Celtics send message to Sixers with statement win


Celtics send message to Sixers with statement win

PHILADELPHIA Throughout the season, NBA coaches and players alike scoff at the notion that there's such a thing as a statement game.

Well, Boston's 107-91 win over Philadelphia on Wednesday night?

That was a statement game.

Even Rajon Rondo said as much following the C's victory that gave them a 2-1 series lead, with Game 4 on Friday.

"I believed that we needed this game," Rondo said. "Our team responded well. We were al pretty focused today at shoot-around. We had two close games at home and we wanted to show these guys and send a message I think we did a pretty good job of that."

You think?

Philadelphia head coach Doug Collins could see early on that the Celtics, more than anything else, simply wanted Game 3 more than his team.

"We ran into a Celtic team that had a real sense of purpose about them," Collins said. "I just thought this was a team that you could see coming in, did not want to be down 2-1 playing Game 4. You could just see they came in and they had been in a lot of these kind of games that they know how important the swing game is to get that home court back, and they played great."

The genesis of Wednesday's pummeling by Boston began well before the C's arrived at the Wells Fargo Center.

There was plenty of disappointment all around following the Game 2 loss, but once again it was the words of Kevin Garnett that seemed to resonate with his teammates.

"After the game, I just came in and said we're not going to beat anybody - and that includes jayvee teams and high school teams - if we don't play together. We worked so hard to get to where we at, to get there together," Garnett recalled. "Ubuntu; we've been preaching that since I been here. I had to just remind the guys, including the younger guys and the new guys, of how we succeed here. And the creed, Celtic basketball and what we are here."

It worked, as the C's put together their most collective win of this series and potentially, of the playoffs.

Now comes the fun part - doing it again.

Boston has home court advantage back with Wednesday's win. But a victory on Friday would put the Sixers about as far back on their heels as you can be, setting the C's up to need just one more victory to move on to the next round of the playoffs.

"It has to be a supreme effort from a defensive standpoint," Garnett said. "When you beat a team like this at home, you have to expect them coming out with a lot of energy. But we'll be ready and we'll be having a lot of energy ourselves."

Update: Three-way Cavs, Nuggets, Pacers deal for George 'very unlikely'

Update: Three-way Cavs, Nuggets, Pacers deal for George 'very unlikely'

We knew back on the night of the draft that as the Cavaliers desperately looked for a way to pry Paul George out of Indiana, they started involving third teams in the talks (because Indy had no interest in Kevin Love for Paul George straight up, not should they). Phoenix was involved, but that fizzled. So did talks involving Denver.

But those latter ones didn’t die the night of the draft, according to reports that came out over the weekend. Denver, Cleveland, and Indiana were still talking about a three-team deal that would land Love in Denver and George in Cleveland. The challenge for Cleveland was finding the combination of young players and draft picks that Indiana wants in a deal — Indy is rumored to want a lottery pick (preferably high lottery) and a young player or players.

Now that Denver three-team is “very unlikely” to happen, according to Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Click here for the complete story.

Bradley left off NBA's all-defensive teams

Bradley left off NBA's all-defensive teams

BOSTON – Avery Bradley was one of the NBA’s better defenders this past season, even as injuries limited him to just 55 games played. 

The lack of court time may have been a factor in Bradley being left off the NBA’s all-defensive first and second teams which were announced on Monday. 

Bradley, a member of the NBA's all-defensive first team last season, received 12 first-place votes as part of a 46-point voting total which was tops among the players who did not make the first or second team. 

Golden State’s Draymond Green, Utah’s Rudy Gobert and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard were the top three vote-getters, which explains why they are the three finalist for the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award which will be announced tonight during the NBA Awards show which begins at 9 p.m. on TNT.

In addition to Green, Gobert and Leonard, the first team also included Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul who was named to his seventh all-NBA defensive team, with this being the sixth straight time being on the first unit. Houston’s Patrick Beverley, a second-team all-NBA defensive selection following the 2013-2014 season, was also named to the first team. 

The second unit included Memphis guard (and former Celtic) Tony Allen, San Antonio’s Danny Green, New Orleans center Anthony Davis with Oklahoma City’s Andre Roberson and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo rounding out the second team. 

In addition to Bradley, other Celtics receiving votes for one of the two all-defensive teams included Marcus Smart (five first-place votes, 21 points total); Jae Crowder (five points total) and Isaiah Thomas (one point total).