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.
There have been nights when Jae Crowder has been content to be a secondary scorer. He had not scored in double figures in the previous five games, but when the Celtics needed a closing performance to avoid an embarrassing loss to the downtrodden Nets, Crowder stepped to the forefront.
Crowder scored 17 of his season-high 24 points in the second half and 9 in the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ 98-95 win. The Nets actually had two chances to send the game into overtime but Brook Lopez and Quincy Acy missed 3-pointers in the final nine seconds.
Crowder changed the game with a pair of 3-point plays. He drained a 3-pointer after Horford sucked in the defense in the post and dished out for an 88-85 lead with 3:36 left. Following a Nets miss, Horford rebounded a Terry Rozier 3-point miss and fed a streaking Crowder for a one-handed jam and foul. Crowder then walked behind the basket and flexed his muscles.
“It’s time to win the game,” Crowder said. “I remember when they went on a run and hit a couple of threes in a row, we came together and said ‘it’s time to win now, it’s time to make winning plays and we got to do it together.’ And from that point on we had control of the game.”
Boston Globe — Jae Crowder gets Celtics by lowly Nets
Was there any doubt last night’s Celtics game would be a complete slog? With Friday night in the big city awaiting, the Celtics had a date with the laughing-stock of the league. This wouldn’t have been pretty with Isaiah Thomas on the court, so the fact that the Celtics came out on top of this grind was enough for my liking.
Jae Crowder’s compete level is stuck on high no matter the night or the opponent. You don’t even need to watch what’s happening on the hardwood to confirm this, just read his quotes after losses. As Chris Forsberg detailed earlier this week, the dude “inspires winning” regardless of his box score impact. Last night Crowder not only inspired winning, he willed his team to win. Crowder and Marcus Smart are the streakiest shooters on this team (Crowder’s a better overall shooter from distance, but has been pretty off as of late) and with his shot falling last night, Crowder used the three as an entry point to a complete scoring performance overall. The night was punctuated with a strong take to the rim– dunk and the foul. Keep on hitting ’em with the flex, Jae!
Interesting quote from Crowder post-game, which is totally innocuous and simply stating the obvious, but I’m sure some of the talking heads on weekend sports radio will run with this and speculate:
Without Thomas and his 29 points and 19.6 shots per game, the Celtics had to find offense from other sources. When asked the difference between playing with Thomas and without him, Crowder was brutally honest.
“A lot more shot opportunities, for real, seriously,” Crowder said. “A lot of opportunities through our offense. We run a lot of stuff for him, so a lot of guys were getting a lot of looks that they probably wasn’t used to getting, so that was probably the biggest adjustment.”
Crowder is right. The offense opens up for other guys when Isaiah Thomas isn’t on the floor. There’s more ball movement and more opportunities for talented players. But what Crowder would also likely admit is there are less points, more possessions ending in bricked 3s and closer games against poor opponents.
Not a big deal of a quote, but those opportunities will continue to present themselves tomorrow night. Let’s see who steps up.
On page 2, developing updates in Popcorn-gate & the Smart/Brown feud
“I know who did it,” Brown said. “I might have to get them back, we’ll see. But definitely they should expect some form of retaliation. Friendly fire. I knew it was coming out of two people, I’m not going to say any names. I know who did it. One of them is in this gym and one of them is not in this gym [Isaiah Thomas].”
What made the night even more uncomfortable is Brown had his family with him at the game, and they drove home with butter and kernels still in the car.
“The seats were all buttered up, they laid some towels down and I had like five people with me,” Brown said. “The whole family had to ride home. [My mom] didn’t give me her opinion on it. She was probably upset. She doesn’t like anybody messing with her baby.”
Personally, I love the smell of fresh-popped, or movie-theater-style-out-the-bag popcorn, and if there was a smelly christmas tree car freshener with either of those smells, I’d be all over it. Consider yourself lucky, Jaylen. Also, if I’m Isaiah I’m probably more worried about Jaylen’s mom coming to the door than Jaylen. Brown can’t retaliate too much since he’s on the team and is a rookie. Jaylen’s mom should have no such preconditions.
On the bench-feud:
“I’d rather have a guy argue with me than have no emotion,” Smart said. “It shows his passion and his care for the game. I don’t want guys with no emotion. Those are guys you don’t want to play with because it’s like they are so nonchalant and they could care less.”
Said coach Brad Stevens: “We talk about being able to move forward from it but we spend 82 games together, we spend six months together, you’re goning to have some of that. That’s usually better for a team than worse. It’s not always a bad thing.”
Boston Globe — Celtics Notebook
Nothing to see here, except one competitive guy who prides himself on great defense (Smart) letting a rookie with tons of potential know where he needs to improve (Brown) and that rookie showing off his competitive/prideful side as well.
Newsflash: If you want a team of junkyard dog-style defenders who get after it every night, you should expect them to get after each other.
If only Jaylen knew what was waiting for him in his car was way worse (better, however, in my opinion) than any sort of quarreling on the bench.
And finally, they’re going to need so much Chipotle…
Our staff, all together in a room, will watch 53 games these four days (on 4 TVs): 48 NCAA, 2 Celts, 2 Claws, 1 Euro. Lots of good debates! pic.twitter.com/TLfWgZMT7D
— Mike Zarren (@mikezarren) March 17, 2017
I would HATE to come in for lunch after the Celtics’ intern (or one of the Ainge grandkids, whoever gets tasked with picking up front office Chipotle orders) gets through picking up food. I’m guessing all that would be left is lettuce, sofritas, and maybe some corn salsa. Would just be devastating. That tweet should read: 48 NCAA, 2 Celts, 2 Claws, 1 Euro & 4,876 pounds of barbacoa.