|This was why Celtics should have been hoping for Russell Westbrook, not Kevin Durant||12.24.16 at 12:00 am ET|
But while so many lusted after the idea of Durant being wooed by Tom Brady and the Celtics in the Hamptons last summer, the eyes should have been on another prize, his Oklahoma City teammate.
This was a fact that Westbrook helped crystalize Friday night at TD Garden.
The Thunder made sure they didn’t get in the predicament the organization found themselves with Durant, locking up Westbrook to a three-year, $85 million extension that wouldn’t allow him to become a free agent until after the 2018-19 season. For Celtics’ fans it elicited another offseason sad trombone. Within a month, Durant and Westbrook had dashed the C’s dreams of reeling in one of the two to serve as the foundation for the team which would ultimately overtake LeBron James and the rest of the NBA.
But even with the prospect of getting one of the stars in green dashed, the debate regarding which one should have been prioritized lingered. The consensus was Durant would be the better acquisition. The consensus might be changing their mind.
Westbrook virtually singled-handedly beat the Celtics, 117-112, in their most recent meeting, notching his 14th triple-double of the season with 45 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds. And all of that after not making his first basket until four minutes into the second quarter.
The guard now has 133 points in his last four games, and finds himself leading the NBA in scoring at 31.8 points per game. Westbrook also averages the second-most assists per contest (10.8), currently serving as the active leader in career triple-doubles (51), totaling six more than LeBron.
Right now, he is simply the one guy you would take over everyone else with the game on the line, which the Celtics found out the hard way.
It’s not like Durant is having a bad season. He is averaging 25.9 points per game, playing a major role in Golden State’s 27-4 start. But all things considered — including what would be the perfect fit for these Celtics — Westbrook should have always headlined the C’s wish-list.
“We’ve got really good defenders on him and he made great plays,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said of Westbrook. “I don’t know what to say other than ‘Hats off to him’ for plays he made.”
|Al Horford’s sister uses Twitter, Kirk & Callahan to fire back at brother’s critics||11.29.16 at 7:56 pm ET|
Al Horford’s sister has the Celtics’ star’s back. One perusal of Anna Horford’s Twitter account and that becomes clear.
After Horford received criticism from Mike Felger on Comcast SportsNet New England over the forward’s decision to skip the Celtics’ game in Miami Monday night to be present for the birth of his daughter, Anna fired back.
The first salvo came in the form of an obscenity-laced tweet, which was followed by a series of retweets supporting her defense of Al. (To read all the tweets, click here.)
And, of course, there was this clarification when it came to her relation to the subject of the controversy …
For any new followers or just people who are late to the game: Al is my BROTHER. I did not have a child this weekend, I was getting drunk.
— Anna Horford (@AnnaHorford) November 28, 2016
And, finally, her plans for truly clarifying the defense of Al.
If you want to hear how annoying my voice is, tune in to @KirkAndCallahan tomorrow morning 😉✌🏽️☘️
— Anna Horford (@AnnaHorford) November 30, 2016
To read more about the Horford controversy, read John Tomase’s column by clicking here.
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|Kevin Durant isn’t thrilled about rehashing how close he came to becoming Celtic||11.18.16 at 1:08 pm ET|
He had to know it was coming.
Once Kevin Durant emerged for the shootaround at TD Garden prior to Friday night’s tilt between his Warriors and the Celtics, the questions started flying. Why the star forward has already addressed how the Celtics courted him this offseason, this would be the first time he would be coming face-to-face with the team he designated as an almost, but not quite.
“Do we really want to open this back up?” Durant said at one point during his gathering with the media. adding, “I have much respect for everybody on their team. I know AB, I know Isaiah. Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and those guys came and we had a nice talk. They were very impressive. The city of Boston is one of the best cities in the league. I really respect how they approach the game and how they play the game.”
So, how close was he to picking the Celtics?
“I met with them, they were really good. I was really impressed by them,” the forward said. “It’s hard for me to say how close each team was. I’m not going to go into that. But they were very impressive.” And what about that presentation in the Hamptons, which included Celtics players, front office types, ownership and even Tom Brady? “It was pretty good,” he said. “I’m not going to go into depth everything they said, but it was pretty good.”
Durant comes into Friday night playing for a Warriors club that is second in the Western Conference, standing at 9-2. He is sixth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 27.7 points per game, just slightly ahead of teammate Steph Curry (27.2). The Celtics, meanwhile, are in sixth-place in the Eastern Conference at 6-5, and will head into the showdown with the Warriors without both Al Horford and Jae Crowder.
“I don’t know. I expect them to cheer on their team like they always do,” said Durant when asked about what type of reception he expected from the TD Garden crowd. Outside of that, I don’t know. I’m trying to lock in and focus on our team, our game. The fans are going to be the same, they’re going to enjoy the game. As the game goes along they’re going to boo, they’re going to cheer. It is what it is.”
Kevin Durant peppered with Celtics questions to start his shootaround availability in Boston: "Do we really want to open this back up?" pic.twitter.com/XBjdst1zk9
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 18, 2016
|Marcus Smart injures left ankle in Celtics’ preseason finale, availability for opener in doubt||10.19.16 at 10:19 pm ET|
The Celtics ran into their first bump in the road, Wednesday night.
