|LeBron James says he’ll play against Celtics||04.10.15 at 12:23 pm ET|
With the Cavaliers locked into the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, there has been discussion about LeBron James sitting out one or more of the team’s remaining games in order to be rested for the playoffs — fueled by James saying Wednesday that he “probably would take one game or two games off before the postseason starts.”
However, that rest won’t come Friday in Cleveland against the Celtics.
James said Friday morning that he would play against the C’s in the opening game of a home-and-home that concludes Sunday in Boston, telling reporters in Cleveland that he “never had that in my mind” to skip the game. And if history is any indication, he might suit up for Sunday’s game as well.
In each of his last three seasons as a member of the Heat, James took off the final two regular-season games. If he stuck to that plan, he would play both games against the C’s and then miss Monday’s game against the Pistons and Wednesday’s finale against the Wizards.
James has missed a career-high 11 games this season due to injury. The Cavaliers have a 2-9 record in those games.
James’ backup, former Knick Iman Shumpert, is questionable for Friday’s game with a right quad contusion he suffered in Wednesday’s win over the Bucks.
The Celtics enter play Friday tied with the Nets for the seventh-best record in the East, one game ahead of the Heat and 1 1/2 games in front of the Pacers. The Celtics own the tiebreaker against the Nets, so based on the current standings they would play the Cavs in the opening round.
The Cavaliers have won 18 straight games at home.
|Ex-Celtic Jerryd Bayless signs with Bucks||08.01.14 at 12:26 pm ET|
Jerryd Bayless, who spend the second half of last season with the Celtics, signed as a free agent with the Bucks, the team announced Thursday.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 9.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 72 games with the Grizzlies and Celtics. He had some memorable games in Boston, recording a season-high 29 points in a game against the Hawks on Feb. 26 and dishing out a season-high nine assists vs. the Spurs on Feb. 12.
“The thing that was most intriguing was Kidd,” Bayless told reporters Thursday at the Bucks’ training facility. “He can help me in a variety of different ways. There aren’t a lot of guys like him that come around.”
Bayless, 25, was the 11th pick in the 2008 draft by the Pacers, who traded him to the Trail Blazers before he played a game. He has played with Portland, New Orleans, Toronto, Memphis in Boston in his six-year career, averaging 8.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists.
|Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins calls Rajon Rondo best PG in NBA||07.16.14 at 1:52 pm ET|
Cousins said Celtics star Rajon Rondo is the best point guard in the league, saying, “Absolutely” when questioned on it. He denied that his team’s feud with the Clippers and Chris Paul had any role in his thinking.
There have been rumors that the Kings were interested in trading for Rondo, although there hasn’t been much speculation lately.
Rondo and Cousins both went to Kentucky, although they were separated by three years.
|Celtics G Dairis Bertans expected to be OK after hitting head in summer league game||07.10.14 at 11:01 am ET|
Celtics guard Dairis Bertans was expected to be OK after having a CT scan following a head-on collision with the stanchion under the basket during Wednesday’s summer league game in Orlando.
Bertans was on a fast break late in the third quarter of the Celtics‘ 92-90 win over the Pistons when he was fouled by one player, hit on the back of the head by another, and knocked into the padded basket support. He gave a thumbs-up after being strapped to a stretcher and taken to the hospital for tests.
“It looked bad. Especially from my angle I knew it was bad,” teammate Marcus Smart said. “He tried to catch himself but it was a little too late for him. They said he’s going to be all right, though. He had a little neck pain, we just didn’t want to take a risk with those. He’s going to be all right, and we’re just going to pray for him.”
The 24-year-old Latvian shooting guard was having a good game, hitting 3-of-5 shots, including a 3-pointer.
“It was sad to see him get hurt because he was playing so well,” teammate Phil Pressey said. “He’s been playing so well this whole summer league. Prayers to him.”
As for the game, the Cetlics closed out the third quarter on a 20-7 run and then held off the Pistons, who closed the game on an 11-3 run over the final two minutes. Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who scored a game-high 26 points, missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Kelly Olynyk led a balanced Boston attack with 16 points and nine rebounds. Smart had 14 points (albeit on 4-of-13 shooting, including 2-of-7 from behind the arc), six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Backcourt mate Phil Pressey also scored 14 points, on 6-of-10 shooting.
