Boston’s rebounding woes are nothing new; but are they fixable?



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WALTHAM, Mass. — During one of his pregame radio interviews in early February, Boston Celtics Jerseys coach Brad Stevens was informed that his team was no longer in last place in the NBA in defensive rebound percentage.

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“We’re not? Did a team drop out of the league?” Stevens deadpanned.

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The Celtics entered the 2016-17 season with the smallest roster in the league. Routinely quizzed on how Boston could overcome the rebounding deficiencies inherent from its lack of size, Stevens would joke that it was unlikely his team was going to endure a growth spurt so his players would simply have to put an increased priority on boxing out and hope guards could help clean up the glass.

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The Celtics finished the season ranked 27th in both defensive (75.3) and total rebound (48.5) percentages. For much of the season, 6-foot-2 guard Avery Bradley led Boston in rebounds per game before Al Horford overtook him late in the year. Even still, Horford’s 6.8 rebounds per game ranked 45th overall in the NBA.

All of that says that rebounding has been an issue for Boston throughout the season. And those struggles were back in the spotlight on Sunday night when the Chicago Bulls Jerseys turned 20 offensive rebounds into 23 second-chance points as part of a 106-102 Game 1 triumph at TD Garden.

The Celtics finished the night by grabbing just 54.5 percent of available defensive rebounds cheap jerseys, a jarringly low number considering the league average is more than 20 percent higher. Boston was actually far more competitive in the second half but still had instances where second-chance opportunities negated otherwise strong first-shot defensive stands.

When his team huddled to watch film on Monday afternoon at the team’s practice facility, Stevens implored his players to initiate contact when shots go up.

“You’re not going to get every defensive rebound, but you’ve got to hit first,” Stevens said. “And you can’t wait to make contact when [Robin] Lopez is running into the paint. If he’s at the charge circle, he’s winning that battle. The same thing if somebody’s running from the corner to get an offensive rebound. You can’t wait until they get into the paint to make contact. You’ve got to block out sooner than that.

“That doesn’t guarantee you’re gonna get it every time, but that gives you a better chance.”

The Celtics’ big men acknowledged that the team’s issues were rather obvious on film.

“There’s just stuff that we can clean up,” starting center Amir Johnson said. “Some guys were just caught staring, looking at the ball, instead of just hitting the body and going and getting it. It’s just all-out effort and you just gotta continue doing your job; the play never stops until a person gets the rebound. Once you do your job defensively, you get in your defensive coverages, and then the shot finally goes out wholesale nba jerseys, sometimes you just get caught staring at the shot like, ‘OK, I’ve done my job.’ But the job isn’t over until you actually get in front of your man and get the ball.

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“It’s a team effort. That’s a big key to winning that game. I thought our half-court defense was pretty good besides [the fact that] it seemed like, if they put up a shot and missed, they got the ball and put the ball back in the basket. Our cheap jerseys half-court defense was definitely up to par. We just gotta rebound.”

Not unlike most teams, the Celtics have pronounced splits in how they rebound in wins versus losses. During the regular season, Boston owned a defensive rebound rate of 76.6 percent in its 53 wins. It dipped to 72.8 percent in its 29 losses.

It’s prudent to remember that defensive rebound rate is not the primary indicator of team success. The Golden State Warriors Jerseys ranked 29th in the NBA in grabbing just 74.9 percent of available defensive rebounds and still won 67 games. Likewise, height isn’t necessarily an excuse for rebounding woes, as the Cleveland Cavaliers Jerseys were the second-shortest team to start the season and finished in the top 12 in defensive rebound percentage.

For Boston, rebounding comes down to effort and commitment. It’s a fairly good indicator of how engaged the Celtics are on a game-to-game basis. Maybe Chicago’s Jimmy Butler summed up rebounding best on Monday after gushing about how Lopez impacted Sunday’s Game 1 win.

“If you want to go get the ball, you’re going to go get the ball. Rebounding is 95 percent effort, 5 percent technique,” Butler said. “Same thing with the defensive part. If you want to do it, you’re gonna do it. If you don’t, you won’t.”

The Celtics must come out committed to rebounding on Tuesday night. The Bulls, post-All-Star break (and post-Taj Gibson trade), ranked in the back half of the league in offensive rebound percentage. Boston isn’t going to get to every rebound, but giving up 16 first-half offensive rebounds, like the Celtics did on Sunday, cannot happen again.

