Celtics' real season begins now

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
10:00
PM ET
It's early February, a couple weeks before the NBA trade deadline, and Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has popped into a popular burrito joint near the team's practice facility in Waltham to grab lunch before heading over to Boston College to watch Duke freshman Jabari Parker.

Jim Davis/The Boston Globe/Getty ImagesDanny Ainge watches the Celtics lose their season finale Wednesday.
As Ainge navigates the cafeteria-like assembly line, workers unabashedly offer trade advice while filling up his rice bowl. One employee seems particularly concerned about a report that the Celtics are talking to the Sacramento Kings about a potential Rajon Rondo deal and wants to see if there's any truth to it. Ainge just smiles and asks for both cheese and the employee's opinion on the rumored deal.

Ainge, having already made two trades a month earlier, is at ease with the approaching deadline and correctly predicts his team's inactivity at the February swap buzzer. Ainge seems more focused on the draft and the offseason that lies ahead, when he knows the real heavy lifting will be done.

Even still, he's reflecting on his trade history -- deals that went through and deals that didn't; deals that were real and deals that were media creations -- and an inquisitor wants to know if he's ever gotten cold feet about a potential franchise-altering swap.

"It's just basketball," Ainge said coolly as that familiar smile reappeared.

Two months later, as his team prepped for its season finale against the Washington Wizards, Ainge reaffirmed what he did that February day: The 2013-14 season hasn't been easy to endure, but he plucked positives from individual player development and always kept his focus on what the team was building toward in the future.

No matter how much Ainge, first-year coach Brad Stevens and the team's players braced themselves for the potential of losing games, it was never easy to endure. But the final buzzer of Wednesday's 57th loss essentially closed the book on the 2013-14 campaign. The Celtics bid good riddance and immediately turned their attention to a 2014-15 season and the unbridled optimism it provides.

Armed with a treasure trove of assets, Ainge enters a pivotal time in his team's future. With the right moves, and some friendly bounces from the pingpong balls, his team could launch right back into contender status. Ainge is brutally honest when he says he doesn't know if there will be the much-ballyhooed "fireworks" that has become the buzzword for the approaching summer, but he's hopeful.

He's far more certain of one thing, saying, "I'll work my tail off to try to duplicate what we've done in the past."

(Read full story)

Celtics lose tiebreaker with Jazz

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
2:58
PM ET
The Boston Celtics lost a random drawing with the Utah Jazz on Friday afternoon that will diminish the C's chances at a higher draft position.

Now that the Celtics have lost the drawing, they will have 103 pingpong ball combinations (out of 1,000) at May's draft lottery, giving the team a 10.3 percent chance at the top overall pick and a 33.4 percent chance at a top-three pick. The real disadvantage is that Utah owns a tiebreaker over the Celtics and would select before Boston in the event that neither team leaps into the top three spots. The Celtics can pick no lower than eighth overall.

The Celtics and Jazz finished with matching 25-57 records, tied for the fourth-worst mark in the NBA. Ties in the lottery are broken by a random drawing.

Brooklyn and Washington finished with matching 44-38 records, and ties for non-lottery teams are broken by coin flip. By virtue of Brooklyn winning the flip, the Celtics will choose 17th overall with one of three future first-round picks acquired from the Nets in last summer's blockbuster trade.

Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren detailed the team's percentage at each pick on Celtics.com:

Pick 1: 10.3 percent
Pick 2: 11.1 percent
Pick 3: 12.0 percent
Pick 4: 0 percent
Pick 5: 23.7 percent
Pick 6: 34.2 percent
Pick 7: 8.2 percent
Pick 8: 0.3 percent

Taking it easy: Could same core compete?

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
10:30
AM ET
After reading our after-the-season Take 'Em of Trash 'Em polls, some commenters balked at the notion that we lobbied for the return of 10 players from this year's Boston Celtics roster. And you can understand their logic: Why bring back a similar looking team after a 25-57 campaign in which the Celtics posted the third worst winning percentage in team history?

