst was evenly distributed. Morris led with 12 points, while Tatum, Theis and Terry Rozier each had 10.

The Celtics’ biggest lead in the first half was 22 points and Chicago never got closer than 13.

Chicago missed its first 12 field goal attempts, prompting coach Jim Boylen to pull all five starters 4:45 in. The Bulls didn’t score until Jabari Parker hit a pair of free throws 6:18 in — raising a derisive cheer from the United Center crowd. Chicago didn’t get its first basket until Robin Lopez sank a turnaround hook 36 seconds later.

The Celtics kept the pressure on, outscoring Chicago 69-34 in the second half.

The Bulls fell flat after beating Oklahoma City 114-112 on Friday night on Lauri Markkanen’s layup in the closing seconds, giving Boylen his first win as an NBA head coach.

A longtime NBA assistant, Boylen took over Monday when Fred Hoiberg was fired following a 5-19 start. The Bulls lost at Indiana the following night in Boylen’s debut.

gettyimages 1079345856 Celtics Race Past Bulls 133 77

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – DECEMBER 08: Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls puts up a shot against the Boston Celtics at United Center on December 08, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

TIP-INS

Celtics: Forward/center Al Horford missed the game with a sore left knee after recording 19 points and 12 rebounds against New York on Thursday. . Forward/center Aron Baynes (sprained left ankle) also sat out. He limped off the court late in the last two minutes of the first quarter on Thursday versus the Knicks. . Forward Guerschon Yabusele had to be helped off the court midway through the fourth quarter after landing awkwardly.

Bulls: Coach Jim Boylen still isn’t sure when guard Kris Dunn (sprained left MCL) and forward Bobby Portis (sprained right MCL) will return. “Long-term health is what we’re about,” Boylen said. “We expect them back soon, any day, but not today. We’ll re-evaluate tomorrow.” . A longtime NBA assistant, Boylen said he’s very close to Hoiberg and said feelings are still “really raw” following the firing of his former boss. Boylen shook off questions about whether Hoiberg “lost the locker room.” ”I approach the locker room different than Fred,” Boylen said. “It doesn’t mean better, worse or whatever. We’re different people.”

GOT MILK?

Boylen said he celebrated his first victory as an NBA head coach on Friday night at home with his family. “We had a bowl of cereal with my kids and watched the ‘Family Feud,’” he said.

UP NEXT

Celtics: Host New Orleans on Monday.

Bulls: Host Sacramento on Monday.

© 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Cavaliers-Celtics: LeBron James, Terry Rozier And The Matchup Game

By James Herbert

Cleveland, OH (CBS Sports) — The Boston Celtics don’t quite look like the Boston Celtics anymore. At their best this season, they were known for not merely their tough defense — they were first in the league in net rating — but for their offensive system, predicated on ball movement, player movement, screening and cutting.

In the playoffs, though, pretty sets tend to get disrupted by defenses that know what’s coming. Passing lanes close when opponents ignore poor shooters and cheat off decent ones who don’t possess a lightning-quick release. Great shooters struggle to get free when defenders are allowed to grab, hold and bump them away from the ball.

Watching the Celtics’ offense against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals has not always been pretty, especially in their two losses at Quicken Loans Arena. In a 111-102 loss Monday, guard Terry Rozier and swingman Jaylen Brown settled for misguided shots early in the shot clock, Marcus Morris got too ambitious in one-on-one situations and Marcus Smart threw the ball away multiple times. Boston was able to cut Cleveland’s 19-point lead down to eight, but never played with enough flow or precision to get closer than that.

This is where it is worth noting the Celtics didn’t exactly play beautiful basketball in their 4-1 series victory against the Philadelphia 76ers, either. The Sixers are an aggressive and intelligent defensive team, but Boston bullied them by relentlessly attacking J.J. Redick and Marco Belinelli. Brown, Jayson Tatum and Smart did great work on the block, and Al Horford made Philadelphia — in particular, Defensive Player of the Year candidate Joel Embiid — uncomfortable by being a threat on the perimeter. Against the Cavs, the Celtics have again found themselves playing the matchup game, but have been less successful. An enormous part of that is that they are facing LeBron James.

