Tag:Nenad Krstic
Posted on: April 12, 2011 8:57 am
Edited on: April 12, 2011 9:00 am
 

Celtics expect Shaq to be ready for NBA playoffs

The Boston Celtics expect center Shaquille O'Neal to be ready to play once the playoffs start. Posted by Ben Golliver. shaquille-oneal

Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge is drowning in an ocean of despair these days, as the complaining about his trade of center Kendrick Perkins at the deadline has reached record levels. One man can throw Ainge a life preserver: Shaquille O'Neal.

Boston's aging center has played in just 37 games so far this season, averaging 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds, easily career-lows in both categories. But O'Neal is the best hope the Celtics have for injecting some toughness and a paint presence in Perkins' absence. 

The good news for Celtics fans, the Boston Globe reports, is that Ainge expects O'Neal to be ready to go once the playoffs start later this week.
Celtics president Danny Ainge told the Globe this afternoon that Shaquille O'Neal is unlikely to play in Wednesday's season finale against the New York Knicks but is expected to practice Thursday and be ready for Game 1 of the Celtics' first-round series Saturday or Sunday.
O'Neal, who missed 27 games with an Achilles tendon and foot injuries and then played 5 minutes, 36 seconds in his return before straining a right calf muscle, has missed the past games, including Monday's road finale against the Washington Wizards.
"We're planning as of right now of him practicing Thursday or Friday and being ready to play for Game 1 of the playoffs," Ainge said. "I have every confidence that he will be ready and play in the playoffs."
It's all settled: The No. 3 seed Celtics will face the No. 6 seed New York Knicks in the first round. The good news for Boston is that New York doesn't have a capable center either, so even if O'Neal is limited upon his return it shouldn't necessarily be a difference-maker.

Looking down the road at Boston's potential second round opponent, the Miami Heat, their potential Eastern Conference Finals opponent, the Chicago Bulls, or their potential NBA Finals opponent, the Los Angeles Lakers, a player with Shaq's size and presence has significant value, as Boston's other interior options include Nenad Krstic and Jermaine O'Neal. One bright spot: unless the Orlando Magic pull an upset over the Bulls, the Celtics should avoid Dwight Howard.
Posted on: April 7, 2011 11:42 pm
 

Celtics have a big problem

The Boston Celtics have prided themselves on being bullies inside. The Bulls showed that identity may be in danger of losing its muscle.
Posted by Matt Moore




The entire time you read this, just imagine a big Kendrick-Perkins-shaped shadow cast over it. The trade is done and over. But that doesn't mean the unspoken question isn't going to be about the trade of Perkins to Oklahoma City. This Celtics team will be compared to the 2008 championship and 2010 Eastern Conference championship teams, and those teams were known for their tough play inside, thanks in large part but not entirely to Perkins. That trade will hang over the franchise should they fail to bring home No. 18. For now though, the trade is over, and the Celtics have to deal with what they have and who they are. Just know that it's there. 

Against the Bulls Thursday night, the Celtics had the idea early. They moved Jermaine O'Neal into space, guarded by Carlos Boozer, and O'Neal converted. In the first quarter, the objective was clear. Boozer is the Bulls' weakest defender. That's where the Celtics need to hit them. But then, for the next two quarters, the Celtics moved away from it. They repeatedly went to unstable dribbles on ther perimeter, trying to find passing lanes through a defense that must have seemed very familiar for them, the hounding, relentless style. The result was turnover after turnover leading to fast break opportunities, especially for Derrick Rose who carved them into pieces. 

In the third quarter, when the Celtics closed the gap aggressively, they went to Kevin Garnett in space against Joakim Noah. Garnett worked Noah in the post, nailing a turnaround baseline J, then a face-up jumper from mid-range.

And that pretty much sums up the Celtics' efforts to score in the paint. 

More on Bulls-Celtics
The Celtics are used to being bullies. The bigger, tougher, rougher team. And against the Bulls, they should be. Instead, the Bulls used effort and execution to overcome any size differential, flummoxed and frustrated the Celtics, and dropped them like a bad habit. Look at the autopsy on the box score. Kevin Garnett was 3-9, thanks to Noah being active and help coming from all over. But the real culprit was Glen Davis, who repeatedly stopped the ball in favor of leaning fadeaway turnarounds and contested face-ups. Davis doesn't recognize his role in the offense, having too often been given the green light like some sort of novelty act that went on stage so long it thought it was part of the main show. 

