See who won All-Star Game's "Final Vote"

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See who won All-Star Game's "Final Vote"

From Comcast SportsNet
CHICAGO (AP) -- Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish and St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese are headed to the All-Star game after fans voted them into next week's showcase in Kansas City. "I feel very good," Darvish said Thursday through an interpreter. "I know the way that I got selected was a vote by the fans, so I appreciate all the fans who voted for me. I'm looking forward to it." Darvish is the eighth Rangers player on the American League team managed by Texas' Ron Washington. He beat out four other pitchers: Chicago's Jake Peavy, Baltimore's Jason Hammel, Kansas City's Jonathan Broxton and the Angels' Ernesto Frieri. "It just wasn't meant to be," said Peavy, who was supported by an aggressive marketing campaign by the White Sox. "We knew it's hard to outvote a country." Freese emerged from a National League field that included Atlanta outfielder Michael Bourn, Nationals rookie outfielder Bryce Harper and Arizona second baseman Aaron Hill. "I'm happy, I'm thrilled," Freese said before St. Louis hosted the Rockies on Thursday. "Thank you Cardinal Nation. Unbelievable support from friends, family and Cardinals fans." Darvish has made a smooth adjustment to the major leagues after the Rangers committed more than 107 million to bring him to the U.S. The 25-year-old right-hander got a guaranteed 56 million, six-year contract and Texas also paid a record 51.7 million posting bid to his team in Japan. Darvish responded by going 6-1 with a 2.60 ERA in his first eight starts. The rookie leveled off a bit but is 10-5 with a 3.59 ERA for the only team in the majors with 50 wins. And now he's into his first major league All-Star game. "I don't know where I stand amongst the team, I just want to stay quiet and stay out of the way of the players, not be a burden to them," he said. "I'll have (Rangers teammate) Matt Harrison act as my older brother, I'll just hide behind him all day." Atlanta's Chipper Jones had been in the running for the NL spot before he was chosen as an injury replacement for Matt Kemp. Online voting for the final spots ended Thursday.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Thunder

WATCH: Celtics vs. Thunder

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics play the Thunder in Oklahoma City. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Thunder preview: Another chance against a top-tier team

Celtics-Thunder preview: Another chance against a top-tier team

Hosting the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 25, the Boston Celtics had the perennial title contenders on the ropes with the lead in the fourth quarter only to lose it and the game, 109-103.

On the road at Houston, one of the Western Conference’s top teams, the Celtics led in the fourth quarter and wound up losing their Dec. 5 matchup 107-106 as Al Horford missed what would have been a game-winning lay-up as time expired.

Boston played well in both games, but not well enough to win which unfortunately for the Green Team has been how things have gone when they’ve faced some of the better teams in the NBA this season.

They are hoping to break that trend tonight when they hit the road and face the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder (14-9) come in with a slightly better record than the Celtics (13-10).

Boston’s issue isn’t that they can’t play with the better teams.

It’s their finish that needs work.

Boston has lost five of its six games this season against teams that are currently among the top-4 in their respective conferences. 

Losses to San Antonio and Houston only highlight Boston not being able to make the late-game runs needed to win.

Even in their 101-94 loss to Toronto on Friday, it was the Raptors’ ability to make one clutch play after another when it mattered most, that proved to be what was needed to propel them to victory.

“That’s what good teams do; they execute at the end of the game,” said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. “We just have to execute better and get stops at the end of the game. That’s what it comes down to.”

And while the Celtics have a number of returners from last season, every season brings about a different team and with that, a need to learn how to collectively be successful especially down the stretch in close games.

“We’re learning,” Bradley said following the Raptors loss. “We’re moving on to the next game.”

And that would be the Thunder who come in having won six of their last seven games.

Of course when it comes to the Thunder, everything starts with Russell Westbrook who is on everyone’s short list for league MVP.

He is averaging a triple-double this season with 30.9 points, 11.3 assists and 10.8 rebounds per game.

“He’s amazing,” said Boston’s Terry Rozier who will likely spend some time defending Westbrook tonight. “He’s going to be aggressive. We have to try and find a way to stop that. He’s putting up video game stats. It’s tough but we gotta do something.”

The Celtics will likely lean heavily on Marcus Smart and Bradley, a first-team all-NBA defensive selection last season, when it comes to trying to slow down Westbrook.

“Russell’s a good player,” Bradley said. “I look forward to every matchup. If it’s him, whoever it is, I look forward to it. That’s what this league is about.”

It’s also about growth and development of franchises into title contenders, something the Celtics are eager to continue pushing towards tonight.

Horford spent the previous nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, advancing to the playoffs every season.

He saw first-hand how they went from a team that could barely get into the playoffs, into one that produced four all-stars in one season and had the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Horford saw the loss to Toronto as an example of a really good team doing what great teams do and that’s finding a way to win regardless of how things are going most of the night.

“We made a run early (against Toronto), they stayed with it, didn’t rattle and eventually got over us,” Horford said. “We’re growing as a group.”