The more things change...

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The more things change...

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

Went to my first Celtics game last night since January 10.

The core crew was there -- Ray Ray, P-Twice, KG, Ray-jhonRah-jhon Rondo -- but, aside from Glen Davis (WHO SHOULD NEVER TAKE THAT SHOT AGAIN), the supporting cast looked a lot different.

When the Rockets visited Boston two months ago the box score included Nate Robinson, Jermaine O'Neal, Luke Harangody, Marquis Daniels, Von Wafer, Semih Erden (DNP) and Shaquille O'Neal.

None of those guys played for the Green Team last night, in thanks to trades or old age.

Wednesday's Celtics loss included Jeff Green (Georgetown Hoya -- I am not over it), Delonte West (He get his donuts yet?), Troy Murphy, Avery Bradley (DNP vs. Houston) and Sasha Pavlovic. I've had time to get used to all the transactions, but to realize the difference in my two game nights was jarring.

Maybe that's why I was so relieved that other things about the Celtics experience hadn't changed.

A GUY BEHIND ME SCREAMS STUFF ALL GAME
It's always some middle-aged dude who gets to escape the fam for one night a year to hang out with his other don't-get-out-much buddies: Goatee, glasses, button down shirt. You know.

Broski would have done Tommy Heinsohn proud with his ripping on the refs last night. "Hey! HEY. TRY CALLING ONE ON NUMBER 50 FOR A CHANGE. YOU'RE TERRIBLE. WHAT GAME YOU WATCHING?"

He also raised his voice at Tony Allen and Leon Powe whenever the former Celtics touched the ball, hollering 'TRAITOOOOOOOR!" Funny, considering that Powe wanted to come back and TA said "I'm a Celtic. Unfortunately, I'm wearing a Grizzlies uniform now," after the game. Minor details that Screaming Goatee Guy can't be bothered with. He had like, four beers! Oh, man, the wife's gonna be pissed, but he doesn't care-- nuh-uh! Tonight he's his own man. His own, loud man.

A KID THINKS HE WON'T SURVIVE THE MBTA
I was underground at North Station waiting in the crowd to go through the gate when I overheard a dad comforting his young son.

"You're not going to die!" The dad reassured his eight-year old.

"I'm going to get SMOOSHED!" The kid wailed, overlooking the mob of drunk basketball fans with dinner plate-sized eyes.

He didn't get smooshed as far as I know. But I didn't actually see them get on the train because a gate malfunction caused me to get held back for a solid 10 minutes and miss a few trains; BS, but typical.

So the kid is actually pretty perceptive. Even at eight, he was able to recognize that the T is the Electric Passenger Railway of Evil. It may not smoosh actual people that often, but it crushes souls on the daily.
TANGER IS STILL CHEERING FOR THE GREEN TEAM

Ayy! Gar-Bear made it on the jumbotron! And that's a nice Paul Pierce jersey no matter what Felger says.

Top Red Sox prospect Sam Travis out for year with torn ACL

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Top Red Sox prospect Sam Travis out for year with torn ACL

As good as things have gone for the Red Sox so far in 2016, their 2017 prospects took a bit of a blow over the weekend.

Sam Travis -- one of the organization's top prospects, and someone who opened a lot of eyes with an impressive spring-training showing this year -- suffered a torn ACL on Sunday while playing for the Pawtucket Red Sox and will be lost for the rest of the season. He was hurt while playing first base, collapsing as he chased down an opposition baserunner during a rundown play. He had to be helped off the field, and the extent of the injury was announced on Monday.

With David Ortiz retiring at the end of this season and Hanley Ramirez expected to replace him as the full-time designated hitter, the door was open for Travis to become the Red Sox' first baseman next year. Playing at Triple-A for the first time, the 22-year-old Travis -- honored by the Red Sox as their Minor League Offensive Player of the the Year in 2015 -- was hitting .272/.332/.434 with 10 doubles, 6 home runs and 29 RBI in 47 games.

Now, however, it's almost a complete certainty Travis won't be able to start next season in Boston. And depending on what the Red Sox do in the offseason to replace Ortiz, such as a signing a free agent to a multiyear contract, Travis' path upward in the Sox organization may become less wide open . . . if not blocked.

Kevin Durant's future a mystery as OKC collapses

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Kevin Durant's future a mystery as OKC collapses

OAKLAND, Calif. - As Stephen Curry dribbled out the clock in a raucous Oracle Arena, Kevin Durant could only stand and watch.

The Golden State Warriors are heading back to the NBA Finals, while Durant's future in Oklahoma City is much less certain.

Two nights after blowing an opportunity to close out the defending champion Warriors at home, the Thunder got sent home for the summer when they lost Game 7 of the Western Conference finals 96-88 on Monday night.

Instead of becoming known as the team that knocked off the Warriors after their record-setting 73-win regular season, the Thunder will be remembered for a playoff collapse. They became just the 10th NBA team to lose a playoff series after taking a 3-1 lead and now head into an uncertain offseason with Durant eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

If he does leave the only franchise he has played for in his nine-year career, he will do it having failed to deliver the championship to Oklahoma City. The closest the Thunder have gotten in Durant's tenure was when they lost the NBA Finals in five games to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in 2012.

They then lost in the second round the next season, in the conference finals in 2014 to San Antonio before missing the playoffs entirely because of an injury to Durant last year.

But under first-year coach Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City earned the third seed in the top-heavy Western Conference this season and then upset 67-win San Antonio in the second round. The Thunder followed that by winning three of the first four games against the Warriors, with a pair of lopsided wins at home.

But after losing Game 5 on the road, the Thunder blew an opportunity to eliminate the Warriors at home on Saturday night. Oklahoma City led by seven points with less than five minutes remaining but made only one basket and committed six turnovers down the stretch of a 108-101 loss that could haunt the franchise for years.

The Thunder responded on the road in Game 7 by taking a 13-point lead in the second quarter. But once Curry and Klay Thompson started hitting Oklahoma City with a flurry of 3-pointers, the Thunder had no answer. The Splash Brothers combined for 13 3-pointers as Golden State outscored Oklahoma City by 30 points from behind the line.

Oklahoma City's stars were no match. Russell Westbrook missed 14 of 21 from the field and shot just 36.8 percent in the three potential clinchers. Durant finished with 27 points but took only 10 shots in the first three quarters.

Durant did score seven straight points to cut an 11-point deficit to four with 1:40 remaining. But Serge Ibaka then fouled Curry on a 3-pointer with the shot clock running down, allowing Golden State to build the lead back to seven.

Durant then missed two shots and could only stare blankly when Curry ended Oklahoma City's season with a 3-pointer with 26.8 seconds left. Now the Thunder can only hope it doesn't end Durant's tenure in Oklahoma City as well.