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Kevin Durant on Boston: ‘I like the city a lot’ 03.16.16 at 4:04 pm ET
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Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

In Boston for a nationally televised showdown with the Celtics on Wednesday night, impending free agent Kevin Durant said exactly what every C’s fan wanted to hear.

“I like the city a lot,” the Oklahoma City forward told The Boston Globe from shootaround in the hours before tipoff. “It’s cold, but they love sports here. It’s a family atmosphere I feel when I walk around the city, so yeah, I like it a lot.”

As the Globe’s Gary Washburn noted, injuries have prevented the 2013-14 NBA MVP from playing at TD Garden since Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo were still starting for the Celtics during the 2012-13 season. But that hasn’t kept Durant from keeping an eye on the rebuilding efforts of coach Brad Stevens in Boston.

“I’ve been watching this team a lot,” he added. “They’re scrappy. They play hard. They love their coach. They love their system, and especially in this building, they play with a lot of energy. So it’s going to be a tough test.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Durant, NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder
Studs and Duds: Cold Celtics left with no shot in loss to Pacers 03.15.16 at 9:34 pm ET
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Celtics center Jared Sullinger (7) shoots the ball in the second quarter of the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports)

Celtics center Jared Sullinger (7) shoots the ball in the second quarter of the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports)

The Pacers did their best to give the short-handed Celtics a shot. But on this night in Indianapolis, the Celtics couldn’t convert. 

Paul George scored 25 and Monta Ellis added 14 as the Pacers held on for a 103-98 win over the Celtics on Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. 

The Celtics (39-28), who lost their second straight, were playing their first game of the season without Jae Crowder (high ankle sprain) and their 12th straight without Kelly Olynyk (shoulder). The Celtics lost consecutive games for the first time since losing at Dallas and at Toronto on Jan. 18 and 20.

The Celtics were led by Isaiah Thomas with 21 points while Jared Sullinger had another double-double, with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Coach Brad Stevens went with a three-guard look in his first game this season without the injured Crowder in the starting lineup. Marcus Smart got the call, along with Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas. Amir Johnson and Jared Sullinger were the only big men in the game. 

Thanks to an early steal from Smart, the Celtics showed energy with the small lineup, shooting out to a 20-13 lead. But the Pacers, behind Paul George, scored the final seven points of the quarter to forge a 20-20 tie after 12 minutes. 

The Pacers used a 23-13 run to open a 43-33 lead before the Celtics closed it to four at the break on a 6-0 run before the break. The Celtics stayed in the game thanks to 10 Indiana turnovers.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Coty Clarke, Indiana Pacers, Isaiah Thomas
With Jae Crowder out, James Young might finally be ‘shooting’ his way to playing time 03.14.16 at 10:01 am ET
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Celtics forward James Young defends Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins (22) in a December game at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Celtics forward James Young defends Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins in a December game at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

WALTHAM — The time may finally be right for James Young to show what he’s got. 

The second-year forward out of Kentucky, drafted in the first round of the 2014 NBA draft by the Celtics (17th overall), is one of the leading candidates to fill in while Jae Crowder heals from a high ankle sprain suffered last Friday against the Rockets.

Young is still only 20 years old but already it feels like he’s been around the block for the Celtics. In his rookie season, he was assigned to the Maine Red Claws 11 times, averaging 20.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 steals in 19 games. But it’s the shooting Young has been working to improve. At Kentucky, he shot 40.7 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from 3-point range. In five summer league games this past year, he averaged 9.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in five games but shot just 27.1 percent from the field and 22.7 percent from three-point range. 

This year, the shuttle back and forth has continued, with nine more assignments, including six in this calendar year alone. This year in 10 games for Maine, he’s averaged 14.2 points and 5.7 rebounds. He’s only shooting 36.6 percent but it’s his 6-foot-6 athleticism that could come in handy as the Celtics look for someone to help fill the minutes of the injury Crowder.

“He shot the heck out of it,” Brad Stevens said after practice on Sunday. “One thing James has done is gotten good game reps in, because he’s also played in Maine. He had a good practice [Sunday].”

Young has averaged just 2.4 points and 9.1 minutes in 55 career games for the Celtics. Now, he may get a chance to actually add significantly to those totals. 

Rated a five-star recruit by ESPN.com, Young was listed as the No. 3 small forward and the No. 8 player in the nation in 2013 at Kentucky. He was a starter on the Wildcats team that lost to UConn in the 2014 NCAA title game. He left after that season and missed Kentucky’s run at an undefeated season that ended with a national semifinal loss to Wisconsin last year. 

