The Scouting Report: Boston Celtics

In an attempt to help you get to know the Blazers opponent each night, we are going to post a little bit of a scouting report of each team on the blog before each game. Tonight, it’s the new look, Brad Stevens-led Boston Celtics in Boston at 4:30. The game will be shown on CSNNW and can be heard on the radio on 620 AM. The broadcasts will be simulcast on radio on TV as Blazers radio play-by-play man Brian Wheeler is missing the trip

Projected starting line-up: Jordan “Steez” Crawford, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Kelly Olynyk

New Faces: Olynyk (rookie, Gonzaga), Gerald Wallace, Marshon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, Phil Pressey (rookie from Missouri), Vitor Faverani (rookie from Brazil)

Did someone not tell the Celtics they were supposed to be tanking?

Boston General Manager Danny Ainge was not in the mood to be sentimental over a five year run that netted the league’s most winning franchise their 17th championship. Ray Allen walked to join the Miami Heat the year before and a Rajon Rondo ACL injury last year was the official knockout blow to the Big Three era.

Ainge wasted no time sending Kevin Garnett, career Celtic Paul Pierce and the man thought to replace Allen in Jason Terry along with DJ White to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for THREE first round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018 as well as the option to swap first round picks in 2017. For that King’s ransom, the Celtics took on the expensive contracts of Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries as well as young scorer Marshon Brooks and veteran Keith Bogans.

Kelly Olynyk set the Orlando Summer League on fire and the Celtics made the most under-the-radar coaching move of the offseason by signing Butler Head Coach Brad Stevens and managing to keep it under wraps long enough that their own press release broke the news.

As is usually expected when you trade the pillars of your most successful stretch since the days of Larry Bird for draft picks, the expectation was that the Celtics would tank. For the first three games of the season, it looked exactly like that as the Celtics started 0-3.

However, they turned things around against the expertly tanking 1-8 Utah Jazz at home and won four straight. Their third straight in that stretch was the most improbable with Jeff Green sticking a corner-3 in LeBron James’ face in Miami with 0.6 seconds left.

During their winning streak they’ve also changed their starting line-up, opting for the offensively skilled Olynyk at center over the bigger and more bruising Faverani.

The Celtics are doing well on the defensive end and currently rank ninth in the league in points per 100 possessions. Offensively, just as it has been the last few years in Boston, has been the issue. They rank 23rd in the league in points per 100 possessions and only managed a measly 83 points against the Bobcats in their last game, which they lost at home.

These aren’t the intimidating, wise Celtics of the last five years but they still have some talent and Jeff Green especially can go off for a big game if he gets hot.

Avery Bradley is dangerous, especially as a cutter and Jordan Crawford, although he’s mellowed out his shot volume to start the season is always a threat to get into “STEEZUS” mode and go unconscious. Something the Blazers know all too well:

The Celtics will also be getting back forward Jared Sullinger.

This road trip is going to be more about the Blazers than the teams they play, but the Celtics, as they’ve shown from bouncing back from their 0-3 start won’t be a slouch, especially at home.


Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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