Garnett ejected for hit on Hansbrough

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Garnett ejected for hit on Hansbrough

BOSTON Kevin Garnett spent the latter part of Friday's 94-75 win over Indiana as a spectator, but it wasn't quite how he would have envisioned it.

Instead of on the bench, Garnett was back inside the C's locker room after being ejected with 8:24 to play and the Celtics sitting on top of a commanding 78-55 lead.

The incident involved Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough who was hit in the face by Garnett while pump-faking before going up for a shot attempt.

Officials reviewed the play afterward and called Garnett for a flagrant-two foul which is an automatic ejection.

"I've got nothing to say about it," said Hansbrough who led all scorers with 19 points off the bench. "It is what it is."

After the game, Garnett gave his version of what happened.

"I was firm," Garnett said. "I didn't mean to get him in the face like that. I was trying to swipe the ball. It was a physical game; that's what it was, part of the game."

As Boston's lead continued to swell, the level of physical play also increased.

Aware of this, Celtics coach Doc Rivers was about to take Garnett out of the game and replace him with Brandon Bass who at the time of the incident, was at the scorer's table.

Naturally, Rivers wasn't thrilled about seeing one of his players ejected.

But in hindsight, it might have been the best thing for all involved.

"Listen, there was so much crap going on at that point, I just think Cape (lead official Jim Capers) has been around the league a long time and I think he was thinking, 'I'm going to do Kevin a favor and get him out of here,'" Rivers said. "Because it was getting chippy."

Rivers added, "I really think sometimes that's what officials do, and you can't blame them for it."

Capers knows a thing or two about the Celtics being involved in chippy games.

He was the lead official during the incident between the Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 28 that led to Rajon Rondo being suspended for two games after he and Nets big man Kris Humphries got into it.

The Celtics got the win and Garnett got a chance to get some added rest even if it'll cost him 2,000 (the cost of being ejected).

Thomas tweets - and deletes - recruiting pitch to Durant

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Thomas tweets - and deletes - recruiting pitch to Durant

Isaiah Thomas has been the Boston Celtics’ No. 1 pitch man as of late, and hasn’t been shy about it.

During All-Star Weekend, Thomas said he was approached by a player inquiring about Boston. 

The Celtics point guard also posted a must-read Players’ Tribune piece titled titled "To a City Like No Other,” that highlights his feelings about the city of Boston.

He was at it again on Sunday night.

After the Oklahoma City Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs, Thomas wasted no time making a quick pitch to the biggest free agent target out there - Kevin Durant.

The tweet didn’t last long, though. Thomas deleted the tweet shortly thereafter.

Report: Butler expected to be at OTAs this week

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Report: Butler expected to be at OTAs this week

When Patriots corner Malcolm Butler wasn't on the field for last Thursday's OTA, it sparked questions as to whether or not he might be holding out for a new contract. Voted into the Pro Bowl last season, Butler is scheduled to make $600,000 in base salary in 2016 -- well under market value for a player of his caliber. 

ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss reported over the weekend that Butler has told those close to him that he has plans to push for a contract adjustment this offseason.

Might that push include a holdout? It's unclear, but on Tuesday Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported that Butler is expected to be in attendance for Patriots OTAs this week. Howe went on to note that he was given "a strong indication" that Butler's absence last week was not related to his contract.

The Patriots will hold two more volunatry OTA sessions on Wednesday and Thursday that will be closed to the media. The team held three such sessions last week, with Thursday's as the lone practice open to reporters. Mandatory minicamp will be held from June 7-9. 

If Butler shows up to remaining OTAs and through minicamp, then it will be an indication that he's chosen not to attempt to gain leverage in negotiations by withholding his services. Yet at the same time, his presence on the field won't necessarily mean that he's be satisfied to continue playing under the deal that he has thoroughly outperformed through his first two professional seasons.

Warriors didn't play takeaway; Thunder played giveway

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Warriors didn't play takeaway; Thunder played giveway

The Oklahoma City Thunder choked. I mean, they got a gigantic tumble weed lodged in their larynx.

The better team did not win. However, the Golden State Warriors are actually better than the Thunder in one category:

Identity.

The Warriors know who they are and how they have to win. It never changes. Fire away, baby, and sooner or later the shots will fall . . . especially if the opposition has no clue who they are and how they got the lead in the first place.

I'm not sure if the Warriors are a great team defensively, or if OKC simply couldn't run an offense to extend its leads in Games 6 and 7. The best basketball analyst for my money is Kenny "The Jet" Smith. He accurately pointed out that one ill-advised 3-point attempt by Russell Westbrook in the first half crushed the Thunder’s chance to extend their lead into double digits. The same happened with a bad 3 in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors can kill a rally or get back into a game as soon their 3s fall. That is how they win . . . period. The Thunder tried to play Golden State's game at the worst times. OKC forgot that ball movement, player motion and setting up Kevin Durant for the best shot possible is how to win, not by hoisting panic-ridden 3s from the top of the key. To be fair, in the first half Durant did good job getting others involved. But when the Warriors got on a roll, the OKC offense froze with fear.

It simply amazes me how the Thunder would leave the paint wide open on the offensive end. No cuts, no pick-and-rolls (or not enough of them, anyway). Simply give the ball to Durant and then stand there. Or worse! KD gives the ball to Westbrook or another teammate and then he stands there! My God, give up the ball and move, Kevin! To me it was Durant’s stagnation without the ball that cost Oklahoma City a shot at the title.

Golden State was a very opportunistic team. It was not going to take the game or games from you. But if you wanted to give the Warriors a chance, no matter how slight, they'd accept it. And that’s exactly what OKC did.

Billy Donovan, Westbrook and Durant should feel sick to their stomach. If they don’t, something is wrong with them. My suspicion all three have driven the porcelain bus. Figuratively.

I was rooting for Durant because finally, finally Westbrook was buying into the team concept. But in the end it was Durant who let his team -- and city -- down,