Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Boucher, Quickley, Simmons

Celtics assistant coaches Jay Larranaga and Jerome Allen weren’t with the team for its 124-97 win over the Magic on Friday due to the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN (via Twitter).

Matt Vautour of MassLive.com notes that both coaches prepped the team for the contest remotely. “Those guys were still adding as much value as possible while they’re out,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said. “Those guys were on Zoom calls with us all the time, on Zoom calls with their individuals.”

There’s more out of the NBA’s Atlantic Division:

  • Raptors big man Chris Boucher has enjoyed a much-needed breakout season for Toronto, and he could get even better defensively, per Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. The versatile 6’9″ forward has played a lot of small ball center, but still needs to prepare to defend perimeter players, according to head coach Nick Nurse“Got to get him used to all this switching because he’s going to be out there guarding primary ballhandlers a lot because they’re going to go set with their five-man a lot and if we’re switching it, he’ll end up guarding those guys,” Nurse said of Boucher. “And I think he’s got the speed and quickness and length to do it.” In 12 games for the Raptors, Boucher is averaging a career-best 15.7 PPG on 59.6% shooting from the field and 47.7% shooting from long range, to go along with 6.8 RPG and 2.5 BPG.
  • Despite Immanuel Quickley‘s strong recent play (including a solid 17-point, 8-assist performance in a blowout 105-75 win against the Celtics today), the Knicks are not yet ready to name the rookie point guard their starter over veteran Elfrid Payton, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. “We’re still evaluating,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “So we’ll keep evaluating, we’ll keep working to improve and then we’ll find the best combinations to go forward with. But we’re constantly evaluating and talking about who plays well with whom. And if something can help the team, we’ll do it.’’
  • Derek Bodner of The Athletic analyzes the offensive woes of Sixers point guard Ben Simmons thus far in the 2020/21 season. Simmons has limited most of his shooting output to the paint this year, and frequently prioritizes passing over looking for his own shot.
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12 thoughts on “Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Boucher, Quickley, Simmons

  1. El Don

    Simmons has really dropped a lot his game this year, he needs to start playing better for Philly to do well.
    Also Embiid has been up & down with great games & bad ones.
    Both need to really get to their best level, so far has been a slow start for them, which PHI will pay for if they don’t go back to their usual greatness!

    • washington_bonercats

      The two of them will never work. Should have grabbed Harden.

    • Simmons>Russ

      Slow start for them? Pretty sure Embiid is top 5 in early MVP rankings. Plus they have one of the best records not to mention they lost multiple players with Covid and injuries. I think they are doing a really nice job so far.
      The one negative has been Simmons points per game but other than that I’ve been fine with how it’s gone. Simmons does need to take control of games a little more and score some more from his drives but atleast they seem to be getting results.
      Just the media love trying to decide them. First the Harden trade talks, now its Simmons scoring but they are doing well. Why isn’t the media bashing Toronto and Nick Nurse for their really slow start, or the TWolves with the second worst record even after getting the number 1 pick.

  2. 5-8center

    Gosh Thibs, please start quickley or even rivers, payton is so hard to watch

    • jimmyduz0523

      yeah really, payton is terrible and rivers is not to far behind him.

      • 5-8center

        Come on, next to payton, rivers looks like a young Chris Paul lol. But i really think rivers has been playing good enough

  3. Marty McRae

    Remember when GSW cut Boucher because he didn’t have “good handles” smh they’ve made so many blunders ever since the logo left the org.

  4. Northern Expansion 416

    Boucher is fighting for most improved… It will be tough to get it from likely favorite Christian Wood however

  5. KnickerbockerAl

    Quickly was a nice pick. There’s no need to rush him. Nobody gives a shhh what Knick hater Berman thinks. There’s a new sheriff in town. Thibs will do what he wants to do. It’s a rebuild and it’s been 14 gms. Payton to me is a solid backup for any team. And has an expiring contract. Easy to move or resign. More important to me is getting healthy. Nttilikina and Smith need to play to be evaluated. That’s what this yr is for. Finding out about Knox, Smith. Nttilikina, Payton, Quickly, Toppin, even Randle. Can’t make true decisions until whole team is playing. The prize is building a young core and adding to it. In next yrs draft, 4 picks. Nice win but Celts are down people. Good to see Toppin playing and Quickly stepping up. He gets the PG down this yr. He could be a starter. Frankly I see good ones in the draft. Players are playing for Thibs. And it finally looks like we have a direction. Just keep getting better, keep learning. One more yr in lottery is all I ask. 30 wins is realistic and shows growth. I’m more concerned about trades and who we trade for. Cause that will set up draft and FA mext yr. Trust in Thibs ….

    • Simmons>Russ

      Yeah players have brought Into Thibs ideas and your getting results. Fans need to be patient. Your exactly right this year is about testing the players you have and seeing what their worth is and how good they are. No pressure to make playoffs just play your game and do your best.
      Quickly for me has been great and his potential as a backcourt fit next to RJ Barrett is nice but he’s being playing the scoring 6th man role very well so far. I wouldn’t start him, let him continue to build confidence and do well at his level now and maybe later he gets to try himself out as a starter but he doesn’t need the pressure so early in his career. Just let the kid ball.

  6. Reggie Payne 2

    I agree quickley needs to continue learning from a veteran like payton im impressed,him and toppin are in great position to get better with no pressure applied or immediate expectations. The knicks have a chance to be in position to be elite in next 2yrs when lebron is either retired or almost on the way out.

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