“He’s the best in the game at evaluating the court and figuring out what he wants and where he wants it,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said.

James was outrageously good in Game 4, scoring 44 points on 17-of-28 shooting while displaying the same kind of defensive energy that changed the feel of the series two days earlier. In Brown, Morris and Semi Ojeleye, the Celtics have three defenders who can generally stay with James and avoid being embarrassed one-on-one. James has made that seem like this hardly matters by patiently seeking out switches and getting wherever he needs to go. You don’t have to be a coach or a scout to understand that when the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Rozier winds up guarding James one-on-one, it is a problem.

“I think this league is all predicated on trying to find mismatches,” James said. “That’s every team. If you look at the four teams in the postseason now, Houston is trying to find mismatches, Golden State is trying to find mismatches, Boston, and us as well. We’re all trying to find mismatches for us to try to be successful offensively. It’s not much of a secret.”

James knows when the Celtics are trying to target his teammates, and he has been extremely sharp when it comes to help defense. Just like he did after Game 3, he referred to the Cavs “flying around” on that end of the court. When he is doing that with full intensity, getting in passing lanes and rotating to close out on shooters, it can be downright intimidating.

“When he’s coming out, not just offensively firing but defensively taking the challenge and making it tough for Brown, we all feed off his energy,” Cavs big man Tristan Thompson said. “When your captain is doing it on both ends, and on the offensive end he’s doing his thing and defensively he’s taking the challenge and multiple efforts and giving it his all, we’ve got to look at ourselves and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to follow behind.’ There’s no excuse for us.”

I’ll be honest: An offense entirely based on mismatch-hunting is not my favorite thing to watch. If coaches like Stevens, Mike D’Antoni and even Steve Kerr are all doing it, though, that should tell you something: The best teams in the league have gotten so good at switching and are being so physical with cutters that finding a mismatch is often the best way to create an advantage.

In this series, Rozier’s case is fascinating. For a point guard, he is in no way a bad defender. Not only is he long, quick and feisty, he is absolutely fearless. The problem is that he is not equipped to guard powerful front-court players, and the Celtics have asked him to do so on switches.

When Rozier is matched up with a bigger defender, Rozier’s instinct is to get as close as possible without fouling and be a pest. He tries, he really does. But there is only so much he can do against James or Kevin Love.

“Rozier is a tough fighter, tough competitor,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “But if you try to get switches, I guess he’s the one you want to try to go up with Kevin and Bron because the other four guys are the same size. They’re strong. They’re physical. So the way they play, you’ve got to try to take advantage of the mismatch because they don’t have a lot [of small players] on the floor at the same time.”

Have we reached a point in the NBA‘s evolution where everybody has to be able to guard everybody? I would not argue that every player shorter than 6-foot-5 and taller than 6-foot-11 is suddenly unplayable, but as we get deeper into the playoffs, the value of versatility is undeniable.

Stevens, though, insisted that the best big-picture move might be living with some of these mismatches because the alternative is even less appealing. James is a master at understanding where help defense is coming from and creating open shots for Cleveland’s shooters. Boston has not tried to hide the fact that it is trying to stop his supporting cast from going off.

“Well, [James] is going to go after whoever he wants to go after,” Stevens said. “But at the end of the day, we’ve gone through it a lot. I think one of the things that sometimes we all get consumed with is the points he scores on that switch. If it’s eight but it keeps you from rotating and you can still guard the three-point line, then sometimes you just have to pick your poison.”

In this context, Rozier needs to give the Celtics more on the offensive end. In order to justify all the possessions where the Cavs are going after him, he has to be able to get into the paint, put pressure on the defense and create open looks for himself and his teammates. It genuinely looks like Boston misses Kyrie Irving now, and that hasn’t been the case for most of the playoffs. At this level of competition, every team needs players who can score or demand a double team even when going up against elite defense.

Perhaps the biggest compliment Thompson could pay the Celtics was suggesting that Cleveland’s “real test” will come in Game 5 on Wednesday. Thompson said he notices Stevens on the sideline telling his team to push as fast as possible off makes and misses and get the ball hopping around. In the first two games at TD Garden, the Cavs didn’t communicate or, frankly, try hard enough on defense to force Boston into stagnation.

