Veteran Celtics toughen up Sixers' Turner

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Veteran Celtics toughen up Sixers' Turner

Evan Turner grew up watching Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce play basketball.

He was a fan of the trio, each of whom are more than 10 years his senior. If he had attended public school, Turner would have went to Garnetts alma mater, Farragut Academy, in Chicago.

When Turner played against the Boston Celtics last season as a 22-year-old rookie on the Philadelphia 76ers, he was already familiar with his opponents from what he had seen of them on TV.

Then the veterans introduced him to their game in the NBA. They tested the young guard during his first year in the NBA, a challenge he appreciates now.

Watching them on TV and playing against them is two different things, Turner told CSNNE.com. First few times we played against them, they kicked our butts. One of the best things is getting your butts kicked and paying your dues. I cant say it enough -- paying your dues and earning the right to play well and earning the right to play well versus them, thats the most important thing.

The Celtics took the 2010-11 regular season series against the 76ers, 3-1. One year later, they are faced off in a Eastern Conference Semifinals series tied at one apiece.

After averaging 8.3 points and 2.3 rebounds against the C's as a rookie, Turner is posting 13.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in the first two games of the series.

Rebounding is all about desire, he said. If you want to go get it, you go get it. Thats pretty much it. Thats how I was always taught. I dont look at it any other way. I just look at as they expect me to rebound and I want to go get the ball, Ill go get it in any situation.

Turners defense, combined with his ability to hit difficult shots thus far, has helped push the Sixers, who are headed back to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4 on their home court. The first two games of the series have been decided by one point each, the type of challenge Turner is up for.

Unlike other young players who have griped about the Celtics intense style of play over the years, he is taking it in and learning from it.

One thing about them is, theyre going to play tough, especially in playoff time, Turner said. Growing up, you could tell they played tough, theyre willing to put their chin in there to get a stop, and thats toughness. Thats what you learn, especially when theyre guarding you, you can tell how tough they are.

Even after beating the Celtics twice this regular season and taking Game 2 in the playoffs, remembering how he felt last season during the Cs victories will help Turner during this postseason, and moving forward in his career.

They enjoyed it, thats what was crazy, Turner said of the Celtics winning. Last season, they just enjoyed it. They kept coming back at you. Paul gets going, he starts talking. Same with Ray and everything. They were taking turns on you, seeing how tough you were. You had to toughen up. The whole thing with them was seeing how tough you were. And if not, they were going to run right over you.

Raptors, in pursuit of Celtics in playoff race, lose Lowry for perhaps rest of regular season

Raptors, in pursuit of Celtics in playoff race, lose Lowry for perhaps rest of regular season

The Eastern Conference playoff race, seemingly altered by the moves -- and non-moves (hello there, Celtics) -- of some of the contenders, just took another twist.

The Raptors, bolstered by the acquisition of Serge Ibaka and appearing poised to make a run toward the top of the standings after a come-from-behind victory over the Celtics on Friday, were hit with a body blow Monday when it was announced All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry needs surgery on his right wrist and may miss the remainder of the regular season.

ESPN reports Lowry is expected to be sidelined from four to eight weeks. Toronto hopes to have him back for the playoffs.

The Raptors are currently in fourth place in the conference at 35-24, trailing Cleveland (40-17), Boston (38-21) and Washington (34-23). Without Lowry, and facing a rough, six-of-their-next-seven-games-on-the-road stretch, Toronto may stop focusing on catching the Wizards and/or Celtics and focus on holding off Atlanta (32-26) in order to hold onto home-court in the first round.

Lowry, 30, who missed the last two games because of the injury, is averaging a career-best 22.8 points per game. He also is averaging 6.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds.

Dennis Schroder doubles down on claims Isaiah Thomas took family trash talk too far

Dennis Schroder doubles down on claims Isaiah Thomas took family trash talk too far

Dennis Schroder isn't backing down.

The Atlanta Hawks point guard again was asked about Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, and the budding rivalry between the two players that's turned into a rivalry between the two teams. Thomas, of course, was accused by Schroder of taking his trash talking a bit too far during the teams' last meeting, a 103-101 Celtics victory last month in which Thomas hit the game-winning shot with just seconds remaining.

Thomas' comments allegedly were about Schroder's family, per Schroder himself. Thomas has since repeatedly denied the claims. So does Schroder still deny Thomas' side of the story?

“I mean, yeah. Everybody heard it, too," Schroder said. "My family sat courtside too. And (Hawks teammate) Thabo (Sefolosha) heard some things, you know, and he was involved in it. But it is what it is. Like I said, we just try to compete. And you know, it’s getting heated in the game. It is what it is."

Schroder didn't dive much deeper than denying Thomas' claims of innocence. But is there something about Thomas inparticular that gets under Schroder's skin or runs him the wrong way?

Nah, I mean he’s a great player, he’s showing it this year," Schroder said. "I mean, what he did in the playoffs last year was just not, you know, professional. And I think nobody wants to see that but it’s fine. We just try to compete and try to help our team win the basketball game."

Schroder was referring to the back-and-forth physical play between himself and Thomas that resulted in flagrant fouls for both during the first-round playoff matchup betweein the clubs, a series Atlanta eventually won four games to two. Thomas' status was in doubt for Game 4 of the series after a hit to Schroder's head in Game 3, but the now two-time All-Star ultimately was allowed to play.

"Everybody’s competitive. Everybody tries to get out, get after it," Schroder explained when asked if his feud with Thomas fuels his team any extra. "I think it’s a big game tonight and the team knows it. I’m pretty sure the Celtics know it too. It’s getting close to the playoffs and every game counts."

Boston and Atlanta tip off from TD Garden at 7:30 p.m.