Celtics Rumors

Cavaliers Notes: Love, Beilein, Altman

The frustrations in Cleveland are becoming too much for Kevin Love to hide, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The Cavaliers lost by 47 points last night in Philadelphia, a day after a report that players are unhappy with first-year coach John Beilein. Fedor notes that at one point in the game Love wandered off by himself for a while during a time out after rookie Darius Garland opted to shoot a fadeaway rather than pass the ball to him in the post.

“Just complete and utter frustration,” Love admitted after the game. “I think that’s natural. I really want to compete. I think most guys want to compete. Just really, really frustrated. I don’t know. Getting myself going is just … I don’t know what else I can do.”

Saturday marked the 12th loss in 13 games for the Cavs and the second straight in which a member of the organization commented on Love’s body language. He committed to the team last year by agreeing to a four-year extension after LeBron James left, but finds himself in an unfamiliar role as part of a rebuilding project after making four straight trips to the NBA Finals. A report surfaced Friday that Cleveland is ready to listen to trade offers involving Love.

“I’m really trying to be engaged,” he said. “I’m trying to be a good teammate. I don’t think any of these guys would say that I’m not a good teammate. It’s tough.”

 There’s more Cavaliers news to pass along:
  • Beilein received some encouragement last night from Sixers coach Brett Brown, who understands rebuilding as well as anyone, Fedor adds. Overseeing “the Process,” Brown won a combined 47 games during his first three seasons in Philadelphia, but now has his team in title contention. He promised to text Beilein advice on how to handle the constant losing
  • The Cavaliers can make Beilein’s job a lot easier by getting rid of the veterans who refuse to give him a chance, contends Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. Beilein claims he has changed his college style to adapt to the NBA, but Lloyd notes that he’s really coaching two teams at once — a young core set for the future and seven veterans who are in the final year of their contracts. Lloyd believes general manager Koby Altman already knows which players need to be traded.
  • Frank Urbina of HoopsHype lists the Jazz, Nets, Suns and Celtics as four possible landing spots for Love.

Celtics Expect Gordon Hayward Back By Christmas

The Celtics believe Gordon Hayward will back on the court before their Christmas matchup with Toronto, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Coach Brad Stevens offered the updated prognosis for Hayward, who has been sidelined since November 9 with a fractured bone in his left hand.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a radio interview yesterday that Hayward remains ahead of schedule in his rehab and could return to practice by Saturday, relays Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston. The veteran forward was originally projected to be sidelined for about six weeks.

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself and get too excited about it, but I think he’s progressing really well,” Ainge said in an appearance on  98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich.”

Hayward began conditioning, non-contact and shooting drills last week and consulted with his doctors Monday on FaceTime, Hartwell adds. He has also been working out with the team’s assistant coaches.

Hayward appeared to regain his All-Star form early this season after being fully recovered from a severe ankle injury suffered on opening night of the 2017/18 campaign. He was averaging 18.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists through eight games.

Celtics Assign Poirier To G League

  • The Celtics have assigned rookie center Vincent Poirier to their G League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, the team tweets. The seven-foot French rookie has seen sparse action in Boston, averaging just 4.6 minutes across seven games.

Al Horford Discusses Last Season’s Celtics

Al Horford isn’t surprised that the Celtics are performing better this season than they did last year when he was was still on the team, as he tells Steve Bullpett of the Boston Herald.

“Well, with coach [Brad] Stevens it doesn’t surprise me,” said Horford, who signed a four-year deal with the Sixers last summer. “Coach, you know, he’s going to put everyone in position to be successful. I mean, even the year that we were there that Kyrie [Irving] and Gordon [Hayward] were missing and we had Shane Larkin starting or Semi [Ojeleye], he figured out how to do the most with what he had. So I’m not surprised by this.”

Horford added that last year’s squad simply had too much talent on it and not enough minutes – or basketballs – to go around, which he feels isn’t a sustainable model to win over the long-term.

“Last year was just too much,” Horford said. “There were too many guys for coach to satisfy everyone.” 

The Celtics enter the night with a record of 14-5, putting them slightly ahead of the 15-6 Sixers in the Eastern Conference standings.

Atlantic Notes: Dinwiddie, Hayward, Vegas Odds

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie is having a breakout season, but no matter how well he performs, he’ll likely be relegated back to his sixth-man role once Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert both return from their respective injuries, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes.

“If you don’t roll with it, you will be out the league,” Dinwiddie said. “You don’t have a choice. I could be out here trippin’ and I’ll be gone. If you roll with it, we figure it out and I get to stay and sometimes, every so often, I’ll have like a big game.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • If Irving, LeVert, and Dinwiddie can all stay healthy, the Nets have a powerful backcourt rotation that is only matched by few around the league, as Malika Andrews of ESPN.com relays. “We have no idea what our ceiling is because we are not even close to healthy,” Dinwiddie said. “We really have no idea how good we could be. It is encouraging to know that our floor is continuing to rise.”
  • Before he injured his hand, Gordon Hayward was thriving and it was because of the Celtics‘ commitment to ball movement, Steve Bullpett of the Boston Herald writes. Hayward struggled last season in a slightly different on-court environment. “Yeah, if he gave the ball up, it wasn’t coming back,” said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “I mean, I think it was everybody trying to figure out like how they could earn their opportunities, and there wasn’t enough to go around to feed everybody.”
  • The first quarter of the season has made Vegas bookmakers more optimistic about the Celtics‘ chances of winning the NBA Finals, Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston explains. Boston is listed as 18-to-1 odds in SuperBook USA’s latest offerings. The team was 40-to-1 a month ago.

