Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
I’m usually first in line to scoff at Draymond Green comparisons. Green’s combination skills is incredibly rare. Not every undersized forward can just be him.
But Crowder shares similarities. He’s strong and tenacious enough to defend bigger players in the post, even if his height lends itself to perimeter defense (where he also performs well). He shoots well enough to spread the floor. Crowder doesn’t pass nearly as well as Green, but he keeps the ball moving.
Looking for a poor man’s Green? It’s Crowder – and that’s a compliment I wouldn’t bestow on anyone else in the league.
Crowder also has the capability to complement a high-usage star should Boston ever nab one.
Pro Basketball Talk – Jae Crowder, one of NBA’s most underrated players, helping Celtics move on
That’s some extremely high praise from a hoops writer who’s not a Celtics beat reporter, but it reflects the enormous progress that Jae Crowder has made since arriving in Boston as an apparent throw-in to the Rajon Rondo trade. The dreadlocked one has developed so much that he’s in the conversation for who might be the best Celtic, and even the NBA’s most improved player.
Crowder has put himself there with his tremendous productivity, such as posting a 104.9 offensive rating and 99.0 defensive rating and scoring double figures in 27 of the last 28 games. Check out the article to see how his plus/minus compare to some of the league’s most high-profile stars.
Yesterday there was some chatter on Twitter about perhaps needing to trade Jae to Cleveland if Kevin Love should be put on the market by the Cavs. Responses I saw from Celtics followers were unanimous: No.
On Page 2: Everybody loves Amir
Brad Stevens immediately saw Johnson’s glue-guy reputation take form.
“He had been (in Toronto) for a long time,” said the Celtics coach. “It’s hard to come right in and do that type of stuff. But from what I heard, the reason they consider him to be such a leader within that locker room, and the reason we’re so fond of him, is because of his positivity. That’s the guy he is. He has a real spirit about him that lifts up teams.
“The team definitely gets along, man, this is one of the top locker rooms I’ve been in personality-wise and team-wise,” Johnson told The Boston Herald on Wednesday.
Johnson, a 10-year veteran, is a big part of the comradery in Boston’s locker room, and his comments were music to head coach Brad Stevens’ ears.
“I think that’s really important and I’m glad to hear it,” Stevens told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand on Wednesday. “One of the things we’ve tried to focus on is creating a great environment or work and support. That is a positive sign hearing that from Amir. Any time you bring in a guy who has been in different locker rooms, that has a lot of experience in the league and a lot of experience winning in the league, that he says that is a positive thing.”
When the Celtics signed Amir Johnson as a free agent, we were told he’d be a blue-collar guy, a defender who could score a bit, someone who hustles all the time, the type you want to play with rather than against. And that has all come true.
Johnson returned to Toronto last night, his first trip there wearing green after six years as a Raptor. It was clear the Raptors and their fans miss him, as Johnson was given a video tribute and standing ovation.
As a 10-year veteran, Amir calls himself one of the team’s older guys, but he’s only 28. Playing about 24 minutes per game, he’s averaging 8.3 points and 6.2 rebounds – all in line with the numbers he produced in Toronto. Even better, Johnson has improved his defensive rating: 99.6 points allowed per 100 possessions this season, compared to his 106 yearly average up north.
Celtics fan have always loved players like Amir – solid, hard-working, high-character people. Glad to have him in Boston.
Related: Celtics.com – Toronto Still Rolls with Amir
And, finally: Welp…
Celtics now 10-14 in clutch games (+/- 5 pts, last 5 min). That .416 winning% is tied for 23rd in NBA with … the 11-win Brooklyn Nets.
— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) January 21, 2016
ESPN Boston – Celtics need to pop the clutch in close games
The last two games fell into this category, and both ended in painful losses. This situation does not bode well for potential playoff confrontations. Cs need to fix it now, or suffer for it later.
The Rest of the Links:
MassLive – Kelly Olynyk helpful off the bench again, but Boston Celtics can’t stop DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors in 115-109 loss | Checking in on Marcus Smart’s development: Boston Celtics guard showing flashes despite shooting woes | Boston Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk is no Dirk Nowitzki, but still on pace for historic shooting season
CSNNE – Celtics lose to red-hot shooting Raptors, 115-109 | Starting Sullinger is a winning proposition for Celts | Celtics rank among NBA’s best on the road | Better bench play not enough to get win | Stars, studs and duds: Strong game for Thomas in loss
Herald – Celtics come up short in Toronto