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Sports Celtics head into off-season focused on future, not ending

03:21  29 september  2020
03:21  29 september  2020 Source:   msn.com

NBA playoff bracket 2020: Updated TV schedule, scores, results for the conference finals

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– The Boston Celtics ’ season came to an end Thursday night, but the grind has just begun for the organization’s front office as it prepares for what is expected to be a very active offseason . President of basketball operations Danny Ainge and his crew have many avenues they can explore this summer

"And my focus this season is winning a championship with the Boston Celtics . He said Friday that the Celtics still remain "at the head of the race" regarding free agency, though he didn't offer "Feeling emotionally invested, coming off an injury last season , trying to prove something, trying to be very

Brad Stevens standing on a court with a racket © Provided by The Canadian Press

BOSTON — Jayson Tatum emerged as a bona fide star, Jaylen Brown showed he can be a consistent presence in the lineup and Kemba Walker helped the Celtics put the failed Kyrie Irving experiment behind them.

But following their Eastern Conference finals loss to Miami, it’s clear there is still work to do in Boston after the Celtics squandered their best opportunity yet under coach Brad Stevens to make it to the NBA Finals.

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The Boston Celtics ' Tacko Fall received a standing ovation just for getting into his first NBA game. Fans have fallen for the rookie big man, but his future with the team is far from certain.

But ultimately, this Celtics season will be remembered because of the growth of their young players. While the head coach deserves all the credit he has received for the job he’s done in Boston, he would be the first to tell Which is why Celtics fans should appreciate the season that just came to an end .

Stevens said he heads into the off-season lamenting only the outcome and not the effort by his players during the abnormal season.

“My regret is not what we put in. My regret is not how we prepared or worked or how hard our guys worked or how committed they were to playing and staying together,” he said. “You look back at those first couple of games (against Miami) and it put us in a tough spot. I just think that ultimately we had our chances and we didn’t take advantage of it enough.”

The Celtics returned from the COVID-19-caused hiatus and emerged as one of the hottest teams in the Florida bubble, winning five of their eight seeding games entering the playoffs.

They then swept the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round and held off the defending champion Toronto Raptors in seven games to advance to the conference finals — all without Gordon Hayward, who was sidelined in the opening game of the Philly series with a sprained right ankle.

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Last season the Sedin twins got a heroes send off in their final games with the Vancouver Canucks. "With my future and things like that, that’s something I’ll think about after the season ," Edler said The defenceman flexed his current no-trade clause at the deadline six weeks ago. "At the end of the year

The Celtic Football Club (/ˈsɛltɪk/ SEL-tik) is a Scottish professional football club based in Glasgow, which plays in the Scottish Premiership.

Despite big efforts from Tatum, Brown and Walker, who all averaged 20 or more points per game in the playoffs, Hayward’s absence was felt in the back-to-back losses to open the series against the Heat, as the Celtics struggled to score against Miami’s athletic front line.

That combined with uncharacteristic lapses in defence contributed to them being unable to close out games in the 4-2 series loss.

But unlike in previous seasons, the issues were situational and don't seem to be systemic. That's something to build on for a team expected to remain a contender in the East next season.

“We got to use this fuel to fuel us to come back stronger, better, mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically, all of it,” Marcus Smart said. “We’ve got to use it to our advantage to come back. It’s over. We can’t change the past. We can only get ready for the future.”

It’s also why Tatum said he doesn’t believe there needs to be wholesale changes.

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Even in hindsight, the Toronto Raptors have no regrets. They took their shot in trading for Kawhi Leonard a year ago, knowing the partnership could be short-lived. It was a low-risk gamble. His contractual status – in addition to his health concerns – was factored into the price.

For the first time in 20 years, the Seattle Mariners will begin a season without Ichiro Suzuki or Felix Hernandez on the opening day roster. When it all comes together, coupled with the plan to supplement in free agency, the Mariners believe their blueprint will prove successful.

“I believe in this group. I think we were capable. We had more than enough to get the job done. We just let a couple slip away,” he said. “A lot of guys got so much better this year and throughout the season, so much better from last season. So just to see guys continue to grow and get better, it’s a lot of fun. It was fun this year.”

GOOD FIT

Irving’s tumultuous two seasons in Boston almost unraveled the chemistry that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge spent building within the team's young core.

But Ainge appears to have found his point guard for the foreseeable future.

Walker signed with Boston hoping to play in meaningful games. He seized that opportunity this post-season, averaging 19.6 points and 5.1 assists per game.

“You just have to learn how to grow,” he said. “We’re going to have to figure out how to win those games down the stretch. But we got time. ... I thought we fought hard. That’s all you can ask for. I have a lot of respect for the guys that I play with."

ROSTER MOSTLY INTACT

The Celtics are on good roster footing for next season, with only three potential free agents this off-season.

Crowder, Olynyk see parallels between Spoelstra, Stevens

  Crowder, Olynyk see parallels between Spoelstra, Stevens LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Jae Crowder will tell anybody who asks that the Miami Heat are extremely well-prepared for whatever comes their way in the Eastern Conference finals. He can say the same about the Boston Celtics, too. Crowder and fellow Heat teammate Kelly Olynyk are both in the East title series for the second time. Their first time was in 2017 — when they were Boston teammates under coach Brad Stevens. And it isn’t hard for Crowder to see the similarities between Stevens and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “Oh, the No. 1 thing that sticks out to me is the attention to detail,” Crowder said. “Both coaches have preached that and pushed that with their teams, respectively.

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Head to Our NBA News Section to Stay up to Date on Big Trades Before the Deadline! Even after all of the All-Star festivities have ended , the city of New Orleans continues to be the talk of the NBA world. Toronto and Charlotte have high hopes to end losing streaks heading into All Star break.

Hayward and centre Enes Kanter both have player options, and the team must decide whether to pick up Semi Ojeleye’s fourth-year option.

Considering Hayward’s injury history, it’s unlikely he would give up a $34.2 million guarantee to test the free-agency waters. Kanter was solid off the bench but could go elsewhere in search of more than the roughly $5 million he’d make next year.

NEW DEAL FOR TATUM?

Coming off his first All-Star season, in which he led the team in scoring in both the regular season and playoffs, Tatum could possibly get a long-term deal. But he doesn’t become a restricted free agent until after next season, so there’s still time.

Tatum said he isn’t concerned about it.

“This was a hell of a year and I enjoyed it and I’m appreciative of everybody," he said. “But at the end of the day, this was fun. I’m not really thinking about the other stuff right now.”

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Kyle Hightower, The Associated Press


Video: Herro is clutch in 4th quarter as Heat eliminate Celtics (cbc.ca)

Celtics’ singular goal: Stop Heat 3’s to force Game 7 .
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — There have been two undeniable truths about the Miami Heat this season. They must make 3’s to win. They aren’t invincible with sizable leads. The Boston Celtics have scouting and analytics teams that undoubtedly know these trends. But, really, so would anyone who simply can read a boxscore. Take away Miami’s 3’s, and the Heat are easier to beat. The Celtics proved that again in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals when they extended their season with a victory — and will aim to take the same tact Sunday night when they meet the Heat again in another must-win for Boston.

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