It's 2018 and the Celtics have entered the new year with half of their season already complete and a league best 31 wins to show for it.
No, they aren't
No.. really.. they're back.
The Celtics have been consistently inconsistent in their play, but Jon and Justin try to figure out how the team can turn out of the skid they both feel is on the way. Jon and Justin talked about Jayson Tatum's strong game in Memphis on Saturday and how that could portend to fix many of the team's ills. To wrap, Jon and Justin spent some time looking at the Christmas week schedule and a pair of standout home contests against the Wizards on Christmas Day and the league leading Houston Rockets three days later.
The Celtics were not singing "Sweet Home Chicago" after an embarrassing blowout Monday night and a 1-2 weekend, but Celtics fans saw a bright light at the end of the tunnel. The report from the Globe's Adam Himmelsbach that Gordon Hayward has designs on a return this season provided a great amount of optimism on a generally dour week. Jon and Justin discussed how staggering the minutes of Kyrie and a recovering Hayward could provide a boost for the Celtics postseason run.
Goodbye losses, hello winning ways. The Celtics returned to the land of the successful with a trio of wins before heading into some treacherous waters in the week to come. Justin and Jon talked about the improved Celtics offense and the corresponding defensive slippage. Can the Celtics continue their success without the defense they exhibited in the season's first month?
To wrap up the show, the CSL guys picked games of the week ahead and Jon jumped up on his soapbox to tear into the NBA-Nike apparel deal. It IS Christmas, after all.
After a taking a turkey fueled break last week, Celtics Stuff Live returned with the Celtics streaking once again and a big birthday celebration for Mike Gorman on Friday night. Justin and Jon explained how important Gorman was in the creation of Celtics Stuff Live and then proceeded to give their grades on Gorman's Saturday evening replacement, Kyle Draper.
In the second half of the show, the hosts, being Smart-inistas, discussed the idea of moving the colonel of the Combat Muscles Army to the starting lineup permanently.
How does 12 wins in a row sound? It sounds real good to Jon and Justin as they looked carefully at a defense which is fueling this unbelievable run and contributions from players beyond anyone's reasonable expectations. Perhaps most of all, Jayson Tatum's performance has been phenomenal and causes Jon and Justin to revisit the Pierce comparisons to another Celtic great. The offensive burst from Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart in the second unit received a fair amount of discussion prior to a close up look at the match of the best teams in the NBA on Thursday... the Golden State Warriors and your Boston Celtics. To wrap... Justin eviscerates League Pass and it is glorious.
Jon and Justin are simply amazed at the Celtics performance as of late, and the fact that they possess the best record in all of the NBA despite the injury bug hitting hard at the outset of the season. The discussion surrounds praise for Kyrie being unselfish and buying into the system, credit due Brad Stevens for being such a masterful creator of culture, the play of the bench unit and the Lakers Pick/Jahlil Okafor.
If you thought the Celtics would be in first place just under two weeks after Gordon Hayward's injury, then you better head to Vegas. Jon and Justin figure out how the Celtics were able to make this leap, largely thanks to long and stretchy defense, Jayson Tatum man-child-ing, and Kyrie and Horford getting themselves some mojo. The nonsense going on in Philly with Markelle Fultz got the CSL Boys Hanes in a bunch and they look ahead to a very interesting week ahead with games against the Spurs, Thunder, Kangz, and fellow first place Magic.
Jon and Justin make their first comments since the Hayward Injury discussing the waterfall effect it has had on the second unit rotations which was a point of contentious debate between the hosts in the preseason. This leads to emphasis on the need for the extra practice time that all teams are benefiting from this season. From there, discussions who will provide offense punch on the second unit (Rozier/Tatum) and the gaps they fill from last year's team in terms of rebounding and shot blocking respectively. To close out the show, Jon wants to know when Kyrie (and his teammates) are going to pull it all together, meanwhile hoping that Irving goes supernova to win one of the upcoming games.
Jon and Justin preview the season, make their predictions for the number of wins and compare the construct of this team versus last year, specifically in regards to the bench depth. Neither is certain that this team will be any worse defensively, especially with the flexibility so many players have to switch. However, the real debate comes when discussing whether Brown/Tatum can or should be expected to stay in the starting line-up and whether the second unit needs some veteran players to stabilize the defense and still generate offense in the early to mid second quarter. That period of time in the game was particularly troublesome for last season's version of the Celtics who struggled to generate offense with IT4 on the bench and frequently let large leads slip away.
Celtics Stuff Live gives Marcus Smart a new nickname, scratches their heads at the Embiid contract extension, and hypothesizes why the Celtics Org hasn't at least opened a dialogue with Marcus Smart with only a week left to extend his deal when you have to assume a larger contract would be key in future trades at the very least if they did not want to keep him around after this season.