With the usual caveats that nobody knows how this roster will look next season -- fireworks could give this group another makeover, or the team might be content to simply shuffle the deck a bit and add talent to its core -- we don't necessarily believe it's outlandish to think that Boston could compete moving forward with many of the same faces back.

Looking ahead to next season, even if the Celtics make minimal changes, the team is likely to have (1) A healthier Rajon Rondo; (2) A more experienced Brad Stevens; and (3) Two first-round picks, including a lottery selection (assuming they keep the picks). That's a pretty solid base to build off.

After Wednesday's season finale, Rondo, who said he'll offer advice on roster construction, was asked if he'd like to see additions to the roster.

"I think we finished the season with 10 guys, so hopefully we can get five more guys, a strong group of 15 guys," said Rondo.

Pressed on if he'd want big changes, Rondo offered, "Who knows? If it’s one guy that competes, buys into the system, and plays with the team."

The Celtics have two particularly glaring needs: A rim protector (or at least a talented pure center) and a go-to scoring presence that can aid late-game situations. Neither role is particularly easy to fill in the NBA. But let's say the Celtics use their trade exception and some future picks to go pry Omer Asik from Houston, or try to sign-and-trade for someone like free-agent-to-be Marcin Gortat. And let's say the ping-pong balls bounce their way and Boston ends up landing a high pick like Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. Even with the return of the 10 players we advocated for in the Take 'Em of Trash 'Em poll, here's a potential depth chart:

Guards: Rondo, Avery Bradley, Phil Pressey
Swingmen: Jeff Green, Jabari Parker, Gerald Wallace, Chris Johnson
Bigs: Omer Asik, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Kris Humphries, Vitor Faverani

The Celtics could fill out their roster with the team's other first-round pick (assuming it keeps the selection) and Ainge could bring back additional talent if able to move the likes of Brandon Bass, Joel Anthony, or Keith Bogans' nonguaranteed contract in deals.

Does that 12-man roster compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference? Absolutely. We can't say it's a conference title contender, but it's in the playoff mix. We can't overstate what having some backline help with do for this defense, and adding another young player with a high ceiling would make the future very bright for Boston.

So much depends on how the ping-pong balls bounce on May 20 and what Ainge is able to do with his stash of assets this offseason.

But even Stevens believes his team will improve based solely on the experiences of this past season.

"First of all, I think that the guys that will be back -- and we don’t know exactly who that will be, right? -- the guys that will be back will be better," said Stevens. "I’ll be better. Does that guarantee that you’re going to be really good, or significantly better? No, because you still have to, night in night out, beat the opponent, who is also improving and also getting better. At the end of the day, a lot of it will be determined on how much we all improve in the course of the offseason and what pieces we add that complement the people that are already here, whether they go-to guys or whether they are complementary guys that just fit well. There’s a chance that we could really be looking at both of those. I think at the end of the day, we’ll see how that shakes itself out.

"But the guys that are here will be better if they are back. And I really feel strongly about that."

Celtics still finding ways to help

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
2:56
PM ET
The Boston Celtics' coaching staff was huddled after practice on Marathon Monday last year and an energy filled the room as they began preparations for their first-round playoff series against the New York Knicks.

“We were kind of discussing who we’d be playing in the playoffs,” assistant coach Jamie Young said. “I just remember it being a normal day.”

After the coaches meeting, Young jumped on a treadmill for his typical post-practice run, but when he flicked on the TV, he realized that this day would be anything but normal.

[+] Enlarge Celtics
Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesJason Terry, Kevin Garnett and Avery Bradley participate in a moment of silence for victims of the bombings last April.
While then-coach Doc Rivers pledged never to use the bombings as motivation for his team, there was an unspoken desire to win in order to help the region cope.

“We never really talked about what we needed to do as a team, but just winning and playing well was something that we thought would be the best way to help,” Young said.

Meanwhile, Leon Powe watched coverage of the bombings with disbelief from 3,000 miles away. Five years earlier he had ridden a duck boat down Boylston Street after helping the Celtics win their first championship in more than two decades. The images from Boston were jarring as he watched the news reports from the opposite coast.

“I was deeply saddened by it. Hurt, mad, angry,” he said.

