Celtics Notes: Amir Johnson Flashes Range; Marcus Smart Has Strep Throat


The Boston Celtics weren’t exactly expecting a sharpshooter when they signed Amir Johnson this offseason.

But that didn’t stop the former Toronto Raptor from stretching the floor a bit Wednesday night.

Johnson got the start for the Celtics and tallied a team-high 19 points in a 109-105 win over the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center to help Boston improve to 3-0 on the preseason.

The 28-year-old veteran did a little bit of everything, adding six rebounds, two blocks and two steals, but what turned heads the most was the pair of 3-pointers he knocked down in the first quarter.

That’s not exactly Stephen Curry-esque form, but it’s not too shabby for a 6-foot-9, 240-pound big man.

Johnson knocked down 19 3-pointers for Toronto last season, so it is a part of his game, and apparently head coach Brad Stevens is fine with that.

Let’s run down some more notes from the Celtics’ encouraging preseason win:

— Isaiah Thomas and Evan Turner both impressed as the team’s primary ball-handlers.

With Marcus Smart (illness), Terry Rozier (knee) and Avery Bradley (rest) all taking the night off, Thomas and Turner both got plenty of work running the point. Thomas dished out a game-high nine assists, while Turner tallied seven helpers in his first action of the preseason, including six in the first half.

Turner played a good amount of point guard last season, and while the Celtics’ back court is very crowded, Stevens likes knowing he can call on the versatile 26-year-old when needed.

“We know he can play the (point guard) if need be,? Stevens said before Wednesday’s game, via The Boston Globe. ?We know he can defend (point guards through small forwards). We know what he brings to the table. And like Amir, these games are important for him.”

— The Celtics had excellent ball movement all night.

They tallied 28 assists on 40 buckets and now have scored 100 or more points in each of their three preseason games.

— R.J. Hunter had himself quite a night.

The team’s 28th overall pick led all Celtics in playing time with 30 minutes and notched 11 points, four rebounds, four assists, four steals and a block. Stevens especially was impressed with Hunter’s effort on the defensive end.

Hunter likely will be battling James Young for a spot on Boston’s everyday roster this season, but he certainly gained the upper hand in this one. Young showed some positive signs in the fourth quarter but scored just six points on 1-of-4 shooting in 14 minutes.

— It’s still pretty early, but Perry Jones’ prospects of making the team don’t look too good.

The Celtics need to cut their roster down to 15 players and currently have 16 (not including the team’s four training camp invitees). That leaves one man out, and Jones didn’t make a very strong case for himself Wednesday night.

The 24-year-old scored just one basket on 1-for-3 shooting in 10 minutes of action and missed badly on a jumper. He also finished with a team-worst plus-minus of minus-nine.


— Jonas Jerebko took a nasty shot from Nets guard Jarrett Jack on a breakaway, which resulted in a flagrant foul and Jack’s ejection. Jerebko wasn’t too happy about the play after the game.

“My back is a little sore,” he said, via the Globe’s Gary Washburn. “It was frustration from him. I have no idea. I’m just trying to play basketball.”

— Apparently Smart is pretty sick.

The Celtics guard has been diagnosed with strep throat, according to the team’s official website. Smart didn’t travel with the team to Brooklyn, and it’s undetermined when he’ll return.

— Terry Rozier will miss Friday’s game against the New York Knicks but plans to return to practice Saturday, according to the team.

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@NBAcom

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