Simply being competitive on the glass is clearly important against the Bulls. In Chicago’s three head-to-head wins over Boston this season, including Sunday, the Bulls outrebounded the Celtics by 17, 19 and 20 overall rebounds, respectively.

Boston absolutely has other issues to address moving forward in this series, especially the question of who will step up when Isaiah Thomas is on the bench (the Celtics were outscored 27-11 without Thomas on Sunday). The Celtics must strive to avoid foul trouble, especially at the wing positions, in order to aggressively defend Butler throughout the game.

Rebounding will be the area most eyes are watching, however. The Celtics knew entering the series that they had to be competitive on the glass and were reminded of that on Sunday.

“[Rebounding] was the game. That’s the game. That’s the series,” Crowder said. “If we don’t rebound, we don’t win the series. It’s simple.”

Stephen Curry explains why he’s locked in but logged off



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OAKLAND, Calif. — With the NBA postseason underway, Golden State Warriors Jerseys All-Star point guard Stephen Curry told ESPN he has curtailed his social-media usage.

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Indeed, to further assist in avoiding “”unnecessary distractions,”” the two-time MVP says he deleted every social media application from his phone before Game 1 of the first-round series against the Portland cheap jerseys Trail Blazers Jerseys.

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We’ve got you covered all the way to the Finals with the latest news, schedules, analysis and more. 2017 NBA Playoffs »

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• Clippers turn on power in Game 2
&#8226 Winners, losers after weekend
• Cavs Big 3 rules Game 2 win
• McCollum, Lillard seek to even score
• Grit, grind and center who shoots 3s
• “”>LeBron’s all-time top playoff games
• Upsets? Series that could surprise
• Experts’ first-round picks: East | West

“When you’re really trying to zone in and keep your focus, you don’t want to have any unnecessary distractions during this point of the season,” Curry told ESPN. “We have goals to accomplish, and you want to make sure you’re giving your all.”

Curry said this is the third consecutive year he has taken this approach cheap jerseys. It’s a routine he’s never disclosed before.

Cleveland Cavaliers Jerseys All-Star forward LeBron James is known for activating what he calls “Zero Dark Thirty-23” before postseason play. The Warriors point guard says he didn’t get the idea from James.

“I didn’t do it because he did it. I’m not reinventing the wheel,” Curry told ESPN. “It’s just a way to help me keep my focus on what’s important.”

James removes himself from the social media sphere entirely, refraining from tweeting and posting pictures. Curry goes about his social media ban a little differently. Moments before each game, Curry typically tweets out “Lock in #DubNation.” He didn’t do that on Sunday. He said he’ll occasionally send out a tweet or a picture, but he won’t log into his accounts to do so.

“I have a way of sending out messages without getting into my accounts,” Curry revealed wholesale basketball jerseys. “That way, I’m not seeing or reading something I’m trying to avoid.”

Curry registered 29 points, five rebounds and four assists in Sunday’s 121-109 victory, leading his team to a 1-0 series lead. Going without social media has apparently paid dividends.

“It’s worked for me so far,” Curry said. “I’m going to stay with it.”

Cavaliers hold off late Pacers rally to win Game 2, take 2-0 series lead



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CLEVELAND — LeBron James said that the Cleveland Cavaliers Jerseys’ meager one-point margin of victory in Game 1 didn’t bother him, so long as the Cavs got the win.

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That said, he saw his team build a big lead again, only for the Pacers to get as close as a two-possession game in Monday’s 117-111 win, which put the Cavs up 2-0 over the Indiana Pacers Jerseys.

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If Pacers superstar Paul George was upset with CJ Miles for taking the potential game-winner from him Saturday, you have to wonder how he felt about Lance Stephenson falling into the foil role Cleveland needed to wake up and play inspired ball, leading to a 19-point Cavaliers lead.

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The Cavs’ masterful third quarter, in which they outscored the Pacers 33-20, really got going when Stephenson was matched with Kevin Love. Cleveland’s All-Star forward took it to Indiana’s wild card.

The third ended with Kyrie Irving tossing in a 3-pointer over Stephenson and jawing at him to punctuate the play he made before heading back to the Cavs’ bench for the quarter break.