Powe spent only three years in Boston, but still considers it a second home. Heartbroken by what he saw from afar, he was certain of one thing: Boston would emerge stronger from the tragedy.

“They tried to break our spirit, and tried to break a tradition we have every single year as far as the Marathon,” Powe said. “And I told everyone on the West Coast, that’s not going to break the people’s spirit down there in Boston. They are so strong, and that’s just going to bring us together even more.”

Powe came to Boston earlier this month to represent the Celtics and their 2008 title team at Opening Day ceremonies at Fenway Park. It was also a chance for him to meet many of the survivors of the bombings, an experience that only confirmed what he believed.

“Talking to them, it was a blessing,” Powe said. “Their spirits are up and everything is good.”

Members of the Celtics organization who were here last year beam with pride with how the region responded in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Young plans to be in the middle of this year's event. He was approached about running as part of the Shamrock Foundation marathon team, which will include 15 members of the organization. Each runner committed to raising $5,000 with a goal of raising at least $75,000 for the charities the foundation supports.

Young never envisioned running a marathon, his longest personal run had been a half marathon, but the events of last year encouraged him to go for the full 26.2.

Last weekend, he logged a 20-mile run, doing the final 10 miles of the marathon course, including that trek down Boylston, then turning around and retracing his steps.

He’s never done a marathon, but Young said he's ready. He feels strong -- Boston Strong.

Take 'em or Trash 'em (deluxe edition)

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
2:05
PM ET
Our annual after-the-season roster rundown Take 'Em or Trash 'Em debuted Thursday. Since brevity is not our thing, here's a longer look at the future of every player on the Boston Celtics' roster:


Rajon Rondo: Team captain is set to enter the final year of a contract that will pay him $12.9 million. Rondo has expressed interest in testing unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2015, which means, if he's a Celtics cornerstone, the team has to be ready to pay him big money next summer (otherwise they must at least entertain the idea of trading him this summer). Plan A seems to be building with him and a healthier Rondo plus roster upgrades could thrust Boston back into contender status next season. Take, unless a trade offer is too good to get passed up.

Jeff Green: Green has two years remaining on a deal that will pay him $9.2 million next season. The inconsistencies leave many ready to pack his bags, but it's so hard to quit him. If we just accept that this is who Green is what he is, a super athletic complementary player with potential for big scoring nights, then there's potential for him to thrive as a third option. Take, unless Boston adds a wing in the draft, then the team has to explore trade interest.

Brandon Bass: Bass enters the final year of a contract that will pay him $6.9 million. His lunch pail mentality and dedicated work ethic make him an ideal locker room presence. Alas, his position is overstocked with young bodies and his salary clogs up the middle of the payroll a bit. Trash, but only because the team needs upgrades at other positions and Bass could be attractive on the trade market on the final year of his deal.

Avery Bradley: Bradley will be a restricted free agent after the Celtics extend a $3.6 million qualifying offer. The only issue with Bradley is his health. Fair or not, he wears the tag of injury prone after missing 53 games over the past two seasons. That said, his offensive resurgence this season was encouraging. Take, so long as nobody tries to run up his price tag to a prohibitive level as a restricted free agent.

Jared Sullinger: Sullinger will enter the third year of his super affordable rookie deal that will pay him a mere $1.4 million next season. Even after back surgery stunted last summer's offseason growth, Sullinger put together an excellent sophomore campaign with a focus on extending his offensive range. Take this All-Star in the making, unless he's an Al Jefferson-like asset in landing the next established superstar.

