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Mike Shalin's Working Press: The Celtics loss that wasn't

By MIKE SHALIN
December 08. 2017 12:48AM




There was a time during the second quarter of Wednesday night’s game that Brad Stevens was sitting down.

No big deal. Coaches sit down on the bench all the time.

Stevens doesn’t do it all that often. And there was almost a feeling there was something more to this.

With Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris sidelined, there was almost a sense Stevens was resigned to loss No. 5, It really wouldn’t have been a big deal, right? Heck, the Celtics almost lost to the Mavericks in Dallas before rallying, right?

In the NBA, there are times you just accept a loss for the greater good.

But then Shane Larkin hit a three.

And then Larkin hit another three.

And Guerschon Yabusele hit a three.

And Abdel Nader hit a three.

All in a span of two minutes and 25 seconds.

These guys had come out of mothballs to keep the game close. It was Dallas by a point after the Nader basket and the Mavs got the lead up to 10 at the break. But the mothball brigade had provided minutes, and the starters ran past the tired Mavs at the end of the game.

Even with the important guys missing, and with Marcus Smart suffering through a terribly drowsy night, the record moved to 22-4 heading into a three-game road trip that starts in San Antonio tonight.

“They haven’t gotten a lot of opportunities here yet, but inevitably they will,” said Stevens. “Because in the NBA, you can have afternoons like today, where all of a sudden you’re down to 11 guys, and the next man up’s got to be ready.”

Shane’s revenge

Larkin, the son of Baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, was selected as the 18th pick of the 2013 draft, by Atlanta and was then swapped to Dallas. He played there a season. But if you go to the transactions section of his Basketball Reference page, you will find the following for his entry into the NBA.

December 15, 2010: As part of a 3-team trade, traded by the Houston Rockets (as a future 2013 1st round draft pick) to the New Jersey Nets; the Houston Rockets traded Sergei Lishouk to the Los Angeles Lakers; the Los Angeles Lakers traded Sasha Vujacic and a 2011 1st round draft pick (JaJuan Johnson was later selected) to the New Jersey Nets; the New Jersey Nets traded Terrence Williams to the Houston Rockets; and the New Jersey Nets traded Joe Smith, a 2011 2nd round draft pick (Darius Morris was later selected) and a 2012 2nd round draft pick (Robert Sacre was later selected) to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Clear enough?

How good has Kyrie Irving been at crunch time? NBA analyst Tom Haberstroh tells us Irving “now has 74 points in 46 minutes of clutch time this season (game within 5, final 5:00). 10 assists, 0 turnovers.”

Mad Max

TV and radio stat maven Jim Stamos pointed at Cedric Maxwell Wednesday and quipped, “There goes the 248th-best free throw shooter in the history of the NBA.”

Max turned and said, “Check out the field goal percentage. Check that out.”

OK, I did.

Maxwell currently sits 22nd all-time on the NBA field goal percentage list. Impressive.

I’m told that during that game, Max said Akeem Olajuwon, not Michael Jordan, is the greatest basketball player of all time. Interesting and we will talk to Max about this further down the road.

Good news

Jerry Remy posted the following update on his Facebook page this week:

“Just an update. Surgery done. Chemo done. Just started 5 weeks of radiation. Can see the light at the end of the tunnel finally. Feeling real good and looking forward to spring training!!”

On the cheap

Both the Yankees and Mets “cheaped out” on paying their new managers, with reports having the Mets’ Mickey Calloway at between $700,000 and $900,000.

New Yankees manager Aaron Boone was a hit at his press conference Wednesday.

“Obviously, this is a team with loads of talent, a team that in many ways came of age this year and arrived,” he said. “I’m really comfortable that me and my staff will be part of this team taking the next step.

“It’s just understanding what it is to be a Yankee, what it is to play here and just understanding the expectations that go with it,” Boone said. “Certainly the expectations now will be ramped up even more after such a successful season and when you look at the roster that we’re going to potentially have out there. I knew what I would be signing up for.”

Aaron and Bob Boone join the Sislers (George and Dick) and Skinner (Bob and Joel) as the only father/son duos to serve as big-league managers.

Here and there

Remember when Henry Owens was the up-and-comer in the Red Sox system? Now, after losing home plate, he’s the up-and-gone, his release opening a spot on the 40-man roster. … Interesting late-night hoops watch Tuesday: St. John’s against Grand Canyon — Chris Mullin against Dan Majerle in the coaching matchup with Mitch Richmond also on the St. John’s bench. … Ottawa swept two games from Colorado in Sweden just after the big three-way trade and is 1-8-1 since. … No. 1 Duke is at Boston College in men’s basketball on Saturday, the Eagles losing Teddy Hawkins for the season. … Danny Ainge says Gordon Hayward will be out of his walking boot in two weeks and can be more active traveling with the team and doing video work. … Add Warren Moon to the growing list of accused sexual harassers. … Former Celtic Shavlik Randolph, playing overseas with Jared Sullinger, tweets, “Whatever NBA team signs my bro for the second half of the season is getting a steal.” … R.I.P. Tracy Stallard, who gave up Roger Maris’ 61st homer. … Finally, John Farrell made his MLB.TV debut Wednesday. Expect to see more of him this season.

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com.


Sports columns Patriots/NFL Red Sox/MLB Celtics/NBA Bruins/NHL