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.
Bad news first: Kyrie’s Knee
PORTLAND, Ore. — Kyrie Irving will have what the Celtics call a “minimally invasive procedure” on his sore left knee today, with no immediate timetable for a return.
All season, team president Danny Ainge has left the door open to the possibility of Irving having surgery to relieve the pain in his knee, which previously was thought to be tendinitis.
The Celtics will file for a hardship exception today. They can only sign a free agent if an NBA-appointed doctor determines they have four players expected to miss two weeks. Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis all meet that standard.
The team obviously now expects Irving to miss at least two weeks, too.
The procedure, thought to be an arthroscopy, is being done with the hope Irving will return for the postseason. The Celtics already face the prospect of inserting another surgical patient — Smart — into the rotation when the playoffs start.
Stevens stressed the team was particularly mindful of Irving’s knee this season.
So it’s come to this. The Celtics not only took advantage of the disabled player exception to sign Greg Monroe, they’re also going to avail themselves of the hardship exception.
I have a relative that seriously messed up his femur a couple years ago–dang near a compound fracture.
Awhile after the operation, the docs discovered that one of the screws had sort of worked its way loose, and was interfering with muscle movement.
They x-rayed him, decided that he no longer needed the screw, and on an outpatient basis, they opened him up and took it out.
Now, I’m not saying that’s what’s going on with Kyrie exactly, but it’s a reasonable surmise.
At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
There’s a part of me that thinks the IT situation last year was a watershed moment for Celtics management. As much as we all enjoyed the King in the Fourth, and as much as we were just blown away by what he did in the playoffs, sober hindsight suggests that he should’ve been shut down long before the post season started.
Now, granted, some of that’s on IT for not being forthright with the training staff, but part of that is on the training staff as well. I think Kyrie’s situation has been handled very differently than IT’s, and in no small part because of how the IT situation ended up playing out.
Now the good news: Stevens unlocked Mook
“Hey, it’s March, right?” the Celtics guard said of the tournament atmosphere that has been driving his team lately.
How the Celtics close out the regular season from here, with 10 games left, is anyone’s guess, with Kyrie Irving scheduled to have a minor knee procedure Saturday without any known timetable for a return. But Portland, arguably the hottest in the Western Conference, gained another measure of respect for these undermanned Celtics.
Led by Morris’ 30-point performance, including another big 3-pointer, the Celtics beat a second Western heavyweight in as many tries with Friday night’s 105-100 victory.
Morris, whose game-breaking 3-pointer beat Oklahoma City Tuesday night at the Garden, uncorked another dagger with 54.8 seconds left Friday night, putting the game away after Jayson Tatum took back the lead for good with a looping drive 34 seconds earlier.
Ah, yes, it’s March–and Brad Stevens has slipped back into Butler mode. Taking his rag-tag bunch of misfits up against whoever’s on the other side of the bracket–I mean, schedule.
The Celtics put lineups on the court last night that would’ve made Sam Hinkie salivate Pavlov style at the extent to which they could be awful and lose games.
And those lineups worked.
Look at the lineup that went on that 15-4 run to start the fourth:
LARKIN: Played in Spain last year
OJELEYE: Rookie and a second rounder to boot.
MONROE: CUT BY THE SUNS! THE SUNS, I tell you, the SUNS!!!
But the centerpiece in this latest stretch has been the play of one Marcus ‘Mook’ Morris.
Marcus has had quite the Evan Turner run this season.
I, for one, was skeptical about bringing him on, as he and his brother had a bit of a history of doing very stupid things (more so Markieff, but…)
And then once he hit the court and turned out to be pretty much what we thought he was as a basketball player–a veritable black hole, a player who has apparently never seen a shot he wasn’t prepared to take once he has the ball in his mitts, and a suspect defender.
Celtics twitter hated Mook.
And then, Stevens & Co. did what they do so well. They figured out how to hide Mook’s liabilities and make the most of his assets.
Honestly, this season would have pretty much gone in the tank if it weren’t for Mook doing what he does within the flow of the game over the past few weeks. With a few exceptions, Morris has kept the Celtics in games, and that’s huge. Yeah, the Celtics might’ve slipped into the playoffs as the second seed even if they finished out the year playing sub-500 ball, but Morris has given the Celtics just a bit of, well, this:
Finally: Evan Turner, still the best at talking to reporters
Hey pop, check this out–I’m about to put my art degree to work. Yeah, it’s only the eighth or ninth time I’ve done something with it over the last 20 years, but still…
Abby Chin was right. Turner was painting with acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is cut/thinned/cleaned with water, as opposed to oil paint, which is rarely used in beginner’s painting classes because it costs a fortune, takes forever to dry, and has to be thinned/cleaned with linseed oil, or something similarly toxic and stinky.
Watercolor and tempera are rarely used on canvas (though there are notable exceptions to this), and require fairly extensive prep work to the surface.
The rest of the links
MassLive: Boston Celtics analysis: Marcus Morris helping team win grimy without Kyrie Irving | Marcus Morris, Boston Celtics stun Portland Trail Blazers, 105-100, with big fourth-quarter comeback | Jaylen Brown injury: Boston Celtics wing progressing, could return Sunday against Sacramento Kings | Boston Celtics rumors: Brad Stevens says team would target perimeter depth with potential hardship exception | Boston Celtics news: Shane Larkin’s minutes restriction lifted, Guerschon Yabusele’s role may increase