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A call for Adam Silver to increase Rajon Rondo’s suspension 12.14.15 at 7:06 pm ET
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In a disturbing anecdote detailed in Yahoo Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski’s report on NBA referee Bill Kennedy’s public revelation that he is gay, former Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo allegedly directed multiple anti-gay slurs at the longtime ref after he was ejected in the Kings’ 114-97 loss to the C’s in Mexico City on Dec. 3.

Following an investigation, the NBA suspended Rondo one game without pay for “directing a derogatory and offensive term towards a game official and not leaving the court in a timely manner.” Rondo’s use of anti-gay slurs is reprehensible, and it’s even worse when you consider he may have suspected Kennedy was gay following disgraced referee Tim Donaghy’s 2010 allegations against Doc Rivers on CLNS Radio. Here’s that exchange, courtesy of Red’s Army.

Question: One of the referees I’ve been annoyed with over the years is Bill Kennedy. Every time he has a Celtics game, I almost know that we’re not getting calls. Is his relationship with Doc Rivers or the Celtics organization as a whole something you know about?

Donaghy: That’s a difficult question for me to answer, because I certainly don’t want to offend anybody. … I’m just gonna come out and say it like it is. It’s no secret on the staff that Bill Kennedy is a homosexual. … I don’t have any ill will towards gays or lesbians, but it was no secret that he’s a homosexual. It was known around the league. It was obvious during a game Doc Rivers questioned his sexual orientation, and I think that has stuck with Kennedy over the years — and he has no love for Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics.

Rivers denied Donaghy’s claim that he directed homophobic language at Kennedy.

Rondo was a 2012-13 teammate of Jason Collins in Boston the season before the 7-footer became the first active openly gay male athlete in major U.S. sports history, and Collins credited Rivers in the April 2013 Sports Illustrated article announcing his sexuality, saying, “Doc Rivers, my coach on the Celtics, says, ‘If you want to go quickly, go by yourself — if you want to go farther, go in a group.’ I want people to pull together and push ahead.” While Rondo declined to speak with media Monday, he addressed the matter on Twitter.

Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for directing an anti-gay slur at an official in 2011, and Bulls center Joakim Noah was fined $50,000 for doing the same later that season. Rondo’s admission shows at least some players haven’t evolved since. Even if we take Rondo at his word — that he didn’t “mean to offend or disrespect anyone” and he acted “out of frustration and emotion, period” — that doesn’t excuse his behavior.

Whether or not he suspected Kennedy was gay, Rondo was quick to use an offensive term out of frustration, and the fear is that speaks to a locker-room culture where anti-gay slurs are on the tip of a player’s tongue. That needs to change, as it should in any workplace, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver would be wise to increase Rondo’s suspension in order to send that message. Then again, Silver should have sent that message before Wojnarowski’s detailed report, because reissuing a harsher penalty now might open the league up to all sorts of issues with the players’ association.

The NBA may have feared a harsher penalty would have risked indirectly outing Kennedy before he was ready, since the discipline was handed out prior to the Yahoo Sports report. The question then would be whether it matters if Rondo directed the homophobic slur at a gay man or a straight man. Either way, we as a society should not tolerate what amounts to hate speech, and the NBA could help set the tone in that regard.

The league has been on the forefront of cultural progression, particularly compared to other professional sports leagues and especially under Silver, so perhaps it’s time to take another stand.

Read More: Bill Kennedy, Boston Celtics, NBA, Rajon Rondo
Studs and Duds: Celtics lose heartbreaker, Warriors keep streaking 12.11.15 at 10:39 pm ET
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The Warriors were without Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, shot 39 percent from the floor, playing a double-overtime thriller on the sixth game of a road trip, and somehow still walked out of TD Garden with their 24th straight victory.

Kelly Olynyk

Kelly Olynyk

The Celtics played phenomenally for long stretches, but missed seven of their 16 free throws and couldn’t create offense when they needed it most, losing a 124-119 heartbreaker after two extra frames. Still, the C’s (13-10) announced themselves as power players in this NBA season’s most unforgettable game.

“They’re tough, man,” said Warriors superstar Stephen Curry, who scored 38 points on 9-of-27 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds and eight assists. “Their record is still above .500, but they’ve played better than their record. They’ve got some big wins on the road against some tough teams — OKC, Atlanta. And when they win, they win bi. “They really show out, so you know they have that punch — that firepower. They provide a couple of matchup problems with some of the bigs that can step out and shoot 3’s and space the floor. You don’t really know where it’s coming from on a nightly basis, which is tough.”

Kelly Olynyk led the Celtics with 28 points off the bench. Avery Bradley (19 points), Isaiah Thomas (18 points, 10 assists), Jae Crowder (15 points), Evan Turner (13 points, 9 rebounds) and David Lee (10 points) also reached double figures. Golden State’s Draymond Green had 24 points, 11 boards, eight assists, five steals and five blocks.

For the complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

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Studs and Duds: Balanced Celtics beat Bulls, brace for Warriors 12.09.15 at 9:53 pm ET
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Eight Celtics scored in double figures, overcoming 41.3 percent shooting and winning for the first time when allowing 100 points, beating the Bulls, 105-100.

