Noah doesn't think KG's so bad after all

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Noah doesn't think KG's so bad after all

BOSTON -- Maybe, just maybe, Joakim Noah doesn't think Kevin Garnett is so bad.

There is a little piece of him that actually likes Garnett for intensity and appreciates his passion that gets under the skin of players around the league.

But before we get to those underlying emotions, let's go back to his sentiments on the surface.

On Friday the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls tangled in yet another battle. This time, the Derrick Rose-less Bulls beat the Avery Bradley-less Celtics, 100-99 in overtime. There were plenty of tense moments between Garnett and Noah and the hostility could be felt across the court.

Following the game, Noah discussed limiting Garnett to 5-for-16 shooting by playing tough defense and contesting his shot. Then he went a step further in his analysis.

"He's a hell of a competitor," said Noah. "He's always on some bulls. (What does that mean?) Just trying to throw elbows, cheap shots, just trying to get you off your game. But he's a vet, he's been doing this a long time, but it's alright."

There was a time when Noah deemed Garnett "a dirty player." Reflecting on that now, Noah said, "I feel like I was young, maybe talking a little bit too much. What happens on the court should stay on the court and I was pretty vocal about it but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is winning or losing basketball games. It doesn't matter, you don't have to like your opponents, it's alright."

When asked if he thought Garnett crosses the line when he plays, Noah replied no, before adding, "When we lose, I feel like he crosses the line. But since we've been beating their a, I'm cool with it."

Noah is now 27, about to turn 28 next month. He is in his sixth NBA season, long enough for him to know how to manage his emotions. He has learned opposing players are not there to be his friend. No matter who he looked up to as a child, unless they are wearing the same uniform as him, they are out to beat him. That was a challenging reality for him to understand early on and one of the reasons why he was so taken aback by and vocal about Garnett's demeanor.

Coming to that realization has given him an appreciation for Garnett. It is a feeling wrapped up tightly in layers of competitiveness, but it's there nonetheless.

"The thing is, when I was a kid I used to wear Kevin Garnett jerseys," he said. "I used to have his poster and his jersey and I would wear it proud. I guess it's part of growing up and being part of the league. You can't be a fan anymore, you've got to compete against these guys. He made me learn that, and I kind of like it, because from that day on, I would never, ever go up to somebody before a game or during a game and show my appreciation or something like that, or show what they meant to me. Because of KG, I will never, ever, ever do that again. It was embarrassing."

Noah refuses to be humiliated on the court. He gets in a zone before playing the Celtics, which begins the day prior to the matchup. Garnett has shut down players before, and Noah will not let himself be one of them. For that, he actually likes taking on the future Hall of Famer.

"Yeah, I do (enjoy playing against someone like Garnett) because I know that if I don't come ready to play, I know that he's going to embarrass me," he said. "I would never, ever go out before a game before I play KG. I would never ever. I'm always ready to play when I play Boston because I know a guy like that, if you don't come ready to play, he will embarrass you."

Garnett and Noah are driven apart by a commonality. They just want to win and their opponent, whether it is a childhood idol or longtime friend, is in their way. Noah doesn't expect to grab coffee with Garnett and get together in the offseason -- "Cool? No, he wants to win and I want to be win. I don't think it will ever be cool," he said -- but now he is at a point in his career where he is able to appreciate their differences that make them similar.

"We've had a lot of battles, but I respect his grind," Noah said. "I respect the way he competes."

Avery Bradley (Achilles) will not play vs. Knicks

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Avery Bradley (Achilles) will not play vs. Knicks

BOSTON – Both New York and Boston will take to the floor tonight minus a starter courtesy of a sore Achilles injury.

For Celtics guard Avery Bradley, tonight will be the fifth time in the last six games that his right Achilles injury will keep him sidelined.

Meanwhile, New York’s Kristaps Porzingis will miss his fourth straight game with a sore left Achilles injury.

The 7-foot-3 Porzingis averages 19.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Porzingis’ absence tonight was established well before tip-off.

“I’d say I’m 90 percent ready; still not there yet,” Porzingis told reporters prior to the game. “But I’m getting closer … hopefully the next game or after the next game.”

As far as Bradley is concerned, he was a last-minute matter.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was asked about his roster earlier tonight, and indicated Tyler Zeller (sinus) and James Young (ankle) would be on the inactive list tonight with injuries.

Without Bradley, the Celtics are expected to start Marcus Smart who has filled in as the team’s starter previously when the 6-foot-2 Bradley was unavailable.

 Bradley is the Celtics' second-leading scorer with 17.7 points per game this season, along with a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game and 2.4 assists. 

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

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Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.