Boston Celtics

Bradley proud of Durant's third consecutive scoring title


Bradley proud of Durant's third consecutive scoring title

BOSTON -- Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant captured his third NBA regular season scoring title on Thursday night.
Halfway across the country, Celtics Avery Bradley was proud.
Bradley, like Durant, played college basketball at the University of Texas. Even though they were not on the same team, Bradley has close ties with former Longhorns in the league.
Us being from the same college, the same family, seeing anybody in the NBA, I feel like we are all a brotherhood, Bradley told It just makes you want to be like him. All you can do is respect him and work as hard as him. Watching him work hard over the summers, all you can do is respect that.
Durant averaged 28.0 points this season. Bradley, a defensive-savvy guard, has increased his scoring from 1.7 points per game last season as a seldom-played rookie to 7.6 this year. He has assumed the starting shooting guard position as of late, averaging over 12 points in the first unit.
Bradley is inspired by Durants offensive prowess, though he doesnt try to impersonate it.
Kevin Durant is Kevin Durant, he said. I feel like its just a gift that he was given, hes able to score. Im happy for him. The scoring title. Im pretty sure hes happy. Hes been playing good basketball all year. Kevin does some amazing stuff.

NBA adds 'Harden Rule' and 'Zaza Rule' for players' safety


NBA adds 'Harden Rule' and 'Zaza Rule' for players' safety

NEW YORK - NBA referees will be able to call flagrant or technical fouls on defenders who dangerously close on jump shooters without allowing them space to land, as Zaza Pachulia did on the play that injured Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in last season's playoffs.

Officials will also make sure jump shooters are in their upward shooting motion when determining if a perimeter foul is worthy of free throws, which could cut down on James Harden's attempts after he swings his arms into contact.

The new rules interpretations are being unofficially called the "Harden Rule" and the "Zaza Rule". The Washington Wizards accused the Celtics' Al Horford of a dangerous closeout on Markieff Morris that injured Morris and knocked him out of Game 1 of their playoff series two weeks before the Pachulia-Leonard play.

Leonard sprained his ankle when Pachulia slid his foot under Leonard's in Game 1 of Golden State's victory in the Western Conference finals. After calling a foul, officials will now be able to look at a replay to determine if the defender recklessly positioned his foot in an unnatural way, which could trigger an upgrade to a flagrant, or a technical if there was no contact but an apparent attempt to injure.

"It's 100 percent for the safety of the players," NBA senior vice president of replay and referee operations Joe Borgia said Thursday.

The NBA had made the freedom to land a point of emphasis for officials a few years ago, because of the risk of injuries. 

Officials can still rule the play a common foul if they did not see a dangerous or unnatural attempt by the defender upon review. Borgia said Pachulia's foul would have been deemed a flagrant.

With the fouls on the perimeter shots - often coming when the offensive player has come off a screen and quickly attempts to launch a shot as his defender tries to catch up - officials will focus on the sequencing of the play. The player with the ball must already be in his shooting motion when contact is made, rather than gathering the ball to shoot such as on a drive to the basket.

"We saw it as a major trend in the NBA so we had to almost back up and say, `Well, wait a minute, this is going to be a trend, so let's catch up to it,"' NBA president of league operations Byron Spruell said.