Noonan: The Celtics Exceeded Expectations, But Are On The Path To Contend For ‘Banner No. 18’

NBA: Boston Celtics at Detroit Pistons

Isaiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics are close to becoming title contenders for the next few seasons. (PHOTO CREDIT: CSNNE.com)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

As we all know, the Boston Celtics overachieved this season, taking that ‘so-called’ next-step with an impressive Game 7 win earlier this week against the Washington Wizards to secure a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Players like Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Avery Bradley and yes, Kelly Olynyk, have made impressive contributions for the Green and White over the past few weeks.

However, we all know this crew is not ready to contend with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Instead, we, the Celtics fans, have witnessed another brick being added to the foundation. Danny Ainge’s process is slowly coming to fruition, which means the Green and White are inching closer to their ultimate goal of ‘banner number 18.’

It will come, I promise, but it won’t be this season. Maybe it will be next season or the year after, but the Celtics, who certainly exceeded expectations this spring, have proven they deserve a spot at the ‘big boys’ table with Cleveland, Golden State and San Antonio.

And while the outcome of this current series certainly favors the Cavaliers – yes, Cleveland dominated the opening game last night, downing the Celtics, 117-104 – Boston must at-least show some fight to keep the excitement on Causeway Street going into next season.

What the Celtics do following the Cleveland series is an unknown. Yes, there have been speculation, thoughts, tweets and opinions about the Green and White dealing their number one pick or perhaps luring Paul George or Gordon Hayward to Boston, but nothing is official.

If I were Danny Ainge, I would consider trading the top pick or perhaps selecting Markelle Fultz (Washington) or Lonzo Ball (UCLA). I would also be open to welcoming drafting Josh Johnson (Kansas) or Jayson Tatum (Duke) to Boston, too.

For now, just like many of you, I am going to enjoy this current run by the C’s. Yes, it maybe painful at time – who doesn’t want to see Thomas and his teammates defeat ‘The King’ and last year’s champions, but in the back of my mind – like many – I know this is just the beginning of what should be an exciting few years of Celtics basketball.

The future is promising, Green and White fans, so enjoy the remainder of the series and get set for what should be an exciting offseason.

Daily Noontime – May 25, 2012

Jon Lester will be on the bump Friday for the Boston Red Sox! (Photo Credit: Chowdaheadz.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Happy Friday to everyone, and welcome into the final Daily Noontime of the week! Let’s kick-off Memorial Day Weekend with some news and headlines!

* The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays will begin their three-game series on Friday at Fenway Park — Jon Lester opposes Alex Cobb — first pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM.

* According to various reports — Bobby Valentine strongly believes that if the Sox continue to play the way they’ve played the past 20 games, they’ll win the championship. Boston is 18-12 since blowing a nine run lead to the New York Yankees on April 21, which is the third best record in the American League behind Baltimore (20-10) and Tampa Bay (19-11).  If the Sox continue on this particular path, they’d finish their current campaign with 93 wins.

* The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers will conclude their Eastern Conference semi-final series on Saturday at 8PM at the TD Garden. Boston has won three of five meetings against Philadelphia in the seventh game dating back to 1965.

* Sources confirmed on Thursday that Avery Bradley will need shoulder surgery to repair “small tears that have compromised the structure of his ailing left shoulder.”

Daily Noontime – May 8, 2012

Felix Doubront helped Boston return to the winning ways on Monday, as the Sox defeated the Royals, 11-5! (Photo Credit: SB Nation)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Good Tuesday to everyone, and welcome into yet another edition of the Daily Noontime! Let’s kick-start the day with the news and headlines from the state of Massachusetts!

* Boston’s Felix Doubront halted the Red Sox five-game losing streak, as they defeated the Kansas City Royals on Monday, 11-5. Will Middlebrooks hit his second home run as a big leaguer, while Kelly Shoppach recorded his first triple of the season.

* The Red Sox are now 12-16, 8-6 on the road, and will attempt to double their current winning streak on Tuesday when Daniel Bard faces-off against Danny Duffy at 8:10pm.

* The Boston Celtics will attempt to conclude their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday — tip is scheduled for 8:00pm.

* Head coach Doc Rivers gave his team the day off on Monday, so the Green and White could catch a flight to Atlanta earlier than Tuesday. Paul PierceRay Allen and Avery Bradley needed that extra day to rest, as all three players are nursing an injury.

Daily Noontime – May 7, 2012

Paul Pierce paced the Celtics with 24 points on Sunday, which helped Boston capture Game No. 4 against Atlanta! (Photo Credit: Cleveland.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

It’s a brand new week, which means … the Daily Noontime! Here are some headlines and news from the best city in the world…Boston!

