Single-game tixs on sale Wednesday

August, 27, 2014
Aug 27
8:00
AM ET
Individual tickets for the Boston Celtics' 2014-15 home games go on sale on Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. Here's the press release from the team with info for those seeking tickets for the upcoming season:
To secure seats for the most anticipated matchups of the season, including opening night against Kevin Garnett and the Brooklyn Nets, the return of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and a visit from the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, fans can go to Celtics.com, call 800-4NBA-TIX, or visit the TD Garden box office. To purchase accessible seating, fans may call 617-624-1754.

In addition to individual game tickets, fans can now book single-game suite rentals for groups of 12-60 people on the TD Garden’s Premium Level. Each suite features a private restroom and early entry to the TD Garden on game day as well as exclusive amenities not available anywhere else in the arena. For more information, or to book a suite rental, email premiumsales@celtics.com or call 866-4CELTIX.

For information on additional ticket options, including group tickets, family ticket packs, 10-game mini plans, and season ticket memberships visit Celtics.com, email clubgreen@celtics.com, “like” the Celtics on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @celtics.

Summer Forecast: Biggest weakness

August, 27, 2014
Aug 27
1:01
AM ET
AP Photo/LM OteroCan the Celtics and Jeff Green turn any 2013-14 frowns upside down?
Each weekday for a three-week span, our summer panel of prognosticators -- a motley crew featuring our friends in the Celtics blogging community -- will join forces to tell you how the 2014-15 season will play out for Boston. We'll gaze into our crystal balls and attempt to answer all your questions before this season's team even hits the floor together for the first time.

Today's Celtics Summer Forecast topic: In what area will the Celtics struggle the most during the 2014-15 season?

On Tuesday, we examined the potential areas of growth for Boston. But with the upcoming season expected to be another rebuilding campaign, the Celtics are likely to struggle in many of the same areas that held them back last season.

Our panel, without being given specific options for this question, returned multiple votes in three areas: 3-point shooting, interior defense, and winning. No surprises there, the Celtics struggled beyond the arc (28th in 3-point percentage) and the lack of a true rim protector was often cited as a reason for Boston's defensive woes late in the season. That contributed to the team's meager 25-57 record, with the Celtics often letting games slip away late.

It's fair to wonder if Boston will improve in any of those areas this season. The team didn't add a lot of shooting, though Marcus Thornton will likely have a green light from the perimeter. The Celtics acquired Tyler Zeller, who will have to lean on his athleticism to help protect the back line. Considering the sheer number of games that Boston let slip away last season -- Boston was 15-34 last season in games that were within five points in the final five minutes -- it would seem the team would have to improve there, even without adding a surefire "closer" to the roster.

This writer's vote? Offensive efficiency remains a concern. The Celtics ranked 27th last season while averaging a mere 99.7 points per 100 possessions. A healthy Rajon Rondo is likely to bring some additional consistency to the offense, but the team's lack of shooting could force it to generate points in other ways (an up-tempo style could help, but this team still needs to do a better job of getting to the free-throw line after ranking 25th in free-throw attempt rate last season).

Boston needs Avery Bradley to continue to blossom offensively, while hoping more time for the likes of Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger could add a scoring burst at the power forward spot. As usual, Jeff Green is a wildcard who could help Boston's offensive output with more consistency.

On Tuesday, we predicted Boston will improve defensively and that could help it win a few more games next season. Alas, the concern is the offense will continue to hold this team back.

Read on as our panelists explain their picks:

(Read full post)

Summer Forecast: Biggest improvement

August, 26, 2014
Aug 26
12:01
AM ET
Stan Honda/AFP/Getty ImagesThe Celtics have plenty areas for potential improvement during the 2014-15 season.
Each weekday for a three-week span, our summer panel of prognosticators -- a motley crew featuring our friends in the Celtics blogging community -- will join forces to tell you how the 2014-15 season will play out for Boston. We'll gaze into our crystal balls and attempt to answer all your questions before this season's team even hits the floor together for the first time.

Today's Celtics Summer Forecast topic: In what area will the Celtics most improve during the 2014-15 season?