As otherworldly as LeBron was with the ball in his hands and as accurately as Cleveland collectively shot from deep at home, its chances of taking control of this series largely rest on how well it can muck things up, stop the Celtics from running and dictate the terms of engagement. In this respect, the Cavs formula the rest of the way should be simple: if you win the matchup game within the game, you win the game.

The 2017 NBA Offseason And The 2018 Conference Finals

By Matt Citak

The 2017 NBA offseason was one of the craziest in recent memory. We saw one blockbuster trade after another go down, with many superstars exchanging their old jersey for a new one.

Jimmy Butler packed up his things in Chicago and headed west to join Tom Thibodeau and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Paul George was traded from the Indiana Pacers to the Oklahoma City Thunder, where Carmelo Anthony would join him a few months later after being shipped out of New York.

And let’s not forget about the smaller but still significant deals, such as the Brooklyn Nets getting D’Angelo Russell from the Los Angeles Lakers, the Utah Jazz nabbing Ricky Rubio from the Timberwolves, and the Charlotte Hornets picking up Dwight Howard from the Atlanta Hawks.

It was a certainly a hectic offseason, but last summer’s two biggest moves have set the stage for both of this year’s conference finals.

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Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets handles the ball in the first half against the Golden State Warriors in Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 14, 2018 in Houston, Texas.

Chris Paul (Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

First, the Houston Rockets acquired future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers, officially ending the Lob City Era in LA and giving James Harden an extremely talented right-hand man.

When Rockets GM Daryl Morey made the trade to bring Paul to Houston, he did so with one goal in mind — to dethroning the Golden State Warriors and ending their dynasty. Morey has even gone on record stating he’s “obsessed” with taking down the Warriors.

This became even more obvious when the Rockets agreed to deals with veterans PJ Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute later in the summer. While neither of these players is known for their offense, they have both established themselves as smart and versatile defenders in the NBA.

So it should surprise no one that both were brought to Houston for this exact moment — to match up against all of the Warriors’ offensive firepower.

Later in the summer, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics made a trade that completely shocked the sports world. Just a couple of months after Cleveland defeated Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals, the two teams agreed to a deal that would send All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to Boston.

It’s clear that Boston has slowly been improving each year since the 2013-14 season that saw them finish with a mere 25 wins. After winning 53 games last season and earning the Eastern Conference’s top seed in the playoffs, the Celtics were wildly disappointed when they fell to Cleveland in the conference finals, 4-1.

Similar to his counterpart in Houston, Celtics GM Danny Ainge made the trade for Irving in an attempt to get a competitive advantage over the Cavaliers, who had made the NBA Finals in each of the previous three seasons.

While acquiring a franchise point guard is obviously part of Boston’s long-term plan as well, Ainge’s more immediate concern was about finding a way to beat the Cavaliers this season.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s been nearly a year in the making, but after a long and tumultuous season, we are finally here.

The conference finals we’ve all been waiting for.

Houston vs. Golden State. Cleveland vs. Boston.

Golden State took the first game of the Western Conference Finals, 119-106, due in large part to the lack of production from Harden’s supporting cast. If you take the likely league MVP out of the equation, Houston shot just 40.9 percent from the field and a dismal 28.6 percent from the three-point line in the opening game.

That sort of performance won’t beat a team as talented as Golden State.

No one said it was going to be easy, but after cruising to an NBA-best 65-17 record this season, the Rockets are not going to simply roll over. They will have to be nearly perfect in this series to take down the mighty Warriors, but after winning the season series, 2-1, the Rockets have already proven that they can beat the Warriors.

Amazingly, despite playing without Irving and Gordon Hayward, their two best players, the Celtics have jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. After Cleveland steamrolled the Toronto Raptors in the previous round, 4-0, few people gave Boston a fighting chance in this series. Fewer still thought they’d take the first two games.

The Cavaliers entered the series as heavy favorites over the Celtics, so it would be unwise to count LeBron James and Co. out quite yet.

We have all seen what LeBron is capable of when his back is to the wall in the postseason. If he can lead the Cavs back from a 3-1 deficit against the Warriors in the Finals, then he certainly can mount a comeback against the Celtics

With Houston and Cleveland both facing extreme uphill battles in their respective series, the top two MVP candidates (Harden and James) need to step up, even more.