(Read full post)

Rondo 13th most popular jersey

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
12:59
PM ET
Rajon Rondo landed at No. 13 among the league's top selling jerseys this season. The Boston Celtics ranked sixth in team merchandise. The full leaderboard courtesy of the NBA:

Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys
1. LeBron James, Miami Heat
2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
3. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
4. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
5. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
6. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
7. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
8. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
9. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
10. James Harden, Houston Rockets
11. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
12. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
13. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
14. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
15. Paul George, Indiana Pacers

Top 10 Most Popular Team Merchandise
1. Miami Heat
2. Los Angeles Lakers
3. Chicago Bulls
4. Oklahoma City Thunder
5. New York Knicks
6. Boston Celtics
7. Brooklyn Nets
8. Golden State Warriors
9. San Antonio Spurs
10. Los Angeles Clippers

Celtics bid good riddance to 2013-14

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
3:00
AM ET
BOSTON -- Two days before his team would surprise the NBA world with the hiring of college wunderkind Brad Stevens as head coach, and 10 days before the franchise-altering swap with the Brooklyn Nets would be formally executed, Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge stood in a Mattapan Community Center following introductions of the team's 2013 rookie class and smiled wide when asked about the daunting rebuilding process looming in front of him.

Robert Mayer/USA TODAY SportsDanny Ainge concedes 2013-14 was "a tough year" but welcomes the challenge of rebuilding.
"I wouldn't say it's exciting; it's a challenge. But I welcome that challenge," Ainge said. "And I'm re-energized to try to do it again."

Two-hundred-ninety days later, Ainge leaned on a wall outside the Celtics' locker room as his team prepped for its 57th and final loss of a harrowing 2013-14 season, a necessary evil in the prickly rebuilding process.

Ainge, looking haggard like most in the Celtics' organization after a grueling season, still wore that same smile as he expressed optimism that the summer would bring the sort of changes that would thrust his team back into contender status.

But Ainge acknowledged the obvious: This season was tough to endure.

"It was a long season," Ainge said before catching himself at the suggestion that a season devoid of a postseason appearance wasn't quite as long as the team is used to after the success of the big three era.

"I guess not that long," he added. "But it was tough, a tough year."

The Celtics bid good riddance to the 2013-14 campaign with a 118-102 loss to the playoff-bound Washington Wizards. Coupled with a double-overtime win by the Utah Jazz in Minnesota, Boston finished the season tied for the fourth-worst record in the NBA. With one of their two first-round picks, the Celtics will have roughly a 33.7 percent chance at a top-three pick and a 10.4 percent chance at the No. 1 selection.

After a season filled with losses, the Celtics can finally revel a tiny bit in defeat. Boston has put itself in position to add another building block by enduring the rigors of the rebuild. And with the 2013-14 campaign in the rearview mirror, here comes the unbridled optimism that only the NBA offseason can provide.

Reflecting on his first season on the bench, one in which he lost more games than he did during his entire six-year stint as head coach at Butler University, Stevens praised his team for how hard it played, even after its lottery fate was sealed.

"I think the best thing I learned is that it's not fun to not win," Stevens said. "But it doesn't define who you are or how you go about your business. So, one of the things that I'm probably most happy about with our team is that they didn't change necessarily who they were, they didn't let the losing or the multiple losses affect them or their approach and I hope that I was the same way."

(Read full story)
Tags:

2014Game82

C's finish tied for 4th-worst record

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
11:05
PM ET
BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics finished the 2013-14 season with a 25-57 mark and will share the fourth-worst record in the NBA with the Utah Jazz.

The Celtics and Jazz will split 207 ping-pong ball combinations with a random drawing to see who gets the leftover combo (and the higher pick in the event neither vault into the top 3 spots). Both teams will own roughly 33.7 percent chance at a top-3 pick and a 10.4 percent chance at the No. 1 overall pick. Boston can pick no lower than eighth in June's draft.

The Celtic entered the final night with the fifth-worst record in basketball, but were aided by a Los Angeles Lakers victory over the San Antonio Spurs as well as Utah's double-overtime triumph over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

What's more, with Washington's win over Boston, coupled with Brooklyn's loss in Cleveland, the Celtics will pick as high as 17th in June's draft with the Nets' pick received in last summer's swap. A coin flip will break the tie between the Nets and Wizards, who both finished at 44-38, meaning Boston will pick 17th or 18th overall with that selection.

Notes: Stevens showers fans with praise

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
11:00
PM ET
BOSTON -- Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens knows what it's like to be in the Garden during a playoff game. He visited here during the 2008 playoffs and inconspicuously caught a game during Boston's run to Banner 17. But what resonated with him during his first NBA season on the Boston bench was the support the fans gave his team despite a far less successful season.