Let's face it, there's no shortage of potential areas this team can take a step forward in while coming off a 25-57 season. One look at Boston's advanced numbers from the 2013-14 campaign produces plenty of eyesores. The most egregious?

• The Celtics ranked 27th in offensive rating and 20th in defensive rating.

• Boston finished 28th in turnover percentage.

• The Celtics ranked 28th in effective field goal percentage and 28th in true shooting percentage.

• Boston finished 25th in free-throw attempt rate.

That's really just the tip of the iceberg, particularly when you hone in on more specific areas. And while it would seem the Celtics should improve on the offensive side of the ball -- with lots of room for potential growth -- this writer's vote falls on the opposite side.

Celtics guard Avery Bradley boldly declared last week that he believes Boston can be a top-10 defense next season. That might be a tad ambitious, but you can understand Bradley's enthusiasm. The Celtics will potentially have their desired backcourt of him and Rajon Rondo healthy for the start of the season and plan to infuse 2014 draft pick Marcus Smart to that backcourt, giving the team a potentially tenacious three-guard rotation.

Boston still doesn't have the rim protector that was such a glaring need last season. Yes, Tyler Zeller could help, but that back line could still be a trouble area. That said, Boston flirted with being a top-10 defense in the first half of last season and, given coach Brad Stevens' desire to establish a defense-first DNA in his team, we suspect the Celtics will trend towards the top half of the league in defensive efficiency (that being the key to any success the team enjoys).

Before the All-Star break last season, the Celtics ranked 14th in defensive rating, allowing 103.2 points per 100 possessions through the first 54 games. Stevens challenged his team coming out of the break to nudge closer to the top 10 over the final 28 games, only to watch Boston rank 24th in that span by allowing a staggering 109 points per 100 possessions.

With a summer to further implore his team to make defense their top priority, Stevens is likely to again challenge his team to be a top-10 defensive squad and the guess here is they make a more sustained run at accomplishing that feat.

Read on as our panelists explain their picks:

(Read full post)

Summer Forecast: Dates to circle

August, 25, 2014
Aug 25
12:01
AM ET
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesLeBron James' return to Boston with the Cavaliers is a top date to circle this season.
Each weekday for a three-week span, our summer panel of prognosticators -- a motley crew featuring our friends in the Celtics blogging community -- will join forces to tell you how the 2014-15 season will play out for Boston. We'll gaze into our crystal balls and attempt to answer all your questions before this season's team even hits the floor together for the first time.

Today's Celtics Summer Forecast topic: What's the most intriguing game on the schedule?

We didn't give our panel a list of options, keeping it open-ended instead and it brought back a diverse group of responses. One picked opening night, intrigued by what this team will look like at the start of what's expected to be a rebuilding season; others picked the season finale while noting it could be crucial to the lottery standings (while also ushering in a very important offseason for the team).

The one that jumped out most to this writer when the schedule was released? The visit from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 14 is hard to get past. Not only are the Cavaliers the early favorites in the Eastern Conference after welcoming back LeBron James, but it's Kevin Love's first trip to Boston after his early summer flirtation.

Love will likely hear it a bit from Boston fans because his mere presence in town offered hope for a rebuilding acceleration (even if it's not his fault that Cleveland had a better rebuilding package to offer the Timberwolves). Fair or not, Love will be viewed as a bit of a villain after joining forces with James in Cleveland.

Opening night hosting old friend Kevin Garnett, an early December visit from the rival Lakers, and the games right before and after the trade deadline are among the others many will have circled. But the Garden should have a little extra juice when the Cavaliers visit in mid-November.

Read on as our panelists explain their picks:

(Read full post)

Video: Pags takes Ice Bucket Challenge

August, 23, 2014
Aug 23
11:24
AM ET
Steve Pagliuca completed his Ice Bucket Challenge and -- like co-owner Wyc Grousbeck before him -- enlisted the help of Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and team captain Rajon Rondo (video courtesy of the Celtics):


Summer Forecast: M-V-P! M-V-P!

