Optimism high as Celtics enter a likely active offseason
BOSTON (AP) The emergence of an All-Star and lots of victories made the Celtics one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this season. It also left Boston with lots of questions following its second straight first-round exit from the playoffs - this one, a six-game loss to the Atlanta Hawks - with a young roster that probably still needs a few more pieces to make the next step. It has lots of draft picks and salary cap space to play with, which promises to make the summer an active one for the Celtics. ''This is probably the
Hawks overwhelm Celtics, move to 2nd round with 104-92 win
BOSTON (AP) The Atlanta Hawks had their best regular season in franchise history spoiled last year by a dismal showing against Cleveland in the Eastern Conference finals. They will get another shot at the Cavaliers in the second round of the NBA playoffs. Paul Millsap had 17 points and eight rebounds, and the Hawks advanced to the second round with a 104-92 Game 6 victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night. Al Horford and Kent Bazemore each added 15 points for the Hawks, who earned their first playoff series win ove
Analysis: Zeller ended up getting lost in the shuffle last season due to the Celtics' glut of big men, so it wasn't expected that he'd be retained heading into the offseason. However, with Jared Sullinger leaving for the Raptors and Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) unlikely to be ready for the start of the 2016-17 season, Zeller will provide some veteran insurance in the frontcourt. Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds in 11.8 minutes per game over 60 appearances last season, and while he could see those figures spike while Olynyk is out, the big man will likely get buried on the depth chart when the roster returns to full strength.
Analysis: Crowder sprained the ankle in the second half of the regular season and saw his production decline upon returning to the lineup in late March. Though offseason surgery wasn't deemed necessary, the pain lingered for nearly two months after the Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs, showing a true toughness from the 26-year-old forward for being able to play through the issue for so long. Now that he's pain free, Crowder will be healthy heading into training camp and will look to build on what still ended up being a career-best campaign. He averaged 14.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.7 steals across 31.6 minutes per game in his 73 appearances.