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Fast Break: Nothing Cavalier about Celtics victory 02.28.12 at 9:44 pm ET
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In a battle between two teams vying for eighth in the Eastern Conference (yup, you read that right), the Celtics blew a 16-point lead but salvaged the night when Ray Allen sandwiched a fast-break layup and two free throws around a big Kevin Garnett offensive rebound in the final minute to secure an 86-83 win over the Cavaliers.

Allen (22) and Garnett (18) combined for 40 points to help the Celtics (16-17) avoid the first six-game losing streak of the new Big Three era and stretch their lead over the Cavs (13-19) to 2.5 games for the eighth seed.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Welcome back Bass: The Celtics finished 1-5 in Bass’ recent six-game absence, and it didn’t take long for the consistent big man to demonstrate his value on the court, scoring 10 points on six shots by halftime. Bass brings a combination of scoring and toughness that the C’s simply don’t have outside of Garnett. If the Celtics have any hope for success in the second half of the season, they need a healthy Bass contributing like this.

Nothing but Garnett: Garnett reportedly called a team meeting prior to the All-Star break, and even if the entire team didn’t respond in its first game since, at least KG came to play. Wincing at times, possibly still battling the hip injury that kept him out of a game before the break, Garnett totaled 18 points and eight boards while playing his usual staunch defense. In the final seconds with the C’s leading by one, Garnett willed an offensive rebound off his own miss, got fouled and made both foul shots.

Jumping the run: Perhaps the result of an aging team benefiting from the five-day NBA All-Star break, the Celtics rattled off runs of 9-0 and 13-0 in the first quarter to establish a rare double-digit lead early (28-15 after one). Rondo recorded six assists in the first 12 minutes, including one on another fast break with his new running mate Chris Wilcox. The have only led after the first quarter in 16 of their 33 games, accumulating a 12-4 record.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Garnett, Kyrie Irving
Cavs make Kyrie Irving first overall selection 06.23.11 at 7:47 pm ET
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Duke guard Kyrie Irving was taken with the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft Thursday night, going to the Cavaliers. A 6-foot-3, 193-pound guard who only played 11 games this past season with Duke, he averaged 17.5 points and 4.3 assists per game with the Blue Devils.

Read More: 2011 NBA Draft, Kyrie Irving,
NBA Draft day rumors.: Cavaliers plan on using both No. 1 and 4 picks at 12:12 pm ET
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The Cavaliers hold both the No. 1 and 4 selections in Thursday’s NBA draft. General manager Chris Grant says that the team intends to use both of the picks.

Grant told ESPN that he knows who he wants to select with the top pick but still has to discuss the selection with the rest of the staff. It is expected that either Duke’s Kyrie Irving or Arizona’s Derrick Williams will be the No. 1 overall pick.

The team held the last of it’s pre-draft workouts on Monday. They worked out Williams, center Enes Kanter from Turkey and Kentucky guard Brandon Knight. For Williams and Kanter it was their second visit and the two met with owner Dan Gilbert following the workouts.

Read More: 2011 NBA Draft, Dan GIlbert, Derrick Williams, Kyrie Irving
NBA mock draft: Will Celtics trade out of first round? 06.22.11 at 6:02 pm ET
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Arizona forward Derrick Williams almost certainly will be taken No. 2 overall, but by which team? (AP)

The 2010-11 NBA season is over. Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks denied LeBron James a ring as Dallas ousted Miami in six games. Now everyone (excluding DeShawn Stevenson) appears focused on the draft.

Brazilian prospect Lucas Nogueira withdrew from the draft. Nogueira was slated to be picked by Portland at No. 21 in our first mock. No other high-profile players have pulled out. The pre-draft workouts have helped teams get a closer look at the prospects, but very few players who are expected to go in the draft lottery (first 14 picks) have played against other lottery-caliber players.

The best example of this has been the elite point guards. Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette have been scheduling and rescheduling workouts for various teams as their agents don’t want any of them to hurt their stock. For the same reason, sure-fire No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving doesn’t even need to work out for teams.

The Blazers appear eager to trade up in the first round (possibly for Walker), while the Celtics are believed to be looking to trade out of the first round. All that and more in our NBA mock draft 2.0.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving, Duke, Fr., PG, 6-2, 180

Trade rumors and speculations have been swirling about every pick except this one. The Cavaliers reportedly are interested in acquiring the No. 2 overall pick to draft Derrick Williams. Regardless, expect Cleveland to take Irving here and build its future around him.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves

Derrick Williams, Arizona, So., SF/PF, 6-9, 241

The question that should be asked regarding the No. 2 overall pick is not who will be picked with it, but rather who will take Williams, the top forward in the class. Minnesota already has an overloaded frontcourt and general manager David Kahn is no stranger to draft-day deals. However, assistant general manager Tony Rozone indicated the Wolves may keep the pick. This may be due in part to Ricky Rubio’s decision to come over from Spain.

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Read More: 2011 NBA Draft, Brandon Knight, Derrick Williams, Justin Harper
NBA mock draft: Celtics eye next Jordan? 05.24.11 at 10:11 pm ET
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Kyrie Irving is turning pro after one injury-shortened season at Duke. (AP)

With only four teams still competing in the postseason, the majority of fans are counting down the days until June 23 and the NBA draft. This year’s class is not expected to be strong, but there is a slew of European talent, a handful of hit or miss “project” players and more Morrises than you can shake a stick at.

Duke freshman Kyrie Irving appears to be the consensus No. 1 pick despite playing just 11 games for the Blue Devils. Arizona’s Derrick Williams likely will be taken second, but by whom? Timberwolves general manager David Kahn is expected to shop that selection.

Kentucky’s Enes Kanter measures at a monstrous 6-foot-11, 261 pounds. However, he has yet to play in the United States as the NCAA declared him permanently ineligible, citing benefits from his Turkish Basketball League team.

Who will take the risk and select BYU sharpshooter Jimmer Fredette? Who will be Sacramento’s potential last first-round pick? Who will the Celtics select? All that and more in our first NBA mock draft.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving, Duke, Fr., PG, 6-2, 180

The Cavs finally won something. It’s a shame there are no players of LeBron James’ caliber in this draft class. Irving has arguably the highest ceiling talent-wise, and he fits Cleveland’s needs for speed and ball-handling much better than the only other reasonable candidate, Derrick Williams.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves

Derrick Williams, Arizona, So., SF/PF, 6-9, 241

An athletic high-flier, Williams is more than just a powerful dunker. He has great basket awareness and finishes at the rim as well as anyone in this class. The T-Wolves frontcourt is already packed with Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and Darko Milicic. However, Williams is simply too good to pass up at the No. 2 spot whether it’s by the Wolves or a trade partner.

3. Utah Jazz

Brandon Knight, Kentucky, Fr., PG/SG, 6-3, 185

With Deron Williams shipped off to New Jersey and Irving off the board, Knight is the obvious selection. A well-rounded offensive player, Knight is able to get to the rim at will, knock down mid-range jumpers, and extend his range beyond the arc. He’s a capable rebounder and creative passer, whose st0ck rose with his performance in the NCAA tournament. The Jazz have a veteran point guard with a similar skill set in Devin Harris for Knight to learn under.

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Read More: 2011 NBA Draft, Cleveland Cavaliers, Derrick Williams, Kyrie Irving
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