The Celtics play the Magic on Thursday at 5 p.m.
|James Young on MFB: ‘Definitely wanted to come here’ to play for Celtics||06.30.14 at 3:37 pm ET|
New Celtics guard James Young joined Middays with MFB on Monday afternoon, following his introductory press conference, and the former Kentucky standout said he’s “honored” to have been selected 17th overall. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
“I definitely wanted to come here,” Young said. “When I came out here for my last visit, me and coach [Brad Stevens] really had that connection from right there, and Danny [Ainge] was a great guy to talk to. So, this is a place that I definitely wanted to come to.
“When I got my name called I was very surprised and happy. I was just very glad that my parents got to support me. They were very happy with my choice, too. I’m glad that I landed here.”
Young said he thinks he’ll fit in at shooting guard, wing or wherever the team wants him to play.
“I’m very versatile,” he said. “Length definitely helps me. I can shoot the ball very well and come off pick and rolls, definitely a thing that I’ve been working on. But playing the 2 spot is what I’ve been playing a lot. I’m definitely good at playing the 3; that’s what I played this past season, switching off like that. I played the 1 and the 4, too, so we’ll see how that goes.”
A Michigan native who grew up rooting for the Pistons, Young said his game is comparable to that of Rockets guard James Harden, who like Young shoots left-handed.
“I feel like James Harden, his game’s just all-around good,” Young said. “He’s a great left-hander, shoots the ball very well and attacks the basket with aggressiveness, just aggressively attacks the basket. I kind of tried to [model] my game after him, just try to study his game a little bit.”
The 18-year-old said he and fellow first-round pick Marcus Smart have established a fast bond despite never having played with or against each other before.
“I feel like we’re going to connect really well on the court,” he said. “We have that connection off the court, so I definitely feel like on the court. If one of us is having a bad game and can’t get open, we’ll definitely look for each other just to get it going.”
|ESPN’s Jason Whitlock on D&C: Banning Donald Sterling ‘a blown opportunity’ for NBA to address culture issue||04.30.14 at 8:35 am ET|
ESPN columnist Jason Whitlock checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss his column questioning the NBA’s decision to issue a lifetime suspension to Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his racist comments. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Whitlock, who is black, wrote that removing Sterling from the league “solves nothing,” because it does not address the bigger issue of society’s culture problem.
“I don’t think my point is counter. I think it’s looking further down the line than the mob that ran Donald Sterling out of basketball was looking,” Whitlock said. “Listen, Donald Sterling put it on the table and addressed the culture that he felt had put pressure on him to be racist. I think addressing that culture that I think a lot of people think doesn’t exist that Donald Sterling has said does exist, I think that was important and a blown opportunity.
“I do think that a dangerous precedent has been set by taking this man’s private conversation and using it to run him out of basketball. I think that’s a dangerous, slippery slope. And if I think people were honest they would say that’s something that could blow back and burn all of us. Because I think in private we’re all capable — especially if we think we’ve been hurt in a relationship or at any time in any way hurt — we could all say stupid things said in private in the heat of the moment that if broadcast to the world would make us all look very stupid and ignorant.”
Whitlock noted that Sterling has come a long way since his early days of ownership.
“I disagree with removing the guy for life. And this is a big, complicated issue, but I look at Donald Sterling more objectively and I think more fairly than most,” Whitlock said. “The guy’s 80 years old. He has evolved and done the best that he can. He has a head coach/general manager that I think is maybe the highest-paid coach in the NBA, Doc Rivers, who is African-American, that he’s basically put in charge of his organization and is paid at the highest level.
“He’s got a team with Chris Paul, one of the biggest stars, and Blake Griffin, another one of the biggest stars. So, this guy has gone from ignoring his team, dealing with his organization in perhaps a bigoted fashion and has evolved from that to putting a good product on the court that is more fair to African-Americans. And he’s clearly done a few things that have pleased the Los Angeles NAACP enough for them to give him two lifetime achievement awards.”
|Gerald Wallace out indefinitely with torn meniscus||02.28.14 at 12:56 pm ET|
Stevens said Wallace had been playing in pain for some time before an MRI showed the extent of the injury.
Wallace, who was averaging 5.1 points and 3.7 rebounds this season, had a strong game Wednesday with 12 points and 10 rebounds in a win over the Hawks.
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