August, 22, 2014
Aug 22
10:00
AM ET
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesRajon Rondo and Avery Bradley helm our panel's MVP list.
Each weekday for a three-week span, our summer panel of prognosticators -- a motley crew featuring our friends in the Celtics blogging community -- will join forces to tell you how the 2014-15 season will play out for Boston. We'll gaze into our crystal balls and attempt to answer all your questions before this season's team even hits the floor together for the first time.

Today's Celtics Summer Forecast topic: Who emerges as the Celtics' team MVP during the 2014-15 season?

Some will argue that this is a slam dunk; that Rajon Rondo is the obvious answer. Our panel didn't exactly disagree with nearly 72 percent of voters picking Boston's point guard. Backcourt mate Avery Bradley landed on multiple ballots and one voter made the case for Jared Sullinger, but most of our experts agree that, if Rondo is healthy and remains in Boston for the full season, it's hard to envision another player challenging his status as the team's most valuable player.

Even while easing himself back in from ACL surgery last season, Rondo averaged 11.7 points, 9.8 assists, and 5.5 rebounds -- all marks above his career averages -- in 30 appearances. Further removed from the injury that limited him to 68 total games over the past two seasons, most expect Rondo to return to All-Star-caliber form.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has gone so far as to suggest that Rondo will have the best year of his career this season and -- though our panel was split on that notion -- it's clear that Rondo will have motivation as he preps for unrestricted free agency next summer. Rondo is set to command a hefty payday on the open market, but can only firm up that big-ticket price tag by reestablishing his talent this season.

This writer's vote? Rondo was the pick here as well. It'd be interesting to see if anyone on the team can push him, whether it's Bradley flourishing at both ends of the court, or Sullinger making a jump in his third season in the league. Alas, everything starts with Rondo and much of the success of his teammates will depend on how much better he can make them.

A look at how our forecasters voted:

Summer Forecast: Who emerges as team MVP?


Read on as our panelists explain their ballots:

(Read full post)

Rondo, Ainge help Wyc with Ice Bucket

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
3:15
PM ET
Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck didn't just accept Danny Ainge's Ice Bucket Challenge, he enlisted his help -- and that of captain Rajon Rondo -- while completing the task on Thursday at the team's training facility:


Bradley: Boston return was no-brainer

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
2:00
PM ET
DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- Meeting with reporters on the eve of free agency in late June, Avery Bradley expressed some anxiousness about hitting the open market, but stressed a desire to be back in Boston.

It took little more than 24 hours for the two sides to hammer out a four-year, $32 million agreement to keep Bradley in green. Reflecting on how quickly the deal came together on Thursday at his latest area youth basketball clinic, Bradley stressed again this is where he wanted to be.

"I had [an opportunity] to stay near my second home -- I’ve been living here for four years," said Bradley. "I love playing under Danny Ainge and [coach] Brad [Stevens], they are amazing guys. It was a no-brainer for me. They were the first team that called and -- we had other calls -- but, Boston, I knew I was coming back here."

A new contract ought to increase outside expectations on the 23-year-old shooting guard, but he seems unfazed by it all.

"I try not to think about it at all," he said. "Just like when people say, any time you play an NBA game, whenever you think, that’s when you make mistakes. So I just try not to think about it at all. Just go out there and play my game. Honestly, that’s what I’m looking to do. In order for us to win, if I have to go out there and hold somebody to 10 points on the other team, that’s what I’ll look to do. Whatever it takes."

Bradley: Celts could 'make a lot of noise'

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
12:05
PM ET
DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- A smile creeps across the face of Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley when asked about the potential for both him and Rajon Rondo to be healthy for the start of the 2014-15 season.

Chris Forsberg/ESPN BostonCeltics guard Avery Bradley at his youth basketball camp in Dartmouth on Thursday.
"I can’t even [put it into words], you guys just have to see," said Bradley. "A lot of people might say that, 'We can’t be this, we can’t be that.' I feel like with the coach that we have, we can be anything that we want to be. We just have to listen to [Brad Stevens] and buy into what he’s trying to do, his plan for us. I feel like we have a chance to make the playoffs and make a lot of noise this year if we listen to Brad."

Bradley, back in the area to run his latest youth basketball clinic, gushed about the potential for the upcoming season, even as pundits predict another rebuilding season for the Celtics. While this is the time of year that every player dreams big, Bradley was emphatic that returning Celtics players believe they are capable of advancements.