"This can’t be the case anywhere else," Stevens said. "I’ve said this all year, the fans are amazing. I told our team today, Phil Pressey dove on that ball the other night [against the Bobcats] and it was like -- I don’t know what late May is like because I’ve never been here, but I was here for maybe an early June Eastern Conference final game -- it felt like that kind of atmosphere and that kind of reaction. For just playing the game the right way.

"I’ve got a great appreciation for the fans in this town and for the people in this town because our atmospheres have been second to none. And to be quite candid, our team has a long way to go. I think the fans have been a terrific part of the year for me."

The Celtics closed out the 2013-14 season in front of a sellout crowd of 18,624. According to ESPN's NBA attendance data, Boston ranked 11th in home attendance this year while filling 97.2 percent of its seats (742,400 total; 18,107 average). What's more, Boston was a quality road draw (15th overall; 90.5 percent of opposing arenas filled) and that helped the team rank 12th in the league in attendance figures (17,796 average fans per game; 93.8 percent of arenas filled over 82 games).

Some postgame quotes of note as the Celtics closed out the 2013-14 campaign:

GERALD WALLACE on the season: "I think we as a team are a lot better than our record showed. I think a lot of times, we got caught up in not knowing each other, five guys not being on the same page. And it hurt us throughout some games, especially closing out some games, late in ballgames. But we’ll take it and build on it."

RAJON RONDO on this year's team: "It’s a good group to play with. A lot of young guys, a lot of guys that are still learning the game and want to study and be better. It’s a great group of guys, not a lot of guys that are knuckleheads or want to go against the grain. Everyone listens and wants to continue to work hard.

DANNY AINGE on Stevens: "I think Brad did a great job this year. I mean he’s a special person and a great coach. The players see it. The players see his work ethic, they see his integrity and they see his intelligence. So I think he earned the respect of the team in a really difficult situation this year and I know he’s going to get better. He’ll be better this year and the year after he’ll be better than he was next year. He’s a sponge and he’s very intelligent with a great work ethic and I couldn’t be happier."
Tags:

2014Game82



BOSTON -- Boston Celtics forward Brandon Bass took home the ninth annual Red Auerbach Award before Wednesday's season finale against the Washington Wizards.

The honor, presented each year since the 2005-06 season, is bestowed upon the Celtics player or coach who best exemplifies the spirit of what it means to be a Celtic through performance on the court and off. The award is named in honor of legendary coach, general manager and president of the Celtics, the late Arnold “Red” Auerbach.

"The reason [Bass deserved the award] and I just told him this in front of the team, he’s as good of a pro as we have," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "He shows up every day, he’s the first one to the gym on the road, he’s the first one to the gym at home, he takes care of his body as well or better than any of our players on our team nutrition-wise, stretching-wise, in the weight room. And his individual workouts are deliberate to what applies to making his game good. And I don’t think everybody that works on the game anywhere in the world do those things as well as some of the best pros, and I think we need to really embrace that deliberate work-ethic all around the way and Brandon Bass is a great example of that for our team."

Echoed team captain Rajon Rondo: "I think it’s [a] well-deserved [honor]. He’s a great guy, a Class-A guy. He’s a great teammate, very unselfish and he competes every night. He takes great care of his body, on and off the court, and he’s always one of the first guys in the gym. It’s a great accomplishment for Brandon. I’m happy for him."

Previous winners include Paul Pierce (2013, 2006), Al Jefferson (2007), Kevin Garnett (2012, 2008), Ray Allen (2009), Rajon Rondo (2010) and Doc Rivers (2011).

Celtics owners presented Bass with the award before the game. Not only did Bass appear in all 82 games for Boston this season, but he was very active in the community, particularly with his learning-to-swim initiatives.

Rapid Reaction: Wizards 118, C's 102

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
10:15
PM ET
video

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics' 2013-14 season passed Wednesday night at TD Garden after a 118-102 loss to the Washington Wizards. It was 82 games old.