So fasten your seat belts, folks. The drama in these conference finals match-ups, which began almost a year ago with those blockbuster trades, will only build from here. No one’s giving up without a fight.

Matt Citak is a contributor for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter.

Celtics Beat Bulls 111-104

CHICAGO (CBS) — Greg Monroe came off the bench and had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Boston Celtics defeated the Chicago Bulls 111-104 on Friday night.

It is Monroe’s second career triple-double. Jaylen Brown finished with a career-high 32 points and four rebounds.

With Al Horford and Jayson Tatum given the night off to rest, Boston went deep into its bench against a Chicago team that’s one of the worst in the NBA.

Chicago led by as many as 11 in the first half before Boston trimmed it to 58-55 at the half. But the Celtics outscored the Bulls 56-46 over the final two quarters.

Sean Kilpatrick led the Bulls with 24 points. Lauri Markkanen added 20 points and five rebounds.

Marcus Morris and Bobby Portis were both ejected late in the third quarter after receiving back-to-back double-technical fouls.

It was Boston’s first game since Kyrie Irving was ruled out for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs because of an upcoming surgery on his left knee.

gettyimages 942797956 Celtics Beat Bulls 111 104

BOSTON, MA – APRIL 6: Ryan Arcidiacono #15 of the Chicago Bulls drives to the basket past Greg Monroe #55 of the Boston Celtics during a game at TD Garden on April 6, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

TIP-INS

Bulls: Had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Went 14 of 30 from the 3-point line.

Celtics: Monroe is the first Celtics center to record a triple-double since Robert Parish did it on March 29, 1987.

Jabari Bird made his first career 3-pointer in the first quarter.

In his first nine career NBA games he had just five points on 1-of-4 shooting.

In the first 8 minutes on Friday he scored 11 points, connecting on 5 of his first 8 field goals.

Jonathan Gibson, who the Celtics signed via an injury hardship waiver earlier in the day, had nine points.

GETTING REST

Coach Brad Stevens said the plan over Boston’s final three regular-season games is give other players rest as well before the start of the playoffs.

“I’d like to get one, possibly two games with our group as is to play before we head in,” Stevens said. “We’ll manage that as we move forward. Knock on wood.”

STAYING UPBEAT

Stevens said Irving was obviously “bummed” after his decision to have his latest procedure, which is scheduled for Saturday.

It will be his second surgery on the knee in a month, and will remove screws at the site of an infection.

Terry Rozier said Irving was in good spirits when he spoke with teammates.

“It wasn’t affecting him at all. And if it was we wouldn’t know because he’s that type of type of guy he is,” Rozier said. “He’s still joking. He’s still making everybody laugh when you come in the room. So you can’t really tell.”

The additional surgery isn’t expected to have an effect on Irving’s long-term prognosis, Stevens said.

“It’s good, even initially (after first procedure). The structure of the knee is good. Everything around the knee is good,” Stevens said. “Everybody’s told us from the get-go that it was going to be a full recovery. We just didn’t anticipate having to take the screws out. But that shouldn’t affect him at all as far as a full recovery goes.”

gettyimages 942798606 Celtics Beat Bulls 111 104

BOSTON, MA – APRIL 6: Cameron Payne #22 of the Chicago Bulls shoots the ball over Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics during a game at TD Garden on April 6, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

UP NEXT

Bulls: Host Nets on Saturday.

Celtics: Host Hawks on Sunday.

© 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Rozier Scores 33 As Celtics Roll Past Kings, 104-93

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Terry Rozier had no idea he was so close to claiming a spot in the Boston Celtics’ record books for 3-pointers when he tossed up a hurried shot beyond the arc with the shot clock winding down in the fourth quarter and watched it bounce off the rim.

“If I knew that I would have shot five more for sure,” Rozier said.

Rozier didn’t attempt another 3 after his miss but it hardly mattered on a day when Boston moved one step closer to Toronto in the race for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Rozier scored a career-high 33 points in his sixth start in place of injured All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown made consecutive buckets to break open a close game in the fourth quarter, and the Celtics held on to beat the Sacramento Kings 104-93 on Sunday.