Jermaine O'Neal, the biggest player the Celtics have active, played just 16 minutes and had no rebounds. But he was more active and physical, and wound up with two blocks. The Celtics will point out they were without Shaquille O'Neal, which is true, and O'Neal definitely would have made a difference. But the Celtics have to accept they can't rely on him. Either Nenad Krstic, Troy Murphy, or Jermaine O'Neal is going to have to step up, and if not, Kevin Garnett is going to have to put together a series of games we haven't seen since the middle of the 2000's. 

Which is still possible. The Celtics can turn it on when the second season comes. They did it last year. But the difference is that they look significantly different as that tough, brutal team that punished teams inside. Forget about the offense. Derrick Rose had an open invitation to the lane, and instead of winding up on the floor headed to the line, sore from a border-line flagrant, he swooped on through. That's not the Celtics we've come know. 

Derrick Rose put the finishing touches on his MVP season Thursday night. The question is if the game also served as a red flag that the Celtics' recent stumbles aren't a matter of effort and boredom, but legitimate issues with what they've come to pride themselves on. The Celtics have had a huge muscle advantage on the league for three years. The Bulls on Thursday showed that if you execute cleanly, the Celtics are no longer in a position to shove back. They have nine days to get that muscle back.
Posted on: April 5, 2011 6:52 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 7:25 pm
 

Celtics' system can't cure everything for Green

Jeff Green says all the right things about where his game needs to go in Boston, but the early returns are not great. 

Posted by Matt Moore




Is a team truly more the product of its players or its system? Surely both are essential on both sides of the ball. Lack the personnel, and you physically won't be able to execute the principles the system demands. Lack a cohesive system, and too often individual player tendencies will disrupt the balance on either side of the ball, creating opportunities for the opponent. Often, strong systems seem to mask what at the surface level are underwhelming players. The idea then percolates that inserting an inferior player to the system will create similar results, because it's the syste, not the player, that's essential. Boston certainly would seem to fit that model, but Jeff Green's first month and a half with the Celtics is drawing some concerns on that front. 


The internet was ablaze with discussion of Green and how he's fitting in with the Celtics. The offense is a talking point, but can you really expect Green to be a significant contributor with the kind of offensive firepower he's sharing the floor with? The occassional three or dunk off the drive, sure. But he's stacked on each side by Hall of Famers. No, where Green really needs to make an impact, and dispell a notorious reputation for softness, is in rebounding. And everyone's got an opinion on that subject. 
Rivers also highlighted one other area where he'd like to see Green be more assertive.

"One of the things he has to improve on is rebounding," said Rivers. "He had zero [on Friday], he had four [Sunday]. He can be a better rebounder for us."

Green agreed that he can still make strides both on the glass and on the defensive end of the floor, suggesting production in both of those areas is even more important than his contributions on offense.

"I want to do more on defense," said Green. "I need to rebound more. I need to just focus on that instead of what I need to do on the offensive end."

Since joining the Celtics, Green has averaged only 2.5 rebounds per game, after averaging 5.6 during his time with the Thunder this season. Green's defensive rebounding rate since coming to Boston registers at just 9.9 percent, which is lower than the 13.6 percent he hauled in as a member of the Thunder this season, and is well below the league average for forwards at 16.2 percent, according to HoopData.

"I'm comfortable with everything [on offense]," said Green. "Defense is where I need to get better at, as far as rotations, [with] rebounding being the key thing. Put that in all caps, italicize it, whatever you want to do. That's the main thing which I need to get better at."
via No more Mr. Nice Guy for Green - Boston Celtics Blog - ESPN Boston.

So it's good that Green recognizes what he needs to work on, and that Rivers is trying some of that patented motivational work on him. But the signs that the defense is a red flag area are even more alarming. Like, big, blaring siren that is so loud you can't think of anything else. Like fire alarm in a small metal room loud. From Sports Illustrated
Parse the numbers a bit more, and a second trend is repeating itself, one that might temper the bad news a bit: Most of this deluge of opponent scoring is coming when Boston plays Green at power forward. Considering only these 10 lineups, opponents have scored about 123 points per 100 possessions when Green is at the “4.” That number would embarrass the Raptors. The bad news: The  lineup in which Green has logged by far the most minutes features him at power forward alongside Boston’s core four of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. This group has played 46 minutes together, triple the number of minutes Green has played with any other foursome.
via The Point Forward » Posts Green not living up to Celtics’ hopes … yet «.

