Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Just a week ago, Stevens challenged his team, saying the four games prior to the All-Star break were the most important of the season. The Celtics have won three, with the remaining game against the COVID-protocol-ravaged Raptors, who may be missing five rotation players for Thursday’s matchup.
It’s a testament to how quickly a season can turn. The Celtics lost terribly in Atlanta a week ago, as something appeared very wrong with how this team was mentally approaching games. And they have responded with three gutsy wins against teams that pushed them to the limit, which will be beneficial in the long run.
“The two things that they’ve done is they’ve stayed together where they easily could have been pulled apart by the noise,” Stevens said. “You have to be able to resist that at this level when you’re going through the roller coaster of a season. And the second thing is we’ve slept in our bed for five straight days. We’re fresher. We look better. We look more like ourselves, and I don’t think you can discount that, either.
“We didn’t play our best throughout a big stretch. We’re one bounce away from not being 3-0 in our last three games. But you can’t be your best when you’re pulling apart.”
While nearly everyone in the league is looking forward to the All-Star break in this crazy season, it’s a shame the respite is coming as the Celtics are building momentum.
Aside from the points made by Brad, it’s obvious that Kemba Walker (24.8 ppg, 5.9 apg) and Rob Williams are driving this win streak.
While Timelord is seemingly giving us 2-to-3 “did you see that?” lob dunks a night, it’s the little things that are earning him crunch time minutes:
It’s been Williams’ nose for the ball that has been almost as impressive as his dunks. He was on the floor to close out the Indiana Pacers, the first of Boston’s three straight wins, but it was his rebounding down the stretch that was impressively ferocious. Williams, when the team needed to finish off defensive stops, held off Domantas Sabonis and ripped rebounds off the rim.
“One of the things about Rob that sometimes does not get talked about enough is that he’s a competitor,” Stevens said. “He wants to win, he plays hard, goes after rebounds, and he’s learning how to take advantage of what he does best at both ends of the floor.”
Williams was a key to closing out the Clippers, dropping six points, five rebounds, three assists, and a block in 10 fourth-quarter minutes. He also helped Jayson Tatum get going, assisting on Tatum’s only made 3 of the night and finding him for an easy layup.
Stevens must continue to reward Timelord, regardless of how it’s impacting the minutes of Thompson and/or Theis. Rob can do many things that neither TT nor Theis is capable of, even on their best nights.
Related links: Globe – Kemba Walker’s in one of the best stretches of his Celtics career |
On Page 2, the Jays will be launching 3s during AS weekend.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will get the chance to compete against one another this weekend.
Both players will participate in the 2021 NBA 3-Point Contest, the league announced Tuesday. They’ll be joined by Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker, Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine, and Utah Jazz’ Donovan Mitchell.
Tatum and Brown are shooting 36.8 percent and 38.5 percent respectively from long range this season. The C’s stars both are posting career-highs in points per game with 25.2 for Tatum and 25.0 for Brown. It’s their first time competing in the NBA 3-point contest.
I now have a reason to watch the three-point shootout.
Jaylen admitted he refused a dunk contest invitation due to his troublesome knee. I was hoping JB would bypass all events, but I’m guessing team doctors gave him the go-ahead.
My man ✊🏽 https://t.co/G1vvc5FYLs
— Jayson Tatum (@jaytatum0) March 3, 2021