Rozier shot 12 of 16, including 8 of 12 on 3s, in his most impressive game of the season. Rozier, who had been averaging 16.2 points in Irving’s absence, also had five rebounds and three assists.

“A lot of credit goes to my teammates and my coaches because they steady believe in me every game and the make it happen for me,” said Rozier, whose previous career-best was 31 points against Atlanta on Feb. 2. “My job is easy. All I have to do is try to make the shot.”

The eight 3s were one shy of the Celtics’ single-game record of nine shared by Isaiah Thomas and Antoine Walker. Three of Rozier’s 3s came in the third quarter as part of an 18-2 run, including a wide-open shot after Rozier did a 360-degree spin to get away from a defender.

“The two 3s Terry made in the corners were ridiculous,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said. “Those are big-time shots. It sort of helped us separate a little.”

Brown had 19 points in his return after missing two weeks with a concussion. Al Horford scored 14 points while Jayson Tatum added 12 points and seven rebounds to help Boston win in Sacramento for the first time since Feb. 1, 2011.

Rozier’s big game came 24 hours after Irving underwent surgery to remove a tension wire in his left knee. Irving is expected to miss three to six weeks.

Boston won for the fourth time in five games. Toronto, which began the day with a 4 1/2-game lead over the Celtics, lost to the Clippers 117-106 on Sunday.

“We got pretty good looks all night,” Stevens said. “Everyone played well but we were really playing with purpose.”

Buddy Hield scored 24 points for Sacramento, and Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere had 14 points apiece. The Kings had won five straight home games against the Celtics and entered the fourth quarter down 80-78 before being held to 13 points in the final frame.

“Point guards have been hurting us lately,” Sacramento coach Dave Joerger said. “They kind of got where the want to go, they got loose balls, they got the 50-50 balls. Very physical and long to guard and it cost us.”

Three days after protesters formed a human chain blocking entrances to Golden1 Center and prevented all but about 1,500 fans from entering, things were back to normal in and outside the arena. Metal barricades were extended further out than usual to form a bigger perimeter but that was the only indication that anything had happened.

Players from both teams wore black T-shirts during warm-ups and throughout the game. “Accountability. We are one,” was printed in white letters on the front, with #StephonClark printed on the back.

Clark was the 22-year-old unarmed African-American man who was fatally shot by police in Sacramento on March 18, setting off a series of protests around the state capital.

“All we can do is try to make a voice,” Rozier said. “It just shows how much power we have and how much we care. That’s part of the NBA. That’s good for everybody else to see that’s outside of the NBA.”

STARTING OFF WELL

Boston’s starters shot a combined 66 percent from the floor (33 of 50) while Irving and Marcus Morris sat out. Morris is nursing a sprained right ankle he suffered Friday in Portland.

TIP-INS

Celtics: Brown went to the bench with three fouls in the opening seven minutes of the first quarter.

Kings: Zach Randolph did not play for the second consecutive game. Garrett Temple was also held out and missed his second straight since spraining his left ankle in practice Thursday.

UP NEXT

Celtics: At Phoenix on Monday night.

Kings: Host Dallas on Tuesday night.

Marcus Smart’s Thumb Injury May Hinder Celtics’ Playoff Hopes

By Matt Citak

The Celtics’ season could not have gotten off on a worse note. Before the first quarter of the first game was complete, Boston had lost their big free-agent acquisition, Gordon Hayward, to a gruesome ankle injury. All seemed lost in Bean Town, as Hayward was supposed to help the Celtics finally take down LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Boston would go on to lose the season opener to the Cavs, along with their second game of the season. But then, led by Kyrie Irving, the Celtics showed the rest of the league their resilience, ripping off 16 consecutive victories and catapulting themselves to the top of the Eastern Conference. They stayed there for a large portion of the season.

Now, with a month until the playoffs, the injury bug has returned to Boston.

Irving, Boston’s top scorer and passer, is currently out with soreness in his left knee due to lingering tendinitis. The injury is not thought to be serious, though the Celtics can’t be thrilled with their best player’s extended absence this late in the season.

Irving is far from the only Celtic relegated to the bench because of injury. Joining the star point guard on the sidelines right now are Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Daniel Theis, with Al Horford also missing a few games due to illness.