Yikes. Green's been considered a "tweener" forever and this provides even more evidence that he's not growing out of that label any time soon. He's too big to guard speedy perimeter threes, and two light to guard muscular fours. The rebounding is a mental edge, one that he simultaneously acknowledges and refuses to integrate. The numbers stand out more on the Celtics because of their excellence in that area (8th in defensive rebound rate), but in reality, as ProBasketballTalk.com points out, this is nothing new for Green:
Pretty much what happened at the Thunder. You can rationalize it and say if you play him at different positions (more three than four) or put him in with different lineups you’ll get better results. Maybe. The Celtics are a team that figures things out, and Green provides nice depth off the bench on offense. Players do improve. Sometimes. But basically, this is Jeff Green. What you are seeing is what you will get.
via Celtic fans, what you see with Jeff Green is what you get | ProBasketballTalk.

Part of this is a function of having a top heavy team loaded with stars. You've seen similar instances with the Celtics in the past, as role players have been inconsistent in key areas (Nate Robinson, Leon Powe, Eddie House), and the same elements exist on teams like the Heat, where players are quality veterans, but lack abilities in key areas at their position (Joel Anthony, Mario Chalmers, Eddie House, again). But Green what also considered to be part of the return for Kendrick Perkins, a valuable role player going forward that could contribute in multiple areas. The system was supposed to aleviate various weaknesses in his game. Instead, at least so far, he's been the same player. Can you really change the makeup of a player by inserting him into a different system, especially in a close-knit, brusque, veteran-laden environment like the Celtics' locker room? 

If there's one area of the trade that seems to show some signs of life towards the systemic approach, it's the center swapped. Nenad Krstic's rebound percentage has risen to 14.2 percent from 11.9 in Oklahoma City (5.6 from 4.4 per game, while Kendrick Perkins' has dropped from 19.0 to 18.2. Granted, there's an extremely small sample size on both sets, especially considering the small number of games Perkins has been available for due to injury. Interestingly, Krstic is actually out-performing Perkins at the Celtics' biggest weakness, offensive rebounding. The Celtics are dead last in that category, but Krstic has made a slight improvement in his numbers there. 

Jeff Green's offensive rebounding numbers? They've gone from bad to worse
Posted on: April 2, 2011 3:43 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2011 3:44 pm
 

MRI negative for Celtics C Nenad Krstic (knee)

Boston Celtics center Nenad Krstic is listed as day-to-day after he underwent an MRI on his right knee. Posted by Ben Golliver.

On Thursday, Boston Celtics fans were left holding their collective breath as center Nenad Krstic suffered an awkward knee injury that some feared looked like an ACL tear. Krstic was immediately sent home from the team's road trip to Boston so that he could undergo an MRI.

On Saturday, CSNNE.com reports that Celtics president Danny Ainge deliverd some good news: Krstic's MRI came back negative and he is now being listed as day-to-day. ESPNBoston.com reports that team is terming Krstic's injury a "bone bruise" and that Krstic could be available as soon as Tuesday night, when the Celtics host the Philadelphia 76ers.

Krstic is averaging 9.9 points and 5.9 assists in 17 games since he was traded to the Celtics by the Oklahoma City Thunder prior to the trade deadline. 

The Celtics have dealt with a rash of injuries to their frontcourt -- particularly to veterans Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal -- so Krstic's availability is big. The Celtics are currently the Eastern Conference's No. 3 seed, just a 1/2 game back behind the Miami Heat.
Category: NBA
Posted on: March 31, 2011 9:50 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2011 11:25 pm
 

Celtics C Nenad Krstic (knee) to undergo MRI

Boston Celtics center Nenad Krstic injured his right knee against the San Antonio Spurs. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Update: After the game, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that center Nenad Krstic will return to Boston where he will undergo an MRI on his right knee on Saturday according to NESN.com. Krstic will miss this weekend's game: the Celtics play the Atlanta Hawks on Friday and the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

Original Post: With a little more than two minutes remaining in the second quarter of a Thursday night game against the San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics center Nenad Krstic suffered what the team called a "right knee injury." 

The injury occurred when Krstic cut to the basket during a Ray Allen shot attempt and his knee buckled. He was immediately escorted from the court by Boston's training staff. Shortly thereafter, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that the injury "doesn't look good" and the team confirmed Krstic would not return to Thursday's game.

Here's a look at the play.



Krstic was acquired along with forward Jeff Green from the Thunder in a pre-deadline trade that sent center Kendrick Perkins and guard Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City. Krstic is averaging 9.9 points and 5.9 assists in 17 games since the trade, as the Celtics have relied on him to fill in a fair share of minutes due to the absences of Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal. Should he miss significant time, Boston's thin already thin and often undersized frontline will be stretched that much further.

Updates as soon as they become available.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 4:12 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 6:32 pm
 

Trade Deadline: Celtics trade Perkins to OKC

Celtics trade Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.
Posted by Matt Moore and Royce Young




It's only fitting that in one of the biggest trade seasons in NBA history, that we ended the deadline in completely insane style. Multiple outlets including Yahoo! Sports first reported and Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has confirmed that the Boston Celtics has traded Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and a 2012 1st round pick. Here's our analysis of the trade (updating as more information becomes available). 