The Celtics went quietly while surrounded by a sellout crowd of 18,624 that proudly chanted "let's go Celtics" in the final minutes.

Despite a flawed roster and a first-year coach, the Celtics enjoyed competitive games and individual development. The team navigated much of the season without point guard Rajon Rondo as he recovered from ACL surgery, but even he couldn't rescue the team upon his mid-January return. The Celtics went 6-24 when Rondo played, and he sat out the final game of the season while dealing with a sore left hamstring.

A private memorial is planned for members of the organization this week at HealthPoint in Waltham, Mass. The public is invited to a public celebration of the season at the NBA draft lottery on May 20.

In lieu of flowers, the Celtics kindly request good-luck charms be donated to the team in advanced of the lottery.

The nitty-gritty: Bradley Beal scored a game-high 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting, while Marcin Gortat put up 15 points and 10 rebounds. Kelly Olynyk scored a team-high 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting, despite foul trouble, to pace the Celtics. Jeff Green added 20 points, while Phil Pressey had nine points and 10 assists. The Wizards shot 56.8 percent overall and led by as much as 26.

Turning point: The Celtics played without Rondo, Jared Sullinger (ankle), Kris Humphries (knee) and Jerryd Bayless (knee), with just eight available bodies suiting up. Add in early foul trouble for Olynyk, along with a whole bunch of defensive indifference, and the game got away pretty early. The Wizards put up 38 points in the first frame and led by as much as 15. Boston made a couple charges but never led.

Boston strong: The Celtics honored a group of Boston Marathon survivors with a moving ceremony at the end of the first quarter. Boston coach Brad Stevens broke his huddle early to have his players applaud those being saluted, and the Wizards did the same. Later, the team honored doctors and nurses from Brigham and Women's Hospital that treated victims in the aftermath of the bombings.

What it means: The Celtics wrap up the season at 25-57 overall, and their .305 winning percentage is the third worst in team history. Aided by the Los Angeles Lakers' win in San Antonio, Boston will finish with no worse than the fifth-worst record in basketball (pending Utah and Minnesota's nail-biter).


BOSTON -- Boston Celtics second-year forward/center Jared Sullinger addressed the crowd before the team's season finale Wednesday against the Washington Wizards as part of Fan Appreciation Night.

Sullinger kept his message short and simple, thanking the fans for their support during a difficult season, then offering: "Hopefully we'll come back better next year."

Rondo's Marathon tribute sneakers

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
7:50
PM ET
Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo will sit out Wednesday's season finale against the Washington Wizards, but he showed off his ANTA-brand sneakers that honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

A snapshot from the Instagram account of Celtics strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo:

Rondo's Marathon sneakers


The tongue of the sneakers reads "Boston Strong" with the date April 15, 2013. The sneakers feature the blue and yellow colors familiar to Boston Strong with the initials of victims covering the shoe.

Rondo was asked after Wednesday's game about having Marathon bombing survivors in attendance.

"Pretty much everywhere you go, you learn that, to Bostonians, sports means a lot to this city," said Rondo. "Our four sports are big here. It’s not just one team, one fan. It’s a collective group of guys. The Red Sox, the Bruins, the Patriots, and ourselves. We’ve taken pride in playing for this city. This was a special week for us, every athlete in the city along with all Bostonians as well. It means a lot."

Pregame: Rondo out for finale

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
7:45
PM ET
BOSTON -- Rajon Rondo is one of four Boston Celtics who will sit out the season finale against the Washington Wizards, leaving the team with only eight available bodies as it plays Game 82 at TD Garden.

Rondo strained his left hamstring during Monday's loss in Philadelphia and will sit for the fourth time in six games. Rondo, who returned from ACL surgery in mid-January, appeared in 30 games this season.

"He pulled his hamstring, or strained his hamstring, late third quarter of the Philly game," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "He came out, stretched on the sideline, felt good enough, played the rest of the game, but did not feel good [Tuesday] or [Wednesday] morning. Obviously, with a hamstring, that is something that you don’t mess with at any time. From what I heard, he wanted to play, and this morning he just didn't feel good."