* The Boston Celtics are one game away from knocking out the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the NBA playoffs, as the Green and White earned an impressive, 101-79 victory. Paul Pierce paced all scorers in Game No. 4 with 24 points, while Rajon Rondo concluded the contest with 20 points and 16 assists.

* Despite leading his team in points, Pierce sustained a left knee injury during shoot around on Sunday, which left his status for Game No. 4 up in the air. However, he did play, but aggravated his knee, which means his status for Game No. 5 on Tuesday is uncertain. Also, Avery Bradley, who dislocated his shoulder during Friday’s contest, finished Sunday’s game with six points, one rebound and one steal.

* The Boston Red Sox woes continued on Sunday, as the Baltimore Orioles concluded their three-game series sweep with a 9-6 win in 17 innings.Clay Buchholz lasted 3.2 innings, and surrendered seven hits, five earned runs and three home runs. Will Middlebrooks hit his first career home run in a Sox uniform, while David Ortiz recorded two hits and double in the loss.

* The Sox have now dropped five out of their last six contests, and will attempt to rebound on Monday when they travel to Kansas City for an 8:10pm first pitch — Felix Doubront opposes Jonathan Sanchez.

* Last, but certainly not least, New England Patriots left tackle Matt Light is scheduled to announce his retirement on Monday. He issued a statement to the media on Sunday, and will meet with reporters at Gillette Stadium to wrap up his 11-year career with the Patriots.

Rivers On Celtics Playoffs, Rondo’s One-Game Suspension

Doc Rivers applauded Paul Pierce’s effort in Game No. 2 against the Atlanta Hawks! (Photo Credit: MassLive.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers joined Sports Radio WEEI 93.7FM/850AM on Thursday to talk about his team’s first round series against the Atlanta Hawks, and Rajon Rondo’s one-game suspension, too.

On the dynamic of Pierce-Rivers: “I don’t always just come out and say it. Paul [Pierce] knew it because we changed about four sets, all four sets were all Paul, and shoot around, and in the practice we went through our skeleton offense and we went through 10 plays and they were all Paul. So, I didn’t think I had to say a lot. When you do that it’s clear where the ball is going. Whenever I do something like that I think it’s more important that the other four [on the floor] know what the coach’s thought is and not Paul. Paul knows anyway, [and] thinking, ‘wow,’ this play’s for me, that play’s for me, this is nice. [Overall], I just thought it was really important that we worked on all this spacing, and everyone else knew it. The great part about Avery [Bradley] is Avery understands like who he is, and what he does for our team, and he doesn’t really want to handle the ball too much. He knows what he can and can’t do, so he embraced it whole heartedly, so it was easy to do.”

On the play of Pierce in Game No. 2: “Paul rarely talks about having a bad game, I thought that was interesting in between game one and two. He basically said, I have to play better, and I was telling our staff [that] I wasn’t sure what that was translate into because he didn’t do that very often.”

On the NBA Playoff pressure: “I don’t know if we like it or they like it, [but] they embrace it. It doesn’t bother them. I think maybe another way – and in some ways they look like they enjoy it at times. This team – I don’t know how good we are or what we’re going to do, but we do dumb things at times that gets us in trouble, and then we tend to play well when that happens. It’s just an interesting group of guys.”

On Rondo’s play in Game No. 3: “I don’t want him to try and do too much, and try and force himself on the game, just let it come to him. I was really happy after the [first game] we basically stated to him we’re going to get your back, and that’s what you should say, but that doesn’t mean [you’ll] always do it, and it happened. But, I was really happy going onto the bus; Rondo was staying outside the bus door waiting for every teammate, and to shake their hand and say, ‘thank you.’ [And] it was really cool to see him do that. He waited there for each guy and just shook his hand and said; ‘thank you,’ and you could tell that he was really emotional about it, so it was really nice. Adversity sometimes bonds and makes your team continue to grow, and I think we had a lot of that this year, so it’s been good.”         

On Rondo’s Game No. 2 Suspension: “Well, number one you protect him, and number two you talk to him, and just try to get him to understand [that] you can’t do it, number one, and go talk about it. Players more in this day in time tend not to want to talk when things happen [badly], and I try to always get my guys to do the exact opposite – go and talk, get it over with, say you’re sorry and let’s move on, and we’re probably not going to have you the next game.”

On Rondo’s Suspension – Teaching Moment: “I think anything like that has to be. That doesn’t mean it teaches him the point where he’ll never do it again. He’s an emotional kid, he really is, but I think each time you do it, it helps the next time that you may not do it.”

On the future of Rondo – No Big-3: “I don’t worry about it right now, but that is something in the future that Rondo’s growth will be important [for the future of the Celtics]. And especially because he is emotional, and his intensity is great, but when you’re the best player on the team, and at time he maybe the only one. He has to have that understanding that no matter what happens the one guy that we can’t lose is you, and so that is something he’ll have to understand further and better as the years go on.”