OKLAHOMA CITY RECEIVES: KENDRICK PERKINS, NATE ROBINSON
by Royce Young

There has always been a very specific ideology for Sam Presti in Oklahoma City. Build a group of young players that can grow and develop together. It started in 2007 when he took Kevin Durant No. 2 overall and acquired the fifth pick Jeff Green for Ray Allen. From there, the pieces started to fit.

And this Thunder team jumped way ahead of schedule, winning 50 games last season. Because of that, the slow development process sped up. There was an obvious opportunity to win now, and while the existing team was definitely good, there was always something missing.

Most of that centered around Green and his starting power forward spot. There always appeared to just be something missing there. He was undersized, didn't fit well next to Nenad Krstic and lacked on the glass and the defensive end. He could hit big shots and make big plays, but is was always clear that something wasn't right.

So Presti put his finger on the big red button and finally pushed it. He sent Jeff Green and Krstic to Boston for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson.

A bittersweet say for Thunder fans as Green was a clear fan favorite. He was always close with teammates Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. He was always seen as one of the core members of this group. But in the world where what counts is wins and losses, not how much fun you have and how well you get along off the court, it was a deal that had to be done.

The Thunder already was uncertain about Green's future, choosing not to sign him to an extension earlier in the season. He was set to become a restricted free agent this summer and even there, he was likely to get an offer that would be out of the Thunder's comfort zone.

While Perkins is also an unrestricted free agent, he fits what OKC would be willing to pay for. The Thunder tried to lock down a defensive-minded center two years ago when they traded for Tyson Chandler. But that deal was rescinded because of Chandler's physical and it put OKC back to work finding that help inside.

But what the Thunder did here was make a move for the now, finally. At the same time though, it doesn't jeopardize the future in any way. Green wasn't a sure thing in OKC anyway, and now Perkins gets a two month audition to earn a contract with the Thunder. OKC has improved itself against the beastly interiors of Los Angeles and Dallas and now can match up with anyone.

It came at a cost of sending out one of the city's favorite players and a close friend and teammate with Durant, Westbrook and Harden, but it had to be done. At some point, you've got to win. And the Thunder's trying to do it now. 


BOSTON RECEIVES: JEFF GREEN, NENAD KRSTIC, AND A 2012 FIRST-ROUND PICK (Top-Ten Protected)
by Matt Moore

This is going to go down as more about what Boston surrendered rather than what they got. They did not get an elite player back, so trading the franchise starting center who helped them win a championship and nearly a second had he not suffered a severe injury is going to raise a lot of voices in Beantown. The Celtics have always made it clear they are about winning championships at any cost.  They love the members of their organization, but this is a business, and their business is staying on top for as long as the Big 3's window is open. Something convinced them that Perkins was no longer able to lead them to a championship. So they flipped him and Robinson for what they considered their biggest need: a wing scorer. That he can serve as a stretch four, which is a considerable weakness to them as currently constructed, is a bonus. Green represents an odd representation: the move to win now, and to set themselves up for the future. 

Green is an RFA this summer, meaning they can decide whether or not to sign him based on whether he helps them win a championship or not. Krstic, on the other hand, is an expiring contract. Should they renounce both Green and Krstic, that's close to $10 million they're freeing up in the event of a dramatically lowered CBA, or if they feel the need to retool to go at a championship once more. If both help them win a second title with the Big 3, they can easily re-sign both to keep them in town. 

But at the end of the day, the Celtics surrendered Kendrick Perkins. Perk! The big man! The biggest reason that Boston was able to match up with Dwight Howard.  Now they'll be turning to a very old core of Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, and Krstic to try and combat Howard. That's a risky proposition. The Celtics do not lack for confidence. They must feel they can overcome the Heat, the Magic, and the Bulls without their starting center. Either that, or his knee was enough of an issue to force them to trade him.

Perkins only came back about a month ago from serious knee surgery that kept him out of the Finals' Game 7 last season. He has looked good at times but struggled in others. Tuesday night against the Warriors he tweaked the knee and did not return, limping off the floor. Two days later, he's traded to Oklahoma City. The Celtics may have felt they could not risk him going down to injury again, with how much their team depended on him. So they pulled in the taller, bigger, Krstic, who has a nice mid-range shot Perkins does not, and acquired a stretch four. 

