<![CDATA[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.
On the heels of a nearly impossible loss to the Phoenix Suns, the second-half meltdown was enough to drive a player mad. Beyond the obvious, Thomas apparently had another reason for the frustration: a distaste for some of the Celtics’ lineup choices in the third and fourth quarters. Though he never openly stated his disagreement with any of the lineups, he hinted at it by saying, “We can’t be experimenting in Game (64).”
“You can watch film,” Thomas replied when pressed on the comment. “You know what it is.”
Asked directly whether he meant the lineups, Thomas met the question with what felt like telling silence.
Without starter Al Horford (elbow) and key reserve Jonas Jerebko (flu), the Celtics were thin in the frontcourt. They started with a small group that featured Jaylen Brown and Jae Crowder at the forward slots, but, even against L.A.’s tough frontcourt of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, that group held its own inside. Thomas likely opposed head coach Brad Stevens’ rotation later in the game, which featured some quirky combinations.
Late in the third quarter, Stevens unveiled an inexperienced lineup — Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, James Young and Jordan Mickey — that the Celtics had not used once all season, according to NBA Wowy. In barely more than a minute, the Celtics committed two turnovers, Rozier missed a driving four-footer, and the Clippers went on an 8-0 run, thanks largely to two Crawford 3-pointers.
Mass Live (w/video)
“For the most part I try to let [Brad Stevens] coach,” Thomas said. “He’s a very smart dude and he does a good job on the substitution patterns. But, like, tonight I didn’t say nothing to him. Maybe I should have, but it is what it is. We’ll figure it out.”
Bush league move, Isaiah. Bush league move.
Did Brad Stevens roll out a never before seen line-up during a pivotal moment in this game? Yup, he sure did.
He gambled and it back-fired.
But injuries to two key front-court players likely forced Stevens into experimental mode. And that’s why Isaiah should keep his misguided criticism of his coach to himself.
Stevens has earned the trust and Isaiah should respect him enough to keep this sort of commentary away from the media. You have concerns about rotations? Fine, walk up to Stevens and talk about it privately.
This isn’t the first time Isaiah bitched publicly about the coaches. Back in November he criticized the staff for subbing out the starters early in the 4th quarter in an eventual loss to the Warriors.
And Isaiah… maybe this loss wouldn’t hurt so badly if you didn’t cough up the ball in the final seconds against the Suns.
On Page 2, a cool story about Paul Pierce’s friendship with his old equipment manager.
Sometimes, when Pierce felt like he could not miss, he would add free shots to Connor’s total to give him a chance. Pierce would still win, and he would let Connor know.
“That’s why I wear the jersey,” he’d say, “and you wash it.”
Connor insists that the career scoreboard is actually quite close. But most of all, those shootouts helped them maintain their uncommon connection.
Ok, let’s forget, for a moment, the Celtics’ brutal last 20 minutes, and enjoy this story of Paul Pierce’s friendship with Boston’s equipment manager, who was the team’s representative at his draft, back when they needed someone to communicate the team’s picks to the commish (George Plimpton had this job once too).
While we’re forgetting stuff, let’s also forget that Rick Pitino was the guy who picked Pierce.
That article’s got some other great tidbits in it. Like these:
“I was a big trash-talker, and come to find out he was a big trash-talker,” Pierce said. “And then he’d have his days where he’d beat me, and some weeks he’d consistently beat me, and it’d really piss me off.”
Once, when Pierce lost to Connor as television cameras were filming, he ripped off a microphone and told Connor they were moving back to midcourt. After Pierce won the 2010 3-Point Shootout during All-Star Weekend, he was brimming with confidence. A few days later he and Connor faced off at a Celtics practice at UCLA, and Connor defeated him.
Page 3: Where Danny Ainge is in the heads of rival GMs
Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin believed at one point during the trade deadline that the Boston Celtics might land both Jimmy Butler and Paul George.
During a podcast appearance with ESPN’s Zach Lowe, Griffin fielded a question regarding a report the Cavaliers were on pins and needles about whether the Celtics were going to acquire Butler from the Chicago Bulls.
“I don’t think it was just Jimmy,” Griffin replied. “There was a moment there where I thought they were getting Paul George and Jimmy Butler, and that was concerning.”
Yes, Boston has blown two consecutive chances to pick up ground on the Cavs, but as we’re at pains to point out here at Red’s Army, this isn’t just about this year. The Celtics definitely could have had Jimmy Butler, if they were willing to pay the GarPax price. But those guys are not good managers (let’s be honest, the only exceptional GM that Chicago has ever had has been kept out of the Hall of Fame because Michael Jordan is, in many many ways a small and petty man). They will eventually settle for Boston’s price on Butler, assuming Boston still wants him–and Boston’s price is only going to go down.
Let’s not forget, there were people who were upset that Boston didn’t trade for Al Horford, and look how that turned out.
Finally: Bogut’s fifty eight second stint with the Cavs
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ acquisition of veteran center Andrew Bogut ranked as one of the best pickups of the NBA’s annual waiver deadline. While the 32-year-old Bogut was far from stellar before his trade away from the Dallas Mavericks, not-ancient big men with long histories of defensive excellence do not often become available at league-minimum prices.
But Bogut’s season with the Cavaliers could now to over as soon as it started. He made his debut with the team in Monday’s home game against the Miami Heat, replacing Thompson at the 0:37 mark of the first quarter. With 11:36 remaining in the second quarter, Bogut had to be carried off the court after injuring his left leg attempting to close out on Heat forward Okaro White.
Last week I mentioned that Bogut was injury prone.
By my guess, that tibia at a minimum the fourth bone he’s broken in the NBA (vertebra: 2009, wrist: 2010, ankle: 2012), not to mention the tendon and ligament damage he’s suffered over the years. Guy has definitely given up his body to the game.
The rest of the links
Blech: Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics lose big second-half lead in 116-102 loss to Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers | Isaiah Thomas questions Boston Celtics’ experiments after second-half meltdown against Los Angeles Clippers | Clippers drop hammer on Celtics in a flash, 116-102 | Clippers take control in second half, roll to 116-102 win over C’s (and seriously, guys, don’t make more out of these two games than is necessary: it’s a long season, every team hits rough patches and they’ll move on from this–especially when they get Horford back)]]>