NBA, players union scheduled to meet Wednesday

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NBA, players union scheduled to meet Wednesday

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn With the summer winding down, time is running out for the NBA players union and the owners to pass a new collective bargaining agreement.

Key figures in the labor stalemate were scheduled to meet in New York City Wednesday, which represents just the second meeting between the two sides since the July 1 lockout.

For the union, you'll have Executive Director Billy Hunter joined by union president and Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher. The owners will be represented by NBA Commissioner David Stern, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver and San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt.

While no one anticipates anything resembling a new collective bargaining agreement to come about, some degree of progress needs to be made to avoid the league's first work stoppage since the lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season.

For the 30 teams, everyone is operating as if the season will start on time with the usual preseason events. Media Day is still slated to take place on Oct. 3.

But much has to be done before the 2011-2012 season can begin.

Once a new collective bargaining agreement is passed, the free agency period must begin and will surely be shortened due to the late start.

Several NBA players have spent the past couple of weeks working out in anticipation that the season will begin on time.

"You have to take that approach," Boston Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal told CSNNE.com earlier this summer. "Until I'm told differently, I'm not going to change my offseason workouts or anything like that. The last thing you want to happen, is to be out of shape when a deal is done. It'll put you and the team behind even further."

The fact that they're meeting, even if nothing is done, is definitely a step in the right direction.

And as we saw with the NFL and its labor situation, all it takes is agreement on a couple of key components and a new collective bargaining agreement can come together quickly.

"Just as football was committed to the process, the NFL, the NFLPA, you have to take your hat off to them," Mo Evans, Vice President of the NBA players association, told NBA.com. "They did what they were supposed to do. They went in and they both negotiated a deal. Now it's our turn."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

DeRozan has career-high 43, Raptors beat Celtics, 107-97

DeRozan has career-high 43, Raptors beat Celtics, 107-97

TORONTO - DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 43 points and the Toronto Raptors rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 107-97 on Friday night.

DeRozan shot 15 of 28 from the floor as he surpassed his 42-point effort against the Houston Rockets on March 30, 2015, helping the Raptors overcome the absence of fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry. Lowry sat out with a right wrist injury.

Serge Ibaka, acquired by trade from the Orlando Magic last week, scored 15 points in his debut, while fellow newcomer P.J. Tucker, picked up from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, had a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points in his first game for his new team.

Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points for Boston, which also got 19 points each from Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart.

Down 91-88 with 4:11 to play, the Raptors went on a 9-1 run to lead by five with 2:01 to play. Though Crowder cut that lead to three with a jump shot with 1:46 remaining, DeRozan drilled a jump shot with a minute remaining to put the Raptors up by five.

Tucker was unable to convert either free throw after being fouled by Al Horford with 47 seconds left, but Thomas missed the next time down the court, and after being fouled by Smart, DeRozan converted both free throws with 33 seconds to play. He then followed up with two more after a three-point play from Smart to take the game away from Boston with 27.5 seconds to go.

The Celtics found their range early, connecting on 55 percent of their shots from the floor and 40 percent from 3-point range in the first quarter. The Raptors could only hit 40 percent and went 0 for 3 from beyond the arc, and while DeRozan topped all scorers with 10 points, they were trailing 29-18 after 12 minutes.

Boston pushed its lead to 17 on a 3-point shot from Jaylen Brown with 1:29 to play in the half, but Toronto closed on a 7-0 run following a flagrant foul by Thomas on DeRozan.

The Raptors continued their comeback effort in the third quarter, with Ibaka's 3-pointer with 5:58 to go capping a 27-8 Toronto run to give the Raptors their first lead since the 3:54 mark of the first quarter. Smart's 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds remaining handed Boston a 77-74 edge entering the final 12 minutes.

Mannix: Celtics going to be in best bargaining situation this summer

Mannix: Celtics going to be in best bargaining situation this summer

Chris Mannix helps break down what the Boston Celtics could do with all the cap space this offseason in hopes that they can build a championship team to compete next season.