Marcus Smart Banged Up Again

  • Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been banged up all year, a trend that continued on Sunday when he took a shot to his abdomen while drawing an offensive foul. Smart, who missed the rest of the game, has been reluctant to sit out at all this season, but admitted to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that he may not be able to return right away from his latest injury, which he believes is an oblique issue. A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston explored what it would mean for the C’s if their hard-nosed guard misses some time.

Gordon Hayward Seeking Next Steps In Recovery From Hand Fracture

  • Celtics forward Gordon Hayward will have another meeting with his doctor on Monday to determine the next steps in his recovery process, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link). Hayward has missed the past three weeks due to a fractured hand, with his meeting on Monday set to take place over FaceTime, coach Brad Stevens said.

Celtics Notes: Walker, Hayward, Brown, Waters

Kemba Walker didn’t find it remarkable that he was able to be a difference maker in Wednesday’s win over the Nets five days after spraining his neck, relays Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Walker scored 39 points and explained afterward that he recovered quickly from an injury that many feared was serious.

“I’ve been over it,” he said. “I mean, I could have played last game, honestly. But if I’m on the court, I’m on the court. That’s really it. I wasn’t out there thinking about anything. I wanted to win.”

Walker refused to get into the controversy involving Kyrie Irving, who was the target of chants throughout the game even though he wasn’t with his team because of an injured shoulder. Walker appreciated “MVP” support from Celtics‘ fans, but refused to say anything bad about the man he replaced in the Boston backcourt.

“I don’t really pay attention to the Kyrie stuff,” he said. “That’s just the fans and how they feel. That’s not something I’m really paying close attention to. And of course the MVP chants are really great. It’s always a great feeling to have support from your fan base, and I most definitely appreciate this fan base.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Nearly three weeks after breaking a bone in his left hand, Gordon Hayward feels ahead of schedule in his recovery, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. A timetable hasn’t been set for Hayward, who was projected to be sidelined for six weeks after having surgery November 11. He participated in shooting drills earlier this week, tweets Nicole Yang of The Boston Globe.
  • Jaylen Brown has raised his game in the wake of Hayward’s injury, Blakely writes in a full story. Brown, who received a four-year extension last month, has averaged 19.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per night since Hayward got hurt. “We have a next-man-up mentality around here,” Brown said. “When someone goes down, it’s an opportunity for someone else to step up. Some nights, it’s gonna be me. Other nights, it might be someone else. The thing is, you just have to make sure you stay ready and when your time comes, make the most of it. That’s basically what I’m trying to do when I’m out there; do whatever I can to help the team win.”
  • Tremont Waters admits being nervous during his NBA debut Monday, relays Tom Westerholm of MassLive. Despite shooting 2-of-7, Waters had a plus-20 rating for the game. “It’s a surreal feeling,” he said. “Kids dream of this moment, and to be able to be in this position, to go from the G League, obviously I’m working on my game, to come to the NBA level and to help the team actually get a win definitely feels good, but I’m not satisfied with it. Just got to keep working and everything else will definitely play itself out.”

Kyrie To Miss Celtics Rematch; Fall Sidelined With Bone Bruise

After missing Wednesday’s game in Boston, Nets point guard Kyrie Irving has also been ruled out of Friday’s rematch with the Celtics in Brooklyn, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. Irving, who continues to deal with a right shoulder impingement, will miss his eighth consecutive game as a result of the injury.

The Nets and Celtics face one another four times this season, but the next two games won’t take place until after the All-Star break. Irving’s first opportunity to play his old team will be on March 3, when the Nets travel to Boston again for a prime-time showdown on TNT.

The Nets did get some good injury news on Thursday, as the team announced that center DeAndre Jordan has been listed as probable for Friday’s game vs. the Celtics after missing Brooklyn’s last two contests.

  • Celtics rookie big man Tacko Fall was diagnosed with a right knee bone bruise this week while playing for the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s G League affiliate (Twitter link). Fall is off to a good start in Maine, with 15.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 2.7 BPG in six games (24.0 MPG), but he’ll miss at least the next week or two, according to the team.

Kyrie Irving Hears Boston Heckling From Miles Away

Kyrie Irving didn’t make the trip to Boston on Wednesday as his team took on the Celtics. Despite his absence, the TD Garden was filled with anti-Irving chants and the streets of Boston were filled with posters calling the point guard a coward. Irving heard the heckling from miles away.

“It happens all the time and Tonight just shows how Sports/Entertainment will always be ignorant and obtrusive,” Irving wrote in a lengthy Instagram post. “It’s one big SHOW that means very little in the real world,” Irving posted on social media (via Brian Lewis of the New York Post).

The Celtics will take on the Nets again on Friday (in Brooklyn this time) and Irving, who is nursing a shoulder injury, has a chance to play in that matchup. While he won’t get a chance to see many of his former fans, he will get a chance to connect with old teammates and his former coach Brad Stevens, who defended the point guard before Wednesday’s contest.

“That’s one of the things that, unfortunately, when you’re really, really good at something, the level of scrutiny is even higher,” Stevens said. “He’s one of the best players in the NBA. The level of scrutiny is unfair, but it comes with the territory of all those guys. That’s why it’s so important that we constantly remind ourselves of how good they are.”