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.

Noontime Sports The Podcast: Episode 19 (Dan Libon | Patch.com)

noontime-sports-podcastBy NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports

Ah, Noontime Sports the Podcast has officially returned. And for our 19th episode, Matt Noonan welcomes an old friend and colleague of the blog, Dan Libon, who is a reporter for Patch.com.

Noonan and Libon reminisce about their college radio show Get In The Game and their first few years of covering sports for NoontimeSports.com.

Additionally, the two discuss Libon’s current role with Patch, which includes covering the New England Patriots – what is that like, Dan?

Finally, both Noonan and Libon voice their thoughts on what Boston sports team will celebrate a title (hopefully) this year or next year.

Make sure to follow Dan on Twitter (@DLibon)!

Noontime Sports is now on SoundCloud, so make sure to become a fan of our page today! 

Sunday Column: It Is Time To Pump The Breaks On Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown was the third overall pick in this year's NBA Draft. (Photo Credit: Boston.com)
Jaylen Brown was the third overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. (Photo Credit: Boston.com)

By Matt Noonan 

I think it is time to pump the breaks on Jaylen Brown.

Seriously, let’s stop antagonizing this individual and see what happens when he competes for the Boston Celtics this season.

Since being selected third overall in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Green and White, Brown has been insulted by die-hard Green Teamers that are desperate for Banner 18.

I am a Celtics fan. I was born and raised in Boston – well, technically born in Boston, but grew up outside the city – and understand the immediate need for championships. And since the New England Patriots began winning Super Bowls, the need for additional hardware and celebrations on Boylston Street have increased.

As of today – Sunday, June 26 – we don’t know what Brown can do for the Celtics or what the Celtics can do for Brown – no play on UPS there, I promise! – but until he steps on the court and sprints up and down the parquet, there is no need to barrage this young man.

Following an introductory press conference last week, Brown exhibited his frustration by telling members of the media he is ready to ‘rip someone’s head off.’

Will he rip someone’s head off? Doubt it, but make sure you wear Celtics gear when walking around or near the Boston Garden.

According to NBADraft.net, Brown’s play should be identical to Jimmy Butler, which should excite Celtics fans – how many times have we heard Butler’s name when it comes to trade talks? We won’t know if this comparison is true until we see him compete for the Green and White.

In addition to the comparison of Butler, Brown has been touted as a strong, physical down-low player, as well as someone that can go toe-to-toe with ‘the best players.’

Maybe Brad Stevens will tell him to guard LeBron James or Steph Curry next season?

We can go round and round about the selection of Brown or what he will or won’t do for this organization. Yet, until he competes – or plays one or two series – there is no need to antagonize the former Cal Bear forward.

Brown could become a cornerstone of this organization – maybe he’ll join the Celtics Mount Rushmore of Paul Pierce, Bill Russell and Larry Bird – but again, until we see him compete, let’s slow down the criticism and focus our attention on perhaps luring Kevin Durant to Boston.

Could you imagine the tandem of Durant and Brown? Could become the greatest tandem in the league’s history.

Boston 13s Prepares For USA Rugby League Championship (VIDEO)

By NoontimeSports.com 

BOSTON, Mass. – The Boston 13s rugby team clinched a spot in the upcoming USA Rugby League Championship, which will take place on Saturday, August 29 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Boston defeated Philadelphia, 20-12, en route to a North Conference championship, and will play Atlanta – a team that is currently in its second year of competition. Atlanta defeated the CFL Warriors, 32-28, to capture the South Championship.

According to Atlanta’s team page, this will be the initial meeting between the two teams. Last season, Atlanta earned a spot in the USARL Final, but fell to Philadelphia, 30-18.

Boston’s last appearance in the championship occurred in 2012, however, the squad was unable to capture the league crown.

For more information on the Boston 13s rugby team – HOP HERE

For more information on USA Rugby League – HOP HERE

Frozen Four: BU, Providence Advance To NCAA D1 Championship

Boston University's Jack Eichel netted a pair of goals on Thursday evening, while registering one assist as the Terriers defeated North Dakota, 5-3. (Photo Credit: CBS Sports)
Boston University’s Jack Eichel netted a pair of goals on Thursday evening, while registering one assist as the Terriers defeated North Dakota, 5-3. (Photo Credit: CBS Sports)

By Matt Noonan 

BOSTON, Mass. – A pair of Hockey East teams will compete on Causeway Street on Saturday evening at the TD Garden as Boston University and Providence College earned Frozen Four semifinal victories on Thursday evening.

The Friars, who competed in the first semifinal match, defeated Nebraska-Omaha (4-1), while the Terriers skated past North Dakota (5-3).

BU’s Jack Eichel clinched the victory for the Terriers late in the third period when he sailed a shot into an open North Dakota net from behind the face-off circle, which halted a late rally.

Eichel opened the scoring for the Terriers, netting a back-handed shot off a rebound before Brandon Hickey doubled the Red and White’s advantage with a strike at 19:12 in the first period.

North Dakota sliced the deficit 44 seconds into the second frame when Luke Johnson slipped the puck past Matt O’Connor, but the Terriers responded with back-to-back tallies from A.J. Greer and Doyle Somerby that provided BU with a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes of hockey.

Troy Stecher and Connor Gaarder closed the gap for North Dakota at 12:10 and 16:17, respectively, in the third period, but that would be the closest they would get to the Hockey East champions. O’Connor deflected 33-of-36 shots, while North Dakota’s Zane McIntyre turned away 23-of-27 attempts.

Providence’s Nick Saracino led the Friars with three-points (one goal and two assists) and set-up the game’s first and second tallies, which were recorded by Noel Acciari and Mark Jankowski. Saracino eventually located the back of the net in the third period, capping the Friars’ offensive outburst at 19:23.

Jon Gillies picked up his 23rd victory between the pipes, deflecting 25 shots, including nine attempts in the opening frame. Omaha’s Ryan Massa dipped to 14-8-6 and recorded a game-high 44 stops. Massa’s 14 wins were the most the senior goaltender has recorded with the Mavericks.

Omaha’s Jake Guentzel recorded the Mavericks’ lone goal of the contest – his 14th of the season – at 10:46 in the third period. The loss ended Omaha’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance run.

Lowell Spinners Host Mahoning Valley This Afternoon At Fenway Park

By NoontimeSports.com 

Looking for a way to cap the weekend? Then head over to Fenway Park this afternoon as the historic ballpark hosts the Lowell Spinners, the Boston Red Sox’ Class A Affiliate, who’ll host the Mahoning Valley Scrappers at 3:30 p.m.

According to the Spinners’ website, this will be the ninth time Lowell will be participating in the annual “Futures at Fenway.” The Scrappers, who have also competed in this yearly ritual, will be making their sixth appearance in this particular game.

Admission is $15, which includes the game, as well as post-game screening of “Field of Dreams.” Fans are also welcome to bring their dogs to the ballpark, too.

For more information on the Lowell Spinners, hop here!

NEWMAC Men’s & Women’s Cross Country Championship Videos

By Matt Noonan 

Earlier this week, the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) held its men’s and women’s cross country championships at Franklin Park in Boston. MIT won both races as the men’s team captured their 16th conference crown, while the women’s team won its seventh consecutive championship.

Below are highlights from each race courtesy of the NEWMAC and its YouTube channel.

Men’s Race: 

 

Women’s Race: