Let's go, Milwaukee!

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Let's go, Milwaukee!

For most of this season, Celtics fans have kept a distant eye on the Clippers.

Not only for Blake Griffin's highlights, Chris Paul's wizardry and Vinny Del Negro's hilarious impression of an NBA coach, but because Boston owns LAC's first round pick. So, as it goes, the worse the Clippers play, the better the Celtics draft position; the better the Celtics draft position, the more Danny Ainge will have to offer for Dwight Howard.

Or whatever.

But as we head down the stretch this season, aside from getting wrapped up in the Celtics resurgence and outwardly rooting for the Clippers to crumble, there's another team on Boston's radar.

The Milwaukee Bucks.

Why the Bucks?

Two words: Keyon Dooling.

As you know, the Celtics acquired Dooling from Milwaukee in January in exchange for the rights to Albert Miralles (a 29-year-old Spanish center who Boston acquired from Miami in 2005 and will very likely never play an NBA game). In other words, they traded Dooling for nothing. They said, "Hey, Danny. We don't really want to pay this guy. Do you?"

And Danny did.

But there was one little twist: A conditional second-pick (Top 44 protected).

The Bucks were so ecstatic to free up Dooling's roster spot and cap space that they said: "OK, tell you what, if we finish with one of the 16 best records in the league, you can have our second round pick." And that was that.

Keyon Dooling and a conditional second round pick for the rights to the Badalona Butcher.

Fast forward to today and here's a look at the middle of the NBA Standings:

14. Denver 31-26
15. (t) New York, 29-27
Philadelphia, 29-27
Phoenix, 29-27
18. Utah, 29-28
19. Milwaukee, 28-28

Translation: Milwaukee's only game out of the Top 16, and the Celtics are only one game out of another draft pick.

Maybe it's not as exciting as the Clippers No. 1, but when you consider that Boston's had about as much luck in the second round as they have in the first, and the fact that an extra second round pick is better than no extra second round pick, I'd say Milwaukee's push to the Sweet 16 is worth keeping an eye on.

As is this: The Celtics host the Bucks on the last day of the season.

If JaJuan Johnson and E'twaun Moore are in the starting line-up, you'll know why.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

For weeks the speculation regarding Josh McDaniels wasn't a matter of "if" but "when."

But while national media had McDaniels signed, sealed and delivered to multiple landing spots, the proposition that he'd leave at all was never a likelihood. 

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The Rams weren't attractive to him from the outset. Jacksonville didn't excite him, either. And on Monday, he passed on the 49ers opportunity. 

The lure of a blank slate in San Fran at quarterback and GM didn't outpace the uncertainty of going cross-country to work for a seemingly dysfunctional franchise that's cycled rapidly through coaches and has an unrealistic sense that it's a long, long way removed from its glory days, the only remnant remaining from that being perhaps the logo on the helmet. 

With four kids and a job McDaniels considers one of the 10 best on coaching -- head man or no -- he will stay on as the Patriots' offensive coordinator.

"I was really impressed with (Niners owner) Jed York and (team executive) Paraag Marathe . . . and the people that came from the 49ers organization," McDaniels said on a conference call this morning. "They did a great job with their presentation. Humbled to be included in that process. At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

The same faulty speculative reasoning that had McDaniels as good as gone from the Patriots will move on undeterred today and surmise that McDaniels is staying with the Patriots because he knows, or has been promised, that he'll receive the head coaching job when Bill Belichick steps aside. 

While the Kraft family certainly thinks highly of McDaniels and that could come to pass, anyone tapping their foot and checking their watch waiting for Belichick to step down is in for a long wait. He's showing no signs of wrapping it up and, while I haven't been told directly McDaniels isn't the automatic successor, he wouldn't be taking interviews at all if he were assured that. 

What will be interesting to see is whether interest remains high in him for other jobs or the perception that he's never going to leave means teams don't bother to ask. San Fran obviously had its heart set on McDaniels. Even though Nick Caserio passed on the chance to interview with the Niners for their open GM job, the team did talk to Louis Riddick about the spot. He and McDaniels have high regard for each other. 

Between McDaniels, Caserio and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, the people closest to Belichick on the coaching flow chart all had chances to go somewhere else and all passed on the chance. It's another example of not why the Patriots are good but why they remain good. Stability. 
 

Monday, Jan. 15: Matthews jersey sells for big money

Monday, Jan. 15: Matthews jersey sells for big money

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wondering what Claude Julien would do if one of the Bruins players was running Facebook Live during his postgame comments.
 
*Auston Matthews is obviously making a huge impression in Toronto as his Centennial Classic jersey sold for over $11,000 at a charity auction.
 
*Clark Booth knows it’s time to talk about the NFL, but instead he wants to talk about Milt Schmidt. I agree with Clark.

*Sabres goalie Robin Lehner says that his Buffalo teammates need to start doing their job as the season circles down the drain.

*Pierre McGuire talks with TSN sports radio about the Ottawa Senators, and the tough road trip coming up for them.
 
*PHT writer Cam Tucker has more bad news for the Tampa Bay Lightning as Ryan Callahan is going to be out for another four weeks with a lower body injury.
 
*As the Detroit Red Wings continue to round up the bottom in the Atlantic Division, Thomas Vanek may become trade bait.
 
*Peter Budaj is giving the Kings the saves that they need with Jonathan Quick out long term with injury.
 
*For something completely different: Tom E. Curran points out some togetherness issues with the Pittsburgh Steelers based on Antonio Brown’s Facebook post.