Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens expects Kyrie Irving to be monitored for possible concussion symptoms over the weekend after the guard took an inadvertent elbow to the face from teammate Aron Baynes Friday night.
Asked if Irving had been diagnosed with a concussion, Stevens replied, “Not that I know of. So, at halftime they said they were going to monitor him through the next 36 hours, or 24 – whatever the typical timeline is. So, not that I know of, but I have not talked to the doctors after the game.”
So, last year Boston lost about 70 starter*games to injuries, mainly to Avery Bradley, but also Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Al Horford. That was a bit extreme. The C’s also lost a lot of time from key reserves Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk.
This year, the Celtics ensured they would top last year’s total when Gordon Hayward went down five minutes into the first game of the season. That’s 81 games missed by a starter right there.
And there was Marcus Morris’s knee issues
All along, somehow the Celtics strung together a 9 game winning streak.
And then Al Horford got a concussion.
And the Celtics beat the hype-fueled Lakers bringing the winning streak to 10.
And Jayson Tatum hurt his ankle.
I had Friday night’s game penciled in as a loss as far back as Monday. The wins were getting uglier and uglier and the wheels were basically coming off, injury-wise.
And then Aron Baynes knocked Kyrie Irving into the middle of next week (at least in terms of his availability to play basketball).
So where were the Celtics at the end of the first quarter on Friday?
They were without roughly 77 million dollars in salary; the three players for which they reduced the rest of the team to guys on rookie contracts (and a pair of ex-Pistons and a Shane Larkin).
And somehow they won!??
Streak’s at 11 in a row now, and I’m amazed.
Brad Stevens, yes, is a genius, but you have to credit the players; these guys didn’t fold under extremely difficult circumstances. The reward? A bunch of rookies got their first taste of a rockin’ Boston Garden.
Page 2: Where this is why players play for Brad Stevens
Yes, when it happened, Stevens was upset with Yabu. That much was obvious.
What makes Stevens different is that he was able to step outside the moment and look at the bigger picture; he realized that he put a rookie in the game without making sure he knew what he was supposed to do. You can bet that if Stevens told the media this, he also told Yabu this, and probably apologized for barking at him.
Finally: Holy crap
Twenty four minutes, 11 field goals.
But you know what? That’s Brad’s mid-major chops at work. Defense rewards effort more than offense does. If you’ve got a bunch of guys that barely registered on the various recruiting services, and you’re going up against a school like Duke, it’s a fair bet you’re not going to out-shoot them, but you have a decent shot at out-working them on defense. So Stevens has these young guys bought into playing defense; all these guys know that defense gets them minutes on the court, and it helps to have a player like Smart out there on the court that knows what’s up and can call assignments.
The rest of the links
MassLive: Steve Clifford believes Kyrie Irving’s on a mission, Boston Celtics ‘built a team around what wins defensively’ | Kyrie Irving injury: Boston Celtics star expected to be monitored for possible concussion symptoms over the weekend | Marcus Morris’ ‘picture perfect’ switch forces Kemba Walker miss, preserves Boston Celtics victory | Kyrie Irving leaves with injury, but Jayson Tatum helps Boston Celtics close out Charlotte Hornets, 90-87
Providence Journal: Celtics 90, Hornets 87: Despite loss of Irving, Boston extends streak…