The Celtics also will be without Kris Humphries (knee), Jared Sullinger (ankle) and Jerryd Bayless (knee). All three players will miss the final three games of the season while dealing with lingering maladies.

Boston trots out a starting lineup of Phil Pressey, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Kelly Olynyk.

The Celtics will secure no worse than the fifth worst record in basketball with a loss to the Wizards, who can lock up the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference with a victory.

Despite their lottery-bound status, Stevens singled out his team's desire to compete on a nightly basis as the season's biggest positive while reflecting on his first year on the bench.

"The one thing that I probably learned about myself is that it’s been very difficult to not be very good," Stevens said. "It’s hard not being a team that’s contending for a playoff spot, or contending for bigger things than that.

"The thing that I’m proud of is that the team, the coaches, the staff really put in the work for every single game, every single day. I told them this morning, as we went through the walkthrough and prepared like we did for the first game of the season, those guys have done a pretty good job of that all year. The thing that I probably feel most comfortable with is that, regardless of circumstance, we came to work and we tried to get better and ultimately do our best. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been good enough on a lot of nights."
Tags:

2014Game82

W2W4: C's vs. Wizards (Game 82 of 82)

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
10:30
AM ET
The Boston Celtics (25-56, 16-24 home) close out the 2013-14 season on Wednesday night with a visit from the Washington Wizards (43-38, 21-19 away) at TD Garden (8 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:

  • WHAT'S AT STAKE: The playoff-bound Wizards can secure the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference with a win (or a Charlotte loss to the Bulls). That's attractive because, instead of a first-round matchup with the defending champ Miami Heat, Washington would instead draw either Toronto or Chicago. For Boston, a loss clinches no worse than sole possession of the fifth worst record in basketball. The Celtics would move into a tie for the fourth worst mark with a loss and a Utah win in Minnesota. If the Celtics win and the Lakers lose in San Antonio, the two rivals would finish tied with the fifth worst record and a random drawing would determine who picks first in the event neither leap into the top 3 spots at the draft lottery. Also in play: The Celtics will have an eye on Brooklyn's game in Cleveland. A Nets loss -- coupled with a Washignton win -- could help improve Boston's other first-round draft pick (though it will require a coin flip to decide whether Boston's pick is No. 17 or 18).

  • GOOD RIDDANCE, 2013-14 SEASON: The Celtics played hard on a consistent basis and the games were often entertaining until the final horn. Alas, Boston didn't win many close games and, spoiled by six previous years of playoff basketball, most are ready to bid farewell to this transition season. The Celtics will wave goodbye to the regular season and hello to another potential summer overhaul, one that the team hopes can help restore it to contender status next season.

  • LOOSE BALLS: This is the fourth meeting of the season for the two teams with the Wizards owning a 2-1 advantage. Boston's only triumph came in overtime on the road in Washington in late January. ... The Celtics are likely to be without Jared Sullinger (ankle), Kris Humphries (knee), and Jerryd Bayless (knee). Rajon Rondo returned for Monday's game in Philadelphia and, barring a setback with his left shin injury, should be available to close out the season. ... It's fan appreciation night an Sullinger will address the crowd before the game. ... Those going to the game, note the later-than-normal tip time for the final game of the season.

(Read full game preview)

SPONSORED HEADLINES

PODCASTS

Capital Games with Andy Katz and Rick Klein

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Congressman Peter King join the debut podcast to discuss security at this year's Boston Marathon.

Inside Out with Prim Siripipat

Boston Marathon runner Demi Clark and her husband Brian, talk about the impact of witnessing the bombings last year. Dr. Jonathan Katz speaks about dealing with trauma.

Hockey Today

Scott Burnside is joined by Craig Custance, Katie Strang, Joe McDonald and Pierre LeBrun to break down each series of the first round of the 2014 NHL playoffs.

Baseball Tonight

Buster Olney talks with Tim Kurkjian and Aaron Boone about the Braves hot start, the Nationals' injury woes, John Farrell's ejection after a blown replay and much more.

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
BlocksK. Humphries 0.9