Boston Celtics

'Wolves still trying to move past Garnett

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'Wolves still trying to move past Garnett

Kevin Garnett came to the Boston Celtics in 2007 and took the city by storm.

Four years later, his impact is still felt in the place he called home for 12 seasons . . . nearly 1,500 miles away.

I still see KG jerseys on the street in Minnesota, said Minnesota Timberwolves rookie and 2011 second overall draft pick Derrick Williams. Hes left a big stamp right there in the whole state.

As Garnett looks to capture his second championship with the Celtics, the Timberwolves continue to look to rebuild. They won just 32 games in Garnett's final season with the team and have not won more than 24 in any single season since his departure.

No one is expecting them to replace Garnett, but with 23-year-old All-Star Kevin Love leading the squad, the Timberwolves have an incoming group of fresh talent Williams believes can help turn things around.

Theyre looking for the next team, the next couple guys that can help turn that whole team around, Williams, 20, recently told CSNNE.com. I think with the class that we have coming in with Ricky Rubio, myself, (rookie) Malcolm Lee from UCLA, and the guys that we currently have, we could have a pretty good chance to do good things this year.

But before the Timberwolves can build together on the court, they will have to wait during the NBA lockout---a challenge for this young team. While the veteran Celtics core of Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo have over 50 offseasons of preparation between them, rookies like Williams dont have proven strategies under their belts yet.

I think with the vets, its a little different because they know what it takes to be successful in the league, he said. Theyve put in those hours, theyve put in the years to be great players. We dont know yet. We dont know yet if were working hard enough to be successful in this league. Well just continue to keep working out and hopefully all this time and all these hours weve put in will translate to the court.

So what can Celtics fans expect when the Timberwolves come to town?

Were all going to come ready to play, Williams said. If they dont come ready to play, we can win those games. I think we have a good chance this season just because we are a young, athletic team that can get up and down the court that can really test those guys on the Celtics. So hopefully we can do that, run and gun, and we can get there and we can win a couple games.

Marcus and Markieff Morris assault trial began on Monday

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Marcus and Markieff Morris assault trial began on Monday

PHOENIX - NBA players Marcus and Markieff Morris go on trial Monday on felony assault charges stemming from a beating outside a Phoenix recreation center more than two years ago.

The twin brothers could face a maximum of nearly four years in prison if they are found guilty. A conviction would also result in discipline from the NBA, including a minimum 10 games of suspension.

Opening arguments begin Monday following the selection of an eight-member jury panel last week in what is expected to be a 10-day trial.

The trial threatens to disrupt the start of their 2017 NBA season with training camp set to begin for both players on Sept. 26. The Boston Celtics acquired Marcus Morris from Detroit in the offseason as part of an overhaul of their roster, while Markieff was a solid contributor for the Washington Wizards last year.

The Morris brothers are accused of helping three other people beat 36-year-old Erik Hood on Jan. 24, 2015. They were indicted by an Arizona grand jury that year on felony aggravated assault charges. Two of the other co-defendants pleaded guilty Wednesday to the same charges.

Police say Hood was leaving a high school basketball game when he was approached by a friend of the Morris brothers. Hood told Phoenix police the man was speaking to him when he was punched in the back of the head.

Hood ran to his car but fell down, before five men, including the Morris twins, punched and kicked him repeatedly, authorities say. All five left in a Rolls Royce Phantom as bystanders began to appear. Police say Hood was assaulted for sending an inappropriate text message to the Morris brothers' mother.

Hood told police he suffered a fractured nose, abrasions and a large bump on his head because of the incident.

Hood is an acquaintance of the Morris brothers and reportedly had a falling out with them in 2010.

At the time of the attack, the 6-foot-9 Morris twins were teammates on the Phoenix Suns. They starred at the University of Kansas.

Marcus Morris averaged 14 points last season in Detroit, where he was a mainstay in the starting lineup. He joins Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward as a group of new acquisitions for Boston this year. Markieff also averaged 14 points per game for the Wizards.

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30 teams in 30 days: Spurs remain in title conversation out West

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30 teams in 30 days: Spurs remain in title conversation out West

We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin! Today's team: The San Antonio Spurs

There is no finer organization in the NBA than the San Antonio Spurs, a franchise that seems to always be in the title-contending conversation regardless of who is – and who isn’t – on the roster.

For years, conventional wisdom was that the San Antonio dynasty would take a major step back once Tim Duncan FINALLY retired.

Instead of taking a step back, the Spurs continued to do what they did with Duncan – win a lot of games and scare the bejesus out of any and every team they saw in the playoffs.

To read A. Sherrod Blakely's 2017-18 team-by-team NBA previews, click here

One of the forgotten subplots in Golden State’s run towards a title last spring, was the ankle injury Kawhi Leonard suffered when he landed on the foot of Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia.

For those who don’t remember, the Spurs were beating the crap out of Golden State in Game 1 of their second-round series with Leonard getting anything and everything he wanted at both ends of the floor.

Prior to him landing on Pachulia’s foot (something that was debated for weeks as a dirty play), the Spurs were ahead 78-55.

After Leonard’s departure, Golden State went on an 18-0 run and eventually wound up edging the Spurs 113-111 before going on to sweep the series to become the first team in NBA history to open up the playoffs with 12 straight wins.

Well, Leonard’s back and will once again be on the short list of league MVP candidates due to his ability to dominate games at both ends of the floor.

For years his defense has been at an unmatched level. But it is the growth of his game offensively that has made him such a difficult and at times, dominant performer.

Leonard has finished in the top-3 of the league’s MVP voting the past two seasons.

Last season, he averaged a career-high 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game which was also a career high.

But the Spurs have proven through time to be more than just a one-man operation even when the face of the franchise (Tim Duncan) received a lot of credit for the franchise’s success.

San Antonio brings most of its core guys back, but recognized the need to add at least one more legitimate scorer to the mix.

In comes Rudy Gay, an 11-year veteran who has averaged 18.4 points per game throughout his career.

Golden State remains the team that everyone, including the Spurs, is chasing this season.

But the depth of San Antonio’s roster coupled with the addition of Gay, means the Spurs will once again be in the title-contending conversation.

Key free agent/draft/trade additions: Rudy Gay (Sacramento); Joffrey Lauvergne (Chicago).

Key losses: Jonathan Simmons (Orlando); Dewayne Dedmon (Atlanta); David Lee (free agent); Joel Anthony (free agent).

Rookies of note: Derrick White.

Expectations: 56-36 (2nd in the Southwest Division, 3rd in the West).

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