Isaiah Thomas finished scoreless in the first half, and then totaled 20 points in the final two quarters to lead the C’s in scoring. Kelly Olynyk netted 15 points, Evan Turner and Jae Crowder each added 13, Amir Johnson and David Lee both dropped 12 and Jared Sullinger and Avery Bradley totaled 10 apiece.

The Celtics improved to 13-9 and tied the Raptors for first place in the Atlantic Division. Only the Cavaliers (14-7) have more wins in the East. The Celtics will have a chance to snap Golden State’s 23-0 start at home on Friday night.

On Wednesday, Bulls guard Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 36 points.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, David Lee, NBA
Studs and Duds: Avery Bradley, Celtics bounce back against Heat 11.30.15 at 10:21 pm ET
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One night after suffering a 19-point loss to the Magic — another ugly outing in this up-and-down season — the Celtics responded with an impressive 105-95 victory against the Heat in Miami.

The Celtics improved to 10-8, jumping back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture for the time being, as they play the Kings, Spurs and Pelicans on the road over the next week.

Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 25 points on 15 shots against Miami (10-6). Amir Johnson notched a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), and Isaiah Thomas just missed one (16 points, 9 assists). Jared Sullinger netted 17 points, while Jae Crowder and Evan Turner each added 13.

Dwayne Wade’s 30 points marked the first time an opponent scored 30 on the C’s this season.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, NBA
Studs and Duds: No defense for Marcus Smart-less Celtics 11.24.15 at 10:55 pm ET
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Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

We knew Marcus Smart was key to the Celtics‘ success. We just didn’t know he was this key.

The Celtics entered Tuesday night’s game ranked fourth in points allowed per 100 possessions (96.6) and should be demoted 10 spots just for their effort in a 121-97 loss to the Hawks. This comes two nights after the Celtics (7-7) allowed 111 points in a loss to the lowly Nets.

After an R.J. Hunter jumper cut Atlanta’s lead to six two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Hawks outscored the C’s by a 38-20 margin on 14-of-18 shooting (77.8 percent) down the stretch.

Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 25 points, but the Hawks (10-6) countered with seven players in double figures, led by Paul Millsap’s 25 points and nine rebounds. If the playoffs started today, the Celtics would be on the outside looking in. They are as close to the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference as they are to the eighth seed, and Smart won’t be back for at least a week.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

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Read More: Atlanta Hawks, Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart
2016 Celtics Mock Draft Pick Power Rankings v2.0 11.19.15 at 10:18 am ET
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cropped_lionel

The Celtics own as many as eight draft picks in June 2016 — only one of which is their own — and the unprotected selection from the Nets is legitimately one of the most fascinating storylines in the entire NBA this season. We’ll regularly update the status of those selections, speculating when and who the Celtics will pick.

FIRST ROUND

3. Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn): Dragan Bender.

The Celtics can thank the Rockets and Hawks for delivering the only two Nets wins in 12 tries. Houston, as we learned on Wednesday, was in disarray, and it’s likely Brooklyn delivered the knockout punch before Boston rang the death knell on Kevin McHale‘s coaching tenure. But what’s Atlanta’s excuse for losing to the Nets (2-10)?

Unfortunately, Brook Lopez (19.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.4 bpg, 1.5 apg, 53.5 TS%, 21.1 PER) and Thaddeus Young (15.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.5 spg, 55.5 TS%, 20.5 PER) might be too good to allow Brooklyn to finish with the absolute worst record in the league.

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Read More: 2016 Celtics Mock Draft Pick Power Rankings, Boston Celtics, Dragan Bender, NBA
Studs and Duds: Celtics blow 18-point lead in loss to Mavericks 11.18.15 at 10:09 pm ET
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For a while there, it looked like the Celtics were going to hand a third straight Western Conference foe a blowout loss. In the end, it was the C’s who blew an early 18-point lead and collapsed down the stretch.

The Mavericks went on an 11-4 run over a five-minute stretch late in the fourth quarter, turning a tie game into a seven-point lead with 30 seconds remaining. The Celtics had a chance to tie during a frantic final few possessions, but Isaiah Thomas turned it over in transition and Dallas went on to win, 106-02.

Thomas led the Celtics (6-5) with a team-high 19 points and six assists. Jared Sullinger (18 points, 12 rebounds), Avery Bradley (18 points), Jae Crowder (14 points) and David Lee (14 points) also reached double figures. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks (8-4) with a game-high 23 points on 14 shots.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

STUD OF THE NIGHT: Avery Bradley.

Comfortable in his newfound role as a sixth man, Bradley scored 12 straight points on five consecutive shots, and then dropped a behind-the-back pass to Isaiah Thomas on the next trip down the floor. In the process, the Celtics doubled their lead from nine to 18 and ignited the Garden crowd. When the Mavericks swung the momentum and erased the C’s lead early in the second half, Bradley’s put-back dunk (see below) stopped the bleeding, and his corner 3-pointer stretched the lead back to seven at the end of the third.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: Kelly Olynyk.

It’s not that Olynyk was bad. Despite underwhelming numbers (5 points, 3 rebounds), he owned the C’s second-best plus/minus rating behind Isaiah Thomas through three quarters (plus-14). It’s that Olynyk can’t stop fouling folks. After fouling out in 17 minutes against the Thunder on Sunday, Olynyk collected five fouls in his first 10 minutes against the Mavericks, forcing him to ease up on his already lax defense.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, NBA,
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