With 48 seconds left in the first half of the Celts’ preseason game against the Knicks, guard Marcus Smart injured his left ankle. Smart was helped off the floor and into the locker room, not putting any weight on the ankle.
According to multiple reports, Smart’s injury almost certainly will keep him out of next week’s opener against Brooklyn.
— Celtics News (@CelticsNewsNBA) October 20, 2016
Smart has experienced shooting problems throughout the preseason, going 3-for-22 from beyond the 3-point stripe. The guard was 1-for-5 from the floor in his 16 minutes before his injury in the preseason finale.
#Celtics coach Brad Stevens said the severity of Marcus Smart's ankle injury will have no impact on final roster spot decisions.
— Scott Souza (@Scott_Souza) October 20, 2016
Marcus Smart leaves Garden on crutches with boot on left ankle… He was more than a little frustrated.
— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) October 20, 2016
|Tom Brady does his job in Kevin Durant meeting||07.03.16 at 8:54 am ET|
He did his part.
According to multiple reports, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady left a positive impression on Kevin Durant during his participation in the meeting with the free agent forward Saturday.
Brady active in the Durant meeting. Said someone privy to meeting: "Tom told him what it's like to play in Boston, how special it is."
— Mark Murphy (@Murf56) July 2, 2016
Source on Brady visit with Durant: "Tom did a very good job today."
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) July 3, 2016
Joining Brady in the meeting was co-owner Steve Pagliuca, president Danny Ainge and Celtics players Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk. Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder were also expected to be attendance.
Red Sox slugger David Ortiz also tried to do his part.
Yo @KDTrey5 sorry I couldn't make the meeting today but Brady will tell u they don't call Boston the City of Champions for nothing 🏆🏆🏆
— David Ortiz (@davidortiz) July 2, 2016
|Kyrie Irving, LeBron James lead Cavaliers to NBA championship||06.19.16 at 10:49 pm ET|
Cleveland finally has its championship. Kyrie Irving’s 3-pointer with 53 seconds left broke an 89-89 tie and gave the Cavaliers the lead for good. The final result was a 93-89, Game 7 victory over Golden State, giving Cleveland its first NBA title. The Cavs not only become the first team in NBA history to comeback from a 3-1 deficit, but brings Cleveland its first professional sports championship in 52 years. Leading the way for Cleveland was LeBron James, became the third player in NBA history to claim a triple-double in an NBA Finals Game 7, scoring 27 points while grabbing 11 points and dishing out 11 assists. Irving finished with 26 points. James was named series MVP. The game was sealed after a missed 3-pointer by Steph Curry with two seconds remaining. Curry struggled all night, finishing the night going just 6-for-19 from the field, and 4-for-14 from beyond the 3-point stripe. Draymond Green led the Warriors with 32 points and 15 rebounds. Click here for a complete recap.
|Isaiah Thomas: ‘Other guys have to step up and make plays, that’s what it comes down to’||04.27.16 at 1:22 am ET|
ATLANTA — For just the second time during the 2015-16 campaign, Isaiah Thomas failed to reach double digits, finishing with a season-low seven points during his Celtics’ 110-83, Game 5 loss to the Hawks on Tuesday night at Phillips Arena.
Thomas also clocked in with a minus-33 in his 29 minutes, the worst plus-minus number of any Celtics player during a postseason game since the stat started being charted in 1985. But after the game, Thomas — whose exit from the game came after he hurt his left ankle in the fourth quarter — was all about what how the Hawks played him, and how his teammates did, or didn’t, respond.
“That was their game plan. They put two or three guys on me every time I touched the ball,” Thomas said. “Their game plan was to let the other guys beat us. It should be a sign of disrespect to my teammates to put two on the ball every time I have it. Other guys have to step up and make plays, that’s what it comes down to. If they try and do it again in Game 6, it comes down to other guys making plays. I’m just going to try and get the ball out as quickly as possible, out of the trap, out of the two or three guys on me. But other guys have to make shots, and other guys have to make plays for us to win.
“It’s tough for me because I feel like I can score on anything. But as a point guard I have to make the right play and I’ve got to trust my teammates. And I know once my teammates do knock down shots, or make the right play out of the double team, it’s going to open up for me throughout the game. Today it didn’t happen. But we knew they would make adjustments, and now we have to make adjustments and other guys have to step up.”
The Hawks’ strategy was apparent early on, with Thomas not able to freelance through the Atlanta defense as he had done for much of the series. Thomas failed to score a single point in the first half, marking the third time this season that has happened. This time it lead to the Celtics scoring just 39 points, while carrying an eight-point deficit into halftime.
“A team never really did what Atlanta did [Tuesday],” Thomas said. “They really had two or three guys on me the whole time. Face-guarding me. When I got it they showed all five guys. They weren’t worried about anybody else. Guys have to adjust. Guys have to make plays. And once we make shots, like we do at home, and make plays, like we do at home, they can’t do that.”
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