Jon and Justin give their assessment of the overall performance of the roster in the first preseason game of action for a lot of new Celtics players. The guys have praise for Aaron Baynes, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Daniel Theiss. More focus on the end of the bench as Kyrie Irving's confidence, ability, and emerging leadership efforts are notable. Jason Tatum also rebounds in the 4th quarter against the Hornets' bench after struggling through 3 quarters.
Jon and Justin go back to the well on Marcus Smart now that the pictures are out and this is no BS weight loss, the beast is noticeably lighter. While the early reports say that the weight loss = quickness Justin is more interested in seeing the impact on his leaping ability when the Celtics finally play a game this Monday evening. From there they catch up on late late late offseason action with the Carmelo trade to OKC and breakdown that gamble by Sam Presti with a number of expiring contracts on the roster. Finally, we skipped the opportunity on the last show to let Jon let his freak flag fly on Yabusele. Not this time, the wait is over not only for Jon but Yabu too!
Jon and Justin can't wait another day for training camp. With Media Day just a week away the show is immediately derailed with Duck Boat Hot Takes and a really bad Christmas week analogy. Eventually, the show gets back on track in discussing Kyrie Irving's appearance on ESPN's First Take. In the second half of the show, a quick rundown of the roster gets the crew close enough to training camp that they can taste it.
Jon and Justin, like Ray Allen, can't help themselves and let that conversation die. Mostly cuz, that's the way Ray wants it. Isaiah Thomas excellent work in The Players Tribune and the awkward press conference also make their way into the opening segment of the show. But in the second half, the guys side step Marcus Smart (20 lbs lighter) and a rap writing Jaylen Brown in possible favor of Terry Rozier in the starting line-up because #3 is always the breakout year on Celtics Stuff Live. Guest appearance from Downtown Julie Brown.
Jon and Justin discuss Isaiah Thomas' hip injury concerns, break down the Irving/Hayward Press Conference and how deep the rotations will really go with the hosts in complete disagreement. In the second half of the show, Jon encourages Justin to embrace his numerology superstitions and determine which of them would be Beavis and which would be Butt-Head. Finally, the two close out the show discussing Marcus Smart's responsibility in setting the tone and establishing the culture with all the new faces on the roster.
Jon and Justin take a deep dive into the Kyrie Irving trade, specifically with new reports that the Cavs will be asking for Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum to complete the deal in response to their medical review of Isaiah Thomas' hip injury. While both hosts believe that the Celtics can and should stand pat, they agree that the biggest loser in all of this is Thomas but that the Cavs still have the most to lose if the deal is voided. In the second segment, a debate about whether the Nets pick or the Lakers pick is more valuable and Justin doesn't miss an opportunity to take a shot back at Ray Allen for his comments criticizing the Boston fanbase.
Jon and Justin review the three games that we know so far on this year's slate along with new uniforms. In the second half of the show Kyrie Irving updates, Isaiah Thomas' hip recovery and Marvin Bagley's decision dominate the discussion.
Jon and Justin spend the first half of the show reminiscing about the KG trade 10 years ago, but that quickly devolves into mix tape nostalgia. In the second half, we enjoy watching the Cleveland Cavaliers fall apart from the outside and speculate that Danny Ainge would absolutely trade Lebron and keep Kyrie Irving. Rounding out the show, is reasoning the Shane Larkin signing and lingering concerns over Isaiah's hip.
Jon and Justin both return from vacation and offer up a robust show that kicks off with the announced signing of Paul Pierce who will retire a Celtic. More talk of rotations, summer league wrap-up and assessing the Mickey/Jackson cuts cover the first half of the show. In the second half, the new Training Facilities, staff turnover and rule changes round out the show.
Jon and Justin bid farewell to Avery Bradley and welcome the additions of Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes who replace the loss of depth and bring much needed toughness to the frontcourt. Starting line-up and potential rotations are discussed along with the Summer League performances of Jayson Tatum and Semi Ojeleye specifically round out the show.
Jon and Justin pull away from their family vacations in "Parts Unknown" to discuss the Hayward signing and what steps may be next. Summer League is also underway and there is some gushing over the performances of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown with some concerns expressed regarding the possibility of relying on Zizic this season as a rotation player. And, the guys aren't sure that Porzingis is out of the mix yet...
Jon and Justin pick up where they left off in the late first round of the Live Draft Night Show, discussing the second round picks and potential contributions if the Celtics make room for Hayward and attempt to execute a sign and trade with Indiana for Paul George. They also debate whether the Cavs/Nuggets/Pacers three way is truly a threat to Boston's or just a way to drive up the price in negotiations. Isaiah Thomas' hip injury and concerns about whether the team might consider letting him go in Free Agency sprinkle the second half while Blake Griffin and Prozingis resurface as potential targets with varied cap implications.
Just when you thought the draft was going to be a boring #1 overall pick, Danny executes a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers that has much of Celtics Nation freaking out. There is lots of speculation, including who the Celtics will pick at #3 or if they will spin it off in a subsequent deal for the likes of Jimmy Butler, Paul George or possibly even Blake Griffin and using such a move to attract a free agent such as Gordon Hayward.