Kurt Helin

Celtics’ Stevens to start Gerald Green in effort to spark team in Game 3

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Rajon Rondo may be out, but the core problems that have the Celtics down 0-2 to the Bulls have not gone away — Chicago is more physical, stronger on the boards and in the paint, the Bulls’ size has them playing better defense, and Jimmy Butler has been the best player on the court.

What is Boston’s Brad Stevens going to do to change the dynamic? Something wholly unexpected.

Did not see that coming. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com added this.

The last time Gerald Green started a game for the Celtics it was 2007.

The Celtics are clearly going smaller and more athletic, a counter that Stevens hopes will get buckets and force the Bulls to go smaller as well, taking away some of their advantage inside.

There comes a point in almost every seven game series when one coach realizes he doesn’t have the players to win, when what has worked all season to get his team to this point will not be enough. At that point, coaches make desperation plays, radical lineup shifts or tactical adjustments as a last-chance measure. Like an end-of-game Hail Mary in football, usually it falls harmlessly to the ground.

That’s what this move feels like. Maybe it, combined with Rondo being out, can change this game. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

PBT Extra: Does Rajon Rondo’s injury open door for Celtics comeback?

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For the first two games of this series, the Chicago Bulls owned the Boston Celtics. They have been more physical, much better in the paint and on the glass, more aggressive defensively, and Jimmy Butler has been the single best player on the court through two games.

But Rajon Rondo was a part of the reason for the Bulls’ success, particularly on defense where his length and veteran anticipation had him disrupting Boston’s sets. Now Rondo is out, maybe for the entire series, due to a fractured thumb.

Does that open the door for Boston? Maybe a crack, but not much heading into Game 3, something I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.

Wizards’ Ian Mahinmi to miss at least Games 3, 4 at Hawks

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WASHINGTON (AP) Injured Wizards backup center Ian Mahinmi will miss at least Games 3 and 4 of Washington’s first-round Eastern Conference playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks.

Washington coach Scott Brooks said before traveling to Atlanta on Friday that Mahinmi’s strained left calf was re-evaluated and has improved but he “definitely won’t play the next few games.”

Mahinmi got hurt late in the regular season and has missed the start of the postseason. Washington leads Atlanta 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, with the Hawks hosting Game 3 on Saturday.

Brooks is not sure how long Mahinmi could be sidelined, saying: “There’s really no timetable, other than: Whenever he’s ready, he’s ready. There’s no pressure from me or our staff.”

In smart move, Kings add Scott Perry, formerly of Orlando, to front office

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When Rob Hennigan was fired as the man in charge of the Orlando Magic right after the season, Scott Perry — his assistant GM — was let go as well. That surprised people around the league. While the Magic saw Perry as part of the problem in creating too soft a culture in Orlando, outside the organization people didn’t see it that way (for example, Perry wanted to pull the trigger on a potential DeMarcus Cousins trade, it was Hennigan who did not).

Perry has found a new job with the Sacramento Kings, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and since confirmed by Sacramento.

Sam Amick of the USA Today added this.

How successful Perry can be in a culture other teams see as toxic — and the results do not prove otherwise — remains to be seen. That said, he’s a smart, steady, well trusted voice, which is exactly what the Kings need.

With the trade of Cousins, the Kings are a rebuilding team, which takes patience and a long-term plan (plus a little luck). Perry might well provide that. If he gets the chance.

Rumor: Carmelo Anthony to the Celtics trade? Why would Boston do that?

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As we move towards the draft and the start of free agency, Carmelo Anthony trade rumors are going to saturate the market like unicorn frappuccinos (and probably be about as appetizing… has anyone on social media liked those?).

An early rumor making the rounds involves the Boston Celtics. Here it is, via Marc Berman of the New York Post.

According to an NBA source, the Celtics coaching staff was in favor of trading for Anthony at the trade deadline, but general manager Danny Ainge had too many reservations. One of Ainge’s concerns, according to a source, was an Anthony trade would have given Boston no real cap space to work with for the 2017 free-agent class….

The Post has learned that in talks with the Celtics, their defensive small forward Jae Crowder would be a major player of interest for Knicks president Phil Jackson. In fact, Jackson lamented not trading for Crowder when he was on the table in the 2014 trade talks with the Mavericks for Tyson Chandler. Crowder is an active, gritty defender who can shoot from 3-point range.

This sounds like a Knicks’ fans dream. Why would Boston do it? I wouldn’t if I were them. I get why the Celtics coaching staff was willing to do it at the trade deadline, coaching staffs are always about winning right now and Anthony would get them buckets. He’d be the kind of secondary shot creator they have been sorely lacking against the Bulls in the first round.

But does Anthony make Boston better than Cleveland? Not this season. And not down the line — Boston is in position to be the next power in the East after LeBron James and the Cavaliers fade in a few years. Anthony will be 33 when next season starts and we’re already seeing a decline in his skill set, why would the Celtics give up quality pieces of their core for him when he can’t help them much in a few years. There’s logic behind Danny Ainge going after Paul George/Jimmy Butler/Gordon Hayward because their timeline overlaps with the Celtics’ rise. ‘Melo’s doesn’t.

Also, ‘Melo has a no-trade clause, does he want to go to Boston? He can veto the deal if the answer was no.

Despite all the turmoil, both within the Knicks and in Anthony’s life, I expect we will see him traded somewhere this summer. Just not Boston.