When Irving wasn’t scoring on Stephenson, he was unleashing on Jeff Teague much the same way he did each of the last two postseasons when Teague played for the Atlanta Hawks Jerseys.

Irving led all scorers with 37 points. Love was right behind him with 27 points on an exceptionally efficient 6-of-7 shooting and 11 rebounds. James was solid despite a game-high eight turnovers, contributing 25 points cheap jerseys, 10 rebounds and seven assists. James’ teams had previously been 0-3 in the playoffs when he had at least nine turnovers, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

This is the first time that Love, Irving & James have all scored 25 points in the same playoff game. The Cavaliers are now 7-0 when the trio score at least 20 cheap jerseys points each in the postseason.

We’ve got you covered all the way to the Finals with the latest news, schedules, analysis and more. 2017 NBA Playoffs »

• Schedule | BPI odds | Forecast | Vote!
• Winners, losers after opening weekend
• Portis plays game of his life for Bulls
• Isaiah plays through heartbreak
• Beverley leads Rockets in opener
• Beard’s Rockets takes first over Russ
• It’s Dray all day for Warriors’ opener
• “”>LeBron’s all-time top playoff games
• Upsets? Series that could surprise
• Experts’ first-round picks: East | West

Paul George had 32 points to pace Indiana once again, with 14 coming in a 4th quarter that saw the Pacers outscore the Cavs 33-21 and get as close as a four-point deficit with 19.5 seconds left to play.

The Cavs made their move to take charge earlier than they did in Game 1, using an 11-0 run from the end of the first quarter through the start of the second quarter to seemingly grab control. Cleveland went 5-for-8 during the spurt while Indiana was 0-for-4 with two turnovers.

However, it was the Cavs’ turnovers that allowed the Pacers to stick around, cutting a 13-point Cleveland lead down to five. After coughing it up 11 times in Game 1, leading to 19 points for Indiana, the Cavs had 11 turnovers in the first half alone Monday and the Pacers scored 14 points off them. James was the biggest culprit, losing the ball six times to mar an otherwise brilliant 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting, five rebounds and five assists in the first half. Overall, Indiana outscored Cleveland 24-17 on points off turnovers

Iman Shumpert saw his first action of the series starting the second half in place of J.R. Smith, who left the game at halftime with a left hamstring injury. Shumpert quickly made his presence felt, guarding George on one end and hitting a 3 on another to cap a 7-0 run to start the third quarter that put the Cavs back up by 12.

Check out the team site for more game coverage

Check out the team site for more game coverage

Later Shumpert poked the ball away from George and dove to the floor for the loose ball, causing a jump ball to be called. Tristan Thompson approached Shumpert to celebrate his defensive gusto while the guard flexed his biceps to the delight of the crowd wholesale nba jerseys.

The Cavs’ offense was exemplary, shooting 60.3 percent through three quarters and 55.3 percent for the game. Their defense still has some kinks to work out, as the Pacers shot 51.2 percent overall and 8-for-20 (40.0 percent) from 3.

It’s not like the effort wasn’t there on the defensive end. Twice Love set up to take a charge and appeared to have position – first on George and later on Teague – and both times a blocking foul was called on Love. James was called for a technical foul for expressing his displeasure in the second call that went against Love to the refs.

He eventually got one to go his way, drawing a charge on the 6-9, 285-pound Kevin Seraphin in the third quarter – a third quarter that belonged to Love. He scored 10 in the period, including going right at Stephenson in consecutive sequences when being matched with the 6-5 swingman in the post.

Game 3 is Thursday in Indiana.

Bulls’ belief in themselves paid dividends in Boston



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BOSTON — Jimmy Butler always believed in the possibilities.

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As the Chicago Bulls Jerseys meandered through one of the most up-and-down seasons in recent memory, Butler quietly held to the belief that all his team cheap jerseys had to do was get to the postseason and they could start anew. He didn’t care that the Bulls continued losing to some of the worst teams in the league during the last week of the regular season, the All-Star swingman was buoyed by the feeling that with him leading the way, and playoff-tested veterans Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade flanking him on each side, the Bulls had a legitimate chance to do some damage in the postseason.

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After watching the Bulls dominate the Boston Celtics Jerseys throughout long stretches of a 111-97 Game 2 Eastern Conference playoff victory on Tuesday night, Butler is proving to be correct in his assessment.