Bradley said he crossed paths with Rondo in Vegas recently and said the Celtics' captain is "fired up" about the season. "Jeff Green as well," added Bradley. "We're all excited about this season." Bradley also offered high praise after working out in Vegas with Evan Turner, who will eventually be added to Boston's roster for next season.

And while he hasn't yet met rookie guard Marcus Smart, he's heard the buzz about his potential -- particularly on the defensive side of the ball -- and is eager to get on the court with him.

"Everyone keeps telling me that Marcus is a great defender and ... I’m excited about that," said Bradley. "Because Rondo is a great defender as well. Last year, he still played great defense, but this year I feel like he’s going to take it to an even different level. I feel like we have a chance to be a top-10 defensive team in the NBA this year."

That will be music to the ears of Stevens, who challenged his team to be a top-10 defense last season (and the Celtics flirted with that for much of the first half before eroding late and trudging to a 25-57 record).

Bradley said he'll likely return to Boston in another week to ramp up for training camp and often reiterated that, "It's time to get started."

For his part, it never really ended. Bradley said he took a week off after the season, but was right back in the gym. He left the country for a vacation last week, but worked out each day. Bradley joked with team trainers that he's in the best shape of any player on the Celtics and is 100 percent healthy despite injuries that have nagged him during his career.

"I still work out three times per day. I’m in amazing shape right now," said Bradley. "I joke around with the trainers -- me and the trainers, we worked out in Vegas together at the player meeting to pick our new leader -- I told them I’m in the greatest shape on the team right now. So we were joking about that. I feel good right now, my body feels good and I feel stronger."

(Read full post)

Summer Forecast: Too Young?

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
10:00
AM ET
James YoungNathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images
Each weekday for a three-week span, our summer panel of prognosticators -- a motley crew featuring our friends in the Celtics blogging community -- will join forces to tell you how the 2014-15 season will play out for Boston. We'll gaze into our crystal balls and attempt to answer all your questions before this season's team even hits the floor together for the first time.

Today's Celtics Summer Forecast topic: What are your expectations for Celtics rookie James Young?

Our panel was given four potential options for Young: (1) All-Rookie team; (2) Rotation player with immediate impact; (3) Role player with limited impact; and (4) D-League.

Unlike No. 6 pick Marcus Smart, Young, the 17th pick in June's draft, faces low expectations for his rookie campaign. The just-turned 19-year-old earned nearly 65 percent of his votes in the "limited impact" category, while the remaining ballots pegged him as bound for the D-League for game reps.

It's hard not to compare Young's potential career path to that of Avery Bradley. Back in 2010, a chipped bone in his ankle contributed to then-19-year-old Bradley's slide to Boston at No. 19. The injury kept Bradley out of summer league (and some of the preseason, too) and that stunted start to his pro career contributed to Bradley playing only 162 minutes for the Celtics his first season.

Bradley spent nine games in the D-League that season before being recalled for emergency depth. Now, the Celtics were coming off a Finals appearance the year before and were still pegged as a potential contender in the Big Three era, so minutes were tougher to come by for a rookie. But even on a rebuilding team, Young is going to struggle to find playing time.

Young finds himself deep on a swingman depth chart that already features Jeff Green, Gerald Wallace, and fellow summer addition Evan Turner. It seems fair to wonder if Young will need some trips to Maine early in the season to get some game reps early, though trades and his own development could help open doors later in the year.

Even with the potential for D-League visits, this writer voted for the "role player with limited impact" because the rebuilding nature of Boston's roster ought to give Young some opportunities to earn playing time late in the 2014-15 season. If Boston fades from playoff contention, particularly after the trade deadline, it might be in the team's best interest to get Young some NBA game action and hope that accelerates his development.

Just keep in mind how things worked out for Bradley. That first year wasn't much to rave about, but by the end of the 2011-12 season, his second pro season, Bradley supplanted Ray Allen as the team's starting shooting guard late in the season. Even a limited late-season role could help Young build towards a brighter future.

A look at our forecasters voting:

Summer Forecast: Expectations for Young?


