All-Star game has an unfamiliar feel

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All-Star game has an unfamiliar feel

ORLANDO, Fla. When the 61st annual all-star game is played on Sunday, it'll have a very unfamiliar feel about it.

For the East, no Kevin Garnett.

Out West, no Tim Duncan.

The future Hall of Famers were not voted in by the fans or the coaches, ending more than a decade in which the two were mainstays during all-star weekend.

If ever there was an indication of how the torch of NBA greats has been passed, this weekend only strengthens that position.

Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant are the only all-stars this weekend having been selected to 10 or more all-star games.

"It's a tribute to the hard work that I put in over the years, and staying lucky to be injury-free," Pierce told Comcast SportsNet and CSNNE.com. "I'm very thankful, each and every time you get a chance to play in an all-star game, representing the Boston Celtics is a tremendous honor."

Most of the all-star attention this weekend has been paid to Magic center (for now at least) Dwight Howard, along with the Miami Heat triumvirate of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

James said he and Wade recently had a conversation about how the all-star roster looks so different than past years.

"We feel like the elder statesmen not having KG around in our locker room," said James who will be making his eighth all-star appearance. "Not having (former Celtic) Shaq around the last couple years. It's been different, of course. We're just trying to hold it down for the younger guys, being the older guys now. But it's great to be a part of it."

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Football is coming.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.

Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.

The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.

Blakely: Celtics trying to get No. 7 pick to trade to Knicks

Blakely: Celtics trying to get No. 7 pick to trade to Knicks

With the Knicks and Celtics having yet to find common ground on a trade for Kristaps Porzingis, it appears the C’s are trying to add to their stable of draft picks in order to facilitate an agreement. 

ESPN’s Ian Begley reported Thursday afternoon that Boston was offering a pick it had yet to acquire, with CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely following up that it’s the seventh overall pick. The C’s already have the third overall pick. 

The NBA draft begins Thursday at 7 p.m.