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The Bulls’ Dwyane Wade rebounded from a poor shooting performance in Game 1 with a 22-point effort on Tuesday night. Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

“”I’m not surprised because everybody’s so locked in right now,”” Butler said after scoring 22 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out eight assists. “”Everybody’s putting in extra work right now, watching film, working on their game, and that’s where your confidence always comes from. We’ve got some great field generals out there in these two guys to help out and these younger guys, and to make sure they’re playing hard at both ends of the floor.””

The Bulls have looked nothing like the eighth-best team in the East, a seed they earned after backing into the postseason with a lackluster 41-41 record. They’ve simply outplayed the top-seeded Celtics throughout most of the first two games of this series cheap nba jerseys. Each time a frazzled Boston team tries to make a run, the Bulls have an answer.

“”You play the 82 games to learn a little bit about yourself,”” Wade said. “”And one thing I learned about this team is through adverse situations, this team sticks together. We had adversity as every team has, and that’s the thing that’s made us closer and stronger together. The credit for this team sticking together through injuries, through everything, putting ourselves in a position to make the playoffs, it goes to everyone, from the coaching staff, to the leaders, to the young guys — everyone did it together.””

We’ve got you covered all the way to the Finals with the latest news, schedules, analysis and more. 2017 NBA Playoffs »

• Schedule | BPI odds | Forecast | Vote!
• The Grizz can’t stop Kawhi Leonard
&#8226 Winners, losers after opening weekend
• Cavs Big 3 rules Game 2 win
• McCollum, Lillard seek to even score
• Grit, grind and center who shoots 3s
• “”>LeBron’s all-time top playoff games
• Upsets? Series that could surprise
• Experts’ first-round picks: East | West

To put the Bulls’ performance in some historical context, there’s only been one other No. 8 seed in history that went on the road and won its first two games. That would be the 1992-93 Los Angeles Lakers Jerseys, who went into Phoenix and earned two victories, then proceeded to drop the final three games of the five-game series.

The Bulls don’t look like a team that is ready to fall back into bad habits, though. The reality is that despite what the seedings say, the Bulls simply look like the better team through the first two games. Wade bounced back after a poor Game 1 showing to score 22 points, while Rondo was an assist shy of a triple-double with 11 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds to go along with five steals wholesale jerseys. The Bulls are playing with a level of trust together on the floor that they haven’t shown consistently all season.

“”We had our backs against the wall in the couple weeks leading into the situation we’re in right now where we had to win,”” Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg explained. “”And our guys did a good job of doing what had to be done to get us into the postseason. So, we’ve been playing high-pressure basketball for several weeks. I think that does help you when you come into playoff time.””

It has certainly seemed to help the Bulls’ role players as they get acclimated to the bright lights of the playoff stage. Two days after Bobby Portis played the game of his young career, scoring 19 points in Game 1, rookie Paul Zipser followed suit by coming out of seemingly nowhere to score 16 points. Combine this with the fact that Robin Lopez continued his steady play with 18 points and eight rebounds and the fact that the Bulls are playing some of their best defense of the season, and it’s easier to understand why they are feeling even more confident. If they can keep getting production from their younger players while Rondo, Wade and Lopez stabilize the starting unit, then Butler can do what he loves to do and take over the game late.

Check out the team site for more game coverage

Check out the team site for more game coverage

“”It’s really simple,”” Butler said. “”When I’m open, I normally shoot the ball. Sometimes when I’m not open, I also shoot the ball. But most of the time, I pass it to the open guy. And when they’re making shots, my job’s a lot easier. People can’t load up on me, and then on top of everything else, these two do a lot of that as well. When they’re attacking, they’re aggressive, they’re getting people involved as well. And getting stops. When we’re getting stops, we’re pretty tough.””

Now the Bulls head back to Chicago for what will surely be a raucous atmosphere in the United Center for Game 3 on Friday. In his 14-year career, Wade has never dropped a series in which his team had a 2-0 lead and the Bulls, led by Butler, Wade and Rondo, don’t expect to blemish that record.

“”You can’t be satisfied,”” Hoiberg said. “”You got to go home and keep playing. This is one of the better road teams in the league. We have to continue to go out and fight, continue to learn, continue to make adjustments and hopefully play well.””

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