Token Celtics defense nonexistent so far

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Token Celtics defense nonexistent so far

NEW ORLEANS The Boston Celtics don't look like the Boston Celtics we've come to know in recent years.

And it's not just because Wednesday's 97-78 loss at New Orleans keeps them winless this season.

The Celtics are a team that takes pride in their defense. But in their three games thus far this season, the Celtics defense has been defenseless against every team it has faced thus far.

Big men having their way around the basket. Guards getting to whatever spot on the floor they want to, when they want to. The Hornets gave the C's a little bit of both on Wednesday.Guards getting to whatever spot on the floor they want to, when they want to.

"We have to be better defensively," said Kevin Garnett. "We're a defensive team."

They have been in recent years. But this is a different season, a different Celtics team. And so far, it's one that can't defend anywhere close to the level Celtics Nation is used to.

One of the issues the Celtics have to come to grips with is that their defense, in a word, has sucked so far this season.

"Our team is talented enough," said backup guard Keyon Dooling. "We have to understand that our defense has been horrible for a team that hangs its hat on defense. We haven't been doing that. We have to embrace that and get better."

Just about any good defensive team has defenders who are good at disrupting the opposing team's ball-handler.

Although Rajon Rondo has been an all-NBA defensive team member, you wouldn't have known it by the way Jarrett Jack routinely beat him off the dribble in Wednesday night's loss to New Orleans.

Jack, playing in his first game of the season, had 21 points, nine assists and four rebounds.

"He killed us on pick and rolls," Rondo said.

Jack's dribble penetration seemed to open things up even more so for the New Orleans big men who were instrumental in the Hornets having a 46-24 advantage in points in the paint.

"Their guards beat us off the dribble most of the night," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "They lived in the paint. And in defense of the bigs, they were rotating. If they didn't get the block or the charge, their guy got the rebound so our crack-backs were terrible.We have to control the ball. We have to stop fouling. We had so many fouls in the first half; some of the silly reaching our guards did. It kept putting the bigs in a bad position."

The Celtics also have had their own set of issues offensively, which is only complicated by all the new faces still figuring out how to play well with and off, each other.

And when you throw in the fact that the C's are still considered a quality conquest if beaten, well it only stands to reason that they will be challenged by just about every opponent they face.

"Right now, we're getting everybody's best shot," Rondo said. "That's just part of the game; no excuses. We'll get it together, sooner than later."

Warriors force Game 7 with 108-101 win over Thunder

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Warriors force Game 7 with 108-101 win over Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Klay Thompson made a playoff-record 11 3-pointers and scored 41 points, and the defending champion Golden State Warriors forced a seventh game in the Western Conference finals with a 108-101 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.

Stephen Curry bounced back from a slow start to finish with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

The Warriors, who set the league's regular-season record with 73 wins, will host Game 7 on Monday. The winner will play Cleveland in the NBA Finals.

Oklahoma City dominated Games 3 and 4 at home, but the Warriors made 21 of 44 3-pointers on Saturday, while Oklahoma City was 3 of 23.

Kevin Durant scored 29 points and Russell Westbrook added 28 for the Thunder. But Durant made just 10 of 31 shots and Westbrook was 10 of 27.

Trying to become the 10th team to overcome a 3-1 deficit, the Warriors trailed much of the game and trailed by eight going to the fourth quarter.

Thompson kept them in it with four 3-pointers in just over seven minutes to start the period. Curry then hit two 3s, the second of which tied the game at 99 with 2:47 to play.

Thompson's 3 with 1:35 to play put the Warriors up 104-101.

The Thunder, who blew a number of fourth-quarter leads during the regular season, fell apart in the final minutes after Golden State had finally gone ahead for good.

Westbrook lost control of the ball, and after Thompson missed a 3, Westbrook turned the ball over again. Curry's layup with 14.3 seconds to play put the Warriors up by five, the Thunder turned it over again, and the Warriors were in the clear.

The Thunder led 23-20 after one quarter, then seized momentum early in the second. Steven Adams' powerful one-handed dunk on Draymond Green drew a roar from the crowd and gave Oklahoma City a 37-28 lead. Green, who had hit Adams in the groin area twice during the series, was a constant target for the vocal Thunder fans.

Thompson opened the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Warriors a 54-53 edge, but the Thunder closed the quarter strong and led 83-75 heading into the fourth.

Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed

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Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed

By Kurt Helin, NBC Pro Basketball Talk

This is a sad and stunning development.

Bryce Dejean-Jones, the rookie guard of the New Orleans Pelicans, has died, the Dallas, Texas, County Coroner has confirmed to NBC Sports. Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune broke the news.

Dejean-Jones was just 23.

The coroner’s office would not give a cause of death, but Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports had the tragic detail.