Horford should be back any day, and Irving should also be ready to go far before the playoffs start. Brown is expected to miss some time after suffering a concussion from a nasty fall on his head and upper back against the Timberwolves last week. However the young forward should return to the lineup within the next few weeks. Theis is reportedly done for the season with a torn meniscus, but Greg Monroe should be able to adequately replace the backup big man.

Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics calls for the ball during the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

Marcus Smart (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

That leaves Marcus Smart, and, unfortunately for the Celtics, his absence may be too difficult to overcome.

Smart tore a tendon in his right thumb, and the most recent reports make it seem unlikely that the guard can return this season. If that’s the case, it would be a significant blow to Boston’s chances at making a championship run.

The 6-foot-4 point guard is far from an amazing shooter. Smart is shooting just 36.7 percent from the field this season, and 30.1 percent from the three-point line. But on a team filled with talented scorers, the 24-year-old point guard wasn’t relied upon for his offense.

The value Smart brings to the Celtics is immeasurable. He provides the grit and determination that could end up being the difference between a win and a loss. Smart is the type of player who gives 100 percent effort from tip-off until the final buzzer, no matter the score. He’s fights for every loose ball, and usually wins those fights.

And while he isn’t known for his offensive abilities, Smart has a knack of keeping defensives honest with the occasional strong shooting performance. The perfect example of this occurred during Boston’s loss to the Pacers on Sunday. Smart scored 20 points, shooting 6-for-12 from long range, while racking up eight assists, seven rebounds, and four steals.

There’s no denying the talent Boston has on its roster. Even without Smart, the Celtics still have a solid chance of making the Eastern Conference Finals. But what seemed like a realistic feat just a week ago became a whole lot harder with the loss of the third-year point guard. The team will really have to battle to make a deep playoff run now, and will need some of their other young players to step up.

Boston’s road to the NBA Finals certainly got a lot tougher with the injury to Smart. But as we’ve witnessed this season, no matter who’s out there on the court, the Celtics will not go down without a fight. You can count on that.

Matt Citak is a contributor for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter.

Marcus Smart’s Thumb Injury May Hinder Celtics’ Playoff Hopes

By Matt Citak

The Celtics’ season could not have gotten off on a worse note. Before the first quarter of the first game was complete, Boston had lost their big free-agent acquisition, Gordon Hayward, to a gruesome ankle injury. All seemed lost in Bean Town, as Hayward was supposed to help the Celtics finally take down LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Boston would go on to lose the season opener to the Cavs, along with their second game of the season. But then, led by Kyrie Irving, the Celtics showed the rest of the league their resilience, ripping off 16 consecutive victories and catapulting themselves to the top of the Eastern Conference. They stayed there for a large portion of the season.

Now, with a month until the playoffs, the injury bug has returned to Boston.

Irving, Boston’s top scorer and passer, is currently out with soreness in his left knee due to lingering tendinitis. The injury is not thought to be serious, though the Celtics can’t be thrilled with their best player’s extended absence this late in the season.

Irving is far from the only Celtic relegated to the bench because of injury. Joining the star point guard on the sidelines right now are Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Daniel Theis, with Al Horford also missing a few games due to illness.

Horford should be back any day, and Irving should also be ready to go far before the playoffs start. Brown is expected to miss some time after suffering a concussion from a nasty fall on his head and upper back against the Timberwolves last week. However the young forward should return to the lineup within the next few weeks. Theis is reportedly done for the season with a torn meniscus, but Greg Monroe should be able to adequately replace the backup big man.

Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics calls for the ball during the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

Marcus Smart (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

That leaves Marcus Smart, and, unfortunately for the Celtics, his absence may be too difficult to overcome.

Smart tore a tendon in his right thumb, and the most recent reports make it seem unlikely that the guard can return this season. If that’s the case, it would be a significant blow to Boston’s chances at making a championship run.

The 6-foot-4 point guard is far from an amazing shooter. Smart is shooting just 36.7 percent from the field this season, and 30.1 percent from the three-point line. But on a team filled with talented scorers, the 24-year-old point guard wasn’t relied upon for his offense.

