Garnett still out, and joined on sidelines by J. O'Neal


Garnett still out, and joined on sidelines by J. O'Neal

By A. Sherrod Blakely

BOSTON Kevin Garnett missed his eighth straight game against the Kings, and he may miss more.

He's not alone.

The C's were also without Jermaine O'Neal, whose left knee continues to prevent him from suiting up regularly for the Celtics.

While the C's count on both to contribute, Garnett's injury is the one of greater concern right now. The Celtics' defensive catalyst has missed eight straight games because of a right calf strain injury.

Bostonhad initially said Garnett would be out a couple of weeks, withWednesday night's game marking the two-week anniversary of his injurywhich occurred Dec. 29 at Detroit.

Coach Doc Rivers said Garnett wouldprobably not play on Friday against Charlotte, but there's achance he'll return to action on Monday against Orlando.

Thelonger Garnett stays out -- especially considering how Garnett's right knee injury a coupleyears ago snowballed into him missing 25 regular-season games and theentire playoffs -- the more likely Celtics fans are to starttheorizing that his injury is worse than the C's are letting on.

"It'sno conspiracy or anything like that," Rivers said. "It's just taking alittle longer than we wanted it to. But it's not a big deal."

When asked whether there was a concern that the injury might linger deep into the season, Rivers responded, "No."

He added, "No one has told me to worry about that. Eddie Lacerte, the C's head trainer is really nonchalant about it."

When asked what has prevented him Garnett suiting up by now, Rivers said, "I don't know. It's as simple as my conversation with Eddie. I ask 'Is he ready to go?' And he says, 'If it was a playoff game, then yes, but I would hold him out a couple more days.' "

As for O'Neal, it was the 21st game of the season he has missed due to injury.

Rivers said O'Neal's left knee was swollen Wednesday morning. It is unclear when O'Neal will return to action.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

Blake Griffin opts out of Clippers contract, becoming free agent

Blake Griffin opts out of Clippers contract, becoming free agent

According to multiple reports, Blake Griffin has opted out of his contract with the Clippers, making him a free agent. 

Griffin is considered one of the top free agents in a class that will also include Utah’s Gordon Hayward. The Celtics have been reported as possible suitors for both players. 

The first overall pick in the 2009 draft, the 28-year-old Griffin is a five-time All-Star, though injuries have limited him over the last three seasons. 

Over 61 games, the 6-foot-10 power forward averaged 21.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game last season. Between numerous injuries and a suspension for hitting a member of the Clippers’ equipment staff, Griffin was limited to just 31 games in the 2015-16 season. 

Adrian Wojnarowski said recently that Boston’s reception for Clippers teammate Paul Pierce made a very strong impression on Griffin. Though there might not necessarily be a connection between the two, Griffin said on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” that Boston is on his Mt. Rushmore of NBA cities. 

Tatum's sick final workout seals the deal for Celtics

Tatum's sick final workout seals the deal for Celtics

BOSTON -- Jayson Tatum was excited about working out for the Boston Celtics. 

But he knew that, health-wise, he wouldn’t be at his best. 


He could have easily pulled out like others had, or just told the Celts in advance so they could take it into account when they were deciding on who to take with the No. 3 pick. 
Instead, he kept it to himself until after his workout, focused on doing what the best in the NBA do on a nightly basis -- finding a way to play their best when at their worst physically. 
“I wasn’t feeling well, but you can’t make excuses,” Tatum said during an interview with CSN’s Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely. “There can be times in the future where there’s a game or playoff game where you’re not feeling well. Nobody is going to care. You have to produce.”
Did. He. Ever. 
The workout didn’t just go well.  It ranked among the best Danny Ainge had seen, which made the decision for Boston to select the 6-foot-9 forward from Duke with the No. 3 pick an easy call. 
Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, had an eye on Tatum all season and acknowledged he had high expectations for him to perform at during his workout in Boston. 
“He was better than I actually thought,” Ainge said during the CelticsTalk Podcast with Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely. “Which was hard to do, because we thought highly of him before.”
During the workout, Ainge saw a young man who had worked on improving his perimeter shooting to the point where it was actually one of his stronger qualities. 
 “As I watched him play earlier in his life  . . . what he lacked was his range shooting,” Ainge said. “He was a very good mid-range player and good passer off the dribble. But the range shooting, what he showed us in the workout here was very impressive. We had two workouts with him. And in both of them, he was one of the best shooters in this whole draft at any position, and one of the best shooters we’ve had in here for any draft.”
Making Tatum’s workout all that more impressive was it came with him far from at his best health-wise, something the Celtics didn’t learn of until afterwards. 
“He wanted to be here from the very beginning, even before we got the number one pick,” Ainge said. “He wanted to be here. He came in here and showed it. He came on his workout and was sick. He was on antibiotics, nose was dripping and he didn’t complain. And he still played and played well. That was impressive, how much he showed, how much he wanted to be here.”
Tatum said his mindset coming into his workout was simple.
“I knew the draft pick was on the line,” Tatum said. “I had to really perform and I think I did really well.”