Kyrie Irving helps Celtics pull away to beat Grizzlies

December, 16, 2017
Dec 16

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Kyrie Irving scored 20 points, Jayson Tatum had 19 points and nine rebounds and the Boston Celtics pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 102-93 on Saturday night.

Al Horford added 15 points for Boston. The Celtics shot 49 percent, including 14 of 30 (46.7 percent) from outside the arc.

Marc Gasol led Memphis with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Tyreke Evans added 25 points, and Dillon Brooks had with 14 points, hitting a season-best four 3-pointers.

After Memphis used a 21-point third quarter by Gasol to take a 73-71 lead after three, the Celtics opened the final frame with the first 16 points for an 87-73 lead. That put the game out of reach as Memphis lost its 17th in the last 19.

Gasol got untracked in the early part of the third, scoring 10 points before the midway point of the frame. That pulled Memphis even with the Celtics.

And then Gasol kept scoring, converting 8 of 10 shots and tallying 21 points in the frame.

That helped Memphis take a 73-71 lead heading to the fourth. But the Grizzlies couldn't maintain the momentum missing its first seven shots as Boston rebuilt the lead to double digits.

The Celtics shot well early, hanging around 60 percent through the early stages of the second quarter. That, combined with missing only two of their first seven shots from outside the arc, helped the Boston margin swell to 21 points.

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Jayson Tatum receives the outlet pass and climbs the ladder to throw down the emphatic one-handed jam for the Celtics in the fourth.

Marcus Smart drives through the lane and hits a trailing Kyrie Irving for the up-and-under layup for the Celtics.

BOSTON -- Kyrie Irving knows plenty about adversity. The fluorescent, multicolored sneakers he wore on Friday night -- the debut of Nike's Kyrie 4 "Confetti" -- were born from the colored paper that stuck to his shoe as he walked off the floor at Oracle Arena after the Golden State Warriors defeated Irving's Cleveland Cavaliers and claimed the 2017 NBA title in Game 5 of the Finals in June.

All over those sneakers are motivational quotes that reference adversity and how "you don't want to create any excuses." The shoes serve as a reminder of the pain of falling short of a goal and reaffirm why Irving chose to embark on a new challenge this past summer.

So in the aftermath of Friday's 107-95 loss to the Utah Jazz, the third loss in the past five outings for the Celtics, Irving passed on a chance to blame Boston's schedule for the team's struggles and stressed that this team will face much bigger challenges should it continue on a path toward some of its loftiest goals.

"It's just you see it as a test. That's all it is. Unwavering belief is what I'm always, always aware of," Irving said. "So as long as I can echo that to our teammates, and our coaching staff echoes it to us, then we'll be fine. It's all part of growing as a team, as a new developing team.

"The way we started and what we're going through now, there's going to be times like this. And this is nothing yet. I guarantee it. It's nothing yet."

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BOSTON -- Celtics forward Gordon Hayward visited TD Garden on Friday night to watch his former team play his current one, and he reaffirmed that a return this season is possible.

Hayward, who got out of his walking boot on Wednesday, less than two months after fracturing his left ankle in Boston's season opener in Cleveland, made only his second known appearance at TD Garden this season, with hopes of interacting with former teammates on the Utah Jazz.

Asked if there was any chance he could return this season, Hayward echoed what he said earlier this week by noting that he's not ruling it out.

"My mind is open to that," Hayward said of a possible return during this campaign. "I'm trying to get back as fast as I can. It all depends on how I heal. I'm taking it day by day, goal by goal. We'll see what happens."

Hayward signed a four-year, $128 million deal with the Celtics over the summer. Jazz fans -- and even Hayward's former teammates -- were left stung by his departure, particularly with the way the news leaked first through an ESPN report, before Hayward eventually confirmed it in a sprawling blog post.

Hayward was asked if he had any regrets about his departure.

"No, I don't regret anything," he said. "I, unfortunately, got injured, but happy to be here in Boston. Happy to be a part of this team."

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Gorbert, Favors hurt in Jazz's 107-95 win over Celtics

December, 15, 2017
Dec 15

BOSTON -- Ricky Rubio had 22 points, Donovan Mitchell added 17 points, nine assists and six rebounds, and the Utah Jazz beat the Boston Celtics 107-95 on Friday night.

Jonas Jerebko and Rodney Hood also finished with 17 points for the Jazz, who snapped a four-game losing streak. It was Utah's first victory in Boston since 2008, a span of nine games.

But the win came at a cost.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert left the game early in the first quarter with a left knee injury after teammate Derrick Favors fell backward into his leg. Gobert was able to walk off the court on his own power, but went straight to the locker room and did not return.

The second quarter brought more injuries. First, Boston's Daniel Theis left with a facial injury. Later, Jaylen Brown of the Celtics caught Favors with an incidental elbow, leaving him bleeding from his left eye and Brown from his elbow. Favors received six stitches and did not return.

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 33 points. Al Horford added 21 points and seven assists.

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Kyrie Irving crosses Ricky Rubio and makes the sweet 15-footer.

Jaylen Brown makes a clean steal and takes it the other way for the big jam.

Who is the NBA's best at hitting the most difficult shots?

December, 14, 2017
Dec 14

Who is the most Kobe player in today's NBA?

No one embraced the challenge of taking hard shots quite like Kobe Bryant. Single-, double- or triple-teamed -- regardless of whether or not a teammate was open in the corner and regardless of whether or not shots were falling -- the Mamba mentality almost demanded that the harder the shot, the more likely he was to shoot.

He's among the best difficult-shot-makers the game has ever seen. And thanks to player-tracking data, we can quantify shot selection and efficiency to look at today's players and see who most resembles Bryant as the Los Angeles Lakers get ready to retire both of his numbers next week.

So, who takes the hardest shots now? And beyond simple volume, who are the best tough-shot-makers in the modern game?


When discussing Jaylen Brown being able to play without needing to wear goggles, Brad Stevens sneaks a joke in his answer.

Kyrie Irving goes off for 33 points in the Celtics' 124-118 home win over the Nuggets.

Aron Baynes scores 17 points as Celtics beat Nuggets 124-118.

Irving's 33 lifts Celtics past Nuggets 124-118

December, 13, 2017
Dec 13

BOSTON -- Kyrie Irving had 33 points and the Boston Celtics held on for a 124-118 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

Irving added seven assists. It was his eighth game this season with 30 or more points. Jaylen Brown finished with 26 points and five rebounds.

The 124 points was a season-high for Boston. The Celtics shot a season-high 60 percent from the field.

There were eight ties and six lead changes, but Boston never surrendered the lead in the second half.

Gary Harris led the Nuggets with a career-high 36 points and six assists. Jamal Murray added 28 points and 10 assists.

The Nuggets went on a 13-2 run to tie the game at 85 in the third quarter. Boston responded in the fourth, using a 9-0 run to open a 106-94 lead.

Denver's Nikola Jokic sat out his seventh straight game with a left ankle sprain.

Celtics forward Al Horford had the night off to rest a right knee bruise.


Nuggets: Will Barton sat out with a lower back bruise. ... Denver connected on their first seven field goal attempts.

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Kyrie Irving
24.2 4.9 1.3 32.1
ReboundsA. Horford 7.9
AssistsA. Horford 5.4
StealsK. Irving 1.3
BlocksA. Horford 1.0