Stretch fours have long disrupted the Celtics' defensive schemes, with players like Chris Bosh, Rashard Lewis, and LaMarcus Aldridge hurting them with their ability to hit from the mid-range, while Boston's defenders shade to the paint. Green can step out and defend those players, and also provides them a young, athletic option who can hit from the perimeter. Green's a gamble, though.

One element that's likely in play here is the Celtics' pushing for a player soon to be bought out. The most obvious target is Troy Murphy, traded to the Warriors from the Nets during their acquisition of Deron Williams in a separate deal. Murphy is expected to be bought out of his contract, and would provide a versatile big for the Celtics. If not Murphy, then another candidate could take his place, considering how much space the Celtics have cleared with this and other moves. 

This whole trade is a gamble, and it's not sure why the Celtics would risk their continuity after the year they've had. But one thing's for certain. Things have gotten even more interesting in the already wild Eastern Conference.


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Posted on: February 24, 2011 3:44 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 4:46 pm
 

Trade Tracker: Boston trades Perkins to OKC

Boston Celtics trade Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic
Posted by Matt Moore
An updating list of trades at the NBA Trade Deadline. Posted by EOB staff. 

The Boston Celtics trade Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic, and a 1st round pick

Oklahoma City receives: Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson 


Boston  receives: Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic, 2012 1st round pick (Top-10 protected)


Analysis: This is like a bowling ball falling on your head after you've been hit by a piano after a truck ran you over. That's how insane this trade is following the week we've had. Basically, Boston has bailed on a centerpiece of their championship title contention, along with a talented backup point guard for an inconsistent, non-rebounding three-point shooting, stretch four and a very stiff center with size. Green does bring something to the table and is so wildly questioned about his rebounding ability his talent in working in the flow of an offense. However, he is pretty much the polar opposite of the traditional Celtics player, in terms of defense, rebounding, and toughness. It's not that he's not good at those things, it's that he's not excellent. Krstic should fill a gap, and the hope is that he, Jermaine O'Neal, and Shaquille O'Neal together should be able to form a competent center rotation. But for Boston to give up Perkins, a centerpiece of their championship and Eastern Conference championship teams, for those two is going to cause a lot of questions in Boston. The biggest issue on the table is the status of Perkins' knee. He limped off the court against the Warriors Tuesday night, and has continued to have issues since coming back. You have to wonder how his physical will shake out. Robinson provides a great backup point option to pair with the Thunder, who may now have the deepest team in the league. Of course, it's Nate Robinson, which comes with its own problems, but if he struggles as he has in Boston this year, they also have Eric Maynor
Posted on: October 19, 2010 9:43 pm
 

Why Durant posed with Krstic and Sefolosha

Posted by Royce Young

Chris Tomasson of FanHouse passed along why Kevin Durant posed on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s preview issue with unlikely candidates Thabo Sefolosha and Nenad Krstic.

Basically, Durant requested that Thabo and Nenad be on the cover with him because “they don’t get a lot of pub.” Durant even indicated that he wouldn’t have posed for the cover if those two guys weren’t included with him.

This guy Durant. What more can you say? I mean, sheesh.

My theory was that the team pushed for the lower profile players to join Durant. I should've known it was KD. While the organization pushes the team concept hard, it all starts with its star. Durant has been as much a part of developing the culture and philosophy within the Thunder organization as anyone. He understands what it takes to be a teammate. In his mind, he's not the star of the Thunder. He's just a leader. 

Durant has a point too. Sefolosha is one of the league's most underrated defenders (second-team All-Defense last season) and a terrific role player. Sefolosha is the backbone of one of the league's finest defensive units. Krstic is a player that isn't necessarily a terrific talent, but he fits in with the Thunder well as a pick-and-pop center and has no qualms quietly sitting back and being a fourth or fifth option. And KD appreciates that.

I kind of recall Durant doing a similar thing when he was at Texas with teammates and a magazine cover. He didn't want to be singled out. It's just who he is. Some guys can preach team and togetherness, but Durant lives it. He talks the talk and definitely walks the walk.

And at no point during this Summer of Durant where he's won the media over with a simple tweet and brilliant performance at the World Championships have we reached an oversaturation point. I think a lot of that is because he's not the one pushing for the spotlight. I'm not saying Tim Tebow did, but people grew sick of him because he completely embraced his attention. He bathed in the spotlight. And for good reasons too. He had a message he wanted to get across and the national attention just helped him do it. But it made us all want to throw up when we heard his name.

Durant has no motive with his humble decisions. He's not trying to win fans with them. He may be trying to be a role model, but that's not his priority. He's doing what he thinks is the right thing. He's just being a good teammate. It's something he lives by and in the Kevin Durant world, the best PR doesn't come from handlers or publicists. It just comes from KD naturally being KD.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com