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Jae Crowder, James Young, Jordan Mickey
Celtics recall James Young, assign Jordan Mickey to Red Claws 03.13.16 at 1:50 pm ET
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Jordan Mickey

Jordan Mickey

WALTHAM — The James Young-Jordan Mickey shuttle continued on Sunday.

The Celtics recalled Young Sunday in time for their practice in Waltham while assigning shot-blocking specialist Jordan Mickey to the Maine Red Claws.

Mickey was in uniform for Maine’s Sunday afternoon game at home against Grand Rapids. He had six points, two rebounds and three blocks in the first quarter, including a monster rejection from behind late in the quarter. Catch the game here on YouTube.

Mickey had three blocks in one possession on Wednesday in the win over Memphis.

Read More: Boston Celtics, D-League, James Young, Jordan Mickey
Mike Petraglia, Sam Packard on how Celtics home court streak ended against the Rockets 03.11.16 at 11:58 pm ET
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James Harden had 32 points and Dwight Howard chipped in with 12 points and 12 rebounds as the Houston Rockets snapped the 14-game home winning streak of the Celtics, 102-98, Friday night at TD Garden. Isaiah Thomas had 30 points to lead the Celtics, while Jared Sullinger added 24 points and 12 rebounds. Celtics forward Jae Crowder suffered a high sprain of his right ankle in the third quarter and will have an MRI on Saturday. The Celtics fell to 39-27 while the Rockets improved to 33-32.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Isaiah Thomas, Mike Petraglia
Brad Stevens has ‘positive vibes’ about Jae Crowder and his high ankle sprain, MRI Saturday at 11:19 pm ET
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The Celtics and coach Brad Stevens might be holding their breath a bit on Saturday. 

An MRI has been scheduled for forward Jae Crowder, who suffered a high sprain of his right ankle in the third quarter of Friday’s 102-98 loss to the Rockets at TD Garden. 

Crowder was driving to the basket for a layup and came down awkwardly under the basket. The injury happened with 9:08 left in the third quarter. He fell to the floor and was slow to get to his feet. He limped down court and initially stayed in the game before coming out for Evan Turner a minute later. He did not return. 

“I was on a fast break, and I came down in an awkward way, and I got up and I didn’t feel good,” Crowder said. “Come to find out I just sprained it.  High ankle sprain.”

It may not have felt good but the prognosis is promising, according to Celtics coach Brad Stevens. 

“So Jae sprained his right ankle, twisted it in. Doesn’t have much swelling right now so it looks good,” Stevens added.

“They’re going to do an MRI on it [Saturday] and figure out if there’s anything above what they think right now. But I got mostly positive vibes as I was talking to him and then also to our doctors and trainers that it won’t be a long-term thing. But we’ll see.  We’ll know more [Saturday].”

“It affects us because he’s a big part of this team,” added Isaiah Thomas. “We need a guy like that out there. At the end of the day, when something like that happens, someone else has to step up, fill his shoes and step up, and we just fell short.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Houston Rockets, Jae Crowder
Coty Clarke, Jordan Mickey recalled by Celtics at 2:53 pm ET
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Coty Clarke meets with reporters Monday after signing a 10-day contract. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Coty Clarke meets with reporters Monday after signing a 10-day contract. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Coty Clarke is back with the Celtics. 

The 23-year-old forward, who was signed to a 10-day contract (as a reward in the words of Brad Stevens) on Monday, was recalled Friday by the Celtics. Also recalled Friday was forward Jordan Mickey, who had three blocks in two minutes in Wednesday’s win over Memphis. 

Both Clarke and Mickey saw action for the D-League Maine Red Claws on Thursday night. 

In the Red Claws’ 111-95 victory against the Erie BayHawks Thursday, Clarke recorded a team-high 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting, five rebounds, two assists and one steal in 19 minutes. The 6-foot-7 forward has appeared in 40 contests for the Red Claws this season and is averaging 16.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals in 25.9 minutes per game.

Also on Thursday, Mickey scored 14 points, grabbed six rebounds, one assist and one block in 25 minutes of action. Mickey has played in 22 games for Maine this season, averaging 17.0 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 4.4 blocks in that span.

Both will be in the building for tonight’s game against Houston at TD Garden at 7:30 p.m. Clarke was inactive on Wednesday during the win over Memphis. 

Read More: Boston Celtics, Coty Clarke, Jordan Mickey, Maine Red Claws
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