The value Smart brings to the Celtics is immeasurable. He provides the grit and determination that could end up being the difference between a win and a loss. Smart is the type of player who gives 100 percent effort from tip-off until the final buzzer, no matter the score. He’s fights for every loose ball, and usually wins those fights.

And while he isn’t known for his offensive abilities, Smart has a knack of keeping defensives honest with the occasional strong shooting performance. The perfect example of this occurred during Boston’s loss to the Pacers on Sunday. Smart scored 20 points, shooting 6-for-12 from long range, while racking up eight assists, seven rebounds, and four steals.

There’s no denying the talent Boston has on its roster. Even without Smart, the Celtics still have a solid chance of making the Eastern Conference Finals. But what seemed like a realistic feat just a week ago became a whole lot harder with the loss of the third-year point guard. The team will really have to battle to make a deep playoff run now, and will need some of their other young players to step up.

Boston’s road to the NBA Finals certainly got a lot tougher with the injury to Smart. But as we’ve witnessed this season, no matter who’s out there on the court, the Celtics will not go down without a fight. You can count on that.

Matt Citak is a contributor for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter.

Marcus Smart’s Thumb Injury May Hinder Celtics’ Playoff Hopes

By Matt Citak

The Celtics’ season could not have gotten off on a worse note. Before the first quarter of the first game was complete, Boston had lost their big free-agent acquisition, Gordon Hayward, to a gruesome ankle injury. All seemed lost in Bean Town, as Hayward was supposed to help the Celtics finally take down LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Boston would go on to lose the season opener to the Cavs, along with their second game of the season. But then, led by Kyrie Irving, the Celtics showed the rest of the league their resilience, ripping off 16 consecutive victories and catapulting themselves to the top of the Eastern Conference. They stayed there for a large portion of the season.

Now, with a month until the playoffs, the injury bug has returned to Boston.

Irving, Boston’s top scorer and passer, is currently out with soreness in his left knee due to lingering tendinitis. The injury is not thought to be serious, though the Celtics can’t be thrilled with their best player’s extended absence this late in the season.

Irving is far from the only Celtic relegated to the bench because of injury. Joining the star point guard on the sidelines right now are Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Daniel Theis, with Al Horford also missing a few games due to illness.

Horford should be back any day, and Irving should also be ready to go far before the playoffs start. Brown is expected to miss some time after suffering a concussion from a nasty fall on his head and upper back against the Timberwolves last week. However the young forward should return to the lineup within the next few weeks. Theis is reportedly done for the season with a torn meniscus, but Greg Monroe should be able to adequately replace the backup big man.

Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics calls for the ball during the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

Marcus Smart (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

That leaves Marcus Smart, and, unfortunately for the Celtics, his absence may be too difficult to overcome.

Smart tore a tendon in his right thumb, and the most recent reports make it seem unlikely that the guard can return this season. If that’s the case, it would be a significant blow to Boston’s chances at making a championship run.

The 6-foot-4 point guard is far from an amazing shooter. Smart is shooting just 36.7 percent from the field this season, and 30.1 percent from the three-point line. But on a team filled with talented scorers, the 24-year-old point guard wasn’t relied upon for his offense.

The value Smart brings to the Celtics is immeasurable. He provides the grit and determination that could end up being the difference between a win and a loss. Smart is the type of player who gives 100 percent effort from tip-off until the final buzzer, no matter the score. He’s fights for every loose ball, and usually wins those fights.

And while he isn’t known for his offensive abilities, Smart has a knack of keeping defensives honest with the occasional strong shooting performance. The perfect example of this occurred during Boston’s loss to the Pacers on Sunday. Smart scored 20 points, shooting 6-for-12 from long range, while racking up eight assists, seven rebounds, and four steals.

There’s no denying the talent Boston has on its roster. Even without Smart, the Celtics still have a solid chance of making the Eastern Conference Finals. But what seemed like a realistic feat just a week ago became a whole lot harder with the loss of the third-year point guard. The team will really have to battle to make a deep playoff run now, and will need some of their other young players to step up.

Boston’s road to the NBA Finals certainly got a lot tougher with the injury to Smart. But as we’ve witnessed this season, no matter who’s out there on the court, the Celtics will not go down without a fight. You can count on that.

Matt Citak is a contributor for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter.