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.
“He’s only going to get better at it because we’re still learning to play with each other in the first unit. I think the sky’s limit for us. I like the way we’re looking right now.”
A Thomas 3-pointer put the Celtics up 110-93 with 2:59 to go before the pesky Timberwolves struck for four in a row. But Marcus Smart was able to score for a 15-point lead with two minutes left and both Horford and Thomas were able to spend the final two minutes on the bench of Boston’s second straight victory.
Horford went into takeover mode in the third quarter with some of the best all-around play of his Boston tenure. He scored eight points with four rebounds and two assists as the Celtics went from down two at the half to up 72-64 on a Horford 3-pointer with 7:23 on the clock.
The Wolves are one of those teams that some NBA hipsters (as Liam Green calls them) like to rave about. They’ve got so many interesting ‘pieces’, that you’d be forgiven if, for a moment, you forgot that they are not a very good team. They are 28-39 and headed for the lottery for the umpteenth year in a row. Sure, they have “an exciting young core”, but you know what happens to teams like the Wolves with “exciting young cores”? They end up like the New Orleans Pelicans or the Sacramento Kings. Teams that are perpetually in the lottery, and perpetually drafting pieces of their “exciting young core” are perpetually in the lottery not because they lack talent on the court, but because they lack talent everywhere else.
The Wolves have hired Thibs into the same basic job Doc has out in Los Angeles (BTW: Did you know the Clippers have a worse record than Boston right now?) which makes me think that Danny Ainge must make his job look super easy, because two guys that spent years around him seem to think they can do his job and coach at the same time.
Anyway, Thibs is smarter than most, but his tenure with the Bulls was not without some well-earned criticism, and it remains to be seen if he applies any of it–much less whether he can evaluate talent appropriately both in terms of drafting it and paying for it. I have my doubts, because that is a tough, tough, tough job.
So how does this relate to Al Horford? A team that recognizes the value of Al Horford and lets Al do what he does best is going to be a winning team. It really is that simple. Horford makes the players around him better. Isaiah Thomas, for one, should probably follow him wherever he goes, because Horford has helped turn IT into a star.
Horford is smart enough and skilled enough to give the game what it needs. As Bradley’s comments above remind us, the Celtics’ preferred starting five is still feeling each other out. In terms of minutes played together, they’re at like, mid December levels compared to other teams. A successful coach and front office will recognize circumstances like this and, above all else, won’t take passive aggressive shots at Horford through the media.
Talent on the court is only part of the puzzle when it comes to winning championships in the NBA. There’s a reason why four teams in the league have combined to win 44 championships and the other 26 teams have won only 24, and there’s a reason why those championships came in clusters for all four of those teams: management, coaching, and talent on the court.
More recaps & game notes: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart argument: Boston Celtics teammates bicker near the end of win | Al Horford’s big night sends Boston Celtics past Minnesota Timberwolves, 117-104 | C’s put together a solid performance in 117-104 win over T-Wolves | Al Horford Does It All In 117-104 Win Over Timberwolves
Page 2: Where the Dancing Bear is in town and we’re all excited because he’s never played a minute of NBA ball.
After returning to Boston, one of the first things Yabusele did was catch up with Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown.
“Guerschon is my guy,” Brown said. “I went to go see him last night as soon. As soon he got to Boston, he sent me a text, he was staying over — I’m not going to tell you where he’s staying — but he’s staying pretty close. I went over to see him. We probably talked for 30 minutes or an hour. I’m happy he’s here. We talked about him being in China, me being over here, and how much time has passed and how fast it had passed. He’s just excited to play and excited to be here and I’m excited for him. I’m glad he’s back over this way.”
“I think Guerschon’s a freak of nature — 270 pounds, accounted for, I don’t know, it might be 280, 290 — he can shoot the ball, he’s got good feet,” Brown added. “He’s the Dancing Bear.”
Don’t you just love NBA vital stats? Heights–are-well, basketball player heights are so unreliable, it’s a good thing the people measuring them aren’t also setting the heights of the hoops and painting the stripes on the court. And weight’s the same. I think Shaq’s reported weight stayed the same from oh about 1999 to 2008 or so.
Guys, this is what Guerschon is right now:
For those of you that haven’t had the experience, it’s difficult to communicate the feeling that went along with holding an unopened pack of cards. That feeling that you just might strike it rich. Maybe that package you just bought has a Patrick Ewing rookie card in it, and that’s worth $15 in the latest Beckett’s Sports Card Monthly, which is mostly tables that are as dense and oddly fascinating as the stock pages and options and futures reports in the Wall Street Journal.
You may not have experienced that, but if you’re looking at Guerschon and saying, ‘What if……?’, well, it’s the same basic feeling. He hasn’t played at all. Dude’s still in his original wrappings. We literally have no clue how well he’s going to play, and that mystery makes him kind of exciting.
More Guerschon stuff: Boston Celtics draft pick Guerschon Yabusele discusses season in China, future plans | Yabusele, one of Celts’ first-round picks in ’16, may soon play for Red Claws | Celtics’ future in focus with a visit from first-round stash Guerschon Yabusele | Bulpett: Guerschon “Dancing Bear” Yabusele checks in with Celtics after season in China | Celtics Journal: No. 16 pick back in town after year in China
Finally: Where the rookie got popcorn’ed
I looked at this for like two or three minutes thinking, ‘where did they get all that popcorn?’
And then I realized where this happened. Access to popcorn was probably not the main obstacle to carrying this out.
One would hope that the same place that has an ample supply of popcorn has an ample supply of vacuum cleaners.