Read on as our panelists explain their ballots:

(Read full post)

Report: C's add McGruder, Watford for camp

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
7:45
AM ET
The Boston Celtics have signed Rodney McGruder and Christian Watford, according to a report by Hoop365.

Like the recent addition of Tim Frazier, it appears that McGruder and Watford are training camp bodies that could be bound for the Maine Red Claws of the D-League.

The Hoop365 report notes that "Watford [is] a jumpshooting combo forward [who] attended summer league this year with both the Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors" while McGruder is a "6-4 off-guard [and] is also only one year into a professional career, spending the bulk of his first campaign in Hungary with Atomeromu."

The Celtics are now at the league maximum of 20 signed players for camp and the team has not formally finalized the signing of free-agent swingman Evan Turner. The team must trim to a maximum of 15 bodies before the start of the regular season.
Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made the most of his first official Tweet, posting video of a grandchildren-assisted Ice Bucket Challenge to his account @DanielRAinge:



As part of his challenges, Ainge called out Celtics owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca, while also challenging former teammate Kevin McHale.

It's been a busy couple days for Celtics-related Ice Bucket Challenges. Jeff Green also posted his Ice Bucket Challenge on Wednesday.

Video: Smart's first pitch at Fenway

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
9:00
PM ET
The Boston Celtics provided a behind-the-scenes look as Marcus Smart threw out a first pitch during a Red Sox game at Fenway Park last week:


Video: Larry Legend's Ice Bucket Challenge

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
12:45
PM ET
Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird has gotten in on the Ice Bucket Challenge:



On the same day that Michael Jordan joined the fun, too.
Tags:

Larry Bird

Summer Forecast: Smart's start

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
10:00
AM ET
Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images How will Marcus Smart fare in his first NBA season? Expectations appear high.
Each weekday for a three-week span, our summer panel of prognosticators -- a motley crew featuring our friends in the Celtics blogging community -- will join forces to tell you how the 2014-15 season will play out for Boston. We'll gaze into our crystal balls and attempt to answer all your questions before this season's team even hits the floor together for the first time.

Today's Celtics Summer Forecast topic: What are your expectations for Celtics rookie Marcus Smart?

Our panel was given four potential options for Smart: (1) All-Rookie team; (2) Rotation player with immediate impact; (3) Role player with limited impact; and (4) D-League.

The No. 6 pick will shoulder plenty of first-year expectations as nearly 65 percent of our panel pegged him for the All-Rookie team. Now, let's keep in mind that 10 players make the two All-Rookie squads and it's not that daunting of a task some years. Last season, despite playing only 20 minutes per game, Kelly Olynyk topped the NBA's All-Rookie second team in voting.

This year's rookie class appears deeper and more talented, and it'll include the likes of Philadelphia's Nerlens Noel, who sat out last season while rehabbing from ACL surgery. Regardless, this writer agrees that Smart has All-Rookie potential. His NBA-ready defense should help separate him from some of his rookie peers and aid his case to earn a spot by season's end.

What's working against Smart, at least initially, is Boston's seemingly deep backcourt. The team returns Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley in starting roles, while there will be motivation to showcase the likes of Marcus Thornton -- and Evan Turner, too, if he plays some minutes at the 2 -- in reserve roles at the start of the year.

But Smart showed NBA-ready skills at summer league and got experience against top-level competition with the USA Basketball select team, all of which should help him immediately carve out rotation minutes with the potential for his role to grow, especially should Boston make additional in-season moves to shed guard depth.

If Smart develops his jump shot and can impact the game at both ends of the floor, he'll muscle his way into the All-Rookie conversation. A look at our forecasters voting:

Summer Forecast: Expectations for Smart?


Read on as our panelists explain their ballots:

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES

PODCASTS

Field Yates, NFL

ESPN NFL reporter Field Yates covers expectations for Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots' outlook, LeSean McCoy's injury and Alex Smith's contract negotiations with the Chiefs.

Baseball Tonight - Jed Hoyer

Buster Olney and Justin Havens discuss how teams that made major deals have fared since the deadline. Plus, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer on the strange circumstances caused by weather.

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9